Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Solar 2

I tested the Solar 2 Demo just now and I must say that it is a pretty cool game. The game won the first price ($200000) in the recent Dream.Build.Play XNA competition. I love the open-ended gameplay available in the demo, and from what I've read the mission mode in the full version sound like a ton of fun too! In Solar 2 you start off as a small asteroid somewhere in space. You exert a bit of gravity and you can collide with other asteroids to grow in size. Once you reach a critical mass you turn into a small planet and you can now pull in asteroids to have them orbit you as your moons. The problem you face now is that if you collide with asteroids you will lose mass so what you want to do is to use your ability to absorb asteroids to grow in mass. While doing so life will start evolving on your planet and if you grow enough you will get an orbital shield, ground to space cannons and small spacecraft that will shoot down asteroids on collision course. The interesting thing is that you are not the only planet and soon you'll find other planets with shields, spacecrafts and ground to space cannons that want nothing else than to obliterate you.

Tanooky Tracks

Tanooky Tracks is a cute little browser based point and click adventure where you need to help two kids find and catch a bunch of creatures called Tanookys that hide in the kids' house. At your aid is a book listing all the Tanookies you need to find. The hiding place of each Tanooky and how to lure them out is written in the form of riddles. Each riddle involves figuring out the hiding place and combination of items that particular Tanooky wants. An example:

"Ten discs in her back that are made of gold, but where they may be she has never told"

The graphics remind me of the playful style of Tiny Bang Story, but maybe not as polished. Still, it's a fun little game well worth playing.

More Hawken - Desert Gameplay from PAX 2011

Another Hawken video was released today. Looking good!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Roguelike Radio

This week a new milestone in the history of roguelikes was reached. The first episode of the Roguelike Radio podcast was released! To my knowledge this is the first time a roguelike podcast has been produced and I do hope many more episodes will be released. The first podcast does a deep analysis of the recently released commercial roguelike Cardinal Quest.

The podcast is being produced by Darren Grey, Andrew Doull and Scott Edgar. Darren and Andrew are veterans of the roguelike scene and they've contributed in many different ways to the progression of the roguelike genre. Andrew is the guy behind the popular Angband variant Unangband and the Procedural Content Generation wiki and Darren is the developer behind the innovative Gruesome roguelike and he has contributed to the news group for years. Scott Edgar was previously unknown to me, but he did a good job in the podcast. Keep it up guys!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hawken Story Teaser

Adhesive Games, the people behind the in-dev mecha combat game Hawken, have released a teaser trailer revealing some of the backstory of Hawken. Not only does the video feature some really nice environments but it also shows some more in-game combat footage. For some weird reason I begin to drool every time I get some more mecha videos to look at. I wonder why?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kingdom Rush

I've never really enjoyed tower defence style games, but I do believe Kingdom Rush is a bit of an exception. Your task is to protect your kingdom from raiding Orcs, Goblins and other monsters. You build barracks, archery towers, mages, call in reinforcements and use abilities such as meteor rain to stop the advancing hordes. The graphics is really cute and cartoony and the audio is fitting. You play in a campaign mode across a big map and you earn stars that can be used to buy upgrades or abilities when you complete a zone.


It seems like games where you need to reach as high as possible while dodging obstacles are very popular. Have a look at previous reviews such as Cuboy Hot Pants, Tobe's Hook Shot Escape and The Blocks Cometh to find more of the same kind. In / ESCAPE \ you need to jump and slide on the sides of a vertical shaft while avoiding spiky sections of the walls while at the same time not getting caught by the slowly advancing laser beam. The game is surprisingly addictive (as is most games of this genre). The "one-more-time" feeling immediately hit you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dweller status update

I'm guessing that you're starting to wonder what happened to the next Dweller update? I haven't had much time to work on Dweller these last few weeks, but progress is steady (although slow) and it shouldn't be to long until a new version is released. My main area of focus since the last release has been to pave the way for more spells and making spell casting more interesting. What I've done is to externalize spell definitions into it's own configuration file. This will allow me to add new spells much easier and faster than before. Spells will now also be able to have different areas of effect such as line, chain, cone, circle, single target or all visible targets.

Another important area where Dweller need some attention is the user interface. There are too many menus in Dweller and it becomes a hassle to do simple things. It is a big task and it needs to be broken down into manageable pieces for each new release. What I've worked on in this release is to make it easier to access commonly used items from your inventory. Things like healing potions, scrolls and spell books should be accessible with a minimum of interaction. Starting from the next release you will have access to something I call quick-slots. In these slots you will be able to put often used items such as potions and have access to them immediately from the main UI while playing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I'm really in love with the graphical style of Blipzkrieg. The combination of Tron like graphics and the organic flowing movement of the swarming opponents is really appealing. Your avatar is a circular "blip" that you control by clicking and dragging a path on the map. Nearby allies attract to your avatar and follow you. You need to guide yourself and your allies to an end-point on each map by cleverly utilizing the features of the level, attacking enemies when you outnumber them and fleeing when outnumbered.

Mr.Runner 2

Mr Runner 2 (MR2) is a side scrolling runner variation of Canabalt. In MR2 you jump and slide through levels filled with obstacles such as spikey floors, walls and large gaps. You mostly run left to right, but at times you need to jump up walls to proceed through the level. While running you can collect coins that together with time will accumulate to your level score. The game feels a bit sluggish and it doesn't scroll as smoothly as Canabalt. It is well worth a try though!

Experimental Shooter

Experimental Shooter is a nice little puzzle shooter cross-over where the rules of the game change each level. You control a little "cannon" in the middle of the screen and you have a number of "enemies" (white balls) either moving around or lined up in some way on the level. Your goal is to clear the level according to the rules of that particular level. In one level you might have to shoot all your targets within a certain time, in another you need to bounce your shots at least once before hitting the enemies, in yet another you get to play pool and try to pocket the enemies.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Games that I want to try

I've been slacking this summer when it comes to keeping up to date with the latest and greatest releases on the indie scene. I've started building a list of games that I'd like to test, and by the looks of it I will have lots to play the entire autumn. Here are some of the highlights:

Infested Planet
This game is still in beta, but I have acquired a copy and intend to start playing soon. "Take charge of 5 veteran solders and fight an alien army of 100,000. It's all about striking hard and killing lots of squishy alien bugs. To do this, you get an arsenal of awesome weapons; from walking tanks with miniguns to field artillery, you're set to kick the aliens back down their slimy hole."

Bastion seems like a mix between Torchlight and the old Fallout games. It's set in some kind of post-apocalyptic world recreated in stunningly beautiful hand painted graphics. It promises a deep storyline and a lot of action.

"Capsized is a fast paced 2d platformer focused on intense action and exploration. As a intrepid space traveler, your ship has crash landed on a mysterious alien planet. You must navigate through the perilous environment and fight off blood-thirsty creatures to save your crewmates and escape with your lives!" How could things possibly go wrong when you're equipped with a jetpack and a gravity hook?

"Hammerfight is about 2D battles of flying machines equipped with various slashing, piercing and blunt weaponry". The controls seem rather unique with the physics of the game tied to how you wave/swing your mouse pointer to build momentum with your weapon.

Cuboy Hot Pants

This is a really silly game where you need to rush down the side of a volcano while dodging patches of hot lava. The controls are really easy, you can either go down the left side, the middle or the right side. You need to constantly move so you can't spend time pondering if you should go left-left-middle-right or left-middle-right-middle to dodge a particular patch of lava. On your way down you can also pick-up different power-ups to assist you. You race against your own previous record and unlock bonuses the further you reach.

Friday, August 19, 2011

One month until the next ARRP

Yesterday was one month until the next Annual Roguelike Release Party. The purpose behind the ARRP is to "provide moral support as we struggle with resurrecting code we left in an untenable state three months earlier", "encourage developers to release at least yearly through the wonders of deadlines" and to "celebrate the size and vibrancy of our community". If the developers can repeat the amount of releases made during last year's ARRP you can expect a lot of good roguelikes in September. Dweller will of course make a release then as well, but I also intend to make a release before that.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spore prototype tools

Today I discovered a wealth of prototype software made by Maxis, the developers behind the acclaimed Spore god-sim game. The tools were used in early stages of development to test many different concepts and all of it is available online. One of the tools that I really like is BIOME. BIOME use cellular automata rules to create game of life like environments. The software support both standard rectangular and the more exotic spiral automata that can be used to simulate galaxies. There's a lot of example rule-sets for everything from galaxies, to terrain gen and fire propagation.

Other cool stuff among the tools are CityMaze (agent-based city simulation), Cell Culture (spread of life across a planetary surface), Gaslight (self-propagating star formations). You find all of the tools here:

Chaos Stream - ASCII Shmup!

I came across a link to a crazy project this morning. How about a shoot 'em up done in ASCII? Yeah, I know it sounds crazy but have a look at this video:

The game is done using the libtcod console library. libtcod is used in many roguelike projects nowadays and it's refreshing to see that it is being put to use elsewhere as well.

There's a demo ready for download as well in case you wanna test it: