August 11, 2005

Indie Games

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Will independent video games soon rival the strength of the independent cinema scene, and provide a similar role in reinvigorating the conservative mainstream? These signs are definitely begin to show, with a few breakthrough games like Uplink showing that the small scale independents can still have large success, as they did in the dawn of the industry. While the team behind the game have said that if they'd known how hard it was going to be in the beginning they wouldn't have tried, somehow I don't believe them. On a much wider scale independent companies are having success in specific fields with good buisness models – such as in MMORPG games where players pay a monthly fe for an ongoing experience and are often prepared to do without expensive and time consuming graphics for a greater depth of experience.

There are plenty of signs from the more artistcally inclined game designers that they yearn for a stronger independent scene in which to exercise their skills. Warren Spector (Credited as the main genius behind the original Deus Ex) went on a 'rant against the games industry' panel at this years GDC saying:

We need Sundances. Independent Film Channel. Equivalents of those. Just try to find some way of funding your stuff that doesnít come from a publisher.

See the full text here

Outside these big industry names there are also things happening; independent games are getting better. Observe this article over at Euro gamer on some of the more interesting titles around today.

There are new models for lower cost gaming emerging, with new distribution models. Check out Ritual's SiN: Episodes . They intend to use Valve's Steam software to deliver game content directly to consumers in a format like TV serials, evolving and changing the way the game plays as more content is released and players generate feedback.

Its exciting and somethng that everyone should encourage and be involved with. More independent games means more innovation, games for smaller markets, games for adults, women, artists. Games that make you think, make you cry, games that move the industry into a proper art form, worthy of the name.

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  1. You forgot (or at least omitted) Darwinia. One of the best games I've played in aaaaaaaages.

    11 Aug 2005, 22:51

  2. I just haven't got around to playing Darwinia yet (though I have observed it being played) its just one of many. If you have an account on Gamasutra then chek out this article as well that posits a timeline for the indie game development industry.

    I like the things I'm hearing, and for once I feel perfectly placed to make a move.

    11 Aug 2005, 23:05

  3. I find this talk about indie games taking off quite encouraging. When I finished my degree I decided not to consider going into writing games because of the production line state of the industry at the time, but maybe things are changing.

    I have to say, I got bored of Darwinia pretty quickly. As soon as I have my broadband connection back I'm downloading 'Facade' which seems pretty interesting to me.

    12 Aug 2005, 01:03

  4. I could play the Uplink demo for days, couldn't say the same about Darwinia, it lacks the charm that Uplink had.

    I'm also not liking the price tag on the episodes of SiN: Episodes. especially since being delivered through steam will make it very difficult to get the equivalent of bargain bin copies. Unless they reduce the price of previous episodes as new ones come out.

    That reminds me, I bought Half-Life 2 a couple of weeks ago, I got as far as getting a gun attached to my airboat before getting bored and going back to playing Final Fantasy 10.

    12 Aug 2005, 01:17

  5. Live For Speed is a really good online racing simulator, which got an excellent review in PC Zone, which is impressive but especially given that it's written by three individuals, with no publisher.

    12 Aug 2005, 08:26

  6. "Brenda: why donít you say fuck?

    Warren: my mother doesnít approve.

    Jason: Warren wears cardigan sweaters.

    Eric: You are a very good Jewish son.

    Warren: thank you"

    12 Aug 2005, 08:35

  7. I just dowloaded and had a play through Facade, very inspiring and refreshingly adult. I reccommend it for the low low price of free.

    It also brings to mind my third year project with its emotional modelling. I may write a review shortly.


    12 Aug 2005, 12:22

  8. Darius Young

    I up there with Nick. Live For Speed has been getting my full attention when I sit at my computer as of late. It's a great game download

    02 Sep 2005, 14:56

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