Archive for category: Indies

A Manifesto for Game Development

08 Jun
June 8, 2012

What can I add, but that I wholeheartedly agree with this?

Especially #1. People on twitter are cooing about the new Tomb Raider, all I could think when watching that trailer is “Well, that’s gonna be a boatload of Quick Time Events. Meh.” There’s such a huge difference between empowering the player and designing the game mechanics to generate cool moments and letting the player watch the cool moments.

The Suspicious Developments Manifesto

The E3 conference PC gamers deserve

05 Jun
June 5, 2012

So E3 has been pretty underwhelming so far, eh? Except for this trailer for Watch Dogs, which led to me standing up and rubbing my groin against my PC screen.

Yes, yesssssss, that’s what daddy likes…

But besides that, there’s some shit about a console remote thing, adding Internet Explorer to xbox live (WHY, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHYYYY???), and MOAR SHOOTERS. Deeply exciting.

RPS summed it up rather nicely, that this event does not represent the gaming I know. Moreover, it does not represent the gaming I care about.

It seems I’m not the only one feeling disgruntled (such a lovely word, disgruntled. No more gruntles for you!). The folks at PC gamer put together this article which speaks to me, on the E3 Press conference that PC gamers deserve.

Much more interesting, I think you’ll all agree.

I don’t have much more to say besides yeah, fuck the mainstream, lets remake the industry in the image we want it. There’s many avenues where developers seem to be coming to the fore, seizing the limelight and dancing to their own tune. Lets celebrate these crazy, awesome fellows as they do what they do. And the journalists who stay true to the spirit of the endeavor, the joy and enthusiasm at the heart of it.

Speaking of which, there’s a Kickstarter project to bring back the Tom vs Bruce series. If you were ever lucky enough to read these back in the PC gamer days, they were hilarious. Kinda like the RPG play reports, and just as fun. Worth throwing a bob or two at. 😉

Chris Hecker on Free-To-Play

20 Nov
November 20, 2011

If you don’t know who Chris Hecker is, he’s the designer behind Spy Party, one of the most interesting sounding game projects I know of, indie or otherwise. One where there primary conflict is behavioral and deception based, not violent.

Anyway, Chris had some wonderful thoughts about the free-to-play fad that’s currently so popular. Thoughts that I agree with, personally. Read them here.

Speaking personally, my goal is a sustainable living making the games I want to make. My goal is not to “maximize profits” or anything like that. Money is a means to an end, and more is not always better due to the costs of aquiring it.

Well said, Chris.

Oh, on a footnote, I’ve been having a bit of a break this last week, playing Skyrim mainly. Traditionally, at my old company, I would take a week off after the big Christmas game I’d been working on shipped. This year that completion heralded the end of my employment and the release of Skyrim, so it was a good time to take a break. Starting next week, I’ll begin to talk about Street Sorcery in earnest.

Mind Games

26 Oct
October 26, 2011

Well now. This is interesting, isn’t it? A new indie bundle deal has arrived on the scene, and it brings with it a cunning sales trick.

Now, you all know that I’m on the side of my indie bros. Being an indie is tough, you’re the scrappy underdog fighting for every bit of attention you can get, every sale you make is meaningful and appreciated. But this…this is kinda like gamification. It’s a little…evil.

Not very evil, don’t get me wrong. Just a tad evil. It’s a Jedi with a few more Dark Side points than Light Side. It’s taking advantage of a simple psychological trick to increase sales. The price starts low, but every sale they make (potentially) increases that price, and visibly so. Which adds the mental goad of feeling that you should get it now, if you want it, before the price increases. So people all rush to get it, but that just accelerates the upward pressure on the price.

But there’s more! The site offers an opportunity for heroism. If you give more than the standard, you can bring the price down for everyone else, and get your name up on the front page to boot! Champion! Which is not a bad thing, really, it just feels like they’re ‘gaming’ your charitable streak a bit, doesn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a rather clever tactic, and possibly the natural progression of the Humble Bundle’s ticking countdown timer. And as an indie you need to find new and novel ways to stand out and draw attention amid the triple-A PR campaigns. But my worry is that people will start to feel manipulated, just a little. Maybe I’m over-thinking it, I’ve been wrong before. Maybe the extremely generous price for a bundle of high quality games is more than compensation for a little bit of psychological tomfoolery. I initially thought people would burn out on frequent Steam sales, but from all accounts they are a smashing success. My own 25-game backlog of titles I bought on sale attests to that.

But still. I worry. In these days, when publishers are carving strips from their games to sell to you as premium DLC, or as deterrent against buying 2nd-hand, might gamers grow tired of people attempting to push their buttons in one way or the other?