Indie Game: The Movie Coming To Steam

By Adam Smith on May 25th, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

I’ve got a mighty fine idea. Why not point a camera at a bunch of creative sorts and let them speak their minds? That’s how Indie Game: The Movie was made, although I suspect editing the hundreds of hours of footage into something watchable, fascinating and entertaining was the hard part. Perhaps that’s why Swirsky and Pajot’s film won World Cinema Documentary Editing Award at Sundance 2012. Everyone will be able to watch it soon, or at least anyone near an internet connection, as it will be available as a downloadable purchase on June 12th. What’s most intriguing about this is that one of the download services carrying the film will be Steam. This leads to the obvious questions: will every film in the world soon be available on Steam and will Episode Three be a cinemovie?

Those obvious questions lead to obvious answers, and both of the answers are ‘almost certainly not, you cretinous oaf’. However, as the service’s first downloadable film, Indie Game: The Movie may set precedents of a sort. Perhaps all game-related cinematic output could be made available. Who could resist Uwe Boll’s output, bundled together for their consumption, and it has surely been too long since you allowed your eyes and brain to feast on the rotten fruit that is the Resident Evil series?

Indie Game: The Movie follows Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes as they make Super Meat Boy, Phil Fish’s work on Fez and Jonathan Blow’s development of Braid. I’m considering a follow up of my own devising if I can bring the right people on board. It’d star Terry Cavanagh, Stephen ‘Thecatamites’ Murphy and Jasper Byrne. I tentatively call it Fear and Loathing in Finnegan’s Games and, based on what I can picture of it in my mind’s eye, it’s going to knock your socks for six.

And you know what? I wouldn’t edit it at all. It’d be six hundred hours long and mostly consist of awkward silence.

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93 Comments »

  1. NotSoSmilingJack says:

    Steam sells movies now too? This could be interesting…

    • RaveTurned says:

      Steam has let you download videos for ages. Granted these have been HD game trailers, and this is the first I’ve head of them selling paid-for movies, but the capability’s been there from quite early on.

      • westyfield says:

        They’ve been selling ‘making of’ ebooks (and possibly art books) for a while. They did the Final Hours of Portal 2 one.

    • CJ says:

      Apologies if I’m missing sonething, but where does it say it’s being sold? It just says available for download and that Steam are ‘carrying it’.

      Bugger, I was missing something. Sorry.

      • Adam Smith says:

        It is being sold – edited in. Didn’t realise people thought it might be free. It won an editing award after all!

  2. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Better remove that Fez tag, since Phil Fish has shot down any dreams of it coming to PC (like he promised!1). Better yet, replace it with “Phil Fish is a bad bad man and Jams is sad now.”

    • pipman3000 says:

      why would the great Phil Fish want to release his game on the same platform that the awful and very bad *sneers* JAPANESE* game Cave Story debuted on instead of the glorious All American Xbox 360?

      *phil fish hates japanese games

      • Just Endless says:

        guys, shut up. and go watch indie game, the guy is far less of a dick than everyone seems to treat him.

        • Jams O'Donnell says:

          I’m not saying he’s a dick. I’m saying he’s a bad man and made me sad!

          • Fincher says:

            I, on the other hand, am saying he’s a dick.

            Of course this documentary is going to shine him in a positive light, but anyone who’s followed his ramblings sans movie knows he’s pretty vile.

          • Crimsoneer says:

            In his defense, Japan has a way of producing shoddy, crappy games with terrible mechanics and frighteningly bad characters. UK/US does too, but god Japan is terrible for it.

          • Terragot says:

            Crimsoneer; Statements like those about subjective matter just go to enforce the western bigot stereotype.

            You may not find obese women attractive, due to the western culture of glorifying exercise and dedication towards a fitness goal. Men in Cambodia however, can be seen with raised shirts, lightly patting their belly. The size of the stomach usually indicates the standard of living, and, therefore, determines a level of attraction.

          • Crimsoneer says:

            True, which is why I said the UK/European market makes terrible games as well. That doesn’t change the fact that there are far too many JRPGs are are self-insert-fanfics about 14 year old boys discovering they were born with some mystic distant relatives, meaning they don’t have to be lonely self-absorbed nerds their whole life.

          • Skabooga says:

            re self-insert-fanfics about 14 year old boys discovering they were born with some mystic distant relatives, meaning they don’t have to be lonely self-absorbed nerds their whole life.

            Sorry, I came late to this conversation: are we talking about Harry Potter?

          • Bishop says:

            I heard one of the Japanese developers say that Japan had lost it too. Can’t remember which one, think it might have been the guy who made Metal Gear. If they’d just make Power Stone 3 it’ll all go away.

  3. frightlever says:

    If they’re going to have more movies they better get that couch UI mode finished. Sooner the better. Something like http://www.youtube.com/leanback for Youtube.

  4. JackDandy says:

    I wish it would focus on indies that aren’t irritating assholes. (Except for the Braid guy, that dude’s okay)

    • pipman3000 says:

      But if they did that the entire movie would be half an hour long and only have like 3-4 people in it

    • Postposterous says:

      Jonathan Blow? Really? I guess he’s not an asshole, but he’s pretentious as all get out.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      I thought I remembered a really annoying quote from Jonathan Blow about how he gave Braid a downbeat story about lost love because mopey dudes who wear black and live in basements love that shit. But I can’t find it now, so maybe I’m mistaken, or someone else was putting words in his mouth. Anyone else know what I’m talking about?

      • ribobura osserotto says:

        “Hey man, I have this totally original and innovative game idea that is going to blow everyone’s mind:

        Ok..

        So..

        Get this…

        A 2D platformer. BUT with a twist at the end!”

        • AlwaysRight says:

          Massively reductive comments are fun arnt they. The great thing about them is that they need very little intelligence to write. So you get to take a pop at a complex issue and not have to think at all. Brilliant!

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            To everything there is a season, my friend. A time well structured comments, and a time for snarky remarks and cheap jokes.

            And god knows I’ve spent a truckload of time properly arguing in other news’ comment sections.

            But do forgive me, if my sense of humour is not enough highbrow for the likes of you, kind sir.

  5. ribobura osserotto says:

    Whiny Fuckstains & Pseudo Artists: The Movie (i’ll open an exception for Adam Atomic, since he might be the only cool guy in it.

    • N says:

      hear hear

    • blind_boy_grunt says:

      i take it you make games nobody wants to play?

    • yutt says:

      Ug, with popularity, I guess this is what we can expect of the future of RPS comments.

      • ribobura osserotto says:

        You should try googling for the controversies involving Phi Fish, Edmund McMillen and Johnathan Blow. There’s a reason why I called them a bunch of whiny fuckstains. Because they are exactly that.

        • RobF says:

          I think the phrase you’re looking for is “they have opinions” which is not even quite the same.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            Well then, one could say it’s my opinion that they are tremendous assholes. If by their opinions you mean priceless gems such as “Japanese games suck”, “people should get a new computer because my game is buggy and I refuse to fix it” and “everyone who criticizes me is an asshole”, I don’t think you need to be a genius to draw some conclusions. I mean, there’s even copy-paste compilations of various examples of their douchebaggery and a whole 40-page phil fish hate thread on neogaf if you google around a bit.

          • RobF says:

            A 40 page hate thread on a forum that could generate 40 pages of hate out of the most innocuous things is surely proof! Christ, the “Japanese games suck” was hardly worth any of the shitstorm it generated and I’d ask why someone holding and stating that opinion is such a bothersome thing anyway.

            Does it offend thine eye that someone might dislike the things you adore so much that it’s worthy of condemnation? Are you that insecure in your tastes?

            I tell you this, if someone monitored your communications online and then pulled out only the things they thought were shitty and presented them to people, would that not make you look a massive tool too?

            This Internet insistence on viewing snippets of communication and building personalities around whatever narrative suits is the most depressing thing.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            >and I’d ask why someone holding and stating that opinion is such a bothersome thing anyway.

            It’s not, but it’s certainly bothersome if you say it to a japanese person who asked you the question in the most polite way possible, in front of a whole conference audience. It was an incredibly rude thing to do. Also, that’s a very nice way to ignore the rest of the issue by focusing your argument on a single point. Much like I said, that is not the only example of Fish’s contempt for his critics and fans. The neogaf thread is only a reflection of that, and not a proof itself (although it actually contains said proofs, now that I think of it). Look for his infamous twitter posts after he won the IGF award, like the “suck my dick and choke on it” one.

            >Does it offend thine eye that someone might dislike the things you adore so much that it’s worthy of condemnation? Are you that insecure in your tastes?

            Does it offend you that I dislike persons that you apparently share sympathy for? I am very secure about my tastes. In fact I’m so secure about them I’ll tell you a little about why these people make me rage: it’s because of their over inflated egos, and how they act like making cheap little flash games and simple 2D platformers with a twist, all by themselves, is much of a big deal when, back in the 80s and early 90s it was standard practice to have 2 or 3 men teams making fully commercial games with a lot less means and tools, in a lot less time.

            But these are stories never to be told. No one will ever care of how David Braben built Frontier 2: Elite in over 250.000 lines of assembly, or how Chris Sorrel and Eric Chahi fully programmed and designed some of the most impressive platformers of their time. Yet Edmund McMillen still claims that making one of his flash games is like “being in a concentration camp”. It’s certainly not, especially when you refuse to fix basic things you should be responsible for fixing, such as simple collision bugs and the entirety of the online ladder.

            >I tell you this, if someone monitored your communications online and then pulled out only the things they thought were shitty and presented them to people, would that not make you look a massive tool too?

            Cool strawman. I merely stated that I dislike these people, not that their presence should be eradicated from the web. They are entitled to their opinion much like I am entitled to my own opinion regarding theirs. You, on the other hand, seem to act like we should totally ignore these bad things and focus on the positive ones exclusively.

            >This Internet insistence on viewing snippets of communication and building personalities around whatever narrative suits is the most depressing thing.

            I disagree, because that’s exactly what communication is, especially when these people are expressing their own personal opinions to a fairly large audience centered around them. They are not being a proxy for a company or public entity. They are talking about themselves and what they think, so they should try to be more sensitive to their audience before shitposting and flaming their own fans directly. If you don’t want to be seen as an asshole, perhaps you shouldn’t be calling other people assholes to begin with. And that has happened plenty of times, at least with Phil Fish and Edmund McMillen.

          • RobF says:

            In the context of a conference, I’ve heard far worse than what Phil said. Heck, I’ve probably said far far worse about Sonic 4 than Phil did to that guy. It was also said with a nod and a wink not some mass of invective and malice but sure, believe the internet shitstorm story over the reality. And the Twitter thing the next morning? Hungover and waking up to a complete shitstorm, man says incredibly stupid thing designed to get more people in a froth because hey, they’re already frothing so why the fuck would it make a difference? Minds had already been made up. It’s a very human thing to do. It’s daft and I’d not do it myself, but not worth the pathetic lynch mob mentality the internet brings with it.

            And you know what, making and finishing a console game with a small team *is* fucking hard. It’s fucking far harder than Braben *ever* had it around then so don’t give me that crap. Console dev now and small studio dev in the nineties and prior are massively different. By the time you’ve coughed up for devkits, cert costs, ratings and everything else, you’re far closer to massive debts today than at any point in game development history. The pressures of bringing something out in a timely fashion also. When your home and your health and your future financial well being is on the line because of modern console dev, then yes, it’s stressful stuff. When pumping patches up the pipe costs a vast amount of money for consoles then that too becomes an issue. And sometimes, it’s far more effort than it’s worth financially or for your health to fix a bug on the PC (time and support costs, possible breaking more stuff that would take too long to fix when you could be or need to be moving on). It’s not some black and white, either/or scenario.

            So with all due respect, you’re entirely factually wrong. The difficulties in making games aren’t measured in lines of code or close to the metal anymore, the reality has changed massively. The same goes for claiming that the stories of these already exalted games and the authors behind them aren’t told. They are, repeatedly. And that there’s people who’ll willingly use their work to beat the new generation over the head is frankly scary anyway. What’s with that?

            And I’m not telling you to only focus on the good points, I’m telling you that the narrative you’re weaving from snippets of communication is born of bullshit and is a foul way to treat people. Taking only things that are negative or if they’re somewhat in doubt, painting them as negative and building a personality for someone around that is rank. That’s massively different. But clearly, it’s the one you want to believe judging by the lengths you’ll go to to condemn folks based on pretty much nothing and to defend your rights to do so.

            Yup, you can hold that opinion. Yes, you’re entitled to it. Just don’t be surprised if you get called on it because it’s a crock of unreality made up from sensationalist press reports and bits of twitters. Which it is.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            >In the context of a conference, I’ve heard far worse than what Phil said. Heck, I’ve probably said far far worse about Sonic 4 than Phil did to that guy.

            The fact that some people did worse doesn’t excuse him for acting wrong. Get your logics straight. Also saying a specific game is bad isn’t the same thing as saying the entirety of games produced by a country suck, especially when the person that asks you the question is a game developer in said country.

            >It’s a very human thing to do. It’s daft and I’d not do it myself, but not worth the pathetic lynch mob mentality the internet brings with it.

            Never said I wanted to lynch him. I just think he’s an asshole. Besides, other of his attitudes were also highly questioned prior to the whole “japanese games suck” drama, such as him entering the IGF awards when he had done so previously, and having won awards with the same game. People began questioning his attitude from that point actually, which is might have lead the whole thing worse.

            >And you know what, making and finishing a console game with a small team *is* fucking hard. It’s fucking far harder than Braben *ever* had it around then so don’t give me that crap.

            Ok. At this point I just facepalmed so hard I literally hurt my face.

            So let’s just consider this for a moment here:

            You’re telling me that having to program a video game in raw assembly for a certain CPU, with no tutorials whatsoever and no devkits or SDKs at all, and having to do all art in programs with less capabilities than MSpaint (or actually PROGRAM the whole art like Braben did) is easier than making a 2D platformer such as Fez, Super Meat Boy or Braid? Are you seriously out of your mind? I’m having a hard time here to believe if you’re just blindly trying to convince yourself that you can not be wrong about something, or if you really have no idea about what you’re talking about. Because seriously, making games back in the 80s… it was definitively not for everyone. Most of the times you had to go around and learn how to do things while you were actually doing them, because there were no tutorials whatsoever. Try programming a game from scratch by being given a CPU manual detailing what its instruction set does, and an assembler, instead of programming a game for an Xbox 360 in C# using the XNA framework, which provides many niceties for creating a game, and having a plethora of information and tutorials at your disposal at all times because of the internet. Sometimes you even had to program your own tools to help you along the way, like Eric Chahi did with his vector graphics program. There was A LOT of pressure from publishers as well, and developers frequently had to deal with overly demanding milestones and often very thin paychecks. Piracy was also a way more serious problem than it is today since game sales were directly affected by a parallel market of pirated games and people that made a profit of it. Hobbyists aside there were plenty of developers making games for a living. Go take a look at the old dev teams from the Commodore Amiga generation and you will rarely find teams with more than 4 or 5 people, usually with a single programmer handling all the code. And since when does making patches costs too much money?

            So please, don’t go on claiming other people are factually wrong when you ignore the facts yourself.

            And there’s a difference between weaving stories out of lies and dubious facts, and commenting straight on quotations and actions made by people. If they didn’t want people to think bad about them, perhaps they should have not said crap in the 1st place. Stop being an apologist for people that clearly don’t deserve it. People think they can get away by saying crap on twitter just because you have a character limit for whatever the reason. In fact, Notch threw a fit about it recently once one of his obnoxious twitters made it to a newsposts on Forbes gaming collumn. Erik Kain told him straight about it, because, guess what, relevance is not a matter of size, and like the bard once said, brevity is the soul of wit. Often you can account more about a person’s true thoughts in a couple of sentences, than in a full written declaration.

          • RobF says:

            “The fact that some people did worse doesn’t excuse him for acting wrong. Get your logics straight. Also saying a specific game is bad isn’t the same thing as saying the entirety of games produced by a country suck, especially when the person that asks you the question is a game developer in said country.”

            It still doesn’t make the press coverage of Phil’s comments any less sensationalist tittle tattle. Nor does it make your assertion that he’s an asshole any less ill informed or approached from a position of ignorance.

            “Never said I wanted to lynch him. I just think he’s an asshole. Besides, other of his attitudes were also highly questioned prior to the whole “japanese games suck” drama, such as him entering the IGF awards when he had done so previously, and having won awards with the same game. People began questioning his attitude from that point actually, which is might have lead the whole thing worse.”

            People enter twice all the time and there was a 5 year gap inbetween Fez winning Excellence In Art and Fez re-entering and winning the grand prize so it wasn’t even the same game by this point anyway. It shared the same name and developers and sure, he could have not entered it but no harm was ever done by him doing so. IGF drama is the same every year and never gets any less boring.

            That’s a really desperate straw clutch for something to hate someone for, man.

            But yeah, this is the perfect example of you looking for things to confirm your opinion rather than, y’know, give a little and be nice.

            “Ok. At this point I just facepalmed so hard I literally hurt my face.”

            That’s a shame. I hope it hasn’t bruised.

            Also, I hope you’ll try and understand that there may have been an (arguable) higher barrier to entry with regards to learning to code, the complexity of machines and requirements to get published and costs incurred have increased astronomically, the need for lot checks and cert has increased and with it, the cost of development. And when you’re a one, two or three person team or similar doing console dev, then there’s a lot more to lose than ever before. It is massively more difficult -as a whole- to write and release a console game than it would have been for Whoever to write 80′s/90′s GAME Y.

            I don’t have to convince myself of this, it’s true.

            As I said and you seemed to deliberately ignore, these things are no longer measured in lines of code or coding to the metal. Hardware complexity has increased massively. Costs have increased massively. The chances of losing the roof over your head has increased massively.

            Code was very often shared in the eighties (see John Pickford’s wonderful anecdote about the redefine keys routine that appeared in hundreds of Speccy games), tutorials and books existed from the moment when computers were kits and continued well beyond. The industry was still small enough that snippets and routines could be passed down.Breaking into games was fairly easy if you really needed to see how something was done.

            Just like today, there was stuff that needed feeling out and stuff that didn’t. People will still need, pretty damn often, to code their own tools and their own routines (certainly, Fez’ trixels don’t suddenly appear out of thin air, implementing something on the scale of Super Meat Boy’s level sharing is hardly a task you just copy from the internet). From particle editors, to sprite editors, to level editors and more, these are things that still need to be done. From scratch. Whatever language you use might abstract you from the metal but it doesn’t magically make things happen and we have much more to make happen now.

            But the machines were simpler then anyway. There was less points of failure. Quality control wasn’t taken entirely seriously and the idea of lot checks and cert for systems was, well, y’know. Generally not really considered much. .You built for one or two platforms with fixed specs. The publisher might pay someone else to port it.

            If you’re doing console dev you can still have that luxury but cert and lot check will consume time and funds from you, hitting cert is an expensive do in and of itself. You might be lucky and get first pass free or cheap, but if you fail? More money.

            That’s without factoring normal developer costs and eating and stuff. PC dev now requires that you cater for a multitude of specifications, graphics cards, all sorts of things. Gone are the days where you might do a little trick by drawing something in the border or whatever to get round a limitation, right? It’s not so simple anymore.

            And of course, publishers and milestones are things that never went away. They just found more ways to get screwy. Maybe you need to go to one to buy an XBLA slot, maybe you need their money to finish up because dev is an expensive do now… maybe you just don’t know any better. It’s a problem that persists and whilst we’ve made great gains in calling out the bad ones, you get the drift by now anyway, I hope.

            “Piracy was also a way more serious problem than it is today since game sales were directly affected by a parallel market of pirated games and people that made a profit of it.”

            It’s pretty impossible for piracy to have been more of a problem given we didn’t have widespread distribution like we do now. Sure, C90′s were rife, picking up advance disks of unreleased games at computer clubs was a thing that happened but it’s nothing, nothing compared to what we have now with torrents, usenet, file sharing sites and more. Unless you subscribe to the Mad Bruce school of history, of course. But everyone knows that’s not entirely something that tallies with reality.

            There are more people using computers, more people with access to these sites, more ways to take content for nothing. How can that even add up to something being less of a problem? (Obviously, the answer is the market has grown at a pace that’s enough to support more developers and huge amounts of people taking the game but that’s a thing that’s been happening since the early eighties anyway so the point remains moot).

            Regardless, you can’t just send trading standards round to close a market stall anymore. It’s more complex.

            “And since when does making patches costs too much money?”

            Since platform holders *could* charge money to patch games. And it’s not an insubstantial amount at that for certain platforms. Which is why you see a number of “one patch then abandoned” titles out there. And if you’re under a publisher and they’re paying for your time or controlling distribution for you (it happens), then you may not even be *allowed* to patch something.

            So, I’m not ignoring facts. I’m presenting them. Just because coding was more obtuse and computers more primitive doesn’t mean that things today aren’t hard. And in most professional cases, *harder* and *costlier*, especially when it comes to the sort of dev the people in question here do.

            “Stop being an apologist for people that clearly don’t deserve it.”

            Oh believe me, that’s the last thing I am.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            Look here’s the thing. It’s obvious that making games will always imply a lot of work, there’s no deny to that. But you have to realize that programming in 80s and in the early 90s was considerably more taxing job simply because of the lack of means. Compilers were crude, the languages used were far more messy to work with, and, like I said before, there were absolutely no tutorials on how to do a lot of things, and the developers themselves will tell you that easily. Look at Carmack’s latest interview on making Wolfenstein 3D for instance. Or look at Eric Chahi’s self-made documentary on making Another World.

            Now you implied that code was often shared, and although that maybe true, it’s certainly not to the degree you think it is. And even if it was, you have to understand it would still take a ton of work to use a game engine intended for one game and turn into another, if you recall that they weren’t made with the vision of becoming development platforms, as they are today. Besides, nowadays the level of sharing is likely to have increased a thousandfold with the internet, and the fact the engines have become platforms for longterm development and support, which also makes things a whole lot easier for fixing bugs and such. Think at how troublesome was debugging a ton of assembly lines in comparison. Unlike you just said the increasing complexity of machines is actually matched by a simplified use and ease of programming a high and medium levels, which is where you can locate most video game programming. Costs have actually never been more accessible either, if you take into account that tech gets smaller, more powerful and cheaper every year, whereas not every one was able to afford a computer back in the 80s. Having publisher fees on such things as patches and fixes doesn’t necessarily makes them harder to program either, and most costs are covered by exponentially larger profits than what you had in the 80s and 90s. “Patched once games” isn’t a new thing either, if you go take a look at most games released during the 90s, before the time of digital distribution. Even these days, only widely succesful games get patched more than once or twice, save for a few exceptions when the developers actually care.

            So at least code-wise programmers have it way easier than they used to have 20 years ago, and that’s pretty much unargueable. That is also why I chose to ignore you rebuttal to my 250.000 lines of code statement because I wasn’t making that point solely on the overwhelming amount of work made by Braben solo. It’s both that, and the fact that he had little tools to work with, and programmed the whole thing from scratch, as it gets tougher to ensure quality with limited means, and even the masterpiece that was Frontier II was not without its flaws (since it was released before schedule due to publisher pressure). Try to compare that with the game-breaking bugs that plagued Fez on the release week, considering it took the devs 5 whole years to polish the game properly.

            Of course if we talk purely on the matter advanced graphics, then it’s a whole different subject, and indeed, creating a platform for hi-res graphics it’s certainly a ton more work than creating a simple image renderer for 2D pixel sprites, if you program the whole thing from scratch, that is. However a lot that work has been streamlined as well with all the ready-made engines and libraries that essentially save you the trouble of doing it all by yourself. There’s nevertheless another point here, that is more related to the matter at hand: these indie platformers we’re discussing don’t exactly have the next-gen graphics of most AAA titles. In fact they actually look less detailed graphics-wise than all the old games I listed. Now it’s true that it’s mostly a style choice, usually inspired by NES graphics, but it is still one that certainly takes a less effort and work hours than the amount of sprites used in games like James Pond 2 or Another World, especially if we take into account how crude the tools available for making graphics were in comparison with modern stuff like photoshop. Having worked with some of these tools myself (namely Deluxe Paint, for the Amiga), I can tell you they have little more options than Mspaint does nowadays. And don’t underestimate the level of detail of 16-bit sprites in some games of that era. Fez might still have the whole dimension flipping component going for it, but is really not at all that impressive considering how blocky the whole world is, and the fact that it has been done before by several other games before. It’s also a pretty simple thing to do on a basic 3D engine, that it’s only moderately impressive when contextually applied to a seemingly 2D world. The level design actually turns out to be surprisingly poor both gameplay-wise and, especially, challenge-wise. Besides, someone actually made a game that mimicks the entirety of Fez’s gameplay in a lot less time using flash, with more features added to it, (the game is called Sky Island, if you’re interested).

            And keep in mind these developers of old were also dependant on the same milestones modern devs are nowadays, just like they were trying to make a living out of it, while likely getting less money from a not-so-developed video game market. And trust me, piracy was way more of problem back then than it is today, due to the lack of services like digital distribution, which nowadays boost sales greatly at 0 cost, and the fact that pirates actually made a profit of it, affecting how games were sold to the locally. At least in my country things got to the point it was more frequent to find pirated games on stores than original ones. So if the old devs don’t deserve more praise than modern indie devs, they certainly deserve the same amount, at least. The problem with documentaries like Indie Game the Movie, is that they portray these devs as if they are making something that has never been done before in the industry, or something that appears to be an astounding or herculean effort, (and far more dramatized than any news report on these guys can be, considering you care so much about the impact of drama) when it was commonplace about 20 years ago.

            If you still doubt your own common sense, go talk with some programmers, because I’ve certainly did before writing any of the posts I’ve previously made, both old timers and people that are still in the business, and the answer is pretty much what I’ve just told you.

            Finally, to touch the subject of their personal behaviour, and how it was perceived by people, I don’t think it really was a matter of media dramatization, considering that the fan outrage started before the first news articles on the topic were written. I haven’t actually read any of those myself, as my opinion derives directly from their own comments and several previous, and postomous interviews (perhaps with the sole exception of a report on the actual japanese guy who asked the question on the Phil Fish case).

          • RobF says:

            To be honest man, you’re now showing such a massively consistent lack of knowledge for how games are made then and today and what the games you’re discussing actually contain under the hood whilst bouncing all over the place avoiding any facts, relying on “honestly, it was HARD. They had to lick tarmac off the road” as an argument, that it’s pretty much pointless continuing to discuss anything with you. It is, however, a highly entertaining and hilarious read so let’s wrap this up, eh?

            I mean, seriously, ffs. The tools required for pixelling have barely evolved since Dpaint so I have no bloody clue what you’re on about yelling that it’s some sort of archaic and primitive thing (I also know one game artist who still uses DPaint because he finds it easier). Both Pro Motion and Graphics Gale (one or the other is usually the pixel art package of choice for professionals, I prefer Pro Motion but YMMV) are scant advances and even if you’re using Photoshop, you’re still going to be putting each pixel down individually and relying on palettes so it’s no easier than it ever was.

            The skillset required is still the same and the tools aren’t so different as to warrant even bringing up. It’s not like going from Melbourne Draw to Photoshop or something. But even if it were, Melbourne Draw was enough to do the job at the time so whatever, right? I think Photoshop might have been overkill for a 16×16 single colour sprite or something.

            And if you’re trying to tell me that DPaint is somehow more difficult to use than, say, 3DS Max or Cinema4d or Maya or something, I may have to get a nurse to strap me down before my sides split in half. Or that it’s because it’s primitive and not like Photoshop now that it’s hard, that too will make me crap laughing because you pick a colour and you put a block on the screen. What do you want or need from that? It had fully featured animation tools too, it was (and is) fine.

            But no, of course, it was harder then, logic and facts be damned!

            Just this alone…

            “And don’t underestimate the level of detail of 16-bit sprites in some games of that era. Fez might still have the whole dimension flipping component going for it, but is really not at all that impressive considering how blocky the whole world is, and the fact that it has been done before by several other games before.”

            is from a position of such incredible ignorance that it beggars belief. What on Earth has “how blocky the whole world is” got to do with a single thing? Yet your post is full of guff like this! Stuff that if you don’t know any better might look like it has some logic or sense to it but there’s none there.

            The stuff about middleware is a crock of poor justifications and trying to sound smart but it just comes out as an enormous honking I KNOW NOTHING. You ignore any and all actual costs and financials and prefer to go for fantasy world ones and for bonus points, magic up a piracy demon to get bingo. AMAZING.

            You clearly haven’t got the slightest clue about the cost of development, how payments are handled, any of it. If you did, you wouldn’t come out with anything even half as ridiculous as “Costs have actually never been more accessible either, if you take into account that tech gets smaller, more powerful and cheaper every year, whereas not every one was able to afford a computer back in the 80s.” when we’re talking the difference between 1-300 pounds for a home computer in the 1980′s and tens of thousands of pounds now to push through cert alone, discounting all the other costs you’ll incur like a computer, a devkit, eating, living, wages, art and music costs, ratings and what have you.

            But I’ve been through this and you persist in making stuff up! As if you can magically willpower yourself to being right. Good luck with that!

            And the constant attempts at elevating the work of old developers (James Pond 2? You *are* pissing me now, yeah?) in order to belittle the work people are doing today is still as disgusting as when you first started it. Stop that. It’s gross.

            So I wish you well and hope you can put aside your animosity for people and move on. Because it’s clearly built from an equal amount of knowledge on the people you’re calling arseholes as it is the amount of know how you have about writing games. Which is pretty close to nob all.

          • ribobura osserotto says:

            >To be honest man, you’re now showing such a massively consistent lack of knowledge for how games are made then and today and what the games you’re discussing actually contain under the hood whilst bouncing all over the place avoiding any facts, relying on “honestly, it was HARD. They had to lick tarmac off the road” as an argument,

            Well neither are you. In fact you seem to be doing the exact opposite when you say stuff like “making and finishing a console game with a small team *is* fucking hard. It’s fucking far harder than Braben *ever* had it around “. You don’t even seem to understand why programming a game starting from building its engine from scratch, using a low-level language is harder than making a similar game in medium/high level language using a pre-built engine or pre-available libraries and a ton of references to look for help.

            >I mean, seriously, ffs. The tools required for pixelling have barely evolved since Dpaint so I have no bloody clue what you’re on about yelling that it’s some sort of archaic and primitive thing

            You speak as if pixel art is stuck in the past in terms of requirements and work involved. That’s funny because you’re the one defending how much effort was put into these retro-looking indie games. I merely mentioned Deluxe Paint as an example, since I actually have some experience using it. but as far as it goes it’s a lot like I said: It’s like a slightly advanced version of Mspaint with a few animation tools. And there’s a reason why people don’t use Mspaint for making pixel art anymore. It’s because photoshop and other tools make it a whole lot more convenient and add a lot of niceties that speed the process tenfold. Go to any pixelart community and ask for what tools they use (I personally visit Pixelation every now and then). Not to mention all the stuff that you have nowadays like drawing tablets and such, which avoid you the trouble of doing paper sketches and then digitizing them. But if you still don’t make my word, here’s a video of Al Lowe discussing, amongst other relevant things, how the art for Leisure Suit Larry was made. Keep in mind Dpaint was probably the best available back then, and it still wasn’t used by most of devs, who instead relied on more primitive tools (watch the whole video since he touches the subject twice)

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfFeZEkyhM0

            And here’s another video of Eric Chahi briefly explaining how he had to make his own vector graphics tool when he was making Another World.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPDN-tE7vQ0

            >The skillset required is still the same and the tools aren’t so different as to warrant even bringing up.

            Obviously the basics are the same, but the advanced tools provided by modern software allow saving a truckload of time, which is a valuable constant, like I already said.

            >And if you’re trying to tell me that DPaint is somehow more difficult to use than, say, 3DS Max or Cinema4d or Maya or something, I may have to get a nurse to strap me down before my sides split in half.

            Are you trying to do a straw man here? I haven’t even mentioned 3D graphics on that aspect.

            >is from a position of such incredible ignorance that it beggars belief. What on Earth has “how blocky the whole world is” got to do with a single thing?

            Modeling a bunch of simple 3D boxes and have them textured with simple pixel-art inspired textures takes considerably less time than making a realistic-looking high poly environments and characters.

            >You ignore any and all actual costs and financials and prefer to go for fantasy world ones and for bonus points, magic up a piracy demon to get bingo. AMAZING.

            Take a look at the Al Lowe video again (and watch the other parts while you’re at it). Making games in the 80s was a risky business as well. AL Lowe points out how he was essentially paid in royalties once Sierra went near bankruptcy. If your game failed you had serious risks of going broke unless you had another job. And piracy was huge problem like I pointed out, because you essentially had a parallel game market going on that seriously harmed developers, especially if they were being paid in royalties. Back then cracking groups operated as illegitimate game traders, copying and selling cracked games both internally and abroad. If you look at the cracktros from old times you’ll often find their address and price list on them. There were even several anti-piracy leagues and authorities who focused on tracking these groups. In my country this got to the point that a lot of retailers actually ordered pirated copies from these people and sold them “under the table” to most customers, while keeping an original copy on the shelf for display.

            >You clearly haven’t got the slightest clue about the cost of development, how payments are handled, any of it. If you did, you wouldn’t come out with anything even half as ridiculous as “Costs have actually never been more accessible”

            If we’re talking about AAA titles, I agree with you, sure. In fact I stated something similar on my previous post, although it was more related with workload. But we’re not talking about those. We’re talking about indie platformers that can be programmed at the comfort of your house having a single programmer and a single artist doing all the work, much like Fez and SMB. Pro tools like 3DStudio Max will cost you a pretty penny, that’s for sure, but you would be a fool if you bought those just to make a game like Fez and SMB, whose style is akin to 8-bit graphics. Cost-wise keep in mind that potentially increased costs on devkits and licensing are covered by the larger number of sales. And don’t forget that both Another World and James Pond 2 had ports of their console ports of their own, for the consoles of the time, which likely included their own associated licensing fees added to all other expenses, although I was unable to find info on their values.

            >And the constant attempts at elevating the work of old developers (James Pond 2? You *are* pissing me now, yeah?) in order to belittle the work people are doing today is still as disgusting as when you first started it. Stop that. It’s gross.

            Have you even played the game? It was absolutely massive for the time it was released and even more if you consider it was made by a single person. Plenty of levels and sublevels, each of them featuring a different design. Tons of nooks and crannies to explore and quite challenging gameplay that while being heavily inspired on the Mario games, added a great element of exploration. It’s still considered by the Amiga community as one the best Amiga games ever created. Similar praises could be made on the Elite series and it’s amazing scale and never-seen-before use of graphics and gameplay. If you play these games nowadays, and compare them to the simplicity of the indie games we’re discussing… it does way beyond than belittling them. It makes them look as if they were almost irrelevant to the history of videogames.

            >So I wish you well and hope you can put aside your animosity for people and move on. Because it’s clearly built from an equal amount of knowledge on the people you’re calling arseholes as it is the amount of know how you have about writing games. Which is pretty close to nob all.

            Frankly the way you seem to discard or purportedly ignore plain facts I mentioned several is equally baffling for me. But please, do feel free to move along.

          • RobF says:

            No, the problem is, I do understand what writing games entails and that’s how I know you’re talking guff.

  6. felisc says:

    Will it be free ? Adam’s article doesn’t mention any price but i guess we will have to pay for it… Right ?

    • Sian says:

      You can already preorder it on Steam for 7,99 € – no idea how much it’s going to be in other currencies.

      I’m wondering, though, why should I pay for what is basically a “making of” when those usually are free with whatever they are the “making of” of?

      • felisc says:

        Thanks. I dont think this really is comparable to a making of, those guys seem to really have put the documentary hat on their project. 8 euros is too much for me though. I’d pay 4 euros top. Im too used to watch free great docs on arte here in europe!

  7. Twoflower says:

    I’m not sure I’d wanna pay $10 for a movie on Steam. I’d be locked into watching it ON Steam, namely on my PC, which can’t play on my television without considerable DIY work.

    The iTunes version may have DRM, but at least I can watch it on my mobile device. And if I buy the DVD, I can just rip it and watch it anywhere — PC, mobile, TV, anything.

    • BryanTrysers says:

      £6.29 seems a bit steep if it is locked into Steam. The film website at least explicitly states it is DRM free if you get it through them with direct download.

  8. derf says:

    Too bad that past the first few hours of the goodness that comes with settling and expanding your early civ, resource-grabbing all the while, ultimately, the game is quite gash.

  9. CelticPixel says:

    Now you can’t moan about games not being taken seriously as art one minute then call out indie devs as pretentious arseholes the next. I’m extremely grateful to be able to play games produced with heart and soul by people aspiring to big ideas, whether they reach them or not.

    • CelticPixel says:

      Also, Blow’s carrying the torch for Myst-adventure-style games. Go Blow!

      • Dervish says:

        I am interested in The Witness, but describing Blow as “carrying the torch” as if Myst-style games were not routinely being made is exactly the problem with this movie and the general cult of personality that such people cultivate.

        • CelticPixel says:

          Whoa, sorry Dervish. I just meant that ‘he’s doing a myst-styled adventure game’. It’s not your AAA studios genre of choice. Didn’t mean to put that out there as if he was our last hope. Not bigging him up as a cult personality either, I added it after as a sort of light-hearted statement. (I thought Braid was a bit shit actually : / )

          • Dervish says:

            Sorry, it was that comment in combination with the Atlantic article someone linked above that really does describe him as a “last hope” figure.

        • BooleanBob says:

          True that. We’ll never get a movie shot in the trenches of a Big Fish-distributed dev…

        • Faxmachinen says:

          Myst-like is a rather vague term, but if you’ve come across a cache of first-person point-and-click nice-looking… actually, strike that. Just any game at all where the puzzles are difficult yet logical and varied, I’d like to know about.

    • Fincher says:

      Is it all right to think they’re pretentious arseholes AND games aren’t art? Just need some clarification.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        I think a lot of good art has historically come from pretentious assholes

  10. Dervish says:

    Why is there a Super Nintendo controller? Seriously, I can’t think of a sensible reason. It reminds me of those stock photos of people playing games with the consoles unplugged–is it nothing but an attempt at positive feelings by association?

    • dE says:

      Actually, I think that image is very fitting for the movie. The controller looks like it decided to hang itself.

    • Fincher says:

      Because it’s so retro and geek-chic, y’know? US GAMERS

    • v21 says:

      To be fair, the two devs most heavily profiled (Team Meat & Polytron) explicitly made games to hark back to the games they played as kids.* SNES games, basically.

      That, and it’s a cool shot.

      (* arguably they did far better than that. They made games to evoke the feeling they felt when they played those games as kids. Still fundamentally backwards looking, mind.)

    • Skabooga says:

      @Dervish:
      An image like this?

      There are some thirteen things wrong with that picture.

      • roryok says:

        My fav part is how the mother isn’t even looking at the screen. I mean, I get that the actors probably weren’t familiar with video games, but presumably the instructions were “stare at this TV”. She couldn’t even get that much right. And somehow, the photographer didn’t give enough of a shit to take another shot

  11. db1331 says:

    I would never give that Fez asshole any of my money. Not because he won’t bring his game to PC. Because he is the most pretentious little prick I’ve ever seen. Before he had even put his game out, he was talking shit about the gaming industry like he was goddamn Miyamoto or something. Just that shot of him sitting at that bar with those ridiculous hipster sideburns and glasses, staring upwards like he is convening with God himself, makes me want to punch him THROUGH his face.

    • Dominic White says:

      See, the fact that I see comments like this constantly about Phil Fish makes me think that there’s far more wrong with the gaming community than there is wrong with him.

  12. Brosepholis says:

    People like Phil Fish and Jon Blow are the reason there’s a serious backlash going on against ‘indie’ games in the community right now (well, by ‘the community’ I mean 4chan obviously).

    Back in the days of yore people were willing to hoover up minimalistic platformers (‘Mario with a twist’ as someone put it) but that shit really doesn’t fly anymore. How can you make the argument that indie games are more innovative than AAA when twats like these are the most celebrated indie devs?

    These guys are basically the EA Sports of indie.

    • Dominic White says:

      I take it you’ve not played Fez then, because it’s a platformer third, a combat-free, relaxing exploration-themed game second, and a Myst-esque heavyweight puzzle game first and foremost. It’s quite deserving of those 90+ review scores.

      I’ve never played anything quite like it before. It’s frighteningly creative. Calling Mario-with-a-twist is like saying that Deus Ex is Wolfenstein with Talking.

      • Dervish says:

        Fez’s puzzles are not like Myst’s puzzles. Fez’s puzzles are like puzzle hunt / treasure hunt puzzles, which may be uncommon things to stick into games advertised as platformers, but certainly aren’t creative or original themselves–not categorically, anyway.

        This is not to say that Fez’s puzzles are no good, but you have to wonder 1) why people are acting like this is a new thing, 2) why anyone would shove such puzzles into a platformer and then hype the game solely on the neglected rotating mechanic, and 3) why people are excited about solving Fez yet would call Masquerade or the MIT Mystery Hunt a boring thing for nerds.

  13. Crimsoneer says:

    God the hivemind is feeling bitter today.

    • Dominic White says:

      I must concur. The miserable gits are out in force today – this thread would be hideously depressing if I’d worked on any of the games featured. Or worked on a game, period.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I remember when RPS was about celebrating cool games. Now it’s starting to feel like just another internet hate machine.

      At least Flare Path is still cool.

    • AlwaysRight says:

      I would like to agree with this wholeheartedly.

      I used to love RPS comments section because it was more mature than any other gaming website.

      We used to laugh at people who used ‘that guy/game is pretentious’ as an excuse to slate a dev/game without having to give any reason, consideration or thought to their argument.

      We also used to deride baseless or excessive negativity, now the comment section is rife with it.

      I propose a PC gaming questionaire followed by an IQ test before anyone is allowed to post from now on.

      ‘what a shame’

      • Dervish says:

        If the Atlantic article linked on page 1 doesn’t raise your hackles and make you ache to use the word “pretentious,” there’s your IQ test right there.

        • RobF says:

          It’s fairly standard journo/hero posturing stuff. Most of that isn’t Blow, it’s the author positioning him in such a way to exalt his subject. And y’know, maybe it’s because I grew up reading the music press in the eighties or whatever but it’s been there, seen that a hundred times.

          Christ, there’s a fantastic article on Ginger Baker from about 1971, I think it’s in the free section of Rock’s Back Pages where if you think this is something, wait until you read that. This stuff has been going on for years, don’t confuse it with how people are.

        • AlwaysRight says:

          Yes I read it when it came out. Taylor Clark is the pretentious one, not Jon Blow.

          In other interviews Jon comes across as personable, self critical and like he genuinely wants to help other devs out. He started the indie fund so that people with ideas that would be poo pooed by larger publishers would get a chance at being made.

          The tone of Clarks essay is sensationalist, hero-worshipping and deeply ignorant. Where as Jon has contempt for a large cross section ‘mainstream’ games and the behaviours involved with making them, Clark spins it to say “All computer games are shit, except this guy’s”.

          So yeah, dont cry pretentious. Most people who use it dont even know the proper meaning of it, and are basically trying to grossly oversimplify a complex issue.

          • Dervish says:

            Okay but this is a comment thread about the movie, and the point here is that it’s more of the same. As individuals they are fairly innocuous, but I can’t ignore all the awful writing and buzz going on about them, and this movie is another piece added to an already unjustified pile. An alarming number of people seem to be taking it seriously, and it’s having a real effect.

            There may be some “baseless negativity,” but if you don’t think these guys are doing anything super special (even if you like some of their games), there’s a reasonable amount of backlash.

          • AlwaysRight says:

            ^ You make an articulate and well thought out point. Thankyou

            We don’t mind if people have a different opinion to us, we just ask that people think about their answers. People on here saying ‘fucking pretentious hipsters’ and the like are contributing absolutely nothing. If they just said something like you did, and maybe mentioned the names of a few indie devs that in their opinion deserve more coverage all would be well in the universe.

  14. CommanderZx2 says:

    This is not the first movie on steam, the first movie was called ‘Zombie Movie’. It was made by 2Chums Moving Pictures (Valve employees Michael J. Asquith & Ben Stenbeck).

    You can find it here: steam://store/900

  15. The Innocent says:

    Well, I’M looking forward to it.

  16. krispy_treats says:

    I saw this at Sundance, it’s amazing. For all of you who are bashing it, have you seen it? I don’t care what you’ve read online about Phil or Jon or Ed. Have you seen the movie? Have you met the people that made it? I have. What you think of them and what they are couldn’t be further apart.

  17. MistyMike says:

    A documentary about the lives of a bunch of hipster neckbeards in thick-rimmed glasses? No thanks. The good thing about games is that you actually cannot see the people who make’em.

    • AlwaysRight says:

      The general accepted etiquette of RPS is that if you see a headline about something you don’t care about, you pass it over and read the next one.

  18. Ninja Dodo says:

    I”m detecting a change of tone from the usual RPS comments. Do some people have Google alerts for things they don’t like and then register on sites they don’t normally visit to express said anger? Because that seems like a totally normal thing to do.

    I for one am excited about this movie and wish the people in it all the best.

  19. Alaric says:

    I’ve seen the movie, and it is quite excellent!

  20. Erithtotl says:

    This movie has an incredibly riviting trailer. I’ve been dying for it to be available, glad to see it’s finally on its way.

  21. elmuerte says:

    I think 8 euros is a bit steep for 94 minutes of gameplay.

  22. Xaromir says:

    I would buy it this very second, but have you seen how much they want for the BR/DVD? The DL version costs as much as most normal BRs or DVDs these days. I see the advantage of digital distribution of games, especially with a system like Steam, but that doesn’t apply to films. I would have loved to watch it, but at that price i actually can’t justify the purchase, especially considering how short it is.