Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Scary lack of indies

Why are so many indie PC developers only making casual games?

It seems every new ‘indie’ game I hear about is just another hidden object or diner dash clone with its sights aimed clearly at getting into the top 100 games at BigFishGames.

It seems that nobody is remotely interested in doing original, interesting games for the PC aimed at the 18-30 mostly male hardcore gamer.

I really hope that there are a bunch of people in that category, probably people loving Company of Heroes, Civilisation and Galactic Civ II who are looking for more games to buy, and will buy (not pirate) them on the PC. Because that’s my current plan. It may seem like swimming against the tide, but when the tide is making Diner Dash clones for bored housewives who can’t use two mouse buttons, for a 25% royalty, I think I’d rather stack shelves in ASDA than do that.

I’ve been distracted by various tedious non-game-coding stuff the last few days, but progress continues on the new game. It’s looking ok, and I’m still very keen on the idea. There’s a ton of work (especially a lot of GUI and AI work) to do before I can sit and play it and know how it’s going to end up. Recently, a lot of the work on the game has been doing faster rendring stuff, although tbh it runs at over 300 FPS on my machine, so I doubt it’s a major issue. Next week I’m determined to work on the ‘second’ part of the game (the game is basically three major components interlinked). Thats much more GUI-centric.

6 thoughts on Scary lack of indies

  1. That’s what I’ve been wondering too. Casual games are so hot right now, but I really have no interest in playing them. I mean if you have the freedom to make any game in the world – your imagination is the only limit – you’re seriously going to sit down and code up yet another solitaire game?

    Let’s see some more original, more hardcore games.

  2. We really need more people who swim against the tide, and you might find that your audience is broader than just young males. I am 41, a woman, and I can hardly find anything new to play anymore, partly because there is a dearth of interesting new games (I particularly like turn-based strategy games), and partly because I won’t buy any more games with harsh DRM like SecuROM. And I don’t pirate anything. I was happy to buy Kudos 2 and enjoy playing it.

    I don’t play casual games much, but I do have a 30-year-old male friend who likes them, and he’s probably more of a hardcore gamer than I am. The younger people I know don’t seem to realize PC games exist; it’s all consoles for them.

  3. Draw a venn diagram of “18-30 mostly male hardcore gamers” and “pirates”. Quite compact, isn’t it?

    Anyway, fuck ’em. They’ve got plenty of games already. I’d rather see indie developers making games based on, I don’t know, 19th century novels.

  4. A really good (that is original) game even if made by a single person can cut trough the bullshit (advertising, pirates, copycats and whatnot) and slap gamers in their faces. Like World of Goo, f.e. And make considerable profit, of course.

  5. Ever notice how often those “hidden object”, “diner dash clone”, or “gem-tetrist” are so similar? I think most of them are actually developed off the same engine. Either the engine is licensed, or all the games are in-house. This allows the company to simply skin the games and produce a brand new game with very little development effort. They aren’t so much “indie” developers, but rather small corporate shops.

    Have you noticed how many online casinos there are? Possibly tens of thousands. Did you know that 95%* of them use software from the same two development companies?

    * = Number is an educated guess based on my experience

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