This year the IndieCade Festival took place on the beautiful campus of University of Southern California, specifically in the School of Cinematic Arts, which by the way has their own division in game design!
Part of the package for submitting a game is that the every member of the team gets free access to IndieXchange, which is the first two days of the Festival and features GameTasting, talks by fellow developers, exhibits by Playstation and Unreal Engine, and exhibits by the Festival nominees.
This was of course the highlight of IndieXchange. Imagine walking into a room seeing some of the most exciting projects that you’ve never seen or heard of. That’s because they’re not mainstream, and probably never will be, but they’re quietly making headlines by taking a unique and innovative approach to game design.
Take Threadsteading, for example. It’s a strategy game in which two players duke it out as the sewing machine stitches a 2D path directly on a cloth.
And Infinit-O, an absurd dream-like experience that explores the archetypes of woman-hood.
And RIOT – Civil Unrest, a riot simulator. The developer, Leonard Menchiari, talked to us about the inspirations behind the game: he physically participated in the NoTAV protests in Italy and was frustrated by how much the media distorts what actually happened. Through this game, he wanted to share the emotions that persist from both ends, how one action from a single person on either side could lead to total mayhem. The game is beautifully crafted; the audio especially is coded to adapt to changes in the environment and in the player’s choices.
We were given a 2-hour slot to demo our game, and since it was super short we kept it simple—no banner or fancy tabletop props. It’s rare to be exhibiting with other developers, so we took this opportunity to test gameplay features we recently added and to find out if they’re worth keeping.
So far, so good! Everybody got a kick out of the new items and monsters. There were so many moments of “NOOOO!” as they unwillingly walked off the cliff due to the “confusion” effect. It was a lot of fun to see.
Overall, it was a really refreshing experience to be a part of. Unlike the other more mainstream events, the IndieCade Festival isn’t afraid to tackle the touchier issues and showcase games that demonstrate what “indie” is all about.
Last week, we shared a GIF of the boulder dungeon on reddit comparing how it looks before and after our artist puts in assets. Our mouths dropped to the floor when we found ourselves on the front page of reddit—the freakin’ front page! This, added to an already amazing week at Casual Connect, made us absolutely speechless.
After going through the 1000+ comments of kind words, constructive feedback, intelligent discussions, and of course harsh words attempting to poison our soul, we’ve summarized it and highlighted our favorite ones. The internet is not the internet without someone being needlessly insulted by your posts. We had a good laugh and love the joy you guys bring to us.
What is going on is called “white-boxing,” and is only a slice of what happens during the development of a game. Because level designing is an iterative process that takes a lot of testing and editing, our level designer prepares the levels with placeholder assets (like boxes) that can be used to quickly prototype the basic layout of the level. Art takes a lot of time and is not as flexible to changes. Compounded with the fact that every level is unique, it only makes sense that the least resource-intensive workflow is for the level designer to finalize the level before passing it over to the artist to beautify it. Hence, what you see in the right scene is the final result of the boulder dungeon after prototyping was completed.
As you may have noticed, some sections of the left scene have art assets, such as the mice and the boulder. These assets, which are integral towards gameplay, were already created; therefore, it only made sense that we take advantage of them rather than use a blank capsule for the character or a white sphere for the boulder.
The game looks really polished!
At this point the core components and framework of the game have already been fleshed out. In preparation for Steam Greenlight and Casual Connect, we put in extra effort into polishing a few levels to a nearly shippable quality in order to demonstrate how the game will look and feel once it’s finished. Some of you indicated that this approach is called a “vertical slice.”
What’s the name of the game?!
The game is called Mind the Trap. The reason I didn’t post the name in the title is that due to Reddit’s anti “self-promotion” rules, I have often in the past been blocked from posting when in reality I simply just wanted to share some cool content. So in order to hopefully get this post past the rules, I left out the details. I know it must’ve been frustrating, but it was really neat to see you guys find it!
Learn to spell you stupid piece of s***.
Yeah… I messed up… Typos happen, and when they do, apparently you anger people so much that they wish death upon you. Damn I angered this guy badly! I will try to not make more typos in the future, I swaer!
To Indie Prize, Casual Connect, Sacramento Indie Arcade, our team members, our family, and all of our supporters, thank you so much. We couldn’t have done this without you. You have no idea how much this award means to us.
Next week we’ll be participating in the Indie Prize Showcase at Casual Connect in San Francisco, and this time around we wanted to go a little more all-out with our exhibit. What better way to start this than with a distressed treasure chest to hold our promotional giveaways. The secret sauce? Coffee.