Shake dat ass!

March 7, 2012

I’m here in San Francisco for GDC ’12. Yesterday was the Independent Games Summit – lots of really interesting and inspirational talks by some of the big figures and innovators in indie games.

The clear highlight so far has to be a game called ‘Dog The Wag’ – an ingenious invention by Douglas Wilson of Die Gute Fabrik, the creator of Johann Sebastian Joust. It pretty much involves tying a PlayStation Move controller to your butt, getting down on all fours and shaking it around as much as possible, while other ‘dogs’ try to beat you up (or at least wrestle you to the ground and press a button on your controller). Hilarious, slightly awkward and nothing short of amazing. The game certainly goes a long way towards his rhetoric of embracing the flaws in new technology rather than fighting against them.

(Image courtesy of Joystiq.com)

Watch the video here.

Today is the Social and Online Games Summit – so I’ll try to post something vaguely more sensible. It will probably have something to do with leveraging the synergies of low-hanging fruit on Facebook and very little in the way of booty shaking. Which is sad.


Indie Royale – pay what you like with a twist

October 27, 2011

Indie Royale is a new video game bundle site with an interesting twist on the pay-what-you-like model. Every two weeks, the site will release a bundle of independent video games. Users can pay the current marked price, but as more users pay the marked price, the price will slowly increase. Paying more than the marked price, however, will bring the price down for everyone by an amount proportional to the extra paid.

The site is a joint venture of the blog IndieGames.com and the digital games distribution network Desura. They describe the site’s raison d’être here:

The point of Indie Royale is to put the spotlight on those indie titles which provide fantastic experiences, but may well have been passed over by a good portion of the mainstream gaming public. If you purchase an Indie Royale bundle, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re not only getting four brilliant indie games – you’re also supporting worthwhile developers.

It’s a cool idea and I can see myself coming back every couple of weeks to see what’s available. Between Good Old Games, Steam and now Indie Royale, it’s getting far too easy to spend all your pocket money on cool games.


Nokia Launches New NFC-Enabled Games

October 18, 2011

It’s great to see some fun uses for NFC trickling through. It’s taken a while though, with Nokias’ first NFC enabled hand set having hit the market in 2006

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_field_communication#NFC-enabled_handsets

Nokia have also launched an NFC microsite recently which does a good job at explaining what’s possible:

http://europe.nokia.com/nfc

Other NFC references:

NFC trials in the world

http://www.nfcworld.com/list-of-nfc-trials-pilots-tests-and-commercial-services-around-the-world/

cute little story about a small town in Finland

http://www.nfcworld.com/2008/10/28/397/oulu-the-little-city-with-big-ideas/

Visa mobile payment trials in Finland in 2009

http://www.mobile-ent.biz/news/read/visa-trials-mobile-payments-in-finland/07589


New York Times recognises the crazy genius of Dwarf Fortress

July 29, 2011

As a fan of indie video games, I always enjoy seeing obscure titles getting mainstream attention. Earlier this week, The New York Times ran a lengthy story about Tarn and Zach Adams, developers of Dwarf Fortress – a non-graphical (if you don’t count text as graphics) dwarven civilisation simulator – not exactly the most saturated of gaming sub-genres, to be sure.

In development since 2002 and available for free since 2006, Dwarf Fortress tasks the player with managing a group of dwarves as they set up and maintain a settlement, digging out caves, building fortifications, developing farming and industry. This is just the early-game, mind you. Later you’ll be building an army, developing an economy and dealing with the demands of nobles and possible a king – if you last that long.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Heist: An awesome puzzle game with a tangible reward

May 29, 2011

Two things I love: slick puzzle games and discounted software. MacHeist, providers of the biggest and best of the charity-contributing Mac software bundles is giving you both with their new iOS game, The Heist.

The Heist is a fantastic collection of increasingly difficult challenges, spread amongst four different puzzle types. The twist with this game is the promise of a real reward at the end. What is it? In their words: “You’ll have to beat The Heist to find out… but it’s fun, and it’s worth much more than the price of entry.”

OK, you’ve got me. Back to it, then.

The Heist is on the AppStore for 99c in the US and $1.19 in Australia.

You might want to check this out.


SpaceChem: Better Living Through Chemistry

January 21, 2011

Rock Paper Shotgun already took the headline “My Chemical Romance” so that one will have to do.

If I look a little tired today, it’s because I was extremely late last night. It wasn’t my fault, however. It was already pretty late when I decided to retire for the evening, but before I could hang up my smoking jacket and pipe, SpaceChem kicked my door down and forced me to party til 2:30am. Indie games, man. Those guys can be @#$%s.

But I did have a hell of a time. SpaceChem from Zachtronics Industries is design-based puzzle game that has you combining elements into complex molecules and loading them onto awaiting spaceships. It’s pretty hard to explain so maybe you should just check out the trailer.

Pretty crazy looking, sure. The trailer can make it look pretty daunting, but be assured that the game takes you gently by the hand for the first half a dozen levels and explains the mechanics clearly before leaving you to it. I found that in no time I was making stupidly complex machines in multiple factories in order to fill waiting spaceships with sulphuric acid. Hang on. That doesn’t sound like a great idea to me now.

There’s an extremely lengthy demo to get you hooked and then it’s $20 for the full game.

It’s also worth checking out a great interview with the game’s creator, Zach Barth, over at Rock Paper Shotgun.


L.A. Noire: “The Technology Behind Performance”

December 17, 2010

Check out this fascinating look at how Aussie game-devs Team Bondi (motion) captured the emotion behind the actors’ performance for their upcoming PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game L.A. Noire.

What they’ve done is years ahead of the competition as far as capturing the nuances of an actor’s performance goes.

L.A. Noire is set to be out mid-2011 from Rockstar Games.


PETA helps promote Super Meat Boy?

December 3, 2010

Team Meat, the team behind the brutally unforgiving platform game Super Meat Boy got some unexpected free publicity this week when they became the latest target of animal rights group PETA.

PETA, apparantly objecting to Super Meat Boy’s meat-themes launched it’s own ironically-bland parody game called Super Tofu Boy. Made in Flash, the game attempts to duplicate the gameplay of Super Meat Boy, but instead it’s the Meaty guy that’s the bad guy this time as he exacts bloody, vengeance because his girlfriend has decided that she prefers tofu. Or something.

More after the wall-jump. Read the rest of this entry »


The Machinarium Pirate Amnesty

August 9, 2010

Amanita Design, the independent Czech game developers behind the fantastic little point-and-click adventure game Machinarium are offering pirates a chance to redeem themselves if they didn’t pay for the game the first time around as they hold a “pirate amnesty sale” offering the game for just $US5.

Machinarium was released in October 2009 with critical acclaim but without any form of DRM – something that many seem to have taken advantage of. Amanita claim that from feedback they have gathered, they believe that only 5-15% of people playing the game actually paid for it. A crying shame, too as it really is a funny, endearing and puzzling little game. $20 is totally worth it and $5 is a steal.

Amanita are quick to add, on their site, that they don’t think that people buying it now necessarily pirated it, so don’t feel like you’re being judged.

It’s an awesome little game that you really should check out if you still have room in your heart for whimsy. The promo image on the site is also fantastic. I hear it’s a bit familiar to some people but I wouldn’t know anything about that.


Play any game on a multi touch display with Magic

July 6, 2010

iBuyPower created a new system that will enable any game to played via multitouch, regardless of whether the game’s creators gave it so much as a thought.

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Magic, which is short for Multitouch Advanced Gaming Interface and Control, is a proprietary piece of code designed specifically for the company’s own touch-enabled laptops, and it works by linking a multitouch gesture to a command the game already understands, emulating multitouch commands by mapping keystrokes or mouse clicks. Best of all, it’s available now as a gratis download

Right now it is only for their own hardware, but no doubt hackers will have this working on Dells, Alienwares, Lenovos and HPs etc.

simply awesome

found on engadget

@maniac13


Alan Wake – The Project

May 12, 2010

Here’s a little something we worked on recently for Xbox Australia that was pretty fun. We kidnapped a bunch of Xbox gamers, stuck some probes on them and then left them alone in various locations at the Quarantine Station at Sydney’s North Head. Oh, yeah, they got to play Alan Wake before anyone else in the country.

Interesting to see how the body responds to intense situations in games. Alan Wake has its share of them too. I’ve had a go myself and I’m in no hurry to go wandering in the woods at night any time soon.

Check the site out at http://www.xbox.com.au/theproject/

There’s some more videos you can check out and a bunch of pics on Flickr.


Indie Game Bundle – Choose Your Own Price

May 5, 2010

Everybody likes finding a good bargain, and that’s exactly what this is. Wolfire Games is an excellent indie game developer, with a couple of wins tucked under its belt. All five games are cross-platform (Win/Mac/Linux) and DRM free. This is a sales model that’s becoming established, and I like it – more on this after the jump.

The games they’re bundling are:

Read the rest of this entry »


Blizzard announce StarCraft 2 release – Korean economy to crumble on the 27th of July

May 4, 2010

Blizzard announced in a press release overnight that StarCraft 2 will be released world-wide on July 27.

Why is this a big deal? Because even 12 years after the release of the original StarCraft, it’s still one of the most played online games in the world. In fact, in Korea it’s pretty much their national sport with multiple national leagues with matches broadcast on cable TV.

Watch for a severe dip in the Korean economy when the “StarCraft 2 Flu” hits the workforce in July.


Online retailers handing out StarCraft 2 beta keys

April 29, 2010

Hey StarCraft fans… 12 years. Yep. Been waiting TWELVE YEARS for StarCraft 2 and it’s nearly here. Blizzard kicked off the closed beta for this in February and since then, access keys have been highly sought after.

This week a bunch of online retailers made things a whole lot easier and started offering beta keys for preorders. Sure, you need to put deposit down on a game that still has no official release date, but you get instant access to the multiplayer beta.

Aussies can get it locally at EB Games or GAME , but you’re looking at paying crazy Australian prices. You can always order it from Amazon, but you’re looking at about 40 bucks postage.

I’m tempted, but do I really want a beta key enough to pay that much when I can get it from CDWow for $50 delivered? I’ll be honest, I’m still considering it.


Street Fighter IV iPhone Covers are Win

April 27, 2010

If you’re reading this blog you’re probably a tech, or design nerd of some kind, and if you’re a nerd there’s a pretty high chance you’ve wasted (read: appropriately utilised) a good portion of your time playing Street Fighter in its various incarnations. Regardless of whether or not that’s a broad generalisation, these Street Fight iPhone covers are totally rad.

Street Fighter iPhone Covers

Click to see that exact same picture, but larger.

Oh, and enjoy this video.

Personally, if I wielded an iPhone in my daily life, I’d have a hard time not purchasing anything that made it look like Ryu. Got a favourite?

~@tali3sin

[Source: Capsule Computers Australia]


Adobe demos multi-platform app created using single code base

April 8, 2010

image

 

I believe the developer said everything that needed to be said about this:

"The app is called iReverse… Although iReverse is fun to play, the most amazing thing about the project is the fact that it runs in all these different environments completely unchanged. In other words, the exact same code base is used to build versions for five different environments. There’s no other platform in the world that can boast this level of flexibility – not even close."

Check out the video where he shows off his app running all different OS platforms and handheld devices including his brand new iPad

 

This is sweet and I can see a lot of people getting really excited about it already – I know I am

@maniac13


New York Under 8-Bit Attack

April 8, 2010

Forget King Kong atop the Empire State Building, long live Donkey Kong!

Check out the wholly destruction based fantasy of long time gamers in this video, when New York has everything 8-bit unleashed upon it:

[Courtesy of Gizmodo AU]


Valve Software is up to something. More cake likely.

March 4, 2010

It’s been a crazy week for fans of the Portal that have been following the gaming press. After last patching the game with minor fixes in June 2009, Valve have pushed two cryptic updates live for the game this week, both of which made changes to the game itself.

The first added several radios to the game’s levels in addition to the ones already present in the game. Usually these just play some fairly crazy, mexican sounding musak, but several forum-posters on various sites have found that placing these radios on the various red buttons scattered throughout the game as part of the game mechanics, causes them to broadcast a new series of signals.

Things only get crazier from there. Portal fans from a bunch of fan forums, bless ’em, have examined the transmissions and managed to decode them into morse code and images of security camera footage from Aperture Labs – the installation the game takes place in. The rabbit hole went further, though, as an MD5 hashed phone number for an old-school Bulletin Board Service was found in the images which itself had MORE cryptic images.

Kotaku‘s Michael McWhertor has a great write-up of the findings.

I love that Valve put this stuff out there knowing that their fans are crazy enough to do the work. I guess that’s what happens when you have to wait so long for sequel announcements! <cough>Episode 3</cough>

The second update to the game, which JUST went live actually changed the game’s ending – albeit very slightly.

I’m not going to spoil it for you, but if you HAVE finished the game, you can see the updated ending over at Giant Bomb.

All of this looks like it points to an announcement for Portal 2 at the GDC next week where Valve’s Gabe Newell is receiving the Pioneer Award for the Game Developers Choice Awards 2010.

One thing’s for sure. These points of data make a beautiful line.

Smirnoff Mule runner up in Creative Showcase awards

November 4, 2009

Congratulations to the Mule team for collecting this award last Friday!

image

image

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http://www.itstartedwithamule.com/ 

And hats off to Soap for taking first.

@iclazie


A Celebration of the Gaming Awesomeness of the 1990s

April 24, 2009

I’ve been into games since… oh, I don’t know. The early to mid-eighties and let me tell you kids that you don’t know what good games are about.

The 80s. Oh, the 80s. That was where it all started, but the 90s. Well, that was the era that took games out of the arcades and into gamers’ home. Back in our day, we only HAD 256 colours on the screen and we loved every one of them, let me tell you.

So many amazing games in one decade. Doom, Quake, Monkey Island, System Shock, Syndicate, Tomb Raider, MechWarrior…. ok, don’t get me started.

Gaming site Big Download have been celebrating the Gaming Awesomeness of the 90s with a set of galleries, focusing on two years at a time designed to make grumpy old gamer dudes like me get a bit misty.

Check ’em out.

We Love The 90s (for PC Games):

1990-19911992-1993 | 1994-1995 | 1996-1997 | 1998-1999 | Wrap up