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Indie Links Round-Up: Escalation

Sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things”, from The Sound of Music:

Games based on Bosch, or on playing the cello,
History told by a puppet that’s yellow,
Hear what the team behind Octodad thinks.
These are a few of today’s Indie Links.

There, now try getting that awfulness out of your head with these:

Gimme Indie Game: The Improbable History Of TheCatamites’ Pleasure Dromes Of Kubla Khan (Venus Patrol)
The Pleasuredromes of Kubla Khan, just released as a free PC download, continues right where Murder Dog left off: a brief but hilarious interactive history lesson of the Mongol emperor’s Xanadu. Like a modern-day punk Encarta (and as with Murder Dog), its best feature is its frantic and entirely unreliable Muppet-esque narrator, providing meta-commentary on all your actions (toss yourself off the edge of the world to smash further through the fourth wall), as you find yourself headed straight into the hedonistic heart of the pleasuredrome.”

Live Free, Play Hard: Strategic Torture Simulation (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“A day late due to, um, let’s say otters, here’s this last week’s finest free indie games. Take it away, Porpentine.  Important historical edutainment game. Strategic torture simulation. What if Kirby were born billions of years ago. Ladder fortresses of jellyfish space. Lynchian piss world.”

City Tuesday’s Pretty Source Code (Hookshot, Inc.)
“The Xbox Live Indie channel may not be the most popular stop on the indie train line, but for that reason it continues to be a go-to destination for those who believe their game has more chance of being noticed there than on the brutal wastelands of Steam and the App Store. City Tuesday certainly stands out among the crowd, borrowing some threads of premise from Duncan Jones’ Source Code – in which a man relives the final few moments of his life before a terrorist attack over and over again, with the chance to change fate if he manages to find the bomb – and presenting it in sharp vector visuals and a generous spattering of Helvetica chic.”

Dumbest Thing I’ve Ever Done: Octodad Team Interview (Sugar Gamers)
“Pax Prime allowed me the pleasure of sitting down with Young Horses, Inc., the team behind Octodad: Dadliest Catch, the sequel to OCTODAD.”

Forget Rock Band, Here’s Cello Fortress (Gamasutra)
Cello Fortress is a work-in-progress by Proundeveloper and Ronimo designer Joost van Dongen, and as far as I’m aware, it’s the first video game to incorporate a classical music instrument (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!) into the gameplay. The game will first be shown at the Dutch Game Garden Indigo exhibition later this month.”

Boston Festival Of Indie Games Announces Lineup (Joystiq)
“The Boston Festival of Indie Games has revealed the 36 games that will be showcased at the event this Saturday, September 22. Featured games – with developers in tow – include Fire Hose Games’ Go Home Dinosaurs, Owlchemy Labs’ Jack Lumber and many, many others.”

Garden Of Delights: JB500 Opens Call For Hieronymus Bosch-Inspired Games (Venus Patrol)
“As a tyke, I had the extreme fortune of having at my disposal a number of art-history survey textbooks (thanks, dad) which I pored over daily — an early, self-guided & very valuable education in art appreciation — and I have very distinct memories of continually returning to one artist:Hieronymus Bosch, whose landscapes were littered with cartoonish-ly caricatured monsters, animals and half-humans that wouldn’t at all be out of place in a children’s TV show if they weren’t so overtly representative of grim morality tales. It’s with that said that I count myself super lucky to having been asked to be involved with a new art/game initiative from the Jheronimus Bosch 500 Foundation itself — an organization founded to honor the artist on the 500th anniversary of Bosch’s death.”

You Won’t Survive FTL‘s Space Mission, But You’ll Remember It (Kotaku)
“The flames shred through my vessel, eventually overtaking the populated rooms, but it didn’t matter. My men would burn, but there are worse ways to go than ablaze with the virtue of dedication. Of course I couldn’t give up. Not when good men and women spent their last moments proudly showing me the honor of what it means to serve a ship. It wasn’t something I understood before FTL: Faster Than Light, the spaceship roguelike by Subset Games where you command your own ship and its crew under a space exploration mission.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Indie Links Round-Up: Escalation


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Dev Links: Facial Features

Today’s Developer Links comment on possible alternative financing models, different promotional techniques, an oft-overlooked aspect of human body movement, and, well, commenting.

XNA-To-Unity Part 2: Rendering (Radiangames)
“Last time I covered the general setup for the XNA-to-Unity transition.  This time I’m going to delve into details of the most difficult system to port: Rendering.  Some of the problems I encountered are specific to my methods of rendering, but you’ll likely run into many of the same problems.”

make your first game in twine (Auntie Pixelante)
“being the author of a book about digital game-making for non-coders and a hopeful ambassador for game creation, i figured i should have some link on the front of my site where someone with no game-making experience can click and learn how to make her first videogame. naturally, i picked the simplest, most non-coder-friendly, and my favorite game-making tool: twine.”

Head Over Heels: Upper Body Movement In Gameplay (AltDevBlogADay)
“When it comes to in-game locomotion, we rarely get to see the eyes clearly as we’re mostly behind our character, so the next stop down the chain of importance is the head. Unfortunately, when we place such a high focus on maintaining solid foot-planting, we create a fulcrum point at the ground and our characters often pivot in extreme ways to compensate. This is especially noticeable in bigger direction changes and when aligning characters to interact with each other (melee, high fives, piggyback rides, etc.).”

Expos And Shows Vs. Advertising (Cliffski.com)
“I was rambling to someone a few days ago about advertising and risk, and something hit me about indie attitudes to risk and promotion. I know a lot of indies who never do any advertising. I don’t mean word-of-mouth promotion, tweeting, updating facebook and sending people press releases, that’s PR, it’s not advertising. I actually mean paying for banner ads, and search advertising, and even print or video adverts. For most smallish indie teams, the advertising budget is zero.”

The End Looms! (Instant Kingdom)
“That means we’ve completed at least two thirds of the NEW content (or about 98% of the whole game) for the final alpha, which will be the final version before release! Yay! I don’t yet know how long it will take to complete the rest, but rest assured, you’ll be the first to know if you’ve signed up for the release newsletter.”

Fantastic Arcade: Once More, With Feeling (Octodad Blog)
Last year we made our very first visit to Austin when we were a featured spotlight game at the super rad event Fantastic Arcade, part of Fantastic Fest, at The Highball.  While there we showed off the first Octodad in a really interesting arcade machine setup. This year we may not be part of the spotlight, but Octodad: Dadliest Catch will be there and playable on all the showcase laptops for ya’ll to try out! FOR FREE! So if you’re in the Austin, TX area be sure to come by and play Dadliest Catch along with all of the other spectacular titles we’re showing with.”

The Elements Of Comment Style (AltDevBlogADay)
“Programming comments are a critical, and often overlooked, part of the development process. Comments may not be exciting enough to have certifications and training classes dedicated to them, but in many ways the difference between a good codebase and an excellent codebase can come down to the quality of the comments.”

Can Film-Inspired Project Financing Work For Games?  (Gamasutra)
“In this extensively-researched piece, former Ubisoft associate producer Yann Suquet, who has a masters in corporate finance, takes a long hard look at precisely how films are funded and pulls apart the question of whether the same could work for games.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Facial Features


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Dev Links: Triple Header

Today’s Developer Links cover breaking the rules, texture atlasing, infinite replayability, and more.  Though not infinitely more.

Q-003: What Is One Mistake You Made Recently…? (AltDevBlogADay)
“What is one mistake you made recently and what lesson could you share with others?”

Cooperative Gaming Co-Op (Auntie Pixelante)
“my comrades john and james have put together a free arcade in downtown san jose that opens tomorrow. they asked me to put together a selection of games for them – to curate an arcade cabinet centered around the idea of game zinesters. there are the games i selected, which will be available to play at the arcade until october 13th (and are, naturally, free to play online):”

Storytelling Without Stories: Writing For Infinite Replayability (Gamasutra)
“What goes into writing for a game without a linear narrative? A lot, say Valve and Madden veterans, who explain the keys to writing for games which will be played again and again.”

Innovating By Breaking The Rules (Lazy 8 Studios)
“A big congratulations to Ann Burkett for putting on a successful inaugural Game Design Conference here in San Francisco! I gave a talk on on Innovating by Breaking the Rules. For those who are interested in my lecture slides, you can find them here. I’ll try to post a video later.”

Building An HTML5 Game? Don’t Shrug Off Atlases (AltDevBlogADay)
“HTML5 is an amazing technology for designing web sites. The general flexibility of HTML5 markup and JavaScript often leads web developers to create their content using individual image elements. This approach works well for small sites with low overhead, but for games or other high-load websites, using droves of single image elements leads to long load times and slow performance, resulting in a poor end-user experience.  In an ecosystem where 3 seconds may cause you to lose half your users, it’s important to use the proper tool to address this issue: texture atlasing.”

Indie Tools: Ogmo Editor (IndieGames.com)
“Did you know that Offspring Fling actually used the Ogmo Editor? Well, you do now and you are also about to find out that using the Ogmo editor is both extremely simple and very cheap indeed. Actually, it will cost you nothing, as the tool is a freeware, open-source offering you can download for your Windows PC right here.”

Inafune’s Onward March To Independence (Gamasutra)
“In this interview, [Keiji] Inafune talks about the hidden talents of Japanese developers, why there are few large independent Japanese studios, why he wants to work with Western partners to develop games, and how the back-and-forth of working with external partners works. It’s a calmer, more optimistic interview than we’ve seen from the man who has, of late, become more notorious as the doomcrier of the Japanese industry than recognized for his game development skills.”

A Big Post About Sir, You Are Being Hunted (Big Robot)
“The past couple of weeks have seen us enter a new phase with the game. We’re following the sort-of-standard development cycle in that for us “alpha” means “playable, but not yet feature complete”, and that’s where we are now. That’s not to say that the game is entirely fleshed out, because it lacks a tonne of art assets to fill out multiple islands, and it needs lashings more work on fine tuning our combat and stealth systems.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Triple Header


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Indie Links Round-Up: Stone-Faced

A dungeon editor, a movie-themed puzzle racer, and a game about a robot photographer (that is, a robot who takes photographs, not someone who photographs robots): these are some of the subjects of today’s Indie Links.

There’s Something Primal About Super Hexagon (Gamasutra)
Super Hexagon‘s success on iOS has taken developer Terry Cavanagh very much by surprise. The game, an expansion on Cavanagh’s original Pirate Kart entry Hexagon, sold more than 10,000 copies in its first three days on sale in the App Store — a total that the dev never dreamed was possible for a seemingly niche experience.”

Joe Danger 2 – The Movie Review: High-Ish Voltage (Joystiq)
“Like a lot of film sequels, Joe Danger 2 sounds good on paper, in a bigger-better-more-explosions kind of way. Promoted from stuntman to star, Danger’s garage and scenery are now fuller and more diverse. One minute he’s skiing away from an avalanche, the next he’s jetpacking through a jungle and breaking dinosaur eggs. With an action-packed variety of backdrops and vehicles, the 2D puzzle-racer never looks the same from one level to the next. This is a quality not to be sniffed at; many games would do well to break out of their beloved grey corridors and empty brown plains.”

Friday Flashback #31: Watching It Hatch (Broken Rules)
“Refreshed and filled with new-found energy, we’ve looked at the feedback received during PAX Prime and are back to working our minds off to improve what needs to be improved and polish what needs to be polished. Faster than ever, Chasing Aurora fills up with content and takes more and more shape. It’s a bit like watching a bird hatch from its egg.”

Beyond Minecraft: Notch On Fame, Pressure, Sequels (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“Notch is Minecraft. Minecraft is Notch. A year ago, those statements might have been true to some extent, but not anymore. The man behind the most pervasive invention since the wheel (which he achieved by simply putting the corners back onto the wheel) hung up his pick axe late last year. That does not mean, however, that he’s escaped from the shadow of the monolith he created. Notch and his creation are still synonymous, for better or worse. And so, during PAX, I spoke with the quick-to-smile yet surprisingly introverted developer about the pressures of overnight fame, having people hang on (and quote) your every word, the current status of 0x10c, and tons more.”

Grimrock Dungeon Editor: Steam Beta (TIGSource)
“After four months of hard work the Legend of Grimrock team has released a level editor beta for their first-person dungeon crawl. Due to Steam’s rapid updating capabilities, the editor is currently only available for players who own the Steam version of the Grimrock. To try it out, right-click on ‘Legend of Grimrock’ in your Steam library and select properties. Then click on the ‘Betas’ tab and opt-in to begin downloading the editor.”

Snapshot: Snapshot (PC) (Joystiq)
“Finally, someone made a game for all the Instagram hipsters in the world. All those crazy kids with their fancy smartphones, taking too-close photos of burritos and Starbucks cups, only to crop them, blow out the saturation, and add kitschy comments bookended by less-than-three hearts for all their digital friends to see. Retro Affect’s Snapshot is exactly like all of that, except way cuter and not at all like that.”

Love, Hate, And Xbox Live Indie Games (Gamasutra)
“For all the bad press that the Xbox Live Indie Games platform has received over the years, it’s easy to forget that, for some developers, XBLIG is a dream come true — a way for them to publish their games to a proper home console in a relatively easy manner. And while it’s also easy to dismiss Xbox Live Indie Games as a breeding ground for Minecraftclones and silly Avatar games — as I myself have done numerous times before — there are, in fact, many wonderful gems to be found on the store if you know where to look.”

Interview: 600k Downloads But Gasketball Still “Feels Like A Dud” (Hookshot, Inc.)
“Following the success of Sopliskier, two-man indie team Mikengreg spent a year developing their follow-up: physics puzzler Gasketball. The game released a month ago to positive reviews from both critics and consumers. But the hope that offering their creation as a free download would lead to a dramatic increase in in-game sales hasn’t paid off.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Indie Links Round-Up: Stone-Faced


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Dev Links: Floorplan

Is the conventional wisdom about AI in games really so wise?  Today’s Developer Links ask this question, along with discussing multiplayer development and “glorious trainwrecks”.

glorious trainwrecks dot exe (Auntie Pixelante)
glorious trainwrecks dot exe is exactly the kind of inventiveness i want to see more of. made by mike meyer, it automatically indexes glorioustrainwrecks.com and allows you to browse games by event – whether they were made for last month’s klik of the month or for the gdc pirate kart or whenever – read their descriptions and download and play them instantly. glorioustrainwrecks is an amazing site that empowers everyone to make games, and uses monthly two-hour game-making events to help authors understand that creativity is more important than polish and presentation.”

Gratuitous Controllable Battles (Yes, Really) (Cliffski.com)
“I’ve been working on an expansion pack for Gratuitous Tank Battles, but hit a bit of an admin snag in releasing it right now, which gave me time to do something else. As I’ve had this GSB update pending for ages, I thought I’d get around to finally releasing it for everyone. This isn’t just a minor tweak and bug fix, it adds some good stuff. You might want to update your copy, and try this one…”

Level Lobby ft. The Level Editor [The Sequel] (The Behemoth Development Blog)
“Here’s a follow up post to the previous Level Lobby announcement and with all the fun facts that the first post didn’t have! Questions will be answered, such as: ‘What else is in the level lobby?’ ‘How do I use this thingamabob?’ ‘What do you think about sequels?’”

Q-001: Where Do You Feel Like You Are Being Held Back By The Status Quo In #Gamedev? (AltDevBlogADay)
“This was the question that started my twitter #gamedev Q&A series. As of right now we’re just shy of having discussed 100 questions on twitter. Feel free to join in!”

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Status Update (Vertigo Gaming)
“CSD has been undergoing private beta testing, and so far the results have been excellent. Squashed a lot of bugs, polished the game up quite a bit, and aside from a few bonus galleries the game is essentially complete. I’m definitely going to release it by the end of the month, however there are two things I’m waiting for before going forward with a release date:…”

Guerilla Multiplayer Development (Gamasutra)
“What’s the best way to get a networked game up and running on a smartphone? For his space battle game ErnCon, Ernest Woo investigated existing network techniques and integrated them together, coming up with a solution useful to iOS and Android developers, which he shares within.”

“Flip The Question Around” – Interview With Andy Schatz (Made by Pixelate)
“Andy Schatz has been highly influential and inspiring to the independent game development community for a long time, so I’m delighted to have had the chance to talk to him about Monaco and the Venture Games, the growth of indie games and the most important skill to run an indie studio.”

Over 3 Million Castle Crashers (The Behemoth Development Blog)
While we were in Seattle for PAX Prime 2012 the XBLA Castle Crashers leaderboards reached 3 million! This means that over three million humans have hacked and slashed their way into a castle in hopes of gaining animated glory! We are tremendously grateful that in four years, we’ve had the continuing opportunity to share this game with the world.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Floorplan


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Indie Links Round-Up: Lurking In Darkness

Today’s Indie Links include indie games for the Xbox, games about Slenderman, and games highlighted by the Austin, Texas independent games community.

Slenderman Mythos Coalition Interview: Three Times The Scare (IndieGames.com)
“Developers Parsec Productions, Ethereal Entertainment and Elder Productions have banned together to form the Slenderman Mythos Coalition, a trio that aims to offer three visually and mechanically distinct Slender experiences to horror and jump-scare fans. After the recent viral success of Parsec Production’s beta of Slender: The Eight Pages, several other Slenderman-scare games gained more visibility, as they reached for a piece of that lanky pie.”

Juegos Rancheros’ Fistful Of Indies: August 2012 (Venus Patrol)
“Every month, as part of the regular monthly meetings of the Austin, TX independent game community JUEGOS RANCHEROS, we do a very casual & chatty rundown of the ten or so games from the previous month — both local and global, and both indie and occasionally a bit-bigger-budget — for the audience, to give people — especially those curious onlookers from outside the indie community itself — a look at what they may have missed.”

Getting Some Much-Needed Attention For Xbox’s Best Indie Games (Ars Technica)
“Ask practically any indie game developer, and they’ll tell you that the hardest part of making a successful game isn’t necessarily coming up with a concept, programming it, or even creating the art. It’s getting your game noticed after it’s released. This problem is even more pronounced if you decide to release your game on Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG), the completely open Xbox 360 service that lets anyone with $99 to spring on an annual XNA account become a console game developer.”

Eight Tips For Surviving Longer Than Five Seconds In The Fiendishly Difficult Super Hexagon (Kotaku)
Super Hexagon—the latest game from the creator of the super-hard VVVVVV that you can find in the iTunes store linked above (or its flash predecessor here)—has been the subject of the past weekend’s many conversations in my circle of video game industry friends and colleagues. And for good reason.”

4 Years, 12 Countries, And A Woodblock Artist: The Incredipede Story (Gamasutra)
“The average game development story is, frankly, a bit dull, no matter how you attempt to spruce it up. Tales of ambition and great inspirational values usually work to cover up the fact that, for the most part, developers sat at computers every day hammering furiously away on keyboards in an entirely unexciting manner. Some game development stories prove a little more intriguing than that. Incredipede, an upcoming physics-based puzzle game from developer Colin Northway, was written in over a dozen different countries while the dev was backpacking around the world with his wife Sarah (who was also creating a game, Rebuild, on the move.)”

Mark Of The Ninja Review: Kneel In The Shadows (Joystiq)
Mark of the Ninja makes it awfully hard to be an oaf dressed in black. No, it hasn’t been streamlined to the point of auto-play, and the inherent challenge of avoiding detection hasn’t been crushed into a pulp to please the plebes. Rather, developer Klei Entertainment has flattened the genre into a legible, two-dimensional blueprint. That’s why things are more likely to go according to plan.”

Smells Like Indie Spirit: The Official Fantastic Arcade 2012 Trailer (Venus Patrol)
“While I’ve already given a breakdown of the Adventure Time Game Making Frenzy, the Fantastic Arcade-related event coming in just a few short days to Austin, TX and around the globe, next week — from Thursday through Sunday — the Alamo Drafthouse will be hosting Fantastic Arcade proper: a free & public celebration of indie game culture featuring custom arcade cabinets for a selection of showcase games and an even larger field of spotlight games, with panels and developer talks by a number of local and visiting indies including VlambeerTerry Cavanagh,DennatonWhite WhaleStoic & more.”

FTL (TIGSource)
“Continuing the fine TIGSource tradition of posting old news… I’d like to mention that FTL came out earlier this month. The real-time spaceship simulation and ‘roguelikelike’ was released just five months after its successful Kickstarter and is available on Steam, GOG.com, and directly from the developers.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Indie Links Round-Up: Lurking In Darkness


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Dev Links: Game Pointer

Want to get funding for your indie game?  One of today’s Developer Links addresses how to approach publishers, while another discusses what’s currently going on with indie games on Kickstarter… and in another, a developer explains why he doesn’t use Kickstarter himself.  Also, a look back at a famous indie game that was released two years ago and is still selling strong, and an indie developer shares some of her earliest, previously unpublished efforts…

Amnesia – Two Years Later (In The Games Of Madness)
“It has now passed a little more than two years since we launched Amnesia and one year since the last report, so time for another! One would think that there is perhaps not much to be said this long after release, especially for a single player game with no built-in social features. But the fact is that Amnesia is still going very strong and 2012 will probably be the best financial year here at Frictional Games, which we would never had expected two years ago.”

My Kickstarter Love/Hate (Cliffski.com)
“So kickstarter has raised a bazillion dollars for games. rejoice hurrah etc! I have a love/hate relationship with the idea. On the one hand, it’s awesome to see indie devs get games made that they didn’t have the money to make otherwise, as the alternative (gradually building up over time) took me about ten years to get to the standard of games most people know me for… On the other hand, it’s selling a dream, and a pretty unlikely and far-off dream at that.”

XNA-To-Unity: The Radiangames Method (Radiangames)
“Now with 4 full games ported to 2 major new platforms (iOS and PC/Mac), an all-new game based on the same XNA-based game structure, and another larger game on the way, I think I can say the transition was a success.  Many more XBLIG developers have made the transition from XNA to Unity, but some are still in the process or are only considering it still.  For them, and for others who prefer a more code-based game structure than Unity normally provides, I’m now going to share more details of my particular XNA-to-Unity path.”

What Publishers Want: 10 Tips For Getting Your Game Funded (Gamasutra)
“In such a competitive landscape, how does a developer possibly stand out when trying to land a deal a game publisher? Perfect World’s VP of business development John Young shares what he looks for in a pitch.”

Indie Tools: Blender (IndieGames.com)
“You may have already heard of Blender, the 3D open source suite, as an excellent option for creating 3D graphics and models. Well, that is definitely true. Blender is a 3D tool that actually makes sense for me (I successfully created an almost passable castle) and everyone seems to agree that is both powerful and pretty straightforward to use… The game creation advantages are pretty obvious, especially for artists and indie devs wanting to impress with shiny 3D stuff, but what really impressed me is the fact that Brender actually comes with a complete Game Engine.”

PAX 10! IndieCade! Freeplay! Oh My! (Cipher Prime)
PAX Prime was awesome! Big thanks to everyone that came out to see us! It was great meeting some of you for the first time and showing off Splice one-on-one with folks. If you missed out on PAX or weren’t able to stop by the booth, there’s a great write-up on the PAX10 over at Geek’sDreamGirl.”

kid stuff (AuntiePixelante)
“here’s some stuff outta history.”

The Video Game Kickstarter Report – Week Of September 14 (Zeboyd Games)
“The big new kickstarter for this week just started a few hours ago. It’s a new RPG from Obsidian Entertainment called Project Eternity. Goal of $1.1 million but they’re already up to $344k after a few hours so they probably will make it.  The game is designed to be a great homage to classic PC RPGs like Baldur’s Gate & Planescape: Torment and will feature the talents of Chris Avellone, Tim Cain, and Josh Sawyer.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Game Pointer


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Indie Links Round-Up: Red-Handed

Along with posts about a number of indie games, today’s Indie Links cover Kickstarter stretch links, Venus Patrol, and how to run your own Minecraft server.

Welcome To Venus Patrol (Venus Patrol)
“Fast forward past an incredibly arduous blur, and Phase One of all that good will & good intention is officially complete: the website before your eyes, designed by Cory Schmitz with background assets graciously provided by indie game developer Neil Thapen‘s not-coincidentally-titled 2009 game Venus Patrol (more on that relationship over here).”

The Shocking Truth Behind Super Hexagon Creator’s Score Scam (Hookshot, Inc.)
“Terry Cavanagh slouches in the quarter-light, his silhouette all puffed defiance. I can’t see his face but I sure can imagine its proud contortions, the winning smirk of the unrepentant cheater.  Why did you do it, Cavanagh?  ’Why did I do what?’ he says. ‘Why are you in my house? Why have you turned all the lights off? I can’t see you properly. Who are you?’”

Steam Users Can Now Buy To The Moon, A Game About Marriage, Memories, And So Much More (Kotaku)
“I put off playing To The Moon for months. Not because I thought it was terrible; far from it. A huge number of people I respect had showered it with glowing praise. It’s just that I knew something of its subject matter: the memories of a man who survived his wife, at the end of his life.”

Review: Lone Survivor – Jasper Byrne Is Playing With Your Expectations (Indie Game Reviewer)
“Created by Jasper Byrne, who has a history of making lovely low-rez games (that may have begun with a tribute to Amiga computer games on which I invested a large portion of my late grade-school years), Lone Survivor is his best outing yet and in kind is getting the attention it deserves, with high visibility on Steam and in major press outlets.”

Snapshot: They Bleed Pixels (PC) (Joystiq)
“I have a soft spot for difficult, precision platformers. Super Meat Boy was my number 2 game of 2010, edged out only by Alan Wake. I also have a soft spot for character action games. 2004′s Ninja Gaiden, for example, is probably my favorite action game of all time. Imagine my delight, then, when I first played They Bleed Pixels, which is both a precision platformer and a character action game.”

Blocks With Friends: How To Run Your Own Minecraft Server (Ars Technica)
“The game has an engrossing single-player component, with a core gameplay mechanism that feels like a LEGO block set—go build stuff!—but it’s much more fun to make things with your friends than to labor alone. Public Minecraft servers are widely available (here’s a good list), but they have an unfortunate dark side: as with any public online game, keeping out folks bent on making mischief is ultimately impossible. If you want to play Minecraft with just your friends, the easiest way to do so is to run your own server.”

Our First Look At The Slenderman In Slender: Source (Kotaku)
“Ever since we learned that there’s a multiplayer, source-engine take on the Slenderman game in the works, I’ve been hoping see more of the game in action. This video, which was shared on the Slender: Source Steam Greenlight page, gives a first look at the Slenderman in the game, as well as a hint of the effects that will happen when he closes in.”

Kickstarter: Stretch Goals (TIGSource)
“Even though the following three Kickstarters have been fully funded, I thought you might still be interested in hearing about the projects or getting in at the last moment to obtain prizes and help the developers reach their ‘stretch goals’.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Indie Links Round-Up: Red-Handed


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Dev Links: Home Grown

In today’s Developer Links: Why people love indie developers.  Also, PAX on a budget, how an indie game has progressed in a year, and a tool to help indie developers talk to the press.

Indies Collaborate On Tools To Make Talking To The Press Easier (Gamasutra)
“If you want easily-distracted players to stay with your game, to give it a chance and discover all the work you’ve labored over, you make it as approachable and as easy to pick up as possible, right? That’s the same attitude indie developers should take when it comes to attracting the attention of the press, to ensure people are helping others find out about your game. That’s where the press kit comes in.”

I Can Almost Hear The (News)Hounds: Sir News! (Big Robot)
“Two updates for you: One is this interview with Jim on Gaming Nexus, the other is this profile of Sir on the main Unity site, with quotes from Tom and Jim. Go take a look! Meanwhile, Tom is back from his time in the wilderness of a house move, and now we’re motoring again. That means fixing the last of the major issues with terrain generation, putting the UI in, and pouring more time into the hunters themselves.”

Horse Talk: Clip Clop Questions With Kevin Zuhn (Octodad Blog)
“‘Why hello there and thanks for asking! I’m Kevin Zuhn, the Creative Director on Octodad: Dadliest Catch. I was also the Project Lead on the first Octodad. As director of creativities, I’m ultimately responsible for what content goes into the game, and for communicating the vision of the game to the rest of the team. In that respect, much of my job involves taking in all of the wacky ideas we Young Horses spit out and shaping them into an Octodad game. I also lead the design team (and get hands on in level design), I do the high-level writing of the game’s story, and I model a lot of the objects and furnitures that you’ll find scattered around the world of Octodad!’”

So, You Want To Take Your Indie Game To PAX On A Budget (Andy Moore)
“Earlier this week, BitFlip Games made a blog post saying that their PAX booth cost them $12K. Afterwards, they edited in a preface that says PAX is still one of the cheapest conferences, and they meant it as positive praise for the conference… but the rest of the article doesn’t read like that… So I wanted to share my story and my costs, as a shoestring Indie Developer.”

Doing It Wrong (Maia Blog)
“…But I’m not sure what I’ve learnt from all this. I don’t have a demo out, I’m still refusing to take preorders and my media releases are patchy. I’m yet to write a single press release. The website is painful to read and makes irritating noises. In fact, by conventional standards, I’d say I’m probably doing everything wrong.”

Why I Love Indie Devs (Reddit)
“Why I love Indie devs: told Lazy Brain about a lack of windowed mode in a game and he sends me an updated version in less than an hour.”

Introducing The Apex (Starbound)
“For millenia the Apex were close to human in appearance until breakthrough research into accelerated evolution lead to the creation of the “Vestigi-Evo Process”. The VEP allowed the Apex to trade physical devolution for intellectual evolution.”

State Of The Game (ScrumbleShip Blog)
“In the past year ScrumbleShip has gone from a barely functional tech demo to something much more. We’ve begun to simulate personal interaction in space with handheld lasers, suits, suit oxygen, suit energy, reaction mass and health. We’ve improved the visual look of the game by adding hundreds of blocks, adding animations, creating a lighting system, adding a HUD, and increasing the render distance by a factor of ten…”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Home Grown


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Indie Links Round-Up: Purple Run

Today’s Indie Links talk about the indie fund, violence in video games, and what goes into making a co-op puzzle game.

Basketbelle Review (TruePCGaming)
“Half game, half art piece.  More art piece than game, really.  Basketbelle is probably not the kind of thing that die-hard gamers will want to play. Those who are interested in a sweet tale of brotherly love, however, would do well to throw a few dollars at Michael Molinari because this is an experience worth having.”

War On Geometry: Super Hexagon Coming To PC (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“With his new iOS game, Super Hexagon, I’ve just realised that Terry “VVVVVV” Cavanagh has a plan, and it’s to achieve immortality through drinking the tears of broken souls, bent over electronic torture devices screaming his name in fear and fury. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. Super Hexagon will be coming out on PC. You will hate him too. Hate. There’s a trailer after the jump. Hate.”

The Lawless Online – Funding Campaign For A FREE Multiplayer Role-Playing Strategy Game (I-Luv-Games)
“With all of the funding campaigns going on these days for indie games, and video games in general, it’s hard to know where to start looking or which games to start funding…  You probably want to support a game that you’d like to see finished with the kind of spit and polish that attracts gamers based on how much fun they could actually be.  When it comes to this type of campaign, with proper funding and public support, these games can become a reality. The Lawless Online is one such game that deserves some attention. ”

Dust: An Elysian Tail For XBLA – An Indie Game Review (Indie Game Reviewer)
“Dust. Not to be confused with From Dust or Dust 512, but Dust: An Elysian Tale, an indie ‘Metroidvania’ action platformer from the work of one man – Dean Dodrill, a pro cel animator who worked on the game for almost as long as Phil Fish did onFez (four years in this case), minus all the press hullabaloo and troll-baiting Fish endured (though DAET did win the Dream.Build.Play competition in 2009). That is, if you don’t also count the voice actors and Northern Ireland based music team,HyperDuck Soundworks, who are also quite ingrained in the indie gaming scene these days (A.R.E.S: Extinction AgendaMama & Son: Clean House and many others).”

Wooden Sen’SeY Review (Epic Brew)
“Upperbyte’s Wooden Sen’SeY is set to launch tomorrow. I got my hands on a preview copy of Wooden Sen’SeY and spent some time playing through the game. For this review, I played through five of the nine levels.”

On Ultraviolence In Games And The Lessons Of Porn (What Games Are)
“The gaming sphere (myself included) debated about whether E3 had gone too far and had the ultraviolent kinds of game on show were representative of games any more. Many a journalist reflected on their personal feelings of depression in the wake of the show, thinking that for all the high talk games had not really moved on. All fair points, but studios go to the extreme like that for a reason.”

Indie-Ana Co-Op and the Dev Stories – You Have to Learn to Work Together (Co-Optimus)
“Puzzles aren’t cooperative. That’s what I was told. You don’t see teams of people solving Rubik’s cubes, and you don’t see a cooperative mode in Braid (this was also before Portal 2). Cooperation was for killing terrorists, aliens, and zombies. Solving a complex puzzle is a solitary thing which requires concentration. Cooperation would just be annoying, adding a hindrance. I was also told puzzle games don’t need stories. I decided mine was going to have both, because it’s my damn game, and that’s pretty much the beauty of being an indie dev.”

Extra Credits Indie Fund Thoughts (Extra Credits)
“This has been weighing on me for some time, I’ve wanted to update you guys more frequently about the indie fund; I just have been barely staying on the bull that is my life.  Between EC, teaching, my business, trying to get out to every conference I can in order to talk about education and trying to get out to every college that wants me I’ve just been wearing a little thin, but here it goes.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Indie Links Round-Up: Purple Run