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Influential Women in the Gaming Industry: Brianna Wu

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Brianna Wu is a game developer. She is also the head of Giant Spacekat which is a female lead gaming development team. She is also often a speaker on the subject of women in the tech industry.

Brianna found a love of technology early in her life. This would serve her well as that love helped her to pave her own way. She was adopted into a conservative family that she would not always feel like she belonged in. Learning to program and work on computers are some of her happiest memories as a child. Thankfully her family supported her in her love of technology and provided her with resources that have helped her to become a successful woman in the field of gaming.

That support helped her to start her first business as a teenager. From her parents’ garage she would modify cars and computers. By the time she was in college, she had saved up a nice nest egg, which enabled her to leave the program she was not happy in. Brianna went through many changes and challenges that helped her find her own views and voice in the world during this time. This journey would help her discover what she wanted out of life, and gaming.

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Brianna started Giant Spacekat in 2010. The company was not started with a strong feminist stance in mind. Brianna simply wanted to make things that she liked and wanted to see in games. It turns out that what she wanted was a more inclusive gaming space. This tone led to Revolution 60, the first game from Giant Spacekat, that featured all female operatives and strong feminist overtones in the game.

As she spoke with more women in the gaming industry, Brianna found that many of them were having similar experiences to herself. This led her to changing the culture of her studio. It also led Brianna to taking on more speaking appearances and writing about women in the gaming industry.

Brianna Wu is an example of how life takes us on paths we may not expect. Everything is a learning experience and we are meant to grow on this journey we call life.

Always keep sparkling!

 

Indie Developer Spotlight: Liege

Indie Developer Spotlight: Liege

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That’s right, we have TWO Indie Developer Spotlights this month! With all the contacts we made at Too Many Games, we decided to double down this month. Enjoy!

We spoke with John from Coda Games, who we met at Too Many Games, about their upcoming game, Liege. Here’s what he had to say:

Q1. Tell us about your game.
Liege is a story driven RPG with a deep, tactical core. The game has classic JRPG influences, but:
– Modern presentation
– Seamless, fast paced tactical battles
– No random encounters, no grinding, no fetch quests, no fluff

Here’s the trailer:

Q2. What was your inspiration to create the game?
Inspiration for the game came from lots of places: Classic RPGs I loved as a kid (FFVI, FF Tactics and Suikoden) were some of the original inspirations, while more recently games like the new XCOMs and Transistor had a big influence as we developed the mechanics. Inspiration for the story and setting came mostly from outside of games (fantasy books, film and TV- too many to list!).

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Q3. When should we expect to see it?
As of now we’re aiming to release on Steam Q1 next year, with console ports in Q2-Q3 2017.

Indie Developer Spotlight: Rise of the Robotariat

Written by: Julie from Eye4Games

Rise of the Robotariat launched at the end of June on Kickstarter. Its campaign ends July 22.

About the game
Rise of the Robotariat is a board game for 3-5 players that can be played as fully-cooperative or mostly-cooperative. You take on the role of one of eight unique robot revolutionaries and work together with other players to overthrow the humans who have oppressed you for too long.

In order to win, you must raise enough funds to launch a successful revolution — and do it within six rounds, otherwise the humans catch on and stamp it out.

During the game, you move between and activate city locations. At each location, you can do a different thing, for example, draw and play Upgrade and Sabotage cards, place propaganda posters, or influence the movement of Non-Player Characters.

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There are two kinds of Non-Player Characters (NPCs) moving around the board. These are either helpful Civilian Robots, who will donate to the revolution, or dangerous Human Oppressors, who will fine you and tear down your posters. At the end of each player’s turn, they roll dice to determine where the Civilian Robots and Human Oppressors will move next. Their path is mostly predictable but not guaranteed. The game’s intensity ramps up as the game goes on and more NPCs enter the board

A lot of the game’s strategy revolves around setting up turns where the Civilian Robots will give big benefits while mitigating the effectiveness of the Human Oppressors when the NPC dice are rolled.

You have one other thing to manage as well: the revolution’s reputation. You start the game with a certain amount of collective Reputation. You can chose to spend it to take bolder acts of sabotage and you will lose some if humans catch you conspiring too blatantly. But if Reputation ever drops to zero, robots lose all faith in the revolution and you lose the game.

If you decide you want an extra challenge or if someone is telling everyone else how to play, you can add in Secret Objective cards for a mostly-cooperative game. In this version each player is striving to achieve a unique goal. This usually involves making the revolution happen in the way that makes you look the most heroic.

The inspiration
Rise of the Robotariat started with a mechanic that no longer exists in the game. One of our game designers had an idea that sounded to a lot like upgrading robots and that lead to the flavor that players are members of the robot rebellion. After a disappointing playtesting, we scrapped the original gameplay idea, but the story it inspired shaped the development of new mechanics.

This is one of the exciting aspects of Rise of the Robotariat: all of the gameplay is grounded in the flavor and the story is infused throughout. For a small example, we have a character named Alice who looks human, but is certain she’s just a very cleverly disguised robot. Because of her appearance, she has more influence with humans and her character’s ability gives her the greatest control over the movement of Human Oppressor NPCs.

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We’ve made a point to have the flavor color the rulebook, and the art for many of the characters references Soviet-era propaganda posters or revolutionary paintings. The predominant use of red in the games’ color scheme also is to invoke that revolutionary vibe.

As a cool extra, our writer has been writing on-going tales about the characters’ backstories leading up to the start of the game. We’re collecting them into a book and you can read them in blog-post form online here.

When’s it out?
The way to get the game is to back the game on Kickstarter. At the end of June, we launched a campaign for Rise of the Robotariat that runs until July 22nd. If we’re successful, we’ll be able to afford a print run and the game will be out by January 2017.

Free Game Spotlight: Snake.io

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Credit: Amelos Interactive

Developer: Amelos Interactive
Platform: Google Play  &  iOS

Snake.io is the spiritual successor to the Miniclip minimalistic games Agar.io and Slither.io. It is apart of the fine tradition of relaxing and chill mobile games meant for waiting in line at the grocery store or ignoring your rude cousin at a family gathering. I was never the greatest fan of Agar.io. I enjoyed its minimalist design and how easy it was to just continue after inevitably dying over and over and over again. However, I think where Snake.io shines and where Agar.io failed to really reach me is that Agar.io was too aggressive to me, too stressful.

There certainly are ways to be tactfully aggressive with Snake.io but mostly it feels like we’re all just swimming along in this weird world where we’re all just trying to eat yummy colorful dots. The tactics in the game, for me, don’t come in until I reach a large enough size where I can surround other players and slowly close in on them until they are forced to collide with me and then I eat their souls, yummy.

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One of my more successful runs.

Snake.io is just a simple game and it doesn’t pretend to be anything more. There are calls for some improvements like adjustable controls and there are criticisms of their offline mode that the bots are too easy. It’s not an original game. It directly uses the visual model of Agar.io and the game play of Slither.io but, despite the fact that it isn’t the original, I definitely prefer this version with a much cleaner game design, more accurate movements, and minimal lag.

Games to Get Excited About: Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

Games to Get Excited About: Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

By Michael Wells

Welcome to the February 2016 edition of Games to get Excited About! This month, we’re looking at an upcoming release for the Playstation 3, Playstation 4, and Playstation Vita game, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir. Hold on, you may be thinking, haven’t I heard of this before? Yes! Odin Sphere was originally released for the PS2 back in May of 2007. That’s right, the game is almost ten years old! So, why are we talking about it in our upcoming release column? Because Odin Sphere is coming back! Leifthrasir is an updated version of the original game with new features and upgraded graphics to better showcase the original game’s outstanding art style. Read the rest of this entry

Free Game Spotlight: Grim Fandango

Dev: Double Fine Productions
Platform: PS4, PC, Mobile
Release Date: Jan. 27, 2015

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Much like Xbox Gold, The Playstation Network gives free games each month to its subscribers. Currently, one of these games is Grim Fandango Remastered. This game is an RPG adventure game originally released by LucasArts in 1998. Sony announced that the game would be remastered and re-released during E3 2014. It was finally available for public consumption on January 27, 2015.

In the game, you play as Manny Calavera, who must repay his debt to the Underworld by collecting souls.

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The story is divided into four parts, each taking place on Nov. 2, four years in a row. In the beginning, Manny is a travel agent for the Department of Death, working off his debt to the Underworld. He grows more and more frustrated by the fact that he is always assigned low-class clients who cannot afford the Number Nine Luxury Express to their final destination, which puts his job in jeopardy.

Upon learning that his system has been rigged by his boss, Manny teams up with his driver – Glottis – and rushes to rescue his latest client, Meche Colomar, who was pure of heart during her life and should have been on the Number Nine train.

2860770-trailer_grimfandango_launch_20150505Grim Fandango received universal acclaim and was praised by many critics. The artistic design and overall direction of the game allowed for it to be selected for several gaming awards in the late ’90s. Unfortunately, the game was a commercial failure, which ultimately lead to LucasArts to discontinue their adventure game development.

The remastered version was able to be released after Disney acquired LucasArts. Double Fine Productions improved the character graphics, added an orchestrated score and included director’s commentary. The game is currently available for free on the PS4 for those subscribed to The Playstation Network. It is also available on Steam and on your mobile device.

Games to Get Excited About: Indivisible

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Lab Zero Games is an independent game developer, formed by the original creators of the 2D fighting game Skullgirls. This year, at Anime Expo 2015, they announced their next project: a side-scrolling action/RPG currently titled Indivisible. So, why should you be excited about it?

Read the rest of this entry