SORE – The Meaning Behind a Meaningless Game

I wonder if I got the job?     Did the interviewer like my resume?

I wonder if he enjoyed my personality?    Did he think I was boring?

I’m boring    What’s wrong with me?

Why am I so boring?    I need to change

 I hate myself

Without haste, people drift towards escalating problems easily to suit societies standards, similar to the example provided above. People always tend to search for the “bigger picture”, but when you look too much into the future, the smaller, simpler things can be overlooked. These insecurities can snowball until questions turn to issues, issues turn to actions, and actions can be fatal. Simple things can sometimes make the human mind very anxious and doubtful. Each case of anxiety is different, as the human mind is our most fascinating, yet fragile feature. Unless you suffer from the illness, you can never fully understand the heartache, but SORE gives you a taste in the life of uncertainty by providing just one task… simply leave a room.

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Before I continue, I must say that this review is based on my interpretation of SORE, the mystery behind the game is still unknown.

You begin this dark tale as a ghost stuck in a small room. The sounds of rain splashing against the roof fill your ears, accompanied by an occasional crack of thunder. Shadows engulf this chamber, with only a gleam of moonlight peaking its way through the one window in the room. Within the shadows sways a man, hung from the ceiling. It seemed as if suicide was his only option. The ideal scene set for SORE left me both apprehensive and curious in the best ways possible. Feeling uneasy but ready for more.

It will not take long to find out what your first objective is. Locate and use three keys to unlock the solid door restricting you from the neighboring room. SORE provides little to no information on why reaching the other room is of importance, making me feel no ambition in reaching my goal. SORE begins to get interesting once you peek your head through the window on the door. Interacting with the window allows you to see what the other room looks like. Is it gold? Is it a path to freedom? Is it an even more complex room? No… its a room just as simple, and just as eerie as the one you navigate through the whole game. The only difference is this room has a living man inside. He has the option of saying a variety of different phrases. Some are just random corny jokes, while others are clues to help you find the three keys. What lies in the middle of those two categories is rather disturbing nonsense. If you talk to this man long enough, he will begin to mention that we never talk back to him. It was then I realized something that made this game seem much more eerie… the man does not know we are dead. He cannot see us as a ghost, but instead a hanging corpse. Only his view of the rope is blocked by the walls of the room, so he can only see a motionless and silent man. To his awareness, we are very much alive and well.

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SPOILERS

The first two keys were uncovered rather quickly, but that third key kept me stumped. I spent about 45 minutes searching for the final key until I got hungry and retreated to my kitchen to make a sandwich. Upon my return, I saw the gleam of heavenly light shine out of the wall… the door was open. I entered to room with caution, expecting another set of challenges. The screen grew dark, and then an old-school computer crash screen appeared

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As anyone would be, I was left in confusion. I ran to my trusty friend, the internet, and read how to actually beat the game. The only answers I found left me in anger. There are two ways to beat SORE. You either stand still for six minutes or go up to the door and press “X”. Really? That’s it? Yup! From what the community has found so far, there is, in fact, no working key to unlock the door

I felt cheated…bitter…enraged! I just spent 45 minutes trying to find a key that didn’t exist. On top of that, the door leads to your game “crashing”, leaving you with numerous unanswered questions. I was ready to uninstall the game and abandon the review as a whole, but then I got to thinking. Yes, the game could just be bull**** to waste everyone’s time, or it could be much more profound. Upon looking deeper behind SORE’s unfulfilling story, I have come up with my interpretation of the ending.

Remember when I mentioned how “People always tend to search for the “bigger picture”, but when you look too much into the future, the smaller, more simpler things can be overlooked.”. That is exactly what this game intends for you to do, search for the bigger picture. Once I entered the world of SORE, I immediately started creating a checklist of what to do.

I have to search here, under that, and above there

No one would ever think that all you had to do was press one button, or stand still for six minutes. That would just be way too simple.

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SORE made me irritable. Not only at the game, but at myself as well. As each minute ticked by I was starting to blame myself for not being capable of finding this missing key. I finally gave up, thinking that this game got the best of me.

The pain and anguish could have all been avoided if I took my time and stuck simply. Overthinking can lead to much more pain than a problem has to be. While SORE may have been unfulfilling and quick, this dark mystery teaches a valuable lesson. The lesson is deep and is only understood if you take the time to attempt the impossible… finding that last key.

Enomview Score: 5 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/690060/SORE/

Fortnite – Marvel Infinity War Crossover LTM

As a lot of you have probably heard by now, Fortnite has released a limited time mode which is a mash-up between the normal Fortnite Battle Royale, and Marvel’s main villain from Infinity War, Thanos.
The game mode is an amazing amount of fun for the amount of time I’ve put into it and it is by far my favorite limited time event they have released so far. The idea of the game is that you drop in an already closing circle and once the battle bus disappears the Infinity Gauntlet will drop from the sky as a meteor and strike a random spot in the circle.
After that, it’s free game to whoever can pick up the gauntlet to wield the mighty power of Thanos. Now you won’t see Thanos just running around with a gold scar, he has his own ability set which sets him apart from the other players:

Power Stone – Thanos uses the Power Stone as his main weapon for range by unleashing a line of power towards his enemies. This attack is a beam that you can follow the enemy with for a short amount of time dealing 15 damage for every hit.

Time Stone – The Time Stone is used in an odd way for this event, as it is Thanos’ Melee weapon. He uses the time stone to “Send them to a different time zone” as the kill feed will say. The melee attack is a straight lunge and destroys breakable objects around it.

Mind Stone – The Mind Stone is used by Thanos to jump exceptionally high. Thanos does not have a normal jump, but instead a jump that will charge up and allow for him to jump almost as high as the top of a mountain. This ability is useful for trying to get out of combat or to combo with the melee attack which I will describe below.

Mind/Time Stone Combo – If Thanos jumps into the air and then uses a melee attack, he will dive into the ground and create a small crater where he lands. This attack deals a lot of damage and can in most instances one-hit if the enemy is under you. But, it can also be used to destroy buildings quickly, because that the ability will go straight through any breakable objects.

Now, all of these abilities make it seem like Thanos is an all-powerful god who is unkillable (as he should be), but there is a couple of other things you should note.
– Although Thanos has 700 health and 300 shield, he cannot regain any health, and only regains shield through killing other players
– Thanos is visible to all other players on the map, minimap, and radar throughout the entire game.
– Thanos cannot build.
Once we take all of that into account, it really isn’t that difficult to kill Thanos, you just need to have a little bit of skill. And, once Thanos dies, the Gauntlet drops as an item for anyone else to pick up and wield.
I’m not sure how long this limited time mode is here for, but I hope that this opens the door to more amazing crossovers like this one.

It’s Not All Fun & Games – Game Development

“I want to be a game developer!” 15-year-old Timmy proclaimed triumphantly, planting a foot down and standing proudly to let the world know that he’d be the greatest dev there ever was.

A game developer you say? You wish to make games for a living? I should warn you, Timmy, that development at any level, from the little league modders to the world champ triple-A’s, is a notoriously grueling process; it is oftentimes a fight on multiple fronts.

“I don’t care!” shouts Timmy stubbornly. “I have been playing video games all my life. I love them more than anything and want to make them for a living.”

Well Timmy, that’s admirable, but know that many a Timmy before you have worn this path down beyond reason with the weathering of their own gruesome treks.

If you still want to be a game dev, Timmy, then here are some things to consider:


  1. Nobody cares about your unique idea.
  • Do not expect to get into a dev studio simply because you have an interesting idea for a game. As is often said, there is no room for a specialized “idea guy” in the video game industry. Everyone in a game development studio is an idea guy in their own right. They just have skills which allow them to make those ideas into a reality through some kind of creative medium. Which leads to our next point…

2. You need to have an actual skill.

There are a lot of disciplines to choose from, but you need to be good at one of them. Can you write a gripping story with few words that won’t be made into a victim of the game’s mechanics? Figure your way around a string of code? Model and animate cool characters, items, and worlds? Write a complete GDD with a feasible scope and make it into something with an engine like Unity or Game Maker Studio 2? If not, now’s the time to start learning. You don’t have to be the greatest, but you should be able to make yourself marketable.

“But I could be a playtester, couldn’t I? I could be someone who plays the games and gives feedback to the designers! It’d be just like what I did in my childhood.” Timmy said, giddy as ever.

Well, you can be a playtester, Timmy. Just know that you’ll be playing the same level over and over again until your eyes grow red and watery, and that you’ll only be searching for bugs; generally speaking, no feedback will be given to the designers. Oh, and the programmers will hate you.

3. You have to be good in teams.

Get ready to work with people you love and people you hate. Get ready to watch your precious ideas get shot down in broad daylight and left to bleed out by your cheery-faced team lead or project director. There are always people like Toby Fox, but it’s rare that anything quality ever gets made if it’s not a part of a collaborative effort. Professionalism, good character, and cooperation is paramount–just like in other fields.

4. Hurry up and wait.

It took over 100 developers roughly 4 years to make Skyrim. Development takes time–a LOT of time–and not just on the programmers’ ends. Get ready to stare at a screen for 12 hours straight and work well into the night–toiling away on a computer in some dark corner in the back of the room.

“I thought it was only the playtesters that had to worry about their eyes,” Timmy said, distraught.

If only that were true, Timmy. If only that were true.

5. It helps to know about game design.

There’s a reason why aspiring developers can take college courses on this stuff. While a sound engineer or a concept artist doesn’t need to know as much about a game narrative as the head designer, a knowledge of psychology behind games will do wonders for you as a dev. Whether it’s about keeping players glued to their screens like Valve has done for years with Team Fortress 2, or forcing out a ragequit like in Cat Mario, being able to dissect a game for its finer components helps–no matter what area you work in on a development team.

6. You need to be able to speak English.

This isn’t a problem for all, but a grasp of the English language will serve you well here. As time progresses, English grows increasingly mandatory in many fields in the mysterious realms of not-game development. If your career as a dev doesn’t work out, then be happy knowing that you’ll still have this universally marketable skill.

“I still want to be a game developer though!” Timmy cried, a fire in his eyes. “Games are my passion!”

Well, Timmy–stubborn or determined–know that I’m not here to (entirely) crush your dreams, because…

7. If you really want to develop video games, then you should totally go for it.

Just make sure you’re realistic. Don’t expect to make a living off of it and don’t expect all your plans to succeed. Start small, look to those of experience, and practice, practice, practice. Whether you’re a modder, a fan dev, or a blockbuster triple-A, you’re bound to have your ups and downs, just like you would at any other job. A life of game development is as equally rewarding as it is a life of hardship. If this is really what you want to do and you feel you’ve got the skills for it, then get out there and make it happen.

As a wise friend of mine liked to say: “Don’t wait for opportunity to come to you. Kick opportunity’s door down and fucking kidnap him.”

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Mighty Number Fail – Indie vs AAA (3)

Although there are innumerable times where AAA has defeated indie games in the rat race, there was one particular time where the failure was so great, it caught the eye of countless among the gaming community. Any retro gamer will tell you about Mega Man, released in 1987, and a great majority will tell you which one is their favorite, whether it be part of the original series of games or part of the Mega Man X series. Both parts of the franchise were legendary among gamers.

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Mega Man 2 is very popularly known as the favorite among the original series, while the first Mega Man X is held as the king of the second. Whatever side of the franchise they stand on, both factions will tell you that they were wholly disappointed by the crowd-funded passion project known as Mighty No. 9. Keiji Inafune had worked on the original Mega Man, and since Capcom hadn’t released a new Mega Man for several years (due to extreme franchise fatigue), he decided to take it upon himself to create what he called a spiritual successor.

The game was fully funded within just a couple of days and, by the end, it had reached around three million dollars, several times more than it was expected to reach. This is where a great deal of mystery enters into the fray. Despite infinitely more money than they could have ever needed, the scene became quite bleak. Though fans were still on the hype train with beautiful gameplay still frames, promising Kickstarter prizes and a game mirroring the greatness of the blue bot himself, they curbed their doubts. However, for reasons unknown, the game was met with numerous delays. Many questioned how they could be losing so much time with all of the budget they could ever want and plenty of time between the start of its production to its intended release. Still! They thundered ahead and readied themselves for the release!

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The fans were stomped with absolute disappointment. The graphics were not nearly as good as they initially looked in the original press release, the gameplay had very questionable extra, unneeded content, the voice acting rivalled Mega Man 8 for how terrible and stilted it was, and the story intermixed with constant interrupting character dialog was so very frustrating when you were trying to concentrate on playing the game!

Questions began flying at Inafune at a horribly extensive rate! His gross mismanagement of the game’s content and quality was called into question multiple times and their reaction to these questions boiled down to “At least you got a game.” Needless to say, contributors to the funding were not happy, and those old-school Mega Man fans were less than impressed with the game’s content. Mighty Number 9 reached the status as one of the Worst Games of 2016 across the internet.

Now, let’s be honest. It really was not a terrible game when you stand back and look at the forest for the trees. It worked, it was challenging, and the level design wasn’t terrible. Sure, some of the bosses were cheap and cringe-inducing in their tactics and while the story is abysmal, it still served its purpose for the most part. The reason the game failed in a massive cloud of hatred was because it tried to build itself as a return of a beloved franchise in the form of a fan requested game. It had all of the makings of a great game, but for one reason or another completely missed the mark.

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AAA titles have had their failures in the past, and many of them failed harder than Mega Man’s would-be successor. This should serve as a lesson on par with Icarus and the burned wings, but let’s face it, if they can build you up to their hype, development companies are going to do it. Inafune could have won big with this title but failed to pull it off in the end.

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However, once again, at least we have our silver lining. Evidently, Capcom caught onto Mighty Number 9’s Kickstarter success and decided that they would release their own game and do it properly this time. Mega Man 11 is set to release later in the year 2018 and it already looks smooth! Inafune may have spent multiple millions of dollars on failure, but at least his failure managed to cause another AAA win.

 

Wait, what am I saying?

AGDQ 2018 – Day Two!

Yume here with some more AGDQ behind the scenes things going on. Not as sleepy anymore, which is why there was no daily blog entry yesterday. But here it is:

Let’s talk a bit about the speedrunning marathon for a bit here, because I’ll have a short interview with one of the runners of the marathon right here for you. As part of the puzzle community, I could tell that hype was big for the Wario’s Woods run on the morning of Monday. The interview will be with our very own Peteyboo, who did that run at AGDQ.

It was a big highlight for all of the puzzle community members attending the marathon, as it is our only showcase for this AGDQ. But, the two runs afterwards were my personal favourites, and I couldn’t wait for them. There was a Donkey Kong Country 2 No Warps run and Donkey Kong Country 1 Reverse Boss Order. The first run was pretty high on my priority list as DKC2 has a lot of interesting tech and mechanics, as well as the two runners that raced it are very good at the game. Of course, KC1 was even more interesting as it showed a lot of Wrong Warps that are possible inside the game, which means you can skip levels, kind of at will, if you manipulate the game in the right ways. If you are a fan of the DKC series you should check out the videos on Youtube for sure.

But let’s cut to the short interview peteyboo (@peteybooLP on twitter) gave me for his run of Wario’s Woods.

[Start Interview]

What was your reaction when your run of Wario’s Woods was accepted for AGDQ ?

I was really surprised as I tried to get the run into AGDQ for years and it finally worked out. After the game appeared at last year’s NASA (North American Speedunner Assembly, an event held in Canada last year) it was much easier to get the game into an event like AGDQ. And of course I was really happy about it.

How did you prepare for your run?

For the most part I did no reset runs (Means that you don’t reset training runs when you get bad time and just wing it with how it is going), doing some practice with a fellow speedrunner, Montucky (AKA montySR), which also showed me some fast and easy solutions to certain patterns here at AGDQ to make the run even more consistent.

How did you feel before the run ? (As we checked the stream before his run there were about 88k viewers, just as a note)

I felt fine and just as usual. I wasn’t nervous after already doing the run at NASA last year, and with having a good coach by my side that would go over the games mechanics as me, I could focus on the run.

And how did you feel during the run?

I was very focused on the run and didn’t feel different than before the run.

How satisfied were you with our performance on the run?

I was pretty satisfied with the run. Getting a time that is just half a minute shy of the sub 20 minutes was pretty solid for a marathon run.

Any other things you want to say?

Not really much except a big thanks to the whole Wario’s Woods community and the crew I had in my back, as they helped to make it a great showcase of this game.

[End Interview]

That’s it with the interview folks and mostly with the blog post for Day 2.

And…Oh shoot, I forgot something about the general stuff in the Day 1 Blog post. Of course, besides all the “attractions” I covered there is one more thing I didn’t have on the plate that is pretty usual for a speedrunner meetup. Board games, and a lot of them. There is a whole floor of the openly accessible part of the hotel designated to board games of all sorts. There are even people that take care of you when you enter the room and can’t decide on a game to play. Which is good, as the pile of board games the attendees brought is huge. Oh, and like 30 different Rubic’s Cubes, of course.

But yeah, that’s it for real now with the Day 2 Blog post. Sorry again for being late with this, Day 3 will be up soon as well.

Have a good day.

Day 3, here.

The Secret Behind Retro Gaming’s Popularity

Retrogaming has become popular over the last few years. While yearly many news games get released, people are fond of the old games. Newer games ends up having graphics that looks like it is taken from a retrogame. Why is this? That is what we will find out here, as nostalgia is not the only reason.

Retro games are games that were released between 1970 and 2005. Games from the 1st to 6th generation consoles are considered retro games. Among classics like Legend of Zelda: Orcanina of Time on the N64 and the first sonic games on the Sega Genesis, there are many hidden gems on the consoles: unknown games, waiting to be discovered. These games gain popularity on Twitch through “console challenges”, among other ways.

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According to most who enjoy retro games, the nostalgia plays a big role in their decision to play the game – something I disagree with. I decided to talk with several people who play, and sell, retro games. While many play it for nostalgia and reliving their childhood memories, this does not apply to the younger generation of games. Gamers are now generally old enough that they have fond memories of certain games they enjoyed as a child. When these old-school gamers talk to the newer generation of gamers, they can inspire them to try out these classics. This is how the newer generation of gamers come in contact with retro games.

Another reason why retro gaming is increasing in popularity is the speedrunning community. With big events like Awesome Games Done Quick, people come in contact with retro games. The presentation of the game sparks interest and allows the reader to get a first-hand look at the game. Guests are encouraged to play the games casually or try to speedrun the games, or in other words, play through it as quickly as possible.

While speedrunning is a challenge, there is another trend in retro gaming going on as well. It is known as console challenges. There is an entire community for people who try to beat all games on a specific console. “Goati_” is my personal favorite of them all: trying to beat all Sega Mega Drive games. These challenges are not easy and take years. Since it can cost a lot of money to do so, several will be using emulators to play all the games ever released on a certain console.

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This brings us to the next point. Retro games, in general, are cheap. Where games nowadays cost over $40, retro games can be picked up for a few bucks. The affordable price makes collecting the games more cost-effective than the modern game, such as Call of Duty. While finding a good console for your games can be hard, you still won’t be spending over $200. Both the games and consoles are cheap, with few exceptions. For example, the original Castlevania: Symphony of the Night game is even more expensive than big titles released recently. I asked one collector why he has so many Atari games. His response? They look nice stacked on top of one another.

Retro games are also known for their higher degree of difficulty and their uniqueness. Compared to nowadays, where developers will release similar titles each year, retro games were all unique in one way or another. The Megaman series were known for being hard and punishing, which made people try to beat it. Mario was known for being a family-friendly game. The urge to want to learn what inspired the entire series is also a reason people come back to retro games. A look into Mario’s past is unique and can show how far gaming has come. With that being said, people discovered these games are harder than what is the standard today. This was because the earliest games were arcade games; the harder the game, the more credits people needed to pay. Beating the game became a challenge in itself. The first generation of home console games followed the trend of being hard to beat.

The last reason is that Virtual Consoles came into existence. Nintendo releasing the older games on different platforms once again has given a spike in the retro gaming community. With the release of the NES mini and SNES Classic Mini, retro gaming returned to its former glory. Both of them were sold out quickly.

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If you have a different reason for playing retro games outside of what has been listed, you can let us know in the comments below. If you want to try out a game or two, you can google where you can find them. We won’t recommend using an unofficial emulator, but rather find an official one or buy the game itself. We hope you will find a hidden gem among all the retro games.

The Padre: A Point and Click Adventure of Terror

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Have you ever gotten the feeling someone or something is watching you? That creepy, eerie feeling that something could jump out at any second? That’s exactly how you will feel every second you play The Padre. The game is a horror point n’ click, where you, a troubled Catholic priest, attempts to solve puzzles within a flashback. Survive being hunted by the mysterious figures lurking in the dark. The enemies span from a wide array of creepy villains such as Zombies, Ghosts, Spiders and even the recurring Demons. There are also a lot of references to other games, such as the Half-Life series and even the Legend of Zelda game’s iconic “It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this”.

Your journey all begins in your own room, far from the mansion you will experience the main horrors in, but you are sent out on a mission to find a missing companion, Cardinal Benedictus. This journey leads you on the road for many days before you end up at the mansion. You enter seeking refuge, but in return find yourself trapped in a room with a loud banging noise.

Although the threat of the enemies is fear-inspiring, the puzzles are what will be the biggest trouble. Puzzles offer a wide range of complexities that you might notice without some digging. One of the first puzzles involves three rooms, the starting room where loud bangs can be heard from below, a dressing room where jumpscares will pop up when you least expect them, and a bedroom, where a zombie mother sings lullabies to an empty room.

The controls are a little finicky, which is to be expected with a point and click game. The way the camera angle changes as you move can sometimes mess your sense of direction up. I would recommend pressing escape as soon as you enter the game to familiarize yourself with the controls. That small act will help you understand the game a lot faster. Your character menu is also slightly difficult to understand at first. The items you can equip and the items you cannot are not separated, only being distinguished when clicked on. This makes it so you will never know which item could be useful in a given situation, like running from an angry zombie. Finally, there is no good way to tell how much damage you have taken, but there is medicine that heals health, so drink up if you know you took some damage.

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For those who want to see how the combat works in the game, there is also an option at the start menu called “Survive… Try” which puts you into a graveyard where waves of spiders and zombies will attack you. All you are given is a crowbar, a machete, a pistol with 12 rounds, and some torches. I played this mode quite a bit to see how far I could go but sadly never made it that far, being overcome by the various hordes.

I truly enjoyed my playthrough of The Padre, and even though the game is still in its alpha phase, the updates soon to come are phenomenal. They are constantly adding more gameplay and lore to the game and we can’t wait to try a finished copy. When more sounds and story are added, everyone will want to get hands-on with this title. One final tip to leave you off with: beware of what lurks in the shadows, but don’t be shy to give away a few items along the way.

EnomView Score: 9 out of 10

Check out The Padre here.

An Interview with – Liam Sorta, Founder of Game Dev Network

Welcome, LiamSorta. We have heard you are the one behind Game Dev Network. Not everyone knows what that is, so can you explain what GDN is in more details?

Game Dev Network is a community dedicated to bringing together those with an interest in the games industry. We are home to 4000~ members, welcoming anyone from total beginners to AAA veterans. We also have a range of channels aimed at various specialisations such as helping with code debugging, providing art feedback and even tips on game design!

We’re always looking for ways to enrich the experience of our members, one way in which we do this is through hosting game jams aimed at bringing members of different disciplines together in order to create a game from scratch in a short amount of time. We also try to involve sponsors to provide jammers with goodies for various services and professional development prizes (and stickers too!). You can read more about our most recent jam, in which we ran a charity raffle in support of the disabled gamers charity, SpecialEffect, over here: https://itch.io/jam/gamedevnetwork-the-big-festive-game-jam.

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While I joined the discord, I noticed that you categorize each skill differently. You have coders, artists, musicians, etc. I assume you did this to make it easier for people to find the right man for the job. While it not always works, for example, I once was asked to do graphics design while I am only a writer in there, it is very useful in general. Were there also other reasons besides this?

While they do offer some immediate context as to what their role is when posting in our #looking-for-work channel, it’s more of a way to allow members to express their interests. On a side note, we have additional ‘LFW’ roles that members can join, these roles are mentionable by other members looking to hire paid roles.

In your community, you have a game maker channel, but not an RPG Maker channel. Was there a reason for that, or is RPG Maker after all these years slowly dying?

We have channels for the major engines in which our members use, Gamemaker being one of those, along with Unity, Unreal, Xenko and Godot. The latter two of which were added based on community input. We’re always looking to cover more ground and if a particular engine has enough demand, we’ll be sure to add it.

That is a good reason to expand, and most of the RPG maker community have several sites they go to already. But one thing I never expected was to see a Legal channel. What was the reason this one got added?

Many new developers find themselves in a position of requiring some form of legal advice. While we do attach a disclaimer with this channel in that any advice is just that, and not to be taken with any legal weight, it can benefit those with various questions relating to setting up their own business, freelance contracts, etc.

Now to get a bit more personal, we do want to know more about the man behind GDN. What inspired you to create this community?

Well, aside from being an avid developer myself, I also organize a number of events. Notably, I co-founded and organized a hackathon based in Birmingham, UK called HackTheMidlands. A Hackathon is similar to a game jam, though with an emphasis on just creating anything. Typically, attendees use a range of APIs in an attempt to solve business/social challenges in just 24 hours. It’s always a blast to see so many people enjoying themselves; we were honored to have hosted 150 hackers in both 2016 and 2017 and are excited to see Hack The Midlands continue to grow and support developers!

Gamedev wise, I also organized a Global Game Jam venue at my university for ~100 jammers from around the country. 48-hour jams pose a separate set of logistical problems, though with what seemed to be a lifetime supply of pizza/healthy snacks, we were pleased to see so many incredible, creative entries from budding developers!

GDN was a continuation of supporting developers network and collaborate with each other. Starting with just a handful of members in February of this year, we have flourished into a friendly hub for all #gamedevs to learn and share with each other.

So in less than one year, it grew so big. What is your secret?

Honestly, I wish I knew! I’ve always taken the approach of any community being member-focused, meaning that we actively listen to feedback, requests and their comments to make GDN as beneficial to them as possible. I also have to give a great deal of thanks to our moderation team: Acid, Marco Hoffman (Chikari), Harry Shipton, and Thomas Richards. Having such a solid team means we can not only poll any intended events/proposed changes in order to make sure we’re making the correct decision, but also to help make sure GDN is an accepting, friendly environment welcome to all.

You also announced with some volunteers to run classes on various areas of game development next year. What specializations can we think of, and how do people join these classes?

Yes! That’s part of our ‘GameDevNetwork: Academy’ program. We are re-launching the program next year with the intention of providing online video repository of completely free video content for as many specializations as we can cover. Community members can volunteer themselves to run one of these sessions, done either in the form of a live stream or pre-recorded video. We also provide our tutor volunteers with a shiny new rank in our community server as a small token of thanks. We have lots of exciting plans for the GDN:A and are eager for anyone interested in running a session to get in contact with us.

Do you have any advice for new game developers?

The best advice I can offer to new developers is to start making something as soon as possible! Don’t worry about scale, the smaller the project is, the sooner you can finish it and work on something totally different, and thus, get a better breadth of experience. It’s for this reason I’d recommend checking out the various game jams hosted online or in person. A few resources to find jams:

  • https://itch.io/jams
  • http://www.indiegamejams.com/
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/gamejams

We are nearing the end of the interview. Thank you for these wonderful information and insights in the community and why you founded it. Just one final question remains, do you have any last words to our readers?

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the moderators of GDN ( @AcidZenith, @Chykary, @UnityCarti, @harryjshipton) they do a brilliant job in making sure our community is always a welcoming one as well as proposing suggestions that have gone on to help enrich the community as much as possible! For anyone wanting to join GDN, they are more than welcome to by following the invitation link: https://discord.gg/gdn I also have some ramblings on Twitter: @LiamSorta

Top 10 Indie Games to Look Out for in 2018

Another year alive on this Earth equates to nothing but another year of gooey, gaming goodness. 2017 brought us Dead Cells, Getting Over It, Oxygen Not Included, Cuphead–too much succulent indie epicness to cram into a single paragraph in some internet article. But with the new year comes a new batch o’ games, and the creatives of the indie world just will not quit. Here are 10 upcoming titles to keep a careful watch for in 2018.

 

10. Light Fall

A fast-paced platformer with an even faster, zippity player character–Light Fall is a game that’ll have you jumping, bouncing across walls, activating cool, space-themed objects, and dodging obstacles to progress.

Already gathering praise and critical acclaim from several other indie articles and groups, Light Fall and its intergalactic art style is a surefire bet for games that’ll impress in the following year.

 

9. Below

A myriad of intricate sound design and a dark atmosphere, Below is set to be one of the indie gaming world’s many artistic masterpieces.

With RPG-inspired mechanics, each progressive level sees the main character exploring underground environs and combating colorful foes as he moves down, down, and down ever deeper–trying ever so hard to show the player what lies at the lowest recesses of the screen.

8. Death’s Gambit

“Dark Souls in 2D.” That’s the description most people will use to describe it… and they’re far from being wrong. Adult Swim is back at it again, and they certainly don’t intend to disappoint.

A dark fantasy setting, hulking foes that stand twice, sometimes triple your height, a brutal challenge that’ll send the casuals into a fit of ragequitting, and the devoted into a satisfactory light of glory–Death’s Gambit will not be a game to miss come next year.

7. Fight Knight

Of all the games on this list, this one’s sure to pack a punch. Several, in fact. Playing in the first person–and hearkening back to the days of The Elder Scrolls: ArenaFight Knight is a game that’d make Rocky proud.

A dungeon crawler at its heart, this game humorously has the player activating every NPC and killing every monster with fists and fists alone. Abandon your spells. Your swords. Your bows. Embrace the only weapon man was ever meant to wield.

6. The Last Night

Never before have we seen a title embrace the words “dynamic” and “cinematic” quite like The Last Night does. Set to the backdrop of a cyberpunk world, The Last Night is technically a platformer, but that doesn’t really describe the experience so well.

With a camera that floats and hovers just about as frequently as the characters’ expressive animations change, The Last Night was cited as one of the best looking games at E3 by far.

5. Fe

Glide through the air, climb up trees, dig your way across, or simply frolic through the dark, crystalline Nordic forest that’s brought to the table in Fe.

With a focus on its ecosystem, Fe is a strictly 3D game that presents us with a life-like world filled with soul. Discover that ecosystems many secrets, solve its side quests, and make contact with brilliant, mystical creatures–playing as one such being of your own.

4. Ashen

Are you one who craves expansive, open worlds? Is your childhood filled with memories of exemplifications of freedom like The Elder ScrollsFallout, Grand Theft Auto, and Minecraft? Look no further, for Ashen has just the cure to soothe your weary bones, traveler.

With stamina-based combat, a drop in, drop out multiplayer mechanic, and a world that doesn’t bind you down with its chains, Ashen is a roleplay-friendly title that’s just begging for you to get immersed.

3. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

A game that looks so good, it’s literally too hard to believe at times, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a popular sequel to the critically-acclaimed Ori and the Blind Forest.

A metroidvania action platformer, this game doesn’t just stun you, it dazzles you with its ever-changing atmosphere, creative foes, and visual storytelling-based narrative. Backed by Microsoft, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is sure to be an interesting title indeed.

2. Praey for the Gods

Enjoyed battling the pantagruelian titans we saw in Shadow of the Colossus? If so, Praey for the Gods is just the game to look out for in 2018. As a member of a winter-y, wasting world, your job is to journey through this snowbound realm and uncover just what lies at the source of its slow, inevitable death.

A survival-based action-adventure game, you start with nothing but the clothes on your back. A lone wanderer in this dangerous abyss, your only hope of staying alive is to smite the very deities that you worship.

1. Kingdom Come: Deliverance

To all those who cried for a realism-based, historically-accurate, story-driven, medieval RPG, cry no more–for Kingdom Come: Deliverance is here to answer the call!

Cemented within the once real-world setting of the feudalism-based Holy Roman Empire, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has had medieval martial artists and historians alike drooling with its effective portrayal of life in these olden days. Gone are magic and spells; this is an age of smiths and swords!

Stay tuned as we tackle these games and many more! Check out our top 10 picks for best indie games in 2017!

10 Best Indie Games to Buy – Steam Winter Sale

  1. Rain World

Very few games will make you scream “EVERYTHING WANTS TO EAT ME!” faster than Rain World. Curiously brought to us by Adult Swim, like Robot Unicorn Attack, Rain World is a challenging game that scores a lot of points for its artistic atmosphere and visuals.

Using your slug-shaped cat player-character, you navigate through the ruins of a dark, broken world–utilizing gameplay mechanics which include elements of shoot-em-ups, stealth, and even survival to surpass challenges and battle the various monsters that try to undo your efforts every step of the way. This game may prove alien for a few, but it’s hard to deny that–between the art and the animations–this is one of the best-looking 2D games on the market.

  1. Antichamber

Come one, come all to those with creative minds, a willingness to learn, and patient, patient souls. In this, the player moves from chamber to chamber–room to room–in an attempt to solve first-person puzzles to progress.

While it may get a little too well-acquainted with this games stylized art approach, Antichamber’s game designers clearly had originality in mind–and their game will get your critical thinking juices flowing any day.

  1. Stick Fight: The Game

Fun, fun, fun! Stick Fight sure is filled with it when you’ve got friends to play with and a solid internet connection. Shoot. Stab. Punch. Do all of these things and more with your doodle-based posse.

This game is great because it not only offers an entertaining experience but has the propensity to really make you laugh, too. From the shared shenanigans of you and your comrades to the squirmy animations that make your character models look like two-dimensional Totally Accurate Battle Simulator units on 2x speed, you’re sure to have a blast.

  1. Dungeon of the Endless

Not everyone likes the sound of a tower defense, but the RPG elements intertwined within Dungeon of the Endless have a way of pulling you in. As the member of the crew that fell victim to a crash landing, your goal is to go deeper. Deeper. And deeper into the depths of a strange dungeon–as implied by the name.

While this game is definitely a tower defense, expect to feel like you’re also sometimes playing a top-down dungeon crawler like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. Advance through every floor and find out if it ever truly ends.

  1. Don’t Starve

The game may be called “Don’t Starve”, but there are a lot more ways to die than pure starvation in this colorful, but bleak little world. Playing as a scientist, your job is–fittingly–to experiment with your surroundings to learn best how to survive.

Just about everything you encounter will beg the hopeful question of “Can this help me survive?” and the not-so-hopeful question of “Will messing with this get me killed?” A grimdark naturalist will be forever at home here.

  1. Dead Cells

Very few rogue-lite, Metroidvania, action platformers hit the nail on the head like does Dead Cells. Controlling a character without a head, you battle through and delve across a perilous castle with enemies galore.

There are no repeats in this game. No saves. No respawns. No checkpoints. To quote the description on Steam: “Kill, die, learn, repeat.” Though that description leaves out the key difference that you always keep all your upgrades–unlike other games in this genre. If you want a real challenge that’ll leave you feeling like a champion after your first playthrough, then this is the game for you.

We mentioned this game in our Top 10 Indie Games of 2017 article, which you can check out here.

  1. Starbound

Teleport down from your own personal spaceship to worlds unknown–exploring rich environments, fighting challenging foes, and learning interesting backstories. Starbound is a proper exemplification of the Terraria formula done right.

Break digital blocks. Wander into caves. Scavenge for resources. Then–finally–craft it all into brilliant items. And the cherry on top? Adding friends to the mix. Much like Minecraft with its procedurally-generated worlds and biomes, the amount of fun to be had here is truly infinite–to say nothing of the interesting stories accompanying each intergalactic race.

  1. Plague Inc. Evolved

Ever wanted to create the perfect disease and destroy all of humanity with it? No? Well, now’s your chance, as that’s exactly what Plague Inc. Evolved allows you to do! Starting with patient zero, you level up with infection and upgrade your pathogen through various skill trees which unlock different abilities with different benefits and consequences–dependent upon the situation.

Spread the pandemic. Infect every continent with your illness. Shatter the world with your pitiless plague.

  1. Oxygen Not Included

Build a subterranean colony, deep from the under earth, that provides for every need and desire. Every need except for one: oxygen. Catering to colonists with different traits that cause different effects, Oxygen Not Included is all about a struggle to keep them alive.

This game will have you constantly searching for pockets filled to the brim with water, food, oxygen, hydrogen–you name it. Made by the developers of Don’t Starve, this is one of the first games I’ve ever seen that brings a smile to my face with its randomly generated worlds–always providing for a different experience every playthrough.

We also mentioned this game in our Top 10 Indie Games of 2017 article, which you can check out here.

  1. Terraria

A model of sandbox design for many game developers, Terraria is a must-have for all those who’d call themselves adventurers and creative.

Terraria has what many call the “16-bit sidescroller take” on Minecraft’s expansive formula. And just like Minecraft, the amount of stuff to be done is truly boundless. From the dungeons you explore to the pixelated enemies you fight, there’s always something to occupy yourself with here. Just like the holes you dig, things only deepen as you progress.