I went to Freeplay Independent Game Festival in Melbourne, Australia on the weekend. It was a good conference with inspirational talks and a great opportunity to catch up on many of my friends in the indie scene. I noticed a trend among many indie developers I spoke to and wanted to raise some thoughts in this post. Many indie developers were developing their first game with a common complaint being that they didn’t have enough time to work on it. Today’s post is talking about this common condition and some thoughts on alleviating it.
Where is social gaming heading in the coming years and where does Facebook fit in? Facebook is the dominant platform in social gaming as the games industry strives to reach a broader audience and expand its market share. Today I discuss the current landscape of social gaming and where we are heading in the coming years.
I’m a mindie game developer and proud of it. But what does that mean? I’ve noticed a trend lately when it comes to indie developers. It seems to be all or nothing. You’re either Indie, with your beard and rebellious attitude or you’re mainstream with your suit and love of money. Why does it need to be so black and white? Am I the only person that wants to fit nicely in the middle, making deep and meaningful games that make a healthy profit? Can I be the bearded guy in a suit, or the clean shaven guy in a polo shirt? What’s wrong with wanting to be “mainstream indie”, or a “mindie” game developer?
How much do you think it costs to play the average Facebook game if you pay to play? While at GDC this year I spoke with a number of Facebook game developers about the spending habits of the average Facebook gamer. They told me I would never believe how much money the average “soccer mom” gamer was spending, and they were right. After some quick research I found that a game like FrontierVille can cost up to $60/hour. That is more than any other video game, ranging from arcades to subscription based MMO’s. Are payments of this magnitude sustainable? Today I discuss how we can make sustainable games for Facebook and convert the new, huge, Facebook market into long-term gamers.
For the last 3 or 4 months I’ve been working on a start-up gaming company, Last Level Games. I’ve been tackling server side development, while a friend manages the client side. We both do this outside of our day jobs. We’ll have our first game looking for release in about a month, and another project we’re keen to get back on very soon.
The casual games market seems to have taken over the industry of late. From GDC to water-cooler conversations around the office, everyone is talking about it. Much of this discussion also sees Facebook and the games on it in a negative light. Why is this? Today I’m going to dig a little deeper into the current casual games and propose a way we can embrace this new casual market.
I’ve caught the pragmatism bug. Everything I do now is the most pragmatic way I can possibly complete the task. This all started when my time started costing me money; when I started working for myself. I like to think of it as “The product justifies the means”. Today I’m going to briefly describe what I mean by fanatical pragmatism with some concrete rules I’ve been following recently.
[Spoiler Warning: Small spoilers about two modern games are contained in this post, without specific details]. Two of the most popular games of 2010 have involved narrative death of the player character. That is, the death of the player during the story elements of the game, specifically a cut-scene. Both Mass Effect 2 and Modern Warfare 2 took their narratives to a deeper level with these plot devices, however they were both watered down by one key problem which I’m discussing today.
I spent the first two days of GDC undertaking my Scrum Master Certification. As part of this course we had to add an extra item to the agile manifesto. I came up with the concept of “Fun over Features”. Focus on finding fun within your game rather than just adding features in the hopes “fun” will emerge out of the features in the future.