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

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Recoil Games struggles to fund ‘Rochard’ sequel

Recently, Recoil Games posted a rather spiffy video showing off some pre-production gameplay for the Rochard: Part 2, the possible sequel to last year’s sleeper gem Rochard.

Shortly after the original title dropped on the Playstation Network (following last year’s PSN Play promotion) the team at Recoil began work on Rochard’s next interstellar adventure. Sadly, a series of financial drawbacks put the brakes on the game’s development. As stated by Recoil, their woes began when the PSN Store got hacked, soon after that Rochard’s release date was postponed until late September; making layoffs inevitable. Luckily a small group went on to polish up and port the title further for its Steam and Mac App Store releases.

Recoil went on to state “When the game finally became available on the PSN Store on September 27th 2011, there was not enough buzz for it to sell despite it being IGN Editors’ Choice and getting other great awards. We had no funds to do any marketing ourselves, so there was no choice but to rush the PC version to Steam despite the bad market timing.”

As of now production on Rochard’s sequel is at a standstill while the company attempts to obtain some additional funding. They’ve also stated plans to release some DLC at some point (of which I will gladly buy). Recoil was able to slightly alleviate some of their financial difficulties by releasing their gravity defying puzzle-platformer both in the last Humble Bundle (Humble Indie Bundle 6) and in a physical boxed format. Hopefully things will begin looking shape up for these guys, as they set their sites towards Kickstarter and Indiegogo for funding, and with any luck we’ll all get to join Rochard and his kooky gang on another adventure.

If you haven’t checked out the first title and own a Playstation 3 or a computer capable of running I strongly recommend it. The gameplay is fast and fluid, the mechanics are far more than solid, the dialogue is witty, and above all: its one of the most fun titles I’d played last year (and still one of the best physics based puzzle-platformers I’ve played thus far).

You can find out more info and read Recoil’s devblog over at rochardthegame.com. And as always keep your sights set on IGM as we’ll surely keep track of this title’s progress.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Recoil Games struggles to fund ‘Rochard’ sequel


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‘Spelunky’ Adventures Start On Mac

Spelunky Splash

The roguelike platformer much loved by all who have come across it Spelunky has just been unofficially patched with Mac OS X support. For the longest time the much loved PC indie title Spelunky has eluded the Mac community, however thanks to the love of “Idyll” in a 1.3 version update Spelunky has finally reached a new platform.

The patch however is no small feat as Idyll had to convert the game’s source code from Game Maker 8 to Game Maker 7, in order to create the Mac port. The only drawback for the Mac adventurer is sadly the port does not support controllers innately, leaving Mac users trawling the depths of the internet in order to find suitable third party controller applications. It does of course support the use of keyboard much like the PC version, though many people swear by the use of a controller to get the most from the title.

For the small minority who have yet to enter the mysterious caves, Spelunky is a roguelike platforming adventure title with randomly generated content. This means much like a real adventurer you will always be entering the caves blind, and unraveling the mystery that is held within as you try to progress through this increasingly difficult title.
spelunky-pc-screen

Even though Spelunky made the leap to XBLA earlier this year (July), the PC community have continued to show much love for the original release, which released all the way back in 2009. With its own retro charm in the graphical choices made by Derek Yu  the PC version of Spelunky still holds a dear place in many gamers hearts and now with thanks to Idyll Mac users can also get in on this spelunking action.

Spelunky for both PC and Mac is 100% free to download, allowing you to adventure to your heart’s content. It can now be downloaded for Mac over on the TIG Forums here. If you are a PC user and love to adventure find the official site here. However if Xbox is your weapon of choice head over to the XBL marketplace and download Spelunky for 1 200 Microsoft Points, or try the demo.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Spelunky’ Adventures Start On Mac


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“Unashamedly Difficult” And ‘Starfox 64′ Inspired ‘Teletrooper’ Launches

Teletrooper has been in development for nearly 7 years! While it is unusual for a game of this sort to take that long, a lot of love and care went into Teletrooper, and it really shows.  Now that the game is done with its development cycle, the developers are unleashing Teletrooper to the public free of charge!

Teletrooper is no doubt something you’ve seen before, as the fast-paced shooter genre is quite popular. The game was inspired on the original Starfox 64, which was commonly known as a “rail shooter,” a very popular genre for its time. Teletrooper boasts of awesome giant mechanical bosses mixed with very fluid “nerve-wracking” combat that will easily immerse you into the game world. Packed with numerous of hours of fun content, many will be surprised that Teletrooper is entirely free without any hidden micro-transactions! Developers Adam Butcher and Ben Claxton have said that the game was purely made “out of love,” and that is why the game is free. With Teletrooper having so much action packed in it, it was hard to believe that it was free, and surely the Indie community will love the developers because of that.

While Teletrooper isn’t entirely unique in the shooter genre, the game does offer some different elements than what you would find in other games, such as a post-modern storyline to venture through.

If you’re interested in taking control of a fighter jet and causing masses amount of chaos in the game world, you can head on over to the Teletrooper website to grab the download on the PC. Teletrooper is also available on the Mac, but the developers suggest users that wish to play the game on the Mac use Boot Camp.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – “Unashamedly Difficult” And ‘Starfox 64′ Inspired ‘Teletrooper’ Launches


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Dev Links: Game Pointer

Want to get funding for your indie game?  One of today’s Developer Links addresses how to approach publishers, while another discusses what’s currently going on with indie games on Kickstarter… and in another, a developer explains why he doesn’t use Kickstarter himself.  Also, a look back at a famous indie game that was released two years ago and is still selling strong, and an indie developer shares some of her earliest, previously unpublished efforts…

Amnesia – Two Years Later (In The Games Of Madness)
“It has now passed a little more than two years since we launched Amnesia and one year since the last report, so time for another! One would think that there is perhaps not much to be said this long after release, especially for a single player game with no built-in social features. But the fact is that Amnesia is still going very strong and 2012 will probably be the best financial year here at Frictional Games, which we would never had expected two years ago.”

My Kickstarter Love/Hate (Cliffski.com)
“So kickstarter has raised a bazillion dollars for games. rejoice hurrah etc! I have a love/hate relationship with the idea. On the one hand, it’s awesome to see indie devs get games made that they didn’t have the money to make otherwise, as the alternative (gradually building up over time) took me about ten years to get to the standard of games most people know me for… On the other hand, it’s selling a dream, and a pretty unlikely and far-off dream at that.”

XNA-To-Unity: The Radiangames Method (Radiangames)
“Now with 4 full games ported to 2 major new platforms (iOS and PC/Mac), an all-new game based on the same XNA-based game structure, and another larger game on the way, I think I can say the transition was a success.  Many more XBLIG developers have made the transition from XNA to Unity, but some are still in the process or are only considering it still.  For them, and for others who prefer a more code-based game structure than Unity normally provides, I’m now going to share more details of my particular XNA-to-Unity path.”

What Publishers Want: 10 Tips For Getting Your Game Funded (Gamasutra)
“In such a competitive landscape, how does a developer possibly stand out when trying to land a deal a game publisher? Perfect World’s VP of business development John Young shares what he looks for in a pitch.”

Indie Tools: Blender (IndieGames.com)
“You may have already heard of Blender, the 3D open source suite, as an excellent option for creating 3D graphics and models. Well, that is definitely true. Blender is a 3D tool that actually makes sense for me (I successfully created an almost passable castle) and everyone seems to agree that is both powerful and pretty straightforward to use… The game creation advantages are pretty obvious, especially for artists and indie devs wanting to impress with shiny 3D stuff, but what really impressed me is the fact that Brender actually comes with a complete Game Engine.”

PAX 10! IndieCade! Freeplay! Oh My! (Cipher Prime)
PAX Prime was awesome! Big thanks to everyone that came out to see us! It was great meeting some of you for the first time and showing off Splice one-on-one with folks. If you missed out on PAX or weren’t able to stop by the booth, there’s a great write-up on the PAX10 over at Geek’sDreamGirl.”

kid stuff (AuntiePixelante)
“here’s some stuff outta history.”

The Video Game Kickstarter Report – Week Of September 14 (Zeboyd Games)
“The big new kickstarter for this week just started a few hours ago. It’s a new RPG from Obsidian Entertainment called Project Eternity. Goal of $1.1 million but they’re already up to $344k after a few hours so they probably will make it.  The game is designed to be a great homage to classic PC RPGs like Baldur’s Gate & Planescape: Torment and will feature the talents of Chris Avellone, Tim Cain, and Josh Sawyer.”

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


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The Chopping Block – ‘Shepherd Slaughter’ & ‘Zombie Football Carnage’

Disclaimer: These are not full reviews, and shouldn’t be treated as such. No final scores will be given, as these are extended opinions of a few hours of play at most, and may not give every aspect of the game a fair shake. Feel free to disagree, heckle, kvetch or even just discuss things reasonably in the handy comments section below.

Once more unto the breach. Another two lesser-known, budget-priced indie games snatched from the overflowing backlog, and put on The Chopping Block for dissection and, ultimately, judgement.

Today’s Targets: Shepherd Slaughter by Blindhack Software and Zombie Football Carnage by Milkstone Studios. Both are for Windows PCs only, and both carry an RRP of around $3-4. Both are also in the massive Indiefort Championship bundle, which is just entering its final day.

Shepherd Slaughter is a roguelike. You’ve got a magical macguffin to assemble, and bits of it have been scattered around a far-off land and hidden away in ten dungeons. You’ve got almost no equipment, just one life to do it in, and the entire continent is crawling with hundreds of monsters. Good luck!

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of roguelikes in general, whether they be traditionalist, action-oriented, 2D, 3D or anything inbetween. The core experience of delving into increasingly dangerous labyrinths and tunnels, seeking glory, loot and character progression is an addictive combination, and that’s largely what Shepherd Slaughter gets right. There’s the heart of a good game in here, but it’s wrapped in production values that do it no good at all.

I have nothing against ugly games, or even games without graphics at all. Brogue is a masterclass in design, showing that you can practically drown the player in useful, pertinent information without using a single sprite. Despite using animated sprite graphics, Shepherd Slaughter‘s main issue is that it conveys almost nothing clearly. The sprites themselves are crude beyond reason, almost reminiscent of the Atari 2600 era, where enemies were so abstract that the manual had to explain what you were even fighting. While it’s possible to learn what each enemy in this game looks like, it really takes a lot of time to clearly differentiate an Orc from a Goblin.

The other main issue with the game is the core combat engine is possibly a little too simple. Enemies tend to walk directly towards you, and you hit the button to swing your melee weapon (which looks like you’re just waggling it randomly in front of yourself) which knocks your enemy back and does damage. Then you do it again and again until it dies. Ranged combat is effectively identical, only with a projectile instead of a waving damage-field. There’s just no subtlety or weight to it. This isn’t helped by the apparent complete lack of sound effects. There’s some generic RPG adventurin’ tunes burbling away in the background, but not a single clanging sword or monster growl to be heard.

There’s some interesting extra elements, such as a survival/defense mode where you’re guarding a flock of sheep (hence the title), but even that’s a rather limited single-screen affair, and the building interface you’re given to help fence in your wooly friends is bare-bones at best. There’s some good concepts here – the world is large, the dungeons complex, and the environment destructible through the use of the right tools – but the crude graphics and awkward combat hurt it badly. So, moving on…

After several rounds of Zombie Football Carnage, I don’t think I’ve seen a single zombie. Sure, I’d killed mummies, robots, hellhounds, floating eyeballs, golems, dinosaur heads with motorcycle wheels and some other seriously weird creature designs, but not a single zombie, despite them featuring prominently on the box-art. Odd indeed.

Also odd is the choice of using an American Football theme on a very basic arena shooter. Any comparisons to the classic Mutant League Football are immediately crushed. The entire game is a wave-based survival shooter, where you run around the screen blatting increasingly tough sets of monsters using a homing, auto-targetting projectile football, which can be comboed into multiple rapid hits by tapping the fire button again just as the ball hits its mark. You also have a dodge move that lets you pass through enemy groups without harm, a charge attack that does close range AoE damage, and can pick up a variety of single-use offensive and defensive powerups.

The decision to have a global leaderboard is undermined by almost every design decision in the game itself. Enemy waves are randomly chosen, and the difficulty of them wildly varies depending on enemy types, with a horde of slow-moving melee enemies being a cakewalk, and a randomly spawning mob of projectile-spitting critters being almost impossible to avoid damage from. Item hand-outs are similarly random, and can either be game-winning or completely useless.

The final nail in the coffin for anything approaching a balanced scoreboard is the persistent upgrade store which lets you spend money accrued across all playthroughs to boost all your stats, weapon power levels and more. These are permanent, and without any penalty to score, no matter how much you grind, and no matter how much you repeat. The production values on this one are high, and the spritework is charming and imaginative, but Zombie Football Carnage really doesn’t seem to know what it’s trying to be.

At $4, Milkstone are probably asking for too much. The game is a refugee from the faltering Xbox Live Indie Games store, where it was originally priced at just a single dollar. Back on home turf, it had the likes of I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1 to compete with, and within the same price bracket. On the PC, you can get the likes of Alien Shooter 2 – a game which offers a modicum of depth on top of some cataclysmic monster-grinding carnage – for just a dollar more, and there’s a whole raft of polished Flash and Unity games that you can play for free on Newgrounds or Kongregate with more depth and smarter design.

The Verdict: Sad to say, but I just can’t recommend these two. In both cases, there are better games available both as freeware and commercial offerings. Shepherd Slaughter has a solid underlying design but is held back badly by the overly-simplistic art style and low production values all round, and while Zombie Football Carnage has great art and presentation the game itself is haphazardly thrown together. It feels like a quick attempt to push out a game on XBLIG – it might have been able to survive there, but not on PC. Keep an eye on IGM tomorrow for yet another game on… The Chopping Block.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – The Chopping Block – ‘Shepherd Slaughter’ & ‘Zombie Football Carnage’


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Expansion for ‘Loren the Amazon Princess’ Released

Loren Amazon Princess

After the success of ‘Loren the Amazon Princess’, developer Winter Wolves, has decided to expand upon the game, by releasing the expansion: The Castle of N’mar.

With the expansion, the core game is enriched with additional non-linear quests through unexplored lands and also with the introduction of several new playable characters. Brand new quests offer fresh insight into existing characters, and the multiple endings will ensure that one play through is simply not enough.


The story of The Castle of N’mar begins when Amazon scouts go missing while investigating disturbances in the haunted land of N’mar. All evidence points to the vampire-infested Castle of N’mar.  It falls to Loren and her companions to find out what is really going on within the land.

Sauzer, Mesphit, and Chambara from the original game are now playable. They each feature different combat behaviors and two pairs of them come with complete romance arcs which have the potential to change the main story: romance Chambara and Mesphit with either Saren or Elenor.

The Castle Of N’Mar is not the only new zone included with the expansion. Also included are the Catacombs, the Orcish Village, The Tomb Of Twilight, Cyclopes Hunting Grounds, The Haunted Mines and more, with new enemies and boss fights for each area.

The expansion also comes with additional tweaks and rebalances to provide a better gaming experience.

The Castle of N’mar requires ‘Loren the Amazon Princess’ to play. The game is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

A free demo is available on the official website, here.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Expansion for ‘Loren the Amazon Princess’ Released


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Run Your Own Prison In Introversion Software’s ‘Prison Architect’

Prison Architect is a new game being created by developer Introversion Software. It takes from a lot of games in terms of inspiration. You’ll be finding elements of the old classic Theme Hospital in Prison Architect, while you may also see some elements of the popular Dwarf Fortress in the game. Introversion Software is creating a very unique game, where you’ll be able to create your very own prison like you might create your own hospital in Theme Hospital. You’ll find a lot of similarities to Theme Hospital, which is very welcomed. Prisons will set on fire, prisoners will fight against the police, and much, much more. The game is in very early Alpha, so you won’t be finding an entire game full of content here, but instead you will be able to play the game as the developers add to it and watch Prison Architect grow and expand as time goes on.

Right now Introversion Software is offering an exclusive deal on the basis that you pre-order the game. Much like you would find on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, there are different reward levels of the game you can purchase. The first of these may just give you Alpha access to the game while the last reward may involve you helping design different characters in the game. Whatever level fits you, you should know that whatever you choose, you will be able to download the game on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Introversion Software has even promised to give you a Steam key.

Prison Architect has no set release date yet, so we may be waiting a long while for the official release. In the mean time, if you want to get in on the fun, getting an Alpha copy is highly worth it. If you’re wanting to get yourself a copy of the alpha, you can head on over to the Prison Architect website and browse the different pre-order or “reward” levels of the game.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Run Your Own Prison In Introversion Software’s ‘Prison Architect’


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Developer Moment Studios Releases ‘Skylight’, A Casual 3D Jumping Game

Earlier this year Bill Borman founded a brand new indie game studio known as Moment Studio, and as a result, has just released his first game, Skylight. This particular game is a platformer where you will jump on randomly generated platforms in a desperate attempt to get back to where you belong, which happens to be in space. The cool thing about Skylight is that you will never experience anything repetitive in levels. It’s all randomly generated, so every time you start a new game, you can expect to have a new challenge to face.

The music in Skylight is a major part of the game. Borman has created his very own sounds and music for Skylight as opposed to the average developer who would hire someone else to did it for them. With that said, due to the unique and creative music alone, it’s definitely at least worth checking out the demo of this new title. All of that aside, after many long hours of hard labor, Borman has finally released his game for only $2.50 on his company’s website for both Windows and Mac. He’s really created something unique for a very low price, and I for one, will be checking out the game.

It’s an interesting concept, actually. You jump from platform to platform, until you — of course — fall off and die. Think of it as Doodle Jump, which you may have played on iOS or Android, except in 3D format. Reaching high scores is always fun too, which along with the music, may also be a driving element of the game.

Any thoughts on this specific title?

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Developer Moment Studios Releases ‘Skylight’, A Casual 3D Jumping Game


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Dev Links: Cloth Cover

Microtransaction monetization, vector fields, and different ways to create loops in a programming language might not be some of the first things that come to mind concerning indie games, but they are topics that indie developers might have to deal with—and today’s Developer Links have got you covered.  (Rest assured there are articles about less esoteric matters, too.)

Steam Greenlight: Developers Speak Out (Gamasutra)
“Steam Greenlight launched last week to a huge influx of entries. If you follow many indie developers on Twitter, you will have no doubt seen your fair share of both love and hate for the initiative. Crowds of developers happy to get their game closer to being on the system were buffeted by tides of frustration at Greenlight’s shortcomings. Now that things have started to settle down, Gamasutra looked to grasp the general feeling among developers: is Greenlight good news for the indie scene? Will it actually help consumers show Valve which games they want on Steam, or is it yet another database to throw your game into and then never see any real good come out of it?”

What Topiary Should I Put On Top Of The New Courtyard Map? (SpyParty)
“The true purpose of this post is to test the new CAPTCHA system I installed, after getting sick of reCAPTCHA letting in 40 spam comments a day.1 So, if you’ve never commented on the blog before, please chime in below so I can test that it works.  If you have commented before, then you shouldn’t notice anything different and shouldn’t see the CAPTCHA.  Edit: it looks like the new CAPTCHA works fine, thanks everybody!  The ostensible purpose of this post is to brainstorm what topiary shape should go on top of the center pillar in the new experimental Courtyard map, pictured here:”

C/C++ Low Level Curriculum Part 9: Loops (AltDevBlogADay)
“This post covers the 3 built-in looping control structures whiledo-while, and for as well as the manual if-goto loop (old school!); as usual, we look in some detail at the assembly generated by the compiler looks like. Did I forget about the new range-based-for loop that was added in the C++11 standard? Nope. If you have access to a C++11 compliant compiler you’re more than welcome to look at that yourself – think of it as homework…”

Next Generation Monetization: Supremacy Goods (Gamasutra)
“Is your microtransaction-based game set up for failure or success? Consultant and writer Ramin Shokrizade discusses a new class of goods that is likely to damage the health of your user base — and in this article, posits rules for goods as well as taking a hard look at how some games function.”

The One Hundred Dollar Question (Jonas Kyratzes)
“It all began when Valve announced that Greenlight, the vote-based submission system for Steam, would now come with a $100 price tag for developers. The money wouldn’t go to Valve, but to a popular (with gamers) charity called Child’s Play; the point of the fee was not to enrich Valve, but to stop all the bogus and unprofessional submissions that were flooding the system. A few developers said ‘$100 is a lot for some people.’ Then all hell broke lose, and my understanding of the indie scene was permanently altered.”

The Art of Journey Available For Preorder (thatgamecompany)
“Good news, everyone! The Art of Journey is finally up for pre-order at Bluecanvas!  The first 750 orders get copies that are signed by both Jenova Chen and Matt Nava!  Signed copies are still available, but they’ll likely run out quickly.”

A Data-Oriented, Data-Driven System For Vector Fields – Part 1 (Bitsquid)
“A vector field is a function that assigns a vector value to each point in 3D space. Vector fields can be used to represent things like wind (the vector field specifies the wind velocity at each point in space), water, magnetism, etc. To me, wind is the most interesting use case. I want a system that can be used for physics (trees, tumble weed, paper cups), particles (leaves, sparks, smoke) and graphics (grass). I also want the system to be capable of handling both global effects (wind blowing through the entire level) and local effects (explosions, air vents, landing helicopters, rising hot air from fires, etc). But I don’t want to limit the system to only handling wind. I imagine that once the system is in place, it could be put to other interesting uses as well.”

Super Hexagon Launch Week Roundup (distractionware: devblog)
“So, er, wow. So much has happened that I don’t really know where to start, but here goes. Super Hexagon has been an absolutely huge success – both critically and commercially.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Cloth Cover


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‘SmashBox’ Is A Game, Presumably About Boxes That You Smash.

A Jolly Corpse, the diabolical madmen behind the upcoming puzzle platformer Wyv and Keep have been hard at work on another game: SmashBox. All of the info we have on the game is contained in the trailer down below:

The following is an attempt to sum up everything in the trailer, in case the buttons on your mouse somehow stopped working as soon as you started reading this article, and you can’t click on it to watch it yourself:
SmashBox is a game about a pink haired protagonist in a robot suit who hates boxes for some reason and feels a burning need to smash them all, but there are green radioactive boxes that you can’t smash, because who wants to touch radioactive waste? Certainly not our dapper young protagonist of indeterminate gender; s/he knows that radiation never leads to anything good, even if you’re using your robot fists to punch it out of a box with a trefoil on it. The game also involves a good deal of running and jumping to avoid said radioactive boxes as well as other dangers like TNT boxes, purple slime, spinning gears and falling platforms spread throughout the game’s 100+ levels. All of this is set to a killer techno soundtrack by Luke Thomas, who also did music for Landa-a Panda, Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape and A Jolly Corpse’s own upcoming Wyv and Keep.

That the description I gave in the last paragraph sounds… ridiculous, to put it politely, should in no way read as being dismissive of the game since it looks like a well made piece of classic, bang-your-head-against-the-wall-hard platforming in the vein of indie darlings Super Meat Boy or Spelunky. Not that I’m comparing it to them directly, mind you, it just seems to be going for a similar difficulty curve.

SmashBox is out now for PC, and coming soon to Mac/Linux and sells for $2.99

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘SmashBox’ Is A Game, Presumably About Boxes That You Smash.