Julian Gollop, the creator of X-COM: UFO Defense, has hit the $180,000 goal for Chaos Reborn, an update to his 1985 strategy game, Chaos: The Battle of Wizards. Unlike many, many projects seeking funding on Kickstarter, this game is already in a solid prototype state. We know, because we streamed it with Gollop as our adversary.
The prototype of Chaos Reborn is accessible through the game's Kickstarter page. The game itself now has the funding to gussy up the graphics and hopefully make its May 2015 launch on PC, Mac and Linux.
The Debut 12 Bundle from Indie Royale is live. The pay-what-you-want bundle features eight independent titles looking for Steam Greenlight campaign support: Yrminsul, Selknam Defense, Luna's Wandering Stars, Rot Gut, Storm over the Pacific, You Are Not A Banana: Chapter 1, Pester and GEARCRACK Arena.
At the time of publishing, the bundle's average purchase price is $2.92. By raising the minimum of $5, Indie Royale is offering a bonus album of independent music.
All games in the bundle are available for Windows via the Desura distribution. The sale ends in less than seven days.
[Image: Indie Royale]
Just because we can't play old school-inspired, Kickstarter success Pillars of Eternity right now doesn't mean we can't experience it. Developer Obsidian has released a score from the game's soundtrack to give anxious adventurers a taste of what to expect when the game releases later this year. The music is an ambient background tune for the Dyrford Village area.
Audio Director Justin Bell noted in a forum post that he looks to the Infinity Engine games (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale) for inspiration, blending "tropes found in European folk and pre-Renaissance modal music" with modern techniques. Bell also wrote that he listens for inspiration during his daily commute to work, and that he reads Johann Sebastian Bach daily.
A demo for The Blackwell Epiphany is available now, just ahead of the independent adventure game's April 24 release date. Developed by Wadjet Eye Games, Epiphany is the fifth and final game in the Blackwell series, which first began in 2006.
As a guest on a special PAX East edition of the Super Joystiq Podcast, Wadjet Eye's Dave Gilbert discussed the upcoming game, remaining independent since his development career began and the engine that powers his studio's projects. Wadjet Eye is also well known for the adventure titles Gemini Rue and Resonance.
At launch, The Blackwell Epiphany will be available for $14.99 via the developer's site, GOG.com, Steam and other online distributors. Pre-ordering the title from Wadjet Eye's website includes a DRM-free copy of the game, redeemable Steam key, soundtrack and exclusive behind-the-scenes development videos.
[Image: Wadjet Eye Games]
Developer Vlambeer is offering the option to purchase its latest game, Nuclear Throne, through Twitch, a first for the video game broadcast company.
Purchasing Nuclear Throne through Twitch gives players access to the game via Steam Early Access, specialty Vlambeer emoticons, and a subscription to the official Vlambeer Twitch.tv channel, which offers exclusive streams and subscriber-only chat throughout the week.
"If you're interested in learning about game development, this is where you should buy the game. 60 percent of revenue goes to us," Vlambeer's website says.
Gamasutra points out that the revenue split through Steam is 70 percent to developers, while 90 percent of revenue goes to game makers when titles are purchased via GOG.com.
Vlambeer continues to evolve its latest release. During PAX East the developer added a two-player co-op mode, which co-founder Rami Ismail said was "so crazy and insane that we're not so sure it's a good idea to have four." The crazier, the better!
Dwarf Fortress is famous for producing anecdotes by the minute. The two-man, twelve-year, donation-funded indie project weaves together procedurally generated geography, civilizations and histories to create a rich fantasy world. It simulates its characters – standard fare like dwarves, elves, goblins, etc. – down to the most minute detail, and when all its systems combine, the results are often hilarious, occasionally tragic, and always surprising.
It’s also blissfully easy to play. The game is free to download and easy to install, the UI comes with a detailed and handy help system, and there’s a community wiki full of guides – not that you’ll need them. I started from scratch last night and was having fun immediately. Let me tell you about my experience.
Splitting Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse into two episodes may have helped Revolution Software make good on its plan to release the retro adventure revival in 2013, not to mention earn a few pennies sooner rather than later, but unsurprisingly left it feeling incomplete. Though our crack adventure game mercenary Richard ‘Demo Dick’ Cobbett enjoyed the game, he noted that with this split, “The catch is that as well as splitting the raw story in half, Broken Sword 5 has been thematically halved.” He wasn’t overly thrilled about investigating an insurance claim rather than a supposed supernatural curse, see.
The two halves are now united, as the second episode launched tonight. Hopefully it introduces the devilish thrill Richard felt lacking, and right now he’ll be off with George and Nico larking about with a couple of Satans and Draculas or whatever it is he wants. I don’t know, I haven’t played it.
By now we surely all understand that Kickstarting a game is a bit of a gamble: we rarely have a clear idea of how it’ll turn out, and sometimes if it’ll even be finished. At least Kickstarters have a clear goal to work towards, though, and will only take your money if they hit the sum devs figure will let them finish it. Open-ended crowdfunding is even riskier, as they’ll take your money but may never get enough to finish the game. Which is what has happened to Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.
The MMORPG headed by former EverQuest lead designer Brad McQuaid has been shaking its own crowdfunding bucket after a Kickstarter campaign fell short, and has now run out of money. It’s hoping it’ll land an investor but the game’s not really going anywhere until hypothetical saviours come along.
Twitch matched funds pledged to Studio Bean's chat-driven Kickstarter project, Choice Chamber. The developer's crowdfunding campaign ends Sunday evening and raised nearly half of its $30,000 goal, and Twitch's contributions put it near the finish line. According to the project's reward tiers, the game is expected to launch in December.
Following up the success of Twitch Plays Pokemon, Choice Chamber is a PC and Mac game that is designed to be played while streaming live on Twitch. Described as a "real-time, crowdsourced, procedurally generated game," it allows stream viewers to use Twitch's chat functionality to either aid or hinder the progress of the game's primary player by voting on game-changing polls.
The player, who can choose to go the single-player-only route with offline mode, navigates an "endless series of dangerous chambers" while wielding a variety of weaponry with which to defeat enemies. In the prototype version of Choice Chamber, viewers vote on said weapons in addition to powerups, abilities and special maneuvers, though Studio Bean plans to add many more modifiable elements.
[Image: Studio Bean]
I’ve watched three videos of Grave. The first convinced me that the psychological horror game was precisely my cup of tea, with its shifting scenery and creepy sculptures. That’s the first video I’ve placed below and if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably see some promise in the potential trickery of the narrative voice. I’m reminded of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, one of the great relatively unsung horror games. All three videos are below.
Bohemia have accomplished what real life scientists and government funding bodies cannot – exploration and colonisation sim Take On Mars now features a manned mission. I hadn’t realised that the previous build of the Early Access version only allowed players to send a probe to the puce planet, but that’s no longer the case.
Today’s update lands the first human marsonauts to Take On Mars. With access to a manned science buggy, featuring an interactive 3D GUI, one of their first objectives will be to explore the huge new Cydonia Mensae location, which spans 8 kilometer of Martian terrain. A 3D printer enables marsonauts to construct various parts, which can be put together via the Habitat Construction System to form buildings and installations.
The term ‘marsonauts’ dropped in among the other words makes me instinctively shudder, as if I were looking at a sea of human faces and suddenly spotted a Brundlefly.
Now that I’ve got a massive and over-complicated joystick, the only games I’m interested in playing are games which are best-suited to a massive and over-complicated joystick. Yes, yes, I’ll get to Freespace and its total conversions, but first I had some unfinished business to take care of. TIE Fighter was my last substantial experience with Totally Games and Lucasarts’ revered series of Star Wars-themed space combat sims, and I had only a dim sense of how the flighty-fighty games had progressed afterwards. I elected to skip X-Wing vs TIE Fighter and go straight to the end, 1999′s full 3D X-Wing Alliance.
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The late noughties were a time when we all wore baggy ‘boyfriend’ jeans, ate frozen yoghurt, longed for a Zune, and discovered the exciting new sound of bearded men playing guitars, a quick Google search tells me. It all sounds about right, though I also remember an awful lot of tower defence games. Perhaps the most polished of these, and certainly my favourite, was Defense Grid: The Awakening. “Just the right amount of mazing,” I’ll say, “and an AI companion voice that sounds like it came from behind a very respectable moustache.”
Development of Defense Grid 2 has been a bit bumpy, being saved by an investor after falling short with a Kickstarter, but the game seems to be coming along nicely. Following an iffy trailer from an early alpha build last August, lacking in the polish that made the first game stand out, Hidden Path has shared a new trailer that’s got more of ‘the stuff.’
Orcs and humans battle it out in an in-game teaser for developer Cyanide Studios' Blood Bowl 2, coming to PC from publisher Focus Home Interactive. The brief footage is the first look at the game, which features a "brand new graphic engine," since being announced in June 2013.
Blood Bowl, a video game series based on the Games Workshop board game property of the same name, is a comical spoof of American football featuring fantasy characters. Cyanide says the upcoming sequel is "more ambitious" than its previous efforts, adding a new single-player campaign and a multiplayer-based League mode, which gives players managerial control over their team, club and stadium. What are hotdogs in an orc-run stadium made of, do you suppose? Actually, never tell me the answer to that.
Cyanide promises more information and footage of Blood Bowl 2 in the coming months.
[Image: Cyanide Studios]
Here it is: the moment of truth. Meridian: New World, the RTS that should still still be impossible, can now be played by the masses. The shiny new space-base base-race is largely the work of one man, which is the sort of information that makes my mind both boggle and Super Puzzle-Bobble All-Stars. It’s now available on Steam Early Access, so probably get on that because it looks kinda great.
One of the high profile Kickstarters in the Great Wave of 2012 was Gabriel Knight creator Jane Jensen’s half-million gathering cry for her new Pinkerton Road Studio. The first project to emerge from this, in collaboration with Phoenix Online, is Moebius: Empire Rising. A brand new adventure game featuring a genius antiques dealer and a worldwide, history-spanning mystery. Is it any good? Spoiler: No, it’s astonishingly terrible. Here’s wot I think:
“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo,” lamented Juliet’s disembodied cyber-spine from her mechanized gelatinous vat while wistfully tearing the arms from a cleaning droid the way one might pick petals from a flower. That is what the name Technolust makes me think of. The game is not at all about that, but it is about as cyberpunk as cyberpunk gets. It’s got monolithic, neon-glistening structures, drone-eclipsed skies, and copious references to the likes of Blade Runner and Neuromancer. The twist? It’s a made-for-VR experience, and it looks mighty attractive despite its somewhat generic leanings.
If you can look beyond their booger-noses and barely masked sociopathy, children make excellent game designers. They do this stuff for free all the time, just to amuse themselves. Every weekend is crunch time. Developers North of Earth are wise to look to them for inspiration, making a multiplayer shooter about human dogfights. “In Cult of the Wind, players compete and cooperate in ritualistic multi-player human dogfights, complete with imaginary weapons, pretend explosions, and airplane noises made with their mouths.” It looks delightful, it’s on Greenlight, and there’s a trailer below.
Like old Stalker tales told around the campfire, a lot of strange and wonderful things were once said to be in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, from naked green dwarves to driveable vehicles and a whole extra city. Several mods have restored various bits of cut content, based on leftover files and leaked dev builds, but Lost Alpha is one of the more ambitious. What began as a project to remake and reintegrate these leftovers has blown up into a new parallel story which includes (new) old content and a bits of the creators’ own design too.
In response to some ruffian leaking a scrappy old build from November, developers Dezowave Group have decided to release Lost Alpha earlier than planned then keep working on it. It’ll arrive on April 26, the 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster which started all this.