Feel the Love For Indie Games

While gamers and developers alike enjoy the blockbuster games from major studios, there will always be something charming about the indie game.

They are typically a little quirkier, bolder with their style and not afraid to try new things; some even blur the line between games and art. This can be seen in everything from Vlambeer’s delightfully odd and addictive Ridiculous Fishing to the peaceful and experimental experience of Hemisphere Games’ Osmos.

Indie game developers are critical to the industry. Indie developers are willing to experiment with technologies in their games that are eventually adopted by major game studios. Their innovation is what fuels the market. Think about Illusion Labs’ hit Labyrinth, a game that utilized the iPhone accelerometer to add challenge to a classic game. The use of the accelerometer is now commonplace in mobile games and helped propel Illusion Labs to its current status in the mobile gaming space.

The appreciation for Indie game developers has grown over the last few years, and is now garnering coverage in mainstream video game press, and being highlighted on the front page of app stores. Their arrival (or public recognition) is at a time when the gaming world is being redefined and looking for innovation. The proliferation of smart devices, a growing population of casual and serious gamers, and new the introduction of advanced technology across gaming platforms is creating the opportunity for new game design (and monetization models).

From our perspective, haptic technology is one of those pieces that is driving innovation in game design. Coming out of game consoles, Haptics (tactile and motion feedback), adds to energy and excitement to the experience of a game. The engine and the advanced technology in smart devices today, is making it possible to recreate that type of excitement in people’s everyday device. Add to this the fact that a haptic SDK is available in the Unity, YoYo and Marmalade game engines, haptics can be an easy add to mobile games.

Here are some examples of how a few indie developers have made use of the technology. How are you going to use it?

Hero Siege by Panic Art Studios: This 16-bit throwback was exciting when it was first released for the PC, but adding the physical feedback provided by the Haptics SDK, makes this one of the most exciting games we’ve seen with Haptics.

Orbital by Bitforge: You don’t often think of Haptics when you think of puzzle games, but this extremely addictive and challenging puzzler utilizes them to push the player to get the best score they can get. It drives the playability of the game the entire way.

1941 Frozen Front by HandyGames: This is a Great War game through-and-through. The top-down strategy game has great gameplay, awesome sound effects and Haptic effects that enhance every explosion without distracting. Exactly what they’re supposed to do.

Air Hockey Ultimate by Fat Bat Studios: You can feel like you’re at the arcade without ever leaving your house. This is a classic example of how Haptics can bring familiarity back to a game with the feeling you expect from air hockey. This one will take you right back to the boardwalk.

Super Dynamite Fishing by HandyGames: What could be more fun than fishing? How about fishing with dynamite? This game does a great job just putting a smile on your face with its absurdity, if the explosive Haptics don’t knock you off of your feet first.