My name is Jim McGinley
I'm one of the organizers of TOJam, and a huge fan of indie games.
I like them so much, I make them
On Nov. 4, 2008 I gave a presentation at FuturePlay 2008
about community building and indie game making.
Rather than make slides, I made this page.
If you attended the presentation, this page is all you need.
If you missed the presentation, shame on you.
Why does TOJam exist?
We exist to:
- Provide motivation to the game making masses
- Produce great, memorable, unique games
- Prove to the world that Toronto kicks ass
Our unoffical slogan is "We provide the motivation, you provide the magic."
We really don't offer anything else.
You could build your own games by yourself at home, but that requires muchos effort.
The community is what keeps you going - especially if you're a lone wolf.
The Toronto IGDA socials
, even though no game making is involved, provide the same thing.
Simply knowing you're not alone in your desire to create games is a huge relief (and hence, and huge motivation).
Without that community, it's VERY
hard to stay focussed on making games. If nobody cares, why bother?
Also, for programmers especially, TOJam provides an opportunity to meet people on familiar turf (programming games).
At this point, most of the game makers I know I've met through IGDA and TOJam.
Building the community and building great indie games go hand and hand.
Indie Games are Indie Bands - Part I
Enough people are creating indie games that there's a scene, attitude, and segmentation.
Here is one possible grouping:
- soft spoken creator of Everyday Shooter
- outspoken creator of Braid, IGF Experimental
- flash games with distinct look & feel
- bizarre artsy shmups
- small pixel art games packed with emotion
- games that break genres (Abortionist, Punishment)
- 3D wrestling games, Hard Time
- unintentionally bad games (Sexy Hiking)
- creator of IGF winner Fez, divisive opinions
- Jetpack Brontosaurus, Off-Road Velociraptor
- ultra-violent game by makers of Soldat
- Space Giraffe, Neon, Tempest 2000
- Crayon Physics, one game a month
- Experimental Gameplay, Tower of Goo, Brain Cloud
- Abstract Shmup Grandaddy, Parsec47, Tumiki Fighters
- Grow series, Tontie
- Ultratron, Droid Assault, Titan Attacks
- Kudos, Democracy
- The Fool's Errand
2008 - Year of the Indie
2009 - Year of the Indie Backlash
The scene will officially be mature when Kyle Gabler, Johnthan Blow, and Jonathan Mak are deemed sell-outs.
Indie Games are Indie Bands - Part II
of people are making free
Yo Yo Games
(Game Maker Games) just reached 25,000 complete games.
"We reached this in slightly over 500 days, so close to 50 games per day."
The challenge is no longer making an indie game,
it's getting PEOPLE TO PLAY IT.
There are an awful lot of great, free indie games available, crossing all genres.
Originality is no longer in short supply.
Look no further than the demise of the Experimental Gameplay Project
Even worse, the release of good, quality games is accelerating.
Some amazing, free indie games:
huge communities featuring obscene amounts of free Flash games.
- famous Super Mario style RPG
- ambient platformer with lots of ambience
- physics meets kids drawings
The Kingdom of Loathing
- text based MMORPG, hilarious writing
- cruel, hardcore, precision platformer
- explode yourself to cause a chain reaction
Tower of Goo
- build a tower out of goop
- draw chalk lines to attack and defend
- a first person story + full language parser
Randy Balma - Municipal Abortionist
- extremely strange
- figure out how to kill yourself
- detailed fantasy game rendered with ASCII
I wanna be the guy
- masochistic, unfair, hilarious platformer
Some amazing, inexpensive indie games:
- famous platformer that plays with time, amazing graphics
$10! - artistic shmup tied directly to the music
- RTS featuring epic battles in a TRON-like atmosphere
- live a life, see what happens
Hegemony - Philip of Macedon
- recreates ancient battles
Mount & Blade
- realistic swordplay, including horseback
DROD - Deadly Rooms of Death
- turn based puzzle game
- mouse controlled swordplay
- MMORPG featuring pirate theme and puzzle games
- Modern update of classic Paradroid
- Worms + Physics, started in 2000
- The chances of someone visting your site, let alone downloading your game, are poor... so make the game you want to play.
- Since you cannot tour like a band, you'll need to market yourself.
- If you want people to pay for your game, target an exiting audience or know where to find yours.
- People are expecting small games to be free.
So... if you're making a game, you need to:
- Spread the word
Send your game to people interested in your style of game (blogs, forums, review sites)
Jay Is Games
- Market your game and yourself
Ensure people understand what you're trying to achieve with your game.
If they like what they see, they'll hop on board.
Phil Fish and Kyle Gabler do a great job of this.
You're buying into their vision as well as their game.
- Keep Making Games
You should plan on releasing a lot of small games, as opposed to one large game.
You'll get more coverage and more ongoing interest.
If you're good, you'll develop a following that looks forward to your next release.
If you're bad, you'll develop a following.
- Connect with your audience
Blogs. Forums. New content for existing games. You know the drill.
- Participate in as many contests and game jams as possible
It's the easiest way to introduce yourself.
I recommend TOJam.