This is it! GDC’s final day, marking the end of one of the craziest weeks ever. What an amazing year for indie games this has been: today we’re proud to celebrate the 16th Annual IGF awards, showcasing this edition’s victors in a special issue, of course along the usual goodness straight from the TIGSource forums.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of days, you’re most likely already aware Lucas Pope’s dystopian document thriller Papers, Please swept the IGF, winning the prestigious Seumas McNally Grand Prize as Best Independent Game, on top of being awarded for Excellence in Narrative and Excellence in Design.
Other prizes where awarded to Jason Robert’s Gorogoa (Excellence in Visual Arts), Tale of Tales’ Luxuria Superbia (Nuovo award), Simogo’s DEVICE 6 (Excellence in Audio), Hoppo Games’ Risk of Rain (Best Student Game) and Galactic Cafe’s The Stanley Parable (Audience award). Congratulations to this year’s winners, and thanks for bringing honour to independent games as a whole by striving for perfection and pushing the limit ever forward!
Huzzah! So much goodness. But don’t let GDC and the IGF Awards grab all of your attention, as amazing indie games are constantly being worked on, even during this frantic week. Among the latest arrivals on the TIGS boards, we find Midora (a modern take on the 2D ARPG genre, inspired by classics like The Legend of Zelda and the Mana series), Party Animals (a political strategy game about winning the mayoral elections and also about the kind of sacrifices you’re ready to make in order to do so, featuring visuals by Prison Architect‘s artist Ryan Sumo), accompanied by Hex Brothers and Upside-Down Dimensions, two brand new projects of which only little is known about yet, but I’m very confident will soon be making the news.
I’d also like to give a special mention to Evan Todd’s Lemma and Steamburger Studio’s Let’s Go Camping!. The former is an innovative parkour game, in which every player’s move has the potential to alter the dynamic environments, while the latter is, in its creators’ words, “an FPS roguelike(lite) dungeon crawler” in which the player needs to hike, camp, and survive in a vast overworld wilderness in order to find procedurally generated dungeons and the treasures hidden within.
That’s all for now folks! Remember to check each and every devlog in the release, as all of these projects are well worth your attention. Happy final GDC hours and see you next Friday!
In this issue you might notice an abundance of pixel art, but we’ll also be featuring a few notable outliers.
Halfway and Heavy Shell are both turn-based strategy games. The former puts an emphasis on tactical squads positioning, while the latter features voxel mechs and lies somewhere between X-Com and Front Mission. Elsewhere, Elysis and NDE — both in development for almost a year now — take on the action RPG genre instead.
Tako’s Japanese is an interesting educational game set to help you learn how to read and write in Japanese, while also being entertaining. And Elarooh promises to amuse you with beautiful watercolor & hand-drawn backgrounds and characters.
I also included a few games have had devlogs on TIGSource for multiple years, as development continues tirelessly on moonman, Even the Ocean and The Curious Expedition. As usual, be sure to check all of the devlogs in today’s issue — each of these projects is well worth your attention in their own right!
The new ‘Legend of Romantics’ T-shirt will be available in two colorways to start. MIDNIGHT (above) will feature glow in the dark ink that’ll let the stars & ‘legendary objects’ shine through the evening.
The other colorway we’ve dubbed ATHLETICS, and will be printed navy on heather-grey, perfect for jogging or whichever calisthenic endeavor you personally prefer.
At the same time (finally!), we’ll also be refreshing the online shop with some reprints of the original Videogame Romantics T-shirt, which have long been sold out in pretty much every women’s size since last year’s party.
I hope you dig the shirt’s quiet romance as much as I do, and look forward to more KT x VP merch coming in 2014!
The game — which we’re referring to as Musclecat Showdown for now — is co-created by Major Bueno, the indies behind Party Bueno and a whole host of other games created each month throughout 2013, and should be just about the best drunken fun you can have with surly, muscular cats.
Elsewhere, we’re extremely excited to have romantic beat magician and Nidhogg composer Daedelus joining a musical lineup that will include returning favorite Baiyon, Bubsy3d.com & Perfect Stride creators Arcane Kids, a new mix from Christoffer Hedborg, creator of Eleven, under his new moniker TRU LUV, and, of course, the unique stylings of DJ Phillipe Lemarchand.
The games lineup will also include a new 2-player version of Kyle Reimergartin’s FJORDS, the multiplayer dance mat version of Keita Takahashi & Adam Saltsman’s A͈L͈P͈H͈A͈B͈E͈T͈, and the stateside debut of Push Me Pull You (above), a new sports-game that exists somewhere in between Hokra and Noby Noby Boy — aka directly in my ever loving heart — and a lot, lot, lot more.
I just double-checked my inbox and confirmed: it’s been over seven years since I first started talking to indie comics legend James ‘American Elf‘ Kochalka about making a videogame, and took until exactly today for that dream to actually come true.
The funny thing is: even back then, before his involvement with Dino Run creators Pixeljam & their Kickstarter to create the game released today, before there was even an iPhone to launch a game on, Kochalka’s pitch was remarkably similar. Though the game we’d been talking about in those early days was drastically different (and something that I still hold out some hope for actually being created today), there was one key through-line: it’s all about the Glorkians.
It’s exactly what you’d want a James Kochalka game to be: exuberant, naïve, completely un-cynical, and — the bit I appreciate the most — a game that even as it dips so heavily into Galaga-ian inspiration still finds room to feel like something new, totally blurring the clean breaks between cut-scenes & levels & play sessions into one self-aware experience that’s a perfect introduction to both the character and Kochalka himself, for the totally uninitiated.
This week issue features 19 games together with a special guest! The obvious superstar among them is Rain World, having recently concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign bringing in over $63,000. Thanks to the funds raised, the duo behind the super cute Slug-Cats will be able to further pack the game with additional content and possibly bring it to additional platforms (PC, Mac and Linux are confirmed, but my spider-senses tell me console manufacturers might want to seal a deal ASAP, if they aren’t already).
Painters Guild is a artsy charming business sim of sorts in which you’ll have the pleasure of managing a guild of painters, all while witnessing the stroke-by-stroke creation of their pixelated masterpieces. I don’t want to spoil anything about Fragments of Him but, after playing the prototype, I can assure you it won’t leave you emotionless. Molecule Match is an interesting attempt at explaining the psychological tricks used by many developers in order to create addiction in the player.
I could keep going on and on, but you really should check each and every one of these amazing games’ devlogs for yourself!
Oh! And I mentioned a special guest: this one’s not a gamedev project, though it’s correlated and definitely more tangible. Jay Margalus, developer at Lunar Giant and teacher at DePaul University, is experimenting with very hack-y, custom-built PC input interfaces mashing together multiple controllers and an Arduino board. The project was inspired by Twitch Plays Pokemon and aims at changing the how we experience games in exciting new ways. I found the project fascinating and am amazed by the possibilities — I can’t wait to see where this ends up going.
[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective.]
It was one of the first best surprises and then a central fixture of the past two Fantastic Arcades, and now we’re bringing it back to debut a night of never-before-seen new scenes & music: join us next Thursday, March 6th, at 7:00PM at Austin’s North Door, as JUEGOS RANCHEROS presents Fernando Ramallo and David Kanaga’s interactive musical landscape generator Panoramical.
As Ramallo & Kanaga (the latter also known for his musical contributions to Proteus & Dyad) ready the game for commercial release on PC, Mac & tablet devices — which will also feature a number of audio & visual collaborations with a host of exciting artists — we’ll be giving Austin a chance to experience just-added scenes from the game on the ND’s massive screen, all under the control of the bespoke knob & slider controller made by Mickey ‘Delptronics‘ Delp first debuted in last year’s Fantastic Arcade cabinet.
Doors will be open Thursday, March 6th, at 7:00PM at North Door, 501 Brushy Street, Austin, TX 78702! The show is free and open to all the public — including guests of the Bang Pop! Music & Interactive Festival happening at the ND that day — come drink, play, and meet the people changing the way you think about videogames!
As you may know, Dom2D has been super busy for the last few months, and hasn’t had enough time on his hands for new issues of this magazine (though he has launched a new indie games centric blog, GameSquares. Check it out, it rocks!). But fear not, we’ve got your collective backs covered: after a brief hiatus, the TIGSource DevLog Magazine is back.
In a continued effort to give more exposure to deserving indie games in the making, we dive into the TIGSource forum’s devlogs section to bring you a round up of the most brilliant, charming and at times craziest indie game projects from this community of amazing developers.
Putting this small selection together was both awe inspiring and nerve-wrecking. For each game that ended up being picked for this first issue of the rebooted Devlog Magazine, I found at least ten more which equally deserved the spot. I hope you enjoy this week’s selection as much as I did putting it together. Tune back in on Fridays for more!
It’s been five long years waiting for the first real interactive experience from animator David OReilly — ever since successfully fooling the world (myself shamefully included) with his iHologram concept video — but the time has finally arrived.
Created with some technical assistance from Kokoromi member Damien Di Fede, and in keeping with Pictoplasma’s 10th anniversary ‘Portraits’ theme (which also has birthed this amazing Tumblr of character-selfies) — the Rift experience places you in a virtual gallery space with only one exhibit: a mirror that reflects ‘you’ as a rotating array of cast members.
For as stripped-down an experience as it is, it’s a weirdly haunting & compelling one — each character never dropping “eye-contact” even as you do your best to look away — particularly when inhabiting some of OReilly’s let’s just call them like less-adorable creations (all the character rigs of which he’s Creative Commons released over here for your own Unity/Rift experiments).
If this is the first time you’ve run across OReilly’s work, I’ll also embed The External World in full below, which it sort of goes without saying that you should dim the lights & watch in its entirety straight away, before moving on to his earlier Please Say Something.
While we aren’t quite ready to give you the full low-down on the lineup, I can say that the music acts, developers & games we’ve got confirmed are already super exciting, and the emails that keep popping in from around the world for things we’re still working up are making me very, very happy.
If you’re going to be in town for the Game Developers Conference or otherwise in the Bay Area the week of March 19th, head over to That Party’s Eventbrite page to grab one of the limited number of discounted early bird tickets (or just a regular one if those are already sold out) & join us from 7pm to very late for “indie games, DJs, drinking, dancing, etcetera”, and stay tuned both here and That Party’s official website for lots more exciting announcements in the weeks to come.