Friday, January 31, 2014

Utah Indie Games Night - January 2014

We had another amazing Indie Games this past Wednesday night. I didn't get an accurate count, but it looked like close to 40 people were there. Definitely was a great night filled with pizza, presentations, lively discussions, and lots of games! Thanks once again to Ninjabee for hosting the event.

Spencer Buchanan gave an awesome presentation on mHealth  and games. In his new job he's been partnering with doctors and nurses to produce games that help people learn about and cope with their serious illness. The big take away I got from his talk was he mentioned that when working with people outside the industry there needs to be a respect for each others strengths and expertise in order for a project to succeed. The doctors shouldn't question your game design decisions in the same way you shouldn't question the doctors methods either. Each has to respect what the others bring to the table. He did an awesome job with the presentation and had a lot of good info to share.

After Spencer's presentation we opened it up for demos. As usual I probably missed a few of them. Here they are:


Spirits of Elduurn
Curtis showed this flash puzzle game that uses the Mythology from Siphon Spirit . It's a puzzle game where you have to move a pair of spirits (one black, one white) in tandem to collect energy and then defeat the evil dark spirit. Sometimes the moves get tricky as they could kill one of your spirits and you need both of them to complete the level.

Saga Heroes
Eric has added caves and the like since I saw this game last. It's an OUYA RPG game set in the Saga  universe and it looks very polished. I played it for a while and finally made it to the cave levels. The lighting works very well on those levels. He's done an awesome job with it thus far.

Together
Lyle's co-op puzzler now has a name and some really awesome art. I believe it still had programmer art, last time I saw it, so it looked like a totally different game with this new art. The idea is you work together to solve the puzzle via a series of doors and switches. You also have to pick up all the objects before the exit will open and you can finish the level. I played this a bit with Curtis and I kept dying. Luckily Curtis was able to come and rescue me. As long as one player is alive they can resurrect the other and you both can continue. I really like the co-op aspect of this game.

Dub Wars
The Dub Wars guys were there showing off a new build of Dub Wars, that now works with the LeapMotion controller. So "yes", it now has guesture control. I tried if for a bit and although it was a bit more sluggish than a standard controller, I could definately see someone getting into this as it kind of makes you feel like a "Grandmaster DJ" controlling the game.

Space Combat Game
Darius has been hard at work on his space game combat game. I noticed he now has a targetting system in place and it can fire missles at the enemy ships as you glide past them. Looks like it's coming along.

EverAvatarQuest
Ben has been working on a multiplayer RPG that uses Xbox avatars. So you can play as "you" in the game, and not the limited set of characters that you have in other RPGs. He had a questing system in place where you can buy/sell weapons (and really big swords I might add), talk to bots to get them to join your crew, arm them, and then go out and kill vicious animals. He built it in XNA and hopes to finish it off, even though XNA is dying.

Candy Defender Saga / Redacted
Jay showed his One Game a Month entry / Candy Jam entry. It's a quick Space Invaders clone that he built to teach himself the GameMaker: Studio engine. At this point it looks, feels, and plays much like Space Invaders. However I know he has plans to swap out the art (such as the alien ships becoming lawyers) so it fits the theme for the Candy Jam, which is a protest against recent trademark trolling.

Happy Candy Pirates
I also took a little bit and showed my latest entry from the Global Games Jam. It's entered into two other game jams as well, that were happening at the same time (The Candy Jam and GMC Jam). In the game you're a pirate looking for treasure, but along the way you encounter red and blue candy that switches the world between happy and sad. In the happy world the red doors are open and harmless bunnies roam around, but in the sad world the blue doors are open, and the bunnies are now dangerous skeletons. Also if you stay in the happy world too long, the bunnies start multiplying which means there will be more skeletons to face in the sad world.

Mental Institution & Ro-Bee Cop
Rhett was showing off his entry in the Global Games Jam, Mental Institution, a game about a guy trying to escape an asylum. He was also showing a prototype of a new game called Ro-Bee Cop that he's making in GameSalad. Apparently he's taken a liking to that engine, and since Rhett is primarily an artist, I can see the "no programming" aspect of the engine appealing to him.

Magnetic By Nature
I noticed the Tripleslash guys were there showing off their latest build of Magnetic By Nature. I didn't really get a chance to try it out again, but I know they are getting very close to a release.

Board Game (Name in flux)
Vince was there with a board game he's been working on, and he had several people playing it with him. Apparently it's an evolution of the Narwhals and Unicorns game that he worked on with Spencer and showed at our Indie Night a couple of months ago. I didn't get a chance to sit down, get into the details and play it, but it looked like the players were enjoying it.


During the evening Steve brought out a Gigabyte Steam box and let people try it out. I tried using it for a while and the controller definitely has a much different feel to it. It's something that will take me some more time getting used to. Though I was getting better with it in my short exposure to it. I know that Valve is going to be changing the layout of the physical buttons to make them more like a traditional D-pad and X/Y/A/B buttons. That should help some, but I would still like to have an analog stick on the left. I'm okay with the touch pad on the right as it acts like a mouse, which I see being useful for a lot of Steam games. Anyway it was still usable and I could see people liking it.

Again it was an awesome evening. Thanks to everyone for helping to make it incredible!

Viva la Indie!

P.S. You can find Jay's write up of the event here.