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Citizens of Earth preview - Slaying baddies and saving constituents as the Vice President

That's you on the right, in case you were wondering.

TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER

The wildly creative people over at Eden Industries are at it again. While we were busy cresting and troughing our way through a multitude of heavenly bodies and hurting our brains in the process, they've been hard at work developing their next title: an RPG where you play the Vice President and you actually get to play the role of public servant -- by ordering other people around.

Citizens of Earth is an RPG that works off the usual tropes of the genre, but gives us characters like the Baker, the Barista, the School Teacher, and the Homeless Guy, instead of the familiar warriors, wizards, and thieves. As the Vice President, you begin the game by returning to your rural home town to spend a few days in peace and quiet. All is not well, however, and soon, you set out to investigate the strange things that have been going on, using your powers of charisma and political will to recruit and cajole the town's populace to go out and fight for you.

Sounds like this was ripped right out of the news, really.

WE COME IN PIECES

True to RPG standards, each character has his or her own unique abilities that they bring to the table. They don't just deliver the goods in active combat, however; Citizens of Earth is all about protecting your home town, and that town is an actual location in the game world. Whenever your minions aren't out in the wild doing your righteous bidding, they're living their lives and working at their day jobs in town. Some characters will sell you stuff, and some characters will give you gameplay benefits like vehicles you can travel around in. Eden hopes that this broad, specialized approach will encourage players to keep mixing up their party to experiment with different combinations of party powers and support benefits.

It has to be mentioned that the vehicles can also be brought into combat, too. INTERESTING.

"Broader, not longer." This is the mantra that Eden Industries is working with during the game's design process. A lot of content is planned for the final release, but most of it will be optional. To meet their design goal of offering something for a broad spectrum of the players out there, Eden made it possible to complete the game in as little as 10 hours, but also to go all out and explore and tinker with every little detail that they put into the game. Here's hoping that they can hit the sweet spot in terms of accessibility and depth.

YOU'RE THE ENEMY OF ALL ZOMBIES, YOU MONSTER

Eden Industries made it a point to talk about the bad guys you'll be going up against throughout the course of the game. There's the Honey Bear -- it probably looks like what you think it looks like -- the Toupee Eagle, who has grown tired of being bald and now struts around with long blonde hair, and the Rastafarian Samurai, whom we're all hoping is just as awesome as his name implies. The devs have cited the classic SNES game Earthbound as an inspiration, and it really shows.

Combat will play out in the familiar JRPG manner, which I would imagine is two rows of opposing creatures beating the tar out of each other -- only this time without the planet-bashing and asteroid-throwing. Random encounters are thankfully nowhere to be found ("Because seriously, 1992 called and we let it have its feature back.") and there's a multiplayer arena mode for the more competitive RPGers out there. I'm not, really, but there is a certain Pokemon-ish charm in the idea. Librarians vs. town council workers, anyone?

An item trading mechanic is also being toyed with right now. It's possible that players will be able to trade certain things with each other, presumably to help each other completely unlock all that the game has to offer.

YOU'VE GOT RED ON YOU

You've seen the screens and the art. Not exactly your grampa's 2D party-based RPG, if I dare say so. Eden Industries says that in spite of the retro style, Citizens of Earth will feature high resolution artwork and fancy effects like the ever-popular bloom lighting, real-time shadows, and a day/night cycle with dynamic lighting. It's like I've been warped to 15 years ago and all the impossible effects I wanted in my 2D VGA games suddenly came true!

Finally -- and this is a special treat for everyone who enjoyed Waveform -- Scott McFadyen, who composed the music in that game, is back for another round of zany auditory mayhem!

AIN'T OVER, FAT LADY SINGS, ETC ETC

Citizens of Earth is being targeted for a simultaneous release on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android, which means that if you're reading this, you are likely running a device that will eventually be able to run the game.

We'll have more as we get the information, but even now, Citizens of Earth looks like it's shaping up to be a game worth checking out. There's a unique and highly intriguing concept behind it, tried-and-tested gameplay conventions with a twist, and potentially all the things that made Pokemon enjoyable with none of the embarrassing cuteness. We'll be keeping our eyes on this one!

Eden Industries announces the Garden of Indie - Part 2

Welcome back, OMGeeks! We're here today to continue our discussion of Eden Industries' brand-new indie support movement called the Garden of Indie. We posted part 1 of this two-part story yesterday.


"Right now the Garden of Indie is still in its beta stages, so we’re cautiously testing the waters to see how we can make it work," says Ryan Vandendyck, founder of Waveform developer Eden Industries. He went on to briefly outline two current projects they're currently handling under the Garden of Indie movement.

The first is a partnership with some students from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Eden Industries currently works with them in a practicum setting, giving them some proper exposure to practical game development and allowing them to discover the types of development they're interested in and that they wish to pursue further. It's simply a great opportunity, being able to experiment and explore the game development process while in school.

The second deals with their lead level designer on Waveform, Robin Vincent. Robin is currently working with a small team he has put together to develop a new strategy game. What Eden Industries was able to do was to provide Robin with a customized engine and creation tools that were familiar to him as a level design on Waveform, but that also allowed him and his team the flexibility to bring their own vision for their game to life. Eden Industries will also assist Robin with the release of his game once it's completed.

The Garden of Indie really isn't a clear thing that's set in stone, based on these examples. The basic idea behind it, however, is consistent: it exists to help indie developers -- both individuals and teams -- to develop the games that they want to make. Each partnership will be unique depending on the needs of the developers, and whether theirs is a kind of need that Eden Industries is ready to provide.

In any case, this is one giant step further for the indie games industry. The Garden of Indie may just save many great ideas and take them all the way to completion.


We also took the opportunity to inquire further about what the Garden of Indie is all about, and what aspiring devs should probably know about the project. As always, we'd like to thank Ryan Vandendyck for taking the time to answer our questions.

OMGeek: The money question: how will you charge for this service? Ryan: Well I think the key word here is that it’s a partnership. I’m trying something new in terms of how it came about and how it’s going to proceed towards the end, but at the end of the day it’s still a partnership. That means everyone involved are taking a risk and so we’ll all share in the profit when it’s done. An important differentiating factor is that it’s a partnership, not a service.

OMGeek: How will this affect he ownership of the resulting game? Ryan: I’d imagine that whoever came up with the concept would own the IP. We definitely don’t want to act like a publisher and take the IP from the creators. But again I want to come back to the idea that this initiative is a partnership. I don’t really want to work with someone that would just use us to get their idea off the ground and then toss us aside. If the partnership works out well, I’d want to work with them again to keep exploring the idea and foster the partnership between us. I prefer to work with people in terms of mutual respect rather than contractual obligations. And by that I mean that the other party would ‘own’ the IP, but that’s not really the way I like working. I had too much of that kind of stuff in the mainstream industry.

OMGeek: What's the closest equivalent existing service that you can compare with the Garden of Indie movement? Ryan: The closest thing that I know of would probably be the traditional developer-publisher model in the mainstream industry. But even that is pretty far off the mark of what we’re trying to accomplish. But it is similar in the fact that two parties come together to pair their individual strengths to make a game. But the process will be very different.

OMGeek: What's the application process for participating in the Garden of Indie? Where should interested devs go? Ryan: Well we’re not accepting any applications at the moment, since this initiative is still in its infancy. Once we work through this trial run and work out the kinks we’ll try opening it up to more people. But any interested devs should stay tuned to our website for any announcements regarding it. And of course they can e-mail me directly at ryan@edenindustries.ca

OMGeek: Are you open to developing a partnership with aspiring developers located elsewhere in the world -- say, for example, Southeast Asia? Ryan: Absolutely! The trick is just finding the right people that are talented, passionate, and fit the goals that we’re trying to accomplish through this initiative. But Waveform was already made with people around the world, and we love fostering an international indie community, so we’re definitely open to it.

OMGeek: Thank you!

Ever dreamed of developing your own game? Everyone has that image of the perfect game incubating in their heads. Or perhaps you're already an indie game developer who just needs a bit of support in the right areas. Either way, take notice! The Garden of Indie looks to be a promising start to the formation of a greater friendly community of game creators.

Eden Industries announces the Garden of Indie - Part 1

Fellow gamers, a moment of silence to honor the great, great year that was 2012.

2012 was many things to many gamers, and among the great developments that 2012 will be known for is the giant step it represents for the indie game industry. Things moved very quickly for all things indie gaming in the short, short span of 12 months. Minecraft officially made 1.0. Indie Game: The Movie was released. The Kickstarter rush happened. Great, great, great games like FTL, Hotline Miami and Endless Space came out and dared to challenge industry stalwarts.

And, of course, Eden Industries released that mind-bending neck-straining action-adventure title: Waveform.

That's not all that Eden Industries had in mind for the immediate future, though; we have been informed that Eden Idustries is coming up with something entirely new: a movement that aims to help aspiring indie game creators achieve their goals by providing support where they need it. Appropriately, Eden Industries calls this their Garden of Indie movement.

Ryan Vandendyck, founder of Eden Industries, hit us up with a few details. "Eden Industries was built upon the backs of a distributed network of part-time contributors," he told OMGeek. "We want to expand that network now to include not necessarily just individuals, but also entire indie teams. We want others to be able to plug into the network of Eden Industries and find what they need to make great games."

Simply put, the Garden of Indie project is Eden Industries' offer of a strategic and specialized partnership -- one where they provide assistance in whatever area an indie dev team might need it, be it in the planning and creation of art assets, to the customization of an engine to fit a developer's vision for his or her game.

"An important key-word in this initiative is that it’s a 'strategic' partnership program," Ryan continues. "This follows from our belief that a one-size-fits-all solution is not what’s needed. We acknowledge that there may very well be times that what we at Eden Industries can offer another indie team is not what they need. In which case we’ll be open with them that partnering with us is not the best strategic move for them."

Ryan also took the time to explain what Garden of Indie isn't. He clarified that it's not

    1. a game publishing program,
    2. a financial fund for game development, or
    3. a game engine licensing program.

What they do want, then, is to help indie devs make awesome games. He used the word "empower" to drive this point home. "[We] absolutely want to work with exceptional people with fantastic ideas and help them to easily overcome the kinds of difficulties and roadblocks that we had to endure throughout the development and release of Waveform."


Tomorrow, we'll discuss some real examples of the Garden of Indie project at work. We'll also post our brief interview about the Gardie of Indie with Ryan Vandendyck. Check back then!

Waveform for mobile: now officially a thing

The first time that we laid eyes on an early version of Waveform from Eden Industries, one question had already been brewing in our heads. We were intrigued by its surreal yet science-y premise and we wanted to try it out, but even before we got our hands on the game, we had always wanted to know: is it coming out for mobile?

Well, now it is! Ryan Vanderdyck, founder of Eden Industries, has confirmed that Waveform will indeed make it to the Android and iOS platforms later this year. We asked Ryan a few questions about the ports. Here's what he told us. See our brief exchange inside:

OMGeek: How did you arrive at the decision to make a mobile port?

Ryan: It was the number one most requested thing by the community! And something we had been wanting to do for a while, since the controls seem like such a natural fit.

OMGeek: What development challenges did you encounter?

Ryan: The main challenge was adapting the in-house Eden Industries engine to the mobile platforms. Although we could’ve used a common engine like Cocos, we felt that getting our own engine working would provide us the most flexibility in the future.

OMGeek: What's your planned release date?

Ryan: Whenever it’s done :) . It’s really hard to say at this point since development is still ongoing.

OMGeek: Will the Android and iOS versions be simultaneously released?

Ryan: The iOS will likely release first, as development on that is further along.

OMGeek: How much will the mobile versions cost?

Ryan: I haven’t quite decided yet. It’ll probably be free to download with microtransactions to unlock all of the content.

Thanks for the update, Ryan! Watch out for Waveform for mobile later this year! We'll also have more updates concerning Eden Industries in the coming days, both Waveform and non-Waveform related, so stick around!

Upcoming Waveform DLC is free for current Waveform owners

Great news, Waveform fans! Ryan Vandendyck from Eden Industries has given us the scoop on the game's new DLC, which is scheduled to release next week on Steam. The action takes place across 7 levels set on the dwarf planet of Eris. We'll be getting a new object (the Pulsar) and a new bonus mode (Reverse) with the DLC. The best news is that it's absolutely free for everyone who has purchased the game so far! Here are Ryan's own words about the DLC:

This is the first of many planned “Planet Packs” that we intend to release as DLC. This one opens up the dwarf planet Eris to players where they can experience the powerful light of the Pulsars. The light from a Pulsar is so strong that it’ll create a temporary Distortion field, mimicking the fan favourite Distortion bonus level effect. Its light will also reveal nearby hidden objects, however, so although it creates a trippy experience it’s one that works in your favour!

Eris comes with 7 brand new levels that not only feature the Pulsar as a new object, but also include a new bonus mode: Reverse. In this mode, which is also featured in Eris’ Deep Space Mode, you’ll travel from right to left instead of left to right. Although a simple change, it turns the gameplay on its head to create a very fresh experience!

So with a new Deep Space Mode and 7 new levels featuring a new object and a new bonus level, you’d think the good news would stop there – but no! The best part of all is that this DLC is free for a limited time! As a thank-you to the Waveform community and our supportive fans, we’re releasing this DLC free for anyone that has purchased Waveform so far or purchases it anytime next week as a reward for being an early supporter of the game.

To celebrate the release of the DLC, we’ll also be hosting our third Leaderboard Challenge next week. This one will take place on Eris and challenge players to survive in Eris’ Deep Space Mode while the Reverse effect is active. The top 5 finishers on the leaderboard will receive a free Steam copy of the indie game Auditorium, which is a very special giveaway for us since Auditorium is one of the games that inspired me to make Waveform.

Ryan also dropped some very interesting trivia about the ideas behind this DLC, and how the Reverse mode is related to Miyamoto and Nintendo in general:

You may be interested to know that the development of the content for Eris was inspired by Nintendo. The Pulsar was created as an homage to the Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy level in Yoshi’s Island in which the screen became a trippy, distorted mess after touching a fuzz ball. Interestingly, the Pulsar was added into Waveform a long time ago, but somehow never made it into the game. The Distortion effect it causes did appear as a bonus level though, but the Pulsar itself remained absent. So we wanted to rectify that through the release of this DLC. The Reverse effect was also inspired by Nintendo, although this time through my professional relationship with them. While working on Luigi’s Mansion 2, Miyamoto would often tell us to reward players for “going left”, a reference to the number of bonus items he included in Mario 3 that were accessible only by heading left from a level’s starting point, an action he wanted to reward due to not being able to do this in the original Super Mario Bros. Since in the base game of Waveform it’s also impossible to go left, I decided to theme a bonus level around Miyamoto’s advice. And so the Reverse mode, and indeed the entirety of Eris’ Deep Space Mode, was born!

Stay tuned for the Waveform DLC's release.

Waveform developer Ryan Vandendyck Answers your Questions

Not too long ago, we ran a contest in the forums about Eden Industries' recently-released indie game Waveform (which, incidentally, we reviewed here). We gathered questions from OMGeeks and sent them over to Eden Industries founder Ryan Vandendyck after agreeing that the best question-answer combo will net the asker a free copy of Waveform. Here's the good news: we've almost finalized our winner! Here's the even better news: we're going to publish the questions and Ryan's replies here in this post.

Wow, there's nothing bad in there at all!

Here are the questions asked, and Ryan's very insightful responses:

ZackleR: What inspired him to create a mix of pong, angry birds and music or etc in one go?

Ryan: Actually the original idea had nothing to do with pong, music, or Angry Birds (which was still years away from being released). I wanted to make a game based on one single gameplay mechanic that was based on a mathematical principle and have a simple, but pleasing, aesthetic. So the original idea was just to make a game where you control the wave. Resemblances to Pong and Angry Birds came organically as I began to discover what kinds of gameplay would work well with the control scheme. And although the music is a strong component to the game, that’s really all thanks to the composer Scott McFadyen. He did an amazing job, and without him there probably wouldn’t have been much music in the game at all.

Lefans: I think it's great, and will be glad on every device. I want to ask, do you manage to expand gaming platforms? When did you got an idea to make retro-style game?

I love retro games, and I think that in a lot of ways they resonate strongly with what the core of games are all about. Back on the NES, for example, everyone I knew played games. But most stopped after the NES. Re-capturing the retro spirit was a strong desire for me, and in fact is one of the main goals of Eden Industries for all of our games.

WindBallad: did you delibrately take up a course on engineering just to create this game or making it just so to make the engineering students regret not studying hard enough?

I did my university degree in mathematics, which was certainly one of the reasons I was able to make Waveform. And if anyone wants to study harder in math or engineering, I’m sure Waveform will provide a quick crash course in trigonometry.

psycrow117: Have you ever think of making the game produce/enhance its own music by not sucking at the game like in bit.trip?

Actually the game already does this. As you do better, another layer of music is added in to enhance the intensity of the music and the game in general.

Fongomong: What was your favorite game as a kid? (assuming you played games as a kid) Did you draw inspiration from other games?

I played tons of games as a kid! That’s pretty much all I did in fact. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past remains as one of my favourite games from that time, although several other games (Ogre Battle, Earthbound, Final Fantasy 6) are also right on the top of my list. For Waveform, the two games that inspired me were Auditorium (for PC) and Art Style: Orbient (for WiiWare). Both had a simple mechanic inspired by math and a simple but compelling aesthetic. Obviously the gameplay of Waveform is very different than those, but I can certainly say that making a game like Waveform was inspired by them.

jedi304: I have read that you are a developer for console games, and Waveform is your first for the PC. I'd like to ask, is it hard learning to develop one platform to another? What are your likes and dislikes about it?

It is hard, yes, but there are advantages and disadvantages to both. PC hardware is the easiest and fastest to develop on, but the vast differences in hardware lead to a lot of problems in terms of compatibility. It’s just impossible to make sure it runs correctly on every machine. Working on consoles is harder, but in the end you can guarantee that it’ll work for all customers of that console because the hardware is standardized.

And there we go! Many thanks to Ryan Vandendyck for entertaining our questions and providing all these interesting answers. I always find it fascinating to hear directly from a game developer. It's like finding the burning bush for one particular game world that provides that conduit between us, who populate it, and the developers, who created it. Not being blasphemous here guys, but I think it's really cool.

And the winner? The winner shall be announced very soon. We promise.

Waveform release date announced

Yes, we're talking about the easy-to-learn, hard-to-master action-adventure-puzzle game from Eden Industries which we initially covered here, and did a preview of here. Ryan Vandendyck, founder of Eden Industries, has shared with OMGeek that the game will be available on Steam on March 20. We haven't been informed yet how much it will go for.

March 20, everyone! In the meantime, here's that gameplay video with the awesome music again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHjTRDWk2xo

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