More than four years after the first trailer was uploaded to YouTube, developer Andrii Vintsevych has finally released his successfully Greenlit, free-to-download mod for Half-Life titled Half-Life: Before. The brief excursion puts players in the role of a Black Mesa scientist named Andrew Winner, and tasks them with traveling through a portal to a parallel world in search of a mysterious artifact.
If that all sounds a bit too good to be true, unfortunately it might be. For Half-Life veterans, the mod is light on story, contains only a handful of simple puzzles, and can actually be completed in roughly ten-to-fifteen minutes. On the plus side, there are some aesthetically pleasing re-skins for characters and weapons, and what little new music there is makes for a nice soundtrack while trekking across the ship players have been inexplicably beamed on board. Either way, it’s a few more minutes of new content set in the Half-Life universe that can kill some time while waiting for that Half-Life 3 announcement. It should also be noted the mod is only compatible with Half-Life ver. 22.214.171.124, so those running anything else will likely experience crashes. Half-Life: Before can be downloaded from the mod’s Steam page.
The popular video broadcasting service known as Twitch has become one of the largest communities where gamers can interact with one another. From live-streaming Let’s Play segments, to game reviews, to weekly video series’ hosted by the biggest outlets in the business, Twitch is now an important hub continuously showcasing amazing video game-related content and events. Some of these events in particular exemplify the meaningful bonds formed between members just from meeting together in a strictly online capacity. Such is the case with the following group of streamers, who have spent the past few weeks successfully hosting 48-hour benefit streams to help out members of their online community.
The first benefit started after a fellow Youtuber/streamer who goes by the name Exotix began having some trouble with his laptop. Exotix is the founder of an annual charity event called TwentyFourForIndie, where a group of streamers focused on playing indie games broadcast live for 24 hours in an effort to raise money for Child’s Play. “I have been producing content for about a year and a half on the internet on a low tier laptop,” Exotix explained. “I think all the hours of recording and rendering took it’s toll on the poor guy. My sound card broke about a month before the stream, and my USBs stopped getting power.” The stream he’s referring to is the surprise 48-hour benefit his fellow streamers hosted to raise money for a new laptop.
On Oct. 25, what was originally supposed to be a 24-hour stream known as 24forExotix turned into a 48-hour benefit due to an outpouring of support from the community. What’s equally amazing is just how quickly the whole thing came together. When asked about how much planning went into Exotix’s benefit, event organizer JennS90 said that it all happened, “surprisingly quickly, to be honest.” She further explained that, “when I had the idea for Exotix’s stream, I never thought it could have come together as fast as it did. I mentioned the idea and people were on board almost instantly, and everyone was so amazing at keeping his a secret from him.”
And keep it a secret, they did. Exotix said he had no idea the stream was happening until after it started. “Well, I didn’t know about it during any of the planning. I got a direct message on Twitter with a bit.ly link from JennS90,“ he confessed. “I clicked that link, and I was in awe. I was shaking for about an hour!” By the time the benefit ended, 24forExotix managed to raise about $1300 dollars, more than enough to pay for a new laptop. Exotix mentioned that the rest of the leftover money went to help pay off medical bills for his mother.
Shortly after the Exotix benefit, the spark for another event burst to life thanks to a man named Syama Mishra. Syama, also known by his Twitch handle McSpidey, is the brother of Sanatana Mishra, a member of the indie development team Witch Beam currently working on a twin-stick shooter called Assault Android Cactus. As the unofficial spokesperson and one-man PR team for Cactus, Syama found himself joining the chat stream for a member of the community named Biwinningism, or Biwi for short. At the time, Biwi was streaming some footage of the game – which is currently available for Early Access purchase on Steam – when Syama got the sense something was wrong. “I joined the stream and noticed she wasn’t her usual self,” he said. “Essentially she rage quit the game, turning off her mic and webcam, and ended the stream way early apologizing to everyone. I watched it happen and felt really bad”
As it turns out, Biwi was frustrated by more than just the difficult boss fight she was stuck on. “My son has been sick for over two months now and we have yet to find out what’s wrong with him. Medical bills have piled up and a lot of things got put on the back burner to get paid,” she shared. “Plus my landlord saying I missed a month of rent and me not being able to prove otherwise, we came up really short this month. I needed $600 extra to make things work this month or Jason and I would be homeless.”
It took a bit of work on Syama’s part, but eventually his persistence managed to persuade Biwi it was okay to open up to her friends and the community about her situation. Little did she know, her friends were already planning an event because they realized something was wrong. “As I was telling him what was happening, I assume he was talking to Jenn and Gozita about setting up a stream to help me. He convinced me to ask Jenn for help anyways. All I said to her was ‘Hey’ and she said ‘I’m already on it, 10 people have already signed up’.” The other streamer Biwi mentioned, Gozita, helped coordinate the Exotix benefit and became the primary event organizer for Biwi’s stream. “As far as organization, Jenn started it off once she found out everything and contacted a few people,” Gozita said. “Then I took over and got all the streamers in and I handled making the channel, setting it up, sending out the stream key, and handling any codes that were donated to use to give away.” After just days of planning, 48forBiwi kicked off on November 9th.
It didn’t take long for the benefit to reach its intended donation goal of $600. In fact, the community managed to pull together a large chunk of it even before the event went live. “Before the stream started, we had already reached $250,” Gozita recalled. “Within the first half hour we had $378.06. By the end of the first 3 hours, we had $561.05” When 48forbiwi finally wrapped the next day, the event raised nearly $2,300 for Biwi and her son Jason. Recalling her feelings during the closing moments of the benefit, Biwi joyfully explained that, “I have never witnessed such kindness from a group of people. Not just directed at me, but to others there as well. Huge packages of games were given out. People were teaming up and splitting the cost of the packages and then not keeping the games for themselves but passing them out to everyone that couldn’t pay.”
The packages of games referred to came from a number of sources. Many games were donated both by the streamers themselves as well as other members of the Twitch community who joined the chat room and just wanted to help. Even members of the indie development community were happy to be a part of the event. David Gallant offered 100 codes of his game I Get This Call Everyday so that anyone who donated got at least one free game for helping out. Syama managed to secure a few Steam keys of Cactus to give away as well. Aside from that, many folks offered up their unused Steam keys and Humble Bundle codes for games they didn’t need.
In addition to game giveaways, both events kept audience members engaged with a variety of activities; ranging from the occasional karaoke to a few rounds of trivia. At one point during the Biwi benefit, Black Ice developer Garret C jumped in for an impromptu Q&A. Additionally, a streamer known as Hired Help offered to draw some joke art for those who pledged $5 or more. In the case of the Exotix stream, fellow streamer Maximus kicked off the event by donating a key for the recently-released Batman: Arkham Origins. In order to win this extra special giveaway, Gozita put together an extremely difficult round of Batman-related trivia.
After successfully hosting two exhausting benefits for members of the community, this close-knit group of streamers have yet to feel burnt out by the long hours and event planning. “We all love hosting them and it really gives us a chance to hang out together and make new friends,” Gozita said. In all likelihood, it probably won’t be long before the community gets together once more to help out a fellow gamer and friend. Finally, as a special thank you to all those who participated in the 48forbiwi benefit, Biwi recorded the following video for IGM:
To see the full list of streamers who participated in the events, be sure to click on the event links themselves contained within the article.
It’s not the first time something like this has happened, but Pixel Piracy developer Vitali Kirpu and executive producer Alexander Poysky have decided to openly encourage those interested in giving their game a try to simply pirate a copy. In a statement made today, the duo even provided a torrent as an official link to the pirated version:
“Here is a direct torrent link that we will personally seed to our currently available version of the game. We aren’t idiots, we aren’t high. We believe that anyone who wants to pirate our game will do so anyways, and feel it’s a much safer bet to offer those people the official link to our game in hopes that they keep their computer’s virus free.
If you LIKE the game you can support us in a number of ways besides purchasing the title outright. Steam greenlight is very important to us right now, and a vote for it DOES make a difference, and your warm reception on our IndieDB review page is what pushed us to initially take this decision. Not everything is about money, and we want to thank those that pirate our title and actually give them the opportunity to do so with our blessing, while giving them an opportunity to actually make good on the piracy itself. Tell your friends about us, share the link around IF and only IF you enjoy the game, and if you DON’T enjoy it at least you didn’t have to pay for it!
- Vitali Kirpu and Alexander Poysky”
“Think of the long term here,” Poysky said, speaking to IGM about the decision to invite anyone interested to download a pre-release version of the pirate simulator/roguelike game. “Piracy WILL happen.” With that said, Poysky believes exhibiting some control over the situation can benefit them down the line. “There are many ways someone who doesn’t pay for the game can still support us. Think about it, if you like the game, you will be inclined to tell people about it, vote for us on Steam Greenlight, reddit, tweet, and use social media to express your like of the title,” he said. “Now, if you pirate a game, love it, and help it grow through it’s alpha, that to us is worth the money you would have invested in the game.”
That’s not to discourage would-be purchasers, though. Those who do pay for the game – currently available at a 40% discount through Desura – will have access to all future versions of Pixel Piracy and be granted Steam keys, should their Greenlight campaign be successful. As far as how long this piracy offer will last, Poysky mentioned that, “We may or may not decide to have a set cut-off point in the future and leave the torrent as a sort of “full demo” version, but currently we are happy with our decision.”
To catch up with the game’s progress as it develops, follow along @PixelPiracyGame and check out their IndieDB page; where voting for the IndieDB Game of the Year is currently taking place. The team is also fond of a Let’s Play by Youtuber TheRPGMinx found here.
Yesterday Gamieon released their latest title, Domino Arena on PC, Android, and iOS. Domino Arena is a multiplayer strategy game that pits the player against others (online or around a table) in a battle for domino supremacy.
The whole concept of Domino Arena is for players to paint as many dominos their color as possible. The strategy comes in the way players only have one minute to paint as many dominos their color as possible, and with up to four players this game can turn into a hectic free-for-all very quickly.
The full game comes with twenty levels, and global leaderboards.
It’s interesting to see Gamieon take the classic game digital and actually make it into a fast paced competitive title. This is the fourth mobile game released by Gamieon, and they hope to build on their already popular other titles.
Domino Arena can be downloaded from the Play store, iTunes, or played on PC via Gamesjolt or Kongregate. The mobile/ tablet version can be upgraded for just $0.99 from the single player trial to the full multiplayer version with eight additional single player levels.
The Indie Game Magazine has partnered with the developers of the squad based strategy game Mech Mice to bring you a scavenger hunt and giveaway.
PixelJam recently announced that their co-operative dinosaur racing game Dino Run 2 , previewed at IGM earlier this month, is going to include hats created in the images of many beloved indie game characters, including Tim from Braid, the alien from Alien Hominid, and the spelunker from Spelunky. PixelJam’s love for the indie game scene runs so deep that there are even hats representing games that haven’t even been released yet, like Hyper Light Drifter. Being able to make a velociraptor look like a capybara or a pirate is quite a lighthearted addition to a game centered around trying to avoid extinction by simply running away from it. These hats will also be available in Dino Run: Special Edition, the predecessor of PixelJam’s current project.
Those interested in Dino Run 2 can check out a live stream being hosted by the developers tonight at 9:00 PM EST. They will be answering questions about the game, chatting with the viewers, and racing against anyone willing to in Dino Run: Special Edition. They’ve also invited some other indie game developers to be guests on the stream.
The Kickstarter for Dino Run 2 is still up and running, with ten days and a little under $130,000 left to go.
The developers can be contacted via Twitter @pixeljamgames.
Just yesterday Daedalic Entertainment, the indie development company responsible for some critically acclaimed point-and-click adventure titles ( most notable: Harvey’s New Eyes, and the Deponia series), revealed their next release with Gomo.
Gomo has been developed by Fishcow Studio, a small Slovakian based development team hoping to come out strong with Gomo, the studios first title.
The game follows Gomo the unlikely protagonist who must battle the forces of evil to save his much loved dog, after it was captured by aliens.
Gomo has been created in a very distinctive comic style that helps paint a warm and colorful picture of the world Gomo lives in. All the environments have been hand drawn and really do create a nice and interesting aesthetic to base the game in.
With such a strong and healthy back catalog of point-and-click adventure games Daedalic Entertainment know this genre well, so it goes without saying that fans of the genre should keep this title on their radar.
Gomo is scheduled for release on December 6th for PC and expected to retail at £6.99 which is approximately $11 or €8. You can find out more on the official Gomo site.
Misfits Attic, the studio behind the puzzle title A Virus Named Tom, is doing something interesting for their next project: letting their fans decide what game to make. The studio has set up a page detailing three different prototypes for games they want to make, and whichever one gets the most votes by fans will be put on Kickstarter for funding and then developed by the team.
The first prototype is entitled Duskers, a “real-time tactical sci-fi roguelike survival dungeon crawler…thing”, in which you pilot drones that explore abandoned spaceships. Your drones are not of the best quality, and so using upgrades you find along the way, you’ll have to improvise and use what you have to adapt to new scenarios.
The second prototype is the aptly-named Chess the Gathering. It’s a mix of—you guessed it—chess and Magic: The Gathering. This prototype uses cards with monsters, like the ones in Magic, but gives you the ability to play those cards on a board for them to engage in a open space during combat. Spells will allows cool abilities like letting a creature ricochet off the edge of the board, or create objects on the board. The game will also allow for custom board creation.
The final prototype is called The Last Shadow. It’s a stealth-action game where the core mechanic focuses on aiming, ricocheting, and sticking to surfaces. While the game originally forced stealth, the team has decided that it’s best to let the player decide what route to take, and then change future levels based on how the complete the previous ones. There will also be an arena combat mode focused on momentum.
Currently, all of the games are within about 3% of each other, so go vote and change the tide! You can vote for Misfits Attic’s next game on their official website, and follow them on Twitter for more updates.
Inspired heavily by some of the greatest platforming games from the Nintendo 64 generation, Left Handed Game Studio are hoping to really create something nostalgic with Lobodestroyo by bringing back some of that mid-90s charm.
Lobodestroyo is an action platformer with a strong emphasis on item collection and exploration, much like the good old days of Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. Players take control of Mutt a poor hapless hero who players must guide across nine unique interconnected worlds.
Mutt is forced to realize his full potential after he wakes up to find Mt. Justice in ruins, his wolf pack brothers missing, and the prized Lobodestroyo’s belt strewn across his destroyed temple. On top of this, ten members from maximum security lockup have escaped.
Although Mutt has never aspired to much he takes it upon himself to don the belt and go out in a hunt for the escape convicts, and his wolf pack.
Left Handed Game Studio seem to have great ambitions with this title and have realized without public backing, Lobodestroyo may never be finished, which is why they have turned to Kickstarter.
Asking for $35,000 to fund a complete version of the game, Left Handed Game Studio plans releases on the PC, Mac, Linux, and OUYA. If they make the goal they also have hopes to bring the game to the Wii U, PlayStation 4, and even Xbox One.
With a little over half a month remaining in the campaign, it seems Lobodestroyo needs some love from the community in order to hit its target.