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Independent Games Festival Announces Student Showcase Winners 16

The Independent Games Festival has made this year's picks for the ten best student games. More detailed descriptions of each of the games are available at the IGF's website. These are games (and developers) to watch because, as Gamasutra points out, "Notable previous IGF honorees include many of today's breakthrough independent games, from Number None's Braid through 2D Boy's World Of Goo and Invisible Handlebar's Audiosurf. Previous Student Showcase winners have included Narbacular Drop — subsequently evolved into Game Developers Choice Game Of The Year winner Portal — and Cloud, from the student team who then created downloadable titles Flow and Flower."
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Independent Games Festival Announces Student Showcase Winners

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  • by gravos ( 912628 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:15AM (#26572609) Homepage
    If you haven't tried any of them yet, give 'The Color of Doom' a shot. Not only do you get the Serious Sam-style hordes of enemies, but it's a source mod so it looks pretty good for the time. The humor ain't as great as Portal, but it's not bad.
  • From link, "The color of doom, was created by a team of 16 students over 6 months"

    Is it still possible for a single developer to make anything near decent in computer games? Back in the 8-bit days, teenagers could build a game in there room, now its big business.

    What about flash games, there much easier right. Flash games feed []

    • by minsk ( 805035 )

      Yes, a single person (or developer+artist) can easily produce a decent computer game. The problems are the quantity of art, the complexity of the game, and how much custom code is needed. One person is simply not going to rewrite Half-Life 2. But they might well be able to do Civilization 1...

      Leaning C++ and OpenGL sufficiently to write a little game is not a huge undertaking. However, players still have to download and install it. Flash and Java are more convenient for players, and performance penalty is o

    • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:37AM (#26573047) Homepage

      It's possible, but people are getting lazy now and are usually much more specialised.

      A lot of the old teams were more than one person too - Codemasters for instance - but I know what you mean. It's not that it can't be done, it's that people don't spend several years solely on one game any more, or that they feel they need graphic artists and musicians and level designers etc. because they can't do it themselves. To an extent, that is true, but the idea of a game is to be... fun. Crayon Physics was one person, I believe, and that's taken a couple of years to come to fruition.

      Nowadays, people tend to be "coders" or "artists" or even more specific such as "AI coders", "GUI coders", etc. and there isn't much done without a small team because people are aiming for pretty results from the off. But then, from a coders point of view, I currently have an idea for a game I want to do and I find it hard to start because although I have the game code at the starting stages, I'm not getting good visual feedback from my code so I tend to get stuck in a rut and have to force myself to program. I know that once I get the bare basics of the graphical side up, I will start getting sucked into making the game work as I imagined it and start to "see the code" I need to write rather than just write it.

      Collaboration is good, especially for rapid results, but it's the gameplay that makes a game. Personally, I found Crayon Physics a brilliant idea that didn't last long. I really wanted a lot more levels, a lot more freedom, a lot more tools. I can remember taking twenty attempts to join a line to the point that I wanted it to join to. On the other hand, I played Peggle (which is a very basic pinball kind of game), which isn't really my sort of thing at all, and I played it for DAYS straight. It wasn't the graphics (99% of it is red and blue circles and the rest of the graphics just get on my nerves) or the sound, or the controls, it was the gameplay. It was smooth, easy, pick-up-able, intuitive and it just worked.

      • by pjt33 ( 739471 )

        I had fun this month spending a week and a half developing a game for the Java 4k [] competition - fit a game into a 4kB .jar file. With that kind of constraint you're forced to concentrate on getting the gameplay right and then trying to squeeze in a bit of graphical polish. Not to say that all of the games that people have submitted have good gameplay, but there are a number which are fun to play (including a Peggle clone).

        • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

          Code size restrictions seem to me like they're more likely to force coding styles than a focus on gameplay. Any small team focusses on the gameplay because there's nothing else they can implement to a high standard (well, okay, music but that doesn't tend to be the main focus of a game). Then again I guess it's wrong to talk about focus at all, every team tries to get everything done and they'll always try to make a game that's fun (at least to them) though not everybody succeeds every time. Even dev teams

          • by pjt33 ( 739471 )

            I agree with a lot of what you say, although not all of it. I think that high expectations of fun aren't specifically due to competition from other games but rather because game playing is a leisure activity, so games are also competing against TV, reading, sport, etc. (Obviously graphics and audio expectations are driven by competition from other games). I would also qualify your comment about being able to have fun with almost every game by saying that almost every game has an audience who can enjoy it. A

            • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

              As I said, I don't think the file size is making gameplay the focus, instead it puts the focus on, well, filesize. Look at .kkrieger, that was designed for filesize and ended up as 64kB IIRC but it wasn't terribly interesting to play. Technical limitations create a focus on the technology. If you had e.g. the restriction "here are 10 images, your job is to make a game that uses no other assets" then the focus would be free from hardware constraints though I guess people would still try to bend that 10 image

      • I'm not getting good visual feedback from my code so I tend to get stuck in a rut and have to force myself to program.

        I'm sure there are lots of people who've worked as programmers that feel exactly the same.

        I spent a month playing with XNA and a physics engine and, while I got a lot of fun from it, having to learn and do everything else i'd need to make a face for my code, I simply chose a different hobby.

        No more than a week ago I thought about making a game controlled by OCZ's NIA and simply thinking about relearning shaders killed any imagined enjoyment.

        • by ledow ( 319597 )

          It's horrible.

          I know that this game could be really good. I will need about 60 or 70 basic sprites/models and eventually all of those in various forms of animation, but even just thinking about how to line that up is daunting. So you start off with dummy models. That gets you so far before you realise that most of the programmatic foundation stuff has been done and now you need to make sure it plays nicely and start on some sort of primitive GUI so that you can call it a game. That's before you get clos

          • by pjt33 ( 739471 )

            Creative commons? I get some Google hits for "creative commons" "3d models".

          • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

            The work needed depends in part on the style you choose. Abstract styles seem artistic but behind that facade they're really just a massive timesaver and that's why you see so many smaller games use "artistic" styles.

    • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

      Definitely possible, you won't make the next Halo or anything like that but you can get a good game done alone, especially since these days you can get many components off the shelf (game engines, for example) and tools have advanced a lot since the 8 bit era plus you don't have to push the hardware to its very limit to get something that looks pleasing to the eye so you can afford less optimized code.

      As for flash games, I can't imagine that being that much easier than just grabbing an off-the-shelf engine

  • Portal (Score:3, Informative)

    by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @08:21AM (#26572929)

    Portal and World of Goo are trully fantastic games.

    When I think what would happen if suddenly every large game company crashed for some mistical reason, I remember Goo and Portal and feel better.

    Ok, and puzzle quest, too.

    And Amorphous+ (stupid flash game. too many hours spent on it)

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.