As an indie developer, I’m kind of fascinated by the concept of “necessity is the mother of invention”. We don’t have infinite time, money or resources, so you have to work with what you’ve got and find clever ways of crafting brilliance out of nothing. Where this works really well is when cutting corners really enhances the game. Necessity shoved you one way, which was heartbreaking, but it turned out it was for the best. In your FACE, necessity.
It hasn’t been the best few months, to be honest. Things went a bit pear-shaped. I’ve turned my back on a year and a half’s work, and I’ve reluctantly had to turn my back on XNA.
I don’t write reviews, it’s not my job. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of my job, if anything.
But I’m writing a review anyway because I’m a bit scared that Thomas Was Alone is going to slip through the net. Which would be a shame because, and hold on to your trousers as there’s a little bit of a shock coming: BAM, it’s the best indie game I’ve played all year.
So, the lengthily-titled ‘Ben There, Dan That! and Time Gentlemen, Please! Double Pack’ is the Steam Daily Sale today! That means you get two amazing 84-Metacritic-Rated games for 80% off.
< < click that Steam Logo to grab a copy now. Then come back and read why.
That picture above is the thing I’m working on next. It’s called The Swindle, and it’s amazing. Sadly, there’s stuff I’d love to do with The Swindle that simply won’t happen because the necessary programming skills are way beyond me, or they require a genuinely-talented artist.
I guess that’s part and parcel of being an indie – having to make the best possible game you can with what you’ve got. I’ve had to drop brillo ideas because they’d add a year or so to development, and similarly I’ve had to drop equally brillo ideas because I’m simply not dandy enough with The PhotoShop. These are the sorts of problems that can be easily solved by throwing money at other people, people more talented and better-looking than I.
A Steam Sale presents a lovely chance to help with all this.
If you’ve played the games and felt they were worth more than the pittance you paid, please consider gifting a copy to any online ‘friends’ you don’t secretly hate. If you’re one of the naughty people who torrented it, laughing: now’s your chance to make amends and help out with the next project. If you know people who might enjoy some comedy point-and-click games, post the link somewhere they’ll see it. Tweet it, Like it, StumbleUpon it or even +1 it if people are still doing that, are they?
Someone’s going to suggest I start a Kickstarter (I can’t, I’m not in the US) but regardless I don’t really fancy that sort of alpha funding. I’ll explain why in the comments.
Truth is, I’ve got enough cash saved up to make The Swindle amazing. I guess what this boils down to is that if this sale goes well I can afford some help to make it even amazingerer, so please help spread the word and get more copies sold.
Thank you :)
Well, an artist, technically. And “hiring” is probably a bit strong, too.
I’m looking for a talented 2D artist to help out with some of The Swindle’s artwork. It’ll be a relaxed, work-from-home, freelance gig you can fit in around your real job. We can discuss money once I’ve fallen in love with your art style and will pay through the nose to have you involved. Suffice it to say there is some money, but not loads because, hey, “indie development” right?
The Swindle is vector-based sprites, so the ability to use the pen tool in Photoshop is a plus. The ability to do kooky, bold, over-the-top, cartoon style art, and mimic the kind of look in the screens you see here would probably be handy.
Tell you what: if you’re a 2D artist and fancy helping out on an indie game for some money, ping a copy of your portfolio to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you. That’s how we do jobs round here.Development, HELP, Legally Dubious, News, Shilling, The Swindle 1 Comment
Hello Tim Schafer! Hi! You don’t know me, we’ve never met. I saw you once at the Develop Conference in Brighton, but you wouldn’t have recognised me because I immediately ran in the opposite direction, giggling.
Hello! So, now the Kickstarter’s over, I just thought it’d be nice to chip in my two cents about point and clicks. I really hope this doesn’t come across as anything other than idle meandering advice; obviously I’d never deign to lecture you of all people on making adventures, but, as you’re presumably aware: it’s the future now.
Hark! at all the flying cars and robots. Things sure have changed since Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle and whatever that one with the pirates was.
As someone who has made two well-received, top-selling, award-winning old-school, LucasArts-esque point and clicks in the last 5 years or so, I thought it might be nice to impart what I learned from the experience, and what I garnered from the feedback I’ve received. HERE’S FACTS:
So, I’m preparing a thing about Indie Development, and the thing is themed around “necessity is the mother of invention”.
You know how, in indie development, there’s no money, so you have to think crafty? And actually, the crafty-and-clever thing you did because there was no money wound up being a better feature than if you’d done the money-plush version? THAT.
So, for Ben There, Dan That! I couldn’t afford an artist, and I couldn’t afford to take loads of time doing swanky animations. So I did silly walkcycles and flapping ventriloquist doll mouths instead. This wound up giving Dan and Ben more character than an army of talented artists, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
It’s not just money, either. Hardware restrictions, maybe? Buttonless smart phone input changed your core mechanic?
I need more examples. I want to hear YOUR stories about where your game was made better because Plan A was off limits.
If you’ve got one, pop a story in the comments below, or EMAIL ME: email@example.com
Thank you lots.Posted in HELP 11 Comments
From the off, I kind of wanted to leave how The Swindle plays directly in the player’s hands. To a degree, I want you to be able to play it however you want. Like shooting things? Of course you do. There’s enough gunplay hilarity that you can blast your way through every level. Like sneaking around? Who doesn’t? Bide your time and plan your moves to slip in and out without anyone noticing.
Or, you can do what I do in this sort of scenario, which is try to be oh-so clever and sneaky as long as possible, but then just wind up murdering everyone on your way out after it’s all gone tits up.
Up until recently, ‘stealth’ has amounted to little more than waiting around for guards to wander off, hoping that their cheaty-computer MEGA VISION doesn’t catch you. Fortunately, there’s been some rather excellent new stuff that’s gone in this week to bring a lot more depth to the sneaking-around gameplay.
You can now shoot out lights, for example, and hope that you’re shrouded in enough darkness that a nearby guard can’t see you. Or maybe you’ll duck behind a pillar until they pass? Or you could activate Stealth Mode which covers you in enough steam that they won’t notice there’s a crafty thief behind it all. There’s loads going on, and it all feels kind of genuine – don’t clomp around in your size 13 boots near a guard or he’ll hear you and give chase.
I’m not generally big on stealth in games, to be honest. It’s all too stressful for me. But because there’s no punishment for stealth going wrong in The Swindle, sneaking about the place is definitely the most-satisfying way of doing it at the moment. I’m now going to have to work at bringing gunplay up to speed, to make sure that’s just as much fun.
Stealth in 2D was a tricky worry because there are less planes to hide on, no corners to dart behind, but the systems I’ve got up and running at the moment all work really well. It’s all coming together nicely; The Swindle’s gaining a lot of depth gameplay-wise.
No, I’m not quite ready to show it off yet. Soon.Posted in The Swindle 1 Comment