There was a wonderful spread of strange and interesting indie games at GDC, including a special exhibit called Alt.Ctrl, focusing on projects that made use of unusual controllers. Bill Zoeker screwed around with these for a bit before discussing what it's like to play a game with pedals, knobs, dials, cables, sleeping bags, and a receipt printer.
If you want to find out more, I dug up the websites for all of these games:
Hey you, what if I were to tell you about a free-to-play shooter that has you fighting against zombies. Not impressed? Well, I don't blame you. Zombies are kinda all over the place now. Fine, what about a free-to-play shooter...
Obsidian is probably the last company you'd expect to make anything like Armored Warfare, a free-to-play MMO tank shooter. It's certainly different than anything the company has brought us in the past, that's for sure.
I got ...
Harmonix revealed a multiplayer mode for Fantasia: Music Evolved at GDC last week alongside some new songs and levels. I jumped in front of a Kinect sensor to try out the new mode, and it wasn't long before I was flapping my arms to the beat.
Can't you hear that boom, badoom, boom, boom, badoom, boom, bass?
In between Lucas Pope (Papers, Please) acceptance speeches at the 2014 IGF awards, we were treated to two lovely HAWP shorts. And then, right after, Mega64's amazing Kutaragi's Way during the Game Developers' Choice awards.
Make the sandwich game or I'm going to lick your face.
It's games like Zeus that have me not writing off entire concepts, no matter how tired they may appear on the surface. As described during senior producer Greg Donovan's Game Developers Conference talk "Volition's Challenge: ...
I was only able to catch bits and pieces of the Independent Games Festival awards and the Game Developers Choice awards last week, but I did manage to see what must have been one of the evening's best moments: Kutaragi's Way...
This year's Game Developers Conference was another record-breaker: 24,000 attendees from the game industry descended on San Fransico's Moscone Center, up from 23,000 last year.
GDC 2015 is set for March 2 - 6, which is going ...
GDC has come to a close, and it's certainly been a busy week for news. Sony announced Project Morpheus, their entry into the virtual reality race, as well as some crazy eye-tracking tech. The second Oculus Rift development kit is up for pre-order, Ubisoft announced their Frenchest game yet,Assassin's Creed: Unity, which might be accompanied by another AC title, "Comet." There's a rumor aboutFar Cry 4 involving yetis and elephants, and we got our first look at Borderlands 2 on Vita.
With all the cool tech demos and innovative ideas on display at GDC Play, it's a bit surprising that a 2D side-scrolling puzzle platformer is one of the most worthwhile things to check out. But hey, good games are good games, and that's exactly what Monochroma look like it is.
At first glance, Monochroma invites comparisons to Limbo. Hell, executive producer Burak Tezateser said as much as soon as the demo started. For good reason too: the color scheme made up of hues of black and grey, the small boy protagonist, the unsettling environments -- it all positively smacks of the style popularized by Playdead. However, Monochroma has enough going on that it doesn't need to use these comparisons as a crutch.
Symphony of the Night assistant director and subsequent series producer Koji Igarashi just left Konami to become an independent developer. When Igarashi and the rest of his team began working on Symphony of the Night, they had a similar mentality. "[W]e figured we could do whatever we wanted so long as we treated it as a separate series."
"With action games, especially if it's a franchise, the more you cater to requests and the feedback of the experienced players, the difficulty is set higher," Igarashi explained. "As a result, even if they're players that enjoy action games, it gets increasingly challenging to attract new users."
The team wanted to improve on the controls, which meant eliminating medium staple cheap fall deaths. "I thought it was okay to penalize the player when they fell," he explained, but, "We hated, hate, hated falling to your death." They wanted to focus to be on bosses, enemies, and action rather than staged pitfalls.
Microsoft hasn't given up on PC gaming -- that's what Microsoft Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer believes, anyway. "A renewed focus on Windows and PC gaming inside Microsoft is definitely happening," he said thi...
One of the neatest touted functionality with the Xbox One is the ability to turn retail consoles into development units, but it's still not something you can with the One now. In a GDC talk, Microsoft Game Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer explained that the company still wants to do it, but with its indie outreach program ID@Xbox, it's not top priority.
Thousands have apparently reached out to sign on with ID@Xbox. "We want to make sure the people that are signed up are getting the most support from us," Spencer explained. "Seeing all the games in development and trying to give the teams feedback on the games as they come through," is the focus, while "further down the road" we'll see a shift towards working on discoverability and the dev kit retail conversion.
"What we're trying to do is facilitate the games coming to the platform as quickly as possible and right now there's been focus on the people that can build today."
You know those games where you're responsible for creating your own entertainment -- the sort that drop you into a world and hope that you're creative enough to craft your own experience? They're usually pretty hit or miss. That's more or less what Gaslamp Games is doing with Clockwork Empires, but the developers are taking away this element of chance by ensuring that whatever scenario arises will be entertaining as all hell.
Clockwork Empires is a sandbox colony builder in a Victorian England setting. But, just because you have the theoretical ability to build an empire, doesn't mean it'll actually happen. Rather than assign tasks to the citizens of your township, you can only sort of suggest jobs for them to do. Most of the time they'll go and harvest resources or whatnot, but if they're feeling particularly uppity, they may just mope about.
That's why it's paramount that you keep those little buggers happy. You're responsible for keeping them fed, giving them shelter, and (most interestingly) balancing any social issues that come about. For instance, if two members from different social classes marry, it'll anger some of the townspeople. It may seem backwards now, but it was very much a real issue in the period the game takes place in.
There's no two ways about it -- Microsoft had a terrible reputation with independent developers during the last console generation. Not that indie's games didn't sell well on the platform, because many of them certainly did. However, the culture and attitude at Xbox was one that didn't mesh with a lot of small teams and many of them documented their experiences in a negative light.
That's not a good position for Microsoft to be in. With the audience for independent games growing at a tremendous rate, the "triple A" development process makes less and less sense from a business standpoint. After all, an indie game needs to move far fewer units to be considered a "success." Nothing needs to sell at an astronomically high rate to be worthwhile.
Microsoft's attempt at repairing this somewhat burned bridge within the indie community was to launch the ID@Xbox -- a program designed to be more accommodating to independent developers and make it as painless and attractive as possible to publish on the Xbox platform. Microsoft held an event at GDC to showcase 25 studios' games that are part of ID@Xbox and we got a chance to talk to some developers about their feelings about the program thus far.