Friday, October 29, 2010

Utah Indie Games Night – October 2010

We had another awesome Indie Games Night last night. I counted 37 people attending, so it was a good turn out (certainly far from our record but still a good turnout). We started off the evening with a short and sweet presentation on Easter Eggs by Nick Terry. He gave us a quick run down on their history mostly. The first Easter egg known is the one that is in the classic video game "Adventure" by Atari. It was the developers way of still getting some credit for writing the game (even though he had to hide it some). Later they became just something fun for the user to find. Still later hackers realized the could take advantage of "undocumented code" (Easter eggs) and sometimes use it maliciously. By 2002 Microsoft introduced their Trusted Computing Platform and banned all undocumented code. Nick also mentioned the "Hot Coffee" incident and how it tainted people's feelings about Easter eggs. He said if we do include Easter eggs in our games, we should be responsible and only do something that is just pure fun and not malicious.

After Nick's presentation we broke out into showing demos. We had quite a lot of demos shown this time; 12 games shown in all. I wasn't able to see them all, but the ones I missed have been shown previously at our past events.

Recursion - Tim Fowers, Tom Mason - Gabob
Tim's friend Daniel came and showed us Gabob's latest game Recursion, which is their IGF entry for this next year. It is a unique and innovate game. I don't think I've seen anything like it. It's basically "Pacman meets Paper Rock Scissors". It's a flash game for two players on the same keyboard. Each round you pick one of paper, rock, or scissors and then try to move around the maze and try to destroy your opponent. On the next round you pick another object, but your previous choice still is still there and it follows the same path you did before. The same with your opponent. So there's a time element you have to be aware of as you play with all the "ghost plays" of previous rounds. Each round just builds on the last, until finally one player looses all three of his objects (paper, rock, scissors). I hope this does well for them in the IGF.

Catapult for Hire - Tyrone Henrie
Tyrone showed us his cute game made in Unity. He mentioned it started out as game for the IndiePub competition, where it won "Staff Pick" and then has just grown from there. Essentially you are a knight gone freelance catpult operator and you do jobs for people to help them solve a problem. You can then use the money earned to upgrade your catapult. There are different types payloads, such as bunnies, steel balls, bouncy balls, bombs, antigravity balls, etc. You'd pick the appropriate payload for the task you need to do. Also, there are different modifications to the payload that you can add, like a parachute or glider, that can help guide your payload to the target. There are also different ways to solve each level (job), so there are a bunch of puzzle elements to the game. Here's some YouTube videos that
show off the gameplay.
trailer video
gameplay video



Galatic Defendor & Sphoids - Brett Unzaga
Brett showed us two small games that he made in DX Studio. The first was "Galatic Defendor", and it is a basic 2D shooter game that he created to learn DX Studio. It uses a follow the mouse move mechanic and you have to shoot at the attacking enemies. Once you kill 3 of them then more come in greater and greater waves until finally the big boss arrives. The second game "Sphoids" is sort of a combination of Tetris and Bejeweled. You have these groups of spheres that arraigned like Tetris shapes that you can rotate and drop like (just like Tetris). However once they are dropped the spheres of the same color will combine into longer chains. You have to have at least 3 of a kind to be able to remove them from the bottom. On the left is a goal that you are trying to achieve, like a chain of seven blues. Once you reach that goal that level is over.


Shattered Colony - Jon Duerig
Jon showed his completed flash game, Shattered Colony. Armor Games has picked up the game and is sponsoring it on their site. Basically it takes place during the Zombie Apocalypse, and you and your band of survivors are trying to defend your portion of the city and grow it to include more territory. It's a hybrid RTS/Tower Defense type game. You can build sniper towers, baracades, workshops (which are used to gather/scavenge resources), and depots (which you need to build your supply line). It a very interesting game and quite more in depth than most flash games.


Facebook Game - Les Pardew - Alpine Studios
Les came an showed their upcoming Facebook game. I can't say more about it other than its about to go Beta and it looks really cool.


Siphon Spirit - Curtis Mirci, Dave Matney, Peter Anderson - Califer Games
Curtis was showing some new additions to Siphon Spirit. They now added cutsenes, which look really nice and give it a lot more polish. Also, they've added in Mirana, the character whom you are playing. She's the priestess who is casting the spells and guiding the orb. They also added some new spells, such as the conversion spell which can convert enemy orbs around you into friendly orbs. Also the addition of a shield, which if used allows you to absorb orbs bigger than you.

He also showed a Sprite Generator tool that he's been working on. It create sprites via layers. You can use prebuilt sprite sheets and create a custom character from that. So you pick the body layer, then the clothing layer, then the hair layer, and accessories layer, and colors for each of these and viola! you have a new sprite. Pretty cool.


LinkRealms - Herb & Dan - Mythyn Interactive
Dan and Herb were showing some latest additions to their MMORPG. The big thing they've added is giant bugs and some intricate bug AI. (intricate robot like AI). There's a hierarchy of bugs from King bug, Dungeon Boss, General, down to soldier bug, and the leader bugs can even talk. If there's more than five bugs together then can elect one be their leader then they may take on the dungeon boss or king and maybe take over (so their roles can change). Dan was explaining to me some of the intricacies of the AI system. It's a very elegent system they have in there to make the AI data driven instead of code driven. Very flexible and much easier to tweak.


Tank Raige Arena - Nick Terry - Pheenix Studios
Nick was showing his multiplayer tank game, but I was unable to see this one.

Frayed Knights - Jay Barnson - Rampant Games
Jay was demoing Frayed Knights. I didn't get a chance to see this one at the event, but he told me it's essentially everything that he had demoed before, but now wrapped into one big package. You can read his blog for more details on this.

Flexitris - McKay Salisbury
McKay was showing his tetris type game again. I didn't get a chance to see this one so I'm not sure what improvements he's made.


A World of Kelflings - Steve Taylor - Ninjabee
As things were dying down, Steve showed us some things with their soon to be released "A World of Kelflings". It is coming along nicely and it looks awesome! Words don't do it justice, so watch the trailer here.

There were also some great discussions going on as well. All in all it was a great evening!

Viva La Inde!

P.S.
Jay's writeup of the evening is here.
Josh's writeup can be found here.