Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

 
Advanced search

1379240 Posts in 65671 Topics- by 58045 Members - Latest Member: etchvsketch

July 14, 2020, 07:12:53 PM

Need hosting? Check out Digital Ocean
(more details in this thread)
TIGSource ForumsPlayerGamesThe Spirit of Independent Gaming
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
Print
Author Topic: The Spirit of Independent Gaming  (Read 56496 times)
Derek
Bastich
Administrator
Level 10
******



View Profile WWW
« on: February 15, 2007, 07:21:23 PM »

So yeah, you guys have all been on forums before, so you know how they work.  Instead of a forum rules post or an FAQ, I kind of wanted to talk about the "ideals" of this forum.  As you may know, this forum was kind of created as an alternative to the Indiegamer forums, which have devolved into a morass of uncreative ideas and "me too" type thinking.  I figure if we start discussing what being "independent" means to us from the get-go, we can avoid that pitfall.

I purposefully avoided using the word "manifesto" in the subject of this thread, because manifestos always imply some sort of revolution or uprising.  I don't think that independent gaming needs to be a "revolution."  It's not really us against them (them being the commercial game industry).  For one thing, we all play and enjoy commercial games.  For another, the line gets blurred between who is independent and who isn't.  Tim Schafer and Double Fine Games (makers of Psychonauts), are independent in spirit, even though they are very much a commercial company.  Thirdly, so many so-called "independents" are as creatively bankrupt as the big boys... the only difference being that they are financially bankrupt as well.

The spirit of independence to me can live in a bedroom, a cubicle, or even a nice office.  It doesn't really matter how much money you do or don't have.  It can live in a casual or hardcore or core game.  Actually, the idea of independence is very simple to me.  As long as you create something that is personally meaningful to you, you are an "independent" as far as I'm concerned.

[This next part was added after Reply #4 by Alec]

Regarding the "art versus commerce" debate... as I mentioned in a comment on the front page, this should be a non-issue here.  Because again, it's not a versus situation.  You can realize an artistic vision and also be successful commercially.  Clones come in and out of style, but I dare anyone to tell me when a well-made, personal piece of gaming will not be welcomed by players.  I can say with complete confidence that it is less risky to make a GOOD original game than it is to make a clone (no matter how good the quality is).

So yes, we will be discussing business/marketing in this forum, but it will always be from the perspective of selling an original idea.  If you're looking for a gimmick to push an otherwise unsellable product, look elsewhere.  Business people and marketers should not make games in TIGSource's opinion, but game developers could definitely stand to learn a thing or two about business and marketing.

Lastly, one of the impressions I got from the Indiegamer forums was that it was very insular - you have a large group of mainly game developers sitting around talking about game development and all are asking "what does the player want?  what should I do to make the player happy?"  Well now you can find out straight from the horse's mouth, because the players are here.  At the same time, players get a chance to influence the development process, or at least see how it works.

So yeah, all of this is part of what I feel is The Spirit of Independent Gaming.  It's about having a real energy and enthusiasm for being able to play and make games that matter.  It's about having a community of people who want to change the way people perceive games.  And hey, let's face it, it's about fucking around and having a good time, too!

Let's make this happen!
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 02:29:16 AM by Derek » Logged
Impossible
Level 3
***



View Profile
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2007, 09:13:19 PM »

As you may know, this forum was kind of created as an alternative to the Indiegamer forums, which have devolved into a morass of uncreative ideas and "me too" type thinking.

Amen. Not to bash indiegamer, but its got to a point where people post games that are clearly not targetting the casual market but get the standard laundry list of casual game design tips.  The advice you get on indie gamer can help improve a game's accesibility, but at the same time simply doesn't work for a large variety of game types.  This is coming from a man that is somewhat of a casual games developer.

Quote
I figure if we start discussing what being "independent" means to us from the get-go, we can avoid that pitfall.

This was always a huge debate on indiegamer. Now it's at the point where whenever the topic comes up moderators lock the topic. Clearly financially independent (running a sucessful games business) won out over artistically independent (making the games you really want to make.) There is nothing wrong with that, people have to eat after all, but indiegamer clearly has alienated a certain group of developers.

Quote
  Actually, the idea of independence is very simple to me.  As long as you create something that is personally meaningful to you, you are an "independent" as far as I'm concerned.

I like this attitude. Great post Derek.  Hopefully Tigsource forums will end up as kind of an "anti-indiegamer" with more of a focus on games and game development than business and marketing.  Once again, there is nothing wrong with what indiegamer is (imo), its just very nice to have something different.
Logged
Dan MacDonald
The DMac
Level 1
*


Prisoner of the cause


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2007, 09:37:25 PM »

Over the countless times I've had this debate with various people on the merits of independence and the essence of the "indie" spirit. One thing has become clear to me, there is a fundamental difference between "independence" and "indie".  It's really difficult to own the word "independent" there are so many companies from single developer companies working out of their bedrooms (Funpause... before they were acquired anyway) that were clearly independent of any controlling influence but made a conscious decision to pursue the most lucrative market they could in order to make money and build a business. There are also independent developers like Mythic (before  EA acquired them anyway) that developed their own games ( DAOC ) and funded their own development. Some of the most famous independent developers include Epic, 3D Realms, ID Software etc.

So what is the difference between an independent developer like funpause that chases the market and one like squashy software that spends untold years realizing their artistic vision?

The real difference is attitude. It's the same attitude that's present in indie film and indie rock (the stuff that doesn't suck) is a "stick it to the man" attitude that says "we do what we do because we believe in it's inherent value, not it's commercial value". Those who sacrifice their artistic vision in order to be more financially successful in these communities are known as being "Sell outs".

I'm not passing judgment, I'm hoping to add some insight to the subject. In the end  funpause and squashy software are both "independant" but only one of them is "indie".  "Indie" is an attitude, "independent" is a state of being, it doesn't really imply anything about a persons beliefs or approach. "indie" does however.

If I could start all over, I would characterize indiegamer.com forums as forums for independent developers.. those who uphold indie ideals and those who worship the cosmic cow...er... pursue profitability Wink I think the community that resonates around TIGSource is definitely "indie".
« Last Edit: February 15, 2007, 09:55:44 PM by BMcC » Logged
BMcC
Senior Editor, Hero,
Level 10
*****


Brandon McCartin


View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2007, 09:46:42 PM »

::American flag unfurls behind D-Mac::
Logged

Alec
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2007, 10:05:40 PM »

For me I think it hearkens back to being a kid and playing Amiga games for the first time... feeling like every random unmarked disk you pop in has a whole new world to dive into. Games like Cave Story and Knytt give me that kinda feeling.

In terms of the developer side, its like thinking about the game first - being free from concerns like what the latest market trends are, etc etc - and doing something that feels important and real to you.

Saying that "indie" and "independent" are supposed to be separate terms is confusing to me.

I think the danger of some portal sites is that some of the general public will get the impression that independent games are all puzzle clones, and will write off the entire thing next time they hear about it.
Logged

Derek
Bastich
Administrator
Level 10
******



View Profile WWW
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2007, 02:32:55 AM »

Revised and added to my top post.  Dan, I have to agree with Alec... I don't find the separation of "indie" and "independent" to be very useful.  The idea of being "punk rock" is nice, but that's not really the point.  We just want to be creative, have fun, and make money. Cool
Logged
Anthony Flack
Level 5
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2007, 09:16:38 AM »

Absolutely! And you know, spending years and years on a single game isn't a very good way to achieve any of those things either. Sure, you get to realise your vision properly, but the main problem is it's a several-years-old vision by the time you're done with it and you've had so many other, wiser visions since.

So, I don't recommend doing that. And I'll try not to do it again once I get off this current treadmill. Spending one year on a game sounds just about perfect for me.
Logged

Currently in development: Cletus Clay
moi
Level 10
*****


DILF SANTA


View Profile WWW
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2007, 01:54:32 PM »

Seconding Flack and McDonald here.
We all want to be hip and original but if earning money is what you want, then you should accept some compromises. I'm not saying that you should sell your soul, but at least learn how to deal with publishers or payment processors and all that stuff.
That's what I like with indiegamer, they are realist and pragmatic, and nobody forces you to condone all the portal buzz.

That said, if TIGSforums are here to shake the coconut tree and influx new ideas then yeah, long live these forums. Why not.
Logged

subsystems   subsystems   subsystems
Shabadage
TIGSource Editor
Level 0
******


TIGSource Oil Worker


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2007, 03:36:43 PM »

Here's my 2 cents.

I make games to amuse myself, and because it's an addiction.  99% of the stuff I make never even makes it out of my house (For good reason, mind you).  Perhaps if I make something I think warrants a release, (Only one game on my dev docket fits that bill right now) I'll release it.  But even then I might not, because I make games for myself.  It's pretty damned selfish, but I don't care.
Logged
Dan MacDonald
The DMac
Level 1
*


Prisoner of the cause


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2007, 04:39:12 PM »

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is no "Spirit of Independent Game Development". Independence indicates that the developer is free to peruse their own interests. That interest may be ca$hing in on ca$ual games, that interest may be making games for the retail market, and it may be making games for gamers who appreciate great gameplay.  There's no one way to characterize independent game development or paint it into one particular corner, it runs the full gamut.

I agree though, that there is a "Spirit of independent gaming" (notice I use gaming and not game development this time), I just think this spirit is called "indie".

Indie content in other media has a general value system that is very similar to the "Spirit of independent gaming" articulated here. Those values tend to be producing movies or music for people who appreciate innovative, fresh, honest, thoughtful content as opposed to content that is designed for the mass market to make gobs of money.  I don't think Indie authors are trying to not make any money, they are trying to create something really good in the hopes that it WILL make money and people WILL appreciate it.

The classic example of this in the downloadable games space is the moonpod guys, they make games with good gameplay, good content, it's obvious a lot of care and attention goes into their construction. They aren't too concerned what the rest of the market is doing, instead they focus on making enjoyable games. While they aren't driving around in Ferrari's yet, they've released their 2nd title proving they have some staying power and aren't just a one shot wonder.




Logged
Derek
Bastich
Administrator
Level 10
******



View Profile WWW
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2007, 05:00:02 PM »

"Indie" is just the short form of "independent," isn't it?  And independent movies and indie movies are the same.  Same for music.  Why give the two different definitions just for games?  It does confuse things somewhat.

And no, I'm not referring to the dictionary definition of "independent" - it's too inclusive.  But nor to I want to make a new term for it.  This is just what I think being independent should mean, how I would like people to perceive it.  Vibrant, creative, and successful.

And what the hell, you can make a casual game that taps into the market but still comes from an original spot.  Just don't put frickin' gems in the game just because you think that's what people want to see.  Because no one inherently likes gems or Egypt or whatever...
Logged
BMcC
Senior Editor, Hero,
Level 10
*****


Brandon McCartin


View Profile WWW
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2007, 05:03:57 PM »

I dunno, man.  I've got kind of a thing for gems.

I mean... they're so shiny, you know?
Logged

Shabadage
TIGSource Editor
Level 0
******


TIGSource Oil Worker


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2007, 05:06:51 PM »

I know I managed to come up with *SHOCK* an Original puzzle game in like six hours.  It played like it had no direction (IT didn't), and it looked shitty as hell; but the Czech's seemed to love it (It got into 3 mags over there, and 1 or 2 in Hungary).  I'm still kinda surprised at that one, but it shows that originality pays off (My game was paired with the excellent in presentation Hypercube in most of these mags.  Hyper cube was a deviously simple puzzle-ish game as well.)
Logged
Anthony Flack
Level 5
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2007, 05:28:06 PM »

I think this hair-splitting over the indie spirit etc etc is raised with regards to games, while being not an issue for movies or music, is because with the latter you don't have the equivalent of a bunch of boy bands being described under the same umbrella term.
Logged

Currently in development: Cletus Clay
BMcC
Senior Editor, Hero,
Level 10
*****


Brandon McCartin


View Profile WWW
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2007, 05:36:55 PM »

That's very true.  Perhaps we do need to move to reclaim "indie?"

Then we could argue Indie vs. Casual, which (I think we all agree) is much more manageable.
Logged

DrDerekDoctors
THE ARSEHAMMER
Level 8
******



View Profile WWW
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2007, 05:48:54 PM »

WTF is a "core" game, Derek? I've never heard the term before and Madgarden just pointed it out to me.
Logged

Me, David Williamson and Mark Foster do an Indie Games podcast. Give it a listen. And then I'll send you an apology.
http://pigignorant.com/
Derek
Bastich
Administrator
Level 10
******



View Profile WWW
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2007, 05:52:24 PM »

It's basically the area between casual and hardcore.  The real "mainstream," I guess!
Logged
Dan MacDonald
The DMac
Level 1
*


Prisoner of the cause


View Profile
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2007, 06:04:50 PM »

That's very true.  Perhaps we do need to move to reclaim "indie?"

Then we could argue Indie vs. Casual, which (I think we all agree) is much more manageable.

werks 4 me.

Though I agree with Derek, the type of game being made is not indicative of the attitude of its creator. What we are talking about when we talk about the indie spirit is an approach to making games.

It's very much an "if you build it they will come" type of thing. The indie approach to making games (or other kinds of content) focuses on making something great with the belief that others will appreciate it for the same reasons you do. Sometimes you charge for it, sometimes (like good ole Kenta) you don't.

It stands to reason that someone could use this approach to developing a casual game. (Grimms Hatchery?)

The cold hard business approach to making games is to pick the most lucrative market that you have access to, make a game that has the highest chance of making money (in most cases based on the existing top sellers) and make that. It may be a way to make money and sustain your independence, but most "indies" would agree that it's a pretty crappy way to design a game.




Logged
Alec
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2007, 06:10:49 PM »

Perhaps we do need to move to reclaim "indie?"

Definitely... calling a game that just tries to clone another for financial gain "independent" seems wrong.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 06:16:58 PM by Alec » Logged

DrDerekDoctors
THE ARSEHAMMER
Level 8
******



View Profile WWW
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2007, 03:08:07 AM »

It's basically the area between casual and hardcore.  The real "mainstream," I guess!

See! That's why we have the word "mainstream"! So that I don't have to get confused! Wink

"Core" indeed! Pshaw!
Logged

Me, David Williamson and Mark Foster do an Indie Games podcast. Give it a listen. And then I'll send you an apology.
http://pigignorant.com/
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
Print
Jump to:  

Theme orange-lt created by panic