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IndieSider - indie video game developers interviews

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Go behind the scenes of the latest indie video games! In this series of exclusive interviews, Ken Gagne of Gamebits reveals the creative process of the developers, designers, artists, and musicians of the gaming industry's latest console, mobile, and Steam titles. IndieSider airs every first and third Wednesday and is also available on YouTube. Continue Reading >>
Go behind the scenes of the latest indie video games! In this series of exclusive interviews, Ken Gagne of Gamebits reveals the creative process of the developers, designers, artists, and musicians of the gaming industry's latest console, mobile, and Steam titles. IndieSider airs every first and third Wednesday and is also available on YouTube. << Show Less
Featured Audio
The Return of Couch Play at PAX East 2019 The tenth annual PAX East was held last month, and I was honored to host two panels of brilliant speakers. One, &#8220;The Art of Craft: Inspiring Game Creations&#8221;, can be seen and heard on the Polygamer podcast. The other was &#8220;The Return of Couch Play&#8221;, looking at offline multiplayer as an alternative to online games such as Fortnite, PUBG, and Tetris 99.


Steam, PS+, and Xbox Live make it easier than ever to get matched online — yet gamers are increasingly rediscovering the appeal of local, offline play. What are the unique challenges and opportunities of taking a game offline? How do you design a game for competitive or cooperative gameplay on the same screen? We’ll look at how to innovate this ancient tradition and design a game that makes the most of couch play.
Featuring:

Ken Gagne [Digital Content Developer, Gamebits]
Tanya X. Short [Creative Director, Kitfox Games]
Christoffer Holmgård [Director, Die Gute Fabrik]
Danny Silvers [CEO, Lantana Games]
Zachary Johnson [Code / Design, Space Mace LLC]
Tommy Sunders [Art / Design, Space Mace LLC]


Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Pandora, Spoke, Overcast, Spotify, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, or RadioPublic.
Full disclosure: I backed Kitfox Games&#8217; &#8220;Boyfriend Dungeon&#8221; Kickstarter.
Newest Audio
The Return of Couch Play at PAX East 2019 The tenth annual PAX East was held last month, and I was honored to host two panels of brilliant speakers. One, &#8220;The Art of Craft: Inspiring Game Creations&#8221;, can be seen and heard on the Polygamer podcast. The other was &#8220;The Return of Couch Play&#8221;, looking at offline multiplayer as an alternative to online games such as Fortnite, PUBG, and Tetris 99.


Steam, PS+, and Xbox Live make it easier than ever to get matched online — yet gamers are increasingly rediscovering the appeal of local, offline play. What are the unique challenges and opportunities of taking a game offline? How do you design a game for competitive or cooperative gameplay on the same screen? We’ll look at how to innovate this ancient tradition and design a game that makes the most of couch play.
Featuring:

Ken Gagne [Digital Content Developer, Gamebits]
Tanya X. Short [Creative Director, Kitfox Games]
Christoffer Holmgård [Director, Die Gute Fabrik]
Danny Silvers [CEO, Lantana Games]
Zachary Johnson [Code / Design, Space Mace LLC]
Tommy Sunders [Art / Design, Space Mace LLC]


Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Pandora, Spoke, Overcast, Spotify, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, or RadioPublic.
Full disclosure: I backed Kitfox Games&#8217; &#8220;Boyfriend Dungeon&#8221; Kickstarter.
IndieSider #61: CRYPTARK by Alientrap CRYPTARK is a 2D sci-fi roguelike twin-stick shooter in which players pilot mechs charged with salvaging alien technology from derelict spaceships. Technological defenses remain active on these procedurally generated abandoned hulks, and players must shut them down and shoot the core if they hope to escape with enough artifacts to sell and fund their continuing expeditions. CRYPTARK is available from Alientrap for PS4 and Steam (Mac, Windows & Linux).
In this interview, I speak with Alientrap creative director Jesse McGibney about this game&#8217;s artistic departure from Alientrap&#8217;s previous game, Apotheon, which was based on Greek mythology and pottery. We also chat about CRYPTARK&#8217;s two-player co-op mode and the lack of online play; how the game fared in early demos at PAX East 2016; the challenges of creating a game with procedurally generated levels; and the CRYPTARK&#8217;s time in Steam Early Access &mdash; a first for Alientrap &mdash; and the one-week delay between its Steam release and its arrival on PlayStation.
Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic.
Links mentioned in this episode:

CRYPTARK by Alientrap
Apotheon
Gamasutra &#8211; Game Design Deep Dive: Visualizing Cryptark&#8217;s 2D sci-fi world
CRYPTARK soundtrack by by Ryan Roth & Ryan Henwood
&quot;A richly strategic shmup&quot; &mdash; Marsh Davies of Rock, Paper, Shotgun

This is the final episode of IndieSider. My thanks to everyone who listened!
IndieSider #60: Old Man's Journey by Broken Rules Old Man&#8217;s Journey is a 90-minute puzzle through the hero&#8217;s memories. After receiving a letter, he sets out on a journey across rolling landscapes that the player can reshape, allowing the old man to leap from foreground to background, making his way across obstacles. At the end of each level, he reminiscences about his past, unraveling a tale of love, hope, and regret. Old Man&#8217;s Journey by Clemens Scott and Felix Bohatsch of Broken Rules is available for iOS, Android, and Steam.
In this podcast interview, I chat with creative director Clemens Scott about how two young developers felt qualified to tell and old man&#8217;s story; whether the game should make us feel bold or hesitant to make life-changing decisions; how the gameplay could be a metaphor for the narrative; and if a game&#8217;s marketability influences its game design.
Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic.
Links mentioned in this episode:

Old Man&#8217;s Journey by Broken Rules

Broken Rules on Twitter
Clemens Scott on Twitter


Old Man&#8217;s Journey wins Apple Design Award 2017
GDC Vault &#8211; Happy Inside the Box: The Art of Old Man&#8217;s Journey

A review copy of this game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this interview.
IndieSider #59: Kona by Parabole Kona from Parabole is a first-person exploration game set in the cold northern reaches of Canada in the 1970s. A private investigator has been hired to investigate some petty crimes but soon stumbles into a larger mystery hidden in the supernatural cold. What secrets lie within in this chilly interactive tale?
In this week&#8217;s IndieSider, I speak with Jean-François Fiset, community manager for Parabole. We discuss how Kona evolved from a snowmobile simulator to an episodic adventure to its current form; why mystery games seem to be set before the advent of cell phones; how one builds community around an adventure game; the use of the term &quot;walking simulator&quot; as a pejorative; whether Firewatch&#8216;s success influenced Kona&#8217;s development; how to communicate a delay to one&#8217;s Kickstarter backers; and how to survive working at the same company as your brother.
Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic.
Kona is available for Steam, GOG, PS4 &#038; Xbox One. A review copy was provided for the purpose of this interview.
IndieSider #58: Future Unfolding by Spaces of Play Future Unfolding is a top-down exploration game set in a pastoral world. Without direction or tutorial and with very little written text, the game invites players to go whichever direction they wish as they discover secrets in the woods, make friends and foes of the fauna, and solve puzzles. A rustic palette, rich mythology, and soothing soundtrack complete the ensemble.
In this week&#8217;s IndieSider, I speak with Andreas Zecher, one-third of the development team Spaces of Play. We discuss the poem from which the game draws its name; the benefits of developing their own game engine over using Unity; the melding of procedural generation and hand-crafted design; the ways in which Future Unfolding is inspired by The Legend of Zelda and Journey; and how sales of their previous game, Spirits, informed the release strategy for Future Unfolding.
Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic.
Links mentioned in this episode:

Future Unfolding by Spaces of Play
Development blog
Andreas Zecher on Twitter
Thimbleweed Park
Polygamer #48: Gillian Smith on procedural generation
Let&#8217;s Play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
IndieSider #57: Open Sorcery by Abigail Corfman Open Sorcery is a cyberpunk hypertext adventure. You play as BEL/S, a fire elemental who has been bound by C++ code to serve as a firewall. Your job is to scan the local environment and detect any other elementals or poltergeists who could be interfering with your creators or neighbors. As you identify their material and motive, you will learn more about the world around you and gain sentience &mdash; possibly posing a threat yourself.
In this episode of IndieSider, I chat with Abigail Corfman about her first published game. We talk about how she used Javascript to expand the Twine game engine used in Open Sorcery; how the game evolved from open source to mobile to Steam, and the code bases she merged to make it happen; why hypertext is a natural evolution of text-parser adventure games; the difference in exhibiting at GaymerX East vs. PAX East; why Abigail&#8217;s games, despite having dark qualities, focus on emotional connection and gentleness; the emotions she was experiencing that led her to create both this game and her webcomic, A Moment of Peace; and what we can expect from the game&#8217;s sequel, Open Sorcery: Sea++.
Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic. A complete transcript is provided after the shownotes.
Links mentioned in this episode:

Abigail Corfman on Twitter
Open Sorcery

Steam
iOS
Android
Interactive Fiction Database
Twitter


Twine
Interview with Abigail Corfman by Leonardo Faierman of Black Girl Nerds
A Moment of Peace webcomic


Transcript
[Announcer] Welcome to IndieSider, where we go beyond the game and meet the developers behind today&#8217;s indie hits.
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IndieSider #56: Circles by Jeroen Wimmers Circles is an abstract puzzle game for Mac and PC that uses only mouse control. Each level consists of circles that behave in different ways but all of which must be avoided to reach the level&#8217;s end. As the game uses no written or spoken language and offers no tutorial, it is up to the player to decipher each level&#8217;s mechanics to manipulate and navigate the shapes.
In this podcast, I spoke with Jeroen Wimmers of Illusive Games, the sole developer of Circles. After working on the Adult Swim game Westerado, Wimmers spent years creating Circles and responding to feedback he received at PAX East and Gamescom. I asked him about the hardest part of developing Circles; whether he toyed with adding written words, and the benefit to not doing so; why the game was developed for mouse input and not touch; how much code he was able to repurpose for the game&#8217;s free online demo; how working on his own compared to working on a team; and the indie game dev scene in the Netherlands.
Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic.
Links mentioned in this episode:

Circles
Steam
Humble Store
Jeroen Wimmers of Illusive Games
Westerado by Ostrich Banditos
Ellipsis on IndieSider #38
IndieSider #55: Warlock's Tower by Whippering Warlock&#8217;s Tower is a 2D puzzle game with a retro Game Boy aesthetic. Tim the mailman must scale the wizard&#8217;s tower, but each step he takes costs him a hit point. Players must carefully plot their course through each room to overcome such obstacles as zombies, slimes, barriers, conveyor belts, and more. Warlock&#8217;s Tower is developed by Midipixel, a Brazilian studio consisting of Ygor Speranza and Werther Azevedo, and published by Whippering.
In this week&#8217;s IndieSider, I speak with Speranza about Warlock Tower&#8217;s retro color palette; developing using the LÖVE game engine; the controversial humor of the antagonist&#8217;s broken Engrish; the involvement of Gregory Love at Whippering; and the game development scene in Brazil.
Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic.
Links mentioned in this episode:

Warlock&#8217;s Tower

Steam
iOS
Google Play


Ygor Speranza on Twitter
Whippering indie game publisher
LÖVE &mdash; 2D game engine in Lua
Twitch Plays Pokemon
FRUE DESTRUCTION in Lufia 3

Update (May 31, 2019): This game is now available for Nintendo Switch!
IndieSider #54: Induction by Bryan Gale Induction is a time-bending puzzle game from Bryan Gale. A veteran of such AAA studios as Electronic Arts, Gale&#8217;s first indie game employs temporal mechanics to create time loops. The only way to pull levers and cross bridges is if a player can be in two places at once &mdash; as long as they don&#8217;t cause temporal anomalies. The geometric art style is complemented by a soundtrack from Tim Shiel, resulting in an experience that challenges players to rethink their concept of time.
In this week&#8217;s IndieSider, Gale and I talk about the time-travel books, movies, and video games that inspired Induction; the mathematical concept for Induction and the physics underlying this game; how working for EA prepared him to be an indie developer; the development and feedback opportunities Gale enjoyed at Stugan and EGX; and what other platforms we&#8217;ll be seeing Induction on.
Watch the video above, or download the audio edition below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Mixcloud, Amazon Music, Overcast, acast, Pocket Casts, Castbox, TuneIn, or RadioPublic.
Links mentioned in this episode:

Induction

Steam
Humble
itch.io


Bryan Gale on Twitter
Stugan &mdash; a non-profit accelerator program for talented game developers
EGX
Time-travel movies & books

The Terminator
Primer
The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold
Predestination


Time-travel video games

Blinx: The Time Sweeper
Hologram Time Traveler (Sega)
Still Time by Alan Zucconi
Thomas Was Alone
<a href="http://www.monumentvalleygame.c
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