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

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Dev Links: A Blast From The Past

Today’s Developer Links include advice about advertising, alternative paths, audio, and even some things that don’t begin with A.

Nordic 2012: Curran tells gamers to look beyond genres and play everything (Gamasutra)
“Drawing comparisons between the decline of punk rock and video games, former Zoë Mode creative director Ste Curran delivered a Nordic Game Conference talk calling on people to stop dismissing Justin Bieber and to play Draw Something.”

Indie Game Advertising Strategies (Cliffski.com)
“If you are a lone-wolf indie game dev, you probably don’t spend ANY time thinking about grand strategy when it comes to advertising. Don’t worry, I think about it enough for both of us :D  Which strategy works best for you, really does depend on your game and your overall business model (paid-app, DLC, micro-trans, subscriptions…). However, there might be some benefit to brainstorming different approaches…”

Indie Tools: ZZT (IndieGames.com)
ZZT has been around for over 20 years now, during which it has introduced hundreds, if not thousands, of gamers to the joys and intricacies of both game and level design. And though it may still run on MS-DOS and thus require the use of DOSbox, its venerable world creator is a brilliant introduction to scripting and also a huge challenge for even the most experienced game designer.”

10 Tips: The Creation and Integration of Audio (Gamasutra)
“Sound is crucial to any game, but what do you really have to concentrate on to reach the heights of the video game medium? Gamasutra caught up with audio directors to pick their brains for 10 juicy morsels of sound advice and ideas.”

The Depth Jam (The Witness blog)
“The Depth Jam was designed in reaction to shortcomings of other game-related events. In order to explain the design choices behind the Depth Jam, I will speak critically of these other events, in order to highlight the problems that the Depth Jam is meant to address.If you are a fan of these events, organize some of them, or otherwise identify closely with them, then this will be uncomfortable. The best I can do here is to assure you that this isn’t attack-style negativity; it is criticism that comes from years of carefully considering these situations and thinking hard about how to make things better.”

How to Protect Your Game From Clones (GamesIndustry International)
“The mobile gaming industry is experiencing an invasion of clones. While cloning has a long and varied history, it has become more prevalent with the explosion of social and mobile games. Take, for example, Words With Friends, a variant on Scrabble, and the scores of Minecraft clones on the market. As game development times decrease and the useful lifetime of games diminishes, cloning has become more lucrative: games are easier to copy, and there are more of them to clone. The influx of copycat games in the mobile space brings with it new legal questions – are these clones merely off-brand digital replicas or are they blatant theft?”

A Matter of Choice (AltDevBlogADay)
“A couple of days ago I finished playing The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. And if you have played the game, you know that I use the term Finish loosely, as I think few people have ever truly finished the game. You see, The Witcher 2 is one of those rare gems of a game which you don’t come across too often. Not only does it tell an epic tale, filled with interesting characters, quests, and dialog; not only does it present you with enormous and amazingly designed levels, with stunning graphics; and not only does it provide you with character abilities and mechanics that are unique and interesting; but most importantly it gives you the one thing that any good RPG strives to do: Meaningful choice. Incidentally, this is also the reason why I’ll probably never play it again!”

Free Art Friday 2: Bomb Party (Lost Decade Games)
“We’ve got a lot of unused art laying around here at Lost Decade Games. So last month I asked on Reddit if there was any interest in monthly free game art, and there was! The first Friday of each month seemed like as good a time as any to upload it, and it’s that time again.”


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LD23: ‘Wunderworld’ Is A Simple But Lovely Dungeon Creator

Wunderworld

Out of the many glorious things to have come out of Ludum Dare 23, one of our favorites so far is Rat King Entertainment‘s dungeon creation tool, Wunderworld. You must try it out, oh you must.

While many of those who entered Ludum Dare 23 were worrying about level design, Rat King took a different approach and made a tool that allowed the player to create their own levels. Taking the theme of “Tiny World”, Rat King combined this with their love of for game development and Ultima Underworld to make Wunderworld – a dungeon creation tool. In this, you can build up a multi-tiered dungeon from a simply 9


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Here Fishy, Fishy: ‘Depth’ GDC Trailer

Depth

The developers of Depth released a GDC trailer and it’s about time we told everyone to watch it merely because it’s rather impressive.

We’re a little late on this one but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to share it! Depth has been in development for over a year now and, quite frankly, it’s starting to get us all hot and bothered. The team behind it are the a handful of the guys who worked on Killing Floor and in the tradition of that round-based shooter, Depth is a multiplayer gore-fest.

The basic premise of Depth is that one team plays as man-eating sharks and bloody aggressive ones at that, while the other team is a group of divers attempting to sneak-swim their way to the bottom of the water and grab the treasure. You can imagine the tension this is going to cause on both sides. The sharks have limited vision and rely on things like disturbances in the water and other fishy techniques. The divers have spearguns and lots of modern technology to help seek out the sharks in order to avoid them or fend them off – though once a shark is coming for you, that technology may look a little weak.

The game’s concept and execution so far is pretty astounding and we can’t keep still when thinking about it…sharks vs. man in the ultimate face-off! How can that not be exciting – especially when there’s not really anything else like it out there.

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You can find out more information about Depth over on the game’s official website.


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Depth Pits Humans Vs Sharks in Underwater Stealth Action

Depth gameSharks are awesome.  Heck, they get a whole week devoted to them.  But for some reason there have been few games that let you actually play as one.  Ok, there was that terrible Jaws game last generation, but for the most part sharks go ignored by game developers.  That’s an issue that looks to be rectified with the indie game Depth.

Depth lets you play as either the human divers trying to recover sunken treasures, or the hungry sharks that just want a tasty snack.  The game is being billed as an “aquatic stealth” game, which sounds like it should be familiar to players of games like Shattered Horizon where the absence of sound makes for some interesting strategies.  While it may seem like sharks have the clear advantage here, Depth tries to accurately portray how sharks rely on feeling vibrations in the water rather than sound.  If a diver is kicking frantically, a shark will see him clear as day, but a slow-moving diver could go mostly unnoticed, which is where that stealth aspect kicks in.  Depth also promises to have multiple classes for both the divers and sharks, which presumably will include different equipment for the divers and various breed of shark with unique abilities.

There’s no talk of a release date yet, but this is one I’m definitely going to keep my eye on this one.  Just watch the linked trailer below.  I never knew I wanted an underwater stealth game so badly.

Depth – August Teaser Trailer


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Indie Links Round-Up: Grip it and Rip it

The_Witness_Indie_LinksI missed last week, so we’re twicing the standard dosage of Indie Links. That’s right, don’t make me bring the thricening! Anyway, making up words is fun, but not as much as exploring the greater indie horizon. Hello Games gets in a couple shots, and plenty of interviews, hands-on, reviews and more. Have a gander.

‘No monkeys?!’ Why publishers nixed Joe Danger (Develop Online)
“Hello Games took to the stage at the Develop Conference today to exact revenge on the publishers that turned down the Joe Danger project. Without naming any names, Murray went through a list of reasons why the game was turned down, quoting what he had heard from various publishers in meetings. Attendees at the Develop session broke into laughter.”

XBLA is a “slaughterhouse” for smaller developers (Games Industry — Registration Required)
“Hello Games chose to release Joe Danger via Sony’s PlayStation Network because the team regarded Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade as a “slaughterhouse” for small developers.”

The Witness: Location Development (The Witness Dev Blog)
“Much of the other work that I personally have been putting into the game is about the user interface for the puzzles. As I mentioned, gameplay is the utmost concern; this being a puzzle game, you spend a long time solving puzzles, so it’s important to make that feel good, even at this early stage.”

Rules For Games: Do & Don’t #2 (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“I’m in charge. This is firmly established (citation needed). So it’s important I continue to decree my rulings. All must obey, for I am as bad as BP and I burn in hell. Fear me.”

COLUMN: Design Diversions – Fate/Stay Night: Choices Beyond Good and Evil (GameSetWatch)
“‘Design Diversions’ is a biweekly GameSetWatch-exclusive column by Andrew Vanden Bossche. It looks at the unexpected moments when games take us behind the scenes, and the details of how game design engages us. How do we get over our fixation on good and evil as a gameplay element? Fate/Stay Night, a Japanese visual novel, may have the answer.”

Developer Interview: Soenke Seidel (IndieDB)
“Cap’n Frie here bringing ye landlubbers fresh booty! I blabbered wit’ one of me hearties: Cap’n Soenke! Nothin’ like swashbuckling wit’ this sea dog!”

Dog Fighter: Hands-on Impressions and Giveaway (Shacknews)
DogFighter, Dark Water Studios’ arena-based aerial combat game, took to the virtual skies via Steam about a month ago. I spent the past couple of weeks in its virtual cockpit to assess the fast-paced shooter.”

Review: Cut It (TIGSource)
“His first game about drawing, Crayon Physics Deluxe, won the IGF Grand Prize in 2008 and since then, Petri Purho has been developing experimental games on a monthly basis. Cut It is his most recent project and features similar concepts seen in Crayon Physics, but also introduces new ideas and offers a solid concept from which the crayon master can draw on.”

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: 0 A.D. (Joystiq)
“This week we talk with Aviv Sharon of Wildfire about the studio’s 0 A.D., an indie project nine years in the making.”

Depth Music Q&A: 4mat’s Decades (Indie Games)
“Independent game creator Matt Simmonds teased his upcoming PC shooter Depth back in December, which makes creative use of inexpensive red/cyan lens 3D glasses. Music for the title will draw on the Sussex, UK-based designer’s twenty-plus years’ experience in the game industry, featuring arrangements of previously released chiptunes.In this interview the musician relates how varied experiences as a sound designer, ranging from mainstream titles to indie games and the demoscene, are currently contributing to the shape of Depth.”