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Author Topic: Indie Games  (Read 1280 times)

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Offline CaeliTopic starter

Indie Games
« on: December 17, 2011, 11:25:18 PM »
Lately, I've found a lot of indie games that I really enjoy playing, that are creative and beautiful. I wanted to see if there were any other fans who followed the indie game industry, or who are also avid supporters of indie game developers. :3

I mentioned the Indie Love Bundles over a year ago, which had a collection of 10+ games by indie game developers for a killer price. I don't have a similar deal now, but I have found a wicked-looking, lovely game on Kickstarter that's currently looking for funding: Waveform!

I'm also a huge fan of Cipher Prime, the group that created Auditorium and Fractal. Unfortunately, I don't own an iPad, so I can't play Pulse (which looks gorgeous!), but... yeah.

I've gotten quite a few interesting and fun games from Free Game of the Day (courtesy of the lovely Oreo), but other than that, I don't really keep my eyes out for news in the industry - I just stumble on the games once in a while.

Anyone else out there a fan?

Offline Brandon

Re: Indie Games
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2011, 11:36:47 PM »
Oh yes, Ive bought several indie games that are absolutely fantastic. I dont so much follow the indie industry as I just keep an eye out for interesting titles not made by the AAA industry. Theres a youtube series that I watch titled "WTF is..." which points out a lot of indie games (as well as some AAA titles) and its where I get most of my info. Just because of it Ive bought several like Sanctum, dungeon defenders, frozen synapse, and Chuthulu saves the world. Its also why I bought Xenonaughts while still in its beta form (well that and Im a huge X Com fan).

Although now that I brought up the point I am curious, what means do people use to find their favorite indie games and what indie games do they like?

Offline NotoriusBEN

Re: Indie Games
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2011, 01:22:16 AM »
I like Total Biscuit's WTF is... series as well. His interests seem to align with mine, but his series seems to give an honest opinion of games. He's psyched when a game is cool and he gives his critique when there is something wanting.

I am a big fan of the Indie Development community. Sure you have drek get put out there, but on the whole, garbage gets shut down pretty fast. Also when you have companies like Steam giving amenable distribution rights,  it can only be a good thing. There may be a day when Steam becomes the new evil corp, but it's not today.

The Indie community shows that innovative, poignant, and truely beautiful games are worth publishing.

Penny Arcade has a series called Extra Credits which talks about the gaming industry and they have some rather thought provoking bulletpoints and spot on observations in their videos (and hilarious still imagery).

Here's a vid that touches on Indie development and Publisher relationships:

http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/lets-talk-about-publishing
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 01:57:43 AM by NotoriusBEN »

Offline meikle

Re: Indie Games
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2011, 01:50:03 AM »
I don't have a similar deal now, but I have found a wicked-looking, lovely game on Kickstarter that's currently looking for funding: Waveform!

http://www.humblebundle.com/ <-- presently, Jamestown, Bit.Trip Runner, Super Meat Boy, Shank, and Nightsky for whatever you're willing to pay.  I you pay more than the average (about $5.30 when I'm posting this), you'll also get Cave Story+ and Gratuitous Space Battles.

http://www.indieroyale.com/ <-- about $4 for the Blackwell series, Eets, Dino D-Day and The Oil Blue (price increases with time.)

As far as deals for indie games go, these are pretty good. :)

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Re: Indie Games
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2011, 07:26:49 AM »
Gratuitous Space Battles is some super interesting stuff, though I suck at it. I had to review it a couple years ago for a website I was writing for. Not bad, very different, but I was just lame at the game.

Unfortunately I don't get to pay enough attention to the indie scene. Console makers are absolutely terrible at marketing indie stuff, and every time Microsoft pushes out a dashboard update they seem to piss the indies off even more. Plus, the term "indie" becomes a bit nebulous there. You have games like Bastion in the regular marketplace alongside big-name company games like Shadow Complex, and then you have Breath of Death VII and Cthulu Saves the World cornered off in the Indie section. Are they both indie? Is one just big enough to not be considered indie?

I do have my eyes on those three games above, though, and need to get myself playing Super Meat Boy at some point. I'd like to try and make some dent in my pile of AAA games first, though.

Offline Izzie Aditi

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Re: Indie Games
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2011, 08:15:15 AM »
I dated an Indie game designer for a while so it's safe to say I support the community completely. Haven't been that much of a gamer though (blasphemy, I know), the 'most indie' games I've played have been The Path, Machinarium (is that still considered Indie nowadays?) and And Yet It Moves on Steam. They were considered indie when I bought them :P

Oh, and I'm sad this game never..yknow..turned into an actual game:

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

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Re: Indie Games
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2011, 09:29:20 AM »
I dated an Indie game designer for a while so it's safe to say I support the community completely. Haven't been that much of a gamer though (blasphemy, I know), the 'most indie' games I've played have been The Path, Machinarium (is that still considered Indie nowadays?) and And Yet It Moves on Steam. They were considered indie when I bought them :P

Oh, and I'm sad this game never..yknow..turned into an actual game:

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

The music in that Elysion game (at least for the video) reminds me of Nier, though the actual visual style reminds me of a combination between American McGee's Alice and Silent Hill mixed in with some of the most fucked up nightmares and stories my ex-girlfriend had.

I just couldn't be enticed by the gameplay in there, though. Maybe it's because I'm a life-long console gamer, but I feel like point-and-click is obsolete in this day and age. I want actual interaction. When I first played the Resident Evil remake on GameCube, it felt like a point-and-click adventure game, only evolved to modern standards. Sure, the puzzles weren't as complex, but that doesn't mean you NEED point and click for complex puzzles. That just means the developer chose to make easier puzzles.

One of my favorite bloggers did an entire series on The Path. I want to play it, but don't know if I ever will. It sounds like a really, really creative game, though.

Offline Izzie Aditi

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Re: Indie Games
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2011, 09:38:31 AM »
The music in that Elysion game (at least for the video) reminds me of Nier, though the actual visual style reminds me of a combination between American McGee's Alice and Silent Hill mixed in with some of the most fucked up nightmares and stories my ex-girlfriend had.

I just couldn't be enticed by the gameplay in there, though. Maybe it's because I'm a life-long console gamer, but I feel like point-and-click is obsolete in this day and age. I want actual interaction. When I first played the Resident Evil remake on GameCube, it felt like a point-and-click adventure game, only evolved to modern standards. Sure, the puzzles weren't as complex, but that doesn't mean you NEED point and click for complex puzzles. That just means the developer chose to make easier puzzles.

One of my favorite bloggers did an entire series on The Path. I want to play it, but don't know if I ever will. It sounds like a really, really creative game, though.

I agree with you on the gameplay. Point-and-click gets boring very fast, but my main interest in the game were the "story" and the visuals. Then again, it was never meant to be turned into an actual game. Boyfriend showed it to me because he knows I'm a sucker for art in games :P Hell, I play S.T.A.L.K.E.R. just for the visuals /weird.

I guess my taste in games shows I'm a writer and roleplayer at heart: games like Myst and Riven (yes, not Indie at all) are still by far my favorite kind. The visuals, the details, the story..I honestly don't care about highscores and whatnot.

I have only briefly played The Path (I recall it being on sale somewhere...for 12 euros or something..) so it's not yet enough to give a good opinion. Very creative and very promising though indeed, I'm planning to start playing it again once I update my OS *waves a fist at Apple*:-)

Offline DeMalachine

Re: Indie Games
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2011, 10:31:34 AM »
I love the indie games industry, cos I get tons of graphics work out of it!

The thing I'm working on at present is just...such a cool idea!  ;D

Offline Sel Nar

Re: Indie Games
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2011, 10:38:57 AM »
One indie game you guys would all probably love is Bastion, then; was made by 6 people (7 if you include the voice actor for the Narrator), and has, arguably a more powerful story (and better music) than 95% of the 'fancy' games that came out this year.

Plus, the VA for the narration has a classic 'deep and soothing' voice that sounds like it could lull Darth Vader to a peaceful slumber.

Offline Shjade

Re: Indie Games
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2011, 10:48:53 AM »
Re: Gratuitous Space Battles - I really wish the post-fight information was less opaque. It throws everything at you in these pie charts and line graphs that...don't really explain anything useful to me. They're pretty and all, but I'd like something I can use to improve performance in the next fight. Isn't that the point of having the post-fight readouts? Bleh. Also ship improvements aren't exactly riveting to parse for minor improvements. I dunno. It's okay, but not exactly gripping.

Re: The Path - The short version is it's a very interesting experiment with telling stories set in an incredibly dull game.

The slightly longer version is that The Path is boring to play but interesting to think about while playing it. That may sound odd. You might think, "But if it's interesting while you're playing it, how is it boring?" Well, because there's not really anything for you to do. The entirety of the game is running around in a forest trying to find the various key items applicable to whatever character you're playing at the time. There's nothing chasing you, there's no time limit, there's no risk; the only challenge to the game is trying to find the things you're looking for (and you don't know what you're looking for until you find it) without accidentally triggering the Wolf first (which isn't a fight or anything, it's just one of these 'key items' that happens to end the current playthrough when you find it). There are a LOT of items to find and it's possible to finish the game many times over without finding them all; each item you find lets you see more of the story and that's all. It's tedious more than anything.

But the stories it unlocks are presented in such a way as to be very much open to interpretation. If you like considering the possibilities of a life decision, or just imagining outcomes without any sure answers, that can have you fascinated for hours. Which is good, because you'll need something interesting to keep your mind occupied while you're mindlessly running around the forest looking for your plot-revealing macguffins and silently cursing at the game's developers for making it so deathly dull to find the interesting stuff.

I wouldn't recommend The Path to someone who asked me for a game to play. I might recommend it to someone who asked me for a thought experiment to mess around with for a few hours. If I knew the person asking was patient, at least.

Also, Bastion is several flavors of yes. Not an abundance of replay value, sadly, but excellent in pretty much every way.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 10:52:05 AM by Shjade »

Offline consortium11

Re: Indie Games
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2011, 12:29:17 PM »
Ah, Indie Games. How I love and hate you.

It would be remiss if I didn't mention Age of Decadence... an RPG Indie Game with the traditional release date of "sometime" and all the potential in the world. Development has been dragging on so long that I won't be anything but disappointed when it finally comes out but still...

Also on the RPG side of things for those who miss turn based combat and a generally more "hardcore" experience I can't recommend Spiderweb Software enough. They've released a huge number of games over the years and both the Avernum and Genoforge series are very well regarded. There's huge demos avaliable for all their games but for someone looking for an introduction one of their most recent games, Avadon: The Black Fortress is probably the most accessible.

A game of this type will never look great in a trailer... the gameplay and style of the genre simply don't suit it... but for those interested:

Avadon The Black Fortress - Trailer

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Re: Indie Games
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2011, 10:31:28 PM »
One indie game you guys would all probably love is Bastion, then; was made by 6 people (7 if you include the voice actor for the Narrator), and has, arguably a more powerful story (and better music) than 95% of the 'fancy' games that came out this year.

Plus, the VA for the narration has a classic 'deep and soothing' voice that sounds like it could lull Darth Vader to a peaceful slumber.

I think the problem is big publishers don't want to take risks, just like big movie studios don't. One of the downsides of piracy has been the decreased likelihood to make something that won't be guaranteed to sell, and in order for something to be popular it doesn't necessarily have to be good.

Or, people tend to like something for the wrong reasons.

The original Modern Warfare is one of my favorite games because it did a lot of awesome stuff with the story. I could write paragraphs alone on the nuclear bomb killing the American. But what kept people coming back was the competitive multiplayer, which people treat like a sport. You basically have two camps of "hardcore" gamer: the sort that view it as a narrative entertainment medium, and those who view it like a sport.

Because Modern Warfare sells a shit ton of copies in one day every year, the industry is leaning towards games as sports more than games as art.

Nonetheless, there are games with decent stories. I just bought a friend for Christmas Brutal Legend, Dead Space and Batman: Arkham Asylum. Each game has a pretty good story to it (sadly, Dead Space 2's writing kinda heads downward from there).

Offline Brandon

Re: Indie Games
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2011, 11:02:33 PM »
Piracy is just the games industry's current boogieman for poor sales, just as used games was awhile ago (and sometimes still is)

If people make good games and make their means of providing those games better then piracy people wont pirate them. Its really that simple

Offline Shjade

Re: Indie Games
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2011, 03:49:58 AM »
If people make good games and make their means of providing those games better then piracy people wont pirate them. Its really that simple

Except that "making their means of providing those games better than piracy" would require giving their games away for free in the eyes of some people.

Free > Pay for it

If they're giving the game away to beat pirates, it doesn't help them any profits-wise.

Offline Anjasa

Re: Indie Games
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2011, 05:24:06 AM »
I think the problem is big publishers don't want to take risks, just like big movie studios don't. One of the downsides of piracy has been the decreased likelihood to make something that won't be guaranteed to sell, and in order for something to be popular it doesn't necessarily have to be good.

The reason Hollywood is making less risky movies has nothing to do with piracy - they didn't make most of their money off DVD sales. They made it off of Box Office Weekend opens. Now, though, if a movie sucks, people have it plastered over their Twitter and Facebook feeds instantly, so the only day that movies sell big if they suck is opening night.

Not to mention, movie prices keep going up and up and up, and there's lots of other things competing with them - like cheaper home theatres.

Most people don't pirate bootlegged copies of movies because, well, the quality sucks. Piracy of movies only really begins once the DVD is ripped and people can get a good quality download.

And Valve/Steam's owner, Gabe Newell, has actually stated:
Quote
Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem," he said. "If a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate's service is more valuable."

Piracy is just the newest excuse for them not to try new things.

Quote
In the 1980s the music industry took out full-page ads in Billboard and other magazines saying, "Home taping is killing music." They thought that because people had cassette tapes, they would just tape their friends' music and never buy albums again.

Anyways, as for Indie games - there are some that are good, some that aren't. I'd love more free or cheap dating Sims games. Don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story was a lot of fun, though it was less dating sim and more, I don't know. Visual novel.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 05:27:08 AM by Anjasa »

Offline NotoriusBEN

Re: Indie Games
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2011, 10:54:40 PM »
I dont think Piracy is the legitimate reason for the difference between AAA Companies and Indie Companies. As Anjasa said, its a service issue, not a price issue.

While there are several factors, Money is probably the truest defining point between the two. AAA Co's have access to massive reserves of cash to inject into the development cycle of a game. They can have multi million dollar ad campaigns to front load you into thinking this is to be the greatest game of all time through shear exposure before launch date. Because they front all this money into a project, they NEED to make sure it is a hit, so they try to make it as appealing to as many people as they can.

This is the end all of a AAA company. They need to recoup that money at least or they could go bankrupt after three or four such flops or loose percieved relevance after sending out flop after flop. Which again, affects their bottom line.

Sometimes Innovation can shine, but it is usually colored by AAA in that they need to be assured the calculated risk is worth it.

To draw an analogy, have you listend to the Top 40 Hits? It all sounds pretty close to the same song at the very top huh? This can be likened to the games industry when a new buzz word or feature is latched onto in the public psyche. When Metal Gear Solid Snake and Tenchu came out, there was a spike in Stealth games. Final Fantasy 7 sparked a few RPGs. FPS was out there, but Goldeneye and Halo pushed it center stage. When competitive multiplayer (done before, but perfected with the level up aspects of it) from Modern Warfare hit the scene, a BUNCH of shooters came out with a level up tread as well.

Indie companies are a bit harder to define, it's pretty much a loose term applied to everything NOT AAA. (I know, aggravating)
This ranges from two man companies like the makers of Minecraft to others a bit more heavy hitting like Behemoth or even Blizzard before WoW was launched.

It is incredibly hard to make a game (obvious, but it needs to be stated) You have to devote a ton of work into your project before you can even start seeing money come from it. There's not even a guarantee that the public will like it. But there is the silver lining that you are free to make and do what you want to. You are not constrained by a contract from a publisher that says you must have this many widgets before we'll distribute it.

And I think that was the second defining characteristic of Indie's and AAA's until a few years ago. Distribution.

AAA's like the record companies had the capital to make physical copies and provide logistical support to distribute a product. They had a desirable service, so they could dictate terms. Now that there is digital distribution from trusted vendors like Steam and Direct 2 Drive, Amazon.com, etc. There is no need to press a gold copy and make gillions of CD's and DVD's that might just flop.

Distribution has been made equal to everyone as long as they abide by the vendor's agreements. These agreements are pretty mild since the digital distributer is assuming much smaller risk than before with brick and mortar operations, so they are able to appeal to more developers.

Im sure I hit some points and completely missed others, but there's a good starting point for some of you to work on. G'night all.

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Re: Indie Games
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2011, 11:04:16 PM »
This is the end all of a AAA company. They need to recoup that money at least or they could go bankrupt after three or four such flops or loose percieved relevance after sending out flop after flop. Which again, affects their bottom line.

This depends on whether you're talking about a major publisher or a studio. In the modern AAA environment, there are plenty of studios who sell decently or okay, but they still get shut down. It doesn't even take a flop, just a single "not good enough". Hell, half the time studios are being closed before their game even hits store shelves.

While it isn't as big of a deal for the film industry and is very much a scapegoat, I think piracy and used games do have more of an effect on the games industry. However, there are very clear methods of avoiding piracy and problems with used games. But, this topic isn't about piracy, it's about indie games. :P

So I shall leave it at that.

Offline Brandon

Re: Indie Games
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2012, 12:51:14 PM »
A nice new dungeon crawling indie game is coming out soon. Check it out

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