Indie game news, reviews, previews and everything else concerning indie game development.

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Global Agenda Update Tweaks PvP and AvA Modes

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Hi-Rez Studios has rolled out the latest update for their multiplayer shooter Global Agenda, now available for download for owners of the game.

The patch brings a list of additions, fixes and tweaks to the game, including a couple of adjustments to Mercenary PvP and AvA game modes.

From the patch notes:

  • Players with an active BOOSTER will be rewarded 2,000 tokens a day automatically at approximately Midnight GMT. Note that tokens will **NOT** be awarded if a player is at their WEEKLY or BANK limit on tokens (currently players are limited to earning no more than 50,000 tokens in a week and have a maximum bank size of 50,000 tokens). Players will not see the tokens until the first time after they relog following the token distribution time.
  • Pre-made teams joining Mercenary PvP queue must now contain either all Level 30+ players, or all players less than Level 30.
  • Players must now be in an agency for 7 days prior to the AvA end of season in order to receive the end-of-season reward.
  • Several client crash conditions have been fixed.
  • Possible fix for players launching onto another region’s server even when the “Match on other Regions” flag is unchecked.
  • A bug in which items could be improperly unbound from your character has been fixed.
  • German profanity filter added.
  • Some bot spawns in the Moving Target map have been fixed. Commonwealth spiders will no longer take out their frustrations on the Dune Commander.
  • Modifications have been made to the AvA End of Season device rewards.
  • Hex 219 added to Region 2 of NA Sovereign zone.
  • Deleted some players “Single class top stats” achievements that were incorrectly awarded

The file can be downloaded automatically either by the game client itself or the Steam client for those who went that route for purchase. Free trial here for those interested in checking Global Agenda out.

[Hi-Rez Studios]


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What a Polite Pickpocket…Pirates of New Horizons Prototype [Impressions]

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They’ve offered up the soundtrack for free, gave us an interview for free (we take nothing for granted) and now Exit Strategy Studios has released the free prototype for their 3D action platformer Pirates of New Horizons. Available now for all to try, and judge if the project is worthwhile to devote the resources to completing a full version.

I spent a solid hour playing through from start to finish and wanted to share some thoughts. As the prototype is by definition an unfinished product, it would be unfair to say I’m reviewing it–so we’ll just call this a deeper than usual impressions piece. Although honestly prototype doesn’t really fit this offering’s bill, as it evokes the word alpha in a lot of ways. Extended demo would be a better description of what we’re getting into.

This version of the game, in my humble opinion, seems quite far along in many ways. It offers an opportunity to play through the first 15% of what could be the final product: a 5-8 hour downloadable title somewhere in the range of $10-$20 that could appear on both PC and consoles. Now, let’s get into the meat.

Immediately after a great intro that really shows the values–or lack thereof–of our female space pirate hero, the action hits square in the face. Now the sole owner of an amazing airship I found myself in control of Annha, besieged by enemy vessels and boarded by baddies. I slashed up the boat-wreckers and used my ship’s cannons to take care of the surrounding ships, all the while destroying anything crate or barrel I came across to increase what I called my “plunder total.”

Shortly after, I landed near an island that ends up being the central hub to the rest of the game. What’s both cool and slightly disappointing (in a good way) about the island is that it has all seven area portals set up and available to open. The only problem being that the levels behind them don’t exist yet. They end up being like easter eggs and they’re certainly teases that made me want more.

On top of that, any NPC you encounter here and apparently anywhere Annha will make an attempt to swipe a small amount of gold from them when engaged in conversation. If they’re a dick you take a little more. An excellent touch.

repairshop_small

Vulcano Island National Park is the one full level you get to visit, it has tons of fighting, grappling hook action, puzzle solving and all sorts of other platformy goodness. No real boss fight though, which I thought to be a bit of a letdown, and I did experience some minor framerate issues during one of the battles. All in all, a level with plenty of depth to it.

A notable problem, and one prevalent in 3D platformers in general, is the camera control. As the player you have majority control of which way the camera is aiming, but there’s also an auto-correct function that occurs at extremely inopportune moments (trying to clear huge gaps, land in tight spots etc.) Without an option to turn the auto-adjust off, you’re at the mercy of when it’s determined you have bad visibility, whether you actually do or not. It’s definitely something I’d see addressed going forward. Another issue to mention, some of the NPC’s were gigantic compared to Annha as well and looked very wonky standing side-by-side with her.

Also, I’d hope that there’d be a few more collectibles other than just funds in a finished product. I’m not saying I’m full of suggestions, but Banjo-Kazooie and PSX Spyro spring to mind when playing this and they were chalk-full of different kinds of quest items and goodies to collect.

All nit-picking aside, the point of the prototype boils down to one question: Do I want more? and no matter how you slice it, the answer always comes up a resounding yes. I don’t necessarily believe what’s there in the prototype is anything I haven’t seen before in some fashion, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. The timing is especially good because lately, there hasn’t been many representatives in the 3D platform genre to speak of. For me, it’s just what the doctor ordered, the same way I felt about Amnesia being the first horror game I’d played in years.

Go play, then take the survey at the end and answer that same question for yourself: Do you want more?

The PC and Mac clients for the free Pirates of New Horizons prototype are available to download now via the mirror masters over at ModDB.

The game is designed for the Xbox 360 controller, so if you have one plus the corresponding USB plug the developer strongly suggests you play with the gamepad. However, I played the game with my keyboard and mouse and found it to be a completely workable situation once I set the mouse sensitivities to my liking (I recommend doing the same for whatever suits you best.)

Since they’re not mentioned in the prototype, I’ll list the PC controls for those going in without a gamepad:

  • WASD/Mouse: Movement/Look
  • Mouse 1: Slash
  • Mouse 2: Use Key Item
  • Space Bar: Jump
  • Numbers: Hotkeys for Key Items
  • E: Confirm
  • Q: Block

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By the Beard of Zeus: NyxQuest Hits PC, Mac and WiiWare

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Over The Top Games has announced the release of their beautiful 2D action adventure game NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits, available now on PC/Mac and WiiWare.

As Nyx, you’ll fly across the ruins of ancient Greece in search of dearest friend (and perhaps main squeeze?) Icarus. You’ll employ the power of the Gods to perform tasks and defeat monsters across 12 trying levels complete with real physics based puzzles and interactive scenery.

The title runs $10 and can be purchased on WiiWare and through the developer for PC and Mac. A slightly enhanced Steam version is also available offering 20 achievements.

A multiplatform demo for the title is available as well, grab it through the developer’s site or on the game’s Steam page linked above.

NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits Trailer (PC)

[Over The Top Games]


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Indie Links Round-Up: Thick as Thieves

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Round-Up is back today with plenty of odds and ends from the world of indie. Awards and inside information aplenty, as well as an early review on a potential GOTY candidate and some excellent interviews. Have at it.

Technology without direction is nothing [A developer's rant on XBLIG's Flawed Infrastructure] (MStar Games)
“I’ve said repeatedly, here and in interviews and on the XNACCO website, that Microsoft deserve credit for the XBLIG project in general, and the XNA Framework in particular. It’s an excellent framework – flexible and powerful, relatively easy to comprehend and work with, and when used right it gives great results…What is less certain however is the supporting infrastructure in place around XBLIG releases. The sales stats and dashboard lists are glitchy and prone to failure.

AI War and the hidden cost of indie games (Graham Smith/PCGamer)
“Earlier this month Chris Park revealed that his company could be bankrupt by November. His company is Arcen Games, the developer of popular space strategy game AI War. Despite that game’s excellence, it wasn’t a surprise to find he was struggling: most indie games developers do.”

Super Meat Boy review: Into the grinder (Richard Mitchell/Joystiq)
“There was a time when I thought I was pretty good at video games. I’ve brought down the likes of Earthworm Jim, Rocket Knight Adventures, Ninja Gaiden (2004), Mega Man 9 and many others without much trouble and only the occasional spurt of profanity. Having completed the story (but not nearly all of the levels) of Super Meat Boy, I can soundly declare that it trumps them all. As of this writing, I have died 1,792 times and several hundred of those lives — at least — were spent trying to conquer the last level.”

IndieCade Recognizes Tim Schafer With ‘Honorary Trailblazer Award for Lifetime Achievement’ (Jeff Mattas/Shacknews)
“With this year’s independent gaming festival less than two weeks away, IndieCade has announced that Double Fine’s Tim Schafer will be the first recipient of a newly-created “Honorary Trailblazer Award for Lifetime Achievement.”"

RPS Indie Awardoramarama (Alec Meer/Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“The Eurogamer Expo has been and gone, but RPS’s brain-dumps about the games therein will continue over the days to come. YOU WILL LISTEN AND YOU WILL BELIEVE AND YOU WILL UNDERSTAND. One of the things we did at the Expo as well as play games, however, was judge some games. Specifically, the 12 splendid titles selected with the help of the good folk of Mudlark to form the Indie Games Arcade.”

Interview: Hello Games’ Murray On What Joe Did Next (Mike Rose/Gamasutra)
“Following the critical and commercial success of Hello Games’ PSN title Joe Danger, Gamasutra sits down with co-owner Sean Murray to discuss the title’s reception, and what the young studio has been working on since.”

The Song Of Onionbog, Pt 4: Fascism & War (Quintin Smith/Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“Onionbog is booming. Booming like a stinking, sulphurous deep-sea crater, emitting stinking hot burps on a regular basis. But I’m no fool. That’s why I’m building defenses. To keep my lovely hole in the ground safe. I love this place. I hate this place. I’ll hate to see it fall. I’d love to see it fall.”

Something From Nothing: Nimblebit On How Free-To-Play Is Redefining The App Store (Simon Parkin/GameSetWatch)
“Two-man indie Nimblebit explains to our own Simon Parkin its move to a free-to-play model, detailing how that decision has led to the team’s latest iPad game, Pocket Frogs, securing 1.25 million downloads in just 14 days.”

Belated Weekly Report #3 (Paul Eres/TIGSource)
“This is a new feature where I’ll be covering ten notable releases and newly posted games in production of the past week.”

What videogames lack: Deeper Intent (Frictional Games)
“Tonight a [sic] watched a fantastic documentary called Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, and it was a true emotional roller-coaster ride. It is an experience, straight from reality, that swings you between laughter and heartbreaking despair. I urge you all to see it. The reason why I want to bring this up, is because this movie has something that video games lack: it has been made with the intent to share something deep and meaningful.”


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What Delay?: Explosionade Now Available on Marketplace

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Mommy’s Best Games has released their latest XBLIG treat Explosionade onto the Marketplace for all 360 owners to try or buy. A bit of a surprise given that just a few days ago it appeared dev-head Nathan Fouts would be holding the game’s release indefinitely because of Microsoft’s Marketplace inefficiency. Even more eyebrow raising (although entirely possible it’s just a coincidence) is that Fouts predicted the game would see release on this very day if the problem was addressed:

“I’m hoping the list will start updating again properly by Monday evening. If it is, I’ll put Explosionade into review, and if the game passes review, it will probably be available Thursday morning, October 7th.”

Was the situation fixed to Fouts satisfaction? Did he change his mind? Was the entire thing just a marketing ploy? So many questions, all of them fairly meaningless in the context of what this posting is about. A good looking game is now available and we should go play it.

You can grab the game for $1 (80 MS Points) or its free demo now on the Xbox Live Marketplace. All the semantics surrounding the delay and release of it will hopefully be sorted out in due time.


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Best of DIYGamer: September 27 – October 3

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A day late, but not a dollar short for this edition of Best of DIYGamer.

As always, keep up with our Mobile Monday and XBLIG Thursday features. I feel like we’re really hitting our stride on the podcast as well. If you still haven’t checked it out, you really should give us a spin. We’ve been in a real nice rhythm these past few episodes and have had plenty to chat about. Here’s the best of our site from last week:

Spotlight Games

Rumble in the Prehistoric Jungle… Primal Carnage
Two Female Indie Devs Release a New PC RPG… ‘Arevan: The Bitter Truth’
Retro City Rampage Gets the Super Stomp!

IndieCade Features

S*** Just Got Real…Humans vs. Zombies
You Really Just Gotta Get a Feel For It… feelforit

Editorials

The Minecraft Diaries: The Harvest [Part 4]
Five Lessons from Smartphone Gaming’s Success [Summit]
The Definitive Holiday Indie Game Release Guide

Interviews

Old Chests, Forgotten Maps, and the Frozen North — Author Joshua E. Turcotte discusses Orb: The Derelict Planet

Reviews

Only Generic in Name… A Shooter
A Fun Way to Save Our Earth… Pure Carnage
Bloop and You’ll Miss It… Bloop!
Imagination Run Wild… Figment

Free Stuff

Freeplay Friday: Infinite Blank, a Massively Multiplayer Canvas
Matching Three with Sizes [Free Download]

News

Super Meat Boy has Gone Gold
Reckless Squad Now Available for Pre-Order
The Pirates of New Horizons Free Prototype Gets a Release Date
The Path Wins Big at hóPLAY Bilbao
About a Blob To Be Released Through Sony’s Pub Fund Initiative
Garry’s Mod for Mac Released
Studying Abroad: Magnuson’s Game Trekking 100% Funded
Auditorium Making Music on XBLA and PSN
Pix’n Love Rushes to PSN Minis
Breath of Death VII Passes 30,000 Sales, Postmortem Released


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Xbox Live Indie Games Releases: October 4, 2010

XBLIG_Releases_DIYGamer

[While our XBLIG Thursday feature fights against the main issue of Xbox 360’s Indie Games channel–gaming brilliance being lost in a sea of medicore titles and cheap apps–as good as anything out there, there’s just too many total releases for us to try them all.

That being said, we can still highlight them on a daily basis, and perhaps posting these new titles will benefit both player and developer by allowing a connection to be made before the game floats on down the river and into the backlogs of the channel. Whether it be an all-time great, a one time play-through or a complete lemon; all will have their chance to speak. Here are today’s releases.]

Coral’s Curse (240 MS Points)
“Help Coral in her quest to break the spell that has transformed her into a frightening new form. Use your tail to slither to high ledges and solve unique puzzles. Cast spells like fireball and frostbolt, or use your tail to defeat various enemies. Collect resources to improve your abilities and become even more powerful. Coral’s Curse is a platformer unlike anything you’ve seen before!”

Angry Brainless Bovines (80 MS Points)
“Out run the Bovines and take back your Milk! Supports Multiplayer, XBox Live & System Link Co-Op action.”


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Mount & Blade: Warband Update Released

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Tale Worlds has rolled out the latest Mount & Blade: Warband update, bringing the action RPG expandalone to version 1.132. The patch is available as a manual file via The Patches Scrolls as well as an automatic download for owners of the game through Steam.

The update brings fixes for multiplayer map, quest and a variety of other issues, as well as rebalances some armor stats.

From the change log:

Gameplay:

  • Some multi-player map fixes.
  • Some armor stats have been rebalanced.

Quests fixes:

  • Aborting quest bugs have been fixed.
  • Ordering your lords to stop script error bug has been fixed.
  • Pretender quest has been fixed under the condition of already having a village/center before starting the quest.
  • Caravan escort quest script error has been fixed.
  • Deal with looters quest script error has been fixed.

Other fixes:

  • ATI driver fix.
  • Achievements “last man standing” and “morale leader” have been fixed.
  • Non-ending battle/siege bugs have been fixed.
  • Desertion of prisoners when party morale is low bug has been fixed.
  • Hold fire/use blunt weapons orders have been corrected, player agent no longer changes his/her weapon because of the order.
  • Formations not looking at the enemy bug has been fixed.
  • Automatic offline favorite server removal is added.
  • TCP protocol optimizations are made for dedicated servers.
  • Various other bug fixes.

Mount & Blade: Warband is available for purchase and download now for $30 via the developer as well as various digital distributors.

[Tale Worlds]


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Fouts Delays Explosionade Until Microsoft Fixes Top Downloads Issue

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Nathan Fouts of Mommy’s Best Games (Weapon of Choice, Shoot 1UP) has some bad news for those looking to play the dev’s latest Explosionade–the game won’t see a release until “the Xbox Marketplace is less broken.” The top downloads feature, included in several areas such as the XBLIG channel, has apparently been frozen for some time.

Originally delayed by a game breaking bug, Explosionade is now fixed, finished and ready to submit for review; but the aforementioned issue with the top downloads section that freezes the same games on the top 20 list for days–sometimes weeks–has Fouts holding the release until Microsoft takes measures to correct the problem:

“If we released Explosionade today, but the Top Downloads list is not updating properly we will miss a huge chance for more sales. We love making games as a full time business. If we have a bad launch for Explosionade, it will greatly hurt our potential to carry on…If Top Downloads keeps getting stuck, it’s going to eventually impact developers and gamers and the channel will suffer.”

Fouts points out that the issue is not only detrimental to indie devs, but Microsoft as well as gamers might stop checking the feature if it’s not updated with any consistency. Still, the dev is hopeful that the list will start updating properly again early this week. If so, the game will “probably” be available Thursday, October 7.

If the problem persists however we could be in for a much longer wait.

[Mommy's Best Games]


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Xbox Live Indie Games Releases: October 2-3, 2010

XBLIG_Releases_DIYGamer

[While our XBLIG Thursday feature fights against the main issue of Xbox 360’s Indie Games channel–gaming brilliance being lost in a sea of medicore titles and cheap apps–as good as anything out there, there’s just too many total releases for us to try them all.

That being said, we can still highlight them on a daily basis, and perhaps posting these new titles will benefit both player and developer by allowing a connection to be made before the game floats on down the river and into the backlogs of the channel. Whether it be an all-time great, a one time play-through or a complete lemon; all will have their chance to speak. Here are today’s releases.]

Sniper Defense (80 MS Points)
“Snipe down an onslaught of zombies with up to 4 players.”

Superspace 2 (80 MS Points)
“Action game set in space with advanced physics and superior game play! Cooperative, Death match and Racing mode included.”

Excruciating Guitar Voyage (240 MS Points)
“Excruciating Guitar Voyage is a platform-puzzle-adventure. You play as PX, a surprisingly invincible hairy moron, who can set himself on fire and electrocute himself to solve puzzles. EGV combines traditional point’n'click style puzzles with platform gameplay. There is a fully voiced cast of interesting characters to meet, bizarre scenarios to end up in, and many many levers to pull.”

U Want Cookie? (80 MS Points)
“Cookies. Who doesn’t like them? Who wouldn’t do anything to get one? Would you brave a world cluttered with dangerous turrets, mines and other various objects of destruction just to get a taste of that sweet treat? If you do, then go ahead and explore our 100 levels. If you don’t then why not try a game of Crumb Collector, Builders Block or any other of our multiplayer game modes.”