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TIGSource ForumsPlayerGamesBeginner's Guide to Indie Gaming (WIP)
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Author Topic: Beginner's Guide to Indie Gaming (WIP)  (Read 153117 times)
Guert
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« on: July 03, 2007, 04:09:24 pm »

(Part of TIGSource's Guide to Indie Gaming. Smiley)

Hello everyone!

I recently noticed that of a lot of people are starting to play indie games but don't necessarily know where to start. So, I decided to make a list of games that the new comers could look at to find indie games.

I see this thread more like a list of games that "introduces to indie games" rather than top favorites or personal pics. A bit like the tool thread in the "Developer" section where you find useful links to interesting tools

I didn't categorize the game so that, if you don't know what a game is, you'll just have to try it out! Wink

(There are currently 107 games in the list)
Please report any broken or erroneous links. If you feel that some games should be added or removed, go ahead, tell me!

Games

#
5 Days a Stranger (Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw, PC)
6 Days A Sacrifice (Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw, PC)
7 Days a Skeptic (Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw, PC)

A
Akuji the Demon (E. Hashimoto, PC)
Alex adventure (Szybiak, PC)
Alien Hominid (The Behemoth, Web-Other)
Anchorhead (Michael S. Gentry, PC-Mac-Lin-Other)
Apricots (Mark Harman, PC-Lin)
Armadillo run (Peter Stock, PC)
Ark 22 (David Smithson, PC)
Aveyond (Amaranth Games, PC)

B
Battle for Wesnoth, The (Collective, PC-Mac)
Big Adventure of Owata's Life, The (To be determined, Web)
Blockland (Step 1 games, PC-Mac)
Blocksum (Infotech, PC)
Blurred Line, A (Lysander86, PC)
Bridge Builder (Chronic logic, PC)
Bubble thing (Queasy games, PC-Mac-Lin)

C
Castle of Elite (Remar, PC)
Cave Story (Pixel, PC)
Chalk (Joakim Sandberg, PC)
Chocolate Castle (Lexaloffle, PC-Mac)
Cholo (Ovine by Design, PC)
Clean Asia (cactus, PC)
Cloud (Student Collective, PC)
Cortex Command (Data Realms, PC)
Crayon Physics (Petri Purho, PC)
Crossing, The (Orisinal, Web)
Cute Knight (Hanako Games, PC)

D
Darwinia (Introversion, PC-Mac-Lin)
De Blob (Collective, PC)
Death Worm (JTR, PC)
Defcon (Introversion, PC-Mac-Lin)
Democracy (Positech, PC)
Diver Down (Grenideer, PC)
DoomRL (Kornel Kisielewicz, PC-Lin-Other)
Dwarf Fortress (Bay 12 games, PC)

E
Echoes (Binary Zoo, PC)
Eets (Klei Entertainment, PC-Other)
Endless Forest (Tale of tales, PC)
Eternal Daughter (Blackeye Software, PC)

F
Façade (Procedural Arts, PC)
Fedora Spade (Radical Poesis Games, PC)
FlapFlapFlap (Lackey, PC)
flOw (thatgamecompany, Web)
Fraxy (Mon, PC)

G
Galatea (Emily Short, PC-Mac-Lin-Web-Other)
Gamma Bros. (Pixel Jam, Web)
Geshundheit (Matt Hammill, PC)
Gish (Chronic Logic, PC-Mac-Lin)
Glest (Collective, PC)
Grid Wars (Marco Incitti, PC-Mac-Lin)
Grow (v0.3) (Eyezmaze, Web)
Guardian of Paradise (E. 'Buster' Hashimoto , PC)
Gunroar (ABA games, PC)

H
Hakaiman (Ikiki, PC)

I
Immortal Defense (Radical Poesis Games, PC)
Infinity String, The (Sektor 13, PC)

K
Kudos (Positech, PC)
Kudos: Rock legend (Positech, PC)
Knytt (Nifflas, PC)

L
La Mulana (GR3, PC)
Liero (Joosa Riekkinen, PC)
Lugaru (Wolfire Games, PC-Mac-Lin)
Lyle in the Cube Sector (Bogo, PC)

M
Masq (Alteraction, PC)
Missing (Radical poesis games, PC)
Motocross Challenge (DHG Games, Other)
Mr. Blocko (Perfect Run, PC)
Mr. Robot (Moonpod, PC)
Mutant Storm (Pom Pom Games, PC-Mac-Lin-other)

N
N (Metanet Software, Web)
Ninkujin (Ikiki, PC)
No-Action Jackson (Britton O'Toole, PC)
Noitu Love & the Army of Grinning Darns (Joakim Sandberg, PC)
Notrium (Monkkonen, PC-Lin)

O
Oasis (Mind Control software, PC)
Outpost Kaloki (Ninja Bee, PC)

P
Peacemaker (Impact Games, PC-Mac)
Penumbra (Frictional Games, PC)
Photopia (Adam Cadre, PC)
Poyo (Avalanche Studios, PC)
Punishment (Messhoff, PC)

R
Rameses (Stephen Bond)
Retrobattle (Daniel Remar, PC)
rRootage (ABA Games (Kenta Cho), PC)

S
Samorost (Amanita design, Web)
Samorost 2 (Amanita design, Web-PC-Mac-Lin)
Seiklus (Clysm, PC)
Shiva, The (Dave Gilbert, PC)
Shoot the Bullet (Team Shanghai Alice, PC) [demo link anyone?]
Spider and Web (Andrew Plotkin, PC-Mac-Lin-Other)
Stair Dismount (Jetro Lauha, PC)
Starscape (Moonpod, PC)
Sumotori Dreams (Archee83, PC)
Sunset Over Imdahl (H3Who, PC)
Sword of Jade (Radical Poesis Games, PC)

T
Tale in the Desert, A (eGenesis, PC-Mac-Lin)
Toribash (Hampa, PC-Mac-Lin)
Trilby's Notes (Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw, PC)
Truck Dismount (Jetro Lauha, PC)
Tumiki Fighters (ABA games, PC)

U
Uplink (Introversion, PC-Mac-Lin)

V
Varicella (Adam cadre, PC)
Veck (Smayds, PC)

W
Warning Forever (Hikoza'n Chi, PC)
Weaponed Head (Collective, PC)
Within A Deep Forest (Nifflas' Games, PC)

Non-PC List

A
Alien Hominid (The Behemoth, Web-Other)
Anchorhead (Michael S. Gentry, PC-Mac-Lin-Other)
Apricots (Mark Harman, PC-Lin)

B
Battle for Wesnoth, The (Collective, PC-Mac)
Big Adventure of Owata's Life, The (To be determined, Web)
Blockland (Step 1 games, PC-Mac)
Bubble thing (Queasy games, PC-Mac-Lin)

C
Chocolate Castle (Lexaloffle, PC-Mac)
Crossing, the (Orisinal games, Web)

D
Darwinia (Introversion, PC-Mac-Lin)
Defcon (Introversion, PC-Mac-Lin)
DoomRL (Kornel Kisielewicz, PC-Lin-Other)

E
Eets (Klei entertainment, PC-Other)

F
flOw (Jenova Chen, Web)

G
Galatea (Emily Short, PC-Mac-Lin-Web-Other)
Gamma Bros. (Pixel Jam, Web)
Gish (Chronic logic, PC-Mac-Lin)
Grid wars (Marco Incitti, PC-Mac-Lin)
Grow (v0.3) (Eyezmaze, Web)

L
Lugaru (Wolfire Games, PC-Mac-Lin)

M
Mutant storm (Pom Pom Games, PC-Mac-Lin-other)

N
N (Metanet software, Web)
Notrium (Monkkonen, PC-Lin)

P
Peacemaker (Impact Games, PC-Mac)

S
Samorost (Amanita Design, Web)
Samorost 2 (Amanita Design, Web-PC-Mac-Lin)
Spider and Web (Andrew Plotkin, PC-Mac-Lin-Other)

T
Tale in the desert, A (eGenesis, PC-Mac-Lin)
Toribash (Hampa, PC-Mac-Lin)

U
Uplink (Introversion, PC-Mac-Lin)
« Last Edit: September 15, 2007, 04:52:09 pm by Derek » Logged

Derek
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2007, 04:45:19 pm »

Guert, that's great that you're making this post, because I've actually been gestating a feature that is basically this very topic.  What I had in mind was essentially a combination of "The Spirit of Independent Gaming" and some parts of the "Thoughts" discussion, plus a list of the canonical indie games, plus a little bit about the history of indie gaming, plus some editorials on where we're headed for the future.

If you wouldn't mind, could we make this a thread a place to discuss said feature and have people contribute to it?  Community effort? Smiley

Does a feature about this sound good to people in the first place?

P.S. Regarding games, Cave Story should be there, considering that every indie game ever made has ripped it off. Tongue
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Guert
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2007, 05:25:38 pm »

Good idea!
Let's discuss then! :D

We definitivly need to add cave story to the list!  Grin
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2007, 06:15:54 pm »

My list of which I think should also be considered for the "canon" list:
- Warning Forever
- Clean Asia
- Veck
- Fraxy
- N
- Toribash
- Seiklus
- La Mulana
- Echoes
- The Shivah
- Blocksum
- Kyntt
- Uplink
- Chocolate Castle
- Shoot the Bullet
- Democracy
- Kudos
- Cute Knight
- Aveyond

Okay, that may be too much, but I do think that people new to indie games would probably enjoy most or all of those games.

Drawf Fortress probably also deserves a mention from what I know about it, although I haven't had time to try it out yet. I also haven't tried Lyle or Within a Deep Forest, but I've heard those are great too.
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Guert
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2007, 06:37:35 pm »

I'm gonna be a bit of a bastard here but, I'm thinking that we should also tell why we choose the game to put on the list. If we do it all together I think it'll be quite interesting. We'll know why we like the games we like and see how others see the same subject. 

A game I really like (and also mentionned in rinkuheroe's list) is Knytt(http://nifflas.ni2.se/). Very simple and charming, Knitt isn't only about the story of our avatar looking for ship parts; it's also dozens of different stories that are not told but shown while exploring the land. I remember the part where a lone woman waits for her love on the other side of an uncrossable lake or an underground village living in the dark. Nothing is told about these characters but we still understand where they come from and what they're doing just by watching them... The mood and representation of the game fits the pace of the action and offers a good challenge without becoming too hard. This is the kind of game that anyone can pick up and finish. 

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« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2007, 06:40:34 pm »

I think saying why we like those games is a great idea, but it'd take time for me since my list is so big. I'll do it a few at a time.
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2007, 07:06:24 pm »

Is a well known, classic open-source game such as Battle for Wesnoth considered indie? XD I feel stupid asking this question, as I'm almost sure that the answer is YES. If so, you need to add it there Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2007, 07:12:32 pm »

I would, it only had a small team and no funding (as far as I know), so it's not really a borderline case the way, say, Dofus is.
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« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2007, 08:08:40 pm »

Okay, first one. I'll replay each game a bit to remind me why I like each.

I like Warning Forever because of the feeling of going up against an unbeatable enemy which starts out simple, but when it's destroyed it revives, stronger than before, continuously, and how it returns -- the new weapons and parts it returns with -- depends on how you killed it last time. The name was a great choice too, warning, forever. There's something very eerie about the idea of the game. I don't know if it actually has an ending or not, but I hope not. I also love the aiming system, although it takes some getting used to it works extremely well.

-
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warning_Forever
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« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2007, 11:34:32 pm »

Great topic and Warning Forever is definitely canon  Grin Great game
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« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2007, 11:15:36 pm »

Now for Kyntt! I think this game does atmosphere (by which I mean creating maps which have an emotional tone or color) better than any indie game I've played, even Seiklus (which the game borrowed a lot from). And the variety of those tones was pretty good -- ancient castles, dark tunnels, jumping in the sky, there was a pretty huge variety of strongly atmospheric maps for such a short game. And I do think it was too short, but it was definitely worth the hour or two it took to get through it.

Also, this might sound strange, but I like how fast the character moved. In most platformers the movement of the character is extremely slow, Knytt and 'N' and Sonic the Hedgehog and a few others are the exceptions. It only takes about a second to walk from one side of the screen to the other in Knytt, even though you're extremely tiny in comparison to the size of each screen. By comparison, you probably walk around ten times as fast as you do in Seiklus.

Not that you'd always want to do that, I'd often stop to look around, but I think the speed of the character's movement made it clear that when you stopped to look around it was a conscious choice, because you couldn't just traverse the maps at full speed at the same time and enjoy the scenery at the same time, so I think (consciously or unconsciously on the developer's part) how fast the character was highlighted the 'stop and look around' point of the game.




-


- http://nifflas.ni2.se/index.php?main=02Knytt&sub=02Pictures&shot=1
« Last Edit: July 04, 2007, 11:17:49 pm by rinkuhero » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2007, 12:22:51 am »

I really liked how Knytt somehow had emotion through simple animations and atmospheric sound/music. The part with the spider is super freaky, and there's something moving about all the little creatures that are living in the world. I started reading a lot into what the main character would be feeling upon meeting each character. Feeling joy to finally see another living being, but not being able to communicate, etc.

The whole place feels alive - but lonely, like every creature is on their own. Things are strangely detached from each other. Its as if your character is the only one that's been able to notice this as well. That feeling gets enhanced by the lack of character dialog.
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2007, 01:08:53 pm »

Within A Deep Forest without question.

Also, I shill like fuck for it, but Mutant Storm got me into indie gaming. Furthermore, I think PomPom is a good example of a small shop blowing up, for any inspiring dev.
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2007, 01:51:04 pm »

These haven't been mentioned yet, but should've been:

Action
Chalk
Mr. Blocko
De Blob
Weaponed Head

Adventure games
The Infinity String
Fedora Spade
No-Action Jackson
Missing

Platformers
Akuji the Demon
Noitu Love & the Army of Grinning Darns

RPG
Ark 22
Guardian of Paradise
Sunset over Imdahl


Personally, I though Knytt was OK, and did enjoy playing it, especially due to its atmosphere, but it was lacking life in and interactivity with the game world, which was a bit of a downer.
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Raf Vermeulen
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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2007, 02:02:16 pm »

Great ideas, guys!

Definitely what I'm looking for are games that typify a genre, especially genres that you don't see in mainstream gaming anymore, or are handled better by indies.  I also want to feature games that are extremely polished all the way though.  The games where everything fits perfectly to create a coherent vision.  Diversity is good, too.

In the end, a lot of good games are not going to make this feature, just because it's supposed to introduce people who are not familiar with the community.  Once they're in, they can explore to their heart's content and I'll have a link to this thread where they can check out all the games suggested (and also see how the feature was put together).

Here's a really rough idea of one way we could structure the article, based on what I've heard so far.  It needs a lot of work and I'm not sure whether separating by genre is the best idea.

Platformers:
Cave Story
Gish (mention Loco Roco perhaps?)
N
(Developer Spotlight on Nifflas)

Shmups:
(Include a link to our doujin shmups article.)
Warning Forever
Echoes
Veck
(Developer Spotlight on Kenta Cho and cactus also?)

Puzzle Games:
Chocolate Castle
Blocksum

Adventure Games:
(Mention Adventure Game Studio.  God, there are so many adventure games out there, it'll be hard to just do one or three.  Any that really, absolutely stand heads and shoulders above the rest, or are super unique?  The Shivah?)

Interactive Fiction:
(Despite my saying for a long time that I want to get into the genre, I still know nothing about IF. Sad )

Roguelikes:
(Throw in a mention for Nethack and Angband and ADOM, but they probably won't have their own sections.  Link to Rogue Temple.)
Dwarf Fortress
DoomRL

Unique:
Toribash

Remakes:
(Should probably get the Retro Remakes guys to write a little something here about the remakes scene.)

Need something about Introversion.

Also want to mention Tom Fulp and Newgrounds and the Behemoth somewhere.  Shit, this is going to be a huge article.  I'm going to have to figure out how to make it relatively compact...

Feel like I'm missing a lot, though.  Which is why this thread is great!  Need to piece it all together...
« Last Edit: July 06, 2007, 04:51:19 pm by Derek » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2007, 02:18:13 pm »

Ok, for adventure games, The Infinity String can't be lacking. That one's literally taken my site by storm and's made itself into the top 5 visited games, top 5 downloaded, top 5 rated and top 5 most often rated, all within a few days.

Aside from that, you might want to look into several other engines. For example, there's the engine for Missing and Fedora Spade (Rinku should know more about these). There's also Enclosure, from the AGI engine (Link), which got noticed by Ken Williams himself, and got nothing but praise from him. Next to that, there's that Indiana Jones & The Fountain of Youth game that's in development (but that's AGS again).

If it's to make indiegames appeal to people who're not familiar with it, I'd leave N out. It might play nice (I personally think it's just an average platformer), but its graphics're butt-ugly. No effort went into that, it seems, and that's what sells games: The way they look. Non-familiar people'll see the game, think: "Eww, looks like crap" and'll skip it, or'll stop reading. They won't think: "There's no effort in the graphics, so all effort will have gone to gameplay and level design." On the contrary.
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Raf Vermeulen
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« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2007, 02:19:16 pm »

Hmm yeah, when it gets divided into genres it starts to feel a bit... weird somehow? Like in that we're expecting people to skip over the "genres" they're not interested in or something. I'd rather see the games presented in a "random" order with interesting screen shots and let that draw me in first, and then read the incitefull descriptions to find out what they're all about.

Its kind of annoying that a lot of sites are organized by genre, when really I just want to see a list of good games that I might be interested in trying.

P.S. N looks fine. Chill the fuck out.
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« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2007, 02:23:45 pm »

I'll see if I can help:

Interactive Fiction:
Photopia (indisputable)
Ramesses (A good intro to the medium's potential)
Galatea (fantastic, esp. from a designer's point of view)
Spider and Web (very popular, and very interesting)
Varicella (one of the best games ever made)

RPGs
A Blurred Line (the best indie rpg out there)
Diver Down (the second best)
If you can hunt down Lysander for an interview, I'll pretty much do anything you ask to repay you :D

It's going to be hard to write an introduction, rather than an exhaustive list. There are just so many great games out there!  Grin
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« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2007, 03:31:19 pm »

Hmm yeah, when it gets divided into genres it starts to feel a bit... weird somehow? Like in that we're expecting people to skip over the "genres" they're not interested in or something. I'd rather see the games presented in a "random" order with interesting screen shots and let that draw me in first, and then read the incitefull descriptions to find out what they're all about.

Its kind of annoying that a lot of sites are organized by genre, when really I just want to see a list of good games that I might be interested in trying.

Okay, I agree.  It feels bad to categorize some of these games, also, since they don't fit neatly into one or the other.

What I might do is put an "also try" thing next to each game and then really pare down the list to just a few really good ones.

@Kon-Tiki: Sorry, I completely disagree with you there.  Minimal != bad in my book, and N's graphics fits the game really well.  They're simple, but that doesn't mean they're not well-crafted.  I want to play games where the graphics fit, not just because they involved a lot of drawing.

@Retry (name change?): Thanks!  Honestly, IF could use its own separate feature... care to write one? Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2007, 03:41:57 pm »

@Retry (name change?): Thanks!  Honestly, IF could use its own separate feature... care to write one? Smiley

I'd love to - but honestly, chances are there's a better candidate for that job Smiley It's a huge topic, and while I know some of the big games, there are still loads of titles I haven't tried. Plus I don't really know anything about the history of IF besides playing a few Text Adventures on my old C64 (there's the whole Inform angle, years of competitions, books written about it, the whole academic side) - even writing an article highlighting four or five key authors (it would need Adam Cadre, Andrew Plotkin and Emily Short at a minimum) is a huge undertaking...

@Retry (name change?):

Just something I'm trying for a while Smiley The old handle had sorta lost its significance.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2007, 03:51:08 pm by Retry? » Logged

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