Darwinia, World of Goo, Cave Story. Not all the best games come out of giant studios with tons of cash to back them up. In fact, arguably some of the best computer games ever made were created by small handfuls of passionate people, on a shoestring budget, relentlessly pursuing an artistic vision.
I recently attended Indiecade in Los Angeles with some of my friends from the Copenhagen Game Collective (they won the festival’s “Wildcard” award for their frenetic social button-masher, B.U.T.T.O.N.). The most interesting part of Indiecade is browsing the work of the 32 finalist game makers that they invite to LA. However, you don’t need to travel to LA to see some refreshingly creative indie games. There’s actually a ton of innovation happening on ROBLOX right now. The next generation of indie developers are honing their skills here.
I interviewed 151 ROBLOX game developers; here is a small taste of some of the amazing projects people are building on ROBLOX.
Briguy’s Point and Click Adventure is a retro-styled adventure game that imports the canonical player verbs “Examine”, “Grab”, and “Use”. Combined with sardonic narration in the grand tradition of such classics as Quest for Glory or Full Throttle, the result is a game with a very unique feel. The premise of the game is simple: escape the room that you start in. Winning? Not so simple.
On ROBLOX, this game pushed the envelope in several ways. It was one of the first point and click adventures created in ROBLOX – and a leader in the genre. To date, the game has been played more than than 25,000 times.
Briguy has been playing ROBLOX for three years. He runs the popular fansite, Briguy’s ROBLOX.
I asked Briguy what one feature he thought we should add to ROBLOX, and his answer conveyed a certain can-do attitude typical of our best game makers:
Rarely do I run into a problem that I say "Man, I want a tool to do this" because I know that with enough time, creativity, and LUA, you can make anything.
SuperMarioWorld24: The Adventures of Noob Boy
We have met Noob Boy and he is us. The Adventures of Noob Boy is a fiendish obstacle course that we in the office here found very challenging (the rate at which I was dying is comparable to when I was playing Terry Cavanagh’s brutal platformer VVVVV, at Indiecade).
A lot of people get on ROBLOX and just start dragging bricks around. I was particularly impressed by the amount of thought and deliberation that goes into SuperMario24’s development process:
It’s an obstacle course, sure, but I’ve made it stand out. What’s the point of making a game if you can’t make it as good as you can? The level isn’t just walking across a bunch of lava strips in thin air; you’re actually in a setting. You can see the cliff walls. You can admire the trees. You can walk across an abyss that just gets dark onto forever when you fall into it.
Our conversation also touched upon another perennial topic in the indie gaming scene – make art or make money: the eternal dilemma of the indie developer.
Obstacle course games, if advertised, can bring in tons of money, whether or not its quality. I didn’t just make such a place for a profit, though. I make it look nice and pretty because I want the entire mass of the population to like it. As I was creating it, I tried keeping it as original as possible.
If you beat it, make a victory post on the forums (maybe even use ROBLOX’s secret screenshot feature to prove it happened).
Robloxaville is basically an institution on ROBLOX. It’s been under constant development for 3 years and has been visited 3.2 million times. Playrobot, Robloxaville’s creator explains her iterative process:
It’s [my] best game because it was designed using ideas from people who are really love to play there. It’s kind of like ROBLOX itself in that way. Players come up with ideas for it and I try to figure out how to make stuff for them. After 3 years of building on it, I think it’s become a really fun game for players.
What is the point of Robloxaville? Robloxaville is actually a freeform virtual town sandbox game. You can hang out in the local restaurants, turn criminal, become the sheriff, or (for a limited time only, one would assume), explore the new haunted house on the edge of town.
For fun – trying chatting the word “alien”
Until Next Time – Keep Building!