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

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Dev Links: On Your Mind

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Today’s Developer Links feature pieces on the benefits of localization and the cost of developing for the PS4.

So how much does it cost to develop for PlayStation 4? (Polygon)
“Microsoft has swung open the gates to indie developers by making the Xbox One a development kit in its own right. But how much does it cost to start creating indie games for Sony’s rival PlayStation 4?”

Overseas localization can be worthwhile – even for a small indie game (Gamasutra)
“Christine Love’s Analogue: A Hate Story is as much an unusual entry on the Steam storefront as when it first appeared there roughly a year ago. Inspired by East Asian visual novels, Analogue is an interactive epistolary novel in which players try to find out what happened aboard a generation ship in a far-flung future, through stored documents and a pair of chatty ship A.I.”

The Democracy 3 Compass (Positech Games)
“So here is a half-finished feature I’ve added to the main menu for Democracy 3. It’s a chart showing the last 50 election wins you had in the game, with the icons representing the countries you were playing at the time, and they are printed onto a left/right liberal/conservative axis so you can see what the state of the nation was at the time. In a way, this is a clue to your own political opinions and prejudices, as presumably you will gently be nudging all the countries in a similar direction.”

Return (Terry Cavanagh)
“Wiseit is he who knows he knows nothing.”

Joe Danger’s in (on) Indie Game: The Movie! (Hello Games)
“Basically Indie Game: The Movie could have been about Hello Games. Dave is often found weeping at the bottom of swimming pools. Much like Jon Blow (JB), Sean likes coding alone on rooftops, quaint patisseries, mahogany writing desks and generally always sits at right angles to the camera in silhouette. Ryan only eats really bad junk food.”

Lostcast 34: Cryptacular (Lost Decade Games)

Little Tree on the Prairie (Gaslamp Games)
“A lot of our time over the last week on the programming side has been spent updating our internal documentation. Since we invested so heavily in back-end programming for the game, there are a lot of systems that we’ve written but have not spent a lot of time interacting with yet. And because we want the game’s content to be malleable enough that people on the team with no programming skill can edit and create content, they need to have reference to consult. It’s not the most exciting work in game development but it needs to be done.”

Zeboyd Weekly Art! (7/24/13): First Cosmic Star Heroine Fan Art! (Zeboyd Games)
“So I’m busy making stuff for the game, but I wanted to share the first set of fan art we’ve seen for Cosmic Star Heroine!”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: On Your Mind


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Dev Links: Space Madness

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Game development budget realities and indie dev in the 90′s in today’s Developer Links.

Indie development in the 1990s: The Game-Maker story (IndieGames.com)
“Fifteen years before indie games gained traction, the buzzword for amateur game design, and PC games in general, was Shareware.”

Understanding “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” (#AltDevBlogADay)
“It is regularly said that “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This is a common phrase that may be even more popular these days due to economic hardships. While the statement is undoubtedly true it also misrepresents how things work in the real world. After seeing things from both sides it’s not what you might be led to believe.”

Interviews with Game Developers (Pixel Prospector)
“I’m currently working on a little site that is completely dedicated to interviews with game developers.”

AAAAAAAA (Auntie Pixelante)
“a game about frustration. made in zzt, which i am currently writing a book about. this is not the game i am making as a kickstarter perk.”

State of the Programming (Gaslamp Games)
“Greetings, loyal Subjects of the Empire! As you know, we traditionally give out a programming status update around the start of the month to let you know what we’ve been doing. To make things even more exciting, Mr. Triolo recently found some sort of “GIF-making” tool on the steam-pipe-and-radium-Internet. Therefore, what the heck, let’s show you some animated engine footage… in very, very small quantities.”

Zeboyd Weekly Art! (7/10/13): Character Sprites and Cosmic Star Heroine! (Zeboyd Games)
“Hi everyone! Bill Stiernberg here. For today’s Art Column, I wanted to talk a bit about sprites!”

When crowdfunding reveals the realities of game dev budgets (Gamasutra)
“In recent years, crowdfunding has become a serious option for game developers — and a welcome alternative for those long constrained by traditional publishing and funding models.”

On EVO 2013, Interviewing kcmmmmm, and losing a bet with Seth Killian (SpyParty)
“I had totally forgotten about the bet, but it’s clear I lost it, fair and square.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Space Madness


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Dev Links: The Gathering

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Today’s Developer Links include several articles with meaningful data and/or advice for devs in general.

YouTube Studies The Impact Of Gaming And Delivers Compelling Statistics (GameInformer)
“YouTube has issued its first white paper (a document designed to help constituents understand a particular issue), titled “Gamers on Youtube: Evolving Video Consumption,” and the subject is near and dear to our hearts. Google’s ubiquitous video branch has quantified the impact of video games, and the statistics evidence significant growth in comparison to other content hosted by the service.”

Game Designer Is Hometown Hero to Burglarized Game Store (Kotaku)
“About a week ago, burglars completely wiped out the stock of I Got Game, an independent game store in Ogdensburg, N.Y., a town of about 10,000 on the St. Lawrence River. The store hadn’t even been open a month. Nothing was insured. The owner was in a daze. Then Brenda and John Romero walked in the door. They make video games. They know a lot of people who make video games, too. They figured they could help.”

Win Win Win for Eufloria HD! (Omni Systems)
“A few months ago we submitted Eufloria HD for something called the Big Chip Awards. They are the main UK awards for digital agencies outside London and are hotly contested. They had a (best use of) games category so we decided to have a go. We were allowed to enter two categories so also entered the design one because, well, why not?!”

June Postmortem (Unknown Worlds)
“Each month, the Unknown Worlds office hosts the ‘Post-Mortem,’ an opportunity for bay area developers to get together and talk all things games. People show off prototypes, share their latest ideas, and discuss design, business, programming and art.”

The Right to the University (Jonas Kyratzes)
“I’ve certainly never made a secret of the fact that I didn’t particularly enjoy the process of getting an education. Wait, let me be clearer: I hated school. I really fucking hated it. I didn’t want to be there.”

Queer character classes (Auntie Pixelante)
“Here are some avatars i was commissioned to create for the gaymerconnect forums. a friend of mine suggested that the existing avatars that users had to choose from all skewed male – androgynous male, yeah, but as a trans woman she wasn’t comfortable wearing that as an avatar. so, i tried to fill in the blanks with a bunch of feminine, femme and genderqueer identities.”

Playing with friends equals gaming success (MCV)
“Oslo Albet, creator of co-operative puzzle game Fireboy and Watergirl, discusses how allowing kids and parents to play together can help spread word of your latest title”

The Genius of the Game Design in Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine (Zeboyd Games)
“Let’s discuss the design of Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine for a bit, shall we?”

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


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Dev Links: Exit Strategy

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Today’s Developer Links include good news for The Swapper and Indie Fund, advanced audio streaming in Unity and Cliff Harris asks: Who would be a game developer?

The Swapper Recoups In Less Than Two Days (Indie Fund)
“So yes, it’s a financial success for its creators (Olli, Otto, Carlo and Tom) and for us as well. On top of that, it’s been getting extremely positive reviews and currently holds an aggregate metacritic score of 87.”

Who would be a game developer? (Positech Games)
“Some people, noticeably kids, seem to think being a game developer sounds awesome. You sit there and play games all day (no) and you earn money like notch (no). It’s fun because you do whatever you like (no) and anyone can make a game these days (no).”

Fat Boy Feast – A game about vampires (Broken Rules)
“Here’s a little game jam game we came up with together with Simon Wallner and Florian Landerl back in 2009. It’s actually quite polished for a prototype, but we never got around to finishing it. We’ve finally put it out there after four years. “

Adobe AIR Error on EXE Bundle Package (Andy Moore)
“I’m using Adobe AIR SDK to build Monster Loves You! to an .EXE file for our Steam builds, and have been for a while now. Recently I upgraded to v3.7 and started running into an error.”

Nicole’s progresses (Winter Wolves)
“Nicole made some big progresses. Oh no wait, I mean… I made some big progresses on Nicole (the otome/yuri dating sim I’m working on).”

Ithaka Update (Jonas Kyratez)
“You’ve probably been wondering what’s been going on with Ithaka of the Clouds. Well, I’m here to tell you all about it.”

Comic Con 2013 – Day 3 (The Behemoth)
“On Saturday we had a fun flip book station at our booth so that fans could take home a special flip book in celebration of our 10th year as The Behemoth. Anyone who purchased $10 or more had the chance to perform for seven seconds in front of the camera and then take home a flip book of their performance!”

Now Loading #Screenshotsaturday (Terry Cavanagh)
“This is going really well.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Exit Strategy


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Dev Links: Explosive Results

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Presenting players with dilemmas, nailing down a set of terms for your game and more in today’s Developer Links.

Nailing Down Terminology (Frictional Games)
“One thing lacking in game design, especially when it comes to interactive storytelling, is a proper set of terms. While I do not think having a precise terminology will directly aid in making games better, it will help us communicate better. As proper communication is crucial for progress, proper terms are indirectly an important part of making better storytelling games. Because of this, I am going to go over some terminology that I find essential, what I mean by them and why I define them in a certain manner.”

The Beautiful Dilemma (Berlin Game Design)
“One of the main goals of game design is to present the players with dilemmas. Without them, player decisions–if there are any–will seem too obvious, and the game will lack tension.”

Too ugly? Keep stirring the baby until the lumps disappear (Dejobaan Games)
“This week was B-U-S-Y! We brought the Ugly Baby team in, shackled them to their chairs, and asked everyone to crunch. The goal was to launch our next amazing build, but we wanted to give it another week to bake it to perfection. Here is how the week went… in pictures and video, ’cause words are lame-o.”

Good Morning Gato # 121 – Lawn Bag Throne (Ska Studios)
“XBLA Fans posted an in-depth article last Friday, “For indies, working with Microsoft is a horrifying mess…right?” covering multiple sides of the hot topic of what it must be like to work with Microsoft. They included our view and linked to James’ Blood of the Indies post, which was nice.”

Shooting Spirit (Electron Dance)
“Cinema and literature have shown they can weather the storm of time: The African Queen can make contemporary audiences laugh, Nosferatu is still disturbing and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice remains a favourite. But videogames are cursed. The cutting edge corrodes with frightening speed and the once-pioneering designs of yesteryear give way to frustration when compared to leaner, smarter modern work.”

Spider bait (Auntie Pixelante)
“SPIDER BAIT is a transcript of a back-and-forth email role-play between me and my luna that we wrote / played between the last time she visited me in february (around my birthday) and may (her birthday). i play two spider-queens and she plays a very unlucky girl. it’s of course totally explicit, and is mostly about tickling and fucking and spider-queens salivating over captive girl-meat. nasty & gross stuff from a couple of real perverts.”

Jack Lumber hacks his way onto the Mac App Store! (Owlchemy Labs)
“That’s right, we branched out and have sunk our roots into the Mac App Store.”

SDCC 2013 – Preview Night (The Behemoth)
“Whew! Finished up our booth 229 just in time for the Preview Night crowd last night. We had visitors come by to check out our custom built arcade cabinets, get some merchandise from the Gift Shop and even had a special visit from Hatty Hattington!”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Explosive Results


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Dev Links: Spinning Plates

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Today’s Developer Links are made up of the unexpected: making games about being a dominatrix, rubbish screenshots for a very intriguing game and discussion on the uncanny valley (though I suppose it’s possible to have expected that last one).

Video: ‘Hothead developers’ rant at GDC 2013 (IndieGames.com)
“The tradition of developer rants at GDC continues, with 2013′s edition including OUYA head of developer relations Kellee Santiago, Eidos turned indie dev Anna Marsh, and Chris Hecker sharing what they feel is wrong with the industry. Courtesy of the GDC Vault, this free, hour-long panel shows Santiago suggesting a Renaissance-like approach to help better and richer games to be made by people who could otherwise not afford to do so. Lady Shotgun’s Marsh encourages more pre-production efforts to avoid crunch and says developers should experience life outside games to avoid otherwise incestuous ideas. For all the hothead rants, including Chris Hecker’s now famous wordless rant, check out the free video after the jump.”

Some Rubbish Screenshots (Gaslamp Games)
“Radical notions about “the Natural Environment” are not given much thought in The Empire and rightly so. Indeed, those who profess “Misgivings with respect to the effects of Unbridled Industry and So-Called Progress in our Nation” are dismissed as debased spiritualists that can be assumed to gather in Laudanum Dens to associate with Poets who fill their heads with rambling apocalyptic screeds.”

The Uncanny Valley and Character Design (The Psychology of Video Games)
“Attention, Internet: I have a new article on the psychology of the uncanny valley up on gamesindustry.biz. You know what the uncanny valley is, right? It’s that theory originally from the field of robotics that says if you stick a couple arms and googly eyes on a trash can it looks cute, but if you don’t get facial animations or movement right on an otherwise realistic looking android it looks creepy as hell.”

New Quarterly report screen for Democracy 3 (Positech Games)
“I just had a sudden inspiration to include some non-scrolling ‘key indicators’ at the top, and I think it looks and works much better seeing them each turn…”

How to make games about being a dominatrix (Auntie Pixelante)
“So i was invited to speak at the first-ever different games conference in brooklyn, april 26th and 27th (at the “nyu-poly” campus, WHICH FELT ODDLY APPROPRIATE). let me tell you, first of all, some cool things they did. shortly before the conference i emailed them, concerned about their security policy which required folks to wear badges carrying the names on their government id cards (for a lot of trans people, not the names they go by). probably nyu campus policy. they immediately responded by negotiating with security to have their own printed badges, bearing the conference attendee’s chosen name, count as security passes. also, they converted two bathrooms into gender-neutral bathrooms. see: it’s not hard to make your conference more welcoming to trans people.”

Poster Ideas (The Witness)
“We were kicking around ideas of what a Witness poster would look like if we were to make one. We eventually came up with one that we really liked, and we’ll release that at some point in the future. But in the meantime we thought it would be nice to show some of the runner-up concepts.”

To Mono Or Not To Mono (Krooked Gaming)
“I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how hard it is going to be to test the full 8 player teams that AOTZH 2 supports. Unfortunately once AOTZH 2 is released on the Xbox it will be a full 7 days before Microsoft will allow us to submit a patch. This means that if anything major crops up, it will be a very painful week before we can do anything about it.”

Mac and Linux Version (Purple Orange Games)
“Okay, so I have started to build StarLife prototype for Mac and Linux. I just compiled it on Mac, now it’s Linux time!”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Spinning Plates


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Dev Links: First Impression

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Today’s Developer Links contain critical advice for those thinking about going fulltime indie.

“Don’t quit your day job” – A letter to the hobbyist on the ledge. (Greg Wohlwend)
“Alec Holowka tweeted something that rings pretty true when it comes to Going Indie.”

What you need to know before porting your game to Ouya (IndieGames.com)
“Making mobile games work with a console controller is a challenge, says indie developer Nathan Fouts (Serious Sam Double D). Here are a few of the tips and tricks he’s learned in the process.”

iOS to Google Play: A 3-hour port log by Radiangames (IndieGames.com)
“First, let’s get the raw log of what happened while developing CRUSH for Android.”

Thoughts on Bioshock Infinite (Frictional Games)
“So I just finished Bioshock Infinite and I feel I need to write something about it. There is a lot that is really good about the game, but the way it all comes together seems like a wasted opportunity. This does not mean it is a bad game, far from it. I played the entire game in a couple of days, a rare thing for me, and had (mostly) fun doing so. What really stuck to me, though, is how it abuses its own premise. The capability for true greatness can be seen throughout, but is constantly hindered . This is also why it is so interesting to talk about it. By taking a closer look at Bioshock Infinite we can perhaps learn to harness its dormant potential.”

GDC13 Summary: Animation Bootcamp Part 5/6 (Wolfire Games)
“Giving Purpose to 1st Person Animation”

How to get Featured on BattleBlock Theater (The Behemoth)
“You’ve played Furbottom’s Features in BattleBlock Theater and now you want to create your own levels for the world to see. Perfect! The hours you’ll toil away at making a fantastic playlist will not go unseen. Currently, Furbottom’s Features showcases our level designer’s playlist, but future Furbottom’s Features will include user playlists!”

April Technical Status Update (Gaslamp Games)
“It’s April! There is a Technical Status Update. You know the drill. When last we left the programming team, I think I mentioned that Chris Whitman was working on Animals. Well, we now have Animals. The Common Aurochs wanders the fields and streams alongside its more robust wooly cousin and the occasional family of plump deer.”

Lava Blade now available on Chrome Web Store (Lost Decade Games)
“Today we’re pleased to announce Lava Blade, our new tactical strategy RPG, now available on the Chrome Web Store. In Lava Blade, players control the mighty warrior Lars as he ventures towards a dangerous volcano to retrieve the sacred sword, Lava Blade!”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: First Impression


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Dev Links: Heart Made Of Stone

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Porting to MS-DOS, celebrating Thatgamecompany’s seventh birthday, and licensing music the indie way – all this and more in today’s Developer Links.

How to license music the indie way (IndieGames.com)
“When I started thinking about Bollywood Wannabe, one of my first concerns was the music. I needed songs that could, when mixed with the appropriate visual and gameplay, recreate the feeling one experience when watching Bollywood movies. While music is often an overlooked component of games, a rhythm game can’t get away with bad music. Most of the songs in Bollywood Wannabe are licensed, a rare thing for an indie game. I received a lot of questions about this fact, so I wrote a small guide about licensing music when you are an indie developer.”

Indie Tools: Britma Design (IndieGames.com)
“Admittedly, Britma Design are not tools. They are people. People that can come in extremely handy and provide a unique kind of support to game developers, but definitely not tools. They are indie though!”

Level Design in a Day: Your Questions, Answered (Gamasutra)
“For the past five years, the Level Design in a Day crew has gathered in the hallowed halls of the Game Developers Conference to discuss all things level design. This year, the fine folks at Gamasutra offered us an awesome opportunity to interface with a much broader audience than the few hundred folks that usually attend the session by doing a Q&A with the game development community at large. To that end, we’ve brought together a panel of esteemed Level Design experts, hand-picked from the roster of this year’s AAA Level Design in a Day Bootcamp — which runs all day on Tuesday, March 26. They’ve agreed to answer the Gamasutra community’s questions in the form of this roundtable feature.”

Have you considered porting your game to MS-DOS? (Gamasutra)
“Porting your game to multiple platforms makes much financial sense, allowing you to hit as many different markets and players as possible. One platform you might not have considered is MS-DOS.”

CPU and GPU Runtime Profiling in Simulation Land (Gaslamp Games)
“It’s not easy writing a complicated simulation. There are lots of complex, interconnected moving parts to worry about and when something goes wrong, it can be hard to figure out where that small, broken thing is in the midst of a larger picture. We recently discovered that the game was running… unreasonably slowly, shall we say? My desktop was getting 15 FPS, and it wasn’t clear what the problem was. On Chris Whitman’s machine, which uses a slightly different graphics card than my computer, our FPS was in single digits. I don’t like optimizing too early – as Donald Knuth pointed out famously, “premature optimization is the root of all evil” – but something was going on. Finally, sick and tired of the problems, I decided to get some answers.”

Races #3: Krom (Purple Orange Games)
“Built like rock and indeed made of rock, the Krom are a most peculiar species. How could such a race evolve is anyone’s guess. Some scientists have put out a theory that they were artificially created, by a ridiculously advanced race, as some sort of terramorphing device. The way they affect planets confirms this speculation.”

(Very) Early Data Analysis (Hannardynamite)
“So since my data collection finished last week, I’ve been busy beginning to analyse the data. And this makes me ahead of my schedule since my Gantt chart (yay, project management!) puts the analysis of the data for next week. Not all of the data is analysed yet but here is a brief summary of what it is starting to show. And as earlier promised there will be another post with an in-depth analysis including various charts, graphs and various visual ways of showing off the data.”

Happy Birthday: TGC Celebrates 7 years (Thatgamecompany)
“Happy 7th birthday, thatgamecompany! What an incredible year it’s been, full of many wonderful reasons to celebrate. Here’s a recap of how far we’ve come since our last birthday.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Heart Made Of Stone


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Dev Links: Under the HUD

Today’s Developer Links include links about many aspects of game development, from funding to feedback.

Botanicula Soundtrack Vinyl Edition (Amanita Design)
“Botanicula Soundtrack is released on 12″LP in edition of 1000 copies, whilst 300 copies are on turquoise vinyl, 300 copies on amber vinyl and 400 copies on standard black. Each copy features three large format inserts [30x30 cm] with art reproductions by Jaromír Plachý, author of the game artwork, and as always, a coupon with a code to download MP3/FLAC versions of the album.”

Indie Tools: Inform 7 (IndieGames.com)
Inform 7 is being described as a design system for interactive fiction based on natural language. Shockingly, it does exactly what it says on the tin (and quite a bit more), while simultaneously being a truly powerful tool for creating intricate pieces of interactive fiction on most platforms you’d care to mention.”

For Indies, With Love: TIGA Releases a Guide to Self-Publishing (IndieGameMagazine)
“The TIGA Guide to Self-Publishing: Liberating the Developer is designed to help out with the business side of game publishing for the small developer. In their announcement, TIGA recognises the growing trend sparked by the growing opportunities for developers to release their games without a publisher, particularly in mobile gaming and the social media space.”

A DRP Picture’s Worth a Bunch of Words, Part 2 (Dejobaan Games)
“Continuing our discussion of our first-person arena shooter prototype Drunken Robot Pornography, we discuss here the abstract HUD and the power-ups that affect it and the player.”

Swordfight is Good Art (Mommy’s Best Devlog)
“The experience here is only possible because of a game. Photos or videos don’t do it justice. No amount of reading about it (don’t quit reading! :) or watching conveys the full experience, it must be played. Interaction being the defining distinction of games.”

Frictionless Feedback (Cliffski.com)
“One thing that a lot of companies don’t get is the importance of frictionless feedback.
All companies perpetuate the myth that they want to hear from customers. They pretend to value their feedback, and want to hear from them, regardless whether or not the feedback is good or bad. In very few cases is this really true. I’m not referring to actually abusive or threatening feedback, which obviously just gets binned.”

The Kickstarter Video Game Report – Week of May 4 (Zeboyd Games)
Shadowrun Returns finished up with a solid $1.836 million. Leisure Suit Larry finished with $655k. Yogventures! is up to $514k with 2 days left. Grim Dawn is almost funded with $256k ($280k goal) and 2 weeks left to go. Jane Jensen’s Moebius is up to $266k of its $300k goal with 2 weeks left. Republique is at $221k, about $100k more than they had last week, but unless something amazing happens, they’re not reaching $500k in the next week. Is snagging David Hayter and Jennifer Hale the miracle that will turn this kickstarter around? We’ll see this week.”

Luftrausers Devlog #1 (Vlambeer)
“LUFTRAUSER was about feeling like the coolest person in the world. You sat behind your computer but really you’re a pilot going 5 million miles an hour shooting enemies and making water splash up behind you and doing loopings all while smoking multiple cigarettes at once and reading the newspaper.  In the highly anticipated superlative sequel, we are bringing you more of that & we’re letting you do it your way. You will be able to get dirty and build your own RAUSER from the ground up. By destroying enemies, completing missions and all that you will unlock new parts. Parts come in 3 types: weapons, bodies and engine.”


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DevLinks: Across the Sea

Today’s DevLinks rounds up design musings, game updates, lovely art, and some excellent resources to refer to.