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Definition of Independent Games?

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Anonymous
July 21, 2005 8:28:30 PM

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/
Anonymous
July 21, 2005 8:28:31 PM

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
Anonymous
July 21, 2005 8:28:31 PM

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!
Related resources
Anonymous
July 21, 2005 8:44:40 PM

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
Anonymous
July 21, 2005 10:43:15 PM

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...

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')
Anonymous
July 21, 2005 11:27:28 PM

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.
Anonymous
July 21, 2005 11:32:33 PM

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
Anonymous
July 22, 2005 3:28:03 AM

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.
Anonymous
July 22, 2005 5:06:26 AM

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
Anonymous
July 22, 2005 7:05:23 AM

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
Anonymous
July 22, 2005 10:55:49 AM

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
Anonymous
July 22, 2005 11:49:14 AM

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
Anonymous
July 22, 2005 11:51:54 AM

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
Anonymous
July 22, 2005 12:15:49 PM

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
Anonymous
July 22, 2005 12:45:02 PM

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
!