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Archive For October, 2011

Supergiant's Amir Rao: 'You Don't Have To Quit Your Day Jobs' To Go Indie

October 30, 2011 3:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Earlier this year, Supergiant Games made its indie debut with the XBLA and PC hit Bastion, which received warm reception from critics and players alike. Now that the team has its first title under its belt, studio director Amir Rao says the team's "initial fears have subsided."

Rao notes that while several key members of Supergiant left traditional development at EA to move away from the risks and restrictions of big-budget development, going indie came with its own set of worries.

At next month's GDC China, Rao will outline the benefits and hardships of indie development in a session titled "Maximizing Risk: The Building of Bastion." During this lecture, he will detail the origins and development of the studio's debut game, and offer advice to other developers looking to pursue their independence.

In anticipation of his talk, Rao reflects on the driving forces behind Supergiant's inception, and points out some tips for making it in the indie space.

How and why did you and the team of other EA vets decide to go indie and make Supergiant Games?

Supergiant Games was started by Gavin Simon and me -- both of us worked at EALA on Command & Conquer 3 and Red Alert 3. We were inspired by the success stories of people like The Behemoth, 2D Boy and Jonathon Blow. We left EA to create games that were more personal to us. It was a decision born out of ambition and passion to try to make the kind of game we could never have made on a large team at a big company.

Drive Around Kenta Cho's Sin Car

October 30, 2011 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Noted Japanese indie game developer Kenta Cho (Tumiki Fighters, Blast Works) has a new browser-based game called Sin Car, an arcade racer in which you control a fluorescent car that moves side-to-side in a sine wave pattern that you can adjust.

By increasing or decreasing the frequency (which also affects your car's speed), you'll be able to pick up collectibles and avoid hitting the walls. And that's it! There isn't anything more to Sin Car, but its simplicity and leaderboards make for an addictive game.

[Via IndieGames.com]

Top-Grossing iOS Games: Updated Smurfs' Village Returns To Charts

October 30, 2011 9:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Every week, Gamasutra rounds up the top-grossing iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad applications, as current that day in the iTunes App Store. This week's U.S. revenue charts see Smurfs' Village and iMobsters earning top iPhone sales, while My Country and DragonVale remain big sellers on the iPad.

These charts allow end users to see who is making the most money on the App Store that day. It differs significantly from the Top 10 Games chart, which is ranked by sales, and therefore is dominated by lower-priced titles that sell more copies.

Data comes courtesy of Apple's public sales information. All titles in the App Store's "Games" category are considered in chart rankings.

This week's top-grossing iPhone titles are:

1. Poker by Zynga (Free)
2. DragonVale (Free)
3. Smurfs' Village (Free)
4. Angry Birds ($0.99)
5. iMobsters (Free)
6. Angry Birds Seasons ($0.99)
7. Texas Poker (Free)
8. Crime City (Free)
9. Tap Fish 2 (Free)
10. Bejeweled 2 + Blitz ($0.99)

Poker by Zynga and Backflip Studios' DragonVale claim top honors in the iPhone's revenue charts for the third week in a row. Capcom's Smurfs' Village returns to the top ten at third place following a recent Halloween-themed update, as Storm8's iMobsters trails Angry Birds at fifth.

Recent top earners Scribblenauts Remix and Infinity Blade disappear from this week's rankings, meanwhile, as microtransaction-supported titles like Tap Fish 2, Crime City, and Texas Poker remain popular favorites in the latter half of the top ten.

Indie Royale's First Bundle Hits 30,000 Sales, Debuts New Bonuses

October 29, 2011 11:00 PM | Simon Carless

IndieGames.com and Desura, the two entities behind the just-debuted Indie Royale game bundle series, are announcing a series of milestones around the first-ever bundle, as follows:

- The bundle of four worthy independent PC games - Extend Interactive's A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda, Wadjet Eye Games' Gemini Rue, Coffee Stain Studios' Sanctum and Noumenon Games' Nimbus - has now surpassed 30,000 total sales in over 3 days -- with just under 2 days to go.

- Minecraft creator Notch has heeded the call of his fans and donated to 'Gold Star' level during the first couple of days of the bundle, topping the 'most paid' high score table, and kindly dropping the price $1 for everyone else along the way.

- The generosity of Gemini Rue publisher Wadjet Eye Games allowed keys for the just-launched Steam version of the futuristic adventure game - including Steam-exclusive achievements - to be added part way through the bundle. All four titles in the Launch Bundle now have redeemable Steam keys - as well as direct downloads and Desura keys where applicable.

- Thanks to Sanctum creator Coffee Stain Studios, organizers have made the Violator and Killing Floor DLC packs available for the addictive first-person tower defense title, after sales milestones were met. Individual Steam codes for these are now available on the Indie Royale bundle redeem page.

- Organizers are also planning to debut two further 'thank you' pieces of add-on bundled content, to be rolled out to all Indie Royale buyers before the end of the Launch Bundle. Watch the site's Twitter feed for more information on these extras as they appear.

The Indie Royale bundle series runs on a unique model where price will automatically increase as more people buy the bundle. Generous purchasers, however, can help lower the price for everyone else by choosing to pay more than the current minimum, earning a mention on the front page of the site in the process.

The Launch Bundle for Indie Royale now has just over one and a half days before it stops for ever, with plenty of price fluctuations and extras likely before it ends. Check it out now.

Opinion: Evil Or Not Evil - That's Not The Question For Free-To-Play

October 29, 2011 9:00 PM | Eric Caoili

[Responding to recent condemnations against exploitative freemium games, Gamasutra contributor Nicholas Lovell argues that free-to-play is here to stay, and that we should focus on improving the business model.]

The last two weeks have been characterized by increasingly strident escalations of the debate on the merits of free-to-play.

After months of feeling that free-to-play had become an accepted tool in the game designer's arsenal, suddenly the vitriol was re-unleashed, not least by Adam Saltsman of Canabalt fame in this Gamasutra Expert Blog.

Then Notch jumped on the bandwagon, arguing that he hated the phrase "free-to-play", leading to the marvelous headline "Notch: Scrolls will be free-to-play after initial payment."

Isn't It Time We Moved On

The genie is out of the bottle. Free-to-play is here to stay. For many games, it is better for players (the majority of whom will get the game for free) and better for designers.

For some, free-to-play might breach the magical fourth wall. For others, it might lead them to spend more money than they wanted (although who hasn't bought games they resented paying for in the old, physical model).

Why Biffman? Because He's The Hero Retro City Deserves

October 29, 2011 6:00 PM | Eric Caoili

It's been a while since we've featured some news on Retro City Rampage, but Vblank Entertainment has put out this new trailer for the XBLA/WiiWare-bound open-world homage to the top down Grand Theft Auto games, NES classics, and '80s pop culture.

We've seen plenty of references to other games, TV shows, and movies in previous clips, but this one has a fun nod to Batman in the form of Biffman, your character's alter ego that patrols Retro City in his Biffmobile, foils his arch-villains' plans, and throws Biffarangs.

Guess I don't need to buy Arkham City now, when I can just play this. Thanks for helping me save money, Vblank!

Arc System Works' Ishiwatari: Path Cleared For New Guilty Gear

October 29, 2011 3:00 PM | Eric Caoili

While rumors abounded on the internet that legal problems were stopping a new Guilty Gear game from being developed, in a new Gamasutra interview, Arc System Works' Guilty Gear director Daisuke Ishiwatari tells us that nothing's stopping him now.

In 2009, rumors surfaced that legal issues with publisher Sega Sammy were interfering with plans for the continuation of the popular Guilty Gear fighting game series.

Once a stalwart of the fighting game scene, it was seemingly dropped by developer Arc System Works in favor of a new franchise, BlazBlue, which launched in 2008. While it carried over many of GG's signature elements, it was a totally new IP.

Gamasutra's Christian Nutt spoke to GG director Ishiwatari about the issue at the time, in a lengthy feature interview.

Citing rumors on the net, Gamasutra asked him what was up with the franchise. "I might not be able to provide answers there," said Ishiwatari. All the same, were the rumors on the net true? "Yeah, I can't really talk about it much... except to say that they're basically true," said a laughing Ishiwatari.

That was as close a confirmation as we were able to get.

Build A Game On Your iPad For Your iPad With Codify

October 29, 2011 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Codify is a code editor designed to help you create games, simulations, or "just about any visual idea you have" all on your iPad (the video above demonstrates the app paired with a Bluetooth keyboard, but you can use an on-screen keyboard too).

Built on the Lua programming language, the app is meant to let you "touch your code", tapping and dragging to change numbers, colors, and assets. Once you've typed out your code, you can press play to run and interact with your game.

Codify features a vector graphics and image renderer, sample projects, a "retro-game sound effect" generator, auto-completion for suggested keywords nd functions, syntax highlighting, and support for the iPad's multi-touch features and accelerometer.

Two Lives Left (Pilot Winds) has released Codify to the App Store earlier this week for $7.99.

Top-Grossing Android Games: Tap Fish Leads, Minecraft Drops Out

October 29, 2011 9:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Every week, GameSetWatch's Danny Cowan rounds up the top-grossing Android gaming applications, as current that day in the Android Market. This week's U.S. revenue charts see Tap Fish and Live Holdem Poker Pro leading today's rankings, as Minecraft: Pocket Edition disappears from the charts after a promising debut.

These charts allow end users to see who is making the most money in the Android Market that day. It differs significantly from the Top Paid Games chart, which is ranked by sales, and therefore is dominated by lower-priced titles that sell more copies.

Data comes courtesy of Google's public sales information. All titles in the Android Market's "Games" category are considered in chart rankings.

This week's top-grossing Android titles are:

1. Tap Fish (Free)
2. Live Holdem Poker Pro (Free)
3. My Country (Free)
4. Zynga Poker (Free)
5. Contract Killer: Zombies (Free)
6. Paradise Island (Free)
7. Fashion Story (Free)
8. Texas Poker (Free)
9. Bakery Story (Free)
10. Drag Racing (Free)

Gameview's Tap Fish ranks as the Android Market's highest-grossing title for the fourth week running, as Dragonplay's Live Holdem Poker Pro overtakes Cooper Media's My Country for second place.

Zynga Poker and Glu's Contract Killer: Zombies report increased microtransaction sales this week, while Mojang's Minecraft: Pocket Edition drops out of the top ten after finishing fourth in last week's results.

Best Of Indie Games: A Rock and a Hard Place

October 28, 2011 9:00 PM | Tim W.

[Every week, IndieGames.com: The Weblog co-editor-in-chief Tim W. will be summing up some of the top free-to-download and commercial indie games from the last seven days on his sister 'state of indie' weblog.]

This week on 'Best Of Indie Games', we take a look at some of the top independent PC Flash/downloadable titles released over this last week.

The goodies in this edition include a 2D platformer about a kid with an overactive imagination, an unusual fishing game, a rollercoaster creation tool, a zombie research game, plus a side project from one of the developers of Octodad.

Here's some recent highlights from the site:

Game Pick: 'A Tale by Alex' (Digital Dreams Light, browser)
"A Tale by Alex is the story of a kid with an overactive imagination. Players will find themselves controlling three versions of Alex all at the same time, and you'll have to try your best to keep all three incarnations alive."

Game Pick: 'Fisher-Diver' (2DArray, browser)
"Fisher-Diver is probably one of the more unusual fishing games out there. You'll spend most of your time diving into the ocean to shoot at what passes for marine life in the game."

Game Pick: 'Maximum Roller Coaster' (Bimboosoft, commercial indie)
"Maximum Roller Coaster is a rollercoaster creation tool that also comes with a comprehensive set of theme park attractions for players to mess around with. There are plenty of rail type and colors to choose from when designing your rollercoaster track, and you can even take the ride for a test run after building one from ground up."

Game Pick: 'Lab of the Dead' (Evil-Dog, browser)
"Best described as an odd mixture of alchemy and Tamagotchi, Lab of the Dead is definitely an unusual approach to zombie games. As a researcher you're going to chain up zombies, toss beach balls at them, feed them meat and analyze their responses."

Game Pick: 'Finding Eden' (Project BC, freeware)
"Finding Eden is an action-adventure microgame created by Project BC in response to a contest held by RPG Revolution. Set within a post-apocalyptic universe where everything has been depleted of mana, Finding Eden is a rather quaint story of two friends looking out for one another."

Game Pick: 'I Seem To Be A Rock' (Kevin Zuhn, freeware)
"I Seem To Be A Rock is a side-project by one of the devs at Octodad. It's all about a rock who can teleport between two spots, as long as he has a clear line between the two places at some point. Your job is to help the rock on its path of enlightenment."

Game Pick: 'Unlock' (uuav, freeware)
"Unlock, a Ludum Dare 21 competition entry, is a block manipulation puzzler in which players are supposed to assist a convict escape from a series of rooms with small corridors and bottomless pits."

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