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

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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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Dev Links: Big Daddy

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Today’s Developer Links are going places, with games going to diverse devices, cats going to the races, and what you can expect if you go to Japan.

Netrunner and Vulnerability (Natural Selection 2)
“Netrunner was a collectable card game released in 1996. While not a major success, it gained a strong cult following. Luckily, the game was re-released in 2012 as Android: Netrunner. The game features bluffing, deduction, unique character identities with special powers, 2 player asymmetric play, deck building, a cyberpunk theme (before it was cool…), and a variety of other game mechanics.”

On Episodic RPGs (Zeboyd Games)
“I can see two main approaches working for an episodic RPG. The first is to have each episode be a direct continuation of the previous episode…”

Rocket Report #1 (Rocket Bear Games Blog)
“Welcome to the first Rrrrocket Report!  I’ve decided to make weekly blog posts about Infested Planet and what I’ve been up to.”

Octodad In The News (1/11/13) (Octodad Blog)
“Sometimes Octodad is in the news, and sometimes people say some nice things about it. Dadliest Catch for instance has been getting a solid amount of attention in people’s “Most Anticipated Games of 2013″ lists. In case you don’t follow us on twitter or like us on facebook we figured it might be good to consolidate all these links to one place of maximum linkage.”

The Video Game Kickstarter Report – Week of January 11 (Zeboyd Games)
“Really quite weak. Only thing of note I noticed was the GameStick – a new console similar to the Ouya in that it lets you play Android games on your TV with a traditional video game controller… When you see stuff like GameStick and Ouya raising hundreds of thousands or even million dollars, it’s easy to think that they’ll be big success but for perspective, many people think the Vita is bombing and Sony has sold well over a million Vitas worldwide. If it’s hard to get serious developers to take the Vita seriously, it’s going to be even harder to get them to want to develop for systems like the Ouya that probably will never even reach a million systems sold.”

A Game Developer’s Take on Japan: The Myths and the Reality (Kotaku)
“One well-received and much commented-on blog post I wrote many years ago covered the “stages of living in Japan”. These are the 5 stages I have witnessed, again and again, in myself and in others, and though your mileage may of course vary, they seem pretty spot on. I daresay they could be applied to living in any country.”

Mew-Genics Teaser Week 12 (Team Meat Blog)
“Is your cat in shape? has he taken his pills? has he had a good nights sleep? does he have ADD? what about a few extra legs? Either way i think you should try your luck in the sewers and join Franks Cat Races, you could find your fortune there! or maybe a few magical poopies!”

Games Everywhere: The Game Industry’s Challenge For 2013 (Gamasutra)
“At CES 2013 last week, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang succinctly laid out the challenge facing the games industry at large in his opening remarks at the Nvidia press conference on Sunday evening: ‘It isn’t possible for you to enjoy the same video game on any device.’ Where the iPod, the Kindle, and the cloud have enabled consumers to consume music, books, and movies whenever and however they pleased, Huang said the challenge for the consumer tech companies is to invent the technology to make this happen with video games.”

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Dev Links: Big Daddy


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‘Tip The Cows’: Students Cow-Tipping in New Hampshire

tip the cowsWe often joke that Zynga-style social games involve clicking virtual cows and spamming friends’ Facebook walls. A new Facebook game, Tip The Cows, uses just these elements as a prototype for a future transmedia game experience.

In CowClicker, Ian Bogost’s Facebook game hilariously satirizing Facebook games, players are asked to click a virtual cow, earn clicks by clicking, or paying premium currency, and then invite their friends to do the same. Players can also share their progress on their Facebook walls, or see their friends’ progress that way. The joke’s on Zynga-style Facebook games, where the vast majority of interactions are not what most of us would consider gameplay. But it’s playable, too, so it causes players to think about player motivations in click-wait-click social games, as they click the cows. (CowClicker has recently taken Farmville satire to a new level, and you now click the empty space where your cow used to be.)

Tip The Cows is less a satire than a proof-of-concept, but it distills the social side of Facebook sharing and leaderboard competition to its most basic elements. The game is part of a capstone creative project by students studying Animation Graphic Game Programming at New Hampshire Technical Institute.  Kyle Lambert is the main developer in Flash and Facebook, and Dan Chamberlain is the project backend and server programmer.

Gameplay involves earning points by clicking the cows that appear on your virtual field. Players can then share their scores on their Facebook wall. The game takes a maximum of thirty seconds, but can be played indefinitely, without waiting or paying in.Find and click the golden cow, and you can send special wall spam, er, a special Tip The Cows message to the students’ advisor, Greg Walek, a professor of game animation and design at NHTI.

Disclosure: Greg is my friend from college and while I’m quite interested in his social game experiment, I would also enjoy watching his Facebook wall blow up with game spam. Yeah, yeah, working prototype for a larger experience, blah, blah, student creativity, yeah, the real highlight of this game is spamming my friends.

The developers say that Tip The Cows is an early proof-of-concept in what will become a larger transmedia game experience, creating games based around the idea that “what you do in one game should and will affect another. For example, we are planning to have items only in one game, but usable in another level. “ Walek says.

I hope these Golden Cows I keep tipping onto Greg’s wall will come in handy later on.


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Play Through Video Game Evolution In ‘Evoland’ A Unique Look At RPGs

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Anyone who has been following the game jam scene for even just a year will have seen many great games created in a flurried weekend become fully fledged games. Many hugely successful indie games started life in game jams and I guess this is largely due to the jams inspiring a great deal of creativity from developers.

It comes as no surprise that Evoland, a game developed by Shiro Games for Ludum Dare 24 (LD24) has since be put onto Greenlight. Evoland received much critical praise during LD24 and attracted a great deal of attention.

Evoland follows the theme of “evolution” which was set out for the LD24 competition, taking the concept and running with this unique style fantastically. In Evoland you progress through the evolution of RPGs starting in a Gameboy styled top down monochrome visual, gradually progressing up to 3D rendered models.

It’s a great concept and it is easy to see The Legend Of Zelda and Final Fantasy influences here, taking a great deal of inspiration from both. This not only creates a great evolution throughout the game but also meshes two very distinctive gameplay styles together. In Evoland you get the chance to play in an Action RPG setting like Zelda where events all happen in real time alongside the much more turn based setting of Final Fantasy creating an ever changing and evolving game.

It truly is great to see an RPG that invokes many unique ideas and manages to get them across in a compelling and interesting manner. Although the full game will be a significant improvement on the already hugely successful Ludum Dare entry and aims to really develop the concept brought about in the Jam.

If you are as interested in Evoland as me be sure to check out the official site to find out more about the game. If you would like to see Evoland on Steam get voting for it on Greenlight now!

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Play Through Video Game Evolution In ‘Evoland’ A Unique Look At RPGs


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‘Trial By Magic’: An RPG Remade 18 Years On

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We’ve seen many remakes of retro titles in recent years, although rarely in the indie space. As such, it is interesting to hear of Black Lab Games’ current project — a remake of the 1993 computer RPG Trial By Magic. The original game was written for DOS, and was developed in 1993/1994 by Silver Lightning Software, a studio founded by Paul Turbett. Paul now develops games independently as Black Lab Games, and has decided to re-imagine his early project in Unity. With the benefit of modern tools, hopefully Trial By Magic can surpass the original version whilst maintaining its sensibilities of retro role-playing design. Below is a screenshot of the game in its original form.

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Trial by Magic is very different to the role-playing games of today. It has a distinctly old-school sense of pared down scale, and its concept is refreshingly minimal: a wizard known as ‘The Trialmaster’ presents a huge fortune as a prize for whoever can descend all 25 levels of his dungeon, surviving the monsters on each level. The game is set decades after the challenge was first laid down, and still nobody has returned alive. This is where your character comes in, the plucky adventurer who thinks he’s got what it takes to buck the trend. You choose from Warrior, Spellcaster, Ranger, and Thief classes, roll some stats and you’re good to go!

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This is the kind of no-nonsense approach that I appreciate in my games, and it is a truly stark contrast to the intimidating complexity of lore in some modern RPGs. There is something about the purity of old-school RPG design which is appealing, as the lack of focus on narrative depth and environmental frills means the gameplay takes center stage. The Trial by Magic remake is in the early stages of its development, so details are relatively scarce right now (remember to bear in mind that the screenshots featured here are of the 1995 original, not the remake). However, the limited information we have so far, along with the fact that Black Lab Games’ previous title was the excellent Star Hammer Tactics, has been enough to pique my excitement.

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You will hear more from us about Trial by Magic as development continues, as I definitely plan on continuing coverage of this title. Nonetheless, if you want the information straight from the horse’s mouth you should check out the Black Lab Games devlog here. You can also follow @blacklabgames for updates via Twitter. Oh, and you should totally buy Star Hammer Tactics too! It’s available for a pittance via Desura here.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Trial By Magic’: An RPG Remade 18 Years On


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Geneforge Giveaway for Insiders

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So one of the things we’ll be doing this year is giving away games to our insider subscribers on a weekly basis.  First up, we have the epic RPG series the Geneforge Saga (1-5).  The keys below are first come first serve to Insider or Insider Plus subscribers only.  You can subscribe to our website here.

[This Content is Exclusive for Insider]

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Geneforge Giveaway for Insiders


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IGM News Recap 01/09

Welcome to the third installment of IGM News Recap, where we go over the biggest indie gaming news every other day. Like what you see? Be sure to LIKE the video and SUBSCRIBE to the channel to be notified of our latest content.
Here are the stories for this week:

The nominees for the Independent Games Festival 2013 are…

The Free Bundle offers five indie games for…Free!

‘Hartacon Tactics’ Bringing multiplayer RPG strategy to Xbox Live, PC

IGM Mobile-The Best 3DS & Vita indies of 2012


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Oddball RPG ‘The Real Texas’ Expands, Improves, Still Seeking Greenlighting


Have you played The Real Texas yet? Wait, what do you mean you haven’t even heard of it? Hang your head in shame young sir/lady, and rectify that immediately. Might I suggest a trip to the official site for the game, or even perusing our own full review? If you don’t, then you’re missing out. The Real Texas is one of the great indie surprises of this year – an incredibly offbeat, surreal action-RPG about a modern-day rancher on a vacation to England that turns into an interdimensional quest of remarkably small yet important-feeling proportions.

Back when we reviewed the game, it still had some issues, mostly due to the combat controls being a little finicky, and that it was a little too easy to get stun-locked and mauled to death by the great many enemies you’ll encounter. Several updates later, and the game is a far more polished thing. Still resolutely low-fi, but in a more consistent sorta way. There’s even a new quest that has been snuck in with the latest patch – version 1.3 – making a good, lengthy game even better and bigger. Feel free to mentally add a percentage point or two to the review score while you’re at it.

The Real Texas is for Windows, Mac & Linux PCs, and is available now direct from the developer for $15. Nicely, you can get another 30% off that by checking out the Greenlight page, where you can find a promo code to shave a hefty chunk off the price. Make sure you vote for the game while you’re at it – it’s excellent, and deserves a shot at a wider, more mainstream audience.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Oddball RPG ‘The Real Texas’ Expands, Improves, Still Seeking Greenlighting


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It’s A Space Sim, But not As We know It, ‘Divine Space’ Redefines Action RPGs

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Divine Space is a whole new take on sci-fi games introducing in a huge range of detailed RPG elements to the genre whilst giving it the flexibility to be played on your prefered device. That is right Dodo Games are planning to make Divine Space available on every platform known on this earth.

Dodo Games are a small indie studio from Russia who have only recently launched their Kickstarter project and have in the very short time already gained much traction. Raising over $10 000 in the first few days Dodo Games are still a fair way off their ambitious $100 000 funding goal however.

An ambitious goal maybe, however the scope of this game sounds quite phenomenal. With a fully customizable ship you really are able to play the game anyway you want. Fitting it with a whole host of weapons and items creating quite the individual experience.
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The level of customization of the ships alone seems very detailed and really what you would expect from a Sci-Fi RPG. I really like the way Dodo Games are taking this project as they are going to develop a whole galaxy for you to explore.

You will be able to fight, explore and even mine giving you almost a new EVE like game. Holding a conventional story arch it will contain all manner of interesting twists and turns finding you exploring far flung areas of the galaxy and seeing innovative and new worlds.
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Divine Space aims to really reach out into cyberspace and begin to redefine the playing field by creating this highly engaging and exciting new title. Divine Space is going to be a free to play multiplayer title working, eventually on all platforms.

If you like what you see about Divine Space I encourage you to head to Dodo Games’ Kickstarter page here and support this extremely ambitious but totally awesome title. The Kickstarter page also contains a great deal of extra information in case you really need more reasons to back it. Also be sure to check out the official site here.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – It’s A Space Sim, But not As We know It, ‘Divine Space’ Redefines Action RPGs


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From the FIG – Interview with 10×10 Room

The Boston Festival of Indie Games was recently held to celebrate Independent Game Development Day. I was able to go, and while there I sat down with Derek Bruneau of 10×10 Room.

Derek is one of the developers of a browser based game called Conclave. It is a game inspired by the 10×10 Room team’s love of roleplaying in their busy lives.  Conclave aims to make the roleplaying experience more convenient by removing the limitations of timed sessions.

“We were inspired a couple years ago to make this game, to have tabletop inspired aesthetics and story and tactical gameplay that we like, but that doesn’t require us to schedule gaming sessions.” Derek explains that “You can play it in realtime if you have time, but otherwise just have it fit into the free moments of your day.”

Conclave focuses on being able to be played asynchronously. Almost every mechanic that Derek mentioned was designed with the intent of being able to play when the players get a chance. Derek’s example was combat not being limited by waiting for others to complete their turns.

He adds that “One other advantage of that is if you do have time, and can coordinate things there’s a strategic advantage to that.  You can choose to go first, and maybe use an ability that weakens a creature, and use a combination with another character that way.”

10×10 Room acts as the Dungeon Master for the experience. Each quest is scripted by the team, and hosted on their website. Every action the player takes is stored on the Conclave servers, and because of that allowing modding is difficult.  When asked about modding, he told me “We hope to do it at some point, but we’re not planning on doing it in the next couple months unless something changes.”

Conclave’s open beta has had a positive response so far. Derek hopes his successful Kickstarter will help make Conclave even more popular.

“Definitely a lot of good feedback, most of it similar to our feedback in earlier stages of development. That suggests that we’re on the right path, and there has not been a big change in that.  A lot of the feedback is also feedback that is already on our existing road map. That’s been encouraging also.”

10×10 Room is inspired to make this game, because it is something they would like to play themselves.

We very much ‘eat our own dog food’, the inspiration for the game was we didn’t have time for the game we wanted to created. A game with depth, and also didn’t take over our lives. One that respected we had work or family or school. The game very much reflects what we as players would like, and being online is obviously a big part of that. We can’t play online since we’re scattered across the country.

Derek said there were two possibilities for his biggest challenges and triumphs in creating Conclave.

“One would be getting the word out. The game doesn’t fit into an established genre – it’s very tabletop’esquey but it’s a videogame. It’s kind of between the online and offline worlds.  In addition, there are some members of the gaming community or press that focus on particular genres, or triple-a games in general. So I think one of the biggest challenges is getting the word out as an indie developer. The other challenge is one I think people would expect. Creating an RPG with your own story and own mechanics, and adding in this synchronous and asynchronous play, and we’re hosting everything. There’s a lot of coding and infrastructure involved. So the other biggest challenge would be how to get this done with such a small team.

And in terms of triumphs I would say we actually have a completely playable beta that works.  There are some rough spots that we really want to improve. Like better graphics or adding a soundtrack, or discoverable items on quests. There are a bunch of them, but I think that we’ve demonstrated that it’s possible to do this. To be able to have an experience like this, and have it be fun and to feel like a tabletop game. Our players and playtesters have really responded to that, and that feels great.”

You can play Conclave at it’s website. You can also follow it’s development at 10×10 Room‘s development blog, or follow them on Twitter.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – From the FIG – Interview with 10×10 Room