Dan Fitzgerald and Lisa Bromiel are the latest indie developers to try their hand at crowdfunding, having launched their Kickstarter campaign for Dog Sled Saga a few days ago. We covered the game previously, and took a great deal of interest in the game’s approach to the under-represented sport of dog-sledding. Evidently, this interest has been echoed by the wider public too; at the time of writing Dog Sled Saga stands at $4,149, with 25 days to go. If the positive trend continues, this should be more than ample time for the campaign to hit its $6,000 goal. As well as this, Dan and Lisa’s campaign has been featured on the Kickstarter “Staff Picks” list, which gives a great deal of exposure and is a boon to anyone hoping for Kickstarter success. A very impressive start for the pair.
Big news came in recently from Misfits Attic, the team behind the virus out for revenge, A Virus Named TOM. While the game was considered a big hit by both gamers and critics, several issues were raised and desired by the community to make the vengeful virus even better. This year the team will address some of those desires the community has, accepting suggestions on both their blog and at PAX Prime.
The goal is to find what features the community is willing to help fund such as online multiplayer and a level editor to name a few. While it has not been stated how the community will help fund the additions to the already addicting puzzle game, I can’t help but think it involves us buying more copies of A Virus Named TOM. Thankfully, this is even easier than ever, Misfits Attic will be selling copies of the game on sale at 25 percent off on their website during PAX Prime (Aug 31st - Sept 3rd). For those of you brave enough to confront the convention floor you can visit Misfits Attic in person at the Indie Megabooth and receive a copy for 50 percent off. While you’re there, you can also say hello to the over 30 other indie devs currently setting up shop there. A full diagram containing all of the devs in attendance at the megabooth can be found here.
As an added bonus to all those fans of A Virus Named TOM’s soundtrack, you can now pick it up over on BandCamp for $3.00 USD.
The album features 12 tracks, including a 13th “hidden track.” Each song can be bought for $.99 or the whole album can be purchased for between $9 and $10. You can review the track listing below.
1. The Abyss and I
2. Origin: Somewhere
3. I Heart You
4. A Clockwork Purple
5. Time for Reflection
6. Mine the Gap
7. Happy in Lava
8. Skinny Dipping
10. Quite the Quiet Quest
11. System Malnutrition
13. Sunshowers (Hidden Track)
Each track is written by an artist named “wrench.” The soundtrack is a welcome edition to the recent surge of video game soundtrack popularity. It is a mixture of dark undertones and industry inspired sounds making it a highlight of a solid game. Fans of the game should definitely give some of the samples a look as Itunes and Amazon offer short 30 second pieces of each track. A look at Unmechanical and a sample of the sound can be seen in the announcement trailer below.
Unmechanicalis the first effort from Talawa Games, a small developer based out of Sweden. Unmechanical was released on August 8th, 2012. It is a physics puzzler which runs on the Unreal 3 engine. The story of Unmechanical is of a robot which falls into a series of tubes and finds itself trapped in a mysterious mechanical factory and must solve a series of puzzles to escape. Unmechanical is available for purchase from multiple sites including Steam, GOG, Gamersgate, and Onlive, as well as a pending release for iOS.
Talawa also announced that the demo for Unmechanical is up and running on Steam for players to test out some of the puzzles and mechanics. Feel free to also check out our review of Unmechanical.
Terraria and Dark Souls, two great tastes that normally would have nothing at all do to with each other. Until now, that is. Now that development of the exceptionally popular platform-sandbox action-RPG is complete, the community have moved in and started picking apart exactly how it works, and putting it back together in strange new ways. The Story Of Red Cloud is one of the most impressive and ambitious mods to be released so far, and sports a rather hefty feature list. Here’s just some of it:
Dark Souls Game Mechanic
12 uniquely themed Dungeon areas spread between both normal and hard modes
18 bosses (7 vanilla plus 11 mod bosses)
Custom Soundtrack inspired by Princess Mononoke & Zelda
Over 150-200 new mod items, weapons, and armors compiled from a dozen of the best mods from the community
In short, it’s a hand-crafted world, rather than a randomly generated environment. Things are more controlled and scripted than in regular Terraria, but there’s still nothing stopping you from taking the world apart with a pickaxe or building yourself a fortress home, but the focus does seem to be on exploration, combat and gear more than the regular playstyle. It’s definitely a little darker than the usual happy-go-lucky adventuring, with the story (as it is) beginning with you waking up in a shallow grave, and digging to the surface reveals that your homestead has been burnt to the ground, along with your protagonist’s parents. Grim, considering the cute 16-bit style. Still, this is more Zelda than Dragon Age, when push comes to shove.
‘So’, I hear you ask; ‘Where does the Dark Souls part come in?’ Well, that’s your whole secondary progression mechanic. Each enemy type drops a certain number of souls, and they effectively act as a secondary currency. You can spend them (via certain special crafting recipes) at rare demon altars scattered around the world in order to upgrade both your character and your gear, although you’ll still be able to get some mileage out of the regular Terraria construction system. Unlike Dark Souls, this mod isn’t going to force you head-first into a meatgrinder – there’s even included Easy and Hard mode variants of the mod, just in case you want something more casual or hardcore.
Swimming in lava might be bad for your 'Elf
Probably the largest weakness here is the storytelling. Terraria was never designed to tell a story – you tell your own through playing – so your own character’s internal monologue, dialogue with other characters and even hints on dungeon progression are all provided through signs posted throughout the world. It would have been nice if there was some kind of involved dialogue system, or some way to present this information without using such an awkward kludge, but Terraria was never designed to be modded in the first place. It’s impressive that they’ve done so much without any official tools or support, and I’d imagine that the quality of fan-made tools will improve for quite some time to come.
There’s clear limitations imposed by the framework of the game it’s built on, but the world of The Story Of Red Cloud is well designed, and the many dungeons are complex, multi-layered things with plenty of switches, mechanisms, traps, blind drops and obstacles. Enemy spawning – however it is managed – seems to be a lot more controlled than in regular Terraria as well, and an optional plugin allows you to wield an ‘off-hand’ weapon so that you can alternate between melee and ranged styles more freely, although this, too is a little bit of a kludge, overriding the right-click ‘use’ functionality and not looking too hot in action. Useful, though, and it does technically let you dual-wield weapons, if you’re really looking to put the hurt on something.
Souls, and the slimes that hoard them.
The installation process for The Story of Red Cloud is a little bit convoluted, but shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, and is well worth a play if you’ve already exhausted all there is to see in regular Terraria. There’s a lot of fun to be found in exploring a hand-crafted world, rather than a procedurally generated one. The mod is still being actively developed with small updates being released every now and then (the main focus being high-level balance right now), but it’s currently considered stable and complete. You can find the latest build and full installation instructions on this Terraria Online thread. If nothing else, this should help those feeling Terraria withdrawal pains survive until the release of Starbound.
With their 2D deathmatch platformer Awesomenauts now in full swing following its release on Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network, Ronimo Games have announced the official release of the game’s soundtrack via Sonic Picnic.
The digitally-downloadable album features 15 tracks, each taken from the madcap, 80s-inspired game. In keeping with the space cartoon-derivative Awesomenauts vibe, most of the compositions assume a staccato, techno-basted aural ambiance, allowing spellbound players to listen to the game’s punchy tones whilst out and about in the real, less exciting world.
Today’s Developer Links include links about many aspects of game development, from funding to feedback.
Botanicula Soundtrack Vinyl Edition (Amanita Design)
“Botanicula Soundtrack is released on 12″LP in edition of 1000 copies, whilst 300 copies are on turquoise vinyl, 300 copies on amber vinyl and 400 copies on standard black. Each copy features three large format inserts [30x30 cm] with art reproductions by Jaromír Plachý, author of the game artwork, and as always, a coupon with a code to download MP3/FLAC versions of the album.”
Indie Tools: Inform 7 (IndieGames.com)
“Inform 7 is being described as a design system for interactive fiction based on natural language. Shockingly, it does exactly what it says on the tin (and quite a bit more), while simultaneously being a truly powerful tool for creating intricate pieces of interactive fiction on most platforms you’d care to mention.”
For Indies, With Love: TIGA Releases a Guide to Self-Publishing (IndieGameMagazine)
“The TIGA Guide to Self-Publishing: Liberating the Developer is designed to help out with the business side of game publishing for the small developer. In their announcement, TIGA recognises the growing trend sparked by the growing opportunities for developers to release their games without a publisher, particularly in mobile gaming and the social media space.”
Swordfight is Good Art (Mommy’s Best Devlog)
“The experience here is only possible because of a game. Photos or videos don’t do it justice. No amount of reading about it (don’t quit reading! or watching conveys the full experience, it must be played. Interaction being the defining distinction of games.”
Frictionless Feedback (Cliffski.com)
“One thing that a lot of companies don’t get is the importance of frictionless feedback.
All companies perpetuate the myth that they want to hear from customers. They pretend to value their feedback, and want to hear from them, regardless whether or not the feedback is good or bad. In very few cases is this really true. I’m not referring to actually abusive or threatening feedback, which obviously just gets binned.”
Luftrausers Devlog #1 (Vlambeer)
“LUFTRAUSER was about feeling like the coolest person in the world. You sat behind your computer but really you’re a pilot going 5 million miles an hour shooting enemies and making water splash up behind you and doing loopings all while smoking multiple cigarettes at once and reading the newspaper. In the highly anticipated superlative sequel, we are bringing you more of that & we’re letting you do it your way. You will be able to get dirty and build your own RAUSER from the ground up. By destroying enemies, completing missions and all that you will unlock new parts. Parts come in 3 types: weapons, bodies and engine.”
Upon designing the make-up of a world its usually a profound idea to make it something a little goofy, odd or just generally not disinteresting. Mundane artefacts plague this world so why infest them with your own fiction, right? This is especially interesting in games, as we can physically journey through another plane of existence and interact with it and doing so can be rewarding in itself. Thus we present Ecotone.
Playing as a strange, grim reaper-like fellow, this platformer draws its players into an odd universe. Gooey, snake-like creatures weave between the architecture and others block the way, or sometimes help to traverse the dispersed land. The destination for this unknown character is unclear, but its lack of identity may be the reason for its constant pursuit. Certainly, we’re told that as the player’s understanding of the game evolves, then maybe some form of realization will emerge – a connection with the character and the player.
Ecotone isn’t just a visual oddity, neither is it just a simple platformer – its essence lies in level variation. One level may be a speed chase, the next focused on puzzle solving, then gravity may be inverted, or perhaps you’ll be asked to take control of several characters at once. Each level has a new mechanic and it all comes with a sentence too. These sentences give the player a clue as to how to solve, but sometimes they may not – maybe they have a greater meaning in this gradual unity.
It’s interesting to say the least and we’re looking forward to where Sundae Factory are taking Ecotone. At the moment it exists on Indie GoGo for the purpose of raising $12,000 so that they may work on the game full time and get it released sooner rather than never. If enough money is raised then they could also develop mobile versions of the game. In return for your money you can get access to the beta version, the soundtrack, a pre-order, help design levels, even figurines!
More information on Ecotone can be found on the Sundae Factory website, unfortunately there are no sundaes for the taking.
Dear 20+ year olds, we’ve found out where all those years have disappeared to and managed to bring back a relic for you to check it out. It’s a game called Secrets of Grindea which is like many of those SNES RPG’s you used to play, but borders on parody, looks much slicker and comes with 4 player online co-op.
We’re not sure whether it was the soundtrack, the animations or the graphics, but immediately upon watching this new trailer for Secrets of Grindea we felt a surge of energy and a lust for the game. No it’s not unique but it certainly looks very polished and every little chime and character makes our eyes glisten even more. Nonetheless, this is a pre-alpha trailer somehow, which was put together to supplement the game’s entry in the Swedish Game Awards and the Gotland Game Conference.
The type of game this is should be pretty obvious to everyone – you run around green fields and dungeons killing increasingly bigger (and cuter) enemies for items and experience that increase your abilities. There’s character customization and even the typical “something evil is afoot” storyline. You’ll actually be playing as an upcoming hero who aims to be the most famed Collector by grabbing lots of rare and valuable items. Then things take a turn for the worse and, well, you know the rest.
Check out the trailer below and get pumped, though you will have to wait until late 2012 or even 2013 for the game’s release on PC.
More information on Secrets of Grindea can be found over on the game’s official website.
Being that I’m not totally au fait with Oriental culture, I wasn’t aware that 5th May happens to be Children’s Day in Korea. Well, it apparently is, because Turtle Cream are marking the occasion with a 55% discount on their platforming hit, Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory.
Starting from 4th May and running for three days, the sale will apply on several different digital distribution platforms, including Desura, Indievania and IndieCity. As a result, the price should be reduced below the £1.50 mark, making it an even more tantalising prospect for potential buyers than ever before.
Christine Love’s visual novel, Analogue: A Hate Story, has now been coupled with its soundtrack on Steam, for a price of course, but it’s worth it. Honest.
A large part of a visual novel is its soundtrack, so you may already be familiar with the aural extractions from Analogue: A Hate Story presuming that you’ve played it. Let’s make another assumption and say that you even quite like it. So, why don’t you go and buy it – the game’s soundtrack by Isaac Schankler is now on Steam for $5. If you haven’t already purchased the game the soundtrack belongs to, then you can also now bung them together for a price of $13. That’s, as Christine said, pretty rad.
If you haven’t purchased the game itself on Steam, but want to buy the soundtrack, then you’ll actually have to buy the game in order to get hold of the soundtrack on there too – just a warning. Also, if you don’t like Steam or are a Linux user then you should grab the game from the developer right here. Then, you can get the soundtrack from BandCamp, plus you can hear previews over there too.
More information on Analogue: A Hate Story can be found on the game’s official website.