A DivNull Lark (#03): Indie gaming gift, late 2010

A year ago, the first DivNull lark helped bring Blowback to market. It’s October, so let’s do it again…

The next DivNull lark will match the first: a gift of $1000 to help bring an independently published story game to release within a year. That is, pitch me your idea for how you would use $1000 to either make a new game or improve an existing one that hasn’t been released, and I’ll donate $1000 to the idea I like best to help make it happen.

Conditions:

  • Only pitches made as responses to this post, publicly, will be considered.
  • No pitch made after 15 October 2010 will be considered.
  • The donation will be made on or before 31 October 2010.
  • If your pitch is selected, you have until the last minute of 31 October 2011 to make good on the idea. At that point, the world will know if you are person of your word, or a failure.
  • This donation in no way affects any rights you have to your work. Nor does the donation create any liabilities from your work for the donator. Succeed or fail, you’re on your own.
  • Payment will be made via PayPal, in United States currency. No exceptions.

The winner will be decided solely based on my learned deliberation capricious whim; however, I do take advice. If you see an entry you really like, feel free to lobby for it in a response below.

All responses to this blog are vetted manually before appearing. Historically, I am a bit slow at doing this. I will try to be more prompt for the next few weeks, but if your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t panic.

Update: This contest is now closed to new submissions. I will, however, leave the comments open for people to give advice on the entries they like.

76 Responses to A DivNull Lark (#03): Indie gaming gift, late 2010

  1. SO, some game pitches I don’t know much about but which intrigue me:

    Final Girl: Cool concept, Bret; I’d love to know more about how you intend to capture your personal take on survival horror.

    Hot Guys Making Out: This is the kind of game that needs to be made. I haven’t played myself, but by all accounts it plays quickly, smoothly and satisfyingly.

    Powers for Good: I’ve been following Sage’s blogging on the “Mythic World-Saving Superheroes” genre in Project yellow Sun. It’s a worthy angle on the superhero mythos and I want to see where he takes it.

    Peace,
    -Joel

  2. I playtested Jared’s game on Saturday and it was fun. Plus I’d like him to stay in NYC. I’m 1000% biased!

  3. Don’t worry, I’m not angry, I just addressed comments that I felt needed addressing. This is what I’m like all the time.

  4. Joel: The Final Girl is more of a horror movie game than a horror game – it’s not scary, it’s fun! Especially if enjoy horror movies. You play the whole cast of a horror movie and see who among them will be the Final Girl.

  5. I’ll throw down an interest in Jared’s HitG, fantasy game. Frog Harem! Metal! I just want details really. High-fantasy Heavy Metal! I want in….

  6. I’ll throw some love to Powers for Good and Life of a Falling Star.

    I would also like to support to Shelter In Place, but I’m doing the layout so there’s some conflict of interest there I’m sure. :P

  7. Jared: Sorry, you got me confused now, where’s the foul? I thought we were meant to discuss the entries?

    Anyway, I don’t much rate my own chances in this one. My game’s a touch on the traditional side too. Sadly I only had a day or two’s notice before the deadline otherwise I probably would have come up with something a little more ‘out there’. I’m actually supporting Geasa, which I think sounds great.

    (I’m not saying your game won’t be great by the way, I just need more to go on to make a judgement)

  8. @ashok me all night long: what is HitG about? I’ll give you a hint: look at my online store and see if you can figure out a pattern.

    All entrants of the Lark will receive a gratis PDF of HitG if I win the pitch. This is…like, easily a $5 value. EASILY.

  9. Well, here’s my love chime-in: I like everything about coyote traffic except its name. Which is not too surprising, i am a big name snob. The shared legendary protagonist idea is very exciting to me.

    Also, anyone who has spent any time corroborating all the information available to the internet via my online store would see that* i am totally excited about David Pigeon’s Life of a Falling Star. Most of my flags are hit, and i am super confused about several things, which is like a pseudo-flag for me. But please, David, never use the acronym to refer to your game ever, ever again. Ever. Please. Even if people offer you a small recompense.

    *Information in this paragraph previous to the asterisk is referential ridicularity, information afterwards is for total reals.

    -Jackson

  10. Oh and, what are you confused about?

    And much love from this end for Perfect. I’ll admit I haven’t played it yet, but the concept is sweet and Joe is way passionate about it.

  11. Jackson – I have no great love for that name either. Please, if something better strikes you (or anyone) let me know and if i use it I’ll gladly credit you/comp you a copy of the final product.

  12. Actually, I quite like Coyote Traffic as a name. It’s pleasingly cryptic but still has the right kind of atmosphere for its subject matter.

    -Ash

  13. Oh, as an alternative to Life of a Falling Star (Loafs) how about ‘Tomorrow Our Angry Sparrows Terminate’? Oh, hold on, that’s TOAST… not a great improvement ;)

  14. @david – you asked what i found confusing. I tell you, by inserting commentary into your original post:

    [My pitch is Life of a Falling Star. LoaFS is a science fiction game about a future where humanity has spread out beyond the solar system. It focuses on created beings which I have (for reasons I’m not sure of) named Sparrows.]

    …maybe i’m just hyper-literal. i read your “about” as being subtly (and intriguingly) different than “set in”.

    [Sparrows are invincible in combat, have lasers in their eyes, can survive in the vacuum of space and have a lifespan of a single year.]

    …we are following jackson-logic. …so if they’re invincible in combat, they obviously have no reason to ever fight anything, because they would best it or the fight would result in a draw. This is great! combat is an interesting thing to avoid. …so why does it matter if they have lasers in their eyes? Worded differently, what are the lasers for, then? Interesting! …space, sure, ok. …OOOH! a single year! For this to matter, the game’s play (in my mind, in one sitting) would have to span a period greater than a year!

    …note that all excitement is genuine, as are all misunderstandings, if any.

    [They are sent on extreme missions which require guaranteed success.]

    …”require guaranteed success” is delightfully difficult for me to parse. Who requires it? The GM? A fictional character? The sparrow’s internal core? and what is a guaranteed success, and why is it different than regular success? Does it involve a player stating something before their sparrow goes off on the mission? And how the heck can an indestructible being be sent on an extreme mission? (Oh, they’re just invincible in combat, i didn’t read that right the first two times. Still. Valid question.)

    [Along the way they become unique, they feel and acquire emotions and memories,]

    …”become unique” is beautiful. “acquire memories” can be parsed as “remembering” or “gaining ownership of memories that others have made”. I like games about characters who feel, where their feelings are relevant.

    [while their lifespan ticks down with each day. It will be a combination of ferocious action and introspective discovery. I’m still in the early stages of development but it’s an idea I’m very fond of. It’s inspired largely by Blade Runner and Dollhouse.]

    …don’t know Dollhouse, but like bladerunner well enough. Yeah, seems cool.

    …You can dispel confusions if you like, but i’m perfectly happy not knowing. Since the internet is like 70% sarcasm, and most of what i say has some sarcastic element to it, i feel that i need to re-state that i am TOTALLY SERIOUS about all of this. If you make the game i imagine, i will be ecstatic, if you make a game about badass laser-eyed sparrows kicking ass and feeling emotions as they realize that their time will come up, i will still be super happy.

    goodnight.

  15. Time to reverse the commentary and address these:
    […maybe i’m just hyper-literal. i read your “about” as being subtly (and intriguingly) different than “set in”. ]
    That’s a tricky one. To me, part of it is that it is about the setting rather than just set in, although I’m not entirely sure how to demonstrate the difference. I want to explore the setting in the course of the game.
    […we are following jackson-logic. …so if they’re invincible in combat, they obviously have no reason to ever fight anything, because they would best it or the fight would result in a draw. This is great! combat is an interesting thing to avoid. …so why does it matter if they have lasers in their eyes? Worded differently, what are the lasers for, then? Interesting! …space, sure, ok. …OOOH! a single year! For this to matter, the game’s play (in my mind, in one sitting) would have to span a period greater than a year!
    …note that all excitement is genuine, as are all misunderstandings, if any. ]
    The reason they have to fight, initially, is being ordered to by their creators/superiors, and just kind of being thrown into these situations. Not so much avoiding combat as making it not what the game is about by making it easily bypassed and arbitrary but still allowing, if you really want, to blow stuff up. It’s just not hard to do. Lasers in their eyes matter, I guess, because it’s a constant reminder of being built to blow stuff up and their lethality. There are other uses I’m sure. It would definitely, definitely have to cove a span of greater than a year, otherwise that whole part of the game becomes somewhat moot.
    […”require guaranteed success” is delightfully difficult for me to parse. Who requires it? The GM? A fictional character? The sparrow’s internal core? and what is a guaranteed success, and why is it different than regular success? Does it involve a player stating something before their sparrow goes off on the mission? And how the heck can an indestructible being be sent on an extreme mission? (Oh, they’re just invincible in combat, i didn’t read that right the first two times. Still. Valid question.)]
    The whole combination of ‘guaranteed success’ and ‘extreme mission’ basically adds up to these being huge events or world-changing or in some way or another utterly utterly vital to the people who send the characters on these missions. The characters themselves probably feel a programmed drive to succeed but don’t ‘feel’ it if that makes sense. Lots of orbital free-fall and world-at-war type stuff. Environments of extreme radiation. But there are still social aspects, still talking to people, still getting from point a to point b, human interaction.
    […”become unique” is beautiful. “acquire memories” can be parsed as “remembering” or “gaining ownership of memories that others have made”. I like games about characters who feel, where their feelings are relevant. ]
    That’s the main feeling I want to get across, is that they being to own themselves and take away their self from the clutches of their masters, get to make their own choices all while dealing with their new and as-yet unexplored feelings.
    […don’t know Dollhouse, but like bladerunner well enough. Yeah, seems cool.
    …You can dispel confusions if you like, but i’m perfectly happy not knowing. Since the internet is like 70% sarcasm, and most of what i say has some sarcastic element to it, i feel that i need to re-state that i am TOTALLY SERIOUS about all of this. If you make the game i imagine, i will be ecstatic, if you make a game about badass laser-eyed sparrows kicking ass and feeling emotions as they realize that their time will come up, i will still be super happy.]
    I’m really glad you’re excited about it. It’s an idea I love that still has some rough edges but I think I can (and I know I will at some point, regardless) make something awesome out of it. Thanks!!!

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