Just a quick heads up that I am still alive and will be posting more stuff to the blog at some point. I’m just taking a short break until the beginning of September.
Q:In the next Beta release for Elite Dangerous, the plan is to add heat to stars, as well as flares and CME's.
I’d not heard that. They might have to move the point where the player exits hyperspace to be a little further away then. :)
If you’re into astronomy, but you also like games, then I suggest you check out Elite Dangerous, the sequel to the classic BBC game Elite.
Here’s a video of me doing a quick trading mission from Azeban City, in the Erenin star system, to Beagle 2 Landing, in the Asellus prime star system in the Beta version of Elite Dangerous.
This game, when it’s completed, will simulate the entire Milky Way Galaxy. 400,000,000,000 stars! It also simulates Newtonian physics. There are some “liberties” taken with things like faster than light travel and so on (and coming out of warp drive as close to a star as I do in the video would be a bit hot, and blinding, to say the least), but the game is set in 3300AD so we can allow them a little bit of breathing room with the technology.
The two star systems in the video are fictitious (there’s a number of made up system’s that will be in the final game), but I could have travelled to I Bootis if I’d wanted a longer journey. Also there’s Wolf 359, Arcturus, Ross 154, Sol and many other real star system to come in the finished game (give or take a few added planets and moons to give the player something to fly to).
Let’s make them longer!
I was playing through my game the other day, just looking at it to see what I can improve, and it occurred to me that the whole experience is over rather too quickly.
I originally intended UTS-187 to be around 4-5 levels long (the final figure being 4), in fact all of the Project Prototype games were going to be about that length, but upon reflection I find that the game really doesn’t give you enough time to get to know it before it’s over. So I’ve decided that I’m going to up the length of the new games to 5-10 levels. I may even add a few levels to UTS-187 as well.
The Project Prototype games will still be free, and I’m working on getting the first one published on Desura.
This is certainly not the first time I’ve heard it suggested that the term “indie” is now redundant and should be abandoned. The arguments are perfectly sound, and I’m not so married to the term that it would be a tragedy to lose it, but I’m also not convinced it’s completely meaningless.
When people make this argument, they typically point to what I would call “borderline” cases like Journey or The Walking Dead in order to show that “indie games” now have most or all of the characteristics of AAA games. That may well be true (and I don’t think I’ve called either of those games “indie”), but the close cases don’t wipe out the majority of the rest of the industry. We may not know whether Journey is “indie,” but that uncertainty goes away pretty quickly in cases like VVVVVV, Papers, Please, or Thomas Was Alone. Those are pretty clearly “indie,” and we pretty much all know what that means. I think that, just because there are occasional close cases that blur the lines, doesn’t mean the term doesn’t still have a useful and widely agreed-upon meaning.
The other part of the argument in the video above is on less-solid footing, I think. He argues that the term “indie” brings with it some baggage - that many people see that word and assume it’s all 8-bit platformers with stereotypically “deep” stories. And that may well be true (the perception, that is, not the reality), but I’m not sure the answer is doing away with the label. If some people are both too ignorant to know that not all games are the same, and too stubborn to even attempt to find out about a game before denouncing it, then that’s on them. They’re going to miss out on some cool stuff, just like people with prejudices and preconceived ideas always miss out on cool stuff. I personally don’t think the game industry, or even just the indie side of the industry (see, the term is still useful) is obligated to or helped by changing itself around so these people can be tricked into betraying their prejudices.
But that’s just me. Again, I don’t have any loyalty to the term itself, but I do think it (or some substitute) is still useful for now. At the margins, it may lead to some confusion (as well as ridiculous gatekeeping behavior - trying to decide who “gets in” and who doesn’t), but for the majority of games and the majority of people, it has a lot of utility for everyday use, and to throw it out altogether seems to create more difficulties than it solves.
This is a question I hear a lot, so I’ll throw my few pence into the mix. The name “indie” means the same now as it always did. Independent. Its not a badge or some sort of label.
I use the term indie to describe what I do because I make games on my own terms, producing and publishing them myself through sites like Desura and Kongregate. I’m not tied down to contracts with any of the big publishers.
That’s indie for me. It’s got nothing to do with how good the game looks (some indie games look as good as AAA titles), how many people are on the team, whether anyone on the team ever worked for Microsoft, Sony, Activision or EA.
Basically it comes to one simple question. Are you independent? If the answer is yes, then you’re indie. If no, then you’re not.
Some people may disagree with my definition of the term, but that’s my thoughts on it.