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

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‘Genix’ And ‘Hypoxia’ Set To Appear At Eurogamer Expo

It’s always a nice surprise when an indie game studio appears out of nowhere with games nearing completion and a good head on their shoulders. Xpod Games know that just having a game almost finished is only the beginning to being a successful studio. While it is a major step, if no one knows about your game then how will they purchase it? With that in mind, Xpod Games had a brilliant idea; what better way is there to promote your games and studio then to show off not just one, but two very different titles at this year’s Eurogamer Expo.

The first of two games is a retro style arcade shooter and puzzler that showcases a 3D projected line-art style by the name of Genix. The game is set to come with online multiplayer with LAN functionality as well as a level editor for added replayability to make those retro gamers happy. Genix is set to be released on the PC on the first week of October and then on XBLA a few weeks later.

Hypoxia on the other hand is a complete 180 from Genix. A dark 3D action survival horror game platformer where you take the role of a maintenance technician named Vex. Wrapped up in a sinister plot to absorb her existence (whatever that means), you must escape from hell and confront the nemesis before you are trapped forever. Your only weapon is a device that allows Vex to shift between dimensions, hopefully allowing her to escape with her life. Hypoxia is set for a Christmas release this year.

Those heading to the Eurogamer expo will have the chance to talk to the team at their booth in the Rezzed quarter. There you will be able to get a hands on with playable  builds of both of Xpod’s upcoming titles. You can also keep up to date on any news on Xpod Games at their website.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Genix’ And ‘Hypoxia’ Set To Appear At Eurogamer Expo


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‘FortressCraft’ Dev Suffers DDoS Attack On ‘Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition’ Launch Day

FortressCraft

Adam Sawkins, lead developer of FortressCraft, has called the police after a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack was carried out on FortressCraft.com on May 9th – the launch day of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition.

Since FortressCraft launched on the Xbox Live Indie Game marketplace, Adam has been exposed to a number of negative remarks due to the game’s similarities to Minecraft causing it to be labelled a clone on many occasions. This is a label that Adam has rejected and fought against ever since. Despite the flak, FortressCraft has risen to the very top of the sales chart for XBLIG and has recently been surpassed in total sales by another Minecraft similar, Total Miner.

Yesterday, the negativity against FortressCraft grew to a new height when the game’s official website was overloaded and is still offline due to the DDoS attack. Not long after, Adam took to Twitter where he made it clear that he believed the attack was planned by parts of the Minecraft community – this tweet being the most revealing:

“Aaaand, the FortressCraft website’s being DDOSd. Fuck you and your ‘community’, @Notch”

Since then, Adam revealed to Eurogamer that he has actually gone so far as to call the police about the attack claiming that, under British law, the police can play role in this as hacking in any form is treated very seriously and as it is a business site that is the victim, there is a potential loss of earnings.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Adam is also not a fan of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, claiming that “4J [Studios] had no budget restrictions, unfettered access to Microsoft, and a solid, world-class game as a template, and still managed to ship a game with a tiny world, no working skins, and no dedicated servers – and even that was a port of a 14 month old snapshot of the MC source base.”

Despite those setbacks, Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition seems to have gone on to become one of the top selling XBLA titles of all time, the leaderboards boasting at least 600,000 players in the first 24 hours of the game’s launch. Markus “Notch” Persson also tweeted that the game was profitable in just one hour.

You can purchase FortressCraft from the XBLIG marketplace as well as Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition – you can decide which one, if not both, to try out for yourselves.


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One More For The Road – The Little Big Bunch Launches

As previously reported, there’s one last big bundle due this year. While it was clear that it would end up in direct competition with the Indie Royale, nobody could have guessed that it would be happening just a day after the fourth ‘core’ Humble Indie Bundle. Today, Eurogamer/Get Games’ entry into this indie bargain festival begins – the Little Big Bunch, in conjunction with the GamesAid charity initiative. Five good-to-great Windows PC games for whatever you want to pay (minimum $1.50, though) – gameplay trailers and thoughts on the full lineup after the break.


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These Robotic Hearts Of Mine: Alan Hazelden Interview [Eurogamer Expo]

At Eurogamer Expo 2011, I borrowed developer Alan Hazelden, creator of These Robotic Hearts Of Mine, away from the Indie Arcade, so I could prod his brain about what’s going on in his delightful, strange, abstract puzzle game. Here’s what he had to say for himself:

DIYgamer: You’ve been showing your game off at the Indie Arcade, how’s the response been so far?

Hazelden: Yeah, it’s been really positive, which is somewhat surprising. A lot of people seem to really get into in, and try to solve as many levels as they can, and solve them in as few clicks as they can.

DIYgamer: It is quite compelling. It’s nice that you tell people “you’ve failed to do it in as few clicks as possible”.

Hazelden: People seem to get slightly annoyed by that.

DIYgamer: It’s the chart that shows you right? How does that work?

Hazelden: Yeah, it shows a graph of how many clicks everyone else did it in, so you can see if you’re better or worse.

DIYgamer: The game itself is an abstract puzzle game, with storytelling kind of hidden in the puzzles really.

Hazelden: Yeah, so it’s got a narrative running through it, and I’m trying to express the same story both in the pieces of text between the levels, and in the puzzles themselves.

DIYgamer: At the moment, it’s running on PC, but it seems like it would work pretty well on a variety of other platforms?

Hazelden: So at the moment it is just a flash game. I would like to make it for iOS, technical issues aside: if that’s possible.

DIYgamer: The sound is quite an important part of it, I saw some people playing it without headphones on and thought “They really need to put the headphones on”. What kind of atmosphere are you trying to create with that?

Hazelden: I’m just trying to create a dark, foreboding, impending doom vibe. The start of the story is very light and lovely and happy, but towards the end it’s all gone wrong. I kind of want to set that sense up from the very beginning.

DIYgamer: You did a 24 hour beta a while ago, how much has changed since that build.

Hazelden: Pretty much the latter half of the game is completely new. I wasn’t that happy with the ending of that version, so I basically went back to the drawing board, wrote the story I wanted to tell, and then wrote a whole bunch of levels to fit that new story.

DIYgamer: And how close to done do you think it is?

Hazelden: It is basically done. I did a final push for the Eurogamer Expo, and I’m surprisingly happy with everything I’ve got at the moment. So, yeah, I think the game is done, so it’s just a case of finding sponsorship so I can get it released.

DIYgamer: So what kind of timeframe can people expect to be able to play it?

Hazelden: A month or two?

DIYgamer: Thank you very much

Hazelden: Thank you.

[Draknek]

Listen to the interview here!

Gameplay video


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At A Distance: Terry Cavanagh Interview [Eurogamer Expo]

Photo credit: Mike Nowak

Continuing on with our Eurogamer Expo coverage (even after the event is done!) we’ve got quite the large build up of indie interviews. To kick things off, we decided to start with none other than Terry Cavanagh to talk about his new game At A Distance.

DIYGamer: So, I’ve seen your new game, At A Distance, and one thing I was a little confused about: Is it a game you are going to let people buy and have, or is it just going to be an exhibition game?

Cavanagh: I don’t know, I haven’t made a decision about that. But the game doesn’t make sense outside of a very particular setup. This is still something I need to work out, and I’m not going to do anything with the game until I do.

DIYGamer: What kind of reactions have you been seeing? It seems like a lot of the game takes place in the conversations people are having.

Cavanagh: Yeah, a lot of the game takes place outside of the machine. So how people get on to with the game basically comes down to how well they communicate with each other. Something I’m finding is that people who know each other quite well get further than people who are strangers.

DIYGamer: It looks kind of crazy. There’s all the FPSs that look the same as each other, with a huge amount of money, but you’ve managed to use mostly just two colours at once, and you could instantly pick At A Distance out of a line up.

Cavanagh: I’ve been messing around with this particular style for a while. There are people in the indie community who did similar stuff along these lines which I found really beautiful and inspirational, and I wanted to take that in my own direction. Sparky did this gorgeous black and white FPS thing, Farbs did something similar.

DIYGamer: You said that there is something you’ve not seen people find yet?

Cavanagh: Yeah, there’s something in the game that relates to the game’s story that very few people have picked up on – but that’s fine, I’m happy for people to take what they want from it. It’s supposed to be quite subtle, but maybe it’s too subtle.

DIYGamer: Any clues?

Cavanagh: Sure, it’s part of the game that seems like misinformation when you first play, but it’s actually just not relevant until the end. But by the time people people have played all the way through, they’ve gotten into such a routine that they just go all the way through it and miss it.

DIYGamer: Thanks!

We’ll have more interviews throughout the week. Stay tuned!

[Distractionware]


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Joe Danger: The Movie: Eurogamer Expo Impressions

Joe Danger is back: And this time he’s in a movie! Joe Danger: The Movie is the sequel to the 2010 PSN outbreak hit, Joe Danger, from UK indie studio Hello Games. From what I’ve seen so far, fans of the first are going to very pleased with what they have in store for us with the sequel. Here’s my hands on impressions from Eurogamer Expo 2011.

The original Joe Danger saw the somewhat washed-up stuntman rebuilding his reputation as the greatest stuntman alive, and it looks like all his hard work has paid off, because now he’s got a movie deal. This time round the game takes place on the set of the greatest action movie never made, with Joe in the lead role. Whether it’s arctic-espionage missions, or runaway minecarts, you can expect plenty of classic movie style scene’s being re-enacted in brightly coloured sidescrolling platformer style.

Following the success of their first release, Hello Games have tooled up from a team of four to a team of ten, and it seems like the amount of content in the levels has increased by a similar proportion. I saw cities full of crosstown traffic, giant robots in the background, enemy skiers throwing bombs at your from the background. Everything is as bright and as bold, and filled with bright colours, and there has been a notable bump in graphical quality.

But the big new standout feature is the mix of different vehicles. In the first game, our Joe was motorbike-bound, but now he can use a wide variety of vehicles, all with their own physics and control nuances, but using the same basic control layout. New vehicles that we’ve seen so far include a Minecart, Skis, a snowmobile, Jetpack, and instead of his old stuntbike, there’s a policebike.

The different vehicles shift the emphasis between different style of challenge, where the Jet Pack is much like constantly boost jumping in the original. You can switch between the different vehicles mid-track too.

It’s all looking fantastic so far. It’s packed plenty of new features and ideas, and I can’t wait to see what else they come up with..

Check back later for my interview with Hello’s head-honcho, Sean Murray, and see our review of the original game here.

[Hello Games]


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Terry Cavanagh’s At A Distance: Eurogamer Expo Impressions

Terry Cavanagh is back to break your brain again, albeit in the nicest possible way. Rather than tough as nails 2D platforming, like the fabulous VVVVVV, At A Distance is an asymmetric two player first person puzzler, with platforming elements, and it’s a little bit confusing.

At A Distance is a game of two sides, where one player is a small person inside a set of puzzle cubes, and the other is a big person, who gets to arrange the puzzle cubes for the small player. Hidden inside certain puzzle cubes are keys, which the small player has to collect, which in turn lets the big player access new areas, and find new puzzle cubes. The workload when it comes to puzzle solving is fairly even shared between both players, and without good communication neither player would be able to work out what’s going on, never mind find solutions.

Around half of the game is what you do on screen, and the other half is communication with your partner. Once both players have got to grips with the basics, the level of language required to effectively work together is actually fairly simple: It’s mostly going to be sharing information like colours, directions and descriptions of puzzle cubes.

Rather than using standard polygons and textures, At A Distance has a pointillism-esque array of rasterised pixels. It really stands out visually: I don’t think you could mistake this for any other game. All the components of the levels are relatively rudimentary and blocky, but Terry’s knack for efficient and economic level design is back in full force, as he manages to conjure several really impactful areas, just with simple constituent parts. There’s a few hints to perhaps a bit of storytelling, rather than just the mostly contextless puzzle solving the game feels like for the majority of the time, but there wasn’t anything concrete I could decern from my playtime.

I’d love to go into more detail about some of the clever tricks waiting for you in At A Distance, but half of the joy is in discovering them yourselves. Towards the end of the section I played, there’s a nice little subversion of the traditional first person jumping puzzle. Clever stuff.

I’ll be speaking to Terry later on during the Expo to find out more.

[Distractionware]

Trailer


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Waves: Eurogamer Expo Impressions

The neon twin stick shooter’s renaissance continues, as UDK-powered spherical arena shooter – Waves – blasts onto the PC. Squid in a box had the latest build of Waves on display at Eurogamer Expo’s Indie Arcade, for all to see. I spent some time with it (and clocked up the highest score at the Expo!) and here’s what I think so far:

The first thing I noticed about waves is just how slick it is. The HUD, sound, graphics and animation are all fantastically put together. Waves is entering a highly competitive field, with dozens of high quality shooters in this vein having came out in the last few years, but the visual polish on display here is easilly in the “best in category” range. If you like shiny neon againsnt a black backdrop, you’re in for a real treat.

The enemy placement and movement patterns seems dead set on surround you with baddies from all sides, squeezing you into tiny deathtraps as they close in on you. It’s intense, but very satisfying when you slip out of a ring of enemies closing in on you, then take them all out in a few seconds when they converge on your previous position. If it all get a bit too hectic, a click of the right mouse button temporary slows everything down, giving you a moment to catch a breathe.

Using WASD for movement and the mouse for 360 degree aiming gives you a nice freedom of movement and really precise aiming. You get an aiming cursor, and a line to show you current aiming trajectory. I’m sure it will work well with a controller too, but unlike some similar shooters, I didn’t feel at all hamstrung by using keyboard and mouse.

There’s quite a few clever enemies. There’s the usual assortment of lesser threats and cannon fodder, mixed in with a few more dangerous nasties. You’ll definately want to watch out for the massive cube, he’s a bit of a bastard. He can only move vertically and horizontally, and has slightly delayed reactions, but once he’s got you in he line of sights, he can move really quickly. The hive-like hexagons are one’s to watch for too, as they multiply over time, taking up more and more space on the level.

It’s all highly entertaining stuff, and one go was just not enough. I’ve only played one of the five different game modes so far, but if twin stick shooters are up your street, then Waves looks like it ticks every box.

Waves is due out by the end of the year, and it’ll be purchasable direct from squidinabox.com, and from Steam.

[Waves]

Trailer


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DIYGamer at Eurogamer! Also a New Writer! And Other Stuff!

Eurogamer has officially kicked off today (actually quite a few hours ago, but I’m on the West Coast of the United States…) and, once again, we are there on hand to catch all the awesome indie action. Which leads me to my next point…

Considering most of us are actually located in the US, we’ve decided to bring on a new writer to handle not only awesome gaming events like Eurogamer, but to also give European indies a more localized voice in everything that’s going on over there.

So it’s my pleasure to announce DIYGamer’s newest editor: Lewie Procter. Those of you who are fans of SavyGamer.co.uk will know of Lewie from there. He’s also an established columnist for Rock Paper Shotgun (everybody’s favorite PC-gaming blog) and Eurogamer. So please welcome him with open arms. We hope he’ll be a part of the DIY family for a long time.

Finally, we’ve got some big stuff planned for just around the corner. We’re not showing anything off yet, but we’ve got a big redesign coming next month which we think will completely change the perspective of the site. It’ll also include some other things which I’m sure everybody will get a kick out of. Again, no spoilers, but the plan is to slowly become more than just a blog… we’re aiming to become a one stop location for indie game fans.

Enough teasing… first Eurogamer articles are coming in today!

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