Friday, 23 June 2017

Quick update about the lack of updates recently

Sorry for the lack of action on this blog folks, I've had to direct my energies towards other things recently, including my own game which is creeping ever nearer to release.  I hope to be back posting regular updates fairly soon.


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Friday, 9 June 2017

Valerian Universe is now live

If a space-faring MMORPG where you can earn various cryptocurrencies sounds like your cup of tea, go ahead and Valerian Universe.



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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Exploring TinyWars’ Live World Concept, Improved User Interface & Game World Graphics

5th June, 2017, Higher Eclectic Ground – Bizurk Software concludes another month of TinyWars’ development by further expounding its Expanded Gameplay Model.
                                              
The current build of TinyWars now features a functional Overworld page; functioning as an in-game dashboard, the Overworld provides a visual representation of player progress.

It was announced in April that said Gameplay Model would seek to blend various quest-based mechanics with tower defence gameplay, with players being granted the ability to complete both mandatory and optional quests to further the game’s tower-defence narrative.

‘As the player progresses through the game, more and more pieces of the map will become colored,’ explains Lead Developer, Andrew Taraba. ‘Each area will contain its own story and characters; players who take their time to visit the optional areas on the map will most likely be rewarded well for their time and unlock certain items which might make beating the main tower defence missions easier.’

Zooming-in and selecting a particular area on the Overworld map yields various elements within that area — buildings, foliage and other populace — clicking on which takes players to a ‘Live’ world.

The Live world is a responsive version of the selected area, featuring various characters and elements that players can interact with, shops from which items can be purchased/sold, acquire/maintain properties within and even earn in-game currency via side quests.

‘This portion has not been fully developed yet, and it will actually be developed a little later in the development pipeline, ‘continues Taraba. ‘After we finalise and refine the gameplay a little further, that is. But this is a feature in the game which we are very excited for!’

With regards to which, updates to the game’s various visual/GUI elements are now in effect. These include a new and improved notification system that aims to reduce cognitive load, as opposed to speech bubbles that exist within the current prototype.

All notifications are set to appear in a distinct section at the top of the in-game HUD, which although providing the same information as the prototype HUD, now has a cleaner and more minimalistic feel.

The improved HUD design further incorporates player feedback procured from the prototype, implementations of which can be seen in new pre-Battle screen and inventory designs (attached). The team is also working on various revisions for the game’s graphical style, hoping to implement them in code by the end of the month.

Finally designs for a new enemy character, concepts of which were previously previewed on social media, were completed by artist Litchipix during the course of May.

‘Rose is not our friend; she’s capable of using her forbidden magic to control thorny bushes and plants.’ describes the development team.

‘This will hopefully make for an interesting battle and we do intend to throw the player immediately into the fray with the characters, story, and some big battles in the limited content we have to show off in this new Story Demo! We hope you’re excited for it.’


Due for a release later this year, the Story Demo will be a vertical slice of the full TinyWars experience. Those wishing to get their hands on a free tech-prototype of the game’s tower defence element meanwhile, can download the same for Windows PC and Android via the Downloads section of the game’s website.


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Formula Fusion released

Sorry this news is a little late (six days to be exact) - and apparently the devs are already working on a major update!

Anyway, the hotly awaited Formula Fusion is available on Steam.  Check out the trailer below:


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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Aftertile Teaser Trailer

LOSTALLOY have released a teaser trailer for their ghostly but insanely cute game Aftertile, a game about a cute little ghost traveling a huge maze and using his ghastly powers to make friends and help other ghosts.  The trailer shows off the band Soft Hugs in one of their performances (Soft Hugs is an all-girls band that plays Japanese traditional instruments; they perform all the tracks for the game, and they will be on the spotlight in one of the stages):




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Monday, 5 June 2017

New Open-world Action Multiplayer RPG Development Announcement (EverEmber Reborn)

EverEmber Reborn is an Open World Action Multiplayer RPG made by a small indie dev team. The game is without boundries, you form your own adventure based on your own choices. If you are in the mood for a hardcore openworld action RPG similar to that of Runescape/Ultima online/Skyrim, then this is your type of game!

You are free to travel around, explore, fight, meet new people, progress through the ranks, and eventually conquer Ember Castle for yourself. With a vivid player based economy that thrives on player made items with an in game crafting system, interaction between players is vital. The goal of this game is to recreate an emotional connection with your character, with hardcore death experiences, human interaction, and trail/error based game play.

Players are free to role-play, form teams, and add each other to their friends list. Friends can add each other to each other’s parties, and travel in safety across the large world of EverEmber. PVP is rich, with plenty of options between melee weaponry, potions, ranged weapons, and armor. Guilds will keep the player base together, forming guilds, partnerships and guild wars for Ember Castle. There is also a lack of class constraints, which enables for players to freely change between playstyles at any moment!

It's aiming for a Kickstarter in a few months, but in the meantime check out what's happening at the official website.

The screenshots are pretty tasty, too...







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Venture across the magical sub-Saharan desert to bring water to your village in AYO: A RAIN TALE – now seeking votes on Steam Greenlight

Embark on a journey for clean water in AYO: A RAIN TALE – a lyrical side-scrolling platformer that addresses the plight of more than 319 million people in Sub-Saharan communities.



Ayo: A Rain Tale explores the psychological impact of trekking across the desert – revealing the struggles of millions of young African children. Players take on the role of Ayo, a young girl who is about to leave home for the first time to gather water for her family. To do this, Ayo must face the harsh conditions of the Sahelian droughts and overcome her fears without falling victim to her own mind ...


After encountering a sudden sandstorm, Ayo loses her path and is lost in the desert. Fortunately, she meets the Asili Twins – who join Ayo on her search for water and provide help along the way. However, as she continues to travel, the world around Ayo begins to look mysterious and magical – as if she’s been transported to a new land.

The desert is a dangerous place, and you will face many hardships. Crawl, climb, and jump your way through the Sub-Saharan lands as you solve puzzles, avoid dangerous hazards, and discover hidden paths during the scorching days and chaotic nights. Escape from crashing boulders, time your jumps perfectly with moving platforms, and challenge ruthless enemies – all culminating in a climactic encounter with Ja Thunderstorm, a large bull who wants to keep all the water for himself!

If you survive, the trek back home is grounded in reality – a harsh reminder of the world we live in.



DEVELOPER QUOTE
Ghaith Fleifel (Founder & Lead Designer, Inkline):

“We want Ayo: A Rain Tale to help raise awareness about the daily hardships faced by those who live in the Sub-Saharan region. Ayo represents every child who courageously takes on the job of fetching water for their family. It’s a story that must be told, and we’re confident that games – the preeminent interactive media of our time – are the perfect way to do so.”

KEY FEATURES
*   Explore Sub-Saharan lands by crawling, climbing, and double-jumping.
*   Experience day and night cycles on your journey.
*   Solve puzzles and push through boulders to advance.
*   Withstand the harsh desert heat and fight for strength and emotional balance.
*   Face challenging enemies and confront Ja Thunderstorm!
*   Discover hidden paths and avoid natural hazards such as thorns, lightning – and even lava geysers.

AVAILABILITY
Ayo: A Rain Tale is now seeking votes on Steam Greenlight. If Greenlit, the game will be available on Steam (Windows/Mac) on Q3 2017.







SOME STATISTICS ABOUT THE SUB-SAHARAN WATER CRISIS
*   783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water worldwide.
*   319 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are without access to improved, reliable, drinking water sources
*   1 in 9 people worldwide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water.
*   Women and girls are responsible for water collection in seven out of ten households in 45 developing countries.

Sources:
WHO/UNICEF JMP for Water Supply & Sanitation
World Health Organization (WHO)


ABOUT THE DEVELOPER
Based in Beirut, Lebanon and founded in 2012, Inkline began as a design consultancy supporting local and regional brands. With the goal of raising awareness and giving a voice to humanitarian struggles, Inkline devotes its time and resources to creating games that shed light on these topics through symbolic, interactive, and enjoyable gameplay. Inkline is currently paying homage to classic video games and shining the spotlight on water-fetching realities in sub-Saharan Africa. For more information about Ayo: A Rain Tale and Inkline, please visit http://www.inkline.co/.




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Saturday, 3 June 2017

Interview with H&R Studio, currently developing Empire in Ruins

I interviewed Emiliano, founder and lead developer/manager of the H&R studio.  He was born and raised in Italy, but has spent the last 10 years living across Europe (France, Germany, Estonia).  In 2012, during  the stop-over in Estonia, he met George – and an Indie dev adventure was born!
  


1 - So tell us a little about your team

We're a quite colorful bunch, spread out across Europe and with the studio based in Tallinn, Estonia. We got started as a hobbyist 2 man team almost 5 years ago, then in the last year and half we found some more likeminded people, and production started skyrocketing.

·         Emiliano (Italy) - Project Manager, Lead Developer and Designer
·         George (Greece) - Artistic director, 3d Generalist
·         Konrad (Latvia) - Illustrator, concept artist
·         John (Greece) - 3d Rigging and animation
·         Alexandros (Greece) - 3d Modeling and textures
·         Marcus (Germany) - SFX crafting and audio management programmer
·         Alessio (Italy) - Static 3d assets modeling
·         Yannis (Greece) - Marketing and texts

Additionally, we have a couple of external technical "advisors" for UX/UI and for C# related technicalities, and a 4-elements folk metal band for the soundtrack, the Red Dew Hellpipes.


2 - You're currently working on "Empire in Ruins" - could you tell us about that game?

Empires in Ruins is the thing that has occupied every single minute of our free time for the last few years. It's basically a story-driven mix of 4X, Tower Defense and RTS genres.

You take the role of a grumpy alcoholic Sergeant, Hans Heimer, and you try to quell the rebellion in the Western Marches of the Principality of Koth.  As your superiors in the capital don't seem to have much faith in the campaign, you get assigned a small ragtag army led by a bunch of unruly officers, and therefore to win the day you will need to resort to ambushes and dirty tricks rather than direct assaults.

You rescue the provinces from the enemies by fighting TD/RTS-like battles (26 maps), and then you manage your conquered provinces through officers, research and building assets, in 4X style.

Meanwhile, not everyone in your principality seems to be sharing the same agenda, so you will find yourself knee deep into a political struggle of factions that the you would have gladly avoided.




3 - What part of gamedev have you found to be most challenging?

Well, beside the obvious technical problems of a project this large (art coherence, story writing, optimization, gameplay mechanics quality and balance, etc.), I think the real challenge is to maintain an unshakeable faith in being able to reach the target (before dying of old age!). Dedication has to be a daily state of mind when a project spans years of work, I am not being dramatic about this, it really is so!  

Projects this long take a toll on personal life, free time, incomes, etc., so you really need motivated people to get to the end of them. I can't even start telling you how lucky I feel with the tough and focused team we have. We like to think of ourselves as a juggernaut, aiming for release day with a quality product in our hands while trampling obstacles that are on our way.


4 - On the other hand, what part(s) of gamedev do you find most rewarding?

Well, one is the fact of seeing your own dream growing up in your hands, and the satisfaction of seeing the effort you put into it paying off in quality and quantity. Let's face it, everyone that makes games, specially indies, is just grabbing by the horns a childhood dream, what could be nicer than that?

The other one is the feedback of people. You throw hours and hours of your work and thinking out there, to public display, and then wait, excited as a teenager on the first date. And when positive feedback (and I gotta say, most of the feedback we gathered in these years is very positive), man, it's a unique feeling really. Worth every ounce of sweat.


5 - Is there anything that makes Empire in Ruins stand out from other strategy games we might have played?

Well, I think that for one, we took a steep but rewarding way in order to give the game a well-defined character. I am one of those players (it changed, when I was young I minded much less), that can't play a game without character for too long, no matter how brilliant everything else.

That is what we are trying to avoid in EiR. Strong characters, mostly corrupted, nasty and rude, a sort of grim sarcasm wrapping it all up, then quite unique visuals (don't get me started on this cause I could talk about it for hours ;) ) and even the soundtrack, as we have a band composing folk metal music specifically for the game. (little preview of the music here)

Besides that, and this is really something we care for a lot, the mix of gameplay is also something that personally I never saw anywhere else. We did try to keep it deep enough to satisfy strategy geeks (like me) but avoiding going too deep into micromanagement. We also quite like the alternating of turn based management with fast paced real time battles (worry not, they have active pause available), most of which fought on the premise that probably the enemy is stronger than you to start with. I think all together, if well balanced, this might make for a quite peculiar strategy game.



6 - What sort of games / developers / development teams have been your inspiration?  (In terms of this game and becoming developers in general)

Well, I can talk mainly for myself (Emiliano) in this. It all began on Amiga, then I said for the the first time the sentence "I want to make videogames" after playing Monkey Island (I know it's not a strategy game, but a 12 years old kid had to get the dream started somewhere).

Then came the 90s RTS era. Warcraft, Starcraft, Red Alert, Age of Empires, etc etc. That can be seen as the real inspiration behind all of this I guess. I was never really into the game development scene, so I am one of those that barely know the names of a handful of famous developers or game designer.

I could mention Ron Gilbert, but it's just because of Monkey Island ;)


7 - When can we expect to see Empire in Ruins available to download?  Also, from where?

Empires in Ruins gets daily closer and closer to seeing the light of day(finally!). I would say that if nothing strange happens, the end of summer beginning of autumn will be the time. But quality comes first, I think that rushing it in the final months would be the best way to waste the work of years.

As for where, for sure Steam (we're already greenlit since almost one year and half, see shameless self-promotion link), then we will definitely try Gog, and most of the online stores that will decide to accept us.


8 - If you could give other aspiring indie devs just one piece of advice that you view as most important, what would it be?

Be realistic, be creative, prepare for hell :D I think that summarizes pretty well. Nowadays hundreds of games get released each month, quality is for sure essential to get your game in a spotlight, but the whole side struggle to achieve visibility really requires patience and perseverance. That said, come and cover us with love or insults anytime in our public pages:
·         on Twitter
·         on Facebook
·         on IndieDB



Thanks Emiliano for a great interview and I can certainly identify with what you say about the hardships of the indie life – as well as the rewards!  We look forward to the release of Empire in Ruins. 



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Friday, 2 June 2017

The Artifact - Out Today

Woken from a hypersleep, you find yourself alone on a drifting star cruiser, light years from home. The crew has disappeared, leaving behind nothing but a few scattered records and a strange artifact that seems to hold the key to an alien civilisation. As you search the empty ship, you’ll begin to piece together the mystery of the missing crew, and perhaps a way to unlock the artifact itself.


Played out in stunning 3D environments, The Artifact is a sci-fi themed spin on the classic escape the room game. Players explore different locations, using 22nd century technology to crack codes and solving increasingly head scratching puzzles that will help decipher the mystery of the alien device, and perhaps what lies beyond...

Key Features

  • Beautiful 3D environments – explore the decks of your star cruiser, breaking open air hatches and exploring different areas…
  • Head-scratching puzzles – use logic and experimentation to figure out how to break into the alien artifact…
  • Immersive story – explore the ship for notes and documents that reveal the mystery of the missing crew. And why you’ve been left behind…




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Put on your Flower Hat and ride your own Space Wasp in Queen of the Vesparians!

Red Dwarf Games have  just released a new free point-and-click adventure game, Queen of the Vesparians.


Story

You play as Wudge, the stalwart alien bear, who sets out one morning to search the nearby woods for breakfast for his family. He stumbles into trouble, however, and accidentally gets stowed away on a mysterious spaceship. Now in space, Wudge must find a way to get back home to his family.


Game Information

  • Short 2D adventure game
  • Free to play
  • Solve classic point-and-click puzzles
  • Hand-drawn characters, objects and environments
  • The Ichnoptera Space Wasp provides free flight travel between space locations
Trailer







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Hand of Fate: Ordeals Makes Kickstarter History

BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND - May 31, 2017 - Hand of Fate: Ordeals, the tabletop adaptation of Defiant Development's action RPG series, has crowdfunded more than $190,000 on Kickstarter and is now the most-funded Australian tabletop game in Kickstarter history, with three weeks in the campaign still remaining. The previous record holder Twisted, a steampunk miniatures game from Demented Games, raised $162,154 AUD in 2016.



Further funding of the Hand of Fate: Ordeals campaign will allow the team to improve to the quality of the base game and develop expansion content. Thus far, additional Kickstarter pledges have supported the creation of a harder difficulty setting, new enemies and encounters, an endless mode, an alternate player board with art by Jesse Gillespie and a custom Food token.

"We've been absolutely amazed by the support Hand of Fate: Ordeals has received over the past week" said Morgan Jaffit, Creative Director, Defiant Development. "Becoming the highest-funded Australian tabletop game on Kickstarter is a great honor and we look forward to using this success to make Ordeals the best experience possible when it releases this November."

Designed in partnership with board game publisher Rule & MakeHand of Fate: Ordealsoffers a strategic dungeon-crawling and deck-building experience that bridges story between the original game and its forthcoming sequel while introducing new competitive and co-operative multiplayer modes that support up to four players.

The Hand of Fate: Ordeals Kickstarter signals Defiant Development's debut into the world of tabletop development. It marks the studio's second successful campaign in recent years after raising more than $50,000 AUD in 2013 to create the original Hand of Fate, which was met with critical acclaim and went on to garner more than 2.2 million downloads. A fully-fledged sequel, Hand of Fate 2, is also in production for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac and Linux.


About Defiant Development
Defiant Development is the Australian Brisbane-based developer behind 2015's surprise hit, Hand of Fate. The 20-person studio has previously developed Heroes Call and Ski Safari for mobile platforms, with the latter accumulating more than 120 million downloads.
To learn more about Defiant Development, please visit their website.

About Rule & Make
Founded in 2013, Rule & Make has established itself as one of the most prominent board game publishers and tabletop accessory providers in Australia. With six published games to date - including the Dice Tower Seal of Excellence winning Burger Up, the Freeplay award-winning Rise to Power plus several additional titles releasing in 2017, and additional titles in active development, the company's product base and creative IP is expanding rapidly. Rule & Make aims to produce games that are engaging, fun, and make players feel clever through an innovative use of narrative and game mechanics.


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