Definition of Independent Games?

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

What is meant by "independent game developers/publishers" in 2005? I have
always thought of myself as an independent game developer but is that still
accurate now that the "real game companies" are all dead. Have "we" become
"them"? :)

I checked out a suggested link www.thegamingnews.com. There I found the
following vision statement.

>Welcome to the future home of TheGamingNews.com. An e-publication devoted
>to everything about Independent Gaming. As you have probably read above,
>this site is owned by Shrapnel Games, Inc., an independent publisher of
>war and strategy games. Shrapnel Games is starting this publication so
>that the independent games industry can get the kind of coverage, at least
>online, that, up to this point, is rarely afforded anyone but mainstream
>publishers.

It seems to me that Shrapnel, Matrix, Battlefront, and most other online
sales publishers are now the "mainstream" for wargames.

If the online sales outlets are not today's mainstream for wargames, then
who the heck is?

Best regards, Major H.
tacops@mac.com
http://www.battlefront.com/
14 answers Last reply
More about definition independent games
  1. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    In article <BF0537C8.8356D%tacops@mac.com>, tacops@mac.com says...

    > What is meant by "independent game developers/publishers" in 2005? I have
    > always thought of myself as an independent game developer but is that still
    > accurate now that the "real game companies" are all dead. Have "we" become
    > "them"? :)

    Perhaps it's useful to think in terms of what "independent" *isn't*. I
    would say that what it *isn't* is Norm Koger being unable to give his
    users hexside rivers or remove the copy protection from the code he
    wrote, because he's still got the rotting carcass of Talonsoft hanging
    'round his neck.

    --
    Giftzwerg
    ***
    "So did Rove leak Plame's name to me, or tell me she
    was covert? No."
    - Matt Cooper
  2. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    If Matrix were producing rubbish no amount of "news" websites would
    save them. They are not.

    Interesting to see how Shrapnel is now copying the "Matrix way" -
    supporting a "free" version of a Steel Panthers title and now getting a
    news site together. Whatever next!
  3. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    In article <BF0537C8.8356D%tacops@mac.com>, tacops@mac.com says...
    > What is meant by "independent game developers/publishers" in 2005? I have
    > always thought of myself as an independent game developer but is that still
    > accurate now that the "real game companies" are all dead. Have "we" become
    > "them"? :)
    >
    > I checked out a suggested link www.thegamingnews.com. There I found the
    > following vision statement.
    >
    > >Welcome to the future home of TheGamingNews.com. An e-publication devoted
    > >to everything about Independent Gaming. As you have probably read above,
    > >this site is owned by Shrapnel Games, Inc., an independent publisher of
    > >war and strategy games. Shrapnel Games is starting this publication so
    > >that the independent games industry can get the kind of coverage, at least
    > >online, that, up to this point, is rarely afforded anyone but mainstream
    > >publishers.
    >
    > It seems to me that Shrapnel, Matrix, Battlefront, and most other online
    > sales publishers are now the "mainstream" for wargames.
    >
    > If the online sales outlets are not today's mainstream for wargames, then
    > who the heck is?
    >
    > Best regards, Major H.
    > tacops@mac.com
    > http://www.battlefront.com/

    I think wargames publishers are at leasr sort of independent. Matrix
    isn't Take Two.

    --

    Epi

    ------------
    They want the finale to be comforting, to say that
    death is only the beginning. But it's not a
    beginning, it's the real end, there will be nothing
    afterward, nothing...."
    - Dmitri Shostakovich
    ------------
    http://www.curlesneck.com
  4. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    Major H <tacops@mac.com> wrote in news:BF0537C8.8356D%tacops@mac.com:

    > What is meant by "independent game developers/publishers" in 2005? I
    > have always thought of myself as an independent game developer but is
    > that still accurate now that the "real game companies" are all dead.
    > Have "we" become "them"? :)
    >
    > I checked out a suggested link www.thegamingnews.com. There I found
    > the following vision statement.
    >
    >>Welcome to the future home of TheGamingNews.com. An e-publication
    >>devoted to everything about Independent Gaming. As you have probably
    >>read above, this site is owned by Shrapnel Games, Inc., an independent
    >>publisher of war and strategy games. Shrapnel Games is starting this
    >>publication so that the independent games industry can get the kind of
    >>coverage, at least online, that, up to this point, is rarely afforded
    >>anyone but mainstream publishers.

    Check out this forum-thread :

    http://www.strategyzoneonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29853

    Seems they are a bit frustrated with the "market share" enjoyed by
    Matrixgames - both in pr terms and in mind-share.

    Mark H. Walker leaving them for Matrixgames might have something to do
    with that as well.

    > It seems to me that Shrapnel, Matrix, Battlefront, and most other
    > online sales publishers are now the "mainstream" for wargames.
    ...
    > If the online sales outlets are not today's mainstream for wargames,
    > then who the heck is?

    Of course they are - it's silly to think otherwise.

    Greetz,

    Eddy Sterckx


    --
    "Ceterum censeo Belgicam delendam."
    (Cato, 'Pro Gerolphe')
  5. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    I still think there is the borderline between mainstream and the
    wargaming genre and that is not as simple as defining it by the online
    sales direction. Mainstream companies have been (in some cases) jacks
    of all trades but masters of none, basicly publishing whatever they
    think will bring in the fast buck and then diluting the market with
    what ends up being not much more then cloned or passed around engines
    covering the same types of games.

    The wargaming companies have been specializing in one thing, combat
    games, not everything else they can shove into a retail chain shelf,
    much like fast food shops basicly rehashing a different version of the
    hamburger.

    Now what we have is the mainstream companies moving over to more of
    what they think will make the meatier fast buck and console games which
    dont typicaly have the same type of crowd wanting to challenge their
    intellect as wargamers do. Lets also keep in mind that wargamers are
    damned critical of the games they usually play.. make an oops on a 75mm
    or 88mm anti-tank gun AP capability at 300 yards and you catch all hell
    for it by us grognards that know those weapons like the back of our
    hands. Much easier to create some fantasy weapon where no one has
    historical stats to compare the realism of the weapon.

    Wargamers are also not into the fancy 3D graphics like the mainstream
    public is and the mainstream public doesnt pull open their weapon
    manuals and history books to compare notes with the stats in the game.

    Bottom line, mainstream could be considered the general public game
    companies and wargame companies are the independents trying to keep a
    wargaming or combat gaming hobby (which is what this boils down to)
    alive and thriving. Basicly, the combat/wargaming companies are simply
    picking up the slack of the mainstreamers backing away from what doesnt
    make them fast enough money to keep their greedy investors or
    accountants happy. This is not a new trend.. its a trend finally
    meeting its ultimate climax in the gaming world.

    Something similiar happened with board gaming when it went from
    mainstream game shops to specialty stores and now you have a flury of
    indpendents publishing board games either in professional (mounted) or
    cost effective (DTP) designs. Now the majority of major board games are
    towards the general public .. again, that dont pull out their reference
    books to compare notes.

    I very much think that this next 1-2 years will redefine in a
    definitive direction how the wargaming/combat gaming genre will evolve
    in its next revolution of survival that is ultimately being driven by
    the dedicated gamers who will never let our hobby fade or die off.
    Where there is a will.. there is way.. we are all finding a new way to
    make it happen and the will is as strong as ever.

    Thanks, my mind is a bit foggy as I just woke up after a nap, not
    feeling the greatest, so hopefully I made some sense here. ;-)

    Take care.
  6. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    In article <1121982131.570307.99490@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,
    ryandylanr@yahoo.com says...

    > If Matrix were producing rubbish no amount of "news" websites would
    > save them. They are not.

    Exactly.

    Matrix detractors can say what they will - and I'll listen to them
    attentively and respectfully - but it's hard for me to get around the
    fact that of the last ten decent wargames I bought, roughly eight of
    them were Matrix offerings.

    I'm not convinced that this is an accident. Nor because I've been
    brainwashed by The Massive Matrix Disinformation Campaign Built Around
    The Evil Takeover Of The Wargamer.Com Site.

    > Interesting to see how Shrapnel is now copying the "Matrix way" -
    > supporting a "free" version of a Steel Panthers title and now getting a
    > news site together. Whatever next!

    A lot of game companies could do worse than following in Mr. Heath's
    footprints. Offer top-flight wargames at competitive prices? What a
    fiendish idea, eh?

    --
    Giftzwerg
    ***
    "So did Rove leak Plame's name to me, or tell me she
    was covert? No."
    - Matt Cooper
  7. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    Advertising is a mixed bag when it comes to promoting your published
    products. We need to seperate the mainstream from the wargame
    publishers here.. the advertising media does not work the same way in
    both fields of gaming. Intellectual gamers (typical wargamers) are
    usually more scrutinizing of the games they buy then the general public
    and not as easily fooled by hype. Hype might work in the mainstream
    market much like slapping a famous person on the front of a cereal box
    or calling a junk computer upgradeable in the retail chain shop where
    tech and sales people wouldnt know a hard drive from a stick of RAM.
    Point being you cant mix the two together and expect the same results.
    If we want to be critical of advertising lets look at the number of
    times that mainstream publishers have buried all of us in ads for what
    ended up in many cases being junk games.

    Im not defending or attacking with my comments BTW, just adding in some
    objective points of view.

    Thanks.
  8. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    "kev9000" <ryandylanr@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:1121982131.570307.99490@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
    > If Matrix were producing rubbish no amount of "news" websites would
    > save them. They are not.
    >

    That is correct and exactly to the point I've been trying to make all along.
    If a producer has to lambaste the airwaves with advertisements, there's
    something wrong with the product, in most cases. It needs to try and fool
    the public into thinking its product is good, when in fact it most likely is
    not. It feeds on public insecurities and vulnerabilities.

    A company who produces a product that goes happily along, by almost word of
    mouth, in the long run probably has a good product.

    I don't see Matrix Games using any kind of excessive advertisement; in fact,
    they do very little, actually. And it does have a good product, with
    excellent support, and nearly always listens to its customers when it comes
    time for fixing game problems.

    Matrix Games does not hold a good portion of the war-gaming market because
    it fools people into believing it has good products. It has good products,
    for those with an interest in the games it releases.

    Alanb
  9. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    Alan Bernardo wrote:
    (snip)
    > That is correct and exactly to the point I've been trying to make all along.
    > If a producer has to lambaste the airwaves with advertisements, there's
    > something wrong with the product, in most cases. It needs to try and fool
    > the public into thinking its product is good, when in fact it most likely is
    > not. It feeds on public insecurities and vulnerabilities.
    (snip)
    > Alanb

    I beg to differ. Even good products need advertising simply to get
    noticed by the potential buyers. If I don't know a product is on the
    market, I won't consider buying it.
    And if the product is good, there's nothing wrong with publicly stating
    that.

    The Matrix/Battlefront/Shrapnel games are an exception because I know
    the companies and keep an eye on their product line.
    But if a new indie outfit publishes a wargame over the net, they'd
    better advertise and let the likes of Wargamer.com know (which is also
    a type of marketing) and preferably flag it on usenet (via patsy
    Sterckx).

    - von Schmidt
  10. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    In article <MPG.1d49fa9a60ce837098a494@news-central.giganews.com>,
    giftzwerg999@NOSPAMZ.hotmail.com says...
    > In article <1121982131.570307.99490@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,
    > ryandylanr@yahoo.com says...
    >
    > > If Matrix were producing rubbish no amount of "news" websites would
    > > save them. They are not.
    >
    > Exactly.
    >
    > Matrix detractors can say what they will - and I'll listen to them
    > attentively and respectfully - but it's hard for me to get around the
    > fact that of the last ten decent wargames I bought, roughly eight of
    > them were Matrix offerings.
    >
    > I'm not convinced that this is an accident. Nor because I've been
    > brainwashed by The Massive Matrix Disinformation Campaign Built Around
    > The Evil Takeover Of The Wargamer.Com Site.
    >
    > > Interesting to see how Shrapnel is now copying the "Matrix way" -
    > > supporting a "free" version of a Steel Panthers title and now getting a
    > > news site together. Whatever next!
    >
    > A lot of game companies could do worse than following in Mr. Heath's
    > footprints. Offer top-flight wargames at competitive prices? What a
    > fiendish idea, eh?

    I agree. The games Matrix produces are just too good in my opinion.
    Right now I'm loving Crown of Glory. Why do all the best games come
    with bugs?

    --

    Epi

    ------------
    They want the finale to be comforting, to say that
    death is only the beginning. But it's not a
    beginning, it's the real end, there will be nothing
    afterward, nothing...."
    - Dmitri Shostakovich
    ------------
    http://www.curlesneck.com
  11. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    Eddy,

    Shrapnel *does* have a point though: the biggest (hardcore) wargame
    publisher owns the biggest wargaming website; that is a (potential?)
    conflict of interest if I ever saw one.
    Imagine General Motors owning the largest car-review site...

    So the link between Matrix and wargamer.com should definitely be
    clarified in bold letters on the front of the site.

    Newspapers do that, for example when reporting on the company or person
    which ultimately owns them.

    - von Schmidt
  12. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    Eddy,

    On another note: in the quoted thread on the webforum, you seem to
    confuse testing for bugs (beta testing) with testing/discussing the
    design/functionality of the game (alpha testing?). There is always
    overlap, but in principle those activities have completely different
    goals.

    Design can benefit from public (or at least various POV) scrutiny, if
    only to escape tunnel vision or group think.
    However, the most original games, like most products, are the result of
    one or two guys vision unfettered by market research and focus groups.
    Followed by a feedback session from fresh minds at quite a late state
    and focused on the smaller, less fundamental elements of said product.

    If I misunderstood you post in the shrapnel thread, feel free to ignore
    the above of course.

    - von Schmidt
  13. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    von Schmidt schreef:
    > Eddy,
    >
    > On another note: in the quoted thread on the webforum, you seem to
    > confuse testing for bugs (beta testing) with testing/discussing the
    > design/functionality of the game (alpha testing?). There is always
    > overlap, but in principle those activities have completely different
    > goals.

    Sure - my point over there is that allowing fresh pairs of eyes to have
    a look at your game early on in the development cycle produces *better*
    games than when they only act as a Q&A team at the end of development.
    You get better motivated beta-testers as well because their
    contribution matters more. Not involving outsiders early enough is at
    least an explanation for some glaring design errors in Raging Tiger.
    I've posted about it in here - google will retrieve it. From his reply
    (declaring it a flame-war) I can only conclude that I might have hit
    the nail on the head.

    > Design can benefit from public (or at least various POV) scrutiny, if
    > only to escape tunnel vision or group think.
    > However, the most original games, like most products, are the result of
    > one or two guys vision unfettered by market research and focus groups.
    > Followed by a feedback session from fresh minds at quite a late state
    > and focused on the smaller, less fundamental elements of said product.

    Determining the point at which you want outside opinion on your "baby"
    is tricky and debatable but I've found out a long time ago that the
    better developers listen early, listen carefully, but avoid the "design
    by committee" syndrome and aren't affraid to make tough decisions. I'm
    talking software development in general here, not just wargame
    development. Maybe some wargame developers in here will correct me on
    this :)

    Greetz,

    Eddy Sterckx
  14. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    von Schmidt schreef:
    > Shrapnel *does* have a point though: the biggest (hardcore) wargame
    > publisher owns the biggest wargaming website; that is a (potential?)
    > conflict of interest if I ever saw one.

    "Potential" being the key word. See, the Wargamer didn't become the
    biggest wargaming website overnight. It actually went bust and was
    bought by David Heath who injected some money and motivated some people
    to *make* it the biggest wargame website. Make it as in providing
    content so that surfers would come, pageviews would go up and
    advertisements would bring in some revenue. Now, I'm sure you will
    agree that most wargamers aren't clueless morons and had the Wargamer
    just become an affiliate of Matrixgames it wouldn't have become the
    success it is today. This simple fact in itself speaks volumes about
    the true affiliation of the Wargamer.

    > Imagine General Motors owning the largest car-review site...

    No, more like : imagine the largest stockholders of GM owning the
    largest car-review site - if that were the case, how would you know it
    ? :) More to the point : would you care if the car-review site remained
    the best car-review site ?

    > So the link between Matrix and wargamer.com should definitely be
    > clarified in bold letters on the front of the site.
    >
    > Newspapers do that, for example when reporting on the company or person
    > which ultimately owns them.

    Perhaps, it's a personal decision - I would have done this - but as
    anyone who has ever spoken to David Heath can attest : he's *really* a
    no-nonsense and no-BS man so he might think otherwise for a variety of
    reasons without it being an "Evil Plot" (tm).

    Greetz,

    Eddy Sterckx
Ask a new question

Read More

PC gaming Games IBM Video Games