Waaaarrrgh! Bah, sorry. I guess the temptation to buy Warhammer Online is getting to me a little. Must… resist… 8-O Anyway. I haven’t done an indie round-up for quite a while so let’s see what has caught my eye over the past few weeks.

First we have Gravity Hook [pictured right] from Adam Atomic and Danny Baranowsky. Based on one of Arne‘s prototypes, it’s an addictive rope-swing-climb simulation with a bit of a catch – the only objects your droid can latch on to are explosive! How high can you go? I could only manage 720m… :(

Continuing the colaborative theme, Edmund McMillen and Tyler Glaiel worked together to produce the surreal Aether – help a lonely lad and his newfound alien friend solve puzzles in the stars before heading home again to Earth. (Note: if the Flash version doesn’t work very well for you, a standalone download is available that plays more smoothly.)

Fans of fast-paced shoot ‘em ups will probably find Techno Sylph by KBZ to be right up their street (since its homepage is Japanese, download it easily from this link). It’s not a bullet storm affair like a lot of recent shmups, but you should visit the IndieGames blog entry first to get an idea of how the controls work.

An extremely odd game took my fancy after watching its preview video [below]. Imagine being stuck in a world that was completely white, with no shadows to help you figure out where you where. That’d be really awkward unless, oh, you had some paint to throw around, or something. Well guess what! That’s exactly what The Unfinished Swan is about. A very eery atmosphere – check out the moving pictures to see what I mean…

As always thanks to Tim and the IndieGames.com Blog for being my source :) Oh yes, and a mention to the rather watchable Bytejacker, a regularly updated vidcast of game reviews. Sweet stuff. ‘Til next time…

These days I find it a little hard to call Introversion truly “indie” – where do you draw the line between successful independent developer and small commercial software house, if in fact there is a difference? – but for the sake of argument I’ll call them that for this post, and you certainly can’t argue that their games do try to break the mould in some way.

In any case, the PC version of Multiwinia was released a little over an hour ago and does a sterling job of adding a frantic multiplayer element to the world of Darwinia. Sadly the demo version doesn’t allow any online multiplayer, which is a bummer (bah – even Defcon let you into some hot netgaming action in its demo), but there are still some competent AI opponents to test your mettle against.

‘Nuff said, really… 59 days to go! :D

2D Boy: World of Goo

2D Boy announced yesterday that the Windows version of World of Goo has gone gold! Yippee! There’s no word on an exact release date, but with this news it surely can’t be too far away. Mac, Linux and Wii versions are also on the ever-approaching horizon.

It’d be cool if there were a demo version, but perhaps that will appear at some point in the future. Meantime, should you feel like spending your hard-earned dosh in support of a clearly quite talented indie developer duo, there’s still the option to pre-order and get immediate access to an introductory chapter of the game.

Hmm… I wonder what would happen if any of that goo got into CERN’s new particle accelerator? Something even worse than a black hole, I reckon!

Spoons!

Oh, and a quick note about Millenipede; it hasn’t escaped my attention that there’s a distinct lack of source code availability for those who might come looking to find it. That will be fixed at the same time as the new version get released which, I promise, is closer than it was this time last week…

Yep, one of the most hyped games of the past couple of years is now available – Spore is upon us! 8-)

Wizard hats for the ultimate win!

Say hello to the Skwawker. Wizard hats for the win!

I’ve been having wagonloads of fun with it, even though I should actually be doing something constructive… so much fun that I was utterly sucked in to the experience and was entirely unable to post about it yesterday as I should have! Oh well ;-)  Having reached the space stage today, some of the other evolutionary phases don’t give you all that much to do, but even then, it’s still enjoyable to just look around and explore what Maxis - and all the other Spore players around the world – have created to fill up this tremendous artificial universe.

On my first trip through the creature stage, it was quite comical to stumble upon an epic (i.e. big, stompy, kill-you-in-one-bite) version of a creature that I’d made up with the Creature Creator over six weeks ago – especially considering that I’d only bothered to make 3 different critters back then :) Probably part of the game’s design, but still, very cool.

In any case, here’s a few screenshots of my first alien and some of their vehicles and buildings. If you want to look at my full catalog, that’s easy too – search for user Zolyx in the Sporepedia. Fwee!

Google have decided to dip their finger into yet another pie – this time it’s the web browser market with their newest killer app, Chrome. In a world dominated by Internet Explorer, Firefox and even Opera, what good is this really going to do?

Well, I’m using Chrome right now and although I’m easily swayed by shiny new things, I must admit that it’s a very pleasant browser to surf with. The way it uses screen space is the best of any I’ve seen yet – there’s no status bar, and tabs are discreetly shoved up into what would be the window’s title bar. My only complaint is that your bookmarks list is hidden away a bit too well until you enable the “Always show bookmarks bar” option. Oh, and addon support isn’t so good at the moment… but it’s new, and that’s to be expected.

Who’d have thought you could end up with a task manager dedicated to your browser? Chrome has that, too! Now you can dig the dirt on what webpages are using the most processor power and network bandwidth, then shut down web processes that are too demanding. Also, Google claims that if something goes wrong in one tab, it shouldn’t affect anything else you’re browsing in another tab.

But the most important thing – it feels fast. Faster than Firefox, and that’s saying something.

My personal verdict: try it, use it, enjoy it! It’s my new “surfing” browser of choice. I’ll still use Firefox for web development as I need Firebug for straightening out my awful CSS hacks, but as soon as that works with Chrome then I’ll be waving the fox goodbye!

They don’t happen all that often, but when they do, boy do they push the boat out…

Dust off your whitewall keyboards and don your finest coding goggles! The Retro Remakes 2008 Competition is now running and you’ve got just over three months to create the finest pieces of modern retro gaming known to man. As if the fame of competing in such a prestigous event wasn’t enough, there’s a fortune to be had as well – the selection of prizes is bloody stupendous, if I do say so myself, and I fear for the sanity of all those who have organised the event.

However, as always, there’s a real-world benefit to the competition; one of the six categories into which you can enter your game is aimed directly at helping SpecialEffect, a UK charity whose goal is to help young people with disabilities to enjoy computer games. The competition has a category for their “A Game for Helen” project and you can find the rules for that, and the other 5 categories, by following the links below.

  • The Main Rules (very important!)
  • The Categories and their sub-rules (something for everyone, I’m sure you’ll agree)
  • The Judges (see who you’re trying to impress)
  • The Prizes (once more, ‘cos you can never have enough loot)
  • The Forum (the place to bandy ideas about with fellow entrants)

I’ll be hoping to enter – with what, and into what category, I still don’t have much idea. But I’m sure a bolt of inspiration will strike at some point :D

Anyhow, the clock is ticking… good luck to all who take part!