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Date: Tuesday, 03 Apr 2012 15:00

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"Wouldn't it be great if there were a video game that simulated the experience of building and managing a Linux Distribution?" muses 2299 developer Bryan Lunduke. "That is a question that nobody on the planet has ever asked. But they should have because, as it turns out, it's a great basis for a game. And now that game exists."

Indeed it does! Linux Tycoon purports to be the only Linux distro simulation game in existence, and I'm inclined to believe such a claim.

In Linux Tycoon, players are tasked with fixing bugs, choosing software packages, and keeping file sizes low in a Linux distribution package that will be evalutated and rated by your peers. This is all handled in simple, management-focused gameplay that simulates the fun parts of building a distro, however -- no actual programming is involved.

Linux Tycoon is available for Linux and MacOS X, with a Windows version in the works. The game is currently in beta, and can be purchased directly from Lunduke's site for $4.

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Date: Tuesday, 03 Apr 2012 12:30
airscape.png Back in early January, Scirra held a 'rotary-themed' competition with the games to be developed with Construct 2. It ran until Febuary 29th and AirScape was announced as the winning entry on March 10th.

AirScape is puzzle-platformer, where gravity follows your feet. You're an octopus, who has been forced from water to land due to a shift in the earth's gravity. The screen rotates as you walk across the curved landscape and follows you as jump upside-down. Each level requires you to smash the large glass vial.

The levels are short but gradually become more complicated in layout, requiring you to navigate more treacherous territory, and there are a variety of obstacles and enemies to avoid. You can zoom out to see more of your surroundings by holding the left mouse button and dragging right as indicated by the game on screen. This can be very helpful, especially when you can't see where your jump is going to land.

AirScape can be played here.
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Date: Tuesday, 03 Apr 2012 10:00

twine.pngBeing quite aware of the fact that this very blog is rather popular with both developers and gamers, and keeping in mind that many indie gamers would indeed love to design their very own games, we've decided to actually help you creative types a bit. How? Why, by suggesting you have a look at some of the best and easier to use freeware game creation tools around.

And what better way to kick this series of posts off than by suggesting you have a look at the excellent Twine? None really...

Twine is a tool for creating interactive stories, pieces of interactive fiction that play a lot like those choose-your-own-adventure books of yore and can easily be posted online. It has already given us an eclectic variety of gems and has been widely used by such game designers as Anna Anthropy, Zenobi's John Wilson and Jonas Kyratzes.

Happily, this handy tool requires absolutely no programming or even scripting skills and is incredibly easy to use. No, really. It took me roughly 30 minutes from the moment I decided to download it till my very first (and very small) game was finished and ready to be posted online. Twine, you see, ultimately creates elegant HTML files than can be uploaded and played anywhere and is absolutely worth a try; especially if you are keen on sharing your stories.

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Date: Tuesday, 03 Apr 2012 08:00

Independent game investment group Indie Fund has revealed that it's backing first-person puzzler Antichamber, financially helping Alexander "Demruth" Bruce finish developing the award-winning title.

Indie Fund has so far supported the development of seven independent projects, many of them recipients of prominent awards. Antichamber previously won the Technical Excellence category at the Independent Games Festival, the grand prize at the Make Something Unreal Contest, and many other accolades.

Other award-winning titles Indie Fund has backed include Facepalm Games' The Swapper, Pocketwatch Games' Monaco, Toxic Games' Q.U.B.E., and Thechineseroom's Dear Esther -- the latter two have already released and recouped their Indie Fund investments not long after their debuts.

Bruce has been working on Antichamber (previously known as Hazard: The Journey Of Life) on and off since 2006, and began developing the title full-time in 2010. He's expected to use Indie Fund's cash to complete the title, and release it for Windows and Mac some time this year.

A news post published on Indie Fund's site reads, "We've played the game multiple times over the last few years, at various states of completion, and each time the design and feel of the game shifts, and feels more refined. Kudos to Alex for iterating on his work and incubating it until it's really ready."

[This article was written by Eric Caoili on sister site Gamasutra.]

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Date: Tuesday, 03 Apr 2012 06:00

Infinity Danger and Little Racers: Street developer Milkstone Studios tackles the tower defense genre with its latest Xbox Live Indie Games release, Red Invasion.

Boasting some rather nice visuals, Red Invasion equips players with 8 tower types across 30 missions. One interesting feature: if being able to pan and zoom the 3D camera proves overwhelming for you, the game includes a "retro camera mode," which locks the view to an isometric perspective.

Red Invasion is priced at 80 Microsoft points ($1).

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Date: Tuesday, 03 Apr 2012 03:00
april fools bundle.jpgYou can now semi-blind pre-order the five games in Indie Royale's April Fools Bundle at a recommended €/£/$10 or €/£/$5 USD contribution, and a minimum of $3.99 USD.

Headlining the bundle in an acclaimed tower-defense game with a free built-in expansion (for Windows on Steam, Desura, and DRM-free). Featured alongside it is a retro turn-based dungeon crawler (for Windows and Mac in a Steam debut, Windows and Linux on Desura, and Windows/Mac/Linux DRM-free), a pair of titles from the same developer spanning platformer shooter and horizontal shmup (for Windows on Steam, Desura, and DRM-free), and an incendiary 2D action platformer (for Windows on Desura and DRM-free).

Those who pre-order the April Fools Bundle receive an awesome vocoder-heavy bonus: Sexy Synthesizer's Japanese '80s-style chip album Rock: Deluxe Edition, available in .FLAC and HQ .MP3 file formats. Those who pay over the minimum while the bundle is live will also receive the bonus.

Indie Royale's April Fools Bundle will launch soon at $3.99 USD and up - watch our Twitter feed or Facebook page for immediate notice at launch time.
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Date: Tuesday, 03 Apr 2012 02:20

After rumors were spread this weekend with an exposed Steam registry photo, IndieGames confirms that Sword & Sworcery EP is coming to PC and Mac. As evident in this trailer, the release date will be April 16 on Steam.

Sword & Sworcery recently celebrated its one-year anniversary late last month. Press and fans alike have even more reason to swarm Capy's booth at PAX East 2012 now, in addition to having the first chance to play Super Time Force.

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Date: Tuesday, 03 Apr 2012 02:00

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By their powers combined, sixteen indie developers will host the fearsome, unstoppable Indie MEGABOOTH at PAX East this weekend in Boston.

The co-op multi-booth, located at the center of the convention, will showcase 20 games, including several debuts. Featured developers include Dejobaan Games, Retro Affect, Ska Studios, Capybara Games, and a dozen more. Convention attendees will be able to chat with a smattering of developers in attendance as they sample their wares.

I'm impressed! And a little frightened. Click below for the full list of featured titles!

- 1... 2... 3... KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby) (Dejobaan Games)
- AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! (Force = Mass x Acceleration) (Dejobaan Games)
- AirMech (Carbon Games)
- Antichamber (Demruth)
- BIT.TRIP Presents: Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (Gaijin Games)
- Charlie Murder (Ska Studios)
- Drunken Robot Pornography (Dejobaan Games)
- Go Home Dinosaurs (Fire Hose Games)
- Guacamelee! (DrinkBox Studios)
- Jack Lumber: The Lumberjack (Owlchemy Labs)
- Kairo (Locked Door Puzzle)
- Miegakure (Marc Ten Bosch)
- Monaco (Pocketwatch Games)
- Retro/Grade (24 Caret Games)
- Skulls of the Shogun (Haunted Temple Studios)
- Snapshot (Retro Affect)
- Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (Capybara Games)
- SUPER TIME FORCE (Capybara Games)
- Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack (DrinkBox Studios)
- Vessel (Strange Loop Games)

The booth will additionally feature a "bonus 21st game," Joe Danger: The Movie, developed by Hello Games.

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Date: Tuesday, 03 Apr 2012 01:00

U.S. independent game developers working by themselves or in teams earned a lot more money last year, according to Game Developer's 2011 Game Industry Salary Survey.

While salaries remained virtually flat for the mainstream U.S. game industry last year, individual indie developers more than doubled their average earning from $11,379 in 2010 to $23,549 in 2011.

Members of independent developer teams also made significantly more in 2011, bringing in an average of $38,239, compared to $26,780 in the previous year. Independent contractors averaged $56,282 in 2011 (up $800 from 2010).

Those numbers might not look great to a senior developer accustomed to triple-A salaries, but if you're tired of working on sequels or just looking to break in the industry, there are more avenues available for you than ever before.

Their games made more money last year, too -- 48 percent of independent developers made less than $500 from the sale of their game, down from 55 percent in 2010. 16 percent of independent developers made over $60,000 from the sale of their game in 2011, compared to 8 percent in 2010.

Despite independent developers making more money in 2011, the indie industry appears to be consolidating somewhat. Compared to 2010, fewer developers said they went into indie development after getting laid off, and more indie developers are working in teams rather than going solo.

More information on the survey is available in the April 2012 issue of Game Developer magazine, and worldwide paper-based subscriptions to Game Developer magazine are currently available at the official magazine website. The Game Developer Digital version of the issue is available for iPad now, and will be available to purchase online later this week.

[This article was originally written on sister site Gamasutra.]

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Date: Monday, 02 Apr 2012 23:00
deuxit.jpg A simple yet fetching title from the recent MolyJam 2012, Don't Deux It was inspired by this particular tweet: "You are a pigeon who must go around the city trying to persuade business men not to jump off buildings by retrieving items from their home." However, not everyone in Don't Deux It is a black-suited businessman. In fact, there's only one of those. As the heroic avian of the story, you'll encounter a somewhat eclectic collection of folk, all of whom are depressed and prepared to end their lives. Each of them will relate their sad tale to you, and it's your job to find an object capable of cheering them up. If you fail to do so, well, you can guess what happens next.

Play the game here.
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Date: Monday, 02 Apr 2012 22:00

The underwater horror game Deep Sea, which was on display at Game Developer Conference 2012's Experimental Gameplay Session, is terrifying to think about, even before you put on the mask. Like the cursed videotape in The Ring and urban legends surrounding Ouija boards, Deep Sea has a way of getting inside your head.

This audio game requires the player to strap on a bizarre mask, which may be fashioned after a diving mask, an executioner's mask, or Jeff Goldblum in The Fly -- it's hard to tell. The purpose of the mask is to scare you. The player cannot see. Their breathing is limited. And they can only hear the cries of an angry beast at the bottom of the ocean.

Deep Sea is the work of Robin Arnott, an Austin-based independent developer, who had a streak of pink color in his hair when we spoke via Skype. Arnott -- sound designer on Alexander Bruce's Antichamber loves a good scare, his thoughts and inspirations go beyond horror flicks. We discussed the psychology of fear, the "anti-social kind of creativity" of programming, and the importance of flow, both for the player and the creator.


How scary is Deep Sea?

People seem really freaked out by it. At E3 2011, I remember seeing someone coming out of it ... whose hands were shaking. He didn't want to talk because he was kind of freaked out by it. People don't always get freaked out, of course. It doesn't have a 100% success rate. But when it works, it really works.

What scares them the most about it?

Intense feelings of claustrophobia. It's not the fear of drowning. I had a friend play it and he described really intense Cthulhu-esque monsters. That's not in the game. It's in his imagination. It's never the game itself. It's always imagination. I guess that's what fear is.

Do you enjoy scaring people?

When someone comes out of Deep Sea, still feeling the raw physical sensation of being inside, and showing the symptoms that come with fear: shaking hands, sweating, and a stumbling voice. That means the experiment was a success. Deep Sea works from negative emotions. Most people have a really intense negative experience. It's not a lasting negative experience though. If it were, I wouldn't feel so good about that. But like a good horror film, one reflects on it positively in hindsight. Hopefully, it winds up being positive.

Why did you choose to work with fear?

The decision to make a game based on fear came out of necessity. I wanted to experiment with immersion. I wanted to get the player to translate their own identity into the game narrative. We have an intense relationship with fear. Even more than love and anger, fear has a way of taking over our entire consciousness.

We still have lizard brains. Take the case of a primordial man. If he sees the grass rustle and assumes it is a snake, and he is afraid of it, that person is going to survive to reproduce. We wouldn't be alive if we weren't overly scared of things -- if we didn't let our imagination take control of us. Of course, fear isn't so relevant anymore, now that we have big houses to protect us, and police that will shoot down any mountain lion that comes into our big city. But it's still there, and it can be taken advantage of. It works incredibly well. It's pretty creepy how quickly your response to something fearful will overtake your entire body.

How did you go about engineering the scares?

Most of the testing came from watching people play Deep Sea in public, seeing it totally not work, and refining it until it did. When I first debuted it at the NYU Game Center, it was not a terrifying experience for most people. For about 1 or 2 out of 10 people, it was; but for the rest, it didn't really work. I found the less that players were thinking about the game, the more it had an opportunity to touch the player without them noticing.

So I simplified the interaction. I took out the scoring system. Score doesn't matter to the experience. Why should I even have that? Deep Sea isn't a game that you play to know how well you did afterward. It's a game that you submit yourself to. Realizing that forced me to refine a lot of things. I made the game less confusing, just to turn off the brain. I did anything I could to make the brain stop thinking, stop questioning, and just to accept things.

Does Deep Sea scare you?

No. Not at all. There's no room for my imagination to take over and scare the living daylights out of me because I am acquainted with everything. I hear the "Grooouueeeuuu" of a monster, and all that is to me is recording myself with a microphone hooked up to my throat. The challenge about making an emotional game is that you can never measure the reaction yourself. All the math that makes it happen, and the bits and bobs behind the craft, sanitizes the experience. It makes it more of an intellectual engagement and less of an emotional engagement.

What do you lose with that type of indirect engagement?

One of the communities I take part in, here in Austin, is fire spinning. There is a big circus arts community here. I don't spin myself, but I'm friends with people who do. I go to the events. They have a concept of flow. To them, flow is when you are in a state of perfect, continuous creativity through your art.

It's something you get in the performing arts that is missing in digital arts and prepared arts. When I'm making a video game, I'm not interacting directly with the player. I'm creating something that will communicate and interact with the player for me, hopefully creating a profound experience. But it's not me scaring the player. It's this thing I've made.

As a designer of an interactive experience, instead of a performer of an interactive experience, I don't get to have that one-on-one communication with the player. I don't get that conversation with the audience that a performer has. A performance like fire-spinning is very much a conversation. But I can't go back and forth with the audience.

When I see a player coming out of Deep Sea and taking deep breaths, it's satisfying because it is the part of the conversation that I am otherwise missing. It is seeing the player respond to my work. That gives me a delayed sense of flow--a feeling that pushes me to keep going and to do better things.

Do you plan to keep scaring people in the future?

Actually, no. What I'm really interested in now is using everything I learned from Deep Sea -- about how to put players into an emotional state--and using it to produce positive experiences. For Burning Man 2011, I made a project called Synapse, that also played at IndieCade, that is euphoric and takes advantage of the player's creativity and flow. It all comes back to flow--giving the player a tool to find flow, and to feel creatively empowered. I think that's more beautiful than scaring somebody.

(Photo by Matthew Wegner)

[Written by Jason Johnson on sister site Gamasutra.]

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Date: Monday, 02 Apr 2012 21:00


Have a few extra dollars? Why not direct it here? Spriter's an animation tool that is designed for the creation of 'highly detailed 2D game characters and effects in an intuitive, visual editor'. And so far, it looks kinda superb. According to the description, it looks like they're shooting to provide the world with a 3rd party animation software that is capable of recreating the multi-image animation technique utilized in games like Muramasa and Shank. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that they're aiming to ensure that the results of your work can be used on every major game authoring tool ever.

Those skeptical about the idea may want to check out the beta version over here first. As for everyone else, well, extensive information can be found over at the Kickstarter page here.
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Date: Monday, 02 Apr 2012 20:00

Robot Entertainment, formed in 2009 by a number of veterans from Age of Empires developer Ensemble Studios, has announced a sequel to its popular strategy game Orcs Must Die!

Orcs Must Die! 2 follows on from the story of the original, and will feature much of the same gameplay as the first release, with a new campaign and new content. Orcs Must Die! was one of Gamasutra's top games of 2011.

The sequel is due to be released for Windows PC this summer via Steam and other digital distribution platforms. Robot Entertainment will have a playable version of Orcs Must Die! 2 at booth 1172 during PAX East, which runs from April 6th to 8th in Boston, Massachusetts.

[Newsbrief from Mike Rose on sister site Gamasutra, trailer from Robot Entertainment.]

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Date: Monday, 02 Apr 2012 18:45

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Scott Anderson, presenting at GDC 2012

Last month, we caught up with attendees of the 2012 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to hear what they have gained from the experience. Scott Anderson, Marc ten Bosch, Rami Ismail, Doseone, Dajana Dimovska and Lau Korsgaard join us to share their thoughts on the GDC takeaway.

Scott Anderson
Lead programmer, Shadow Physics

When I first started going to GDC, it was a networking thing. Since I've been going for so many years, worked in different places in the industry and met so many people, it's interesting to see all these people that I haven't seen in years and catch up with them. Now the main focus for me is as a social event. I can discuss with people what's new in games and where they should be headed.

In your talk on Shadow Physics, did you feel the need to balance politics with frankness?

I didn't want to be overly political, because it's already such a consumer-focused industry, with so many PR people blocking you from saying things. I was in the unique situation of being able to say how I really felt. The reason I didn't take that opportunity to burn bridges and throw people under the bus was that I feel that's not constructive. It was important to me to look critically: at myself, my team members, and the project. The feedback that I got on my talk was that people liked it, but felt it was very harsh, very real. That's what I was going for.

What do you feel has been the takeaway from your experience on Shadow Physics?

Making sure you work well with the people you work with is very important, especially on small indie teams. If you're not already sure of that, you can run into problems later on that you might not have expected. Also, managing scope and managing expectations on the project is important. Obviously we tried to do that, but I realize now its importance more than I did then.

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Baiyon, Richard Lamarchand and Phil Fish at the Venus Patrol party

Rich Grillotti
Game designer, Pixeljam

What will you take away from GDC 2012?

Getting to know fellow indie devs better, deepening relationships and forming new ones with some really great people. I think the greatest value of GDC is being around our peers and discovering what comes from spending time with such a great group.

This time I enjoyed the "failure workshop," and feel that Pixeljam could have presented at that one. We've certainly started our fair share of games that never saw the light of day. Talking about problems helps to break the strange neurotic bubble that happens when things start going wrong on a project. You can tend to forget that this is not just a personal failing but a common part of development. It was nice to see that being discussed by all these studios that you think of as having got it together. You get to hear things like, "We had to stumble a lot, and at times it really hurt."

What are the objectives behind your planned Pixeljam woodland retreat?

This will be a couple hours outside of Ashville, North Carolina, somewhere in a cabin in the forest for a couple of nights. Miles Tilmann lives in North Carolina, while I'm in Eugene, Oregon and Mark DeNardo's in Brooklyn, New York. That can make working together difficult, especially because we all used to live in the same area in Chicago and had so much face time. We haven't had the opportunity to go out and do things together in a really long time. This seemed like a good idea for reconnecting as friends and seeing what happens creatively.

What's on the horizon for Pixeljam?

We're working on the iOS releases of Dino Run and Gamma Bros. Glorkian Warrior is still in the works. It's been awhile since the Kickstarter, but we don't want to rush it. There's a miniature project called Glorkbot's Mini Adventure, based on the pixel aspect of the game, that we want to get done first. The relationship with James Kochalka is really good, and I was a fan for eight years before Mark met him at a show and we got in touch with him that way. Also, Pixeljam is contributing to Queasy Games' Sound Shapes for the PS Vita. It's taken some time, but it's going really well, and it was fun to go to Toronto and meet with those guys.

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Filmmaker Lisanne Pajot at the Independent Games Festival awards

Marc ten Bosch
Designer, Miegakure

Seeing what types of game are selected for the IGF and what wins is really interesting. Also, for one week it's a chance to see all of my friends in the indie community and hang out. Each year there seems to be a good indie party at some point where I can meet awesome people and show them my game. When you receive support from your peers, who are successful in their own right, that's ideal.

What benefits are there to you as an indie developer in attending GDC parties outside of the formal conference setting?

Games that require you to think are not a good fit for a trade show. People will not have the time or mental energy to spend on a game like Miegakure. They're tired or they've got to run to another talk. But at a party you have more time to explain to them things they might not understand and it's a much more personal interaction. There are opportunities for real connections, making friends, almost in the sense that you are using the game as a discussion topic.

Having spoken at IndieCade in Culver City, how would you compare the relative merits of the two festivals?

IndieCade is all indie, so there are many people who are passionate about what they do. There's little in the way of marketing speech. GDC has a lot of mainstream industry topics and concerns, which is interesting, but there's a nice warm, fuzzy feeling being just in that indie crowd.

Rami Ismail
Developer, Vlambeer

During your talk at GDC on having had a game of yours cloned, what perspective on the issue did you wish to communicate to an audience of independent developers that might find themselves in similar circumstances?

We did a talk on cloning because of the Ninja Fishing thing. GDC is, of course, the best venue to reach developers, and your talk becomes archived in the GDC Vault. We tried to be objective and explain to people that cloning is a risk for a creative industry.

Prior to being cloned, we never knew there was already a discussion going on about cloning. Then we were suddenly dropped into the middle of this discussion, having a fresh view on it, and discovered that none of the arguments made any sense. They were unrelated, unimportant or just plain false. Our point was that developers should not be defending cloning as an "acceptable part of our industry" or "the only alternative to software patterns." We should be promoting original games and trying to make clones irrelevant.

What purpose does an evening event like the Venus Patrol party serve for you?

GDC can be seen as a bunch of lectures, the expo hall and all of that, but in the end the real important stuff happens in the walkways and at the parties. They're more relaxed places to talk, and that allows you to discuss things that you wouldn't bring up at the conference. Chatting to a random developer who has run into the same kinds of problems you've had can only be done properly outside of the official events.

What the Venus Patrol party did really well was capture the culture around indie games in a playful manner. They had Hokra, a four-player tournament game by Ramiro Corbetta. They had Johann Sebastian Joust. Also that amazing game with the pedal, [Uprok]. There was great music by Phil Fish, Richard Lamarchan and Baiyon. I actually saw a few game developers kind of trying to dance... that's hilarious, man. You don't get to see that anywhere else.

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Douglas Wilson of J.S. Joust and Rami Ismail of Ridiculous Fishing

Lau Korsgaard and Dajana Dimovska
KnapNok Games

DD: As a small studio in Copenhagen, doing things that are not super commercially oriented, we can come to GDC and say, "Hey I come from KnapNok Games and we published B.U.T.T.O.N.." Lately there's been interest from publishers to go to these GDC parties to hear who's doing what, and they find out about our games.

LK: We are making games that are really fit for parties, so it's important to show them in that context. Right now we're prototyping on a Kinect project called Slowmo Showdown. It's a slow-motion, split-screen dueling game. We want to make a game about that fighting scene from the Matrix between Neo and Smith. It's two people standing in front of each other and dueling in slow motion. You look ridiculous, but it also feels really awesome. People complain that Kinect can feel imprecise or laggy, but when you move in slow-motion, lag doesn't matter. That's the philosophy behind it.

How do you see KnapNok's place in the industry in terms of developing a unique identity as game creators?

LK: Four years ago we formed the Copenhagen Game Collective, focusing on creating a network of interesting people. We wanted to make a scene, rather than just sitting at home in a basement making a game. Building relationships with other people is important because it helps you get noticed. And being from Denmark, luckily there's governmental support for creative businesses.

DD: That's something that encourages you to form a business. When they offer you the grant, they don't own your project, but they do push you to have a vision: Who's going to play it? How many people will actually experience it? A lot of people have played our games, though not necessarily bought them. They've been showcased a lot of places, so now more people know about Danish game developers, and are open to hearing about the culture, where we come from.

Doseone
Co-founder, Anticon Records

How did you find performing music and sharing the stage with Baiyon at the Venus Patrol party?

It was a wonderful experience. There was a radius of smiles around Joust, around Girp and Proteus. Even the people that weren't playing were enjoying it... and I don't think it was the bourbon doing that. You think of games as being an alternative to some form of nightlife. Like, "Nah, I'll sit at home and eat pizza, and play this game alone." But the party was a perfect exhibition of the opposite being true.

I've known Baiyon for almost a decade now. I met him when he was an art student when he brought me out to do a show in Japan. I had not seen him in six years.

Music in the videogame world is often viewed as a last layer. But it adds a great amount of detail and reality to your world, whether you're making something real or unreal. It's nice that GDC allows the musicians to bump into each other, when some of us are in Japan and others in Oakland.

What would be your ideal game audio project to embark upon in the future?

Making music can be addictive. You can begin a song, go to work, and you think about that song in the middle of the day, wanting to add more to it. I think allowing something like that to be in people's lives would be really interesting.

Whatever comes next, I'm enjoying how shapeless it is now. Games like Joust allow me to take a step back and think about sound in games again.

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Musicians Doseone and David Kanaga during GDC 2012

For further images from the 2012 Game Developers Conference, see our flickr photo set. Connect with Scott Anderson, Marc ten Bosch, Rami Ismail, Doseone, Dajana Dimovska and Lau Korsgaard online. See our previous GDC post, GDC 2012: What Brings You Here, for interviews with Robin Arnott, Simon Flesser, Ichiro Lambe, Jaime Woo and Mattias Häggström Gerdt. Photos by Jeriaska.

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Date: Monday, 02 Apr 2012 17:04

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Different Pixel, creator of the charming PC puzzler Vizati, announced that its next release is Dary's Legend, a roguelike dungeon crawler for Windows.

Boasting some nice-looking hand-drawn art, Dary's Legend is being developed using a custom engine, and is created by the same two-person team behind Vizati. A handful of screenshots can be seen here.

Different Pixel's official release date for Dary's Legend is "when it's done."

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Date: Friday, 22 Apr 2011 17:00


Life Fortress Volcabamba is a horizontal-scrolling shooter which mimics the style of classic MSX games, created using a rather popular programming language in Japan called Hot Soup Processor (HSP). There are no power-up items or options to collect here, although you can change the direction of your shots using one of the two switching methods available for selection at the start of the game. Players can choose to set the direction of their shots by pressing the fire button and a cursor key at the same time, or have their shots rotated clockwise whenever the X key is pressed.

The game features six stages to play through (the final stage might only be accessible after you've collected all of the green-coloured volca stones), but chances are that very few people have the necessary skills to beat the entire thing without turning Japanese first. Fortunately for us there's a recording of a complete playthrough for Life Fortress Volcabamba on Nico Nico Douga, which had also been kindly mirrored on YouTube by Trilobyte.

Perhaps if this game was made and released on an actual MSX console twenty-five years earlier, it could have turned out to be a cult favorite among fans of classic console shmups. Life Fortress Volcabamba is available to download from here, although you'll need to find a missing msvcr71.dll file online and place it in the folder with the unzipped content before the game will run properly. Windows only. (source: Doujin Game Pick)

Author: "--" Tags: "Desktop"
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Date: Friday, 22 Apr 2011 16:17

In a busy week for new job postings, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles across the world and in every major discipline, including opportunities at Activision, Irrational, Zynga, and more.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across its network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

- Activision: Online Technical Director:
"Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of video games. Our company has created, licensed and acquired a group of highly recognizable brands that it markets to a growing variety of consumer demographics. We are seeking individuals who will participate and contribute to our growth, and who will enjoy our fun, dynamic and highly focused business environment."

- Irrational Games: Level Builder:
"Irrational Games is an award winning video game developer located in Quincy, MA. The team made its name with the first person shooter System Shock 2, Freedom Force games, SWAT 4 and Tribes: Vengeance. In 2005 Irrational Games was acquired by Take-Two Interactive and renamed 2K Boston in 2007, for the release of the critically acclaimed BioShock, which went on to win over 50 awards including Best Game from BAFTA. In 2010 the team returned to its roots by reclaiming the Irrational Games moniker."

- Zynga Dallas: Art Director:
"We are a fast-paced technology company connecting millions of friends through games everyday. At Zynga, you will find smart, creative people who are passionate about taking on new challenges. Whether you are a developer, designer, or a customer service manager, there’s an opportunity here for you to level up and be your own CEO."

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Date: Friday, 22 Apr 2011 15:00

Today's collection of independent game links includes more indie game previews, a couple of development updates, the usual round-up of interviews with developers from around the 'net. (image source)

Gamasutra: Secrets To Kickstarter Success
"As part of a new Gamasutra feature on crowdfunding, Robert Boyd (Zeboyd Games, Cthulhu Saves the World) explains how his company blasted through its funding goal on Kickstarter."

Puppyblog: Revenge of the Source Code
"Finally as promised, you can take a look at the source code to Revenge of the Titans here. Inside the zip file you will find a src folder containing all the Java and XML source code, a docs folder containing some licenses, and a libs folder containing the Java dependencies for the project."

GameSetWatch: GDC Vault Adds Free 'GDC 25' Videos From McGonigal, Schatz, Siegel
"The GDC Vault service has debuted free video talks from Game Developers Conference 2011's Summits, including Jane McGonigal on 'no stinkin' badges', Monaco's Andy Schatz on winning the IGF, and Playdom's Scott Jon Siegel on making City Of Wonder."

GameSetWatch: Sword & Sworcery EP Trailer Released With iPhone Launch
"To commemorate the release of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP to iPhone and iPod Touch (and the universal update for iPad owners, allowing you to play your copy on the smaller devices for free!), the Toronto indies behind the the critically acclaimed adventure game have released this new trailer."

DIYgamer: Serious Sam: Double D from Mommy’s Best Games
"I was able to meet with Nathan Fouts from Mommy’s Best Games who showed off the gruesome and intense 2D action of Serious Sam: Double D. Being able to run with his own ideas and twists on the Serious Sam IP, he was happy to add a female version of the headless Kamikaze, presumably for gender equality."

GDC Vault: How to Win the IGF in 15 Weeks or Less (video)
"Monaco was entered into the IGF after 6 weeks of work by only one person. It became a finalist in the Grand Prize and Excellence in Design after 11 weeks of work. And it won both after 15 weeks. In this talk, one-man-team Andy Schatz will show how design-by-brownian-motion can not only lead to a better finished product, but a faster schedule as well."

Bonus Round: Indie Game Revolution, part 3 (video)
"Jonathan Blow, Chris Hecker and Markus Persson talked to us about what it really means to be an independent video game developer in today's world, whether certain genres lend themselves better to the indie-game scene, and what ways does the mainstream game industry support indie designers."

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Date: Thursday, 21 Apr 2011 20:00


Soul Brother is a 2D puzzle platformer that focuses on the concept of possessing other characters to overcome challenges and solve puzzles. The gimmick here is that you inherit the ability of the creature that your soul transfers into, which could be anything from being able to execute double jumps, push heavy objects, fly, and even smash through breakable floor tiles to reveal hidden areas.

There's quite a bit of trial and error involved in finding the solution to some of the trickier areas, and the level will simply reset back to its original state when we run out of bodies to possess in the vicinity. Your progress is also saved automatically whenever you enter a new room, although it's quite unlikely that you'll need more than two or three short sessions to beat the entire thing.

Soul Brother is playable now over at Adult Swim Games.

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Date: Thursday, 21 Apr 2011 12:32

indiedevday.jpg
Submissions have opened for the Indie Showcase at the Develop Expo this July. Indie developers can now enter their games in the hope of being selected to showcase their game to attendees at the conference, and receive a great deal of publicity.

Ten independently-developed games will be chosen to take part in the event from 20–21 July at the Develop Expo in Brighton, UK. To enter, you need to have a team smaller than 15 people, and a development budget of less than £1 million. The terms also say "It’s essential the game has been created in the 'indie spirit'" which, let's be fair, is a little vague, but we all know what they mean.

The Showcase will compliment the Indie Dev Day on the 21 July, a day-long conference of half-hour sessions that have been designed specifically for established independent studios, new start-ups, developers teetering on the brink of becoming an indie, freelance developers and students.

If you're planning to submit your game, check out the official Develop Expo site for all the details.

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