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robertogreco : indiegames   10

11 video game trends that will change the future of the industry | Technology | The Guardian
"1. VR with friends rather than alone

2. Physically collaborative games

Virtual reality and its experimental tech contemporaries are exploring new ways to incorporate the body as more than just an anchor to the physical world. As Ghislaine Boddington, creative director of body>data>space, noted in her talk on virtual reality and the “internet of bodies”, the hope for the future is in recognising and augmenting physical bodies in games and play. She offers technologies like programmable gels used with the body in more intimate ways, such as rubbing “gels on to erogenous zones”, allowing partners to “connect together at a distance”.

Boddington also noted the future of physically collaborative and increasingly social spaces in AR, as seen in the very popular Pokémon Go: “Pokémon Go is definitely a collaborative share space. The Pokémon Go site, along with many others, allow the individual to join with the group into the middle, both in a physical and a virtual way.”

Implications of the physical are vast, as Robin Hunicke, co-founder and creative director of Funomena (Woorld, Luna) and previously of thatgamecompany (Journey), noted on the psychological impact of VR brought about by gestural controls, and recognising the capacity of range of movement from players. What does it mean for a player, psychologically, to encourage them to stand tall and strike a powerful pose? What might it mean to force them into a crouched position, to feel small? The necessity of an embodied experience in VR also brings up new questions, such as what the platform offers by way of accessibility.

3. The future of augmented reality

Pokémon Go came to the UK on the third and last day of the conference, and it felt like everyone in Brighton was catching Magikarp and Shellder and Seel and all the other water Pokémon the seaside town had to offer. Had this international hit been available a little earlier, the conference schedule would surely have contained a few more panels about augmented reality. Whether we can expect to see an AR-heavy Develop 2017 will depend on whether Pokémon Go represents the start of a new trend, or if it’s simply a one-off success carried by an already successful brand.

Ismail thinks the latter. When asked what he would do with Pokémon Go, he said that he would sell it, and that it hasn’t proven anything about AR itself. “We’re seeing a lot of discussion right now about whether AR just beat VR, and I think that would be a very wrong statement. Like, Pokémon beat VR, that’s for sure, but I guess Pokémon beat everything at the moment. Pokémon beat Tinder and Twitter, which is a big deal.”

Hunicke might not be looking to make the next Pokémon Go, but she’s still interested in the potential of augmented-reality games that “make the world more silly and joyful, and less logical”. One of Funomena’s upcoming games, Woorld, is described as “a hand-held Alternative Reality experience”, a “whimsical, exploratory application” that lets you place virtual objects against the backdrop of your physical environment. Created in collaboration with Google, with art from Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy, Noby Noby Boy), this colourful augmented-reality game and sandbox will be available on devices that include Google’s new AR-enabling platform Tango, like the upcoming Lenovo Phab2 Pro.

4. Incremental console updates …

5. The next step for mobile: TV …

6. Sayonara, Steam: the rise of specialised stores

The number of games on Steam is on the rise, and with it, the number of games that go unplayed or unnoticed. Nearly 37% of all registered Steam games go unplayed , and it’s no secret that many indie games – even good, critically acclaimed games – get lost amid a sea of other green lit games.

In light of this, smaller more specialised distribution services are becoming more important. Itch.io, an “indie game marketplace and DIY game jam host” is already hugely popular in the indie scene, offering pay-what-you-want and minimum-pricing models. Just last year, Itch’s co-founder Leaf Corcoran revealed in a blog post about the site’s finances that they had paid out $393,000 to developers. Since then, the platform has only grown and it’s likely that we’ll see more specialised distributors following Itch’s model.

7. The rise of indie studios …

8. Rejecting crunch

Crunch, ie mandatory (and often unpaid) overtime in the weeks or months leading to a game’s release, has long been an issue for this industry. More than a decade since Erin Hoffman wrote about her husband’s experiences of unpaid overtime when working for EA, in an originally anonymous blog post known at the time as “EA Spouse”, crunch is still commonplace in studios of all sizes, and people are still fighting it.

At this year’s Develop, Machine Studios (Maia) founder Simon Roth gave a talk called “Killing the Indie Crunch Myth: Shipping Games Alive”, which began tweet:
People who support crunch are going against 100+ years of data and science. They are the flat earthers of software development.

9. Design that puts feelings first

The design practice underlying Hunicke’s studio Funomena, and the focus of her keynote, is one she calls “feel engineering”. As Hunicke describes it: “Feel engineering is the process by which you create a game backwards from the feeling you want to create in a person forward towards the mechanics and the dynamics of the game itself.” She notes that while feel engineering isn’t easy, due to its time commitment, high cost, and level of emotional investment asked from development teams, it’s worth it. Hunicke speaks to the positive studio culture of feeling-focused engineering, and its contrast to the toxicity of crunch is evident. “The process of making it is so delightful,” she adds. “It’s so much better than anything I’ve ever done.”

We’ve already seen aspects of feel engineering in the mobile market, with games looking to reverse-engineer social situations people already find fun. Haslam outlines how the design of “co-operative shouting game” Spaceteam was inspired by the social experience of playing a board game with friends, an experience its lead designer Henry Smith already enjoyed.

10. Trying – and failing …

11. Feeling twitchy about YouTube and Twitch"
games  gaming  videogames  future  2016  vr  virtualreality  ar  augmentedreality  youtube  twitch  funomena  kickstarter  crowdfunding  indiegames  design  gamedesign  spaceteam  social  collaboration  braid  worldofgoo  steam  itch.io  mobile  phones  smartphones  pokemongo  keitatakahashi  robinhunicke  thatgamecompany  ghislaineboddington  body>data>space  bodies  play  physical  oculusrift  ramiismail  jordanericaebber  katbrewster  pokémongo  body 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Born to Sell: How Indie Games Went Mainstream At E3 - Forbes
"The idea of an “indie” has always been reactionary, an attempt to reverse the momentum of industrialization by stripping creative production to a poetic minimum.. The indie designer has become a romantic fixation for videogame culture in recent years, something that’s given an industry calcifying around expensive sequels a sense of creative momentum and social purpose it wouldn’t otherwise have had. The improbable successes of Minecraft, Braid, Gone Home and Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP show that it’s not the commercialization of creative sharing that’s corrupt, but only the industry’s least ethical practitioners, the handful of conglomerates like Ubisoft and EA and Activision.

It’s too easy to see the indie ethic as the antithesis of industrialized creativity, looking past the fact that indie and conglomerate are built on the same intrusive market structure that insists community participation should be bisected by a paywall. As has been the case in every industry of mass produced culture, the “indie” is inevitably just a tributary to a bigger market, less a correction to what is broken than an extension of it, ennobling the entrepreneurial at the most intimate levels."



"These micro-publishers offer a helpful services, but their emergence is a clear indication of how the same economic structures the “indie” appears to renounce end up being replicated on a smaller scale. In every other creative industry, the identity of any given “indie” group is fleeting, with the most successful of them eventually adopting the same capital values as the conglomerates they seem to oppose. After starting out as a small operation bringing European art movies to American theaters in the mid-80s, Miramax found it easy enough to transition into a studio unto itself, churning out bloodless genre movies like She’s All That, Scary Movie, and Cold Mountain. Similarly reviled publisher EA began as a self-funded assembly of programmers guided by a faith that computers could make you cry. 30 years later they’re a $3.8 billion a year company, voted America’s worst in 2013, known for acquiring studios to force them to work on legacy IP and then imposing massive layoffs when those games fail in the market

The infatuation with the “indie” is driven by a consumerist delusion that there’s an ethical and unethical way to shop for culture, it’s not the market structure that violates the basic dignity of human creative work but an aesthetic reading of the symbolic values represented in particular works. In that way, a stubbornly conservative game like Gone Home—making monogamous coupling the central force in human experience, celebrating a melancholy burst of nostalgia from the leftover trinkets of 90s identity politics and consumerism, and reinforcing a fundamental shamefulness about open depictions sex—can be seen as a more ethical than, say, Far Cry 3 or Battlefield 4, patriarchal hymns to white violence and empire that are, nevertheless, produced by the same market-driven labor structures as the indie.

The romantic indie ethos only further impoverishes those who work in it by enshrining the idea that creative work should be done on-spec, with all the financial liability held by the developers, while profits are subdivided by owners of the networks they depend on for distribution. As the pressures on the biggest studios and publishers intensify, demanding bigger and riskier investments to compete for a relatively fixed number of core game consumers, the flourishing of an indie culture ensure there is little incentive for corporations to pursue any strategy other than blockbuster survivalism. There is no need to compete against these upstart auteurs because they can be bought ex post facto. Even if they haven’t signed a contract, the form of their product, the volume of labor required to produce it, guarantees whatever success they have will be owned by the market system, be it Valve, Apple, Microsoft, or Sony."

Even wandering through the IndieCade booth at E3, a wonderfully creative and welcoming space amid a sea of neon repulsion, the sense of independence is almost entirely symbolic. One of my favorite games from E3 was found in the IndieCade space, a rough but beautifully playful game called Long Take designed by Sun Park and his studio Turtle Cream. Originally designed over 50 hours during a game jam event, Long Take has players control not the hero but a camera filming him or her on a 2D plane. Each level begins with a zoomed out shot of the entire space and then slowly closes in on the hero, who the player must track throughout the level. If the hero runs or falls out of frame the player fails. Only things framed by the player’s camera view are allowed to move, meaning the player must avoid revealing enemies or missiles waiting in the wings, which will begin to attack if they’re in-frame.

It’s a fantastically clever variation on one of the most familiar videogame types, enriched with a layer of voyeurism and the stress of not being directly in control while still bearing responsibility for the consequences. After my demo, Park told me while the game is currently free, he’s hard at work on expanding it into a full commercial version that he’ll eventually try and sell over Steam. The need to make money is the blackhole that swallows us at all levels, indie or otherwise.

In the economy of the indie game, one sees the self-defeating effort of our most technologically dependent art form attempting to re-enchant itself through a rite of economic self-abnegation. Paradoxically, the product of this process has most cultural meaning when it results in the greatest amount of market activity, reinforcing the subjective admiration of critics and players with an empirical measure of units sold, revenue earned, and awards won. The fantasy of an “indie” culture of game design is ultimately not about aesthetics or representation but a desire to see the market structure itself proven viable in a time when all indicators point toward its doom. Through the cultural umbrella of “indie” one of our era’s dumbest and and most paralyzing aphorisms—just be yourself—is transformed into an economic mandate, becoming a life preserve for a dying socio-political order in the process.

If videogames have become the predominant art form of the 21st Century, they have done so by amusing a population that has embraced being predominated. This year’s E3 made it possible to see how inextricable systems of economic exploitation are from the videogame, which is itself an engine of structural thievery, a miniaturized mirror that extracts maximum time for minimum return in the same way its financiers extract maximum hours for the lowest possible investment. Absent an ability to reject this structure of exploitation, we find it easier to relabel the exploited, to give them enchanted laurels of cultural significance in acknowledgement that there very likely won’t be any other kind of compensation."
videogames  indiegames  games  gaming  economics  exploitation  2014  michaelthomsen  e3  valve  apple  sony  labor  money  capitalism  markets  steam 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Toward Independence – Indiecade 2012 | Molleindustria
"There is a practical way to conceptualize the immensity & absurdity of this continuum. I borrow it from the Utopian & Anarchist thought.

Utopia is by definition unattainable but it provides a direction.

Utopia is a tiny flickering mirage at the horizon.

By the time you reach it Utopia already moved forward…yet an utopian idea is fundamental because it provides a direction.

It encourages you to a constant tactical engagement with the status quo. It pushes you to continuously break away from the forces & entities that make us miserable & are screwing up the world.

This is how I like to think about independence in gaming and in culture.

Not a status but a tension and a direction to pursue.

And the corollary is that we should not be here at these indie festivals to celebrate our little club, to exchange tricks on how to milk the indie brand for profit.

No: we should be here to conspire about how we can be *more* autonomous. About how we can move another steptoward independence."
freedom  independent  indie  corporations  post-fordism  alienation  creativework  automation  capital  autonomy  fordism  history  paolopedercini  cv  improvement  purpose  values  utopian  utopianism  utopianthinking  indiegames  anarchism  control  power  economics  videogames  molleindustria  2012  direction  vision  utopia  capitalism  labor  creativelabor  creativity  making  gamedesign  games  purity  vectors 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Pid - Official website
"Pid is a platform game that will turn everything you know about 2D gameplay upside down. You play as a young boy that gets stranded on an old remote planet. He must fight off a variety of malicious robots bent on stopping him and befriend unlikely allies to shed light on a huge conspiracy that keeps the planet mesmerized and prevents him from ever reaching home."
gaming  indiegames  srg  edg  videogames  games  pid 
november 2012 by robertogreco
The seedy underside of Vimeo « Icrontic Tech
"But wait… That wasn’t all they did. They disabled embedding of all content on our site, even the things we had made ourselves. Sure, the videos were still available by going directly to Vimeo.com and going into our account, but embedding was gone, so every occurrence of a video on our site was replaced with a block that said “embedding has been disabled for this site.”"
vimeo  videogames  gaming  games  2009  video  brianambrozy  viddler  videohosting  videosharing  indiegames  nintendo  e3 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Vimeo vs. Indie Game Developers
"However, one thing that has become increasingly difficult to find has been anything related to video games. Specifically, indie video games. Vimeo's long been the go-to space for heralded indie titles like Sword and Sworcery to tease viewers with glimpses of in-development games. Yet, indie devlopers are finding themselves running afoul of an edict that forbids video of gameplays for users at the Basic and Plus levels of membership. To have gameplay videos hosted, users must purchase the Pro level at a cost of $199/year. That may not seem like a lot, but considering how many indie games get made by one- or two-person teams with no other source of income, it can be a big difference.

After seeing a flurry of tweets about the Vimeo policy earlier today, Kotaku reached out to Independent Games Festival chairman Brandon Boyer for his take on the situation. His editorial follows:"
videogames  vimeo  independentgamesfestival  indievideogames  video  2011  kotaku  games  videosharing  videohosting  brandonboyer  indiegames 
november 2011 by robertogreco
New upload rules on Vimeo Staff Blog
"The Vimeo staff has decided that we are no longer going to allow gaming videos on Vimeo. Specifically, we are no longer going to allow game walk-throughs, game strategy videos, depictions of player vs player battles, raids, fraps, or any other video gaming videos that simply depict individuals playing a video game. Videos falling into this category will be subject to deletion as of September 1st; new videos of this type will be removed."
vimeo  customerservice  videogames  walkthroughs  videos  games  gaming  2008  videosharing  videohosting  indievideogames  indiegames 
november 2011 by robertogreco
s:s&s ep - hello, world: [Sword & Sworcery]
"S:S&S EP is a 21st century interpretation of the archetypical old school videogame adventure, designed exclusively for Apple's iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch.

It's a mix of laid-back exploration, careful investigation & mysterious musical problem-solving occasionally punctuated by hard-hitting combat encounters. S:S&S EP is an unusual genre-bending effort with an emphasis on sound, music & audiovisual style that has been positioned as 'a brave experiment in Input Output Cinema'."
games  gaming  iphone  ipad  ios  applications  gamedesign  videogames  8-bit  superbrothers  retro  indiegames  pixelart 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Spirits for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch | Spaces of Play
"Spirits is an action-puzzle game for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, in which the players manipulate wind and ground elements to guide the Spirits towards the goal. This is done with four different actions: Blow or block wind, dig tunnels and grow bridges of leaves. Sound and music are done completely with orchestral musical instruments. In combination with the beautifully hand-drawn graphics this gives the game a unique poetic feel."
games  ipad  iphone  ios  application  indiegames  indie  gaming  videogames 
october 2010 by robertogreco

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