Stickmen Studios’ invent and adventure game Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time is heading to the Playstation Network sometime soon, so says the New Zealand-based developer. The port will receive Move motion control support, a sandbox level to tinker around in, and new in-game abilities.
A few notable indies have recently come out with some music-related items that ought to be enjoyed, so I thought it best to pass them along here. Each of these titles have major musical support behind them that goes above and beyond serving the simple purpose of looping audibly in the background during gameplay, and what results from these efforts are sounds so good they stick with you far beyond the point when you put down the controller.
A couple months ago we wrote about Beatbuddy’s submission to the IGF. Back then we didn’t know too much about the game other than indie developers Threaks had dubbed it the first music action adventure game. Well, that was enough to draw us in… Now they’ve released their first trailer and it’s pretty much everything I hoped for.
Amanita Design, the guys who created the fantastic Machinarium point and click adventure game, were on hand in Nottingham’s GameCity festival to premiere their newest game Botanicula which we’ve already covered a bit in the past.
According to Eurogamer, Botanicula is “more simple and accessible than Amanita Design’s previous adventure games. It is based on humour, not complex puzzles.” Which can be taken either way depending on how challenging you thought Machinarium was.
[Earlier this month, DIYGamer met with Shawn McGrath of ][ Games prior to the start of IndieCade to get an exclusive hands-on session with the PS3-bound Dyad--currently targeted for a release next Spring on the Playstation Network. Ken Ellis shares the experience of his lengthy playthrough of the game off of the notes I was able to jot down from Shawn, and his own thoughts. Filmmaker Kevin Harland was in tow as well to capture footage, and edit together a comprehensively concise gameplay video of the title's latest (and word is near-final) build.]
One time I saw a unicorn stab a clown on a rainbow while he was juggling jelly beans. Shawn Mcgrath’s tube shooter Dyad made that seem like a scene from Eraserhead. It’s that vibrant!
The tube shooter genre is an interesting beast to begin with, and Dyad takes it to vast new heights. Moving through each level as fast as possible is the basis of the game. How to do so changes each and every time you play, however, and new techniques learned are built upon in each subsequent level. At first you simply latch onto enemies up ahead and launch yourself off of (while still avoiding) them to progress. Eventually you learn that combo-ing off multiple enemies of the same color will increase your speed, and give you a boost to your Lance ability that makes you invincible against all enemies. Later enemies even create zip-lines behind them when latched onto that can increase your speed by riding. Don’t rely on the ability to practice each level to get better at it either. All levels are progressively generated, so each and every single time you play a level, it will be different.
Music is seemingly the key element of Dyad. While it is not a rhythm game, music is infused into every aspect of the game. Each level has its own song, and each enemy creates a unique note when it is latched onto. Lances used speed up the overall tempo of the music . Even the menu’s themselves are musically interactive! Menu screen music can be adjusted to play backwards, as well as, with or without bass and rhythm. An audiofile gamer would be out of their mind not to try out this game.
Do not think for a moment that this game is easy or a short play. Once you complete a level, an optional harder version is unlocked in which you can challenge yourself with tougher completion times and higher objectives to earn. This is also the point in the game where you can start to earn your trophies–and yes you WILL earn them. This game was not made with the lazy trophy earner in mind. Most are earned by beating a very hard time trial. What time trial? Why Shawn’s own personal best time.
He told us, with a devilish grin, that since the game is on the PS3 and will have online capabilities, whenever someone beats his time that NEW time might become the time to meet or beat. I personally think this would be a great idea. Dyad is already set up to create great meta-gaming in competition for the fan base, so adding this little bit of ownership and inter-player challenging could be something to take it all to the next level. Especially with the random nature of the game, personal times are going to be completely based on the player’s skill, instead of memorization.
The demo session ended up going a solid hour, as I made my way through most of the levels available on the standard difficulty in the near- finished build. Erik, who watched the session in full, had to be convinced he hadn’t taken LSD that night. We put together a video to summarize the whole experience of confusion, discovery, and even anxiousness brought about by the sights and sounds. Also included is Shawn, the combo-king, pushing the game to its extreme with a ridiculous combo string:
Everybody’s favorite indie heist game is nearing (we hope!) release. In order to plan for the release, Monaco developer Andy Schatz is looking to make his Hacker class as realistic as possible and in order to do that he needs the help of actual hackers and programmers… you.
Essentially Andy is trying to make any sort of hacking code and terminology used in his game by the “hacker” class is relatively convincing. We’ve all seen Hollywood and countless other games just spew some techno babble designed to sound intimidating or impressive when, in actuality, is complete shit. This will hopefully help Monaco from ending up in the same “rolling eye” sequence as movies/games past.
Oh and don’t know any programming or hacker lines/terminologies? Totally fine as Andy is accepting jokes as well. Just put the joke code or term in [ ] and he’ll consider those as well!
If you’re interested in helping out just hit the Google Docs link below and contribute!
Earlier in the month it was announced that the SpyParty booth would spread the love at PAX Prime by having a couple indie developers set-up their games for the first 60 minutes of the exhibition hours on Saturday and Sunday. Later on we found out one of the games would be IndieCade winner and IGF/Boston Indie Showcase finalist Miegakure, which made it official that we’d be making on time to one of the two weekend days.
As several attendees and our own correspondent Ken Ellis (preview and video footage soon!) attempted to wrap their heads around Marc Ten Bosch’s long in the works puzzle platformer/exploration into the fourth dimension, I was able to have an aside with the San Fran-based indie developer; and that was no small feat of courage from me as he is a man of very tall stature. After making sure I hadn’t mistook him for Chris Hecker (oops to those who apparently did!), Marc gave me an update on how the development of the highly anticipated title is coming along.
The game has made many leaps and bounds in development since our last proper preview some 18 months ago. It’s unclear how much content the final game will carry, but it appears there will be hours upon hours of exploration and puzzle solving to be had. Marc continues to push toward completion with PC, Mac, Linux and consoles in his plans for release through the various digital distribution channels. When will we finally get our hands (permanently) on this game? Hopefully soon, 2012 seems to be the best bet, with 2013 sounding very ugly to him–I seem to always find the perfectionists who only dabble in release dates if they absolutely have to.
With what’s being pulled off in the game, it more than makes sense. Wide eyes and active controllers from all the attendees and media who had a chance to play. With the use of an extra dimension to explore and use to your advantage, you begin to understand why the game claims you’ll feel like you’re pulling off miracles.
There are still plans for a demo when the game does arrive, and we can likely expect it to be on the heavy side as Marc has been encouraging 1-2 hour hands-on sessions at the conventions, expos, and other events it has appeared at.
As we ready ourselves for another strong PAX Prime showing this weekend in Seattle, developer and friend Matt Gilgenbach (24 Caret Games) has passed along word of some cool happenings for his shooter you play in reverse Retro/Grade. Specifically a high score contest “where the winners will be forever immortalized”, will be taking place during the now imminent event.
The game has been development for sometime and it really shows. Just by looking at the new screens and video, the game would appear to carry a new coat of polish since it first caught our eye at last year’s PAX-P. Exciting to get another look at it this year as it nears the end of its development. No release date yet for the upcoming PSN title, but we’re hearing “soon” thrown around quite a bit.
24 Caret will be running the high score contest all weekend, giving out plenty of swag as well as the awarding the overall winners with an everlasting spot in the game’s credits. In fact if you pre-register, you’ll end up with your own personalized ID badge as opposed to the standard card:
So if you’re heading to PAX this weekend, you already should be planning to stop by booth 6415 to get a demo of R/G. Might as well go ahead and sign-up a sweet custom card, complete with picture and call sign. Of course if you don’t, you can get a standard card and still have your shot at topping the leaderboard.
Check out the aforementioned new trailer for the game that actually begins where it ends:
[The far too engaging Rudolf Kremers joins us for our next E3 2011 profile interview. His indie studio Omni Systems swept PC/Mac gamers off their feet with ambient RTS Eufloria back in 2009, and now they're prepping a PSN release for the title. He shares about the console porting process the team is currently entrenched in, along with some other major projects they're working on.]
Name and Job Title
Rudolf Kremers – Director Omni Systems Limited (Indie game dev with many many hats to wear)
Folkestone, United Kingdom
Eufloria (PC, PS3 to date, more to follow) and a whole bunch of other titles in traditional game dev like Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire, Championship Manager, Avatar the last Air Bender, Stolen, and more. Also written “Level Design – Concept, Theory and Practice” and have done loads of custom Quake levels.
Too numerous to mention but Sci-Fi and fantasy culture, and certain corners of science (AI, theoretical physics) stand out. There is also a whole universe of games out there that have been a massive influence.
DIYGamer: Well we already know a bit about you and Alex from Eufloria. You were visiting E3 to promote the upcoming PSN version, so how’d that go?
Rudolf Kremers: It went really well, we spoke to a ton of people, from fans to biz contacts, but in some ways it was just as important to step back and see people play the game. In fact, this led to some final tweaks and improvements that have made a real difference to the game.
To my knowledge Omni Systems has been a PC and Mac developer up until this point. What differences/challenges has console development presented versus PC/Mac development?
Ah well, console dev is a very different beast. Even though we are self publishing and self funded it means that there are some serious restrictions that apply to the process. For one thing the whole game had to get ported from c# to c++ which was painful (Ask poor Alex) and additionally you are subject to a gated approval process by Sony, with different processes in Europe and the US to deal with. Furthermore the pc version allowed us incremental improvements and player feedback, which is not possible with this console release. Joypads rather than mouse and keyboards were also an interesting challenge.
Tell us an origin story: How did you and Alex meet and how did the development of Eufloria come about?
Alex and I met at a company called Blue52 (now defunct) and although we did not work on the same games we became friends. The company went under, we went our ways and started to work at other companies that did not really suit us, until Blue did a phoenix from the ashes and was reborn as Curve Studios. (Still a cool company btw.) This time we did work together, namely on a crazy project where we had to create 6 games in four months for the Avatar the Last Airbender brand. I designed all the games and our focus was a 2d platformer, which I did together with Alex. This was an AMAZING experience, and some of the best fun I have had in games. Alex and I gel very well, partly because he is a very good designer himself, and he has trust in me too. So experience kinda begged to be repeated, and later on, after we left Curve when the company had a bad time of it, Alex pointed out the TIGSource Procedural Game competition. I was racing towards depression working on Championship manager (A truly awful experience) and as a result was extremely keen to do something truly interesting. Between the two of us we hammered out Dyson in 1 month, and that later turned into Eufloria.
You and I had a very engaging conversation (despite a loud room at the Joystiq event) where at one point we talked about the importance of ambiance and atmosphere in gaming. Care to wax poetic on the subjects?
Careful, I may start a rant here…
“Ambient gaming” is a bit of a personal obsession of mine, partly borne out of frustration with the strange emphasis many game developers put on adversarial and systemic game design. My personal interest in game creation is also fuelled by a wish to engage in world building, to communicate through the fantastical environment of a game, to enjoy the exploration of the new, to feel a sense of wonder. They are worthwhile goals and components to many games, if we let them be. I have gone as far as write a manifesto of sorts on the subject here.
Dyson/Eufloria is a great game, and has had a sizable lifespan in the spotlight as far as indie games go. That’s all fine and good, but I wanna know what else you’re working on! I know you’re an idea guy, so there are probably some thousand projects in queue; but are you currently developing or working on anything heavily outside of Eufloria you can tell us anything about?
Guilty as charged! I am working on more projects than you can shake as stick at.
Some stand out: I am doing a game called StarLit with Dugan Jackson, Dave Parsons, and with music by Milieu, which is like an ode to exploration games and classical Sci-Fi. That is going to be a special one I hope. Additionally I am doing a comic called Spire. I am doing a smaller game called Neopolis as well which is multiplayer only, and I am involved in various writing projects too. I am also publishing a series of Dynamic Themes for PS3 made by Dugan, and I am getting into e-publishing. Ahem, it is a lot actually.
Is there any advice you’d like/be willing to pass on to any up-and-coming indie developers reading?
Absolutely: Try and be honest about the originality/appeal about what you do, or at least make sure you work on what YOU want to work on, and make that stand out as much as possible. Keep thins DIY, don’t think you must have massive backing or financial support to make cool games. It is all doable these days where you can self-publish without the need for much money.
If you make something that is really YOU it means that it will be unique and thus have little competition.