Indie Zoe: Raider of the Lost News (24 April 2014)

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Is it really Thursday already? These shortened weeks are messing with me, and we still have a bunch of them coming. Why do we even bother with April in this country – it feels like we only go to work for a few days in the whole month. Still, the weekend is almost upon us, and you need some indie gaming news.

There have been a couple interesting discussions going around in the indie community lately. First up, Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning explained that the doesn’t trust major publishers, and that most developers currently working in AAA are desperate to go indie. It’s hard to gauge how much of that is purely anecdotal, but it does feed into the current mythos that indie gaming is the way of the future, and a quick way for developers to get rich, too.

Of course, that was questioned by a very interesting editorial that explored the future of indie games, arguing that the “Golden Age” of indies has already passed, and it will only get harder for indies in the future. Thanks to the current popularity of indies, everyone is jumping in – there are tons of knock off games and (of course) a race to the bottom as platforms allow developers to set their own prices. The only cure is argued to be a close relationship between developers and gamers – indies are still cool and approachable, unlike the mammoth AAA studios, and should exploit that aspect. I’m still not sure if it will be enough – the indie market has changed so dramatically in the past few years, indie studios will need to find new ways to get exposure and find success.

Another reminder about the change in indie development is that ability for people to do game jams. Before awesome tools like GameMaker and Unity, it would take tons and tons of code to build a game. Now, games can be built in a matter of days. And that’s exactly what’s happening this weekend. Ludum Dare is an international game jam that usually gets tons of critical acclaim, maybe because Minecraft’s Notch does it. Either way, it is a fantastic opportunity to make games, and you can join in thanks to Make Games SA. Those in Joburg can attend at Microsoft’s building in Bryanston, while the Cape Town jam will be held at the Free Lives studio. Get in touch and join in the game creating fun.

Over on Steam, a new batch of games have made it through Greenlight. Spice Road looks rather interesting – it’s a strategy simulator that sees you traveling the old Silk Road as you engage in the spice trade. No, this isn’t Dune, but it looks like a unique little simulator.

Prototype of the Week

Monsters and Medicine is a puzzle game about building your own hospital while diseased patients come knocking at the door. It features some cute music and becomes rather addictive, so be warned before you give it a whirl in the browser or Windows version. Be sure to give the developers any feedback and advice.

Last Updated: April 24, 2014

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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