Innovative RPGs aren't unearthed often enough. When they do come along, as in the case of Toby Fox's UnderTale, they are such a joy to share. Sharp writing, engaging puzzles, and fresh battle systems makes UnderTale a triple threat, even in its demo state.
I'll save the puzzles (leaf patterns, switches, and stubborn rocks are just the beginning) and human-monster story (told initially with some stunningly drawn cinematics) for a post about the completed version. I want to dive into the combat, because you'll be doing that a lot. You're given the chance to fight enemies with a timing based skill, show them mercy, or do enemy-specific acts such as "compliment" to change their dispositions.
While showing them mercy yields no XP, it can avoid sometimes difficult offensive and defensive bouts. Along with timing-based attacks for the offense, players control a tiny heart that must dodge enemies' various attacks in an enclosed rectangular arena for the defense. This arena becomes more crowded when multiple enemies attack you simultaneously.
I've scratched the surface with UnderTale, and hopefully you'll have fun digging deeper. Spotted on Twitter, UnderTale deserves more than a casual whisper. Enjoy the Windows demo (or wait for Leon Arnott's Mac demo, which he just started), listen to and purchase the soothing OST, and then share it with your friends.
No matter what you've read about the newly-unveiled Xbox One, I'll wager you haven't seen much mention of the role of indie developers on the new console.
The reveal event bigged up plenty of consumer features that may well have whetted appetites, but when it came to talking to the people who can make or break a games platform -- the developers -- there was barely any mention of what devs should be looking forward to.
Dig deeper, and you'll find that the future for indies on Xbox consoles isn't looking any smoother than it has been before. As with the Xbox 360, Microsoft has confirmed that developers cannot self-publish on the Xbox One, and must release their game through a publishing deal either with Microsoft Game Studios or a third-party.
If Xbox does end up walling up its garden even more, it is potentially blocking out the same developers who have been reshaping the landscape of the video game industry. If mobile and PC have taught us anything the last few years, a platform holder needs to acquire a critical mass of content creators by providing them with the means to try new ideas, giving them the venue to distribute, and do its best to curate the best games. And guess what, "triple-A" and "indie" are proven to coexist in harmony on such platforms.
It's a stark contrast to how both Sony and Nintendo are going about their business. Microsoft's two main rivals have seriously upped their games as far as indie support goes in recent times, and Sony in particular is gunning for indies in a big way.
Where Sony has launched a special indie games section on its PlayStation Store, for example, Microsoft is doing the opposite, and actually closing down its Xbox Live Arcade and Xbox Live Indie Games sections, making the Xbox One marketplace a games free-for-all instead.
So who is making Xbox One games, then?
Of course, this could all be a smokescreen. With E3 approaching rapidly and Microsoft promising games, games, games at their big E3 reveal, perhaps indie developers will feature heavily.
From the various chats I've had with prominent indie developers over the last 24 hours, I'd say that's looking rather unlikely.
After the Wii U reveal, I contacted numerous indies to find out who was working on what, and received a large number of responses back. When the PS4 was revealed I did the same again, and received the same level of correspondence.
After the Xbox One reveal, I went ahead and did it all over again -- but the reaction has been rather different this time around. In the same space of time that I waited for responses to my Wii U and PS4 pieces, I've received just a handful of replies, most of which said they weren't working on Xbox One games.
It could be that I've simply contacted the wrong indies. My train of thought was that Microsoft is most likely going to be working with indie devs that it has worked with before, but as of yet I've come up with past Xbox 360 devs telling me they aren't working on Xbox One games.
Joel Kinnunen from Frozenbyte (Trine) told me, "We keep an open channel to Microsoft and there are some thoughts going on, however right now we have nothing to announce for Xbox One."
He later clarified, "Generally, from a console online distribution channel, we're looking for the ability to self-publish without publishers, and to a lesser degree things like free updating and reasonable certification process."
Even more worrying is that a number of indie devs have said that they've tried to get in on the Xbox One action, but as of yet haven't received any additional information past a simple introduction.
Rami Ismail at Dutch studio Vlambeer, for example, said that Microsoft actually got in touch with him about development for the platform, and then never got back to him when he made contact. The Super Crate Box developer hadn't heard of any other European devs who were looking into creating Xbox One games either, and he's a fairly well connected guy.
And Young Horses' Phil Tibitoski (Octodad) had a similar experience, in which someone at Microsoft responded to a request for Xbox One development information, and then was never heard from again. It would appear that getting in contact with Microsoft to actually build games for their new console isn't exactly easy. [UPDATE: moments after this article went live, Microsoft did in fact get in touch with Tibitoski.]
Meanwhile, Gaijin Games' Alex Neuse (The BIT.TRIP series), another indie "in the know", said that him and his studio "haven't seen the kind of effort to reach out to smaller developers the way that Sony and Nintendo have - but of course, that doesn't mean that they don't have a plan for developers like ourselves." Gaijin hasn't talked to Microsoft about Xbox One development.
That's not to say that there aren't any indie developers working on Xbox One games right now. Nathan Vella of Capybara Games (Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP) featured in a video during the console's reveal, and elsewhere I've heard murmurings that Minecraft's Mojang are currently in talks with Microsoft (although Markus Persson was unable to confirm with me whether this was the case.)
And again, this could all potentially change come E3 -- perhaps Microsoft is keeping its hand to its chest, and will sprout forth many a developer when it's time to reveal the games.
For now, at least, the prospect of indies launching their games on the Xbox One is looking roughly as hot as launching your game on Xbox 360, with as closed a marketplace as it ever was (of course, now you can't use Xbox Live Indie Games either, as that isn't being carried over to the Xbox One, and XNA has been canned.)
But why does any of this matter? Why does Microsoft even need indie developers, or a more open platform than the Xbox 360's Live Arcade provided?
Put simply, providing a platform that anyone can publish to without the need for a publisher, or at least providing the means for them to get their game onto your platform more easily, potentially leads to more games on your platform, more development engagement, and an expanded market.
In today's tough retail game climate, these things truly matter -- and with so many other potential platforms for indies to develop for, including Microsoft's two home console rivals, you have to wonder what the Xbox One is offering the small (but highly important) independent developer.
[Mike Rose wrote this article originally on sister site Gamasutra]
PERVY SHIT, excuses to use my smut tag.
SPIDER BAIT is a transcript of a back-and-forth email role-play between me and my luna that we wrote / played between the last time she visited me in february (around my birthday) and may (her birthday). i play two spider-queens and she plays a very unlucky girl. it’s of course totally explicit, and is mostly about tickling and fucking and spider-queens salivating over captive girl-meat. nasty & gross stuff from a couple of real perverts.
because of the back-and-forth format that we wrote it in – there’s a lot of prompting and riffing off of each other – i made a twine version that reveals the transcript one email at a time, a la merritt’s first date game (which i in fact peeked inside to figure out how to make it work). leon wrote the <<replace>> macro that i use to reveal the new text. i played around with the formatting of the dialogue a little – i made the spider-queens’ words a little bigger, and their captive’s words a little smaller.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUNA
Noticed on Twitter, Quarantine is the first released game by John T. (Crono Maniac). It would have been a great fit for Ludum Dare 26. It's a minimalist, mysterious little puzzle-platformer with a cool twist. There appears to be a sinister narrative suggested by the game and its title, but nothing is explained in the game--not even the gameplay. You awaken trapped in a large room, encased in a chamber of red blocks. Other blocks in the room are blue and transparent. One of the giant lamps that woke you up is pulsing, as if beckoning you.
I'll break down the basic mechanics now, so don't read this if you want to go in blind, as the author probably intended. Use the right and left arrow keys to walk and to move while falling or jumping. Jump with Z. Pressing X will phase between the red and blue blocks, making one color solid and enabling you to pass through the other. To progress on to the next room, you have to "activate" each of the flashing lamps. The rest is for you to discover.
Quarantine is a free download for Windows and a hidden gem. By the way, be aware that you will need to use Alt+F4 to close the game.
Crypt of the NecroDancer developer Ryan Clark shares tips on netting big-time indie developers and lessons he's learned from shipping 10 games, in this final part of our interview.
Ryan's a catch himself, with accolades even predating Professor Fizzwizzle in the 2006 IGF. He went on to work with Big Fish Games before finally creating Brace Yourself Games, the company at which he is developing his current project.
Here, Ryan shares what life has been like since Grubby Games and how he put together his indie team, including Aquaria's Alec Holowka and The Binding of Isaac's Danny Baranowsky.
Catch us up on what you've done between now and Grubby Games? I know there's Big Fish...
I shipped 7 games at Grubby Games and 3 at Big Fish, yes. But in that time I also moved from the east coast of Canada to the west coast, got married, had two kids, and started another company! I have a degree in microbiology and have always been the sciency sort, so lately I've been dabbling near the interface of technology and sensory experience. You can have a tiny peek here. I might try someday to merge my interests in both science and gaming by employing the principles of sensory substitution to create novel gameplay experiences.
So what would you say were your biggest Grubby and Big Fish lessons?
I learned two big things from working at Grubby and Big Fish. The first is that I personally need to iterate on games repeatedly before they become truly fun. (I imagine that this is true for other people, but I cannot say for sure!) For some games, we just didn't have enough time or money to iterate. For other games, the design made iteration extremely difficult. Sim games, for example, aren't really playable until they're nearly "done"! To make a fun sim game, you pretty much need to build out your design completely and THEN iterate, possibly scrapping large portions and starting over again! But if you fail to do this, the results can be dismal. For this reason, I will no longer commit to starting a game if I do not feel that I will be able to iterate enough to produce something that I'm proud of.
A sub note, regarding iteration: I find that when I am both a programmer and the designer, I sort of iterate on the fly. But when I am the designer and not a programmer, I have to request features, wait, test them, and then request tweaks. The resultant delay means that you must iterate for longer in order to achieve the same results. The closer a designer is to the code, the better, in my mind. And if the designer cannot be a programmer for any reason, then having fast programmers is vital.
The second thing I learned is that you must choose your teammates wisely! The amount of time and energy that you can lose by choosing the wrong teammates is unfathomable, whereas working with a team of talented, motivated, like-minded people, is going to have the opposite effect: It will energize you and make you eager to work harder than ever on the game.
The first step was to create a prototype of Crypt of the NecroDancer. Once I had convinced myself that the game was fun and worth pursuing, I put the word out (through various indie channels) that I was looking for an artist to partner up with. Josh Larson suggested I talk to Ted Martens, which worked out extremely well! Ted loved the prototype, I loved the concept art he came up with, and we seemed to have very compatible approaches to game development. Ted has contributed significantly to the design as well; the game would not be nearly so awesome had I not been so fortunate as to find Ted!
And speaking of Ted, he happens to be roommates with Evan Balster. I was originally planning to code the MP3 beat detection algorithm on my own (I enjoy that sort of stuff!), but once I found out that Evan was an audio code wizard (and that Ted could vouch for his awesomeness as a person), I figured it made sense to see if Evan would be interested in handling the audio code. The beat detector is really shaping up (and we're getting some cool visualization videos from Evan as fun bonuses!), and Evan has also been a design contributor since he has joined the team. In fact, I'll shortly be coding up a boss battle that was Evan's brainchild.
As for the music side of things, I've known Alec Holowka for a while now, as I live in Vancouver and he has split his time between Vancouver and Winnipeg over the last 10 years. When you're making a rhythm game and you have a friend who's an award winning composer, why not ask him to join you? I always love hanging out with Alec, and his game soundtracks are constantly stuck in my head, so I knew he'd be the best person to have on board. Lucky for me, he said yes!
The first track he produced really nailed the feel of the game, and having it in the game gave me a big motivational boost. Prior to that I had been testing the game with songs like "Thriller" and "Hey Ya", so it felt great to have something so well suited to the gameplay.
But my plan for the game was to have a unique track for each level, and at least 25 levels. I knew that this was a lot to ask of Alec, so I talked to him about getting a second musician involved. He suggested we ask Danny Baranowsky. I had never met Danny before, but I had certainly heard his amazing music! Alec made the introduction and Danny was really excited about the project. Taking inspiration from Alec's work, Danny's first track had this epic, soaring, dark, dancy vibe to it. Everyone on the team loved it, and it was obvious that Danny was a perfect fit for the project.
Last but not least: Sound effects. Kevin Regamey might be working for us as a part of PowerUp Audio, but he really is a member of the team: testing builds, giving design feedback, and of course, crafting the perfect sound effects for the game. I knew Kevin from various Vancouver indie meetups and parties; he and I share a love for HARD video games. When I told him about NecroDancer, he was rather excited I can use Kevin as a barometer for how hard I can make the game. (This is the man who won the GDC2013 Super Hexagon tournament.) If Kevin thinks the game is too hard, then it's probably too hard.
So, there you have it. I'm certainly no "indie superstar", but I was in the great position of knowing (or being introduced to) people with amazing talents, and lucky enough that those people were also excited about the potential of Crypt of the NecroDancer. Having a group like this where everyone cares, and everyone contributes meaningfully to the design, has made it an extremely fun project to work on!
How do you avoid the headaches of managing a superstar indie team? People with so much experience must have many different opinions about making a game.
It honestly hasn't been a problem! People just suggest what they want to suggest and there don't seem to be any hard feelings. Everyone is quite willing to accept criticism, whether it be on the design side, art side, or audio side. Without the various suggestions from Ted, Alec, Danny, Evan, and Kevin, the game would be far weaker, in all respects.
How do you handle rejecting ideas from other indies on the team?
It hasn't really been too big of a problem! Someone will just say, "what about X?" and if people get excited about it, I'll code it and try it out! For example, Alec had the idea to try playing the game with a DDR pad, so I bought a DDR pad and implemented it! And it was Evan's idea to have a boss battle that includes a conga-line of zombies. How can you say no to such awesome ideas?!
I think the prototype goes a long way, but I imagine that my track record has also played a role. When it comes to collaboration, there's a risk that others on the team will abandon the project prior to completion. There's also the risk that team members might not have the skills needed to produce a complete, polished game. The fact that I've shipped 10 games in 9 years shows that I can complete games!
And I'm also putting my money where my mouth is by funding the portions of the game's development that require funding. I think it's pretty clear that I'm going to see this through, and that the results will be solid. The track records of the rest of the NecroDancer team are similarly solid!
I'd suggest that developers who are just starting out should focus on building up a similar reputation. Make games that you're proud of and put them online for all to see. Entercompetitions and submit your games to festivals. Meet up with local indies (and if there are no such meetups, start them!), and travel to nearby game jams. Become a part of online game dev communities, like TIGSource. Put your games out there and put yourself out there! Don't stay locked up in your basement.
Wrapping up, anything about the game or the process you want to talk about that this hasn't addressed?
Yes! We are developing the game in an open fashion on our forums.
Ted posts art on the forums, and we provide feedback. I also post daily change logs, and hope to post design discussions as well. Fans of the game are welcome to chime in, too! Come help us make Crypt of the NecroDancer as awesome as it can be.
[The first part of this awesome interview with Ryan Clark on Crypt of the NecroDancer is here.]
Blake Fix, designer of the excellent Walker and the upcoming Omulus, announced the release of his latest project, (my) Life as a Game (designer). He describes it as "a minigame that is supposed to convey the frustration of life's distractions while trying to complete a project", but it is so much more. While it does convey tedium and frustration, it does so with wit and style, while employing a surprisingly intricate game system.
Controlling your onscreen avatar is simple: Just use the arrow keys to move and X to interact with things and people. A note at the top of the screen will tell you what X will do in any given situation. The basic goal is to try to make a game while attending to your other needs, using Sims-style management of time and resources. Each of your needs is represented by a bar at the top left of the screen, most of which diminish at various speeds and can be replenished in different ways. The interplay between each of these factors forms the heart of the game.
Your "game" bar starts empty and you can only fill it by working at your computer and effectively neglecting each of your other needs. Your "heart" bar indicates your mental and physical health. It can be replenished by showering, and it will deplete faster if you have a broken heart. Your "sleep" bar can be replenished by, of course, sleeping. Your "stomach" bar can be filled by grabbing some food from your fridge. If you get too full, your stomach can be emptied by using the bathroom. If your heart, sleep, or stomach bars remain empty, you will die. Your refrigerator will supply you with food as long as you have money, which must be earned by showing up and wasting a day at work. You can take your car there to save time or feel cool, but gas costs money, too. The final bar is your "romance" meter. Some playthroughs I wondered if it's even worth it to pursue romance. It takes a lot of time to maintain a relationship, which gets in the way of your game development, but it really keeps you happy.
This game is most likely at least partially informed by the author's own experiences, and there is a real sense of truth conveyed by the simple pixels, and by the abstraction of human desires and emotions into simulation-style game mechanics. It can be approached as an amusing diversion, a serious challenge, or an insightful meta-commentary--or as all three. You can play (my) Life as a Game (designer) in your browser or download a build for Windows (which can be played in full screen).
Microsoft has all but completely failed to acknowledge independent development in the course of unveiling its new console, the Xbox One. But what it has said isn't too inspiring.
Speaking with ShackNews, Microsoft's general manager of Redmond Game Studios and Platforms, Matt Booty, confirmed that developers can't go solo on the new console.
"We intend to continue to court developers in the ways that we have," says Booty, meaning that Microsoft will continue to require game developers to submit through a publisher, as they have in the existing Xbox Live.
However, Booty adds that Microsoft will "continue to explore new business models and new ways of surfacing content."
As previously reported, Microsoft is consolidating Xbox Live Arcade and Indie Games into the same catalog for the Xbone. Sony, meanwhile, has recently opened a dedicated section for indie games in its counterpart online store.
[Kris Ligman wrote this article originally on sister site Gamasutra]
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May 23rd, 2013: Adventure Time #16 is out! This is the start of a new arc and is the perfect place to start reading this crazy comic I write! This story features KINGS of ICE and that's all I'll say :o
This is a tough call. When I was a newcomer to indie game development, making smaller budget games with fewer sales, I used to think we had a huge advantage over the AAA guys. A triple A game (in almost *all* circumstances) HAS to ship in a specific month. They do this because the ad-buy has been scheduled, the contracts for PR people have been written, the availability of release slots for portals and platform holders is agreed, the finances are in place to pay everyone assuming that is the ship date, and so on… So what happens if the game is not fun two months before release?
Tough Tough Tough. Maybe everyone could work evenings and weekends (like they hadn’t secretly allowed for that anyway?) and maybe everyone can put in some extra effort…but it’s a really BIG DEAL in financial and PR terms if you push back the ship date.
As an indie, this is not the case, so we can be a bit smug and say ‘it’s done when it’s done’.
Except increasingly… this gets hard to do. The problem isn’t so much financial – luckily I could work another year on the current game and not be short of money to buy food, but one of scheduling. If you want the PR people, the guy making a trailer, and so on to be available towards the end of a project (when everything is nailed down and won’t change) you need to book them early. More relevantly to me, I only want to appear at trade shows showing off a close to release game, not an early alpha. If redshirt and Democracy3 were June 2014 releases, I doubt I’d show them at rezzed or anywhere else yet. Not because it’s ‘too early’, but because doing shows is EXPENSIVE and you want to pick your battles. Promoting a game you can buy next month or NOW makes more sense to me.
I’m fussy enough to be able to throw my arms in the air and say “We must wait another year dammit!” on my games, although luckily both are coming along nicely, but it’s something as an indie you have to keep an eye on. You don’t just need to make sure you have cashflow to pay the bills until the ship date, you need to have a release date in mind for lots of reasons.
It's really simple actually. If the Rythos RPG Builder gets kickstarted it vows to become a freeware, open-source, cross-platform RPG creation kit, that will offer a ton of options and enough versatility to cover all genre needs. Apparently quite a bit of work has already been done on it already and, seeing as this will become a thing for the community, chipping in would be the nice thing to do.
the bug list has crept up to a large size again (currently at 77 items) so i want to get that down a bit before continuing the pre-playtesting playthrough, at least to around 50 bugs or less
a truetype font for all of your sinister incantations and lists of unholy regents.
for these digital sigils i tried to misalign lots of things, to break symmetry between a lot of characters, and also to put descenders in some unorthadox places (the M and the O). capital letters have ascenders and descenders, while the lowercase ones are fixed-height. you can use that to further misalign things: for example, if you have two Ls next to each other (as in the word “HELL”), try putting them in different cases.
like most of my other fonts, WITCHQUEEN looks best at sizes that are multiples of six (twelve, eighteen, twenty-four, etc.).
These Robotic Hearts of Mine and Traal developer Draknek/Alan Hazelden has released a short but clever puzzler for iOS, Android, and Blackberry today. Dr. Biology's Educational Game is an exercise in splitting and moving cells until they cover all the gaps. Simply drag the cells where you want them to move, and they will split upon moving. That's not all there is to it, but that should be enough to get you going!
It's nice to see another Ludum Dare graduate, this time from the 10 year anniversary. Grab the wonderfully voiced Dr. Biology's Educational Game on iOS, Android, and Blackberry or try its PC prototype here.
Swofl, developer of the exceptionally creepy indie classic Lasting, has delivered a new horror game of a different flavor. Super Product Line, or SPL, is an 8-bit styled survival horror game created for the NESFAN Game Jam. It's a bit like what Resident Evil might have been on the NES, but with a sense of humor.
Stuck at work in the midst of a zombie outbreak, you'll need to survive and find a way to escape the building. Most actions are performed with the arrow keys: Use left and right to walk (the walking animation is a sort of waddle that makes running from zombies pretty funny to watch), use the down arrow to pick things up and press up to enter doorways and other points of egress. After you find a gun, you'll use Z to shoot. Keep in mind that, as is standard for the genre, ammo is extremely scarce and zombies generally take a few shots to take down. Pick up health packs and what other items you can; they'll be automatically used at the appropriate times. The puzzles are good but not too difficult, but with all of the zombies running around, you might need a few tries before you make it through to the end.
I would have been proud to own this as a cartridge for the NES. The game achieves an excellent atmosphere and a few good scares while adhering to the system's technical restrictions. Credit for that is also due to Nik Sudan, who provided the sinister music. Super Product Line is available as a free download for Windows.
With upcoming console Xbox One, the Xbox Marketplace will no longer offer a distinction between retail, Arcade and Xbox Live Indie Games -- instead, all titles will be available under the same banner.
Talking to Eurogamer, Microsoft's Phil Harrison explained that where the Xbox 360 offers separate channels for the different types of games on offer for the console, the Xbox One will instead bring them all together.
"In the past we had retail games which came on disc, we had Xbox Live Arcade and we had Indie Games, and they had their own discrete channels or discrete silos," he noted. "With Xbox One and the new marketplace, they're games. We don't make a distinction between whether a game is a 50-hour RPG epic or whether it is a puzzle game or whether it is something that fits halfway between the two."
Essentially, users will be able to search through all the available games for the Xbox One together rather than sifting through individual channels.
Through this move, Harrison believes that Microsoft will "solve fantastically some of the challenges that independent developers face, particularly around discovery and connecting their game to an audience, by some of the platform features we have in the machine itself."
When asked whether removing separate channels for indie titles will mean that some games won't be featured in the same way that they were on Xbox 360, Harrison answered that this would not be the case.
"No, no, not at all. We don't give that up - we don't give up the ability to put a spotlight on the products that we think are going to be exciting to our user base," he said. "But in addition to that, what your friends are playing, what other people think is hot in your area, your country, your continent, will propagate up the most interesting and exciting games."
He later reiterated that the Arcade and Indie tabs on the current Xbox Dashboard will not be part of the Xbox One Dashboard.
[Mike Rose wrote this article originally for sister site Gamasutra]
Nine Dots Studio is speaking directly to folks who loved games like Star Wars: X-Wing Vs Tie Fighter with GoD Factory: Wingmen. It's like they're saying "We know multiplayer space combat hasn't seen much representation lately, so here's a game that will help fill the void." Even in its pre-alpha state, GoD Factory looks like it's going to deliver on this suggestion.
GoD Factory puts two teams of four pilots up against each other. The objective is to destroy the other team's carrier ship while protecting your own. Players can build two ships to use and switch between during combat using 12 parts, so there's a high level of variance available in terms of how to play. Weight, power and heat all factor into the functionality of your ship, so choosing options that work for you is important.
Nine Dots has included elements they hope will inspire teamwork between players. Certain weapons will allow teammates to partner up for special attacks and secondary uses. Also, destroying pieces of an enemy's carrier will inflict the other team with a penalty. This goes both ways, however, so coordinating a strategy to protect your own mothership will be equally as important as going on the offensive. The average game length of 15 minutes seems to point toward this being a game of inches, so proper planning and execution between team members is likely a key to success.
A lot of hard work has been put into GoD Factory: Wingmen so far, but development costs appear to be catching up with the team. Nine Dots has started a Kickstarter campaign, hoping prospective backers will ensure the game can continue along its current track and release on PC in 2014. The game has also been submitted to Steam's Greenlight service as well.
Fernando Ramallo and Miguel Angel Perez Martinez, the duo behind Cardboard Box Assembler, are back with a very atypical snake game. Snaaaake doesn't mind running into itself as it causes mass destruction to forests, film studios, truck stops and more. The goal is to cause enough damage to humans and buildings to build your score and move on to the next area, but the challenge is in controlling the snake. Objects can be constricted to be smashed, but humans are a pain to chase. Thankfully the snake can accelerate forward to catch up. Go squish 'em all!
Anyone looking for a blueprint on how to port classic action games to iOS should look no further than Jordan Mechner's classic Karateka. Said old karate action thingy has simply nailed its controls and is ages ahead of, say, the recent and superficially shiny Karateka remake. If you have fond memories of gaming on an 8-bit micro you know you have to grab it; besides, it will only set you back $0.99.
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May 22nd, 2013: Check out this awesome email I got from Ash, you guys:
a while back i was in the process of purchasing your one amazing human shirt when i noticed that the nutritional information said 80kg on it, because i'm guessing that's the average weight of an adult human thing?
"that is pretty worrying!" said i, "for i am an adult human thing and i weigh exactly half that!"
this provoked a trip to the doctors, and a blood test revealed that i've not only got an underactive thyroid gland but also diabetes :o now both these conditions are getting treated asap before i turn into one (1) spooky skeleton! dinosaur comics might have literally saved my life! or you know at least greatly improved the quality of it/my chances of not dying
i guess that means i owe you one,
This is awesome, and I'm glad I could help! Also I'm amazed that Dinosaur Comics merchandise could literally save your life. Good work, funny t-shirt!
The Ludum Dare 26 Humorous award winner (compo) and first-person, puzzle-platformer Get The Potato was just what I needed at the end of a long day. No TV. No sports. Just potato-puzzle rocket science to discuss around the water cooler. I actually enjoyed someone randomly yelling at me to get the potato, even when it's too far away or when a big purple cube is obstructing my path. I just have to get the potato. Thanks, Get The Potato developer James lIljenquist!
Over 20 demos of some of the most innovative game designs were on display during the 11th annual Experimental Gameplay Workshop, as shown in this free GDC 2013 video.
Courtesy of the GDC Vault, all of these fascinating micro-demonstrations are now available to view and learn from, including Brenda Romero's bold restaurant research for Mexican Kitchen Workers, Keita Takahashi's Tenya Wanya Teens with an LED-lit, 16-button controller; Itay Keren's Indie Funded, indirect side-scroller Mushroom 11; game design challenge grand champion winner Jason Rohrer with home defense MMO The Castle Doctrine; and Michael Brough's extensive collection of local multiplayer games.
The video starts after the jump.
Session Name: Experimental Gameplay Workshop
Speaker(s): Brenda Romero, Robin Hunicke, Richard Lemarchand, Chelsea Howe, Ben Esposito, Alexander Martin, Ezra Hanson-White, Daniel Benmergui, Eric Zimmerman, Henry Smith, Itay Keren, Jason Meisel, Jason Rohrer, Jongmin Jerome Baek, Kaho Abe, Kevin Cancienne, Marc ten Bosch, Margaret Robertson, Martin Middleton, Michael Brough, Michael Molinari, Pohung Chen, Ryan Pelcz, Sun Park, Adnan Agha, Emily Short, Richard Evans, Keita Takahashi, Ricky Haggett
Company Name(s): UC Santa Cruz, Funomena, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California, TinyCo, Independent, Droqen, Independent, Independent, Independent, Independent, Independent, Independent, Independent, PokPoong Games, Independent, Independent, Independent, Hide&Seek, Funomena, Independent, Independent, Perspective, Independent, Turtle Cream, Hide&Seek, Linden Labs, Linden Labs, Uvula, Honeyslug
Track / Format: Design
Overview: The Experimental Gameplay Session, which debuted games like Katamari Damacy, flOw, Braid, Portal and Storyteller is back for its 11th year at GDC! In this fast-paced, game-packed session we will showcase a selection of surprising and intriguing prototypes made by innovation-minded game developers from all over the world. By demonstrating games that defying conventions and traditions in search for of new genres and ideas, this session aims to ignite the imagination of all game makers. Come see what's happening on in the world of Experimental Gameplay... and be inspired!
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Folmer Kelly, one half of Sets and Settings, has released his latest small, impeccably crafted game. Steel Novella 2083 is a tough-as-nails platform adventure made according to the restrictions of the NES hardware. It was Kelly's entry in the 1st Annual NESFan Game Jam.
Use the arrow keys to run through an alien complex and use X to blast your mindless enemies, and also to disintegrate blocks that might stand in your way. Use Z to leap across gaps and jump over spikes and other obstacles. It probably won't take you more than a few minutes to beat the game, but it's a sweet ride. Play Steel Novella 2083 in your browser on Game Jolt or the Stencyl website.