Recently I was at the Casuality games conference in Seattle, which is a smallish but very fast-growing casual games conference run by the wonderful Jessica Tams. They have a fair number of social events here in the Bay Area as well and is a great place to talk to developers and do business.
I was lucky enough to talk on a panel about Indie Game Development technology and tools. The idea was to have independent game developers give an unbiased view about the tools they have used. While it wasn’t quite as unbiased as hoped (Jay Moore talked about the Torque engine and he works at Garage Games), there was a lot of useful information presented.
We covered two of the most popular tool frameworks (the Torque engine and the Popcap engine) along with an amazing tool called Virtools. The Virtools talk was given by the spunky and hilarious Matthew Wegner. The Virtools engine is amazing. It allows non-programmers to create full games without any programming (ala Unreal Kismet and MindRover). My take was that it was not a great tool to actually ship games on and not great for independent development (with per-seat licenses costing about $10,000 US) but if you’re an established studio that wants the best prototyping tools out there to harness creativity from all your non-programmers, this is powerful stuff. I would kill to get a license for this. DirectX 9.0 level games running in a browser with no programming.
As a follow-up to my post about making a game with the Popcap framework, and for the attendees who told not to take notes, I wanted to include our Powerpoint notes from our panel, just in case they might help some indies out there. Special thanks to Eric Tams for hosting the panel and providing me with these slides after the talk. I hope they make your tool choices easier.
Download slides (Powerpoint)