Little Big Indie Kids

The only place you'll ever hear the truth
User avatar
Chris
Introversion Staff
Introversion Staff
Posts: 1172
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2000 7:28 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK
Contact:

Little Big Indie Kids

Postby Chris » Wed Mar 21, 2007 5:08 pm

LittleBigPlanet is the sort of game that makes me feel like quitting right now. It looks like a ton of fun to play and it must be a ton of fun to work on. Thanks to their founder they’ve got an incredible eye for hilarious graphical style – LBP boasts visuals that are technically as well as artistically amazing. For me watching videos of games like this forces only one question : Why the hell didn’t we think of that? These guys haven’t even released a full game yet – Rag Doll Kung Fu was kind of their Uplink (a one man show) before they became a real company, and yet already they have the cover of Edge Magazine, the respect of the worldwide games press after a knockout demonstration at GDC, and Sony eating out of their hands. Somehow they've become the first genuine reason to buy a PS3 - the killer app Sony have been short of all along, made by a team founded four years later than Introversion and already with twice our staff number. And I used to believe Introversion was doing well.

Little Big Planet, video 1
Little Big Planet, video 2

We’re stuck in the mud at the moment. Not everyone at Introversion agrees, but it’s true. I haven’t been able to spend any time on Subversion since January, with the constant distraction of other, more pressing and immediate problems to solve. It’s fair to say watching games like LBP has took the wind out of the sails on the design front – it makes some of our grand plans look positively archaic, and finally highlights our lack of decent artist talent that we’ve always struggled to work around.

We’ve got a major problem with recruitment; anyone skilled enough to take on the roles we’re looking for is usually so skilled the real world desperately wants to keep hold of them, and will tell them whatever they want to hear to ensure that happens. We’ve got nine employees spread all around the world, many of whom have never met each other. Mark believes we need to open an office in London and finally start acting like a real company – a terrifying thought for people like me who once swore we were never going back. For the first time in our history we have the war chest to pay for it, and of course it would be “our office”, and of course “things would be different with us”, but somehow I don’t believe it. I’m very much of the opinion that the quickest way to wipe out any personal creative energy is to put someone in an office for eight hours a day, and it makes little difference who actually owns the door keys. But once again I look at LittleBigPlanet, and think to myself ‘if they can do it why can’t we?’. And then it dawns on me - they’re the new indie kids, full of raw passion and intensity and desire to prove to the world what they can do. That kind of force – the kind of force I’m not sure Introversion has wielded since the end of Darwinia – is unstoppable.
User avatar
desktopsimmer
level3
level3
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:51 am
Location: Basement level 1.

Postby desktopsimmer » Wed Mar 21, 2007 5:18 pm

I highly recommend an office, maybe not London. We did it, we took over an old Natwest bank (Trendy IT office :) ) in a village called Banks. If you guys are based in Cambridge, what about there, is a good 'international' location :) and you don't have all the travelling issues.

[Edit]
Plus you get to walk around when stuck for ideas :)
Rkiver
level5
level5
Posts: 6405
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2002 10:39 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Postby Rkiver » Wed Mar 21, 2007 5:34 pm

Thinking of recruiting.....erm, any chance of perhaps a list of exactly what you are looking for Chris, as I am looking for a new job currently as what I am in is soul destroying.
Uplink help: Read the FAQ
User avatar
Gen. Ripper
level3
level3
Posts: 290
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 12:22 pm
Location: London

Postby Gen. Ripper » Wed Mar 21, 2007 5:40 pm

mmm sounds like an issue of self-empowerment :0

mmm anyway...im sure you guys will get some more Drive/imspiration etc, although I do recomend you check out -
http://www.consciousmedianetwork.com/home.htm
for a diffrent perspective

yeah a slight plug, but I honestly belive this site has a possitive infulence!

(P.S - you cant do wrong, after all Defcon is great, Darwinia (i have only played the demo) but that seems nice too, and its not exactly like taking the Team 17 route, ie making a bunch of worms games, your games are unique each time :)
User avatar
shinygerbil
level5
level5
Posts: 4667
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2004 10:14 pm
Location: Out, finding my own food. Also, doing the shinyBonsai Manoeuvre(tm)
Contact:

Postby shinygerbil » Wed Mar 21, 2007 5:46 pm

That's quite sad to read, you know. :cry:

I think an office would be a good idea - Maybe something like Bungie's office, although it's a little extravagant. They were featured in Edge a few months back; that office looked like heaven, even though Bungie looked like essentially an extension of Microsoft and their weird attitude towards "gamers" :P

Meanwhile, I think you can still get it together. Uplink, Darwinia and Defcon are all fantastic games, each improving on the quality of the last, in terms of presentation and technicality, so I can see how it must seem daunting to keep going on from there, but I reckon it's possible. Maybe Subversion isn't the way to go right now; maybe you could once more put it on the back burner and try your hand at something different, experiment a bit, come up with something in the same way you did with Defcon. Or maybe you could go on a bender with Subversion, gather everyone together and just work your asses off for a week/month without setting any concrete deadlines, just to see what you can come up with. More likely you should do something much better than what I've just suggested :) The point is, you're still capable (very much so) and you've got the means.

Oh, and I'm sure that most of the guys here on the forums could only dream of doing what you're doing right now. :D
User avatar
NeoThermic
Introversion Staff
Introversion Staff
Posts: 6256
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2002 10:55 am
Location: ::1
Contact:

Re: Little Big Indie Kids

Postby NeoThermic » Wed Mar 21, 2007 5:55 pm

Chris wrote: I’m very much of the opinion that the quickest way to wipe out any personal creative energy is to put someone in an office for eight hours a day, and it makes little difference who actually owns the door keys.


Case in hand, Google. Sure, you're in an office, but they make the time there so enjoyable that they had to build an accommodation block for those who would actually *sleep* there. I've been in a few jobs that are stressful (you try dealing with customers who are complaining that their food is late, cold, and anything but what they ordered...). However, I've stuck at those jobs for one simple reason. I enjoy going there for the people I work with. We have fun doing the job as we take it in our stride. I'm rather sure that if IV were go get an office that you could craft it in such a way that you wouldn't feel the "officeness" of the place; more as it would be somewhere where you go to exercise your creative side and hammer out code to the next industry ground breaker.


Chris wrote:And then it dawns on me - they’re the new indie kids, full of raw passion and intensity and desire to prove to the world what they can do. That kind of force – the kind of force I’m not sure Introversion has wielded since the end of Darwinia – is unstoppable.


I don't think IV has lost the desire, I just think that there's a problem in the way that things are being thought of. See, from my eyes, you're so caught up over the fact that Darwinia was the IV defining game, that you've got to better it. You've got to prove that you can go better than your best, and that you're better than everyone else. Well, you *are* IV. You are yourselves, and thus you shouldn't think you've got to prove you're better than yourselves, you just have to prove that you still are the new industry. (Phew, how many times can I say "you"? ).

As for lacking artists, you've got a community. Reach into them again. I know one hell of a good artist; I chat to her every night, and I'm damn sure she's what you're looking for. Just ask the community to point out the people you're looking for, and you'll have the required people in no time.

NeoThermic
User avatar
Cooper42
level4
level4
Posts: 810
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:04 pm

Postby Cooper42 » Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:10 pm

LBP is very indicative of the mindset which filters through much of the gaming community and industry - that it's all about graphics, graphics, graphics. The biggest drive in the industry has been graphics since the 8-bit era.

Hence, we get a plethora of games which look eye-bogglingly beautiful / realistic, but play like derivatives of all that has come before.

Introversion are one of the few who are putting gameplay in front of graphics. Valve have kinda cottoned-on, with the Source engine focusing more on AI and physics, and a small number of others.
It's starting to filter into the mainstream, but only slowly.

LBP gets the press because it panders to the graphics, graphics, graphics mentality, but happens to be innovative in gameplay.
It's exceptionally cute, hence Sony love it, and it looks good on covers.


I don't think there is much doubt that had Darwinia been produced with the input of even one or two skilled artists, it would have been much more successful. That is just the mentality of the majority of the industry and consumers.

Introversion have made the point about gameplay. Maybe the next step is to get an artist or two in. But only if it is wanted by the team. Doing something because you feel you have to will only foster resentment.

As for the office, I agree entirely. An office environment not only saps creativity, but morale, and I'm pretty sure it diminishes intelligence too.

Personally, I love the art-style of the Introversion games. It refereshing (and a whole load of other terms I'm sure everyone here has bandered around before)
Whoever you vote for, the government wins.
User avatar
BrianBlessed
level4
level4
Posts: 867
Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2005 9:33 pm

Postby BrianBlessed » Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:14 pm

Stop trying to pep talk him. Englishmen don't live on optimism, we lament in pessimism. It's just our way!

Bollocks aside. While LittlebigPlanet does look quite interesting, especially for an independant developer, aswell as being brave for not making a highly plotwise action packed etc etc. It doesn't particularly look original, I remember various similar platformers where you would need a second player to help jump gorges, climb walls and so on. Obviously the selling point apart from the lovely graphics and physics, is the neatly tied up online play and editors and that package. I imagine it will receive a similar response to the original Worms and Cannon Fodder ports making their way to various consoles.

As for your development team, I presume you must find it difficult having a coherent progressive development when you can't really just lean over someone's shoulder and see what they are doing and they cannot do the same to you. Obviously if you have people all over the world, even if you did get an office you would still have to find someway of communicating and developing with them more effectively. All I could suggest as far as that goes is perhaps having a laptop with skype/your favoured video and audio conferencing program, set the laptop up with your main work computer such that you have the live output of the work computer as your webcam image in skype.

Just an idea *shrug*
Pentadact
level1
level1
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 3:21 pm

Postby Pentadact » Wed Mar 21, 2007 7:35 pm

LBP looks wonderful, but it's just a game to mess around in. It's five-minute-fun, a worthy genre and one it suits perfectly, but nothing like as exciting as a Darwinia. The stuff that gets my blood flowing is games you can get lost in, that you want to explore and discover. And I'd like to think that would be true if I worked on the other side of the industry too.

I'm looking forward to being able to hug an orange, but I'm much more interested in discovering a procedurally generated city. Substance, sophistication, elegance and beauty are what should still excite you about what you're doing, and the fact that no-one else out there is managing it with anything like the artfulness of Darwinia should be what drives you to forget about the more pressing problems and get stuck into it. We're kind of counting on you out here.
martin
level5
level5
Posts: 3210
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:37 pm

Postby martin » Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:28 pm

I've got to say that LBP looked good, yeah - really nice, and as a in-the-process-of-trying-to-become an indie game developer I can appreciate the complexity of those physics and graphics - and that's it; I didn't think it actually looked all that fun, I was bored after the second oh-so-exciting "grab this and get flung along" bit; I didn't even bother with the second video! :P

As for competition with IV, IV is still innovative, yeah; so there are games which look 10000000x more amazing than darwinia and they come out more often so I could have lots of eye candy! but meh, I have loads of those games and I can tell you they made *wonderful* dust collectors; darwinia is one of my most played games, and certainly the most modded by me, I also happen to think darwinia would have been *worse* with too many artists, I don't want 3D darwinians being chased by huge uber-rendered virii so good I can see the hate on their little triangular faces, I want sprites dammit!

And like neo said, there is a lot of talent in this community, my life plan at the moment is to develop games independently, and I would give one of my legs (not my arms, I need them to code!) to do what you're doing with IV (I'd give both my legs to actually *work* for IV, even in an office :0 ). Um, back to the point, there is a lot of talent in the community, just look at the great mods for darwinia and defcon, plus a whole load of random programs that have been inspired - call on the community to do something in a competition form and you *will* get lots of entries (think defcon icon here)
GENERATION 22:The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.
msoebond
level0
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 9:03 pm
Location: Wisconsin, US
Contact:

Postby msoebond » Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:11 pm

When it comes to having an “actual” office, some people work better with structure, some without. You just have to figure out which is best for you company.

It is sort of odd how during the Game Developer’s conference, “you guys” were talking about how great everything is going for the company; then a new kid comes on the block and you have to question all your decisions. Don’t forget that there have been many game developers who start out with huge amounts of hype only to self-destruct.

Personally, I was a little disappointed when I read that you were planning on making your next game, Subversion, a long-in-development epic like Darwinia just because it is the simple, to the point, nature of Defcon (and a short development cycle to maintain hype) that has me thinking that it is better game than Darwinia. Maybe Multiwinia will change my mind…

I cannot tell the future, so hopefully whatever decisions you make end up being the right ones…

On a little tangent, I keep seeing people refer to Introversion as IV, and it makes me think that you should name your fourth game “IV”.
Aiyel
level0
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2006 4:10 pm

Postby Aiyel » Thu Mar 22, 2007 4:08 am

hmm.. interesting game. Not gonna shell out $600 for a ps3 for it, though.




Y'know, this may sound *completely* insane at the point you guys are at right now, but I had a dream last night that I was playing Defcon on xbox live. You can take that to mean whatever you will, likely you'll decide I've gone so far off the deep end I've landed out by the water slide or some such.




And as for an 'office,' having one does offer several advantages. Like letting us come worship you in a more formalized setting. :D
User avatar
wwarnick
level5
level5
Posts: 1863
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:44 pm
Location: Rexburg, ID

Postby wwarnick » Thu Mar 22, 2007 6:44 am

Those videos don't do it justice because you still don't get the full picture. Watch this video. Little Big Planet looks awesome. Unfortunately, unless they port it to the PC, I probably won't ever get it.

wwarnick
User avatar
KingAl
level5
level5
Posts: 4138
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:42 am

Postby KingAl » Thu Mar 22, 2007 6:46 am

msoebond wrote:On a little tangent, I keep seeing people refer to Introversion as IV, and it makes me think that you should name your fourth game “IV”.


What - just so it'll screw with our heads when we want to refer to one or the other? :shock:

I also notice that the LBP guys are in quite a different situation to IV. For one thing, it seems to consist of veterans from Lionhead, and the fact that they're hiring suggests that, whatever their stance towards publishers, they've got a fair bit of financial backing coming from somewhere - both factors contributing towards their ability to get exposure.

They're not the 'new kids'. They're the veterans who've seen the industry from within for long enough to know how to play it.
martin
level5
level5
Posts: 3210
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:37 pm

Postby martin » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:39 am

Aiyel wrote:And as for an 'office,' having one does offer several advantages. Like letting us come worship you in a more formalized setting. :D


yeah... how much would a "tour the IV office" sell for do you recon?
GENERATION 22:The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

Return to “Introversion Blog”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests