Polytron logoPolytron Corporation has updated their website with some long-awaited screenshots and tidbits of information about Fez [link]. About time, too! :D Suffice to say that the game is looking truly delicious and I can’t wait for a release some time this year.

Now, if they would only post a brief teaser video of the current gameplay I’d certainly be most hyped… pwetty pwease? ;)

This is seriously dedicated stuff. I don’t know exactly who made this, but someone has created a brilliant copy of Aperture Science’s portal gun:

Portal gun photo 1Portal gun photo 2

I love it! It’s even got authentic-looking wear and tear. Very professional indeed, and best of all it’s completely safe. Oh, and your cake is just through that doorway over there…

There’s some more pictures over on the original Shacknews post.

See that post title? That’s an accurate description of what I am. 8-O

Over the weekend I was bashing away at some more of Dalyn’s Quill. I was at the stage where I wanted to code the pen toolbar functionality – i.e. when you click a pen button, it sets up the pen so you can draw in the dungeon appropriately. But as hard to believe as it might be, I made an error. Hey! Stop sniggering, you at the back! :evil:

Toolbars can’t have their buttons clicked with the right mouse button. This is a rather vital mechanic that I need to have, because otherwise there’s no convenient way to select the pen used with the RMB. So, the toolbar design has been thrown out of the window, and in its place is an extension to the dungeon canvas featuring a pen palette that’s more similar to the original editor’s scheme. Behold:

Dalyn's Quill - another fine palette mess

The blue and yellow tabs are supposed to indicate which pens are currently active on the left and right mouse buttons (with the middle mouse button, if available, always being assigned to the joint / field eraser). I’m unsure whether this is intuitive enough; maybe I’ll keep to having the three active pens displayed in the bottomright corner of the window, as in the previous version of the interface…

Another small set of tweaks to the page design, mostly featuring backgrounds. Backgrounds are good. At least, generally they are. My particular taste in backgrounds might be described as something less complimentary. But hey, it’s different, innit? Trust me when I say this is one of the least striking options that I came up with… ;)

Obligatory plug: visit PatternCooler, because it has several shades of colour within the “awesome” spectrum named after it.

More changes fuelled by boredom may or may not be imminent!

Space invaders - no entry beyond this pointRetro Remakes is recovering after being hacked yesterday. Whoever did this deserves to be shot, frankly, and I really hope that this doesn’t cause Oddbob and the rest of the RR team more work than they’re expecting, and that’s quite a bit. They really don’t deserve it.

Recovering the backups of RR and its sub-sites will take a while, so bear that in mind if you have problems trying to find downloads for any of the recent Retro Roundups.

Well folks, you know I mentioned about being eager to see what Tom Beaumont would come up with next? Here’s another of his RRC entries, this time in the “We Like It Retro” category. If you love Commodore 64s – and let’s be honest, no sane person doesn’t – you’ll probably fancy checking Staroid out. Disclaimer: it’s not actually a C64 game but your PC will think it is…

Staroid - main menuStaroid - so long and thanks for all the fishStaroid - beware the white ball o' doom

Your deliberately vague and clichéd task is to prevent an asteroid from colliding with the Earth by restoring functionality to the rock’s engines. What, you didn’t know asteroids had engines? Well, duh, how else would they fly about the solar system! :P In a very similar vein to Starquake [link], the items that you need are scattered around in different places everytime you play. You’ll spend a lot of time exploring, but that’s the whole point. Reaching some areas (or just plain escaping from that pit you fell down) requires you to master wall-jumping, and it’s implemented pretty well to my usual mantra – challenging but not frustrating.

As you descend into the strange caverns below you’ll be accosted by the de facto fearsome enemies of the time, i.e. bouncing balls of various colours and spinning homing droids o’ doom. Blast them away with your blaster or, should you run out of ammo, take a running jump over them. Eventually you’ll find the asteroid’s engine room. Did you pick up any odd-looking hexagonal “things” along the way? Good – you’ll need them to fix this heap of junk, and since you can only hold 4 items at once, there’s no easy way to win in one quick journey. Go explore some more and try not to drown in the piranha-infested water areas!

I like this game. It’s easy and fun to play for a few minutes (or more) and not too stressful on the old brain cells; Staroid really captures the C64 atmosphere. It could do with some kickin’ SID music in the background so that your adventure isn’t so quiet, but nothing is perfect. Play and enjoy a trip back to the 80s!

Links: No homepage available
Download: from Caiman Games

IGF 2009

Gosh, this time of year seems to roll around quicker and quicker lately. The finalists for 2009′s Independent Games Festival [link] have been announced and you can check the list of finalists and award nominations right here.

Night GameOther than the contenders that you may already know about like Cortex Command [link] and – rather inexplicably, I must say – You Have To Burn The Rope [link], here’s a sprinkling of entries that I think deserve an immediate mention…

  • Night Game [pictured], a non-violent physics puzzler designed by Nicklas “Nifflas” Nygren alongside other talented folks from Nicalis.
  • Dyson [link], from Rudolf Kremers and Alex May. A procedurally-generated RTS with a soothing ambiance but frantic gameplay – it’s come a long way since the TIGSource competition where it originated, and what’s more, it’s made in the UK! Yay!
  • Mightier [link], giving that printer and webcam of yours something useful to do! Create landscapes in this 3D platformer from Ratloop by drawing them on a printed piece of paper then scanning them back into the game.

More coverage of this year’s IGF to come in the following weeks, but for now, good luck to all the finalists!

It doesn’t take much to convince me that mixing things together is good. After all, I know this from experience: mixing toast and marmite together, for example, gives possibly the tastiest snack in the entire history of the world. Ever. Delicious foodstuffs weren’t on Markus Persson‘s mind, however. Instead, he thought what a tremendous laugh it’d be to do a “mashup” of two classic 8-bit games, Bomberman and Gauntlet. The result? A brilliantly outlandish creation called Blast Passage which desperately needs the obvious tagline “Bomberman needs food badly!” :mrgreen:

Blast Passage - ghosts are no match for my bombs!Blast Passage - so many doors, so few keys...

The mix goes like this: basically, the gameplay is identical to Gauntlet; run around a selection of levels collecting keys and dodging monsters as you make your way to the exit. Collect treasure to boost your score, food to increase your energy and see if you can get in the hall of fame at the end of it all. Here, replacing the Wizard, Elf, Warrior and Valkyrie are… Bombermen. Don’t ask why, but somehow it just works – dashing around dropping bombs to kill the generators off seems perfectly natural after a minute or so.

Everything in the game was created from scratch and is authentic to certain 8-bit limitations, such as using a Sega Megadrive colour palette and a sound system similar to the SID chip from the Commodore 64. It’s undeniably retro, and what’s more, you can play it online in your browser without having to download a single thing! Well, as long as you have Java installed on your computer, I guess. If you don’t – you’re missing out on all the fun!

Interestingly there’s also a 4-way online multiplayer facility included, but for whatever reason it didn’t work when I tried it just now. Shame, really; I can imagine that’d be quite fun. Still, the single player is more than enough to keep you amused for a long time. Another strong contender for some RRC prizes!

Links: Markus Persson’s homepage :: Blast Passage homepage
Download: from its homepage :: from the Retro Remakes competition listing

EDIT: No, I don’t know why I categorised this as Commercial, either. I blame the evil WordPress gnome.