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November Indie Game Round-Up

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the digging-for-treasure dept.

PC Games (Games) 39

cyrus_zuo writes with this month's round-up of independent game reviews. Leading the pack is World of Goo, a popular puzzle game in which you build structures to get blobs of goo from one place to another. "WoG could have zero personality and still be a good game, but on top of the tremendous technical execution, you are presented with a quirky and odd world that teems with character. WoG has a style all its own and the flair and dynamics of the world just add to the pleasure of losing time with the game." Also scoring high were action RPG Mount & Blade and the third release in the Strong Bad series.

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Strong Bad is Indie? (3, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25896705)

I'm not really sure why Strong Bad is referred to as "Indie". Telltale Games is the new kid on the block, but they are a fully staffed and funded studio. Not really the type of company you would think of as small-time "Indie" developers. Given the fact that they made their name by continuing a popular LucasArts franchise (Sam & Max), I'm even less inclined to think of them as independent.

Or is "Indie" destined to be the shareware company of tomorrow? (Anyone remember when Apogee and Epic were the small guys?)

the new Indie (2, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25896855)

I think that these days you'll find 'Indie' means 'not controlled by one of the big games companies'.

This could easily include small, multi-employee, well funded companies.

Besides, the days of one or two people with next to no money producing a commercially viable game are pretty much gone.

Re:the new Indie (3, Insightful)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25896947)

Besides, the days of one or two people with next to no money producing a commercially viable game are pretty much gone.

This argument may be of some merit in the PC gaming scene, but is somewhat ignorant of the emerging game market: cellphones. In this end of the gaming spectrum it is hard for me to even imagine more than a small handful of people working on a title. There's the guy who had the original idea, a few programmers, and a graphic designer if you feel the need. Yet with so few resources, it will be done in a month. Two people working on games on the scale of Crysis, WoW, etc? Yeah, forget about it. But two buddies can still team up in this modern world and make a buck having some fun.

Get It Now (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900649)

This argument may be of some merit in the PC gaming scene, but is somewhat ignorant of the emerging game market: cellphones.

But how does a small game developer manage to negotiate its product into each network operator's catalog?

Re:Get It Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25902071)

Who cares? Outside the US, most of us aren't locked into buying software from our network operator.

I could buy a cheap, hosted web store, complete with CC processing for under $100 a year, and write a backend to email/text-message out a one-time download link when the transaction is complete in a day or so.

That would easily serve the european market, and cut out the middleman of Verizon et al.

Yes, I have looked into it and plan to do just this next year.

Localization (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905559)

Who cares? Outside the US

Slashdot is inside the US. Its parent company is headquartered in California [sourceforge.com] , and Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda runs the site from an office in Michigan [wikipedia.org] .

That would easily serve the european market

I speak English and a little Spanish, but my Spanish would probably look like Engrish to Spaniards. Are networks in Ireland and the United Kingdom as unrestricted as you claim those on the continent are?

Re:Localization (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905967)

Being inside the US doesn't mean you must nullify any reference to the world outside. He was talking about releasing mobile phone games to the world - here comes the cluestick - which you can do from inside the good ol' US of A as well. You should try comprehending a sentence in its entirety next time.

Releasing a product for Europe generally requires English, Spanish, French and German translations, the rest of the population can speak at least one of those four. Usually English alone is fine, especially for a game with little text. The cost of translation for the typical amount of text in a mobile phone game would be trivial anyway. Just don't use Babelfish.

Re:Localization (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25906487)

He was talking about releasing mobile phone games to the world - here comes the cluestick - which you can do from inside the good ol' US of A as well.

I knew that. But then I'd have to bring native speakers of Spanish, French, and German onto my team unless I want to restrict the market to Ireland and the UK, and I have no idea how much money that would involve.

Re:the new Indie (3, Interesting)

bazald (886779) | more than 5 years ago | (#25897075)

Independent game development studios are not part of company that publishes games. Since they must go to a publisher to sell their games, they are considered to be independent. Independent game development studios are a subset of third party game development studios.

Indie game development studios are small groups that are often poorly funded if they are funded at all. They generally try to make small games that garner attention by being different in a way that seems novel and interesting. Unlike regular independ game development studios, they rarely attempt to make AAA titles. Still, they are a subset of independent game development studios.

The days of one or two people with next to no money attempting to produce a commercially viable game are still very much alive. Some of them are even successful.

http://db.tigsource.com/top [tigsource.com]
http://www.igf.com/02finalists.html [igf.com]

Re:the new Indie (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25897727)

Besides, the days of one or two people with next to no money producing a commercially viable game are pretty much gone.

Obviously not entirely. See: World of Goo. Also, even though it's not at all indie, MegaMan 9.

WiiWare, XBox Live Arcade, and PS Network are perfect places to showcase true indie games. Rather than dying, it's more apt to say the face of indie games is changing. In fact, with the advent of these online services, it's become even easier for a low-budget studio to release a console game.

Re:the new Indie (2, Interesting)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25898803)

the days of one or two people with next to no money producing a commercially viable game are pretty much gone.

Actually that's pretty much the story behind Mount & Blade, one of the featured games.

Re:the new Indie (2, Informative)

Jangchub (1139089) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902217)

Another reader already pointed out but I would like to expand upon the story of Mount&Blade's development. Basically, there is only one developer, Armagan (sp?), and a small number of people who are responsible for the art and other aspects. I've been with, as a gamer, not dev., M&B since mid Beta (They had an interesting system that allowed users to buy the game at a discount during beta with full future support; the price scaled to retail as the game came closer to release) and have to say Armagan did a great job. The reviews are basically spot on if you average them out; An insanely addictive battle system (better than any other mount-based system is word on the street) with an overall undeveloped and flaky beta-feel to other aspects of the game. A Sandbox game. Don't come looking for KOTOR-like story. If you call yourself a gamer you need to DL a copy; it's free with a level cap of 7 and I would bet 3/5 people who hit seven will buy the retail. And you would be supporting a real mom and pop indie house. There is a great forum community and large mod movement, so modders will likely fill in the gameplay gaps. Oh yeah and Dwarf Fortress, if you haven't gotten the memo.

Re:Strong Bad is Indie? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25897629)

I honestly have no idea and don't really care, unless you're allergic to being mainstream. What they do have is very fun, fairly cheap and Linux friendly games. Strong Bad season 1 requires the native DirectX installed, Sam&Max season 1 works out of the box, 2x01 requires an update and entire season 2 needs Windows version set to Vista but they all work flawlessly. To put it quite simply, if my WINE experience was this good with all games I wouldn't need native games. They're not exactly grand epics but I've had a lot of laughs from some of the situtations/dialog.

Re:Strong Bad is Indie? (1)

DeskLazer (699263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25901449)

clever dialogue from a bipedal dog and a hyper spazzy rabbity thing?

Re:Strong Bad is Indie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25909175)

Indie means INDEPENDANT from a publisher. It does not mean any of the following:
- Amateur
- Unskilled
- Inexperienced
- Unfunded
- Understaffed
- etc

Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (4, Insightful)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25896743)

I will come back later when you have the user interface all figured out. I can't use it like it is.

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25896745)

You just did.

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25896797)

He didn't use it. He managed to get somewhere where he could post how bad it is. Not the same thing. Think more, post less.

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25906069)

I'd like to see how he posted a comment without using the interface.

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25896811)

Click here [slashdot.org] to fix the front page. (If you've been tricked into using that God-awful "beta" front page.) I haven't found a solution for the user page yet. Which is driving me up a *bleep*ing wall. I don't even understand what the new user page is trying to show me or why.

Yes, that's the last comment I posted. I already know that. How about something useful like, I dunno, the list of comments? Nope. Gotta click the right tab for that. Even that interface has been borked.

Please, Taco! Don't make changes just to make changes! The old site worked. Rather than make it work better, you're slowly making things worse and worse. With the forced addition of IDLE, you're even making it embarrassing to come here! (Don't forget to shut IDLE off in your preferences. That's the only category I have ever explicitly banned from the front page view. )

Please stop before Slashdot becomes completely unusable!

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 5 years ago | (#25896959)

It seems that one of these changes also broke the RSS feed of friend's journals.

I had to remember the /my/amigos URL to eventually find a way to access all the journals complaining about the change.

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25897313)

Click here to fix the front page.

Wow, thank you very much! Much better.

They should make a new version of Slashdot that looks like that! :)

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25897879)

Alas, I have no mod points. If anyone can actually make it through the clusterfuck to see this post, mod it up.

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899337)

How about something useful like, I dunno, the list of comments? Nope. Gotta click the right tab for that. Even that interface has been borked.

For example, the page is unusable at horizontal resolutions less than about 1000px. The floating boxes on the right will overlap the main page content making it inaccessible.

And can someone explain why every third story I go to has a smaller text size than the rest of the site?

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900567)

Please stop before Slashdot becomes completely unusable!

And the tags, holy crap.

Before they weren't that bad.

Now, they look horrible and have a javascript program that takes a long time to run to do... something to the tags.

I can't even turn the tags off. They suck now, use a ton of CPU, lock up my browser, and aren't any more useful than the old tags.

And that isn't even getting into the stupid "story" tag.

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#25902449)

THANK YOU SO MUCH. God, the front page was horrible. None of the extra shit made any sense or seemed to serve any purpose.

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (1)

Repton (60818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904825)

Oh, wow. I hadn't looked at my user page in ages.

I notice if you go to the games user page (i.e. click on your username at the top-left of this page), the tab links are in games.slashdot-purple on a green background. Yeah, purple on dark green -- awesome colourscheme.

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25916647)

Thanks for letting me know I wasn't losing my mind. I spend a good chunk of time yesterday trying to figure out what I had done to bugger up my user page and how to fix it. I thought it was because - in what I can only assume was a moment of temporary insanity - I had posted a comment to the Idle section. A Google search turned up your comment in this thread.

I agree with your take on the recent changes to the site. Here [slashdot.org] is a comment I posted to Taco's journal about the new metamod system. I'm still not sure how it is supposed to work, and as a result I haven't done it much since the new system went in to effect.

I appreciated the fact that Taco and Jamie both took the time to respond to my questions, but I'm still not 100 percent clear on how it works and what I am supposed to do. And it drives me crazy that they don't post a story to the front page, or update the FAQ, to let us know what changes they're making and why.

I guess they can make whatever changes they like to their site, but I think they are running the risk of alienating long time users for no good reason that I can see. Why put random summaries of stories from last month on my user page? I didn't even post comments to those stories; why are they on my user page? Same with the "Tags" block that now takes up space on the right-hand column. I never use tags, and the ones they're showing me have no relevance that I can see. They just seem to have been randomly selected and displayed. Clicking one of them brings up the headline of a summary from a months-old story that I did not post a comment to.

As you said, I wish they would stop messing with the site. Put the effort in to copy editing the summaries before posting them to the front page instead.

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25896837)

Amen

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25896885)

I agree. Where have all the summaries gone?

Now people will start commenting without even RTFS(ummary)! Hell, I don't even know to what story I'm posting this comment.

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25896897)

Mod parent up. If this is the new look for Slashdot front page, expect readership to drop 90%.

Re:Dear gods, what's happened to our Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25897303)

They're running this site into the ground with the constant reckless changes.

Dear god, fix the frontpage (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25896763)

seriously

Re:Dear god, fix the frontpage (4, Insightful)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 5 years ago | (#25896881)

Please!
If I wanted to see just the headline and the number of comments, I would be on Fark.

WoG (1)

samsonov (581161) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899835)

I'd like to see this on more than just PC/Mac/Wii... (PS3 maybe?)

Re:WoG (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904053)

It's point and click, other systems don't really use an interface like that.

Mount & Blade? (1)

Archwyrm (670653) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904953)

As this entire article seems to have been hijacked by complaining about the interface, I thought I would comment on a game that I have been enjoying for a couple years now, Mount & Blade. Now while it was only recently 'released', it has been in a perpetual open beta for maybe up to three years now. So I have seen it come a long way. As (most of) the reviewers in TFA point out, the game really shines in the combat and it has been this way since nearly the beginning. Only a few things like AI and the addition and improvement of the few tactical commands available (for maneuvering your army) have changed. Thus the game has long been the closest gaming experience to participating in a massive medieval battle fighting for your life.

Now I did not read any of the reviews, but I am quite perplexed by some of the things that the reviewers had to complain about. No, this game is not perfect, but somehow the reviewers and I see totally different imperfections. First of all, two of them complained about the combat system and how some kind of "lock on" feature would make the system better. What is the matter with you people? Would you like some auto-aim with your dumbed-downness (a fine neologism). Seriously, if you have ever played any FPSes you will have no trouble with this game.

Secondly, another reoccurring complaint about the game was the lack of a main story or any kind of instruction after the tutorial. Well, you start out on the world map and I figure it is not too hard to discover that clicking on said map will move your party to the location of that click. There are a whole bunch of city-looking structures on this map with names on them, perhaps clicking on one of those would take you somewhere interesting? Then once in a town it is pretty much standard RPG-fare to talk to everyone that you encounter. Now honestly, the townspeople and vendors don't have anything interesting to say, however talk to the right characters and pretty soon you have a quest. Rinse and repeat.

Now while the game plays as an open ended RPG and you can pretty well do whatever you like in the game, there really is only one worthwhile goal and that is to amass as many fiefs, castles, and towns in your holdings as possible. Usually this means signing up with one of the kings of the five factions and fighting to further that faction's cause. Early on you will have a smaller war band, so it is best to tag along with others and try to participate in their battles and sieges, and if your contribution really counts, it will improve your relations with the lords with whom you campaign. Once you have good relations, you can ask these lords in the field to follow you and they will join battles and sieges which you start. Later in the game, you will have amassed enough renown and good relations that your faction will elect you as their marshall. The marshall has the ability to give orders to any of the other lords, including the king(!) and they will follow them. Now you can really do some damage as you can lead around several lords totaling an army of several hundred, assign others to protect strategic areas, or send lords to ravage your enemy's countryside. This is where the most fun is to be had, I think.

Lastly, the most glaring thing ignored in the review are the numerous and diverse mods there are for Mount & Blade. The game has a module set written in Python available which generates input files for the game, so it is quite easy to tweak things and this has led to a number of total conversions. A few notable ones include the Pirate mod, LOTR mod, even an old western mod. Though I have played mostly the vanilla version, I have a feeling that the best gameplay is to be found with one of these mods.

I could go on, but this is long enough as it is. If any of this sounds remotely interesting, I would recommend trying the demo which lets you play up until your character reaches level 5. It is available at Taleworlds.com but also on Steam.

Re:Mount & Blade? (1)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905223)

Maybe the easiest way to describe Mount & Blade is Elite on horseback, with an incredible hand-to-hand combat system.

There are several nations at war, and you can work for any of them, or none of them. Each nation has their own unit style, and it takes very different tactics to succeed with viking-style heavy infantry as opposed to Mongol-style light cavalry + horse archers as opposed to medieval English-style heavy cavalry + bowmen.

It's a fantastic game. It's been in beta for years, has been playtested for zillions of man-hours, and the developer has payed a lot of attention to the community feedback.

download the demo here [taleworlds.com] .

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 5 years ago | (#25907311)

Oh, wow. I hadn't looked at my user page in ages.I notice if you go to the games user page (i.e. click on your username at the top-left of this page), the tab links are in games.slashdot-purple on a green background. Yeah, purple on dark green

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