Admittedly somewhat of a wry smile, but then I imagine that’s just how you would smile when you’ve just allocated half of your Â£4.5 million budget on british indie games. Alice Taylor is the Education Commissioner for Channel 4 as that linked interview reports, Channel 4 being a UK TV network already responsible for funding the BAFTA winning web-game Bow Steet Runner, which is a stunning FMV-Adventure style georgian crime drama. And really quite good.
Currently there are a number of companies already signed on, including Littleloud who are producing a web-game penned by PC Gamer and Rock Paper Shotgun Ãœberwriter Kieron Gillen and Zombie Cow Studios of Time Gentleman, Please! fame.
A somewhat worrying figure in the interview is that the scheme will be supporting projects which currently have a budget of up to Â£800,000. Braid is one of the more recent examples I can think of where a large price-tag was admitted by the author, somewhere around $200,000 dollars, so the idea of helping out Â£800,000 productions is kind of confusing. The people I think it could help out most are the ones working for a hundreth of that sum, if not less. Still, if there is that much money around and brit-indies are confident in asking far less than that amount in terms of support then I’d be cautiously optimistic for them. Maybe I’m just intimidated by anyone with that much money.
What’re peoples immediate reactions? Are they any british developers who’ll be looking into this as a source of funding?
(Speaking of sources: Rock Paper Shotgun)
Chris Hecker has announced that he’s been laid off from Maxis, where he was a major contributor to Spore. In the announcement Chris reveals that he’ll be working on Spy Party, a game which he demoed at this year’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop. In the game you play a sniper watching a cocktail party from another building, trying to figure out which of the partygoers is the spy by looking for various tells. I saw it at EGW and it’s a cool take on the spy genre.
Chris isn’t new to indie games by any means, having helped organize the Indie Game Jam and The Experimental Gameplay Workshop for several years. He also infamously ranted about the Nintendo Wii at GDC 2007, which – even though he was speaking for himself – ended up becoming the rather lurid headline “Spore Developer Calls Wii a Piece of Shit.” Good times!
It’ll be exciting to see what Chris comes up with now that he’s gone ronin! Good luck, man!
I cannot say what this means for the future of Edge.
Seems Steam has answered the indie games D2D package with a package deal of its own (two, in fact): Audiosurf, Blueberry Garden, Braid, Crayon Physics Deluxe, Darwinia, Everyday Shooter, Gish, Mr. Robot, The Path, World of Goo, all in one package for $30. And a subset of five of those for $20. Ends Monday.
Direct2Drive currently have a sale on until the 9th of August, with the five above games on sale for Â£11.50/$17.75. It’s not often when Direct2Drive gets a shot in on Steam with the deals and so whether you would actually agree if these are ‘THE BEST OF INDIE’ or not they’re certainly a steal for the price being asked, and for these kinds of bundles in the future I will be looking at the site to see them if they are there or looking again another day to see if they are after they have not been there before when I have looked.
So, who’ll be picking these up? Any game in particular you’d be most interested in with this pack?
(Source: Indie Games)
Kind of the antithesis of the video from a while back (IT HAS FLAWS!), Anthony Burch of Destructoid.com has been making a series of weekly ‘Rev Rants’ which are basically 4-5 minute critiques of certain parts of gaming culture. These could be simple concepts in games such as moral choice systems, or much more widespread subjects such as this week’s ‘Donate’ video.
‘Donate’ is about the state of gaming in the sense of how we choose to pay for games, what games we choose to pay for and the biggest question of ‘Why?’. It does deal with mainstream games quite a bit but there is a large amount of relevance in there for indie gamers/devs if you care to watch through it. If you can get past the sometimes iffy edits (the problem with appearing on camera for the entire segment is you’re giving yourself no opporunities to cut away if you mess up a take) and the mental image that it could be Iranian President Ahmadinejad ranting about games it’s worth your attention, for this week certainly.
To the Tim Langdell/Edge Games page I’ve added links to documents pertaining to the Cybernet Systems v. Edge Games case (which is still ongoing, despite the fact that Cybernet’s Edge of Extinction has been inactive since 2002). These documents were obtained through PACER, a service that provides online access to court records. Anyone can get an account and the data is considered public record.
Among these documents are emails sent by Tim to Cybernet, as well as various exhibits submitted to the court by both parties. One of these exhibits, shown above right, is a really curious thing – to me it looks like a very amateurish mock-up of an Edge Magazine cover (the real issue from July 2004 is shown on the left). I’m wondering what it’s actually supposed to be, because in “Answer to Complaint, Counter-Claim, and Affirmative Defenses,” it states that the exhibit is a sample “of the EDGE brand as used in connection with computer hardware in various formats.”
The rest of my opinions are hidden behind this jump:
Tim, of course, uses his connections with the game industry (including the IGDA) to help prove his case, although he fails to mention how those connections were made. Is it becoming clearer how this has all worked out for him? If I were to put together a satirical timeline of Tim’s history in the game industry, it might look something like this:
80’s – Tim Langdell registers the trademark “Edge” and humanity dies a little. Various unwitting developers produce games for Edge Games and some of them even get paid. Tim eventually
flees moves to America, the land of lawsuits opportunity.
90’s – Edge Games produces games about Snoopy and Garfield, the last creative properties it will not obtain through litigation. Using the credentials Tim built on the bloody, flayed backs of honest developers, Tim enters the entertainment industry and joins the boards of various organizations, such as the AIAS and the IGDA, and tarnishes their names with his very presence. Meanwhile, there are many legal threats to be made, and many more “licensees” to be had!
00’s – With the dawning of a new millennium, Tim’s throne of skulls grows ever bigger. Each new creator he coerces and each new organization stupid enough to have him as a member becomes another “exhibit” he can wield in court. But in his hubris he makes a vital mistake by editing his own Wikipedia entry, which ends up reading like a biography of Charlemagne as written by a hyperactive graduate student.
And the rest, as they say, would be internet history. But hey, like I’ve said before, keep in mind that these are just my opinions.
The documents, however, are very real and are now available for you to look at (pdf format). And IGDA members, it looks like you may have some recourse. Put your membership to good use!
Thanks to Brandon at Offworld for tracking down the July 2004 issue of Edge Magazine.
I want this image of Tim Langdell’s face to be seared into the hearts and minds of every person who has ever worked hard to create something of personal value. Memorize it. Take in every loathsome detail. But make special note of the smile. That smile… is the smile of a man who has never known the feeling of creating something in any real sense. It’s the smile of a man, or some semblance of one, who instead wants to take that feeling from other people, prying it out of their hands with cease-and-desist letters and other tenuous legal threats so that he may satisfy his own barren womb. Like an aging and desperate Captain Hook, he strangles Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys for some of their pixie dust so that he might feel the feeling of flight.!
That’s right, Tim Langdell/Edge Games is still threatening game developers over the word “Edge.” Here’s a recap:
1. David Papazian and Mobigame are still being antagonized by Langdell. They’ve received another cease-and-desist from lawyers representing Edge Games1 and Ninomojo revealed on TIGForums that the iPhone game Edge has been removed from the App Store again.
2. Edge Games is now also targeting another indie iPhone developer who would like to remain anonymous right now (although it shouldn’t be hard to guess what word the game has in its title).2
3. In what appears to be another preemptive move by Langdell, Edge Games obtained a trademark for “Edge of Twilight” on June 1st, which is the name of an upcoming game for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.3 Fuzzyeyes third-person action/platform game has been around since at least 2007.4
4. Tim Langdell is, of course, still on the Board of Directors at the IGDA. But I’m honestly going to start leaving this fact out as it’s still not obvious to me what the IGDA accomplishes beyond insulting the very people who the organization should be helping. Seriously, if you’re unhappy with the IGDA, stop yelling at a brick wall (that occasionally insults you) and just drop your membership when the time comes. Then start or join an unaffiliated online community or a local game development group in your city.
To address the question of “how does he get away with it,” well, as far as I know there’s nothing illegal about sending people cease-and-desist letters. I’ve never really doubted that what Tim is doing is legal. But is it necessary? No, it’s clear to me that there would be very little confusion over whether any of these games came from Edge Games. And in my opinion it is a serious abuse of laws that are meant to promote growth and innovation by protecting creators… what I see here is the opposite.
By the way, I’m compiling a centralized page of information regarding Tim and Edge Games here on TIGSource, including quotes from various developers who claim to have worked with Tim. If you have any more information or can help verify some of this stuff, please post here in the comments or e-mail me. Obviously first-person source material is the best.
The more successful Tim is, the harder it is for the next guy or gal who has the misfortune of having to deal with him. So don’t forget that face. As painful a prospect as it might seem.
1 Fingergaming, “Edge Trademark War Continues On Multiple Fronts”
2 Fingergaming, “Edge Trademark War Continues On Multiple Fronts”
3 Kotaku, “Trademark Troll Is at It Again”
4 YouTube, Edge of Twilight Trailer
!These are strictly opinions of the author and should not be construed as fact.
Game creators Chris Crawford and Jason Rohrer will be the main focus of the new episode of “Into the Night”, a joint French/German documentary series. The five minute preview above has been released to give you a taste of the full hour-long documentary that will be aired on ‘ZDF’ and ‘ARTE’, both available free on Astra on July 2nd. Not to fear everyone else outside of europe, as according to Play This Thing! who previously posted a flattering preview also announce that there’ll be an online version streamed much like the preview. Hope you’ll all catch it then when it’s released!
Bonus News: Pre-orders for Perfect Suguri on Rockin’ Android have begun, with a special sale price of $16.99 instead of the regular $19.99, which also includes free U.S shipping. They’ve got my money at least, but then again they probably already did…
(Thanks to Jsticker in tigIRC for the Arte.TV news!)
Mobigame’s Edge is available once again on both the US and UK App Stores. I shot David Papazian and the rest of the team an email to ask them if they could explain what happened, exactly, and will update this post if and when I receive a reply. Thankfully, I don’t see a “Used under license” notice anywhere on the site!
While you’re at it, you should check out the entries for the unofficial
that some members started here on the forums. These games, which were made as parodies and solely for entertainment purposes, are pretty damn funny! Shown above is Edgecrement, an entry by well-regarded independent developers and artists Adam Atomic Burrito Farts, Pootoing, and Brandon McFartin.