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Indie Game Jam 2004 Recounted

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the flaming-hamsters dept.

Games 41

scishop writes "While most of the gaming world has been focused on the dazzling smoke and mirrors special effects of E3, Gamasutra has published an interesting article on a different game convention: Indie Game Jam '04 where two dozen game developers spent four days creating a variety of games built around the same engine in an effort to encourage innovation. The results included apps centered around boxing, yoga and flaming hamsters." Our earlier story over at Slashdot Games has more links and information.

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Hm.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9160482)

The results included apps centered around boxing, yoga and flaming hamsters..

Thanks but i'll take smoke & mirror titles Doom III and Half Life 2 rather than 'yoga challenge', or 'flaming hamster wars'!

Huh (1)

jabbadabbadoo (599681) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160490)

Half Hamster II. Sounds bloody cool!

Download the games (4, Informative)

joelparker (586428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160501)

Best of all, you can download the Indie Game Jam games: []

Re:Download the games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9164124)

Should you happen to run Windows. Or maybe WINE.

Oh my god! What happended to!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9160502)

500 Servlet Exception

at com.caucho.util.DynamicClassLoader.loadClass(Dynam
at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass( 35)
at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClassInternal(ClassLoade
at java.lang.Class.forName0(Native Method)
at java.lang.Class.forName(
at com.caucho.util.CauchoSystem.loadClass(CauchoSyste
at com.caucho.util.CauchoSystem.loadClass(CauchoSyste
at com.caucho.util.BeanUtil.instantiate( :195)
at com.caucho.util.BeanUtil.createBean( 151)
at com.caucho.server.http.JndiFactory.initContext(Jnd
at com.caucho.server.http.ClassLoaderContext.init(Cla
at com.caucho.server.http.Application.configure(Appli
at com.caucho.server.http.Application.(Application.ja va:326)
at com.caucho.server.http.WebAppMap$Entry.createAppli cation(
at com.caucho.server.http.VirtualHost.startApplicatio n(
at com.caucho.server.http.VirtualHost.getInvocation(V
at com.caucho.server.http.ServletServer.getInvocation (
at com.caucho.server.http.HttpRequest.handleRequest(H
at com.caucho.server.http.HttpRequest.handleConnectio n(
at java:139)

Resin 2.1.13 (built Thu Apr 1 10:57:42 PST 2004)

Re:Oh my god! What happended to!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9160519)

That's what happens when you rely on Java. Segfaults, backdoors, and slowness are what to expect. If only had relied on proven, robust *sigh*

Re:Oh my god! What happended to!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9160540)

I always thought that old goatse used open sores ??!!

Re:Oh my god! What happended to!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9160547)

It was a little of both. Netcraft used to report the site as running Microsoft IIS on Linux.

BackupThree (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9160504)


jA0EAgMCdi/XBJeA9MVg0ukBxtIu61J9rz2fcpDQyyeUUHeK +S EfSpP2gtR7UttH
Jm5bKh9awdn9QFnnKKu1HIQWhOO/XyTDGl z4QrGd2ksCxLJU7c iAakFgiMKo+BgI
RssuE29D5YHqdwz5wBufyyEWLj4eG7FEkz IuNu+iJR9rethQuF 3MPiFpnZgrLPaf
VKbN3W/gIBuU/hNwQmL8gpXXSJk9tiqiP4 3GhgAZ+IGCYOzkLX B6Cb+Bqkm8dfz+
dVEet9m3bz99Fdiavr85jAw6Xz4QFPjJHy AX9Bq+LU7Gjphodu g3jJiPBbW/vV3d
jpxuSifrofvZi+RTp11n/XdE86PARdDXZL I53LT1Imo/6rA1Nh /hcPUuKw6BIAJc
O84aTseHHmIAs484Uh4wHgIW1ZL1arVepJ mmD+jLCrpWv6+hrt OIFzYkz6A3puHy
2f+I/IQWknDKB6Np3nfdUzIXbPRRhO+lkW raxZzGLaktPJaFAz 8UkqfJwgfSWRUC
H8nWjKB7sZYUVEoDVGfsL5xoOS9H7tDks8 MaRom/n53bkk6MFr EaLRcd9kLaKEla
rWtAfluiZYFKcFOiUuCcfTHrhu2nmA1WfW X9OZEYmmgUHl0kDs /HHkGgifu8FrGL
rd/UE0t0k5F72SEko6SbJUFq0MnT5jEAGR lUjAN8XUQ2iHdrIu spAqLVHu0PDBH9
KMBvXRm1Dui7TShw8W8/IM5gSltQjNBqu6 qQ7jmXMMpNufzURV +GaArn+Cre7iIF
+Dhv1vdXagPPSSNpVnblb2m4VYCpU5bFaq uXal//eGl6p5SXhL GDayU0FTUigX2h
KTv6+YtwLbcPGs1ApjkjRRa6Mg/hQcp+ZW w1yqxTwPHDb2cHuk nbJZZ7ur2hAlyy /39iCqUshAli3oCa5rAVCNGchr0iCWBm7/mL+8WhoqNquS98CK fBR10P8/5HyqcG
sM99SqEjn2JpT8o8eoyHDgy8zu2WGFh/bK gPLbK+L/SOjsw8PT sYRtf8cGEKo+by
p4zhhntZ7GaswU63mkfbkiHYEVwOkj8vf6 BknLAqUnoOvtnuZv kN6YLR46+0IYPc
- ----END PGP MESSAGE-----

Re:BackupThree (0, Flamebait)

Blaskowicz (634489) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160816)

LOL, is that a communication between two terrorists al-qaeda cells?

Some things to note (5, Informative)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160511)

The Official Website [] for the event

The article is building up hype for the event starting on March 18 through March 21, 2004.

According to here [] ... these guys are using SourceForge for hosting the games.

Downloading the games now, but I think these are windows only.

You can play them with WINE! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9160516)

For those who use linux, you can use a tool called WINE [] to play unported apps. You can even run it on the BSDs thanks to the Linux emulation,

Lets not forget the HUGE ammount of Native games for Linux! [] and BSD []

Please help eliminate this misconception that there are no games for these platforms by adding to these lists!

Re:You can play them with WINE! (-1, Flamebait)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160531)

lol. Beautiful stuff. Oh shit, you're being modded Informative. Even funnier! Kudos to you sir.

Re:You can play them with WINE! (3, Insightful)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160534)

Point taken, but I am wanting to play them on Mac.

From the glutil.h(a common header):

#include <windows.h>
#include <windowsx.h>
#include <math.h>
#include <gl/gl.h>

I don't think I will be able to compile this natively:-( Sorta sad that they picked opengl and then didn't go the next step with a platform independent wrapper.

Innovation? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9160514)

If they wanted to promote innovation shouldn't they have avoided one of the biggest problems with stale modern gaming?

Don't use the same engine...

Re:Innovation? (5, Insightful)

ecc0 (548386) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160548)

The point is to show that you can make vastly differing games with the same "engine." You don't need to make a Quake clone only because you use the Quake engine. Some people use open engines to make games that are very different from the games the engine was originally developed for, like Unreal Annihilation [] , Total Annihilation (a Real-Time Strategy game) reimplemented with the Unreal Tournament 2003 engine.

Re:Innovation? (1)

Altima(BoB) (602987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160628)

It may be a problem for commercial games, but look at the innovations modders come up with when they add their own touches to commercial game engines. Even really old games like Marathon are still getting some amazing mods made, the most prominant being AlephOne...

hmm.. (3, Insightful)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160530)

I think there exists a strange paradox in the gaming world - there is a growing, dedicated and rapid effort to make the games graphics simulate reality as much as possible, the actual gameplay is still quite far from it. Quite so many times we see in third person shooting games that the player can withstand several bullet shots, run indefinitely (ok Far Cry changed that), etc... Is it possible in reality for one guy to take on 100?

I'm sure the exponents of the game will argue and say that's precisely why it's the game - an experience that you go through. But, in this world where the experience is being brought closer to reality, why not the game play and feel then? Sure it would make the game harder to play, but the degree of hardness would increase in doing "simple" stuff and the game designers wouldnt have to think of complex/hideous creatures who by virtue of their design become harder to kill

On the other hand, games that have provided a total and absolute break from reality, but with a goal that is difficult to achieve, yet forcing you to jump through mostly similar hoops - have become popular as well. That's because, IMO, they were able to trigger within us the simplest of all human desires - to succeed

I believe a game to become interesting and popular has to not only have stunning visuals - sure they enhance the gameplaying experience, but I don't think they always make such a big difference. The factors that make a game popular is how much variety and challenge the game provides, how much it enables a player to "relate" to it (the "relation" to game is most always in a phantom sense - no one goes on a killing spree in real life) and how involved it makes the gameplayer.

Games don't have to have dazzling graphics. I think it's a sense of attachment, of being able to relate to game that becomes the prime factor in the game popularity.

Re:hmm.. (5, Interesting)

rockgorilla (714124) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160559)

I think new and 'weird' ideas are best for the computer games industry, there is only so new and shiny that you can make a game.

There are lots of games out there which don't fit into the classic categories, but the company that I think make the biggest effort with new game play rather than better graphics is Nintendo. Games like Lougie's Mansion, Pikmin [] and to be titles like Jungle Beat [] are (will) be great fun to play, because they're different. I'm not saying Halo 2 or Doom 3 will be bad, just that it's more of the same. Think of how they could be made more original, see what Nintendo did to beat 'em ups with Smash Brothers. That is still the most fun I've had with friends in front of any kind of computer.

America's Army (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160586)

I've been noticing that alot since i started playing America's Army.
A while ago i played a bit of Delta Force: Blackhawk Down at a friend's house, i was standing right infront of this guy who was shooting at me and i hardly got hurt, while in AA you are likely to get killed for peeking around the corner for more than a second.
Granted, it's real players Vs. AI, but still...

Re:hmm.. (2, Informative) (745183) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160641)

...stunning visuals ... don't ... always make such a big difference [as] variety and challenge ... and how involved it makes the gameplayer.

Nolan Bushnell (Atari Pong) used to talk of a successful game as being "hot", in a way that I think today might imagine the player as a collection of myriad stimulus/response ports, e.g., sight, sound, touch, worry, planning, speed, balance, ego. (I could - and apparently did - go on.)

"Hot" is activating as many of those as possible.

Deformable environments and weapons (3, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160779)

I play a lot of Medal of Honor and the player damage isn't very realistic, although there are some mods that claim to increase it.

What really makes the game unrealistic is the lack of deformable environments. You can duck behind a plaster wall and have two guys open up with a BAR and an RPG and you're totally safe. A group of enemies will take cover in a building that gets hit with a ton of RPGs and grenades and they're never threatened.

The buildings should totally fall apart; they should have holes blown in them, stairs fall apart, fires started. You should get shot through walls and floors. And so on.

They've done an OK job with the weapons out of the box, although I still think that the sniper rifle is far too easy. Having actually fired numerous scoped weapons hunting, it's NEVER that easy, and the kill zone on a deer is a lot bigger than the kill zone on a man. And then there's the question of why a .30-06 sniper rifle kills a guy with one shot, but a .30 BAR round which is virtually identical to the the round used in the sniper rifle takes numerous hits to kill someone.

Re:Deformable environments and weapons (1)

Cryect (603197) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160811)

Deformable environments where anything can be destroyed I'm afraid are well beyond the processing power of any system really. At least if you want it realistic. Though the Prey engine was claimed to be able to do it it and the Red Faction engine kinda did it to a limited degree (you could blow holes in dirt and dig tunnels :-p)

People just like variety in weapons and apparent weapon damage so not surprising how a bunch of weapons which really about kill anyone in the same amount of time have their differences exaggerated.

Re:Deformable environments and weapons (1)

swb (14022) | more than 10 years ago | (#9161108)

Why are they so complicated?

Have walls comprised of 3-5 different materials, varying from undeformable (bunkers) to easily deformable (interior plaster or wood), and have the deformation be in chunks, using graphics to simulate the randomness of a hole actually blown in a building. Material strength could be meshed against the strength and number of projectile hits to determine when a chunk was blown out.

Buildings could be 'built' of material mixes such that only a few would actually collapse, and they could collapse in a 'planned' manner such that you actually substituted a collapsed building for an uncollapsed building when it happened, perhaps randomizing a couple of different possible collapse scenerios to ensure that they didn't collapse the same way each time.

Even if it was only usable on limited structures, it could have a decent impact on tactical behavior -- wrecking ladders and stairs to deny high points, eliminating cover to expose firing positions, allow easily defended positions to be breeched, and so on.

Even MOHAA has some windows that are "boarded up" and can be shot out. It doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to extend this concept to at least interior and some exterior walls.

Re:Deformable environments and weapons (1)

duckpoopy (585203) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162902)

Presumably it is because you have to simulate physics and do collision detection on all of the pieces. Blow up a hundred walls and you frame rate could slow to a crawl...

Gameasutra! (1)

imidazole2 (776413) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160550)

Hey girl... wanna try some gameasutra? ;)

Playing Stunt Hamsters now... (2, Interesting)

Hortensia Patel (101296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160569)

...and it's really rather fun. Think of a cross between Lemmings and Frozen Bubble. Recommended.

GPL Game Engine (0, Flamebait)

k12linux (627320) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160579)

It could be interesting if all the game developers in the US picked/created a cross-platform 3D engine to standardize on. Then maybe they could concentrate more effort on playability and game innovation and less on flipping bits.

05 50 1337 (4, Funny)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160580)

When it comes time to order pizza, co-organizer Chris Hecker calls out: "Okay guys--how hungry are you, on a scale of 0 to 1?" After tallying the empty bellies and desired slices, someone does the math and asks "Can we order 6.75 pizzas?"


Important point (2, Interesting)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160588)

Stund hamsters is about the only one of these you can actually play, as they were designed for a hacked-up PS2 controller. Most of the games, you can't even start them or move about.

Re:Important point (0, Flamebait)

SirDaShadow (603846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9162352)

um. i suggest you get a ps2->usb adapter [] and a ps2 controller...most serious gamers have some sort of controller like that. If you loathe sony, you can take any xbox controller and convert it to use it on pc usb.

Re:Important point (1)

SirDaShadow (603846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9168698)

mod me offtopic for this one but I'm curious...why was I moderated flamebait? can anyone suggest a better solution for a pc controller?

Are not games all the same in the end (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9160603)

Look, hear, point, click, sigh, repeat again.

I use to love spending hours playing games, but in the end I realised the psyology is the same for every game. So I got bored. Sure the same principal can apply to other mediums but gaming as it is has wasted to much of my time.

I'm guessing the next evolution will be virtual gaming in ever "sense".

Re:Are not games all the same in the end (2, Insightful)

DourSalmon (728491) | more than 10 years ago | (#9163164)

That's like saying that books are boring because all you ever do is look at them and occasionally turn the page. You are missing the point. Games (and just about all fiction-based media, for that matter) exist to place you into a different frame of reference, to experience something you do not do in real life. The fun of games is not the input that is used, but rather the imagination that you use to enjoy them. If you are sick of games, do not play them. (but if your experience is based solely on fps or mmpogs, I think its time you branch out and discover something new. if you are still bored, go for a bike ride or camping or something.)

some games playable without ps2 controller (5, Informative)

nothings (597917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160640)

Despite what the game download page says [] , the following games can be played with mouse and/or keyboard:

Sleep wit' da Fishes!
Nebulae Drawing Tool
Stunt Hamsters
Deadly Dance of the Robots
Robot Circus (sort of)

Some of the downloads are huge because of large music files (even after downsampling) and image files. We'll try to institute a system next year that allows things like replacing WAVs with MP3s without needing to touch the source code, so we can shrink the downloads more effectively after the event.

Re:some games playable without ps2 controller (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9161569)

Requiring some weird proprietary controller to play any of the games was not cool, IMHO.

If you're doing a DDR-like game then yeah, I can see it. But do any of these games really need a PS2 hand controller?

Next year, how about constraining the platform to a bone-stock PC? A mouse and keyboard are, after all, the controllers that every console wishes it had. It makes no sense to use this type of hardware on a PC.

As a game reviewer (4, Interesting)

ProudClod (752352) | more than 10 years ago | (#9160693)

This year's theme strikes a particular chord. You see, we get loads of games using Havok physics. But it's all eye candy!

Yet when we criticised the underuse of physics in Max Payne 2, our comments system was overloaded with people complaining "look at the pretty ragdolls! the boxes FALL OVER!"

People don't seem to realise that so much more is possible with Havok technology - and as long as they don't realise, game developers will continue to be lazy

Gamasutra? (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 10 years ago | (#9161082)

Gamasutra has published an interesting article on a different game convention
I hope I'm not the only one that noticed Gamasutra is spelled a lot like Kamasutra [] . What kind of message are they trying to convey?

Re:Gamasutra? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9163204)

I hope I'm not the only one to realize that this was done on purpose.

Re:Gamasutra? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9174102)

Yeah. What a coincidence.
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