What Games Do You Enjoy?

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Re: What Games Do You Enjoy?

Postby Administrator » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:58 am

Anachronic wrote:I hear you about the hype thing and it's frustrating as a dev, because I'd rather focus on development and then be able to sell a finished product, rather than trying to sell the idea the whole way through. It seems like the only real way to get any sort of notice as an indie dev though is to be marketing as much as possible all the time.

I've been trying my best with this, and I think that the biggest takeaway from my experience has been that if you try hard for a long period of time, you can get somewhere.

In my case, most of my marketing efforts have been focused on a 1+ year Twitter campaign. I reached a point last October where I started to have some show-able content, and I've been trying to tweet at least once a day, and with as many images and videos as possible. Whenever I have anything to show, I post it over there. Over the course of a full year, I have no doubt that I've spent well over 100 hours coming up with tweets, posting content, and trying to build a follower base. A whole bunch of time has been invested in other activities, like all the planning that went into attending Too Many Games, plus the days spent manning the table, as well as peripheral stuff like doing interviews and corresponding with journalists. Plus, there's been all the time spent building the website - this has served a dual purpose, as my feature articles double as tutorials, but many man-weeks have been invested in this. On the whole, I've probably invested a few hundred hours worth of time in marketing efforts.

And it's definitely gotten me somewhere. I'm in a measurably better position now than I was a year ago, in terms of general awareness of Outer Colony. Has it made me famous? Certainly not. But I think that I've got a nucleus of a community forming around Outer Colony, which is better than nothing!

My main point here is that it takes a huge amount of time and effort to make even a bit of progress. I think it just comes down to a willingness to grind it out over an extended period of time. I'll post some additional thoughts in the marketing thread, but I think that a developer has to treat marketing like another part of their job, just like developing their software.

There's definitely an ethics issue in the industry too; I agree with you 100% on that, while also still supporting my claim that Flippy Uncle is the best mobile game of 2016 despite the year only being like half over before starting to say that 8-)

Haha, see, I think saying that Flippy Uncle is the best mobile game of 2016 is A-OK! Everybody's got to advertise their game somehow, and there's nothing wrong with sharing what you've got!

Where a developer gets into ethically dubious territory is when they straight up lie about what their game is and isn't. Something like repeatedly claiming that your game has multiplayer when it actually doesn't. Look, I understand - everyone makes mistakes during interviews, everyone pops off answers that aren't quite right. But when you've sold tens of millions of dollars worth of pre-orders based on these inaccurate statements, and you make no effort to post corrections or updated information, that's...like I say, I don't want to presume to understand the specifics of other people's situations or call out any other developers. But when you build up this insane degree of hype around a product that you know you're not delivering as specified, and then you remorselessly cash out and disappear, it's a serious problem.

And it hurts other people in the field who actually are trying to do ambitious things and aren't lying about it. I just think that developers have a responsibility to accurately describe their game, to the greatest extent possible, before making a sale, and intentionally misleading consumers is an unacceptable practice.

Sorry that go way off-topic. I'm also wondering if there are any open-source games that people love or are contributing to? I just learned about GearHead RPG recently and love the idea of a mech roguelike.

I just Googled GearHead, and this game looks unbelievably cool. I don't think I've ever contributed to an open-source game (or even played any), but this GearHead game seems like it's worth checking out. I heard that there's a remake for Total Annihilation that's supposedly open source, but I've never actually seen or played it.

You've reminded me of another game series I used to love! MECHWARRIOR! I think that Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries might have been the first truly 3D game that I ever played. My dad had an MS-Sidewinder joystick, and I freakin' loved that game. I totally felt like a mech pilot, kicking ass and taking names at the edge of the galaxy. And the mechanics for upgrading your mech - oh man, I think this was the first time I saw anything quite like that in a game.

And that soundtrack...I still jam to it all the time when I'm coding OC:

youtu.be/Tp87Jc6k1w4
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Re: What Games Do You Enjoy?

Postby Anachronic » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:01 am

Administrator wrote:You've reminded me of another game series I used to love! MECHWARRIOR! I think that Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries might have been the first truly 3D game that I ever played. My dad had an MS-Sidewinder joystick, and I freakin' loved that game. I totally felt like a mech pilot, kicking ass and taking names at the edge of the galaxy. And the mechanics for upgrading your mech - oh man, I think this was the first time I saw anything quite like that in a game.


The Mechwarrior series was awesome! I never beat any of the games but played a bit of a bunch of them, including Mercenaries. I vaguely remember having a special edition of that game for the 3DFX... And any mech/space sim with a joystick is a combo made in heaven. I recently found an open-source update of Wing Commander: Privateer (which I played a ton of when I was a wee lad). Looks like the project's been dead for a few years, but I love the idea of reviving old games with open-source code. The Unity Daggerfall is a great example of that, and a really cool project.

The whole Kickstarter trend has definitely contributed to the whole problem of lying in marketing. It basically rewards promising as much as possible up-front and there is relatively little punishment for under-delivering. Seems like the humble campaigns are at best humble successes and usually failures, but the ones where devs promise the moon with all the latest buzzwords with flashy concept art make much more money.
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Re: What Games Do You Enjoy?

Postby CzarQwerty » Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:40 pm

Haha, I bought the sidewinder just to play MechWarrior 2 Mercenaries! Loved that game!
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Re: What Games Do You Enjoy?

Postby Administrator » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:51 pm

I never beat any of the games but played a bit of a bunch of them, including Mercenaries.

To tell the truth, I never beat Mercenaries, either. I remember getting to some level with a helicopter or something and one floor of an office building that I had to do something with, and I think there were some tanks roaming around...but I was a little kid, and a total idiot, and I couldn't really figure out what to do.

The whole Kickstarter trend has definitely contributed to the whole problem of lying in marketing. It basically rewards promising as much as possible up-front and there is relatively little punishment for under-delivering.

On some level, I think you're right, but the lying / hype creation has been an integral part of selling video games since long before Kickstarter. Do you remember the Fable series? I was going into my senior year in high school, and I used to drive a good friend of mine who lived up the street in every day. I remember him telling me all this insane, mind-blowing stuff that was supposed to be in Fable. I never played the game, so I can't fully judge it for myself, but I remember watching him play some of it, and we both remarked that it wasn't really as advertised. But by that point, he'd already bought the game. The publisher made its sale, so the disappointment had no real effect on them. They already crossed the critical bridge of making the sale, so they'd already won.

There's a part of me that wants to do a significant write-up covering my thoughts on Kickstarter, and maybe I'll have time for it someday. I think it's a great platform, and I've always been proud of the games I've supported over there. I think that nearly of the people making projects on KS have the best intentions, and I'll even go so far as to say that most have the wherewithal to make amazing things! There are some downsides to how the platform practically works in the current day, but because it's produced games like Hyper Light Drifter, I'm convinced that the Kickstarter has done a whole lot of good for games as a whole.

CzarQwerty wrote:Haha, I bought the sidewinder just to play MechWarrior 2 Mercenaries! Loved that game!

Oh man, tell me the Sidewinder wasn't the coolest thing in history. I was probably about 10 years old when I was playing with the thing, but I was absolutely certain at the time that I was a real fighter pilot. I had played with Nintendo controllers and other stuff like that, and they all had a certain toy-ish feel, with their purple buttons and non-threatening form.

But the Sidewinder?! None of that. One look at this menace, and you knew it meant business:
Image
It looked like it was right out of the cockpit of a jet, and it handled like it, too. I've always played everything possible with a keyboard and a mouse, but the Sidewinder has to be the coolest gaming controller I've ever used.

This begs a tangential question: what's the best controller you guys have ever handled?
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Re: What Games Do You Enjoy?

Postby Anachronic » Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:43 am

The Sidewinder is awesome; I'd totally forgotten about that. It had the twist feature right? I've got an Attack 3 now but it doesn't have the twist. Many years since that's been used...
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Re: What Games Do You Enjoy?

Postby Administrator » Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:07 pm

Anachronic wrote:It had the twist feature right?

Absolutely right! I was always impressed by the mechanics of that joystick. It was so well built, and it just let you do so many awesome things.

Speaking of the Sidewinder, I've just been reminded of another classic that I really enjoyed. Microsoft Flight Simulator 95!!
Image

Did you guys ever play any of the Flight Sim games? I don't even know why I liked this, but I think that the visuals, which were rather advanced for the time, really appealed to me. That capability to see so far in the distance was mind blowing, and this was a great game!
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Re: What Games Do You Enjoy?

Postby Gaberaham Lincoln » Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:48 pm

I've been sucked into Hyper Light Drifter recently. Maybe my favorite game of the year? It's pretty a gorgeous-looking, and well-crafted action/explorer game. The combat is challenging, and smooth, so it feels really nice when you've won a hard fought battle. I also really enjoy how much there is to find. The game rewards you for checking every nook and cranny, with plenty of secret rooms, and items to find.

The game's only 7-8 hours long for a playthrough and I'd highly recommend it! I haven't had something really suck me in like that for a while.
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Re: What Games Do You Enjoy?

Postby Administrator » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:53 pm

Gaberaham Lincoln wrote:I've been sucked into Hyper Light Drifter recently.

I've heard absolutely amazing things about this game, and it's one of the only new games that I really want to play.

Orange Bison did a review of this game that made me love it even more. You can see the review here (http://orangebison.com/hyper-light-drifter/review/), but the link between the game's developer, Alex Preston, and the game's protagonist is very moving. This is the kind of demonstration of a game serving as a mode of expression that really makes you feel something as a player, just like a book or a movie. I really can't wait to find time to try this.

Have you played any other good indie games lately? I'd love to explore some more indie titles, because I know there's a ton of great stuff out there!
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Re: What Games Do You Enjoy?

Postby Gaberaham Lincoln » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:56 pm

Yeah, it's really worth a shot if you get some time! I also thought it was great hearing the developer's story. I really didn't know that going into the game, but it was something that left a big impression on me throughout. Being someone who deals with medical problems, the incorporation of Preston's heart problems really resonated with me. The story of the game is all symbolic and esoteric, but I think the drifter's condition really grounds him and adds some great visceral stakes.

Other good indie games? My playing's been kind of light throughout the year, but I've had some time to sneak in a few really cool ones.

I got around to Her Story, which is a really short game, and hard to even call a game in a way, but a really interesting use of the medium. It got some attention when it was released last year, for being atypical. Basically, you're running through segments of interviews with a woman who was charged in a murder case. You search through a database of the segments using terms that pique your interest, or things you think might be relevant, and try to piece together the complete story on your own. I thought it was really clever, since it plays off of this tension between what seems important and what actually is. Some of the interviews mock your line of reasoning through the proxy of the interviewer (like making fun of you for even asking about certain things), while others hide more meaning than they initially let on. I spent about 90 minutes on it total, so it's short, and it's pretty cheap, too, but a very memorable experience.

Right now I'm going through a game called VA-11 HALL-A, in which you play a bartender in a cyberpunk world. It's more of a glorified Visual Novel than anything else, since the gameplay is pretty minimal, and it's more concerned with telling a story than anything else. That's frustrating in a few ways, but the story, and setting are pretty engaging. A lot of it so far is a sort of commentary on the information age that's interesting to think about. The real standout of the experience, though, is the soundtrack. It's like what F-Zero would sound like if you got to spend more time out of the cars and in the cities, and I think it sells the game more than anything else.

Death Road To Canada's been a pretty fun time waster. It's a really great modern take on Oregon Trail, that combines the whole dangerous decision-laced journey with action segments that engage you in the ongoing struggle. You're basically fighting off a zombie apocalypse to find a rumored safe haven in Canada. The game differentiates itself by letting you fight the zombies, yourself. What it does well with the action is making it as costly as any other decision. You need to go into towns to find supplies, and the more you search, the more you might find, but fighting takes stamina, making you less effective over time. The result is a lot of on the fly decision making. The game lets you customize characters, too, and sometimes you can find those characters on the road and add them to your current team, so it's pretty fun to stream with friends.

Pony Island is another big standout in recent memory. Another fairly short game (2 hours clocked in on my Steam account), the thing is a fun play on gaming as a medium. I'm struggling to describe it, since I don't want to give away the experience, but it becomes clear pretty quickly that the experience isn't really about ponies at all. It's worth going through blind, and the thing's only $5 off sale, so if you can burn a virtual Lincoln, I think it's worth the price.
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Re: What Games Do You Enjoy?

Postby Administrator » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:17 am

Gaberaham Lincoln wrote:I got around to Her Story, which is a really short game, and hard to even call a game in a way, but a really interesting use of the medium.

...

Right now I'm going through a game called VA-11 HALL-A, in which you play a bartender in a cyberpunk world. It's more of a glorified Visual Novel than anything else, since the gameplay is pretty minimal, and it's more concerned with telling a story than anything else.

I'm always intrigued by these games that are mechanically minimalistic, but use basic gameplay to tell a compelling story. I'm not an expert on these sorts of games, but I've seen a couple via streamers (RetroPrincess' stream of The Bunker immediately comes to mind), and these sorts of games can be amazing. I think that indie developers can take bigger risks and wade into more controversial subject matter than the bigger companies can touch, and these story-telling sorts of games are an arena where indie studios can shine.

Death Road To Canada's been a pretty fun time waster.

Hahahaha, I just love the name of this one! And a modern game in the Oregon Trail tradition sounds unbelievably cool. The screenshots of this are among the funniest things I've ever seen in my life, including:
Image

I love these lo-fi visuals, and the subject matter is highly amusing. I would play the hell out of this if I could find time.

Pony Island is another big standout in recent memory. Another fairly short game (2 hours clocked in on my Steam account), the thing is a fun play on gaming as a medium. I'm struggling to describe it, since I don't want to give away the experience, but it becomes clear pretty quickly that the experience isn't really about ponies at all.

My interest level is very high, and I've added this to my "list of games to someday explore if I ever have free time again".

This is one of the only downsides of being a game developer. Don't get me wrong, I desperately love what I'm doing, but whenever I get free time, I need to spend it away from the monitors and keyboard, because I can only spend so many hours a day sitting in a chair and wailing on keys. There are so many incredible, deserving indie games out there that I really should be playing, but I just don't have the opportunity to experience them at this stage in OC's development.

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