If you missed it, earlier this week 100 games were announced to have been accepted through the Steam Greenlight program. One, hundred, games. That’s a lot of content to go through.
While every game on the list has been selected based on its merit, obviously we all have some in particular we’re happy to see included on the list. To help you discover some of what we feel are the best games on that list, I present to you a list of some of our favorites.
Today’s Developer Links include articles on documentation, external content inclusion, and the bogeyman of the indie community.
The Bogeymen of the Indie Scene (Jonas Kyratzes)
“Human beings have always been susceptible to bogeymen. It’s a lot easier to get angry at people instead of getting angry at systems. We are persons, so we seek to personify the world. Thunderbolts come from Zeus, pestilence comes from Yahweh and your indie game problems come from Jonathan Blow. You can’t block capitalism on Twitter, after all.”
A gnomic making of Droidscape: Basilica (Gnome’s Lair)
“The Droidscape: Basilica making-of you are about to read could easily be summarized thusly: “We used computers. It took bloody ages.”. One particularly wise man would really appreciate it this way and it would also be absolutely true.”
What documentation? (AltDevBlog)
“Imagine a situation where you have just been employed by a game development company with a large code base. You might setup your computer, adjust your chair, get some coffee and then start synchronizing your source code repositories. This might take a long while so you decide to take a look at the company documentation while your downloading. So you roll up your sleeves and start digging. You dig and you dig, but you just can’t seem to find anything useful. Puzzled you go to ask either the CTO or the technical director whether they would have some information as to were the documentation is lurking. So you enter the room of either person and candidly ask your question, only to be met with a blunt answer stating that there is none.”
Art Walkthrough: Lighting Robots (Arcen Games)*
“The robots and “Exos” in Bionic Dues go through a five-stage process. First they are sketched by one of a variety of artists. Then they are inked (have their lines cleaned up) by one of a couple of artists (typically Genna or our own Daniette “Blue” Wood). Then they are colored by Catherine. Then animated by me. Then lit by Blue.On the subject of the lighting, Blue created a pretty cool tutorial on how to do that, and we thought we’d share it with anyone else who might be interested. Enjoy!”
Hawken publisher doesn’t pay to advertise the game (Develop)
“Meteor Entertainment argues word-of-mouth is the best way to sell a game as a service”
Joe Danger Steam Trading Cards now available! (Hello Games)
“Steam have gotten into the lucrative trading card business and we are 100% behind them. Actually, we hear that Half Life 3 will be an elaborate game of trading card snap – “I have 3 Barneys. I’ll swap you for an Alex.” Anyway, we’ve just put Trading Cards into Joe Danger and Joe Danger 2 on Steam! Honestly, we didn’t really understand these crazy things until Ryan made 25p selling a picture of GlaDOS. Then he was totally hooked and we found him adding them into our games too.”
External Content Inclusion (Andy Moore)
“I’ve been playing a lot with external files in AS3 (well, Haxe+NME to be more accurate) in my recent projects. Monster Loves You!, for instance, loads (at runtime!) all of its audio, images, configuration, and story text from external files. If these files aren’t found, then it reverts to the old internal copies it was compiled with. I love this hot-loading system, for four really big reasons.”
Cook, Serve, Delcious! is now available for Android! (IndieDB)
“Cook, Serve, Delicious is now available on Google Play for Android! Includes full Google Play support (Achievements and Leaderboards).”
* Full disclosure: I work for Arcen Games.
With more games continuing to populate the Ludum Dare site and now over 90 pages it can be tricky finding all the great games, I hope over the coming weeks to at least scratch the surface of these games.
Today’s game is a great deal of fun and was created by John Kane or Gritfish and is a fast paced platformer in which you must escape the ensuing explosion.
10 Seconds To Self Destruct is a fun little platformer in which you must make it to the next screen in under 10 seconds. The concept is fun and the time limit helps create tension making for a rather fun game.
Although the concept is solid I do feel the controls are actually rather lacking as with any platformer that requires highly precise movements. In 10 Seconds To Self Destruct the controls do often times feel although you are skating on ice with some rather floaty jumps.
Average play time – 2 minutes
10 Seconds To Self Destruct does need its controls tightened up somewhat, although you do quickly get use to the control system in place. The game has a neat style and is a lot of fun for the very brief duration.
If you would like to play 10 Seconds To Self Destruct head over to Gritfish’s site.
If you would like to help the developer be sure to head over to the Ludum Dare site and vote now.
If you are a developer with A fun indie game that can be played over a coffee break, we want to hear from you! Private message us on twitter @IndieGameMag or shoot us an email at email@example.com with the subject “Indie Intermission” and you could be our indie intermission pick of the day!
Imagine Disney’s The Princess and the Frog being kidnapped by Tim Burton and transmogrified into a chaotic dungeon-crawling extravaganza – complete with voodoo dolls, trickster gods, and hordes of the irritable undead – and you’ve got a decent idea of what it’s like to play Full Mojo Rampage. Currently being developed for the PC by Over the Top Games (the creative team behind NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits, The Fancy Pants Adventures, and Dive: The Medes Islands Secret), Full Mojo Rampage is a fast-paced, semi-roguelike, top-down adventure with more action and stylistic flair than you can shake a staff at.
There’s definitely something to be said for a game with ambition, and Full Mojo Rampage is ready to run amok with it. Though there’s no knowing what features will or won’t make the final cut, at its current stage the game has so much going on that the only thing left to add might be a tutorial level. Optional hints do pop up when you first start playing, but who has time to read about medals and money while fending off a horde of supernatural skeletons?
Featuring both single-player missions and online co-op, gameplay consists of four basic elements: crushing enemies, collecting useful items, circumnavigating booby-traps, and completing level objectives. Superficially, this seems simple enough (though the current cast of zombified and skeletal enemies does include some pretty challenging fiends), but the sheer amount of play-style customization and power-up possibilities turn a straightforward hack-and-slash scenario into a more complex mystical experience.
When deciding on a look for your character (at the moment only two options are available, but more are promised in the future), you are also offered a selection of several voodoo gods and goddesses, one of which will become your own personal patron of destruction. Your choice determines what blessings are bestowed upon you, including speed boosts, health enhancements, and special attacks. Medals, gold, and experience points gathered along the way can purchase, among other things, special pins which can be equipped between missions to augment stats.
Along the way you’ll also be picking up voodoo dolls and mojos – special items, like magic staffs and protective amulets, that temporarily improve or alter your abilities. Leveling, of course, also improves stats, and in the final version your XP will also count towards unlocking even more deities and their (sometimes mixed) blessings.
Despite only being at the alpha stage of development, the game already looks like a finished product, with beautifully rendered 3D graphics, unique designs, and some seriously satisfying animation work. Spells sparkle, ghouls glow in the dark, and the action flows fast and smooth. Procedural level creation and a ton of environmental variation keep things fresh and interesting even when replaying stages – which happens rather often, thanks to the high cost of death (in other words, severe progress loss).
If the setting is a little Burton-esque, the music is a lot Danny Elfman-ish – in all the right ways. Composer Alistair Lindsey’s creepy-sweet soundtrack is a mixture of haunting music box melodies and midnight overtures. The tunes are kept lighthearted enough to fit the caricatured character designs, but with just enough of a dark twist to evoke a good, old-fashioned Halloweeny atmosphere.
Though no final release date has been announced yet, Full Mojo Rampage is available to purchase from both the official site and the Steam store, with several add-on options if you don’t mind paying a little extra. Though the base price of $20 seems a bit steep for an alpha build, purchase of the alpha will also include a DRM-free version of the full game upon release, as well as a Steam key.
Good deaths, revisiting the Android platform and more in today’s Developer Links.
A Good Death (Two Daemon)
“What is a good death? I’m referring to these new-fangled videogames, of course, and specifically challenge-based games with failure conditions which force a reset of state – usually dying, hence the title. That’s the topic of this article, then, but I’m just going to arrogantly declare the answer below. Stick with me and I’ll explain myself afterwards. A good death is one which costs the player no more than they expected and which the player believes to be their fault. Or, in short, a good death has acceptable losses and is fair.”
Video: The art and tech of Incredipede (IndieGames.com)
“”Incredipede is about life,” which is why developer Colin Northway felt Thomas Shahan’s lively, wood-cut art style was the perfect fit for his IGF nominated game, we learn in this GDC 2013 lecture.”
Internal Indies (Gamasutra)
“Established game dev studios could learn a thing or two from the indie revolution. Here’s how one studio set up its own internal “indie” group”
Revisiting Android (Gamasutra)
“A reprint from the May 2013 issue of Gamasutra’s sister publication Game Developer magazine, this article polls developers to find out about the challenges and opportunities around developing for Android in 2013.”
A calm moment in Luxuria Superbia (Tale of Tales)
“Work in progress is going well. The game was mostly finished two months ago. But since we decided to postpone release until the fall, we have a wealth of time to fine tune and polish.”
Why Can’t I Enter The Buildings In Sir? (Big Robot)
“This is the question we get asked most frequently, so we thought we’d answer it in some detail.”
Hugpunx (Auntie Pixelante)
“”In CounterStrike the only way to deal with terrorists is to kill them, because their ideology is inherently evil and wrong, right? Bioshock and Call of Duty: The Line tried in vain to tell us violence and obedience are a choice while only allowing the player to kill to reach the end….In Anita Sarkeesian’s latest video, Tropes Vs Women: Damsels in Distress pt 2, she takes aim at the way developers box themselves into a corner by making combat the core mechanic: keep swinging that hammer because this level is just full of nails.””
The Swapper Postmortem – What Went Right (Tom Jubert)
“I feel like this is going to entail a lot of brain-work on my part when I should be writing my MA dissertation on sustainable contractual justice, so if you don’t mind I’m just going to launch straight into it. Needless to say, spoilers throughout.”
Earlier today, Rain Games released a demo for their upcoming platformer, Teslagrad. The demo is the first opportunity the general public has had to try out the game. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, the Teslagrad demo samples the beginning portion of the game as well as a boss fight. Rain Games also teases that the demo contains some clues that reveal the lore of the game’s universe. Players anxious to get their hands on Teslagrad can do so through Desura, whether as a direct download, or through the Desura client.
In conjunction with the release of the demo, Rain Games has initiated a speed run competition involving the Teslagrad demo.
“Do you think you can beat the demo with a time that will shock and amaze us?” Rain Games asks on the official Teslagrad website. “We think you can! And if you get the best time, you get to not only bask in the glory of your accomplishment, you can also also win a unique, lovingly awesome CD with Teslagrad’s Soundtrack by Jørn Lavoll.”
Rain Games goes on to explain that to be considered for the prize, players must complete the demo and find the nine hidden secrets “within a decent time” between today and September 19th. To further challenge players, they must beat the demo in one consecutive playthrough. For all the rules of the competition, check out the announcement post on the Teslagrad website. Uploading videos of the speed run to YouTube is encouraged by Rain Games.
Look for Teslagrad on the PC, Wii U, and PlayStation 3, later this fall.
Follow the game on Twitter.
IGM Dream Team is a feature series in which I pair up two great indie studios which I believe are compatible in terms of developmental ethos, style, and other factors. I will be discussing how they would work together, and how their hypothetical collaboratively-developed game would turn out. It’s basically an outlet for my nerdy gaming fantasies. I hope you enjoy it! The first entry is here.
My second pair-up selection for IGM Dream Team is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, as this collaboration could bring about a brilliantly unique hybrid of genres. It’s exactly the sort of game I would make myself, if I had the talent and dedication — a Choose Your Own Adventure style gamebook format, but with flimsy dice-led combat sequences eschewed in favor of proper turn-based battles. If you’re unfamiliar with the two developers I have chosen, you can read a quick burst of information on each studio below.
- Name: Black Lab Games
- Releases: Star Hammer Tactics, Trial by Magic (in-development)
- Platforms: PSP, PS3, Xbox 360, iOS, PC
- Speciality: Designing turn-based combat which is deep and nuanced enough to be interesting, but simple enough to avoid being overly complex and intimidating.
- Name: Tin Man Games
- Releases: The Gamebook Adventures series, Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies, Judge Dredd: Countdown Sector 106
- Platforms: Android, iOS, PC, Mac
- Speciality: Creating digital versions of classic gamebooks, working with existing licenses such as Fighting Fantasy and Judge Dredd as well as original stories.
As you can see, selecting these two seemingly disparate studios to team up isn’t the most obvious of choices. However, having played Tin Man’s Gamebook Adventures and Black Lab’s Star Hammer Tactics, it’s clear that both are lacking in certain areas. Don’t get me wrong, I think both are excellent in their own ways, but together they could form a far more complete and well-rounded experience. For instance, authentic as it may be, Tin Man‘s dice-based combat isn’t the deepest or most exciting way of doing things. Meanwhile, Star Hammer Tactics features brilliant turn-based combat, but the storyline seems somewhat incidental. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Imagine an atmospheric universe with great characters and scenarios whipped up by Tin Man‘s collective imagination and laid down in a virtual page-turning narrative, but with adaptive turn-based action for the combat sequences courtesy of Black Lab. Backed into a corner with a broken weapon and running out of HP? The combat sequence would reflect this, leaving you weakened, more vulnerable to enemy attacks, and hemmed in by the shape of the grid-based battlefield. As a result, fights would require genuine skill, and would be far more satisfying than simply rolling a dice and praying for a six.
It’s probably just a crazy dream, but in the back of my mind I am ever-hopeful that these two Australian devs will cross paths one day, and make this project a reality.
That’s why I feel that Tin Man Games and Black Lab Games would make a dream team. Agree with me? Disagree?
Have your own suggestions for ideal development team-ups? Let us know in the comments, take to the IGM forums where I’ve started a thread on the topic, or tweet me @PleasantPig! We’d love to hear your feedback on this topic.
The upcoming indie game Choice: Texas is a very serious game. This project is an interactive fiction game discussing accessing to legal abortions in Texas. Like the successful serious game DepressionQuest, Choice: Texas will use a browser-based IF gameplay medium to engage the player in a storyline with a message.
Choice: Texas, developed and designed by Carly Kocurek and Allyson Whipple, uses careful research into Texas legal regulations and demographics to create fictional characters. These characters encounter realistic situations, financial and geographic limitations, as well as personal choices and goals. By asking players to take on the role of one of these women, the developer invite players to consider the situation Texas woman might encounter, and asks the players for empathy and understanding.
“This game is about an important issue effecting women in Texas, and is intended as a means of furthering discussion and empathy,“ says Carly Kocurek. (Carly will be on a panel with me, and other amazing women in game development, at Geek Girl Con, discussing women’s experiences in the games industry!) “We really think games can facilitate further conversation about and understanding of these kinds of issues.”
I’ve written many times about the power of serious games to create understanding, not to mention the potential of text-based games. Depression Quest successfully used an interactive fiction format to bring players into the role of a person suffering from depression. Another serious game, McVideogame, threw the player into an unsympathetic role, and used this to build understanding and awareness of the interconnected relationships in the fast food industry. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Choice: Texas handles such a complex topic.
Choice: Texas will launch an IndieGoGo campaign on August 19, 2013, and lasting through September 15th. The game will be developed in Twine and released for free play on the game’s website, so funds raised will support the development and publicity for the game. From the IndieGoGo description:
“We are billing Choice: Texas as “a very serious game,” and we mean that. While the game is intended to be engaging, the issues it addresses are very serious. Women’s access to reproductive healthcare in Texas is significantly limited, a state of affairs that is especially true for women who are working class or poor, or who live in rural areas. One of the great strengths of games is that they can invite players to explore other people’s experiences; Choice: Texas is such a game, and asks players to seriously consider the plight of Texas women.”
More development news, including character art, can be found at choicetexas.tumblr.com.
Today’s Indie Links feature pieces on titles such as Incognita, Stealth Inc., and Shelter.
The Story Of The World’s Unluckiest Game Developers (RPS)
“Ever had one of those days where it feels like the whole world’s out to get you? Like you just can’t win? Like you are a magnet whose polarity is perfectly calibrated to attract gigantic, writhing jerkswarms who will stop at nothing to steal everything you love? Congratulations: you might be Super Crate Box and LUFTRAUSERS (among many, many other things) developer Vlambeer. Between countless clones and a recent theft of what basically amounted to their entire company during E3, the two-man team has been plagued by a string of bad luck so crushing that you’d think it was a giant joke. So Rami Ismail and JW Nijman laugh at it. They laugh and count their blessings.”
Hands On: Shelter (RPS)
“I am always counting my cubs. Ever since we left the sett, I have been looking behind me and counting my cubs. One, two, three, four… and a sudden panic that I have lost one, until he bounds up from whatever turnip he was investigating to join us. A sudden flash of anger happens in me. ‘You had me so worried,’ I want to say to him. ‘Never stray from us again. You never know what might happen.’ And then I worry that when I was young, I might have made my mother feel this way, and I feel ashamed because at the time I didn’t care.”
Indie Pleas: Indie game crowd funding roundup for July 26, 2013 (IndiePub)
“We will be creeping through dungeons, exploring new areas, and fighting for survival in this week’s theme: RPGS! Check out games like Space Shock, Insignificant, and 7 Days to Die to get your fill of this classic genre.”
Stealth Inc. Is A Brutal Puzzle Platformer That Mocks You When You Die (Kotaku)
“Formerly Stealth Bastard, the indie puzzle platformer from Curve Studios is now on PS3, Vita, and home computer systems. It’s got 80 levels, a level editor, and handy messages to demoralize you for making mistakes.”
Toki Tori 2+ Stands Up For Social Bird Issues (Kotaku)
“Toki Tori 2 may have been out on the Wii U for a while, but now we can enjoy Toki Tori 2+ on personal computers. So if you’ve ever dreamed of being a flightless yellow bird who lives in a world filled with puzzles, then perhaps my video above will pique your interest.”
Incognita beta expected within the next 1-2 months, says Klei (VG247)
“Incognita, Klei Entertainment’s turn-based tactical espionage game will go into beta sometimes within the next 1-2 months.”
XBLIG Pick: Vintage Hero is the Mega Man we deserve (IndieGames.com)
“It seems as though Capcom has put the Blue Bomber on ice, so those looking for a new Mega Man fix have learned they need to look elsewhere. While quality fan games such as Mega Man Unlimited are few and far between, Frog The Door Games latest release, Vintage Hero, should help fill the gap left by Rock and his friends nicely.”
Bennett Foddy, Sophie Houlden, Matthew LoPresti discuss No Quarter home releases (IndieGames.com)
“With the upcoming home release of Messhof’s Nidhogg, a long-time exclusive for public exhibitions, I looked at NYU’s 4th annual No Quarter commissioned projects in the above awesome video with a little more hope. Maybe indie arcade games, like those games during the arcade boom, would start coming home in bigger numbers. Turns out, I was wrong, but with (mostly) good reason!”