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Latest answers from Dan Adelman

What was your game of the year?

I assume you mean besides Axiom Verge (which I worked on)? Here are some of my favorites in no particular order. They are all fantastic, though none is quite as good as Axiom Verge. :)
1. N++ - This game is amazing for both single- and multiplayer with thousands of well-designed levels, and multiple game modes. I think some people may have overlooked this game, since the name and look were so similar to the previous games in the series, N and N+. But there's so much new under the hood and so much new content that people should seriously check it out. (PS4 only right now, I believe)
2. Mushroom 11 - With so many new games coming out each year, it's hard to invent a truly new game mechanic. In Mushroom 11, there is a blob that has the property of always trying to maintain a fixed mass. Your goal is to guide the blob through a post-apocalyptic environment by shaving parts off of the blob. If you shave parts off of the back, more mass grows on the front. If you do it quickly enough, it's sort of like pushing the amorphous blob through the world. Because of its amorphous nature, there are a lot of physics puzzle challenges that emerge. (PC only)
3. Human Resource Machine - HRM basically models how a CPU works, but it's all set up in a very Kyle Gabler (World of Goo/Little Inferno) style. The beginning puzzles are relatively easy - even to achieve the bonus goals, but by the end, it gets pretty complicated.
4. Subterfuge - RTSs like Starcraft tend to be about managing lots of resources and responding to events efficiently and quickly. In many ways, they're more akin to a frantic race than planned out strategy. Subterfuge, by contrast, is very slow by design. It's multiplayer-only, and each playthrough can last a couple weeks. You manage a few different cities which produce subs, and you can send those subs to other cities to take them over. However, they take hours to get there, so there is plenty of time for opponents to respond. As a result, the real gameplay takes place off-screen, with people conspiring to gang up on other players.
5. Beginner's Guide - A very introspective and thought provoking game. It's hard to talk too much about it without spoiling it, but I will say that it's probably best to play through the entire thing in one sitting (which will take you about 2 hours). The issues the game raises are relevant to many other walks of life. It's not a "fun" game in the sense that most others on this list are. Instead, it's more of an experience to contemplate later.
6. Her Story - Fascinating way to tell a story in a non-linear way. You use a '90s style computer interface to access police videos of a woman being questioned. By typing in different search terms, you can find more videos. The more you search and pick up new names and places to hear about, the more of the story you uncover.

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I love reading your advice/points of view, but all of this great knowledge, wisdom and experience mustn't come cheap — and nor should it. What kind of business/monetary propositions do you come to (in a broad sense of course)? It seems tough, because you're offering a quality service to a poor crowd

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For most indies, the model is % of revenue. There are 2 main benefits to this model: first, as you point out, most indies are worried about cash flow. Taking a % on the back end gives them fewer expenses to worry about. Second, it aligns incentives. If I can't help them be successful, I don't get much money. I do have an hourly rate that I use with larger companies, but I usually don't even mention that number to indies. :)

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Will you be helping all indies or will you only be working on Axiom Verge?

All of the above. I am planning on working directly with a small number of indie teams (I'm currently thinking 3-5) in a very hands on way. Axiom Verge is one of those and the first I've announced. I also will be advising several (maybe 10?) teams but not working on their projects hands on. More having frequent phone calls and going over their business questions and advising on what they should be thinking of for next steps and how to handle certain business problems they have. In addition to this, I plan on writing up some general business advice and Q&A on my blog at dan-adelman.com. I've been busy getting the company set up and traveling, so I haven't really done that yet but hope to start doing that soon.

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