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Comment Dejobaan's Guarantee to Yoooooooou! (Score 5, Informative) 121

Sooooooo! So. We're Dejobaan Games, a small indie (redundant?) studio responsible for a game called AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! -- A Reckless Disregard for Gravity. If you've used OnLive, you've probably seen the damned thing listed at the top of their games selection because they sort alphabetically. Our next game will probably be called something annoying like !!!00000LoL and be even higher on the list.

I digress.

I like OnLive; I like the guys I've met that work for OnLive; I'm also the Hair Club President. I want them to succeed, because the more ways for folks to get games, the better. Here's our guarantee: If you pick Aaaaa! up on OnLive, and they stop carrying our game in 3 years, we'll give you an offline copy. I'm not sure if folks are having tech issues, but honestly, the licensing issue is really easy for us to fix. :)

Comment Diminish Piracy via Online Content (Score 3, Insightful) 1027

I'm an indie developer, and I see our games pirated all over the place despite their being available for roughly the price of a fast food value meal. It feels sorta sucky to be pirated, and while I can't prove it, I suspect that my studio would gain at least little more money if people didn't pirate it.

That said, I don't forsee us ever taking draconian DRM measures to prevent people from playing our games. Piracy will change the way we design them, but I think what will end up happening is that we start creating games that make use of online content. Some examples:

* Level of the Day -- Log in and download your free level right here.
* Matchmaking/Leaderboards -- Pick up the game, and you'll have an account to taunt other people with your mad skills.
* Server-Side Content/Collaboration -- Co-build a level with a friend, online, and make that available to everyone else.

My thought is to offer additional, online-only content that gameplay into having an account. Sure, you can probably still pirate the game, but by picking up a legitimate copy, you have access to all this other neat stuff.

Comment Four ways to turn your concept into a video game: (Score 5, Informative) 351

Four ways to turn your concept into a video game:

4. Create a polished game and approach (or be approached by) an established studio. Also known as the Portal approach. Also the flOw approach. "Sony Computer Entertainment approached some future members of thatgamecompany after seeing Cloud and asked them to form a company and signed them on to make three downloadable games for the PlayStation 3. Cloud ended up being a game that wouldn't be possible for a company as small as thatgamecompany to make, so they made flOw instead. thatgamecompany was created on May 15th, 2006."

3. Work your way up in one or more established studios towards the role of game designer. The American McGee approach. "McGee began his career at id Software. He worked on such games as DOOM, Doom II, Quake, and Quake II in the areas of level design, music production, sound effects development, and program coding. In 1998, he moved to Electronic Arts, where he worked as a consultant on many projects and also created his own game, American McGee's Alice." Mind you, that can be the long route, assuming you're even successful.

2. Work with an independent group of hobbyists and promise to split the profits once you make money. This is difficult to pull off, because contributors lose interest when things become difficult. This is enough of a problem that I'd rather have one paid contractor with modest abilities than a dozen unpaid contributors with spectacular abilities. Blech.

1. Establish your own company and finance development as a third party. Many small developers bootstrap with smaller projects in niche or new markets, eventually working their way up towards larger ones. The iPhone is potentially an awesome way to get your title out there. Start by developing a finished game that's small in scope, and demonstrates the very core concepts of your idea. Rinse. Repeat.

My favorite is, of course, to take #1 and run with it. Tighten your belt, and pay a contractor with good references to help you bring your idea to light on the platform where the competition is still pretty weak, and the barrier to entry is low. That was the Palm Pilot during late '90s, and is probably something like WiiWare or the iPhone now.

Good luck!
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Independent Games Review Panel [March Edition]

cyrus_zuo writes: "How creative with the game rating scale should you get with a game that acts like a virus? If a dog and rabbit-like creature were trying to kill the President should you stop them? Is becoming President in an election-sim game really "winning?" What happens to lost puzzle pieces when they fall from the sky? Is combining snowmobiles and Poker really a good idea for a game? If you had burning fruit trailing behind you, what should you do? All these questions and more are answered* in Game Tunnel's Independent Games Review Panel [March Edition] "

Submission + - I want to make good games.

Evan Hissey writes: "I'm a student at a high school in Indiana and I want to be the best I can be at making games. My question is: what are the best programming languages to make games? I know some Visual Basic and C++, but not a whole lot. I've tried to search around the web for what could be useful and I just find colleges that have programs for game design. Can anyone give me some tips?"
Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Running the gauntlet - NetHack vs. Angband

Treebeard writes: NetHack and Angband are both roguelikes, but fans of one game tend to hate the playing the other. To find out why, The Icon Bar set two veterans playing eachother's game. The conclusion? "Much like religion, the version you are taught first is the one you believe to be good and true and proper. The alternatives just don't cut it. You can relate to the core themes, but the differences in rules and implementations simply repel; the problem with NetHack is that it isn't Angband, and vice versa. There's no solution to that, other than having a very open mind. Or a wand of polymorph."

Submission + - PS3s Hit Best Buy Shelves, Stay There

Doomstalk writes: For the past few weeks, the standing orders at Best Buy were to hold all of their PlayStation 3 stock in preparation for their New Year's Eve sale. Yesterday, these stockpiles were released onto store shelves en masse. How did they sell? Surprisingly poorly. Reports have been steadily trickling in to Kotaku of piles of PlayStation 3s found sitting around in Best Buys untouched, or barely touched. Is this an isolated incident, or has demand for Sony's console already reached a near standstill?

Game Tunnel's Indie Games of the Year 2006 64

cyrus_zuo writes "Creating off-beat, original, and carefully crafted games is the heritage of Independent Game developers, and the Top 10 Independent Games of 2006 does its ancestry proud. Each of the 10 games selected this year is a winner in its own right, an undiscovered gem just waiting to be found. So dim the lights and warm up your modem, as Game Tunnel presents The Top 10 Independent Games of 2006." The annual Independent Games Festival will also be giving a nod to indie games from 2006, and via features you can have a look behind the scenes at some of Game Tunnel's winners. Check out the entries on Kudos , Gumboy Crazy Adventures , and Virtual Villagers .

2007 IGF Finalists Announced 25

Gamasutra has the listing of the finalists for the 2007 Independent Games Festival. The 9th year of the event saw a strong turnout for contenders, with 141 entries into the field. From the article: "Nominations are led by Bit Blot's dreamlike, innovatively controlled 2D underwater adventure title Aquaria , which garnered 4 nominations, including one for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. According to a statement: 'Other Grand Prize nominees included Queasy Games' cleverly designed abstract shoot-em-up, Everyday Shooter , which grabbed 3 nominations in total — nominees for the top prize were rounded out by Peter Stock's intelligently complex physics puzzle game Armadillo Run /a>, Three Rings' Wild West indie strategy MMO Bang! Howdy , and Naked Sky's Xbox Live Arcade action-puzzler RoboBlitz ." In the interests of full disclosure, I was a judge for the first round of voting this year.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Go Nuclear for Christmas

Tal Garfinkel writes: "Ever wonder what's at the intersection of christmas cheer and global thermonuclear war? Well, wonder no more. Some friends in the Graphics Group at Stanford mod'ed the indy game DEFCON that simulates global nuclear war ala Wargames to allow players to assume the role of Santa Clause, and battle for supremacy in delivering presents to children around the world. Sound kind of twisted? It is! Luckily you can experience it for yourself by grabbing the mod and reading about how it was done here or checking out the video on YouTube. Ho ho ho.."

Submission + - Slamdance Gamemaker Finalists Announced!

SlamSam writes: "Slamdance, an organization always looking to foster new and innovative ways to assist emerging artists and writers, has established the Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition. This contest is a natural extension of Slamdance's stated mission to nurture, support and showcase truly independent works and will be held concurrently with the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, January 18-27, 2007.

        A gaming competition at a film festival? It makes more sense than a first glance might indicate. Gaming is one of — if not the — fastest-growing components of the entertainment industry. Like filmmaking, game design is a means of visual storytelling, and the similarities between the two media far outweigh the disparities. Like a film director working on-set, today's gamemakers assumes a leadership role in the outcome of the game, guiding plot points and character interaction, integrating art and technology with game design. Recognizing that the space between film and gaming was becoming increasingly smaller, and seeing a niche for it within their festival, Slamdance developed the Game Competition to help aspiring game developers display their work.

"Video games today are as important and influential as movies have ever been," said Peter Baxter, the President and Co-Founder of Slamdance, who is a filmmaker as well. "The type and standard of creativity we are seeing at Slamdance Games is akin to the trail blazing days of independent filmmaking, a time that artists reacted with more imagination and against the generic fare of the movie studio."

Game Design is a quickly growing field. Every year, more universities offer game design programs for graduates and undergraduates, more design theory is published, and more pointed critiques are leveled at games released into the market. With the next generation of consoles having built in digital distribution systems, the advent of independent game portals like Manifesto Games, and the growth of digital distribution technology, the independent game designer has more opportunities and methods to reach the marketplace. The Guerilla Gamemaker Competition is a competition for these game designers — it is focused on creative professionals who design and create entertainment experiences. These games will screen in competition as part of the Slamdance Film Festival, just as Slamdance films do.

For the 2007 Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition, 14 independently designed video game finalists have been selected. Designed by artists, students and programmers from around the world, these games cover a wide variety of genres, from documentary to platform puzzler:

Base Invaders by Seven Sigma/Matt Miner. USA.
        Base Invaders is a cartoony action-oriented strategy game that pits the crafty, trap-utilizing player against hordes of dim-witted invaders bent on destroying his Tower. Players grab and toss invaders, utilize over a dozen physics-based traps, and complete missions while fighting a colorful cast of aggressive invaders.

The Blob by Banana Games/Jasper Koning. The Netherlands.
        The Blob is a ball of paint. He absorbs colors and uses these to color the Dutch city of Utrecht. This involves rolling around, absorbing paint characters and solving small puzzles. While rolling around, the player sees what the station area of Utrecht will look like after it has been rebuilt during the coming ten years.

Book and Volume by Nick Monfort. USA.
        In Book and Volume, a system administrator wakes to mission-critical action items. This interactive fiction's innovative, elegant user interface consists almost entirely of the English language — plus a few made-up words. Book and Volume invites both grizzled text adventurers and the uninitiated to explore the information-age factory town nTopia, figuring out the nWare corporation's thickening plot.

Braid by Number None/Jonathan Blow. USA.
        A platformer where the player manipulates the flow of time. This is a one person game with contract artists where gameplay is a metaphor.

Castle Crashers by The Behemoth/John Baez. USA.
        Players hack, smash and slash their way to victory as one of four knights on a quest to recover a lost idol for your king! Castle Crashers is being released on Xbox 360 Live Arcade.

Cultivation by Jason Rohrer. USA.
        Cultivation explores the social interactions within a gardening community. A player leads one family of gardeners, starting with a single individual, and wise choices can keep your genetic line from extinction. While breeding plants, eating, and mating, your actions impact your neighbors, and the social balance sways between conflict and compromise.

Everyday Shooter by Queasy Games/Jonathan Mak. USA.
        Everyday Shooter is an album of games exploring the expressive power of abstract shooters. Dissolute sounds of destruction are replaced with guitar riffs harmonizing over an all-guitar soundtrack, while modulating shapes celebrate the flowing beauty of geometry.

flOw by flow/Jenova Chen. USA.
        This is a student game about piloting an aquatic organism through a surreal biosphere where players consume other organisms, evolve, and advance their organisms to the abyss.

Once Upon a Time by Waking Games Inc./Justin Meagher. Canada.
        A vicious Wolf, a greasy Prince and a wicked Queen are hunting for the same Princess, but she's not going quietly. Hone your character's unique skills and join up to three friends online in heated competition as you play as either one of the three villainous characters battling for your prize or the Princess herself, using her spells to foil their plans and escape.

Plasma Pong by Steve Taylor. USA.
        Plasma Pong is a variation of Pong that utilizes fluid dynamics to drive the game environment. In the game, you can inject fluid into the environment, create a vacuum from your paddle and blast shockwaves into the playing area. All these abilities have fluid-based kinetic effects on the ball, making Plasma Pong a fast-paced and exciting game.

Steam Brigade by Pedestrian Entertainment/Ryan Thom. USA.
        Travel back to an alternate history where graceful airships rule the skies and steam-powered tanks wage war on the ground. Build an army, capture bunkers, defeat turrets and use your airship to carry your troops behind enemy lines. Steam Brigade is a unique blend of addictive gameplay, beautiful artwork, and quirky storytelling, really satisfies!

Super Columbine Massacre RPG! by Danny Ledonne. USA.
        This game delves into the morning of April 20th, 1999 and asks players to relive that day through the eyes of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, those responsible for the deadliest school shooting in American history. Using a basic role-playing game (RPG) interface, this game explores the thoughts and actions of two teens bent on blowing it all up.

Toblo by Toblo/Steve Chiavelli. USA.
        Toblo is a fast-paced capture-the-flag game set in an entirely destructible world made of blocks.

Toribash by Toribash/Hampus Soderstrom. Singapore.
        Toribash is a turn-based fighting game. Create your own martial arts movies in single player mode, or join the competition in the multiplayer modes."
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Game Tunnel celebrates its fourth anniversary

cyrus_zuo writes: "This week Game Tunnel celebrated four years of asking the gaming public to think independently. Over the last four years Game Tunnel has continued to steer away from the herds of mainstream gaming by covering innovative and original games that few have heard about. Created for those who would like to play something a bit different than yet another FPS, Game Tunnel stands up for variety in games, for unique and niche, for retro and modern. From games that you can immediately classify into a category to those that you aren't sure you can classify as a game, Game Tunnel is happy to celebrate four years of reviewing great Independent Games. The article has a gallery of the website's visual progression through the years and a short personal tale of how it started."
Classic Games (Games)

Submission + - Parallax introduces the Hyrda Game Development Kit

Sellam Ismail writes: "Parallax has just released the HYDRA, a game development system based on the Parallax Propellor chip, an 8-core microcontroller developed by Parallax. The HYDRA was designed by Andre' LaMothe of Nurve Networks, well known for the XGameStation video game kit. The kit comes with a CD full of sample games, demos, source code, development tools, etc. It even includes HYDRA Tiny BASIC, based on the original Tiny BASIC by Tom Pittman published in Dr. Dobb's Journal in 1975 (then known as "Dr. Dobb's Journal of Computer Calisthenics and Orthodontia"). This kit was designed with the retro-gamer or vintage computerist in mind. With its built-in BASIC, you can re-live the glory days of your youth writing cool games in BASIC on your Atari, Apple or Commodore. Or introduce your little ones to the joys of old-school hacking."

Submission + - Wireless Wii "Sensor Bar"

Cryolithic writes: The Homemade Wireless Wii Sensor Bar!
From the site:
From the moment I picked up my Nintendo Wii last Sunday morning, I've been very curious about the design and functionality of the Wiimote and its sensor bar. Of course, I'm not the only one. Through a few links on sites like digg, it has come to other people's attention that the Wii sensor bar both only consists of IR LEDs and also sends no signal between the Wii and the bar... only power.

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