Every month, as part of the regular monthly meetings of the Austin, TX independent game community JUEGOS RANCHEROS, we do a very casual & chatty rundown of the ten or so games from the previous month for the audience, to give people — especially those curious onlookers from outside the indie community itself — a look at what they may have missed. The featured games are both local and global, and both indie and, on occasion, a bit-bigger-budget — what binds them together is simply that they’re all amazing.
In keeping with the tongue-in-tobacco-packed-cheek tone, we call these run-downs A Fistful of Indies, which are presented here on Venus Patrol for your reference, each fully-annotated, -linked, and off-the-cuff blurbed, in addition to their home on the JUEGOS RANCHEROS site.
Easily the best game teaser you’ll see all month, Canabalt creators Semi Secret & Gasketball/Solipskier designer Greg Wohlwend have just released the first teaser for their upcoming iPhone & iPad puzzler Hundreds — a “Powers of Ten“-esque macro/micro view, scored by the game’s audio designer, local-favorite ambient musician Loscil.
If this is the first you’ve heard of it, dial back a few posts to October with this longer preview of what you can expect from the game, and dig way deeper with this 30-minute “making-of” talk from Wohlwend & Adam Saltsman from the last meetup of JUEGOS RANCHEROS.
As you’ll see in the teaser above, there are only a few weeks remaining until the game’s official January 3rd launch date, when it’ll be just about the most perfect way you’ll ring in your new year. Visit the game’s website here for more information.
As I mentioned last week, this past Sunday’s meetup of our Austin indie collective JUEGOS RANCHEROS featured the local debut of Hundreds, the next game from Canabalt developers Semi Secret along with Greg ‘aeiowu‘ Wohlwend — creator of the original Hundreds prototype and co-designer of games like Solipskier — and local-favorite musician Loscil.
If you haven’t seen Hundreds before, it’s a fantastically austere & ambient action/puzzle game which I described at greater length a month back, and which — I predict — will likely be one of the next big App Store hits. That’s not just a hunch, as mentioned in my last Hundreds post, there hasn’t been a single person who I’ve seen casually start to play that hasn’t become instantly, deeply hooked.
And so, presented here is the full 30 minute talk Saltsman gave the assembled crowd (an abbreviated version of his overseas debut of Hundreds at GameCity) that goes into both the genesis of the project and the long, arduous task of taking such a simple and refined idea to its deepest logical conclusions, and paring down on all the ideas that creep in in the meantime and initially seem worthwhile but ultimately prove to be unnecessary complications and distractions.
After Adam’s talk, you also get to hear — remotely, via Skype — from Wolhwend, who takes questions not just on Hundreds and its cryptic narrative, but of his more recent game, Gasketball, and what the future holds for Mikengreg, his collaborative company with developer Mike ‘fucrate‘ Boxleiter.
As a bonus, and because I haven’t managed to edit them more cleanly into the video, below the fold are a number of Saltsman’s slides that show his early design sketches for Hundreds and early art tests from Wolhwend, to refer to directly, rather than squinting at the clip.
[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective, where we'll be hosting the previously-featured game Hundreds for our latest regular meetup.]
Want to play the next hit game by the designers that brought you super stylish successes Canabalt and Solipskier before anyone else? Then join us this Sunday, November 4th, at 4PM for our sixteenth edition of JUEGOS RANCHEROS at The Highball, where we’ll be presenting the Texas premiere of Hundreds, the upcoming iPhone and iPad game from designers Greg Wohlwend (Solipskier, Gasketball), Austin’s own Semi Secret (Wurdle, Canabalt, Gravity Hook) and ambient electronic musician Scott Morgan, aka Loscil.
Semi Secret describe the game as “an abstract, minimalist, arcade-puzzle game designed specifically for touch screens featuring 100 carefully crafted levels” which “teaches a variety of increasing complex gameplay ideas without tutorials, tells a strange story in an unconventional way, and allows players to play at their own pace, cooperatively or solitaire.”
I describe it as one of the best iPad games I’ve played in ages, which instantly ensnares you into its gorgeously & clinically austere universe — every single person I’ve seen that’s laid just a tentative finger on it has immediately fallen down its rabbit hole and not emerged for hours. Now it’s your chance to find out why!
Everything will be kicking off Sunday, November 4th, promptly at 4PM at The Highball, 1142 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704! Come early to get a head-start on unravelling the mystery of Hundreds, enjoy the Highball’s Happy Hour drink specials, and say hello to the people changing the way you think about games!
One of the iPad games I’ve been dying to get my hands on for nearly a year now, Semi-Secret’s Hundreds has officially been announced with this awesomely designed new website, following a quick blip appearance during last year’s IGF (where it managed to land an honorable mention in the mobile category).
Based on an original concept from Solipskier and Gasketball designer Greg Wohlwend, Canabalt & Capsule developer Adam Saltsman has been vastly expanding on the concept, and the pair have brought in Scott Morgan, better known as local-favorite ambient musician Loscil (who you also heard contributing tracks for Osmos), turning an ultra-minimalist design into a gorgeously & mysteriously presented package.
The conceit is as simple as it can be: flat-colored circles slowly meander across the single-screen stages, harmlessly bouncing off one other, each with a digit in its center. Touching each circle inflates it, and each stage is complete when the added total of all digits equals 100.
The trick? No circle can touch another while it’s being inflated, meaning you’re forced to find perfectly timed moments to inflate when there’s no danger of a collision, something that’s clearly harder to do as the circles grow larger.
You can try a very early concept of the game Wohlwend submitted in 2010 at Newgrounds, but bear in mind that the game’s grown a hundred times more complex in the two years since, with Saltsman adding some truly devious wrenches into the works, as well as a layer of opaqueness that hints at a deeper narrative happening within the game, as seen above.
The game’s making its public debut at IndieCade this weekend — LA locals should make a beeline to it in anticipation of its release in coming months.