Friday, April 25, 2008

Utah Indie Games Night - April 2008

We had another great Indie Games Night at the Ninjabee offices in Orem. We had a pretty good turn out with around 32-35 people there in attendance. Mike Rimer brought along some friends and family, which included one young man that could juggle 7 balls at once. Yes we had entertainment of all sorts last night!

One downside of last night was that Jay Barnson (of Rampant Games) wasn't able to be there last night (for the first time ever), and has left me be the lone blogger of the evening. Hopefully my words will do justice to the evening, as I'm not as proficient at the blogging thing as Jay. Also, there was just so much going on, I'm sure that I missed a lot of what was happening. Anyone care to fill in the cracks on what I've missed?

We had pizza, sodas, and plenty of good discussion about indie games. We also saw a number of faces that we hadn't seen in a while, so it was nice to see them back. Unfortunately the time went so fast, I was unable to talk to everyone as much as I wanted.

There were a total of six games that were shown last night. Three of them haven't been shown to the group before. They are:


DROD RPG
Mike Rimer and Adam Peterson showed the latest game in the DROD series, and got some good feedback from people playing the game. Admittedly I didn't get a chance to play it, or look at it much in detail last night as there was so much happening. In talking with Mike later, it sounds most of what had changed since I had seen it last was more levels and some "polish" related stuff. He also mentioned that you can now play the game (at least mostly) with the mouse now. The game would do some pathfinding to allow you to move around fairly quickly using the mouse. They wanted to make the game a little more accessible to new players, and because of the new gameplay (with RPG elements), it was more feasible to allow for some mouse control. I hope that does well for them, and brings more players into the world of DROD.

Woggi World
Nathan Stoker showed the group "Woggi World". It's a site that is dedicated to teaching kids how to be safe on the internet, serve in their community, and also learn something about good nutrition. This is done through a collection of flash based mini games, and a online community that let's them communicate with others in a very limited and safe way. Nathan was one of the artists working on the project, and it looks *VERY* nice. I love the art style of the site; cute, cartoony, and fun. One of the mini games involved shooting vegetables at kids in a lunchroom, to keep them away from the cake in the middle of the room. Once the kids grabbed all the slices of cake, the game was over. Another was a racing game, where you had to pick up food along the way as fuel. Good food would keep you going along at a good pace, and snacks would speed you up, but then quickly slow you down later. It's a very simple game and it helps get a nutrition lesson across in a fun way.

When I first heard of Woggi World, it didn't sound much like an "Indie Project", but after hearing about how the guy who started the site has funded the entire project out of his own pocket. It definitely sounded "Indie" to me at that point. Even if it was funded by outside sources, it certainly has a lot of the "indie spirit", as they are try to champion a very noble cause. Admittedly I spent quite a bit of time looking at Woogi World with Nathan, as I have young children that could benefit from this site. If you have small children, you might want to go check it out.

Rover Game
Revere Burnett and his brother showed their rover game that is in its early stages.
It's a 3D game that uses the Orge engine. My understanding is that it is a sci-fi “Zelda-esc” shooter/RPG of sorts, where you have to use your rover to defeat some morphing alien blobs that are taking over a space ship. He now has some enemies in the game, which happen to look like triceratops dinos at the moment. I'm assuming its just placeholder art, and that the dinos will eventually be replaced with aliens.


Flash Game Prototypes
Josh Jones showed off some simple prototype flash games that he's been working on. He got a number people playing them and received some good feedback on them. One was called Hopspot and it that one you had to move a dot through a few different ways until it reached the designated end point. Its basically a puzzle game, but it has a timing element to it that adds a bit more challenge to it. Another was called Rushed, and its something of an extremely short adventure game, where you have to go meet with some unknown alien species, and hopefully save the human race. He also showed a third game called Mindflight, but I wasn't able to get a good look at that one.


Towards the end, Herb, Dan, and Mike decided to show off their projects a bit more.

LinkRealms
Due to a little fiasco last time, Herb & Dan Flower weren't able to fully show off LinkRealms (because the ports that LinkRealms uses are in the same port range that World of Warcraft is using and those ports happened to be blocked at ITT-Tech). So we got to see LinkRealms in action this time, and not just prerecorded gameplay videos. Looks like it's getting better and better.

Vespers3D
Mike Rubin showed a little more of his progress on Vespers3D. Again I wasn't able to see much of what he showed off, as there was just a lot happening, but I know he's been making some progress. In talking with him and from entries on his blog, he's been able to optimize the performance quite a bit, and all due to an undocumented little flag.

If you're interested in finding out more about Mike's progress on Vespers3D, check out his blog here (http://monksbrew.blogspot.com/).


Thanks once again to Ninjabee for hosting the event and to everyone that came. It was a great evening!

Viva La Indie!

EDIT: Here's some links to Josh's Mini games if you'd like to try them out yourself.
http://www.angelfire.com/psy/vazor/hopspot/hopspot.html
http://www.angelfire.com/psy/vazor/rushed/rushed.html
http://www.angelfire.com/psy/vazor/timeplotter/timeplotter.html
http://vazor222.livejournal.com/ (more info)

Also Mike Smith (a regular at our indie nights, until he moved to Washington) mentioned he's been making progress on Caster, and is hoping for a July release. http://www.elecorn.com/caster3d/