Up For Debate - Indie Vs AAA

Written by Sam Welch on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 2:00 PM
System Requirements Optimum 1080p PC Build Low vs Ultra Screenshots GPU Performance Chart CPU List That Meet System Requirements GPU List That Meet System Requirements

Here’s another one. Are Triple-A games everything inferred by such a reverent label, or are Indie games in fact the face of true gaming spirit?

To start at the beginning, the obvious primary difference between these development models is that triple-A games irrefutably get a lot more work put into them. At their best, they are the pinnacles of the game-making industry machine, sparing little expense to provide sizeable, thorough and deep gaming experiences. They are not, however, infallible.

Too many releases in 2014 alone demonstrate ably that a large team working within tight time parameters to churn out a box-checking blockbuster can still land flat on its face. The year’s poster-boy examples are perhaps Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed Unity. Each massively hyped and under pressure to meet a release schedule to provide hungry new hardware with a satisfying game and to deny a successful franchise a release rate breather, respectively. More and more AAA games are delayed to allow time to correct and polish such enormous bodies of work. Do we ask too much of the industry’s behemoths? Do we make unreasonable demands, the like of which independent developers need not be concerned by?

Maybe you think that a small team of developers - sometimes even working solo - benefit from much easier communication in a development cycle that ultimately makes for a more cohesive and engrossing game? Are the latest and flashiest effects and engines the only way to continue to excite a spoilt and rabid gamer populace, or can the same be achieved more simply with lateral thinking?

Fiscally speaking, the cost of Triple-A games almost invariably reflects the greater amount of workmanship and workers involved and, as well as our pockets, ask ever more of our hardware. Indie games typically stretch both system requirements and purchase price significantly less.

Nevertheless, Indie games are also far from perfect. The fact that they often revel in their ‘humanising’ flaws and sometimes even capitalise on them (Goat Simulator, anybody?) doesn’t change the fact that the lack of a corporate overlord means a lot less pressure to produce a squeaky clean and seamless end-product.

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18:23 Dec-30-2014

independent AAA, like what ninja theory is doing now with their hell blade

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12:32 Dec-30-2014

ive had a lot of issues with this new gen set of AAA started with watch dogs, then AC unity, the list goes on but the indie games never seem to disappoint, may be lacking content but they have heart in then rather than a big $$$$

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09:03 Dec-30-2014

Indie games innovate and AAA makes money off of that.

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05:30 Dec-30-2014

mostly


Indie = Good optimized and no bugs(or with new update)
AAA = Bad Optimized and Bugs (Ubisoft etc)

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05:37 Dec-30-2014

:/

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00:01 Dec-31-2014

I thought we had cleared this up already... And now you're calling all AAA titles poorly optimized? Just... why?

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11:55 Dec-31-2014

i said, not all...mostly :)

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08:40 Dec-31-2014

actually it's more like:
Indie = nothing complicated enough to notice bugs and performance issues
AAA = complex drm-secured heavy colossus with so much content it may behave unexpectedly weird :)

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11:56 Dec-31-2014

well, i agree too.

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11:57 Dec-31-2014

but AAA have bigger team. still can't optimize games properly?

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12:09 Dec-31-2014

They're doing their best. And with good results, most of the time. Let's just forget Watch Dogs ever happened.

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13:43 Dec-31-2014

I think people still have no idea what optimization is;
according to business dictionary it means "Finding an alternative with the most cost effective or highest achievable performance under the given constraints, by maximizing desired factors and minimizing undesired ones. In comparison, maximization means trying to attain the highest or maximum result or outcome without regard to cost or expense. Practice of optimization is restricted by the lack of full information, and the lack of time to evaluate what information is available (see bounded reality for details). In computer simulation (modeling) of business problems, optimization is achieved usually by using linear programming techniques of operations research." as you can see it doesn't say anything about everyone being happy with the result, therefore IF makers are testing game on certain hardware (usually the one mentioned as recommended specs) they cannot guarantee the game will run well on different hardware, as simple as I just said; obviously hardware manufacturers are trying their best with driver optimization so wide range of hardware is compatible with the game, but they cannot guarantee anything either :)

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13:55 Dec-31-2014

I don't know, taz, Zero and I even wrote an article on it and people didn't even bother to read it... Apparently everyone is so confident in themselves and their knowledge of what optimization is that they don't even want to consider the possibility that they may be wrong. That knowledge appears to be something in the lines of: "If a game doesn't run well on my rig, it's optimized poorly. Nevermind the requirements."
I don't even know why I even bother replying to such comments anymore, nobody listens to me anyway. I wonder if getting more rep would help with that. Maybe I'll try again if I ever pass Tero :D

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14:12 Dec-31-2014

i know what optimization(bug, performance) mean...but they should not release unfinished product...for example, bf4

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14:26 Dec-31-2014

poorly optimized != buggy
And the big devs aren't really left with much of a choice, really. There are lots of people that want the games they are expecting to come out as soon as possible and keep pre-ordering, only to be disappointed later on. You can't rush something and expecti it to turn out a masterpiece. Hasty climbers take sudden falls, you know? ;)

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12:17 Dec-31-2014

look at AC3, splinter cell conviction, splinter cell double agent(especially this)...all that terrible port. how complicated?

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05:13 Dec-30-2014

Irrelevant to be honest... all i want is to play games.

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20:25 Dec-29-2014

years ago, I think there was no such sorting, there were just games made by people who wanted to make that game and who actually cared about that as if it was their own child,
nowadays the rules are set the way that one cannot make AAA Indie game :/

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19:02 Dec-29-2014

Even if all the AAA titles were perfect, gamers need indie games so they don't play the same stuff all year long and the industry needs them because it's pretty much the only source of original content left and it attracts a new population.

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18:28 Dec-29-2014

There is good and bad on both Indie and AAA

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18:10 Dec-29-2014

I think the difference is in the flops vs wins. If an Indie title flops, we aren't so harsh because of it's nature. If a Triple-A title flops, which happens far too often lately, we are understandably more critical and more offended.


In terms of personal preference, it's about the game, not it's origins. I am going to be more impressed by a great indie than a great AAA. Like Dust: An Elysian Tail. Designed and programmed entirely by 1 guy, but easily in my top 10 for 2013.

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18:01 Dec-29-2014

Neither AAA of Indie are perfect.
AAA are too reliant on stock holders and marketing to remain true to the original vision of the game. Their games are part of fiscal year aspirations which NEED to be met. This creates a environment which encourages marketing lies, "bullshot" trailers and flat false demoes. Indies, for the most part, could benefit from the high quality engines used by the AAA's.

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16:55 Dec-29-2014

Indie games seem to be more stable at launch than most modern AAA titles. I like both, but indie games have become more like what a AAA title should be. The indie devs actually finish their games before launching most of the time unlike the devs of the AAA titles that are being rushed out unfinished by the big name publishers. I would say biggest problem for AAA games is the big name publishers.

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18:49 Dec-29-2014

In defense of AAA games. AAA games are on a much bigger scope, and are also MADE for console. AAA games are for the most part console ports.


I do however agree that the publishing side is the biggest problem. Publishers are in it for the money, while the developers (who actually like playing video games), are forced to do what it takes to get a game out the door.

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19:37 Dec-29-2014

I realize that AAA is of a much larger scope, but those AAA developers have huge teams of people working on the one game unlike the indie devs that only have 2 or 3 people working on a game. Some indie games are made by just one person. So the the size or scope of a AAA game really doesn't matter when you consider the size of the teams that develop them. Also many indie games are on console also

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19:39 Dec-29-2014

I was speaking about the stability of the game, not size of the game.


But yes, I do realize all of what you are saying. :)

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19:48 Dec-29-2014

Well for stability I think the larger dev team is more of a hindrance instead of helpful. AC Unity is a prime example of this. Ubisoft decided to split different parts of AC Unity to several different dev teams spread out all over the world. The result was a mess with many bugs occurring because there was no unified dev team working on the game. So bad they had to cancel all planned DLC. :(

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19:59 Dec-29-2014

Can't find any information on that. Source please? It would be a good read.


That does make sense though. Possible experiment that ended up failing horribly...

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01:23 Dec-30-2014

Yes... it was an experiment that went horribly wrong. Ubisoft Montreal was the lead developer for the project, with contributing work from the Ubisoft studios in Toronto, Kiev, Singapore, Shanghai, Annecy, Montpellier, Bucharest, Quebec, and Chengdu. The development was so split up, & stretched over so many years that the game is a mess.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassin%27s_Creed_Unity

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04:36 Dec-30-2014

Doing some further research of my own, I was able to come to the conclusion that Ubisoft has been doing this for some time, with a few other of their releases. This is the secret to how they are able to produce so many AAA titles in such a short amount of time. Long story short, something needs to change.


I did notice though, that their goals they have set for each game launch are met, so until they no longer make sales goals or change their attitude, nothing will change.

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21:33 Dec-30-2014

Yep. They continue doing this because they are still successful. However wish that people would start waiting to buy Ubisoft's games. It would be nice if everyone would just start waiting 3 months after launch before buying Ubisoft's games. I still haven't bought Watch Dogs, AC Unity, or Far Cry 4 yet. I will wait for better sales &/or for all of the patching to be finished first.

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21:38 Dec-30-2014

I rarely buy a game at full price, regardless of Publisher/Developer. Games nowadays need patches, simply put. Technically, all games of the past could have used patches, but you couldn't very well download a patch for Super Mario Bros...


The last game I bought at full price was Ryse:Son of Rome, and that wasn't even 60USD at launch.

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00:37 Dec-31-2014

I just picked up Ryse from Steam recently on sale for $19.99. I have been having a blast with it. My laptop runs it very well. Staying between 50 & 60 fps with V-sync & Frame rate cap of 60. All settings maxed except no SSAA @ my native 1920x1080.


I am sure you are staying above 60fps with that beast GPU. :D

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04:40 Dec-31-2014

I actually haven't played Ryse on this GPU yet. :P


But yes, it's a great game. Looking forward to the next Crytek game!

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16:34 Dec-29-2014

AAA = 40% done game
Indie = 100% done game
i think indie is the better choice

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16:24 Dec-29-2014

Actually, what is Indie and AAA?

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18:46 Dec-29-2014

Indie games are produced by either one person, or a small group with no funding from a Publisher. They get their money from out of pocket, or loans from a bank. Example of an Indie game is Super Meat Boy.


AAA games are those produced by a team of developers who are funded by publishers, which can have a HUGE impact on how the game is made. Bigger funding = Bigger game. Example would be Shadow of Mordor.

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15:53 Dec-29-2014

AAA doesn't mean anything anymore. Unity-W_D utterly lack the quality such label was supposed to imply. There are good, consistent developers (Rocksteady, CD, Larian, Amplitude, Kei) and then there's the rest (Most branches of Ubisoft, Interwave, Keen)).

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15:21 Dec-29-2014

Considering have touched over a 100 indies and liked maybe 6 of them, I'd say I'm a AAA guy all the way. Also, they cost me the same.

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15:04 Dec-29-2014

To me, there is no 'AAA vs Indie'........it's either a 'Good', 'Disappointing', 'Bad' game.

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20:29 Dec-29-2014

to me the sorting is:
Tacky, Hasty, Well-thought-out, Made-with-passion, Money-milking and Ridiculous :))

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05:05 Dec-30-2014

I wonder in witch category AC: Unity is or maybe new one like Lazy-GlitchFest xD

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05:08 Dec-30-2014

Technically AC:Unity would be all of Tzzsmk's sortings.


Dev side : Well thought out, made with passion, and hasty.
Publisher side: Money-miking, tacky business decisions, and super ridiculous...

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15:03 Dec-29-2014

As long as the game works and is enjoyable Im all good :D

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01:55 Dec-30-2014

you're right bro :)

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14:58 Dec-29-2014

Triple A or Indie, that doesn't matter, what matters is that they provide the content they promised to the consumers.

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16:37 Dec-29-2014

Totally agree!

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18:22 Dec-29-2014

Well said mate!

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14:41 Dec-29-2014

I prefer the game that's good,and that can be and don't have to be both indie and AAA.

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14:34 Dec-29-2014

indie. AAA games have DLC

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Can They Run... |

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Ryzen 7 2700 8-Core 3.2GHz Radeon RX 5600 XT Gigabyte Gaming OC 6GB 16GB
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100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
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50% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i7-4770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Inno3D Compact 6GB 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
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Core i5-9300H 4-Core 2.4GHz GeForce GTX 1650 8GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 5600 6-Core 3.5GHz Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10700 8-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II 2GB OC Edition 16GB
60% Yes [5 votes]
Pentium Dual Core B960 2.2GHz Radeon HD 6950M 4GB
33.3333% Yes [6 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 720p
Athlon II X2 245 GeForce GTS 250 4GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 720p
Core i5-2400S 2.5GHz Radeon R5 340 (OEM) 4GB
| High, 720p
Core i5-2400S 2.5GHz Radeon R5 340 (OEM) 4GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 10GB
| 30FPS, High, 1080p
Core i3-8100 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 3GB 16GB
100% Yes [4 votes]