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Archive for the ‘indie’ tag

One nuclear war is enough

Posted on 25th Oct 2012 at 07:52 by David Hing with 13 comments

David Hing
A pile of games that you haven’t got around to playing yet is a surprisingly common feature for anyone that considers gaming to be a hobby. It’s not a problem I ever expected to have, but I have noticed a startling number of unfamiliar names creeping into my Steam library, hopefully as a result of various summer sales and Humble Indie Bundles as opposed to the dreaded combination of one click payments and more beer than is strictly speaking healthy.

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The world of unknown games

Posted on 12th Sep 2012 at 07:49 by David Hing with 13 comments

David Hing
Slouching awkwardly against one of the hand rails on the train during my daily commute the other week I found myself captivated by a gentleman sat in my line-of-sight playing something on his iPad. Until his gaze flicked up causing me to nonchalantly drift my eyes away and pretend I was just glaring at everything in the carriage like a normal person and not just him, I had been transfixed by whatever it was that he was playing because of one simple fact: I had no idea what it was.

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Good Free Games: 10 Min Space Strategy

Posted on 30th Aug 2011 at 08:36 by Clive Webster with 4 comments

Clive Webster
While the name is overly ambitious, and it could be more helpful for novices, 10 Min Space Strategy is a rather good 4X (Expand, Explore, Exterminate and Research, or something like that) game that you can play for free.

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The Rise of the Hobby Developer

Posted on 18th Mar 2011 at 16:33 by David Hing with 8 comments

David Hing
Developers around the world have submitted over 61,000 games made in Game Maker to the YoYo Games site since 2007. The rate at which they are being submitted is that, when I started writing and researching this article, it was closer to 60,900. A new game is submitted every 20 minutes.

As you can probably guess based on the rate of submissions, a lot of these games are more works in progress than stable, finished releases. There’s no real quality control and the content ranges from the likes of Crimelife 2 to Box Dodger.

There are a lot of indie developers who use Game Maker as a way of producing very high quality titles, but what I find more interesting is the number of what I would describe as ‘hobby developers’ there are out there.

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Free Games I Like: Virtua School

Posted on 11th Dec 2010 at 12:24 by Joe Martin with 5 comments

Joe Martin
Ah, Virtua School. Another game I played far too much of as a teenager and which I’ve bought back to life on my iPod Touch courtesy of the ill-fated iDOS. I truly love this game.

Virtua School is a text-based game which casts you as a kid starting his first day of school, forced to deal with the usual array of problems – girls, bullies, exams and extra-curricular activities. Using multiple choice options you weave your way through these scenarios, with a single playthrough lasting around ten minutes.

What I like most about Virtua School though is the random events which are woven into each game to help make things a bit different. The changes range from big things, like bomb scares or after-school parties, to smaller alterations, like characters changing their opinions or reactions. Popular girl Liz might like you one day and hate you another.

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A Letter to Minecraft

Posted on 28th Nov 2010 at 09:59 by Paul Goodhead with 103 comments

Paul Goodhead

Dear Joe

Thanks for your kind letter the other month, it was very nice of you to think of me and Harry while away on your Minecraft excursion. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to turn down your offer to join you however.

I don't mean to appear rude by turning down your offer, but believe me when I say I'd rather stab rusty forks into my own eyeballs than toil away away in an imaginary world, building nothing of any value, consequence or benefit.

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Developer Blog: Frozen Synapse's Singleplayer

Posted on 31st Aug 2010 at 12:03 by Mode 7 with 6 comments

Mode 7
We’ve just started work on the single player campaign mode for Frozen Synapse. Although the core of the gameplay is about two players trying to outwit each other, we’ve known from the outset just how important single player is for a strategy game.

A lot of strategy fans have an aversion to multiplayer; they like the sedate pace of singleplayer and the ability to immerse themselves in strategic decisions without the pressure of competition. Indeed, in this interview with RPS , the Gollop brothers talk about how a lack of single player hampered their turn-based strategic epic Laser Squad Nemesis.

Despite the fact that we tend to focus on multiplayer, we’re big single player fans at Mode 7. Personally, I’ve always loved the immersive narratives in classic PC games like Wing Commander and Terra Nova.

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Free Games I Like: Solipskier

Posted on 27th Aug 2010 at 08:08 by Joe Martin with 51 comments

Joe Martin
I blame Gunsmith for this, as his post in the General Discussion forum nudged me to play this game.

And play it and play it and play it, before finally sharing it with the rest of the team and getting them to do the same. Tuesday morning productivity quickly fell into the toilet.

The goal of Solipskier is simple, as the goal of nearly all free browser games tend to be. You have to guide your little stick-figure man through a series of jumps, gates and tunnels, which is done by drawing the track ahead of him as he goes. Draw a slope, he'll gain speed. Draw a hillock, he'll fly into the air.

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iPhone Review: Siege of the Necromancer

Posted on 16th Aug 2010 at 13:13 by Joe Martin with 3 comments

Joe Martin
As an adaptation of the old Gamebook model, Siege of the Necromancer gets a lot of things right. It lays itself quickly and clearly, providing bookmarks and cheat modes for those who want to just sprint through with no risk of death, but also boasts an achievement board and unlockable art gallery to encourage replays. The RPG rules are simple and to the point, the automated dice rolls quick and no-nonsense. It looks good too, with configurable fonts and nice little sound effects to enhance the mood.

Despite being a new series from an unknown developer, Siege is heavy on the nostalgia too. The basic starting point of a man returning home to his family to find the town overrun by goblins is immediately evocative of a hundred Fighting Fantasy and Choose Your Own Adventure books – a feeling that only increases as you journey through the later chapters. Picking a route through Myr Castle was especially reminiscent of classics like The Legend of Zagor, for example.

Unfortunately, while Siege of the Necromancer definitely gets these broader issues right, it's all too often spoiled by poor writing that speaks of authors desperate to put their fingerprints on what should have been unapologetically based in the tropes of the Fantasy genre. Small tweaks to spelling and jargon, such as changing Goblins to Goblyns, Ogres to Ogryns and Gold to Pestados, feel like differences for differences sake.

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Developer Blog: Making the AI Work

Posted on 11th Aug 2010 at 10:31 by Mode 7 with 10 comments

This week I'll hand over to Frozen Synapse's Lead Designer, Ian Hardingham, who has just had a breakthrough with creating Frozen Synapse's pathfinding engine... - Paul Taylor

I'm pleased with myself today.

The pathfinding in FS has always been atrocious – experienced players pretty much have to use shift all the time to bypass it. It’s a pain in the ass. Here’s a great example of it going wrong, below.

Developer Blog: Making the AI Work Developer Blog: Interface Design
Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity

The reason pathfinding sucks so much is that my algorithm for it is terrible – it splits the levels up into a grid, each square about the size of a unit. It then checks each square for obstacles. It’s a really innaccurate representation of the level.

This weekend I was reading up on advanced pathfinding stuff, and considering using some kind of Navmesh with movement polygons. Then I was hit by a flash of inspiration – the only thing that matters in FS is corners. If you ever want to make a path in FS, you only ever use the corners to get there – the only points I need in my nav-graph are the corners! Here’s my code for identifying the corners in action...

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Exploring PSU Design and Testing with Cooler Master

Exploring PSU Design and Testing with Cooler Master

Ever wondered how PSU manufacturers test and certify their PSUs? Cooler...
The Talos Principle Review

The Talos Principle Review

Is Croteam's godly puzzler divine or does it require an intervention?

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