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

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Permanent Death Awaits: ‘Krater’ Now Released On Steam

Krater

With the only sign of the Sweden we’ve come to stereotypically know being the decrepit IKEA signs left hanging around, you’ll be glad to have a squad with you as you scavenge the post-apocalyptic wastes in Krater. Fat Shark’s latest is a modern and surprisingly colorful take on the old school action-RPG. You’ll be playing from a top down view so you better hope the floor reflects the grandeur artwork we’ve been mesmerised with leading up to the game’s release today.

In any case, the visuals aren’t the most important part of Krater – not by a long shot. Consider that the game comes with an extensive crafting system. Items, weapons, gear and even the abilities and powers of your characters can be crafted. That’s just a mere taste of the depth we’ve been promised though. Fat Shark boast an pretty impressive 60+ locations and 200+ quests to keep you going on and on for hours, as most action-RPGs plan. Just in case that wasn’t enough, the various dungeons and events that occur are randomized.

You’ll probably be more concerned with your zany cast of characters though. If not you should be because this is a game in which injuries live up to their real life counterpart. You get hurt in Krater it can’t simply be solved with a magical potion. Equally as permanent is death. Lose one your precious characters and that’s that. Thankfully, you can bring a friend in to help you out with the game’s co-op capabilities, though you’ll have to wait until July 10th for that update.

Also in July, Krater will be available for Macs. Right now, only those with Windows can play the game. If you should want to, then you better head on over to Steam and grab it while it’s hot. There’s plenty more information on Krater on the official website.


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‘Juicy Breakout’ Demonstrates Triumph of Enhanced Simplicity

With cloning allegations currently rife in the independent gaming industry, one wonders quite how a developer can go about building upon an existing formula without stepping on the toes of its original creators, yet without sacrificing the essence of what made it so popular in the first place. Well, popular developers Petri Purho and Marin Jonasson claim to have the solution.

It’s “juiciness”, apparently.

Speaking at last week’s Nordic Game Indie Night, part of the 2012 Nordic Game Awards is Malmö, Sweden, Purho, best known as the creator of Crayon Physics Deluxe, and Jonasson, the creative force behind jesus vs dinousaurs, gave a stirring speech on how to spruce up a classic game with a dose of “tweeny juiciness.” Using the tried-and-true frameworks of Breakout as a basic foundation, the dynamic duo explained how they managed to give the game a new lease of life, simply by changing a few bog-standard animations, in-game physics, background music and colour design. Here’s the full 15-minute presentation in video form:


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Viking Power: NGIN 2012 Finalists Announced

Nordic Game Awards 2012

With a substantial list of nominations outed a couple of weeks ago, organisers of the 2012 Nordic Games Indie Night Showcase have announced the lineup of finalists for the coveted Indie Sensation Award. Without further ado, here’s a look at the games up for the gong:


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Nominations Revealed For Nordic Game Awards 2012

Nordic Game Awards 2012

The organizers behind the Nordic Game Awards have announced the long list of nominations for this year’s show, as usual we highlight the indie titles who made the line-up.

Always celebrating one of the most creative and interesting parts of the gaming industry, the Nordic Game Awards are creeping up on us yet again. The 2012 awards ceremony will be held on May 24th in Malmö of Sweden, which is where the winners of the six award categories will claim their victory and hopefully acknowledge the great competition they were lined up with. It’s not too late to be part of the Nordic Game Awards as you can register on the official site, do it before April 20th for the early bird discount.

Of course, the Nordic Game Awards don’t just acknowledge the indie games, titles like Battlefield 3 and Renegade Ops are part of this too. What we’ll do is list them but won’t provide links in a stubborn little way – it’s nice to see what the indie titles are going up against too! So here’s this year’s nominations – remember, if it’s linked then we consider it indie.

Best Nordic Game of the Year

  • Battlefield 3 (EA DICE, Sweden)
  • Renegade Ops (Avalanche, Sweden)
  • Where is my Heart? (Die Gute Fabrik, Denmark)
  • Minecraft (Mojang, Sweden)
  • Trine 2 (Frozenbyte, Finland)
  • Syndicate (Starbreeze, Sweden)
  • Battlestar Galactica (Artplant, Norway)

Best Nordic Children’s Game

Best Nordic Handheld Game

  • The Marbians (Progressive Media/Nordisk Film, Denmark)
  • Anthill (Image&Form, Sweden)
  • Sprinkle (Mediocre, Sweden)
  • Draw Race 2 (RedLynx, Finland)
  • Super Stardust Delta (Housemarque, Finland)
  • Death Rally (Remedy, Mountain Sheep, Cornfox Brothers, Finland)
  • Touchgrind BMX (Illusion Labs, Sweden)
  • Joining Hands (10tons, Finland)
  • Neon Zone (House on Fire, Denmark)

Best Artistic Achievement

Best Nordic Innovation Award

Nordic Indie Sensation Award

This award is a special public award. Visitors of the Nordic Game Indie Night (May 23rd) and the Nordic Game 2012 conference (May 24-25th) will be able to try all the nominated games and vote for their favorite. The nominees for this award, which is probably the one of most interest to us, will be announced shortly.

More information on the Nordic Game Awards can be found on the official website.


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Study In Japan AND Make A Hit Japanese iPhone Music Game? Daikonsoft’s Rhythm Control [Interview]

mzl.huzuhvno.320x480-75
mzl.huzuhvno.320x480-75What else can we know about Matt and Said? What can we know to connect you with readers/gamers? What brings you guys to Japan?
Said is from Sweden and used to work for an iPhone company in China.  He is a journalist and photographer.  Said came to Japan for language study after he left China.  I am an American and graduated several years ago at a university in Ohio.  I worked at a software company for a little over a year, saved up some money, and came to Japan to study.  Said and I met at our first class in Tokyo.  We found out we were both fans of music games, and became great friends.
It would be interesting to know why, when, and how you decided to make this game together.
When I first met Said, he told me about his experiences working on iPhone games in China.  Although Id had no experience working with iPhones, we thought it would be interesting to collaborate together on a game.  I had a good knowledge of game programming in Windows, but iOS was completely new to me.  After tossing around some ideas, we thought it would be interesting to do a music game.  The Japanese app store doesn’t have many games (at least those specifically catering towards the Japanese market) and the music game section is quite barren.  So after a lot of meetings, Rhythm Control was born.  Actually the title before it was “Rhythm Explorer”, but we had to change it for copy write reasons.
When will RC get more songs?
RC will be getting a new song as well as other additions in the coming update.  Should be out by the end of the week!
I know you commented about RC for Korea. Are there plans for anything after Rhythm control?
I cant say much at the moment, but we are planning future games for Rhythm Control.me: so is Rhythm Control intended as thumbs only?
Matt: well originally we intended for it to be that way
10:08 PM
therefore we avoided have 2 simultaneous button presses on the sides
but what we noticed from user videos on Nico Nico is that people ended up just playing it on a table
so yeah haha
10:09 PM
me: and there are no more than 2 simultaneous presses?
Matt: yeah 2 is the max right now. Not really any plans to make it more I think
we have kinda scrapped the idea of an ipad version
because of Jubeat plus
me: ah
so #1 in Japan and Sweden?
Matt: the original concept for the game was back in July and a few months later Jubeat was annouced
10:10 PM
Yeah its been #1 in Japan music games since a few days after its release. And was #1 in Sweden music games for a while. At its highest point it reached #19 in all paid apps and #6 in all games in Japan
10:11 PM
me: Congrats on that (personally I enjoyed the Jubeat free game, but hated that the Extreme songs felt unplayable unless almost memorized)
I worried that is how some of the super hard charts look on your game, is that why you added speed modifiers?
10:12 PM
Matt: yeah there some readability issues so we added speed modifiers and will be adding a handclap option (similar to Stepmania)
it takes some getting used to, but im able to read hard charts on random, so i dont think its memorization of note patterns as much as the rhythm of the song
but i think any game like this wont be as readable as say Beatmania
me: yeah
10:13 PM
is Daikonsoft in Sweden and Japan?
10:14 PM
Matt: currently Daikonsoft is a Swedish company owned by my Swedish friend who was the producer of the game. We are currently researching way to found something in Japan cause we want to continue making apps
10:15 PM
me: how do you research users’ impressions of the game (in japanese)?
it doesnt seem to be many people reviewing the game vs. the popularity of the product (in the US store at least)
Matt: well we actually did a bit of testing before the game came out at local game centers and asked people to play it. My Swedish friend (Said) girlfriend is Japanese and helps us with translation
10:16 PM
we have 39 reviews on Japanese app store so we have been translating those
about 95% of our downloads have been from Japan, so not much feedback elsewhere. But we are releasing in Korea soon through a publisher
10:17 PM
me: well that makes sense
the feedback ratio i mean
and releasing in Korea seems to make sense too… do they lack iOS music games?
10:19 PM
Matt: I think its a pretty open market but Im not positive. The Korean app store is very locked down, so releasing games required govt permission etc
they didnt even have a game section until last year sometime
me: ouch
10:20 PM
interesting though
Matt: yeah i dont understand all the details, but will be interesting to see how it works out
me: about the license songs: how did you get them on the game? was it a flat fee or do they get $$ from each app sold?
10:21 PM
some of the songs sound professional (but I don’t know the actual set list)
10:22 PM
Matt: well Said has a lot of connections in Sweden and I knew some Japanese music artists so we actually got all the music for free, provided we put links to itunes and websites in the game
10:23 PM
me: awesome!
what do you feel sets Rhythm control apart from its competition?
10:24 PM
Matt: We are a small team so I think its game that will likely shape based on user feedback. Song requests, feature requests etc
So the game will likely be a product of the community
10:25 PM
Its also very hardcore haha
I dont think many iOS music games have that high level of difficulty
well not many
me: care to define “hardcorde” (u mean difficult?)
Matt: Yeah purely based on the difficulty
10:26 PM
me: is there an easy mode or level
Matt: yeah there are 3 levels of difficulty to select from
and a level system based on 1-9
me: ok
any word on it working on 3G?
Matt: i think most people that jump in after a game or two can pass up to 4-5
10:27 PM
not entirely sure on the 3G. My friend said it worked but I cant confirm
do you have a 3G?
10:28 PM
me: yes sir
Matt: i can send you a promotion code
me: so what are fans saying about the game?
10:29 PM
(and non-fans)
Matt: we have had mostly positive feedback from the music selection
for a 230 yen game people are happy with the content
but we do have some negative feedback with the ring readability and the song select interface. We are trying to improve the ring readability by experimenting with diff shades of colors and adding hand clap
10:30 PM
we are also wanting to re-do the song select screen…as our artist kinda left the project half way through
10:31 PM
me: so pink haired girl is gone?
Matt: no she is still there
the Japanese people seem to like her haha
me: i imagine
:)
10:32 PM
does any of Daikonsoft have previous game development experience?
10:33 PM
Matt: I have some unfinished projects I took part in. A platformer on PC called Adrift and another project with a friend
and Said used to work at an iPhone company in China

mzl.ypwtjvpd.320x480-75

Daikonsoft is a Swedish company with its first iOS app, Rhythm Control, released in the U.S., Sweden, and Japan iTunes stores. Matt Scott and Said Karlsson collaborated on this fun and furious music game, and it paid off. Rhythm Control has been #1 in Japan music games since a few days after its January 11, 2011 release and was #1 in Sweden music games for a while. At its highest point, it reached #19 in all paid apps and #6 in all games in Japan.

Rhythm Control landed in Korean territory on February 3, 2011. Korea has a strong music game scene with such major series as PSP and arcade touch screen DJ Max and arcade dance game Pump It Up. To celebrate the new Korean release, Rhythm Control is on sale for only $0.99. A patch with a new song and Game Center support is pending, as well.

Currently the game has 12 licensed and custom made songs from Japan and Sweden. The game is designed in English, so worry not, Latin-based alphabetters! The game has three difficulty levels, with an easy mode for beginners. Speed modifiers were added to improve readability. The game plays on a 2×3 musical grid and feels like a Dance Dance Revolution pad for thumbs.

mzl.hdfaxxll.320x480-75

Look for a DIYGamer review soon! For now, learn more about Daikonsoft:

Who are the two guys behind Daikonsoft?

Said is from Sweden and used to work for an iPhone company in China. He is a journalist and photographer. Said came to Japan for language study after he left China. I, Matt Scott, am an American and graduated several years ago from a university in Ohio. I worked at a software company for a little over a year, saved up some money, and came to Japan to study. Said and I met at our first class in Tokyo. We found out we were both fans of music games, and became great friends.

Tell us why, when, and how you decided to make this game together.

When I first met Said, he told me about his experiences working on iPhone games. Although I’d had no experience working with iPhones, we thought it would be interesting to collaborate together on a game. I knew how to program games in Windows pretty well, but iOS was completely new to me. After tossing around some ideas, we thought it would be interesting to do a music game.

The Japanese app store doesn’t have many games (at least those specifically catering towards the Japanese market), and the music game section is quite barren. So after a lot of meetings, Rhythm Control was born. Actually, the title before it was Rhythm Explorer, but we had to change it for copyright reasons.

What  previous game development experience do you have?

I have some unfinished projects I took part in, along with a platformer on PC called Adrift and another project with a friend.

Was Rhythm Control intended as a thumbs only game?

Originally we intended for it to be that way. Therefore, we avoided having two simultaneous button presses on the sides. But what we noticed from user videos on Nico Nico is that people ended up just playing it on a table.

Are there more than 2 simultaneous presses?

Two is the max right now, with not really any plans to make it more.

How do you interpret users’ impressions of the game in Japanese?

We actually did a bit of testing before the game came out at local game centers and asked people to play it. Said’s girlfriend is Japanese and helps us with translation. We have 39 reviews on Japan’s app store, so we have been translating those. About 95% of our downloads have been from Japan.

About the license songs, how did you get them on the game?

Said has a lot of connections in Sweden, and I knew some Japanese music artists. We actually got all the music for free, provided we put links to iTunes and websites in the game.

mzl.huzuhvno.320x480-75

What do you feel sets Rhythm Control apart from its competition?

We are a small team, so I think it’s a game that will likely be shaped based on user feedback such as song and feature requests. It can be a very hardcore/difficult game. I don’t think many iOS music games have this high level of difficulty.

What are consumers’ reactions to the game so far?

We have had mostly positive feedback from the music selection. People are happy with the content for its price, but we do have some negative feedback with the ring readability and the song select interface. We are trying to improve the ring readability by experimenting with different shades of colors and adding hand clapping. We are also wanting to re-do the song select screen, as our artist left the project half way through.

Will pink-haired girl be no more?

No, she is still there. The Japanese people seem to like her.

Are there plans for anything after Rhythm Control?

I can’t say much at the moment, but we are planning future games for Rhythm Control.

[Buy Rhythm Control from Daikonsoft in English on sale for $0.99.]


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Daniel Remar – Garden Gnome goes traveling, and Hero Core update

ggcsreen1 A couple of updates from the author of Hero Core, one small and one a bit more significant. Tiny things first: Hero Core 1.2 is now available, adding a Normal mode boss rush plus Russian and Spanish translations. Along with Swedish and English, this brings the language count up to four, and up to the halfway mark. Remar’s goal is to also support French, Portuguese, German, and Polish.

More significantly, the Sweden-based Bob Came In Pieces developer Ludosity Interactive has announced a partnership to port Remar’s 2007 action arcade game Garden Gnome Carnage to various platforms, starting with Flash. Apparently the relationship is already well-established:

Me and Daniel go back since we first met at uni 4-5 years ago, and we have worked on several games together. We entered Yoyo-Games winter competition with Garden Gnome Carnage and won 2′nd place! (Beaten by Frozzd by Jesse, who I later made Shoot Stop Lollipop with)

The Ludosity website projects to unveil some footage of the work “soon”.