Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Not much to report

Peter didn't get much done this week since his computer died.  I didn't get much done this week because Pokemon came out.  Sorry.  We have high hopes for next week.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Editor: Making things nice and user-friendly

Working on the editor has been a long task.  A few times I felt burned out and decided I needed to work on something else for a while.  Each time, I was back to it after a single day or working on something else.  I need to get this thing done.

Fortunately, I'm getting awfully close. Right now I'm tweaking the level loading and saving to be a little more useful, and after that I'm putting in some developer only stuff, like which map to place it on and where it goes.  How to unlock it, whether it's hidden or not.  That kind of thing.

There's still one major thing that I need to add for the general public.  And for Peter, really.  I haven't told him too much about how to actually use it, so my plan is to just give it to him and see what he has questions about.  The next big thing is adding in a help subscreen for each screen.  So if you're not sure about something, you can press Shift+F1 and it will bring up a screen to help explain things even more than the description boxes for each input.

On an unrelated note, I've been practicing vector art so that the next time that I make a solo game it will look way better than March to the Moon did.  Below is an example of what I've been working on.
This is what happens when my wife makes suggestions.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Indie Game Sneak Peek Report

We recently had an event where we could go and show the public games that we've been working on.  We had a great time there and found that the time passed all to quickly.  We saw a lot of interest in our games and we're happy that we got to go.  Usually when there is an indie get-together, either Jay Barnson or Greg Squire will do write-ups.  I didn't see either of them, so I figured I might as well do the write-up this time.  Here we go!

Magnetic by Nature
TripleSlash Studios

Magnetic by Nature is a game about magnets.  You play as a robot and aside from basic movement and a jump button, you have a attract button and a repulse button.  I had a lot of fun with this one, as there was a good sense of movement and momentum.  If I saw this on Steam's Greenlight I'd totally vote for it.  The screenshot above doesn't really do it justice because it's from the older XBox LIVE Indie Game version.  The current one looks better but I can't seem to find any screenshots of it!  They recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign and are working on the PC, Mac and Linux builds.  They are the ones that set up the event, so a big thanks to them!  

Siphon Spirit
Califer Games

Hopefully it should be no surprise that we were showing Siphon Spirit.  For those of you new to this blog, Siphon Spirit is an action-puzzler where you use a holy orb to absorb and purify energy from smaller demonic orbs.  You need to be careful with your energy.  Getting hit by blasts or running into enemies will permanently decrease your energy.  You'll need that energy to defeat larger demonic orbs as well as cast spells.  Plenty of people enjoyed it, so we're excited.  We're hoping to have a Kickstarter set up soon so we can pay for music, voice acting, and porting to different systems.

Game Site  |  Company Site  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Windows Demo  |  Facebook

Spirits of Elduurn
Califer Games

This was fun for me, as I hadn't played a version of it in a while and Peter's made some big changes and cleaned it up a lot.  This is a puzzle game where you control a light and dark spirit to destroy demons and create a world.  Spirits of Elduurn is going to be a free flash game which we will be using to promote Siphon Spirit.

Game Site  |  Company Site  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Facebook

March to the Moon
Califer Games

March to the Moon is a fairly silly top-down shooter/RPG.  You stoically march forward, killing everything in your path as you try to solve the quest of rats in a cellar which gets out of hand quickly.  Soon after stopping the rat infestation you are fighting goblins, then aliens, then end up in a massive battle on the moon.  There are twelve different skillsets you can choose from, and you can learn two skillsets per character.  Want to be a Necromancer/Paladin?  Sure thing.

I didn't think that I'd be showing this one too much since it has already been out for a year, but a lot of people wanted to play it and really enjoyed it.  I may just dive back into the March to the Moon universe after our current projects are done.

Game Site  |  Company Site  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Buy on XBLIG  |  Facebook

Japanese Arena: Kana
Califer Games

Japanese Arena: Kana is a game for learning how to write the two basic Japanese character sets.  It also has a few hundred words so that you have a reason to remember the characters.  It also has battles where you fight traditional Japanese monsters with traditional Japanese weapons and armor.  This got some good reception as well and I was able to figure out a few things I can do to make it better.  It's still really early on so there were some crashes but no one seemed to mind, thankfully.

                                                     Company Site  |  Twitter  |  Blog  |  Facebook

Projectile Entertainment

Momentum is a game where you use the controls to twist and rotate the path so that the ball can travel along it.  It looks great, but I didn't actually get a chance to play this one.  From what I did see, it's pretty hard.  Seems like half the time I looked over the ball was falling from the path.  Maybe it just takes some time to get used to (which is something that you don't really get at a show like this).

Halfling Wars
Unfortunately, they'd already left by the time I got it into my head to do this.  I didn't get a chance to play it.  From talking around, it sounds like it's a fairly complicated game.  Stuff like RPGs or strategy games have a hard time at these kind of things where people want to just walk up and play something.  It's apparently pretty good since it was either a winner or a finalist for the Utah Game Wars.  I'll just have to let their pages do the talking for them.

Disaster Mage
Disaster Mage Team
Disaster Mage is a phone game where you need to use your wizard to shoot fireballs at the rocks falling towards the village.  It's fairly early still, and the screenshot above does not have final art.  They're planning on adding more enemy types as well as more spells to fight off the upcoming disaster.  Planned for Android and iOS.

Flame Warrior
Eidolon Games
Flame Warrior is a space-faring combat and trading game.  I didn't see the trading, but the combat works mainly by momentum.  If you are in range of the enemy the ship will fire it's laser, and the opponents will do likewise.  Your job is to steer the ship by basically setting a waypoint and making sure that you don't send your ship into a bunch of other ships or an asteroid.  Peter played it a bit and I watched (we just kinda hoped all our stuff would still be at the table when we got back).

Equalize Math   
Rainblade Studios

The best way to think of Equalize Math is to think of math Tetris.  Each row has a goal you need to hit and you can change whether the falling number is positive or negative.  To keep it from being too darn confusing there is a 'total' column as well so you know how far off you are from finishing the row.  It's been recently released on both iOS and Android.

Untitled Co-Op
Mount Olympus

First off, sorry if there are any artifacts in the image.  The file he sent me was massive so I rescaled it. As the missing title may have led you to believe, this is a co-op game.  One player plays as the girl, and the other plays as the boy.  They must get through a series of traps by helping each other to get all the coins and then get inside the tree.  The game doesn't look like the image above yet, but that's the plan.  I just want to know what's inside the tree to make it WORTH fighting through net guns, tenacious fireballs and who knows what else!
Twitter  |  Blog

Draw Space
Alex Johnstone

I totally missed this one.  Their table was right across from ours, but by the time that I had gone through the other games in the U shape they had packed up and left.  I heard that it was more of a toy than a game.  If you want to know more, stop by their Facebook page and ask them what it's all about.

Zen Boat & Side Effect

I would have done these separately, but I can't find any images anywhere.  Zen Boat is a game where you draw a current on the screen with your finger to move the boat along.  It's pretty early still and I ran out of water, so I used the current to fling the poor boat off the screen.  Side Effect was a simple game where you tap a square and it changes the color of the surrounding squares.  Eric Hurst (the developer) correctly deduced that I had played a number of games with the exact same mechanics.

Firefighter & A Game for Two
Vince Betteridge

Darn it, another set of games that I can't find any images for. (Edit: Vince commented with a link to some screenshots)  Firefighter is a game where you are a firefighter and you need to go and save people.  There is also a cat that you can save as a bonus, but I had a hard time not getting the bonus because KITTY.  He's working on making the tutorial a little easier to understand and adding in challenges.  It was fun, but what I really enjoyed was his other game.

A Game for Two really threw me off.  When I saw that it was multiplayer, and that the controls were both on the keyboard I was kinda okay with that.  Then I saw that the movement keys were right next to each other (Player 1: A,D; Player 2: Z,C) and the jump keys were also right next to each other (Player 1: J; Player 2: U).  Vince told me I should get a stranger to play with me.  I'm actually pretty shy so I said I'd just write some notes for this post.  As I was scratching it out, he brought someone to team up with me.  After figuring out how we could both use the keys without cuddling, we got going.  And we had a BLAST.  This was probably my favorite game (that I didn't make) at the Sneak Peek.  If you've ever played Thomas Was Alone (Vince hadn't, to my surprise), this game was Thomas Wasn't Alone.  It played nearly identically, but with a multiplayer element that allowed you to get through puzzles faster than if you were playing single player and just switching between blocks.  It was only 3 levels long, but I really enjoyed it.

P.S. To the developers who attended: Sorry for getting this up so late.  Things were pretty crazy for me the last few days.  This took a lot longer than I thought, trying to find screenshots and company info.  If I do this again in the future I will ask participants to send me info.  Also, I went home with more pens than I came in with.  If you are missing a pen please email me the description and I will send you a hostage photo.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Spirits of Elduurn

We're proud to announce Spirits of Elduurn, coming soon to a browser near you! It's a puzzle game that Peter is making to be a free game to help promote Siphon Spirit.  Check out more about it in its webpage!