Doom is indie-style gaming at its best | Ars Technica – Ars Technica


Yes, the headline is a bit clickbait; no, I’m not sorry. Hear me out. Indie games, practically speaking, are defined largely by their constraints. Indie studios don’t have access to virtually unlimited budgets. They don’t have teams numbering in the hundreds. Generally they don’t have first-party support, time, or in many cases even offices. I speak from experience on all of the above.

These constraints close lots of game design doors. 50 hour campaign? Unlikely. Stealth, vehicles, crafting, RPG elements, multiplayer? Pick two, maybe. Mo-cap cinematics voiced by name actors? Look, I’m labouring this now; I’m sure you get it.

So what makes good indie game design? Identifying the one or two things you can do, and doing them well. Passion and laser-focus are the indie dev’s answer to seven-figure stacks and team sizes with one or more zeroes at the end. This is why some of the most exciting game design over the last few years has come out of tiny studios. Without money to brute-force development, small teams have to make tight, innovative games that rely on quality over quantity. Games like Superhot, Devil Daggers, or Papers, Please take one or two core ideas and put all their other game design tools to work in support of polishing them. All decisions must be made to further the core loop, the core experience of the game. No fluff. Good indie games differ in their central mechanicThe Stanley Parable’s meta-narrative, Titan Souls’ one-hit bossesbut they don’t vary in their fixation on it.


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