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

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Peddle your wares in ‘Cart Life’!

Anyone longing to live the life of city street vendor should definitely give Richard Hofmeier’s Cart Life a spin. Cart Life is a retro-styled simulator of that very scenario. The title puts you in the skin of one of three down-on-their luck characters hoping to turn around their life by peddling wares to the denizens of a small city in the western region of the United States. Players will experience the ups and (mostly) downs of each character’s life from having to pick up your daughter from school, to losing your pet cat in lonely city full of strangers. Gameplay resembles a meshing of point and click adventure with some “typing games”esque segments used to stock shelves and ring up customers.

Much like real people, each of Cart Life’s playable characters has a vice, one which you must manage in order for them to operate properly; in addition to these vices, players are also tasked with managing the hunger and stamina for their chosen character, presenting a very Sim-like experience at times. On the graphic’s front, Cart Life keeps things around the 16bit era for the most part, sticking to a palette consisting of deep blacks and sulky greys. All of which go a long way in conveying the overarching mood of depression and struggle that seem to plague the drab city. Notably enough, Cart Life has been nominated to receive an award at this year’s Indiecade festival, which should be reason enough to check out the quirky little title.

Those interested can pick up their vendor’s license for free over on developer’s homepage, with some nifty payed versions available as well (all of which include some pretty sweet goodies). Check back on IGM later for a review to see just how hard it is to make a buck in America.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Peddle your wares in ‘Cart Life’!


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‘OJO Agent’ Guide – Tricks Of The Trade

OJO Agent asks if you have what it takes to make it in the world of sports agents. This will take shrewd negotiating skills along with the ability to juggle superstars while making them all feel like they are the most important person in the world. It can be a daunting and cut-throat world, but here are some tips which should help you on your journey to becoming a successful agent. Now, go get ‘em champ!

Location, location, location:

A little forward planning is necessary before you start playing. When you attempt to pitch to an athlete, you must have enough pitching points with that particular player to do so. If your office is based in the same region as that player, you get four pitching points, while being based in the same city will get you an additional ten. Strangely, once you pick a location you don’t get reminded further down the line, so keep note of it somewhere. If you dream of snapping up the stars of one particular team you should base yourself in that area.

Keep your energy levels up:

The life of an agent is taxing and takes a lot of energy as a result. You need energy for any action in OJO Agent, from buying items to entertaining clients. When pitching to an athlete you get extra pitching points per 20 points of energy. The goal when starting the game is to build as much energy as possible. The easiest way to do this is by organising networking events. When doing so, be sure to weigh up the cost, in terms of time and money, and resulting benefit. If you are going to play for an extended period of time in one sitting the shorter events can be more beneficial.

Follow social networks:

One of the unique aspects of OJO Agent is that you can benefit from your clients’ performances in real life. If you eat, sleep and breathe sports you may know exactly who to have signed at any point in order to pick up as many performance bonuses as possible. If not, OJO Agent has a dedicated Facebook page and Twitter account where players can get tip-offs regarding who to sign. Naturally, you will need to have the capacity, pitch and ability to sign them, but it’s a useful resource for those who may not follow every match closely.

Prepare for the pitch:

Before you pitch to a prospect, make them as happy as possible to increase your chances of signing them. However, don’t just send them every gift under the sun until they are at maximum happiness. Each prospective client has an item which you must send them before pitching. Being aware of this gift ensures that you don’t waste gifts, money and time making them happy before finding out that you aren’t experienced enough to buy it. Send them this gift first to see where their happiness level lies before sending any extra gifts; they may not be necessary.

Two sides to every agenda:

There is an element of risk-reward attached to agendas. They can cost you financially more than they bring back in and the initial impact may result in your client deciding that he is a little unhappy. Some clients are less cooperative than others with their demands and may ask for items that are unavailable until you are experienced enough. On the other hand they are a great way to gain experience, and can be used to keep yourself busy while waiting for other tasks to complete. In your early days they can be invaluable as a learning resource and can help you progress your agency. Upon completion, you can collect your bonus or store it for later. If you do not need the money and happiness points, it can be worthwhile to stock up on completed agendas so that you can earn an injection of fire meter at one time.

Playing mini-games:

There are a number of different mini-games included in OJO Agent, but they are not all created equal. Networking events open up the Triple Threats Slots, which can earn you anything from free coins to experience points or gifts. However, unless you are playing with free spins it is rarely worth playing.

Entertainment and pitching events allow you to play Catch A Cube. This is a Deal or No Deal type game with all sorts of benefits on offer. As you play more of OJO Agent the rewards become less impressive, as days of experience or 000’s of points become just a drop in the ocean. However, there is the chance in pulling a box to finish the timer, which is always helpful when the event is scheduled to take hours.

Buying items earn endorsement points, which can then be used to get endorsement deals for your athletes. To unlock new brands, tiers and sectors, you must play a game called Pitch Deck. This involves dropping a disc down through a peg board until it settles into a point bracket at the bottom. More valuable tiers and contracts require more points, so be careful before you click the button at the top of the page inviting you to play a game. You could find yourself requiring 10,000 points to unlock a gold tier brand and you will still have used a valuable phone call. Instead, select the brand at a tier that suits you. There is no point managing to unlock a gold tier if you are not earning the endorsement points to sign a deal. That phone call is better spent on a tier, which will work for you.

Best of luck on your venture to become a renowned sports agent. OJO Agent is free to play on Facebook now.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘OJO Agent’ Guide – Tricks Of The Trade


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‘Kerbal Space Program’ Continues To Grow in Scale & Price

There’s a recession on, don’t you know? Everything is more expensive these days, too. Land, air – even space! I mean, are you going to argue with the King of Space over just how much orbital real-estate costs? Brilliant little space-science sandbox Kerbal Space Program continues to evolve into something truly special, but the cost of expanded development is an expanding price-tag. Soon, the game will go up from its current $15 to a slightly more hefty $18. By the time the game is officially complete, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it floating around the $30 mark. Quite reasonable, if they add all the features they’ve got planned.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of trying it yet, Kerbal Space Program is an accessible but deep ‘fun’ simulation of spaceflight and the associated engineering challenges. Your goal is to help the little green men of the planet Kerbin get into space, to their moon, and beyond. To do this, you assemble spacecraft via a construction screen not entirely dissimilar to Spore’s creature creator, and then try and fly it. This almost always ends hilariously badly, with parts of your spacecraft shaking themselves loose, rocket boosters jettisoning at the wrong time, and hopes of a safe pod landing dashed by you forgetting to attach a parachute.


Right now the game contains both basic rocketry and space-plane creation systems, and an increasingly involved atmospheric and orbital flight engine. Plans are to expand the game to include a full-blown management element, where you need to impress the Kerbin government with your progress in order to earn new funding and technologies, and complete missions of various descriptions. Until then, though, the game is just a sandbox. Not that getting to the Mun (Kerbin’s moon) is easy. No siree. They just make it look that way in the video above.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘Kerbal Space Program’ Continues To Grow in Scale & Price


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Japanese Strat/Sim ‘War Of The Human Tanks’ Localized By Fruitbat Factory

War of the Human Tanks

Fruitbat Factory is a new independent game localization company specializing in bringing Japanese indie games to English speakers and they’ve just announced their existence as well as the first game that they have been working on. The War of the Human Tanks spawned a series of grid-based strategy games when it was released back in 2008. It’s the combination of its quirky outset, dark humor and challenging gameplay that has led to it becoming a fairly popular series of games.

War of the Human Tanks plays out like you’d probably imagine a grid-based strategy game to, with the opposing sides facing each other attempting to take each other’s units down one at a time. Units include close range explosive types, assault rifles and long range artillery, with the more interesting ones being the Scouts and Interceptors which can give tactical advantages if used efficiently.

The translated version of War of the Human Tanks is slated for a Fall 2012 release and will be available on PC.

More information on Fruitbat Factory can be found on their site and if you’re handy with Google Translate or a Japanese speaker then check out the official War of the Human Tanks website.


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Falling Fowl: Large ‘Artemis’ Update Released

Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator, created by seasoned indie developer Thom Robertson, has been padded out by a huge new update.

Among the addressed areas of concern are the 3D engine, which has been given a significant upgrade, and the in-game ships and races, which have undergone major revisions. New space vessels and user customisation options are further additions to the Artemis universe, along with a whole host of bug fixes and performance enhancements.


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After The Pride: ‘Fallen City’ Now Available On PC and Mac

Fallen City, an educational puzzle-meets-real-time-strategy game for Windows PC and Mac, is now available to play for free, developers Big Robot have revealed.

Commissioned by Channel 4, a UK-based television network, Fallen City was created with the intention of highlighting the underlying implications and issues related to modern city life. As such, the inhabitants of the titular Fallen City, having endured years of oppression and neglect, are, to put it mildly, a little ticked off. In fact, a small pocket of them are taking it upon themselves to vandalise and destroy large sections of the urban dwelling, threatening to disintegrate the moral fabric of society in one fell swoop. Problematic.

As the solitary voice of reason sent in to bring balance to proceedings, it’s the player’s job to make sure the local population may once again live in a blissful state of harmonic cohesion. By constructing the correct buildings from the rubble laid out in the vandals’ wake, one must think carefully about what the Fallen City residents require in order to return to a normal way of life. Of course, that means that certain city designs and architectural arrangements will prove more effective in combating the prevalent civil unrest, which is where the game’s emphasis on player judgement is made paramount to ultimate success.

Fallen City can be downloaded through E4, one of Channel 4′s subsidiary services.


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Towns: A City Builder Inspired by Dwarf Fortress

Dwarf Fortress is a hugely popular indie game. Probably not as much as say Minecraft, but it’s up there with the greats of all indie games. And as with any great game comes the ability to inspire others to create their own “like” games after it. Today I bring you Towns, a city building/roguelike that was inspired by Dwarf Fortress.

Towns is still very early in development. In fact, as you’ll be able to tell from the gameplay video below, it’s probably not ready for those of you who want to play polished titles. It’s very rough and still has a lot of work that needs to be done. However, what is there shows potential.

As I already said, the game is part Sim City and part roguelike. What I mean by this is that you’ll have an overland map where you can build and resource hunt as you control a series of civilians. With those resources you can create farms, houses, mills, forges, etc. to constantly improve your town.

A part of me actually wants to compare the game to Minecraft as well. It’s almost as if Mojang had made an RTS/sim game based on Minecraft you’d get Towns, if that makes any sense.

Towns has tons of potential. The core mechanics are very fun and I’ve, personally, been anticipating a new city building sim for a while. But like I said, it’s still rough. New art is currently being worked on for the next iteration 0.30 and the game definitely needs a new suit to show itself off properly.

If you’ve got the time and adventurous gaming spirit, I’d recommend checking Towns out. You can download and play v0.25 right now for free for Linux, Mac or PC and, if you like, you can even donate to help support ongoing development.

[Towns blog]

Gameplay Video


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Introversion’s New Game is Prison Architect

Rock Paper Shotgun has an interesting scoop this morning as it appears that the new game the Introversion submitted to IGF is a game called Pirson Architect.

Those of you who read the blog regularly will remember that it was only a couple days ago that our own Lewie Procter revealed that Introversion had submitted an entirely new game that wasn’t Subversion (which has been suspended).

Not much is yet known about the game, but that’s the first image up above.

Apparently, as one would expect, Prison Architect is a game in which you manage and build a maximum security prison. What this entails exactly we don’t quite know, I’m thinking it could be a tycoon/sim game of some sort, but really that’s left open for interpretation.

We’ve gone ahead and contacted Introversion for more information and assets so once we get em, we’ll update you guys.

[Introversion]


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The Angriest Birds – T-17 Tanky rolls into alpha-funding with a public demo and teaser trailer

As far as sales pitches go, T-17 Tanky walks a fine, charming line between brutal honesty and comedy. The trailer bills it as a ‘High fidelity made up tank simulation! Ballistics! Locational damage! Melons! My first game! Immersive universe for up to 1 players! Everything looks like a polygon! Airplanes? Game of a year!’.  And all that is completely true. And that’s exactly why you should be paying attention right now.


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Hands-On: Universe Sandbox [PAX Prime 2011]

[DIYGamer correspondent Ken Ellis was on-sight all weekend at this year's extremely indie-friendly PAX Prime, previewing as many games as humanly possible. To start, thoughts on Giant Army's space playground Universe Sandbox.]

Universe Sandbox is one of the most appropriately named games in existence. It is a astronomy game about creating, sustaining, or destroying your own cosmos as you see fit in a almost limitless spacial sandbox. Who wants to be God? You do. How do you do it? Universe Sandbox. Period.

The game plays heavily on the force of gravity between spacial bodies as it relates to all the celestial objects that you decide to throw in your universe. How big can it get? A demonstration solar system we were shown contained 466 singular objects all of which were turning and twirling in concert with each other. Not an easy task to perform. Dan Dixon, the creator of the game who took us through some basics, decided to throw Neptune into the system and the entire thing fell into a beautiful chaos.

The game doesn’t just have planets, it has almost anything you can think of. Choose from stars, asteroids, meteors, planetoids, and even black-holes! Nothing is set in stone either. Each objects variables can be changed at anytime from its mass, volume, and density. Another demonstration showed that you can turn Jupiter to the size of a star if so desired.

Universe Sandbox is so good at showing the interactions between objects in space, it has already been sold to a handful of schools as a learning program. Any aspiring astronomer, space fan, or gravity nut should pick up this game. It is already out on Steam for only $10, so there is no excuse not to be God for a day. Hey, you may even learn a thing or two.

[Giant Army]