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2013年独立游戏编辑本段回目录

对于我个人来说,今年我将大多数时间都投入于独立游戏领域,而不是Vlambeer。在很长一段时间将所有情感能量投入于《滑稽钓鱼》之后,我决定进入新发现的自由渠道,即帮助一些新兴领域的建立与发展。我拜访了世界各地的大学,去传达有关独立游戏,设计,开发,制作与业务等内容。在GitHub出色的参与者的帮助下我将presskit()更新到2.0版本。Vlambeer赢得了许多有声望且非常惊人的奖励。

2013年看起来并不是具有标志性转折的一年。尽管发生了许多事,但却并未改变许多情况。许多种子都是在2012年便播撒好的,而这一年最显著的事件,即新主机对于非传统领域的多样性与影响力的需求不断提升,并未能挑战现状。

Ridiculous Fishing(from edge-online)

Ridiculous Fishing(from edge-online)

这是很多决议很难说清楚的一年。对于Vlambeer来说,《滑稽钓鱼》的开发过程在一个月积极的开发与强大的发行后告终。来自Austin的开发者Davey Wreden及其合作者William Pugh经过了一个长期的项目开发,并最终见证了《史丹利的寓言》这款游戏的发行。Alexander Bruce也发行了自己的第一人称探索游戏《Antichamber》,不仅深受玩家的喜爱也获得了巨大的经济利益 。

这一年是新故事开始的一年,最显著的要数新主机时代的到来。PlayStation 4和Xbox One在更大的游戏事件中展开了更强大的竞争,并最终在2013年12月末问世了。这两个平台推动了它们资深的独立策略,虽然我们已经准备好面向索尼平台开发游戏了,我们同时也与任天堂和微软签订了授权协议。Steam宣称它将带着Steambox进入主机领域,这不只是自最初的Xbox以来的新尝试,同时还拉动了任何公司进入主机之战的趋势。

这是让人失望的一年,像《Shelter》等出色的游戏在年初出现在了新闻头条上,但在之后却未曾出现在人们眼前。Ouya伴随着《Towerfall》问世,但最终却因为糟糕的商业和开发者策略而未获得成功。微主机,如Android的主机,的出现与失败一样迅速。

这是预示着许多事情结局的一年。Steam的Greenlight似乎很快就会“退休”了,每个月清除了超过100款的游戏。Flash游戏市场似乎即将崩溃,赞助交易也下降了70%以上。在声称基于出色的游戏《侠盗猎车手V》以及《刺客信条IV:黑棋》主导着媒体的同时,AAA级产业并不能隐藏在产业中数百万份额衰败的事实。像《生化奇兵:无限》和《使命召唤:幽灵》等大型游戏虽然取得不错的销量,但也遇到了一些之前从未有过的批评。随着传统审查制度的消失,而像YouTube等视频内容成为产业中充满活力且非常重要的组成部分,名为“Let’s Players”突然就成为了获得新用户的最有效方法。

这是充满个性的一年。为了成为更人道的品牌,索尼将其最优秀的员工带到了聚光灯下,就像Shahid Kamal便获得升迁去处理一些真正的人类挑战。微软也将其独立领域拥护者Chris Charia带到某一位置,希望让他们的Xbox One项目能够有个接收成功并承担问题的人。YouTube的PewDiePie, NerdCubed和TotalBiscuit也继续基于不同个性而发展着,并最终将这一时代可感知的对等建议和持续的独立策略带到全新层面且更具个性的方法中。

Towerfall(from-edge-online)

Towerfall(from-edge-online)

这是新旧挑战交错的一年。发现性,超过场景的传统结构能力的增长以及多样性都还带有问题,即有些情境得到了完善,也有一些出现了恶化。独立领域的多样性并不是许多人会喜欢的那样,尽管像 Leigh Alexander, Anna Anthropy, Shawn Allen以及Mattie Brice等人都在不断推动着这一领域的多样性发展。Anita Sarkeesian启动了自己的教育活动,并推动了一些我不能基于更多特定方式,除了“主流电子游戏女权主义”而描述的内容的发展。

这是发展的一年,伴随着当地多人游戏从无到有的出现。《Samurai Gunn》,《Towerfall》和《Nidhogg》为这一年创造了许多有趣的独立游戏时刻。Indie Megabooth 从一家小型初创企业发展到现在的规模,我很自豪能够与合作的PR组织者以及Young Horses的首席执行官Phil Tibitoski共同推动游戏的市场营销。一些小型事件也不断变大,而大型事件则变得更加成熟。西雅图游戏展因为Mike Krahulik的评论陷入了麻烦,但是也尝试着通过“多样性休息室”的滑稽理念去提高多样性。在荷兰举办的 Control Conference是快速发展开发文化的一大必要事件。

MAZE以其质量与事件的多样性让我感到惊艳,即通过在柏林,约翰尼斯堡和里耶卡举办游戏事件。非西方和非日本开发者文化的影响力得到提升是不可否认的事实,而亲身访问了南美,南非,阿拉伯,中东和亚洲等国家的经历也坚定了我的想法,即在短时期内我们将看到强大的新观点与影响力侵入我们的媒体。像《桌面地下城》,《武装原型》以及《Farsh》等游戏便是游戏领域这些新声音的先锋,其开发者们正努力将自己的游戏推向全世界的用户。

这也是开发与销售日趋开放的一年,即从Stanley Parable Helpful Development Blog巧妙的讽刺到有关这一过程开放性的不断提升。Vlambeer决定尝试一些全新的内容并在Twitch.tv上传播我们即将问世的游戏《Nuclear Throne》的开发。Leaf Corconan开始运行Itch.io,即一个可以取代Steam和Humble的强大销售平台。此外,还有两名澳大利亚人开始计划通过GameLoading捕捉2013年到2014年独立领域的快照并因此创造一个教育性纪录片:《Rise of the Indies》。

这亦是充满希望的一年,即伴随着非传统游戏所取得的巨大成功。《Papers, Please》,一款有关检查护照的玩家堕落游戏让人留下的深刻印象,甚至出现在了主流电视屏幕上。《到家》,是一款有关探索一个被抛弃的房子而了解其早前的居住者的游戏,紧跟着带有让人难忘的美景的《The Novelist》,它也取得了巨大的成功。Zo? Quinn的《Depression Quest》获得了非游戏社区的热烈追捧(比起传统游戏玩家),而浏览器游戏《Cadny Box》最终也挑战了Ian Bogost对于大多数强制性点击游戏的断言。像《泰坦之魂》和《Superhot》等小游戏也从小原型变成了充满前途的游戏项目。

似乎这一年许多值得瞩目的时刻都是关于不久的将来,即将2013变成是2012的收关以及通向2014的过度年。对于所有有关泡沫破灭和场景崩溃的讨论,我最诚实的观点是,没有什么能够真正改变那些所有内容。事情将如预期那样发展,趋势也将继续延伸着,任何“全新”内容都是对于现有内容的完善。2013年并不是一个分水岭,而是精炼的一年。逐渐发展的一年。

the novelist(from edge-online)

the novelist(from edge-online)

2014年将履行2013年所兑现的所有承诺。像《The Witness》,《Galak-Z》,《Octodad: Dadliest Catch》,《Below》和《No Man’s Sky》等大型独立游戏将成为主流。另一方面,经过完善的工具将帮助开发者创造游戏,并呈现给玩家更多的创造性,并最终发展成未来全新且让人兴奋的实验性内容。索尼和微软的独立项目将进行首次发行,包括Vlambeer自己的《Luftrausers》和《Nuclear Throne》。

我预测新的一年将改变许多我们认为理所当然的事。手机领域将比之前更加活跃,但可开发的F2P执行和付费游戏将不只受到产业的谴责,同时还会受到法律的制约。许多系统将付诸行动去民主化趋于开放或封闭的管理。独立游戏将不断趋于多样化(游戏邦注:“独立”这一词将失去适当的分类概念),而AAA级游戏将继续与高期待和低收益相斗争。

如果有人问我对于2013年最欣慰的是什么,我想应该是我们的媒体再次趋于人性化了。对于很长时间一直趋于多边形,且基于严格合同的媒体,2013年真的变得更加人性化且增强了与用户间的联系。这是关于更加吸引人且更加诚实。这是关于外观,身影和人—-不管是产业还是游戏本身。这是让我对未来的一切更加充满希望的方向。2013年也许不是具有转折性的一年,但却绝对是游戏取得很好发展的一年。最重要的是,这个领域中的一切都为迎接美好的2014年做好了准备。

本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,作者:Rami Ismail)

State of Play 2013: Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail on the indie scene, new consoles, diversity and more

Rami Ismail

For me personally, this was a year spent mostly on the indie scene itself, rather than Vlambeer. After focusing all of my emotional energy into Ridiculous Fishing for so long, I decided to channel the newfound freedom that release brought into helping emerging territories establish themselves. I traveled to universities around the world to speak about indie games, design, development, production and business. I spoke at dozens of events, visited twice that amount and finally updated presskit() to version 2.0 with help from amazing contributors on GitHub. Vlambeer won numerous prestigious awards, which is both wonderful and slightly overwhelming.

2013 does not feel like a watershed year. While a lot of things happened, not a lot of things changed. A lot of the seeds planted in twenty-twelve and before came to fruition, but the most notable events of the year – the new consoles, the increased call for diversity and the increased influence of non-traditional territories – do not challenge the status quo just yet.

It was a year with a lot of resolutions to long stories. For Vlambeer, the excruciating development process for Ridiculous Fishing culminated in a month of highly energetic development and an overwhelming release. For Austin-based developer Davey Wreden and his conspirator William Pugh a long-term project finally saw its commercial release in the shape of The Stanley Parable. Alexander Bruce released his first person exploration game, Antichamber, to both critical and financial success.

This year was the beginning of new stories, most notably the launch of a new console generation. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sparred in dramatic fashion at the larger gaming events, finally releasing in full force in the last months of the year. Both platforms pushed their own indie strategies, and since we were already set up to develop for Sony platforms, we signed up as a licensed developer for Nintendo and Microsoft too. Steam announced its move into the console space with the Steambox, not only marking the first new entry since the original Xbox, but also establishing the trend that any company entering the console wars since the Dreamcast will name it something ending in -box.

It was a year of disappointments, with games like the wonderful Shelter grabbing headlines early in the year, to never really be heard of again. Ouya appeared with a bright flash in the shape of Towerfall, only to fizzle out with no notable successes and a questionable commercial and developer strategy. The microconsoles, as the Android consoles were promptly named, tended to be announced as fast as they failed.

It was the beginning of the end for a lot of things. Steam’s Greenlight seems like it will retire shortly, with over a hundred games being cleared per month at this point. The Flash games market really does seem to be collapsing at the moment, with sponsorship deals down by over 70 per cent. The triple-A industry, while asserting its dominance of the medium with flagship titles as Grand Theft Auto V and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, was not able to hide the fact that things are still dire in the multimillion dollar portion of the industry. Huge releases like Bioshock Infinite and Call of Duty: Ghosts, while selling well, were met with a level of criticism not seen often before. The traditional review system disappeared in favour of video content as YouTube exploded into a vibrant and extremely important part of the industry, with the awkwardly named Let’s Players suddenly the most potent method of reaching new audiences.

It was a year full of personality. Sony pushed their best people forward into the spotlights for a more humane brand, with tremendous people like Shahid Kamal beautifully rising to the challenge of being a real human being?. Microsoft is carefully motioning their indie champion Chris Charla into position in the hopes of giving their Xbox One program a person to attribute successes to and to hold responsible for mistakes. YouTube personalities like PewDiePie, NerdCubed and TotalBiscuit continued their growth from personalities to Personalities, finally ushering in the era of perceived peer-to-peer recommendations and continuing the indie strategy to a more personable approach on a new level.

It was a year of challenges new and old. Discoverability, growth beyond the capacity of the scenes’ traditional structures and diversity remain problematic, with the situation on some of them improving while others deteriorate. Diversity in the indie scene is not quite what many would like it to be just yet, although voices like Leigh Alexander, Anna Anthropy, Shawn Allen, Mattie Brice and many others continue to push for increased diversity in terms of sex, gender and race with more power and resonance than ever. Anita Sarkeesian launched her educational campaign, leading to the rise of something that I fail to describe in any more specific way than ‘mainstream videogame feminism’.

It was a year of growth, with local multiplayer games reappearing from the void. Samurai Gunn, Towerfall and Nidhogg brought about many indies favourite moments of the year. The Indie Megabooth rose from a small initiative to its current size, a feat I’m extremely proud to have marketed with fellow PR organiser and Young Horses CEO Phil Tibitoski. Smaller events grew larger, and larger events grew slightly more mature. Penny Arcade Expo got itself in trouble for remarks by Mike Krahulik, yet redeemed itself in a minor way with a misguided attempt – but an attempt regardless – to increase diversity through the ridiculous concept of ‘diversity lounges’. Control Conference in the Netherlands was a surprisingly needed event in what is otherwise a quickly rising development culture.

A MAZE surprised me in the quality and diversity of their events, organising game events in Berlin, Johannesburg and Rijeka. The increasing influence of non-Western and non-Japanese developer cultures is undeniable, and personal visits to South American, South African, Arab, Middle Eastern and Asian locations consolidated my belief that in the short term, we’ll see an amazing torrent of new perspectives and influences in our medium. Titles like Desktop Dungeons, Broforce and Farsh are but the vanguard of a new voice in games, a movement that’s increasingly comfortable making their own games for a global audience.

It was also the year in which development and sales became increasingly open, from the brilliant satire of Stanley Parable Helpful Development Blog to increasing openness about the process. Vlambeer decided to try something new and broadcast the development of our upcoming title, Nuclear Throne, live on Twitch.tv. Leaf Corconan started on Itch.io, a surprisingly robust alternative sales platform to Steam and Humble considering it was made by a single person. Somewhere, two Australians started work on an educational documentary aiming to capture a snapshot of the 2013-2014 indie scene through GameLoading: Rise of the Indies.

It is also a year of hope, with large successes in non-traditional games. Papers, Please, a brilliantly crafted player corrupter game about checking passports, was poignant enough to be mentioned on mainstream television. Gone Home – a game about exploring an abandoned house to understand its earlier inhabitants – was an enormous success, almost directly followed by the hauntingly beautiful The Novelist. Zo? Quinn’s Twine game Depression Quest was better received by the non-gaming community than it was by traditional gamers, while browser-game Candy Box finally challenged Ian Bogost’s claim on the title for most compulsive clicking game. Little jam games like Titan Soul and Superhot went from tiny prototype to promising projects in days.

It seems that many of the most notable moments of this year are actually about the near future, making 2013 a transitional year between the ‘closing year’ of 2012 and 2014, the year in which a lot of things will change. For all the talk about bubbles bursting and scenes crashing, my honest opinion is that nothing really changed all that much. Things just went as expected, trends continued to develop and anything ‘new’ was mostly an improvement on what already existed. 2013 wasn’t a watershed year, it was a year of refinement. A year of buildup.

2014 is shaping up to deliver all the promises 2013 built up to. With titles like The Witness, Galak-Z, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Below and No Man’s Sky, the large indie games are approaching mainstream viability like never before. At the other end, the ever improving toolset available to create games has allowed more and more diverse people to join the medium, which will hopefully evolve into new and wonderful experimental things in the future. The indie programs at Sony and Microsoft will see their first major releases, including Vlambeer’s own Luftrausers and Nuclear Throne.

I predict a year of changes to a lot of things we take for granted. The mobile space is more active than ever, but exploitative F2P implementations and paymium style games are under fire not just from the industry, but potentially from legal perspectives as well. Many systems put into place to democratise curation are being replaced with either more open or closed models. Indie games are increasingly diverse  – to the point that the word ‘indie’ loses a proper categorising notion – as triple-A continues to struggle with both heightened expectations and lower revenues.

If someone asks me what I was most excited about in 2013, it would be that I am excited that our medium is about people again. For a medium that has been about more polygons, crispier pixels and restrictive contracts for way too long, 2013 was about real humans and connections. It’s about being personable and honest. It’s about faces, voices and people – both in the industry and in games themselves. It is a direction that makes me hopeful for what happens next. 2013 might not have been a watershed year, but it sure was a good year for gaming. Most of all, everything seems set up for an amazing 2014.(source:edge-online)


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