Full indie 2016 : Design constrains in narrative exploration games

Nels Anderson shared some of the things he has learnt making Firewatch during 2016th Full Indie summit. Being more of a systems designer, he has learnt a lot working on a narrative exploration.

Unlike puzzle games like the Talos Principle or The witness, narrative exploration games (sadly known as walking simulators) don’t rely on puzzles to keep the player going. Unlike Life is Strange or Tales of Borderlands, the player is the one deciding where he’s taking the adventure.

As a result, Nels had to learn to face five challenges which he shared with us : being shackled by the premises, working in present tense, communicating information to the player, making the game work when narrative is all there is, and playtesting this kind of game.

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Full Indie 2016 : Let’s get physical – lessons from the real world

Zach Gage shared with us some things he has learnt from making physical games to re-use in video games. I’ve collected some of the rich thoughts from his talk on card, dice and billiard.

I found his comments on handling randomness and adapting incentives to player skill particularly interesting. On top of gameplay ideas, I like the idea of making board games to experiment with video game mechanics as a cost-effective way to learn from a concept before writing a single line of code.

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Full indie 2016 : Leading VR beyond the zombie shooter

According to Kayla Kinnunen, today is the beginning of a 10 years journey to Virtual Reality consumption and creation for everyone. We’re still way at the 1% adoption rate, before the big scary schasm that separates failed innovations that never sold beyond early adopters to the mass market. And Kayla believes the Zombie shooter isn’t what will get VR past the Schasm.

Here’s what I gathered from her inspiring talk.

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Prototyping mobile games with protopie

I’ve been looking into alternatives to Axure. Don’t get me wrong, Axure is still my favorite prototyping tool, but I need to keep my skills sharp. I’ve started with Protopie : an app to create highly interactive mobile prototypes using gestures and hardware input.

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Full Indie 2016 : Alt Ctrl – innovating in the hardware scene

Robin came all the way from Scottland to discuss the hardware scene, its opportunities and challenges.

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Full indie 2016 : Mixed reality trailers

Making a good trailer for VR games is hard. The fisheye two views or first person videos of gameplay don’t reflect what VR gaming feels like, and showing a player in their dirty room doesn’t help. Sony has this cool virtual headmount concept, which is cool, but honestly, is no where near the real experience either.

In his talk, Kert Gartner shares with us how the mixed reality trailers for Fantastic contraptions and Job simulator convey VR’s engaging experience.

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Prototyping mobile games with Flinto

I’ve been looking into alternatives to Axure. Don’t get me wrong, Axure is still my favorite prototyping tool, but I need to keep my skills sharp. I’ve started with protopie, but my first article will deal with Flinto : a very easy to learn tool that lets you quickly create tactile prototypes.

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Full Indie 2016 : A love letter to Alt Games

Claris Cyarron took us on the weird side of walking simulators, discussing atl games.

Warning : explicit content ahead.

Alt games can not be defined for it would constrain the creativity within its boundaries and impose rules while it’s trying to fend off existing conventions. Alt games is an umbrella term for peers to gather around and might refer to a means of production rather than a game genre.

Alt games are queer in that they reject norms of traditional games. Their creators often identify as queer as well, rejecting norms and constrains in a larger perspective. As a result Alt games are different and deal with subjects that are set aside in traditional games or deal with topics on a different basis.

For example, what if sex in a game wasn’t something you’d earn, but something you would do instead ?

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Full indie 2016 : Learning from Brigador’s mistakes

Stellar Jockeys made a unique game with a lot of hooks to get players on board. It had unique art, a fully destructible environment and a cool soundtrack. Game engines are like wood, no matter what you’re carving into it you’ll end up following  the natural flow of it.

Brigador was made on a custom engine to really work in destructible environments from the core of the game. It had great reviews on metacritic and on steam. If you take in account the issues that were fixed since they were reviewed, Brigador would have 97% positive reviews. Yet is sold less than 10k units. Why is that ?

Hugh Monahan had the courage to share his story with us, and we thank him for that.

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Full Indie 2016 : How to create 4D games

At Full Indie Summit 2016, Marc ten Bosch taught the audience to think in 4 dimensions. Now most of you probably have no idea what that means, and no, the 4rth dimension is not time. So how does it work ?

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