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

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DLC Quest Sold Fairly Well And Other Going Loud Studio Stats

Ben Kane, from Going Loud Studios, has put up a bit of a “year in review” post-mortem piece on his blog that gives a pretty good indication of how things went. All in all, I would say not bad, but I still hope he can find success on other platforms, specifically for DLC Quest which, for those that didn’t know, was one of my favorite games of 2011. Also I reviewed it favorably.


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Z0MB1ES!!1 (on teh ph0ne) Landing on Windows Phone 7 January 4th

We don’t usually report on Windows Phone 7 games. Unfortunately, none of us editors have one. That said, when one of our very, very favorite indie developers and developer to one of our very favorite Xbox Live Indie Games releases a game onto WP7, we pay attention.


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Discussionware: Which Mobile OS is Best For Gamers? iOS, Android or WP7?

I got into a bit of an argument the other day with an indie gaming pal of mine. Essentially we debated the merits of mobile gaming (as many of you should know I’m not huge on it regardless) and which platform serves up better indie games more consistently: iOS or Android.

As somebody who owned an iPod Touch for a few years (and still owns an iPad) as well as an Android phone since October 2008 (I waited in line for a G1) and an Android tablet I felt like I had some authority in the matter. My friend has had experience with both as well.

Ultimately, we ended up disagreeing. He said that Apple’s iOS had the better, higher quality games which made them immediately more enjoyable for gamers of all types. It kind of makes sense. I think you’d have trouble arguing that there are at least more quality games on iOS than Andoird simply due to Apple’s stricter enforcement.

That said, I persisted in my belief that Android was actually better for indie gamers due to the act that many more games were available for free like Angry Birds and that since Google is less strict with their store, there will invariably be more choice. Along with that you have different sized devices (phones and tablets alike) with can cater to a gamer’s individual tastes. More choice has always, in my opinion, been better.

And of of course then you have Windows Phone 7, which we didn’t debate but I feel like should be brought into the equation as well. Despite not having nearly the massive amount of games and apps that iOS or Android has, WP7 strikes up a nice middle ground between the two in terms of design, choice, affordability, etc. That, of course, is combined with Xbox Live which brings with it a host of features gamers have come to know and love on their consoles.

So I leave it with you guys. Which mobile operating system caters to gamers best? If you had to convince somebody right now, what would you say to convince them?

NOTE: This is a hot topic for fanboys/girls. We here at DIYGamer do not condone rampant fanboyisms. Please discuss this politely and intelligently. Thanks you!

[Discussionware is a weekly feature aimed at promoting discussion with thought provoking topics. Each week we’ll be taking a look at a topic that influences indie gamers or developers and we’ll leave it open for discussion by our wonderful readers.]


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Download the DIYGamer.com Android App Now!

Seeing as how the whole world is seemingly moving toward apps it didn’t seem right that DIY Gamer was left without anything to represent itself on the mobile space. All that changes today with the first official DIYGamer.com Android application and mobile website.

To get the app simply follow the link below to the Android marketplace where you can download it. It should work on damn near any Android device out there. With it you can browse our latest and greatest articles, check out what we’re up to on Twitter, and submit news directly to us via the app! Impressive.

Oh and it’s 100% free, in case you any any doubts…

For those of you running iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry or other devices we, unfortunately, don’t yet have an app for you. However, we do have a mobile website that you can bookmark to get a better, more refined experience on the smaller screen.

If you have any questions or comments let’s hear ‘em in the comments! If you have technical issues regarding bugs you should probably refer to Notice Orange, the company who built the app for us.

[Android Marketplace, Mobile Website]


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‘ZOMB1ES’ comes to teh ph0ne

Ska Studios’ incredibly successful I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1, which is still one of the best-selling and highest-rated titles on Xbox Live Indie Games to date, is coming to the Windows Phone. Now, admittedly, I’m a little disappointed. Seeing as how I don’t own a Windows Phone (and don’t plan on it), I would like to have found out that the game would also be released on iOS. Unfortunately, no such luck. So, Windows Phone owners, this is pretty much the only reason I envy you.

Actually, to be honest, I hate you. Why? Because the game isn’t simply a port. Ska Studios unveiled two additions to the WinPho version of IMAGWZII, the “ENDL3SS ZOMB1ES!!1″ mode and the “all-original tale of Time Viking.” What the latter means exactly or when the game comes out is not certain, but we know it will be in 2011. For those of us wishing for an iOS or Android release, there may be hope on the horizon. It’s uncommon for Microsoft to loosen their grip on “exclusives,” (if we can even call Z0MB1ES that) but XBLIG titles have a history of making it onto other platforms. Keep your fingers crossed, people!

[ZOMB1ES on teh phone.]


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Tobe’s Hookshot Escape Coming for Windows Phone 7

Tobe’s Hookshot Escape stars the same guy from Secret Base’s earlier game: Tobe’s Vertical Adventure. DIY gave the XBLIG version of Vertical Adventure a try earlier this year, with favorable results. Like the last title, Tobe is once again stuck in a cave. However, this time Tobe has the aid of a hookshot to escape. The game’s title is definitely a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Tobe’s Hookshot Escape will be available on May 30 on Windows Phone 7 for $1.99. However, the title will be on sale for $0.99 until the game’s expansion is added. The expansion will feature an alternate character named Nana with a different hook mechanic, background theme, and music. This expansion is not available on the flash version, and players that buy the game before the price change will get the expansion for free.

For those who can’t visualize what adding a hookshot can do for Tobe, check out the gameplay trailer here:

And for those who can’t wait a few days for the Windows Phone 7 version of Tobe’s Hookshot Escape, the Flash version is available now to try out the addicting platform twitching gameplay. I personally hope Capcom contacts Secret Base before making another Bionic Commando.

Give the Flash version a go, and tell us what you think about Tobe’s adventures thus far. While you’re at it, let us know if you are a Windows Phone 7 owner and if you want more WP7 coverage.


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Canadian Video Game Awards Student Finalist: Good Guy Robots’ Codex [Interview]

Saying Good Guy Robots was just a student finalist in the GDC Canada turned Canadian Games Conference’s (CGC) Canadian Video Games Awards (CVGA) is selling it a bit short. Its game, Codex, was also nominated for Best Console Game, Best Downloadable Game, Best Game Design, Best Technology, and the Innovation Award. Codex has some killer music, and its addictive gameplay requires players to solve puzzles by moving tiles around within a certain number of moves.

Developer Ranyl Bantog took some time to talk to me about Codex and his experience that took him from the classroom to CGC. He says what makes Codex special is the difficulty. “It’s actually easy to finish a level but to earn gold medals is extremely difficult, requires a bit of patience, and a time commitment. It’s an original game I had invented while I was playing dominoes with my kids.”

Codex was originally released on Xbox 360 but never made it to Steam. Codex was his first released game, and he admits to making some mistakes.  ”The great thing about mistakes is that they are great learning experiences and will only make things better the second time around.”  Codex never made it to PC because of the inconsistent performance he was getting on different machines. There were some bugs that were happening on others’ computers that needed some time and effort to track.  He was doing all of this while he was a full time student and working part time to support a family.

“The Windows Phone 7 port from Xbox was smoother,” Ranyl said. “it was just a matter of streamlining the UI and supporting the touch interface.  The core game mechanics are the same, but I also had applied a lot of the feedback I got from the first release on Xbox.” Good Guy Robots’ current plan for Codex right now is a port to iOS, which has been written from scratch  using XCode and OpenGL. “It’s almost done, actually. We were planning to release it on iOS the night the CVGA awards air on TV but it looks like it will be released a few weeks later.”

The following interview explores what tools Ranyl used to make Codex, how he became familiar with those tools, what lessons and tricks he learned through the development process, and how this year’s CGC compared to other gaming events. Ranyl also provides a peak into the future of Good Guy Robots with an additional iOS title.

What did you use to become familiar with Visual Studio and XNA Game Studio, the tools you used to make Codex?

Ranyl: I just graduated from a 2 year (fulltime) Games Development bachelor’s degree program at BCIT, and Codex was originally my term project for the XNA Programming class in January 2010. I ended up getting 100% in the course, and the kind folks at BCIT had asked me if I wanted to teach the class part time in September 2011.   Once the course was done in April 2010, I polished it up and created new levels and eventually released it on Xbox last August 2010.   Prior to that class, I had no experience with XNA.

What is your background in programming?

I’m an expert .NET developer with over 10 years of experience with C#.   Even though I just graduated from the Bachelor’s program, I was a returning “mature” student, where I had graduated and received my first diploma from BCIT in 1997.   While I was in school full time, I had supported my family by working 1 day a week doing contracts for different companies including the Vancouver Police Department, where I still work part time. Going back to school already knowing how to program helped a lot because it allowed me to focus on making a great game rather than how to get the pieces to work together.

Also before going back to school in Septermber 2009, I had been living in Seattle for almost 9 years where I worked as a software developer for this huge software development company that had developed all of these tools mentioned.

What gaming events have you attended before, and how did CGC compare to them?

I attended GDC Canada last year. CGC this year was smaller; however, it felt more intimate and more focused around networking. The Konami meetings were a good idea, but I only found out about them when I got there. Regardless, I got the contacts that I needed to get the ball rolling and hopefully come out with a publishing deal for Good Guy Robots.

CGC for students and for anyone just starting out in the industry is a valuable resource and allows us to connect with people we would not normally meet in other circumstances.

What lessons/tricks did you learn while creating your game?

Once you start making games for a living you are no longer making games for yourself. Know your target market and listen to feedback.

What did you learn while attending CGC?

I learned about successful business models in the social mobile games space. I learned that Facebook games make a lot of money. I learned about some new financing programs and Export Development Canada. I learned that we’re in the right place at the right time at the heart of the mobile social gaming revolution. The opportunity is here now for people who are passionate about creating great games.

What are your future projects?

Good question.. Now that I just graduated from the Games Development Degree program at BCIT and also just attended CGC, I feel revitalized with more ideas and where things should go with Good Guy Robots.

We have a few game projects in the works. We are currently looking for a publishing partner to bring the Run Jump Slash! game to iOS. We also have a couple of other un-named projects in the works. You’ll probably hear some more announcements from GGR by late summer.

The indie world is listening: what’s on your mind?

It was an honor to get nominated and be a finalist for the CVGAs. If we had an opportunity to go up on stage I would have thanked the people who sacrificed the most for us to get there: My wife Jamie, my daughter Annabelle, and my two sons Isaac and Caleb.


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Decapod Studios Outs Action Puzzler ‘Murphid’ on Zune Marketplace

It seems Decapod Studios’ Murphid, which had formerly been released on Xbox 360 and PC, has seen the light of day on Windows 7 phones. The game is available on the Zune Marketplace and it costs a dollar (or 80 MSP), much like it does on the Xbox Live Indie Games service. As far as what you do in Murphid, assuming you haven’t played it before, gamers will be using puzzle-solving skills along with quick thinking to deal with attacks of “gorgeous marble hordes.” It promises simple core mechanics but challenging and adaptive gameplay. Apparently, Decapod’s own “FunQuantization” technology has been redone to work smoothly on Windows Phone 7. Whatever FunQuantization is I’m not entirely sure… but I have to admit I’m curious.

Some key features of Murphid go something like this:

∙ Engaging Campaign spawning more that 70 levels of marble blasting madness.

∙ Three game modes for players to choose from to suit their playing style.

∙ More than 10 powerups to help players redefine the game field and wreak havoc in a blink of an eye.

∙ 8 exclusive Awards to boost the replay value further by throwing extra challenges at the player.

∙ Pre-filled Leaderboard to give the game nostalgic, old-school touch.

∙ Awe-inspiring HD visuals with full widescreen support.

∙ Charming sound effects to create the ambience.

∙ Adaptive gameplay technology for challenging and fun gaming experience for players of all ages.

It’s certainly awesome to see indie games branch out from their normal platforms and get on other services, but one has to wonder just how successful Windows Phone 7 is. For those who own a WinPho7, Murphid is worth a look-see. For those that do not, it’s also available on both PC and Xbox 360. There is also a demo available.

[Decapod Studios]


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The Impossible Games Tackles More Platforms

TheIMpossibleGame001We’ve always been fans of The Impossible Game over here at DIYgamer, with it’s frustrating simplicity and maddening soundtrack (in that good way).

Now FlukeDude, the developer, has dropped the game onto a wider array of mobile devices, now including the Android and Windows Phone 7 and also iOS which it released on a while back. In addition there is now a level pack available on the Xbox Live Marketplace called “The Impossible Game Level Pack” for just 80 more Microsoft Points.

Check out the official site for more information.


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Windows Phone 7 Launching Next Month

HTCMozart

Whoa, what? Why are we talking about Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 mobile OS launching in just under a months time (November 8th)? Simple, because with a new platform comes a new app store, which means a new avenue for indie developers and indie gamers to get their fix.

Anyway, I’m not here to directly report on all the happenings of the various devices or OS. For that I’ll refer you to Gizmodo who has done a delightful job in rounding everything up:

Windows Phone 7 Live Coverage
HTC Announces a Flurry of New Phones with WP7
HTC HD7: Hello, All 4/3-Inches of Windows Phones 7
The Definitive Guide to Windows Phone 7 Handsets

What I will say, for our part, is that we are really excited to see a third major mobile app store break into the market alongside the dominating iOS and Andoird stores. As those two markets get larger and larger there is less room for indie developers to stand out. So, if you are a developer and you’re thinking about developing an iOS game, I’d recommend giving WinPho7 a try first for a couple reasons. First of all, it’s Microsoft so there’s gonna be an audience. Second, the first games on any platform always have the highest chance of selling better.

Also, if you’re a gamer, then it looks like the whole Xbox Live integration thing might be right up your alley. We’ve already had a chance to see some of the games being released of which there were a few notable indies listed as launch titles and I’m sure, given Microsoft’s robust history in gaming, the selection will only get better. I’ll be particularly excited to see if they bring over a sort of Xbox Live Mobile Indie Games channel in the future.

I’ll have to check with all of DIY’s writers, but, unfortuantely, I don’t believe any of us will be getting a WinPho7 device anytime soon. This means reviews might be a little light in the beginning unless somebody wants to take the plunge and write volunteer reviews for us. We’ll just have to wait and see.

[WinPho7]