Monthly Archives: July 2009

Narrative: Challenge and Complicity

News Narrative: Challenge and ComplicityThere’s a biweekly column on GameSetWatch called Homer in Silicon — this little dose of gamely journalism usually explores stuff like narrative and storytelling in games. Looking at the latest offering, it has an eye-catching reference to the previously-reviewed Judith as well as an action-platformer called Don’t Look Back by the same developer.

It’s nothing mind-blowing: it just throws a few interesting thoughts in the direction of the reader, and idling about on a glorious Saturday afternoon gives me reason to believe that this would be just the reading to fit in with that vibe.


Calling all innovators

News Calling all innovatorsHave you got a knack for making cool mobile stuff? It’s big locally, y’know, where every guy and his gardener has a cellphone. Nokia knows this, and has sponsored $125 000 to make it happen.

They’ve challenged entrepreneurial devs to create a South African flavoured cellphone application (not limited to games this time) for their share of the big monies. If it’s something useful, something local, and something you’ve published on the Ovi Store (the only really significant entry condition), then you’re all set. Once you’re confident you meet the above conditions, go on and register a new account at and submit your creation. You have until the end of October to do it, so get cracking.

- Chippit

PGD Annual competition

News PGD Annual competitionI know that we already mentioned this competition a while back, but I think it bears another post now that it has actually started. After all, one has a tendency to mentally file these things away and forget about them if they haven’t yet come to pass. And it would be a grave disservice to any Pascal enthusiasts if we didn’t remind them to get off their asses and just enter this competition already.

The theme is “Arcadia”. The tool is Pascal. The prizes are generous. The options are unlimited.

One of the folks at PGD posted a spiel on for anybody interested in learning more.


Ben There, Dan That!

Are you sick of hearing the now clichéd ‘Adventures games are dead’ whenever fond memories of LucasArts and Sierra classics are shared? Even worse, are you sick of saying it? Because, like all overused maxims, this one also has that shred of truth that led to its conception, but it also led to a whole bunch of developers striving to prove it false.

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What made Levine

News What made LevineRock, Paper, Shotgun have been compiling daily ‘What Made Me’ features for the past week or so, detailing games the authors feel most influenced them. Initially including only the 4 RPS members’ thoughts, the feature series has extended to cover other big industry names.

This, most recently, has included 2K Boston founder (and former Looking Glass staff), Ken Levine. Yes, that’s the Levine who worked on the fantastic System Shock 2, a game I still rank among my all-time favourites. Do you share gaming roots with Levine? Why don’t you find out?

- Chippit

Play: Upgrade Complete

News Play: Upgrade CompleteSo, what have I been playing recently? Well, aside from loads and loads of Guitar Hero Aerosmith (judge me not!), this weekend saw me messing around with a brilliant little metagaming effort called Upgrade Complete. As the title implies, this game completely rips off the idea of using upgrades, money and tacky little “shops” to prolong gameplay and add complication to trivial experiences.

Everything from the loading bar to the menu buttons has to be bought with cash earned from killing enemies, and the game is so delightfully more-ish that it makes one consider one’s own gaming habits. Just how easily exploited is our innate hoarding mentality? Are we really so easily lured in by that need to “have it all”, even if it’s just a bunch of crap? Thought-provoking stuff.

Give this one a shot and reflect upon it afterwards. And don’t worry about the crappy graphics: they’re fully upgradeable.


Flash is the future …

News Flash is the future ...I always keep a beady eye on Lost Garden. It doesn’t update all that often, unfortunately, but when it does, it’s always something worth reading. The latest update is no exception.

DanC goes into fairly significant detail on why Flash may actually be the best platform to use to develop games, and then describes how one would go about making a living by doing so. And the best part about it? This post is only the beginning; at least 3 more posts in this vein are expected. DanC is serious about this, and you should be too.

It’s quite a long read, but, as is the norm for Lost Garden, easy to follow. Head over and give it a look.

- Chippit

The Forum that Could

Not every origin story involves radioactive spiders, murdered parents or babies sent from planets with silly names. Sometimes a single idea, an offhand conversation or an innocent post on a forum can find a life of its own. Let’s throw a party. Let’s start a band. Let’s make a game. Like a snowball tossed down the side of a mountain, these ideas can gather speed and strength. And over time, that one little idea becomes something that makes people sit up, notice, and occasionally get a face full of snow.

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IGF submissions open

News IGF submissions openAs advertised in GameSetWatch (and, let’s face it, just about any other publication under the Think Services umbrella), the 2010 Independent Games Festival is now open to game submissions: so if you’ve got something cool knocking around, you have until 1 November to polish it up and make it presentable for the judges (add an extra two weeks to that if you enter the student showcase).

The IGF is one of the most prestigious game development competitions around. Even if you don’t plan on entering, it’ll be worthwhile to check up on the 2009 combatants to see what sort of stuff goes in.


Experimental Gameplay is back!

News Experimental Gameplay is back!Have you heard of Experimental Gameplay? Well, you have now. Recently, it’s been a bit on the “not operational” side, but a quick trawl through the IndieGames blog has revealed that it’s up again and ready for some more action.

I love the idea behind Experimental Games, and I love seeing the stuff that gets generated by its community. Its return to the Internet has filled my heart with joy and sunshine.

Keep an eye on this place, folks: with all sorts of cool game themes and competitions promised ahead, it should be a worthwhile hangout for interested devs.


Playing with Clay

Blazing in at the IGF and leaving a clay-ridden trail of aliens, shotguns and grumpy farmers, Cletus Clay is shaping up to be one of the most interesting indie offerings around, not least because it uses a game world built entirely of plasticine models.

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I-Imagine hiring iPhone devs

News I-Imagine hiring iPhone devsOkay, so I hate to treat the news like some sort of Classifieds section, but if there is one driving force that motivates me to cover something, it’s laziness. And when I have a neatly presented job description like this to copy and paste, you can bet I’ll be on it. Read on if you’re planning on doing some dev work in South Africa:

I-Imagine is looking for a programmer to join our team to work on mobile projects. This is a full time position based in Bryanston, Johannesburg, to start ASAP. The successful candidate will be a motivated and responsible self-starter capable of learning on the job as necessary, work well in a team and deal well with authority figures. Experience in C%2B%2B programming (on any platform) and development on mobile platforms are essential. At least some of this experience should be game related. A relevant tertiary qualification, demonstrable examples of prior work and experience in 3D programming and in particular with objective C (iPhone) development will all be beneficial to your application.

To apply, send a full CV and url to a website with samples of your work to jobs i-imagine com. Please do NOT attach samples of work directly to your email application.”

But in all due seriousness, if you’re in SA and do phone-ish stuff, check up with these people. And don’t tell us that we never tell you about any local job opportunities.


Brainpipe out on Steam now!

News Brainpipe out on Steam now!So I played this one back when we did our roundup of IGF finalists way back when. Well, the intriguing game has now joined the indie catalogues over at Steam, where it seems everything decent ends up. (LucasArts games, yay!)

Anyway, if you were hesitant at picking up the game before, Steam’s wonderful system now offers an alternative way to try the game out. For extra motivation, it’s on special at the moment for a measly $12, which is even less than its price on the official site. And besides, ‘Creepy eyeball buttons’ is listed under game features. Can you resist creepy eyeball buttons? Once you see them, you’ll probably never forget them. I still haven’t.

- Chippit

First impressions: Game Maker 8

With the recent surfacing of the Game Maker 8 open beta, I felt duty-bound to download the tool and give it a whirl to see what’s improved over previous versions.

It turns out that there’re quite a lot of tweaks in the new release: some of them are purely aesthetic, while others shake the system to its very core and sprout random slices of chocolate cake when you enter the secret code. It’s quite clear already that Game Maker 8 has made a considerable jump over its predecessors in a way that will benefit just about any user out there.

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Game pick of the day

News Game pick of the dayA quick heads-up today, because I’ve stumbled across a really stylish offering that I cannot resist sharing. And, of course, because I’m such a whore for adventure games, and I’d be crying myself softly to sleep every night if it weren’t for the occasional devs who remember the genre as fondly as I do.

Zombie Cow Studios seem to be among these devs. Their older donationware Ben There, Dan That! had an excellent grip on the pointy-clicky fun (and the associated humour) of greats such as Monkey Island. And now there’s a new, even more polished sequel that you can get right here for a measly, insignificant fee. Go do it! Hesitant folks will be set back an odd 20 MB for the demo, or half that number for the prequel (it’s free, what do you have to lose?).

- Chippit

Sonny 2

So zombies, right? They’re pretty much awesome, and games that have them featured usually score quite a few points in their favour simply because of this fact. Make a zombie the protagonist of one of these and things just start looking up from there.

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