Thursday, March 21, 2013

Utah Indie Games Night - March 2013

We had another awesome Indie Games Night last Tuesday night. We had just over 30 people in attendance. Neumont hosted the event and made pizza available. Thanks Neumont!

We began the evening with a presentation from Adam Ames, the founder and editor-in-chief of True PC Gaming, on how to work with the gaming press. He's very passionate about this topic, and his presentation showed that. He had tons of info that he dispensed to us, and he had tons left that he didn't get to because of the time. The main take away points that I got from his talk were:

#1 - Be Professional. You have to look, sound, and act the part if you want to be taken seriously by the press. Adam get tons on emails from individuals
#2 - Believe in Yourself. Show confidence and enthusiasm in your abilities and the game you are making. If you don't believe your game is great, why would the press think so?
#3 - Be Persistent - If something doesn't work out the first time, keep at it. If one door doesn't open, try another. Don't be afraid to ask; sometimes large doors can open just by asking. If something bombs, then learn from your mistakes and and try again, even if that means starting from scratch again. Keep at it and eventually the right doors will open.

After that we broke out into smaller groups for the game demos.  I think I missed several games, but here's the ones I saw (or noticed).

Monster Guru - Evan Munro (Gimo Games)
This one is an iOS game being developed by a few students. They had a successful Kickstarter for it last year and Evan is the one that showed it to me. The game is about discovering, capturing and training monsters. The game can be played based on your real movement in the physical world (when you move the character moves), but it can also be played in a traditional way as well. The art is first rate. As you move around the world new section open up, and you can find new monsters in that area.

Japanese Arena: Kana - Curtis Mirci (Califer Games)
Curtis showed me the progress he's been making to his Japanese learning game. It's starting to look like a more fully realized game now. He showed me some of the dialog in the lessons, and he's infused it with a lot of humor to add interest. It reads more like a cut scene with two characters talking to each other, which is more interesting than having a narrator talk to the user directly. There are "Quiz Attacks" at the end of a lesson that earn them points. He also showed me a new mode where the player is given an audible word and then they have to construct the word with the Japanese characters. There is also a practice mode where they can do the reverse, where they link together characters and the computer says the word. It's coming together.  Also in addition to all this, Curtis is also working on a press release system for indies. I'm sure he'll have more info on that later on.

Save the Princess, Dragon!  & Star Reacher - Spencer Lee (UgLee Games)
Spencer has been participating in the One Game A Month competition and he showed me his first two entries. His first entry, Save the Princess, Dragon!, is a Zelda like game where you are a dragon that has to save the princess. You can use fireballs and your claws against enemy blobs. There are keys to be found to unlock doors in this expansive dungeon crawl. The second entry, Star Reacher, is a side scrolling shooter game with tons of defenses to destroy and multiple obstacles to avoid. He developed both of these using GameMaker as these had to be created quickly.

Bimey - Tim, Ben, & Garrett
This is a Unity game being created by a few guys. It's a platformer game about a cute rabbit that has to save the forest from zombified animals. It's still in it's early stages and still rough, but it has improved since I saw it last. This time they were showing an OUYA based build of it and I controlled the rabbit with an OUYA controller. Very cool! I had to jump over pits, grab crates, and then throw them at zombie worms before they got me.

Space Combat Game - Darius Ouderkirk
Darius has been hard at work on a tablet game about turn-based space combat game. In the first phase you equip your ship with a ton of different options, that effect the attributes of the ship, such as shielding, maneuvering, fire power, etc. Then in the combat phase you have to plan out your moves with real physics. You set the direction and thrust for the turn and the game gives you a visual indicator where you'll end up at the end of the turn (and the next if you hold course). You have to avoid asteroids and other obstacles, and if you get close to an enemy ship, an automatic firefight will ensue.

Bullet Train Hell - Chris Tart (Logic Drill Games)
Chris has finally released his awesome Bullet Train Hell game on iOS. Congrats Chris! He was showing an OUYA port of the game on an actual OUYA dev kit. He's confident that he'll have it ready to go for the main OUYA launch date in June. I think that's one I'm going to have to pick up once my OUYA arrives, and the store opens.

War Command
I didn't really get to talk to these guys very much, but their game is an iOS trading card war game. It combines deck building strategy with physical war game strategy. They brought in a physical board and physical cards to play the game. They are planning to release this both as an iOS app and as a board game. The art they have on the cards is amazing and it seems like they are nearly done with it.

HexLocked - Tyler Wright
I noticed that Tyler had brought his Tetris like game with shapes made from hexagons. I didn't get a chance to talk with him about the progress he's made on it, but it was looking good from what little I saw.

As usual I'm amazed at what everyone is working on. It always gets me excited and energized to work on my own projects.

Viva la Indie!


P.S. - You can also read Jay's writeup of the evening here.

EDIT - You can now find Adam Ames' presentation here. Enjoy!