Indie Developers Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Indie Developers RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Tales of an Interview with Unbound's Alien Pixel Studios Thu, 18 Apr 2019 15:17:36 -0400 Josh Broadwell

There are a lot of indie games out there. A lot. Sometimes, it's hard to find the one that really grabs you, a problem not helped by difficult to navigate platforms like the Nintendo eShop (but the eShop's problems are another story).

Other times, that one just happens to fall right in front of you.

That's what happened to me a few weeks ago. I was doing a write-up based on a press release for an upcoming indie game by Romanian developers Alien Pixel Studios called Unbound: Worlds Apart, set to release later this year. The trailer, premise, and inspiration behind the game really stood out as something unique to me.

So I reached out and asked if the devs would be willing to speak further about the game, its origins, and its evolution over time, and happily, Sergiu Craitoiu, Unbound's designer, responded with a wealth of detail.

From Humble Beginnings

Unbound: Worlds Apart has been in development for several years. In that time, a lot has changed.

Originally, the devs were inspired by a few particular things: the idea of the main character using a sphere to manipulate the world and the desire to create a dark tale around that character.

Craitoiu said the goal was creating a 3D game — but 3D requires a lot more in the way of resources, which the team couldn't spare at the time. Instead, they worked on creating a prototype in 2D, and it stuck from there.

Like all creations, there are some specific inspirations behind Unbound. Craitoiu said Olga, the team's artist, was particularly influenced by games like Ori and the Blind Forest, Hollow Knight, and Limbo, while Craitoiu himself was inspired by the likes of Portal, Braid, Diablo II, and The Swapper.

However, Craitoiu provided some interesting information about how the core mechanic, the dimension-altering sphere, came from outside the world of gaming:

At that time I was listening to a UK metal band called Architects, and they have a video clip on Youtube, where they have a huge bubble behind them making a contrast between black and white, and from that moment I knew that we could apply some sphere or portals like that in the game.

The early prototype had the sphere extend to the entire screen, which completely altered the environment, but also had the potential to make things pretty confusing for players. Thus, the limited sphere extending out from main character Soli was born.

From there, Craitoiu said every aspect of the game continued to evolve. The first prototype was linear, and he likened progression to Limbo in how straightforward it was. Additionally, the story itself — one of the game's key features and an important part of its conception — was practically nonexistent.

When the team realized that the core mechanic of switching portals on and off wasn't satisfying enough, even if it was visually appealing, Craitoiu said they knew it was time for a change.

They thought about how they could revise the portal system and settled on the idea of adding magical qualities to them. Now, they could...

[...] change physical aspects of to the character and monsters or making environment elements behave differently. So instead of one portal, now we have different portals that can surprise the player while they are playing.

A good bit of that comes across in the trailer, which sees Soli altering enemies, or making them disappear completely, and apparently imbuing platforms and items with something that allows them to be moved.

The progression system got an overhaul too. Craitoiu said he wouldn't consider Unbound a Metroidvania game, but it does require players to unlock certain abilities or solve specific quests in order to advance further.

Apart from that, though, players are free to move through worlds and complete quests and puzzles as they see fit. Some puzzles are completely optional as well, and you can still finish the game without doing absolutely everything there is to do.

Not Your Usual Fairytale

The story itself grew as a result of everything else; Craitoiu commented that "as the game grew, we felt the need for a richer and more engaging story as well."

That story is based on the concept of a dark fairytale. Rather than modeling Unbound's story on a certain kind of fairytale, like the Brothers' Grimm stories, the team works with a fairly loose definition of the term: a story where the forces of good face off against the forces of evil.

In Unbound's case, the evil has completely invaded the world and threatens to envelop it totally.

That's a good part of where darkness aspect of the dark fairytale comes from as well. It influences everything else: the characters Soli encounters, Soli himself and his tale, and the tarnished environments he'll traverse.

There've been a few games in recent years with a dark storybook tone to them, like this year's The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince and 2017's A Rose in the Twilight.

However, Craitoiu said the team didn't really have any precedents in mind when they chose the feel and tone of their tale, nor were they intentionally trying to advance it as a vehicle for telling game stories: "For us, really it was just about trying to find the right story and tone for our game, and we're really pleased with the results so far."

Taking the Plunge

It helps that Unbound has, thus far, met with very positive reception at conferences where the dev team showed it off. That reception also led to a big change in how they approached the game and development in general.

Like with most indie devs, the Alien Pixel team has to juggle real life responsibilities and jobs with their creative endeavors.

But they recently decided to switch to development full time based on the reception the game has received and how much they believe in its potential, even turning down job offers from overseas so they could stick with development. "It was quite stressful to do that," Craitoiu says.

Part of the stress came from the hopes and expectations of those around them:

You always have that pressure from people close to you to have a 'proper' job. Nevertheless...working for your own projects is so much more satisfying and challenging than working for any other job, where you do the pretty much same stuff every day.

That Alien Pixel is a team of two adds to the challenge and variety, and Craitoiu describes the setup as offering a refreshing sense of freedom.

Each day presents new opportunities and things to learn, and the two can choose whether they want to tackle the story one day and marketing the next or spend some time tackling the development itself.

Still, many indie games with great potential never make it to the market or suffer from lack of resources. To that end, Alien Pixel is launching a Kickstarter campaign on May 7to help ensure Unbound is in the best form possible when it releases.

Nearing the End

The campaign will have two primary goals. The one is development-oriented, as you would expect. Craitoiu said the team hopes the campaign can raise enough so Unbound's development doesn't have to be rushed. They really want the ability to focus on sound design, music, and video production, along with bringing on some additional team members.

Crowdfunding does more than just raise money, though. It also builds communities of people interested in a specific product, which is exactly what Craitoiu hopes happens with Unbound's campaign:

We also want to increase our community of the game, which is really important to us, because they can help us with feedback and raise morale through the production. We are really happy to already have such a nice supportive community on Discord and on other social media like Twitter and Facebook, but we still want to grow it even more.

For much the same reason, Alien Pixel is planning to release a demo of Unbound: Worlds Apart April 24, and it's set to be a meaty demo as well.

Craitoiu said the goal is for the demo to introduce players to several dangerous environments, where they uncover a portion of the story by solving some puzzles. It'll also get players familiar with the portal system by using it to solve puzzles with a range of difficulties.

And, of course, it'll show off the platforming features and art style.


Alien Pixel Studio's three-year-long journey is nearing its end. Unbound is expected to launch on PC sometime in 2020. But in the meantime, if you want to keep up with developments and news, you can follow the dev team on Discord and Twitter.

A huge thanks to Sergiu Craitoiu for taking the time to answer all my questions and to Lewis Denby of Game if You Are for facilitating the interview!

Roguelite Metroidvania Scourgebringer Scintillates in Announcement Trailer Tue, 05 Mar 2019 05:15:02 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Flying Oaks Games, an independent development studio based in Europe, and publisher Dear Villagers recently announced a new collaborative project, Scourgebringer, an action-packed, roguelite Metroidvania.

The story revolves around main character Kyhra as she uncovers the mysteries of a sinister monolith that has suddenly appeared, threatening the very existence of her world. Along the way, she encounters incredibly powerful bosses, enigmatic ghosts, and secrets left behind by previous explorers.

Scourgebringer's gameplay draws its inspiration from Metroidvania and action games of old, and the developers seek to combine that sense of mystery and danger with fluid controls and aerial combat.

However, it's not a traditional Metroidvania in the sense that Metroidvanias require backtracking with newfound powers. Scourgebringer is all about moving forward and finding alternative routes to do so. The environments Kyhra must explore are pre-built around specific challenges and presented in a procedural style.

Joonas Turner, of Nuclear Throne and Tormentor X Punisher fame, is creating the game's soundtrack, which Flying Oaks and Dear Villagers say will be one of the game's major strengths.

Flying Oaks' Thomas Altenburger said the game has been in development for only a few months, but the process is completely open. That means the team shares progress and even budgets with players, incorporating the feedback they receive in the process.

There's certainly been no shortage of roguelites and Metroidvanias in recent years. However, Dear Villagers's involvement suggests players have something unique to look forward to with Scourgebringer.

The publisher began a few years ago under the name Playdius, but Guillaume Jamet, head of publishing, said Playdius overextended itself with too broad a focus, harming its branding in the process.

The company rebranded as Dear Villagers and plans to narrow its focus on meaningful, mid and hardcore games for PC audiences. Specifically, their goal is working with "indie games that reach for higher, maybe AA-style games. What we're looking for right now are games with very nice visuals, something visually astonishing, and great gameplay with a twist."

Those looking forward to playing such a game might have a bit to wait, since Flying Oak hasn't mentioned an anticipated release date. However, more information on the game's progress can be found via Flying Oak Games on Twitter.

Underhero Review - I Need a Hero Sat, 29 Sep 2018 11:13:46 -0400 Kimberly Cooper

Underhero is another one of those games that you might've otherwise missed if you were not actively following its progress. More often than not, it takes a lot of perseverance and charm to get this far and Underhero is a quirky, exciting adventure that changes up the hero formula.

The Story

The game is played within a 2D side-scroller view and while it may feel compact, it's accompanied with delightful, unique characters and a solid story of trying to save the world when you weren't exactly cut out for the job in the first place.

You take on the role of an underling-turned-hero (the Underhero) and unknowingly tasked with saving the world. This puts the antagonist-turned-protagonist into quite the pickle because this obviously isn't what he planned to happen. 

The main character is another one of those silent-types, but the fluid animation and comical moments give him plenty of personality without ever really saying a word. You're paired with the former hero's sword that is capable of changing from a blade into a hammer and slingshot at will. 

The dialogue is both quirky and cute which makes listening to all the passive dialogue quite the adventure.  Each world hosts its own color scheme but they all end up coming off as vibrant and colorful instead of dull and dreary.

Going through each area filled me with excitement as I wondered what sort of enemies I would encounter and what kind of attacks they would use against me. Would I need to duck or jump when they attacked? Would I need to use my shield or bribe them with money because they were too strong? The enemy designs fit perfectly into the peculiar world of Underhero, however, at times I felt like there could have been a larger quantity of enemies between areas.

One thing that had me baffled throughout my play-through was how all of the enemies worked for the corporation led by the main boss in the game, Mr. Stitches, but they never seemed to question why one of their own was out attacking them in the field.

The Battle System

I expected to be faced with either turn-based battles or regular ol' hack and slash when going about my journey and was met with something entirely different. People that are familiar with Undertale might see some similarities in Underhero's battle system. Once you come across a monster you initiate a fight where you can talk to your opponent to get the occasional hint or even bribe them with your own hard earned cash so that they'll leave you alone.

If throwing your money away doesn't sound like your cup of tea, have no fear. Battling involves a little more thought in which you have to actually observe your opponent's actions in order to predict which move they'll use next. If predicted correctly, you're able to dodge moves by jumping or ducking.

Time your own attacks perfectly in tune with the music to get extra damage but your attacks are also based on how much stamina you have which fills back up during the battle.

You can buy potions and other items from the shop back at the HQ as well as finding potions out in the field. The game isn't overly difficult by any means but my complaint is the game occasionally experiences lag during battles which can make them go on longer than necessary or cause you to get hit by attacks. 

There's plenty of fun to be had in Underhero with mini-games, boss fights and puzzle elements with a little platforming thrown in. While you're playing, you get to experience a phenomenal soundtrack composed by Stijn van Wakeren that I found myself listening to throughout the odd hours of the day.

Underhero isn't an overly difficult game and if you ever think an enemy is too much to handle you can always just bribe them so that they will leave you alone. You'll go broke, but at least you're able to continue on your adventure.

Despite the presence of a few bugs, this game was designed by a team of only four people and offers roughly 15-25 hours of gameplay that will scratch that indie itch. If you've been needing a break from Dead Cells or Hollow Knight and just want to experience some witty comments and bash around a few monsters without a fear of losing your head, this is the next best thing.

It's available for $14.99 on Steam, Gamejolt, and

A demo for Underhero is still available on Gamejolt and for those who need extra incentive. 

Exploring the Reality of Legendary Gary: A Chat with Evan Rogers Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:12:20 -0500 Kat De Shields

Some call it the age of indies, where small and solo studios are creating games that give AAA titles a run for their money in entertainment value and meaning. Gameplay programmer Evan Rogers has sampled the best of both worlds. 

Nearly four years in the making, Legendary Gary launched today on Steam. It's Evan's first solo project after working on notable titles like Naughty Dog's The Last of Us and Giant Sparrow's What Remains of Edith FinchEvan took the time to speak with us about development, inspiration, and lessons learned along the way.

GameSkinny:  You’ve been working on Legendary Gary for four years. What was the seed that started it all?

Evan Rogers: I’ve been working on it for three years, but I took a year off to work on What Remains of Edith Finch (WRoEF). I wanted to make a game by myself for a long time. In middle school, I would make games that could hardly be called games. Building my skills so I can make a game has been a long-term goal of mine for a while. I had a lot of different ideas before I arrived at the ideas currently in Legendary Gary (LG).

It all started right after I left Naughty Dog. I was there for two years working on The Last of Us (TLoU) as an AI programmer and some multiplayer stuff. My dad got brain cancer six months before we shipped, and he was rushed to surgery and came out with half his body paralyzed. My mom was taking care of him, and was using up all of her vacation time in the process. I was flying home once or twice a month from LA to NY to spend time with him because every time he went into surgery, we thought maybe he was going to die or be in a coma.

My parents' options were to put him in a skilled nursing facility where they would take care of him or hire a full-time nurse that was just too expensive for them. My dad was terrified of going to a skilled nursing facility because one of the requirements for that was going into hospice. He wouldn’t get chemo, so there wouldn’t be any chance of survival. When TLoU was finished, I quit and moved back to NY to be my dad’s nurse for awhile so my mom could go back to work. Before that, I had this plan -- I knew my plan was to leave Naughty Dog and set out on my own to make a game. I was planning on sticking around longer than I did -- but my dad’s illness became my impetus to leave.

So then, as I’m home, I was part-time playing with a bunch of different ideas, and I prototyped a lot of ideas before I came to LG. I knew whatever I chose would take me a long time because there’s a tremendous amount of effort that goes into making a game. I knew this had to be an idea that I wouldn’t be sick of three years later. If this was going to be the only game I ever made, I wanted it to be one I’d be most proud of.

That being said, there were a lot of requirements. I wanted it to be a story that’s very personal to me and says what I want it to say. Also, something that had all of the aspects that I really enjoy in games. That’s why LG is a tactical strategy game, because I play chess and I really like strategy games. It also has a bizarre fantasy world that evokes the themes that I really liked from my childhood. Most of all, I like stories that try to create a whole world and invent ideas as opposed to working with the ideas that other genres have created.

The one piece of feedback I get from everyone’s who’s seen the trailer is, “That’s really weird.”

I’ve been making it so long it doesn’t seem that weird to me anymore, but I suppose it is pretty weird.

GS: So, when people describe the game as being weird, does that put you off, or is that the intention you were going for?

ER: Usually they combine it with something nice to say, so it doesn’t put me off too much. I wouldn’t say it was my goal to be weird for the sake of being weird. I wanted to create something new. One of the questions I’ve gotten a few times is “Is there a logic behind this, or is it just randomness?” There is a logic. There’s lore and history to the world, and there’s relationships between characters and reasons why things are the way they are.

Some aspects are inspired by The NeverEnding Story -- a weird, mystical 80s fantasy -- others by Myst and Riven; they do a fantastic job of inventing a world out of whole cloth. They borrow things you recognize but combine them in an interesting way.

GS: Not quite a one-man band, but close, as the music for the game was created by xXsickXx. How did you juggle everything?

ER: xXsickXx is a French musician who makes music on his PC by himself. I searched for a long time for a musician that I thought would fit the tone of the game and bring life to it, and I really loved his music. I thought it was perfect.

As far as juggling everything, I did it slowly. I’d  work on one thing for a while and then switch to another in big chunks. One of the things that’s different about developing a game by yourself versus on a team is how things move. On a team, everything’s moving at once. The art, the code, the design are all being made concurrently. With me, I had to do them one at a time. I had to prioritize what I think is most important, make a plan for myself, and guess where the dependencies will be. I went round robin between design, code and art.

GS: What’s been your favorite part of making Legendary Gary?

ER: I feel most confident at programming, as that’s been my career outside of this. It’s the skill set that’s most developed. With some of the other things, it was the first time I was doing it for work instead of fun. Sometimes I felt like I was flailing around --  trying things and them not working. Design is really hard. With coding, you know that you failed because it doesn’t work. With design, sometimes you don’t realize it doesn’t work until people don’t like it, and you still don’t really know why it doesn’t work. Design has to work with fuzzy answers to questions and fuzzy solutions. Luckily, I have a lot of designer friends who have been willing to help.

GS: What influenced Legendary Gary’s storyline and art direction?

ER: Growing up, I loved animation and comics. There's something really personal about a hand-drawn art style. I intentionally wanted the game to be a little bit messy. For example, I hand drew every line instead of using the line tool because there's something about hand-drawn lines that reminds you that a person made this. It didn’t come out of a machine or an army of people. A person did this to communicate something to you. It was that intimacy -- that this is important enough to someone for them to go through the difficulty of hand drawing everything. They’re trying to communicate something to you that they think is important.

I had a lot of nostalgia for playing old JRPGS. You can still play them, but they didn’t affect me the same way as they did as a kid. As an adult, the concerns of my day-to-day life are so different, it’s hard to imagine myself as a JRPG character because everything is very dramatic in that space. I wanted the feeling I got as a kid playing old JRPGS like Final Fantasy or Dragon Warriors -- roaming the land, forming friends, and fighting monsters -- and somehow ground it with what matters to me now as an adult. I’m a huge Persona fan -- it was a huge inspiration for making a game that blends fantasy and reality. This is how I came up with the dual reality premise.

Legendary Gary is a game about a guy playing a game, and the fantasy world is a mirror of his real life. The game kind of plays with the juxtaposition of fantasy. The things that matter to a hero in a fantasy world are ridiculous, but the things that matter to Gary in his real life are very mundane and not the stuff of fiction. The things that actually matter to us day-to-day are mundane, but they still matter. The story is about a guy who’s trying to be a better person. More responsible and more present for the people who care about him. More attentive to what they need from him. The things you’re choosing for him to do are small gestures, but to him in his life, they matter a lot.

GS: Do you think you working on The Last of Us and What Remains of Edith Finch impacted Legendary Gary in some ways?

ER:That’s a good question. I think if I psychoanalyzed myself, I could properly figure out how those things did influence the story of Legendary Gary.

They were both informative to me about how to make a video game, and I learned a lot from the people I worked with. Uncharted is one of my favorite game series, which is why I was so excited to work for Naughty Dog. But, Uncharted is another great example of a video game character whose reality is so over the top it’s hard to imagine yourself in any of the situations Nathan Drake finds himself in. What’s interesting about TLoU is that they grounded their fiction in a really powerful way, and a lot of it is about small gestures, showing humanity to the people around you, and dealing with feelings of being futile and powerless. Which I think are also themes in LG for sure.

WRoEF is also a great game that deals with subject matter you wouldn’t typically find in games or fiction. It’s about coming to terms with death and remembering the dead in your family. It explores the nature of storytelling about the dead and how we dramatize how our family members lived versus the reality of who they really were. I wrote a lot of LG’s story before WRoEF, but it operates in the same space of what we accept as true versus what is actually true -- it's often very different.

When I was working on WRoEF, I thought it was wonderful that there was a game about these concepts. I didn’t expect anyone outside the team would get it or appreciate it, though. I was blown away with how well it did critically, and how many people did get it and how big the reception was. That gave me a lot of enthusiasm going forward in LG -- knowing that people can get games with that level of nuance.

GS: So, what's next? Solo game dev for the foreseeable future, or will you join an existing team again? Perhaps both?

ER: I’m not going to jump back into solo dev again -- at at least for a while. It was an interesting experience to do everything myself, and it allowed me to do all the things that would be hard to do on a team. I could make bold decisions independently.

You don’t have to convey to other people exactly what you want -- especially if you’re not even sure what you want. I think that’s why some games today are kind of derivative. The easiest way to explain what you want is to refer to something else that we all know. I wanted to make unique choices.

The novelty of a game is really important when you’re making a small game. If you’re making a game that’s like another game, you have to outdo them, which is hard to do as a small team. Making something original -- there’s value in that.

I wanted to try to do it all myself, however it’s an insane amount of work -- it’s a huge financial risk. So I’m probably not going to do it again on my next thing. Not sure what I’ll do after LG, but probably not another solo project.

Legendary Gary is available on Steam for $14.99. You can keep up with Evan Rogers on Twitter at @evanmakesgames. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Legendary Gary news and our official review.

There's Philosophy in Getting Over It, We Swear Sun, 21 Jan 2018 18:20:33 -0500 pithyalyse

From punishing run-and-guns like Cuphead to Hollow Knight’s take on the already difficult Metroidvania formula, gamers had plenty of titles to rage quit over in 2017. But one game in particular left some frothing at the mouth.

The premise of Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy, an indie PC platformer released in October, is simple: get to the top of the mountain using a hammer controlled by your mouse to grip onto obstacles. But with Foddy, the game’s developer and narrator, as well as the devilish mind behind QWOP, things are never quite that easy. Wonky physics and an increasingly difficult landscape make every inch gained a battle, and if (when) you fall, you lose that progress permanently.

But as players overcome the pitfalls of their climb, what they may not notice is the metaphysical struggle happening before their eyes. Foddy left several clues highlighting this philosophical symbolism peppered throughout his sarcastic narration. The biggest tell being the name of our hero, the man behind the hammer: Diogenes.

In this naming of his protagonist, Foddy calls back to one of the founding minds of Cynic philosophy: ancient Greece’s Diogenes of Sinope. Diogenes believed true happiness could only be achieved by living simply, through meeting one’s natural needs instead of those imposed by society. And so he cast off all worldly goods, took to begging, and made his home inside an abandoned cask – thus why Getting Over It’s protagonist resides in a pot. Around the fourth century BC, Diogenes’ frequent and fierce public displays of his belief inspired several tales of varying authenticity until he became known more as a character of the period than a philosopher.

To give you an idea of the man who’d become known as “Diogenes the Cynic,” he reportedly once threw away his only possession – a cup for food and drink – after seeing a child drink from a fountain with his hands. Diogenes then lamented, “A child his beaten me in plainness of living!” Alexander the Great was purportedly very fond of the philosopher, and visited him once in Athens during his travels. Alexander offered to grant him a favor, to which Diogenes shooed him away; the conqueror was blocking his sun.

But how does this relate back to a game about a bald man with superhuman upper-body strength propelling himself up a mountain? Well, if you unpack the narrator’s words a bit, he spells it out for you.


Foddy explains that his inspiration for Getting Over It came from a 2002 game called Sexy Hiking, an indie game also about climbing up a mountain with a hammer (who knew it was a genre?). Sexy Hiking typified B games, he argues, which are “rough assemblages of found objects” assembled quickly and at little expense at the cost of playability. “They’re built more for the joy of building them than as polished products,” Foddy explains.

Many have speculated, Foddy continues, that all video games will eventually be constructed through this assembly line process, with prefabricated objects reused over and over to populate our virtual playgrounds. But this argument doesn’t account for context. Just like food and water, media is consumable, so rapid-fire creation of it only results in an equally rapid-fire mounting of cultural trash as we burn through our endless feeds. And when a game is created from what the public perceives as trash, the game itself is then seen as, well, trash.

The mountain you climb in Getting Over It is built from these replicable B game assets; in short, it’s something out of Diogenes’ nightmares, its recycled nature becoming increasingly apparent the farther you climb. As you pass rocks and trees, a construction zone begins to take shape, materials laid out haphazardly in ways that aid your ascent. From there, everything begins to look like an M.C. Escher painting. Playgrounds and boxes defy gravity, living room furniture extends skyward in an impossibly balanced stack, stairs spiral into infinity.

And what does our hero Diogenes do when faced with such a tangible display of human consumption? Well, he gets over it. The player only has two methods of interacting with Foddy’s world after all: conquer the mountain, or stop trying. And as Diogenes climbs past the detritus left behind by worldly pursuits, his actions – and by extension the player’s – began to build a metaphor that parallels the teachings of Cynic philosophy. By overcoming reminders of his shallow desires and superficial needs, he’s reaching new heights in pursuit of something greater: fulfillment.

In this way, we can view Getting Over It as an extension of Diogenes’ quest to live a wholesome life according to his philosophy. The objects comprising the mountain, purposefully made to look like repurposed B game assets, further illustrate this point. Though they may be useless in and of themselves, the challenge they pose is very real since any one could be your literal downfall, sending you cursing and screaming back to the start of the game.  

“Imaginary mountains build themselves from our efforts to climb them,” Foddy narrates. “And it’s our repeated attempts to reach the summit that turns those mountains into something real.” This parallels another piece of Diophenes’ philosophy: that the constant pursuit of satisfying superficial, societal needs distorted people’s realities. He reportedly often traveled through the Athens city square with a lantern in broad daylight, shining it in people’s faces in the pursuit of “a real human being,” he said. In this same vein, societal expectations become the imaginary mountain Foddy speaks of: self-imposed, but becoming real in our repeated attempts to succeed within their confines. Ironic, considering Getting Over It is yet another imaginary mountain by that definition. No one is forcing the player to continue tackling its difficult challenge. But, then again, no one was forcing Diogenes the Cynic either.

The Top 5 Cutest Indie Games of 2018 Thu, 18 Jan 2018 12:05:55 -0500 pithyalyse




Ok, so Moss may stretch the definition of "indie" just a bit -- its developer, Polyarc, was formed by three ex-Halo and Destiny developers and funded by over $3 million in seed money -- but it is firmly within the realm of adorable. 


The PlayStation Virtual Reality exclusive brings players down to the perspective of its teeny protagonist, a young mouse named Quill, as you help her explore lush environments, solve puzzles, and fight a newly awakened evil that's taken root in her otherwise quiet home. All the while, your identity as the player, an "other" in her world, is apparent in your manifestation as a masked figure or floating orb. 


You won't have to wait long to get your hands on this cute adventure -- it's slated to come out next month.




Are there any upcoming releases you think could thrash these titles in a cute-off? Post your picks below. Or if you're interested in other indie game suggestions (of all aesthetic varieties), you can check out more of our content here.  



PC, Switch

"Save the world with singing" goads the Wandersong Kickstarter page. This side-scrolling adventure encourages players to solve puzzles and build relationships through music by breaking into song at any time. Literally, any time. Even when some NPCs would really rather you shut up.   


Last year, Wandersong exceeded its Kickstarter goal, earning $21,000, with plans for release on PC and Switch in 2018's first quarter. It draws inspiration from other quirky narratives like Earthbound and Over the Garden Wall, as well as some of the personal encounters creator Greg Lobanov experienced as he biked 5,000 miles across the United States. 




If Tala looks like an art project that sprouted legs and ran off into the sunset, that's no coincidence. Matt Petrak, its sole developer, recounts on his game's website that it began as an art test combining traditional animation and nature photography. After he was exposed to the corrupting influence of Unity, however, it began to take root as a point-and-click puzzle adventure. Adding to its charm is a completely visual dialogue system and, from the looks of the trailer, plenty of quirky humor keeping those conversations interesting.


Tala's website states its release date as simply "when it's done," but PC Gamer's indie issue lists this PC title as a 2018 release So fingers crossed! 



 PC, PlayStation 4

Only the minds behind Katamari Damacy could hatch up such a delightfully wacky concept for a game.


In Funomena's Wattam, players take on the role of a bowler hat-sporting green cube known only as the Mayor. Everything in the environment is sentient, and by extension, everything is capable of being controlled. The aim? Get everyone to hold hands together in a circle so the Mayor can set off the bomb under his hat.


Why? Who knows! Maybe we can all figure that out together when Wattam comes out later this year. In the meantime, players can look forward to the idea of playing as a giant mouth that poops ... and then getting to play as that poop.



PC, Xbox One

Have you ever been playing Animal Crossing and thought, "You know what would make this better? Pokemon!"


"And what if they grew out of the ground? And after I farmed them, they waddled after me everywhere I went! And I could even dress them up in little outfits..."


Did I lose you there?


If not, then you might want to watch out for Ooblets, a monster tamer/farming simulator combo scheduled to release mid-2018 for PC and Xbox One. The first game by two-person developer team Glumberland, Ooblets' adorable aesthetic captured the heart of Double Fine Productions after a reveal trailer. And with the Psychonauts publisher's support behind them, the team received an invite from Microsoft to unveil its demo at last year's E3. 


With so many great-looking indie games slated to release in 2018, it can be overwhelming to keep track of them all, especially with how many platforms there are to watch out for now. You've got, Humble Bundle, Steam Direct -- even the Nintendo eShop is attracting droves of developers. Don't worry, though. This list is here to help make sure you don't miss out on this year's truly important titles: the most adorable ones.

Thinking Outside of the (Cat)Box: An Interview with The Gentlebros Wed, 08 Nov 2017 11:46:59 -0500 Josh Broadwell

The RPG genre is known for some of the most sweeping, epic stories, memorable characters, and intuitive gameplay mechanics. However, there is one area even the RPG greats have yet to cover: the world of cats. That's where The Gentlebros' latest outing, the award-winning Cat Quest, comes in, seeking to address a gap in the RPG market in more ways than simply providing an irresistibly adorable protagonist and charming world. Desmond Wong of The Gentlebros was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to discuss the open-world game in detail, including its inspiration and where it fits in the current RPG market.

Joshua Broadwell: The Gentlebros website mentions that the studio is made up of veterans in the industry. Would you be able to provide some titles or companies you are associated with to give the reader a better idea of the studio?

Desmond Wong: This may be a slight shocker considering that we developed Cat Quest, but all of us were from Koei Tecmo! Our experiences include games like Dynasty Warriors, Fatal Frame, Nioh, and Dead or Alive, just to name a few. It's a huge departure from what we used to be doing, but the lessons we learned there definitely helped shape the games we make today.

JB: According to the development blog, making a game centered around a cat was always a central focus. Why was that, and did you find it more difficult to come up with concepts that would fit with a cat hero more difficult than if it were a more traditional protagonist?

DW: It's actually the opposite. A very large majority of games and RPGs are centered around human characters, and for good reason! Human characters are instantly more easily relatable, and, hence, more likely to be enjoyed by a greater number of people. However, this also means that the type of stories you can tell would be less fresh and probably done a million times before. 

The good thing about choosing a cat protagonist and world is that suddenly everything feels new again. Cats would have different problems from humans, and the way they speak or the way they would name their cities and towns would be different as well. This gives us a chance to tell new stories and, hopefully, give players new experiences as well.

JB: The game was partly inspired by a lack of 2D open-world adventures on mobile. What other inspirations were there for art style and gameplay?

DW: For the art style, we were really inspired by old medieval maps. We really liked the sketchy look and how the location names were on the map itself. We also really liked the overworld of older JRPGs (mainly because we grew up with them) and wanted to create an open-world overworld game, if that makes sense. 

Gameplay-wise, we were inspired by titles like Skyrim, Zelda, and Final Fantasy. We wanted the exploration in Skyrim but the simplicity of combat in Zelda. We designed Cat Quest to be a really rapid-fire RPG. You can play the game for five minutes or for hours and still feel like you're constantly accomplishing something. We really love open-world games but feel some of them have gotten so bloated through the years, and Cat Quest is our way of trimming down the fat to give a really concise and concentrated experience. For us, this is an open-world RPG condensed to what makes them fun, and we hope we managed to succeed in doing that!

JB:  How do you balance being inspired by a certain game or style and still making it something unique?

DW: I think on some level, all designers are inspired by the games they've played. Every game we play subconsciously influences our design and perception of what is fun. However, we always try to make sure we give our mechanics a twist. We're constantly asking ourselves, "Is this mechanic too similar to something else?" and "What can we do differently?" Sometimes it's okay to be influenced, because why fix something that is proven to work? But other times, you'll want to introduce your own little quirk that makes your game stand apart from the rest. 

For Cat Quest, that mantra was simplicity. For better or worse, we wanted to take existing mechanics in RPGs and see in what ways we could simplify it. Take our quests for example. We really hate how in open-world RPGs you can unintentionally take a dozen side quests at one time and feel so bogged down and overwhelmed. So we decided it would be interesting if we forced players to only take one quest at a time (a la GTA). 

JB: Many players, unfortunately, have a negative opinion of mobile games. Was there ever a concern that Cat Quest might be dismissed for being on mobile first?

DW: Actually, Cat Quest came out on Steam and iOS simultaneously. But disregarding that, yes, there was obviously that concern. Mobile games have been getting a very bad rap through the years, mainly due to the F2P genre. When people hear of a mobile game, they instantly write it off as a "bad" game, and that was something we were definitely concerned about.

However, what we found was that this was the vocal minority. A lot of people actually don't really care, and if it's a good game, they will be interested in it and eventually buy it if it's up their alley. We've had people who told us they bought both the mobile and Steam versions because they wanted to play on the go and at home. This was really awesome to hear for us!

We think that at the end of the day, your game has to feel like it's designed for the platform you're going to release on. This is why we redesigned the control from the ground up for both PC and mobile. If you're playing on PC, you will feel the game was designed for it, and likewise if you're playing on mobile. Do that, and the players will appreciate that and support your game.

JB: The cat puns are an integral part of the game and are pulled off very well. How difficult was it to get them to work right, or did it just flow naturally?

DW: In some ways, we had to create our own "cat language." Right from the get-go, we made a decision that our cats would speak differently from humans and that they would speak exclusively in puns. This means everything in the game, from the town names to the items to the spells, would all be in puns (because that's the cat language we created). With this in mind, we made a term base of normal words and their cat alternatives. So words like "very" would become "furry." "Awesome" would become "Pawsome," etc. Then it was just a matter of keeping our dialogue consistent and making sure we followed the rules set by our cat language.

JB: What was the process like porting Cat Quest to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, and was there an easier platform to work with?

DW: We think that both consoles had their pros and cons for sure. Overall, though, developing on the Switch was more fun because, honestly, we really like the hardware!

JB: For the RPG player used to somewhat more serious outings, what would you say to convince them to give Cat Quest a try?

DW: Play Cat Quest if you want a new, fat-free, condensed experience of what an RPG could be. Cat Quest is a rapid-fire RPG and feels much faster-paced and different from the more plodding open-world RPGs out there. The more traditional RPG experiences aren't going away, but if you want to try something new, give Cat Quest a shot! 


Cat Quest released earlier this year on iOS and Steam, and the Switch and PlayStation 4 versions are out November 10th. If you're interested in learning more about the game's origins, including the hero's transformation from cat dancer extraordinaire to full-fledged cat warrior, check out The Gentlebros' development blog here.

Sugarhigh Shakedown: A sugary beat em up tale Thu, 26 Oct 2017 11:58:04 -0400 ReadyPlayerPaige

There's a new game coming to the beat 'em up family. Developed by Stale Evolution Games, Sugarhigh Shakedown combines 2D art and animation with a 3D aesthetic. 

The game revolves around a police cadet named Gil who is called upon to stop an evil CEO from selling sweets to innocent children who become hyperactive and mind-controlled after eating them. Gil is tasked with stopping a villain who takes advantage of the thing kids love most to create mindless zombie-like children who run wild. Inspired by titles like Double Dragon and Battletoads, the game uses pixel art and graphics to create a classic video game aesthetic.

Stale Evolution Games is creating an online fundraiser using Patreon and Kickstarter to raise money to not only promote the game, but also expand it to other platforms besides PC and Mac. They are also providing behind-the-scenes videos of the making of Sugarhigh Shakedown on their YouTube channel. There are also plans to create a line of t-shirts, stickers, and candy to support the launch of the game.  

Sugarhigh Shakedown will be released spring or summer of 2018. For more information about Sugarhigh Shakedown or Stale Evolution, visit their website here.

Town of Light Developer Donates $10,000 to Mental Health Awareness Wed, 25 Oct 2017 14:56:14 -0400 Sarah Elliman

Wired Productions, the UK-based Indie game developer and publisher of The Town of Light, has announced it has reached its initial goal for funding mental health awareness non-profit Take This Inc. The company, alongside Italian game developer LKA, has raised $10,000 for the charity.

All the proceeds of the campaign will be donated to Take This Inc. to help the non-profit in its mission to support individuals with mental health issues. This is the first activity in a year-long campaign to help raise awareness for mental health.

Managing Director of Wired Productions Leo Zullo announced he was, "...delighted by (the) success of this first campaign". To raise funds, Wired Productions held a promotion where 25% of The Town of Lights sales went toward funding the donation. Both studios have received immense support from retailers when they offered a further 20% discount off the game and with a direct contribution to the fund from Games Planet.

Journalist and President for Take This Inc Paul Ritts considers said that, "Wired's financial contribution is a real help, but the more tangible support is knowing their voice has been added to ours." 

Zullo echoed that statement, saying that Wired Productions was, "...steadfast in our belief that mental health is an issue that the gaming community as a whole needs and wants to tackle." 

The Town of Light was not Wired’s first game, but for LKA, this initial project was one that hit very close to home.

Released in February 2016, The Town of Light is a psychological horror game set in a Tuscan hospital, the Pschiatrico di Volterra. You play as Renee, an ex-patient in 1940’s who is trying to piece together the events that happened in Volterra.

Inspired by the real hospital and events that happened there during its operation, The Town of Light illuminates the horrors of stigma centered on mental health issues. 

Wired Productions and LKA are exceedingly grateful to Games Planet, Humble Bundle, Xbox,PlayStation Store, Greenman Gaming and Steam for their help with the campaign.

You can directly donate to the work Take This Inc is trying to achieve by going to their website, where you can find out more about the work the company is doing and the plans they have for the future.

You can also get directly involved with Wired Productions' year-long campaign by creating charity events of your own. 

Power Up Digital Games Offers Free, Online Conference for Indie Devs Mon, 23 Oct 2017 15:44:44 -0400 Robert Kazmierczak

The Power-Up Digital Games Conference is holding its third free event to educate and inspire indie developers. Running from midnight on October 25 until 2:30 p.m. on October 28, the event will be held entirely on a Discord server so that people from all over the world can participate without the necessity of traveling and paying for lodging. 

As in the past, this newest event will focus on a theme, "Syntax Error". The theme is meant to bring focus to the fact that while there are a ton of problems in the world of indie game development, there are just as many solutions. 

The event is meant to bring together knowledgeable indie developers to give newbies a chance to learn from their collective experiences.

Some attendees include:

  • Mark Soderwall, Founder of Indie Game University
    With over 20 years of experience creating a directing games, Mark Soderwall created Indie Game University to share his real life experiences with others.
  • Renee Gittens, Creative Director and CEO of Stumbling Cat
    Renee Gittens is currently involved in creating Potions: A Curious Tale, as well as making a video blog about the process, titled "Making Potions: A Tale of Game Development". 
  • Rich Bosso, President of Hyperkinetic Studios
    Having previously worked on a variety of AAA titles, Rich Bosso co-founded Hyperkinetic Studios to puch the limits of the interactive learning and gaming industries.  
  • Tara Voelker
    Another veteran designer, Tara Voelker is a big proponent of accessibility. She is an accessibilty consultant, aiming to push for games to be made more accessible to players with disabilities. 

There are currently 36 guest speakers set to appear for panels involving everything from design to marketing. 

Make sure to join the Power-Up Digital Games Conference Discord server. And don't forget to visit the PDGC website for the full list of panels and guest speakers.

How to Develop and Publish Any Game in 9 Simple Steps Tue, 05 Sep 2017 17:31:52 -0400 ginger_ana

To create a solid game, you need a good idea, a skilled development team, and a decent amount of money. These boxes are easy to check for big production studios -- but for indie developers, it's not all roses. For the most part, these studios are working with smaller, less experienced teams that don't have access to the piles of money that an AAA dev might.

For a lot of indie devs, the only real asset they have to their names is a great idea. And because it can be hard to find the talent or funds to bring that idea to life, many developers stop with the idea because they don't know what to do next. But it doesn't have to be that way. There's no obstacle too big for the inspired and passionate mind -- so long as that mind has the information it needs to make a dream a reality. 

In this step-by-step guide, I'm going to cover everything an aspiring indie developer could want to know about the game development process and what path they need to follow for their great ideas to take shape as tangible products. Read carefully, and you can help your game hit the market in 9 simple steps. 

Step 1: Market Research

Market research is the first thing you should do to find a niche where you can succeed. Conduct a study to find games that are similar to the ideas/concepts you have in mind. Explore their strengths and weaknesses, community judgments, latest trends, trending niches, and other factors to get a picture of the gaming market's current state. You should understand the audience’s needs and be ready to meet them, even if that means tailoring your idea to the industry's changing needs. 

But even if you know what the market wants, it's hard to deny that advertising and branding are what push a majority of successful titles into the limelight. However, there are some great indie-developed games that have gone on to become smash hits purely because they met the market's needs. Let's take Minecraft, for example. Initially developed by a one-person team, this game took the industry by storm and has since become a multi-platform phenomenon. 

This just goes to show that if your idea is competitive and appeals to a large number of gamers, it shouldn't be too difficult to enter the gaming space. This is where market research comes in handy, as it will help you get some insight into what has the potential to be truly successful, and will answer questions like:

  • What games are trending currently?
  • How much competition is there in your chosen niche?
  • Can your game offer something new that players haven't seen before (a proprietary feature, fresh gameplay, an innovative structure, etc.)?
  • What sort of funds will you need to create this game and compete in your genre's space?
  • How much money could you potentially make from this game?

We can use sports games as a great case study in this regard. After the original release of FIFA 14, which was the fastest-grossing game in the soccer series, a number of similar indie games were released soon after. All of them offered various functionalities that weren't available in previous iterations. But with each new game that released, the niche became a little more cramped. Now it's so saturated that the chances of seeing success in this corner of the industry is much slimmer than it was a few years ago. 

Deep analysis of the market's potential and your room for success/competitive improvement will help you get a better sense of whether or not creating a game in that space is a worthy endeavor. But once you've determined that your idea is a viable one that can probably compete in its genre, it's time to move on to your game concept. 

Step 2: Creating a Game Concept

The game concept is a clear and simple vision of the future game -- made in the way that everyone involved can understand what its focus is and what it hopes to achieve. Producers, developers, artists, and even marketers must be able to comprehend the game concept and become familiar with what they are going to do and what angles they need to approach the game from.

A game concept is not only about how your project will look; it is also about how it will feel for the player and what development efforts you need to put in so that you can deliver the kind of experience you want to. Think of it as a kind of a road map for each department involved in game production.

Moreover, the game concept should provide information on how you are planning to act in case of force majeure and predicted or unpredicted situations. In other words, this is your exhaustive action plan that provides comprehensive answers to at least the following questions:

  • What will you do if your game achieves some level of success?
  • What will you do if the game fails?

There are a number of elements that should be included in your game concept other than goals, aesthetic ideas, and general gameplay concepts. You should also crunch some numbers so that you can outline a general budget in terms of both funds and effort -- keeping in mind the potential risks and rewards involved. 

This concept should also include the platforms you want to release the game for, and what audience you're planning to target. This will not only let the team know how much effort will be required to develop this game, but it will also help them to decide what development approach to choose -- cross-platform or porting. Moreover, knowing who the target audience is can get a significant influence on the art direction, UI, gameplay, and miscellaneous mechanics.

There's one last thing that's incredibly important to include in your game concept: your monetization strategy. Whether you plan on utilizing buy-to-play, premium services, in-app purchases, advertising, subscriptions, or a combination of these, this information is essential if you are planning to attract third-party investors like publishers, entrepreneurs, or friends.

As soon as your concept is ready, it's time to think of something more material. I'm talking about the money, of course.

Step 3: Finding Funds

It is impossible to work just on your enthusiasm. Developing a game requires devotion, skills, and of course, a lot of money. Unless you have enough money to finance the entire project yourself, you will need someone (perhaps an investor or a publisher) to fund the game.

But nobody is going to open up their pockets and hand you their money just because you tell them you are about to make an awesome game. Your project can only hope to meet its budget needs if your investors see a high probability that they'll get a satisfactory return on their investment. If your concept cannot prove that to potential stakeholders, then you might as well throw it away. It sounds harsh, but that's just the way things work. You won't get deep pockets on the hook unless your concept is thought out and convincing. 

Sometimes, indie teams aren't aware of what they're getting into when they start hunting for investors and don't quite understand how much of a say those investors will get in the final version of the product. So consider yourself warned -- when you conclude a contract with the investor and take their money, you're selling the ownership of your game (partly or completely). From that point on, even if your name is credited with head development accolades, you're not the only one who will be making decisions about the game. 

To summarize, getting money often means sacrificing creative independence. It's not ideal, but it's often a necessary compromise. 

Once you're prepared to make certain concessions, you have to figure out where to look for investors. Luckily, there are a number of places you can start your search. 

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Patreon, and IndieGogo can be really useful in terms of non-refundable funds. You might be surprised by how many people are willing to donate some money to help prospective projects see the light of release. 

You can also apply for start-up launch platforms that provide information, research, and assistance with all aspects of getting a gaming business launched -- including ways to connect with investors. AngelList, for instance, is a great way to learn about potential investors and let them learn about you. Create a profile that includes specific info about the company, and explain your game concept if you want to increase your chances of getting noticed. 

Business accelerators and incubators could also be useful for your game to enter the market. Incubator programs are focused on conceptualization, the formation of a team, and creation of a prototype; meanwhile, accelerators help indie teams develop a marketing strategy and put a game on the market. Both programs provide consulting and mentoring services, conduct various master-classes, internships, workshops, and even occasionally assist with arranging offices and technical equipment.

Step 4: Forming a Team

As much as you might want to, you obviously can't do everything yourself. So you need a team of like-minded individuals who are willing to collaborate on your project and make sure it's the best that it can be. You should build partner relationships with each team member, understand the skills and capacities they have at their disposal, and make sure everyone is on the same page with regard to what game you hope to have at release and what audience will be playing it. 

The team should work as a holistic mechanism. In order to achieve this, you'll need to study your team members to identify their strengths and weaknesses and gauge the scope of their knowledge. If you're working on a larger scale project, you may also want to consider hiring professional managers who will help you control and administer the team, as well as experienced marketers who will be in charge of tracking the latest trends and help you promote the game.

One alternative to this is to outsource most of that work and find a team of specialists to handle different aspects of the game's development (or even promotion if needed). Many publishers and game development companies such as Sony, EA, Ubisoft, Namco, Nintendo, and even Blizzard outsource the creation of their popular titles to outside studios. Sometimes different parts of the game are crafted by different teams depending on their skillset. 

Outsourcing companies like Game-Ace, a Ukrainian-based game development company, usually provide a full range of services from developing game concepts to implementing monetization strategies. But if funds are a limiting factor, this obviously won't be something you can do. 

Step 5: Choosing a Game Engine

The game engine is a program component that allows for creating and launching games. In other words, the game engine provides developers with tools and frameworks to create most of the components for a game and put them all together.

Just as games are diverse, there are many game engines that can simplify and facilitate your development process. Even though some teams prefer to create proprietary engines that satisfy their specific needs, the market still has a lot to offer. The choice depends on the goals and objectives you set when creating the game concept. Here are a few critical questions to ask when choosing a programming environment that will point you in the right direction:  

  • How much time do you have until the deadline? Some game engines require more time and knowledge than others.

  • What programming languages are you familiar with? Depending on your primary programming language, you may need to favor one game engine over another, as acquiring new skills is a time-consuming (and possibly costly) task.
  • What type of game are you planning to release (2D, 3D, VR, AR or MR)? If your game will be based on emerging technologies such as VR or mixed reality, the wise choice would be Unity, because it is geared toward these specific technologies.
  • How many platforms are you willing to target? Cross-platform development is a great strategy to reach a broader audience and thus accumulate bigger profits. However, some games are much more fun (and functional) if they are designed specifically for one platform, like consoles or PCs.
  • How do you plan to monetize your game (advertisement, in-game purchases, pay-to-play, etc.)? The pro versions of many popular game engines will demand royalties for the usage of the programming environment or from further sales of the game after the stable release. For this reason, it's better to think about the fair price for the game beforehand and calculate all the expenses before choosing your engine.

Most game engines use the family of C languages as the main programming shell. Among them are Unreal Engine (UE), which uses C++; Unity, which focuses on JavaScript and C#; and CryEngine, which also requires C++ knowledge.

Despite the complexity of C++, the graphical quality you can get from using it is truly amazing. It is widely used for AAA gaming, which has a high threshold of expectation when it comes to aesthetics. 

Unreal Engine

Unreal is a quite popular programming environment among first-person shooters and role-playing games. Its powerful functionality is suitable for designing detailed game levels and environments directly in the engine's editor  -- and that's really its main advantage over other engines.

The Unreal Engine also offers a Blueprint Visual Scripting System that's great for novice programmers and allows them to create a project without writing a string of code.

Unity Engine

Unity's game engine has a wide range of opportunities with a handy and user-friendly interface. The main advantage of Unity is its ability to develop cross-platform games.  It is also suitable for porting an existing game to a broad spectrum of platforms. 

Unity supports integration with many popular 3D tools such as 3DS Max, Maya, Blender, and etc. After the fourth version of the engine was released, the engine also started working with 2D software and supporting 2D physics.

Despite the fact that Unity works with many external 3D editors, its own graphic editor has a very limited number of functions. For example, there is zero opportunity to develop a 3D model -- with the exception of primitive geometrical figures -- inside the editor. The 3D content should be done with a third-party editor and then integrated into Unity. However, a large library of objects that can be purchased and integrated into the game engine could partly solve this issue.

Cry Engine  

Another game engine that is worth mentioning is CryEngine. It is an incredibly powerful tool that was initially developed by Crytek for its shooter series, Crysis.

This engine can crank out some seriously high-quality graphics. Some even consider it to be better than Unreal Engine. It's also powerful enough for MMOs and RPGs. However, even advanced developers will have to spend a lot of time exploring the working pipeline. If your knowledge and proficiency are in question, you better choose a more user-friendly game engine.

Purchasing Your Engine 

The basic versions of these engines are free of charge. But for many games, you'll have to buy a pro license for a set cost. In Unreal Engine, for example, you’ll have to pay a 5% royalty fee based on the gross revenue for the usage of UE. A pro license for Unity costs $125 per month. And the price for commercial usage of CryEngine is $9.99 per month.

Step 6: Choosing a Monetization Strategy

Generating significant profit from a game is not an easy task in today's market. Of course, only truly thrilling gameplay and graphics can ensure a client's retention. But the right monetization strategies can help improve the user's experience while making sure that money flows into your pockets by unobtrusively helping players decide to spend some cash. 

Today, there are many monetization strategies, and each of them has pros and cons. 

Freemium (Free-to-play)

In this approach, the game can be downloaded free of charge. But the player can purchase additional features, access more levels or events that extend the gameplay, and rack up cosmetic items that change the look of their game. This is often called the "premium" subscription.

This model has successfully applied to games like Dota 2, SMITEWorld of Tanks, and Hearthstone.

Paid Games (Paymium)

This strategy usually refers to games that require a one-time payment when purchasing the entire game with all functionalities in it. Paymium is a common choice for console and video games across the board -- from AAA games like Call of Duty and Mass Effect to indie ventures like ARK: Survival Evolved and The Binding of Isaac. 

In-app purchases (IAP)

This term is almost always directly related to free-to-play games. IAPs allow players to buy additional equipment, costumes, weapons, or skills to improve their game by using real-world money. 

This is most popular pricing strategy among mobile games like Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, and Slotomania.


In-app advertisements are another monetization model that has found a permanent home in mobile gaming. This method uses various targeted ads inside the game to reach an audience -- a strategy that we've seen in games like 2048.


This monetization strategy asks players to pay a set amount of money on a monthly/quarterly/yearly basis to access exclusive content that is not available to other players. 

A subscription model is quite common for MMOs and MMORPGs, and it's seen success in games like World of Warcraft, EVE Online, and Final Fantasy XIV.

Usually, game production studios and publishers choose a combination of these pricing models. The most popular blends are free-to-play + IAP and free-to-play + advertising.

Before deciding upon your winning strategy, though, you'll want to explore what options have been proven to work for the popular games in your niche, and then choose one that can be most beneficially applied to your genre and type, while ensuring that you maximize your profit margins.

Step 7: Marketing And Advertising

The success of every gaming project depends on the promotional efforts put into its marketing campaign. In this regard, marketers must act to the fullest extent of their capacities in order to make sure that a game receives as much publicity as possible.

Marketing pushes might include video content (game trailers, promo reels, gameplay clips, etc.), written content (articles, press releases, news, etc.), official websites or blogs, and social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, etc.). All of these various platforms will come handy in when it's time to generate intrigue in your audience and get them anticipating your game's release.

Moreover, professionally created promotional campaigns can help you reach the revenue goals that you set in your game concept by targeting the right audience, enticing various communities in the gaming industry, raising brand awareness and generating gamer hype, and ultimately driving more sales.

With over 600 million gamers hanging out on Facebook and Instagram, you have an almost unlimited potential to engage more of your target audience, and promote gaming events -- thus increasing potential revenue.

Step 8: Game Production

After the main blueprint of the game is ready, the larger group of artists, designers, programmers, and producers are brought into the mix. At this step, your team mostly works to develop the assets and main functionality, including the game environments, leading and supporting characters, and establishment of thrilling gameplay. The producers will supervise the artists and programmers to ensure they work together as a team and have the same vision for the project.

Typically, the game design document, game specifications, and other documentation are completed, but the game designer is still there to make sure all the details are considered and all the features implemented properly. Once all required functionality is ready, the team is usually optimizing the game -- for instance, reducing the number of polygons to shorten the loading time or adding more lighting to a cut-scene to improve the picture.

Step 9: Game Release

Many consider this to be the most critical part of game production. It certainly is, but if all the previous steps are done properly, there should be no problem with this one.

Once you reach this step, may be time to contact publishers and ask them to take your game under their wing. The large game publishers could help you distribute your game or publish it across many influenced stores using their contacts -- so getting in touch with programs like the Square Enix Collective can really go a long way in this regard.

No one can guarantee your success, of course -- and let's be honest, gaming is so developed today that the chances of a non-AAA game being a smash hit is somewhat marginal. Even if your game does not perform as expected, you can always improve it by analyzing the feedback from players and publishers and working to improve that game through updates, or apply those lessons to your next project.  

Have the courage to give up something that is not working for your audience and explore new opportunities. Success comes to those who fight hard and are willing to take the necessary risks.

The development process is not easy and is quite time-consuming; however, you should not shelve your game idea just because the road ahead seems long and hard. Work through the concept, find a team, and design the game that will make everyone play by your rules.

ProjectMQ: A Platform Built for the Indie Game Community Wed, 23 Aug 2017 17:19:15 -0400 Kat De Shields

It’s no secret that the indie development scene is taking the gaming world by storm. Small dev studios are producing noteworthy and wildly popular games that rival some titles coming out of AAA studios. As the indie scene continues to grow, it’s important to take notice of the organizations and sites that work to support them. 

Enter ProjectMQ.

This is much more than a social platform dedicated to indie games. It’s a thriving community of indie fans and indie developers that seeks to educate as well as elevate.

According to the ProjectMQ website:

Game discovery/visibility is terribly broken on many computer, mobile, and console marketplaces. This frustrates gamers that are trying to find quality interactive experiences. It also makes indie developers/studios struggle to build a social audience and sell their games. ProjectMQ fixes the game discovery problem with a global community for indie game studios and fans.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Malcolm and Marcus Howard -- twins and creators of ProjectMQ --  about how they plan to connect, support, and grow the global indie gaming community. 

Malcolm and Marcus Howard, creators of ProjectMQ.

GS: How did the idea for ProjectMQ come about?

Malcolm: Playing video games has always been a big part of our lives. We’ve been playing since we were six years-old -- Super Mario Bros 3. In college we’d watch YouTube videos and think, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a way to share memories and have an easier way in general to watch media for games?” At the time, there wasn’t a platform that existed like that.

GS: What is your vision for ProjectMQ? How will it work?

Marcus: Project MQ is comprised of two pieces. The first is a public brand on social media channels. Our goal is to expand our active presence on platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, where millennials, gamers, and developers live. Our website offers public resources for developers, like tips for marketing on Twitter, how to start and run a Kickstarter campaign, PR best practices, and other information. The second piece of ProjectMQ is an invitation-only exclusive area where we handpick indie games from across the world to be featured on the site. People who are passionate about indie titles can access the site and check out what’s up and coming or new, too. We will use both of these pieces to offer support to the indie game community.

Steam is in business to make sales, not necessarily to promote quality indie games. With things like Steam Sales, consumer expectation is that they should only buy games at the lowest possible price or when a sale is going on. Unlike AAA studios, indie development studios don’t pad their budgets. They add in just enough to make a profit that will make their next game. Unfortunately, many consumers are conditioned to not appreciate any game unless it’s $0.99. Indie devs are small business owners and entrepreneurs in their own right. They can’t afford to make a living off of $0.99 games.

The games we select are polished and unique. Our goal is to grow ProjectMQ to support a larger number of indie developers, but we have to keep that number small now due to limited resources.

Malcolm: It’s not that we don’t want to support all indie devs -- that’s why we have the Twitter marketing aspect -- it's that we’re focused on the middle tier of the indie scene. You have a group of mid-tier devs who are spending years making a game and investing money in the games they make. It’s important that this group of people can continue to make their games.

Marcus: We aim to establish a public brand where indie devs and fans can connect around the world. We also want to provide actionable, high-value advice. Our site is exclusive to people who truly want to move the indie community forward.

Malcolm: “A rising tide floats all boats.”

GS: How are indie development studios responding to ProjectMQ?

Malcolm: We’ve received overwhelming, positive support for what we’re doing. All of our efforts are volunteer based. We don’t charge developers for the promotions we run, like #indiefeaturemonday and #indiefeaturefriday. Indies are thankful for what we’ve done; there aren’t a lot of places where they can get this level of support. Many of them don't have a marketing budget whatsoever. ProjectMQ is a platform where they can promote their work to an active audience that wants to engage with them.

Marcus: So far, we support more than 300 independent development studios across more than 25 countries.

GS: I know you’ve been presenting at investment incubators, what other successes have you had thus far?

Malcolm: In 2016, we won the Hatch House Open competition in Pennsylvania, which included a cash prize and networking/consulting services.

In April of this year, we won Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Savannah’s Bootcamp Demo Day -- a SharkTank-style pitch competition. We received a cash prize from the Savannah Economic Development Authority. We also participated and were selected as a winner in the Neighborhood Start Fund Pitch Competition in Chicago. In May, we completed the Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) Accelerator Program and placed as a finalist in the Accelerator Awards for cash prizes.

GS: What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered?

Malcolm: We missed our first scheduled launch date of January 2016. Ultimately, one of our biggest challenges is time. This is a bootstrapped effort for us, and we’re completely self-funded. A lot of early mornings, late nights, and weekends. We’re trying to build a brand/audience that is global and has content available for all of the time zones our gamers live in.

Marcus: 30,000 followers in two years. We’re excited for the growth, but thousands of people have access to us at any given time. My phone dies a lot. We want the brand to be approachable and human. It takes a lot of effort to provide that experience.

GS: Project MQ has its own Slack Channel. How does this work into the larger social media platform?

Malcolm: Our Slack channel started as a temporary solution, but it’s worked out really well and it’s something that is scaleable. The community is great, and it’s a great way for us to interact with supporters and get feedback on a regular basis. One of the things we love about our Slack community is that everyone is positive and helpful. They share advice and support each other. There’s the occasional debate, but it doesn’t devolve into mudslinging.

GS: How can people get involved with or support ProjectMQ?

Malcolm: Follow us on Twitter and keep up with the ProjectMQ dev blog -- it’s the place where we share backstories, successes and challenges.

Marcus: If anyone else wants to support what we're doing, support indie games. A lot of people don't realize that making games takes an incredible amount of work. Even if you don't’ have money to spend, telling someone you like their work goes a long way. Share something if you think it’s cool. Every little bit helps.

GS: If you could go back to the beginning and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Malcolm: Scale down. Not in our efforts but in the features. That’s part of the reason why launch has been delayed. We were building out stuff like chat features from scratch, but they are better suited via the platforms we’re using now. It cost us development time.

GameSkinny would like to thank Marcus and Malcolm for taking the time to speak with us and for all their efforts to support the indie dev community. ProjectMQ is live and in pre-alpha. To see what ProjectMQ is up to, check out their website, their Twitter page or dev blog.

Why Breath of the NES Was a Smart Move for WinterDrake Mon, 08 May 2017 15:00:01 -0400 tofuslayer

In the wake of the hype surrounding Breath of the Wild, indie developer WinterDrake emerged with a fan-made game that embodied the whimsy and cleverness that embodies the Legend of Zelda franchise. His game, Breath of the NES, created a playable version of the 2D prototype of BoTW seen in "The Making of Breath of the Wild" -- and he did it really well.

BoTNES featured many of the same aspects unique to the new BoTW game, including an increased ability to interact with the game world, like the ability to cut down trees and harvest food. It also showed some original content, such as the Byoki Berry, a poisonous berry that a player could drop in front of Octorocks as a distraction.

While it was obvious that WinterDrake was having fun with BoTNES and that he was going somewhere with all of this, we just couldn't tell where he planned to go with it.

When BoTNES made its debut in April, shortly before the official release of BoTW, it received immediate attention from gaming news sites all over the internet. The game's sudden publicity was met with excitement from many Zelda fans, but also harsh criticism from some.

"People really like to receive takedown notices don't they?" and "That can't be legal" are just two comments taken from Kotaku's tweet about BoTNES. It wasn't legal, but it was brilliant. 

And because of that, it didn't take long for Nintendo to notice what was going on and put an end to it. In order to avoid a potential lawsuit, WinterDrake complied with the Nintendo takedown of BoTNES and removed the download link from his account. Shortly after the demise of BoTNES became official, WinterDrake told GameSpot that his project would continue, but without Nintendo-copyrighted content.

If you suspected before the takedown that the developer knew that he would be stopped from using copyrighted materials, you were right. WinterDrake told GameSpot that it was a "planned decision," probably to gain a platform for his future projects. It was a creative strategy and a smart publicity move for the young developer. His newfound platform will benefit his projects as he moves on with the game -- after removing all the copyrighted content, of course.

We've seen fan games like Pokémon Uranium and Red Dead Redemption V shut down in the past. However, the BoTNES situation seems a little different than some of these past takedowns. Pokémon Uranium developers kept their nine-year development a secret throughout the entire process, only to be taken down a month after release. And more recently, RDRV sought to bring the original game's map into Grand Theft Auto 5 -- and was subsequently forced to stop development.

What WinterDrake is doing with BoTNES that is different from these two scenarios is that he's continuing his work in a very public way while still complying with the takedown from Nintendo. Whether or not it was his strategy all along to bring awareness to his work using BoTW and use that attention to fuel his future developments, is truly unknown. But it worked.

BoTNES fans all over the world are waiting to see what he does next. I wish the best of luck to him and all the indie developers out there trying to gain a voice in the gaming world.


Did you play Breath of the NES? Tell us what you thought in the comments below!

How Indie Devs Are Filling the Platforming Void Sun, 16 Apr 2017 14:37:06 -0400 Dan Roemer

The platforming genre -- outside of Nintendo's offerings -- has fallen from the mainstream as of late, but thankfully we have indie developers filling that much needed void. So much so that in recent years we've seen some of the best the genre has to offer thanks to the indie scene. Today I'll be breaking down my favorite sub-genres of platformers and what indie games within these genres truly stand out and that you should check out!

Puzzle Platformers



The puzzle platforming genre is more alive than ever thanks to the indie-scene, with incredible games such as Jonathan Blow's Braid released back in 2008, originally for the Xbox360. From its time manipulation mechanic based puzzles and platforming, to the odd obscure story and the many different unique worlds with their own time manipulation rules, Braid is one of the best puzzle platformers of all time.

And really, it's a beautiful example of how indie developers are taking old tricks and making them new -- keeping the platforming genre alive, well, and diversified. 



2016's INSIDE, from developer Playdead, has an incredibly haunting atmosphere. This game is a testament to what a platformer can achieve in terms of horror, puzzle solving, and environmental storytelling. It's not hard to see why puzzle platformers are alive and well thanks to indie developers like Playdead. Garnering an overwhelmingly positive rating on Steam, INSIDE is also on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Hardcore, Challenging Platformers

Indies have also given us platformers that will simply kick your ass and possibly make you destroy a controller or two. Harkening back to the days of the arcade quarter munchers, you will absolutely die in these games, but you'll still keep coming back for more punishment because of their addictive nature.

Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy, from developer Team Meat, is without a doubt one of the most challenging platformers out there. Whenever you die (which will be a lot), you'll know it's purely your fault. Why? Because the controls are dead-on precise, making every move you make not only intuitive but highly reactive. Stack over 300 levels on top of that, and you'll end up dying a hell of a lot and keep coming back for more.



If you thought 300 levels was insane, N++ from developer Metanet Software features well over 2000 levels.

The N series started off as a flash game released back in 2005, which you can play and download here for free. I remember sinking countless hours into it in the public library of my high school during lunch hours and talking with my friends about how far we could get in each episode. 

I'm proud to say N++ was one of the games I was excited for when I originally bought my PlayStation 4; it's also available on PC now as well. With the endless levels, competitive local multiplayer, local co-op, and a level creator with an active community. N++ is the accumulation of over 11 years of work for developer Metanet Software, and it clearly shows.

Pure 2D Platformers

By “pure” I mean basic in design, or games that take inspiration from titles that made the genre what it is today. Games such as Mario, Sonic, Mega-Man, Donkey Kong, etc., would fit into this category. Once again the indie scene has absolutely given us games that take us back to the platforming roots of the 80s and 90s.

Freedom Planet


Prior to the upcoming release of Sonic Mania, it almost seemed like we'd never get a tried and true return to form to the original 2D Sonic games of the early 1990s. Some could say we did get Sonic the Hedgehog 4 -- but I'd say that was more of a dumpster fire than an actual return to form.

But the indie developer GalaxyTrail filled that void for many with Freedom Planet.

Successfully Kickstarted and released in 2014 for PC and just last month for the PlayStation 4 in North America, Freedom Planet contains the loops, speed, and boss fights you'll remember from the original Sonic games and the high octane of platformers of years past. The name itself is inspired by the 90s Sonic OVA movie in which the main setting was called “Planet Freedom."

In fact, the game itself started off as just another Sonic fan game, but the developers wanted to give the game its identity; which is exactly what they achieved.

Shovel Knight


From developer Yacht Club Games comes Shovel Knight -- probably one of the most iconic indie platformers of all time. It has been released on just about everything, from the Nintendo Switch to the PC. And chances are that if you have a console made after 2005, you can play Shovel Knight on it, which you should. 

Shovel Knight takes modern design cues from the Dark Souls series while taking heavy inspiration from Mega-Man and Castlevania. With an incredible soundtrack, challenging but not unfair level design, a unique life sytem, bright, vibrant retro stylized visuals, and free DLC that expands the game even further, Shovel Knight is an indie platformer that needs to be played by everyone who wants to experience what 1980s platformers were like in their heyday.

3D Platformers

Unless it's Mario, Sonic, or Ratchet and Clank, the heyday of 3D AAA platformers seems to have come and gone (unless you're Snake Pass!). However, the indie scene is also just now budding with potential for quality 3D platformers. And although I still feel we haven't fully reached the heights of what the other sub-genres have accomplished, there are still some great games out there. 



Developer Playtonic Games successfully kickstarted and released Yooka-Laylee only a couple of days ago, with the Switch version right around the corner. Despite the mixed reviews it's been receiving -- and not being exactly indie -- I think it's an important step in the direction of filling the void for 3D platformers from the indie-scene and shows what a non-AAA company can do within the platforming genre. 

Playtonic Games, for those who don't know, is made up of former RARE employees, and Yooka-Laylee itself is a throwback to the 3D collect-a-thon' platformers of old -- especially in terms of design. Running on the Unity engine and featuring a soundtrack from none other than Grant Kirkhope, I think it's a game that Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie fans are really going to appreciate.



Coming from developer Polykid and released on Steam earlier this year, Poi is another game that hearkens back to the N64 era of 3D platformers. But more specifically, it is heavily inspired by 3D Mario games in terms of design, including more recent games like Super Mario Galaxy.

In Poi you collect medallions that act the same way the stars do in the 3D Mario titles. It's a bit lacking in polish overall, but if you're a fan of 3D Mario games and need something to fill the void until Super Mario Odyssey this December -- then I can't recommend it enough.


So as you can see, if you're a platforming nut and looking new, innovative platformers to sink your teeth into, the indie scene is ripe with casual and hardcore offerings to satisfy your every need. 

From 2D platformers to 3D platformers, indie devs are easily filling the platforming void left by AAA developers. 

But what do you guys think, what are some of your favorite indie platformers? Let us know the comments below and for everything platforming and indie related, stay tuned to GameSkinny!

Interview with Sunny Tam -- The Mind Behind Danmaku Unlimited 3 and Maestro of Modern Bullet Hell Thu, 09 Mar 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Jeffrey Rousseau

With today's release of Danmaku Unlimited 3 (DU3), we got a chance to chat with its developer Sunny Tam of Doragon Entertainment. We get to pick his brain about his influences, game development history, and more. We also get to find out what makes his brand of shmups (shoot em ups) so entertaining and thoroughly challenging.

For a  bit of history, his previous title, Danmaku Unlimited 2 on steam in 2014. Over time, it has received many very positive reviews with players and critics alike. 3 years we have a sequel that indie action fans have been waiting for.

Sunny also provides us another perspective in the world of indie game development. Namely, the unique challenges that arise with essentially out doing yourself.

GameSkinny (Jeffrey): What educational influences, or otherwise, lead you to become a game developer? Were there any particular influences people would find interesting?

Sunny Tam: Honestly, it was mostly laziness and luck that got me there. My university's co-op program would try to fill your work placement if you didn't find one before the end of the semester. I just didn't bother with looking for one (World of Warcraft was consuming my life at that point!) until they automatically placed me with a local game studio as a programmer. I did always muse about making games growing up but I don't think it would have happened if I didn't gain all that industry experience during my co-op placement.

GS: Your development history is one that consists of impressive shmups. So why the focus on the genre of shmups? -- Was this your favorite genre growing up?

ST: Shmups -- I feel is something focused enough that a small dev can deliver a really polished experience with very limited means. During the development of the first Danmaku Unlimited, I was pretty into Touhou and Cave games. So, I wanted to create something that can measure up to those lofty standards. I think with DU3 it has finally gotten to the point where it is graphically and mechanically polished enough for me to be happy with the results.

Growing up I played a lot of RTS such as Total Annihilation, Homeworld, Warcraft, and etc. Although, side-scrollers is a genre that I look back on most fondly. Titles like Metal Slug, Philosoma, and Area 88 being some of my favorites. Philosoma in particular, I feel is really underrated as it had great atmosphere/soundtracks and tried to do some very interesting things with perspectives.

GS: For those unfamiliar, your tasks are that of sole director/developer/programmer. What is the most difficult aspect of work for you? -- The artwork, sound design or programming?

ST: One of the more difficult things to do in development is making the different design aspects come together and gel into a polished product. Programming for the most part has an objective finish point, as long as the code does what it is supposed to. However, one could spend days if not weeks making sure the music, bullet patterns, and the rest of the subjective aspects all work together to hit the right tone and feel.

GS: Danmaku Unlimited is not an easy series of games. Most Japanese inspired shmups I've played ignore being easy. However, you've created titles vets and newcomers can play. Could you provide details as to how challenging it was to create that balance?

ST: A lot of shmups, and in the earlier entries of DU as well, handled it by simply reducing the bullet count. This brought down the difficulty but also tended to remove a lot of the 迫力 (a feeling of pressure/intensity) that makes bullet hell fun to play.

So, the challenge became how to maintain that feeling while making it manageable for newer players. The SPIRIT/GRAZE System in DU3 approaches this by leaving the bullets of defeated enemies as "ghost" bullets that the player is encouraged to touch for game play benefits. This not only helps to maintain visual density but also creates a risk vs reward balance. This then encourages players to aggressively move to collect the ghosts bullets while weaving through harmful ones.

GS: The Danmaku titles as scored by Japanese indie circle Blankfield. Their music is rock heavy & very fitting. How exactly did you come to work together?

ST: I came across his music while searching for Touhou remixes on YouTube and just took a shot and e-mailed him to see if he was interested in making some tunes for DU2. A friend help me translate what I wanted to say into Japanese and luckily, he knew English well enough for us to understand each other! He does great work and Danmaku Unlimited 2 definitely owes a lot of its popularity to his awesome soundtracks!

GS: So with games the conversation of difficulty seems to stay the same. Games that are too easy are booed and games that are too hard are waved off. At the same time, you have small communities that love them. From your perspective, do you think this will change?

ST: I think that is fine as long as games stay true to their objectives. Games like VA-11 HALL-A can be said to be extremely easy but it wasn't created to challenge the player mechanically but rather to be more thought provoking. At the other end of the spectrum, you can have games like Super Hexagon which boils down mechanical challenges to its purest form.

GS: What shmups of the past inspired Danmaku Unlimited 3 and the series directly or indirectly?

ST: The Danmaku Unlimited series in a nutshell is really a fusion of Dodonpachi and Touhou style game play -- so those two series were definitely a major influence. Stylistically, I really like the atmosphere of Philosoma and Ikaruga and their approaches in conveying their stories and themes, so I think you will notice their influences in DU3 as well.

GS: When you began development for DU3, what was the first aspect of the game you choose to address? The stages? Bosses? The sprite work?

ST: I was inspired by the sprite rendering technique in LUFTRAUSERS. Thus, creating the dynamic sprite rendering engine for DU3 really gave me impetus to move forward with development. It gave the game the necessary jump in visual quality to warrant a new entry in the series. The flat sprites in DU2 I felt had a lot of room for improvement. So this new engine procedurally assembles and rotates compound sprites. This gives DU3 a more unique look that appears 3D but retains the feel of traditional 2D sprites.

GS: Any surprises, easter eggs, & or specials with DMU3 we might find interesting to find?

ST: It's not much of a surprise but a bit of the story elements changes if you are on track to face the True Last Boss, so it's a neat little way for the players to tell if they are doing very well!

GS: I know its early but what's next? Will we hear about your next project soon?

ST: I have a lot of ideas already! But first thing I would probably do after handling the ports for DU3 is to just relax and make some fun little games on the phone that are more lighthearted and are quicker to develop. Working on the same game for 2+ years as a full-time indie dev is really emotionally and financially draining!

STGs (also known as shmups) and bullet hells are genres that tend to have a lot of conventions that are expected to be followed. So I'd like to work on something that is a little bit less defined in that regard. Though it's pretty safe to say that at some point in the future there should be a remastered version of the original Danmaku Unlimited of some sort!

We would like to thank Sunny for his time and providing a lot of insight.

If you like shmups or if you would like to get into them, I highly recommend Danmaku Unlimited 3. Actions fans can look forward to its release on Steam today.

4 Indie Games You Should Be Backing on Kickstarter Wed, 01 Mar 2017 14:11:54 -0500 Justin Michael


With so many awesome games being developed by indie teams it's hard to keep up with all the great ideas out there but here are the 4 games that will get my backing.


Which of these games caught your eye the most? Let's talk about it, and other great indie titles on Kickstarter in the comments below!

Die for Valhalla!

If you haven't noticed yet, I have a thing for beat-em' up games and couch co-op. The developer team over at Monster Couch have just what I'm looking for to scratch that itch, as well as fulfill my Viking needs with their game Die for Valhalla!.


Reminiscent of Rogue Legacy and  Castle CrashersDie for Valhalla! has a bit of everything you could want from a hack-and-slash game -- Vikings, beards, spears, lightning bolts, berzerker rage, beards, character upgrading, violence, and comical gore.


The game has already met its Kickstarter backing goal and is now in its stretch goal phase to unlock more content and game modes. If you liked the video be sure to check out their Kickstarter and become a Viking today!


The duo at Mad Fellows Games has cooked up something truly challenging and unique -- high-speed sci-fi shooter action layered with pounding electronic beats. Aaero plays off of the synergy of music and precision movement mechanics all while assaulting your earbuds with an incredible lineup of licensed music from artists like Flux Pavilion, Noisia, and Katy B just to name a few. 


Aaero is all ready to be shipped to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 but the Mad Fellows are running their Kickstarter to also bring the game to Steam. The game is already 78% backed and has 14 more days to go so check it out!

No Mercy 

No Mercy is a story of 4 different characters working together to cleanse the forest from the dark powers of corruption while also having the brief respite of Kevin -- the fourth-wall breaking bird person?  


Kevin aside, this is a promising brawler title developed by Multivarious Games, with a Castle Crashers kind of feel to it. It has a whimsical art style and character/story depth just waiting to be discovered.


There is currently a playable demo and it's currently 78% of the way funded with 14 more days to go. I've personally backed this game after trying the demo out as I know that this will be a fun game for my girlfriend and me to play so give it a shot and your support if you can!


RUiN is a Top-Down Arena-styled brawler game being developed by Tarhead Studios -- an indie studio based out of Sweden. The game boasts customizable characters, a large pool of abilities to choose from, and team-based online multiplayer. 


RUiN has already been Steam Greenlighted and is very close to meeting its Kickstarter goal and is currently 92% funded with 7 days to go. Check out the video and if it looks like something you'd like playing then consider backing this new twist on PvP.


Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been an amazing way for some many indie developers to raise the funds to make their ideas into games for people around the world to enjoy. In fact, if it wasn’t for Kickstarter we wouldn’t have games like Elite: Dangerous, Hyper Light Drifter, or Wasteland 2.


With that in mind, let’s take a look at 4 games currently on Kickstarter that we, the gamers, should be backing.

5 Indie Games You Should Get Hyped for in 2017 Fri, 30 Dec 2016 02:00:01 -0500 SarahKel


Wow, there really are some fantastic indie games due out next year. It really does sound like it’s going to be a great year for indie games. These 5 in particular really have stood out amongst the rest and provide something truly new and different for gamers. We very much look forward to playing them and hope you do too.


Let us know in the comments what games from the list have most interested you and any other indie games you look forward to playing in 2017.

Unforeseen Incidents

This is a humorous point and click mystery adventure game, set in a beautiful hand painted 2D world.


In a post-apocalyptic world devastated by a deadly virus, Harper receives a radio message, informing him that ‘they are coming’ and sets out to find out who 'they' are. On this journey, protagonist Harper explores intriguing locations and encounters interesting characters along the way. He also uncovers conspiratorial dark secrets behind an ongoing catastrophe that threatens the whole of humanity.


What is so different in this game, is the sketched style artwork, it is unusual, very atmospheric and stands out from other games. The game provides a unique and modern twist on a 90s style adventure game and provides much nostalgia and reminiscence as a result.


Follow the game's journey now its been Greenlit on Steam.

Mr. Shifty

Mr. Shifty, developed by Team Shifty and tinyBuild, is an action adventure game where the protagonist moves from room to room and enemies in those rooms charge at players, killing them with a single shot.


The game focuses on combat puzzles. While players may initially feel that they should move with patience and care, when characters can warp-dash through walls, that won’t be a problem. This allows for a great freedom of motion so enemies can be evaded. Also, with their fast movement, the characters can trick the enemies into firing into walls!


The game involves the titular character, Mr. Shifty, breaking into the world’s most secure facility via teleportation. Players will need to use distraction, stealth or trickery to evade enemies and rely on smarts, as enemies try to outsmart Mr. Shifty.


The whole visual game is such a treat, as it resembles early Zelda games. It’s a game that doesn’t allow the character to be too powerful, but instead, reliant on a little recklessness, but hey, that’s half the fun.


Follow the game's progress on Steam.

Fabular: Once Upon a Spacetime

This looks like a truly special game, created by Spiritus Games .


The game is a 2D action RPG set in space, in a medieval folktale inspired fantasy universe. Players assume the role of a young knight who decides to set off on an adventure in their trusty spaceship. They need to manage and upgrade their ship, while constantly engaging in combat. Once the character has leveled up through a myriad of encounters, the knight will be faced with the villainous League of the Black Knights, who are terrorising the realm.


It is an interesting mixture of gaming genres that creates a retro-surrealist world. The retro style pixelated visuals look intriguing and the clash of artistry between the Middle Ages and the dystopian future, means a knight wearing a spacesuit is entirely possible!


Follow the star map that yields special events and encounters. Choose a character, including Alchemist or Assassin and players are ready to experience new worlds, interesting locations and new dimensions. The game is due out in late 2017.


Get updates from the developers on the official website.

The Mystery of Woolley Mountain

If The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle hold fond memories, then The Mystery of Woolley Mountain is definitely a game to check out. This game is a 2D point and click adventure game, with a fantastic sprawling universe to explore. All this, with a massive dose of humour too!


Play as one of five renegade audio scientists attempting to save Woolley Mountain from a dark and malevolent witch. These characters meet up in a time travelling submarine and search from island to island to hunt down the witch. Characters are very unique, fun and balanced with positive and negative traits. For example, Van Damme wishes to explore the link between science and mysticism, but everybody else thinks he’s lazy -- and he is!


The adventure interface features 4 unique interactions: talk with others and pick up, use and examine everything around you for the purpose of exploration and investigation to solve puzzles. But when picking up objects and moving them, players may be told by protagonist Garland ‘put that back where it belongs’!


The world is very colourful and so are the characters players meet along the way. These include beasts, automatons and rope men. The style is quintessentially English, with a steampunk twist.


Follow the game's release journey now it's been Greenlit on Steam but is set to be released in October 2017.

Abandon Ship

This is a game developed by Fireblade Software. Players will take command of a ship and its crew whilst exploring a diverse, procedurally generated world and engage enemies in tactical combat.


Set within the Age of Sails, the appearance of this game is stunning, as the illustrations are reminiscent of classic naval oil paintings. The fantasy world of the game is reactive to players’ actions and quests and these may change the game mechanics. These decisions may help or hinder the player at a later point.


Combat will be tactical, using all advantages and tools at the player’s disposal to ensure success. Even if the ship is destroyed during battle, if the captain remains, there is hope. Captains can escape to life boats or even be stranded on the water and then must fight to survive.


Get yourself updated on this game on Steam.


So, 2016 is ending soon and 2017 is on its way, which means a whole new year of new games, new consoles and new conventions.


Rather than looking at the most anticipated games of 2017 -- be it FPS, Horror, or mobile -- and repeating the same games over and over again, we’ve chosen to find games released next year from independent development studios.


We think it’s really important that indie developers have the opportunity to present their games and are able to highlight just how good they really are -- hopefully becoming hidden gems that will be available to purchase. We just can’t wait for these!

Interview With Mystery of Woolley Mountain Developer James Lightfoot Tue, 20 Dec 2016 07:00:01 -0500 SarahKel

This week, we got to interview James Lightfoot, an independent developer of the upcoming crowdfunded game The Mystery of Woolley Mountain. It has already featured in GameSkinny's article about crowdfunding video games and is on our radar as one game to look out for in 2017 (spoiler alert: article coming soon).

We discussed everything from what has inspired James, to what it is like being an indie developer and also about the Kickstarter experience.

The game is set for release in October and is an exciting 2D point and click adventure game. The game is set in a surreal fantastical world, where a group of renegade audio scientists are trying to save a town of children from a malevolent witch, on the mysterious island named Woolley Mountain.

Game Skinny: What was the inspiration behind The Mystery of Woolley Mountain?

James Lightfoot: I decided about a year and a half ago that I wanted to make a game, but had never made a game before. I always loved point and click games and it occurred to me that it would be the best thing to create and as such, decided to teach myself Unity. It made sense that my first game was story and puzzle based and my favourite genre of all time.

I’m in a band called the Helmholtz Resonators and we wrote a story called The Mystery of Woolley Mountain that we did some music for and a friend did artwork for. That was a great story; it was slightly ignored by the world, so when I made my game, I thought why don’t I base it on these characters. Everything came together in a natural way, the story was already written and the characters already existed. It therefore made sense to make the game with this story, characters and music.

In terms of games that inspired me, I would say classic games like, The Secret of Monkey Island, but also 80’s cartoons, such as The Trap Door and The Phantom Tollbooth. This inspired me in terms of storytelling and the worlds you can create.

GS: What prompted the change of art style, from the original to the new style?

JL: This is probably just going to be the cover I think. The cover was designed by a friend, as I wanted a painted version. I wanted a new logo and a new cover, because if you look at the cover of The Secret of Monkey Island, it’s a very beautiful painted cover, which is different to the in-game style and gives it more of a cinematic feel, like a poster. The in-game graphics will remain, but the cover will change to the new look.

GS: How did you find your first Expo visit, at Manchester in October?

JL: It was wonderful and I was so happy and in awe of all the kinds of gamer people because the gaming community is such a welcoming community, where everyone wants to help each other out, everyone was interested in the game, recommends other games and wants to play and review your game. It was a really lovely environment.

I was so over the moon with the feedback, everyone who came to play the game would play it for ages -- to the extent where I had to tell people to ‘get off and let others have a go!’ Kids would play it and love it and it hadn’t occurred to me that young kids would love the storytelling, the puzzles and the interface of a point and click game. It was lovely to see that all ages can enjoy it.

It was a fantastic Expo. I did one in London recently, which was great, so I’ve done two now and I can’t wait to do more.

GS: Was there anyone in particular who inspired the characters?

JL: There wasn’t anyone in particular, because all the traits of the characters are not the same as the band versions. For me, it was getting some classic character traits, such as the fussy guy, the ladies’ man and you’ve got the lazy one. There is the scientist guy who is very studious, and then you’ve got the robot who is the butler.

 You could say, it is a bit like Red Dwarf in a way -- you’ve got Kryton the nice robot, Lister the lazy one and the uptight one in Rimmer. Even Star Wars, with Luke being the young, studious one, Han Solo is the carefree cavalier type and C3-PO is the automaton. This was, I guess a subconscious influence and I think characters exist over and over in different things.

GS: How did you find the whole Kickstarter process and how did it feel to be Greenlit on Steam?

JL: I found the Kickstarter process to be very tough. I didn’t realise just how much work there would be in the Kickstarter process before I started.

I did a lot of prep, making a video, doing research and making the page brilliant, but I didn’t realise how hard you have to push on social media, to get people to pledge, without repeating yourself. If you keep saying ‘please pledge’, people will just unfollow you. Every time you get a notification on your phone that someone has pledged, it is an amazing feeling and you get obsessed by it all.

You need to think of different ways to show the game, such as new videos or new imagery, all within one month. You need to keep in touch with magazines and blogs too, to mention the game. Once it builds momentum, it snowballs, as the media see it doing well and continue to mention the success.

To be Greenlit on Steam was wonderful, as it is a massive platform to get your game out to and it is an honour to be up there. It kind of came out of nowhere. You kind of have to link your Kickstarter people to Steam and it bounces back and forth.

GS: What inspired you to do indie games development?

JL: I want to be a games designer and it made sense to me that the best way to become an indie developer is to make a game. If the game’s successful, it allows me to make another game, but equally it becomes my portfolio to show large game development firms.

I’ve still got 10 months to complete the game and I may be burnt out by the experience, but I have plans and ideas for another game. But if you want to be something, you have to do the things needed in order to achieve it – go and make it so. It’s like if you want to be a footballer, you have to get a ball, go outside and practice, practice, practice.

The individuality of someone’s art is what makes it successful. If, say you’re an artist, no one cares how well you can draw; it’s what expression you’re making with the drawing and the style that you bring which is new and fresh. It’s what you create, not what it is meant to be compared to.

GS: Do you view the game as a stand-alone game, or as part of a series?

JL: I think it depends on how well it does, whether I want to look at those characters ever again. If it’s successful and people want a sequel, then the sequel would have to be a point and click adventure game. But I might kind of think of making it a 2.5D, or maybe 3D, I don’t know.

I think my initial thought is to do an entirely different genre for my next game, which is what I want, purely because I’d have been doing a point and click adventure for two years when the game is released. It would be fun to do a side scrolling shoot ‘em up game, but with those characters in, something different.

GS: How long is the game expected to last to fully complete?

JL: I find this a little difficult to answer because it depends on how good you are at point and click games. I think it is definitely going to be a good amount of time to play it. Parts 1 and 2 are very big but part 3 will be a little bit smaller, owing to its smaller environment.

It takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to complete part 1 and that’s knowing exactly what to do. Even if you flew through part 1, it would still take at least 45 minutes, there’s that much to it.

I recently played Duke Grabowski, the point and click game and the artwork was done by the same person who did The Curse of Monkey Island. I enjoyed playing it but it was very short. My part 1 is bigger than that, so it is unlikely it could be completed in one sitting, unless you’re a genius.

I want this game to have one of those middle of the night Eureka moments, where you go ‘of course’, you use the thingamabob with the wotsit’.

I certainly should have priced it higher when I did my Kickstarter, it’s worth the £7.00 ($8.69), for a digital game, I should have priced it at £15.00 ($18.64) for the size of the game, I think. You look at other Kickstarters in the genre that have been successful and you think right, that’s a good pricing point, but later on, you see another successful one that’s charging twice as much which has done really well too and you just think, never mind. But it’s not about the money, it’s about making the game and getting it out there on all the platforms.

GS: How long did you spend contemplating the game before bringing it to Kickstarter?

JL: I wanted to make sure that part 1 of the game was pretty much playable before I did the Kickstarter, because I wanted to make sure that I could actually make this game. This helped in making the video, so I could show the game actually being played. And this puts backers’ minds at rest when they see it being played; that there is actually a game you can play. With most Kickstarters, the game is just an idea, a few sketches, it doesn’t exist.

I spent from October 2015 to May 2016 designing the game, then two months getting the Kickstarter ready.

GS: What have you learnt about yourself, gaming and life throughout the whole process?

JL: I’ve learnt that if you want to do something, you should do it, have a go at it and believe in yourself. For a Kickstarter, you have to research, be thorough, and want to do it, be passionate about it and put the work in. Once you’ve done a Kickstarter, that’s a promise and you have to fulfil that promise.

For me, doing a Kickstarter, a whole world has opened up, of new wonderful people in the industry, guys like yourself and doing Expos. Everyone is willing me to make this a success. I’ve learnt that the gaming community is a fantastic community.

But the main thing I’ve learnt is that it’s not easy to make a game, it is a lot of work, especially if you’re doing it yourself. But I love every minute of it, so it’s all fine. I find it very therapeutic to make my game, I can sit there, zone out and just be programming or writing a story. I am so pleased I did this project.

GS: What do you hope backers and players will take away from the game?

JL: I hope they take away a thrilling and humorous story and adventure that they are part of. And just enjoy the game and feel the passion, love and work that has gone into it, that drips off the screen when you play it.

I want people to feel that they’ve got more than their monies worth and that they want to know more about me and my next game. And that they tell other people about it, because for me, as a player and backer of other games, when you finally get that game and it’s better than you hoped you tell the world about it. If you get a game and it’s not as good as you thought, you tell the world about that too. I’d rather people say that they loved every minute and they enjoyed it and had a wonderful experience.

This game truly looks promising; with its impressive art style, funny characters, intriguing story and retro reminiscence. I am truly excited about this game and cannot wait for it to materialise.

Game Skinny wishes James Lightfoot the very best of luck with the development of the game and looks forward to learning more about it as it progresses.

If you would like to like to learn more about the game, check out the details on the official website and on Twitter @WoolleyMountain for the latest news.

The 10 Best Indie Games of 2016 Sun, 18 Dec 2016 01:59:15 -0500 Damien Smith


And there you have it, our 10 Best Indie Games of 2016. From the dark and horrifying world of Darkest Dungeon to the gripping adventure of Avadon 3 to all your farming needs with Stardew Valley and the magical, cheerful and addicting musical that is Tadpole Treble, iIt truly has been an amazing year for indie games.


What do you think of our list? What are yourfavoritee indie games of 2016? Let me know in the comments below!


1. Tadpole Treble


Developer: BitFinity


Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux and Wii U


Oh, how I said "hmm, ha, um" and grunted and groaned attempting to decide between this and Darkest Dungeon as the number one indie game of 2016. In the end, the musical Tadpole Treble took the spot. It is a relatively unknown title compared to most on this list, but my goodness, is it a magical experience.


You take on the role of Baton, a tadpole who swims too far into the river and get scooped up by a pelican and brought far away. She must find her way home while avoiding the many dangers along the game. What is it that makes the game so magical you might be wondering?


Everything in each level acts as a part of the song that plays along with your actions. It makes it feel like you are a part of the song on every level, which each have a unique song in a different genre. 


Even now, months on from its release, this game still makes me laugh and smile just as it did when I first played it. Not only that, I still enjoy it just as much too. 


2. Darkest Dungeon


Developer: Red Hook Studios


Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4 and PS Vita


Oh my! I bet you weren't expecting Darkest Dungeon to be second on this list. It was a very close and tough decision but yes, Darkest Dungeon takes second place on the 10 Best Indie Games of 2016. This hardcore turn-based combat RPG is absolute genius.


It takes a different approach to how the stress of adventuring affects its many heroes. There are no all mighty and indestructible heroes. As stress builds, they begin to become afflicted with all forms of psychological problems. 


Darkest Dungeon is a dark world and one where you will have to commit horrible acts in order to succeed in your goal to restore your family estate. What heroes will you keep and what heroes will you send on suicidal missions where you know they will likely meet their doom.


It is a brilliant game and easily one of the best titles to release this year. It is one of those games that once you start playing, you don't want to stop.


3. Owlboy


Developer: D-Pad Studio


Platforms: PC


The once questioned "will it ever release" platformer finally made its way to the PC this year after nine years in development. Owlboy is a real love letter to the '90s platforming era of gaming. From its visuals to its plot to its gameplay, Owlboy is a game that oozes '90s gaming chic.


You take on the role of Otus, who belongs to a clan of owl and human hybrids known as the Owls. When his village is attacked by a band of pirates, he sets out on a journey to save it. 


With a charming cast, brilliant and varied level design and excellent Metroidvania style gameplay, Owlboy is an absolute classic.


4. Stardew Valley


Developer: Concerned Ape


Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One and PS4


What can I say about Stardew Valley that hasn't already been said by practically every other video game journalist out there? At first glimpse, it looks like nothing more than Harvest Moon on other platforms that don't belong to Nintendo.


That alone would be enough for many to instantly buy it -- but it is far more than just another Harvest MoonOnce you get deeper into the game, you begin to realize just how much depth and gameplay is really there. So much so, in fact, that it goes beyond that of the series it takes inspiration from.


Farming and rebuilding the run-down old farm are but only two activities available to the player. The player can also fish, cook and craft just to name a few of the game's mechanics. If you love Harvest Moon or any form of a game that involves farming and want something with depth, Stardew Valley is as good as it gets.






5. Hyper Light Drifter


Developer: Heart Machine


Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, PS4 and Ouya


Hyper Light Drifter is a 2D action RPG that has similarities to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. You take on the role of The Drifter, who has access to long-lost technology and is suffering from an unspecified illness.


The Drifter wields an energy sword and can gain additional modules to expand his weapon and abilities. Much like games from the SNES era, the game has no spoken dialogue and instead tells it story through visuals and music.


It is very much a game that fans of the 16-bit era of gaming will love. It has a good story, great gameplay and solid mechanics. Overall, it is a beautiful and magical experience.


6. Firewatch


Developer: Campo Santo


Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One


FIrewatch is one of those games I decided to give a chance despite its genre being something I generally wouldn't have an interest in. You take on the role of Henry, a man who has taken a job as a fire lookout in the Wyoming woodlands. Something strange grabs your attention and you head out to investigate.


Your only contact is your supervisor, who you communicate with through a small handheld radio. You must explore an environment that is unknown to you, face hard questions and make difficult decisions. The major highlights of the game are its story and beautiful design. 


If you are looking for something that isn't all guns and violence with a gripping plot, then Firewatch is definitely worth checking out.


7. Pony Island


Developer: Daniel Mullins Games


Platforms: PC, Mac and Linux


To call Pony Island anything less than genius would be an insult, as quite frankly this is one of the most creative and clever games to come out not just this year, but in recent years. Pony Island is a puzzle game where you are in limbo trapped in a malevolent and malfunctioning arcade machine made by the devil himself.


The problem is the devil isn't the best of programmers, so in order to escape, you must hack through the game's programming and figure out his puzzles. If I was to say anything more about the game we would be going into spoiler territory. If you are looking for something very different and a bit strange, this is worth a try.


8. Thumper


Developer: Drool


Platforms: PC and PS4


I actually feel bad putting this weird title so far down this list, but it just goes to show how strong the indie scene has been this year. Thumper is a psychedelic rhythm game where you take on the role of a space beetle braving a hellish void to confront a maniacal giant head from the future. 


In its own right, this game is horrifying as there is nothing else like it out there. The lack of familiarity causes a great unease in the player, not to mention the sights and the bosses. To say any more would give away what exactly Thumper is, but one thing I will say is this: The less you know going in the better. It is one hell of an experience.


9. Avadon 3: The Warborn


Developer: Spiderweb Software


Platforms: PC, Mac, and iOS


The highly anticipated sequel to Jeff Vogul's Avadon 2: The Corruption, Avadon 3, like all of Vogul's games, is a real call back to the classic RPG genre and titles like Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment. 


You take on the role of a Hand of Avadon, a bringer of justice that only answers to the Keeper of Avadon, a Medieval Judge Dread -- just on a bigger scale. The game has a brilliant plot where the player has to make many choices throughout that actually make a difference in the world.


Its gameplay is solid and well balanced and its character development is simple but deep. Avadon 3 is a game that will keep you hooked from the very beginning to the end and it is a cracker of a finale to the series.


10. Hypersensitive Bob


Developer: Sieidi Ltd


Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux and Steam OS


Hypersensitive Bob is one of those hidden gems that you sometimes find among the many bad games on Steam. It is a roguelike, similar to the Binding of Issac. The main difference? Hypersensitive Bob takes a much more casual and child-friendly approach. You take on the role of Bob, who is allergic to absolutely everything. Armed with his InHaGun 2000, he sets out to overcome his allergies. 

Hypersensitive Bob is a wonderful title that's a whole lot of fun for the whole family. Both its theme and design are very much something of the '90s, with colorful visuals and an awesome and mello soundtrack.


In an industry that is now full of games that focus on nothing but realism, Hypersensitive Bob is a breath of fresh air. It has been a game that I came back to time and time again throughout the entire year.




The end of another year is upon us and the beginning of a new one is just on the horizon. It is time to sit back and remember the many wonderful video game titles that released throughout 2016. The indie scene has been most awe-inspiring and some of the best games this year have come from indie developers.


Today we are going to take a look at The 10 Best Indies Games of 2016. So without further ado, let's count down the absolute best that indie developers have given us this year.

Top 8 Weirdest Video Game Controllers Ever Made Wed, 14 Dec 2016 11:00:01 -0500 Evil Vince


8. Laser Scope


Made by Konami years ago, Laser Scope is a nightmare for all those gamers who get irritated by the game sounds. It was designed for shooters and worked like a head-mounted light gun. You had a rudimentary microphone, and whenever you needed to shoot in the game you had to yell the command into the mic. It was always too sensitive and would activate by any background noise, so you had no chance to play the proper way.


Luckily, control solutions today aren’t so cumbersome!


Which one do you think is the weirdest controller? Or would you like to try a couple of them out? Let us know in the comments below.


7. Wu-Tang Controller


Do you remember a PS1 fighting game called Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style? We neither! But it definitely impressed some people, and it resulted in this weirdly looking custom controller. It is the standard Dualshock PS1 pad on the inside, but the outside looks like the iconic Wu logo -- impressive but completely unusable, especially for fighting.


6. Death Crimson


It is hard to call the Death Crimson controller a mass-produced thing, as it has never seen the actual market. But the overall concept is still weird enough for this list. This massive sculpture measuring over 6 feet long and weighing over 110 pounds looks monstrous. You would have to manipulate this huge sculpture to aim at the screen and shoot, and it required some pre-gaming training.


5. Resident Evil Chainsaw


Most game-based controllers are all goofy (some are even adorably goofy), but the Resident Evil chainsaw-looking controller is too hilarious. Created by NubyTech to celebrate Resident Evil 4, it looks exactly the same as the favorite tool of the game’s Chainsaw Man, and is also covered in blood. But it only works as a collector's item -- the layout of buttons and sticks is so uncomfortable that your game characters have no chances of surviving in their missions.


4. R.O.B.


R.O.B -- or the Robotic Operating Buddy -- was the part of the Nintendo Entertainment System and looked cute. But it only worked with two games, so you did not have much to choose from. Reading optical flashes from the screen, the R.O.B controller allowed you to lift and position items by the robotic hands.


3. Atari Mindlink


This one was promised to be one of the most technological superior controllers of all. But as always, Atari had troubles with releasing both the controller and the games to support it. The Mindlink was advertised as the controller that would read your mind providing the effortless control over the game. How it actually worked? The headband was not able to read your mind, so it simply monitored your forehead movements and thus caused some intense eyebrow workout.


2. Butt Sniffin' Pugs Ball


Using trackballs in video game controllers is not something new, but the indie Butt Sniffin' Pugs game with the realistic dog butt would definitely surprise you. To play the game, you have to manipulate the huge ball -- it helps to take your dog around the park. Sniffing other dogs in the park gives your pug new abilities like peeing or biting. Sounds amazing for all the dog lovers out there.


1. RailDriver controller


Do you like simulation games? If you do, you have never tried the Rail Driver simulator with the specially made train cab controller. It has switches, 34 buttons, throttle, brake, and reverse -- even more stuff to push and pull than the actual train drivers would have! What a joy, right?


Do you think that the basic gaming controller has not changed for the last couple of decades?


Well, you are right -- to some degree. The general form of sticks, buttons and functions are the same for most models. But there are some weird exceptions from the general rule.


Here are the top 8 most bizarre controllers the video game industry -- enjoy!