Andrew@GTxA promises to write more about the controversy surrounding the Independent Games Festival last week.
While the concept of /independent games/ seems relatively straightforward, I’m having a hard time finding something to compare it to. Independent games aren’t independent in the way that independent film is independent — at least in terms of subject matter and audience. Independent film is free to deal with less popular subjects, like, say, drug addiction, while “mainstream” cinema brings us Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.
A small handful of exceptions aside, there’s no distinction to be made in regards to subject matter or audience in the computer games industry. Here’s a mainstream FPS, here’s an independent FPS. Here’s a mainstream puzzle game, here’s an independent puzzle game, same subject, same audience. What, exactly, is “independent” about the independent sector of the mushrooming computer games industry?
Michael posted a link to the Grow Flash game. [grandtextauto.org: Grow]
It is an interesting game that essentially boils down to a logic puzzle. You have twelve elements that need to be selected in the correct order, though there are certain incorrect subsequences that produce interesting results.
Detailed spoilers inside.
I’ve been thinking about RTS games recently, in part as the idiom of choice for my next rules essay. Although I haven’t played any of the latest generation of RTS games (the ones which require a monster system with a 3D video card, i.e. the ones that won’t run on my 4 year old laptop) I get the sense that they’re still the same beast, half resource management, half balance between offensive and defensive strategy.
One of the shortcomings of the genre is the shallowness of the [in-game] production infrastructure. The construction of units is simply a matter of consuming resources. Some games incorporate some kind of maintenance cost, some small amount of resource consumption per time unit or an overall limit on the number of active units. But changes to the battlefield don’t really have any effect on active units — if, in Starcraft, the enemy destroys my barracks, I don’t lose any active marines, I only lose the ability to produce more marines.
I slotted an old Zip disk the other day and discovered a cache of lost VRML files. I don’t feel like going through and thumbnailing them right now, but people are free to browse through them here.
On a sad note, I got my rejections from the SIGGRAPH art gallery today. Of course, the rejection of my work is not necessarily a reflection on the quality of my work, a fact I was reminded of three times.