Tuesday 19 July 2022

Follow the code...

So it has come to our attention that recently that the CEO of Unity has stated that "any developers who do not prioritize monetization are [expletive] idiots".

Well, let the ship's log state for the record that by these terms we, the team working on Bullion, are proud to be "[expletive] idiots".

Those who have been with us for a while might recall the delight of Bullion coders Ben and Paul when Jeff Minter played Bullion at Play Expo Manchester; Jeff's titles had been a major influence when they were first starting out making games. But just as important as his games was Jeff's philosophy: having been in the video game industry since the very start, it was his observations that a fledgling Leda Entertainment used as a basis for the studio's values. To quote the "readme" file from Jeff's Atari ST title Llamatron:

"The programmers went back to their assemblers. The Men In Suits handed them pieces of paper upon which were written the exact specifications for the games. The programmers had to pay their mortgages, so they coded and were employed. The Men In Suits laughed, and took a bigger cut, and molded the market to make themselves an even bigger pile."

The full file can be found here - it's well worth a read!

Llamatron: no mess or fuss, just psychedelic blasting mayhem!

And that was over three decades ago. Fast forward to now, and the evidence of how monetization is damaging the games industry is everywhere, from the triple-A studios that have grown so big they cannot afford to take the risk that comes with being creative and try something new, right down to those working cludging games together from tutorials, believing that by putting enough ads, microtransactions and NFTs in that they are going to get rich. And then, of course, there are the bottom-feeding reskinners that - true to Jeff's words - are just changing the graphics and putting a different title on the storefront.

Now we will freely admit that the concepts of free-for-all fighting and collecting the most of something are hardly original - but Bullion is the game we want to make. Yes, we want to cover our costs, and a few drinks worth on top would be very nice, but that has never been the motivation behind Bullion's development. We're all about creating something that's fun and brings people together, and watching the reactions of our players at the shows we have demoed Bullion at, it certainly feels like we're on course.

Bullion may be about pirates, but we have no interest in trying to fleece our players. And if that makes us [expletive] idiots, then we'd rather that than sell out, despite the fact that Bullion is built on top of Unity - and it indeed raises the question whether or not we want to use Unity for future titles.

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