Poll Question 336 – How will you judge Prospekt?

If you missed my tweet and Facebook post, Prospket has announced it is going retail. Last week, this was the BIG news I said would be announced very soon.

I think it is HUGE news because it is the first time a mod set in the Half-Life universe has gone retail. Now, that might not be quite right, because it was never really made as a mod, but many people thought, myself included, it would be.

I’ll be playing it soon and posting my thoughts, and I will also be having an audio interview with Richard Seabrook, the author of the mod.

I believe and hope that most people will be positive about the whole retail idea, but there may be some who are against it.

What is really interesting for me is how we will judge the release. Will be judge it against other Half-Life games or against other mods? Does it matter that only one person has made it? SHould it matter?

With the sudden release of Wilson’s Chronicles, will we compare it to that?

I’m looking forward to hearing your views and seeing the poll results.

Time to Vote

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  1. I think it is HUGE news because it is the first time a mod set in the Half-Life universe has gone retail.

    Is it really the first? Does Black Mesa not count as one?

    1. That’s a fair point. But Black Mesa was a mod that turned into a retail release, whereas Richard built this specifically to showcase his talents. Also, since it was made by one person and that could well inspire others to emulate him.

      1. Does Aperture TAG count? I know it seems like I’m grasping at straws here but it is relevant as it was a mod technically set in the Half-Life universe that got an insane amount of backlash just because people had to pay for it. Personally I have no qualms with paying for a mod as long as the price is fair. Whether or not Prospekt is deserving of the money is yet to be seen. As such I do think I will judge it off of it’s asking price.

  2. If it’s asking for money then it better be worth what it asks, it’s not because it’s a mod that it should be excused of it.

  3. The trailer for it looks really promising. The screenshots, though? Not the best to showcase the mod, er… game? What do we call this?

    I’m actually very much looking forward to this as Xen is going to be a part of it, so I’ll probably nab it while the pre-order discount is still going.

    I think if the author has gone to the lengths to add a lot of polished original content, then I’ll say the price is very fair.

    I’m going to go into this with an open-mind and hope it delivers on what it’s promising.

  4. Wesp5

    I still think this is a bad idea! While this mod looks promising, once paid mods are common people will try to sell everything even if it is complete rubbish. That’s not good for us gamers, and of course Valve won’t do anything to stop this, because they earn money from every bit sold on Steam…

    1. But you require to buy the source license . I don’t think that the average joe that comes up with a lame mod would do that .

      1. Wesp5

        Since when do you need to buy the Source licence for a HL2 mod? Or is this a standalone game? Even so, if it looks like HL2 we don’t really get anything new for the money…

        1. If you want to do a standalone game, you have to license Havok, which is $25,000.

  5. Nev

    I didn’t know about the mod until now. Judging from the screenshots, to me it seems that it’s not worth EUR 10. It’s more expensive than HL2 yet uses most of the assets and code from HL2 (it’s a mod after all). I just don’t see it offering more than a lot of free mods of the same quality or higher do.

    1. But you require to buy the source license . I don’t think that the average joe that comes up with a lame mod would do that .

  6. I’d say “Against other mods.”

    Indie titles don’t even release for $10 very often anymore. Episode Two costs $7.99 and has 18 maps. I don’t think asking $8.99 for 13 is that outlandish.

    If you’re doing a retail Source game, you have to pay for licensing. This is a really steep price for a one-man project – it’s $25,000 for Havok. Not to mention licensing fonts, commissioning new music, sounds, graphics. New models and the programs to make those. You’re probably looking at $30,000 all told.

    Would you invest at least $30,000 of your money into your mod? I sure wouldn’t. I’m not sure what I’d have to gain, realistically.

    It’s not like the guy will be breaking the bank here. To break even, he’ll need to sell 2,500 copies of the game. Which is on the higher end of most HL2 mods, which are free. And before taxes. And despite having front page exposure on Steam, he will inevitably have to deal with the tsunami of criticism and whining over “How dare you charge for this?” and so on, no matter how great the mod looks.

    Course, it doesn’t help that the overall look is a resounding… meh.

    It’s all boring corridors and interiors, some amazingly blocky and under-detailed. The lighting is exceptionally bland, the cubemapping garish – it’s very sophomoric. It would look mediocre in 2007 and it looks mediocre now, I’m sorry to say.

    Personally, I won’t be buying it. I’m not going to harp on him for charging for it – there are far worse games on Steam charging more than this and I see no reason why mod authors should be prohibited from trying – but I don’t think it’s anything special.

    I think what also bugs me is that I can’t find anything else this author has done to compare this too. I have no ability to gauge his sense of gameplay, his style, or anything else. It’s not like Marnamai – an author whose quality of work speaks for itself and who I would gladly support. I have no idea what this author’s body of work is. As far as I can tell, he’s charging money for his first outing. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here, I just can’t find anything else.

  7. My goal is not to sound harsh but If I am going to pay for a Half-Life 2 mod, it must be equal or better than the best mods out there. There are heaps of incredible mods that are free. Minerva, for example. I would not mind throwing 5 bux at that.

    The mod must answer the question “What makes this mod worthy of a pricetag?”

    Again, I’m sorry if it sounds harsh but its what I feel.

    1. To add something here. I have never heard from the guy before. Its one thing to have a bunch of projects on your back with good quality. I may be wrong, but its very risky to ask money of a mod.

      Now he said that Valve gave him his blessing. Does that mean he was simply allowed to release it on steam with a pricetag? If he did in fact, got the license for free, the quality of this mod must be top-notch, if Valve allows this.

      Of course, it takes time to craft a well-made mod. And time is money, its not free to live on this planet.

      1. Valve’s “blessing” likely doesn’t imply any official “This mod is canon” kind of thing. Black Mesa has Valve’s blessing too, but I have a feeling they probably shake their head at a lot of their odd gameplay decisions. 🙂

        In the Game Maker community, where a lot of people make mobile games, there’s an unwritten rule that you should never charge for your first work. Aside from the fact that most first works suck, if something goes wrong, it’s an entirely different ballgame if you’re taking money for things. Someone with an obscure hardware configuration, some crash that only happens on some machines, etc. Until you are familiar with these things, it is very risky.

  8. Unknown

    What I am most worried about and this is perhaps the “biggest issue”. Although, I am happy the developer can make money and have his work appreciated which may allow him to procure a job in game design there are a few issues.

    Since it is considered a “game” it is not subjected to Steam Updates as a mod usually is, but why pay such a high price for technically “tweaked graphics” when people could play the mod for free and would probably like it just the same as the paid version. I think the only real mistake that was made was marketing Prospekt as a mod in the first place because now people have that mind-set that Prospekt “was always going to be a mod”.

    This has become more of a “dangerous practice” if Prospekt doesn’t show more promise than some of the previous modifications that are already available. I am not sure if this could be done, but the author could release the mod version after some time, so that people can make a critique of both “The Mod Version” and “The Game Version” too see the differences between the two.

    I think people would feel like their money was spent well being able to make a comparison. People want too see that the changes in graphics or game-player are different from the mod version. Another big issue is if mods become games Steam may implement another tactic since more games means more money and free mods may slowly “die off”.

    I am not saying that I do not want developers to be successful I am just saying “I don’t like the though of spending thousands of dollars of mods or games that are garbage”! This is already a “huge problem” with half-assed games being created that look awful and still people buy them.

    The good thing about mods being “free” is we can at least determine if we like the mod enough even before it goes retail and if we would spend the money. Big name developers like Nintendo some people expect at least one of their releases to be extremely fun like say Super Mario.

    Trusting a random developer “no offense” being it’s his first project and expecting it to be everything we wished it would I think is a fear we share since we don’t know if we will enjoy it or not, but a big company like Nintendo most people would take the risk of buying their games.

    I do need to take into the account that this is just an assumption and Mr. Seabrook’s work does look promising.

  9. ” With the sudden release of Wilson’s Chronicles “?

    Now I’m confused, did I miss reading something? Searching indicates this was a 2010 release, and not a very good one at that. Mind you, I don’t have other sources of information.

    Regarding Prospekt, I don’t intend to make my decision to purchase or not until reading many reviews. I would judge it against Black Mesa, which I feel was well worth the money. However Black Mesa has the added benefit of giving me opportunities to play add on maps (slightly disappointing there have been so few SP maps though).

  10. Zekiran

    Not planning on buying it, as it’s a mod/extension of something that exists. As with Black Mesa, I am absolutely steadfastly against paying for *mods*. Unless it’s sandbox-massive, as Garry’s Mod is, I’m sorry but I’m not shelling out money for something that’s based on an engine and entire game source that *is already free*.

    At least it’ll be a FINISHED mod, it’ll have that going for it which Black Mesa *still doesn’t* and likely never will. I’m soured on the idea of any Source mod being also-you-must-pay.

    Forget it. Not gonna bother. That’s how I judge, sorry. :/

  11. Kasperg

    There are two things we should consider before answering this question.

    1)If a mod becomes a retail game, the quality standard is expected to be higher. You are paying for “something” that a regular mod or expansion can’t bring to the table. Is it the case here? We’ve seen a lot of mods do a lot of things before so I have my doubts that this game is fundamentally better than what has come before it.

    2)At the end of the day, it’s still a small team with no real quality assurance personnel and no real budget or any system that we would expect from a professional endeavor during the greater part of its development cycle. Can you ask for a professional quality standard from a mod/game just because it has gone retail? Does the fact that he’s charging for it diminish the merits of what the author has made on his own?

    I guess we could ask ourselves if this quality-price-length ratio affects our enjoyment of games in general. Should we rate Rise of The Tomb Raider differently if it’s 49€ or 59€ ? Or if it takes us 15 hours to complete instead of 30, for example?
    There’s just too many variables to judge.

    (On the topic of selling mods… Let’s just say that if we had gotten 8,99€ out of each The Citizen or Random Quest download, Chris Fox and I (and Cubedude89, our voice actors etc) would have 996,172€ to share. That’s really something worth thinking about! 😀 )

    1. Zekiran

      Those are really important issues. Length to me doesn’t necessarily indicate *quality*, just that something takes a long while to complete.

      And as you say: this is a very small team (… team? even?) so we’ve got literally nothing else to go by except the stills and maybe videos.

      I’m very hesitant to send money to a single-person ‘team’ for a mod, period. Of course, having been burned by the Black Mesa team has not helped that angle for me personally, team or no their years of statements to the effect of ‘it will be free’ and then to finish with not only an incomplete but a paid mod… nope. I don’t want to encourage others to go that direction, it’s flat out apt to piss me off. It could be the best made mod under the sun, but… not like this. I want to reward mod makers for their efforts, but not to have it arbitrarily decided for me before it’s even seen by more than playtesters. (and let’s hope there ARE, because … well, most don’t have any testing outside of in-house groups, and that’s the last type you actually want to be testing.)

  12. Rogat! get your Rogat here at the knockdown price of!!!!!!!!!!

    1. If you want a mod that got significantly more impressive when it went retail then look at The Stanley Parable. The difference between the two versions is incredibly jarring making the original mod hard to play because its so blown away by the retail release. Of course it all depends on the developer and, of course, the content. If this is how you think that’s fine but you might be missing out on great experiences.

  13. Chris

    Well it looks insanely mediocre and not special at all, so I’m against it 100%.

  14. Well, I’d judge it against other mods out there, since it seems to offer little new content. I certainly won’t be paying for it. Why should I?

    I played for Black Mesa, simply because it’s a TOTAL conversion that I know was vastly improved over the mod version. Same goes for The Stanley Parable.

    Besides which, it’s it really a mod when you create evening from the ground up? That’s like calling TF2 or DOTA2 a mod…

    Prospekt however, IS a mod. It uses mostly valve content from what I can tell, and looks average.

  15. I am asked only 3$ for the mod here in Russia. I am going to buy it with no regrets 🙂

  16. bobdog

    Prospekt, although it uses HL2 assets like a mod, moved out of that category by charging a price for it. I don’t care whether it’s created by a team of 1 or 1,000 — it needs to be compared to other games of the same price category — whether they are HL2 related or not. If you feel it’s worth $10, then go ahead and pay that.

    I’ve purchased some paid Portal 2 mods for a couple dollars and felt it was a fair bargain. I’m not adverse to paying for a quality add-on to HL2. Black Mesa comes to mind with its total revamp of the source (and Source!) material and is worth its price. And the free mod version is still out there if you don’t want to buy it.

    But $10 for Prospekt is ludicrous for the lack of originality and the low-quality level design that I’ve seen. It appears to be a middle-of-the-road HL2 mod in design, meaning I’ve seen many much better HL2 mods ahead of it that I would have considered purchasing.

    I won’t be buying it, unless maybe it goes down to $2 max.

  17. Obviously I won’t expect it to be official Valve level of quality, but f I’m gonna pay for it, I expect quality, so I would judge it much more harshly than a free mod.
    I try never to be too judgmental of free content, simply because it’s free and the creator isn’t getting paid for his time investment, so I should just appreciate its merits and, at most, give him friendly constructive criticism to improve. On the other hand though, if the creator is gonna profit from it, I gotta have a different set of standards since I’m investing not only my time but also my money in the content.
    In this case, basically, it’s somewhere in the middle of “against Half-Life games” and “against other games of its price”, with the extra factor that there are plenty of amazing mods that are free, so it better be something special to deserve the price tag.

  18. S.anchev

    This has turned into a complete mess.

    Those who know me here, know that for years I was against the mod’s turned retail.
    This begun with BMS and their lies (“it’ll never be retail!”), then with that stupid Dear Esther the antithesis of video game…

    And now this is just a complete joke, now VALVe is releasing retail mod’s with little to nothing changed from the original Source code. Look at that trailer, has the modder gone insane? This crap can’t cost 10 dollars, it’s a Damn 10 year old mod redone by an amateur.
    If this poo turns 10 dollar retail, the guys behind Underhell, Portal Stories Mel or Anything else should release it at 80 dollars!!!

    This is Pandora’s box opened since Those Times and it is turning worse each year.

    It’s only a matter of time until russians and albanians release 3 Mb GoldSrc mod’s at 15 dollars. And episodic.

    Two rules should be observed (like before, nothing news from me) :

    -if you think about retail, say it from the beginning.

    -mod’s should be considered a Door to enter the retail/pro scene. Not be directly the retail way.

  19. The mod seems to be published on 12th of February.

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