Posts with ‘metanet’ Tag

IGS ’09: The Indie Game Maker Rant

By: Derek Yu

On: March 24th, 2009

Phil Fish

(Photo courtesy of Infinite Ammo)

12:02 – I finally got into this session, which was supposed to start at 11:45ish. It’s PACKED, mostly because nobody from the previous session left. The basic idea, which was conceived by Phil Fish (Fez), is that various game developers get up and rant about something, anything, for 5 minutes. Phil was the MC for the session, and also participated.

Coming in late, I unfortunately missed Heather Kelley‘s rant – it was ending as I came in. Mark Johns just got up. He reminds us that he’s the creator of Shit Game, and is thus in the best position to talk about games and art. Some highlights of his rant include his assertion that critics of games as an art form, like Roger Ebert, will someday die and a reference to the somewhat notorious article about messhof in the New York Times. (One hopes that the NYTimes, which is in attendance, takes the mention in stride.)

12:05 – Steve Swink is up. He’s a designer at Flashbang/Blurst and also one of the IGS organizers. His rant is titled “Ethical Game Design.” He’s talking about personal freedom by using furries as an example. (Looking up at his scattered manbeard, I think he might be one!)

Steve equates ethical game design at least in part with making use of our freedom by creating worthwhile activities. “Don’t make the video equivalent of fast food and cigarettes. Don’t waste people’s fucking time.” “Worthwhile” is obviously kind of a difficult thing to define. Is it social? Is it about changing our way of thinking? Is it happiness?

And then Steve’s time is up.

12:11Infinite Ammo‘s Chris Lobay just got up. He has a film background, so he’s tying auteur theory to game development. He argues that independent game developers all fit the mold of the auteur. Game development, he posits, should not be decided by committee.

12:16Erin “Ivy” Robinson starts by revealing that she’s working on a new game called “Puzzle Bots.” And hey, now she’s talking about humor in games and using the TIGSource Demakes Compo as an example. Hold Me Closer, Giant Dancer is shown on screen and gets some hearty chuckles out of the crowd.

She just did a “dramatic reading” of Gears of War 2. Marcus Fenix and Augustus Cole wax poetic about how many metric shit-tons of locusts must be down there. Somewhere, an undead Marcel Proust facepalms.

Erin talks about some modern examples of mainstream games which employ humor, including Little Big Planet and Spore. She ends by talking about satire and the awful PETA game Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals. It’s Majesco’s straight-faced response that draws the most laughs.

12:21 – “Those crazy artists from ”“>Tale of Tales” are up! Auriea Harvey opens by saying that this is “a slightly meditative conceptual rant about being an indie developer.”

Auriea and Michaël wonder openly what it is that indie developers are independent of, exactly? They are taking turns reading out loud the various possibilities (which are displayed on the projector with occasional images). I can’t write them all down, but here are a few of the things they’re mentioning: game publishers and developers, time spent with loved ones, clothing, sexual orientation, web 2.0, C++, Shigeru Miyamoto, CliffyB, ideologies, morality, success, air, Edge Magazine, Steam, XBLA, language, Final Fantasy, TIGSource Forums, love, pets, Simon Carless (who I’m sitting right next to), mortality (a picture of Paul “rinkuhero” Eres accompanies the slide), Google, debugging, object-oriented programming, and finally, whether or not games are art and whether the audience thinks they are pretentious for making their rant.

They’re walking off with a simple picture of the Earth on the projector. Phil Fish says “Thank you for that. I mean it!”

12:25thatgamecompany‘s Kellee Santiago wants to talk about that step “after games are art.” She’s comparing games to radio and television.

In what strikes me as a very Obama-esque moment, she rallies developers to work together to bring about change in the games industry.

12:32 – Mare from metanet takes the rant to a more directly practical area by talking about why demos are important. Her main point is that there are cons from the developer’s perspective, but not from a consumer’s perspective.

12:34 – Raigan, the other half of metanet, proposes some solutions to making 3d games easier to create. He talks briefly about using simple shapes like boxes, non-photorealistic rendering (e.g. NPR Quake), and post-processing (e.g. Textmode Quake).

12:38 – “Up next: me,” says Phil. He says he couldn’t think of anything, so he’s taking requests from the audience. Someone asks him what the most important thing about Fez is for him, and he fumbles a bit before exclaiming that this was a stupid idea.

Someone then shouts out “What’s wrong with the IGF?” Which is probably the best thing that could have happened at this point. The rant begins.

IGF is broken! ”">[Pixeljunk] Eden should not be nominated for IGF." Phil says the rules for entry are “hell” of vague. “I have a problem with a guy entering IGF who created Star Fox for fuck’s sake. What if portal was entered in IGF? Would anyone here have a problem with that?” He asserts that he likes the game itself, but compares Erik Svedäng’s Blueberry Garden, which was made by a single guy in a bedroom or basement, with games backed by large companies.

“The [IGF 2008] Art Award for Fez made me.” Phil mentions young developers on TIGSource who don’t even have $100 to spend on the IGF admission fee. “What’s 100 dollars to Q-Games? It’s like a fart.” He thinks Eden’s submission was a “cynical marketing campaign” meant to promote their upcoming expansion pack (to be announced at GDC later this week).

12:42 – Simon Carless gets up and walks to the podium with a smile on his face. “Are you going to stop me?” asks Phil (sincerely, I should note, and not like a guy going crazy on PCP, as you might read it).

Simon addresses the audience and says that he’s the director of IGF. He wants to clarify that Eden was submitted long before the expansion had been announced.

Phil ends by saying that he’s so proud of being indie, that it kind of drives him nuts that it’s so hard to define.

12:44 – In response to Phil’s rant, Matthew Wegner comes on stage briefly to mention that there are 22 finalist games, some of which have bigger teams than Eden, and suggests that we celebrate how wide the spectrum of IGF finalists is.

12:45Petri Purho is attempting to do the impossible – to make a game in the 5 minutes allotted to him for the rant. The room, already pretty riled, applauds wildly. “This is the indiest thing you can do,” exclaims Petri. Somewhere in the distance, a wolf howls.

Petri’s got Visual C++ open on his screen. “I already have a basic framework…” It crashes as Petri tries to compile it, to laughter. Erik Svedäng got people to write game ideas onto slips of paper for Petri to use in his game. The first idea is pulled out of the bag.

“…Peggles?” The audience seems to generally think that this is a shitty idea, so they pull out another one. “Ragdolls.” Okay… Petri starts coding away like a madman, cursing like a Finnish sailor. “FFFFFFUCK. This is the worst idea.”

With 2 minutes left, Petri tries to compile, but there’s a bug. “Fuck.” After a couple of tweaks, success. A wireframe ragdoll falls from the top of the screen and hits the ground, to the cheers of the crowd.

“We still have to add Peggles to the game.”

With roughly 1 minute remaining, Petri stands up and beats on the keyboard like the drummer on a Nordic slave ship. Even though we’re indoors, a warm breeze somehow makes its way into the room and unravels his ponytail, sending his flaxen hair waving as Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries is pumped in through Moscone’s humble speakers. Code is scrolling across the screen like it’s The motherfraggin’ Matrix. Men and women alike unconsciously lift their shirts and display their chests to this… this… Finnish demigod of game development.

But even Odin himself couldn’t beat these odds – the final grains of sands are making their way to the bottom of the hourglass.

“Cactus, help me!”

And the young Swede jumps on stage and the two of them create what can only be described as Ragnarök on a laptop. A game made in 5 minutes. About ragdolls. And Peggles. It is done.

Phil returns to the podium as the duo are carried away by a heraldic griffon. “Welcome to the first and probably last indie game rant.”

Somewhere in the distance, a stag whispers its final breath and dies alone in the forest: “Indie Games.”

metanet, N+, and the State of XBLA

By: Derek Yu

On: March 26th, 2008

N Plus Verus Toyota Yaris

I guess metanet and Nick Waander’s “”">Beyond the Postmortem" interview (which was incidentally conducted by insert credit’s Brandon Sheffield) sparked some controversy, because they were so candid about some of the failings of the service. One of the biggest being that the ratio of good games (like N+) to bad (like Toyota Yaris Racing) is totally out of whack.

metanet has since clarified their position a bit by saying that the people they worked with at Microsoft were good, and that they weren’t complaining about their sales (N+ was released after the interview).

But overall, what they said was much less controversial than I thought it would be (natch). It’s obvious to anyone who follows XBLA that there are way too many crappy games on the system. I’m sure part of the reason is that legitimately good developers are put off by the service’s notoriously difficult certification process (Minter rant alert), and prohibitive cost (possibly upwards of $125,000). And, of course, there was the bomb dropped around GDC 2008 that royalty rates have since slipped from 70% to 35-45% (depending on your sales).

The obvious fallout from all this is that Sony and Nintendo can probably look forward to an exodus of developers to their systems in the coming months.

GDC: N+ Postmortem

By: Derek Yu

On: February 27th, 2008

N+ Dev Diary

Nick Waanders, of Slick Entertainment, has released the slides for his and mare’s N+ postmortem. Slick did the development for N+ for XBLA.

Kotaku actually has a nice write-up of the game, where they laud, among other things, the excellent multiplayer co-op:

Single player is great and all, but the game really transforms itself in multiplayer mode. I’m not talking about the Survival Mode or the Race Mode here, but the four-player co-op. Teaming up with three other (good) players completely changes the experience. Playing over the same levels in single player mode the teams I have gotten with have come up with some truly innovative and entertaining ways to use our numbers to our advantage.

I’m seriously (srsly) sad that I’m nowhere near an Xbox 360 with Live support right now. Good co-op is so rare in games…

N+ Launch Trailer

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: February 24th, 2008

Here is the final trailer for N+, which is out now on Xbox LIVE Arcade (as Raigan would not let us forget). In the words of Jon Mak, “If you don’t buy N+… you’re not indie.”

But indie cred aside, it looks to be great and chock full of wonderful content. Check it out at the very least!

N+ at PAX

By: Derek Yu

On: August 30th, 2007

n run

Metanet Software made an appearance at the Penny Arcade Expo last week with N+, demoing the XBox 360 version of the game. The DS/PSP versions, which are being produced by Atari, were also available. In their latest blog post, the intrepid duo lament the absence of online attention for the 360 version, since it’s the one they’re working on directly:

The handheld versions should of course be great — there aren’t very many good platformers available on DS/PSP, these days the only decent platformers seem to be coming from freeware developers — but we really feel like the XBLA version is much more ours.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either, but I’m personally amped for N+ 360! For the skinny on the DS version, however, Joystiq has a hands-on.

N temporary tattoos in the extended. Including Mare, and ninjas leaping from butt cracks (not in the same photo).

n mare

n butts

metablog: are we all caught up now?

By: Derek Yu

On: July 22nd, 2007

Limp Chain (lol)

I’m back! What a wonderful break. Lorne gets brownie points for posting in my absence. During the Indie Rapture he, and he alone, will join me in the Indie Kingdom of Heaven. (It’s a cardboard box outside a warehouse in Hoboken.)

I want to point you fine folks today at the metablog, wherein discussions are taking place concerning Robotology, their current project, its history, and lots and lots of physics. Does “David Wu’s amazingly awesome implicit-Euler-based solver” sound amazingly awesome to you? Then you best be getting yo’self down to the metablog, post haste! (Get it? Post haste? Maybe not…)

(Source: GameSetWatch)


By: Derek Yu

On: June 4th, 2007


Raigan and mare, collectively metanet, the Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker of independent game development, now have a shiny, minimalistic new blog. It’s only been up a week or so, but already it’s racking up some great content. Everything from information about their new game, Robotology:

The high-level direction for the game was “Umihara Kawase + parkour”, in a world where the environment was not just static platforms, but moving, mechanized, segmented “robots”. (Link)

…to a wonderful diatribe against casual gaming:

The casual games industry, and to a certain extent most of the commercial games industry, is in this way similar to the fast-food industry: churning out cost-effective products with an utter disregard for any factors beyond what will appeal to the greatest number of people. (Link)

I actually don’t find casual gaming to be too offensive. Of course, the rampant cloning is disgusting and I personally would never find much creative satisfaction in making such a game, but… well, as an example, I was at the bank a couple of weeks ago and I told a banker there that I was making a video game, and she got excited and told me that she like to play games in her free time. And what do you think she plays? Fucking Bejeweled! But the fact is that Bejeweled allowed me to have a connection with a middle-aged woman. And that sounds very wrong, but my point is that it was because of Bejeweled and not, well, Cave Story, that allowed this woman to appreciate what I did for a living, and so there has to be some kind of value there, right?

N on XBLA, DS, and PSP

By: Derek Yu

On: May 25th, 2007


N, the physics-ey based platformer from metanet, is purportedly hitting Xbox Live Arcade this fall, along with the DS and the PSP. Dubbed N+, the game will remain faithful to the original, but the plan is to include some new features.

It’s cool to hear that the XBLA port is being facilitated by Klei Entertainment, the creators of Eets. Indies helping indies… it brings a tear to my eye.

Way to go, guys!

Edit: I mistakenly wrote that one of the new features will be a level editor, but N already has a built-in level editor. And I knew that! Why did I do that? Just another great mystery of the universe.

New Indie Games XBLA Bound

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: February 1st, 2007

Xbox Live Arcade

Microsoft recently announced ten new games planned for Xbox Live Arcade in 2007, including a few indie titles such as The Behemoth’s Alien Hominid HD, NinjaBee’s Band of Bugs, and Klei Entertainment’s previously-unannounced (big) update of Eets, Eets: Chowdown. But that’s not all!

Friends of TIGSource Metanet Software announced a couple days before this announcement an announcement of their own: In collaboration with aforementioned Klei Entertainment, they plan to bring an upgraded incarnation of N, called N+, to the Arcade as early as Fall this year. Hooray!

Now that I think about it, all these games probably deserve their own separate previews. So, erm… perhaps I’ll do that soon.

metanet’s next game

By: dessgeega

On: July 31st, 2006


sorry my updates have been kind of sporadic lately – i’ve been busy with my weekly column at gamesetwatch! (warning: capitalization.)

i appealed to my bff raigan burns to give me something exclusive for my column on metanet software. he divulged some tidbits on his and mare’s new game.

tentatively titled “robotology”, the game stars a robot who swings from a wire and navigates a future robot world using parkour-inspired acrobatics. influences include “umihara kawase, commander keen, vectorman/rayman,
wirehang redux, gish, z-lock, lyle in cube sector, flashback/out of
this world.. and the usual suspects like mario and sonic.” the game’s story, inspired by phillip k. dick (among others), “will
hopefully be something different and interesting for jaded
indiegamers. and also probably sarcastic.”

he also told me they hope to have robots of varying proportions in the final game, and then slyly made an allusion to ueda’s shadow of the colossus. (!)

the game will, of course, have a level editor, just like its predecessor n (which metanet have spent most of their development history re-releasing). speaking of n, you might be seeing that game on the xbox live arcade in a little while! holy smokes!