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Indie Game Jam 2004 Recounted 41

scishop writes "While most of the gaming world has been focused on the dazzling smoke and mirrors special effects of E3, Gamasutra has published an interesting article on a different game convention: Indie Game Jam '04 where two dozen game developers spent four days creating a variety of games built around the same engine in an effort to encourage innovation. The results included apps centered around boxing, yoga and flaming hamsters." Our earlier story over at Slashdot Games has more links and information.
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Indie Game Jam 2004 Recounted

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  • Hm.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2004 @08:05AM (#9160482)
    The results included apps centered around boxing, yoga and flaming hamsters..

    Thanks but i'll take smoke & mirror titles Doom III and Half Life 2 rather than 'yoga challenge', or 'flaming hamster wars'!
  • Download the games (Score:5, Informative)

    by joelparker ( 586428 ) <> on Saturday May 15, 2004 @08:13AM (#9160501) Homepage
    Best of all, you can download the Indie Game Jam games: []
  • Some things to note (Score:5, Informative)

    by INeededALogin ( 771371 ) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @08:17AM (#9160511) Journal
    The Official Website [] for the event

    The article is building up hype for the event starting on March 18 through March 21, 2004.

    According to here []... these guys are using SourceForge for hosting the games.

    Downloading the games now, but I think these are windows only.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      For those who use linux, you can use a tool called WINE [] to play unported apps. You can even run it on the BSDs thanks to the Linux emulation,

      Lets not forget the HUGE ammount of Native games for Linux! [] and BSD []

      Please help eliminate this misconception that there are no games for these platforms by adding to these lists!
      • Point taken, but I am wanting to play them on Mac.

        From the glutil.h(a common header):

        #define WIN32_LEAN_AND_MEAN
        #include <windows.h>
        #include <windowsx.h>
        #include <math.h>
        #include <gl/gl.h>

        I don't think I will be able to compile this natively:-( Sorta sad that they picked opengl and then didn't go the next step with a platform independent wrapper.
  • Innovation? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If they wanted to promote innovation shouldn't they have avoided one of the biggest problems with stale modern gaming?

    Don't use the same engine...
    • Re:Innovation? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ecc0 ( 548386 ) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @08:41AM (#9160548)
      The point is to show that you can make vastly differing games with the same "engine." You don't need to make a Quake clone only because you use the Quake engine. Some people use open engines to make games that are very different from the games the engine was originally developed for, like Unreal Annihilation [], Total Annihilation (a Real-Time Strategy game) reimplemented with the Unreal Tournament 2003 engine.
    • It may be a problem for commercial games, but look at the innovations modders come up with when they add their own touches to commercial game engines. Even really old games like Marathon are still getting some amazing mods made, the most prominant being AlephOne...
  • hmm.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by manavendra ( 688020 ) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @08:26AM (#9160530) Homepage Journal
    I think there exists a strange paradox in the gaming world - there is a growing, dedicated and rapid effort to make the games graphics simulate reality as much as possible, the actual gameplay is still quite far from it. Quite so many times we see in third person shooting games that the player can withstand several bullet shots, run indefinitely (ok Far Cry changed that), etc... Is it possible in reality for one guy to take on 100?

    I'm sure the exponents of the game will argue and say that's precisely why it's the game - an experience that you go through. But, in this world where the experience is being brought closer to reality, why not the game play and feel then? Sure it would make the game harder to play, but the degree of hardness would increase in doing "simple" stuff and the game designers wouldnt have to think of complex/hideous creatures who by virtue of their design become harder to kill

    On the other hand, games that have provided a total and absolute break from reality, but with a goal that is difficult to achieve, yet forcing you to jump through mostly similar hoops - have become popular as well. That's because, IMO, they were able to trigger within us the simplest of all human desires - to succeed

    I believe a game to become interesting and popular has to not only have stunning visuals - sure they enhance the gameplaying experience, but I don't think they always make such a big difference. The factors that make a game popular is how much variety and challenge the game provides, how much it enables a player to "relate" to it (the "relation" to game is most always in a phantom sense - no one goes on a killing spree in real life) and how involved it makes the gameplayer.

    Games don't have to have dazzling graphics. I think it's a sense of attachment, of being able to relate to game that becomes the prime factor in the game popularity.
    • Re:hmm.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rockgorilla ( 714124 ) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @08:46AM (#9160559)
      I think new and 'weird' ideas are best for the computer games industry, there is only so new and shiny that you can make a game.

      There are lots of games out there which don't fit into the classic categories, but the company that I think make the biggest effort with new game play rather than better graphics is Nintendo. Games like Lougie's Mansion, Pikmin [] and to be titles like Jungle Beat [] are (will) be great fun to play, because they're different. I'm not saying Halo 2 or Doom 3 will be bad, just that it's more of the same. Think of how they could be made more original, see what Nintendo did to beat 'em ups with Smash Brothers. That is still the most fun I've had with friends in front of any kind of computer.

    • I've been noticing that alot since i started playing America's Army.
      A while ago i played a bit of Delta Force: Blackhawk Down at a friend's house, i was standing right infront of this guy who was shooting at me and i hardly got hurt, while in AA you are likely to get killed for peeking around the corner for more than a second.
      Granted, it's real players Vs. AI, but still...
    • Re:hmm.. (Score:3, Informative)

      ...stunning visuals ... don't ... always make such a big difference [as] variety and challenge ... and how involved it makes the gameplayer.

      Nolan Bushnell (Atari Pong) used to talk of a successful game as being "hot", in a way that I think today might imagine the player as a collection of myriad stimulus/response ports, e.g., sight, sound, touch, worry, planning, speed, balance, ego. (I could - and apparently did - go on.)

      "Hot" is activating as many of those as possible.

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @10:12AM (#9160779)
      I play a lot of Medal of Honor and the player damage isn't very realistic, although there are some mods that claim to increase it.

      What really makes the game unrealistic is the lack of deformable environments. You can duck behind a plaster wall and have two guys open up with a BAR and an RPG and you're totally safe. A group of enemies will take cover in a building that gets hit with a ton of RPGs and grenades and they're never threatened.

      The buildings should totally fall apart; they should have holes blown in them, stairs fall apart, fires started. You should get shot through walls and floors. And so on.

      They've done an OK job with the weapons out of the box, although I still think that the sniper rifle is far too easy. Having actually fired numerous scoped weapons hunting, it's NEVER that easy, and the kill zone on a deer is a lot bigger than the kill zone on a man. And then there's the question of why a .30-06 sniper rifle kills a guy with one shot, but a .30 BAR round which is virtually identical to the the round used in the sniper rifle takes numerous hits to kill someone.
      • Deformable environments where anything can be destroyed I'm afraid are well beyond the processing power of any system really. At least if you want it realistic. Though the Prey engine was claimed to be able to do it it and the Red Faction engine kinda did it to a limited degree (you could blow holes in dirt and dig tunnels :-p)

        People just like variety in weapons and apparent weapon damage so not surprising how a bunch of weapons which really about kill anyone in the same amount of time have their differen

        • Why are they so complicated?

          Have walls comprised of 3-5 different materials, varying from undeformable (bunkers) to easily deformable (interior plaster or wood), and have the deformation be in chunks, using graphics to simulate the randomness of a hole actually blown in a building. Material strength could be meshed against the strength and number of projectile hits to determine when a chunk was blown out.

          Buildings could be 'built' of material mixes such that only a few would actually collapse, and they c
  • by Hortensia Patel ( 101296 ) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @08:52AM (#9160569)
    ...and it's really rather fun. Think of a cross between Lemmings and Frozen Bubble. Recommended.
  • 05 50 1337 (Score:4, Funny)

    by neoshroom ( 324937 ) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @09:01AM (#9160580)
    When it comes time to order pizza, co-organizer Chris Hecker calls out: "Okay guys--how hungry are you, on a scale of 0 to 1?" After tallying the empty bellies and desired slices, someone does the math and asks "Can we order 6.75 pizzas?"


  • Important point (Score:2, Interesting)

    Stund hamsters is about the only one of these you can actually play, as they were designed for a hacked-up PS2 controller. Most of the games, you can't even start them or move about.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Look, hear, point, click, sigh, repeat again.

    I use to love spending hours playing games, but in the end I realised the psyology is the same for every game. So I got bored. Sure the same principal can apply to other mediums but gaming as it is has wasted to much of my time.

    I'm guessing the next evolution will be virtual gaming in ever "sense".

    • That's like saying that books are boring because all you ever do is look at them and occasionally turn the page. You are missing the point. Games (and just about all fiction-based media, for that matter) exist to place you into a different frame of reference, to experience something you do not do in real life. The fun of games is not the input that is used, but rather the imagination that you use to enjoy them. If you are sick of games, do not play them. (but if your experience is based solely on fps or mm
  • by nothings ( 597917 ) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @09:33AM (#9160640) Homepage
    Despite what the game download page says [], the following games can be played with mouse and/or keyboard:

    Sleep wit' da Fishes!
    Nebulae Drawing Tool
    Stunt Hamsters
    Deadly Dance of the Robots
    Robot Circus (sort of)

    Some of the downloads are huge because of large music files (even after downsampling) and image files. We'll try to institute a system next year that allows things like replacing WAVs with MP3s without needing to touch the source code, so we can shrink the downloads more effectively after the event.

  • As a game reviewer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ProudClod ( 752352 ) on Saturday May 15, 2004 @09:49AM (#9160693)
    This year's theme strikes a particular chord. You see, we get loads of games using Havok physics. But it's all eye candy!

    Yet when we criticised the underuse of physics in Max Payne 2, our comments system was overloaded with people complaining "look at the pretty ragdolls! the boxes FALL OVER!"

    People don't seem to realise that so much more is possible with Havok technology - and as long as they don't realise, game developers will continue to be lazy
  • Gamasutra has published an interesting article on a different game convention
    I hope I'm not the only one that noticed Gamasutra is spelled a lot like Kamasutra []. What kind of message are they trying to convey?

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.