2015 - 8 - 31 / 1:16 am / events
I feel like I just got to Seattle a second ago, but it looks like PAX is already coming to close. Hard to believe that 3 days of insane exhaustion have already gone by. I thought I would just quick list off some games that I checked out that we're super neato:
Viking Squad: Co-op lane based brawler thing that has the procedural levels that all the kids love these days. Had a lot of fun playing with some folks.
Chasm: Procedural metroidvania (my favorite) that is feeling really good these days. I think I played a build one or two years ago that was kinda cool but didn't have a super solid feel yet, but now I think it does. I do wish for a few things with the movement, but I understand that not everyone wants to make a game with movement exploits.
Timespinner: Another metroidvania but this time not procedural. Freeze time as of right now feels like a Super Metroid ice beam that just captures the whole world instead of just enemies. Cool system with weapons that are orbs that float around the player.
Futuregrind: Kind of like a Trials game but with a crazy future bike that grinds of rails built with my favorite colors. Interesting and expressive controls and movement. Trying to get a high score on the tracks leads to some pretty interesting scenarios once you master the techniques. Really good feel, these guys know what they're doing.
Shovel Knight Plague Knight DLC: I liked Shovel Knight a lot and the new Plague Knight DLC really changes how the game is played entirely. Plague Knight's movement options are really interesting. Combining double jumps, bomb jumps, and hovering from tossing bombs leads to really expressive possibilities.
Shantae: The new one is looking really really nice and has a good mix of 3d world and 2d sprites and animation. This kind of look is really hard to pull off but I think they're doing a good job. They're using Spine to do sort of frame by frame but also transforming animations which look really smooth.
Freedom Planet: This game is totally insane to me because it was made in Multimedia Fusion (Clickteam Fusion) and I have no idea how it can possibly work. I'm saying it's a Sonic the Hedgehog like and it has the full platforming engine of a really good 2d Sonic game. There's three characters to play from, and it has awesome stages and art. It's just a good solid game. I actually bought it awhile ago, but haven't played it that much yet, but seeing at PAX leads me to believe I should get to it pretty soon.
The King's Bird: Never heard of this game until playing it at PAX but boy was it great. Momentum based platformer. I'm sold already. Very fluid controls and just all around excellent game feel. Has a cool flying mechanic and so far just the two demo levels are pretty fun, so I'm interested in seeing more.
I've played many many more games but at the time of writing this post I can't think of them all! Everything in the Indie Mega Booth and the Indie Mini Booth are worth checking out so go through those lists! Now to just survive the final day of PAX.
2015 - 3 - 9 / 10:36 am / events
Just got back from Game Developers Conference last night! I'll be writing up some sort of thoughts and feels post about it soon, but for now enjoy some matches from the TowerFall Invitational put on by Humble Bundle this year!
Greg Lobanov vs Matt Thorson
Me vs Connor Ullmann
Me vs Frederic Tarabout
The tournament was absolutely incredible this year. We had over 70 entrants in the whole thing all playing 1v1 best out of 3 (and the grand finals were best out of 5.) It was hosted at Folsom Street Foundry which was just an amazing venue to say the least. I really hope this continues and becomes a solidified GDC tradition!
2014 - 3 - 25 / 8:45 pm / events
Another GDC has come and gone and each year it feels like it's going by faster and faster. I did get to see a lot of awesome people from around the world, but there were still many many more that I unfortunately missed. The indie community is getting so huge that there are hundreds of smaller communities within it, and I feel as if I'm only a small part of one of those fractured off communities.
GDC is a time of pretty intense emotions. The event is built up in my head as some sort of annual check up on how my game development life is doing. A lot of developers use this time as a huge deadline to show off their new work, or discuss how awesome their past work has done. It can get pretty stressful to think about.
Last month with GDC looming on the horizon I started to crunch on my latest game project. I wanted to get something playable and ready to display at GDC, but as the days went by I realized that although I was making pretty decent progress, a fully playable thing was not going to be possible by the time I would be in San Francisco. I decided to instead just take it easy and work at a normal rate, and instead look forward to playing TowerFall all week at GDC instead of stress out about showing a game.
I'm not really sure how that decision has effected me, but it feels like it was the right one... maybe? When I don't have anything super solid to just show people, the question of "So what are you working on these days?" is a little tough to answer, and is kind of scary to hear.
The last year of my game development life has been pretty weird for me. I was working on an extension of a game jam game in Flash at this time last year... but when I went to GDC I didn't really like my project anymore. I didn't like working in Flash anymore. So I scrapped it, and spent months searching for what to work on next.
Eventually I made it to C# with SFML.Net, and Otter was born. Along with that, I started working on a project based on my old game jam game Gaiadi. I feel like this is the right choice... but I'm never totally sure.
I actually started working on this new project in June, but also at that time I started working on Otter, so progress was pretty slow. Then in December after Otter was way better of an engine, I restarted the project, and I'm almost four months into the new version... which is a pretty long time now that I think about it.
So right now it's tough to fully explain what I'm working on. My game hasn't really taken a solid form yet, and I feel like it's going to be awhile before it actually does, and that is terrifying to me. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal to answer "what are you working on," but it is tough when the thing I'm working on is still very nebulous, and the fact that I spent half of last year between GDCs just screwing around with different engines, and I don't have a presentable thing to just display to someone, and say "this! this is what I'm working on and it's super cool!"
I feel like I should have more to show for one year since last GDC when I scrapped my old Flash game. When I see the awesome things that everyone else is cooking up I ask myself if I'm just totally lazy compared to all of the other people at the conference. I wonder how it seems like they have so many things figured out and I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing or how to solve a lot of issues. Imposter syndrome becomes very severe this time of year!
Maybe I'm just in another rut of depression, as leaving GDC and all of my friends can be a pretty big bummer... but right now I totally feel like not doing anything. I spent most of today playing games. I've coded a little bit since I got back, but my motivation is near zero. I'm not really sure what the core issue is, but I'm going to try to get out of it as soon as possible.
Phew, this post is kind of a downer so far! GDC wasn't super depressing though. It was actually a lot of fun! But I have all these weird issues in my head popping up that I need to figure out.
2014 - 1 - 20 / 12:31 pm / events
Hey! I am alive and still kicking after my adventures in Disney World. I decided to take a longer break after Disney, as I only had a couple days back home before I had to fly out to Seattle for Steam Dev Days. I figured I can jump back onto the blog post train with some thoughts about the brand new conference from the folks at Valve.
* Whoa this conference was small. I heard a rumor that it was just 1,200 people. It felt quite cozy and reminded me of the Independent Games Summit. There was more than enough space for everyone.
* The free stuff was out of this world. We got a Steam controller which is awesome, but Intel also stepped in and gave everyone a free Steam Machine. Madness!
* Actually on the topic of free stuff, we also got a winter hat (toque?) and an umbrella, which are two things I totally needed for this trip to the northwest! Plus they gave us all notebooks and pens which are also awesome things that I needed for the conference and made great use of.
* Valve blew every other conference out of the water when it comes to perks for just attending. Not only with the free bag of stuff, but also a catered breakfast and a pretty solid dinner on both nights. I don't drink, but there were open bars on both nights (I think it was both nights at least.)
* The Day 1 talks were right up my alley. A lot of perspective on development and marketing, and a lot of it coming from indie developers or developers from small studios.
* Day 2 though was a little off course for me personally. It was a lot of tech talks involving virtual reality and Linux stuff, which I would be interested in but is most likely over my head at the moment.
* Looks like Linux is the future for Valve which is a little scary for me being so bound to Windows. I do everything in Windows and have no clue about anything regarding Linux, so I hope I can figure it out for my upcoming projects. Using Mono with C# should be a great start though!
* Apparently there was some baller amazing virtual reality demo but I didn't get a chance to check it out. (Only 60ish people actually saw it during the conference.)
* I got to see a lot of developer buddies at the conference which was awesome, but I still missed a lot of people which makes me sad.
* I am really bad at meeting new people and generally don't like to socialize, and I need to fix this. I met a handful of new people which was cool, but I definitely didn't put enough effort into it. I too often fall back on clinging to people I know and people that I feel comfortable with. I get really mad at myself for being so introverted.
* There was a cool after party with some kinda live band or something but I peaced out after a few minutes because loud dark spaces are not my thing. I wish there were more things to go to that weren't loud dark spaces with drinking, or maybe I am just not social enough to understand.
* Valve wanted to put on a conference that had a lot of value because they believe that most conferences aren't worth it, and I think they succeeded. However it'll be interesting to see if there's a Dev Days next year and how many people register. I have a feeling that a lot of the conference was the way it was because of how limited the attendance was.
* Am I going to develop for the Steam Machine and SteamOS? I guess I should put some effort into it sooner than later, because it seems like it'd be a sure fire way to get good support from the Steam people, which is a big component on having a successful game on Steam.
* I'm nervous for when the time Steam is going to be totally open and the question will be not how to get your game on Steam but how to get your game on the front page (which might already be the case with Greenlight accepting so many games lately.) Successful games are featured time and time again, but getting a niche little known title to the front page is nearly impossible.
* Unfortunately Valve didn't actually give Tyler and I brand new Tesla Roadsters.
Overall I had a really great time at Dev Days, and I hope they put on another one next year! It was an awesome excuse to get out of my room and travel more and meet up with rad people that I only get to see a few times per year.
2013 - 9 - 5 / 11:10 am / events
PAX has come and gone like a cool breeze on a mid-summer's day (not an Arizona mid-summer day, though.) It was as crazy as I expected it to be and a little bit more. Everyone was prepared for the madness to last four days this time, so every Indie Megabooth member had ample supplies of hand sanitizer, vitamin c powder, and various types of medicine in stock.
I was just at PAX floating around which was pretty fun. I filled in at the Aztez booth from time to time, and also helped out a little bit at TowerFall in the PAX10. My awesome laptop was used to demo Scale, but beyond that I had no real responsibilities, yay!
I stopped in for the Spelunky Video Armageddon challenge which turned out to be pretty awesome. Colin Northway destroyed all his competitors with a complete Hell run of Spelunky that actually went quite late since the Video Armageddon lived up to its name and started late after 30 minutes of struggling with laptop video out. read more
2013 - 8 - 29 / 5:14 pm / events
I made it safe and sound to Seattle after nearly losing my mind to the anxiety of flying and traveling in general. I usually like traveling when I'm actually in my new location, but the entire process of getting there makes me pretty crazy. The packing before the trip makes me freak out as if I forgot everything important, the airport security makes me freak out with the weird x ray scanners and pat downs, and the act of flying in a plane is probably the worst since I get pretty bad adrenaline rushes from the turbulence which causes me to panic...
But hey! Here I am in sunny Seattle, Washington getting ready for one of the craziest events of the year.
Behold the beautiful view from my friend James's apartment. We're only 10 to 15 minute walk from the actual convention center where PAX is, so it's a pretty good set up for 4 days of madness. I'm taking every precaution not to get sick, but it really does seem to come down to luck of the draw (but your odds of sickness increase based on how little sleep you get.)
If you're out at PAX then I hope I get to see you and or meet you! I'll be hanging around the indie mega booth or the PAX 10 for most of the time, so if you see some dude with blue and blonde hair you should totally say hello.
I hope everyone has an awesome and healthy PAX! LET'S DO THIS.
Hi! My name's Kyle, and I make video games most of the time in Denver, Colorado. Here you will find my thoughts, games, websites, doodles, and other stuff like that. I worked on Snapshot, Offspring Fling, and a whole bunch of other games. I also created and maintain Otter, a 2d game making framework. If you want to get a hold of me use the form on the bottom of the page, leave a comment, or just tweet at me. I try to post three times a week. Thanks for stoppin' by! You're the coolest.
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