Thursday, 29 January 2015

Pixel Art Collage

I made a college of some of my pixel art in a comic book panel style. I think it's a pretty cool way to display them! I'm going to add to this in the future. -oP

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Five Nights at Freddy's 3 Added To Steam Greenlight

So the third part of the Five Nights at Freddy's is now on Steam Greenlight, and a teaser trailer can be watched below. FNAF was a minor phenomenon when it was released in august of 2014, and whether intentional or not, it captured the soul of the 'let's play' community for a brief time. It seemed to market itself, which was perfect for what I assume to be a very low budget production. I will disclose that I have not played any of these games yet, however I have watched enough of them to be able to have some sort of opinion. Being a seemingly short game with what seems like a limited replay value, I can understand why a sequel was released just 3 months later. Although it did seem strange that the release didn't capitalise on Halloween, being a horror game and all (although I know that it's classification as 'horror' is debated by some). I would guess that the developer didn't want to be smothered under larger studio's horror releases. So the timing of the first release was pretty a pretty smart move I would say, and after all: who isn't in the mood for horror all year round?

The second version of the game seemed to change the format just enough to get people interested again. Although it's pretty much the same thing, we could say the same about any major franchise such as Far Cry 4, which to me is little more than a re-skin of FC3 (harsh but fair I wold say). The way Scott Cawthon, the developer gets away with it, is by making it such a short, cheap game. I'm not trying to diminish his creative work at all, but the fact that this type of game has a very fast development cycle is perfect. Many hobbyists have recognised this as there are hundreds of fan games, and using limited assets you can recreate your own jump-scare-extravaganza. The love for this series won't last long and Scott knows this, and so it made sense to announce a third to capitalise while he can.

I've seen some hate for this series and a lot of love, although sometimes that's in the form of: *screams then laughs nervously* "haha. This game is dumb..." *keeps playing*. If the dev can pull it off and succeed in filling my YouTube recommended list with more thumbnails of not-so-cutesy animatronics and scare-cams, then hats off to you sir. Although I'm not really interested in playing it, I do enjoy watching certain people on YouTube shitting themselves. So thanks for that. All the creepy fan art though - um, you can have that back. -oP

Monday, 19 January 2015

Moonman - First Impressions

In a strange, nocturnal world a moonman is summoned by an ancient mollusc. It sends him to the seven farthest corners of the land to search for fallen moon fragments -- that will power a great star-machine.
This week I checked out the Kickstarter for Moonman, a procedurally generated 2D adventure game. In Moonman you must explore various different worlds looking for moon fragments so that you can turn a machine on or something. The Kickstarter doesn't focus on the lore, which is a good thing; in my opinion this can sometimes be an anti-retention trap that many failed campaigns fall into. Instead mechanics, environments and sprites galore are on display. Fans of Terraria and Starbound may appreciate the pixel art aesthetic and resource gathering and item crafting mechanics on offer. 

While Terraria and Starbound (currently) have a sandbox route of progression, Moonman has a set (albeit flexible) goal but still requires resource gathering and crafting along the way. Arguably one of the main engaging factors of open world sandbox experiences is that they allow you to write your own story, however I also find that this can be detrimental to some players. Without a clear goal, it can be difficult to focus and this can even stifle creativity (something I've experienced before in Minecraft). I enjoy a good sandbox to mess around in, and I think Moonman, whilst being visually similar to other games of this genre, looks like it will tick a box that others don't.

The Kickstarter itself is well written and concise, and shows a decent amount of content. The ratio of text to images is fairly balanced so I felt engaged whilst reading it all. I like pictures! It seems like a lot of work has already gone into the project before they decided to crowd-fund which in my opinion is the best way to encourage investors! There isn't a business-plan break down of where your money is going, but they do give you a rough idea of what it's for.

Much like the Kickstarter, I don't want to ramble on, so I'll let the pictures do the talking. All in all I like the look of the little green dude, plus I like this genre... Also hats, and a pig-face helps. Go check it out.-oP

Moonman Kickstarter
Moonman Website

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Dungeon Burglars Gets Featured!

My first game won the game of the month award in October, and now it has also been featured on their website. This is quite a big deal for me and I'm very happy! If you haven't had a look, please go check out the game. It's totally free! Thanks if you have already tried it!

Dungeon Burglars featured on Game Salad


Saturday, 3 January 2015

Save The Game

In 2015 we need to #SaveTheGame.

2014 was a turbulent year for the gaming industry and community. It began almost as a blank canvas, with the new consoles sitting in people's living rooms ready for a year of shiny new IPs with shinier graphics. We have had some high notes, but even the biggest new IP of the year Destiny couldn't escape disappointing some. Nintendo had an awful start, with the reveal of their dismal financial report and failure to keep up in the 'console wars'. Many developers and publishers have had their fair share of scrutiny, and there were few weeks where news from the gaming industry did not feature a negative spotlight.

For most of 2014 we have had a snowballing, torrential downpour of controversy surrounding ethics in journalism, sexism, feminism and an absolutely unacceptable storm of perpetuated abuse and hatred towards various groups of people. The arguments and the hashtags have gone through quite a few evolutions but unfortunately the level of negativity has been consistent (and I don't think I need to say much more about this).

Crowdfunding, despite being an important business model for the indie community, resulted in disappointment for many backers as various projects ended abruptly or failed to meet expectations. The poorly managed finances of the Yogventures game arguably being one of the biggest stories, and Double Fine's sudden release of Spacebase DF-9 with a considerably shortened feature list was another. Not to mention a pile of AAA titles which were shipped buggy, and arguably unfinished, raised questions about the moral obligations of developers who offer $60 pre-orders, plus the ethically questionable review embargo's placed upon new releases. 

To top everything off, the new EU VAT regulations (#VATMOSS #VATMESS), have potentially crippled the finances and spirit of many small and independent developer and content creator. Not everything was awful in 2014, but the memory of last year has definitely been tarnished and upstaged by countless other negative events.

2015 needs to be about #SaveTheGame. I want to begin on a high, focusing on how we can make the future months better for all developers, content creators, and individuals who just love playing games. We need to spread a positive message, learn from the mistakes of last year and help each other. 

I propose we all support one another as creative people, nurture the new blood and reassure those who have already given many years to their industry as an indie. Sometimes all it takes is a retweet or a quick post on any social network; so let's support and co-promote each others projects. If all you can afford is a £1 donation to a Kickstarter or Patreon then go for it, you don't always need to meet a reward tier and you can always buy the game later when you can afford it. Talk to each other and if you like the look of a project then tell the developer, they will appreciate it and it could be the small pickup that they need. I don't want anyone to ignore the problems of the gaming industry, and I'm not suggesting you forget about what has happened, but I think it's important that we start spreading a positive message. 

#SaveTheGame is the hashtag I've started using, and I will associate it with all the promotion of my own, my friends and stranger's games, blogs, YouTube channels and any other content in the effort to spread good intention. Feel free to join me in using this, or spread your own message of goodwill but at the very least try to be good to each other. 

Let's have an awesome year. Thanks, and remember to #SaveTheGame. -oP