Saturday, September 7, 2013

Two Hidden Gems From PAX 2013

This year's PAX Prime was just like every other: Better than all the rest. And I had my share of great experiences like hanging out with Vlambeer, chatting with Tommy Refenes, and spotting some killer cosplay. But the coolest part of this gathering is what you find buried just below the surface.

Lilly: Looking Through

On Friday, while showing my family the tucked-away PC freeplay section, we were fortunate to bump into Daran Chapman of Geeta Games. He took us to the humble Lilly booth, where we were introduced to two other developers, Steve & Jessica Hoogendyk. Now I get a kick out of talking to indie developers, but I can honestly say that these are some of the nicest people I've met. Which made me really want to like their game...

My 6 Year Old Son Playing "Lilly"
Turns out, the game is fantastic. The quality of the visuals were impressive and I learned later (when viewing the trailer) that the soundtrack is equally as good. But what's really neat about "Lilly" is how it's designed form the ground-up to be played with your children.

My son and I already play a lot of point-and-click adventure games together, but a lot of the time I'm in the driver's seat. The puzzles in Lilly are perfectly suited for keeping your kid at the helm and then joining in when they become too challenging. That's not to say you have to be a parent to play, though! Have a look for yourself:


On the final day of PAX the Indie Mega Booth was clearing out when Chris Mansell pulled out the latest build of a game he's been working on for two months. It wasn't clear to me whether he was really even a legitimate exhibitor at the show as evidenced by his highly polished contact card:

But what was astoundingly polished was the most recent build of Omina. And as I conversed with Chris (While admiring his charming British accent) it became clear to me that this game is something incredibly special.

Omina was inspired by side-scrolling games of the 16-bit era like Super Metroid, but due to the awe-inspiring artwork, animation and attention to detail; I found it to be reminiscent of games like Metal Slug, Black Thorne and Another World.

Omina Title Screen

Omina in-Game
Chris is a very humble and like-able guy. This may be, in part, due to the fact that he has yet to be discovered as an indie developer (At the time of writing this, he has 9 followers on twitter). And while my description and screenshots may not seem like much-- You'll see... You'll see.

Monday, June 10, 2013

When It's Ready

As a gamer, I've noticed an unsettling trend as of late... Some developers have adopted [what I consider to be] a derisive approach to avoiding failed deadlines. I'm talking about having the launch date of: "When it's ready."
From EA's Mirror's Edge Trailer at E3 2013
Cyberpunk 2077 Trailer
Guild Wars 2 Developer Interview

Before I go any further; I get it. Fan-Gamers are some of the most difficult people on the planet to please. They're usually brash and demanding. And it doesn't help that their minds are spoken via social media and other impersonal methods. (Such as a blog post ;)

But if your job is selling video games, being snide to your customer base may not be the best approach to addressing launch date challenges. Yes, your fans are ruthless. So what do you do?

I say don't say anything.

That's right. When I ask you when your game is coming out and you answer "I'm sorry but I can't talk about it." it does two things:

1) It adds a layer of mystery to your product, increasing my anticipation.
2) It removes any anticipated deadline from my brain.

And this is exactly why I'm under the impression that Half Life 3 will be the best game of all time.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

POGs For Steam

Valve recently launched the Steam Trading Cards beta and I must say, I'm having a lot of fun with it.

But there is some confusion surrounding how it works. Here's a conversation with a friend I had this morning that breaks it down for you.

King of Dew: yo
basementdigital: Yo
King of Dew: how does the steam card thing work?
King of Dew: i accepted the invite
King of Dew: and used the gift
basementdigital: So you collect all the cards in a game
King of Dew: but there is nothing in my library
basementdigital: You have to play the game first
King of Dew: like i play the game?
King of Dew: ok....
King of Dew: do they drop?
basementdigital: So cards drop based on how many hours you put in
King of Dew: oh
King of Dew: where do they drop?
basementdigital: Like with TF2- all you need to do is idle for a couple hours because you've played it so much already.
basementdigital: They drop to inventory
King of Dew: oh ok
basementdigital: So I got my cards for TF2 last night
King of Dew: then what?
King of Dew: what do you do with said card
basementdigital: But I didn't have each one- so it forces you to trade with friends or on the market
basementdigital: Once you have "them all"
basementdigital: Like a complete set for the game
basementdigital: In TF2's case- it's one card for each class
King of Dew: i've seen that on the market
King of Dew: ok
King of Dew: so.... it's just a preistige thing?
basementdigital: You go to the "badges" section on your profile and craft a badge with your cards
basementdigital: Then once the badge is crafted- they give you all sorts of goodies. Like emoticons
basementdigital: And discount coupons
basementdigital: Backgrounds for your profile
basementdigital: It's pretty damn fun actually
basementdigital: And all the goodies they give you appear to be tradeable and marketable as well.
King of Dew: i see
basementdigital: It's like POGS for steam. lol
King of Dew: so baically, collect them all... make a badge
King of Dew: get cool stuff
basementdigital: Yup- and with the badge... yup

Have fun out there in gaming land! :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

PAX 2012 Highlights

I know, I know... It's been quite a few months since PAX weekend was left behind, leaving a gaping pit where my heart once was. But I figure, as I anxiously await its return, why not share the best experiences that I had during these three fabulous days?

Hanging out with Kenna from Geek Portland

Playing Super Time Force with the developers
Meeting Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya from Nicalis

Meeting TF2 Cosplay Chicks
Experiencing Random Chiptune Jams
Seeing an incredible steam-punk styled Mario Brothers cosplay group
Having coffee with Jeri Ellsworth of Valve Software, and being bombarded by fanboys
Watching the Zombie U zombie harass the good people of Seattle as they attempt to eat lunch
Delivering my son's letter to Jeb of Mojang / Minecraft
Meeting John Romero and Brenda Brathwaite while cosplaying Commander Keen

My complete photo album here: