PICO-8 is a “fantasy console” that lets people build and share small games with a full suite of built-in editors. According to the website, “the harsh limitations of PICO-8 are carefully chosen to be fun to work with, encourage small but expressive designs and hopefully to give PICO-8 cartridges their own particular look and feel”. Some of these limitations include a 128×128 display resolution, with a 16-color palette, 128 8×8 sprites, and 4 channels of “chip blerps” for sound and music.
The tools are only available to players who have paid for Lexaloffle’s Voxatron, a voxel-based arena shooter that also comes with its own game engine, but anyone can play PICO-8 carts for free via the online BBS (PICO-8 users can also share carts with one another in a special PNG format). It’s fun just browsing the BBS to check out the various games, demos, and experiments, but if you’re looking for a recommendation, I suggest trying the games by Benjamin Soulé, which really push the console’s limits and show off the wide range of games that can be made with its tools. They’re fun, too!
Handmade Hero is a project by Casey Muratori to program a “complete, professional-quality game” from scratch using C, C++, and assembly language and document the entire process through a series of videos. According to Casey, every line of source code will be explained on camera, and people can follow along live on Twitch, every weekday at 8pm for about an hour or two (the project began on November 17th). The videos will also be archived on YouTube.
Although it’s unclear exactly what kind of game Handmade Hero will end up being, Casey says that the project will take at least into 2016 to complete. Before the release, however, people can pre-order the game for $15 and receive access to the full source code. Also, two years after the game’s release, the source code will be released into the public domain.
For more information about the project, see Casey’s announcement on his personal website.
PuzzleScript is a simple, open-source game engine by Stephen “increpare” Lavelle that allows you to easily create turn-based puzzle games using a unique scripting language. The engine is HTML5-based and games can be built and shared (along with their source code) straight from your browser. The graphics, which are composed of 5×5 tiles, are also designed within the editor, in the same manner that levels are defined.
There are already quite a few clever games in the burgeoning PuzzleScript gallery, showing off the flexibility of the engine, as well as its ease-of-use – although some of the developers are seasoned indies (like Terry Cavanagh, Joseph White, and Stephen himself), quite a few of them are from first-time creators (like Jonah Ostroff, who made Heroes of Sokoban, shown above).
The Main Competition finalists for the 2013 Independent Games Festival were announced earlier this month and the Student Competition winners were just announced today. New to the Main Competition this year is an Excellence in Narrative Award to honor “innovation, quality, and impressiveness of storytelling in a game, including, but not limited to, scenario, plot construction, story, dialogue, and other major factors”.
The award show will take place at GDC on March 27th, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. In the meantime, TIGForums members are discussing the results in this thread.
The lists of nominees and Student winners are reprinted below:
After almost two years without a TIGCompo… we finally have a new TIGCompo. The theme? SPORTS.
Since it’s been awhile, let me just provide a quick overview: the objective of a TIGSource Competition is to make a game (or two) in the allotted time (in this case, a month). There are no prizes involved, but a number of the previous entries have become successful commercial titles, like Envirobear 2000 (Cockpit Compo) and Realm of the Mad God (Assemblee Compo). The main thing, though, is to have a good time with your fellow entrants and try to finish something!
With so much potential in the theme of SPORTS, I think this is going to be a good one. Let’s do it! (And happy Hallowe’en!)
Indie Game: The Movie was released today as a digital download on the documentary’s website, as well as Steam and iTunes. The doc follows Team Meat (Super Meat Boy) and Polytron (Fez) as the two groups work toward releasing their XBLA titles. Jonathan Blow is also part of the film, speaking about Braid and game design.
If you’re interested in NES homebrew, you should check out Zooming Secretary, an original action game from programmer Shiru and artist PinWizz. In the game you play a secretary who has to answer phone calls after visiting the appropriate filing cabinet. Various co-workers will hamper your progress, but a coffee power-up will offer a speed boost to help you get through each of the eight work days.
Zooming Secretary is simple but polished, making it a good study for people interested in making their own NES games. The source code of the game is available here. A NES emulator like FCEUX is required to play.
Also, FEMICOM has an interview with PinWizz here.
Double Fine’s adventure game Kickstarter (ended) and inXile’s Wasteland 2 Kickstarter (ongoing) have both been huge successes, raising nearly five million dollars between the two of them (congratulations!). On the heels of these high-profile campaigns, I’d like to mention a few smaller ‘starters that sound interesting to me.
CraftStudio – Described as a “game to make games”, CraftStudio is a collaborative design environment that will let you build your own games and movies using a number of intuitive, built-in editors. You can then freely distribute or sell your creations, through CraftStudio’s online store or however else you like. (TIGForums DevLog)
LabChirp by Labbed is, like Bfxr (which we posted about previously), a tool for synthesizing sound effects. LabChirp is lesser-known than Bfxr/Sfxr, and each program has options the other program doesn’t. I’m not an expert in sound generation at all (although I have used both programs quite a bit, and create the sound effects for my games using them), so here’s my ignorant appraisal of it:
The IGF Winners were announced yesterday; you can watch a video of the announcements above.
Grand Prize: Fez
Visuals: Dear Esther
Mobile: Beat Sneak Bandit
Audience: Frozen Synapse
XBLA Award: Super Time Force