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Indie Spotlight: Island

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Island is survival roleplay game made in retro graphics. You don’t just deal with hunger and thirst, but also with more realistic factors like fear, cold, and condition of your feet. You start the game without any skills at surviving and must learn along with what you see the most fit along the way: Train to become better at fishing when near a beach, learn to identify fruits when in a jungle. The game is meant to push the player under constant pressure until being able to escape the Island.

Island was inspired in its first iteration from classics like Robinson Crusoe and Mysterious Island. This was at first a tabletop roleplay game for one afternoon scenarios. The game was so addictive, and I realized that it was adaptable to video game form.

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The release date for Island in September 2019. It has funded on Kickstarter a few days ago. We will develop it for PC, Switch, 3DS, and possibly PS4 if the stretch goal is met. Before and during the Kickstarter, the public response has been amazing. We received many support & feedback messages. Many are eager to test it, quite a lot of people offered their help for the beta testing phase. It will also be possible to test the during some game festivals.

Indie Developer Spotlight: Beneath Nexus

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Indie Developer Spotlight: Beneath Nexus

by Michael Wells

Disclosure: I am a backer of Beneath Nexus on Kickstarter. Also, while I have not worked on this specific project, I have been in discussion with Silverclutch Games to provide writing for a future project.

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It’s time for another developer spotlight! This time around we’re talking about Silverclutch games about their upcoming release Beneath Nexus. We had a chance to talk to Tom and Chris from Silverclutch at Too Many Games in Oaks, PA (check out our convention impressions here and here) and now we’re pleased to feature them and their project on our site.

The Project:

Beneath Nexus game logo

From their website:

Beneath Nexus is a dungeon crawling card game for 4 to 6 players. Discover powerful treasures and unlock forgotten secrets in your quest to reclaim the city of Nexus. The Heroes combine their unique skills and powers to overcome the trials of The Blight Lord who uses fiendish monsters and dark magicks to destroy all who delve Beneath Nexus.

Beneath Nexus is a tabletop card game that offers an exciting roleplaying experience in a quickplay format. It is inspired by Dungeons and Dragons and other tabletop RPGs and aims to recreate the feel of those games using predetermined heroes with decks of unique abilities. One player takes on the traditional GM role and plays the Blight Lord, a boss character for the other players to take on. To do so, the other players choose heroes that are drawn from traditional role-playing class archetypes and must strategize how best to use their complimentary abilities to overcome the monsters and spells that the Blight Lord arrays against them.

Beneath Nexus is currently up on Kickstarter and has nearly reached 75% of their goal at time of this writing. Take a look and consider backing this exciting project.

Developer Interview:

I sent a few questions to Silverclutch Games and Chris took some time away from their Kickstarter and Convention schedule to respond.

What made you want to get into game development?

Tom and I have both played games since early childhood. Tom developed his passion for gaming when he was introduced to Magic: the Gathering in the 3rd grade. I played the classics with my father, and he was relentless. Instead of a healthy hobby, my passion for gaming lies more so in my hunger for revenge against my dad for absolutely decimating my brother and me for years in Risk, Stratego, Checkers, and Uno. We began gaming together when Tom joined my Pathfinder RPG group when we were in college. Both of us have always been curious about how games work and have been ready to criticize any game that comes our way. We ended up making games because we knew what we wanted to play and wanted to share those ideas with our friends.
How did Silverclutch Games get started?
Silverclutch Games is a product of my desire to own my own business and Tom’s desire to create awesome games. Tom was developing an introductory dungeon crawler for a handful of months when I approached him with the idea to start our own game design business. That was June of 2015. We incorporated in August, 2015, with the plan to create accessible, easy to learn games that engage the hobbyist gamer.

 

What were your inspirations for Beneath Nexus?
Tom and I are huge fans of D&D, Dungeonworld, etc. We play roleplaying games regularly, but many of our friends can’t be bothered with the hefty rulebook and long playtimes. That bums us out! Beneath Nexus was created so that new players and casual gamers can get a taste of the fantasy adventure genre without having to do homework in the meantime.
What about Beneath Nexus is most interesting/exciting to you as a designer?
We tried a lot of different things, mechanically, with Beneath Nexus. We wanted it to be easy to learn, quick to play, and interesting for both hobbyists and newbies, so we had to experiment with a bunch of different ideas. What excited me most about the process was translating player feedback into mechanical changes. A lot of hobbyists tested the game, so their comments were very direct and specific. The casual gamers that had much more general feedback were the most fun for me because the playtesting notes became a puzzle of vague notions after a few play throughs. Tom seemed most excited by the balance of the asymmetry of the game. Making sure the Blight Lord wasn’t too weak or too strong was a huge task when we incorporated it. Tom dug into it immediately and really shined there.
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I had the chance to play two games of Beneath Nexus at Too Many Games and was very impressed by how polished and balanced the game is. A great deal of obvious care went into the design of the heroes, their abilities, and the ways that they interact with each other. Using the whole party’s abilities in just the right way to overcome a challenge feels a bit like the moment in Magic: The Gathering when the cards in your deck line up and play just right for that devastating combo. Meanwhile, the Blight Lord’s abilities and Monsters keep players on their toes and can easily punish careless or reckless play. The game looks like it is rewarding for players on either side of the table.
The game is already available in a print and play format if you want to give it a go. I can’t wait for the physical game to be released. For more information about the game and Silverclutch Games, check out the Beneath Nexus Kickstarter and their website.

Indie Developer Spotlight: Hastilude

Indie Developer Spotlight: Hastilude
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We spoke with Dustin from Ghost Crab Games, who we met at Too Many Games, about their upcoming game Hastilude. Here’s that they had to say:
Q1: Tell us about your game.
A1: Hastilude is a competitive & co-op sci-fi fantasy game where you battle rival knights atop flying mounts, attempting to knock them off and swoop in for the score. Each knight has unique movements, attacks, and abilities, working inside a combat system that’s easy to learn but tricky to master. There are several arenas from which to choose (and more on the way), both in classic arcade wrapscreen style and a dynamic camera style. The visuals are bright and colorful, featuring high-resolution artwork and hand-drawn character animation mixed with special effects. We’re still working on all the features (campaign mode, a player tutorial, team battle, etc.), adding new arenas, and creating new characters while getting the game into players’ hands for feedback with the free Alpha version.
View the trailer here:
Q2: What was your inspiration to create the game?
A2: Chris and I were at the Barcade in Philadelphia in 2014 and played a bit of Joust on one of their machines. We realized that among all the retro game updates that had been released, we couldn’t think of anyone who had done a modern take on one of our classic arcade favorites. Hastilude began very similar to Joust, but as we added items, unmounted combat, and more modern features, it started to become something more. Indie local co-op games gained in popularity during 2013, so after getting some good feedback at Dev Night and the Philly Game Forge we had the confidence to move the project forward. We got the idea for game mods and match badges from one of my first local co-op games, Worms, on the PS1. We love the fighting game genre as well, and have worked in a number of things from that branch of gaming like the Super Meter and characters with unique move-sets and storylines.
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Q3: When should we expect to see it?
A3: Hastilude will release in 2017. We’ve gotten great feedback at shows like MAGFest, Too Many Games, South Jersey Geekfest, The Boston FIG, Arcade @ Dilworth (Philly Tech Week), and Gamescape, and we’re aiming to do a lot more! We’re hoping the Alpha version gets us some valuable feedback from people who have chance to play the game outside a show environment. The things most people want to see the most are typically things on which we’re already working — more characters, arenas, and game modes. Our next showing will be at Super Smash Con on August 11–14, 2016 at the Dulles Expo Center in Virginia. Come by and play!
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Indie Developer Spotlight: B3

Indie Developer Spotlight: B3

B3 Box Kickstarter

We were recently able to come into contact with Psycho Robot Studios about their.B3 Box Art upcoming indie game, B3: Beep Boop Bot. Here’s what they had to say:

What’s it about?
Our game is an arcade style robot shooter about an out-of-date robot that is activated to take on other robots in a space center that have become AI aware. It will have a campaign mode and a survival mode, a leaders board on steam for high scores, and, if our Kickstarter does well after we launch it, then we will also expand to have multiplayer options.

What was your inspiration?
Our inspiration for this game just kinda grew from nothing. I mean, we both have always been hardcore gamers with a desire to create a game, but the concept itself grew over time. It started with a basic robot running around a room shooting stuff. After that, we released a few demos. Being in the Army, I was able to test it on a bunch of Soldiers who lived in the barracks. B3 Lvl 1 ReworkWith that, we grew the game into something more, based off what the players liked, didn’t like and what they wanted. After that we released another demo on twitter to streamers and YouTubers. From that, we are in the process of making more improvements and changes. It really has been a fan input created game.

When will it be released?
We don’t have a release date, but I want to say early 2017. It’s hard to say, though. We will have a new demo in a few months that represents the final game.

 

Indie Developer Spotlight: Splitmind

Indie Developer Spotlight: Splitmind

Written by: Rendal Studios

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ABOUT OUR GAME:
Splitmind is a 2D adventure game starring Kaplan, an amnesic shadow awaking in Mnemosyn, “the land of memories.” From this strange place, Kaplan will be able to project himself in his lost memories and then investigate his own past to answer all the questions he has.

During his identity quest, Kaplan will meet several odd characters, all of whom are related to his past. But beneath the appareances lies some terrible events.

Splitmind is a game playing with mysteries and misleadings; a game where nothing that seems to be true really is.

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WHAT INSPIRED US:
First of all, we’re big fans of old point & click games, like the Broken Sword or the Monkey Island franchise. So, when we started our company, we thought, “Hey, what if we make an adventure game?”

Then, we needed a strong story because it’s hard to innovate in a game genre that is older than 30 years. One of us came with an idea he started working on a few years ago: “What if I woke up one day, in a strange place, without any idea of who I am or how I got here?” Something between the Christopher Nolan movie Memento and the Jean Paul Sartre Huis Clos play.

We finally started to work on the concept and the script. Then everyone on the team brought some ideas about the designs. What will Kaplan look like? What will the Unamed City look like? And then we got this strange black & white shadow, wearing private investigator clothes, and walking in a city where no one can tell if it’s daylight or evening.

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We also wanted to give the game an interactive comic book look, with speaking bubbles and action bubbles appearing whenever an action is possible (speaking, observing, etc…).

We hope we did a great job and that our prospective audience will enjoy our game.

THE RELEASE DATE:
There is no fixed release date for now, but we can assure you our game will be released during 2016. We’ll soon announce our Kickstarter campaign, then we’ll communicate about our release date for PC. The releases on iOS and Android will follow.

Here’s the trailer:

Indie Developer Support Could Mean Better Games for All

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At the birth of the video game industry, games were made much the same way indie games are made now. Small groups of artists, writers and programmers came together, often with very little money, and big ideas, and created some of the most memorable experiences early gamers had. Some of these games are still remembered today as classics, and the foundation of what we have now. Over the years larger games, larger budgets, and massive enterprises have come to make up the bulk video game industry, but there is still a healthy indie game market that can’t be ignored. As a matter of fact, I think it needs our support to make sure we get better games in the future. I’m going to give you a breakdown of why I think that’s the case, and a few of my concerns over indie studios.

Inspire Innovation

First and foremost, supporting indie devs can mean more innovation in games.  AAA studios and big publishers continue to push out the same old games, with the same stories and mechanics, with few innovations year to year.  They do that because they have to guarantee a return of the huge budgets they have to get to make the games they make.  It’s why we have the same COD game every year, another Battlefield with all its bugs, Halo, Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed and on and on.  Many of these games are fun, people love them, and buy them by the boat-load, but at the end of the day, there’s little difference between each installment of the game.  Companies don’t want to take the risk with so much money involved.

Read the rest of this entry

Indie Game Spotlight: This is No Time for Games

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Written by: Not Quite Black & White
Our game is a modern 2D point-and-click adventure called This is No Time for Games. It’s a sci-fi fairytale where you play as Florence Holloway, a data verification technician in a future crime lab, where high-profile murders are solved by artificial intelligence. Through some amateur investigating, Flo bumbles her way into a bizarre and dangerous digital world of creatures called “Apps” who all have a story to tell.

The gameplay of the genre will be updated in This is No Time for Games to heighten the excitement and increase the player’s immersion in the puzzles and dialogue – but we haven’t released any info about that yet.

Our inspiration to make the game was undoubtedly to create a story of our own. We were in the TV/media industries (sound post-production, and graphic design) and kinda bored of polishing other people’s projects. We’ve been writing together for over ten years and we started writing stories for games about six(ish) years ago. We’re also big point-and-click adventure fans frustrated with how few of them actually get made, so we want to make one in our own style that will give adventure game fans something familiar, but something new at the same time.
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The game itself has many sources of inspiration. We want the game to have a great protagonist like Guybrush Threepwood or Manny Calavera – we don’t think there’s a female character as funny or as charismatic as these characters in adventure games. The closest are possibly Laverne from Day of The Tentacle or more recently GLaDOS from Portal. We want Florence Holloway to be comical and loveable in the way that characters of the old Lucas Arts classics were.
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We also love surprises in games. Sword and Sworcery had some really innovative ways of solving puzzles and Monument Valley did some really clever things. The best puzzles are the ones where you want to rip your hair out and the answer turns out to be right in front of you. We want all of these things in This is No Time for Games.
It’s not out yet. Release is all dependent on money, unfortunately. We’ve been looking into crowdfunding with an exciting new platform called gamekicker.org, so, depending on how successful that is, we could see the game released as early as next year. We were at the global game jam at the end of January and we made a game in a similar style to This is No Time for Games called Don’t Stop Bereavin. The response from the other jammers was amazing. They really seemed into the artwork and the mystery surrounding the puzzles. We plan to polish it up and try and release it in the next couple of months.