Dec 5, 2013

Be charitable! Grab the Indie Ordinary Gamer Bundle!

Let's keep things simple:

Buy the Indie Ordinary Gamer Bundle, grab 11 terrific games, support the Indie Dev Grant and help me and Kyttaro Games support the excellent AbleGamers Charity; 30% of the bundle's net earnings will be donated to it!

Nov 6, 2013

AI War, tactics and the Indie Strategy Bundle

You don't need no dice to get all strategic with the Indie Strategy Bundle, the just released indie gaming bundle by yours truly and Bundle In A Box! Oh no, all you need to do is pay-what-you-want and get yourself 11 fantastic strategy games, that will happily have you wage war on everything from rural WW2 Poland to far away star systems.

Among said 11 games you'll find AI War, Strategic War in Europe, Project Aftermath, US & Them - Cold War, The Trouble With Robots, Creeper World 2 and Mayhem Intergalactic, as well as a selection of fantastic (unlockable) extras such as the exclusive AI War Prototype.

Oct 10, 2013

Lawless Legends and the 8-bit Spaghetti RPG

Not all cowboy films are spaghetti westerns, but we all know that those were the best. And I do really want to imagine Lawless Legends as a fantastic RPG set in the Wild West that will nostalgically remind me of both The Wild Bunch and those roleplaying games I used to love as a young little person whose imagination had not been tainted by photorealistic graphics. It will, after all, be an 8-bit offering, meaning its graphics will by definition put the old brain to work.

As for what it will be all about, here is how the devs put it:

"The year is 1856, you have just arrived at Fort Miller, near Mariposa California. The gold rush has now past it's peak and the region is slowly being over run with cutthroats, thieves, murderers and the like. It seems like drifters from the wilderness are gravitating back into the nearest town they can find. The only other thing keeping the peace in these parts, besides lawmen, are the saloons with their fill of booze, gambling and loose women. To make things worse, there are rumors circulating about mysterious, unnatural things taking place behind the curtain of mountains beyond the local ridges, spreading like wildfire. It’s getting to the point where most folks are too nervous to venture far from town...even for gold."

What's more, Lawless Legends is an open source project and is ready to accept all the coding and designing help you can offer it, while simultaneously considering all the ideas you have to throw its way. You can keep an eye on it via this handy facebook page and have a look at the code, editor and assets over here.

Lawless Legends will be released for Apple II and Commodore 64, with a slight chance of also making it to modern PCs and Macs. Sadly, no word on the ZX Spectrum version yet...

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Sep 18, 2013

The Indie RPG Bundle by your dear BIAB

Ah, yes, it's that time again, isn't it? Well...

The richest Bundle In A Box bundle to date, The Indie RPG Bundle, has finally gone live and is featuring 13 roleplaying games (complete with tons of lovely unlockable extras) to last you a lifetime. Or, well, for dozens of hours. At least. Dozens of glorious hours of indie RPG gaming from the trenches of World War I and those dark fantasy forests to contemporary cities and dreaded dungeons. 

Those who pay at least $1.99 will receive modern day RPG Unemployment Quest, choose-your-own-adventure gamebook The Siege of the Necromancer, indie classic Hack Slash Loot, strategic RPG Styrateg, Ultima-esque Inaria, the lovely Dungeon Fray, dungeon crawling tactical RPG Empires & Dungeons 2, and humorous 3D CRPG Frayed Knights

Gamers who beat the average price will also receive the brilliant and just greenlit Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land, the foreboding Wizard from Tarnath Tor, card-based Northmark, excellent rogue-like The Wizard’s Lair, and the utterly unique and philosophical Telepath RPG

As always gamers will also be supporting an important charity and indie developers via the Indie Dev Grant. Oh, and there's the exclusive Droidscape: Basilica content too. And the fact that putting this bundle together was beyond exhausting...

Sep 9, 2013

It's Behind You: The Making of ZX Spectrum R-Type

Coding on the ZX Spectrum was tough. As was creating decent art and making sure everything moved along at a respectable pace, and that's why a mere glimpse of R-Type running on Sinclair's humble 8-bit was more than enough to drop jaws all around Europe. The thing felt arcade perfect and quite frankly unbelievable, and that's why said conversion is considered one of the machine's finest, while casually finding itself in all sorts of best-of-all-time Speccy lists. 

Finally, you are about to find out how (then) bedroom coder Bob Pape managed to pull it off by reading his just released ebook It's Behind You: The Making of a Computer Game. The 138 pages long book is surprisingly well written, filled with all sorts of information, artwork, ads, bits of code, designs and, well, the complete lowdown on R-Type. Interestingly, you'll also find quite a few words on the Rampage conversion and the whole Spectrum era in there too.

A brilliant and most enlightening read indeed and a freeware PDF you simply have to download! Oh, and do not forget to check out those lovely book extras too.

Aug 1, 2013

Out, Droidscape: Basilica is OUT!

Can hardly believe it you know, but after 16 or so months of ridculously hard work Droidscape: Basilica has finally launched for iOS and has even started getting glowing reviews all over the place. That's quite the feeling let me tell you... Anyway. Let's not drag this out much more. You know what this is about dear reader, don't you? If you care for a lovely and quite innovative, stop-motion animated puzzle platformer with smart head-tracking controls and a glorious soundtrack, do give the thing a try.

Oh, and spreading the word would be really nice too!

Jul 28, 2013

A gnomic making of Droidscape: Basilica

The Droidscape: Basilica making-of you are about to read could easily be summarized thusly: “We used computers. It took bloody ages.”. One particularly wise man would really appreciate it this way and it would also be absolutely true.

Better though to go for the didactic, cathartic article and tell you a bit more about my and Kyttaro GamesDroidscape: Basilica experience and the wonders, troubles and tribulations of indie game development for iOS. Even better, let me do the sensible thing first and start at the beginning.

As the precious reader of this blog should be aware of, even though I do love to enjoy and study games, I have never had any sort of formal training in creating them. Nor any real experience, besides a few levels here and there, some playtesting for friends and my fair share of overly ambitious and thus unfinished projects. Actually, hadn't Greece deteriorated I would probably be happily pursuing my academic career, which I'm apparently not. I am working for/with Kyttaro Games in publishing indie-loving bundles and doing games.

The first game of our very own and the one we will be releasing in a few days for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch (launch date: July 31) is no other than the aforementioned Droidscape: Basilica. A sci-fi, stop-motion animated arcade puzzler with quite a bit of story in it and some rather revolutionary (yet also still experimental) head-tracking controls.

Here's a brief take on the story of the thing (so far):

Many Indie Hats and One Concept

As you may have already heard, indie studios do not come with rigid and pre-determined roles. Everyone usually wears all sorts of hats and this is exactly how things also work in Kyttaro Games. I for example, obviously an urban geographer, had to dabble in web-design, game design, a bit of development, testing, level design, story writing, copy editing, some marketing, community management, acting on camera, storyboarding trailers and organizing several beta tests. Among other thing, if you can believe this.

By far, the most interesting and exciting thing I did were the initial brainstorming sessions in which we came up with our first ideas for games, one of which, unsurprisingly, was AnMech (yes, that would be Droidscape). Another was what evolved into Artfully Framed, but the first prototype for AnMech seemed to progress much faster and the concept for a two-phase game in which you had to both plan and execute masterfully was too intriguing to ignore for long. And working on it on paper (hence sketching level ideas and jotting down mechanics) seemed to actually, err, work.

From AnMech to Droidscape: Basilica

After creating a fully working prototype in less than a month (or so I believe; crunching makes ones memory hazy) with placeholder graphics, basic mechanics and ten levels, we went hunting for an artist to help us out with the aesthetics of the game. Can you spot the problem in this? Yes, of course, we were ridiculously late, for, as we found out, game art takes time and you (we, too) should start working on it the moment you decide to craft your game.

On the other hand, we did manage to get visual artist Hariton Bekiaris to not only provide us with excellent art concepts, but also with a central idea for a sci-fi plot and setting. He even suggested we went for stop-motion animation, as sculpting things is something he apparently loves doing.

Concept Art for Droidscape: Basilica

Soon after that and after I and Hariton worked a bit more on the plot and the gameplay basics were decided upon, we also settled on the name Droidscape. Then the Basilica bit was added and, somehow, we simply liked Droidscape: Basilica too much to really alter it.

Stop-motion Animation and those Graphical bits

I will not go into detail here, but I have to say that the first time I touched the final Droidscape models I was beyond ecstatic. I knew we had chosen correctly in going down the perilous and time-consuming stop-motion animated road. It may have taken almost a year to get form the first character concepts to the final animation frames, but the game does indeed look lovely.

Happily, we've already covered the complete evolution of Bishop 7 (our protagonist) in a series of post over at the Kyttaro Games site and I won't have to write more on the subject.

Please do take the time to have a look at:

- The stop motion animation of Droidscape: Basilica
The Evolution of Bishop 7: The first Concepts
The Evolution of Bishop 7: Adding Physicality
The Evolution of Bishop 7: The Final. Posable Model

What hasn't been covered in those articles though is the simple fact that the necessary in-game graphics (tiles, characters, enemies etc) are far from everything a game might need. There are dozens of interface elements, buttons, menus, pop-ups and other stuff that have to be made and this also takes ages. Especially when deciding that each and every button in the main menu has ti be slightly different to the others. Or when being convinced that every world should have its story-pushing comic thingy... 

A proper Droidscape: Basilica screenshot. Exciting, eh?

The Musical and Aural Bits

Shockingly, music and sound effects were the less stressing aspect of Droidscape: Basilica. We already knew we would deviously collaborate with Chris Christodoulou whose work on The Sea Will Claim Everything we all loved, and Chris proved to be much more than a great, versatile and tech-savvy musician. He's a fantastic person and I truly enjoyed spending time with him. Actually, we've already signed the man for the next Kyttaro project too.

Besides, the impressively extensive Droidscape soundtrack managed to perfectly fit the game and was even capable of taking on certain dynamic aspects. You'll see when you play the thing... Oh, and all the music is available here.

As for the sound effects we were lucky enough to have Studio 19 on board; the same team that did the sound direction for Robert Wilson's Odyssey. We simply provided them with a list of the sounds we would need and a fortnight later were given over 500 unique sounds to choose from. while being taught that one can never have enough effects to use...

Levels, Levels, Levels (and some Words)

Game design, marketing and other random duties aside, my main work on Droidscape: Basilica had to do with levels. Designing all 60 of them to be precise and deciding on new game mechanics and the pace of their introduction to be precise. I still do not know whether I've done a good job, but from what I've heard from the rest of the team and our beta testers I did okay. Maybe even a bit better than that.

What I aimed for were a good learning and difficulty curve, a mix of longer and shorter levels, variety and, uhm, fun I suppose. Every level started its life built around an idea and on paper, only to make it into the game's editor and be playtested and tweaked to death until I was happy with it. Took more time than expected, but I will hopefully get into more details on the Droidscape post-mortem that's bound to appear at some point after the game is launched and we have some proper insight on what we did right or wrong.

Level ideas on paper. How exciting, eh?

Refining, Testing, Head-Tracking and Crunching

Interestingly, we've been thinking that Droidscape: Basilica would be ready "next month" since January. We were obviously wrong and I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be launching in a few days if we hadn't exhausted ourselves for the past two months. And when I say exhausted, I do really mean this. 90 hours of work per week would have been paradise for us, but, yeah, we did worse than that. We even managed to evolve our until recently unannounced head-tracking technology to a point that, with a bit of work, it could function in a game. Obviously, that work had to happen while shooting trailer videos, fixing bugs, implementing new shadows and a myriad other things one does before submitting ones app to Apple.

Still, neither me, nor the rest of the team expected the amount of tweaking, refining and testing required in order to be able to actually release something. It does seem that unless one has enough money to survive for months without income then crunching is indeed unavoidable. Exactly as dear Agustin Cordes had warned me it would happen.

And we still have a launch to go through...

Crowdfunding the sad and brutal story of Oleg

It might be missing a political prisoners group, but that doesn't really matter when we are talking about board games, does it? Well, I frankly do not know. Also, I digress already.

What matters is that The Oleg Story is looking like an incredibly ambitious board game, in which players will get to control rival prison gangs, forge unsteady alliances, pummel inmates to death, strategize, invade cell blocks, manage contacts, plot and hopefully survive in a hellish prison. Also, it needs you to help it reach its kickstarter goal and here's a video to hopefully convince you:

The game, a miniatures-sporting tabletop affair, will come with its own, free The Oleg Story: Survival app for all mobile/tablet platforms, an interesting back-story and a PDF guide book you can already read and see what it's all really about. Yes, this is exciting!

Jul 15, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Unknown and the tale of alienating DLC

I really, really love the new XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It's a fantastic game. It really is. I mean, it does look stunning, it is perfectly balanced, sports a huge campaign, swift and challenging multiplayer death matches, fantastic controls, some of the best turn-based mechanics ever that finally move TBS away from its boardgaming roots, and, to my obviously erring eyes, actually manages to surpass the original. To make my love for it crystal clear, let me simply admit to having already sunk 40 hours in the thing and be done. 

Now, as you may have noticed yourself reader, loving something usually makes us want more of it. It's a silly attitude, I know, and one that smothers creativity, but that's how it is and that is also the reason why I decided to install both XCOM DLC packs and replay the game. And whereas the Elite Soldier Pack was an honest if underwhelming offering, what really irritated me was the Slingshot Pack.

And this was not for only adding a few extremely banal missions to the game and what amounted to little more than an hour of gameplay.  It was for promising so much more, a new storyline to be precise, and completely and utterly failing to deliver. All this talk about the Triads and even the in-game promises of fighting gangsters that never materialized were simply disappointing. Having the option to play the DLC missions whenever I felt like it was downright alienating too. I mean, just like UFO, XCOM is all about choices that matter and taking that away felt wrong.

As did the fact that beating the last expansion led to exactly nothing; it was treated like any other mission... Impressively anti-climatic, that.

Then again, I do not usually write about stuff I don't like. Were it nor for my intense dissatisfaction with said DLCs and the overall DLC trend I wouldn't have mentioned this, but it's getting silly and out of hand; the trend, that is. From day one DLCs to stuff that's simply pointless or, as in this case, damages the feel of the game we are plagued with extra stuff that's mainly there to simply make something extra and hopefully cover those ridiculous budgets.

On the other hand, I could have a read a review or two.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Jul 11, 2013

Teasing, head-twisting and doing the Droidscape!

Woohoo! Another Droidscape: Basilica trailer has been unveiled and it's the aptly named Droidscape: Basilica Teaser Trailer, meant to tease you and just you, oh iOS-gaming reader and to let us also unveil our brand new game-page. Woohoo, indeed!

What's more, and besides the new screenshots and general info on the game, we also unveiled Kyttaro Games' experimental head-tracking tech, which had been under wraps for quite some time now. It's called HeadTwister and it's using the iPhone's (or iPad's) front-facing camera in order to track head-movement and translate it into in-game actions.

Oh, and do keep in mind that the graphics shown in the above trailer are not the final ones. Far from it... Here's a shiny new screenshot:

Jul 5, 2013

Silent Hill: Genesis finds its scary, visual novel self on Sega's 16-bit console (!)

In an era when 3D graphics scared artists left and right and console storytelling was in its early infancy, Silent Hill managed something utterly impressive: it was interesting and atmospheric. It felt right and more than a bit scary, and promptly went on to become such a commercial and critical success as to be nowadays considered a classic.

I, having only played three hours into the thing, am sadly in no position to seriously discuss such a lofty status, though I can happily inform you that you can now play Silent Hill: Genesis on your Sega Genesis/Megadrive (something that would probably involve a lot of technical trickery) or your Sega 16-bit emulator of choice. For that I would suggest you grab the incredibly handy Gens.

As for Silent Hill: Genesis, it is a most interesting, freeware and properly indie adaptation of obscure GBA visual novel Silent Hill: Play Novel using story and graphical assets from the original Silent Hill. Yes, it's pretty weird and definitely not a gameplay extravaganza, but it also is an obvious labour of love and way more enjoyable than I expected it to be.

You can grab it from this lovely place, though do keep in mind it's still in beta. Haven't run into any problems myself, but we all know how finicky betas can be, don't we?

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Jul 2, 2013

Trailerized Stories and Droidscape: Basilica

No, I won't tire you much this time, oh sweet and gentle reader. No, my unbelievably precious bundle of joy. I will not go on and on about Droidscape: Basilica (the iOS game I've been working on since forever and is *finally* nearing launch). No. I will simply invite you to have a look at the trailer posted above, promise to very soon come back with much more and ask for your opinion.

Enjoy! And thank you!

Jun 21, 2013

Today's Musical News: The Journey Down Performance

I, sadly, am not aware of many games that have managed to get eleven jazz musicians to perform their music and I have to admit that this is an excellent idea. An excellent idea indeed, and one that will actually happen with the help of composer and saxophone player Simon D'souza, who will be performing a live evocation of the original music from lovely adventure The Journey Down (Steam, App Store), featuring tracks played live to clips from the game and, to quote, "exemplary playing from some of Brighton's finest musicians". 

The event will take place on June 23 at 2:00pm GMT+1 at The Brunswick, in Brighton, and the live broadcast will be available via justjamit. More details will become available here.

Jun 17, 2013

Wyv and Keep: The Temple of the Lost Idol Released

I'm pretty much aware of the fact that Gnome's Lair isn't really covering many game releases these days, but a) that's something that will hopefully change (already looking into new ways of covering things) and b) I really enjoyed that Wyv and Keep preview of yore.

In case you haven't gotten the point reader, well, Wyv and Keep: The Temple of the Lost Idol by the delightfully named Jolly Corpse has been finally released and it's looking better than ever. You can grab the DRM-free version for your Windows, Mac and Linux machine from the game's site with a little help from the Humble Store and enjoy some of the best and most beautiful co-op puzzle platforming indie gaming has to offer.

Here's the launch trailer to get you all excited:

Oh, and your creative self will be delighted to know that the game is coming with a full-blown level editor, that lets you play around with everything; even the sprites themselves.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

May 30, 2013

The CC-BIAB indie bundle has INDIE PIXELS in it!

This time it's not just me and Kyttaro Games. This time it's me, Kyttaro Games and Capsule Computers who put The Capsule Computers Indie Bundle together and you should be lovely and kind and nice and buy it and let everyone know about it, oh gentle reader! It has of course just gone live and is featuring 11 fantastic indie games, while -as always- supporting an important charity and the Indie Dev Grant.

Expect many DRM-free downloads, Steam and Desura codes, Windows, Linux & Mac games and an interesting selection of unlockable extras. Also something pretty special for the three people that outpay everybody else...

Anyway, on to the included games and a ton of screenshots:

Blackwell Convergence

Blackwell Deception

Hacker Evolution Untold

Blackwell Legacy


Super Tower Rush

Blackwell Unbound
Hacker Evolution Duality

Hacker Evolution


Secret of the Magic Crystals

May 21, 2013

Forget that Norton guy; it's The Laffer Utilities Ver. 4.01!

Nowadays nobody seems to remember neither them PC Tools nor those over-priced Norton Utilities we  all used to install in order to have our PCs actually come close to doing stuff, and I frankly do not particularly miss this part of the era. On the other hand, you can't really complain when you are 14, even if the only Sierra product you can afford are the obscure Laffer Utilities. The Laffer Utilities Version 4.01 to be precise; a set of wacky little programs promising to make themselves handy "for everything you do at the office that has nothing to do with work".

Of course being 14 I couldn't really appreciate this kind of humour nor find any particular use for fax covers. An office sounded, well, it sounded implausible at best and, admittedly, Mr. Lowe's jokes aren't always what I'm looking for, but, still... Hey, I actually managed to have fun with the Laffer Utilities.

I printed silly signs filled with the bits The Office writers chose to cut, tried to entertain my parents with semi-randomly generated tabloid-esque headlines, gawked at the brilliantly drawn and incredibly vivid low-res 16-colour graphics and even fooled around with the rudimentary parser-driven AI that answered all questions with a selection of five catch-all phrases. In a desperate effort to squeeze even more fun from said piece of counter-productivity software (it really, really, wasn't suited for my age) I even tried to organize my friends' phone numbers into Larry's database, all the while wondering what on earth a betting pool is.

Ah, yes, good times.

Somewhat surprisingly, I quite enjoyed myself for far too many hours with the thing and Larry's non-gaming offering is something I still remember fondly. I regularly re-open its filled-to-the-brim box and browse the manual to this day. What's more, the complete set of the Laffer Utilities has been made available by Al Lowe himself and you can download it for free over at his radically updated site.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

May 10, 2013

Scrolls, Lists and Freeware Games

So, yes, it did have to happen. After years of playing through hundreds of free games and after writing about dozens of the things, well, the time has come for me to finally set up a nice and update-able list with the best of the lot or, to be precise, those I enjoyed the most. Have a look and worry not; more playable freebies will be added to it.

Apr 29, 2013

Analog Investigations in Arkham

Deduction, despite what Sherlock Holmes would have you believe, is not a science. It's a method. A method that could arguably make the life of all fictional investigators much easier and can definitely be applied to board-games as the classic Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective so effortlessly proved over 30 years ago. What's more, deduction is what you'll be using when playing the freshly released and rather excellent Arkham Investigator.

Designed by Hal Eccles, Arkham Investigator is a board game you can download, print and play for free, either solo or with up to 9 more people (preferably friends or at the very least attractive members of whichever sex/sexes you find attractive). Heavily inspired by the Sherlock Holmes game, Arkham Investigator is all about gathering clues and piecing together what happened in each of its cases; a process that requires quite a bit of thought, patience and no luck whatsoever. 

You'll get to explore Lovecraft's Arkham, read newspapers, contact allies, dive into directories and try to prove yourself to Dr. Armitage by solving cases and figuring out mysteries, all the while trying to avoid shanity-shattering dangers and limiting the resources used.

The first (and currently only) case released, A Grain of Evil, is a fine and engrossing showcase of what Arkham Investigator is all about. It comes with an investigation book and an edition of fictional newspaper Arkham Advertiser and managed to provide me and a couple of friends with roughly two hours of excellent gaming time.

Oh, and the closest thing to an official website I managed to come across was the Arkham Investigator facebook page, which is where news and whatnot get posted.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Apr 23, 2013

Moleman 2: Demoscene - The Art of the Algorithms

Now that you've spent the last 90 minutes watching the video above and have enjoyed an almost cathartic explosion of algorithmically produced art, you already know you love what the demoscene is doing and I frankly can blame you. Better show your appreciation the IndieGoGo way then.

Mar 19, 2013

The Cerebral Bundle! It's Alive! It's Indie! It's CLEVER!

Yes, dear reader, the stars have been perfectly aligned and a new Bundle In A Box has been spawned. A very clever bundle. A cunning bundle. A Cerebral Bundle! Also, a bundle sporting a selection of 9 excellent indie games for the rather sensible price of “pay-what-you-want”. And it supports Windows, Mac and Linux!

Anyway, on to the games!

Paying anything above $1.99 will get you:

  • deep, retro-esque and utterly elegant RPG Phantasmaburbia (Windows/Desura)
  • artful, being-stood-up-sim Dinner Date (Windows/Steam)
  • undead infested puzzler Vampires! (Windows/Mac)
  • illustrated interactive fiction exclusive debut Necrotic Drift Deluxe (Windows /Mac/Linux)
  • beautiful puzzler exclusive debut Dédale De Luxe (Windows/Mac/Linux/Desura)

Beating the always humble (heh) average price will earn you those lovelies:
  • sci-fi puzzle exploration adventure J.U.L.I.A. (Windows)
  • hilarious boring-job-sim I Get This Call Every Day (Windows/Mac/Desura)
  • Jane Jensen powered point-and-clicker Cognition, Episode 1: The Hangman (Windows/Mac/Desura)
  • just released dystopian adventure Reversion: The Meeting (Windows/Desura)

As is the Kyttaro Games tradition, for every 100 bundles sold $15 will be added to our Indie Dev Grant and the whole sum will be awarded to a developer selected by the vote of the bundlers. Also, 5% of all revenues will be shared with the Hellenic Centre for Mental Health and Treatment of Child and Family.

What’s more, for every 1000 bundles sold new extras will be unlocked for everyone who grabbed the Cerebral Bundle. Said extras include the source code of Necrotic Drift, the Cognition soundtrack and prequel comic, Phantasmaburbia’s Deluxe Digital Box, Dédale De Luxe wallpapers and more.

Finally, and as an added bonus, all who purchase the bundle will get access to exclusive content for Droidcape: Basilica; you know, that game I've been working on for the past year or so.

PS. Uhm, helping spread the word on this new bundle would indeed be fantastic. We are, after all, at a pretty crucial turn for Bundle In A Box... Thanks a ton!

Mar 18, 2013

Creating the best Monkey Island games possible

Ask anyone with a passing interest in gaming and at least a modicum of taste and they will immediately let you know that both The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge are perfect games. Interestingly though, their recent deluxe versions are pretty good too and, despite a few interface hick-ups and some not always spot-on visuals, they also sport some truly excellent voice-overs.

Which leads us to the question: what are the best possible versions of the first two Monkey Island games? How should you enjoy Ron Gilbert's masterpieces?

Simple! By playing the original games with the original point-and-click interface in the talkie versions that never existed; the talkie versions using the voice-overs of the deluxe editions. All you'll be needing are the original games, their recent deluxe versions, ScummVM and the brand new, freeware, legal and utterly fantastic Monkey Island Ultimate Talkie Edition Builders.

You are most welcome! No, really, 't was a pleasure!

Mar 6, 2013

Ithaka of the Clouds and the future of quality gaming

People keep moaning. There aren't enough clever games, they say. Indie gaming is stuck in an idealized retro world that never really existed and keeps churning out platformer after platformer, they add. Intelligent adults need their piece of interactive entertainment too, they shout. And then, Jonas Kyratzes goes on to release the brilliant The Sea Will Claim Everything and everyone, and that's despite numerous glowing reviews, fails to notice and keeps on moaning.

Well, everyone, time to set things right and make sure that us appreciators of graceful, artful, beautiful, clever and shockingly meaningful games have a chance to redeem ourselves by helping Ithaka of the Clouds get funded over at IndieGoGo. It is the latest (and most ambitious so far) project of Jonas and Verena Kyratzes, will feature the wonderful music of Chris Christodoulou and, before I go on and ramble a bit more, here's its pitch video:

Watched it? Excellent! You are then quite aware of the fact that Ithaka, the first game to ever feature two gay trolls and the first adventure to ever be inspired by the sublime poetry of Kavafis, is bound to not only be an amazing game, but actually an important one too. Remember how I once mentioned that The Sea Will Claim Everything can make you a better person? Seems like Ithaka of the Clouds will improve on that.

Anyway, here's the illusive Joseph Kyranzes to further enlighten you:

Now, off to back the project! A mere $10$ will get you the game upon release, $15 will get you the game with either the soundtrack or The Sea Will Claim Everything, $30 will get you everything mentioned so far and the rest you'll have to find out for yourself reader. Just support the thing and spread the word!

Jonas Kyratzes stuff @ Gnome's Lair:

Mar 5, 2013

The Strange, Stylish & Endlessly Running Tale Of The Button Affair

Do you remember The Cat That Got The Milk and what it did with/to Kandinsky? Excellent! The Button Affair has absolutely nothing to do with it, apart from the fact that it's vaguely in the same wide genre of action games, looks absolutely stunning itself and is the work of the very same, very talented developers. As a further way to differentiate itself from its predecessor it even sports a plot that goes a bit like this:
The Button Affair is the story of Enzo Gabriel. His quest. To steal the priceless Button Jewel from the infinitely wealthy business tycoon Victor Meirelles.
Yes, that definitely does sounds like something taken straight from a '70s action movie and is perfectly complemented by the game's beautifully stylized visuals that can't help but remind me of the elegant aesthetics of Another World. Just have a look at this trailer and you'll see for yourself dearest reader:

Oh, and if you simply have to know, The Button Affair is one of those fashionable runners that seem to be cropping up everywhere. Only not boring. And actually enjoyable. And very well done too. Also, innovative. Helps charity too and will happily run on both Mac and Windows PCs.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Feb 12, 2013

Asylum: The Kickstartering

Not many know this, but I'm more than proud of the fact that Agustin Cordes first announced the forthcoming Asylum via an interview on this very blog back in 2010. Admittedly, it was called the Unnameable Project back then, but it was still the very same horror adventure game everyone seems to be waiting for and the same game that has already released an incredibly promising interactive teaser (a.k.a. a small demo) for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Also, the very same game that has launched a fantastic Kickstarter campaign to ensure it becomes everything it should be. Here's the pitch video:

The Asylum, which I urge you to wholeheartedly support, is bound to be a huge, detailed, beautiful and downright creepy point-and-click adventure, that will build upon the experience its team has gathered from working on the rather brilliant Scratches, while simultaneously being the first adventure game I know of that will be open to modding! It will after all ship with the powerful and open-source Dagon engine Senscape has been busy developing. 

Oh, and if you want my advice, when selecting your perk do go for that boxed version of the game. I know it will be sublime.

Feb 11, 2013

How to Contact Press & Entertain the Possibility of Feeding Your Indie Self

If you are an indie developer and aren't aware of the excellent online resource that is Pixel Prospector, you are seriously missing out. It's a true goldmine of information and inspiration, it is. What's more, the Pixel Prospector has compiled an invaluable little PDF booklet about contacting the press: the aptly named How To Contact Press. A free offering I can't help but endorse, as it simply makes sense and covers everything from press releases and press emails to who to contact and how to organize a press kit. Invaluable really!