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See Through Studios makes Flatland available for freeBy Ryan Noik 27 February 2012 | Categories: news
Indie game development studio, See Through Studios, has made its new game Flatland: Fallen Angle available for free.
However, what makes the launch remarkable is not only the fact that the game was made in 96 hours, but also the company’s approach to distributing and selling its labour of love as well.
Firstly, See Through Studios has made its game available in two editions – the freely available Curiosity edition, and the Appreciation Edition, in which players are asked to pay whatever they wish (much like Radiohead with the release of In Rainbows) to help ensure the studio can continue making games. Both editions are available for both Windows and Apple Mac platforms.
On its website, the company explained that “while game’s don’t make themselves, once they exist, they become infinitely copy-able, just like any digital file.” This, the studio elaborated, makes the data itself “becomes practically value-less.”
For the love of the game
However, the eight person team also pointed out that “when you pay for a game, the main thing you’re paying for is the labour of the people involved in making it!”
The refreshing part of the story is the company’s stance on Digital Rights Management, which it believes “punishes those who actually pay for a game, and it will always be circumvented by those who want to.”
“We don’t want our customers to pay because they’re forced – we want you to pay because you want to! Because you like our product, and because you are excited about what we might create if we’re able to continue and make more games. Because you want to see the range of games available expand and diversify, or you’re intrigued by out fast-prototyping, transparent development philosophy,” it stated.
In Flatland:Fallen Angle, you play as a 'rogue triangle' on the run.
Paying customers will be able to download the Appreciation Edition, which includes developer commentary and an additional survival arena level. And, while the studio is “well aware” that its Appreciation Edition is vulnerable to being pirated, it expressed no desire to police the behaviour of players.
In keeping with this reaching out to the gaming community rather than taking an adversarial approach to protecting its intellectual property, the studio has also made it goals, expenses and progress transparent on its website.
Its progress on a variety of fronts, including how many hits it has received, how much money it has raised, and how many people it has reached are all laid bare, as are the costs associated with creating the game.
The 80 MB game itself is actually very engaging. You play as a triangle on the run after discovering a dead body in your living room. Enemies are represented by red triangles, which, if they run into you, tear away pieces of your shape until you are dead.
The goal is avoid them and find green doors which lead to the next level, and drive the deftly narrated story forward.
To the point
Whether one visits the site, downloads the free game or supports the team with a donation for the Appreciation Edition, See Through Studios’ honest approach to indie development is particularly refreshing, and even more outstanding in a technology landscape marred by seemingly never-ending patent lawsuits, and ongoing threats to privacy and security.
We suspect that far larger and wealthier companies could learn a few things about humility from the inspiring and aspiring game developers.
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