I was just chatting with Andy Hull after this interview, and he said, “Every design decision matters more when there aren’t many to be made.” He’s in a position to know, because his game, What is Bothering Carl? targets young children. It makes his game the odd duck in a pool of ten odd ducks, but Andy’s insight is all the more interesting for being on the outside looking in. Read the full interview for how complicated it is to keep things simple, what it’s like to be stuck outside the mainstream, and a few ins and outs of running a one-man operation.
October 23rd, 2009 Comments Off
October 19th, 2009 Comments Off
Tag made a big splash at the Independent Games Festival by taking home the best student game award, so it might come as no surprise that it was included in the PAX 10. We had a chance to speak to Tejeev Kohli, who had his fingers in programming, input, logic, and just about everything else in the game. Read on for the team’s future plans and their insight into the differences into PAX and the Independent Games Festival.
October 14th, 2009 Comments Off
Taking ten students from different schools and asking them to make a game in four weeks sounds more like the plot of a G4 reality show than a PAX 10 entry, but that’s exactly how Puzzle Bloom came to be. Jess Rahbek is the designer for that game, and he’s very focused on that job. Read on for a designer’s-eye view of non-gameplay elements, the future of Puzzle Bloom, and one of Jess’s personal projects.
October 9th, 2009 1 Comment
Watching gamers play at the Osmos booth was hilarious. They’d grab the mouse with that kill-and-win attitude that works well for so many other games and immediately die. However, in a repeat try or two, everyone had learned to settle down and take a more deliberative approach to Newton’s third law. Dave Burke was on hand to explain why everyone’s experience turned out that way, along with a detailed explanation of Osmos and some thoughts on the game’s future.
October 7th, 2009 1 Comment
We didn’t get a chance to talk to Jakub Dvorský at the Independent Games Festival, and it was our loss. The CEO of Amanita Design shared a lot of details about the upcoming Machinarium that might not be obvious from their advertising and site. Read on to learn about the role of language in adventure games, the game’s gorgeous art, and why you should buy it directly from Amanita over a traditional publisher.
October 2nd, 2009 Comments Off
If you’ve been to PAX, you know that just about everybody hands out promotional swag. Most of it is pretty, but t-shirts, buttons, and temporary tattoos don’t really have much to do with the games they advertise. Nicholas Trahan, on the other hand, is a bit more thoughtful. He was handing out multicolored pens for Liight, a color mixing game from Studio Walljump. It also turns out that he’s a handy source of insight about the game’s inner workings, the art of feedback in game difficulty, and the secret origins of Studio Walljump.
September 24th, 2009 Comments Off
Most people come home from the Penny Arcade Expo with a bag of swag, but we thought we’d bring you a vicarious piece of the expo hall instead. Over the next five weeks, we’ll be posting previews, PAX 10 interviews, and maybe even a nod or two to some of the cooler marketing that popped up at the show. We’ll be sticking with our late MWF post schedule, with previews on Mondays, and interviews on Wednesdays and Fridays. Check the full post for a detailed posting schedule.
September 23rd, 2009 Comments Off
We caught up with Bruce Chia at the CarneyVale: Showtime booth. He’s one of the four programmers who worked on Showtime as undergraduates at the Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab. If you missed the game’s preshow summary, you can find it here. Read on for a peek at the inspirations, problems, and future for CarneyVale: Showtime.
September 12th, 2008 3 Comments
Sushi Bar Samurai is a unique entry among the innovative games in the PAX 10. There is no platforming, no physics, and no combat. Instead there’s a chef (you), his trusty stock of sushi ingredients, and a pile of spirits who are owed a last meal.
Sushi isn’t made a la Cooking Mama. Instead, the eponymous bar of sushi ingredients scrolls across the top of the screen, and you simply click to queue your stock to make combinations that will result in palatable sushi. The game is perhaps a distant relative of Tetris, but because you can see the ingredients in advance, the emphasis shifts from tactical to strategic. In a nutshell, Sushi Bar Samurai is about mastering the arcane intricacies of sushi, and using them to plan an optimal path through a stream of ingredients.
We make a great deal of fuss about accessibility around here, and transparency is a part of that. You might predict that we’d be critical of a game that revolves around secret codes written in meat and rice, but hit the jump to discover sole developer Casey Muratori’s intriguing counterpoints about transparency’s place in puzzle games. We also chat about the language of sushi and reasons to make a game aside from cash. There’s not presently a public demo, but stop by his website to read more about his development philosophy and check out some media.
September 11th, 2008 Comments Off
Strange Attractors 2 is a top-down game about navigating an avatar from place to place using attraction and repulsion mechanics. It wasn’t the only game in the PAX 10 to use the environment to pull and push the player around, but it was the only one to use gravity to model those forces. So instead of using specially designated objects, everything in the environment pulls and pushes everything else. Controlling the game is like controlling the gravitational constant. It defaults to 0, but you can turn it up high, or flip it into negative numbers using the two mouse buttons.
We talked to Christoper McGarry of Ominous Development about how Strange Attractors 2 grew out of the first game, their distribution model, and the charmingly tortured cries of the game’s enemies. Hit the jump for all that and then check out the demo.