19 Jan 2009

The Indie Project 2009

So, as the memories of last year's mostly mediocre high-profile releases crumble away into a fine, forgotten dust - one that is briskly swept aside by this year's promising big guns - most gaming websites are looking to the future, trying to scope out what the next World of Goo will be or wondering who can better Braid*. We want to know what indie treat we'll be able to feast upon in the coming months, that we can proudly hold aloft and say "What ho! Take that major developers!" and we'll all feel very proud of ourselves because it's the game critics equivalent of walking up to a marvelously intelligent and attractive homeless person in the street and screaming out "This guy is just fantastic! He's a real good egg!" and then walking away.

Well, you might have seen recently that IGN claim to have already found their Holy Grail of indie-pop for the year. Crayon Physics Deluxe, you may have read, is rather good. But I'll be willing to argue that it isn't great. It's new and interesting, but it doesn't spark that flame that was lit when you clobbered your first raptor with a mace attached to the rear of your jeep in Off-Road Velociraptor Safari. It doesn't tickle that fancy in the same way that realising your Tremors-based fantasies did in Death Worm. Despite it's beautiful appearance and crafty puzzling, the magic is missing somewhere.

But I'm not posting here to discuss the pros and cons of Crayon Physics Deluxe. I'm here to announce a plan to create the world's greatest, praise-inducing, indie classic for 2009 myself, with my own head. Not only that, but I'm going to take it to the masses, to some of the greatest indie developers of our time to see if they are willing to create a work of such blinding genius, or at least approve of its creation. Okay, so to begin with I need ideas that involve some or all of the following: originality, absurdist humour, a political message and more importantly, physics.

Check back for some mind-blowing synopses...

*Yes, I know Braid hasn't been released for PC yet, but it's been such a long time coming, all the anticipation has dissipated because we all know how good it is. Plus, I've already played it on 360.


axcho said...

Wait, so you mean you have a brilliant idea that you're going to make, or that you're looking for people to give you ideas? If the former I'm eager to hear what you have in mind, and in the case of the latter, maybe I can help you out... :p

Nick said...

Bring it Rowan.

Rowan Davies said...

axcho: I'm currently preparing ideas of my own to present to developers, mainly for shits and giggles. However, if you have any sparks of indie genius welling up inside you then feel free to lay them down!

Anonymous said...

I have been tossing an idea around in my head for awhile, though I never went and saw it through far enough to put it to paper.

Ever since Gangsters 2 for the PC, I’ve wanted an RTS game based on competing mafia families in prohibition-era America. I have not been able to sell anyone on it, though I have tried to get Tilted Mill to warm up to it (with little success as of yet). But hell why not keep trying.

First off, why a mafia game? For one, if you log on to myspace and check their game section out, text based games like mafia and I believe Mobsters top the lists as far as number of players, so I can draw the conclusion that there is a market for this product. Also, this game wouldn’t need top of the line graphics, realistically we would be looking at a map of a decent sized city, with 1940’s style sedans, probably from a top-down 2d perspective. This would have the advantage of decreasing development time and broadening your potential customers to include people who don’t own high end pc’s

Also, there is already a lot of history available on the subject. The storyline wouldn’t be hard to write because the stories already exist.

Anyway, here are some of the things I would love to see included:

Economic side-

Start off sending muscle (hired thugs) out to extort money from local businesses, this would be low income but no cost way of starting to earn money

Later on give players the option to buy out businesses and gain a steady stream of income.

Finally let players set up rackets inside their legitimate business. Whether speakeasies, casinos, numbers games or brothels, have the cost of setting up the illegal business reflect the income gained from it.

Finally with this money you can hire more henchmen, buy vehicles, better weapons, police protection. With those resources you can go out and attack other player’s henchmen and businesses.

Combat side-

Send your people on drive bys on your opponent’s people, hire agents out to plant explosives and blow up other player’s buildings, while using henchmen to guard your own from the same. Arm your people with weapons ranging from pistols to shotguns to tommyguns. There’s something satisfying about watching someone else’s illegal distillery explode.

Political side-Commit too many crimes and the police may raid your businesses or arrest your mobsters (or raid your headquarters and take your money). Or use your own money to bribe the police into leaving you alone or going after an enemy player.

Anyway, that’s what I have so far, let me know what you think


Nick said...

I like your idea Jason :)

Have you played Chaos Overlords? It's 'kinda' similar in some respects. Though sci-fi, the essential ingredients of hiring, firing, extorting, bribing, owning, are all there.

It'd be kinda cool to have a UFO Enemy Unknown (XCOM) style combat system. Or something like Laser Squad Nemesis, which plays out turns in ten second real time chunks. It'd be ace to plan out and execute elaborate drive-bys, hits, gang-fights, or maybe even something as elaborate as having to organise a hijacking of an alcohol shipment down at the docks...

Hmmmmm...shapes are forming in my mind :)