Indie games feature in UK Newspaper

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stuandrews
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Indie games feature in UK Newspaper

Postby stuandrews » Mon Apr 24, 2006 5:19 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm currently working on a feature on independent games and digital distribution for a big UK newspaper, and I'm looking for some feedback from regular gamers and fans. Obviously, we'll be covering Darwinia, so I was wondering if anyone out there would like to share how they discovered the game, what appealed to them about it, and what they get from Darwinia and other independent games that they're not getting from the usual major releases. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Postby Radiobuzz » Mon Apr 24, 2006 5:50 pm

Hi there.

How did I find out about Darwinia? Well, I googled "Introversion Software" because I knew and loved Uplink (that a friend showed me), and then I read about they making a new game called Darwinia. Not a big story.

What appealed me about it? Well, "the new game from Introversion" was a big reason ;P. But also, I loved the 3D landscapes. I like when people don't try to use realistic 3D but fantastic 3D (fantastic from fantasy).

Once I played it, there were just so much about it. It's a game that anybody could play, but a PC user from the 80's and 90's will adore it a lot more. It has many winks to all the PC culture.

The big companies think that in order to a game to sell it has to have awesome graphics, and that's just it. Introversion, however, proved that you can make a game with "simple" graphics and only 2 MB, and you can sell, and you can make one of the funniest games in the past years.

Companies leave the "fun" factor way behind. It's all about being realistic now. Why would I want reality in a game, if I can just stand up and go to the outside world? But this is just part of the companies wanting to make movies instead of games, but I will stop here, since I could spend all day talking about this point.
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Postby jaysc » Mon Apr 24, 2006 6:03 pm

I first found the game on EDGE. They were showing alpha screen shots or something like that.

What i like about the game is the story and the retro layout. The see these little green men running around and at the same time, a beautiful landscape.
I couldn't stop playing until the end, and it was worth it.

You never see any games like this one. Itroversion maked these Hacking, origonal games that you'll never see in a shop ( exept for the game).
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Postby Luigi300 » Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:07 pm

I'd heard about Introversion from reading a review of Uplink on the now-defunct Home of the Underdogs, a website about old and indie games. After buying and reading the hell out of it, I was wondering about their new game, secretly known as <the next game> by the community.

I think what appealed to me was IV's different take on modern games. They showed that you don't need multi-million budgets or the latest in pixel shaders to create a game that the masses will like. Of course there's always the hecklers who refuse to play their games simply because the Darwinians aren't made of 300,000 polygons.
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Postby ghostDancer » Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:29 am

well, i found Darwinia in the Linux Game Tome http://www.happypenguin.org/, and i had played Uplink before, so i gave it a try , and when the demo was over , i fell in love with the game (gfx music, playability) and i loved that it was from an indie group of programmers who dare to make windows, linux and mac versions, so i had to give support to them and spread the word. And later i found that there's a great comunnity (maybe not in size) after Darwinia. Since the i'm eager awaiting the NEXT NEXT GAME from IV.
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Postby Mef » Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:43 am

Found review on Home of Underdogs and rushed to official site - charmed hopelessly by demo and the story went on...

Likings? Everything - from retro inspirations, through unusual features, demo-scene music and visual perfection, to the distinctive original storyline. (period!)

PS. The Game has some additional sentimental value for me, since it brings back great memories from the times of 8bit computers - if anyone had Atari/Commodore/Spectrum than Darwinia is a must-have - wet eye guaranteed.
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Postby daset » Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:54 am

I first heard about it from Ambrosia Software(I'm on a mac), and since Uplink was cool, I decided to see how Darwinia was. However, I really didn't get into IV until Darwinia came out.

The thing is, I almost never pay attention to graphics at all(I'm serious, I noticed nothing unique about the graphical style until people began pointing it out). The gameplay is what got me. It was an RTS that didn't rely on the standard, build infrastructure, mine resources, build units, fight, start back at step one. Darwinia was unique in that it had those cool little quirks that eventually built up to yield a completely and utterly awesome game. Everything from the global research system to the "infinite but limited" unit system to the animal AI of the virii to the squaddie combat system to the screams of the Darwinians.
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Postby Lord_Doskias » Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:32 am

I found an Uplink demo off of some random site somewhere that I've long since forgotten. I got good at it and started playing the demo over and over at school on the computers there. I liked how people thought I was really hacking.

After playing the demo enough to beat it in 5 minutes, I promptly forgot about it. Until I later found a copy of it at a resale shop. Naturally, I bought it. After playing through the full thing, I headed over here to IV's site and saw that they were working on a new game Darwinia.

Darwinia looked particularly interesting because it was so blatently different. It was almost as if IV were making a game with bad graphics on purpose to spite everybody else. Of course the graphics really aren't bad at all, but amazingly beautiful. But at first glance it looked like the graphics were pretty low end. I didn't care though, nothing bad could come from the makers of Uplink. So I signed up for the beta tests and got in. From the moment I played that first horribly buggy level I was hooked.
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Postby xander » Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:13 am

I started gaming on a Mac II, about 16 years ago. I played a lot of Spectre, but even more Aperion and Maelstrom. Both of the latter games are published by ASW. When I was in high school, I anticipated every new ASW release with bated breath. When ASW announced that betas were open for Darwinia, I decided that it might be time to see if I could involve myself in an Ambrosia game -- at the time, I didn't really understand the distinction between ASW published games, and ASW created games. I figured that Darwinia must be ASW's next, best thing.

So, I zipped over to the IV boards to sign up for the betas. And started hanging around the boards. I found out about Darwinia the day that Chris sent out an email informing me that I was a phase 1 beta tester ( :P to all of the IV vets who didn't get in!).

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Postby NeoThermic » Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:24 am

I first discoverd Darwinia when Introversion announced it to us on the Uplink forums, what must be over two years ago now. From looking at the screenshots, I was intrested, as the game looked to be a combination of unique elements from older games, the type of game you can just pick up and play. Sadly this is an element that is lost on games of late, as they just don't know how to do that kind of gaming.

After getting into the beta testing phase, I was really looking forward to the final release. Even the demo we tested was fun, and I remember playing through each beta we got many many times just for the fun of it. It was so free form that I managed to come up with diffrent ways of doing things every time I played.

Due to concidences, I wasn't able to play the full game until after the release party. I got so immersed into the game, that I made an effort to finish it. The story was so powerfull that I very nearly cried at the end due to caring for the Darwinians that inhabit the game.

Talking about the release party also brings up a point that many game studios of late don't appear to do, which is care for their fans. When was the last time that a games publisher held an open party on the day of their major release? Introversion have such a following that even someone from Cyprus flew to the UK to attend. You just don't get that anywhere else.

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Postby stuandrews » Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:59 pm

Thanks for all that. Very useful. Would any of you be happy to let me use you real names and locations in the paper? The paper's always keen to use them if possible, as it makes the feature easier for the average reader to digest and gives any comments a more personal feel. Please PM me with the details if that's OK with you.

Thanks again for your help!
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Postby xander » Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:18 pm

Meh, it is in my profile, anyway, and freely available:
xander == Xander Henderson, Sparks, Nevada, USA

By the way, I just realized that I only answered the first part of your question. As to what appeals, several things, though the unique gameplay is high on the list. There really isn't anything like Darwinia out there, especially now. Ten or fifteen years ago, I might have compared it to Lemmings in some ways, or some of the old arcade games (shooters and puzzle games -- there are even elements of DigDug in the way that I interact with virii). Darwinia takes themes from older games, and modernizes them. Also, the graphics simply kick ass.

Also, I am facinated by the potential to alter Darwinia via modding. I don't play that many games, and what games I do play are generally console games, where modding is not generally possible. While I know that there are other games out there that are more moddable and more extensible than Darwinia, I find a certain pleasure in ripping the guts out of Darwinia that I have been unable to find elsewhere.

Finally, the fact that IV is a small, independent "studio" plays well with me. With not a lot of money, they have made something great. So, I say to myself, imagine if I buy the game and they are rolling in money -- what could they do then? :)

xander
Last edited by xander on Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Radiobuzz » Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:23 pm

Rodrigo Nahuel Steinman, Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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Postby Darksun » Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:33 pm

I heard about Uplink from a few sources (friends, couple of magazine reviews) and it sounded a bit of fun, so I eventually got round to getting a copy. What really kept me going was the community, that's obviously how I heard about Darwinia (a much better game imo). In some ways, what makes Introversion so great isn't just the games (which are good of course) but the community, and the fact that Introversion actually care about that community, unlike so many major developers/publishers.

And Philip Chillag, student at Lancaster University, UK
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Postby xander » Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:00 pm

Darksun wrote:What really kept me going was the community, that's obviously how I heard about Darwinia (a much better game imo). In some ways, what makes Introversion so great isn't just the games (which are good of course) but the community, and the fact that Introversion actually care about that community, unlike so many major developers/publishers.

I must second all of that. In many ways, I probably would have played Darwinia, but I wouldn't still be playing it as regularly as I do if not for the community. Much of my time is spent playing the mods created by other, griping about mod features that don't exist, making fun of n00bs, and chatting with the denizons of #darwinia.

xander

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