Why I went to IndiE3


Please read all of this if you start reading or close the webpage now.  So, for those of you following the IndiE3 event, you probably noticed a lot of shit hitting the fan over the last 36 hours.  If you go to the IndiE3 tumblr, you will see a public apology providing a vague explanation and a public apology.


Panels started on Tuesday. On Monday, there was a bad incident in the streams that completely flew past me. I won’t go into more detail, because we don’t want to bring issues for the people involved. I will say though, that it was a combination of our own failues that caused it.

– Zolani Stewart (@Fengxii via Twitter) Assistant Organizer via the IndiE3 Tumblr, June 11th 2014


At this point it is rather obvious that some serious shit went down and caused a wide backlash.  Many people were offended by said incident, even to the point where Indie Haven withdrew their support for the event.  They discuss their reasons for their withdraw here, which are fully understandable.  Their statement did, however, go a little further into explaining the crux of the incident.


We will keep details here brief, but an unnamed video game streamer this evening had a very disappointing experience on the main IndiE3 stream. To keep things brief her gender was called into question in an increasingly aggressive and unwelcoming chat box, with numerous fast flowing comments and not nearly an adequate number of moderators to handle the situation. While this was not the fault of the organisers, the short term organisation meant it was near impossible to handle. (…)

(…) As a site with an unusually high number of non binary, gay and transgender writing staff this is an issue of great personal importance to us and, in the light of a growing number of issues regarding the event, we felt the only way to make things right to the streamer and anyone else effected by these issues was to withdraw our support as a site. We don’t like anyone being made to feel uncomfortable because of misgendering and questions of gender, regardless of if they are Trans, Cisgender or neither.

-Laura Kate, Content Editor for Indie Haven, June 11th 2014


As an individual with a number of friends and family members within the LGBT community, I am upset, though not shocked, that this incident occurred.  While the Indie Gaming Community has members coming from all walks of life, this is an event that was hastily cobbled together from hashtags and duct tape on the internet.  Squeaky B mentioned on Tumblr that this event had no planning, was done as a reaction to E3, and  its marketing strategy was one of subversiveness.  But, Squeaky also goes on to mention some disagreement over a suggested panel idea that was shoehorned in; so, some of this seems directed at that particular point of divergence.

Referenced in Squeaky B’s post was Parlock, an individual directly influenced by this incident.  Reading Parlock’s post about his experience (his contribution is tucked in at the bottom), there is a lot more anger, but it is relevant and worth noting.  Parlock is also significantly less optimistic than anyone else about how IndiE3 will proceed.  Specifically, he feels it will not and that this marks its failure and ultimate destruction.


This entire thing was a shitshow, and I hate to say it but I’m glad it failed. It wasn’t a constructive or helpful thing, it harboured a lot of bad blood between content creators like myself and indie devs, and has really damaged the indie community because this was, despite what they say, meant to challenge E3. It fell flat on it’s face, a lot of controversy happened and the organisers are now pulling out from the event.

– Parlock via Tumblr, June 11th 2014


Now, first things first.  From what I read via the above channels, which admittedly is only a brief summary of what happened, a direct attack was made on someone through the chat stream and there were precious feww moderators appointed to handle the situation.  The reason I say I am not shocked, is because it occurred on the internet.  Earth is full of assholes, and even though they are not anonymous, people will still post whatever they feel like when they feel they are in the safety of their own homes.  Often without a second thought to the consequences of their actions.  It is a fact of life in the cyber-world that I find frustrating and despicable, but no less omnipresent.  IndiE3’s organizers should have seen something like this coming, but given the hasty nature of its inception, they were too ill-staffed to work all the angles.  As a result, multiple someones have had to walk away form the event.

Squeaky’s words were not completely misplaced, but there were a few points I have separate opinions on.  IndiE3 was not done as a reaction to E3.  It just wasn’t.  Inspired by, yes, but not as a reaction.  If it truly was done as a reaction, organizers would have gone out of their way to harass as many of E3’s supporters and websites as humanly possible.  Now I am not privy to all information about this event, but as I understand, the organizers disclaimed such actions by their supporters.  Another statement about its leaders being more interested in appearing subversive than actually leading was thrown in there.  Honestly, there is nothing wrong with using a strategy of subversiveness.  If I had organized, or a million other people organized IndiE3, the result and Modus Operandi would have been the same: fuck major AAA E3, yay for indie games.

I offer a few ideas for future incarnations of IndiE3.  First, take time to plan out the event.  I know I would have gladly been a moderator for their channels, had I been off from work.  If they would have pushed the schedule over a week, they could have added me to their list.  Sure, I would not have stopped everything from happening, but I would have done more than slap people on the wrist.  I would have gladly set their ass on fire for poking fun at someone’s gender.  That is their goddamn business, let it remain so.  Second, why does it have to fall on the week of E3?  Could it not be just as easily presented as an after party and not necessarily just a counter-culture version of E3?

I have no personal vested interest in TJ Thomas, Solon, Zolani or any of the organizer’s reputations.  I am concerned solely with the reputation of IndiE3.  Regardless of who was hurt by what, who all is angry about what was said, or what organization was shit, or who was responsible, consider this: if this IndiE3 fails and collapses like “a sumo wrestler with osteogenesis imperfecta”, as stated by Squeaky B, will we ever get another fucking chance to have an event that showcases the work, time, blood and life that Indie Developers pour into their games, often with no real return on investment?  And, yes, this is my fanboy coming out, and yes, this is my personal statement and no one else’s.  And yes, this is part of the point of my blog.  I came to IndiE3 to hear about some fantastic new Indie Games and, hell, I even directed as many Indie Developers that I could reach in time so they might have a chance at getting their games exposed.  Not because I like TJ or any of those other guys.  By all rights, I could really give a golden shit about the organizers, but the fact remains the same.  Because this event is occurring now, and because this is the only chance we get to have it, we should all be doing what we can to make sure it doesn’t just collapse into dust.

If it dies now, it dies forever.  A reputation is not easily mended and no one will go near it.  The only option at that point would be hoping a major organizer takes up the mantle, but that would significantly diminish the point.  This is an event that should be done by players for players so someone else can’t close it to the public in another ten years, too.  Reputation takes a lifetime to build and only seconds to destroy.  That quote comes from Robert Dinero in Stardust, and it is 100% true.  The reputation of this event is still growing and something like this has the potential to kill it in its infancy.  Do not allow this to happen.

IndiE3 is still going on and plenty of great games an discussions are still being showcased.  Squeaky and Parlock are entitled to everything they feel and express, but they are two voices that do not speak for everyone and on the health of IndiE3, they couldn’t be more wrong.  Indie Haven was right to withdraw their support and walk away, but they never said it was over for a reason.  Don’t fucking kill IndiE3, damn you.  Keep watching, keep enjoying and keep paying attention, because in the future we want people to say “Yes, Indie3 is still recoverable and doable” not “the IndiE3 concept is too toxic and its audience to immature for something like that to occur ever again”.  Don’t just think about the emotions felt and friendships lost today, when what is at stake really is SO MUCH MORE than any of the people involved.  Those feelings and friendships may be rent and bleeding now, but that can be healed with time and care.  IndiE3 is a unique channel whereby Independent Developers are allowed to connect on a personal level with their players, fans and supporters.  Period.  Nothing and no one connected to this event matters more.  That is why I came to IndiE3.

TerraTech, Constructive Preview



TerraTech is a game full of potential, which will be appearing at E3 2014, and I am hoping at IndE3 as well!  It is a solid concept built from the dirt up in Unity3D, and, of course, this game is an Alpha Demo, so please leave the screenies alone.  They were on the highest possible graphics setting.

TerraTech is like a combination of lego and erector sets where you start with a few simple pieces.  You gain more pieces by roving the surface of the alien world mercilessly destroying the cockpits of other vehicles.  In the beginning you have your cockpit, a body piece, a machinegun and some wheels.  The pieces are dropped on you like, fuck, here, whatever.  I laughed.  So I am driving around and I see some asshole with a couple wheels and a drill.  So, I naturally did the first thing you do when meeting other people: level your machinegun and prepare for battle.  After nuking his cockpit and leaving their corpses exposed to the extra-terrestrial atmosphere, I took their drill, which I affixed with a blue building beam (Psh, I ain’t fucking going out there!).  And I went off to drill some rocks.  After some drilling and a few battles, I realized that a tractor beam piece was used to pick up raw materials and parts.  Now I am that guy driving around with a whirling ball of resources and parts just chillin’ there, not in any kind of use.  Then I killed an automaton and found an AI interface.  Pretty useful.  That let me make an AI that would drive into trees and turn a little bit when fired at.  Eventually I saw this big asshole that had some neat yellow parts I wanted, so I killed him and took his pieces.  I am now the lord of the big alien world.  That is until some dick drives up out of nowhere and levels me, scattering my parts everywhere.

That's the smug son of a bitch driving through my pieces.

That’s the smug son of a bitch driving through my scattered pieces

I was not unreasonably frustrated, so I went on to see what else this little demo had in store.  Turns out there are some other really nifty modes for this game.  The first I saw was Rocket Mode.  That sounded badass as hell, so I clicked it.  I was greeted by an orange desert and what looked like a two year old overturning a giant bucket of legos.  My eyes instantly lit up like fireworks and I went to town, baby!  When I was a kid, my parents wouldn’t allow us to have legos for two reasons.  I have 4 brothers and that shit is fucking EXPENSIVE.  Not to mention we scattered toys with impunity, and my mom did not want to fall victim to the natural predator of bare feet – lego blocks.

This mode is a ton of fun.  They dump out a ton of blocks and say “have fun!” like a dismissive parent that just wants to watch football in peace.  I am happy to let him go, cause I have some wings, there are repulsors, some wheels ( those are remarkably important for a flying vehicle I find ) rockets and rockets and rockets and fuel tanks and rockets.  Now, they give you some advice.  Don’t put too many fuel tanks on or it will be too heavy to fly.  I nodded absently and started throwing things on like a kid on Christmas.  After about twenty minutes of sorting through the disheveled heap I cobbled together what I thought seemed a craft fit for flight.

To the moon!  Won't be tough since we start on Mars, methinks.  Mars has less atmosphere so.. ah fuck it..

To the moon! Won’t be tough since we start on Mars, methinks. Mars has less atmosphere so.. ah fuck it..

I know right?  Badass!  Upon finishing I hit shift and let it rip!  And it flew like a broken-legged seagull that ate a rock.  It was funny as hell though!  It dragged through the sand, did a backflip.  I imagine the little engineer inside must have gone to Space Camp as a kid, gone to Space College and even manned the centrifuge only to end upside down in the orange sand like “This is what I’ve become”.  LoL!  This was a difficult task, though.  I tried a few times and still could not get it right.  This is why I am not a goddamn engineer.

After my aeronautical failure I turned to Checkpoint Mode.  Again I was greeted by the joy-inspiring avalanche of blocks.  This time I noticed two GIANT sets of wheels.  This opportunity would not go unaddressed.  I immediately set to work placing my cockpit atop a massive yellow block with giant wheels and covered it with as many fuel tanks as I could get.  I would need them.  For propulsion I covered the backend of this baby in as much fuck rocket engines as baby-Jesus could pour from the heavens, and thus did I rock most righteously.  Immediately I flipped on the CD player, popped in some Hendrix, closed the blast shield on my helmet and engaged.

'Scuse me while I kiss the sky!

‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky!

I threw the wings on there because fuck you it looks awesome. Ha ha ha!  I enjoyed the hell out of this mode.  Granted, steering this beast was like trying to turn the Titanic by paddling with Q-tip, but I didn’t have to worry about trees!  I just hit the nitro and flattened the fuckers!  Rocks, on the other hand, still provided a challenge, and as you can see Ethan, Reece and Stephen did not feel threatened.  That’s ok, though.  My rig would probably blow right through whatever dainty little maneuvering craft they made.  I bet they used the tiny baby wheels, too. Heh heh.

So what about this game pisses me off? I’ll tell you!  The rockets!  I need more fucking rockets!  Seriously!  I could have gotten at least thirty more megatons of propulsive force on the back of that baby!  The opportunities I missed!  Ah, well.  This is an alpha mode, so I bet the Devs are preparing a mode for me where I have to attach as many rockets as possible to the back of a cockpit with wheels.  Then I can launch it into the horizon!

IndieDevs and IndiE3, Hope for Gaming Future

Art by @hellomavw (via Twitter)

Art by @hellomavw (via Twitter)

Never heard of IndiE3? I don’t blame you.  24 hours ago it was an itch that creator TJ Thomas (  ) finally located and scratched like a furious demon with poison ivy on his balls.  Yesterday it was nothing.  As of typing this sentence,  it has gained 593 followers on Twitter and attracted the imaginations of Indie Gamers and Indie Developers alike.  The feed is buzzing with contributions from artists ( as seen above ), writers and statements from its creator.  But why does anyone care?  Why should any single fucks be given?  Here’s why. On an article written yesterday on Kotaku, Jason Schreier set out to explain why being a Game Developer sucks worse than you might think.  Imagine working a job for a major company in its field, and suddenly, you’re not getting paid.  A month later the company NO LONGER FUCKING EXISTS.  As Jason describes, this was all too real for developers of 38 Studios.  He then lists dozens of companies that have had layoffs, some in the thousands.  It’s too easy to look at this and run into the streets naked proclaiming the death of gaming altogether.  Granted, it shows the volatility of the industry, but there is a measure of security in being a developer for a major company.  I mean, all things considered, it must be worth it if the game is making millions of dollars American, no?  But if your game tanks or is delayed, you’ll likely be fired.  And if your tanked game is the sole hope upon which the company is depending for its next big break, that whole company is fucked. The article tells us that Over-Saturation, the over-hiring of staff to hit strenuous dead-lines, and corporate financial strategizing are often to blame.  It blatantly says “Priority number one for [major publishers] is keeping shareholders happy, which means showing big numbers on their earnings reports every quarter” in the article.  They’ll fire people just to save fucking money.  As you might have guessed, major companies like EA and Activision put the priority of returns WAY over any value in personnel, or even their fucking customers.  As long as their games are bought, they couldn’t give a single flying apeshit about anyone but their shareholders.  If they saw this they’d panic for their bottom lines and run to the presses to denounce me (or promote me as strategies permit would best suit the situation) and apologize to everyone.  They would lament for the travesties they lay on developers and maybe even send them a fruitbasket.  But in the end, we can generally assume that is just to serve the benefit of profits. And the bastards go ahead and try to make it look like they give a crap about the little people by featuring a small handful of Indie Developers at E3 2014 and act like they’ve broken through some vestigial preconception established by a cruel and uncaring society.  A society that they happily feed into with their hype and PR etc.  And why the fuck not? It makes them hundreds of millions, even billions to maintain the status quo.  It’s like they think Indie Game Developers are a social group experiencing discrimination.  What they don’t realize is that Indie Developers are rising and becoming their own factor.  Valve already took the first steps in making Indie Gaming a movement when they released Steam Greenlight back in August 2012. While it is not perfect (and I mean really not perfect), it’s still miles better than anything anyone else is trying. Like Apple. For most developers being on Itunes is like buying a damned lottery ticket.  Greenlight even makes me feel warm and fuzzy toward Valve.  Many developers, like Lorne Lanning of the Oddworld series, seem to agree that contracting syphilis would be preferable  to working for major game developers and going indie is the cure.  I mean, Lanning was quoted thusly in an interview with VG247 regarding the release of his new indie title, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty and his feeling of releasing games retailside :

“Fuck that business. I don’t want to play with that business, because it was a losing business,” he lamented. “I just don’t want to go back and play the old [publisher] game. I’d rather not make games than go fucking be a slave for public companies who care more about their shareholders than they do about their customers.  “Why did Battlefield 4 ship? You know that team was crying. You know that team knew that game wasn’t ready to go. You know that team fucking spent a lot of sleepless nights building that shit out to look as good and play as good, when it was able to be experienced, being played as they were intending it to be played. Someone made a decision that the shareholders are more important than the customer. And we see a lot of that. How do you blow that? How do you take that fucking jewel and ship it with dirt all over it?”

                                                                                                                                      – Lorne Lanning with VG247, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty – “it’s not a fucking HD remake”

Divesting the major game development scene for the indie scene is not a move everyone makes.  There is a section in the Kotaku piece where a guy doing QA for a porn company talks about how he hates his job now, but losing development jobs again and again was still not a better option for him.  He has a life and a family, you know?

Arinn Dembo, developer for Sword of the Stars with Kerberos Productions ( @Erinys via Twitter ), replied to a request for input from a major developer gone rogue and was able to corroborate some of what others were saying, specifically about the volatility of the industry.  She spoke from experience, having worked for Sierra in her early days as a dev.

“Sometimes it’s not just that the industry is volatile. It’s outright toxic.” For Arinn, the license to freedom was just too attractive to pass up.  Her motivations to move on to Indie Development were clear. “I had two reasons. One: I wanted to stick with my team. They were and are the best human beings I have known.  Two: I couldn’t resist the unprecedented, unrestricted Creative License to Kill that I’d have in the SotS verse.”  Her thoughts left a lot to think about, and sure enough she left with one classy line that I think describes the overall Indification of Gaming succinctly…


Kerberos currently has Kaiju-a-Gogo (yes, the Pacific Rim Kaiju) listed on kickstarter! Support them NOW!

With all that in mind, Indie Game development is no picnic in the park.  It’s a picnic in a desert where you have to trudge for miles before finding a nice, shady spot to sit down.  It’s full of pitfalls, pain and anguish that can only be braved by the truly dedicated.  And Indie Developer, Clay Hayes (@RNassassin via Twitter), agreed to describe the life of an Indie Game Developer for me.  Under the name Bloodshot Games, Clay is the sole developer working on the Third-person Shooter/Stealth game, Redneck Assassin.  He tweeted a message for Indie Developers, which I thought described Indie GameDev life with vibrant emotion.

rnassassin In an e-mail correspondence, Clay revealed to me some of the strains that Indie Game Development is placing on his marriage, considering he has been on development of Redneck Assassin since May 2013, Mrs. Hayes must be a saint. “My wife is always upset with me cause I’m never home for the dinner she cooks.  My diet consists of Red Bull and SoBe green tea.  Occasionally MacDonalds  and Top Ramen.” I ate more than that in college.  But Clay also faces  mounting occupational difficulties. “The title has been pushed back several times now.  I’m shooting for January 2015, after the Christmas game rush.  It’s most challenging doing EVERYTHING.  Art, code, design, animation, pr and administration; I’m seeing teams of Indie [Developers] literally pass me by on development progress.  It’s not hard to keep up, it’s impossible.  So, if you are a solo Indie[Dev], DON’T compare yourself to teams.  It’s an ice-skating uphill battle.” And Redneck Assassin faces further challenges in the industry. “Apparently Redneck Assassin is an offensive title and Apple will not allow me to have the term ‘redneck’ in my game.” So after all that, Indie Developers get to face rejection on the basis of a term that refers to a group of people synonymous with Confederate flags on raised pick-up trucks.  Apple can suck a dry, dirty dick.  Clay is looking into featuring Redneck Assassin, in all its man-hunting glory, on IndiE3 with a possible demo version.  Clean of any of Apple’s clutches as “Apple is bitches about sharing works-in-progress.” But despite being a hard path fraught with difficulty, I fully believe that Indie Gaming is developing into a counter-culture that has the potential to become greater than mainstream gaming.  First, Indie Games are able to experiment in ways that major game companies simply cannot.  Looking at games like A Clumsy Adventure by Excamedia, which fuses elements of retro games with modern games, or Concursion by  Puuba Games, which fuses platformer, shooter, hack-n-slash, jetpack and maze racer/puzzler games into one.  Major game companies simply couldn’t market games like these to wide audiences, mostly because they wouldn’t know what to fucking do with it.  There are so many more games like this, that it boggles the mind, but they are out there. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, is where major gaming companies go to touch each other in front of the media, unveil new ideas and the future of gaming, and generally drum up as much hype as they can in a few days.  It’s like the World’s Fair for gaming.  Originally, anyone who could afford the ticket prices could enter, but in 2007 E3 closed to the public, reverting to its original “industry-only” format.  Well, as stated earlier, they invited a few Indie Developers and decided to call that fair.  Honestly, the number of Indie Developers is staggering, so how do we keep track of all them?  Wikipedia’s List of Indie Game Developers compiles many, but not all of them.  How can we hear about the newest in gaming innovation on the Indie side?  Well, the man wants you to think E3 has that too now, but Indie Gaming is so much more. Which brings me back to IndiE3.  Basically, this site was nothing as of June 5th, but literally overnight it began to establish a formidable following that continues to grow.  While I was writing this article, which honestly took me all night, it grew to 611 followers on twitter.  IndiE3 represents more than just a place to go, it is OUR place to go.  The Cyber-event will take place June 9th – June 16th with various “channels” that you’ll be able to watch as the event proceeds.  Opening day will include live panels (they’ve received support from Indie Haven and The Spawn Point ), ranging from indie game coverage, design manifestos, to round-table discussions and lightning talks submitted to IndiE3 and seen live only at hitbox.tv.  June 10-14th will feature the official IndiE3 Game Jam, hosted by Game Jolt! You create the games at #IndiE3.  They’ll also encourage developers to sell their IndiE3 games as well.  June 15th, they’ll collect the Game Jam games and show them off all day. Numerous streams and game tournaments will run throughout the whole event and Warp Door will have their own channel/booth to show off various unique little games. I hope this event plays out to be as much fun as it seems like it will be.  Although they are billing themselves as E3’s rebellious little brother, this event seems best attended with E3 playing (possibly on mute) on your television in the background.  I will leave you with TJ Thomas’s very own words on IndiE3.  There are more intriguing thoughts and motivating words on the IndiE3 Project’s Twitter feed.  Check it out for yourself. Thanks to @ttl_anderson for the use of his small logo for the tweet link.Tj1 TJ3 TJ2TJ4