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Discussion Indie Game The Movie

G

Gedor Games

Guest
I recently saw this documentary called Indie Game The Movie and I would strongly recommend all game makers who have not seen this to watch it. The makers of Braid, Super Meat Boy and FES are in it and it gives a good insight on their thoughts about their game and game making in general.
It gives a lot of encouragement but also that it takes a lot of work and sacrifice to make a really good and successful game.
 

NAL

ʕ ᓀ ᴥ ᓂ ʔ
GMC Elder
Honestly, I thought the movie was kind of awful. It totally ignored how diverse the indie gaming scene is, instead choosing to opt for the biggest few creators of the time and all of their first-world problems. It was an entertaining watch, but really not inspirational to me - if my end goal as an indie game developer is to throw a tantrum when my game gets featured on a console's homepage a few hours later than I was promised, then I'm looking for a new career!

Game Loading: Rise of the Indies was a far more reasonable insight for me, since it focused on a lot more creators, of varying importance, background and successfulness. It was a rougher film, and still had its flaws, but it had a better portrayal.
 
G

Gedor Games

Guest
Honestly, I thought the movie was kind of awful. It totally ignored how diverse the indie gaming scene is, instead choosing to opt for the biggest few creators of the time and all of their first-world problems. It was an entertaining watch, but really not inspirational to me - if my end goal as an indie game developer is to throw a tantrum when my game gets featured on a console's homepage a few hours later than I was promised, then I'm looking for a new career!

Game Loading: Rise of the Indies was a far more reasonable insight for me, since it focused on a lot more creators, of varying importance, background and successfulness. It was a rougher film, and still had its flaws, but it had a better portrayal.
Yeah I can agree that I thought they would include more indie gamers than just show three of the most successful indie games made. Even if most of us will never release a big title like that, for me it is always inspiring to see someone succed in gamemaking. If I would have listened to all the negative people I would not have bothered with game making in the first place :)
 
if my end goal as an indie game developer is to throw a tantrum when my game gets featured on a console's homepage a few hours later than I was promised, then I'm looking for a new career!
I'd imagine working long and hard enough to create something like FEZ or Braid might make one a little more annoyed by technical problems that might cost oneself tens of thousands of dollars. :p
 

MishMash

Member
I enjoyed watching the film. It does show success of those who deserve it, and also goes a long way to show how hard work can prevail. It also helps highlight the harsh reality of even some of the more skilled developers struggle during the development cycle.

Whilst it is positive, I think we need that. It motivates people towards success, and my general opinion on Gamedev is that most failure comes from people not giving it their all. Alot of failures involve misjudging scope, budget issues, or just lack of skill. Whilst realistic, these aren't inspiring, if anything they can make you feel down about your own project.

Despite Phil Fish being a twat, it still goes to show that even a game delayed as much as fez, taking 5+ years to develop can still find success once it has come out.

On another note, the BBC did a documentary starring Daniel Radcliffe on the development of GTA 3 which is pretty cool :) The GameChangers
 

TehPilot

Member
Indie Game: The Movie was worthwhile for me purely for the slow beginnings of Phil Fish's descent into madness.

It was an interesting glimpse into success stories otherwise.
 
I did watch the film a few years back, when I was in high school. Ed McMillen is was actually one of the people that inspired me to become a game developer, and it was really interesting to see the process and the struggles behind one of my all-time favorite games. I also got a healthy dose of realism from the film. I learned that if I wanted to be an indie dev, it's not as easy as it might seem from the outside, which is becoming more and more apparent to me now.
 
Despite Phil Fish being a twat, it still goes to show that even a game delayed as much as fez, taking 5+ years to develop can still find success once it has come out.
Phil Fish actually seemed like way less of a twat then I thought he'd be based on his reputation. I watched it a few years ago, but I remember thinking "hey, he doesn't seem that bad, actually."
Same thing with Jonathan Blow. Much more likeable than I imagined.
 

Misty

Member
I don't see why FEZ took 5+ years to develop. It has block graphics. And it doesn't even have AI.


Though, he was probably using C++ or something and not game maker, so it took years off his life. Had he used Game Maker, it would probably have taken only 5 weeks. It is simply foolish to use anything but Game Maker, it can even export to Xbox these days.
 

Ninety

Member
Phil Fish actually seemed like way less of a twat then I thought he'd be based on his reputation. I watched it a few years ago, but I remember thinking "hey, he doesn't seem that bad, actually."
Same thing with Jonathan Blow. Much more likeable than I imagined.
Phil Fish is a bit of an ass these days, but he comes across as much more sympathetic in Indie Game. Yeah, he's arrogant, but he was also screwed over massively by his former business partner and harassed by entitled fans. Of course, these days he has no real excuse.

Blow seems alright. A touch pretentious lately, but still quite down-to-earth and well-mannered.
 
I don't see why FEZ took 5+ years to develop. It has block graphics. And it doesn't even have AI.


Though, he was probably using C++ or something and not game maker, so it took years off his life. Had he used Game Maker, it would probably have taken only 5 weeks. It is simply foolish to use anything but Game Maker, it can even export to Xbox these days.
If it's so easy, make something like it. You'll be rich. :p

Lone: that's true. It was filmed before his success, which might explain his more humble attitude.

Ninety: yar, those are my feelings on the devs, too. I'm not a huge fan of "art" games to begin with, though, so that probably colors my opinion on poor Blow, haha.
 
L

Losha

Guest
Ah, I remember watching this a few years back or something on Netflix. I definitely enjoyed it when I watched it, I think especially so because I'm a Meatboy fan.

And also the delving into madness for some of the devs was... interesting, at least.
 
Can't make a FEZ clone, he already stole the idea. Doubt it would make me rich.
If he "already stole the idea," then apparently stolen ideas don't kill games, right? A lot of people hate Phil Fish, but want a FEZ 2. I think a spiritual successor that equals or surpasses the first one *would* make you rich. Get to it!

Being serious, though, I said something *like* Fez. I meant any small semi-original, highly polished title. I think you're underestimating the amount of work it takes to get even simple games feeling *perfect.* If it were easy, we'd all be releasing Fez quality titles every few years. If you take a look at the "made with GM" forum, you'll see that we're not. :p
 

Misty

Member
I don't see what is so great about FEZ. Good but not great. Definitely not perfect.

I think the reason people hate Phil Fish, is they just want an excuse to say his name over and over again, because his name is Phil Fish.
 
G

Gedor Games

Guest
I thought it was funny to see all the bugs with FEZ when Phil showed his game, like the first screen the game was stuck in a loop and he had to restart it. It is good to know that even if you experience problems with your game during a showcase it can still be a success ;)
 

ShaunJS

Just Another Dev
GMC Elder
It's pretty good you just have to keep the time it was made in mind when you watch it. It doesn't capture the diversity of the indie scene, or at least the modern indie scene, but that's next to impossible. Indie games had only recently started to have a big light shone on them. Some of the first big successes were happening and the film is a good snapshot of those successes.

It's a bit feel-good and very, very success-story oriented but again, they were the news stories at the time. It was even the general sentiment and feeling surrounding indie games at the time. I also think there's a heartfelt look at a lot of the similar stresses and anxieties those developers went through in spite of their success. Easy to turn your nose up at the idea of negative emotions felt by the wildly successful, but they're a real thing and a meaningful reminder that "success" is so much more of a subjective, unknowable quantity than anyone gives it credit for.

The indie scene grew and changed super fast, and this film is kinda looking only as far as it could at the time which is at what would later be a big part of the catalyst for that change.

The film has a lot of value, but I think it aged way faster than anyone could expect.
 

ShaunJS

Just Another Dev
GMC Elder
Snipped a couple of posts.

Please learn to disagree with one another without feeling the intrinsic need to explicitly call out what you perceive as "another ill conceived post by X" "clueless" "foolish" or "socially inept".

Make your points and share thoughts without attacking one another. It's really not difficult.
 

seanm

Member
It's always weird to see people upset that the movie only showed successful developers.

They weren't successful at the time of making the movie, those were their first big games.
 

ShaunJS

Just Another Dev
GMC Elder
It's always weird to see people upset that the movie only showed successful developers.

They weren't successful at the time of making the movie, those were their first big games.
The argument is that it creates a bit of a false narrative that romanticises what can actually be a ruthlessly difficult pursuit often very reliant on luck. By only showing successes it potentially infers that if you work hard enough you will definitely succeed. Which sadly is very untrue. Most developers, now more than ever, will fail. The odds are hugely against them. Some of them will have had all the same talent, dedication to craft and skill that these guys had.
 

seanm

Member
Sure, but the movie was about 3 indie devs who launched their first big games. Both meat boy and fez could have been canned due to extraneous circumstances. It's not the doc's fault that everything just happened to work out for all three games.

If people want to believe luck plays no part in success, so be it.
 

ShaunJS

Just Another Dev
GMC Elder
Sure, but this isn't about the filmmaker's intentions (which are unknowable to us, really) but about what the finished product has to say. This film has a very constructed narrative, which isn't to say it's without worth or that it's untrustworthy, but that it only tells one particular story. It's not unfair to say it quite easily infers that narrative is more complete and representative than it perhaps is (just look to the title!).

Whether or not you believe media is responsible for the impact it might have on people, or that people are responsible for the impact media has on them is another matter. But it's worth remembering that nobody is above the implicit suggestions and messages of the media that they consume. It projects a distinct narrative about indie game culture, that without prior experience, you might not know was incomplete. Someone might watch that, quit their job and pursue the romanticised indie struggle only to be met with disaster. Their own fault? Maybe. But it remains true that the overall picture of the industry painted by the movie had a big success bias at the time, and (through debateably little fault of its own), an enormous one now given how the industry has developed since. It's definitely worth criticising on those grounds.
 

seanm

Member
Everything gets reduced down to a strawman in people's heads. No matter what people want to pursue: athletics, music, education, entrepreneurship, everything.

"If I just work hard enough I can become a rich doctor."

Maybe, maybe not.

I don't think it's a documentary's responsibility to explain the fallacy of basing your expectations around successful people.
 

ShaunJS

Just Another Dev
GMC Elder
Which isn't a wholely unreasonable position up to a point, but that discussion is reaching more into the nature of culture, media and society at large which (while interesting and important in its own right!) is a whole big different kettle of fish =)

I think the film has its flaws and loses relevance by the day but still has an insightful and interesting (and certainly entertaining) story worth watching. Through the correct lens at least.
 
Everything gets reduced down to a strawman in people's heads. No matter what people want to pursue: athletics, music, education, entrepreneurship, everything.

"If I just work hard enough I can become a rich doctor."

Maybe, maybe not.
Very true. Totally depends on the person. An elite few can become rich, well known doctors without any luck at all. A few could do it with the right circumstances. The majority of the population lack what it would take to become a skilled, famous doctor no matter how hard they tried, or how lucky they were.

It's unfair, but it's true.
 
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K

Kransky

Guest
I quite enjoyed it, but I feel it works better as a story than a documentary. I think I remember hearing Edmund McMillen say that Phil Fish was sort of set up to be the "failure" portion of the movie. With it looking increasingly unlikely Fez was ever going to be completed. If that was the intent, I don't think it was totally successful in portraying that. Perhaps by the time the movie was almost ready, the situation with Fez was starting to look better and they edited the footage to reflect that? I also heard that the original intent was to feature a much larger array of indie devs, but they eventually narrowed it down to the few who appeared. I like the movie, but I kind of feel like we've missed out on the most interesting version of it.
 
The thing is most indie games developer get known after a lucky media spread incident, and it quite changes your way of working from someone who's not that known. The world of indie games is a hard scene. From what I saw the movie mostly talks about the dev aspect, as if just developing the best project would net you success. You also need to be good with media coverage.

But then , maybe Its actually in there, I haven't seen most of the movie.
 
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