how developers alone made world masterpieces

how developers alone made world masterpieces

We have already talked about indie studios and about games that developers created alone. In the comments to the last article, there was a remark that entire eras were missed – and among them the era of Flash games. Thanks for the idea!

In 1996, the FutureSplash Animator platform appeared, which opened up new possibilities for creating games and animations. On the one hand, developers received a convenient tool; on the other hand, the results made by them could be used directly in the browser without the need to download. You can read about the evolution of Flash in this article.

In many ways, thanks to this technology, a whole separate industry of “indie games” was launched. From the simplest – like the viral Dancing Bush and BaffOtron to such masterpieces as Crush the Castle (the same approach was reinvented in Angry Birds) and the arcade Sonny. The developers fantasized about using Flash to create completely different mechanics – both changing the direction of gravity, and controlling different parts of the body, and classic platformers in the style of Prince of Persia.

But we will talk specifically about games created by one person. Except, of course, the composer of one of the examples as the second member of the team.

Terry Kavanagh and VVVVVV

What if you want to make a game but can’t draw? Why not create a retro Atari-style platformer that would eventually be voted the best indie game of 2010 and then make its way to Nintendo 3DS, iOS, Android and PlayStation Vita.

Terry Cavanagh has developed several games including VVVVVV, Super Hexagon and Dicey Dungeons. Although another person was responsible for the music – composer Magnus Paulson.

The essence of the first and most famous game, which he made himself, is a mechanic with no jumps, but with the possibility of changing the direction of gravity. First you walk on the floor, then the ceiling, then you choose either of the two walls. And with the help of this skill, you must, in control of Captain Viridian, save the members of the team after a strange accident.

Adam Saltzman and Canabalt

Originally made on Flash, the game Canabalt is an endless runner. The player, using only one button, the jump button, must run across rooftops, run through breaking windows, and avoid various obstacles. It is important to go as far as possible before falling or hitting a wall.

Canabalt was the first game of designer Adam Saltsman. After that, he worked for a number of companies, including Finji, Last Chance Media, Kittehface Software and Semi-Secret Software.

By the way, it was released in 2011 on Khabri translation of Saltsman’s articleit is interesting to read even now, after more than ten years.

Brad Bourne and The Fancy Pants Adventures

Brad Bourne released the first part of his game The Fancy Pants Adventures in 2006. Later, in 2011, together with Over the Top Games, he worked on a version for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. In 2012, the game entered the Apple App Store.

Cutie Pants is kidnapped by bloodthirsty pirates. Her brother Fancy Pants runs, jumps, swims and fights pirates – generally doing everything he can to save her.

Perhaps this is one of the most striking success stories of an indie developer. Bourne created the game in his spare time, and as a result, he realized a project that became famous around the world and even attracted investors from Electronic Arts to launch the third part of the platformer.

Have you ever played this game on your smartphone with your children? If so, write in the comments!

Foddy Bennett and QWOP

One of the sensations of 2010, with the active development of social networks, was the QWOP flash game released in 2008. It was based on Ragdoll physics and had very complex mechanics: the player had to control separate muscle groups of the runner’s legs using the Q, W, O and P keys. Separately – the thighs of each leg, separately – the calves.

And at the same time, it was necessary to run the 100-meter race at the Olympic Games. The game is extremely sticky and very difficult. There was no leaderboard, and the developer explained why: “Some people think they’ve won if they’ve run five meters, others if they’ve slowly moved around the track for an hour. If I added a leaderboard or a score to the game, all those people would likely leave disappointed, leaving only the most dedicated and masochistic players in the game.”

And in QWOP or its two-player sequel 2QWOP, one could calmly play with friends and colleagues in a state of non-stop hysterical laughter. Although one of the Indian players ran the entire 100 meters in 51 seconds and entered the Guinness Book of World Records with this result.

QWOP is the fruit of procrastination. Foddy developed it while completing his thesis in philosophy. Thanks to this game, the number of views of his website increased to 30 million per month.

Mike Bitel and Thomas Was Alone

In 2010, Mike Bitel released a platformer with puzzle elements Thomas Was Alone. You control one or more rectangles or squares of different colors and sizes. Each figure has its own characteristics – for example, the ability to stay afloat.

Over the years, the game has been supplemented and ported to Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, Linux, iOS.

Mike Bitel in 2015 released another “in the same timeline as Thomas Was Alone” – a stealth action Volume.

It is important to say how and why this person started developing games: at school, the history teacher allowed him to make a point-and-click game instead of a work and was satisfied with the result. After that, Bitell was allowed to continue presenting games instead of essays.

And which flash games do you consider the most iconic and interesting? Write in the comments which games “stuck” the longest!

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