We started the evening with an awesome presentation by Josh Sutphin of Third-Helix on "Starting an Indie Games Business". He talked a little bit about the nuts and bolts of starting an indie game business, and also about how to maybe do that full time. That's the dream right? He also talked about how to pick up some contract work to help fill in the gaps as the reality is you might not make enough on your games to pay the bills. At least initially. He also talked about that dirty little secret about going indie that not many seem to discuss and that is one of the motivation trap. That is after first going indie your motivation is very high and you're on cloud nine, but after a while you can get distracted by other things, because "Hey, I can do whatever I want now. There's no boss". So you can find yourself squandering your time and not really getting anything accomplished. Sometimes it can be hard to pull your motivation back up after falling into this rut. He talked a lot about how to set boundaries for yourself (and others) so you can keep a good routine going and make forward progress on your business. He had a lot more good points that he shared. If you want to watch his presentation you can find it here.
Then we got into our game demos as usual. Here are the ones that I was able to see, but I know I missed a bunch.
Peter was showing his new card game based in the world of Elduurn (Siphon Spirit). It's a co-op game for three players and where you are battling boss monsters. Everyone has different skills and abilities that they can use to kill the monster before they monster kills them. He'll be posting a free print-n-play version of the game soon.
Super Wall Ball
This was a cute skill based tablet game where you play as a turtle and try to keep a ball in motion by repeatedly kicking it against a wall. You have to get the timing and rhythm down in order to do this. It has a frustrating but addictive quality to it, sort of like Flappy Bird in that sense. I finally got to 10 volleys back and forth before I gave up. I really loved the cartoony art.
Cameron was showing his exploration game called Parallax. I was blown away by the visuals. It looked incredible. There are doors that will teleport you other parts of the island. I believe it was built with Unity.
Andrew showed his creepy Unity game where you are in a house that has been haunted by ghosts. The game play is similar to "Gone Home" where you can move around, pick up and examine objects to figure out what is happening. The game is set at night and it's raining outside. You have a flashlight but can turn lights on in the house, but the lighting is still low, which definitely sets that creepy mood.
I saw this one a bit second hand, but was told that this mobile game was created in only 80 hours. I was very impressed as it seemed very complete and polished. It was a game similar to Geometry Wars where you have to move around and destroy your enemies while avoiding their bullets. Also it's already been released on the iOS app store now.
In this mobile Unity based game you play as a hero with a sword that has to encounter a hoard of goblins one after another. You have both blocking and attacking moves in upper, middle, and lower directions. The goblins will give you a slight hint as to where they will attack so you have to be quick to block and then counter their moves, so that you can slay the goblin and move onto the next one. I was very impressed with the art and game play.
Curtis has been working on a match-3 game using tiles with Japanese characters on them. It's meant to help people learn the sounds and meaning of each character by repetition. Every time they get three matching tiles together, the sound of that character is said aloud. The English equivalent of the character is also shown.
Lyle was showing his co-op game "Together". I didn't get a chance to play it again but he has a Kickstarter for the game that just barely started. So go back it!
I know Vince, Jeff and some others had some games they were showing but I didn't get a moment to see them. As always there was so much happening and not able to absorb it all. What a great time to be an indie.
Viva la Indie!
P.S. You can find some other write-ups of the event at these links