Cliff Harris, lead designer of Positech Games and semi-regular bit-tech.net columnist
has been a busy boy lately. Not only has he been hard at work on the new Kudos 2
simulation game, but he's also been launching a survey into the causes of computer game piracy.
The question Cliff asked was simple; Why do people pirate my games? And yet the results that the indie developer recieved are not nearly as interesting as his own reaction to them as he takes the advice of the pirates on board and starts designing games with them in mind.
Cliff has thrown a well written and useful guide to the pirates
he encountered up on the net, but in brief the pirates gave the usual excuses; DRM, too expensive, games aren't worth paying for and a lack of digital distribution.
He has now taken all that advice on board and started changing the way he designs and releases games to take it all into account.
How? Well, first of all, even though Cliff only used DRM in one of his games previously he has now promised never to use it again. He's also going to be releasing longer, more fully featured and more representative demos of all his games so that people can get a better feel for the game.
On top of that, Cliff is lowering the price on all his current games and considering how to reduce the cost of his unreleased titles. He's also begun investigating better ways of getting the games released in a digital format.
Most astounding of all though is Cliff's reaction to the complaint that his games aren't up to scratch, something which Cliff attributes mostly to the fact that he always knows his games will be pirated.
"My games aren't as good as they could be. Ironically, one of the things that reduces your enthusiasm to really go the extra mile in making games is the thought that thousands of ungrateful gits will swipe the whole thing on day one for nothing. It's very demoralizing.
As a result of the survey though Cliff claims to have found a new enthusiasm for game development and the ex-Lionhead programmer is now going to put far more effort into testing and designing his games.
You can read the full report Cliff has made on his blog
and we recommend also checking out some his undeniably impressive games
while you're at it. When you're done, scoot back here and let us know what you think in the forums