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Not "Indie" enough? (Forums : General Banter : Not "Indie" enough?) Locked
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Jan 15 2013, 10:11pm Anchor

I've had my doubts about posting this, but it is something that has been on my mind for weeks now and wanted some opinions.

To cut a long story short, after my current project, I plan to start a major project, taking 3-5 years or more, and significant financial outlay for sound, assuming I get far enough. My concern is that it might be all for nothing as I'm worried my games might not be "indie enough" for people to care.

While I have many ideas for different games in different genres, including management, action/adventure, RTS and horror, I'm going to use the FPS game as an example as we all know FPS games.

Being a mostly 1 man project, it's obviously not going to have the polish or graphics of a AAA game, and won't have features like multiplayer deathmatch or 4 player co-op. So the mainstream crowd is out of the question. That isn't the problem.

The problem is the setting for this game would be 80s sci-fi anime and cyberpunk fiction. It won't be trying to force feed the player some message and won't be full of pretentious nonsense in an attempt to look "deep", "meaningful" or "artsy". You wear a powersuit and fire a gun in a dystopian future that looks like paradise. Much like the way I won't add multiplayer deathmatch to fit some mass market demographic, I likewise won't compromise the story and setting for some artsy hipster demographic.

Don't mis-understand, I'm not trying to appeal to some mass audience or get indie famous or anything like that. As I said, in this example, I won't budge on certain aspects that could possibly get the cash and accolades piling in. But in a world where big budget FPS games like Syndicate (which I think is amazing) can fail, what chance does a niche FPS made in a guys bedroom have? There is a difference between making a little game in a few months with some friends for funsies, and pouring a large chunk of my life and savings into a magnum opus that will be brushed aside as "anime crap" or "just another FPS".

And again, to clarify, similar concerns hold true for the other games I want to make. Not up to AAA standard, to far from the "high art" indie ideal to be noticed.

Jan 15 2013, 10:35pm Anchor

i think you should just create your vision and let people judge it as it is

Jan 16 2013, 2:14am Anchor

Hi SabreXT,

I can understand your concerns about this. I think it doesn't depend on whether it's Indie enough or not. There are good and really bad high budget or indie games out there. I think the question is: Are there people who want to play this kind of game. I think I won't because I am not into anime. I don't even like FPS. But then there are games like Far Cry 3 or Chivalry or several Doom ports I lust for :D Maybe your game has something special that will change my mind. Maybe the setting is awesome so I wouldn't mind the anime style?! Who knows, I sure don't :/

I think the best way would be throwing out a teaser demo or trailer, when the first parts of your game are finished to see how the gamers react to your idea.
Delivering screens and stuff. If people seem not interested you can stop developing your game or change the direction. At least you wouldn't spend 3-5 years in vain. You maybe loose 1 year, depends on your developing progress. 

Just my two cent

Regards,

mimameidr

Jan 16 2013, 3:34am Anchor

The beauty of being an indie developer is that you can experiment and make games that you want to make, rest of the world be damned.

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Jan 16 2013, 5:39pm Anchor

I have the same worries and some others. Am I going to get it done? If I get it done, will people buy it, will people even care to try the free demo, or if the whole game was free? So far there hasn't been much interest into it, only a few people say anything about it.

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Cryrid
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Jan 16 2013, 6:05pm Anchor

Focus on making games for people who like playing games, and not snobby hipsters.

Jan 16 2013, 6:25pm Anchor

I think there's definitely room for a successful independent game that doesn't try to be "indie" (in fact I'm counting on it.) In some places, like the Independent Games Festival, you do seem to get a lot more attention if your game is artsy and has non-traditional gameplay, but there are quite a lot of successful indie games that appeal more to subsets of the mainstream or hardcore gamer demographic. I feel the same way with the game I'm making, it isn't going to please the art critics and it won't have the multiplayer that would be expected of a AAA title, so I'm focusing on solid gameplay and singleplayer missions and generally the things that I actually can accomplish as a single developer.

For FPS games, I'd look at the earlier Serious Sam games; they were indie games, but they offered a fun mission based FPS in a style that wasn't available from big name developers. They were similar enough to existing (especially older) FPS games that they tapped into the existing player base, but had a unique setting and were different enough to stand out from the crowd of other FPS.

Jan 17 2013, 11:05pm Anchor

I think it's best to carry over the sentiment of both members of Team Meat.

Make a game because you need to, want to and love to. Make your game to be the best you can make it.
A game isn't going to kick ass and sell because it aims at a certain market, it kicks ass because it has tight controls, great gameplay and/or a good storyline.  There are obviously a few things you'll need down the line, like marketing and distribution, but it all comes down to your end-game. Indie game hipsters are obviously biased and if they're going to let a less-indie/artsy look ruin their gaming experience, then good riddance!

Best of luck to you mate, you'll do great as long as your work is great!

Jan 17 2013, 11:33pm Anchor

Like everyone else has said, make your game because you want to. Also if you need another person to help out on your project I could be some help though it depends on what.

Jan 18 2013, 12:23am Anchor

You had me at "80s sci-fi anime and cyberpunk fiction" =D  So that's at least one customer.

Jan 18 2013, 4:34am Anchor
mimameidr wrote:Maybe your game has something special that will change my mind.

I doubt it. This is me we are talking about, so don't expect much. :P

mimameidr wrote:I think the best way would be throwing out a teaser demo or trailer, when the first parts of your game are finished to see how the gamers react to your idea.
Delivering screens and stuff. If people seem not interested you can stop developing your game or change the direction. At least you wouldn't spend 3-5 years in vain. You maybe loose 1 year, depends on your developing progress.

That sound reasonable. Usually games don't seem to be playable until close to the end. Still, it might be worth making a single map demo of sorts, with only a couple of weapons and features, see how that goes.

Cryrid wrote:Focus on making games for people who like playing games, and not snobby hipsters.

I am, or more specifically, I won't cripple the game in order to appeal to some demographic, mainstream or hipster. The thing I'm asking is if that will mean the game would be buried.

To give some examples. Legend of Grimrock and Zombie Driver are good games, but you never see them winning the IGF. Grimrock sold well, but it was tapping into late 80s, early 90s nostalgia. Likewise, Syndicate was a commercial failure. Yes, it had bloated development costs and the PC version was hampered by requiring Origin. It was still a great game that broke away from modern army games, but it failed despite a massive budget and a developer experienced at making FPS games.

Archendrus wrote:You had me at "80s sci-fi anime and cyberpunk fiction" =D  So that's at least one customer.

Heh. Thanks.

Jan 18 2013, 11:26am Anchor

At the end of the day, a good game is a good game. Yes, that sounds obvious, but people won't sit there and say "UGH, THIS GUY ISN'T AN ED MCMILLEN, HE MUST BE TRASH" or "THIS GAME ISN'T AAA, IT MUST BE TRASH."  If you spend hours and hours (and you're saying YEARS) on a game, you just have to make sure you test, test, and test. It doesn't matter who made it, or why they made it, a good game will shine. If you liked Syndicate, I'm sure other people did too, but every game will be disliked by someone, at some time or another. I think Ocarina of Time is fantastic, but there are many people who hate it. 

You can't be held back by what you think OTHER people want. You have to focus on what YOU want. I mean, sure you still need to playtest. Playtesting is important, you have to see how other people react to your game, and what they think about it. But your game will only be it's best if you make it the kind of game that YOU want to play.

Jan 19 2013, 10:05pm Anchor

It's easy to ruin a great concept, and it's easy to polish a turd. I like to think there really isn't a thing as indie. The bad part is where you assume FPS is the typical genre and cookie cutter multiplayer elements are the typical grabs. I say when you go gold, you're mainstream.

Jan 20 2013, 3:15am Anchor
ybom wrote:It's easy to ruin a great concept, and it's easy to polish a turd. I like to think there really isn't a thing as indie. The bad part is where you assume FPS is the typical genre and cookie cutter multiplayer elements are the typical grabs. I say when you go gold, you're mainstream.

FPS is a typical genre. Let's be honest, how many people outside of horror fans know the typical way a horror game works? Not many, often assuming limited ammo is what makes a game scary, instead of it being a means to an end. I know a guy who doesn't play RTS because he doesn't understand it. Even people who don't play FPS know the cliches. So it serves as the best example to explain how I plan on doing things a little differently.

As for multiplayer being a "grab" as you call it. (I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but I assume you mean it's added to appeal to the mainstream demographic?) that is kind of the truth. Bioshock, Mass Effect and Spec Ops all blinked at the last minute and caved to pressure to include multiplayer deathmatch and were worse off because of it.

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