Category Archives: Indie Spotlight

Independent Games you might have never heard of get their shine in this section of News, Interviews, and more from the RealGamerNewz crew and indie devs themselves.

RealGamerNewz Interviews PlayStation 4’s Basement Crawl Developers Bloober Team

Basement Crawl PS4 INDIE Interview - RealGamerNewz

Although we have had a little bit of trouble tracking down Bloober Team and securing an interview with them, our recent Basement Crawl Article previewing currently released information on their exclusive PS4 title Basement Crawl (releasing soon) caught the attention of Marc Colhoun who actually contacted us in the comments section of that very post leading to the following interview taking place. *Answers are unedited and uncensored thoughts of the developer, questions asked by myself, Jon Ireson (Editor-In-Chief).

RealGamerNewz: What’s it like working with Sony?

Bloober Team: Sony has been really great with us throughout the whole process of development with any questions that we had and even helping us with marketing.

RealGamerNewz: In what ways does Basement Crawl deviate from the classic retro game that inspired it?

Bloober Team: Basement Crawl is definitely inspired by a few things, we all love Bomberman here and we did take some inspiration from there but we were also inspired by grindhouse movies and I think that it shows in the final product. The way we set out to change this is that we have really brought this nostalgic feeling into a modern setting with modern mechanics and a very nice graphic style. On top of all this we really wanted to create the best multiplayer experience possible, so be it online or local, our game will fill the gap where the current titles out there seem to be falling short.

RealGamerNewz: How many hours have you personally put into playing the game while developing it?

Bloober Team: That is a really tough question actually… I have no idea, but really a lot. It is really addictive.

RealGamerNewz: What’s the most hilarious moment that occurred in development of Basement Crawl?

Bloober Team: Probably the day after GIK (http://gamesinvestkrakow.com/). Watching a full office of people hungover attempting to work is pretty great.

RealGamerNewz: Does Bloober Team have any interest in creating Basement Crawl DLC some day? If not, how about a sequel?

Bloober Team: We are currently discussing the future of Basement Crawl and what we feel we should do to support those who choose to pick it up. We aren’t sure exactly what just yet… but we will support the game with extra content after the release.

RealGamerNewz: Will Bloober Team work on New IPs after this game? (spoiler alert: RealGamerNewz LOVES New IPs)

Bloober Team: We are working on something extremely unique and really exciting that I, unfortunately, can’t talk about right now. (expect some content very soon though).

RealGamerNewz: Are there any hints at all (even a one word obscure tease) which you can provide for the project your team will provide after Basement Crawl?

Bloober Team: Half.

RealGamerNewz: What is your favorite game of all time?

Bloober Team: I really am not sure about this… I remember the feeling I got the first time I played Deus Ex and it blew me away, so I am tempted to say that but generally anything that gives me a bow and arrow gets much love from me.

RealGamerNewz: How did you discover the RealGamerNewz article about Basement Crawl?

Bloober Team: At Bloober Team we think that if someone has written about our company or one of our games, the least we can do is write to them and thank them as well as talking with their community and answering any and all questions that they have for us.

RealGamerNewz: Thank you for your time, one last question! When is the release date of Basement Crawl!? 🙂

Bloober Team: Basement Crawl will be released for PS4 at the beginning of 2014, we will fill the gap in really addictive and fun local and online multiplayer games.

***Editor’s Note: If you have any questions for the devs at Bloober Team be sure to leave them in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to get them answered! RGN over and out!!!

RealGamerNewz Interviews Doki Doki Universe Developer Human Nature Studios

Doki Doki Universe RealGamerNewz Interview

We recently had the pleasure of speaking to Greg Johnson from Human Nature Studios who developed the recently released PlayStation 3 / Vita / PS4 game Doki Doki Universe (our review coming soon) about a myriad of topics. In the following brief but deep interview we offer you a brand new look inside the minds behind this fresh and original take on video games as a medium of expression and indeed an art form. *Answers are unedited and uncensored thoughts of the developer, questions asked by myself, Jon Ireson (Editor-In-Chief).

RealGamerNewz: What were you looking to accomplish with Doki Doki Universe in terms of the impact on the video game community and society in general?

Human Nature Studios: You’ve asked a rather big and philosophical question, so I hope you won’t mind a philosophical answer. Some may think it overly grandiose to hope to have a significant impact on society or on the gaming industry with one little video game, but small successes can often have big dreams behind them. In this case, the dream behind Doki-Doki Universe was to offer a new type of experience that, at its core, is positive and uplifting and sweet. As everyone who has ever said the words “video game” knows, these qualities don’t exactly typify our industry. Our other goal was to create a game that can appeal to that very underserved audience of casual gamers and families who would enjoy a light-hearted, non-goal oriented, non-competitive experience that is all about character and personality. We wanted to create something that would give the sense of a sweet, bizarre, living Universe to explore, and we wanted to give players a sense of purpose in playing. In this case that purpose is satisfied by story, and by layful self discovery, rather than the more typical goals of “winning” or overcoming “challenge”, which actually turns some people off. Our hope is that our game will make people smile, and think about life and themselves, and want to share the experience with others they care about. I’m most happy when I hear that families are playing the game together.

RealGamerNewz: What is the vision for gameplay experience in terms of what players can expect to be doing in this game?

Human Nature Studios: If you play this game in one sitting, and blast through it looking for challenge it will fall short and probably feel repetitive. That was never the intention. This game is built with much more casual game players in mind – people who might pick it up for 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Who are generally turned off or intimidated by challenge or competition. It’s sort of meant to be more of an open ended slower-paced exploration taken in smaller doses. It’s also meant to be a game for that underserved audience of women who aren’t necessarily big gamers, but who might enjoy a charming and more relaxed interactive experience. That’s not to say that only women would want this type of experience… I’m not a woman, but that happens to be the sort of gaming experience I like and want as well. Still there aren’t that many games out there about people, unless it’s happens to be killing them, and women tend to like things about people.

RealGamerNewz: How was it working with Sony to get the title on the PlayStation platforms?

Human Nature Studios: As I’ve gotten to know the folks at Sony (SCEA), all the way up to the top of the organization, they are a really idealistic bunch. They genuinely want to see innovation happen and are willing to take risks. It’s very unusual, and I’ve been doing this for over three decades now. This is a wonderful time for Indie developers. If you happen to be one, and you have something that you have built, I encourage you to show it to the folks at Sony. You will find, at a minimum, interest and encouragement, and maybe some good advice. If you’re really lucky and have started building something awesome maybe you’ll get a contract to build your dream game. In terms of working with Sony I can only tell you about my experience. No big company is without its internal politics. Legal departments at publishers will always be very conservative and look out for the interests of publishers. All of that said, Sony is really and truly the best publisher I’ve worked with in my career. There are always stresses and issues to deal with, but Sony’s heart and priorities are in exactly the right place, all the way to the top of the company, and that’s what matters.

RealGamerNewz: Will you ever do a sequel to this game or is it a standalone?

Human Nature Studios: I’m not sure. There are so many things I want to build. As long as Sony offers me the chance to explore new territory. I will take and build something new.

RealGamerNewz: Are you interested in working on New IP in the future?

Human Nature Studios: That’s the only thing I’m interested in. J For the next thing I build I hope to go a touch more serious and beautiful. Think Hayao Miyazaki.

RealGamerNewz: How many people have played this game so far?

Human Nature Studios: No idea. Lots? It has released in the US and in Europe. It releases in Japan in Feb. I believe.

RealGamerNewz: Where do you picture players engaging in this title the most, PS3 / PS4 / Vita or are you going to be pleasantly surprised do you think?

Human Nature Studios: I imagine most people will experience it on the PS3 since there are so many more out there. If you can I recommend playing it on the PS4 since it is so smooth and fast. There are also advantages on the Vita as that is how we first designed the game, and it takes advantage of the front and rear touch screens in some fun ways.

RealGamerNewz: Is there anything extra challenging about developing a PS4 title that will also be played on other platforms versus making an exclusive?

Human Nature Studios: Hmmm. The only thing that comes to mind here is to say that Sony has some great tools for cross platform development. This helped us a lot and allowed us to build for three platforms simultaneously with a very small team (of just a dozen or so).

***Editor’s Note: If you have any questions for the team at Human Nature Studios be sure to leave them in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to get them answered! RGN over and out!!!

IndieSpotlight: Superlumina: First Contact iOS

Superlumina iPhone Review - RealGamerNewz

Intro:

RealGamerNewz had the recent opportunity to speak with the developers behind Superlumina about what was going through their minds when they put together Superlumina: First Contact for the iOS platform. While visually the game may resemble something like chess in space, the concepts behind the title prove to be far more deep than that. Superlumina: First Contact’s subtitle also plays on the fact that mankind has for the first time stepped out of the confines of our own galactic neighborhood and found life on other planet mid-war. Now our species must strategically navigate through such a treacherous universe our own way. Perhaps surprisingly, First Contact also plays on the fact that Superlumina is a taste of things to come as the developers behind the title revealed to me that the game is a first initiation into an entirely new and vast universe years in the making. Read on to learn a deep understanding of how Superlumina: First Contact on iOS works and what kind of universe it takes place in.

Concept:

The vision behind Superlumina for the iOS platform is first and foremost about friends meeting friends in the mobile setting to play deeply strategic games that are rewarding and interesting. Development firm Straight to Video Games has launched the title successfully to a dedicated audience of strategy gamers who meet up together to outsmart each other on an average of 2 hours a day and for months on end. While the game’s learning curve may scare off some, the intentional decision to have less hand-holding and more emergent strategy that is learned as a player proceeds through the game is meant to add to the rewarding feeling one gets upon mastering tactics held within the game’s secrets. Superlumina: First Contact offers the ability to play against friends, artificial intelligence, and random players with the developers capitalizing on the fact that players already have a natural hierarchy of which one matters most (of course your ability to play against your friends). Superlumina players are able to put down 5 minutes of gameplay here or there in the asynchronous turn-based format of play whenever they can and instead of forfeiting an entire match will simply forfeit their turn if they don’t make a move within a 24 hour period. Due to the powerful strategic elements one can achieve, which will be discussed in painstaking detail throughout this article, there’s still a chance to make a comeback and this allows even the most busy of strat fans to engage in battle.

Straight to Video Games is a development firm that knows how deep gameplay is meant to be in a strategy game and with the mobile market starved for a hardcore title in the genre they’ve set out to deliver First Contact as a care package to those who are withering away without a strat title to turn to on the iOS that can really provide the depth they’re looking for. Speaking in basic terms, the game consists of a base turn of 3 moves per player which is extended to perhaps 4, 5, or 6 moves in a turn based on the chain reactions one makes with each move. This gets a lot more complex and exactly how the units are used in accomplishing this will also be covered in this article which serves as a complete explanation of the game’s main mechanics. However, before we get into all of that in detail let’s discuss the ambitious universe in which First Contact takes place as to allow our minds to wander to the faraway locations where the game takes place and begin to immerse ourselves in the title properly.

Ambitious as it may be, Straight to Video Games has been writing rich and engaging material pertaining to the universe Superlumina: First Contact resides in for many years with plans to eventually extend the games that take place in it across many genres. This title contains snippets of story to avoid cramming the entire universe down the throat of players, but the future could hold larger projects such as role playing games which will delve into much more about the many species involved over time. From different planets in the solar system, First Contact features a variety of species battling over outpost planets that are completely militarized (not home planets). Humans have stepped outside of their own comfort zone and landed in the midst of seemingly endless conflicts between these many newly discovered species. Large wars over resources coupled with old scores to settle surround them as the infant space travelers (Man) must now engage in war themselves simply to survive their voyage.

Superlumina Species IndieSpotlight RealGamerNewz

Species Descriptions:

Humans are represented more realistically in Superlumina than in other games. Rather than being completely noble they can get stressed out when they are rushed into making quick decisions, much like in real life. This is reflected in the artificial intelligence when facing a Human opponent for example.

Elders are blue humanoid beings who travel in flying pyramids. These beings are somehow related to Ancient Egypt in a way that is not yet known during the events of First Contact. A link exists between them and Earth which may be revealed in future games from STVG (the developer Straight to Video Games). What can be said for sure is that Elders pull the strings for a lot of species in a lot of planets and pit them up against each other in an effort to keep them divided and conquered. Other species have become sick of this manipulation and want to rise up against the Elders. Many secrets remain about this race but yet it seems as if we may be much more familiar with them than we realize.

Dracon Warriors are also known as Lizard people, or reptoids. They are slow but very aggressive. With a high attack power, high defense, and low speed the Dracons’ largest unit takes 6 turns before it is ready to attack but when it hits ? it hits hard.

The Greys are quick with low defense points and attack points but have the ability to flood many troops in a short amount of time (only costing 1 turn per infantry unit while the mothership can power up in just 3 turns).

Insectoids are semi-organic, semi-mechanical. There are a lot of them and they are very co-ordinated. Overall Insectoids are weak but they are not as weak as the Greys. The benefit of using the Insectoids lies in their combo bonus as building combos for their species can be a lot less structured. This is a perk that results from the hive mind they are host to, meaning they are able to work in a completely unique way and don’t need as much careful planning to act as one. The Insectoids were constructed by another species but who or what made them is completely unknown as well as their purpose. Perhaps in future titles STVG will reveal this through narrative or emergent gameplay, but for now it remains a secret of the stars.

When playing with friends they’ll develop different favorites depending on playstyle. Shifting and mixing up species has become a popular thing until a player finds themselves up against a tough opponent at which point they are a lot more likely to switch back to their favorite species again similar to players sticking to Ryu or Blanka in Street Fighter just to Haduken or Zap their opponent to death endlessly. But of course, this is no Street Fighter tournament and there are no wins easily gained here. Strategy and the exact details of the game’s mechanics must be respected and mastered for certain victory to be attainable.

Superlumina iPhone Review - RealGamerNewz 3

Strategy / Gameplay Mechanics Breakdown:

Earlier combos and chain reactions were mentioned as well as the cost of turns per unit and the fact that large units need to charge up. Now we will go into complete detail on how exactly that works. This section can serve as a guide on how to play for those who are considering purchasing the title as well as a way for potential players to properly visualize the depth and immense replay value they can expect out of the game.

If you have one unit attacking and then set another which attack on the same turn you create a combo. Each time you create a combo there is a 10% increase on top of the turn that is placed last. In order to fully understand how this works though, you must first examine how the game is played from a Defensive Formation and Attack Formation.

The board in Superlumina: First Contact looks something like a chess board but it does not function like one. In chess, the army on each side moves towards the middle. In Superlumina the units also move towards the middle but have level-ups, countdowns, combos, animations, and more. The game contains lots of stats and tweaking starting out easy and advancing into a more difficult practice in expert strategy honing. In order to take away health from an opponent the player must successfully attack all the way through one end of the board to the other. For example, if a player has 100 attack or defense points across their units on a given Row then the enemy player must do 110 attack points of damage in order to remove 10 points of health from their opponent (as well as send all of their units to be recycled, since they would be ?dead? from the 100 AP overpowering their 100 DP or defense points). When units die they are recycled until ready for more battle. Some play a defensive style while others are full-on attacking most of the time. The mechanics of Superlumina can be very flexible with species each containing different abilities and units, players attaining different levels, and different formations being assembled each turn. The 6 columns on each side of the board are used in this way throughout all matches. But it does get a little more complex than just lining up units any way you please.

Superlumina iOS Screenshot 2

In order to send an attack down a particular Row players must assemble an Attack Formation by placing 3 land-based units: Infantry (soldiers) and Armor (Tanks) are single tile units for attack or defense and only these two can be defensive. Armor are very strong at both but you must decide which to use them for. Infantry are quicker for obvious reasons. Artillery are double tile units that must be charged by having 2 infantry or 2 armor standing behind them and become integrated in a countdown. The Artillery units are weak until charged up but become the most powerful after. Single tile units are also idle until charged via lining up 3 of them in a row. Artillery can hit units all the way to the back versus single tile units like infantry by distributing the damage from the front to the back as DP (Defense Points) run out. Artillery distribute their AP (Attack Points) similar to an area damage attack and give every unit a piece of the attack.

In a Defensive Formation players can stack units and they can be upgraded. The more protected a player makes his/her formation however, the less attacks he/she will be sending out. Less units are available to attack since they will be spending their time defending.

Attack Formations are also formed with Motherships (double air tiles) which are charged by putting single tile air units (Planes) behind them. The Planes become integrated with the Mothership and begin the countdown for the Mothership which can attack anything but can only be hit by other air units.

Recycling Units, Formations, and Chain Reactions can also be explained like this. Imagine in a row exists a lineup of Infantry > Armor > Infantry > Infantry so there is almost a single tile charged attack from the 3 Infantry but the Armor is blocking this from happening. The player can recycle the Armor unit to get the single tiles to act on an Attack Formation. This causes a Chain Reaction because you used a turn’s move to do 1 thing (Recycle Armor Unit) and in the process have caused another thing to occur (the Infantry to Attack). As a reward for making this happen the player is granted an extra move within that turn. Chain Reactions now make things fall into place as you become increasingly skilled and aware of how these happen through your experience playing the game.

Combos are created when 2 or more offensive units have the same amount of turns left before attacking. This is because they are going to attack at the same time. Since they will have a synced attack, for every combo created the AP is +10% for that attack and they stack. So for example, 3 formations are formed then the last one you created will have a 10% bonus while the rest will have stacked bonuses. For each one you add, any existing get 10% on top and you can get up to 6 or 7 if you’re really good which can annihilate an enemy in many situations. And when you really have mastered the game you can get even more, perhaps even above 10 at once causing nearly double and easily destroying most if not all opponents you face.

Superlumina iPhone Review - RealGamerNewz 2

Game Modes:

Now that we’ve told you how the game works and given the readers a full tour of the characters involved, the units and their strategic value, and the main mechanics of high-level play, here’s what to expect in terms of various game modes that can be played in the game. Superlumina: First Contact features a campaign spanning 3 levels for each species (so 12 levels total) each with an increasing difficulty that prepares you for online play amongst friends and strangers. There’s also a Quick Battle mode which allows players to set parameters like different planets they prefer to play on, which species they want to use, which species they want to face as an opponent, and more. This allows players to hone their skills for each and play against artificial intelligence when they don’t have internet / service or just would like to train before facing off against real people again.

Superlumina: First Contact is Leaderboards enabled for all modes with Game Center support and Achievements as well. In Online Mode players play against friends or partake in random battles against strangers. There’s also a Tournament Mode recently released via a new update which will set a new challenge each month for a certain level and during that month players get to see who obtains the highest score in 1 match on that level. Try as many times as you want and compete with players around the world using the same parameters (to keep it fair) against artificial intelligence and only your best score will be used in the competition. If players win this new mode they will earn themselves a very valuable Achievement in Game Center.

We appreciate you strategy nuts taking the time to read about an incredibly vast and detailed title available now on the Apple iTunes Store for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch (for iOS Version 6.1 and above) at just $2.99 a pop. The game can be downloaded at the link below with more information found at the provided links to the developer. Another new feature in the recently released Version 1.2 is the ability to chat between iOS 7 devices mid-game.

Superlumina on the Apple App Store (Click Here)

Superlumina Official Website

Straight to Video Games Official Developer’s Website

IndieSpotlight: A Wizard’s Lizard

A Wizards Lizard - RealGamerNewz IndieSpotlight Logo

I had the chance to speak with the developers behind A Wizard’s Lizard as well as get my hands on an early build of the title and on behalf of RealGamerNewz I must say what I played felt great. While this is a game that you’ll definitely want to hook a controller up to your machine for, it can also be played with a mouse and keyboard. In case you haven’t heard of it yet A Wizard’s Lizard is currently aimed for computer gamers on platforms like the Humble Store and is a Roguelike Action RPG game which pays homeage to the classics but has an entirely unique identity all on its own.

In A Wizard’s Lizard there are always two unique worlds. On the one hand death is a main mechanic in the game, but when you die it’s not over yet – perhaps just beginning. Elements of the game appear only when you are dead that aren’t even there when you’re alive. Randomized dungeons are explored and players come back to the realm of the living by finding Pentagram symbols which are in a random place each time the game starts. A high level of difficulty and new experiences are presented every time you play the game, and your decisions to some extent effect your experience. For example, Shop Keepers will retaliate if you mess with them and if you manage to kill one their items will be easy to grab for free but their ghost will haunt you each time you hit up their shop afterward.

A Wizards Lizard - RealGamerNewz IndieSpotlight 2

Controls are that of a twin-stick shooter with attacking in four directions or four diagonal directions if on the keyboard but on gamepad controllers players attack wherever they aim in 360 degree movement and 360 degree combat using dual analog sticks. The challenging dungeons in this game are where it shines most and playing A Wizard’s Lizard is something you can easily get into but play over and over again pouring in effort to find everything possible. The story-driven in-game events keep the pace moving while players are also forced to choose between one weapon at a time. Each kind of weapon gives a completely different play-style and feel with Daggers being weaker but spread out, Axes being stronger as they bounce off of walls, and so on. A couple examples of more unique weapons found in the game include the Golden Axe which drops a nugget of gold as well as the Boom Sphere which explodes when it hits walls.

In A Wizard’s Lizard it’s easy to die, but definitely harder to come back to life. Multiple runs are required to obtain a mastery over the title, as with any Roguelike, and yet the elements expected in an Action RPG are all there. When you’re in the world of the dead, monsters in the dead plane who you’ve already killed in the world of the living are ready and on the offensive to exact revenge for what you’ve done to them. Dead Mode is also harder than being alive. Light puzzle mechanics are found in A Wizard’s Lizard which require you to pass between being alive and being dead. For example there is a cemetery which holds a key surrounded by blocks you can only pass through when you are alive. Every dungeon’s resurrection room is randomly placed and later dungeons will be more likely to have them appear further away in harder to reach spots encouraging more exploration and mastery of the combat system as they’ll also be protected by monsters at times.

A Wizards Lizard - RealGamerNewz IndieSpotlight 3

The difficulty in A Wizard’s Lizard is quite interesting because it’s actually brought on by the player themselves. Certain actions and choices make the game harder. You could play an easier version of the game by playing it entirely alive but then you’d miss out on side-content and harder to get achievements. Then again, the more you bury yourself with consequences and enrage the spirits of your enemies only to face them in the realm of the dead, the more of a hard time you’ll have actually surviving any particular play-through.

Every dungeon is a set size but the layouts and paths change each time players enter the game. Certain monsters and traps are rare while others are common. The procedural generation of A Wizard’s Lizard’s dungeons is another feature that sets its gameplay somewhere between incredibly fun and consistently challenging. There are also “Scenarios” found in the game that are a mixture of hand-crafted and randomly generated. For example, “Zombie Rooms” still have random internal specs but are semi-planned. There’s also an “Owelry” with owls and web traps that players may come across at times. The world of the dead has far more traps and enemies than the world of the living, and chances are that you’re going to find yourself there before you know it. While staying alive players also encounter enemies like Lych Lords and Skeleton Kings as well, only to face increased challenges in these situations if they are unable to defeat the enemy without entering the great beyond.

A Wizards Lizard - RealGamerNewz IndieSpotlight

A Wizard’s Lizard is an HTML 5 game and as such it is compatible with Windows PC, Mac OS X, and Linux operating systems. The game is currently undergoing many changes and upgrades as it transforms from the former project by the name of Crypt Run into A Wizard’s Lizard, but we hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into what to expect when the game makes its way into players’ hands. Lost Decade have announced a Q1 2014 release date and an eventual Wii U port is still up in the air but looks to be a hopeful as the team has become Licensed Nintendo Developers. Check out the Preview Trailer released for the game below.

Preview Trailer of Work-In-Progress Game:

A Wizards Lizard - RealGamerNewz IndieSpotlight Logo 2

IndieSpotlight: Iron Roads

Steam Greenlight Iron Roads

Iron Roads aims to capture the old school fun of games like Railroad Tycoon while adding new layers and wiping away the micromanagement. Managers are moved from different offices to optimize efficiency within a headquarters building as players run the show controlling HR, Advertising, Supervisors, Trainyard, Rail Facility, and other various departments. For example, you might send a manager to a grain silo to increase loading of a product or Railyard to figure out why a certain train isn’t being fixed in time.

As the boss of a Railroad company in the 1820’s – 1830’s time frame players take position with a high level (looking at a map with cities) viewpoint of the game with their main job focusing on deciding whether to survey and expand their railroad and where / how to go about that. Executive decisions are made based on business logic with challenges presented in the form of bottlenecks, congested traffic, competitors working against the player’s corp, and more.

When looking at a map players can research goods, demand, and supply with estimates of revenue to be made from each area and potential directions they could take their business. Competing against road and water as well as air transportation of goods adds another element to the strategy players must take into account when making their moves. In the office and railyard departments for example it’s a top down click and drag of managers to different areas of focus.

Event cards indicate problems, and requirements, as well as pros and cons to solutions for problems that come up. In the long term though there can also be consequences for the decisions you make. For example at the game’s start deciding on which resources to focus on transporting is a major cornerstone of later trials and tribulations while leaning towards solving solutions a certain way could later effect your relationships with potential clients and business partners down the (Iron) roads.

Currently Iron Roads is in early conceptual design, and leaning towards an Art Deco art style direction with freight concept versus transporting people as a major gameplay focus but strategic fun being derived more importantly above all else. Short videos of the game’s mechanics are expected to become available and open to criticism in the near future with feedback being actively worked in. Take a look at the link below for more information and to get in touch with the developer of this game which is currently being planned for eventual release on Windows PC, Mac OS X, and Linux operating systems.

Steam Greenlight Early Concept – Iron Roads

IndieSpotlight: Gheldia

Gheldia - Game Cover

RealGamerNewz had the opportunity of speaking with Hunt Game Studios who put is releasing Action RPG Gheldia which will arrive on Xbox 360, Windows PC, and PlayStation Vita this January 2014. A free demo will be released soon during December 2013 giving the world their first playable taste of this indie game influenced by the retro gaming era of Super Nintendo. Take a look at this game and let us know what you think about it, any questions you may have for Hunt Game Studios, and look forward to its upcoming multi-platform release.

Gheldia - 1

Concept:

Gheldia is a role playing action game (running on a custom game-engine) that takes a note from retro experiences while innovating the gameplay mechanics of the genre in entirely new ways. Presenting its story through a unique combination of lore, hidden easter eggs, exploration causing the tale to unravel the destiny of an anti-hero who wants a more meaningful life in terms of being known and developing skill, as well as visiting towns where the player will experience different races found in the game-world, go to shops, and learn more about what’s going on around them throughout various dialogue segments.

Overall, Gheldia mainly focuses on combat and action. Instead of getting experience and carrying around a million weapons at once, players will enter each session with two weapons. The gameplay starts at a central location and branches out from there. Each level has an exit and a secret exit which can bring players to new levels. Different weapons are used to discover alternative paths through each level which can lead to new levels in the world that otherwise wouldn’t be discovered.

Gheldia - Gravers Grotto

Shards are also found throughout the world which are used to upgrade weapons at a blacksmith. Shards influence the attributes but do not upgrade the weapon itself since you can remove the Shards and the weapon will revert back to its original stats. ‘Beast Mastery’ is earned as a way of leveling up your ability to kill a certain class of enemy based on how many you’ve exterminated thus far. The real-time combat, gameplay mechanics, and graphics / art direction of Gheldia have been influenced greatly by 8-bit and 16-bit role playing games but Gheldia is produced at a higher precision with more animations and a modern twist to the experience. Players essentially pick the path they want to take throughout the world and discover things for themselves. There’s not much hand holding, leaving the fun of progressing through the title to the player rather than too many tutorials. Players will be shown the basics though of course.

Players can evade attacks and strafe while doing battle and trying to seal up the beast lords that have escaped as they take the role of an aspiring slayer named Lor who is on a quest to become renowned and recognized by the world around him. Different races of beings in the game include reptilian ‘lizard men’ and others. The game can be played as a purely action and exploration-based experience but there’s more to the game-world than what meets the eye. Politics include conflicts between humans and other races, among other ongoing issues giving life to the world of Gheldia.

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Gheldia’s World Level will increase about four times throughout the game, meaning that the World Level will ping pong between being above, below, above, below (and so on) in regards to the player’s level. The developer aims to avoid the game being too unbalanced by past attempts in the genre which have tried to keep enemies at the exact same level as the player throughout. Instead, this system rewards players that upgrade and work hard while giving the upgrades and then later tests their might with an upgraded world presence afterwards.

The World Level influences monster strength and treasure quality but the monsters themselves don’t have levels. As the player you have a Beast Mastery level over them but it doesn’t dictate their strength – just what you get when they are slain and how much bonus damage you do. The old school feeling when players go through the title is extended through crafting, involving monster materials turned to shards, very effective status ailments, and the real world origin of each power; for example a Scorpion class Toxic Crawler drops an item which is turned to a “Poison Strike” shard that can be embedded into weapons for utilization of a Poison effect.

The abilities that monsters in the game have can be trapped and used by the player thanks to the crystal shards that are used to change the properties of weapons. Levels can be played in any order once discovered, and there is incentive to play again discovering new paths and training with new weapons. The over-arching story sees players defeating 3 main bosses in order to get the barrier to the final boss taken out. The tower called the Serpentine Spire is where things will reach a culmination of events.

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Q&A Interview:

RGN: Can you tell us more about the weapons upgrade system and how it works within each level?

Hunt Game Studios: The equipment system in Gheldia has three main parts. Each piece of equipment has its own level that determines its initial stats and number of Shard slots. Equipment can be upgraded at a Blacksmith which will increase the baseline stats and number of Shard slots. The main way you customize your character is by equipping Shards you craft or find into these slots which will grant you stat boosts and new abilities. The last part of the system is related to how many weapons you can bring into a level. Since you can only equip two weapons at a time the paths that are available to you and how difficult the enemies will be depends on what you bring into a level.

RGN: How do players experience the story-line in Gheldia?

Hunt Game Studios: The story in Gheldia mostly unfolds through player interaction. Other than the intro and outro cut scenes the story is discovered by the player. Players are encouraged to talk to every NPC, read every book/journal/map, and to unearth the story on their own.

RGN: Will Gheldia’s PC version be releasing on Steam? Will it support Steam Cloud Saves?

Hunt Game Studios: Gheldia is currently on Steam’s Greenlight service but will also be released through other PC portals. I am interested in implementing Steam specific features but they may be added after its initial release.

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RGN: Does Hunt Game Studios plan to have a free playable demo of the game? If so, when can we expect that to release?

Hunt Game Studios: Yes. A playable demo will be available December 2013. The demo will be different from the one shown at PAX with new levels and several other improvements.

RGN: What do you feel is unique about Gheldia and makes it stand out from other games on the market right now?

Hunt Game Studios: The gaming landscape has never been more diversified than it is right now. The spectrum of games has exploded in recent years so I will just focus on the RPG genre. The current trend in RPGs is to incorporate nostalgia and old school mechanics to bring back some lost charm. However, I feel that parodying or referencing these classic games can only take us so far as we need to inject some new ideas or put our own spin on these concepts. With Gheldia we are trying to strike a good balance between classic elements and new or modified ideas.

The story of Gheldia has its share of traditional elements, such as fighting off monsters that were banished long ago, but it also has themes you don’t see in these games often such as political unrest, racial tensions, and a protagonist who isn’t silent or a hero of destiny.

As far as gameplay goes, Gheldia is also more open-ended with the ability to tackle regions in any order along with taking multiple routes through a level. Exploring is highly encouraged with secret paths and secret exits tucked away in every level. The game also abandons the traditional way of leveling up, managing your equipment, and acquiring gold and replaces them with systems that try to convey the story of being a Slayer.

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RGN: What are some of the things you can do in Gheldia’s towns?

Hunt Game Studios: There is one major town in each region along with several secret shops. The towns in Gheldia are where the player will go to craft Shards/Fragments, upgrade gear, and sell treasure. Each region has its share of native monsters and the type of crafting recipes available to you differs depending on the town. The secret shops offer the best recipes along with the only place to fully upgrade your equipment so players should be on the lookout for each secret exit.

Also, towns act as the game’s main way of conveying story as they are filled with numerous NPCs and books that players can interact with to learn about its lore.

RGN: Who is the most fun non-boss enemy in the game to play against? (without spoiling anything)

Hunt Game Studios: I’m still adjusting the enemy AI but I’m aiming to have each enemy behave slightly different as they all have their own strengths/weakness, speeds, weapon attacks, spells, etc. Right now I like fighting the skeletal soldiers as they’re the main monster I’ve iterated on.

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Follow Gheldia: Steam Greenlight | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Website

Official IGF 2014 Video of Work-In-Progress Game:

IndieSpotlight: Mark of the Old Ones

Mark of the Old Ones RGN Indie Spotlight

I recently had the opportunity to stumble upon one of the most fascinating titles from the Indie space that I’ve seen in quite some time. Hit The Sticks is a developer who has brought forth one of the most intriguing strategy communities around, and now brings that experience to the 2D world by introducing a compelling story and a unique gameplay experience with Mark of the Old Ones. This game has just launched on Kickstarter today, and you can learn everything about it in the following article which I thank the team at HTS for giving me the opportunity to produce, enjoy.

Concept:

Mark of the Old Ones is an upside-down, physics-based adventure game built around a Lovecraftian theme and yet it is also one of the most unique projects we’ve had the pleasure of seeing come out of the indie scene in some time. Players fill the role of main character Thomas who is injured in a plane crash that completely removes one of his legs when a symbiotic parasite attaches itself to his spine, brain, and nervous system allowing him the ability to escape an otherwise grim fate. The initial horror of such a thing happening, the question of where does the symbiote end and Thomas begin, and the eventual realization that life will never be the same are just some of the things players will experience alongside the main character they control in Mark of the Old Ones.

The game and story of Mark of the Old Ones together form an integrated experience that is made possible by the team at developer Hit The Sticks’ fully modeled muscles and bones (down to realistic joints) that produce gameplay and visuals which allow intense immersion. The setting that this all takes place in is just as epic as the premise though. Thomas didn’t just crash his plane to find one symbiote waiting for him, he has landed in the middle of a location called Namaset which once housed a huge presence “Kraal” who was a living creature known by a thriving society as their ruler, and their god. This being created the “Brood” which are the symbiotic creatures that became one with their hosts; the priests, the worshipers of Kraal; the many members of this functioning society Namaset.

But something’s changed. By the time Thomas arrives Namaset appears to be empty. Everyone else who was bonded with a parasite is no longer living here. Discovering the answers to what happened becomes part of Thomas’ journey through Mark of the Old Ones, and part of the lore that the player will delve deeper in through a number of direct and indirect ways. One thing’s for sure, the visceral control being offered by Hit The Sticks in the location of Namaset aims to be like no other, as an entire society once lived here each member of it sporting the same tentacles as the main character Thomas. The implications are that Namaset will be a fascinating place to navigate, and players will be getting used to their new parasitic companion at the same time as the main character.

Mark of the Old Ones Concept Art

In most games, you’re constantly fighting battles using direct violence. Mark of the Old Ones seeks to offer a thinking gamers’ game, something more complex, rewarding, and challenging while avoiding becoming repetitive and boring. Much of the gameplay will involve figuring out the environment around you and what it all means, surviving the many paths and traps that exist in Namaset, and eventually overcoming enemies while learning how to use your new parasitic abilities. The game not only features Thomas taking control of two tactile tentacles using dual analog sticks for super-human movement, but also new abilities that a human could have never dreamed of attaining on its own.

Thomas is capable of slowing down time (Chronition), propelling himself upward with great force (Boost), and temporarily multiplying his own volume / mass to overcome certain hazards along the way (Increase Mass / “Carapace”). These abilities are also up-gradable throughout the game. Hit The Sticks is a developer with experience, having created JustTactics in addition to staffing members with extensive industry experience in 3D Programming, Game Development, and experience with adhering to high-end Quality Assurance in multiple industries, this registered PS4 development house is set to bring something powerful and of high quality to our industry with this title.

Hit The Sticks has opened a Kickstarter for their game Mark of the Old Ones today, and after the Q&A Interview we conducted with them (seen below) you’ll find a video that they put together which explains the game and shows off a wire-frame physics demo complete with one of the most coherent and to-the-point voice-over tracks I’ve ever seen in a KS project. They’ve also said that they will be making a plotline that Lovecraft would have been happy with by working Mark of the Old Ones into the Lovecraftian Horror tapestry while inventing their own setting and characters.

The entire game takes place in the 1920’s and the Art Direction will maintain a heavy focus on Contrast which is also a parable to the shadows, the unknown, evil, and the suspense of not knowing what’s around the corner. Another way players will experience more of the story is through the journal entries found scattered around Namaset from a side character who perhaps did not have as fortunate of a fate as our playable character Thomas.

Q&A Interview:

RGN: First off, for those who don’t know much about Lovecraft, do they need to know about it to enjoy Mark of the Old Ones?

Hit the Sticks: There is no backstory necessary to enjoy Mark of the Old Ones, although having a rich knowledge of the Lovecraft canon will certainly enhance the experience. While we draw heavily from the Cthulhu Mythos, and our narrative style is informed by Lovecraft, we’ve mostly invented our own setting and characters. As a result, we hope to keep even hardcore Lovecraft fans off-balance and in the dark.

RGN: We know Namaset is a Cavern City in which Chapter 1: The Overseer takes place, what more can you tell us about the terrain’s weather?

Hit the Sticks: Namaset means “dark cloud” in a local dialect. It refers to both the city built for the glory of Mother Kraal, and to the mountain in which she was imprisoned. At the beginning of Chapter 1, Thomas (the player character) is trapped in Namaset. The entire game takes place inside the mountain, in various sections of the city and Kraal’s lair.

Namaset is many things. Namaset is dark, lit by fire and luminous fungus. Namaset is dangerous, filled with unsafe working conditions, death traps, and biological remnants of Namaset’s civilization. Namaset is alien, built for the pleasure and convenience of Kraal’s Brood of parasite-bound upper class.

The main driver of our story and gameplay is exploration.You’re never forced down a particular path. If you’re paying attention, you should be able to deduce your next goal from the clues we leave. We’re a little studio, so I’m not claiming it’s some kind of open world sandbox. But, it’s not a sidescroller, either.

RGN: The video in the Mark of the Old Ones Kickstarter reveals dual analog sticks are used to produce unique and realistic limb control. Can you tell us some of the other actions available in the control layout?

Hit the Sticks: When you first begin, you’ll have your hands full with the tentacles. They’re a lot of fun, but they’re definitely challenging. That said, you have three additional powers: Chronition, Boost, and Carapace.

Chronition represents the heightened senses and reflexes granted by the parasite, and manifests as slowed time and expanded radius of vision. This is your “oh sh#%!” button, giving you a bit of space to plan escape before you’re slammed into that patch of firebush.

When you Boost, your parasite uses a stored charge of [CENSORED] to cause an intense explosion beneath your feet. The main effect is to shoot you upward like a Quake rocket jump. But, it also has the important secondary effect of igniting nearby flammable objects.

Finally there’s the Carapace ability, where the parasite wraps Thomas in a temporary protective shell. This makes the player much heavier and impervious to some kinds of damage. The additional weight helps in a variety of ways as you interact with the Crude Tech contraptions scattered through Namaset.

Mark of the Old Ones Linux Mac Windows PC

RGN: Since the game is only for controllers, is there a specific controller(s) recommended for an ideal experience?

Hit the Sticks: Anything with two analog sticks and a few buttons should work okay. But controller quality varies, and some work better than others.

The first-party big name console controllers are the best we’ve seen. On Linux and Mac, PS3 controllers are plug and play via USB. On Windows, wired 360 controllers are plug and play with the right adapters–and there is an adapter for the wireless 360 controllers.

We’re doing our very best to support as many controllers as possible. Basically, on PC, we should support every dual-analog controller that your operating system supports. We have a decent budget item for test gamepads, so most controllers available between now and release should be mapped. Even if you have something we haven’t mapped, you can always just map the controls yourself–so long as your OS recognizes it.

RGN: In what ways can gamers look forward to having direct control of 2 tentacles of the symbiotic creature change the gameplay of MotOO?

Hit the Sticks: Well, gameplay-wise, MotOO is a physics platformer–a bit like Little Big Planet, but not as cuddly. Your tentacles are how you interact with the world.

So at the core, you have movement. Basic movement is swinging. As you get better at that, maybe throw in the second tentacle, you realize you can go *really* fast. And once you’ve built up some authority and momentum, you can pull off some incredible moves. The level of control is superb, especially given how alien it feels at first.

That dovetails into the story as well. Thomas is completely freaked out at the beginning, as you would be too if the scariest critter you’d ever seen inserted itself into your spine and brainstem. The parasite is under his control, but he’s never controlled a parasite before. You and Thomas are having the same experience, in that way.

Mark of the Old Ones Kickstarter

Once you’ve mastered the basics, we turn you loose in Namaset. You’ll interact with the natural environment, plus bizarre and ancient technology. You can pick up and move objects, control machinery, disarm traps, fire yourself from catapults… the Namasetians were very imaginative in their primitive technology, an aesthetic we’re calling Crude Tech. And all of it is built around tentacles, because of course the Namasetians had tentacles.

None of this is pre-animated, by the way. All of the contraptions I’m talking about are simulated in real time in Box2D. The tentacles are controlled with your stick inputs and our IK solver.

RGN: Does MotOO currently have a targeted level of quality for the graphics, such as resolution?

I want this on your TV, looking beautiful at 60 inches in 1080p. MotOO is a game for your Big Picture box. So, that’s the minimum quality we’re shooting for.

We’ll definitely support lower resolution textures, which should help on lower-spec’d graphics cards at lower resolutions. Higher quality textures *might* happen, but I think that looking beautiful at 1920×1080 is the sweet spot for the monitors most people have.

RGN: Since this game relies heavily on horror and suspense, we certainly don’t want to be spoiled about anything. Are there any other technical aspects of the game your team is prepared to elaborate or re-iterate upon slightly for prospective backers and fans?

Hit the Sticks: I don’t think we’ve mentioned this anywhere before.

We believe Mark of the Old Ones should be about natural player skill instead of artificial skill progressions. There are power upgrades, but for the most part Thomas undergoes his transformation at the beginning of the game. As a result, the major factors in his capabilities are your own abilities. Maybe it’s even a little old school that way.

In order to support that pursuit of natural skill, we’re working on a pretty neat statistics package. If you opt in (it’s totally optional), we’ll keep track of your stats on our servers. Those will include all sorts of metrics about your own performance in the game, allowing you to track your mastery of the parasite. Examples: best times, top speed, “stunts” pulled, longest swing combo, etc. And if you’re the competitive sort, you’ll be able to compare your stats to your friends’.

Official Kickstarter Video of Work-In-Progress Game:

Follow Mark of the Old Ones: Kickstarter | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Website

Mark of the Old Ones Indie

IndieSpotlight: Ravenstorm: Rift of Souls

Ravenstorm A Rift of Souls 6

Welcome back to the IndieSpotlight segment of RealGamerNewz.com and let me first apologize for taking so long to bring this next installment to all of you patient readers. I can honestly say that speaking with the many indie developers who reached out (and who I reached out to) for slots in the IndieSpotlight articles to come has been the most enjoyable experience in my 4 years as a video games journalist. In the following spotlight, Ravenstorm: Rift of Souls by GameMasterz is covered who I had the honor and pleasure of speaking with many times through voice conference and otherwise. This is one of those games that reaches me as a gamer as well as a journalist and breathes fresh life into a genre that I have been searching out for the past year, enjoy.

Concept:

When you make a long story short, Ravenstorm: Rift of Souls is a turn-based RPG with pen + paper influences, but in reality it’s more than that. Ravenstorm: Rift of Souls comes from a passionate development house that is focused on bringing the appeal of classic board games to the digital gaming world. With a unique vision of self-developed rules for the gamer paired with elaborate and unique game mechanics, this game will allow players to get together in a virtual world of fantasy and adventure without the dice and geographical locality.

There was once a city run by a family who came to the land centuries ago and discovered a rift where the dead return as monsters. This city has called upon the heroes of the world to help them keep order and maintain the rift. However, things are not all as they seem. The rift has secrets that players will uncover as their journey moves forward.

In terms of gameplay, players will be able to make their own characters and enter a turn-based role playing experience with each other on the PC as well as Mobile devices. Co-op and group features make the game even more exciting and are a core focus. Abilities can be leveled up including your mastery of certain aspects of the game such as Swords or Defense. Talents are also unlocked and Stats will increase throughout your progression through Ravenstorm. The title’s combat system has been described by GameMasterz as easy to learn and hard to master, with a high fun factor at all levels, but taking an estimated 3 months to completely max out. Some levels will be randomly generated to some extent within controlled paramaters (GameMasterz compared this to Diablo in terms of what to expect for the amount of randomization in levels).

Ravenstorm A Rift of Souls 1

One of the other great features in this game is the ability to play the game Mobile (while commuting to work for example) then continue the same game on PC with more features when you arrive at home again.

In Ravenstorm: Rift of Souls, players create the character that they want. For example, you can make a character that sneaks and hides yet loves Heavy Armor but this will be a lot more challenging to produce compared to the more traditional lightweight stealth character. In terms of character creation, nearly everything is possible, but scaled to practicality in terms of how long it will take.

In the main city there is an area where most PvP (Player vs Player and Team vs Team) fights occur. If more elaborate fighting stages are suggested by the community, GameMasterz has stated that they would consider them. However, the PvE experience is being protected by keeping the PvP in an Arena-like area where those who seek such battles can spend as much of their time as they’d like.

Players will have the ability to view things from above but if they hit a critical or simply would like to play the game always looking closer there is also a zoomed in ‘movie’ mode camera angle which can be selected as a preference. This is explained as a sort of ‘over the shoulder’ viewpoint by GameMasterz. If you die while fighting you can be resurrected via Soulstones, and while the game is not open-world it will revolve around a large amount of freedom with PvP and PvE with a linear story also present in the game. After defeating the final boss, there is nothing stopping you from continuing playing and experiencing Endgame content.

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As I stated at the beginning, GameMasterz is very dedicated to the vision for this game and have been developing the game’s mechanics for over 10 years with programmers currently working successfully on putting together the first slice of the game. They look to open a Kickstarter soon and allow public input to drive the development decisions for a prototype during 12 – 18 months of expected dev time before the final version will become available for play.

The team is comprised of experienced members including Kun Chang of Ubisoft and GhostVFX. GameMasterz has also been releasing assets and proof-of-concept materials within a VIP group which RealGamerNewz has become part of. At the bottom of the article you’ll find links to their internet presence where you can find out more about the game. We had a chance to ask them even more questions which are found below in the Text Q&A Interview we conducted.

Q&A Interview:

RGN: Ravenstorm: Rift of Souls seems to feature many different art styles. Can you tell us more about how these will coalesce together in the final product?

GameMasterz: We’re working with a high fantasy look and feel, but with a more murky look than normal. We’re aiming at placing ourselves somewhere between “The lord of the rings” and “game of thrones”, as we want the game to be considered a serious game, with some serious gameplay, mechanics and features.

RGN: How much of the game is based on stats and leveling versus story-line and lore?

GameMasterz: The game is centralized around the vision of bringing the rich, and to times, complex tabletop mechanics into the digital world. Thus the game is centered around mechanics and thus stats, character development, creating and tailoring your character to suit your personal playing style and preferences. The game will have some lore and a main story to follow, but the mechanics is where it really shines through.

RGN: How will the mobile version interact with the home version of Ravenstorm: Rift of Souls?

Ravenstorm A Rift of Souls 3

GameMasterz: That is not entirely determined yet. However we do consider it to be possible to play the actual game on a mobile device as well. But we’re currentlig considering how it can elevate the PC-experience as well.

RGN: Will the journey be different based on your character class?

GameMasterz: The game is build upon a class-less system, and thus there will be no difference in the evolution of the main story depending on how you choose to create your character. We’re currently thinking about how to add more content, for the players to experience a broader view of the world. Moreover we’re thinking about how to put “class labels” on the characters, to be earned once certain criteria are reached. For instance the character will be allowed to use the description “paladin” or “assassin” when they reach certain attribute-, skill-, and talent markers.

RGN: Will they have in game cutscenes to move the story forward or will it be or dialogue driven?

GameMasterz: It will be cut-scenes unfolding the story to the player, as he progresses through the game. We’re really gonna use the luxury of having a motion picture animation team as an essential part of the game!

RGN: With such complex mechanics how will they make it easy for new players to pick up and play and also on the other end with experienced players so that everyone can ejoy the game?

GameMasterz: We’re currently contemplating on how to do this the best. As of now, there will be some general stats to describe the “powers” of the characters, to get a simple overview of the characters prowess. However, once you want to investigate the mechanics in more detail, the inherent core rules or compendium will be there for your support, to explain how the game works, and there will be in game help. Moreover we’re gonna introduce the basic features of the game and mechanics through a carefully planned tutorial.

Official 720p Teaser of Work-In-Progress Game:

Follow Ravenstorm: Rift of Souls: TwitterFacebook | YouTube | Website

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IndieSpotlight: TesserΔct

TesserAct - BoxArt

Welcome to the first RealGamerNewz IndieSpotlight. This series will  be an ongoing one through which we bring to the surface some of the perhaps less discovered indie games being created by serious developers in the underground of the industry. We personally spoke to the developers behind TesserΔct in order to gain a greater understanding of their project and have come forward with the following exclusive Q&A about the game for all of you gamers out there waiting for the next indie experience to sink your teeth into.

TesserAct - Sam

Concept:

TesserΔct is a story-driven / First Person Puzzle with Action / Adventure elements and is based on advanced scientific theories in real life. The main character Sam (pictured above), was adopted and had a normal life until she wakes up in an unfamiliar facility where everything is falling apart. In this place where she has suddenly appeared, she is in the same year, same day, same time as she was before arriving here. However, she is in an alternate reality. In this reality she has actually arrived on Europa (one of Jupiter’s moons). In this facility mankind has created and cast out into the depths of space, the most dangerous of fringe science is researched and alternate reality experiments take place. The technology to pull items into other alternate universes was developed here.

The device that originally harnesses this technology has begun to break down Europa and there are Earthquakes happening all around, hence everything falling apart the minute Sam arrives into this reality. There’s also a weapon she quickly discovers that was developed to pull items from other alternate universes where physics are not based on the Higgs Boson but something completely different and therefore obey different sets of rules. Unfortunately the world that Sam has arrived in is empty at first glance. Dr. Connorry was trying to save people who were lost to an experiment gone wrong 20 years ago when he ended up bringing Sam into this universe instead of bringing them back. The same device ends up bringing the guy who was supposed to watch over this initial gun the player receives to his own end as he uses it on himself in an attempt to escape from the lonely reality he is currently trapped in.

Throughout the game players will find terminals full of e-mails that serve as back-story and scientific explanations to everything that takes place in TesserΔct. This is a game where no mechanic goes unexplained. I sat down with Propelled Bird Software who will be launching the game on Windows PC and asked them a number of questions from the RealGamerNewz crew, here’s what they had to say about their game.

TesserAct

Q&A Interview:

RGN: What can players expect in TesserΔct that sets it apart from other games out there?

Propelled Bird Software: FPP’s are slowly starting to emerge as a genre, starting of course with P0rtal as the flagship. However, we wanted to deviate away from how these have been set up by not working in the confines of physics, but rather just break the living hell out of them. We also wanted our game to be more than just something with a cool mechanic. We felt that games are slowly killing off the story for mindless gameplay, and we didn’t want that for TesserΔct. TesserΔct has a rich backstory, some given to the player directly, some given through little things in the game like terminals and other messages. We wanted our game to be meaningful as well as innovative, tackling it from both sides.

RGN: Will there be voiceover work in the game and who are the voice actors / actresses doing it?

Propelled Bird Software: Yes. Currently we are still setting up for the main roles, but we have work done currently for ALAN, the Heywood Bowman facility’s artificial intelligence, and Michael Burns, the original Catalyst technician. ALAN is voiced by our tester Michael Ortega and Michael Burns is voiced by our voice director Jordan Autobee.

RGN: Do the levels progress to scenes with more lighting and different environments as the game goes on?

Propelled Bird Software: TesserΔct takes place in a research facility on Europa. We wanted to make it feel like somewhere that people would live and work at. Players will be exposed to the surface of Europa, the dark maintenance sections of the Heywood Bowman facility, greenhouses, living quarters, offices, and even dive into Europa’s subsurface ocean, all with their unique feel and styles.

RGN: What games, studios, or other media inspired your game?

Propelled Bird Software: Our biggest inspiration would have to be Toxic Games with their game Q.U.B.E.. They were a team not much smaller than ours and managed to make an incredibly polished game with very few assets. We also have inspiration from Bungie Studios. Not so much because of Halo or Destiny, but rather their sense of humor. We take our work seriously enough to get it done, but in the end we still have fun doing what we do.

RGN: So would you say that the technology in TesserΔct opens up other “dimensions”, “alternate universes”, both, or in the game’s context do they mean the same thing essentially?

Propelled Bird Software: We can say that they are both very related to the technology behind the Catalyst device. How they differ, however, is something the players will need to wait to find out.

RGN: How many people have already tried the game out and what has the feedback been like?

Propelled Bird Software: We’ve had about 600 people in total try out the demo, between our two available versions on our website, as well as expos and such. We’ve had an almost unanimous positive feedback thus far, and whatever feedback we get on things people don’t like about our game we take strait into action and work out the kinks.

RGN: What was it like developing TesserΔct with UDK and showing off work-in-progress builds of the games at trade events?

Propelled Bird Software: TesserΔct has been like handling a kid going through puberty. One week everything can just fall together, the next we can be scrambling as UDK suddenly became a self aware killing machine and decides that it doesn’t feel like rendering the floor anymore. For the most part though, UDK has just been perfect for us, little to no problems. Demonstrating it has been something out of this world for us. We all came from a small town in Arizona, the one “Cars” was based off, with less than 5,000 people. Our highschool was less than 400 students. So when we showcased TesserΔct to the masses, specifically in Salt Lake during Salt Fest, we were a little overwhelmed. Not so much that we had to handle that many people, but that we managed to make something that we COULD show. Having the recognition that we actually had something that wasn’t just utter dog crap was mindblowing, and we couldn’t be more thankful for the embrace. Not to mention we had an excuse to dress our tester up as a giant pigeon and coax people to our booth. That was pretty awesome too.

Official 1080P Video of Work-In-Progress Game:

Follow TesserΔct: IndieDB | Facebook | SteamGreenlight | YouTubeWebsite