Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The cool kids , and the others...

It seems like everyone decided to make the life of indie developers easier lately. First, we have Unity3D dropping the price of it's indie license to a nice sum of 0$, then Epic releasing a closed source version Unreal Engine 3(UDK) free for non-commercial use, with a lovely -nooooo we don't want to rip you off- 25% royalty if you actually manage to make some money from your game, and I'm pretty sure others will follow pretty soon. After all, free is always hard competition.

If you ask me, sure, more than 90% of the people that are going to get their hands on these tools aren't going to release a game -ever-, but this still leaves a nice sum of developers who are going to release something, probably fresh, stylish and... well good.

It's been obvious that the indie market has a great future. Developing and creating assets is way more accessible than it was, digital distribution has come a long way, handhelds and consoles are an actual part of the market now, and the major publishing companies, well they tend to suck. We've already seen great games, just to mention some well known releases coming from only one or two man teams, like Audiosurf, World of Goo, Braid or Mount & Blade.

"Everyone loves Goo Balls, delicious or not"

On the other hand, it's hard to compete on a technical level with the mainstream part of the industry, but having total creativity freedom over your game, well, is priceless. Sure, photo-realistic wooden crates, leafs on trees that move when your character sneezes and removing bullets from your eye socket is cool, but Ninja Rabbits are cooler. Way cooler. And while having blood spattered on your face after decapitating hordes of rats, or being able to read the runes engraved on your 90 pounds two handed sword is cool and well, having actual choices and consequences and non combat gameplay on a RPG is just better. Way better.

"Xena, the rat slaying princess"

Don't get me wrong, many games released from the usual suspects are fine, some even great, and I'm a sucker for bazillion polygons bullets. These days I'm playing Dragon Age: Origins, which I like it quite a bit, and I've already started playing around with the pretty powerful and not user friendly tool-set. Still, most games tend to feel cliche in so many ways for me lately. I'd love to see games that are pushing forward, instead of sequel after sequel, movie tie-ins, and zero innovation on everything gameplay related. Innovation, being close to the community, after sales support, releasing editors and documentation (and having Dedicated Servers, MW2 I'm looking at you) are things to strive for, not cut down as unnecessary costs.

And a few words about me, which is quite cool since it's my favorite subject. To paraphrase Jandrik's "About me" a little-tiny-bit, I'm a non-working man of young age, evenly stressed with every day life though as my buddy. I've been spending way too much time coding, or maybe just learning to code lately, which left me with little time to game. "eShock" is one of my cyberspace avatars(hmm ok, too much fantasy and sci-fi literature I guess), and this blog could ultimately be my "Gamers Manifesto" as well. This covers most of it, there are some other minor details as well, like having illusions of grandeur, being arrogant and stuff, but no one cares about that anyway.

Oh, and I'm a dog person, just so you know.

"Image by Will Brenner (blog, flickr)"

Yes really.


  1. I really hate the MAC DOG, Linux dog FTW


  2. FAKE obviously, German Shepherd Dogs don't use Macs