Utah Indie Games Night - April 2011

Indie Night last night was awesome!. React Games was gracious enough to host the event and we had a super turnout of over 50 people there. There was so much going on and so much energy there, it was incredible! The event was definitely a success in my book.

We started the evening off with a presentation on Flash Development by Jonathon Deurig. In his presentation, he started with an overview of flash and talked about both ActionScript and haXe for a bit. He mentioned the different pieces needed in game (in addition to your game), such as the loader piece, which is very important (otherwise you end up with a blank white frame for a while and the user will likely assume your game is broken). He also mentioned that you don't want to do too much processing in any one function otherwise the display callback isn't going to get called often enough to refresh your canvas; thus giving you choppy video in your game.

The best part of the presentation for me was when he started talking about monetizing flash and shared his own personal experiences. It sounds like sponsorships are the best way to bring in money with flash games. For Jonathon, this brought in way more than standard ad revenue and contest winnings.

One disadvantage of Flash is that it is 2D only, so it won't work for 3D games. However it sounds like Newgrounds is now starting to allow Unity games on their portal, so we may start to see more Unity games out there.

We then broke out into our game demos. We had nine demos in all (although there was so much happening I may have missed some). Here's what I was able to see.

Music Prototype - Tim Fowers - Gabob
Tim of Gabob showed off his prototype of a game (or construction toy), that is something akin to these Kinetic Music Junk Sculptures you may have seen at art galleries. You start out with a set of objects that you try to get your ball to pass though. You then dynamically build the track while the ball is motion, all the while trying to hit each object. As the ball passes through the object is plays a sound. Once your track is built, you end up with an interesting contraption that you can watch and listen to for a while.

Protype FPS/Tower Defense Prototype - Brett Unzaga
Brett showed off his prototype game that was part First Person Shooter and part Tower Defense. Built in DXStudio, it is an interesting experiment in merging these two types of gameplay.

Skylantis - UVU Students
Preston Powell brought a few of his students to the event to show Skylantis, which is a Unity game that 13 students have been working of for around 4 months. I was quite impressed with what they had accomplished in that time. The game is about a robot that is trying rescue his friends from an evil baron that has captured them. It's set in a steam punk type world with floating islands that you have to traverse. You can use vents to float you around or you can use your grapling hook. There are also bombs that you can pick up and throw at robot crabs. The main robot character (complete with idle animations) is nicely done and looks like something you'd find right out of the movie Robots by Dreamworks. Nicely done guys!

Halloween Panic - Mike Whitaker, Edgar Nielsen, Paul Milham - Cerbercat
This is a cute and addictive flash game where you try and protect some trick-or-treaters from hoards of zombies, ghosts, swamp creatures, and other ghouls. You basically shoot as many monsters as you can before the monsters consume the kids. A very fun fast paced game.

Grow The Grass - Mike Whitaker, Edgar Nielsen - Cerbercat
This is a simple iPhone game coming soon to the app store (it's just been submitted for approval from Apple). BTW, it's Built with Corona SDK, a nice cross platform engine that builds iOS and Android apps from the same code base. The game-play is super easy. You merely press a button over and over to grow the grass, to protect the humans from the bees (who'll try and beat the grass back). The faster you hit the button the faster the grass will grow. There's also a two player mode where one player tries to grow the grass and the other uses the bees to beat the grass back.

Adventure - Chris Tart
Chris was showing off some additions that he made to his XNA based game. He added a restriction that doing two builds in a row can kill you. Also added some disappearing floors, and a boss that can trap you in a shrinking force field. He mentioned that he started porting from C# to C++ so that he can port it to other platforms eventually. It looks like its coming along nicely.

The next three games I didn't really get a chance to see, although I have seen earlier versions of them.

Siphon Spirit -Curtis Mirci, Peter Anderson, Dave Matney - Califer Games
Curtis showed Siphon Spirit again, and this game is nearing completion. I don't thing any of the gameplay has changed, they've just squashed more bugs and added some more polish to it.

Tank Raige Arena - Nick Terry
Nick showed his Tank game for a while. In talking to him is sounds like he's improved the Tunngle (a P2P VPN solution) within the game a bit, which should help the multiplayer aspect of the game a lot.

LinkRealms - Herb & Dan Flower, Paul Witte - Mythyn Interactive
In talking to Herb & Dan it sounds like they've been busy working on LinkRealms as usual. They've added a Quest engine and newbie mode (which is under going some changes). It sounds like this is coming

As usual, there were lots of great conversations going on a well. Many of them I missed of course, being only one person. It's was a great evening. It helped get me pumped and motivated to work on my own projects again. I'm both inspired and humbled by all of the many things our indie group has done. Keep up the great labors of love guys!

Viva la Indie!


Tsokei said…
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vazor said…
Here is a quick writeup of the event: http://vazor222.livejournal.com/26546.html

I think the night gave me a bit of motivation to throw together a quick minigame for EGP this month. :)

Thanks for always putting these on!

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