Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Improved menus in Dweller - redux

It seems like I didn't test the new menus properly on all devices and screen resolutions. On low-res devices and long lists the scrolling went haywire and didn't work as expected. This should now be sorted along with some other minor bugs.

I also increased the button size on high res devices but I'm not sure it is enough. I need to test this more and probably get back to this again.

Tablets, the new gaming console?

Now that tablets (and mobiles) are getting more and more powerful with multi-core CPUs in the gigahertz range and with really powerful GPUs like the Nvidia Tegra 3 more and more developers focus on console like games with 3D graphics, dynamic lightning and so on. All this is fine and dandy, but I'm getting a bit concerned when I see more and more first person shooters for these platforms. In my mind these games require very good controls to be truly playable, and I can't really see this happen on a tablet (I do admit that I have a hard time adjusting to the controls on a traditional XBox or PS3 as well). I want mouse and keyboard controls when I play an FPS!

Have a look at the following video of a Tegra 2/3 title called Shadowgun and see for yourself. Do you think the controls look good enough with that awkward screen swipe for looking around and the analog touch control circle for movement?

I agree with the guy demoing that the graphics is getting close to PC/console standards, but the controls ain't. Don't get me wrong, I think a lot of genres work really well on tablets/mobiles, but I don't think first person shooters is one of them...

As for having Android as a gaming console system it might actually work. Have a look at the following post on AndroidSpin about the EVO 2 Android Gaming Console. Look pretty neat!

Dungeon Runner

Dungeon Runner is yet another product of the recent Ludum Dare. Dungeon Runner is a really simple, yet enjoyable, dungeon explorer/roguelike where you are given five men (lives) to explore a dungeon and kill the boss. Before entering the dungeon you are given a random item to help you. Controls, game design and everything about the game is scaled down to the absolute minimum, and yet the game is fun enough to try many times. There are two things I'd like to see improved, the first is movement speed. It too slow to navigate the dungeon due to the move animation. This becomes especially annoying when you die and have to start over at the beginning and run back to where you died. The second thing I would like to see improved is the way combat is resolved. I would prefer if it would be possible to at a glance determine a probable outcome of a fight (don't get me wrong, I don't want deterministic combat, rather a way to assess relative monster strength).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crazy shmups

I'm a fan of shoot'em ups, but mostly the older stuff like 1942, Silkworm, Blood Money and Ikaruga. I find many newer shmups to be more of an execise in "maxing out my particle emitter and cpu" than a playable game. Have a look at these videos to see what I mean:



Terraria Released!

I wasn't expecting this game to come out so soon after I first heard about it. The information a month ago gave me the impression that the devs had quite a bit of work left before they had a finished product. Apparently both me and other sources were wrong and the game is now available on Steam. So what is Terraria? It's hard to sum up in a single sentence, but I'll give it a try anyway: "Terraria is a multiplayer exploration platformer with procedurally generated content in an open world where almost everything is possible". Have a look at this video and see for yourself:

Super Crate Box

The developers behind Super Crate Box state that they want to "bring back the glory of the golden arcade age, when all that really mattered was getting on that high score list". The game sure brings that arcade feel with nice retro pixel graphics and sweet chip music. It's also full of action with many different weapons, unlocks and a lot of enemies to blast. My only real gripe with the game so far is the tutorial at the beginning that you cannot skip and you have to complete before you can move on.

Download and install from http://www.supercratebox.com/

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dungeons and Dungeon Keeper

I watched a game play preview of the recently released Dungeons and was surprised by the similarities with one of my old Peter Molyneux favorites Dungeon Keeper. Sure, there are some differences such as the fact that you actually have an in-game avatar in Dungeons as opposed to the "hand of god" in Dungeon Keeper or that you need to care more about the heroes entering your dungeon instead of your own dungeon denizens but come on, how much can you rip-off from a game and still call it your own?!

The graphics is of course beefed up to modern day standards in Dungeons, but I like to take on the role of champion of all things old and say that I prefer the way things look and feel in Dungeon Keeper. Things don't automatically become better just because you throw more graphics and effects at it.

Disclaimer: I haven't played Dungeons yet, so I may be wrong. It might be a great game (I will try the demo on Steam).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ludum Dare 20

Ludum Dare 20 ended three weeks ago and today the voting has ended and the top 20 games have been revealed. I haven't had a chance to test a lot of them yet, but some of them sure look promising.

Ludum Dare 21 will take place in August. It might fit in well with my summer vacation :-)

Test Subject Green

Test Subject Green is another well made Nitrome title and a sequel to one of their other games called test Subject Blue. In Test Subject Green you take on the role of a mad scientist's single celled test subject and you are placed in a not so friendly sealed test environment. You have some kind of exo skeleton/suit with a gun to fend of enemies while trying to reach the end point of each level. The levels are seemingly small, but to reach the goal you often need to travel through several portals thus making the whole level a lot bigger. The scientist is monitoring your progress through a window in the test container you're in and the stuff going on outside the container is getting increasingly weird the more levels you complete...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Luftrauser - More WWII airplanes

Less serious but with a lot of action! This little indie title has not been released yet as the devs are looking for funding, but I must say it looks fun in all it's stylistic simplicity. Less clutter and cleaner graphics should make it easier to dodge those enemy planes and bullets shouldn't it? Judge for yourself:

Luftrauser - Gameplay Video from Rami Ismail on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Improved menus in Dweller

I finally got around to releasing a version of Dweller with improved menu scrolling. The scrolling is now smooth and much more precise. Depending on your device, get it from Roguebasin or from the Android market.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Edmus - run baby run!

This is a silly little addictive side scrolling runner game where you control a little cyclopse picking flowers and jumping over and across obstacles. While running you also compete against other players and the goal is to run farther than your opponents. If you die you get to start over and run against new opponents and your previous best run. In between games you can buy upgrades such as run speed and jump height using collected flowers.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Battle of Britain (and SteamBirds)

I've heard about SteamBirds many times, but it wasn't until I saw a trailer for Battle of Britain that I actually decided to look it up. Both games are very similar in that they are tactical turn based dogfight games with historical planes from the first and second world war. In both games you have a planning mode where you set the paths of your planes and a play mode where the planes fly according to your plan. Battle of Britain is more like Flight Control where you draw a path and at any time you can pause and change the path, while in SteamBirds you set the direction to fly to at preset intervals. In SteamBirds your planes can't turn on a coin as in Battle of Britain. SteamBirds can be played at ArmorGames while Battle of Britain still is in development.

Appy 1000mg

This is another entry for Ludum Dare 20 and it's a really good one! This is a Flash based platform exploration game with a nice theme. The graphics is made up of super-sized pixels and it has lots of small graphical effects that make it really stand out. I'm impressed by the performance and would very much like to know if it is based on an existing framework or written from scratch. The only drawback with the game is, as the author Sebastian Benard point out, the game really lack sound and a fitting ambient soundtrack.

Hack, Slash, Loot

As you all probably know I'm a sucker for roguelike games. Thus, I was extremely thrilled when I came across the new roguelike Hack, Slash, Loot. The game is made by David 'OddBall' Williams and he uses his own graphics posted a while back at TIGSource. This was the same post where I came across Oryx and his wonderful graphics (Oryx does the graphics to my own roguelike Dweller). Anyway, back on topic...

Hack, Slash, Loot is a very polished desktop roguelike available on PC, Mac and Linux. It features a nice graphical UI, mouse and keyboard controls and nicely generated dungeons to explore. A lot of work has been put into making it more accessible to non-roguelike players by adding a lot of animations and user interface polish (not very common in roguelikes in general). The game is still in beta, but it is very playable and feels stable.

Diepix Arena 2

This is a nice little arena shooter with rather minimalistic graphics. There are a lot of levels filled with enemies and bosses to defeat. From time to time you gain points to spend on upgrades such as bullet speed, move speed, shot frequency and number of bullets.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Crazy Over Goo

In Crazy Over Goo you need to fling a ball from a starting position at each level to an end position. On the way there are different obstacles you need to pass, and you need to make clever use of physics and the properties of different areas of the map. There are walls where your ball will stick and other parts that are "bouncy" and will accelerate your ball on impact. In certain areas of a level you can toss your ball again while it's in the air. The fewer number of interactions you have with the ball the more medals you are awarded on each level. Gaining medals on each level will unlock bonus levels.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Stalwart is a nice retro side scrolling "runner" game where you need to dodge laser beams, fireballs and falling rocks. The music is a nice medley of old chip tunes and the music syncs with the lasers and other stuff in the game making this almost a rythm based game as well.

The Blocks Cometh

The Blocks Cometh is one of those "reach as far as possible" kinda games. It has that same "one more time" feel to it as Canabalt. In The Blocks Cometh you're thrown into a Tetris type of game where your character need to climb up on top of fallen blocks that stack on top of each other. The goal is to reach as high as possible before getting smashed by a falling block. In case you get caught or a stack of blocks is too high you're also equipped with a gun so you can shoot blocks.

Soul Brother

I had a great time the other day while waiting for some long-running tasks to finish at work. I had come across a clever little puzzle platformer called Soul Brother. In Soul Brother you take on the role of a little a soul that via reincarnation takes control of different creatures within the game. You start out by controlling a creature called Kobayashi. Kobayashi is small and he can get through narrow passages, but he can't jump very far and he can't push any blocks. So what do you do when you encounter a section of the game you can't pass? You make sure to die by jumping into an enemy or into some deadly spikes and have your soul transferred to another creature on the screen, for instance Nemo the double-jumping cat, Mirko the strong larva looking fellow that can push blocks or Birdie the bird. The game is all about reincarnating to different creatures at the right time to get passed obstacles. Very funny and with cute graphics. Well worth a play!

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Voxels were probably one of the coolest things you could use in a game or a demo some 15 years ago. I remember some demos on the Amiga which boasted scrolling voxel landscapes. At that time they were pretty awesome, but now they are erm... not so cool anymore.

Something using voxels that I still find very cool though is Voxatron. Voxatron by Lexaloffe games is an arena shooter built completely using voxels. The game features destructible terrain and cute pixel (or should I say voxel) graphics. Check out this video:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Captain Forever

While reading that Steamlands recently got released (yay!) I saw a reference to a game called Captain Forever. I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed the similarities with Steamlands. In Captain Forever you control a small spacecraft consisting of several small building blocks such as boosters, lasers, girders etc. You can rearrange the components any way you want and you can add new components by shooting down opponent spacecraft. I haven't had time to play the game much yet, but judging from some YouTube videos I've seen you can create really massive battle cruisers.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why the silence?

I guess some of you may wonder why I've gone mute all of a sudden? Well, on Monday the 25th of April me and my wife had our second child, a little baby boy! Naturally I've been preoccupied with diaper changes and all the other wonderful things you get to do when you have a child :-)

I have had some time to code as well, and I'm currently reworking all of the in-game menues to be much more touchscreen friendly with nice scrolling and so on. It will take a while longer before I can release a new version though.

In the meantime I suggest that you try out Legends of Yore if you want a roguelike fix (as long as you promise to keep Dweller installed):