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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Rampant Coyote - Indie Roundtable #2

Default Rampant Coyote - Indie Roundtable #2

March 13th, 2008, 19:13
Indies of the Round Table #2 is up at Rampant Coyote, with Jeff Vogel, Steven Peeler, Jason Compton and others answering "What Does the Future Hold". The answers are varied, although I expected more optimism than I read. Here's Jason Compton:
I'm sure things will be different in some way, but I don't see any major breakthroughs on the horizon which would make things "easier" or "better". In my view, the amount of reach a true independent developer has into the increasingly preferred gaming platforms is tiny and shrinking. You may know friends whose faces are always glued to Final Fantasy or Golden Sun on their DS, but there's also never going to be an independent market on mainstream handhelds. (Yes, I said "never." I used to think that the industry was due for an early 80s-style crash which would flush out the excess and open things up again, but I think they've managed to dodge that.) Control over the downloadable content markets on consoles is only going to get tighter. And never mind the mobile phone market you'll never get a sniff of as an indie, either.

On the desktop, I expect library aggregators like GameTap to continue building loyalty and depressing prices with vast catalogs of paid-for content (the downside, from the perspective of contemporary creators, of the "long tail" phenomenon.) And even for hardcore desktop gamers, AAA titles on the high end and "hey, look at this funky Flash game I found today!" on the low end will continue to cover most of what's left.

So, no, I don't suggest banking your money now and waiting for the technology to change.
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March 13th, 2008, 19:13
I really like this feature although I've kinda expected that the second Round Table is about the current hot topic software piracy and how it affects the indie devs. Anyway, interesting question and the answers are as varied as the indie scene.

Some comments:
Originally Posted by Jeff Vogel
I am just starting the fifth and final part of our epic Geneforge series. I think that these are truly innovative games. They take place in a unique world ruled by a secretive sect of wizards (called Shapers) who create new forms of life to serve them.
Hm, I think he exaggerates. The Geneforge and the Shapers are in fact an innovative idea but they are only a fancy SciFi facet in a mostly traditional fantasy world. Vogel probably doesn't want to alienate the majority of RPG fans who prefer High Fantasy but at least the Geneforges feel different enough to be a welcome change from Elves and Dwarfs.

Originally Posted by Jeff Vogel
Fans of the series really appreciate the many meaningful choices available to them.
Yeah!

Originally Posted by Amanda Fitch
At GDC two years ago, I got to put on some video glasses that actually put me into the game. I looked up, I saw the sky, I looked down, I saw boxes that were flawlessly 3D. The world was Real and it was amazing. If my dreams come true, these glasses and games will be affordable and main stream. I still love 2D RPGs, but I dream of the day when I can walk around in fantasy world, not view it on a TV screen.
Next Gen Immersion, eh? Wouldn't be my kind of game but I guess there is a lot of potenial for game companys with a BIG budged. But I fail to see how this is relevant to indie games the question is about…

Originally Posted by Georgina Bensley
A general survey of geeks will show that many of them really want to make an RPG, but don't have the time or resources or patience. And with Neverwinter Nights we saw outpourings of people releasing mods, given tools. So far indie RPGs haven't gone too much for community content, that I know of. I expect there to be more games that allow players to create their own monsters, quests, and dungeons, and share them through the official site, both to engage players and as an anti-piracy mechanism.
That certainly would be nice, but I doubt it. A game needs a big fanbase to generate an active modding scene. Of course there are Jeff Vogels Blades of Exile/Avernum which have a small but enthusiastic following but if I remember right he said that he won't do something like that again because it wasn't very profitable.

Originally Posted by magerette
I'm so tired of marketing hype, marketing slang, marketing priorities and general marketing BS that it tends to have the opposite effect on me. (Jaded is the word I'm looking for here.) I can't even read through a whole press release from any AAA title company without wanting to turn off my computer and learn to cross-stitch.
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March 13th, 2008, 20:20
Actually - in terms of supporting new technologies, indies are almost on equal footing with the AAA companies. I've been approached in the past by a couple companies to support their cool technology in my indie game. I'm sure the AAA companies get the same solicitation, but support rarely comes through "official" channels. It's usually one developer who gets excited about it and has enough free time in his psycho schedule to spend a few hours hooking it up with the API.

And thanks for the suggestion for the topic for Indie Roundtable #3! I guess that has become a hot topic over the last few weeks… It's always been a sensitive topic, but I don't know what has spurred on the latest rounds of discussions.
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March 13th, 2008, 21:30
Originally Posted by RampantCoyote View Post
Actually - in terms of supporting new technologies, indies are almost on equal footing with the AAA companies. I've been approached in the past by a couple companies to support their cool technology in my indie game. I'm sure the AAA companies get the same solicitation, but support rarely comes through "official" channels. It's usually one developer who gets excited about it and has enough free time in his psycho schedule to spend a few hours hooking it up with the API.
Ah, interesting to know, I guess it depends on the kind of technology and how expensive the implementation is. So far I've associated with indie games unorthodox ideas and the willingness to try new things (well, not always but often enough) but proven and tested - thus older - technology.

Originally Posted by magerette
I'm so tired of marketing hype, marketing slang, marketing priorities and general marketing BS that it tends to have the opposite effect on me. (Jaded is the word I'm looking for here.) I can't even read through a whole press release from any AAA title company without wanting to turn off my computer and learn to cross-stitch.
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March 13th, 2008, 22:29
Originally Posted by Jason Compton
You may know friends whose faces are always glued to Final Fantasy or Golden Sun on their DS, but there's also never going to be an independent market on mainstream handhelds.
It is sad, but I tend to agree. I had some hopes with Mazes of Fate, and then last year there was a small indie making a RTS game for the PSP. That never went anywhere … it just costs too much to do all of that stuff.

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