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IndieSider - indie video game developers interviews
62 minutes | 2 years ago
The Return of Couch Play at PAX East 2019
The tenth annual PAX East was held last month, and I was honored to host two panels of brilliant speakers. One, “The Art of Craft: Inspiring Game Creations”, can be seen and heard on the Polygamer podcast. The other was “The Return of Couch Play”, looking at offline multiplayer as an alternative to online games such as Fortnite, PUBG, and Tetris 99. Steam, PS+, and Xbox Live make it easier than ever to get matched online — yet gamers are increasingly rediscovering the appeal of local, offline play. What are the unique challenges and opportunities of taking a game offline? How do you design a game for competitive or cooperative gameplay on the same screen? We’ll look at how to innovate this ancient tradition and design a game that makes the most of couch play. Featuring: Ken Gagne [Digital Content Developer, Gamebits] Tanya X. Short [Creative Director, Kitfox Games] Christoffer Holmgård [Director, Die Gute Fabrik] Danny Silvers [CEO, Lantana Games] Zachary Johnson [Code / Design, Space Mace LLC] Tommy Sunders [Art / Design, Space Mace LLC] Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Spoke, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic. Full disclosure: I backed Kitfox Games’ “Boyfriend Dungeon” Kickstarter.
26 minutes | 4 years ago
IndieSider #61: CRYPTARK by Alientrap
CRYPTARK is a 2D sci-fi roguelike twin-stick shooter in which players pilot mechs charged with salvaging alien technology from derelict spaceships. Technological defenses remain active on these procedurally generated abandoned hulks, and players must shut them down and shoot the core if they hope to escape with enough artifacts to sell and fund their continuing expeditions. CRYPTARK is available from Alientrap for PS4 and Steam (Mac, Windows & Linux). In this interview, I speak with Alientrap creative director Jesse McGibney about this game’s artistic departure from Alientrap’s previous game, Apotheon, which was based on Greek mythology and pottery. We also chat about CRYPTARK’s two-player co-op mode and the lack of online play; how the game fared in early demos at PAX East 2016; the challenges of creating a game with procedurally generated levels; and the CRYPTARK’s time in Steam Early Access — a first for Alientrap — and the one-week delay between its Steam release and its arrival on PlayStation. Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic. Links mentioned in this episode: CRYPTARK by Alientrap Apotheon Gamasutra – Game Design Deep Dive: Visualizing Cryptark’s 2D sci-fi world CRYPTARK soundtrack by by Ryan Roth & Ryan Henwood "A richly strategic shmup" — Marsh Davies of Rock, Paper, Shotgun This is the final episode of IndieSider. My thanks to everyone who listened!
30 minutes | 4 years ago
IndieSider #60: Old Man's Journey by Broken Rules
Old Man’s Journey is a 90-minute puzzle through the hero’s memories. After receiving a letter, he sets out on a journey across rolling landscapes that the player can reshape, allowing the old man to leap from foreground to background, making his way across obstacles. At the end of each level, he reminiscences about his past, unraveling a tale of love, hope, and regret. Old Man’s Journey by Clemens Scott and Felix Bohatsch of Broken Rules is available for iOS, Android, and Steam. In this podcast interview, I chat with creative director Clemens Scott about how two young developers felt qualified to tell and old man’s story; whether the game should make us feel bold or hesitant to make life-changing decisions; how the gameplay could be a metaphor for the narrative; and if a game’s marketability influences its game design. Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic. Links mentioned in this episode: Old Man’s Journey by Broken Rules Broken Rules on Twitter Clemens Scott on Twitter Old Man’s Journey wins Apple Design Award 2017 GDC Vault – Happy Inside the Box: The Art of Old Man’s Journey A review copy of this game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this interview.
30 minutes | 4 years ago
IndieSider #59: Kona by Parabole
Kona from Parabole is a first-person exploration game set in the cold northern reaches of Canada in the 1970s. A private investigator has been hired to investigate some petty crimes but soon stumbles into a larger mystery hidden in the supernatural cold. What secrets lie within in this chilly interactive tale? In this week’s IndieSider, I speak with Jean-François Fiset, community manager for Parabole. We discuss how Kona evolved from a snowmobile simulator to an episodic adventure to its current form; why mystery games seem to be set before the advent of cell phones; how one builds community around an adventure game; the use of the term "walking simulator" as a pejorative; whether Firewatch‘s success influenced Kona’s development; how to communicate a delay to one’s Kickstarter backers; and how to survive working at the same company as your brother. Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic. Kona is available for Steam, GOG, PS4 & Xbox One. A review copy was provided for the purpose of this interview.
34 minutes | 4 years ago
IndieSider #58: Future Unfolding by Spaces of Play
Future Unfolding is a top-down exploration game set in a pastoral world. Without direction or tutorial and with very little written text, the game invites players to go whichever direction they wish as they discover secrets in the woods, make friends and foes of the fauna, and solve puzzles. A rustic palette, rich mythology, and soothing soundtrack complete the ensemble. In this week’s IndieSider, I speak with Andreas Zecher, one-third of the development team Spaces of Play. We discuss the poem from which the game draws its name; the benefits of developing their own game engine over using Unity; the melding of procedural generation and hand-crafted design; the ways in which Future Unfolding is inspired by The Legend of Zelda and Journey; and how sales of their previous game, Spirits, informed the release strategy for Future Unfolding. Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic. Links mentioned in this episode: Future Unfolding by Spaces of Play Development blog Andreas Zecher on Twitter Thimbleweed Park Polygamer #48: Gillian Smith on procedural generation Let’s Play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
47 minutes | 4 years ago
IndieSider #57: Open Sorcery by Abigail Corfman
24 minutes | 4 years ago
IndieSider #56: Circles by Jeroen Wimmers
Circles is an abstract puzzle game for Mac and PC that uses only mouse control. Each level consists of circles that behave in different ways but all of which must be avoided to reach the level’s end. As the game uses no written or spoken language and offers no tutorial, it is up to the player to decipher each level’s mechanics to manipulate and navigate the shapes. In this podcast, I spoke with Jeroen Wimmers of Illusive Games, the sole developer of Circles. After working on the Adult Swim game Westerado, Wimmers spent years creating Circles and responding to feedback he received at PAX East and Gamescom. I asked him about the hardest part of developing Circles; whether he toyed with adding written words, and the benefit to not doing so; why the game was developed for mouse input and not touch; how much code he was able to repurpose for the game’s free online demo; how working on his own compared to working on a team; and the indie game dev scene in the Netherlands. Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic. Links mentioned in this episode: Circles Steam Humble Store Jeroen Wimmers of Illusive Games Westerado by Ostrich Banditos Ellipsis on IndieSider #38
37 minutes | 4 years ago
IndieSider #55: Warlock's Tower by Whippering
Warlock’s Tower is a 2D puzzle game with a retro Game Boy aesthetic. Tim the mailman must scale the wizard’s tower, but each step he takes costs him a hit point. Players must carefully plot their course through each room to overcome such obstacles as zombies, slimes, barriers, conveyor belts, and more. Warlock’s Tower is developed by Midipixel, a Brazilian studio consisting of Ygor Speranza and Werther Azevedo, and published by Whippering. In this week’s IndieSider, I speak with Speranza about Warlock Tower’s retro color palette; developing using the LÖVE game engine; the controversial humor of the antagonist’s broken Engrish; the involvement of Gregory Love at Whippering; and the game development scene in Brazil. Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic. Links mentioned in this episode: Warlock’s Tower Steam iOS Google Play Ygor Speranza on Twitter Whippering indie game publisher LÖVE — 2D game engine in Lua Twitch Plays Pokemon FRUE DESTRUCTION in Lufia 3 Update (May 31, 2019): This game is now available for Nintendo Switch!
27 minutes | 4 years ago
IndieSider #54: Induction by Bryan Gale
Induction is a time-bending puzzle game from Bryan Gale. A veteran of such AAA studios as Electronic Arts, Gale’s first indie game employs temporal mechanics to create time loops. The only way to pull levers and cross bridges is if a player can be in two places at once — as long as they don’t cause temporal anomalies. The geometric art style is complemented by a soundtrack from Tim Shiel, resulting in an experience that challenges players to rethink their concept of time. In this week’s IndieSider, Gale and I talk about the time-travel books, movies, and video games that inspired Induction; the mathematical concept for Induction and the physics underlying this game; how working for EA prepared him to be an indie developer; the development and feedback opportunities Gale enjoyed at Stugan and EGX; and what other platforms we’ll be seeing Induction on. Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic. Links mentioned in this episode: Induction Steam Humble itch.io Bryan Gale on Twitter Stugan — a non-profit accelerator program for talented game developers EGX Time-travel movies & books The Terminator Primer The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold Predestination Time-travel video games Blinx: The Time Sweeper Hologram Time Traveler (Sega) Still Time by Alan Zucconi Thomas Was Alone Monument Valley Tim Shiel on Soundcloud
35 minutes | 4 years ago
IndieSider #53: Owlboy with Jonathan Geer
Owlboy is a 2D adventure-platformer — a Metroidvania — developed by D-Pad Studio and recently released for Windows. Otus, the main character, is the titular hero with the power of flight, but without the power of speech. Can he and his friends come together to save his besieged floating hometown? And can an indie game that’s been in development for nine years achieve success? This week, I speak with Owlboy’s composer and sound designer, Jonathan Geer, whose sweeping symphonic soundtrack is a beautiful complement to the game. I asked him how he chose to pair a modern orchestra with the game’s pixel art; why he used real musicians instead of virtual ones; how his degree in film scoring from Berklee prepared him to score games, and the differences between the two media; what it’s like to write a soundtrack for a game over the course of a decade; the game’s ultimate reception at PAX West 2016; and what to look forward to from Geer’s next game: Heart Forth, Alicia. Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic. Thanks to Sabriel Mastin for providing the video introduction and gameplay for this week’s episode! Links mentioned in this episode: Jonathan Geer Bandcamp Twitter Owlboy is a masterful tale of transcending disability (Brent Ables for Killscreen) Berklee College of Music minor in video game scoring Heart Forth, Alicia
42 minutes | 4 years ago
IndieSider #52: Beholder by Warm Lamp Games
Is it a coincidence that a game developed in Siberia is set in a totalitarian state?
25 minutes | 5 years ago
IndieSider #51: Pankapu by Too Kind Studio
When dreams become nightmares, Pankapu charges to the rescue in this family-friendly platformer.
33 minutes | 5 years ago
IndieSider #50: Four Sided Fantasy by Ludo Land
Logan Fieth discusses his puzzle-platformer that bends the edges of your television's reality.
36 minutes | 5 years ago
IndieSider #49: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by Tin Man Games
Tin Man Games brings Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's original 1982 Fighting Fantasy novel to life.
38 minutes | 5 years ago
IndieSider #48: Lifeless Planet by Stage 2 Studios
David Board of Stage 2 Studios breathes new life into the PS4 port of Lifeless Planet.
26 minutes | 5 years ago
IndieSider: Stage of Development by Russ Pitts
Russ Pitts is crowdfunding a video documentary series about Chicago's indie game developers. Here's why.
27 minutes | 5 years ago
IndieSider #47: Chime Sharp by Ste Curran
An Xbox 360 musical puzzler returns for a new generation
35 minutes | 5 years ago
IndieSider #46: Perchang by Perchang
Marble Madness meetings Lemmings on iOS
41 minutes | 5 years ago
IndieSider #45: Lumo by Triple Eh?
An isometric puzzle-platformer in the style of Solstice & Equinox
41 minutes | 5 years ago
IndieSider #44: Life Goes On: Done to Death by Infinite Monkeys Entertainment
When knights die, they do so in service to the next to take up the sword.
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