Thursday, 1 July 2010

A Diverse World of Love

World of Love 2010 Logo

The inaugural World of Love event was held last Friday at Channel 4's offices near Westminster. David Hayward organised a day of talks to bring together and showcase the flourishing community of indie developers in the UK. Conducted in a plush basement cinema, World of Love was massively oversubscribed beyond its modest capacity, and I'm sure the venue will need to change for next year's gathering. Even though fire regulations kept the crowd small, what really struck me about the event was the diversity of those involved in the independent games scene.

Specifiying what it takes to be indie has always been problematic. For some it's the shunning of major commercial partners to bring your games into being. For others it's more stringently the non-commerciality of your own games. The shades of grey of the term "indie" shone brightly at World of Love, not only in the audience, but amongst the speakers as well. Gobion Rowlands discussed Red Redemption's courting of pure venture capital to protect the independence of their design process from demanding publishers. Conversely VVVVVV's creator, Terry Cavanagh, eulogised the liberating process of game jams, requiring concepts to be conceived and produced in impossibly short time periods; this approach to design emphasises raw creativity over the focussed vision of a funded project. A full spectrum of business models, or lack thereof, was represented, and I took away something useful from each of the speakers. You can read more about the talks in articles on Edge Online and RPS.

My own aspirations lie somewhere in the gulf between the running of a highly leveraged business, and making art for its own sake. I hope to find enough patrons that enjoy my games to support an ongoing creation of innovative titles. Events like World of Love and PAX provide a great opportunity to float ideas outside of my echo chamber. Huscarlas, being an unusual collision of X-COM tactics and Final Fight brawling, has been met with positive surprise throughout. I hope that the anticipation I've generated in these short conversations bodes well for its release, and my ambition for subsistence.

Despite the apparent differences between individuals at World of Love, the acceptance of one another's alternative approaches to forging games is what bound us together. As long as you were making the games that you wanted to make, then you were part of the gang. I think that this uncompromising attitude towards pursuing the pure, and unfettered creation of your games truly defines what it is to be indie.

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