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Archive For April, 2010

Jason Rohrer Anthology, Primrose Coming to DSiWare

April 28, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Nobody noticed it because it was hidden in a press release about Save The Turtles last month, but publisher Sabarasa announced that it will release two DSiWare titles from offbeat indie game developer Jason Rohrer (Sleep is Death). The two slates games are Primrose (a puzzler released for iPhone/PC last year), and a three-game collection titled Alt-Play: Jason Rohrer Anthology.

According to the ERSB, Alt-Play: Jason Rohrer Anthology will include three of the developer's best known games: Passage, Gravitation, and Between, the last of which won the Innovation (Nuovo) award at the 2009 Independent Games Festival. Like Sleep Is Death, Between is a multiplayer experience -- I wonder if this will support online multiplayer or just local?

The Alt-Play label suggests that Sabarasa has more indie games in mind for DSiWare, which would be really cool if true (and even more cool if gamers don't ignore their release). Of course, those of you with just a plain Nintendo DS and not a DSi can still play a Jason Rohrer game on your portable when Diamond Trust of London releases in a few months.

[Via Joystiq]

Mecha Dance Party, Fireworks

April 28, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Though you'd never guess it from their intimidating size and heavy firepower, mechas (and their pilots) aren't always so serious and sometimes like to blow off steam like the rest of us, chillin' out with buds, shooting volleys of missiles just to see where they fly, and fist pumping to some dance music.

A Japanese group of Armored Core: For Answer players shot 18 hours of footage to produce this video of mechas just kickin' it, showing off formation flybys, missile tornadoes, smoke trails, and other fireworks. It's an impressive performance, and as Mecha Damashii points out, it "shows how versatile and functionally thorough the game is".

The music in the video, in case you're interested, is "Starry Sky" by MK and R.Cena. You can listen to the full track (and host your own mecha dance party with all the Gundam kits on your desk) at this Youtube video -- the striped pantsu-filled image is a little NSFW, though.

[Via NicoVideo]

Gods at Play: Can't Someone Else Do It?

April 28, 2010 12:00 AM |

gap1.JPG[Gods at Play is a new, regular GameSetWatch column from Troy Goodfellow about design issues and gamer experiences in strategy games. How can strategy games help us understand the nature of play and the minds of players? This week, Troy looks at how two different games approach the problem of AI advisors.]

Though not the dominant genre it once was, strategy designers still beat at the same problems that faced Bunten, Meier and Tiller in the genre's heyday. At their best, these are games about planning and understanding systems, not simply reacting to the newest thing on your screen.

As the title of this column series implies, strategy gamers love to pretend that they are gods, and not distant Deistic gods simply setting things in motion. Strategy games give you worlds to build and worlds to destroy. Many of them make you believe you can do whatever you want, but the control freak tendencies are sometimes constrained by information overload. Most of us can only process so many connections, possibilities and events.

For example, classic empire building games (often dubbed "4x" for their emphasis on exploration, expansion, exploitation and extermination) often run into the same problems that real empires do. Once you have built an empire over a certain size, the management of that empire becomes more cumbersome.

You might have a large army scattered across more fronts than you want to manage. You might have too many colonies that you don't really care about nagging you for new orders. If the game is really complex, you might not even be comfortable with how everything fits together so some decisions you make just feel like crap shoots.

Enter the virtual viceroys – the AI controlled advisors, governors or generals that you can call on to either advise on or manage the things you don't want to care about right now.

Sleep Is Death Worldbuilding 101

April 27, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Former Maxis artist Shannon Galvin not only contributed an art resource pack to Jason Rohrer's two-player storytelling game Sleep Is Death; he produced this wonderful "Are We Home?" tale currently featured on the front page of Sleep Is Death's official site.

Galvin also created a slideshow tutorial for the game called "Worldbuilding 101", which explains how he came up with the art style and perspective he used for "Are We Home?" and his resource pack, and also shares some room building and shading tricks you can use with the game's editor to make rooms seem more three dimensional.

"I dunno if people will like it, but I figured that if I wanted people to be able to use the style I created, they could use some tips," he explains. "I should say the style of this is based on Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics (and its two sequels). I've been a fan of it since I saw a preview of the book in the back of a copy of Cerebus."

Mega64 At GDC: Indie Games As Indie Films

April 27, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

One last Mega64 video from this year's Game Developers Conference! (If you haven't yet seen them, make sure to watch the previous three GDC clips we featured of Batman: Arkham Asylum, Indie Man, and Beatles: Rock Band.)

In this video shown during the Independent Games Festival awards shows, the comedy skit group created several movie trailers for 2010 IGF finalists like Shank, Limbo, Star Guard, A Slow Year, and Rocketbirds: Revolution! Enviro-Bear 2000 even stars Zach Braff and features a soundtrack that will change your life.

Most of the videos have more to do with the game titles than the gameplay themselves, but they're still great. Also, while I know these trailers for experimental, low budget films are meant to be jokes, they all look way less boring to watch than the upcoming Prince of Persia movie!

In-Depth: Breakpoint 2010 - Like There's No Tomorrow

April 27, 2010 12:00 PM |

[In the latest of an occasional series of demoscene-related posts on GameSetWatch, AteBit's Paul 'EvilPaul' Grenfell checks out the results of the historical final Breakpoint demo party in Germany, presenting a plethora of great demos and intros.]

This year's Breakpoint demoparty took place between April 2nd and 5th in the sleepy town of Bingen, Germany. Started back in 2003, Breakpoint has been the scene of some amazing parties and the birth place of many truly memorable demos and competitions. It's also witnessed more than its fair share of general drunken antics, performed by the hundreds of demosceners that descend on the town each year.

With almost 300 works being released at the party this year, it's going to be hard to cover all areas. The competition categories ranged from Freestyle Graphics to the PC Demo competition, and touched on pretty much everything else inbetween.

Here, I'm going to focus on the main demo categories and show you some of my favorites from the party. If you are interested, then I encourage you to visit Pouet where you can now get hold of most of the other competition entries.

And, as always, I'd thoroughly recommend that you try and download a few of your own favorites and run them natively on the original PC or other computer (as opposed to just viewing a video) to experience them as they were intended.

PC Demo

Breakpoint's main demo competition didn't disappoint this year, with an impressive 23 entries in the category. The winner from Fairlight and CNCD is an absolute stunner:

Agenda Circling Forth by Fairlight & Carillon & Cyberiad

Everything you see in this demo is created by particles running on the GPU. You can read a detailed description of how it was put together on a blog post from one of the authors.

Best of FingerGaming: From Blokus to Sonic 2

April 27, 2010 11:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Every week, we sum up sister iPhone site FingerGaming's top news and reviews for Apple's nascent -- and increasingly exciting -- portable games platform, as written by editor in chief Danny Cowan and authors Tucker Dean, Jason Johnson, Ryan Hibbeler, and Mike Rose.]

This week, FingerGaming covers Gameloft's Blokus and a port of Sega's 16-bit classic platformer Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Also within are the lists for top-grossing, most-downloaded free and paid Apps from Apple's store, as well as reviews for Tractor Beam, Ozone, and Saving Private Sheep.

Here are the top stories from the last seven days:

- Top-Grossing Game Apps: Chaos Rings Leads in Debut Week
"Square Enix's iPhone-exclusive RPG Chaos Rings leads the App Store's sales charts in its second day of release, and finishes as this week's highest-grossing application across all categories."

- Impressions: Square Enix's Chaos Rings
"Chaos Rings resembles a PlayStation-era RPG in the vein of Final Fantasy VII, VII, and IX, and sets the bar pretty high for the quality of 3D graphics on the iPhone.

- Review: Ozone
"Many of the Ozone's mechanics -- and all of its presentation -- seem designed to create a mellow game that can be explored at the player's own pace, but its hazard and level designs demand quick reflexes and skillful navigation."

Choose Your Weapon (And Do It Quick Before The Sale Ends)

April 27, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Limited edition shirt shop Tee Fury has a new rad design by illustrator Ian Leino featuring a slew of memorable video game weapons: a Katamari ball, a fire flower, an energy sword, a lancer, an I block, a blue shell, and many others.

While the tee is priced to sell at $9 (before shipping), as with all Tee Fury deals, this black "Choose Your Weapon" shirt is only available today. You only have 10 hours to grab one before it disappears from the shop forever! Buy one now if you're interested at all, lest you end up like one of these commenters.

Spicy Horse Prints, Little Red Riding Hood Concept Art For Sale

April 27, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Remember that painting of a potential Little Red Riding Hood game from American McGee and his Shanghai studio Spicy horse? It turns out the artwork and game concept received "huge interest" from publishers at last month's GDC, so we might see yet another game based on the fairy tale character!

Also, Spicy Horse has started up an online shop where it's now selling 17.7x10.2-inch prints of the Little Red Riding Hood art (no prints yet for the other concept piece, though). The same shop has more non-game related prints from Spicy Horse artists Ken Wong and Luis Melo, too. See/buy them all here!

[Via Super Punch]

Blueberry Garden Creator Unveils Kometen For iPhone

April 27, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Erik Svedäng, winner of the 2009 Independent Games Festival's grand prize for Blueberry Garden, revealed a new project coming soon to iPhone/iPod Touch: Kometen (or Comet). His friend, Niklas Åkerblad, worked on the watercolor visuals and music, while Svedäng handled the programming and game design.

In the game, players explore outer space as a one-eyed comet, using planets as slingshots (similar to Orbital/Orbient and Faraway), collecting art along the way. Instead of using a scoring system or letting players lose, Kometen is "all about self improvement and judging your own performance."

Svedäng and Åkerblad are wrapping up development on the game and says its release to the App Store "shouldn't take too long.

[Via @PHIL_FISH]

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