We’ve mentioned the Experimental Gameplay Project on NAG before, namely for its focus on rapid game development. With a mandatory “one week only” rule for game creation, this project gives developers from all over the chance to explore and ever-so-slightly flesh out a lot of really cool game concepts.
The Experimental Gameplay Project (henceforth known as EGP, because acronyms are that much more awesome) started off in 2005 as a simple diversion for a few random grad students. These random grad students were keen to see whether they could make a whole bunch of games in just one semester, and eventually came out with more than 50. Due to their hard work and the successful promotion of EGP, they soon became not quite so random and their effort turned into an Internet sensation.
Then, for a while, they went silent.
After a period of dormancy, their brainchild emerged with a fresh coat of paint this year, and they’ve since been holding monthly competitions focused around broad themes such as “Failure” and “Art Game”, affording participants some flexibility that nonetheless encouraged them to get rather ingenious with their interpretations.
The competitions don’t restrict entry, don’t really have a way of tracking your dev time, and don’t shower winners with cash and other loot, but they still do their job well. After all, fostering a culture of creativity and experimentation is always more important than formalising and monetising it – and will probably lead to bigger and better things anyway.
Here are a few delicious examples of “success stories” that have emerged from EGP:
Crayon Physics Deluxe
Those who keep tabs on big indie trends probably know that Crayon Physics Deluxe won the grand prize at the annual IGF last year. A lesser-known fact is that, some time before that, it was sitting pretty on EGP as a wide-eyed and hastily put-together project that had no idea of the prestige it would one day enjoy.
World of Goo
Back in the days of oldschool EGP, a cute (but crude) little game called Tower of Goo took the indie community by storm. This humble glob of proto-code and simple gameplay eventually morphed into an indie commercial project (World of Goo) and single-handedly secured Kyle Gabler’s place as one of the most prominent indie developers today.
More recently, an EGP game called Broken Brothers surfaced on the IGF entry list for 2010. It is made by one Michael Todd, who’s recently been crafting a slew of small, experimental videogames for people’s consumption, and featured quite prominently in a recent EGP competition.
If there’s anything notable about Adam Saltsman’s Canabalt (aside from the fact that it’s incredibly simple, addictive, and made with his own flixel framework), it’s the fact that the developer wastes no time. A few scant weeks after showing up on EGP, it tore its way through the online Flash scene and Saltsman announced that it was coming out for the iPhone. Whoah.
If you have some spare time (and even the slightest inclination) head over to EGP now and get experimental! Competitions are constantly on the go, and the experience may just be what you need to unlock that killer game idea.