Friday, November 30, 2007

Derek Yu Interview

Let's begin with an introduction of yourself. (is this really necessary?!)


My name's Derek Yu. *waves* I'm the editor-in-chief at TIGSource, one of the developers behind Aquaria, and I'm obsessed with a certain part of my body that I can't talk about in front of the children.


Aquaria is set for a release next Friday (7th of December, 2007). I'm assuming that it's finished and ready for the world - how does it feel to have finally completed this massive project?


It feels pretty darn good, although I have to admit, I'm so tired I'm not sure I'm fully appreciating it. Alec and I are really happy with the game, though.


You knew this was coming. Why $30? Why?!!!


Yeah, I saw people discussing it! $20 seems to be the midpoint for indie games, and we just felt that with all the content that we put into the game, $30 was pretty reasonable. It includes a full level editor, as well.


Is the full version really 200 MB? How much hard disk space is Aquaria going to take up after installation? Can we play the game using some ancient graphics card we dusted out from the basement/attic?


Yeah, the full version will be around 200 megs. Most of that is graphics! I don't know if an ancient graphics card is going to cut it... Maybe if it's ancient and cursed with the power of demons.


How many people do you think have played the game so far (before it's actual release)? When Aquaria released, what do you feel the response to the game would be? Receptive? Harsh? Split between love and hate? Accusations of 'Cave-Story' rip-off?


Hahaha. I think a good number of people have played it, if you include GDC... 50, maybe? Not sure. Everyone who's played it has really enjoyed it, so I'm hoping most people will... or at least see the value in it, even if it's not necessarily "for them."


Since there's roughly fifty people who have seen the game, can you share what some of their responses are?


I really enjoyed watching people play at GDC. The best was when we stood away from our booth. I think people felt more comfortable then to just let themselves go, and we'd have people just swimming around for long periods of time, getting lost in it. That was a pretty early build, too.

Russ Carroll has a more recent build of the game (I hope he thinks it's okay if I mention him), and I heard he said it was "freakin' great!"


How long is the demo? Can we expect at least close to 25% of the actual game? Or will the demo contain content that would be different from the full version?


The demo has the first part of the game, and no, it's probably more like 10%... but it's still quite a bit of game to get through. Demo saves will be compatible with the full version - nothing's changed. I've played through that part a lot - I think it'll give people a good impression of the game.


How long is the full game then?


It depends a lot on how much time you spend exploring, but... I'd say an average of 20 hours to play through the full game. That's a pretty rough estimate, though.


Any chances of seeing Aquaria on BFG or Reflexive?


No, you probably will not see Aquaria on a casual portal. ;)


Why the name Aquaria? I don't remember you stating the reason for picking it in any of the past interviews before.. though I might had recalled this wrongly.

Aquaria started as a prototype of Alec's, and it was already called Aquaria at the time! I don't know where it came from, exactly, although I imagine it just sounded right to him. Let me go ask him, actually. Hold on...

I was supposed to interview him actually. He said something like next week.

Okay lol..

So you're saying that the name Aquaria wasn't picked by you then. What would you have named it otherwise?

Ah, I'm not sure... I really like the name, so I probably wouldn't have changed it.



Are you ever going to make freeware games again? I mean, Aquaria is going to sell like hot cakes, so it wouldn't be much of a surprise if you decide to sell all of your future games. And how about Raigan's idea of DoomRL on the DS with your tileset?


I'd love to do some freeware again. And yeah, Kornel (the DoomRL creator) and I have been working on and off for awhile on various projects, including DoomRL. Some day you're going to see a graphical version of that beast, I promise.


What is the next project from Bit Blot? Hopefully you'll let your real fans hear the juicy details first, and not some big game site with journalists who are unfamiliar with Cave Story..

Oh shit... well, I already mentioned this to Kotaku, but...

Haha that's a slap to indie games..

Haha yeah, I'm just kidding. We're going to remake Hard Time, the MDickie game.

Not really... I can't give a straight answer for this one. We have a few interesting ideas cooking, but we're not sure which one is going to be next!

Aquaria Release Date, 7th Dec



Alec has announced that Bit Blot's debut release Aquaria will be available for purchase starting next Friday, 7th of December 2007. Fans can expect daily updates to Bit Blot's web site, up to the day Aquaria is released. A demo will be made available for download on the same Friday; the (roughly) 200 MB full version for PC retails at USD $30.

- Aquaria release date announcement
- Derek Yu's web site

Ice Breaker

Ice Breaker is a pretty interesting and polished puzzle game created for the Game Maker winter games contest; it's one of the best entries for that contest that I've played so far. It has to do with maintaining a colored line of power by rotating nodes, eventually coloring the entire puzzle red. There are a number of levels and special items and other variations to keep it interesting. In feeling and atmosphere (but not in gameplay) it's similar to the Ac!dbomb series, so it's recommended for fans of those games.

One of the nicest parts of the game is that any level can be played in one of three modes (without a time limit or a move limit, with a time limit but no move limit, and with a time limit and a move limit) and the point value the completed level gives you depends on which difficulty mode you completed it in; more points open up more levels.

Name: Ice Breaker
Developer: Silen
Category: Logic Puzzle
Type: Freeware
Size: 11MB
Direct download page: Click here

Camtasia Studio 3 Free


Tried to record some Bokorin today using the free Camtasia Studio 3. I think the results speak for itself; good frame rate, high quality video etc.

Terry also uses Camtasia to record his brilliant Trilby: The Art of Theft speed runs. [source: Andy Hewitt, Retro Remakes]

- get Camtasia Studio 3 for free
- Bokorin .avi file test

3 Hours of Poppenkast



A collection of games made by members of Poppenkast in roughly three hours.

Arms: A new platformer by cactus with odd controls and unique gameplay mechanics. The game has a couple of puzzles and action sequences but it's more of an experimentation piece than a proper release. Use the W, A, S and D keys to move. Other actions are controlled with the mouse. Press the space key to restart.

Nevada Thompson and the Temple of Scorpions: The gameplay is pretty much described by it's title. An action game with limited controls, where players can only attack sideways. Use the Z or X key to whip, and tap the A or S key to shoot. Ammunition is limited, but can be replenished. There are two large rooms to explore in total.

Airhound: An action game involving dogfights and collectible power-ups stashed away in crates with parachutes attached to them. Hold the up arrow key to accelerate, and use the left or right cursor keys to change the plane's direction. Tap the A key to shoot, and press the S key to launch missiles.

Steely Dan - A decent action game in which players have to roll a ball towards the exit found in each stage by smashing through blocks and collecting keys. Marred heavily by bugs but playable if the ignore option is selected repeatedly during level transitions.

Panic at the Club: An average action game where players engage zombies in a disco. Use the cursor keys to move the protagonist around. Tap the left mouse button to shoot, and hold the right mouse button to initiate bullet time. Increase bullet time by taking out enemies.

a game with no name: beam's 3 Hours of Poppenkast entry is an action game which uses only the cursor keys for control. A difficult maze game, though the author had included a walkthrough to reduce frustration.

The Coldest Mind: A stylish platformer with some questionable design decisions. To win the game, you must collect the golden crucifix at the end of each level. Use the arrow keys to move, and tap the Z key to throw a knife. A punishing game, thanks to the scarcity of knives to be found.

Direct download link for all games: Click here

Once in Space



Once in Space is a platformer by Arvi Teikari with emphasis on collecting stars to complete each level. The challenge is to figure out how to approach them, as most stars can only be acquired when your character is oriented in a certain direction as indicated by the small red arrows.

Use the cursor keys to move, and tap the left shift key to jump. Hold the control key to change gravity, though this is only possible on platforms with rounded edges marked red. Press Y and control to change key configuration settings. The game features music by Nifflas.

Name: Once in Space
Developer: Hempuli
Category: Platform
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
Direct download link: Click here

Thursday, November 29, 2007

MIGS

The team at Gamasutra had posted transcriptions for a couple of sessions from the Montreal International Games Summit (MIGS), taking place on the 27th and 28th of November. Jonathan Blow (Braid) offer his opinions about current game design practices, while Kellee Santiago (thatgamecompany, FlOw) reveals new details about their upcoming PS3 release, Flower.

The full details for Kellee's speech will be posted at Gamasutra at a later time.

- download Jonathan Blow's lecture
- Jonathan Blow's session
- Kellee Santiago's session


Update: Jonathan Blow's speech in audio format now available for download. The zip package also includes the original PowerPoint file used during the presentation. A video version will be made available soon.

Clones Sell More Copies



There's a new Gamasutra article written by Russell Carroll (Reflexive, GameTunnel) about increased profitability for developers and small studios from not innovating - making lots of money by creating clones of existing games which are popular.

According to him, a Hidden Object game, Click Management clone (Nanny Mania), and a Match-3 game sold nineteen copies more than a title belonging to any other genre, based on Reflexive Entertainment's sales statistics from the last three years. Essentially this means that developers who put out a clone tend to sell at a ratio of twenty copies as opposed to just one if it was based on anything resembling an original idea.

- Cloning Created the Casual Game Business

Indie Game Music



dong (Soup ver 0.9) has posted a new chiptune album for download, although only one tune is notable (06 - Theme of Star Soldier remix). The included tracks are nowhere as enjoyable to listen as Gone Square and Go Square, also available from the same page.

Julian Winter had also made the entire Haluz 2 soundtrack available as a free download. This collection of thirteen songs took Julian an entire year to compose, and showcases the musician's knack for ambient and soothing music. The album was originally sold at a price of USD $6.

Alec Holowka has released a track from his side project Célu in MP3 format, though the actual game itself will only be made available to the general public sometime in 2008. A lot of tracks in Aquaria have a similar vibe, so you can get a feel of Bit Blot's debut release just by listening to this song alone.

Against All Odds



Against All Odds is a Flash game created as an attempt to educate players about refugees in general, and also indirectly provide information on the work that UNHCR does.

There are twelve scenes in total, with each act consisting of a small game, but no reward is offered when all three chapters are completed. More than half of these consists of multiple choice questions or trial and error situations, where players have to guess answers to a series of questions correctly to proceed.

The third act can be a little tricky to solve, because escape is only possible once you've found the man indicated by a green dot, hiding in one of the alleys near the heavily guarded exit.

Name: Against All Odds
Developer: UNHCR and Statoil
Category: Action, Adventure
Type: Browser

Gyoza



Jph had released a new arcade shooter entitled Gyoza, available for download from the Iteration Games' web site. The game currently requires an Xbox360 controller to work, but a version with support for keyboard controls will be released sometime soon.

Digital Eel Games for Free

Have the guys at Digital Eel gone bonkers? First they offer Plasmaworm for free, now they're giving away both Big Box of Blox and Dr. Blob's Organism away - for nothing!

Dr. Blob's Organism was an IGF 2004 winner of both innovation in audio and visual art categories. Mac versions for these two games are also available.

I was sort of expecting the games to open Digital Eel's web site when exiting, but nothing of that sort happened.

- Digital Eel announcement
- Plasmaworm
- Big Box of Blox
- Dr. Blob's Organism

Spheres of Chaos Free



Practically all over the internet by now, Iain McLeod's trippy Asteroids clone has been inducted into the world of freeware - partly because few people would buy a game loaded to the brim with effects (see Space Giraffe), but also to promote the updated remake which is set for a release sometime in 2008. Seems like both games have a lot in common..

Quote oddbob:
...a work of complete and utter genius.
...one of those rare games...
...there's nothing else like it out there.
...it's certainly unique...

Get Spheres of Chaos here.

[sources: Retro Remakes, the2bears, Rock Paper Shotgun]

Crayon Physics Interview



Binary Joy had posted a new interview with Petri Purho, creator of Crayon Physics and the series of monthly prototype games which are all available for download from his web site.

A new game will also be released in two days' time, assuming that everything is on schedule.

- Crayon Physics Deluxe interview
- download Crayon Physics

Shikigami no Shiro III Box Art


Well, it's no GTA IV...

Due out for the XBox360 and Wii in mid-December. Box art images courtesy of Alex from insomnia.ac.

- Wii box art
- Xbox360 box art
- Wii version gameplay video from TGS
- Shmups forums discussion thread
- insomnia.ac review
- Shikigami no Shiro 3 PC demo
- direct download link (73.9 MB)

Söldner-X Limited Edition



SideQuest Studios has announced details about the Söldner-X Limited Edition set (PC only), due out on December 14th, 2007. The PS3 version has been delayed to the second quarter of 2008.

Best to watch the new video first (with actual gameplay) before ordering, because it sure looks a lot like an Euroshmup at the moment... [Shmups forums discussion thread]

Space Invaders Extreme Trailer


What did Taito do to Space Invaders? They turned it into a music game! [source: Retro Remakes]

- DS Fanboy article

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Interview: Phil Fish

Phil Fish Phil Fish is lead designer for the forthcoming 3D-pixel game Fez, which is a contender in this year's IGF. Phil has been making games since he was two years old. After attending both art school and game school, he got his industry start at Ubisoft Montreal, and he currently works in the industry as a level designer.

He also makes up one fourth of the Montreal-based game-art collective Kokoromi, and these days he's busy organizing their second annual GAMMA event (which doubles as the closing party for the Montreal International Games Summit).


You can read full interview over at Arthouse Games.

Slidon


Slidon is a new puzzler from the prolific Yoshio Ishii, in which players are given a number of tiles for each level to match and remove entirely, but only by sliding a tile horizontally or vertically per move.

Hold the left mouse button when the cursor is over any tile to select it, then choose a direction to slide a tile to it's new position. Players are given a limited number of moves in each level.

The delete option can be used to remove any tile on the board.

Name: Slidon
Developer: Yoshio Ishii
Category: Puzzle
Type: Browser

Omega Five Preview


One of the levels from Natsume/Hudson's Omega Five previewed by a fellow Dtoid.

[source: Danmaku Gata]

More Cave Story | yrotS evaC eroM

That thing in the middle of the title is meant to be a mirror. Ok, so I didn't think anyone would get it ok? Leave me alone!

Anyways..



These shots are taken from a work in progress game called CSW (Cave Story Wannabe). There's an early video further down Greennex's 64 digits blog but well.. I won't be posting that.

South



Warning: Contain scenes of violence, blood and gore.

South is an action game partly inspired by Castlevania, in which only three action keys are required for all moves and attacks. Tap the S key rapidly to slash, and use the A key to jump. Press the D key to use any additional weapons acquired during your adventure.

The game features two complete levels and a preview of the third. [source: GM Edge]

Name: South
Developer: Wingboy
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB

SchattenJagd



SchattenJagd is a short noir style adventure game with a point and click interface, made by Johann Scholz using the Visionaire engine. The author has included two separate endings for players to discover.

Name: SchattenJagd
Developer: Johann Scholz
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 30MB

Soup du Jour


Soup du Jour by Digital Eel

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles



Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles is puzzle game with anime-style cutscenes, several playable mini games, and two-player versus battles. Originally developed for the GP2X handheld platform, a demo for this Christmas release is available for download and features roughly twenty-five percent of the story mode itself.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More of The Underside


There's a very heated discussion going on at the official site for The Underside, as Arthur Lee points out his disappointment with the community - apparently frustrated with the accusations of his creation being a Cave Story rip-off for the umpteenth time (not necessarily from comments by Derek Yu).

And yes, 'Mr. Podunkian' originally did not want the video to be uploaded to avoid controversy - I'm to blame for editing the trailer which was posted a couple of days ago.

Dino Run Beta Test



Pixeljam Games' Dino Run is now available for beta testing! To apply as a beta tester, simply send a mail to pixeljamgames[at]gmail.com.

(or donate like twenty bucks for a guaranteed beta testing position.)

Konjak Interview

An interview with the creator of the Noitu Love series and Chalk.


Let's begin with an introduction of yourself.


My name's Joakim Sandberg and I make games, and I love it. My notable games are Noitu Love and Chalk, and my current project is Noitu Love 2! Yet it's not that much like Noitu 1, I'd say, more of a continuation on that universe.


Has any publishers approached you about publishing your games on handhelds? There was a lot of demand for Chalk to appear on the DS when it was first released.


Yes, there was. Several of them. But I am very weary about it; I want to know I'm not selling off something I loved to create. I am still in talks about a property, but they only see production possibly starting in a sort of far future, which is a little annoying. Nothing is signed yet though. Another big publisher contacted me too but they sort of... stopped getting back to me.

Hopefully this current one comes through. I just wish it was sooner that I'd know for sure.


So are you sort of saying 'publishers, please contact me about publishing Chalk on the DS!'?


I'd rather see Chalk on the Wii. More potential. And I have many ideas.


Homebrew are popular these days - are you willing to consider if a programmer decides to come onboard and port Chalk for the DS or Wii?


If the programmer is willing to dedicate to it that much. I'd rather know the person first, and I know that if I was a programmer and a game maker working on my own time I wouldn't want to spend it completely on someone else's idea. You'd do that in the industry, but free time is more precious.


How does Noitu Love 2 plays exactly? From early indications, it seems that it's not a conventional platformer. Will it have huge boss battles like the one from the last stage of Noitu Love 1?


Well, I won't give away the bosses, but the one in the video is quite huge, is it not? Although it doesn't reach above skyscrapers. I still have bosses to think of as well, but with the new screen you know all of two bosses! The hammer one is a miniboss though.

The game actually does play a bit different, though it might be hard to spot! It's a beat-em-up but as such you would need to be close to enemies. I wanted to retain fighting but have it really fast as well, and make it a lot easier. So you use a crosshair to click to enemies (and other things you'll encounter) to speed directly to them and start punching. That's the basics of it, then there are simple gesture moves and a shield you can place wherever you want.

Hopefully people won't find it an unnecessary feature. Personally I am hoping it gives a fast pace to a forgiving game, which has been my goal.


What's the current development status of Noitu Love 2? Is it anywhere near completion? Do you have plans to sell this sequel or will you be releasing it as freeware?

I have finished over half of the game, at least, but that's in terms of raw content, like the amount of levels. When they're done I would want to finetune and add extras. I can only hope to have it done in three months, but I am not overly confident. The game will be free though. I'd rather reach out to as many as possible with this.


So you'll be releasing the game as freeware when it's done? No preview demos or such?


I don't like making demos. Or even talking about in-production games because I get this weird pressure on me.


Since you're in IGF, anything you'd like to say to sweet-talk the judges?


You're all very pretty.


Let's say you're done with Noitu Love 2. Will you be taking a short break from development? If not, then what can we expect next from you?


Noitu Love 3 - Beyond the BEYOND!! Well, no.

I have an idea already that I want to make. It would be more in the action adventure genre, I believe. I'm hoping it will be quite an original experience. And no, I don't think I could take a break from making games.


Assuming you have lots of money to make whatever game you want. What will you make then?


I am very secretive about my ideas (at least to most people), and I really do have a dream game, but I don't want to talk about it. It would definitely be 3D.


Who do you think will make it into the IGF finals?


Fez. I don't see all the originality from it. It has original visuals but it hasn't shown much in ways of replacing just hiding stuff behind bushes in a non-rotating games. It's mostly visuals THAT I'VE SEEN so far, but I'm hoping it could bring something new to us all. I assume Clean Asia! will be there somewhere, though I haven't played it.


What are your thoughts about the 'Cave Story rip-off' controversy?


About The Underside, it's sort of a shame he wanted it to look like it does, but I'm sure it will be great fun when it's done. It's hard to make non-linear or pseudo-non-linear games yourself as it is and if he finishes, good for him. I just hope he doesn't quit because of people's attacks on his art choices.


Hope you had a screenshot prepared for us; 'cause it's sort of customary for this series of interviews! Describe it if necessary.

'Noitu Love 2 stars Xoda Rap, a girl not unlike Noitu.'

News

What's New in Indie: GameTunnel's regular monthly column on the latest indie games is up.

Rat Cave: JTR's exploration action game updated to version 4.2.

Storm Assault: Storm Project's MMF horizontal shooter updated to version 0.17. Only minor bugfixes but no new content.

Crashblock: The commercial version for Crashblock is now available.

Hero's Puzzle Path: A new puzzler by KATWorks Games.

TAGAP 2: The sequel to TAGAP announced.

Doppelganger: Paul's freeware Defender remake updated to version 1.1.

Halloween House



Halloween House is a game made by Magnus Nilsson for a Halloween game competition. Use the shift key to access your inventory, and press the control key to interact with objects. The game can be saved by accessing the computer in Michael's room.

Name: Halloween House
Developer: Magnus Nilsson
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
Direct download link: Click here

Drift



In Drift, the player's energy orb is limited to grid-like movements, and the cursor keys must be tapped rapidly to achieve constant velocity. Press the enter key to shoot when your orb is close to the enemy for better accuracy. A tad difficult, especially at later levels.

Name: Drift
Developer: Panurge Odradek
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB

Pixel Warlords



Pixel Warlords is an experimental platform shooter by Jan Willem Nijman, made using the Game Maker engine. Press the X key to shoot, and use the Z key to jump. Tap the C key to throw grenades. Press the x and up arrow key to execute a stealth kill.

This demo includes one area, and the first warlord to be assasinated. [source: the2bears]

Name: Pixel Warlords
Developer: Jan Willem Nijman
Category: Platform
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
Direct download link: Click here

Al Lowe Interview


A recent interview with Al Lowe, which took place during his visit to Finland (November 2nd - 4th, 2007).

- download high res video, right-click to save

Recordings of Al Lowe's presentation at Alternative Party 2007
- clip one, clip two

Al Lowe interviewed by Finnish game site, eDome
- clip one, clip two (thanks to anonymous)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Metanet Interview

Raigan and Mare of Metanet Software are the latest perpetrators to be interrogated in this criminal investigation series - The Law of Physics, Don't Break it Folks. (mugshot by Edmund McMillen)


First things first - an introduction of yourselves.

R: Hi, I'm Raigan.

M: and I'm Mare. We're both amazing people.

R: Also, I will take over typing since Mare hates my weird ergo-keyboard.

We're in Toronto, it's snowing finally. Our hobbies include: playing video games. And reading video game blogs and manuals.


Since N is making an appearance on a couple of consoles and handheld platforms, can you give us a summary of what's coming on where?


One version of N+ will be out for Xbox360 Live Arcade, we worked very closely with the developer Nick (in Vancouver) and did all the levels, it is definitely exactly how we would have wanted it to be: pretty much N, on Xbox.


Will you be posting a couple of preview videos for N+?


We have a video, but we aren't allowed to post it until Microsoft says its okay. The handheld versions are a totally different project, possibly we should have chosen different names.. and they're not done yet - the XBLA one is done, it's just going through final certification.


Will there ever be a proper sequel to N? With blood and stuff.


Well, maybe. So far, a lot of the stuff we wanted to do in N but ran out of time for is making its way into Robotology anyway.. and there IS blood! (in N)


Sorry, I meant slashing enemy ninjas, decapitation..


Nope - that sounds like a different game. maybe involving pirates.. One thing is that it's apparently really hard to write a platformer AI that will properly run around and chase you..


So technically, is Robotology a sequel to N then?


It's a sequel in the same sense that a music groups second album could be seen as a sequel to their first. So, not really.. it just doesn't seem like it counts.


Will it have enemies? I should probably say the ones with smart AI or something..


It will have enemies. We have a plan for the AI, but it remains to be seen just how smart they'll be. However, they WILL be robots..


There's a myth being spread around, one that states indie game developers who made it big time drive big cars. Let's kill this notion by finding out if you've changed cars since you've formed Metanet..


I don't even have a license. Mare does drive, but has no car.. we've tried zipcars though.


Zipcars? whuzzat?


It's like shared rental cars sort of.. also, we haven't yet made it big - so far we actually haven't made any money at all.. so, provided N+ sells, THEN we might get a car! If we do get one, it will be one of these.


Did you lose money then? And how much?


No, but we do web programming contracts to subsidize game development. This year we're up $500, the past two years we posted a loss of a few hundred. So, we're 'even'.


ok, what are your thoughts about the indie scene - since both of you are not only actively involved, you keep yourselves informed as well.


Part of being informed is simply our tendency to slack by obsessively reading blogs..


..and doing interviews, I'm sure. Those bloody journalists.


meh, we can spare time. Sometimes it's nice to do interviews because they get you to actually think about things beyond making games. One thing about being 'involved' in the community is just that we really like indie games, the only reason we started making games was that we liked so many freeware games, they were sort of taunting us into making one.

There are just a lot of good indie games around, it's fun to find out about them. Also, now that we've finally made a game, it's good to keep up on what other people are doing.


Since both of you are judging IGF - what have you guys played? What do you think of this year's crop? Anything you want to see do a clean sweep at the finals?


Last year, Raigan spent all of October doing nothing but playing IGF games.. I think 80 or 90 were judged. This year.. one sec, we'll check the folder.

This year is tough because there are no big 'stand outs' but many 'very good' games.. for instance: Gish 2, World of Goo, Cortex Command, Clean Asia, and Crayon Physics. Also, Raigan played DROD and Polychromatic Funk Monkey WAYY too long.


Tried out DROD: The City Beneath yet? Can you believe they use the same scam?

What scam?

The one where when you attempt to exit the game, and their bloody salesman will try and convince you to buy DROD.

Yeah, that is in our feedback already. PCFM pops open the author's website.. but the game's free anyway, Still, annoying.

Very. I dont know why they never put an impossible puzzle in, and post the solution on their website.

Sumo is noteworthy in that it's very similar to the gamejam "waiting for godot" game, and also last year's entry "press the spacebar 2000".. you can't tell if they're extremely clever satire of the current state of gaming, some sort of mockery or statement about the IGF, or just really boring. Rigs of Rods is awesome, but it's also not really a game...


Any upcoming indie games you're excited about? Name a couple of developers who you'd pay serious money for, just to have them release another game.

Metanet for sure.

Haha, right. That's by default!

Pixel. We'd say Chronic Logic or Jon (Everyday Shooter), but we know they're both already making new games, so we'll keep our money. ;)

R: I would LOVE to see DoomRL on DS, with Derek Yu's tileset.


What do you think of the idea, buying Pixel (Cave Story) a DS? I thought the money should be given to him instead to spend as he likes.

Pixel's Japanese though, right? Doesn't it rain DSes there? We were just there for the first time in September, it's a different culture with regards to tips and stuff, I don't know if donations would be well received.

He was quite against the idea at first, but you know these Cave Story fans. 'Cave Story rip-off!'

You mean The Underside?

Yeah, The Underside. And every other platformer made after Cave Story. Seriously, La-Mulana is better. ok, kidding about that haha..

The thing about that is, remember when there were dozens of 'Doom rip-offs'? Now there aren't any, there are just lots of FPSs.

I dont know why indie game developers bother making 3d FPSs. There are always a hundred of them in IGF every year. The schools are teaching these kids the wrong thing.

Are there? Narbacular Drop was worth it! Well, it's easier probably since the problems are all solved, so you can schedule/etc properly.

haha... well... Narbacular Drop isn't technically a first-person shooter.

Really? Why not? There's no shooting?

No killing. And no shooting, Just lanching portals into thin air.

That's an interesting idea, a non-lethal FPS. No wait, you totally shoot them out of the end of a gun. They even call it a gun in the song!

But that's to appeal to the FPS crowd, we all know that.

Well, it does work as a metaphor. I guess you could be a magician who summons portals out of thin air..


Any other IGF games which piqued your interest?


um, other IGF games.. Hammerfall is a lot like 'Rag Doll Kung Fu' in that it seems like a super-fun concept, but in practise it leads to repetitive stress injuries. Clean Asia should really win something, but sadly it probably won't since it's really hard and looks weird.

oh, Jon (Queasy Games) brought his PS3 over the day - PixelJunk Racers is AMAZING. Just the concept of taking a super-simple game, and making a bunch of minigames using the one game as a template, changing some small rules.. totally cool.


Last question, the customary one. Screenshots? Or a picture of something cool.

Yes, hold on a sec.. I need to find it.. just one sec..

Take your time. As long as it's juicy I'll wait forever for it. ;)

It's good, we were cleaning out the office and we found papers from when we were making N. It's our initial design doc!

Chase Ace Deluxe

Space Time Foam have recently brought the Chase Ace website back online and announced plans to re-release their fast-paced arcade shooter for modern machines. Titled Chase Ace Deluxe, the game will include bug fixes and new features.

More information and a demo download will be released soon.

Rückblende


Rückblende (Flashback) is an interactive animation movie originally intended as a diploma project in visual communication. The story of the film is about a man confronted with his childhood memories while walking around a summerhouse in the woods, where he used to spend the holidays with his parents. The more he dwells in his memories, a secret seems to be unravelling.

The surrounding and the inside of the house were built as a model, while the appearing characters from the memories were drawn with a pencil and animated with white lines on top of the photographed model background.

Name: Rückblende
Developer: Nils Deneken
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 600MB
Direct download link: Click here

Alex May Interview

An interview with haowan, creator of TIGSource's B-Game winning entry - Cottage of Doom.


Let's begin with a little introduction of yourself.


Haha, ok. I'm Alex, I'm 29 and I've been into developing games since I was given a Vic 20 along time ago. Uh, what else? I'm from the UK, I nearly failed my degree because I was programming an asteroids game, and I recently had my wife cut off my dreadlocks (that she put in).


How does it feel to win TIGSource's inaugural competition? Considering that they were many old hats like cactus and Petri Purho who had participated as well.

Ah, if only I had won the inaugural competition - alas, I don't think I'm sexy enough. Winning the competition (B-Game) was awesome, though as I said at the time, it was the run up to the deadline and seeing what other people were doing that was the most fun. cactus didn't enter. :D

Er... what was the inaugural compo again?

Sexiest gamer :D

Haha that doesnt count!

:D:D

But yeah, it was an honour. Close run thing too!

Who was it again? John something, he didn't think it was an honour, and deserted his judging post.

lol, yeah Romero. Guy leaves a stink behind him though, off the record.

I didnt know you entered the sexiest gamer compo..

I didn't!

No wonder you didnt have any chances of winning that one. But cactus did enter the B-Game compo with Mondo Medicals I thought.

Oh yeah. shit. Was thinking of 3DP maybe.

What's the word after inaugural... I've got to change that question.

Just put latest. :D Or change it to inaugrual game development competition.

We're barely past the first question, and it's turning out to be a complete mess already.

It's fun!


ok second question. Since you clearly forgotten about Mondo Medicals, who did you consider serious competition in the TIGSource B-Game Compo?

:-O

No looking at the list!

The vast majority of the entries were really funny, and loads of them were fun, so it was hard to say what people would go for. In the end I considered the entries according to my own criteria for entering the competition. The ones I thought might win were Gunlimb and Transparentor. I also loved Weisser Punkt, Poizoned Mind and Betasuppe.


Seriously, when are you going to make your own web site and post up at least two of your recent games? I'm sure you've already had hosting offers by practically everyone in the indie scene.


Ah, I'll get round to it :) I have to come up with a site name. :D Besides, COD is available at SourceForge, being open source, and you're kindly hosting Generic Slash!


If TIGSource is holding a new competition today, will you be participating in it again? Or are you going to merely consider it?


I might enter, and I have an idea if there's going to be a demakes competition, but the B-Game competition actually killed another project I was working on because I was distracted, so I have to seriously think about whether I want to be sidetracked again.


Let's say that TIGSource allows the winner of the B-Game contest to choose a theme for the next competition - according to you, what would that be?


I love the idea of a demakes competition, and I think that a large percentage of indie gamers like retro styles so that would probably get some folks to join up. There's also talk of a Giant Naked Man competition, which I fully support as long as it also contains Long Cats. (or caterpillars as they're otherwise known)


Don't you think that Derek should have rewarded you with a free copy of Aquaria as the prize?


Haha, I don't think Aquaria fits the B-game theme! But I'm really looking forward to it. It looks like it will be great fun to play with a tablet or on a tablet PC.


TIGSource, GameTunnel or Independent Gaming as your ultimate source for indie games? You only get to choose one, plus Derek and Russell will be reading your answer!

Why, Independent Gaming of course! I don't visit Game Tunnel, though that's not a reflection on the site - I just never got round to putting it on my toolbar. TIGSource I see as more of an opinion site than a site for raw news.

Much appreciated, but you're not going to get your free copy of Aquaria from Derek now!

Chalk up one more pre-order for that game, then. :D


So far, you've made games for competitions, so are you actually waiting for a new compo to pique your interest before you start working on one?


No, I'm not waiting. I was always developing games, but I get distracted easily. It just happens that competitions are short, so those games get finished. Feedback for Cottage Of Doom was quite good, so I've decided to make a full game based on the idea.


We're impatient. When is that going to be released?

It'll be ages. Months. There's a lot of work to do, I'm planning on doing it practically all myself, and I'm crap at setting my own deadlines. You may never see it!


Name a couple of your favorite indie games and developers. And what have you've been playing recently?

Some of my favourite indie games: Dwarf Fortress; Warning Forever; Cave Story; Armadillo Run; Bridge Construction Set; Space Tripper; Immortal Defense. I also have a lot of respect for developers who make prototype games - people like jph at Iteration Games, cactus and Kenta Cho.

I've recently been playing... Mario Galaxy, Halo 3, Endless Ocean, Dwarf Fortress, The Witcher, and the demo of Eschalon Book 1.

Space Tripper? And don't you think that the walk speed in Eschalon is a tad (a lot) slow?

Yeah, it's a trudge. I don't mind that too much, as it's a very traditional RPG, but more developers should think about how they represent things. Space Tripper was Pompom's first game.

Oh, that Space Tripper... right.

I still consider it to be their best work.


A screenshot from whatever you are currently working on. Make it tasty!


Deadrock currently looks like this:



I just finished writing a line segment vs. grid routine. Fun times!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Kairos Interview

An interview with Kairos, the developer of Varia and Kairuga.


Let's begin with a short introduction about yourself, for readers who are unfamiliar with your works.


I'm a 16 year old teen who likes to play shmups and also make them. I only make releases like once a year due to school and whatnot. My two releases include the shmups Kairuga and Varia, both have the glowy vector sort of feel to them.


How did you start off with game development, and since when? A bit of history would be great, considering that GM users are getting younger and younger every day and they need all the help and pointers they could get.


I started doing real work back in the end of 2005. I used to play all the quality games made in GM and wonder how someone could make that in this program; I started experimenting and learning by example for the most part, and then finally made a real game and released Kairuga during the summer of 2006. The one thing I would recommend to kids who want to develop games is that it is no easy task to create a good game that appeals well. They should remember that the hardest part of development is finishing the game itself.


How does it feel to win the latest Shmup-Dev Competition? It's quite an achievement, considering that past winners and runner-ups have joined the same compo as well.

It feels great, really. I didn't expect that I'd win, considering I originally joined the competition not for the sake of winning, but just for fun. Some encouragement from a few respected people and a bit of thought and it just ended up like that.

And who exactly are you referring to as the 'few respected people'?

Cactus, Bill of the2bears, and some close friends of mine.


Are you planning to participate in the next Shmup-Dev compo?


Possibly. Depending on time issues (which is usually the problem that plagues my game development.)


If you hadn't won, who did you think would win? And which entries are your favorites?


I was expecting Linley to win, Garden of Colored Lights was very unique and appealing. My favorites included GoCL, Akuchizoku and Kamiha.


Name some of your favorite GM releases by other developers.


Clean Asia, The Cleaner, the Jumper series, and Immortal Defense. There are probably more but those are the more recent ones I've played.


Alright, the juicy stuff. Are you working on anything right now? The online RTS? What's the status of that project? And when can we expect another release from you?


I am currently developing the engine for the online RTS, though little has been finished at this point. Currently I'm in the stage of thinking up the design and gameplay part, and you can probably expect a release of that next year sometime. I might release one or two smaller games before that happens, though.



After your Shmup-Dev competition win, and considering the fact that Varia is sitting pretty at the No. 1 spot on the YoYoGames web site, understandably some GM users will probably drop out of the YoYoGames Winter Competition if they knew you were participating. So to get a final word from you - will you be making a game for the YoYoGames Winter compo?


Unfortunately, no. It would've been a great deal of fun and I was actually planning to at one point, but unfortunately that building I go to five times a week gives me too much stuff to do.


What kind of setup do you have at home? Next-gen consoles? Have you ever considered working in the games industry, perhaps making games for Xbox 360 or PS3?


Actually, I don't own any next-gen consoles. Basically the computer provides me with all my entertainment. I'm planning to get into the games industry at some point in time, so yea, making games for the PC or consoles sounds very appealing.


Do you see yourself using GM for the next five years?


I definitely see myself using GM past that period of time. It's such a great tool to simply churn out stuff or do fast prototyping in - I'll continue to use it till who knows when.


What do you think of the current GM scene, and also indie games in general?


I see that there are plenty of talented GM users that can prove to people that the program is not just some toy - there are lots of games that push the limits of it, some games even selling for a decent amount of money. As for indie games, I think that the public should be playing them as much as commercial games are being played. You can't just not play Cave Story, for instance.


Name a couple of your favorite shmups, commercial, console releases or otherwise.


Raiden 2, Ikaruga, R-Type series, Gradius series, G-Darius, Radiant Silvergun, rRootage, Warning Forever, just to name a few.


And a screenshot from one of your upcoming projects?


The online RTS game will probably be using real sprites this time around, but here's an early screenshot of progress:


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jonathan Mak Interview

A quick ten-minute interview with the developer of Everyday Shooter, and a couple of other cool games.


How has the reception for PSN's Everyday Shooter (ES) been, and what's next for Queasy Games? More collaborative efforts with Santa Monica Studios? And will there be any releases from you next year?


Well, there's a substantial amount of press and most of the comments seem positive, so I guess it's been ok? As for what's next for Queasy Games, well, I have a rule where I keep my next project under wraps until it's almost done. If I don't, then I never end up finishing it. It's a rule my friend and I made up when we were kids writing code. We'd always talk about what cool new feature was going to be in our game/app but then we'd never do it. Finally, we decided only to tell each other if we can show each other. It's a great motivator. Release next year? Dunno!


In a recent interview, you mentioned that you were planning on making more freeware games. Can we expect a new one in the near future?


Let's just say I DO want to make a freeware game, but there's just so little time. :( But if I do, it probably won't be a big affair like Gate 88.


Can we expect more Everyday Shooter? New levels, sequels, a trilogy perhaps?


Well, at this moment, I'm much more interested in working on new material.


Any thoughts about the indie game scene you'd like to share with us? Or about any games in general?


What's everyone talking about? I thought PixelJunk Racers was great! Umm.. Do I lose street cred if I liked Heavenly Sword? Haha.. I thought the demo was horrible though.

Clean Asia was insane! In good ways (style), in bad ways (totally way too hard!)... although I think I'd have an easier time playing on a computer instead of TV, but it doesn't work on my computer.

I still really need to go through all your archives and play all those games... I fell so far behind with ES work, and now with work on the new game. I still haven't played Cave Story! Argh! I feel like I should be shot or something.

Umm... what else? I was on the weekly top ten for Gran Tourismo HD concept awhile back! I was so proud, I looked at the leaderboard and thought 'man, I'm going to be famous!'


Checked out this year's IGF yet? Anything that interests you? If you're asked to judge, will you consider it?


I don't think I'd have the time to judge all those entries, and who am I to judge anyway? There's a lot, cra... oh wait, about the last question BRAID, WHEN THE #)(%@ is it coming out!??? Anyway, Crayon Physics looks hawt.. I saw the video of him playing it on a Tablet PC.. geez I'm jealous on so many levels.

Clean Asia was one I mentioned earlier. Fez was insane, but they have to put guns in it, and lots of babes. Fish is going to hate me for that. I did play Battleships Forever. That game... man, I needed a roll of toilet paper next to me while playing it. It's like, a teenage boy's wet dream..

What's PixelJunk Racers and Undertow doing in the IGF? They're both published! Although that's something I've wondered. Like.. when my next game is ready, should I submit to IGF? What if during the course of judging, there's a deal? I guess it's not too late to pull out at that point right? Wait.. HYPERBOL!?!? That already won!! What? What? They want more now? C'mon! Professor Fizzwizzle too? Putt Nutz! Well, whatever.

I wonder why Dishwasher Samurai wasn't in here. That game looks like murder, I can't wait to play it. For the longest time I've been hoping that someone would just make a no nonsense hack and slash. Something like that Legend of Shadow game by Darthlupi... no bullshit puzzles or jumping. Just give me a murderous weapon and let me go to town. Is that too much to ask for? That first sequence was awesome I loved it.


If you're a millionaire, would you make a kick-ass ninja game then? If not, what else?


Well, I'd like to but frankly I don't know how. :-/ But let's say that I do sometimes have fantasies spending a million bucks making a big budget game haha.. there'll definitely be a lot of models involved. The real life ones I mean. Because y'know, when you're rollin' in it... I don't know where i'm going with this -


How did it feel to win practically everything in IGF earlier this year? How does it feel to lose to Aquaria in the grand prize category? Not counting that both of you did well to secure deals of course.


Well, I don't think I won practically everything haha. How'd it feel to lose to Aquaria? IT SUCKED!! I wanted 20 big ones!! But those two guys are hot so it's okay. I'm not sure how much I deserved that design award though. But whatever. Free money! Btw, when's Aquaria coming out?

Dunno... soon, maybe 3-5 weeks. Probably Christmas.

Seriously? On PC? Or XBLA?

They're trying to overtake Braid as the longest indie game in development. PC definitely, then Mac.

Haha.. looking over this IGF list is kinda depressing because it looks like there's a lot of really awesome games..


Who do you want to win the IGF this year? Regardless of whether they'd actually enter or not.


Oh geez, that's not something I can answer... I mean, I really dislike the competition aspect of IGF.. I'd rather it be more like a festival where folks just come out and show off their cool warez... but then again the competition aspect attracts more people I guess?

But yea, I'd just rather a whole bunch of them win so that everyone gets a better chance of landing a deal or making some cash... that way there's more chance that these awesome people will make even more games.

N+ Screenshots



A couple of screenshots from Metanet Software's N+ for the Xbox 360 Live Arcade can be found at The Way of the Ninja.

Death Wears a Fedora (Fedora Spade, Episode 3)

The third episode in the Fedora Spade series has been released. If you played the first two, you'll probably like this one. If you haven't, it's an adventure game with a detective motif: you have to search for and gather clues to solve a case.

Orchard-L also began requesting donations with this game. He lives in Indonesia, where most people make only a few dollars a day. So donations to him would go a long way.

Name: Fedora Spade: Death Wears a Fedora
Developer: RPGCreations
Category: Detective/Adventure
Type: Freeware, but donations requested
Size: 3MB
Direct download link: Click here

News



Paul's New Game: Pictured above, a screenshot from RPGC's upcoming release.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FLYWRENCH Trailer

messhof, of Punishment fame, will soon be releasing a new game called FLYWRENCH. He just posted a gameplay video at Eo.



"The game itself is nearly done-- I'm just working on the soundtrack. I'm going to be out of town for thanksgiving, so expect a release tuesday or wednesday next week."

Shellblast on Game Giveaway of the Day

Shelblast is free for 24 hours. If you liked Ac!dbomb, get the first shareware game by Mr. Chubigans for free while you can. Or you could buy it for five dollars on any other day, which really isn't that expensive.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Underside Trailer


I swear, this game just gets awesomer and awesomer every day.

- download hi-res trailer, right click to save
- soundtrack preview
- The Underside preview

NIGORO's next project


NIGORO member Naramura has announced the first details of the group's next game on their development blog. According to him, the fifth game will have an academic setting and perhaps be easiest to play with a touchpad. The title has been decided, but it won't be announced until later because the title alone would give away a lot of the game.

Eden's Aegis

Eden's Aegis is a new vertical shooter from x.x, featuring two playable characters and the usual array of boss fights commonly seen in all of his other releases.

Hold the Z key to shoot, tap the X key to launch a bomb and use the C key to activate your special weapon. This trial release is limited to one level only.

Name: Eden's Aegis
Developer: x.x
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
Direct download link: Click here

Graham Goring Interview

A quick ten-minute interview with the creator of Wizball.


Any info you'd like to share about yourself as an introduction?


Ooh, I think I've whored my thoughts enough all over the internet that anyone with a passing familiarity with remakes or indie games will have heard of "that Graham arsehole", so there's really nothing to say.


How has the response to your Wizball remake been so far? Any favorite comments or feedbacks?


It's been really good, yes. Me and Smila have been very pleased with the response, although there were a few bugs and issues which needed sorting out shortly after release. The Mac version should be out soon, too. The nicest response was seeing my old arch nemesis Weibo De Wit saying he thought it was great, which was really big of him.


Is this really your last remake then? Weren't you working on the Starquake remake as well? Kitty Hawk next? Describe a bit about that last game for those who know nothing about it.


I have to finish the graphics for Starquake, yes. So ta' for reminding me about that. :P And yes, it's Kitty Hawk next with Gary Lucken on excellent pixelling duties and co-design. It'll be a top-down shooter but rather than bullet-hell it'll have a similar design philosophy to R-Type where it's all about the intricate level design than the patterns of bullets.


When are you releasing your next project/remake? Which of the above will come first?


No idea, I mean Starquake'll probably escape my gravitational pull first as it's as good as done from Richard's point of view, but I imagine Kitty Hawk will take quite a while as I've not even totally figured out how I'm programming it yet.


Last couple of indie games/remakes you've really enjoyed? The ones you hated vehemently for wasting your time on downloading and trying out?


Ah, the juicy stuff! Well, stuff I've really enjoyed is doing some beta testing on Aquaria which is a cracking game and full to bursting-point with loveliness. I also downloaded Space Barnacle, which completely passed me by but which looks great so I'm looking forward to playing it. I've not really played anything I hated that much, lately, but that's probably down to doing a lot of mainstream gaming and also not *having* to play anything because I've been too busy with Wizball to do another arsecast.


The status of Arsecast - you knew this was coming haha..


I wanna' do some catch-up shows to cover stuff which has happened in the last million months, but as for a monthly thing, I don't really have the passion for it. I still enjoy writing, but I really started to hate having to write about stuff which I simply didn't care about one way or another. While it's true there are some excellent games and some awful games, the vast majority exist in this grey area of "meh" which makes them a real chore to write about. So basically nothing until I get really annoyed, I expect.


Any indie games/remakes you're looking forward to? Your thoughts on this year's IGF? Who do you think will end up as finalists?


Noitu Love 2 because Konjak's crafted an amazing arcade-style beat 'em up with some really inventive stuff in there and his trademarked brilliant boss battles. As for whether he'll end up on the finalists list, I don't know. I'm not sure of the makeup of the judges this year so I don't know what they lean towards but I suspect anything as wonderfully arcade-like as Noitu Love 2 will have a hard time placing well, despite being excellent. This year it really seems like everyone and their dog has entered, though, after Aquaria doing so well last year. I suspect the judges are having a hell of a problem with signal to noise.


Thoughts about the current indie games/remakes scene? Anything you're unhappy about, or any changes you'd like to see?


I'm not sure it's my place to comment. There are plenty of interesting games in the works but I have to admit not paying as close an interest as I usually do. Obviously I read your site and TIGs daily to see what's shaking, but I think I'm a little out of touch. You can blame Half Life 2: Orange Box and Super Mario Galaxy for that. All that said, I'm really liking the continued embracing of indie games by mainstream console manufacturers and hope that trend continues. A mainstream bedroom coder resurgence is well overdue.


The last couple of indie games/remakes you've played? Your favorite developer/game of the moment? Any indie game developers who you would pay money for, just to have them release one game?


Lets see, last remake I played was Exile which while not terribly Exiley was a really nice blast from the past. Graphically a little inconsistent, but then that itself reminded me of games like Terminus and Tantalus, which I have fond memories of. Favourite developer... Ooh. I'd really like to see some more in-depth stuff from Pixeljam just because Gamma Bros was cracking and I want to see something of a similarly weighty size. And who would I throw money at... I know! Robert Lupinek! I'd like to see more stuff from him but I guess his day job is precluding that at the moment.


We bloody miss the arsecast. Shame a couple of indie games/remakes for us, for old times' sake.


tbh, it's just the usual core of people whn are in it purely for the fame and money instead of to make something great. But I can't think of any recent examples as I've made a point to avoid their excrement.


How about a screenshot from one of your upcoming releases? Make it finger-licking good!


I don't have any screenshots really. I mean there are shots of Starquake out there and it's not really changed since they were taken and there are mockups of Kitty Hawk on Gary's Army Of Trolls website but otherwise it's all notes and doodles on notepads.

News

Dwarf Fortress: Dwarf Fortress updated. [change list]

Mission to Mars: Mateusz Skutnik (Submachine, Covert Front series) releases a new platformer entitled Mission to Mars.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Eschalon: Book 1 released



Basilisk Games have released Eschalon: Book 1 today.
Eschalon: Book I is a classic role-playing game experience that will take you across massive outdoor environments and deep into sprawling dungeons as you seek to uncover the mystery of who - or what - you are.
Download page: http://basiliskgames.com/book1.htm

More screenshots are availiable through the link.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Paul Eres Interview

A quick ten-minute interview with Paul Eres, creator of Immortal Defense (and a couple of other projects as well).


Are you still working on Immortal Defense? Were you happy with the results of RPGC's first commercial game?


I'm still working on ID, yes, on the level editor and a few other improvements, which are taking longer than I planned for. And I'm happy with the results yes, but I'd have been happy with any results. One thing I predicted was that I wanted to sell 100 copies in a year. It's already been more than 100 in 6 months, so it was more than I expected.


You submitted Immortal Defense (ID) into IGF. How do you rate your chances?


I'd guess 20% chance of being in the finals, 0.1% chance of winning. ^_^ But predicting the future is hard, so that's just based on my feelings about how my game compares to the others and how the judging process works and so on.


Anything in this year's IGF that impressed you immensely? Which game(s) do you think would be in the finals?


I'm easily impressed -- every game I've played actually has impressed me somehow. I'd have to look over the list, though if I had to bet I'd bet Penumbra would win at least a few of the prizes.


YoYoGames Winter Compo. We know you're in. What exactly are you planning to submit as your entry then?


I started something small with the Fedora Spade's "Tomato Engine" -- so if I finish it and enter it it'll be an adventure game and look a bit like Fedora Spade. I'm going to go for only a few (or no) puzzles though, so it'd be similar to Photopia in that way.


Name a couple of your favorite Game Maker developers.


My favorites are probably Cactus, Clysm, Pug Fugly, Hpapillon, Jph of Iteration Games... probably a dozen others that I'm forgetting. I tend to like authors who are better than I am at some particular aspect of game design, so for each one of those I saw them do something in a game that I haven't done yet. For instance, Cactus makes them very fast, whereas I take ages to finish them.


Apparently you're making a guest appearance in Orchard-L's Fedora Spade 3. Anything we should know before trying out the latest episode?


Haha... okay: in the game the character based on me sticks out his middle finger. I do not really do that to people in real life; it's somewhat of a caricature. There's also a character based on Charbile (who made Sword of Jade). Oh, and here's a hint for the game too: If you see a bunch of phone numbers lying down somewhere, write them all down!


Tell us something about yourself which we never knew. Have you played any decent indie games lately?


Something about me that you never knew... I have a hard time deciding on anything interesting. One dark secret might be that I used to make fan-games: I started work on a TMNT fan-game, a Zelda fan-game, even a Weird Al Yankovic fan-game. But that was long ago of course. And... my favorite indie game currently... The newest Trilby game actually, I'm having a lot of fun with it. I've a short memory so any game that I'm currently playing is my favorite.


How does your release schedule looks like now? A couple of hints or rough estimates would be nice.


My schedules are never accurate so it'll almost likely change, but my current release plans for 2008 are to finish up the editor and improvements to Immortal Defense and finish the Game Maker winter contest if possible; for 2009 I want to release my next largish project called Saturated Dreamers.


Two shareware, one freeware?


I have a few small games that I may release as freeware too, one is a boomshine clone. Not sure when that will be done.


Alright, grace us with an unreleased screenshot from one of your upcoming projects.


This is very much a work in progress. The real game probably won't look too much like it. But it's from Saturated Dreamers.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Hasslevania Preview

I was lucky enough to play a BETA version of Hasslevania (which should be released within a week or so) to write a preview for, although I have been reliably informed that even though this is the last BETA before final release, many changes have already been made since this version.

I write this preview rather apprehensively (and will keep it relatively short) for two reasons:

1. I never got to play the Castlevania series in any great length when I was a kid so it is hard to comment on this in comparison to its source material.

2. I did not manage to get very far into this due to time constraints.

On a general scale, first impressions were positive. It was smooth and everything was nicely drawn and adequately animated. Even within the small amount of ground that I did manage to cover, there were lots of little secrets and areas to explore (apparently the game as a whole is quite large), which is always a nice touch, since it adds replay value. Various powers can be gained along the way such as travelling more quickly and jumping more quickly (although after collecting these I didn't notice the speed difference as much as I thought I would).

Soundwise the game consists of intentionally cheesy sound effects backed by a pleasent soundtrack. Some may get annoyed at the sound effects, since they do become repetitive but once I was immersed in actually trying to achieve a goal within the game, I didn't really notice them a whole lot. Speech is worked into the pause scenes within the game, where the main character is talking to others. The speech that I did manage to hear, like the sound effects, seemed to be intentionally cheesy and reminded me of a second-rate 'Everybody Loves Raymond' episode. I have to admit that the game didn't have quite as much atmosphere as I would have liked but it kept me entertained and that's the main thing.

One quibble I did have in this area was that you are not able to skip speech scenes. I have no idea whether this is going to be changed within the final version but it did become a little annoying, since I managed to die a couple of times before the first save point and had to re-sit through the speech more than once. It's amusing the first time but by the third, I was ready to hurl my monitor out the window.

The game has various difficulty levels. I chose 'Vanilla,' the easiest and even on this it didn't seem to be a walk in the park so it looks like this might take a solid few hours to finish.

For those still on dial-up: the game is going to weigh in at around the 135MB mark. You have been warned.

Keep your eye out for release.

News



Frogs and Mice: Erik Hermansen has revealed details about the DROD spin-off created exclusively for GarageGames' new InstantAction web site, to be launched early next year.

Kongregate: The popular web games portal has announced five development studios funded from $20,000 to $100,000 to create original, large-scale Flash games exclusive to the site. [source: GameSetWatch]

Cactus Interview

A quick ten-minute interview with cactus, done just today. Depending on the response, it could turn into a regular thing involving other developers as well.


How many entries are you planning to submit for the YoYoGames Winter Competition? (the one in which the winner gets $1,000 cash)


One I suppose. I don't think I have time for more than that. I'm also aiming for something rather ambitious, so I don't see any point in going for multiple entries.


Could you give us a little hint about what your competition entry would be like?


I'm trying to do something I haven't tried before, so I'm going for an exploration platfomer with a longer storyline than my previous games have featured. Might throw in some smaller RPG elements while I'm at it, a bit like Cave Story perhaps.


How do you rate your chances of winning the contest? Who do you think would give you the toughest competition?


My chances should be pretty decent if I get to finish on time. I've got a good spriter to share the money with, and the concept seems to be going places I haven't tried to reach before. My toughest competitor would probably be... I'm not sure really. I like Lazrael's games very much. There's some highly technically skilled people joining too, but I haven't seen them make any serious attempts at actual games.


When's your next release?


I'm aiming to release the full version of Akuchizoku on the 22nd of November. I've also got a few smaller projects that'd only need a few more hours work before they'd be up for release.


Any indie games you're looking forward to playing? Or are you simply too busy to play anything at the moment?


I'm sure there are, but most of the names escape me right now. Braid would be interesting, and it'd be nice to get to try Everyday Shooter. Haven't heard much about it since it was released. I'm also very hyped about biggt's Uin, which I haven't heard anything about for ages.


Status of Brave Karma Warriors? Delayed?


Oh, I had forgotten about that. I guess it'll probably be delayed, yeah.


You've entered Clean Asia into IGF. Any IGF entries that you're particularly impressed with at the moment?


The video for Noitu Love is very neat. World of Goo looks pretty cool too, and I've heard that it's gonna be a tough competitor from an anonymous source. Night Journey and Rückblende really made an impression too. Lovely visuals. I honestly haven't checked out a lot of the entries, though.


How many games do you think you have released?


Hmm, depends on whether you count the games that aren't really finished, and the games that I've finished but not put on the internet. Probably close to thirty if you count games that could pass for completed ones.


If you had to work in the commercial games industry, which are the three parties you'd like to work for/with?


Well Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would probably be somewhere up there in the top. I'd very much like to create a game for XBLA, WiiWare or PSN. Dunno how I'd go about getting there, though. I don't even own a nextgen console.


How about a screenshot from one of your upcoming projects?