Kickstarter exploded this afternoon in the aftermath of a genre-bending announcement for a new indie game in development by yet another group of ex-AAA alumni. In particular, Todd Alderman and Francesco Gigliotti are heading up..
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Don’t Starve and more top-notch titles discussed in today’s Indie Links.
C++ Of Tranquility: Lunar Software Explain Routine (RPS)
“Aaron Foster and Lunar Software are making Routine, a fascinatingly atmospheric sci-fi horror game set on the moon. It’s non-linear, based on exploration, and filled with horror and intriguing ideas. I spoke to Foster and asked him to share some of those ideas with us. First, though, watch the trailer if you’ve not seen it already.”
Wot I Think: Rogue Legacy (RPS)
“My Rogue Legacy ends in defeat. I’m close to discovering all of the castle’s secrets and I’ve slain fearsome bosses, each taking me one step closer to victory, but my much-pruned family tree has been reduced to kindling. As I peeled my eyes from the window in which so many generations had perished, I vowed to remember my last and most valiant relation – a giant lich queen with a vampiric sword and a fear of chickens.”
Don’t Starve Review: Eat To Live (Polygon)
“Don’t Starve is a survival sim that gets under your skin. It’s like an endurance sport, such as running or cycling — opaque, introspective and eventually, powerfully addictive. As with those athletic pursuits, there’s a difficult learning curve. Your motivation to participate has to come from within rather than from without, as the rewards are intangible: you progress, get better, last longer. But for the right kind of player — someone who actively likes to compete against him or herself — Klei Entertainment’s game is like a drug.”
Indie Games Summit at GDC Europe debuts line-up, adds Gamescom perk (IndieGames.com)
“Organizers have announced several notable new talks for next month’s Independent Games Summit at GDC Europe in Cologne, including creating the text-based hit, Steve Jackson’s Sorcery!; building the Indie Megabooth’s presence at PAX and in the press; and porting Canabalt and Super Crate Box to the Commodore 64 – also revealing a new extra with the reduced-price Indie Games Summit Pass.”
The Chinese Room’s Dan Pinchbeck: “It’s scary” to work on a new Amnesia game (Edge)
“The Chinese Room exploded into the indie scene with 2012′s Dear Esther, an exploration game with heavy themes and an obscure narrative. Since then, the team has begun work on a collaboration with Amnesia: The Dark Descent developer Frictional Games to make Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. We talked to writer Dan Pinchbeck about the process of creating a brand new game in the horror series.”
Royal Society Science Game Jam (Indie Game Reviewer)
“On May 24, 2013, The Royal Society was home to a scientific game jam as a precursor to its annual Scientific Exhibition. By teaming up experienced game developers and exhibitors, the jam challenged teams to create game that, while still fun to play, also effectively demonstrate the cutting edge scientific research set for display at the expo. The Jam itself ran for 12 hours, and the 4 finalists are now available to be played. Vote for your favorite! The winners will receive additional funding to further develop their game.”
Race to Mars Lets You Build Your Own Space Program (Indie Game Insider)
“Polish developer Intermarum is looking to Kickstarter to fund their new game Race to Mars. The project is seeking a goal of £30,000 (roughly $45,000) to allow players to fulfill their dreams of making their own personal Weyland Yutani Corporation, minus all the face-hugging alien science fiction.”
The Wii U’s Most Adorable Game Gets A Dubsteppy Trailer (Kotaku)
“Toki Tori 2, the adorable Wii U platform-puzzler in which you play as a giant bird who solves puzzles by whistling and stomping, is coming to Steam on July 11 as Toki Tori 2+. In honor, the folks behind the game have created this wub-wub-wub trailer, which is totally incongruous and awesome. Enjoy.”
Today’s Indie Links include: Northways, Chasms, Ns and Ostriches.
Born Unequal: The Story of Incredipede (Polygon)
“Colin Northway and his wife Sarah dump their heavy backpacks on the floor of a modest-looking house in the Philippines. This will be their home for the next few months. There’s a kitchen and a bathroom, windows to let in the dense tropical air, a few more mosquitoes than they’re used to clinging to the ceiling, a choppy internet connection and space for them to set up their laptops and make video games. The house also comes with what the Northways describe as one of the weirdest and most intolerable situations they’ve encountered: a housekeeper.”
N version 2.0 released by Metanet Software, adds local multiplayer, level sharing (Polygon)
“Metanet Software released version 2.0 of N, its challenging and highly addictive ninja platforming game, for free through its official website, adding a host of new features, including local co-op multiplayer and built-in level sharing.”
“Chasm is a promising action-rpg platformer with fine pixel art.”
Playing The Games That Nobody Else Has Played (Kotaku)
“The site Zero Feedback has a noble mission statement: to track down and play independent, freeware games that for whatever reason have gone completely unnoticed.”
Live Free, Play Hard: Then Mystical Snake Shit Happened (RPS)
“THIS WEEK: Slapstick fencing. DESTROY YOUR HOME. Mystical snake shit.”
Indie Pleas: Indie game crowd funding roundup for May 17, 2013 (IndiePub)
“For those of you who love procedurally-generated levels, you should definitely check out TinyKeep and Moon Rift!”
Ostrich Island – Review (Independent Gaming)
“The graphics are simple but they need not be amazing rig-destroyers, and the animations and sound effects are decent, as is the music (that isn’t anything too special but isn’t hard on the ears). Charm is everywhere, from the concept itself to the cute idle animations.”
Review: Bad Bots (Indie Game Reviewer)
“The gameplay of Bad Bots features a healthy mix of gun-toting action and light puzzling. The Titan is split up into separate rooms (170 of them to be exact) that load individually making for an experience mildly reflective of classic platformer/action titles like Flashback. Bad Bots is far more action focused than the early 90s platformer however, and you’ll be blasting away bots for much more time than you spend mulling over puzzles.”
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.
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!
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.
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.
For anyone who has followed IGM for sometime may actually remember me covering Cello Fortress way back in September of last year. Back in September Joost Van Dongen was getting the tech ready for the Indigo exhibition in the Netherlands.
Since the early unveiling of this rather inspired project Dongen has worked even more on this project, and has recently just released a new trailer for the technology. Needless to say the trailer has really gotten the internet buzzing with anticipation for the full project.
The idea behind Cello Fortress however should not be confused with other conventional music games like Guitar Hero. In Cello Fortress you are actually commanding a real Cello. The game operates does also operate as a twin stick shooter, with up to four players work together to take down as many turrets as possible.
The turrets are of course not controlled by the computer but rather by the Cellist and this is where the magic happens. The game works by processing differnt chords differently and as follows; dissonant chords will turn on flame-throwers, aggressive notes will activate the burst-cannons, and an ominous melody charges a bombardment. This creates a novel fusion of a classic musical instrument with the modern day video game market. It’s an interesting fusion and one that would be very interesting to see more of in the not to distant future.
Although the current build of Cello Fortress is still in the early beta stages it already looks a marvel to watch and play, really creating a unique experience for everyone. Even with a working prototype in existence there is still much work for Dongen to do as he tries to prefect the game and create the most engrossing experience possible.
Expect to see Cello Fortress touring more over the course of the year and maybe you will even be lucky enough to get to see this wonderful piece of technology live in action.
Be sure to follow the future developments at the official Cello Fortress website.
Need more goats in your platformers, sir? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that Escape Goat is coming to the PC, you batty fool.
If you weren’t familiar with Magical Time Bean’s original effort on the Xbox Live Indie Games service, Escape Goat is a delightfully kooky puzzle platformer in which a goat, having been incarcerated in a prison after performing illicit acts of witchcraft, attempts to escape said prison by enlisting the aid of a benevolent mouse. Using his unrivalled agility and impetuous cunning, the goat must overcome a myriad of traps, obstacles and menacing baddies as he attempts to pull off the greatest escape in goat history since the liberation of Asschwitz. I’m so sorry.
“Sing a song of six pence, a pocketful of rye. Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing. Wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king?”
Nursery rhymes now – we deliver. Though, that is not printed there for your mere amusement, it’s clearly had some influence on an upcoming shmup which goes by the name of Crow Regime. A rather spectacular shmup, we might add to that. Yes, Crow Regime is still heavy in development, so it would seem, but that hasn’t stopped it from slapping us with a rather large smile.
As with many shmups, you’ll be travelling to the right and shooting to the right. The catch is that you’re a flying stove and you’re shooting blackbirds. With what we don’t know – flames, presumably? The crows carry bombs on occasion and will dash at you; one strike and you’re out it would seem. There is a way to make things easier for yourself, though it does come with a slight risk. This is really the genius part of the game.
Once you shoot a crow, its feathers will fall off, leaving it to flap away all pink and naked. It is then – at its most vulnerable – that you shall show no mercy and suck up the crow into your spiky stove mouth. From here, you shall bake the crow into a pie. However, doing this means you cannot shoot so you’ll have to dodge the incoming crows. The longer you bake the pie, the bigger it will be, but what good does that do you? Well, once the pie is baked it then joins you in shooting the crows – and you can have multiple pies of different sizes to aid you.
Add on some boss fights, a crisp art style, smooth animation on top of that hilarious outset and this is a game we can only give two thumbs up to. Crow Regime, we need you! Unfortunately there is no official website for the game as of yet, but you can keep up to date by following the programmer’s blog or subscribing to the YouTube channel. There’s of course no planned release window, but we do know that Crow Regime is headed to PC, Mac and iOS.
Spiderweb Software have now revealed all of the details regarding that Avernum Bundle we saw registered on Steam the other day, it includes Avernum 4-6 and is actually called the Avernum: The Great Trials Trilogy.
After the success of their Geneforge Bundle (who would’ve thought a bundle would be successful?), Spiderweb Software now bring forth the Great Trials Trilogy on Steam which includes the second Avernum trilogy for just $11.99 and with an extra 20% off for the first week. That’s a big drop from the $45 asking price on the official Spiderweb store.
Avernum 4-6 are RPGs with an old school sentiment and were originally released between the years 2006-2010. With the remakes of the original Avernum trilogy (on through three), Spiderweb are hoping you’ll be interested in playing the second trilogy.
Don’t know about you but we’re lost already, all of these trilogies, remakes, ahhhh! You don’t necessarily have to have played the original trilogy to be able to follow the events of the second trilogy as it is set many years afterward, but within the confines of the same underground civilisation. Each game in the trilogy features a huge world, unique stories, challenging enemies, and up to forty hours of gameplay. Here’s a brief summation of what’s going on in Avernum 4-6, handily provided by the developer:
“Avernum 4 takes place long after the previous game and will have you protecting Avernum from new monsters and assassins rising from the darkness that threatens to destroy your home. In Avernum 5, take a new role as protectors of the Empire, seeking to thwart assassins who would lay it low. Finally, in Avernum 6, a food blight and invasion of barbarian lizard people drive the underworld of Avernum to the brink of extinction. In each game you shape the world and the ending as you travel through the enormous, deadly world of Avernum.”
You can purchase Avernum: The Great Trials Trilogy over on Steam for Windows only on this page. More information on the trilogy can be found over on the official website.
Built for the Dreamcast primarily, Redux: Dark Matters is a slick, retro-style shmup that begs attention and boy does it deserve it. The collaborated team behind the game is nearly as impressive as the game – René Hellwig from NG:DEV.TEAM (GunLord, Fast Striker, Last Hope and DUX) and KTX Software (The Haunted: Hells Reach), plus the soundtrack is being provided by Andre Neuman and Chris Huelsbeck (Turrican, R-Type).
You may be a little bit bummed out if you haven’t got a Dreamcast then, considering what the game looks like (see below) and who is making it. Good news is that there are plans to bring it to iOS, PC via Steam, PS3 and Xbox 360.
The problem is the developers need money to get hold of those development kits to do so. As such, they have set up a Kickstarter which is allowing people to put their money forward and get hold of the game’s soundtrack in various forms, as well as limited editions of the Dreamcast version of the game. Those who do pledge enough to get the copies of the game will also receive NG:DEV.TEAM’s DUX 1.5 edition which is a more polished version of the game’s 2009 release.
Redux: Dark Matters contains “super fine” HD graphics (they’re not kidding!), THAT soundtrack, six stages to battle through with huge bosses too and, as this is an arcade game, lots of highscoring to achieve. Now look below for that glorious media – gameplay and screenshots galore!
More information on Redux can be found on its official website, but that just directs you to the Kickstarter page so you may as well just head there first.
“I can’t stand Guitar Hero”, announced the ever-enthusiastic John Brodsky from Lucky Frame during his talk about Creative Music Games at Indie Connect. John brought a lot of energy and discussion to the festival on and off stage, so it was clear that he has a lot of passion for what he is doing. Before he divulged his stance on the more commercial side of rhythm/music games though, he exposed his roots. These were, not too surprisingly, planted in the punk rock scene – playing in a makeshift band and carrying the anti-establishment values that come as standard.
Of course, it’s not too much of a leap from that to the side of indie games, in which developers create their own games how they see fit and often do not conform to standard practices and teachings. That, when combined with being a kid of the modern age, made John all too eager to create his own games with a music core to drive them. The initial urge came from seeing what a friend and now colleague of his made – the Wii Loop Machine. Quite simply, this was a game in which the Wiimote could be used to chop up and rearrange music in an intuitive fashion. With the seeds sown, John took the plunge into programming so that he may move closer to that lifelong dream of creating his own game.
Thus, Musjik was born. This was a simple effort and mostly served as a seminal piece for what would become Lucky Frame’s later and more popular projects. One thing John realised he really wanted to achieve from this point onwards, was a simple and user-friendly interface for creating music. John remembers creating music on his Gameboy all those years ago and he grew very attached to that interface; the A and B buttons as well as the D-Pad. He claims that the majority of players get used to and rely on certain interfaces and refuse to let go of them. Therefore, he didn’t want something that would cause a barrier between the player and the act of creating music.
That is the most important thing for John and Lucky Frame, “creating music”, which is why he despises the franchises that allow players to play music – other people’s music, not the player’s own creations. Of course, there is some capacity for players to create their own music in those games but not to the degree that Lucky Frame look to achieve.
With all of this in mind, John showcased a prototype he made for his next game, Space Hero. What was clear from the start with this game is that John had made the act of creating music a recognisable game in itself. Imagine Space Invaders with falling shapes which, when shot, would emit a sound produced by a drum machine that loosely slotted in with the rhythm of the soundtrack.
Space Hero wasn’t a bad effort but it was inspiration from the Monome SHM Software that led up to his best creation so far. This electronic instrument is operated by a person pushing down on its grid interface which would cause several lights to come on in random places and emit corresponding sounds, eve more variation can be had if more than one square in the grid is pushed down. From this came a game jam creation in which the player could control the environment in a tower defense style game – the catch being that the player was trying to create music but the enemies would destroy it.
It’s not easy to adequately surmise what John was showing the audience but it clearly impressed the room for both its simplicity and originality. The latest work from John and Lucky Frame is, of course, Pugs Luv Beats – a take on the tower defense title from the jam with more polish and a whole lot more character. Still present was the grid-based interface though, which had different terrains spread across it as the titular pugs skipped across to different chimes collecting beetroot.
Now, the whole point of John’s talk on Creative Music Games was to inspire the many developers present in the room to start thinking about designing games with music in mind, as it clearly leads to some very interesting game designs. Not entirely self-indulgent, John pointed out a few examples of games that allowed the player to create their own music and to an impressive result. These were Tambour, FRACT OSC and Proteus, which we’ll now quickly outline.
Tambour is showcased as a drumming game primarily in a versus mode style attack-defend scenario. However, it can be played with just about anything as long as rhythms can be played. Mostly, it’s a strategy game with timing being the crucial factor as you would imagine. Players can deploy shields and fire cannons and hope for high scoring combos – the game’s 1.0 version is due to be released on May 8th.
FRACT OSC is no stranger to this publication. A puzzle game mostly, FRACT OSC has the player wondering around figuring out the music-based environment as they go. They’ll come across ancient machines that are in-game synthesizers that can be used to create custom music and with such an incredible range too.
Proteus is markedly different to the previous two examples in that the player doesn’t create the music so actively, but it is created around them, reacting to their movements. The game is best surmised by the idea that the developers a re conducting an electronic orchestra around the player as they explore. Animals, the elements and plant life are the instruments in this magical land.
John is clearly very experimental and ambitious with what he does and he’s been part of some brilliant game designs. Hopefully, upon sharing his creations and techniques we’ll start to see more of these creative music games emerge, not only because music is important to all of us and computer games, but also because it brings fresh approach to game design and leads to some exciting discoveries.