266: The Indie Space/Time Continuum

The Indie Space/Time Continuum

The independent game scene seems to value those who make games quickly alone in their basement. Jason Della Rocca challenges whether the ideals of isolation and quick development are good for the industry.

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I see that many new games are some kinda experiments and the real game is the sequel, it's especially visible on AC2. One sentecne had me thinking, it is the onewith make/build games. I am concerned that most games these times are rather built than made.

Where would one put developers such as Spiderweb Software into the continuum? They are authored by Jeff Vogel, and he uses his fans as Beta Testers. His games are huge (literally 50 hours+ to play), and driven by his vision. Why no Indie love for people like him?

Being a basement game dev is a niche hobby, and like all niche hobbies it gets very lonely at times. Even if you are surrounded by friends and family you can't help shake the feeling that nobody understands what you are doing and why. I think meet ups like the ones in the article are more about "walking among your own people" than building up collaborative teams.

Imagine being the only Victorian era costume maker or RC airplane flier in a small town. People know what your hobby is and generally respect you for it, but they don't get excited over the same things you do. Ultimately you get the impression they are humoring your hobby based rants rather than appreciating the struggles and victories behind them.

Indie meet ups like the Game Jam and GDC are similar Commicon to the comic book geek. One weekend a year to spend time with people who "get it."

Some really interesting news and excellent advice, there. Thankyou, Jason.

This week's issue is really neat, all-round.

Seems to me it mirrors most indie art communities :)Independent film makers have a tendency to do this same thing, as well as independent studio artists of all disciplines. Nifty to get the inside scoop on these people who are shaping the things to come!

You're wrong.

I'm starting all my replies to articles this week with that, but in this case there's nothing to relate to. Great article!

Gameplay depth is very important for indie games. The indie industry is great at braving new territories but (to torture this analogy a bit) if you can't settle this new territory there's no point in going there. I also feel that being able to squeeze all the depth out of easy to understand gameplay is mastery in game design. While indies keep churning little prototypes with no substance they'll continue to be looked down on upon.

"The common perception being that anyone can isolate themselves in their garage for a weekend, quickly bang out a little game and make millions via Facebook and iPhone."

I'm sorry, but that's flat-out made up. I doubt anyone with the capability to design a game believes this, let alone this being the 'common perception'.

The Random One:

Gameplay depth is very important for indie games. The indie industry is great at braving new territories but (to torture this analogy a bit) if you can't settle this new territory there's no point in going there. I also feel that being able to squeeze all the depth out of easy to understand gameplay is mastery in game design. While indies keep churning little prototypes with no substance they'll continue to be looked down on upon.

I agree. IMHO, the way for Indy Developers to have it both ways though is through iterative releases: release your prototype, cut early adopters a deal, and just keep adding more content to the same game at a increased entry point and you get, what, Gratuitous Space Battles? Or something like how the TF2 (perhaps not the best example but I would argue since Valve broke away from their publisher and self publishes through Steam they are something very similiar to Indy) that was first released being very, very different than the game as it exists now? Or how about Unknown Worlds releasing Natural Selection 2 Alpha / Tools at a premium for their customers to test? And there are probably more examples that I am not even fully aware of.

Those who release prototypes constantly are not necessarily things I am interested in unless they are free, but those who stack their prototyping on the backs of their previous release(s) give me a sense of customer appreciation that keeps me coming back for more.

The fact that there are standards on how you have to behave to show your independence shows that the "indie" world is just as fake and full of pretention as the Goth and Emo subcultures. if you are independent, do it your way. Ii you are making games for the love of gaming, you do not need "Street Cred" to prove it. If you want to be a successful independent game developer, successfully make games independently, instead of making sure your leggings are black enough and tight enough and your hipster beard is douchebag approved.

Good article but I'm not too sure what I'm wrong about with this one?

Hmmm...one to think about

 

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