A square duck in a square world finds a gun that shoots rainbows. It’s a simple game, a perplexing concept, and the story behind Rubber Ducky and the Rainbow Gun, a game by Cr2Cr Studios. John..
The Ouya highlights today’s Developer Links, along with a list of helpful pieces from various indies.
Ouya devs reveal software sales numbers (Edge Online)
“Ouya’s arrival was far from a typical home console launch, but that’s fitting for a new piece of hardware determined to do things differently.”
The Ouya Experience: What game developers think so far (Gamasutra)
“A little over a year ago, Ouya launched its widly-successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, capturing the enthusiasm of thousands, with promises of an open platform, affordability and a simple game console experience for the living room.”
Video: Amnesia’s creative lead offers lessons in storytelling (IndieGames.com)
“In this GDC Europe 2012 lecture, Grip shows the science behind and the practical implementations for maintaining this level of immersion. He demonstrates how even lauded games such as Heavy Rain, Dead Space, and Assassin’s Creed break this sense of presence and how games such as Limbo facilitate it.”
How to get sound effects in your indie game without being a professional. (Tactic Studios Development)
“I’m not a sound designer, but I need sound in my game.”
Some optimization tips for game programmers (Positech Games)
“I’m enjoying myself with some optimizing today (yeah I’m weird like that). So I thought I’d jot down some of my tips for making your game faster. These are general, not language-specific tips.”
Our Artist is Amazing! (Owlchemy Labs)
“This much is pretty apparent (I mean, just look around). But what you may not know is that our lead artist extraordinaire, Carrie Witt, does so much more! No matter how much we tell her not to, she continues to draw silly pictures of video-game related things and, honestly, we wouldn’t have it any other way!”
The Path and Bientôt l’été will be featured in the yearly FILE festival (Tale of Tales)
“The exhibition will take place at FIESP Cultural Center – Ruth Cardoso, located at Paulista Avenue, 1313.”
Hello Games’ top indie games! (Hello Games)
“When we’re not playing Call of Duty and Candy Crush Saga we sometimes play some of those crazy indie games you keep hearing about. Then we smoke pipes and discuss our feelings and Grant cries a little. So we’ve always got an eye out for fine-looking new games, and here are our current highlights. You may consider these as Hello Games’ Official Top Seven Most Anticipated Indie Games.”
Phoenix Online Studios have recently announced the release date for the third episode of Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller. For those who haven’t read our previous coverage on the games, Cognition is a point and click series about a psychic FBI agent named Erica Reed. We were very impressed with the first two episodes of Cognition, giving them solid scores of 86% and 93%.
Releasing May 16th, we have been told Cognition: The Oracle will put the players in the shoes of the Oracle – the serial killer who has been paying an awful lot of attention to Erica in the past two games. The teaser for The Oracle (below) makes me feel a good part of the episode may be a ‘whodunnit’ style of story.
Quality-of-life, DRM, Piracy and other discussions reverberate in today’s Developer Links.
Indie Fund Now Backing “Panoramical” (IndieFund)
“We are super excited to announce our support of Panoramical, a collaborative project by Fernando Ramallo, a game developer from Argentina, and David Kanaga, best known for his work on Proteus and DYAD. Panoramical is something really different from what we’ve funded in the past, and its difficult to describe it in words. It uses an input device like an iPad or MIDI controller to explore hand-crafted musical landscapes, allowing the player to alter the visuals and music to their touch.”
Game Developer Quality-of-Life Survey (Gamasutra)
“”Game Developers: How are you doing?” That’s the question we asked approximately 1,000 of you at the end of 2012. We know that between the long hours, frequent layoffs, and crunch phases, the game industry can be a notorious grind. While we perform a yearly Salary Survey every April to check the pulse of developers’ financial health, we thought we’d supplement that with a quality-of-life survey to see how you’re doing in ways not measured by dollars and cents. Are you satisfied with your pay? Are you confident in your current project? Do you want to be in this industry five years from now? Read on to find out how your colleagues responded.”
Meat Boy dev: DRM hurts more than piracy (Games Industry)
“The troubled launch of EA’s SimCity due to its always-online requirement has raised the issue of digital rights management and the effectiveness of anti-piracy measures once again. In a post on his own blog, Super Meat Boy developer Tommy Refenes gave his own take on the subject, arguing that developers’ attempts to keep their games from being pirated are hurting themselves first and foremost.”
Vlambeer: Mobile devs mustn’t be scared of charging more (Develop Online)
“Mobile developers should not be scared of charging more for iOS and Android games, a developer from Vlambeer has said. Speaking in a Reddit Q&A, developers from the Super Crate Box studio said that indies needed to be sell a countless number of titles at the standard $0.99 (£0.69) price just to survive on the platform, and encouraged more developers to start charging more.”
Sony easier to work with as an indie, Guacamelee dev says (Shacknews)
“With Guacamelee’s release on PS3 and PS Vita imminent, developer Drinkbox Studios took a moment to praise Sony’s continuing efforts to reach out to developers–smaller indie studios, in particular.”
Democracy 3 development blog video #2 (Positech Games)
“Another short video showing off new color schemes and some new features.”
Overgrowth a198 video changelog (Wolfire Games)
“Here is the new Overgrowth alpha video!”
Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4 Trailer! (Zeboyd Games)
“Our first trailer for our upcoming new game, Penny Arcade’s on the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4 is now live! “
Today’s Developer Links pass on more good PS4 vibes from indies, along with updates from games including The Witness, Clockwork Empires, and Democracy 3.
PS4 will support indies, agree optimistic devs (Develop Online)
“A number of developers have stepped forward to state their optimism about the PlayStation 4′s support for indies. Speaking to Develop individuals from companies as diverse as Gearbox and nDreams have expressed hope and positivity that, in contrast to previous sony consoles, the PS4 will be accessible and affordable for indies. Their views appear to reflect comments made to Develop by Sony Worldwide Studios SVP Michael Denny, who insisted indies are set to be core to the PS4.”
A Little Something For The Pipe Fanciers Out There (Gaslamp Games)
“From just about the beginning we’ve been into the idea that Clockwork Empires should involve running giant assemblies of pipes and cog-laden axles across settlements to transmit energy and water and completely harmless high-pressure superheated steam between various machines and factories. The basis for this came early: if we’re to embrace the aesthetic we desire we need to fully embrace the visuals of mechanization, of machines and factories and the wonders of technology of this Age of Progress & so forth. If we hide the machines inside the factories then you won’t be able to see any of the Fun gears and pipes. So, the breakthrough: put the machines, the pipes, the gears on the outside of the factory.”
Low-Light Combat Art Asset Overview (Wolfire Games)
“We recently made a charity jam game called Low-Light Combat. In this jam, I wanted to try cutting out the most time-consuming steps of the traditional art asset workflow, to see if it would make any real difference in the final product.”
iPad video update #1 (The Witness)
“Andy’s got the iPad port far enough along that you can sort of play the game now. Here’s a short video…”
More Democracy 3 simulation fun and games (Positech Games)
“The core mechanic of Democracy 3 is going to take a lot of careful explaining in tutorials and tooltips and help windows. Essentially, it’s pretty simple, in that you implement policies, and you can adjust the intensity of a policy using a slider. So with a policy like income tax, the slider adjust the rate of tax from low to high. A series of bars show you the effect this policy has on everything, such as voter happiness, GDP, and so on. Sounds simple so far right? This is where it gets complex because there are three additional factors, which are implementation times, effectiveness and inertia. I’ll explain each one…”
Even Ugly Babies Need Hugs (Dejobaan Games)
“Our good friends at Zapdot and Hybrid Mind have been working hard on Ugly Baby. Ichiro continues to rest as evidenced by this picture from yesterday. This is most excellent news because a rested Ichiro is worth at least 3 times as many points as a tired Ichiro! This week we look at visualizers and also the in-game HUD that tells you when your stunts are X-Games worthy.”
Managing Risk in Video Game Development (Gamasutra)
“How do you best manage risk when creating a game? Using this article and the attached spreadsheet, you can better identify the problem areas in your game and get a sense of whether any decisions you are making actually make business sense.”
The Language of Monetization Design (Gamasutra)
“Automobiles and computers were so simplistic in their first 10 years that today we have a hard time looking back and appreciating just what a leap in technology they were at the time. Like all technology, they benefited from the iterative process, slowly adapting to changes in allied technologies, consumer demands, and infrastructure. Today both cars and computers have components in them that did not even have names 10 or 20 years ago. Before they could be added to these products, they had to be thought about and given names so that they then could be optimized and adapted to various uses.”
Are games art? Are gamers artists? What do you suck at? Is it launching your game? So many questions (and luckily plenty of answers) in today’s Dev Links.
Are Game(r)s Art(ists)? (Gamasutra)
“”Interactivity’s a very interesting word, because it implies that this is something we didn’t do in art before, which is complete nonsense, because the only interesting art experiences are the ones that engage you in that way; in which you are invited to become part of the authorship of something in some way or another. And usually in some more meaningful way than choosing whether to open this door or that door.” - Brian Eno”
What do you suck at? (Develop Online)
“Mike Bithell on why it is important to be aware of the gaps in your game development skills.”
Launch Day 2.0 (AltDevBlogADay)
“I didn’t sleep well the night before our Sunday launch of Vex Blocks. Despite the weeks we’ve had the game in the hands of testers, a new bug had come to light late Saturday evening. While not game breaking it still needed to be addressed. I stayed up working on the problem until solved. Chat messages, frantic on my part, went back and forth between myself and my partner until between the two of us we were able smooth things out. I then prepped the build for the next morning’s launch and finally after a long day allowed myself to push back away from my desk just after 1am. I tried and failed to sleep after that.”
BattleBlock Theater (Beta): User Created Levels (The Behemoth)
“Ah, yes… the BattleBlock Community Theater. Even after 3 years of playwriting levels, how those Beta builders still managed to surprise me! And kill me. And then surprise me again! Whether I was flung through explosions into rooms made out of teleporters or flung through teleporters into rooms made out of explosions, the experience was quite the rollercoastery deathtrap of emotion.”
A tree killed his Granny! Jack is STEAMing (Owlchemy Labs)
“Mobile’s most poplar game is now available on Steam! Stack beards, chug syrup, and rock flannel as you axe your way through the forest on your PC/Mac/Linux machine and make your Granny proud.”
Receiver’s Greenlight Journey (Wolfire Games)
“Receiver was finally released on Steam today — check it out here! There is a one-week launch sale bringing the price down to $3.99. If you already have Receiver or Overgrowth, then you can claim your Steam key on your Humble Store download page (linked from your purchase email). Whenever a game is greenlit, there are always two questions that come up over and over: “How did it take THIS LONG for this game to get greenlit?”, and “How did THIS game get greenlit?” In this post I will try to answer both questions about Receiver!”
New HUD Layout (Krooked Gaming)
“So after a lot of adjustments, I think I’m finally happy with the new HUD. While I have a few concerns about how complicated it may look to new users, it does contain a lot of useful information.”
Indie Tools: PolyVox (IndieGames.com)
“PolyVox is (according to its developers admittedly) “a fast, lightweight C++ library for the storage and processing of volumetric (voxel-based) environments” that can be used for anything from games to scientific applications.””
Move over League of Legends, Dungeon Defenders II is introducing a whole new competitive Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) that borrows a lot of elements from League of Legends but makes the game more approachable and brings in the action to a 3rd person action perspective. At PAX East, I was able to play a 5v5 competitive match. The new game mode featured all the trappings of League of Legends; there were 3 different paths to each base, defensive towers prevent your approach, and each hero has their own set of abilities and upgrades. The big change is this MOBA features Dungeon Defenders bright and colorful graphics and promises to make the popular genre more approachable for casual players.
The Competitive mode already boasts 24 heroes and the exact number for release could creep up to 30+. Those worried about losing that Dungeon Defenders Tower Defense mechanics have nothing to worry about. While the MOBA mode will be released first, DDII will still support and feature a fully cooperative tower defense game. Trendy Entertainment isn’t just mimicking Riot Game’s core competitive gameplay, it’s also trying it’s hand at League of Legends Free 2 Play model. Dungeon Defenders will be entirely Free 2 Play when it’s released.
The game will launch with 1 map with more heroes and maps coming after release. For more information on Dungeon Defenders 2, check out the game’s official website.
Today, Steam launched a nine day sale featuring indie games. The well-timed Indie Spring Sale will overlap both PAX East and the 2013 IGF awards.
The sale page is a little misleading, though. The page claims “hundreds of games” are on sale, though when you click through the banners and get into the sale page, there are only six games featured, and broken down into the PAX and IGF categories there are only twenty more total. I imagine Steam will shuffle through the entire list, daily, throughout the duration of the sale…but it is unlike Valve to make it difficult to find sales. Luckily you can search for “indie” in the store and it will aggregate all of Steams indie titles, for easy viewing.
Some of today’s featured titles include:
Some other deals that caught my eye while browsing through the full list:
Visit the Steam Store Indie Spring Sale page, to see the featured titles (which can be speculated to rotate once a day), alternatively one can also view all of the games on sale by searching for the term “indie” in the store, or simply by clicking this link.
The Indie Spring Sale comes a day after the announcement that Steam would begin selling alpha builds of games, that people can get continually updated, as the developer furthers progress on completing the game. Some of the first titles included in Steam’s Early Access program include Gnomoria, Under the Ocean, and StarForge.
Just yesterday the latest trailer came out from Latana Games highlighting a bit more of the story behind their up and coming new title Children Of Liberty.
We have eagerly been following developments of Children Of Liberty over last year, and have featuring several articles about the game development (15 Indie Games That Will Surprise You In 2012, Children Of Liberty Gets A GDC Trailer Alpha Now Playable) and we even managed to interview Latana Games about it at the Boston Festival Of Indie Games.
You may think we are slightly obsessed with Children Of Liberty and for the most part we are, but there is very good reasons for it. Just watch the latest trailer below and all will be made clear as to why we are so transfixed on this new game:
Children Of Liberty is a stealth action game like no other, as it throws the player into a 3D world whilst only utilizing 2D gameplay mechanics. Yes that’s right and although the maths may not add up it seems to work fantastically, and brings with it a whole new gameplay mechanic.
It looks fantastic as the art has been lovingly crafted into this brilliant comic book style design that deliberately depicts the assets as paper-thin cut-outs All this feeds into a very visually appealing game that if it manages to play even half as well as it looks I have no doubt that Children Of Liberty will be a very special game indeed.
Children Of Liberty is still very much in the early stages of its development cycle but is already starting to look fantastic. Currently Lantana Games are in the alpha funding stage and are looking for your help to continue funding the game.
If you are interested in Children Of Liberty but you are not quite sure if it is your type of game, be sure to head over to the Lantana Games website to try out the online alpha demo. If you enjoy the demo consider funding them via Desura, along with allowing them to get the game onto Steam via Greenlight.
We first reported on M.A.V. – Modular Assault Vehicle a while back. Even in its earliest Alpha stages of development, it was looking remarkably solid, and an interesting fan-led attempt to revive the gameplay of FromSoftware’s niche heavyweight mech-sim Chrome Hounds. Since that initial article, the game has gotten several major updates (all free and publicly downloadable), and the developers are asking for solid feedback on their changes, especially to the heavily revised physics and movement. You can download the latest build of the game from IndieDB, and try your hand against either bots, or other players online.
Personally, I think this latest build is a lot closer to recapturing the spirit of Chrome Hounds. I still think the movement is a little too fast and accurate, considering the nature of the mechs in CH (petrol-driven terrestrial battleships, in esssence), but there’s a lot more weight and power now. The weapons have been heavily tuned as well, with different gun types having vastly different muzzle velocities, and there being a maximum of three guns you can assign to each firing group, meaning you have to mix up your gear. The bot AI has also been given an overhaul to make it simultaneously capable and flawed – they no longer rush straight at you firing with perfect accuracy, making fighting them a little more enjoyable.
The developers have announced that until the game feels a little more complete and stable, all alpha builds are going to be free for public consumption. Once they’re happy with how things are shaping up, the game will likely go the alphafunding route via Desura and other similar stores. Personally, I think there’s a lot of people that would lap this up on Kickstarter, but maybe I’m just being optimistic. Either way, keep an eye on Bombdog Studios from now on. This one could be big.