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Could I make a living being an Indie Game Dev?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MrSanfrinsisco, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Well that's true it all depends on a person's view. I don't see it like a game is a great game just because it is the game pushed the most by the mainstream and as a result of all of that coverage is widely known and tends to sell good.

    They push games like these...



    and games like these...


     
  2. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    While the mainstream tends to ignore or perhaps doesn't even know about cool games like these...





    and certainly games like this. I do like RPS though they probably would cover the game...
     
  3. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    Only few of those games worth playing them.

    I didn't liked Dead Cells, procedural generated does not worth hand crafted uniqueness, repeating thousand times the same level to grind is definitively not my type of game.
    Chasm is procedural and a bad game (check out some reviews).

    -For Ori is totally deserved, the graphics are outstanding, the sorry is really beautiful and gameplay is very responsive with variety, you should play it and you'll understand why the game is really above most underground small platformers.
    -Hollow Knight has lot of work, great graphics and gameplay, some original mechanisms, it's not a small production and coverage is well deserved.
    -Play also Iconoclast, it's a gem of gameplay and gadgets, the best indie Metroidvania after Axiom Verge. It's coverage is more than deserved, start the game and you'll understand.



    My quick overview, perhaps that can explain some of the reasons those games does not get more exposure ?

    -Unwortyhy : Black and white with low rez is what i call lazy graphics without some more colors palettes and some more shapes definition whatever the amount of work they put on graphics, perhaps the dev does not have 2D talent, but i don't find it attractive, very repetitive based combat only, it's like a inferior version of Salt and Sanctuary.
    - Super Drayl : i don't like it's graphics style, too much mixed styles, the character animations walk and fight doesn't work like they missed a good way to make cartoonish animations look good, the game is like trying a weird style but doing it in some un consistent way.
    - MetroidCubeMania : another underground ultra simplistic metroid, miles away from Iconoclast, not comparable.
    No real design , minimalist character with no animations, no interesting story and characters, random 2D tiles , it's more some tiny game jam try than a full game.

    The other two i find them good.

    - Spooky Ghosts : Graphics and animations are very simple but consistent, it's just a good game for those who like small and short platformers.
    The game is not so underground, it's on Steam, it's just another thousand classic platformer game.
    There is not enough content, not enough work on graphics and animations or effects, it's a minimalist game for casual players or those that just want a short play session.
    Why should it have more coverage ?

    - Wuppo : I like it's special 2D style, it's consistent, and there is lot of variety, great water effect and gameplay, lot of good 2D effects and particles. Lot of personality about dialogs, good text font , the game overall is very readable and very pleasant.
    The game was made by several people, it looks simplistic but there is lot of content and gameplay, it's not a tiny game or so underground game, on Steam it's Overwhelmingly Positive.
    It's up to devs to promote the game more and make a Switch version e-shop, this should attract more attention to it.
    This is the only one game that i'm a bit suprised it does not have more coverage.
    I will play it and give a better review.

    As you can see, not all mainstream indie games (that got exposure) are so great, but they have a common thing that is lot work , not just few weeks of work.
    While underground like games are not good enough to become more popular, perhaps they'll have thousand players fans, but they have not enough work to appeal to a majority.

    I think you should really try some of those mainstream games, once you start you keep playing and want to discover more sometimes ;)
     
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  4. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Right that's what I am trying to share here. Mainstream primarily focuses on graphics the same as they do with AAA. And general gamers focus a lot on graphics. But there are people... fans of genres... who don't need games to look only certain ways for them to be enjoyable.

    And yes I know that from watching some video reviews from the angle of metroidvania fans Chasm is a very poor Metroidvania game. It looks very nice and it has some good things in it but fails like you said ultimately the procedural general worked against it.

    But still that game will he hanging out there on the mainstream sites and lists for best x metroidvanias... why because it looks nice. And this is why a lot of people (a small % yes but still a lot of people) don't go by what is popular and covered by the mainstream.

    I will have play Ori because whenever I look at it I see nothing but just a beautiful looking game well actually to me personally I don't even like the look of the game but I have heard people describe it as beautiful so much I think of it that way LOL... but anyway I just never say anything about it standing out in anyway. And I have read or watched a video on it from a metroidvania fan perspective as well that said it basically looks great got a lot of attention because of its graphics but isn't nearly as good as people make it out to be.

    But I will get it and see because I have had a few people on here tell me it is a great game. I just don't know if I can trust you folks though because if a game looks beautiful I think many would praise the game even if it wasn't a very good game. I honestly believe some folks here would think a not so good game that looked beautiful was a great game. So that's why I never put much stock in people talking so highly about it. Lol

    The trailer and gameplay videos I have checked out look incredibly boring but I will grab it right after this post and try it out. Maybe it is good. I give you credit because I know you have posted many examples of even simplistic art and yet enjoyed the games so that definitely gives your opinion more clout so to speak. Alright I am off to get it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  5. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    BotW's only "innovation" was "climb all the things." The rest were things that were lifted and refined from previous entries in the series and also from the survival game boom we saw.

    But that doesn't really matter. Originality does not matter. Context and execution are all that matter.
     
  6. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    That's teh point original don't equate good games, originality is its own class, and has its own value :rolleyes:
    Just don't use it lightly, being extremly good don't mean you are original. Good for you if you find them boring, but they did something new, and by definition there is no template to follow, it's hard for some to relate because of this, up until someone find a good use. Minecraft wasn't original (infiniminer + dwarf fortress), it put a lot of boring mechanics that appeal to a lot of niche gamer, and got the execution right for broader people. That's what original game are for, inspire better games down the line by inspiring dev and solve problme they might have.

    So I don't get why you invoke good games, when I spend all these post to say it's a distinct value from that. Just don't overuse the concept of originality.
     
  7. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Well never mind @zenGarden ... I'm not spending $20 just to try out Ori and the Blind Forest. I thought they probably had a free demo I could check out. But nope. Then I searched all around to see if I could find it on sale elsewhere but nope. For $20 I can get a 6-pack of beer and 2 pizzas or support 4 to 5 niche Indie Game Devs on itch.io.

    I added it to my wishlist and when it is ever selling for a decent price I will grab it. It will need to be cheap though because I just have no interest in it at all other trying it out because you and a few others speak so highly of it. This is why people really should make demos available for their games. I know that companies said it was losing them sales but to me that just means their games weren't good or they gave way too much of the game away for free in the demo.

    Maybe Ori can't do that though because I guess the game is pretty tiny. I remember seeing a video from a Speed Runner completing the entire thing in about 14 minutes or so.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  8. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    I can invoke daggerfall and assassin's creed.

    It does matter, it's needed to get a background of idea to mature before finding a successful formula, even Disney was a big fan of experimental abstract animation which inspired many of his big success.Fantasia is basically a disneyfied version homage to them. Animation itself come from obscur experimentation. You need originality to inject vivacity from time to time, it's arguable that early walking sim was not very good, in hindsight, lie passage, thriving only on the original premise behind their execution, but then pure execution like edith finch wouldn't have been possible without that, and even god of war ps4 lift learning straight from it, while god of war is more influenced by naughty dog style of storytelling, naughty dog have praise walking sim for being key inspiration to evolve their own approaches. That's what originality is for, to continuously expend the vocabulary of how things are done. Even a bad game like Killswitch inspired the good game like gears of war who luft the cover mechanics straight from it.
     
  9. GarBenjamin

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    I don't understand this at all. Sure execution is important but originality / innovation is very important. When people look at platformer games and feel it is the same thing they have played 1,000 times no matter how awesome the games look no matter how well implemented everything is that is completely down to lack of originality. If someone makes a platformer with something unique in the gameplay even if poorly executed that original element still makes the game stand out from all of the other platformers.

    I just chose platformers as an example because this is one genre that people tend to view very much this way. Spelunky (and later Rogue Legacy) stood out because of randomly generated levels which gave it a high level of replayability and just made it more interesting than the majority of platformer games. Thomas was alone stood out because it focused on story telling to such a degree that it succeeded in making a mass of gamers care a huge amount about nothing but simple rectangles. Sure the games are executed well but it is their originality that is the most important thing. Without that element Thomas Was Alone would almost certainly have been ignored as "junk".
     
  10. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    Spelunky is not original, there was a trend of doing rogue platformer, right there on the forum where it was born (tigsources) it's just the one who did it so well it blew past handcraft content. When people say handcraft is superior to pcg, they always conveniently leave out spelunky out of the picture, because it would give a glimmer of hope that there is a possibility of mastering pcg so much that it makes handcraft look obsolete. Equally thomas was alone wasn't the first of that type, it was just well executed, but yeah they coasted on originality made in their community, which mean they were feed by many different unusual influence and capitalized on them.

    Which lead to the conclusion that originality must be ruminate and digested before it become a success.
     
  11. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    It doesn't need to be the first of its type period to be original. I mean sure we think of it that way at the surface level. Anything that reviewers and majority of gamers see as original doesn't mean it is the very first time a person anywhere at any time ever did it. It means it is the first time they have played a game that does it. That is why it stands out as new & innovative. Like you might have a ton of projects sitting on your hard drive that explore original concepts (as far as you know). Even if you share them on a forum some place it won't change the fact that when a game that is released uses them that game developer(s) will be credited as the first to have that original idea.

    I mean it comes down to splitting hairs I suppose. Sure the original idea needs to be implemented well enough that the original idea adds value to the experience. It has to be noticeable. Make some kind of an impact. But still there are plenty of games that people enjoy the innovative aspects of them even if they aren't flawlessly executed. It all depends on the person of course. If you are one of the people who wants to see some innovation then you will appreciate even the simplest execution of that more than you will appreciate bog standard ideas executed flawlessly. Games with no real innovation that are implemented flawlessly are often summed up in reviews something like "While controls and gameplay are flawless the game just doesn't bring anything new to the table. If you are looking for a very solid whatever genre it is to play check it out. If you are looking for any kind of innovation look elsewhere."
     
  12. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Thomas Was Alone's key "original" feature was its narrator, but it likely would have gone next to nowhere if audiences hadn't been warmed up to the concept by Bastion, The Stanley Parable (original mod version), or even Dear Esther. And even those games were drawing on narrative delivery concepts that had been well explored in film and literature.
     
  13. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Thomas Was Alone came out about a year before the Stanley Parable or I thought it did anyway. Even if it didn't or if Thomas Was Alone was inspired by either of those two games how does that change the fact that if it wasn't innovating in the way it did it would not have stood out nearly to the degree it did? The idea was still very original bringing it to a platformer game. If one game in one genre does something new & interesting and later someone else decides to try to use that same idea in a game in an entirely different genre that is still an original idea for that genre.
     
  14. Murgilod

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    The original version of Thomas Was Alone was just a pizzle platformer. And, again:

    These ideas are not new or original, they were simply applied in new contexts.

     
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  15. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Ah okay that I get. Most people just talk about execution matters above all else and I missed the context bit. First FPS game to do something will stand out for it even if it is something that has been done thousands of times in games in a different genre. It's still the same thing though and seems like splitting hairs or going out of the way to reduce the value of originality. The reason it stands out in the other context is because it is an original idea in that other context.
     
  16. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    It's splitting hair but we are on a dev discussion board, of course we will split hair because the craft demand it lol

    But Okay we can use a less dry version of originality and focus on the context of originality. Take fortnite is it original?
    - in the dry absolute sense? no! There was a shooter called aces of spade I think that I applied the minecraft formula to shooting, many survival game with building and shooting like rust had similar situation going on.
    - in the cultural sense? yes other game had these mechanics in obscure game, but fortnite put it in mainstream spotlight where people weren't aware of such mechanics and it blew up to the insanity we know today.

    SO original can be taken in the absolute sense (which I mean is necessary when talking about the craft of game design), or in the relative sense of new to me or my community. So you can be original for a genre (exporting from elsewhere), in the absolute term, for you own experience or for you community culture. For example passage was original to an audience of game dev (the context) as such it was seen as good and popular among that community, however it largely fly under te radar of the core gamer because it doesn't offer them any (thrill) value. Many experimental game are actually revered in some of their own community before it breach out elsewhere. See sexy hiking (experimental) vs getting over it (mainstream)

    But I don't think mixing and jumping around those different context does good to a design discussion. It's best to specify the context.

    ps:
    Stanley parable REMAKE was released after thomas was alone, it existed as a half life mod before that.
     
  17. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I don't know I think this is focusing too much on things that are more just "noise" than meaningful. And I think there is a huge amount of value in discussing and recognizing the importance of innovation in game design.

    It's surprising to me that game devs would seem to be trying to downplay the value of innovating when that is widely recognized and celebrated in gaming industry on the whole. Whether it is Braid and rewinding time, games like Crypt of the NecroDancer using music themed action (rhythm games) or just any of the countless innovations that have made games stand out from the "rest of the pack"... the value of it should be easily seen.

    If two Indies with same implementation skill levels and marketing power make a Space Invaders clone which would have more chance to stand out? The one who makes the game play exactly like the original or the one who adds a new twist to it? Say one makes it a rhythm game or introduces the time rewind or introduces any other original (as in never before seen in this kind of game) concept.
     
  18. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Odds are neither will particularly outperform the other unless they're both absolutely astounding.
     
  19. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    I also was more intrigued by graphics than gameplay, but it's once you start the game that you'll understand it's a great game.
    About true MetroidVania, i think Snes Metroid is the reference, if you can plya it in emulation on PC you'll understand what is a masterpiece Metroidvania (there is lot of items hidden, many you won't discover without some guide).



    The new one with new twists would get more attention i think, because the game will have more things making more interesting.
    Take it as the one with original gameplay as a game release day one, and the new one with extended gameplay as a game patch or a DLC the devs did not have time to put on day one release.
    There is lot of games inspired by retro ones, but with new neon like graphics and particles and great gameplay and lot of cool new features.

    Anyway, a promising indie game
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
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  20. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Agreed on the one with some innovation (making it somewhat unique) getting more attention. And yes Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night are basically seen as the "template" so to speak for metroidvania games. They established the core elements although in somewhat rough form. Of course metroidvania games since then built on that foundation. But those two games represent the core experience.

    That game looks kind of interesting I guess. I never get much out of videos like that. It looks like it could be a clip for a new Indie movie more than a game. But that's what folks mainly seem to focus on and what the majority of people seem to want to see (not sure about that part considering the number of times I've read comments complaining about AAA game trailers "watched the whole video and it was basically nothing but a cut scene. I still have no idea what you actually DO in the game or HOW you do it").

    After this discussion last night I was thinking maybe things really have changed. Where in the beginning Indie games were synonymous with innovation, creativity and people didn't expect awesome presentation etc. These were the real differences between the Indie games that captured the attention of so many people and AAA games. Maybe over time people have switched to focusing more on flash & sizzle than innovative gameplay basically modeling the AAA games.

    Maybe part of it is directly due to the original Indie games were made by developers who focused on creating very solid and innovative games and and over the years since there has been a huge flood of people coming into Indie games as we have discussed focusing almost fully on money and they may make excellent art or use assets from a store to cobble something together and throw it out for sale.. And others didn't use nice art and still made a very poor game still releasing it for sale.

    This could have muddied things for some people. Maybe causing some gamer to focus more on flash & sizzle than on creativity & innovation when choosing games because even though it is flawed (junk game cobbled together but looks very nice thanks to high quality art from store) there isn't much else they can go by firsthand.

    Writing that it almost seems like I read an article somewhere not so many months ago talking about the same things. At the time I kind of half dismissed it but the discussion here has me thinking. I will have to see if I can find that article and read it again.
     
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  21. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I found it. It was on Gamasutra.

    The meaning of the word "Indie" has changed.

    Reading it now it definitely resonates with me. I think several months back when I stumbled upon it I was searching for something else mind was focused on something else. But yes I think I have basically the same view. And it does seem to definitely be this way here. I rarely ever see discussion here on creativity, innovation etc and in contrast see plenty of discussion on presentation quality, size of games, etc.

    Ah well in end people will do what they want to do of course and they like what they like. I am definitely more tuned to the innovation aspect of being an Indie. Personally I see graphics and such as well... I am not going to spend masses of time to make beautiful looking games and instead will spend time making games that play very well.

    I personally think it is a bad thing and also can understand why people do it is simply because it is the by far easier thing to do. It's easier to make a game look very good than it is to actually make a game that is very good. I mean like myself for example I can simply buy high quality art from stores and / or hire people to create art. That's easy. Innovation takes some thought and creativity. It adds more work in creating the game. Even just focusing on the gameplay takes more work because it means loads of playtesting & balancing to get a game to feel "just right".

    But who knows maybe for an Indie business I'd be better off just buying some high quality art assets and knocking out pretty much completely cloned stuff that looks really good. It'd surely be a hell of a lot easier. I guess I have just not wanted to be a part of that which I think does more harm than good.

    But a person could buy high quality art and brainstorm to build a game with some innovative aspects out of those assets. I might test it at some point. I guess I do understand now that with so much junk being released that looks very good it is hard for gamers to really be able to even recognize a game that is truly good. They almost need to personally play every game to know for sure or go by reviews of almost always biased people.

    I guess I knew that and is why I approach it as laser targeting a certain niche of people and slowly building a business over time through a lot of effort. But yeah maybe I should just take a different approach. I will have to think about it. It'd be very interesting to take my current game that is unique in feel and play for a td game and make a second version of it. Strip out the innovative bits (power ups, story snippets, a smart fast play system that keeps the game pretty much active at all times, etc) and instead just redo as a generic defense game with very nice looking hd art. Very tempted. And I'd have two audiences to target. One who prefers the innovation and one who prefers "looks".
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
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  22. zenGarden

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    I don' agree with the article :

    Indie games became popular because they were doing things that AAA wouldn't. Now most indies just try to copy AAA or other indie games. If the space is no longer known for its originality, then people just stop paying attention.

    First not all indie can make AA or triple A games, because by definition a triple A game is a quality and content a small team can't do, for example RDR2 or Spider Man on PS4 are high standard game levels and content no indie will reach.

    I think by indie triple A he means No Man's Sky or Hellblade, while many describe those as AA games.
    Rocket League is a small game, that just grown and get very popular but it's not a big production like GTA or Horizon on PS4 with thousand people involved.

    And he is wrong again saying all indies try to make triple A games , most indie great games news i read is about small production real indie game.
    Sure there is some indie studios trying to achieve triple A, but i only see indies making AA games.
    I don't remember any game called indie that has the same level and work as triple A.

    It's an evolution, there is indies making tiny games, bigger indie teams making bigger indie games, what is new is indies able to create some sort of AA game and big companies doing AA games aside from triple A games they are making.

    Yes indie is diversified, yes some indies team can reach AA game level.
     
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  23. GarBenjamin

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    I have the impression the author hung out on forums like this one where they saw loads of discussion about achieving AAA graphics or "quality... focus on visuals". Might not be right but that is what I was thinking while reading it.

    I agree with him completely on his core concept: the majority of indies making games now are very different than the Indies who made games that are still talked about and still played even now. Their focus was on innovating in the gameplay and the games never strived to look fantastic and certainly didn't place more importance on looks than they did everything else. Most games now look much better than those games but the games themselves aren't better and are quickly forgotten by most people. That might be what they mean by striving to be like AAA as well. Putting so much focus on how the games look and are presented above all else.

    Again different opinions of different people. I completely get what they are saying and to me it seems very obvious to be based in fact.
     
  24. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    I don't agree.
    I think the "indie" title is used for anything from solo game to AA game, while "indie" should belong to teams that are one to five or six people max.


    There is still lot of solo indie devs, or duo small teams, just look on twiiter or games sites, there is new games every week, indies are still indies :rolleyes:
    What we see is more and more medium size studios appearing, and those are named "indies".

    Anyway, all those discussions about "indie" titles won't lead to anything, better spend time making your game ;)

    So you finished your tower defense ? :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
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  25. GarBenjamin

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    LOL! I agree with the latter for sure. ha ha. Ah well it is an interesting discussion anyway.

    Oh yeah. It is done. I did end up having to spend another couple of hours rewriting sections of it. I made the mistake of relying on built-in systems for tweens and sprite animation, etc. You probably remember my rants in the past about hating that stuff because when something goes wrong we're screwed having no control over it. lol And that is what happened. I finally threw that stuff out completely and programmed it my normal way. No more issue.

    I switched over to marketing focus and started working on the landing page design. Everything is some learning of course. Had to figure out what all options are available at itch.io for page design. Not that it was complex just that the first time you need to learn it all. They have an odd system in that while working on the page I looked for some kind of options for colors etc and found none. Turns out when you are logged in and view the page then at the top you get a Theme option for colors and so forth. I expected that to be back on the other mode where I was building the landing page. Anyway got it sorted.

    Also @zenGarden I do get the "looks" sell part for marketing. People like shiny nice looking things. Really I just don't like what I see as either very misleading or empty shells... like games that look very nice but don't play very well or games that look very nice and are so basic on the inside. I just feel like many games are relying too much on "looks" basically. Alright I agree we have probably dissected this enough. Lol
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
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  26. Murgilod

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    Indies being super experimental is a myth. You just don't remember the eight billion indie attempts to make their own versions of Doom, or various other big games of the time.
     
  27. Jescau89

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    No. The business model is to pass on the losses to the user.s.
     
  28. GarBenjamin

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    I have no problem with someone wanting to figure out how to make a Doom style game. They need to get the basics done before they can build on it and innovate. Someone might want to make a platformer with some creative new twists but before they get to the new above & beyond stuff it's understandable they need to know how to make even a bog standard platformer. This stuff is just part of the learning experience and we see it here a lot because so many people trying to make Indie games have never made any games before or at least not in the engine they are trying to work in now.
     
  29. Murgilod

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    No, I mean they wanted to make their own Doom back in 1998.
     
  30. GarBenjamin

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    It was a hugely succesful game. The DOOM folks innovated made something new and other people saw all of the money being made and wanted to get in on that money. Same as some folks made unique Indie games made a good amount of money and now there are millions of people wanting to make games many of which had never tried making a game before. Lots of people want to make money from making games. some of them... a tiny /%... actually try to innovate and inject something original to make the games at least a bit unique to them personally. All of the others not doing that doesn't change the fact for those people who did innovate or for the ones who are trying to come up with something a little unique even now.
     
  31. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    It's not only Doom, it' was the same with platformers when there was Mario on Nes with power ups , or Street Fighter 2 lot of games copied it's gameplay. Same for shoot them ups, there was a lot, but lot of good ones with new gameplay ideas and new background graphics.
    Anything is about copying first and bring some innovation.
     
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  32. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Exactly that is what I had said previously. To make a "better" game a person first needs to be able to create the base game. You need the foundation then you can innovate from there.

    And there are many games that innovate I just don't think those games happen to be always the games with the best graphics. They can be. It's possible a game can look better and actually be a better game innovating in some way to enhance the gameplay experience.

    And I certainly am not saying I am a master of creativity & innovation or that my latest tiny game is earth shattering. Not at all. But I definitely focused on innovating in key areas of gameplay to make a defense game that draws me in and keeps my interest. But it is by no means the best example of innovation.

    I made choices from beginning and throughout to make it unique. From the start I didn't want it to be a medieval fantasy game (castles, knighta, orcs, etc) because there are plenty of those already. For the same reason I steered clear of science fiction super high tech theme. And also straightforward military although I did start prototyping with that because it seemed the less saturated in recent times.

    But I focused innovation too much on gameplay I think. And should have innovated more on theme. Theme makes a big difference I think. It could have been underwater. Or on the moon. Even better would be something like Roof Top Defender. Or a kid in a tree house and creatures are climbing up.

    But it is a starting point. I am thinking... I might just stick with this defense game genre and release a series of defense games continually keeping the best of the previous game while trying to innovate more on gameplay and even more so on theme. And yes I might experiment with graphics too. I don't know... I just think switching genres is maybe a bad idea. Especially now that I have found these defense games can be quite fun to play. The last times I set out to play test mine before I know it 30 mins have passed and I forgot I was looking for bugs and balancing. I'd kind of like to explore where these can be taken I think.
     
  33. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    I agree, we lack more themes diversity. Why not medieval mixed with some sci fi elements ? Some metal planet, or very new themes. We see lot of similar background games as medieval or modern fps, hopefully there is some big studios that do some originality like Dishonored, Prey, Bioshock and many others trying unique themes.
    That's the same for 2D games, there is lot of same themes, but fortunately there is many good 2D games with new themes or common themes with a twist.

    This dev is very creative with original twists and simple good graphics
    https://twitter.com/adamgryu


    This has already been done lol


    It was a great game, very polished small production, i'm surprised there has not been more in that style.

    Yeah, stick with what works for you and you enjoy making.
    You could make it 3D, a first game to make the framework, complete it and sell it.
    And move on on some new episode or new game them using the framework and focusing more on new twists or new graphics.

    You could mix genres, for example RTS where units collide would result in a small quick fight mini game, or add some events , or bonus you or ai could grab, or represent the player and the ai commanders as units that could cast special powers but also take damage, or make a Sci Fi with flying ships and hazards like meteorites that could damage both player and ai depending on direction they would fly through and units they would collide with.
    As game there is no limit lol
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  34. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    This is what i call indie solo dev that puts lot of work and polish.
    https://twitter.com/UnWarGame
    It's simple style, but he also put work improving it.
    https://twitter.com/i/status/1002244584196358149
    Or physics
    https://twitter.com/i/status/1010471778567614464

    He is using a good plugin for AI , behavior designer



    This is the kind of indie production i like to follow, small game but not quick made in few weeks, lot of polish.
    You can already guess the game will be good; if overall game balance, difficulty and progression are also well balanced. It should result in an interesting game and fun to play.
     
  35. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I agree. I think that is a big part of what burns gamers out in general. I definitely appreciate innovation in the gameplay but just changing the theme actually can automatically provide new forms of gameplay as long as it isn't just a simple presentation swap when changing theme.

    Yes that stuff looks very interesting. I like the art style a lot. I clicked over to their itch.io page and have seen that tomato game before.


    The only thing about this is I guess a lot of people like visuals like these and honestly they just completely put me off. I just don't find them appealing. I think the characters give me a strong vibe of it is made for very young children to play or something. I don't know if the game was actually fun or well received BUT the game structure and theme are very refreshing. I agree with you that is some fantastic innovation. It actually seems like it is maybe an old game and done by a large studio yet it sold for $10 which is also interesting.


    Switching to 3D is an interesting idea but I think it would require throwing out too much. Might be possible though. Core systems for upgrades and such would transfer and they are completely data driven anyway. Targeting and projectile handling would require only light changes. It might be feasible. I could start on a conversion to 3D with cubes just to see how much work it takes. But I think it would be much more efficient to stick with 2D for this. My next different game will be 3D though. I do want to take a crack at a 3D ultra low poly fly around blow things up, pick things up and possibly land & explore buildings and such as well.

    Mainly I am thinking if I stick with this there are other ideas I had that are big for the gameplay such as introducing the mini games of going into different game modes for some light adventuring to gather resources and so forth. Just kind of like a bonus game that is entered every x levels.

    The next game can increase resolution to 160x120 which will result in the view being zoomed out a bit and allowing for a larger playfield. And I could also add some small amount of vertical scrolling as well. I don't know exactly but this whole idea of iterating forward on the same genre for at least one more game really "feels right" so I think it is a good choice.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
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  36. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    That's not a solo Indie game. If you click over to their itch.io page they are a team of 4 people creating that game.

    It does look somewhat interesting but yeah with a team of 4 people they can tackle bigger projects even if working very part-time.

    Still I don't feel much interest in it but probably just is made for a different audience. Seems very slow and not engaging based on this video... but it also could be very early on. Or like I said maybe I am just missing the fun factor here because it is made for other people who like different kinds of games. It might be innovative in the genre but I don't play such games so have no idea.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  37. neoshaman

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    I still don't agree with how you guys use the term innovation, innovation is not about dressing up, it's about the functionality. Ie form should follow function.

    Also take Braid, it's is said to be innovative for its rewind mechanics? really? Sand of time, racing game, blinx are games that used that idea much earlier! So why braid is used as a reference?

    Second is that the myth of indie as innovative is a reference to the Jason Rohrer era, which started around 2009, where a bunch of indie pushed experimentation really hard, Among them was people like Increpare, notch, Derek yu and Chevy ray, etc ...

    And finally innovation is not necessarily a way to differentiate. Side scrolling Shooter was a very dynamic genre but lost popularity around the time where bullet hell where the most innovative, even critical success like ikaruga couldn't raise the genre from the dead. Funnily one of their innovation, the grazing mechanics, was imported into burn out, which was widely seen as a great idea, but then they also had a small simple shooter called geometry war, and that was the last mainstream success I know from 2d shooter, and it's a simpler one with less innovation.


    The game is the video above as the title of Valkyrie Chronicle LIKE, which mean they are copying the innovation of valkyrie chronicle, (which is a blend of third person and tactical strategy game).
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
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  38. GarBenjamin

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    I don't understand why some people here seem to be knocking the innovation / originality thing. Surely you all have heard this countless times before this discussion here. Do a simple search online and you should find masses of results all based around Indie Games and Innovation / Creativity / Originality. lol

    The main piece of the innovation in Braid was in controlling the flow of time. It was a puzzle platformer game. The innovative part was controlling the flow of time to solve the puzzles in a platformer game. It all works together of course. But without the focus on the time mechanic it wouldn't have been the same game. Yes he could have come up with some other very innovative way but time flow control is what he used and that was the innovative part. It wasn't just rewinding time. Some worlds you rewind time. Other worlds your character's position is based on time, etc. There are various powers all based on controlling time. It was very innovative and won an award for that reason from IGF.

    Or take something like Undertale. It got a load of attention because of its innovation. Here you have an rpg where you can choose to try to make friends with the monsters instead of just kill kill kill (although you do have that option). At any rate during the encounters with monsters the battle screen comes up and the monsters will talk to you throughout telling you what's on their mind, how they feel, what they think, etc. You can choose to befriend the monsters rather than just grind them all down. It is possible in this way to complete the game as a pacifist level 1 all the way through the game. But you have to be able to talk the monsters out of fighting that actually want to fight. I have even heard that later on you may encounter some higher level monster and a monster you befriended earlier may come along and help you basically telling the higher level monster who happens to be its friend "hey leave them alone they are a good person". That is all very innovative stuff that made the game stand out hugely from other rpg games.

    I see it as a simple thing really just have your game do something in a way that is out of the ordinary. It's just bringing something fresh to players instead of the "same ole same ole" with better graphics, better audio, bigger scale, etc. Basically just trying to address the issue any of us gamers have with games... we want to experience something different. Jeff of Spiderweb Software is interesting in that he says innovation isn't necessary and then goes on to explain innovating by choosing the very best bits of many different games he enjoyed playing and used that to design his games. Lol That is innovating. He combined all of and only the best bits in a new way. It's quite likely it was the first time all of them were combined in that way and that made his games a unique experience.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  39. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    I'll just be a contrarian, and say blix had the puzzle part of rewinding time way before braid :p
    I'm not saying you are wrong, I'm playing the keeper of the history until someone with more knowledge find a better precedence. I think it's important to appreciate the history of a mechanics and how it evolve in each implementation.



    UNdertale is innovative, but te oncept of befriending monster wth text was present in shin megami tenssai, the novelty is that undertale transform it in full character vignette that double as story choice instead of a the text selection we usually have. Generally battle and social mechanic are divorce of a game, not in undertale, which is the innovation. Also the way the battle mix abstractly bullet hell with mode shift, while still characterizing character (that toriel moment was amazing) and still offer a non verbal communication and still be part of character vignette was genius. NIer had the bullet hell + (action) rpg, but it wasn't as integrated as this, it was just a battle. Basically undertale is a great example of form integrating function.
     
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  40. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    I just leave it here:
     
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  41. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    Yeah he is creating great art styles, no other games looks like his game, with an original story , this should become a great game.
     
  42. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    Its not necessary to be a different game or transform some classic formula game type and add originality.

    For example i enjoy rpg type, when there is new characters when the game is made with passion and with polish.
    I enjoy a lot action with rpg elements, or rpg like Dragon Age for example.

    I like the formula, i don't want new twists or originality.
    The game just need great story, new theme world, and fun gameplay.
    While some other players will prefer elements like deep crafting and collection system , spending hundred hours in just that part of the game LOL

    Sure you could make some rpg free roam with new twists and some originality.
    For example :
    - combat would become an fps action arena to defeat the enemies
    - combat turn into a tetris duel or shoot them up or music duel
    - rpg would use lot of infiltration gameplay and elements
    - rpg you also manage a shop you sell items you found ( Moonlighter game).
    - rpg with ability to travelk between dimensions or between different time zones
    - rpg your character or team are space ships

    The combinations are infinite, but does that make it a more interesting rpg, for me it's no because i prefer the classic rpg tps action formula.
    Originality changing a game formula can be good or bad, it can please some players while others will not like it.

    For example your tower defense game with some twists, is still a tower defense game, a formula that works and prooven, something lot of players like.
    You can try to change the formula with original things, this does not mean it will be better than a classic tower defense for many players.
     
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  43. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Absolutely agree. I think innovation is always good up to a degree. Like the rpg can innovate a very tiny ways across dozens of elements. Each one may not even stand out or feel different on its own but together they can make it feel somewhat unique.

    But it doesn't need to be huge innovation that redefines or offers new options to the core staples of a genre. Instead innovation to improve the existing things.

    The game / core mechanics level of innovation draws the most attention but it can also backfire. A game can be too different too weird for people to understand or connect with.

    For a typical rpg experience innovation on combat, leveling, travel, npc interaction and inventory management could be great to focus on.

    It doesn't need to be some massive completely redefining change. I think a good way is to focus on whatever is seen as the main weakness in the genre. If a certain aspect of games are boring or monotonous for the majority of gamers innovating here could make a big difference.
     
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  44. sngdan

    sngdan

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    haha guys, you are still debating - great :) time for an executive summary yet?

    anyways, I actually came here to see if I can burn some money on a low-res tower defense?
     
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  45. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    Some rpg actions was real masterpiece, mainly because of theme, characters and story.
    For example Xenogears, FF7 or Xenoblade , those are fantastic rpg, with very unique story and background.

    Shose are old but still today unmatched rpg about the story and characters, while their gameplay have some twists it is not something incredibly original.

    I think some games succeed beeing original when it's well done and when that appeal to players without becoming a mess, while many games does not need to innovate to become master piece when their background, story, characters are above most other same game genre.


    A good story and characters can keep you hooked into the game while you could feel bored about some repetitiveness.
    This was a bit like that when i played Xenoblade, at some point the mechanics felt repetitive, still a bit fun, but the story and characters was pushing me to go further and discover more.


    Indeed some indies won't make such triple A masterpiece characters and story, but they can produce something great or sometimes something bad lol

    It's not the first time i play a 2D rpg game where story is slow, barely interesting, no suprises, character barely noticeable with a very generic personality, i mean it's not easy to produce game background and theme that really stand out from others.
    It's the same for some triple A rpg that are not so great despite triple A overall production LOL

    Yeah, do experimental things and see if that appeals or sell when you like experimental.
    Or make the game a classic game type you like and spice up with some original twists.
     
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  46. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    LOL! We're discussing critical game design & development aspects!!! ;)

    I should be releasing it this coming weekend. You are right though I have burned a lot of time here lately for sure!

    Plan is finish landing page at itch.io and set up at two or three other sites as well. Ideally I would release at one place then tweak landing page til it is doing the best job. Then roll out to another bigger site. But I don't know if I want to get into all of that so I might just release it simultaneously across a few different sites. Then I can just focus on marketing while working on the next game.

    I will probably end up with three projects marketing of this game and design & development of two new games. One another 2D tower defense that builds on this one and the other a 3D ultra low poly shmup exploration game. Something along those lines.
     
  47. sngdan

    sngdan

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    - Good plan to stick with one "game template" and build on it.
    - Do you have analytics in your game to get some insights?
    - Do you consider putting it on GJ?
     
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  48. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Pricing is a big deal... I know for myself I used to think Indie game devs sell stuff way too cheap but I have been seeing many people in past few years or so charging $15 to $20 or even more for their games and they sell well. So that's good the way it should be for a longer game bigger game etc. It makes sense to charge $8 or more for quality games that are bigger and would be most likely a very bad thing to charge say $5.

    The popular larger quality games have proven if a person finds a game interesting charging even $20 for it won't turn people away. Would Stardew Valley and other games have sold more at $5? Possibly but possibly not because many people would be suspicious of such a low price. And even if it did sell twice the number of copies that would still be a huge drop in revenue along with a huge increase in support and quite likely a higher percentage of negative reviews as well as people not really in the target audience may grab it on a whim.

    My aim at least now is to create quality very low cost tiny games. Many (certainly not all) games that sell for less than $5 are very poorly built and/or have nothing that stands out about them as anything beyond bare minimum in game design / gameplay. Yes there are super cheap games using quality art from stores or even outright full asset flips but I mean quality as in well built (i.e. not a bug filled nightmare, controls solidly, etc) and some tiny degree of creativity / innovation. Again... not all in the price range are "poorly made".

    I don't mind and personally enjoy tiny games. But I don't understand people selling games that are super buggy and so forth even at 99 cents. We all have our own views on such things but imo a game filled with bugs isn't ready for release. Some minor bugs that are minor annoyances? Sure that is understandable (although I shoot for 0 known bugs before releasing even free games). But then again AAA seems to release their games habitually filled with bugs ranging from minor to critical and is probably why Indies don't think anything is bad about doing it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  49. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Nothing in the game for analytics. The things I am most interested in seeing are available on the platforms themselves. I know it is very common for people to look over the numbers and try to spot aha 19% of players stopped playing around this certain point in the game and so forth (or at least it is that way for other industries) but that kind of thing is relevant for a larger big budget product not for tiny games I am making. I will certainly look for clues in feedback.

    Yep that is one of the sites it will be released on.

    As you will see when released it is just a tiny solid game and I am very clear about that. In fact there is a section listing who should not buy the game. I only want people to buy the game who understand up front what they are getting. I'd rather have 5 very happy customers than 500 unhappy moaning & groaning customers because I tried to convince people not really interested "come on buy the game it costs such a tiny bit!"
     
  50. sngdan

    sngdan

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    I think at your point you want to build a “fanbase”, so price is not the biggest concern.

    - you want to get the game in as many hands as possible (that’s hard enough with pretty much any price incl free)
    - get a very good understanding of who those players are and how to retain them (analytics, feedback system, Highscore, etc)
    - build a trusted relationship (
    Communication, fair pricing, service / bug fixing, etc)

    Pricing: possibly pay as you like, free demo, or unlock after time/level limit at this stage
     
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