Archive for category Indie Games
I first heard about Cave Story probably about 6 months ago, and everyone was ranting and raving about how good it was – So I downloaded it, played it for 15 minutes, couldn’t work out what was so great about it and deleted it.
Then Matt from loose Leaf Games told me that it was one of the best recent gaming experiences he’s had. So I decided to give it another whirl.
Matt was right, I was wrong – Cave Story is *THE AWESOME* I didn’t even get out of the first cave the first time I tried it , but it soon picks up as a simply amazing adventure/platform game that is unapologetically retro to the days of 16 bit.
The controls are a little confusing at first so I’ll post them here. Press Z to jump and X to shoot (once you find the gun) and press the down arrowkey to interact with objects. You can also shoot in the up and down directions by holding that direction and firing. Run the DoConfig.exe to see some of the other controls.
Cave Story was developed entirely by one guy and took 5 years as he was just working on it part time. So I guess a sequel is a long way off? – Wikipedia has a good entry on Cave Story if you’d like to know more about the game.
It’s a small download at only 1 mb and will probably run on almost any computer you have lying around. You can read more about Cave Story and download the game from the Acid-Play website (which features quite a few freeware games) here.
I’m having a bit of fun with an old school turn based RPG called Dark Disciples – I sure do like my turn-based games This game stands apart from the crowd of freeware RPGs, where most are either dull or only short demos that never actually get completed.
The interface is pretty good, and the NPC dialog is neither too wordy, nor are they just moving signposts (as in some console games that will go unnamed) parroting the same sentence over and over.
I’ve only been playing for about two hours, and the game seems a little hard at the moment. But you can save anywhere, and apparently the author has encouraged multiple pathways to solve puzzles, so maybe I’m just thinking a bit too much with my sword and not with my head.
If you like RPGs and don’t mind a bit of old school style give Dark Disciples a shot – Hey, it’s free.
As well as being a song by Pink Floyd. Echoes is a totally cool freeware 2D shooter. Yesterday I posted that I was thinking about doing a 2D shooter for my project after Caverns, and Echoes has the exact control scheme I had in mind – which is good, because now I know it works
The controls are basically an updated version of Robotron which I’ve never actually played. Movement and directional fire are de-coupled from each other. You can either use the mouse for movement and the keys for directional firing or (my favourite) mouse for directional firing and keys for movement.
This game is very, very good. I usually rate 2D shooters by how many curse words come out of my mouth and Echoes gets a score of about 4 cwpm (curse words per minute) – I only wish it had a more relaxed mode, so you can kinda chill out for a bit longer before the difficulty ramps up. I also like the mini-tasks in the game like ‘get 150k points without moving’ and ‘get to level 7 without using any powerups’ which apparently unlock a bonus game. I haven’t got to unlock it yet, but I’m trying!
Lots of things to remember when I come to code my own shooter.
If you’re a newbie, hobbiest game developer, semi-pro, or seasoned indie you should add lost garden to your RSS feed. (If you haven’t already.) Most of my RSS feeds on my list are from various programmers, but lost garden’s focus is more to do with art/design issues and it’s nice to see the view from the other side once and a while.
Go read the article, but briefly the summary is, in order to get art assests for your game you should either:
- Design a game that doesn’t need professional art i.e Pick a project that complements your own artistic ability
- Use free/stock graphics where possible
- Set up a rational budget/savings plan to hire an artist
I’ve been thinking about my next project after Caverns (which at the moment is using method 1 with a little bit of 2, and will hopefully progress onto method 3 by about the time the game is mostly finished. I’m doing most of the graphics myself until I have some money saved to get it over-hauled.)
I want to tackle a project where I can do the majority of the artwork – which means that it can’t be anything ultra difficult. I’m leaning towards doing a semi-retro, semi-abstract 2D shooter because even though there’s lots of things I can’t draw, most paint programs come with a circle and a square drawing tool.
Last night I got to the end of Eschalon. Clocking in at 18 hours + 3 hours spent playing the demo. (I started a new character when I purchased the full version, even though you don’t have to.) I tend to play through games quite fast, and there were a couple of minor quests I didn’t complete and I never did find out what was in the mysterious cave or what a couple of odd looking items were for. Maybe I’ll have another play through as a different character when someone has written up a good spoiler walkthrough, but for now I need to devote my time to gettting some work done on my own game.
Eschalon is definately worth the $25 usd price tag and brings back fond memories of RPGs of old. There are some minor improvements and additions I’d like to see for the sequal such as more quick travel points and faster walking speed on the map. Most of those complaints can be aimed at almost any game in the RPG genre anyhow.
If you like RPGs and want a good turn-based varient, you can’t go wrong with Eschalon.
I spent this morning playing the demo of Eschalon : Book 1 from Basilisk Games – And it kicks serious butt!
It’s been along time since I got into a single player RPG. The last one was Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura and before that the all mighty Fallout. I didn’t even really like Baulder’s Gate that much… What Fallout, Arcanum and Eschalon all have in common is that they feature turn based combat – I’m a sucker for turn based games.
Infact everything in Eschalon uses up a turn. Movement, drink potion, try break down a door, cast a spell etc… But because the game provides smooth animations and particle effects the gameplay just flows nice and smooth, giving a sense of continous play. The turn based combat provides for some interesting tactics and your enviroment becomes important if you wish to secure an advantage. Fighting in doorways always provides protection from being overwhemed – And if you want to escape from monsters, shut the door on them.
The plot doesn’t seem to be too revolutionary, and involves the player awakening in a strange land with amnesia, not knowing who he was or why he was there…
But the combat and exploration, as well as the stats-driven character development is where the game really shines – It just Ooozes old school cool with modern UI developments. Which is the area I feel fails alot of indie games. The graphics are well polished and are slightly reminisent of commerical 2D games released sometime around 2001, which appeals to my senses.
The Demo Provided me with about 3 hours of gameplay, which was enough to decide that I like the game. Usually If I play any game that I’ve downloaded for longer than 20 minutes, it means there’s something special holding my interest.
The only thing I felt that let it down is that movement is a bit too slow. I’d like to see the ability to run, sometimes walking from one side of the map to the other it can take a bit too long – Also, if you want the automap to actually work you’ll need to spend some of your precious skill points on the ‘cartographer’ ability.
The team at Basilisk games have done a really good job and have really raised the bar as far as Indie CRPGs are concerned. If I wasn’t totally skint for cash at the moment, I’d purchase the game no worries.
You can see the game trailer on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqSkCka_Ijg
“An Entertaining Non-Violent Arcade Game”
Windows 95 / 98 / 2000 or XP
Minimum : Pentium II-300 w 64mb Ram and a 3D Accelerator card
Help an Intersellar Pilot return home after an experiment lauched him all the way to the other side of the universe in this 3D Platform Game. Addictive fun means you’ll be playing again and again to complete “Just One More Level” or maybe you’ve completed all the levels but you just have to beat your highscore.
How to Play
Use the keyboard to guide your ship to the end of the level. Up and Down arrow keys will accelerate and decelerate your spaceship while the spacebar lets you jump. Shift, Ctrl and Enter are all alternative jump keys.
The game was programmed using Visual Basic 6.0 and DirectX 8.0 for the graphics library. It took me approx 18 months to complete from start to finish working part time. That definately seems like a long time for a fairly simple title but remembering that it was my first game and I had never programmed in 3D before. There were also a couple of months when I could not work on the game at all because of university assignments and exams.
Starcars was heavily inspired by a great game called “SkyRoads” written by Blue Moon Interactive and is now freeware, if you’d like to obtain a copy of the original game just go to http://www.bluemoon.ee
Lessons Learnt from Starcars – A Post-Mortem