Chuck Arellano over at scriptedfun has posted a great piece about the competitive qualities of designing physics-based games from the perspective of an indie developer. He makes the case that physics represents an unexplored terrain of game ideas, and physics are within reach of the indie developer. I definitely agree that physics games are unique in the sense that clever ideas have a lot of legs without requiring massive amounts of content (Armadillo Run is a perfect example).
However, it’s obvious that Chuck has a programming background:
The bottom line is, the power to implement physics in games is in the programmer’s hands. And programming is something which the indie is very, very good at.
I’m not sure the issue is necessarily a programmer/artist issue. It’s a content issue. Most modern retail game designs require huge amounts of content. Even if you have some very talented artists, it’s still an issue of scope more than it is of skill. Physics games provide a magnifier for the content you do have time to create.
And, as a quick rant, there are a lot of independent-minded artists out there. For some reason programmers can never find artists and artists can never find programmers. Personally I went to an art school, despite the fact that I became a programmer–everyone I know is an artist (and we’ve produced two titles that have landed in the IGF based on their artistic merit).
Read the entire article here.
- Physics Talk @ Independent Games Summit
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- Valve Releases Portal Teaser Trailer
- Michiel van de Panne, Ski Stunt Simulator
- Interview: Peter Stock, Armadillo Run