Friday, November 16, 2012

Utah Indie Games Night - November 2012

We had another fantastic Indie Games Night last night, with almost 40 people there.  There was a bunch of cool stuff happening.  Let's get into it.

"Stage3D:  This ain't your Grandpappy's Flash"  - Tom Beatty
Tom Beatty gave an awesome presentation on the capabilities of doing 3D in flash (via Stage 3D).  He showed some awesome examples of what can be done with it.  I'll have to admit that many of those examples blew me away.  You can see them for yourself here. At the beginning of his talk he listed a bunch of Pros and Cons to using flash (such as being slow and can't be used to create complex games), however by the end most of those Cons were not applicable at all when using Stage3D with Flash.

He mentioned that you don't need the expensive Adobe tools to create Flash games; you can use a free tool like FlashDevelop instead. He also mentioned several frameworks that can be used.  Starling, which is 2D framework that Angry Birds uses.  There were three 3D ones, Alternativa3D, Away3D (his favorite), and Flare3D (which is pretty expensive).  In all it certainly looks like Stage3D has breathed a lot of life back into the Flash platform.

After Tom's presentation we opened it up for some game demos. And as usual it seems I may have missed some, but here's was I was able to see.



Japanese Game - Curtis Mirci
Curtis of Califer Games was there showing off the latest build of his Japanese teaching game. The game starts out with a lesson on a character and what it means. After that you can engage in a battle to test your knowledge of what you just learned. There's also some items that you can use to heal yourself if you are getting too many answers wrong.

Siphon Spirit - Curtis Mirci
Curtis also showed Siphon Spirit again.  Apparently Peter has been adding more cutscenes.  This game is ever getting closer to completion.

SPACE Episode 1: The Old Man and the Escape - Jordan Goulding
Jordan of Rainblade Studios showed his top down arena shooter that is very "Smash TV" like.  It was running on an iPad using virtual joystick controls.  I'm not sure how far along it is, but it looked very polished and the controls looked very responsive.  The basic idea is simply to elimiate all the robots so you can escape the room and then move to the next room and do it all again. 

Shoshone Adventure
Some students at the U have been working on game to help teach about the Shoshone language and culture.  It's a top down Adventure/RPG type game where you play as a Shoshone brave on a quest. During the game the player will learn Shoshone words for different things like wolf, bear, and fire, and they'll have to use that knowledge to be able to unlock more areas of the game.

Converse
This is an unusual student game. It was developed for the psychology department at the U.  I don't how to exactly describe it other than it's sort of a card game about dating. It seemed kind of like Kudos.  In the game you are taking a girl on a date and you buy her dinner and play cards to match her conversations. The more successful you are at that the more swag points you earn (to buy stuff) and the happier she'll be.  Then if she's happy enough you can continue with a second date (and so on).

Top Down Shooter - Brett Unzaga
I didn't get a good look at this one., but Brett has been working on a top down sci-fi themed shooter made in Unity.  Looks like it's off to a good start.

Antibody - Greg Squire
I took a moment to show Jay the current version of my shmup called Antibody.  I didn't quite feel up to showing it to the whole group last night (partly because not a lot has changed since last time, but mostly because I was just simply tired due to some overtime at the day job).  I've added a level selection screen and some refinements to the weapons.  However it's still got a long way to go.  Hopefully I can make a lot of progress on this over the holidays.


I was surprised there were so many games incorporating educational elements in them.  It's nice to see that.  I overheard part of a conversation where it was mentioned that an educational game ought to be "fun" first and "educational" second.  I also agree with that sentiment, as I've seen "edutainment" titles that have tried to slap a "fun" layer on top of a heavy educational under-layer and it didn't work. It ends up being neither fun nor educational. 

As always it was a great evening and helped renew my own excitement. There was definitely a lot of great games and great conversations going on.  The fun didn't want to stop, and even a session of "Magic: The Gathering" broke out towards the end of the night. 

Viva la Indie!


BTW, Here's some other write-ups of the evening
http://rampantgames.com/blog/?p=5179
http://rainbladestudios.blogspot.com/2012/11/indie-game-night-november-15th-2012.html

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