Realigning the Azimuth

Looking to the Future - but What?

This post is the second in a short series in which I’m publicly reflecting on where I want to try to be heading as an indie developer. If you happen to be interested in the series & my goals for it, you can read the introduction here.

What do I want? What do I want indeed? When it comes to my goals in my own game development, I’ve always held a fairly simple list of the in my head.

Primarily, I want to make games which are about not wasting your time. I’ve never been a big fan of level grinding, or of games which introduce artificial delays into gameplay for the sake of pushing you towards a paywall. I’ve always felt that you should be able to pay a decent amount of money upfront for a game, and enjoy it how you want. Not how the suits tell you to. I’ve always found that the game I enjoy most are the ones which I might not have a short play session with, but that I’ll go back to them many times over.

As an example, when you look at endless runners, I always appreciated the simplicity & purity of Canabalt over any of the countless games which came after it. The fact that I could play a few sessions, and not be compelled to continue playing, meant that I could enjoy a few bursts now & then, and yet not be bored of it. It’s one of the things I liked most about the mobile space, as it felt right for a resurgence in those types of games, though things have changed there in quite a number of way (which isn’t in scope of my little series).

Secondly, I want to create pure experiences. One of the things I’ve felt that has been lost in the last few years is just the purity of gameplay. Now it feels like games need to have customisation elements, or waves upon waves of post-launch content. Whilst larger teams could make that a feasible part of their process, for a solo developer, it’s quite a challenge to be able to deliver all of that with the resources I have to hand.

Deep down, I just enjoy being able to fire a game up, and play it. Not dealing with these bounds of the real world, or the fact that the authors are continually shoving new things to buy in my face, is something which do turn me off other games. I think it’s one of they me major reasons I’ve been enjoying a lot of games on my trusty C64 as of late. I load them, ah them - and that’s it. I don’t need to be concerned about what the game is trying to do otherwise, I can just enjoy it.

I guess it’s one of the reasons I’ve lost a lot of excitment for playing most mobile games - as they tend to be the prime example of the overdose of in-game store mania, due to the proliferations of the Free to Play model in particular, which gets in the way of the experience - and becomes critical when I’d rather just pay a bunch of money for the game upfront, and not have to be surprised for the impact of what effect buying various in-game items would be.

Thirdly, I want to be able to make games which take concepts or other ideas, but evolve them, or mutate them in my own particular way. Whilst I love that there’s an increasing segment of the indie space which is about the non-traditional sense, the fact is, those types of games just aren’t what excite me from a making perspective.

Deep down, it’s always been a bit of an educational process for me. Learning how to put a game together, how to get it out there, how to deal with the unwashed masses of the interwebs, are all parts of that. Beyond that, there isn’t much I can offer in terms of being able to say anything. As a result, I much prefer to be able to enjoy the mechanics side. Perhaps in the future that might change, but right now, I’m not really in a spot where I could offer anything down those lines.f