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

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PAX Prime ’12 Interview: Andy Schatz Of Pocketwatch Games On Monaco

Our long list of indie interviews at PAX kicks off with Andy Schatz of Pocketwatch Games speaking to us about the highly anticipated top-down heist ‘em up Monaco.

Schatz touches on single player and co-op modes, the title’s general history, and more. Though the most interesting bit for my money is how the team went about making it a great game to play with friends on the couch–adding that the couch experience was what they wanted to capture in online co-op as well through sleek, easy to use menus/lobbies.

The game’s looking fantastic (and really has for years at this point), so we’re excited to hear that it’s finally ‘almost done’ in Schatz’s words. Look for the game to launch simultaneously on both PC and on at least one console.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – PAX Prime ’12 Interview: Andy Schatz Of Pocketwatch Games On Monaco


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Interview With Potential Games – ‘Island Forge’ Developer

User generated content is a huge plus for me when looking at a game. Allowing the player to create their own worlds and change their game is something that developers should do more often. Because of respect for that design philosophy, I was interested in Island Forge when reading about it.

Island Forge is a game from the one man-development studio Potential Games. It is a retro-styled massively multiplayer role-playing game with an island editor. Each player can create an island with quests, monsters and NPCs.  Other players can easily access it with their characters through the Island Browser as soon as finishing the tutorial.

After a long wait, I was finally able to have a conversation with the one-man-team behind the game, Nathan “Nyhl” Baughman, and here is what he had to say about himself and his game.

1. Firstly, introduce yourself to our readers.

Hello, I’m Nathan, sole developer of Island Forge. I’ve wanted to create an MMORPG since before RPGs were MMO. Playing early computer and console RPGs is a big reason I got into programming and then Computer Science. Early on, I had the opportunity to work for Turbine Games as a Server Team intern, prior to Asheron’s Call beta (some of my C++ code is probably still humming along in their server infrastructure). Since then I’ve been to grad school, then accepted a rather interesting employment opportunity as a software engineer. Eventually, I decided to make a bold move and form Potential Games LLC to pursue my dream of creating my own online game.

My professional interests include Java software, distributed protocols, cryptography, and (of course) games. After a long day of software development, I like to relax in the evenings with some hobby programming. I have an insatiable drive to tinker. Outside of digital pursuits, I’m a fan of strategy board games, such as Robo Rally, Settlers of Catan, and Dominion.

2. So how would you pitch Island Forge to someone you just met?

Island Forge is a player-created content MMORPG, with old-school appeal and brand-new features. Gameplay features classic RPG elements, but with a unique new game design, set in an entirely player-created world. Visit player-created islands and follow player-created stories. Go solo or form party expeditions to explore and fight creatures. Meet with others in town, craft items, and level up with a unique health-based experience system.

Create your own islands with stories for others to explore using the intuitive Island Builder. Place hundreds of terrain and scenery tiles, lay out your town, and create actors with interactive dialogue. When your island is ready, publish it to the world for everyone to explore!

3. At time of this writing, you are running a Kickstarter. What is the purpose of this Kickstarter, and how do you plan to achieve if it succeeds?

Island Forge is my life’s passion, which is why this Kickstarter project is so important to me. The primary focus of my Kickstarter project is to help establish the creative player community. The audience for Island Forge is out there, but I need help reaching them. I’ve learned to run everything lean and efficiently, to keep overhead low, and Island Forge can thrive even with a modest player base. An MMO is certainly more engaging when a lot of people are in the world, but without the massive marketing budget of a large publisher, it’s difficult to get noticed in the MMO scene. What’s more, it’s difficult to compete with large publishers who can offer free-to-play titles, so a focus of the stretch goals is to support more free-play options. Certainly I’d love to offer the game for free to everyone, but supporting a free MMO carries a lot of prohibitive costs, such as server hosting. With funding, I could offer free-play to attract and retain more players in order to bootstrap the community. The success of this Kickstarter campaign is crucial to establishing the player community, and ultimately the success of Island Forge. Beyond my modest base goal, I have also listed several exciting dream goals, which would allow me to take Island Forge to the next level of development, features, and design.

4. Having a player created world in MMO’s is pretty rare. Did any other games inspire the “forging” aspect of Island Forge?

I’ve always imagined a game in which players could publish their own content into a shared game world. Some titles have offered player-created content features, but they tend to be complicated “toolkits” – assuming end-users are also tech-savvy game developers. With Island Forge, I wanted to provide a very accessible, intuitive, built-in Island Builder to allow any player to publish content to an single existing world, where everyone else can immediately find and explore your creations. You don’t need to be a programmer, or even a hard-core gamer, to create your own content in Island Forge.

5. Overall the game feels completely retro. Are there any titles ‘Island Forge’ takes inspiration from most?

I love the new wave of retro gaming, and, although I chose not to go full-retro with Island Forge, I’m certainly inspired by classic computer and console role-playing games. I could list the lineage of games I’ve enjoyed, but for me it all comes down to the original NES Dragon Warrior. Even so, I want the Island Forge experience to be new and unique. The gameplay features classic RPG elements, but character development is very unique. Visually, I want to evoke that retro feel, but I avoided a traditional isometric landscape to make Island Forge stand out and look different from anything else. Visit the Atlas page to see some beautiful player-created islands. Unlike traditional RPGs, Island Forge doesn’t lead you around on a track; players tell their own tale (and there are already some really creative storylines). You’ll find some “official” back-story to the world of Island Forge, but most of it remains shrouded in mystery…

6. The Steam Greenlight program seems like it can help a lot of indie developers. Do you have any plans to take advantage of the system?

At this time, Island Forge is entirely self-published. Island Forge already handles its own self-patching, player-created content, user account management, data persistence, player community, as well as subscription/billing. While the Steam community would be a fine place to showcase the game, integration with Steam’s services would require a dedicated amount of development time, and Island Forge would have to conform to their constraints. Effectively, I’d then be adding the overhead of publishing and maintaining two editions of Island Forge. That said, Steam and other such services can be a good way to introduce games to a large (yet largely mainstream) audience.

As a Java developer, I have an eye toward Android devices (even though I don’t even have one yet). I’m also drawn to open technologies. The new Ouya gaming console sounds really interesting. Porting to other platforms is an enticing endeavor, but purely speculative at this point. I really need the player community to get behind Island Forge, then anything is possible.

7. As a one-man development studio, what sorts of problems have you run into?

Instead of facing ‘problems,’ I like to call them ‘challenges.’ Naturally a game of this sort (MMO, player-created content) requires more work than one person should reasonably take on. Large, overwhelming projects don’t intimidate me… but maybe they should.

I have a new respect for just how much time it takes to develop a whole, fully-playable, game. Even finishing a simple indie game is a commendable accomplishment. Please understand, I’m not patting myself on the back here! This is directed to all the indie devs out there, especially the hobby programmers, who put a lot of time, effort, and care into their craft.

I tend to be a perfectionist, and want to fully develop every idea I come up with, so it was a big step for me to decide exactly what features to include in Island Forge v1.0. I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished so far, and I’m looking forward to future expansions. I have volumes of potential features tentatively designed, and community input is most welcome. The challenge here is to make hard decisions about what directions to pursue, and what has to be saved for later. Someday I may have a team, but at this point, many great ideas must wait so that I can build the community, no matter how eager I am to add new features.

8. And finally, what kind of player would you recommend Island Forge to?

Island Forge appeals to creative players who enjoy participating in an engaging community. Players who really get into Island Forge tend to be creative, self-directed, and have attention to detail. They like to build and create, design islands, tell stories, and explore each other’s creations. They also appreciate the new, unique game design (not just looking for yet another traditional hack-and-slash). Overall, Island Forge is all about player creativity and community participation.

Since the time of this interview, Nathan has submitted Island Forge to Steam Greenlight. You can also view the game’s Kickstarter here, or download Island Forge and play a 30 day free trial or subscribe at it’s website, here.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Interview With Potential Games – ‘Island Forge’ Developer


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IGM Exclusive Q&A Session with Codebrush Games on ‘Archeblade’

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Archeblade is the first game by South Korean Developer Codebrush Games which has recently started its closed beta proving to be shaping up rather well as i mentioned in my previous article. After having a great deal of fun in the beta I found I was left with many questions about where this game was going and how it would end up looking by the release next year, so I shot Codebrush Games an e-mail contain many of my queries. I was shocked when they got back to me almost immediately with every question answered so I can not commend them enough for getting back to me so promptly, below are the questions I asked along with the resposes from Codebrush Games.

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The first point I noticed whilst on the beta was how you would gain experience points in game from kills and captures but in the beta these points had no apparent use, I theorized that these points could contribute to a leveling system or matchmaking potential.

Codebrush Games We have not yet settled on how the experience system will factor into Archblade although we do not intend to have a leveling system, the most likely use for the experience system will be for achievements or player matchmaking. However use of experience for matchmaking will completely depend on the size of the player base, as it makes sense to use it for great numbers of players but feels irrelevant for a small player base.

The beta currently contains 10 character choices however I was curious about how many we will expect to see in the release build, especially as the current selection seem to of been developed to contain a lot of depth within each character.

Codebrush Games As we are still only an indie company the resources are already quite stretched, however we do intend for at least some additional characters to be implemented into the final build. The numbers depend greatly on how other important areas develop prior to release.

As Archeblade takes a leaf out of MOBA style games, which commonly publish new heros frequently I did wonder if it would be the same with Archeblade especially as this is often a source of revenue along with being a common way to retain the player base.

Codebrush Games Many games offer this dynamic and we will be no different, we will be developing a wealth of new characters each with their own unique abilities to help factor into ever more dynamic teams. We will be adding way to heal your team along with stealthing abilities allowing you to sneak up on unprepared enemies, with more ideas constantly being formulated.

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One of the biggest take aways for me from Archeblade was how each character seemed to feel very unique, containing vastly different mechanics yet the gameplay felt rather balanced, clearly this takes a lot of development but how was it achieved.

Codebrush Games We play the game a lot and discuss character balance continually. Balance is always hard and a key factor in any competitive game however we test every possibility of the characters from longer, shorter, stronger, weaker, larger continually back and forth until we start to see balance. The beta of course will provide much more information on how we can better balance Archeblade and we hope the community will give us some very constructive feedback.

I couldn’t help but feel that Archeblade could easily lend itself to a passive talent system or a way to alter the load out, to perhaps add a little bit more variety into the game.

Codebrush Games We currently have no plans to add a talent system however we are currently working on special skills for each character that factor into the F key rage skills, creating an even more unique feel to the characters. An example of one these abilities can be seen below.

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The current beta build has only two maps available to play each with only one game type I was curious to find out if the final release build would have more maps and if the maps would be less specialised and contain more than one game type per map.

Codebrush Games We have plans to add additional maps when possible though being an indie developer it can be difficult to produce all the content at once. As for the maps each map contains a different game goal, working on a similar concept to that of WOW’s battlegrounds.

The idea to cross Beat ‘Em Up’s with MOBA gameplay seems quite an inspired one and one not many people would think of, I was very interested to know what really inspired Codebrush Games to cross these very different genres.

Codebrush Games The simple answer is we all love to play both fighting and MOBA, the thing we had to keep in mind was which factors from both genres would work together and which had to be dropped allowing us to create the current hybrid in Archeblade.

As i mentioned in my beta preview article I believe Archblade has potential to be a new E-Sports title due to the short duration; the fact it is from a South Korean development team and the LAN support, would this factor into Archeblade.

Codebrush Games The short duration of the games makes for very intense gameplay and we believe that Archeblade has potential to become an E-Sports title. However for this to occur we may need to add or optimize many aspects in the game to fine tune it for the E-Sports market, though if the day does come for Archeblade to making the leap into E-Sports we’ll be performing a Gangnam style dance.

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With the gameplay of Archeblade being a cross of MOBA and fighting I couldn’t help but look at this game and think controller support may be a nice additional feature for players to have, considering how many fighting games are produced for controllers over keyboard and mouse.

Codebrush Games We have tried and tested controllers within Archeblade but have came to the conclusion that controllers would not be a viable solution. The fact of the matter is controllers seemed to leave the players at a distinct disadvantage compared to keyboard and mouse players. We noticed this to an extent that in our tests no players using controllers ever won against a keyboard and mouse player.

Due to the nature that many of the games that Archeblade is modeled off offer microtransactions and with Archeblade being released as a free to play game it seemed almost inevitable that it would indeed follow this popular model.

Codebrush Games We are currently working on the game store which works in conjunction with Steam money. We expect it to offer various items for purchase such as character unlocks, skins and so on.

The current beta system for matchmaking has very much a casual feel drop in, drop out model which works perfectly for the more casual end of the market. This said Archeblade feels like it is a game that will have a strong hardcore competitive market so will there be more of a tournament system to cater for this market.

Codebrush Games As we are only a small indie team and we are currently working to get as many features implemented in the game before the release next year the idea of a more hardcore competitive mode is something we would be willing to work on and implement if and when the players want it.

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I hope that this session sheds more light on Archeblade and explores a little more about the direction Codebrush Games are moving with their game. Archeblade is scheduled for a March release of next year on Steam and will be free to play. I would like to greatly thank Codebrush Games for the prompt reply along with the seeming full disclosure about Archeblade and hope this answers some of the communities questions. Be sure to check back to The Indie Game Magazine for all the latest on Archeblade as and when it develops.

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Source: The Indie Game Magazine – IGM Exclusive Q&A Session with Codebrush Games on ‘Archeblade’


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Xenolith: The User-Friendly Indie Game Mod Community [Interview]

For those of you who enjoy modding, you know how much effort it takes to go through the variety of websites and forums scouring for a specific mod or update. If you have ever wanted to simplify that process, this is your chance to do so — at least, when it comes to indie games. Axel Rothe had similar desires and ideas when it came to modding for indie games, but he actually managed to put his ideas to the test and develop a modhosting community, hoping that modders and non-modders alike will enjoy using a more streamlined method of downloading and updating mods.

This idea seems really exciting to us at IGM and so we decided to do an interview with Rothe about Xenolith: The Foundry, the aforementioned community, in order to gain some insight and distinguish what makes it so different from other communities. We hope this helps everyone establish an idea of what to expect:

Indie Game Mag: I’m sorry, but I have to admit: Axel Rothe is suspiciously similar to Axl Rose, what’s going on here?

Axel Rothe: Oh, no they are on to me! Actually you aren’t the first to make this association, but I must disappoint you that I am in fact not the lead singer of Guns and Roses, as much as I would like to be.

Xenolith: The Foundry sounds like an intense RPG, but apparently you guys are a modding
community for indie games. What can you tell me about Xenolith?

Xenolith is a project that I developed after noticing the lack of a good modhosting site in the indie scene.

The site acts as a database for modifications of indie games uploaded by the creators themselves.

Modders can add descriptions, pictures and of course files to their mods page. Above that they can
also add source code for others to use.

Feedback is very important for modders. Users can show their appreciation by liking a mod or by
giving direct text feedback. And most importantly users can subscribe to their favorite mods.

Subscribing is free and ensures that whenever an author updates their game the subscribers will be
notified about the newest version.

What sets Xenolith apart from the Desura and ModDB communities? What makes you
different from other modding communitites?

Desura is more of a competitor to Steam than Xenolith. Like Steam, Desura allows modders to
upload their mods, but only if they are cool with it. This is usually means that only really big mods get
uploaded and smaller but maybe better mods never get on Desura or Steam.

We allow any size of mod on the site should it be as simple as an ini settings file or a full blown
overhaul.

ModDB is well, cluttered to say the least. I think ModDB is a good site, but it has such an incredible
amount of dead projects and games that were abandoned on the site that finding anything turns into a
fox hunt.

We try to keep the site clean of dead projects and all pages as simple as possible. So instead of each
mod having 25 different pages and a bunch of extra stuff, we have everything on one page.

Are you trying to go for a more social approach?

I think it’s quite important to communicate with your players. This is what made indie big. For the first
time developers were asking their players for input and it was all about making the game better and
not thinking about how to leech the players dry like certain larger companies like to do.

Modders are like mini developers and they to need to communicate and receive feedback.

But in contrast to developers modders aren’t out for the money and therefor the sharing aspect is very
important. That’s why we added the possibility to share source code directly on the site with full mark-
up.

Thus far, how much success have you had with developers? What about with the public?

Some like the KSP developers are a little more conserved and aren’t too cool with advertisement of
external sites.

However developers like Chris Simpson from Project Zomboid and Chris England from Xenonauts
have been very forthcoming and even encouraged their users to use Xenolith.

The Data Realm developers were also very happy to finally find a decent modding database that’s not
a wordpress blog run by a 12 year old. There are actually tons of sites like these and when Xenolith
was new many thought that Xenolith was just another blog. Seems we proved them wrong.

With over 580 users and almost 100’000 views I can safely say that we must have some kind of
appeal to the average gamer. Our reddit posts also received almost 100% positive feedback.

What is the hardest thing in trying to have people using your modding database?

Definitely getting people to leave the “uncomfortable” comfort of the forums. While forums are messy
and unsuitable for modding directories, many have accustomed themselves to the thread-system.
They don’t want to try something new, even if it is easier.

The ones that do give Xenolith a try usually don’t leave anymore.

How welcoming and friendly is the community to new modders and users? Are there
tutorials and the like?

Yes, we have several writers who compose modding tutorials and game guides. Anyone can use the
site. There is no such thing as a bad mod, if you like what you made there are at least hundreds that
would like it as well.

Why develop a new modding community?

As it stands there aren’t any modding platforms for smaller indie games and smaller modders.
Whenever I was looking for a specific mod for example Minecraft, I had to scour a messy forum. Often
I had to abandon the search because I just couldn’t find the mod.

Another thing was that mods were updated frequently, but I’d never be informed about it. So I took it to
myself to create something that covered all indie games and would make it convenient for both players
and modders to use.

The current systems just didn’t do it. I mean Nexus-Mods charges money to be able to subscribe to
updates. That’s not really an option in my opinion.

Do you think there is a fair bit of interest in modding indie games? It seems to serve a niche audience, but could it also have casual appeal? How?

Looking at the Minecraft I think this is a rather large niche. Indie games aren’t small time things
anymore and now thanks to Kickstarter I know we will be seeing more indie games popping up.

Modding has always been something that casual gamers have had some trouble getting into.

I am currently developing a mod manager that will help installing mods from our site directly into your
game. It will hopefully not just serve to be a great tool in general, but also a great way for casuals to
appreciate mods. I can’t give an ETA at the moment, because I’m still in a very early phase and can
only work on it in my free time.

What games would you like to see on the platform that have yet to make the leap?

We’ve covered most of the officially mod supporting indie games out there, so instead of getting more
games on the site we need more modders of the currently supported games to join us.

It would be great if we could get the same response from the other communities like we are getting
from the Project Zomboid and Cortex Command crew.

What would you like to tell the indie (and gaming) community as a whole?

Indie is about sharing your ideas and creations and using the right platform is important.

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And with that, we want to thank Axel for answering our questions and giving us a much better idea of just what the hell Xenolith: The Foundry is about. For those of you interested in checking it out, whether it be for downloading mods or making your own, check them out on their official site.

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Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Xenolith: The User-Friendly Indie Game Mod Community [Interview]


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Interview with Ben Mallahan, Lead Designer of ‘NEStalgia’

With NEStalgia looking to succeed in Steam’s upcoming Green Light system (you can read about their campaign in our previous article), we took a moment to ask Ben Mallahan, the Lead Designer of NEStalgia, a few questions.

A lot of gamers are curious about how a developer’s lives change after releasing a successful game, Ben Mallahan had this to say when asked how his life has changed since the release of NEStalgia:

NEStalgia started as a hobby project in every sense of the word. My team and I are not game designers by trade; NEStalgia was just something we worked on for fun in our free time. I always hoped that the game would find an audience, but at the time my definition of “audience” was much smaller than what we ended up encountering on release day last year. Since that time NEStalgia has become a legitimate job for me. I’ve still had to do plenty of freelance work on the side in order to pay the bills (I’m a writer and film editor), but NEStalgia has been profitable enough to justify my efforts. I essentially swapped careers after NEStalgia’s release last year and have been focusing mostly on game development, and that switch has certainly taken some getting used to.”

A successful transition from hobby project to almost full-time paying job is pretty much the dream of most indie developers.  Gamers and other developers would want to know, what was your favorite part about working on a fairly successful game like NEStalgia?

“My favorite part is really just the process of designing and implementing new stuff. I love taking a system that I’ve outlined on paper and making it come to life in the game. I’d equate it to the feeling of building stuff with Legos as a kid – the process itself is just really fun. We recently added an entirely new “Companion” system to the game which allows solo players to recruit monsters to fight alongside them. I probably created 30 different iterations of mock ups for how to re-design certain menus in the game to accommodate the new companions. Although that sounds tedious, that’s exactly the type of thing that gets me excited about doing this. I really get a kick out of working through those types of design challenges until things are just right.”
The Steam Greenlight system is likely to be extremely cutthroat upon its initial release.  Do you think the community will help make your Greenlight campaign successful?
“We have a very dedicated and enthusiastic community of players. A good example of that is our artwork contributions board, which is a place for artists within the NEStalgia community to submit new sprites either on spec or for a specific job that we’ve requested. In the past year we’ve been able to do almost a complete graphical overhaul of the game with beautiful new artwork, and the kicker is that most of the artists would not accept monetary compensation for their work. Somehow simply being a part of the NEStalgia effort and having ownership over their own little corner of the the game was compensation enough. In other words, there is a real feeling within the community of “we’re all in this together”. That’s why I believe that if any community for an indie game is going to have success on Steam Greenlight, it’s going to be NEStalgia’s.”
Sounds like you’ve got a solid chance of success.  I’ve seen the community behind NEStalgia, and they are definitely very supportive.  What will you do if NEStalgia does get accepted for Steam?

“I’ll be absolutely thrilled if our campaign is successful, but there will still be a lot of work to do. I definitely won’t take anything for granted – simply having a game listed on Steam doesn’t automatically ensure success. If Steam does lead to a lot of new players (and new sales), the first item on my agenda will be hiring someone to help manage the customer service end of things full time.”

With a large community already, and an increase of players expected to come from Steam as well, its going to be tough to decide how things will run from here on out.  Are you planning on any changes (gameplay, subscribers, etc.) when moving to Steam?

“Yup. What will most likely happen is that NEStalgia will become a downloadable game that allows players to host their own private or public servers. Right now we maintain all of the game’s dedicated servers, but keeping up with demand could potentially become an issue. Although we’ll always maintain a cluster of official servers, allowing the player base to host their own games would eliminate most of our growing pains concerns. The great thing about NEStalgia is that it works really well both as an MMO played with lots of people or as a private co-op game with a friend or two. The solo game is actually pretty fun as well, but nothing compares to partying up with other players.”

If NEStalgia does succeed on Steam, there’s going to be many more players (and in turn resources) for you to work with.  What are your future goals for NEStalgia?
“I have a lot of cool stuff that I’d like to do with NEStalgia in terms of both gameplay and future content expansions. The problem that I face isn’t a lack of ideas, but a lack of time and resources to get them implemented. Therefore, my overriding goal is to make NEStalgia profitable enough for me to be able to focus on it full time with no distractions. Win, lose or draw with this Steam Greenlight campaign, my top priority for the game itself over the course of the next year is to release several content expansions and wrap up the game’s current story line. Players have been waiting way too long to for some resolution.”
Awesome, sounds like we should expect great things from NEStalgia in the future.  Is there anything else you want to talk about?
“I’d just like to mention that although I’m the creator of NEStalgia, there is a whole team of people behind the game who are integral to its success. My co-developer Scott Thompson has done a ton of work behind the scenes fixing bugs and coding some of our core systems, and our community manager Jared Reilly puts in a lot of hours keeping the servers in check. Last but not least, Tom Hehre and his team at BYOND worked back and forth with me for months developing the standalone version of NEStalgia that was released earlier this summer. Being able to distribute NEStalgia as a standalone project with no strings attached is a game changer for us, and I’m excited to see how far we can take it from here.”
NEStalgia is currently available, free-to-play, from Silk Game’s website.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Interview with Ben Mallahan, Lead Designer of ‘NEStalgia’


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Jonathan Blow on CBS News: Talks Gaming Industry, ‘The Witness’

Earlier this morning Jonathan Blow, creator of the popular indie puzzle game Braid was featured on CBS News to discuss the current state of the video game industry and his new game The Witness. Blow commented on the message the video game medium is attempting to purvey. He stated that “I [have] this idea of what games should do. They should be pushing the boundaries and trying to expand the medium because someday games can have a much bigger role in terms of their participation.” The interview continued with Blow claiming that game developers should think about what immature games can do to our modern environment.  You can see the full piece here.

The end of the piece featured Blow discussing aspects of his upcoming game The Witness, which is a 3D puzzle game. Blow claims that it is both better and more thoughtful than Braid. CBS stated that The Witness has been in production for over 4 years now, and that it has cost Blow nearly all the money he has earned from Braid.

On a alternative note, it was interesting for Indie gaming to get into the news, even if it is one of the more recognizable Indie developers and game. Also interesting is hearing news reporters talk about the gaming industry, which it is somewhat obvious they do not cover often.

The release date of The Witness is still unknown, with Blow stating he is still rethinking the puzzles of the 3D island.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Jonathan Blow on CBS News: Talks Gaming Industry, ‘The Witness’


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Leaving Core For Indie: BitMonster Games

I was interested in talking with Lee Perry, former lead gameplay designer at Epic Games, because his new work with indie studio BitMonster’s first project casual adventure Lili, is such a complete departure from the team’s previous work. The new indie devs behind Lili are six Epic alums, all with experience on the Gears of War franchise, turning their talents to casual iOs adventure game.

Young Lili is a student, researching the island’s magical plants for a school project, and discovering more about herself along the way. The focus seems to be story and environment, and most surprisingly for ex-core developers, promises a non-combat system of defeating enemies. Perry says the game will be is midway between Halfbrick titles (developers of Fruit Ninja, Monster Dash, etc.) and more story-driven sword-and-sorcery games. Looking at Lili’s gorgeous and cartoony tropical environment was, to me, slightly reminiscent of Zelda or even a Monkey Island, complete with silly dialogue and NPCs. Although the game is family-friendly, it’s more a game for players to share with their kids, and not a “children’s game” for parents (and aunts and uncles…) to sit through.

Perry was deliberately vague on the game’s promised non-fighting combat, although he would tell me it’s entirely bloodless and responds to how people are already use their phones.

BitMonster’s future goals are a series of shorter-term projects that will offer high-quality graphics and production values for mobile gamers. The studio brings a lot of experience in the Unreal Engine, and I’m pretty excited to see those graphics turned to indie RPG settings instead of ever more realistic gore.

 While plenty of developers and publishers at Casual Connect have referred to the App Store popularity lottery, or to submitting games to the randomness of app popularity, Perry believes the App Store is a meritocracy, and good, innovative games can succeed.
“There’s never been another platform where you can release cool little indie titles and have the chance for it to take off.” Perry says. He points to the the top apps, and adds that “little projects created by random people are doing well — where else can you find that?”

It’s great to see ex-core developers enthused about turning to a creative indie project, and of course I’m interested in seeing the Unreal Engine used for goofy island residents and gorgeous, escapist environments in Lili.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Leaving Core For Indie: BitMonster Games


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Xenonauts Interview – A Turn For the Better?

[All you old school X-Com survivors and curious whippersnappers alike owe it to yourselves to check out our interview with Xenonauts head honcho Chris England. After all, who better to tell you about your impending doom than the mastermind behind it all? **NOW WITH FREE BONUS CONTENT: Random jerks walking in front of our camera!**]

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Xenonauts Interview – A Turn For the Better?


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Strike Suit Zero Interviews – Robot (Space) Wars

Want to know more about upcoming mecha-tacular space combat sim Strike Suit Zero? Of course you do! So check out our pair of interviews with members of the Born Ready Games crew and get yourself up to speed.

First up, community manager Jamin Smith gives us a broad overview on what makes Strike Suit Zero tick, and then we follow up by getting some juicy nitty-gritty gameplay details from Lead Designer himself Christopher Redden! If that wasnt enough, we’ve also got part 1 of Born Ready Game’s offical Strike Suit Zero Dev Diary as well as tons of footage depicting mechanical things exploding in space. Glorious!

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Strike Suit Zero Interviews – Robot (Space) Wars


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Tengami Interview – Phil Tossel on Crafting Digital Papercraft

[Tengami for the iPad was without a doubt one of Rezzed 2012’s hidden gems, so discover this little treasure for yourself in our interview with developer Phil Tossel!] IGM: So Phil, give us the lowdown on Tengami! How you you describe it to someone who hadn’t seen it before? Phil: So, we spent a lot [...]

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Tengami Interview – Phil Tossel on Crafting Digital Papercraft