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What are indie games?
Indie games are games created by independent authors. That is, people who work not for major publishers like Activision, Ubisoft, or EA, but themselves. As a rule, indie studios consist of only a few people (rarely more than ten). There are also single developers.
The gaming industry is one of the richest markets in the world, but this money rarely reaches independent teams. Due to the availability of training courses and the gradual simplification of the development process, there are more and more indie studios every year. But only a few people achieve financial success — most often those who are just lucky.
On the one hand, this means that most indie developers spend money and effort almost in vain. On the other hand, these studios have to look for innovative ideas and new ways to make games. After all, restrictions, as you know, force you to show ingenuity.So, the first version of the SUPERHOT slow-motion shooter was created in just a week as part of the 7 Day FPS Challenge. A few years later, this prototype turned into one of the most successful indie games in history.
What are indie games known for?
High quality of individual aspects
Independent studios rarely undertake large-scale projects. This allows developers to focus on the game’s features-whether it’s beautiful graphics, unusual gameplay mechanics, or an exciting story-and polish them.
For example, in the platformer GRIS, the first thing that catches your eye is a stunning visual style. In Octodad-funny behavior of the main character.
It is clear that not all indie games are made at a high level. There are a lot of projects on the market that are almost impossible to play because they are created by inexperienced developers. But if an indie title has achieved at least some popularity, then you can be sure that at least something in it will catch on.
Indie studios are the main source of experimental projects in the gaming industry. Large publishers carefully weigh each step and estimate which concepts will bring them as much money as possible. Independent developers, on the contrary, create the games that you want and are not afraid to explore crazy ideas.
For example, in the game Downwell, the main character constantly falls. When the button is pressed, it jumps, interrupting the flight, and simultaneously shoots. The number of rounds in the clip is limited, and you can reload only by landing somewhere.
Because of this, the player constantly has to make decisions. Jump away from the enemy or do not waste ammo and try to dodge? Shoot the enemy or land on them?
Another example of a game with an unusual idea is Getting Over It. Here you need to climb a mountain of garbage, driving a half-naked man with a hammer. The game is very complex, it has awkward controls, and the physics are set up so that any wrong movement can cost tens of minutes of progress.
All this is done on purpose. Getting Over It is a mockery game. It is designed to torment the insufficiently patient players and show them that defeat is an integral part of the gameplay. Such a project would hardly be possible anywhere else, except for an independent segment of the gaming industry.
Quick response to feedback
Indie studios are small and independent. Therefore, it is easier for them to respond to the claims and suggestions of players. Often, developers fix bugs within a few hours after the error is reported. Also, independent teams add new content more readily and faster than large studios.
In large companies, user suggestions and bug reports have to go a long way through several people from different departments before changes are made to the game. In the case of indie studios, this time is reduced by several times.
Many independent developers generally enjoy interacting with the community of their games. Like all people, they are pleased when their creations come to someone’s liking.
What are the disadvantages of indie games?
Lack of experience among developers
Very often, indie developers do not have the skills and experience to create a high-quality game. In some projects, the gameplay is poorly thought out, which is why the player starts to get bored after a few minutes. In others, the interface is not intuitive. Third, there is little content, and so on.
Any aspect may be incomplete. Therefore, finding a good game on the indie market is not an easy task.
One of the main reasons for the failure of most indie games is that the developers did not have the money, time, or skills for an effective PR campaign.
The importance of marketing cannot be overstated. Major publishers spend tens of millions of dollars on it, but some of their titles still fail. So the project from a little-known independent developer has almost no chance to succeed without a promotion campaign.
In some form, indie games have always existed, but they achieved real popularity only in 2011. The success of The Binding of Isaac, Terraria, Frozen Synapse, and other projects has shown that you can release games without a publisher and still make money.
From that moment on, the number of indie releases per year began to grow almost exponentially. Most of them were released in the Steam store because new games are almost not checked in any way. The site was flooded with the first works of novice developers, low-quality projects, clones of famous games, and even fraudulent programs that, for example, extracted cryptocurrency without the player’s knowledge.
Now Steam releases about 20-40 games a day, almost all of them are indie. This means that most of these games, even very good ones, will remain undiscovered.
When you make breaks between games, choose to do something active, like walking, or playing sports to get your blood pumping. Outdoors sports are even better, but be careful not to get injured.