August 31, 2009 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili
The newly returned Experimental Gameplay Project, in which independent developers create a game prototype around a theme each month, has revealed its completed projects for you to play and download for free.
This past month's theme was "Bare Minimum", and the EGP's participants included Henry Hatsworth's father Kyle Gray, 2D Boy's Ron Carmel (World of Goo), Adam "Atomic" Saltsman (Flixel, Fathom) and several others. My favorite out of the bunch is definitely Saltsman's Canabalt, which features a killer soundtrack by Danny Baranowsky.
In Canabalt, your character races across gray rooftops, jumping over obstacles and picking up speed to throw himself over greater distances and through glass windows. The silhouettes of giant mecha lumber in the devastated, smoking skyline, sending ships to buzz past the rattling screen and robots to crash in front of you.
Saltsman created the game in "five very long days" and followed the theme by offering only one button (jump) for the controls and six colors to display everything. He notes that other than the 3MB sound files, he was able to fit the gameplay and graphics in under 100 KB. Quite impressive for a little game I've already played over a hundred times -- it's very addictive, and the randomly generated buildings/obstacles keep the repeated playthroughs fresh.
Gray's prototype, T. Time, also uses one button to charge Mr. T and have him jump over tables and roll up English gentlemen that wouldn't look out of place in Henry Hatsworth, Katamari style. It's available as both a Flash game to play through your browser and as a PC download.
"This game is my attempt at exorcising a horrible pun I caught during the production of Hatsworth while I was designing the outlandish Tea Time sequences. What better way to get rid of it then to finally make it into something?", explains the former EA Tiburon developer. "What better way to get rid of it then to finally make it into something?"
Molleindustria's Paolo Pedercini (Oligarchy, Faith Fighter) contributed ERGON/LOGOS, a curious text-based Choose Your Own Adventure-esque platformer developed in about 20 hours. The game features forked paths of text describing your hero's actions and thoughts during his quest.
"It’s basically a fast paced interactive storytelling piece that tries to be a meta-platform game based on the stream of consciousness of an egodystonic homosexual hero," explains Pedercini. "But it fails miserably and becomes a piece of non-linear kinetic visual poetry written by a teenager obsessed with post-structuralist French philosophy. I don’t know exactly what I was thinking."
You can read more about, download, and play all of August's prototypes -- including Ron Carmel's rhythm game The Thing With 40 Eyes Girl and Michael Todd's RTS Broken Brothers -- at the Experimental Gameplay Project site.