Prison Architect and the IGF

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Mark
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Prison Architect and the IGF

Postby Mark » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:42 pm

There’s something special about the IGF. The Wikipedia tells me that it started in 1998, but introversion came late to the party and we didn’t get there until 2006. Back then, there really wasn’t much of an indie games community - at least that’s how we felt working in London. We really did feel as if we were the only small team making games - hence our original tagline: The Last of the Bedroom Programmers. Now clearly that wasn’t quite the case, there were other small teams and single devs, but we didn’t realize that until we took our trip to San Jose.

Now up to this point all of our contact with “the industry” had been with retail buyers, publishers, agents and platform holders. Suits if you will. Soulless and passionless, most of them. We had learnt that business meetings meant making up sales graphs and talking about player demographics and that no one was really to interested in the actual games. GDC was like a breath of fresh air. Everyone cared about the game itself, we talked ourselves to death about game-play, coding, how we had achieved such a big game with such a small team and what we wanted to do next. We’d go for a quick drink and get sidelined by someone with a laptop wanting to show us his tech demo or embryonic game. That’s when we realised we weren’t alone and they were a lot of people just like us. It was fantastic. Even if we hadn’t won the competition we still would have known that there was something great about that community of people.

A year later DEFCON was finished and we were talking about an IGF submission. The problem was that there had been a good deal of discussion about whether Darwinia was a viable candidate because we had a steam contract. Introversion was a company with publishers so were we really Indie enough to enter the competition? We remembered those criticisms and thought that we’d been lucky with Darwinia, but the IGF judges would just kick us into touch if we entered DEFCON. So Instead we decided to take on the big boys and submit to the GDC Choice Awards. We got a nomination for the Best Audio, but ultimately lost to Guns N’ Roses. That year Guitar Hero 2 picked up the Best Audio award - so basically the judges thought it was fair to put us up against the entire gamut of rock music. It’s not that we’re (still) bitter, but WTF?

Perhaps I’m wrong, but if Chris Martin’s brother was an indie developer and he made a game and scored it with the latest unreleased Coldplay album, I don’t think the IGF judges would give it the innovation in audio award. And herein lies the rub. The reason the IGF is so fantastic is because the judges, our peers, indie gamers make the calls. Every year there is fierce discussion about what indie means and what submissions are viable. For us it was Darwinia, last year it was Minecraft, this year who knows? The IGF submission rules are vague, because they need to be vague to allow the creativity in. If there is an indie zeitgeist in a given year, I guarantee that it’ll be captured and exhibited by the IGF submissions and finalists. This is what makes this competition such an important part of the gaming calendar. Andy Schatz gave a wonderful acceptance speech about what the IGF meant to him when he won with Monaco in 2010 and you should check that out if you have a chance.

So the IGF has been pretty much front and center for us over the last couple of months. We announced last week that our next game will be called Prison Architect and is about building Maximum Security Prisons. Chris started work on Prison Architect in December of 2010 and around July this year we were playing the latest build and suddenly realised that we were much further along then we thought. It would need a massive push, but we could submit a build for the 2012 competition. We both knew immediately that we wanted to do it. Prison Architect was a return to our roots, a uniquely original PC game built by a tiny team and an IGF submission was exactly the right milestone to confirm to ourselves that we were back on the right track. Chris submitted Prison Architect last week and we’ve got our fingers crossed.... Even if we don’t pick up any nominations we know we’ll be there on the night, and we’ll have a great time. Win or lose, they’ll still be a hell of an after-party. Yes, there is something special about the IGF.

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forces
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Postby forces » Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:11 pm

WOW, guys! You are like on fire now! Two awesome blogposts in a week? Keep em' coming, please! I love to hear everything about whats going on at Introversion! And thanks for such awesome games!
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Postby FinnG » Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:22 pm

forces wrote:WOW, guys! You are like on fire now! Two awesome blogposts in a week? Keep em' coming, please! I love to hear everything about whats going on at Introversion! And thanks for such awesome games!


Couldn't agree more. It's like Introversion has come alive again. I'm really looking foward to some screens/vids of prison architect to see what IV have done with the concept.
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Re: Prison Architect and the IGF

Postby Dark Acre Jack » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:40 pm

Mark wrote:If there is an indie zeitgeist in a given year, I guarantee that it’ll be captured and exhibited by the IGF submissions and finalists.


This.

Brilliant, and best of luck with the submission and great work on getting it into a presentable state by the deadline!
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Postby Tutteman19 » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:48 pm

Well, I was starting to worry. But finally Introversion has stirred and that screenshot looks good!
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Postby _human_ » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:19 pm

Great news! It is a real pleasure to hear from you.
War never changes.

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