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A Preview of The Beard in the Mirror

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPC4LP6NU7g Everybody likes adventure games, although the definition of the term "adventure game" has changed a bit over the years. Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is an adventure game, sure, but so is Uncharted. So is the latest Zelda. Right?

The Beard in the Mirror is an adventure game in the late-80s-to-mid-90s Sierra and LucasArts sense, and it certainly looks and feels the part. Paul Franzen, who also developed the indie adventure game Life in the Dorms, gave us the scoop on this new title by the quite-accurately-named "wife-and-husband team of Lizo and Paul".

The Beard in the Mirror is about a kid who doesn't know who he is, where he's going, or how he fits into his world. But not because he's an amnesiac; he's just a typical 22-year-old. As far as he knows, he's never once traveled outside his own universe—but the beautiful girl who wakes him up in the middle of one stormy night seems to think otherwise...

Inside his bedroom is the comfort and stability he's known all his life, but outside, there's an all-new fantasy world filled with magic, danger, romance—and the promise of adventure.

Mirror is a collaborative work by the wife-and-husband team of Lizo and Paul (the latter being the writer/designer of last year's Life in the Dorms). It started off as an interactive text adventure the two created and played over instant messenger, but over the years it's blossomed into a full-on point-and-click adventure game—complete with challenging puzzles with wacky solutions, dialogue trees, dangerous mishaps (and even death!), and a story about how to find oneself once the world's finally figured out you're an adult.

You can follow The Beard in the Mirror's development by liking them on Facebook or following Paul on Twitter (Paul says you can't follow Lizo on Twitter and you shouldn't even ask).

The team will have a table set up in the upcoming Boston FIG, so drop by and say hi if you're in the area!

Two uniquely thematic titles from Arcen Games coming this year

When gaming critics and analysts talk about the indie movement as the last best hope for continued originality and innovation in the games we play, it’s not always that easy to imagine exactly how that originality is supposed to come about. It’s to our benefit, then, that the minds behind AI War: Fleet Command and A Valley Without Wind are stepping up to continue doing what they do best.

Indie developer Arcen Games has announced Exodus of the Machine and Skyward Collapse, two new games in wildly different genres, both in theme and in gameplay.

Read on for more early info about these games!

Exodus of the Machine

Exodus of the Machine is billed as a strategic journey game set in the world of AI War: Fleet Command. On paper, it sounds like an adventure game with strategic resource management elements:

Lead a team trapped on a hostile planet and desperately pursuing a threat which could destroy humanity outright.

Vicious predators, clashing armies, and political intrigue stand in your way. None can stand before your modern weapons, but where do you use your limited ammunition? Do you resort to diplomacy, or native weapons? Will you fall to disease or run out of food stores? Can you get to the end in time?

Exodus combines Arcen's love of all things strategic within a framework reminiscent of our old favorite Oregon Trail.

Skyward Collapse

Skyward Collapse is an isometric god game that quite possibly gets the idea of being a god better than any of the others out there. Instead of making you rampage all over the heathen hordes with your worship-fueled powers, Skyward Collapse requires a subtle and delicate touch:

Set high in the sky atop a floating landmass that you are actively constructing as the game progresses, you oversee two warring factions (Greeks and Norse). Via solo play or co-op, you play as "The Creator," helping both sides of the conflict -- granting each side buildings, resources, and even new citizens.

However, the multitude of villages you create all have minds of their own, and will actively try to stomp the nearest still-standing village of the other faction. Given the resources and appropriate buildings, your villagers will gear up for war without your direct interaction, and will fight it out to the best of their abilities.

Unlike most strategy games, your goal isn't to have either of the sides win. "You" aren't represented by either of the sides, after all. Instead your goal is to balance this conflict as best you can so that neither side gets wiped out. You win by having the most points generated (read: most carnage) without either side committing genocide.

That is very, very interesting indeed.

We’re eager to find out more about Exodus and Skyward, and we have reached out to Arcen Games to gather more first-hand information about both games. We'll post more in-depth coverage soon.

DreadOut - Indie Southeast Asian Horror Comes to the PC

In case you’ve forgotten what it’s like to lean as far back as possible from your monitor and turn down the volume and switch on all the lights in the room, I bring glorious and terrible news. There’s a new horror game in the works, and as we are in the midst of a macabre winning streak that includes the likes of Slender: The Arrival, A Machine for Pigs, Routine, and The Cat Lady, I’m glad that with horror, much like with jello, there’s always room for a little more.

DreadOut is a survival horror PC game from Bandung-based Indonesian developer Digital Happiness, and while it’s news in itself that a Southeast Asian developer is once again taking a crack at making a full-fledged game, it’s compounded even further by the fact that this is turning out to be a proper scare-fest of a calibre that seemingly only the indies can produce nowadays. The game is currently up for funding on indiegogo, and as of this writing, the project has gotten $3,000 worth of pledges out of a $25,000 goal. There’s still 41 days to go, so we remain hopeful that the team will raise the necessary funds. Links to download the game demo are also available on the indiegogo page.

The title is set in Indonesia, and is heavily influenced by the brand of Asian-flavored survival horror popularized by the Fatal Frame series. The plot is comfortably set up like a horror movie -- group of high school students go on a trip, stumble across a creepy locale, rile up the sinister powers that occupy the place, and get themselves into a huge, messy, and terrifying pile of trouble. It’s up to Linda, who may or may not be our Final Girl of the story, to use her smartphone, digital camera, and video camera in clever ways to fight back.

Or at least survive long enough to get everybody else out alive. Right?

The game is shaping up to be a contender. The graphics are good if not great, and the content is brimming with the potential of a never-before-touched culture in gaming. The gameplay seems to be a bit derivative, but in an homage sort of way. The overall concept is believable and not forced. On top of all that, DreadOut is certainly worth a look because it comes from a Southeast Asian developer. We are very excited for this project.

OMGeek has reached out to the dev team and we’ll be publishing an interview on Wednesday! In the meantime, here’s a rundown of the game’s offerings from its indiegogo page:

DreadOut is 3D adventure horror game within an authentic local Indonesian setting.

  • Explore the mystical world of a cursed city from a 3rd person perspective.
  • Come face to face with your worst nightmares; terrifying authentic Indonesian ghosts like Tuyul, Pocong, Kunti, etc.
  • Share your ghost photographs through our online integration via facebook.
  • Experience an original and thrilling storyline.
  • Enjoy diverse gameplay elements as you explore the world.

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!

Kickstarter: Castle Story

[youtube_sc url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMCWVvuza_s"]

Hello guys, I've been following a certain indie game for months and I just wanna share. It's called Castle Story. It's a voxel-based RTS game. What's great about this is you will build your fort brick by brick, and also since it's an RTS game, there will be multiplayer.

One more video and a Kickstarter link after the jump.

 [youtube_sc url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwZdXRPeYrc"]

Last Saturday, Sauropod Studio started a Kickstarter, and you can back it starting at $15. You should check it out and I hope you back it too since it's awesome!

Indie Royale: July Jubilee Bundle

[youtube_sc url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RfMZ3biW2Q"]

Hello guys! After the long week of Steam Summer Sale, a new Indie Royale bundle is now live! There are currently 6 games. These games are:

    • Puzzle Agent -  Sure to challenge, thrill and engage in more ways than you can shake a cryptogram at! Plentiful puzzles to challenge your neurons while investigating the strange, peculiar and mind-boggling to crack the case! Your discoveries provide clues to the larger mystery crippling the town, or uncover puzzles that must be solved to reveal answers...or even more questions.
    • Geneforce Saga - Contains all 5 of the classic Spiderweb Software titles in one great package! Geneforge is a fantasy role-playing game with a science fiction twist. In Geneforge, you are free to choose what your overall goal is, and you can seek after it with your own horde of deadly, mutant monsters.
    • Oniken - A 2D platform action indie game that make use of 8-bit graphic style. My friend Pedro Paiva and I are putting a great effort to guarantee that this game feels really like an 8 bit classic. Everything on Oniken, from the character design to the music, is a tribute to the 8-bit action games from the NES era. So if you like old-school games be prepared for Oniken and remember... Oniken is NES hard!
    • Mutant Storm Reloaded - Twin-stick shooter mayhem! As you get deeper, you are ever more overcrowded with nasty beasties. This carnival of frenetic fun is showcased in a cutting edge graphics extravaganza. Viewed from well above, you and your enemies can always be seen.
    • Swift*Stitch -  A game about going fast, taking the right route and trying not to crash.(Straight to the point eh?)
    • Unepic - A combination of platforming and role playing games. There are many hilarious references throughout the game. The game takes place in Harnakon, a huge medieval castle. It is set in the hardcore NES Style, yet refined with the latest features.

So are you gonna try this out? Unepic sure is interesting but... I just wasted my money last week! (A feeling not wholly unfamiliar to me! -ed) It's all your fault Gabe! I apologize to all of you guys If I'm not that active on the forums and Steam chat (going home late) and also I'm still figuring out how to make Arma 2 run or join our server. So, here's your latest indie bundle after the Steam summer sale. Enjoy your week guys!

Indie Royale: June Bug Bundle

Hello guys! Indie Royale comes right after the epic Humble Bundle V with the June Bug Bundle, featuring 4 great games plus a bonus game and a beat-the-minimum chiptune album! Here are the games included in this bundle:

  • PixelJunk Eden - Swing, climb, and jump your way through massive gardens of psychedelic plant-life in this organic therapeutic platformer. Grow each garden as you explore and guide your tiny yet agile "Grimp" toward the elusive "Spectra" which are hidden throughout each stage. Ride giant plants as they grow beneath you, then swing from them destroying Pollen Prowlers in an ever-increasing cacophony of pollen.
  • Escape Goat - A puzzle platformer featuring a unique take on traps and machinery. To solve each room, you must escape fearsome foes, navigate mazes, and use the environment to your advantage.
  • Noitu Love 2: Devolution - A century after the legendary boy Noitu Love saved the world from the evil Darns they rise again, but in a chaos of time-bending mayhem! It is up to the new hero of the Peacekeepers, Xoda Rap, to save the world this time. It's an adventure of mouse-input explosive action across time periods and through impressive battles!
  • Auditorium - Turn light into sound in this multi-award winning game. Auditorium is about the process of discovery and play. There are no right or wrong answers, and there are any number of ways to solve each puzzle.

If you get this bundle, you will also get some music albums, and an updated version of the Iconoclast alpha preview from the creator of Noitu Love 2. I bought this at day 1 and discovered that Indie Royale now has their own collection system attached to Desura's login system. Have fun with these games guys, and I'll see you next time!

Indie Gala III

[youtube_sc url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDdEQMpDPPY"] The new Indie Gala is now live! After the success of the 2 previous Indie Galas, they have released another epic game-plus-music bundle consisting of 5 games plus some music albums and some hidden bonuses. The games that are included in the bundle are:

    • Trapped Dead - You and your friends control your characters in a 3rd person isometric view through a mature Zombie survival scenario inspired by the successful horror films of the early '80s!

    • Greed: Black Order - Hack n slash your way through this science-fiction-themed action/RPG! In the futuristic universe of GREED, the discovery of new interstellar travel possibilities has led to a new age of colonialization.

    • Future Wars - Battle it out on the proving grounds and get ready for Future Wars. Similar to classic titles such as Advance Wars and Battle Isle, the game takes strategy gaming away from the micro-management overkill that it has become and using simple, proven rock-paper-scissors principles, reopens the genre to everyone!

If you pay more than the average price ($4.38 as of this writing), you will get these games:

    • Grotesque Tactics - A story driven, satirical RPG with a strategic combat system. A party of 10 anti-heroes are fighting in a grotesque world that combines the features and clichés of Western and Asian Strategy RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics, Heroes of Might & Magic and Fire Emblem.

    • Twin Sector - The remains of mankind have been put to artificial sleep in cryogenic chambers deep under the contaminated surface of earth until the planet becomes habitable again. You as the player must take the role of Ashley Simms, the protagonist of Twin Sector.

In the second week of Indie Gala, the bundle's organizers will release additional game/music bonuses! When you buy this bundle you will receive Steam Keys, and you'll be able to donate the money you used to two charity organizations: Child's Play and Save the Children). So get it now!

 

*All games' descriptions come from the Indie Gala website.

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