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OZ Developers and Hand Held Games

Posted by sho nuff on Tue, 13/05/03 - 9:37 PM

I've noticed alot of OZ developers building games for the gameboy. Is it because it's a cheaper option than forking out the dolo for a PS2 dev kit? Cuz im pretty confident in my opinion when i say that most of these companies, probably didn't start there companies to make gameboy games. Most of 'em were probably created to build PC and console games.

Im not saying there is nothing wrong with the Gameboy, but when you have the option to choose between hand held, pc or console, the hand held will predominately be chosen last. Simply because the experience is far greater on the other 2.

Anyhoo, back to the question, can anybody answer this? why do OZ developers create more for hand held than they do for the others?

Submitted by Pantmonger on Wed, 14/05/03 - 5:52 AM Permalink

GBA can be done with a 3 to 4 man team and 6 months. This kind of turn around in game production is fast, thus it is the bread and butter for a lot of game companies.


Submitted by Daemin on Wed, 14/05/03 - 7:45 AM Permalink

I'd say that GBA development most closely resembles the garage-days programming environment... 2D graphics, limited processors, coding to the metal, simple games...

Tell me I'm not right?

Submitted by souri on Wed, 14/05/03 - 9:16 PM Permalink

I think the short answers Torus gave when I asked why they concentrated on the GameBoy Advance is a good summary on why game devs develop for that platform.. ([url=""]article here[/url])..

quote:Torus has always supported Nintendo and their handheld line up since the onset, so it seemed logical that with the vast experience that we have with them to continue working with the Game Boy Advance. It helps in a number of ways. We turn around products quickly, we are able to take on staff that might not be ready for console work and it keeps a good relationship with publishers going. It's also a fun system to develop for and the team enjoys working with it.

However, I've read somewhere that the profit margin on each GBA title sold is pretty slim pickings when you take out Nintendo's licensing, cartridge costs and everything else.. plus with the competition in GBA market, it's pretty tough. When Crawfish Interactive shut down in the UK, I'm sure that affected a lot of the local game devs here in Australia.

That recent Sony announcement on their entry to the handheld market is definately gonna shake up a few things for the GBA. [url="…"]To quote Slashdot[/url], "The games come on a new media format, half the size of a CD or DVD, holding 1.8 gigs.".. HOLY CRAP!!! There goes that small team for handheld development idea!...
I think Nokia's N-Gage is standing on considerably more shaky ground now too.

Submitted by Blitz on Fri, 16/05/03 - 3:37 AM Permalink

A friend who was developing a GBA title until nintendo raised their licensing fees told me that after everything else was taken out, he would have been making $1 per unit sold, and with a $30,000 forward from his publisher, the game had to sell 30,000 copies before his team (of 3) would see a single cent.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Tim on Fri, 16/05/03 - 9:06 AM Permalink

Some Oz developers have a proprietary engine for the GBA, like Tantalus does with their CRIS engine, which was actually re-engineered from an engine they did for console (Sega Saturn I think). I suppose apart from the lower barriers to entry to develop for GBA, there is also the ability to stand out? But on the issue of Crawfish going under and the effect on the developers in Australia, wicked-witch software (which used to develop for crawfish) has gone further into mobile territory, developing Java games for mobile. But at the same time WW are developing an original title for PC... Does anyone know why Crawfish fell over? I remember interviewing Cameron Sheppard for an Age article back in 2001 and he had around 40 staff (incl contractors) on the books and a bright future? Interested to know... Cheers for a great site Souri!

Submitted by souri on Sat, 17/05/03 - 12:01 AM Permalink

Hey Tim, about time you've graced us with your presence here. [;)]
I've read a few articles on why Crawfish closed down, but I think [url=""]this article summed[/url] it up pretty well..

quote:The big reason for them closing is probably because they grew too fast and ended too fast. If you?re a developer, your games are not selling well and the publisher is running out of money; do not expect to receive your money immediately, which was most likely one reason of Crawfish?s failures. Crawfish Interactive was simply releasing too many GBA games and some companies publishing them didn?t have the money to pay them, so Crawfish Interactive just ran out of money to pay their staff.

They had a lot of titles that didn't sell as well as they expected, basically. I wonder what Cameron Sheppard is up to now. He used to a Melbourne House guy, didn't he?

Submitted by Bite Me on Sat, 17/05/03 - 11:49 AM Permalink

Cam is hiding within the inner sanctums of Climax Brighton right now...UK...I hope his dreams of a new Melbourne studio are realised some day...god knows he could do with the break!
bless him..(an old friend from way back)

Submitted by Tim on Mon, 19/05/03 - 9:00 AM Permalink

Thanks for the article link Souri, interesting read, cheers. The local industry seems tame by comparison! I'd be interested to see if Cameron would set up back in Melbourne, his experiences would definitely add to the industry in Australia.

Submitted by rezn0r on Mon, 19/05/03 - 9:56 AM Permalink

Sometimes you wonder how anyone makes any money in this crazy industry.


Submitted by Cam2 on Thu, 24/07/03 - 11:03 AM Permalink

Hello! Just came across this site and the chat about me, Crawfish, etc. Thanks for the kind words! As far as Climax goes, I'm no longer working there - I'm actually considering a few options, which you'll hear about soon I think. I'm still in London. Would be good to catch up with some of you too...