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Puzzle Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Indie Developers Show They've Got Game 15

Thanks to Wired News for their article discussing the continuing rise to prominence of high-quality independent games. The successes are pinpointed: "Determined independents are making it in the game business. Where they're making their mark - and profits - is on the PC, through creative Net-based distribution, and in genres and with audiences that the mainstream game industry typically ignores or has left behind", and the article explains how companies like PopCap Games are actually making money nowadays, with "'deluxe' downloadable versions of their games that... offer additional features, such as additional game modes, better graphics and music, as well as the ability to play offline."
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Indie Developers Show They've Got Game

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  • That's it? (Score:5, Informative)

    by whoda ( 569082 ) on Friday July 25, 2003 @02:27AM (#6529816) Homepage
    Puzzle games are the best example they could find? What about SOLDAT []?
    • Re:That's it? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by slusich ( 684826 )
      Puzzle games are the best example because they are the most common. A small company with a limited budget can produce a puzzle game quickly and cheaply - and if the game is addictive enough they will do quite well with it. I'd love to see more small companies creating games like SOLDAT, but it isn't likely that will happen on any large scale.
  • Big Time Software (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rxke ( 644923 ) on Friday July 25, 2003 @03:37AM (#6530007) Homepage
    Good eample of a succesful game: 'Combat Mission:Beyond Overlord' Found their demo yeaaaaars ago on a CD with shareware/free games/demostuff. They called it something like 'realtime-turn-based-wargame' Thinking, 'yea right ,another one of those badly written, boring things,' but startded it up anyway.... And lost hours, days, weeks, months of my life playing it (bought the full version on the net of course) This thing is a real 3-D campaign- turn-based-blahblahblah. You just have to see it to believe it. The setting is WWII Europe, and it's really beautifully implemented, with a lot of attention to historical accurracy.Those guys went into a lot of trouble to make their infantry, tanks, vehicles, terrains as good as they could, and that's nearly perfect. Seen a lot of commercial stuff that can't touch it. Nice thing is, you plot the course of action, but your units react 'intelligent,' for instance if you order them to run through open land, and they get shot at, they scramble for cover, often ignoring your commands to a degree. (They WILL try to continue, but often they search for a more protected course. Sometimes they panic, and then you can't order them around anymore before they get their wits together again...So you have to calculate these kind of things in before you go into action, just like a real commander would. Later they made a follow-up, 'beyond barbarossa, depicting the germans against the soviet-union'. awesome. Admittedly the guys are a bit crazy, doing all that work to get every detail right, but that makes it such a deep game. Multiplayer capability, a big crowd of users who make new skins et.c. An operation editor et.c. et.c. One word :
  • This is almost the same as this [] /. story.
  • I wish someone would port PopCap's Typer Shark Deluxe to the GameCube. They could offer it in a bundle with a GameCube keyboard.
  • by Saige ( 53303 ) <> on Friday July 25, 2003 @11:48AM (#6532513) Journal
    PopCap is doing so well because of the types of puzzle games they're making.

    Unlike classic PC puzzle games like Sokoban, which there are about 100 different versions available, and even one inside of the Nethack dungeion, the games offer a lot more playability. Sokoban, for example, has each level as a puzzle with, well, really one solution. You either get it right, or you try again. If you can't figure one out, you get stuck.

    PopCap games like Bejeweled, Bookworm, and Alchemy don't follow this "one right answer" syndrome. And they don't require any level of hand-eye coordination or reflexes like Tetris. You take as long as you want between making moves, and you have a lot of options for your moves. Some moves are better than others, but you can pick even horrible ones and still play for a bit.

    As you play, it gets tougher, and you have to improve to keep going. So you can measure your progress - and as your abilities improve, you can make use of them in the early stages, and progress through them faster. No matter what your skill, the early levels aren't boring, and you can get through them faster.

    Bejeweled was cool - Bookworm is even better, I'm still addicted to it. They know what they're doing. These games have GAMEPLAY, which is what everyone talks about games needing.

    I'm waiting to see them start offering bundles of their games for sale at the store - $40 for Bejeweled, Bookworm, and a few others would be a great deal, and would likely sell well. And they might even work for consoles, too.
  • Not to long ago someone mentioned Combat Mission [] in a post. I followed it and boy am I glad I did. This is one of the best games I've ever played. It is very realistic and highly addictive. Originally the game was only distributed over the internet but now it is showing up in stores in the US due to its popularity and the high praises it recieved.

    I recommend you at least download the demo if you are into turn based strategy games. I promise you it'll be one of the best you've ever played.

    • Heh, was that me? ALERT!!!! This game could ruin your social life! (talking from experience) and to ruin it even more: that's one of the many websites with upgrades, extra missions, military background info etc. it's part of the combatmission webring, just go to the bottom of the page, and there should be a webring menu. Sorry for ruining your life ;)

  • I can't stop playing Tennis Critters [] from Garage Games []. If I understand correctly, their actual line of business is a 3D game development engine and platform, which they promote by selling/distributing games developed by others USING the engine as demos!


  • Spiderweb Software (Score:2, Informative)

    by Rubel ( 121009 )
    Another company that always gets mentioned -- and for good reason -- is Spiderweb []. They make solid, fun to play, RPGs with intriguing and well-thought-out stories. I'm particularly fond of the new "Geneforge" series.
  • There's also pom-pom [] who have written two games (supports PC, Mac and Linux) with some of the best 3D graphics in the indie scene.

    And of course, Ambrosia [] who have been in the Mac shareware business for ages, and have ported a few of their most successful titles to Windows already.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith