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

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IGM’s Relaunched YouTube Channel: Here’s the Plan

Hey everyone, Vinny (@Vincent_Parisi) here. So clearly some stuff transpired while I was asleep last night, and I want to clarify a few things about what we’re doing with the IGM YouTube channel. I’m not..

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – IGM’s Relaunched YouTube Channel: Here’s the Plan


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Eldritch Review

Eldritch is a game that manages to combine the thick, oppressive dread of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos with the retro visuals of Minecraft while managing to sustain an identity all its own. Don’t make..

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Eldritch Review


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‘UnReal World’ RPG Is Going Free-To-Play Later This Month

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UnReal World is a roguelike RPG in which you take the role of an adventurer during the late Iron Age in a randomly generated world inspired by ancient Finland. In a world rich with northern folklore, the player becomes a member of one of nine different cultures and creates their own story of discovery and survival.

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UnReal World by Enormous Elk was originally released in 1992, but the team behind it still saw tremendous potential with the system already in place. The game was completely re-written in 1994 as UnReal World version 2.00b. Since then, the game has been continually receiving updates for the last 19 years.

This month, February of 2013, UnReal World will be switching from its current model of pricing to a donation based one. In the past they have given the option to purchase just the current version or buy a subscription to all of the versions. Instead, all of the versions will be free and fans will be able to support the developers with donations.

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The new update will also be adding features such as a completely new item selection dialog which will allow the selecting multiple items, item filtering and listing of  non-player items in groups. Commands for filling containers, eating, drinking and other tasks are more smoothly integrated and hunger is being implemented into the animals so that they react out of their own need for survival.

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Based on the way so many indies gain their community through their game’s beta phase, it would make sense for us to see more games adopt UnReal World‘s model of constantly receiving updates as long as developers are able to support themselves with it. You can purchase a copy now or keep up with the updates on UnReal World‘s official website.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘UnReal World’ RPG Is Going Free-To-Play Later This Month


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Notch’s Latest: ’0×10^c’ Test Footage Released

If you haven’t heard of Minecraft by now, and are on this website or the internet in general, I really don’t have any clever jokes or even insults that could capture my disbelief. It’s creator, Notch, is currently working on an even more ambitious project. It is a science fiction game called 0×10^c

The first real footage of 0×10^c to be released is a compilation of tests. These tests show off some pretty impressive features for the game  when compared to it’s predecessor. It shows us it’s rope physics, dynamic lighting, and a computer. There are also bobble effects and material physics that seem to affect how easily a player can move on them. And that’s pretty much all there is to the video.

The game’s website features a full list of features, which you can read below.

  • Lots of engineering.
  • Fully working computer system.
  • Space battles against the AI or other players.
  • Abandoned ships full of loot.
  • Duct tape!
  • Seamlessly landing on planets.
  • Advanced economy system.
  • Random encounters.
  • Mining, trading, and looting.
  • Single and multi player connected via the multiverse.

Of those listed, I am most interested in the economy system. Tell us in the IGM forums what you look forward to most about 0×10^c!

Notch plans to use an alpha funding system similar to the one used with Minecraft, though multiplayer will likely be subscription based. The game is not yet ready for purchase, but by the looks of things it is coming along quite nicely.

If you haven’t already, you can follow Notch on Twitter or visit the game’s website here.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Notch’s Latest: ’0×10^c’ Test Footage Released


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Re-Logic Unveil First Video Of ‘Terraria’ Console Port

Terraria image 01

Earlier today Re-Logic published their first video of the new Terraria port coming to consoles. The video has been put up exclusively for the fans who are following them on Facebook but will be published more publicly as the day goes on.

Terraria is a 2D side scrolling adventure game with construction elements that resemble Minecraft on a very basic level, but deviate much more. Terraria is more focused on exploring and adventuring then Minecraft with the ability to fight a whole host of monsters along with many unique and difficult bosses. The 2D side scrolling elements do resemble the classic Castlevania games, always a good game to model any game on.

Terraria has already been a massive sensation on the PC selling over 1.6 million units and after only playing the game for a short time it is easy to see why. The lure of exploration and RPG esque elements allowing you to better equip yourself via random drops to improve your chances to actually beating the increasingly more difficult bosses that you will encounter.

Terraria image 02

Re-Logic really did hit a gold mine crossing the creative elements of Minecraft with the adventure state found in classic 2D side scrollers making this hybrid, which is just great fun. With the ability to play co-op with your friends it really makes Terraria a fantastic game, soon to be available on your favourite consoles.

The Video shows a lot of the gameplay that has already been established within Terraria after the numerous updates, however at the end it does indeed hint that the console versions will include new content that has yet to be released on the PC version. The video released on the Facebook group page can be found here, so judge for yourself. I am greatly anticipating the wave of new players for this awesome little title from a fantastic studio.

For all the latest news as it breaks be sure to check back to The Indie Game Magazine or follow us on twitter @indiegamemag

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Re-Logic Unveil First Video Of ‘Terraria’ Console Port


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Minecraft Update: New Mobs (Part 1)

Wow, have there been a lot of new changes and updates to Minecraft recently! For all of you who do not know, Mojang has been releasing “Snapshots” of Minecraft, which have some of the features that the anticipated next full update, the “Pretty Scary” update, will have. So, in this article, I will cover some of the new, not so scary mobs that Minecraft 1.4 will have.

The Wither Boss

First of all, as you now know, Mojang has added some new, exciting mobs to the game. These include the new, ominously-named “Wither” boss. The Wither boss can be currently crafted through the use of 4 blocks of Soul Sand, and 3 Wither Heads on top of the blocks, similar to how Snowmen are spawned, but with different materials. When spawned, the Wither boss has reduced health, however, it begins to flash and regenerate health (above picture). While it is regenerating, you cannot attack it, and the Wither boss itself cannot move, so it is recommended that you move away as fast as possible, so you can prepare for battle. When the Wither boss has finished, it creates a large explosion, and begins to take off in the air. While in the air, the Wither boss launches explosive projectiles which look similar to its own heads. These cause large explosions (a well-aimed blast can instantaneously kill a player in full diamond armour), and make it very difficult for the player to even approach the Wither boss. To add to your troubles, the Wither boss also regenerates over time, so even many well-aimed bow shots cause little or, over time, no damage whatsoever. As well, when you are hit by the Wither boss, your health indicators turn black, so you have no idea what your health level is at.  But, such a hard battle must have a reward, right? The Ender Dragon battle commemorated your achievement with a simply amazing poem, so the Wither boss should have something good in store, also. In this case, when the Wither boss is killed, it drops a Nether Star. The Nether Star can craft new items called Beacons, which will be discussed later in this series.

Quick Facts

  • Has 150 hearts health
  • First appeared in Snapshot 12w36a
  • Has an attack strength of 7 hearts in Hard mode
  • Cannot be created by pistons
  • Can shoot special blue Wither Heads which can destroy any block in the game, except for Bedrock

Wither Skeleton

The next new mob that Mojang has added is called the Wither Skeleton. This mob can only spawn in the Nether, and specifically only in Nether fortresses. They are very similar to regular Skeletons, but their color makes it easy to identify them otherwise. The Wither Skeletons also wield a stone sword, but nevertheless, they are very powerful. Wither Skeletons can cause 12 hearts worth of damage, and they can cause a “Wither” effect to your health bar. This means that you will, like when battling the Wither boss, not be able to accurately tell how much health you have. After you have taken out the Wither Skeleton, it commonly drops 0-1 coal, or 0-2 bone. Rarely, however, it will drop a Stone Sword, or a Wither Head. The Stone Sword is not so valuable, but the Wither Head can be used as one of the three required to spawn the Wither Boss.

Quick Facts

  • Only spawns in Nether Fortresses or in Creative, through the use of Spawn Eggs
  • When hit by the Wither Skeleton on Normal or Hard, the health bar will have a “Wither” health effect for 10 seconds
  • Is 2 full blocks tall
  • The Wither Skeletons are bigger than normal skeletons, yet have about the same amount of health
  • The drop rate for a Wither Head is 1/40 or 2.5%, which is similar to other rare drops
Conclusion
Stay tuned for the next part of this series, where we discuss the new, scary “Witch” and “Bat” mobs. As well, what new mobs should Minecraft develop? Leave a reply in the comments below.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Minecraft Update: New Mobs (Part 1)


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Markus “Notch” Persson Would Rather Have ‘Minecraft’ Not Run On Windows 8 Than “Play Along”

Notch

Nothing like some good ol’ drama to get the internets a goin’ this late at night! Recently Markus “Notch” Persson, mastermind behind the hit indie game Minecraft, took to Twitter to voice his concerns with Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system. Notch stated the he “Got an email from Microsoft  wanting to help “certify” Minecraft for Windows 8. I told them to stop trying to ruin the PC as an open platform.” Ouch.

That makes it 2 for game developers, 0 for Microsoft. If you remember, one of the first critics of Windows 8 was Valve’s founder Gabe Newell when he stated that Windows 8 “Is Kind of a catastrophe”, earlier this year. Valve is now going as far as citing one of the big reasons why they’re supporting Linux is because they’re preparing for the possible downfall once Windows 8 lands.

Notch went on to state that “I’d rather have Minecraft not run on Windows 8 at all than to play along. Maybe we can convince a few people not to switch to Windows 8 that way..” Big words coming from the mind behind the most successful indie game to date.

What do you guys think? Is too early in the game to say whether or not Windows 8 will hurt the PC gaming industry? Personally, I feel these developers have a lot more insider knowledge than we do, and I’m gonna take their word for it. After all, I’ve never been F’d in the A when it comes to Minecraft or Steam…

I’m looking at you Windows Update….

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Markus “Notch” Persson Would Rather Have ‘Minecraft’ Not Run On Windows 8 Than “Play Along”


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Tekknically Speaking: Emergent Economies and Minecraft Mods

Minecraft Multiplayer servers are a great way for amateur designers to practice their hobby.  Thanks to the mod platform Bukkit, server operators are able to add all kinds of interesting features to Minecraft gameplay, like MMORPG levels, character classes, magic, shops, political factions, worldwide money, among many, many other things.  The potential combinations and configurations of various mods are countless, and so the player experience from one server to another can be very different.  Beneath it all, however, there’s a common theme that supports all these different servers: emergent gameplay.  Professional game designers work hard at their craft, spending thousands of hours on a single game.  Amateurs on Minecraft servers can’t hope to compete with that when creating a unique experience, but a lot of the time they don’t have to.  Built into the way Minecraft works are design features that have a kind of chain reaction effect.  The server operator chooses some mods, configures them, and then the players take over.  The players react to the dynamic Minecraft environment in creative ways, and their reactions cause other reactions, and so forth.  The result is called emergent gameplay because it emerged from general game design conditions rather than being specifically planned out by the designer.  What’s interesting about Minecraft servers in particular is that the emergent gameplay very often develops into various game versions of real-world economies.

Most servers have a set of mods (usually referred to as “plugins”) that, rather than being fun, are there to help the server run smoothly.  There are many reasons why a server might lag, but two common problems are that either the map is too big, and the server takes forever to load it, or that the players are occupying space in a way that taxes the server especially hard.  Minecraft’s engine only generates interactive blocks within a certain radius of each player, and “hides” the blocks that nobody is looking at, to save computing power. If two players are sharing the same space, the server running Minecraft has to do fewer calculations, because players are “looking” at the same thing.

If every player is occupying a separate space, then the server has to do more calculations, and it has to remember.  No matter how powerful the server, the game can become quite laggy in huge maps where players are able to roam too far.  To address this, one common solution server operators use limit the size of their worlds, to encourage people to occupy many of the same spaces.  This also has the peripheral benefit of making multiplayer more interesting, as players will more often have to interact with each other.

The interesting thing about the world size limits is the impact they have on the emergent economy of multiplayer Minecraft.  Without an infinite world to explore, the mines of a server can run dry pretty quickly.  There’s not much a player can do without these mined resources in Minecraft.  Server operators know this, and they’ve implemented many different strategies to make sure that players don’t get bored and/or they don’t have to create new worlds too frequently.  Amazingly, three of the most popular plugin setups result in three different economic philosophies from the real world.

[This Content is Exclusive for Insider]

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Tekknically Speaking: Emergent Economies and Minecraft Mods


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Issue 25 of the Indie Game Magazine is Available Now

Check out a brand new issue of IGM! This issue features the review of the gorgeous XBox Live Summer of Arcade game, Dust: An Elysian Tale. There’s also a large feature and interview with Indie Studio, Island Officials and a new design column that focuses on Minecraft. Other articles include coverage of Orcs Must Die 2, Deponia, Knytt Underground, Awesomenauts, Dyad, Unmechanical, Under the Ocean, Edmund McMillen’s Basement Collection and more. Stay up to date with all the latest indie game news by grabbing this issue of the indie game magazine.

All of our old print issues prices have been slashed and are still on sale!  Now is a great time to get old issues in print at a great price!
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Issue 25: September 2012

Indie Game Magazine: Issue 25: September 2012

Check out a brand new issue of IGM! This issue features the review of the gorgeous XBox Live Summer of Arcade game, Dust: An Elysian Tale. There’s also a large feature and interview with Indie Studio, Island Officials and a new design column that focuses on Minecraft. Other articles include…

Find out more on MagCloud

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If you have an iPhone/iPad, you can grab our App for Free and download individual issues.  You can buy future issues or get a subscription from right within the App.  Plus the app allows us to embed some sweet indie game videos, trailers, and reviews – which is pretty cool.

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If you have an Android Device, your best bet is to purchase a Zinio subscription.  Zinio works on Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, and Android Devices.  All you need to do is download the Zinio Android App to read our magazine on any Android Device.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Issue 25 of the Indie Game Magazine is Available Now


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The Why of Indie Games: The Lessons of Minecraft

User Created Progressive Field Off of Planetminecraft.com

Developer Mojang’s Minecraft is an undeniable hit. I surely do not need to go into details about the game. It is infinite building blocks. If you are reading this and have not seen nor heard of Minecraft, I do not understand what you are doing on this website. You may be lost. For those 7,000,000 of you that have heard of Minecraft, this article is meant to address the importance and significance of Minecraft to the gaming world, because I think it opens up ideas for indie games in the future. Here are four Minecraftian qualities that can be used for future games:

Give Control to the Users: This is an obstacle as well as a possible genius move in developing. Minecraft succeeds in allowing the controller to be creative by keeping everything simplistic. It allows building blocks, not long codes of programming, to support the user’s creativity. Game developers want to be inventive, but if they are too ambitious, they will scare gamers away with a high learning curve. Minecraft keeps the learning curve low, but still allows for incredible possibility.

Nordic Village Plan from Planetminecraft.com

Simplicity with High Variance: As mentioned before the barrier to enter Minecraft is almost nonexistent. The low barrier could be a limiting factor to Minecraft‘s widespread success, but because of the high variance of items in the game, Minecraft allows for vast creations. This allows for accessibility, as there is no necessity for what is created. Creations can vary from the simplest of houses, built by 7th graders, to the most complex works of art, like the Nordic Village above, which are built by a man or woman in their thirties. Developers could take this idea further, because anything else may please a niche group, but be too difficult to access for the average artist, such as myself. Simplicity is less important in this case than variance, but simplicity is the key to accessibility.

Give Gamers a Simple Task and Allow Them to Do the Rest: This is a pretty significant and amazing one. Minecraft gives you two simple goals: Build shelter to avoid the monsters and do not starve. There is no true end goal. The world renders forever (on the PC version) so you cannot even mine the whole world. The goals are all personal. That is almost a recipe for disaster. But in Minecraft it is different, because you work only for you. The mining you do is to build what you want to build, but you do have to mine. You have to work, unless you use creative mode (cheaters). To create your idea you must work. You must simply mine. The initial task is simple, but the task you burden yourself with can be much more ambitious, while never forcing you to do much of anything.

The Planet Earth Incarnate

Unity is Formed When Everyone is on Equal Footing: Minecraft‘s community is forceful. Because the amount of people which play Minecraft numbers is the 7,000,000′s, there exists large quantities of content. But the community is shared and adored by nearly everyone who plays. I would argue that the reason why is because we are all using the same system for our creations. Whatever I see when I look up Minecraft videos I have the capability of building. The same goes for nearly anyone. It is nothing but laying blocks to which each and every Minecraft player has access. We all hold the same material and abilities, and what the community sees the community can create.

These four are what I consider the key qualities to the success of Minecraft. They are also what make Minecraft such a blast. Minecraft can be learned from and can spawn a new genre of creative games. It is not the first implementation of its kind, but it is surely the most successful.

Check out Minecraft over at Minecraft.net if you have not already. Maybe you could join the phenomenon.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – The Why of Indie Games: The Lessons of Minecraft