Increpare: Indie Developer Needs Cash, Badly

This happens to me all the time.

You know Increpare? Aka Stephen Lavelle? He’s one of the hyper-prolific game creators on the British indie scene. We’ve blogged about a couple of his games before (The historian game Opera Omnia and the Mass Effect 2 parody Starfeld), but he does a whole lot more. His presentation at World of Love basically involved him just talking to everyone in the audience about what they were up to. He also basically worked in the industry as a coder in the games industry and doing it solely as a job – because he saved his creativity for churning out games. Anyway – the reason why I’m posting is that he’s just been made redundant and has put up a request for donations. If you’ve ever dug any of his games, now would be a good time to throw some Internetcoins in his direction. And if you haven’t, go to Increpare‘s site and be bewildered at where to start. I’ve just played Whale of Noise, based around one of our aquatic mammal sorts learning notes to sing to separate its body into increasingly distantly placed parts. And The Terrible Whiteness of Appalachian Nights features stuff so horrible I can’t even show you a screenshot. And the pictured Beatification is just plain odd. What have you found?


  1. Louis F. says:

    Look for Mirror Stage.

  2. Smee says:

    Is The Terrible Whiteness of Appalachian Nights supposed to end like that? After the cutscene the music just became an endless loop of the two tones and I couldn’t get anything more to happen.

    • WiPa says:

      Same here, i guess it’s meant to do that.
      Btw, your comment was the only reason i played the game, so thanks for that haha.

    • Pani says:

      Can we have some more NSFW tags please? I just played through The Terrible Whiteness of Appalachian Nights and wasn’t too impressed when it “happened” on my work computer.

      Is all of his stuff NSFW?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Which part of “So horrible I can’t show you a screenshot” made you think “SFW”?


    • Thants says:

      He did say it “features stuff so horrible I can’t even show you a screenshot.”

    • Thants says:

      Ah, beat me to it.

    • Pani says:

      With your humour, I just don’t know! And particularly because the game starts off fine and has a pretty safe name.

      Besides, when you say something like that, of course it’s going to make me want to play it. Curiosity killed the cat and all that.

    • Dinger says:

      J’accuse! Oh wait….

  3. cruize says:

    He should set up a kickstarter project so the guys and girls donating know what they’re going to be getting.

  4. Johnny says:

    I’d donate, only I’m just as low on cash as he is.

  5. pipman300 says:

    if he wants my money he has to beg to me on youtube, like really beg send me a video of him begging and i might give him some money.

  6. Skinlo says:

    Ok, I have no idea how to play The Terrible Whiteness of Appalachian Nights. I move around and nothing happens apart from the rooms change. Space doesn’t do anything.

  7. PrepareToMeetThyGod says:

    So is there a common opinion as to his best game?

    • robrob says:

      Opera Omnia is definitely worth a go, it is a very interesting game.

    • RobF says:

      I don’t think so. Opera Omnia is probably his “biggest” work but there’s something to find in pretty much all he does.

      Cat Got Lost is probably the most straightforward but I dunno, I like them all. Watching folks play Happening Game at the EG Expo last year was definitely one of those moments I’ll remember for quite a while.

    • Kunal says:

      RaRa Racer is probably my favorite. (probably NSFW)

      Looks like you are going to have a hard time finding a common opinion :).

    • PrepareToMeetThyGod says:

      A hard time is what I like.
      Probably, in my geeky way, I’ll end up playing them all, so maybe it’s all irrelevant.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Rara Racer is splendid.


  8. Freud says:

    His request seems a bit frivolous, considering he could get another job in the industry and then try to see how much of a market there is for his games. Best of luck to him though. If Indie developers can create games they can live on in the long run, it is a good thing.

    • JP says:

      “His request seems a bit frivolous, considering he could get another job in the industry and then try to see how much of a market there is for his games.”

      Speaking from personal experience, doing indie stuff with the spare time and passion left over from a mainstream game/software industry day job is really, really difficult. I am astonished and humbled at how prolific Lavelle was able to be with one.

      Lavelle’s work is crazy diverse, hard to classify and wields inscrutability for artistic effect better than 99% of indie games today. He’s well worth supporting.

    • Sonic Goo says:

      I don’t know if you’ve ever been unemployed for long, but ‘just get a job’ is always a painful, insulting thing to hear. Jobs don’t grow on trees, you know.

    • Sonic Goo says:

      Ah, should read the whole thread. Seems he at least thinks he can easily get a job. Nevermind then…

  9. Aerozol says:

    Let him know on his site. He’s asking for feedback, and I’m guessing you’d be more likely to pay if he had some pics of his next game etc, and got it finished with x amount of donations?

    • Aerozol says:

      Dammit, this was @ cruize who suggested he make a kickstart project

  10. Tuor says:

    Icrepare, your life force is running out.
    Icrepare shot the food!
    Icrepare’s shots now stun other players.

  11. Novotny says:

    Would it be fair to say these examples are more art than games?

    I mean, to me they’re shit games – but interesting art.

    Trouble is, I can’t see how he can sell them. If he worked in more traditional media, he could probably have Yoko Ono round for tea.

    Maybe he could pull a posse of people together that could collaborate on a project that would not receive funding. Like-minded people. This is why Kieron’s posting, I would presume.

    If some modding teams can knock out good work without funding, surely a professional with help could do so too?

    Surely the release of something both modern and subversive/challenging would be something else.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting retro is shit. It’s just that it doesn’t challenge the mainstream at all, and art that sits in a basement stroking it’s willy is useless.

    Anyways, good luck to the man.

    • allen says:

      who said he was going to sell the games?

    • castle says:

      I would gladly play for a cactus arcade-style compilation of his games, even though they’re available free on their own. But then again, I’m a sucker for games like these.

    • Kunal says:

      @castle Amen. One giant zip file containing all his games for some pay-whatever-you-want price (with a minimum payment to cover download costs) might find quite a few takers. And a limited edition USB stick.

  12. Sarlix says:

    Oh good lord that was horrible. I feel like I’ve just lost part of my innocence. I am the terrible whiteness…the terrible whiteness to Nazi sex routines! I’m off to scrub my retinas or something.

  13. hydra9 says:

    RaRa Racer was the first of Increpare’s games that caught my attention, and I do think it’s absolutely brilliant. And, like many of his games, any description would spoil it.

    • YogSo says:

      I totally agree with you. I’ve just tried it, and I can only say: brilliant!

  14. Longrat says:

    Oh good another web based retro indie art developer, the non mainstream is really getting on my nerves. If I support this guy, does it mean that I get to experience more games like Covetous and the rest of those things? If so, I’ll pass.

    • Ed says:

      It must be a full time job for you, going to all the articles on the internet about things you don’t like and letting everyone know. Have you got a donations page? I’d like to contribute to your project.

  15. bakaohki says:

    My first thought: get a job, like the rest of the world, Maybe if he made something enjoayable that would made me ask for more… btw I do give money to hopeless beggars and to street performers, but I’d skip artsy indie developers with an almighty ego – I find the guy neither hopeless, nor interesting ;( And now kill me for being such a troll/ass.

    • Moth Bones says:

      It’s pretty hard to get a job at the minute, and it will get harder. I dare say he’s trying all the options he can think of. I’d consider doing internet begging too, but I know no-one cares whether I exist or not (winky thing).

    • Freud says:

      @ Moth Bones

      On his site he writes “It wouldn’t be that difficult to find a new full-time job as a software engineer. However, I am resisting the pull, and hoping dearly to find a way to spend more time making games. Making games is what I want to do.” so clearly this is not an issue here.

      One shouldn’t read too much into this though. It is possible he is just looking for a part-time job to provide for himself which would give him more time to spend making games.

    • allen says:

      Yeah. Good advice. Man I wish he would have thought of that sooner or we could have avoided this whole mess.

    • RobF says:

      “I’d skip artsy indie developers with an almighty ego”

      Yeah, me too.

      Luckily, Stephen is probably the least egocentric person writing games in the known universe so we’re good there.

  16. Robert Yang says:

    Increpare is amazing. If you don’t give him all your money, you’re a bad person. End of line.

    • PrepareToMeetThyGod says:

      If I currently have no money, I haven’t not given him all of my money, so am I a good person? ^_^

  17. Matzerath says:

    Before the baseless hatred of experimental indie developers gets too thick in here, I would like to state that I LOVE this sort of thing. I’d sooner play a hundred interesting experiments than any big studio release of the last few years.

    • Rob says:

      ‘baseless’? Some people just don’t enjoy the games, I think that’s a fairly firm base.

    • Collic says:

      I don’t think it’s the opinion that people object to most of the time, but how some people choose to express it. It can come across as quite unpleasant since these games tend to be labours of love created by one person, or a very small team.

    • dadioflex says:

      “I’d sooner play a hundred interesting experiments than any big studio release of the last few years.”

      So 1 big studio release = 100 experimental projects? Hmm. Harsh.

      And never mind PLAY, would you PAY for 100 experimental projects?

      I’ll be honest, I found Ra Ra Racer to be incredibly clever. But it’s a joke, it’s not a game.

      What he’s doing is worthy of support, but before he claims he has no source of income (which presumably means his savings are large enough that he doesn’t qualify for benefits?) and please can you spare a dime, how about making his website more appealing, make it more of a magazine format – anyone making those games has something to say – set up one of those bespoke stores selling T shirts and coffee mugs – I am in for a Nazi BJ tee – and look for grants and advertising.

      Or maybe Robert Yang will adopt and take care of him. Call that Plan B.

  18. Pus Filled Sac says:

    I concede: I actually liked the game Whale of Noise. First time I’ve liked a game since that strange Japanese amoeba-shooter and I wish I could remember its name.

    The Terrible Noise game though – I was expecting something horrible.

  19. Moses2k says:

    I’d vote Mirror Stage

  20. aerozol says:

    @ Rob: When they’re free, no, it’s not a good reason at all.
    They should just fuck off if they’re not into it, and it’s not like these devs advertise them as being something else.

  21. DeepSleeper says:

    Re: the screenshot.

    It’s effect.
    Not affect.

    Not in that situation, anyway. His art affects you, because it has an effect.

  22. Rath says:

    To: Increpare

    Re: The Terrible Whiteness of Appalachian Nights

    What the hell dude. What the hell.

    Message ends

  23. Sarlix says:

    OK, time for a more productive comment. I can do those!

    This guy needs to look around the various homebrew sites, as they are often looking for talented coders to hire for homebrew games. Just a week or so ago I happened to see someone on link to wanting to hire a talented programmer/s for a homebrew game. There are many many sites like this, he just needs to do the leg work. This would be ideal for him as it would mean he still gets to work on games, but not compromise himself.

    Other options would be Craigslist People always make personal adds on there. Anything from acting work to programing. He has the qualifications and knowledge, so that’s really half the battle, he just need to be determined enough!

    Can’t believe I’m helping this guy find work. I only work a minimum wage job myself!

    • Michael says:

      He’s already mentioned he doesn’t believe he’ll have trouble finding a new job. And if you had ever actually done anything through craigslist or similar, you’d know most of the projects are along the lines of ‘we can’t pay you, but you can share in our non-existant profit!’/’think of the exposure!’
      The ones that aren’t pay you pennies or worse: not at all.

  24. Fregds says:

    Seems to me to be about the horror of being a housewife and the institution of the “family” (in the sense of directly genetically related) as it exists in industrialised/capitalist societies,

  25. Magnus says:

    Just a warning, the game called “sub/conscious” will start doing google searches for things like “underage girls naked” in your browser. Something you might want to avoid, especially considering google stores all your searches along with your IP.

  26. Foobar_foo says:

    Wait, I always thought that “indie” referred to a game that was made without the backing of large corporations, and sold to provide the creator with his primary source of income… Does it nowadays refer to anything that’s released (no matter if it’s for free or not) that’s not from some huge corporation???

    Or am I thinking of independent film here?