World Of Love KieronHelposity

By Kieron Gillen on June 23rd, 2010 at 9:29 am.

British Indie Games Conference World of Love is this Friday. What does that mean? Well, mainly, indie developers are preparing to listen to wise minds. Plus me. I’m kind of reprising/updating my 2005 Freeplay Keynote “How To Use And Abuse The Gaming Press And How The Gaming Press Wants To Use And Abuse You” – which basically explained to devs how to get coverage. Since everyone will have probably read that, I’m not just going to do it – I want to very much do a 2010 take on it, of what’s changed since then. Anyway – part of the things I’m considering is actually doing a WORK SHOP section where I take a few indie games and say what I’d be doing with them to get them more coverage. What games though? Well, to make it more fun, I thought I’d throw it to the floor and see what games you’d like to see me cover. New and obscure is best, but hit me with whatever. And to stress, I’m not entirely sure I’m going to be taking this route yet. But I may be. And since the video will be stuck online, you’ll all see what I do eventually anyway. Hurrah!

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75 Comments »

  1. Frozenbyte says:

    How about Toribash?

  2. Alexander Norris says:

    Does free stuff count? If so, I’d quite like to see you cover Hydorah and Aeon Flux Episodes more in depth. They already got mentioned on RPS but they’re really very good, and both are free when they have the quality to be paid games (they just aren’t because of licensing issues, I believe).

    • Dominic White says:

      Hydorah has no such legal issues behind it – it’s similar to Gradius in a lot of ways, but not a clone. The only reason it’s not on sale is that Locomalito (the one-man dev team behind it) doesn’t believe in charging for his work.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Either way, it deserves to be showcased given how much of a labour of love it is (maybe even more so if the guy behind it isn’t charging because he doesn’t believe in selling his games).

    • Gabe McGrath says:

      If this is merely about Indies ‘getting coverage’ (regardless of free/unfree games) then I’d also recommend Hydorah.

      Psst… Kieron, check out the new ‘Making of Hydorah’ PDF the author put up yesterday.
      Superb stuff.

  3. robrob says:

    Dwarf Fortress.

  4. Schaulustiger says:

    Frozen Synapse.

    It’s indie, it’s from the UK and their PR is nearly as bad as it can get.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      This. Frozen Synapse could probably do with more coverage lest it die when it comes out, since it’s not exactly a game with the widest of appeals. I’m sure there are people out there who’d be interested if they could just hear about it, though.

    • Cooper says:

      Agreed. Heard about this on the PCGamer podcast and sounded very very tempting. Only appeared on the podcast because those nice folks decided to play it and thought it was good, also a small preview in one issue I think. Shame I can’t run it on thie

      Would have passed me by entirely were it not for the podcast which I was listenting to anyway.

      I’ve read neither the preview in PCG nor your prieview here on RPS (until just now, now that I’m thinking of it). Despite your claims to get me to preorder it, I remember just skipping past that post.

      The main reason I’ve never given it much time in written previews are the screenshots

      This may just be because of the visuals of the game, but they give nothing away. The first one on the RPS preview looks more like an arcade arena shmup than anything else. The same in the PCG preview. The box-out is the same as the RPS one and the background is just far too abstract (even if the visual style if fairly abstracted anyway)

      Neither of this gives any impression as to what the game is like. It is a fast paced, squad based tactical strategy game. No screenshots I’ve seen really give that information to you straight away. You have to start watching the video or reading the preview to get that. But, if I’m anything to go by, people are fickle. I never looked past the screenshots.

      The video gets straight into it very quickly (could be quicker) and the previews give a good idea of what the game is. But watching the video or reading the previews means I have to be interested.

      More than any other game I’ve seen for a while, the makers of Frozen Synapse really have to concentrate on the screenshots they provide. It may be an impossible task, but they need to collect some that instantly give away what the game is about.

    • wererogue says:

      Yes please! I was going to post this if nobody else had.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      First thing I thought of when I read the post. Frozen Synapse definitely needs the love.

  5. Rakysh says:

    x2 for Dwarf Fortress. Because although it is popular, it is nowhere near as popular as it should be

  6. subedii says:

    Funny you should start this off, Paul from Mode 7 Games (Frozen Synapse) posted a little rant recently about how difficult it is for indie devs to get coverage during events like E3 (although I think he was a bit too harsh on marketing people) and how he’s basically looking for ways to get more word out.

    http://www.moddb.com/games/frozen-synapse/news/indie-games-vs-e3-who-shall-triumph-also-featuring-frozen-synapse

    IIRC they talked about it a bit in the podcast as well, which was more interesting. Anyway I think FS is a game that people would like to see more of if they knew about it.

  7. terry says:

    I would say Rock of Ages, only I guess ACE team aren’t indie now they’re being bankrolled by Atlus.

    • vanarbulax says:

      Bwuhuh? Rock of Ages is ACE Team, why was I not aware of this? I saw the name mentioned in the deluge of E3 stuff but I can’t watch everything.

      *goes off to watch*

      Wow.. that’s both artistically beautiful and viscerally hilarious at the same time.

  8. Farfarer says:

    Having seen you give that same talk at Animex, Keiron, you’d be better off spending some of that time trying to learn to give the talk via flash cards. You spent the entire talk reading it verbatim off a stack of paper in front of you! Which is a shame as it’s a really good and useful talk, but it the presentation made it kinda boring.

    As for a games, the Zombie Cow point-and-clicks would be an interesting one. Having revived a genre that’s fallen from grace and oft surpassing the humour from the best of them… but that includes a dead arm liberally smeared with Hitler’s blood-specked feces. It’s a bit of a hard sell.

    • Hodge says:

      Includes a dead arm liberally smeared with Hitler’s blood-specked feces. It’s a bit of a hard sell.

      Am I the only one who thinks the exact opposite?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      JeremyPeel: Yeah, an odd one that. I was sort of asked to re-do the presentation, which I wasn’t entirely convinced was a good idea – it’s not the sort of thing which exactly plays to an audience primarily of students as opposed to of already-engaged-devs. Bigger issue was while I had the script close to memorised for the Melbourne one, I hadn’t done enough prep for the second showing. It didn’t help that as I stepped on stage and tried to speak my vocal cords just stopped working, which scared the shit out of me and lead me playing it really tight. Could have done it better.

      KG

  9. Freud says:

    Good read. And judging from all the reviews of smaller games I read I think the indie developers are getting better at getting coverage in the PC press. At least that is preferable to the alternative that there are fewer publishers making PC games so magazines have to fill up the pages with stuff that they previously didn’t care about.

    It is probably a mix of both in addition to some superb indie games being released in the last couple of years, opening doors.

  10. Joe Martin says:

    Oh, how I’d love to go to this if it weren’t my girlfriend’s birthday.

    And: Frozen Synapse. Terrible PR, wonderful game.

  11. Ramsar says:

    Indeed, Frozen Synapse could use some help :) A great game, with lots of untapped potential. One of the devs also wrote a blogpost on the current state of game marketing (http://www.mode7games.com/blog/2010/06/16/updates/)

  12. qrter says:

    How about that scrappy little Puzzle Bots?

    Besides at RPS, and a few smaller scale blogs, I don’t think I’ve seen much about it.

  13. Nickless_One says:

    Since the name of conference is World of Love, Eskil Streenberg’s LOVE comes to mind…

    • Jacques says:

      And having emailed him and setting up a meeting with him tomorrow, I know he plans on being there as well.

    • Jacques says:

      PS, if anyone feels like turning up. Be at the Porterhouse in Covent Garden at 5:30pm on thursday the 24th June.

  14. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Frictional are a must, they’re so under covered and it’s no doubt due to them not pimping themselves enough.

  15. jeremypeel says:

    I know it’s neither new nor unknown, but Gratuitous Space Battles is a really interesting case. I seem to remember, Kieron, that you mentioned Having A Good Name as being a key way to gain attention with your game – I’ve wondered before whether GSB actually alienates people with the honest unambitiousness of its name. Plus, there’s a wealth of recent responses about why people haven’t bought it.

    Also, I expect you to have at least a small segment entitled ‘Wolfire, the Humble Indie Bundle and the financial power of goodwill’. If not, I’ll write an article about it myself!

  16. Lobotomist says:

    Battle for Wesnoth. Excellent free (+online) turn based startegy – it surely deserves coverage.

    http://www.wesnoth.org/

    Here is an odd one. Probably the most complex roguelike. Based on D20 open source rules.
    Its the most detailed 3rd Ed D&D simulation made. Commercially or otherwise.
    Also its totally obscure, known only to die hard roguelike players

    http://www.incursion-roguelike.org/

  17. SpinalJack says:

    Revenge of the Titans and anything from Positech Games

  18. jeremypeel says:

    Ooo, ooo! Monaco!

    http://www.pocketwatchgames.com/

    Also not exactly unknown, but surprisingly rarely-mentioned for an already award-winning potentially fantastic amazing co-op game of my dreams. Gasp.

    • Hodge says:

      Beat me to it. Maybe Pocketwatch are just holding back on the PR for now, but I’ve heard sod all about it since it won the IGF Grand Prize months ago.

  19. Spinoza says:

    HistWar : Les Grognards

    • Gap Gen says:

      Or indeed Scourge of War: Gettysburg (particularly the fact that it has fierce DRM and is quite expensive for an indie game at £32).

    • Vinraith says:

      @Gap Gen

      Fierce DRM? What’s it use?

    • Gap Gen says:

      Vinraith: No idea if it’s a 3rd party package, but it has an online activation system with only one activation at any one time (so if you switch between machines you have to deactivate it every time you switch, and if you mess it up you have to e-mail the devs to get it reset).

      I presume they did some maths and figured that £32 was the optimum price point for making money, because I know a few people who were tempted but put off by the price tag (which isn’t unreasonable for a game sold online, given what Steam charges for new games, granted).

    • Vinraith says:

      @Gap Gen

      Thanks for the information, I’d been thinking about picking it up (been tinkering with 2nd Manassas lately and quite enjoying it). I’ve got no real problem with that price for a substantial strategy title like this, but that DRM scheme sounds like a real pain in the ass. I may wait a bit and hope they drop it or at least ease up a bit.

  20. Kirian says:

    There’s been a bit of a revival in 2d platforming/shooting (Mega Man series etc) games on the consoles recently, so how about Noitu Love 2 or the Nifflas game?

    Maybe pretend ijji’s an indie game on the marketplace, lots of interesting ideas there. Like Randy Smith’s “Games should be four hours long as standard and fully explore mechanics/replayability”. That or some of the jtmb02 games. Maybe Dyson?

  21. Brendan says:

    It’s not new, but I wholeheartedly recommend Saira, from Nifflas’ Games.

    It’s a lot like Knytt/Stories in design, but it’s actually so much more.

    http://nifflas.ni2.se/?page=Saira

  22. cliffski says:

    This is definitely cheating. I’m giving a talk at this thing as well and I had to write my own,.
    bah
    :D

    • jeremypeel says:

      Oh cool, that’s interesting. Will we be able to watch your talk after the event also, cliffski?

    • Gap Gen says:

      You’re going to go on about unrelated astronomy topics, right?

      Gratuitous Space Prattle, y’see.

  23. Bowlby says:

    Darwinia+

    Didn’t seem to get much attention, and the peeps who did check out some of the coverage didn’t know what the hell it was about.

  24. Omroth says:

    Hey guys, Ian from Mode7/Frozen Synapse here. Thanks for all the mentions – we are trying to get in as many places as possible, but it’s difficult – especially internationally where we just don’t have any hooks. Plus, Joystiq refuse to post about us, which is consistantly upsetting.

    Anyway, you guys make it so much easier – thanks again.

  25. HexagonalBolts says:

    Definitely Dwarf Fortress!

    Such an incredible game with so much untapped potential.

  26. msarge says:

    Minecraft plz

  27. Sobric says:

    Another call for Frozen Synapse! Quality game, and in need of quality marketing.

  28. Gregg B says:

    Absolutely. Frozen Synapse deserves much more attention. I’d also add Amnesia: The Dark Descent to the short list because from all accounts Frictional seem to be doing a terrific job and I don’t think Immortal Defense got enough love either. I haven’t played Love but that seems to fit nicely.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Ahh Amnesia… That trailer with the running and blocking the doorway with a desk and hiding in a cupboard? Wow. I was terrified as a mere spectator.

  29. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    What about that JRPG? Um. You know, the one you liked. The Spirit Engine 2? Would be a good example of a game sorely in need of attention.

    • Riztro says:

      I was just about to throw spirit engine 2 in there. Not too recent an example but certainly a fascinating game that garnered very little exposure.

  30. TomSmizzle says:

    I was reading the article on the presentation you did last year, and when I read the section on non-existent Rock Star Developers my mind immediately went to Jay Pavlina, the Super Mario Bros. Crossover guy. (http://www.explodingrabbit.com/) He’s got a game that’s captured the imaginations of basically everyone, and he keeps doing those awesome youtube videos of him acting like an idiot.
    I dunno if he’s really too helpful for what you’re doing now, but that just came to mind.

  31. Frank says:

    This Game Maker dev Mr Chubigans/David Galindo has had trouble making good money off his games for…going on three years now?
    He does mostly PC games (which are sold on Gamersgate, his website, and perhaps elsewhere), with at least one XBLA game (ShellBlast HD). His website with blog:
    http://www.vertigogaming.net
    And here’s a forum post made about his first commercial game, Shellblast:
    http://gmc.yoyogames.com/index.php?showtopic=298657&mode=threaded&pid=2095059
    And in case you’re worried that he’s not indie enough, here’s a competition he won:
    http://glog.yoyogames.com/?p=501

  32. Chris D says:

    How about Achron? That’s the time-travel RTS in case y’all forgot. Can’t say it doesn’t have a unique selling point.

  33. Alex says:

    Surely the answer to increasing Dwarf Fortress popularity is to give it a proper UI?

  34. Eeek says:

    I approve of this.

  35. JWill says:

    Minecraft! Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  36. Gabbo says:

    I don’t know if ‘The Void’ is indie enough, but the amount of coverage it gathered on RPS was enough for me to check it out.

  37. MarkN says:

    Apologies if it’s been mentioned before (didn’t see it), but Solium Infernum might be an interesting one, potentially.

  38. Pixel Toaster Studios says:

    We cant be there, but thanks for the love<3

  39. MadMatty says:

    well, i mainly get my stuff from RPS, so i don´t have a lot to add.
    Transformice is great- but they seem to be rolling all on their own, thru word of -mouth.
    Just great to seem them utilize the potential of internet connectivity, and have a game brimming with players.
    Stories happen- and theyre usually funnier and better then what the industry hacks type up these days.
    Eskild Stenberg´s “MMO” Love- i tried it in beta and it was a flawed gem- should be better now a few months after- Eskild is an insomniac workaholic, and design wise he´s on the right track.
    Only doubts i had about this game, was about the logevity of the experienjce, but think i heard a little bird sing, that he was working on some long-term goals for his players.
    The playing time i had was certainly intense, challenging, and fairly original allround.

    • MadMatty says:

      oh yeah, and 10 euro a month is a bit steep for an Indie “MMO”- cool with me, i´ll cough up for a month sooner or later when i get a new rig together (wont run on my laptop).
      but maybe a fiver instead, would bring more people to the game?
      Also- there was waaaay to much static in high-detail mode in the beta- i respect the artistic direction, but when it comes to a point where you cant see whats going on, im switching to low-detail mode (We wanna win, y´know).

  40. Frank says:

    What about those Space Trader fellows? That wasn’t well marketed, I think.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Trader
    Or Phil Hassey’s Galcon? It seems to be doing okay…
    http://www.galcon.com/
    These aren’t so old, and they were updated within the last year or so (to Steam or some portable device).

  41. VexingVision says:

    Absolutely. Frozen Synapse deserves a lot more attention than it gets – I get the feeling the guys behind it are just way too overworked. :)

    Looking forward to seeing full servers on launch!

  42. PaulMode7 says:

    I’d like to echo Ian’s thanks to everyone who mentioned the game – the support is noted and definitely appreciated.

    I also wanted to respond to the criticism of what we’re doing by simply saying that if you have any ideas as to how we can improve the situation then please let me know.

    If you’re interested in a more in-depth look at our PR so far and our plans for the future, then I’ve posted here:

    http://www.moddb.com/games/frozen-synapse/news/frozen-synapse-terrible-pr-wonderful-game/

    • Dominic White says:

      I don’t think Wolfire need much help with anything. They got that double-pack deal going with the Natural Selection 2 devs, and they were the brilliant masterminds behind the (hugely successful) Humble Indie Bundle.

      They’re probably the most PR/Marketing-savvy indie crew out there.

  43. Cas says:

    fx: Mewl! Whinge! Pathetic whimper! Puppygames! Revenge of the Titans! (Or Droid Assault, which is still my favourite one, bah)

    Still resolutely failing at the business of success and proud of it!