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July 20th, 2011, 20:06
Rather than post them separately, here are two indie editorials. First, The Geekly News writes in with How to Build a Better Indie Game in Nine Easy Steps. I'm not sure anything is easy about it but here's a snip:
Donít worry about graphics, but DO pay attention to art style
Many indie games do this right (Braid, Terraria, Revenge of the Titans, Castle Crashers, Frozen Synapse, Lume, etc etc). Thereís a ton of great examples where in lieu of big-budget graphics, theyíve opted for 8-bit looks or just a clean, stylized look. This is great for several reasons Ė it makes your game more recognizable and also makes your game far less hardware-dependant.
Where this might be a negative is if your look strays too far into a design that some might consider childlike or Ďkid-friendlyí. Bold, colorful graphics are great, but you might turn off some people who just prefer a more ďadult gameĒ look. Regardless of how many people think your game is the best-looking one theyíve ever seen, by making sure your game looks unique, youíre going to guarantee that it will at least stand out, which gives it a far better chance of being remembered by your target audience.
…and The Rampant Coyote comments on the recent trend of dismissing turn-based games and why big companies are missing the point - even if they are "right":
On top of this, players themselves often donít know what they want. I know I donít. Iíve found myself sucked into games that I never thought Iíd enjoy, and turned off by games that I expected to be favorites. I can express my preferences all day long. Like how I prefer turn-based combat in RPGs. Yep, thatís what I want. But you look at some of my favorite RPGs, and several of the top slots go to games that did not have turn-based combat. Baldurís Gate 2, Ultima VII, Diablo 2, Ultima UnderworldÖ Apparently I am lying to myself. Or my preference isnít as strong as I think. Or something.
And even with the best telemetry, marketing research, focus testing, and surveys in the world, itís really only decent at mapping out the known, not the unknown. Who would have predicted MinecraftĎs success? Certainly not its creator. And our entire industry was blindsided first by casual games, and then by social games. Why? Because they didnít really understand what their potential customers really wanted. Thus they ceded the exploration of that frontier to independent companies, who in turn ate their lunch.
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July 20th, 2011, 20:06
Coyote is so damn right!

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July 20th, 2011, 20:51
RC hits it on the head. The idea that the CEO of a games company knows what the market at large wants makes me laugh. They tell themselves, their shareholders, and games journalists this to justify their six figure salaries but it's pure fantasy.

I'm sure if you asked the producer of Jersey Shore what television viewers want he would tell you it's Reality TV. And nothing else.

The only games company I can think of that can claim it knows what the market wants is Valve. Steam was an entirely new business model and one of the most successful in terms of $:manpower of the century so far.

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