Monday, September 30, 2013

Utah Indie Games Night - September 2013

Well, I've been negligent in getting this posted, but here it is. We had another great Indie Night this past Thursday night, with there being around 40 or so people in attendance. I was also a bit late to the event myself (which is very unusual) as my flight home from JavaOne in San Francisco was delayed an hour and I drove straight from the airport to the event. Luckily I wasn't later than that.

We did something a bit different this time around. Instead of a formal presentation we did an informal postmortem for our first annual indie game jam. A number of us shared some things that went well or didn't go well and what we learned from the jam. I was able to produce a game with a lot more content this time around, so it was a personal success for me. I also shared some thoughts on how important it is to use tools that you know as you don't have time to learn them in a game jam setting. I've done some jams with the intent of learning an engine. I did get some learning done in those instances, however I didn't get much of a game done. Another guy shared his experience of how some constant team battles prevented them from getting their game done. It's unfortunate when things like this happen, but it was a learning experience for them.

We then opened up the time for game demos, and I didn't get to see many of the games shown (not even close). Here's the two that I saw.

D.R.O.D.: The Second Sky - Mike Rimer

Mike's been hard at work on the next installment in the DROD series. It has the same dungeon crawling puzzle mechanic that fans of the series like, but it's now showing a much bigger world, including a map screen that shows the various dungeons, and a new underground train or subway that gets players between dungeons.  There's also a storyline that explains why the dungeons are "growing". There are also some new game play elements, such as tiles that restrict your movement to only one direction, and something called a temporal split token. That token lets you essentially clone yourself and replay your past moves to help you solve certain puzzles. Sort of a Braid-like game play mechanic. The game looks awesome so far.

Siphon Spirit - Curtis Mirci

Curtis has been hard at work on a level editor for Siphon Spirit, which is definitely a huge addition to the game. His hope is to allow players to create and share their own levels, so that players will have more to enjoy after completing the game. It's coming along nicely and it certainly should be something a normal user can use.

As usual we had tons of great conversations about the industry and more. It's a great time to be an indie.

Viva La Indie!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

JavaOne 2013

I'm at JavaOne for part of this week. Past couple of days been learning about some new and not so new Java technologies. I found Java ADK and Nuvos interesting as they are some cross platform APIs that can create iOS and Android applications using Java. Could be some interesting things happening there.

Attended one session on creating games with JavaFX. Couple more like it coming tomorrow. Looks like it's getting more and more possible to REALLY make games purely in Java. Of course there's always Minecraft too (parts are done in Java, but I believe it still has some native pieces right now).

Definately some interesting technology coming down the pike. I'm off to a session on teaching Java with Minecraft and Greenfoot.

Ciao for now!