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Archive for the ‘indie’ tag

Developer Blog: Getting the Graphics Right

Posted on 28th Jul 2010 at 09:00 by Mode 7 with 5 comments

Last time I talked about Annoying Wonky Triangle Wars, the original Frozen Synapse prototype.

Well, while Ian was struggling to get the game playing well, I was struggling to come up with a look for the game. To give ourselves something to aim for, we commissioned some concept art.

Here is the first concept art that was ever done for Frozen Synapse.

Developer Blog: Getting the Graphics Right
The first concept art for Frozen Synapse

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Developer Blog: Prototyping and Playtesting Frozen Synapse

Posted on 21st Jul 2010 at 11:50 by Mode 7 with 2 comments

Mode 7
In my previous post, I discussed how we came up with the initial idea for Frozen Synapse.

As lots of boring industry types will endlessly tell you, ideas are cheap. Actually, this is complete nonsense, but the point they're trying to make - that the hard work is in the execution - is correct. Even if you do have a strong idea, translating that into a viable game is extremely difficult.

During the development of Determinance, we struggled to get the core mechanics right, so every aspect of the design seemed in flux throughout development. This is a phenomenon that afflicts games of all sizes, and we were determined to overcome it this time around.

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Free Games I Like: Minecraft

Posted on 13th Jul 2010 at 15:25 by Joe Martin with 8 comments

Joe Martin
Am I late in discovering Minecraft? Judging by the fact that development started in 2009 and that Minecraft has over 23000 registered players, I’m willing to bet that I am late in discovering it. Doesn’t matter. It’s still awesome.

Minecraft isn’t technically a free game – it’s a free playable alpha of an indie game that’s still in production. It’s playable online, in a browser, in both singleplayer and multiplayer formats.

Best described as a minimalist, retro sandbox, there’s no real aim to Minecraft, at the moment anyway. All you do is run around a world carved out of rudimentary, regularly sized blocks, fending off critters and bashing holes in things or piling up blocks. It’s the bashing and piling which forms the focus of the game.

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Developer Blog: Hello World!

Posted on 6th Jul 2010 at 10:09 by Mode 7 with 16 comments

Mode 7
My name's Paul Taylor, and I co-own an indie dev studio (that's code for three guys in a small room) called Mode 7 Games. We've been making games and doing various other projects together since 2005.

Our current title is called Frozen Synapse - it's a squad-based tactical game that people seem to like!

I handle everything that isn't development, as well as working on any art direction, audio and writing that's required. My co-conspirator Ian Hardingham handles design, code and the overall direction of our stuff.

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iPhone Review: Super Quick Hook

Posted on 29th Jun 2010 at 11:39 by Joe Martin with 4 comments

Joe Martin
Sequel to one of my favourite iPhone platformers, Hook Champ, Super Quick Hook’s is easily one of the most addictive games on the AppStore, even though it’s mainly just an iterative advancement on it’s predecessor. Really, other than new graphics and levels, it doesn’t add all that much to the original formula – if anything, it takes things away and reduces it to the bare essentials.

Where Hook Champ was a cave-based race against time that saw you swinging through caverns in a bid to reach the exit before a giant ghost ate you, Super Quick Hook is a lot more relaxed and open. There’s nothing chasing you now, so you can leisurely take in the scenery and explore the much larger levels in search of secrets.

Control and feature-wise, Super Quick Hook is almost identical to the original Hook Champ though; just touch and hold where you want to shoot your grappling hook and start flinging yourself through the levels and grabbing as many coins as you can. Once you reach the end of a level you’re booted back to the main screen and can use your booty to buy upgrades or cosmetic tweaks before you try another level.

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Free Games I Like: Orton and the Princess

Posted on 15th Jun 2010 at 13:57 by Joe Martin with 7 comments

Joe Martin
I’m a firm believer that it’s better to do something simple very well than it is to fumble something more complicated. So, it’s no surprise that I like indie platformer Orton and the Princess – it’s uncomplicated and polished to perfection. You are the beige square. The eponymous Princess is the pink square. You have to get to the pink square. Then the next level begins.

Gameplay-wise, Orton and the Princess isn’t any different to dozens of other platform games. Avoid the spikes, dodge the traps, reach the end of the level, set a high score. It does a few things though which help to set it apart – little things, like having an incredibly energetic banjo theme tune. Ding-ding-ding,duh-dong-ding!

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Free Games I Like: Stranded 2

Posted on 25th May 2010 at 11:15 by Joe Martin with 17 comments

Joe Martin
Stranded 2 is a member of one of the rarest genres in the entire games industry - and it’s not a bad entry into it either. It’s a survival game. Not one in the sense of fending off waves of enemies, but in terms of man versus the environment. It puts you on a desert island and sees how long you can survive.

There are other survival games which are better known, such as Deus and the Lost in Blue series, but the genre is still horribly undernourished for those of us that actually like the idea of being stuck away from civilisation for an extended period. It gets even worse when you realise that Robinson’s Requiem is near unplayable and that the Lost in Blue games always decay into block-puzzles half-way through.

All that’s left is Stranded 2 – and even that isn’t perfect.

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Free Games I Like: Air Pressure

Posted on 18th May 2010 at 12:39 by Joe Martin with 29 comments

Joe Martin
There are very few games which explicitly try to tackle the topic of romance because, as has been proved again and again by the games industry, it’s far easier to destroy something than it is to create something. It’s far easier to make a game about blowing up a car than building a marriage.

Air Pressure however has struck upon the idea of combining the two; it’s a game about destroying a relationship.

So, as the game starts, you are cast as a young man who is thinking about leaving his girlfriend of many years and, as the game unfolds through a simple multiple choice structure that’s borrowed from Japanese visual novels, you decide how you want the romance to end. Nice and amicably? Guiltily? You can even push it as far as attempted suicide, if you want.

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Free Games I Like: War and Peace

Posted on 14th May 2010 at 08:20 by Joe Martin with 15 comments

Joe Martin
For a long time there’s been talk among the more ambitious and feather-brained developers and players of games about a hypothetical artistic pinnacle of gaming – "the Citizen Kane of videogames". From the title of War and Peace you might expect this game attempts to reach that aim, perhaps by attempting to adapt the infamous Russian novel into game form.

But you’d be wrong, because War and Peace doesn’t have anything in common with Tolstoy’s colossal opus. Instead, it’s a de-make of perhaps the most-loved PC game of all time and the one title which could definitely hope to rival Tolstoy’s novel in depth. Well, if you’re feeling a bit hyperbolic anyway.

War and Peace is best explained as Civilization with only one button – a toggle which flips you between conflict and compromise.

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Bit-Tech Reader Releases JRPG

Posted on 10th May 2010 at 14:47 by Joe Martin with 26 comments

Joe Martin
A long-time member of the bit-tech forums, KayinBlack, sent me a message the other day with a very special announcement in it that I thought I’d share with you. He’s released a game.

Well, kind of. The game is still in the midst of development and Kayin is hard at work on the later stages, but he’s finally got to a stage where he’s confident enough to release a playable, fully featured demo of his creation – a SNES-style JRPG called Fatal Optimisation.

Fatal Optimisation’s story is, as you’d expect of a Japanese RPG, a long and complicated one which isn’t easily summed up in a few lines in a blog post – all of which makes it a good thing that Kayin has been developing the story over on the game's official site. He’s plotted it out in great detail, posting snippets and chapters on his blog in a way which will give you a glimpse into what’s still to come.

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