Monday, January 23, 2012

What Have I Been Up To

As some of you know, for the past couple of months I've been working with Keith and Blake of Dinofarm Games on a new strategy game called Auro:

Although it sounds like a cliché, Auro is a strategy game that's easy to learn but hard to master. You only have three basic actions, and two of them share the same controls:
  1. Move Auro.
  2. Attack an enemy (by moving Auro into it).
  3. Use one of your skills.
The game's depth comes from the last point - skills. You start the game picking one skill, and each time you finish a level (there is no incentive to "clear" a level in Auro, you only need to get to the end) you get to choose another skill out of five disciplines (Ice, Elude, Guard, Impulse & Fire). Each skill also has a cool-down, meaning you can only use it once every few turns

Since each play session is comprised of ten random levels and each discipline has five skills, your "skill kit" is made of ten out of twenty-five skills (with n=25 and k=10, that gives us 25!/(10! * 15!) = 3,268,760 possible combinations).

The monsters also have their own skills, and although they sometimes differ from each other in some other minor ways, most importantly each monster type has different skills. Since Auro's normal attack is weak and the monsters outnumber him greatly, you can only win by picking and using the right skills against the current bestiary you're facing.

Since different combination of monsters require a different combination of skills to defeat, there is no obvious "best skill set" in Auro - a skill that might be helpful against an early mob of rats and spiders could be totally useless against a combination of slimes and throwgres.

"Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations" - Spock finds Auro fascinating.

Auro is meant to be fast and to the point - it doesn't waste your time with filler material and fluff. Every step counts, you are constantly making meaningful and interesting decisions, and if you're not careful Auro will end up dead and you will be the one who killed him.

To find out about the first two discipline trees in Auro, check out Keith's article on the Dinofarm Games blog


Indie Game: The Movie - Mixed Feelings

As the title says, I'm having some mixed feelings about the new Indie Game: The Movie.

On the one hand I'm looking forward to seeing it & am happy for the opportunity to see a glimpse into the lives and creative process of the interviewed indies, but on the other we have an almost two hour film about indie games that focuses on three extremely successful teams and their games:

Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes with Super Meat Boy, Phil Fish with FEZ and Jonathan Blow with Braid (was Notch not available?).

I admire all of these people (and had a blast talking to Edmund on Roguelike Radio) but the indie games movement is about more than just a handful of "super indies" and it seems (I haven't watched the movie yet as it hasn't shown in Vienna) that two hours would be long enough to cover a bit more ground than just the (rightfully!) really famous ones.

That said, I'm still happy this movie was made & will go out to see it as soon as I can.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Can't Play an EA/Activision/Ubisoft game due to DRM? Play Cardinal Quest instead!

In yet another report of rabid DRM, Ubisoft is once more preventing countless of their customers from playing the games they bought.

However, there is still hope for those afflicted!

Give me a shout today with the name of a game by one of the three big publishers (EA/Activision/Ubisoft) that you couldn't play due to draconian DRM and I'll give you a desura key for Cardinal Quest for free!

Needless to say, Cardinal Quest has no DRM on it whatsoever :)

Oh, and if you're not following me on twitter (I can only send private messages to followers) make sure you give me a way to contact you (e.g. email) so I could send you your key!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cardinal Quest 2 - Now With 100% More Dogs!

Check out the exciting news about your future canine companions in Cardinal Quest 2 on randomnine's blog!