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Letter From the Editor: April 12, 2010

Sleep is Death 1It was a busy weekend over at DIYgamer, Erik’s post about Machinarium versus Microsoft really seemed to strike a nerve out there. We hope some of you who checked out the news stick around, as we have a lot to offer in the indie game arena when it comes to news, reviews, previews and interviews. And don’t forget our ongoing forum giveaways – we currently have two copies of Plain Sight we’re giving away at the end of the week.

My fiance and I have just begun the overwhelming process of packing up our apartment for our pending move to San Francisco. There is something extremely cleansing about throwing out and recycling junk you realize you’re never going to touch again. In the maelstrom of getting rid of things, I came across two things from GDC last month that I had forgotten about: papercrafts. I had two sitting in a stack of papers that I hadn’t yet touched. One for Warioware D.I.Y. which was all pre-perforated and snapped together within fifteen minutes, and one for Frobot, which I ended up spending more time on than I care to mention. But the end result was this dynamic, blocky duo:

Frobot and Wario

You can note the scraggly cuts and rips all over Frobot, and the shiny perfection of Wario. On that note, while Warioware D.I.Y. is not of itself an independent game, you can certainly create games that perfectly fit our whole philosophy. Has anyone gotten to play around with it yet? A buddy of mine who works for Nintendo swears by the game and was trying to tell me about a text adventure he was creating. Sooner or later I’m finally going to have to settle on a portable gaming device to invest in, because I’ve been without one for quite a while. My old cell phone runs Tower Blocks, but that’s about as “game anywhere” as I get. Warioware D.I.Y. certainly sounds like it has some potential for anyone to create something, so let us know what you’ve been working on.

My preorder for Sleep is Death rolled in on Friday, and around midnight I got a text from a friend asking if I wanted to take it for a spin. I agreed, assuming that maybe he had learned a thing or two about playing it (this was before the first two tutorial videos were released). He hadn’t, but suggested just “diving in” might be the best way. It wasn’t, but I will admit that the follies of trial and error on a thirty second counter can be hilarious.The first run through as I hosted consisted of elements appearing and disappearing, failing to get and dialogue text to come out correctly, and after a few screens of chaos, finding the “The End” icon and calling the game. The second run was a little better, as at least I got the characters to talk and managed to move the same characters from scene to scene. I even managed to do some sloppy pixel manipulation to change artistic elements. But all in, it was still chaos. We finally got to switch sides after some IP issues, and I was less overwhelmed by the player side. My controller reacted swiftly to my dialogue choices. I literally spit out my coffee after he took my reference of escaping from a “swarm” and filled the screen with video cameras, which look like bugs, all things considered. Anyone watching us would have called it a failure, but we sure learned a lot. Now to find some spare time and get creating again. The preorders are closed, but you can snag two copies this Friday for $14.

This should be a good week over at DIYgamer. I talked to Zack Johnson, the creator of Kingdom of Loathing, on Friday, all about the state of the game and their new project in the pipeline. That will be going up in the next day or two. James wrote up a good column about the game last week. The two of us have been playing it for a long time. Other than that we have some XBLIG reviews coming up and of course, up-to-date indie news.

Feel free to leave any thoughts of your own here in the comments or over on our forums.

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