Utah Indie Games Night - January 2009

I apologize that I'm finally getting around to this write-up. I've had some important family matters that have taken up most of the weekend. We had a wonderful Indie Games Night this past Thursday. There were lots of new and familiar faces at the event. The event was well attended and we may have hit a new record in attendance. There were a lot of other students coming in and out so it was hard to count how many were actually there for the event. It appears there was somewhere around 40-50 there.

We also had a record number of projects being shown; Seven in all. So many in fact I wasn't able to see Josh's last two mini monthlies there at the event, but I checked them out in his blog later.

As usual there was so much going on, I felt like I was missing some good things. There was a lot of industry talk going on. There was lots of talk about the recent SensorySweep Fiasco (the company has been sued for not paying employees), and also some talk about combining Avalanche and FallLine Studios (since they are both owned by Disney).

We started the evening off with a formal presentation by Josh Jones on "Motivating Crunch: A MiniMonthly Postmortem". Basically it was some of the lessons he learned from his Mini Monthly projects. He talked about dealing with crunch time and staying motivated. He mentioned that you need to be accountable to yourself and use some time management techniques to "Manage the crunch". He mentioned that everyone does "Work work", "Fun Work", and "Fun" with our time. You need to always make some time for the "Fun Work", even if that means doing less "fun". You can access his flash presentation here.

Here's the projects that were shown:

Tank Raige Arena
- Nick Terry

Nick showed off his 3D Tank shooter MMO. It has been the culmination of over 4 years of work, and it looked pretty fun. I believe he said that engine and everything was built by him. The arena is populated by other players and enough bots to balance the game. If you fire too much too fast your gun will overheat and will need to cool down before you can fire again. If you die you will respawn in another part of the arena. In the final game a portal will open after beating the boss (which isn't there yet), and that will let you move to the next level.

Darkened Dreams 2 - Curtis Mirci

Curtis showed his RPG in development. He showed a bunch of features in the Level Editor, which he plans to ship with the game so users can create their own levels and quests. You can also customize your character as well. Not just attributes, but the appearance as well. In the first version of the game, it had a text based input interface with some minimal graphics to show relative positions of rooms, objects, and characters. Very similar to a lot of old text adventures and early RPGs. The second version is based on XNA and is looking very nice.

Zombie Town - Darius Ouderkirk

Darius showed his zombie game that uses a "Tower of Defense" play mechanic. You start out by picking your Home Base then Zombies will attack that building (or group of buildings). You can also set up a number of hero units (Snipers, Machine Gunners, etc.) to help defend the base. You can also setup sandbag blockades and bridges also to help you hero units defend their base. You can setup your defenders on buildings, on the street, or behind sandbag blockades, or on bridges. The game is built using TGB, and is coming along nicely.

Smote - Bryan Livingston

Bryan has put together a robust framework for an MMORPG (currently entitled "Smote"). Currently it is using minimal graphics, but the engine seems to scale well. Something needed in an MMO. It playing the game I was able to jump, fly, fight enemies, and restore my health. He was debating about whether to make the game gamepad driven or mouse and keyboard driven; each of them have their pros and cons. He plans to use the standard fantasy theme of most RPGs, but to use retro Vector graphics to help set it apart from other RPGs.

Galactic Winds - Carson Barlow

Carson showed off one of his Student Projects. It was a 2D side scrolling shooter. You are piloting a space ship above some terrain shooting at alien ships of different kinds. There are some ships that come in like a wave and then stay in position. Each type of alien has its own behaviors to make this classic gameplay interesting. It's looking good.

Two Mini Monthlies (Think Again & Good and Evil) – Josh Jones

Josh showed his last two mini monthlies. The one called "Think Again" appears to mostly be a puzzle game, where you have to place diamonds of different size to correspond to the numbers on the board so that that many diamonds are touching that circle. I wasn't completely sure what to do in "Good and Evil", and his blog mentions is not much of a game but more of an art piece describing the good and evil all around us.


Herb, Dan, and Paul were also there and showed some of their new YouTube gameplay videos. As always these are looking really nice.

I also mentioned to everyone at the event, that Aaron Reed's new interactive novel Blue Lacuna is out now. I was also really impressed with his marketing effort "Blueful" that was very original. It has pieces of the story strewn throughout the real internet on sites like YouTube, MySpace, LiveJournal, Flicker, etc. It was very interesting.

Josh also blogged about the event here in his blog. Also I'm sure Jay will write about the event eventually, but I know he's having some internet connection problems right now. Look for his writeup on his blog http://www.rampantgames.com/blog/.

Again I want to send a big thanks to ITT-Tech for hosting the event and helping it to be a great success. This was one of the best one's we've had. Also thanks to everyone that came. It was a super evening.

Viva La Indie!

EDIT: Jay just posted his writeup here. Also my appologies to Bryan for calling Smote "smoked". I'm not sure why I had that wrong in my head somehow. I fixed it above.


Unknown said…
I wish I could have been there, maybe next time...
Michael Rubin said…
Yeah, I wanted to go and show off our progress on Vespers, but the flu bug got the better of me last week (still does, come to think of it).

Thanks for the write-up.
Greg Squire said…
Sorry you guys couldn't make it. Hopefully next time! Hope you get feeling better.

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