Origin, EA's free game service, is "going all digital" from April 4th. Any games you want to buy and play through Origin will have to be downloaded, with no more physical copies available.
So far I haven't met anyone who will actually be affected by this, most of us have happily made the transition to digital downloads so will feel no real effect of this. A regular Steam-style sale though, that's something we'd all be interested in seeing from Origin. Suppose for now Origin's On The House program will have to do - if you haven't got your free Dead Space yet then follow this link, you have until May 8th.
Music in video games plays a major role in the experience, from setting the atmosphere to alerting you to danger, it can be something that sticks in your head forever or it can put you off a game altogether. Here, I've gathered some of the best alternative versions of classic video game music.
My favourite video game track ever has to be Big Blue from F-Zero. I couldn't find a good acapella version of it so Mute City, another brilliant track, earned a spot on this list instead. I played this in a car once and full expected it to transform into the Blue Falcon. It didn't but I was glad I'd worn my Captain Falcon outfit regardless.
Castlevania is a favourite in the office with one of our artists insisting it make this list, though this is my pick as the version of Vampire Killer you should check out.
Banjo-Kazooie is another game filled with absolutely brilliant music, loads of fun to listen to. Here the University of Maryland Gamer Symphony Orchestra give us their take on it with a medley.
Tetris is so widely known that even a slight humming of the first few notes will have everyone joining in quite quickly. I found a cool video of a business card that you can play Tetris on, yeah, a business card! The music is quite low but I was able to hear it okay with headphones, even without audio this business card is worth checking out.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a fantastic game with a soundtrack to match. One of our programmers put it very well saying, "The Forest Temple's got one of the creepiest pieces of music ever. Really sets the tone for the first temple Link has to do as an adult. Everything's still a bit unknown and weird and the music really puts that across while it matched the visuals of the temple perfectly." There is no other version I'd rather share so we're going with the original here.
We recently posted a sneak peak of the music from one of our upcoming project, you can read more about how it was made here.
Another video I found while checking out the videos was The Evolution of Video Games Epic Medley, Made in Mario Paint Composer! This is great for a game of Name That Theme, it's what I'll be playing this lunchtime.
After spending the morning testing our upcoming game, Antibody Assault, a battle for supremacy on any and every leaderboard broke out, with everyone chipping in on their best and most enjoyable high score game. See our favourites below!
Me - Subway Surfers
The game I go to most often to pass short bus trips or time spent in waiting rooms. It’s so quick and easy to pick up and get sucked into that I’ve missed my busstop at least twice thanks to Subway Surfers. My favourite mobile game simply because I’m top of the leaderboard having DESTROYED my friends with an impressive (if I do say so myself) 2670930!
Felix - Antibody Assault
Felix beat us all at Troll Inc’s own Antibody Assault this morning and made sure to brag until I nearly shed a tear. This was my first time playing it and it earned a spot in the list of games I’ll always go back to pretty quickly. It’s fun, easy to pick up and hard to put down. It’s been a while since we’ve had a morning of shouting over who gets next go, I just hope you enjoy it as much once it’s released.
Thomas - Rayman Jungle Run
As well as being an absolutely gorgeous game, Rayman Jungle Run is another quick go game but this one allows for more competition with a high score per level rather than one overall leaderboard. Thomas is top of each and every one of these leaderboards with a perfect score on every level he played.
Ryan - Threes
I have yet to play Threes myself as Ryan will not give up his phone long enough for anyone to have a go. I doubt I’d want to take him on anyway, he seems to be way too into it for me to ever beat him!
Dominic - Buck Hunter
Based in the arcade at the local Bowling Alley Dominic has claimed to be the best! We can’t get a screenshot to confirm but I’m pushing for an office day out, bowling, some food and some games, so we can all go see Dominic’s score.
Niall - Fruit Ninja
Another classic leaderboard battle game, top place goes to Niall with his score of 605, a score I was determined to beat until I realised it is actually still a work day and I have loads more to do. I’m free tonight though, I’ll not stop ‘til I take first place!
Alan - Eyegor’s Eye Blast
Another one I have never played myself but Alan (also know as Mullet) declared himself undisputed champion, though the screenie he provided looks more like unchallenged champion! I see this as another chance to beat someone else’s score!
There are the Troll’s claims to gaming greatness, well gaming goodness at least. At the minute we’re all pretty focused on Antibody Assault, everyone is volunteering to test it all of a sudden, they claim it has nothing to do with knocking Felix off the leaderboard but I smell the competitiveness in the air!
Recently we have been implementing audio into several of our games and thought it would be interesting to give you the lowdown on what’s done in this area. Our sound designer escaped (for a while) to The Oaks Recording Studio to record some sound effects for upcoming games.
The Oaks Recording Studio, located in Enniskillen, offer a professional and tranquil area to clients, ranging from Country to Extreme Metal bands and others. They also offer mobile recording in addition to studio based projects. The studio has been in operation for 10 years under the skilled, watchful eye of its owner and producer, John Moffatt. They have recently refurbished the studios live and control rooms, matching all industry and professional standards. They are currently working on a vocal booth/amp cab room that will be available soon.
Our sound designer shared with us his experience of working with the studio, showing its unique way of working compared to other studios and how they gave him the freedom to use his creative ideas without the constraints that would occur in other studios.
When asked if there was a possibility of working with the studio in the future, he agreed saying
“The quality of production along with the speed and experience of the team makes the oaks a perfect location for any recordings.” The sound designer then went on to explain the process of making sounds, including chopping recorded sessions into individual sections and spacing them out to add other effects. However not all these sounds end up in the final game and a large amount of audio can end up unused.
“There may be 50 takes at a jump grunt for example, but only 3 will be used in the final game”
Well I hope you enjoyed learning about the process and you can be sure that we will be bringing you more on this and The Oaks Recording Studio in the future.
There is also a new sneak peek at the music for our upcoming game.
I’m sure FlappyJam needs no introduction by this stage, but in case you have somehow managed to miss it check this out and see what’s got everyone developing flaptastic fun games that are bound to have you tearing your hair out.
Now you know what we’re talking about let’s move quickly to the games. I’ve only played a handful of the 60 submissions so far and I thought I’d share some of my high (or rather low low) scores and give you an idea of some of the variety that’s come about from an idea as simple as tap to avoid pipes.
First up Maverick Bird from Terry Cavanagh, yes, the Hexagon dude!
This is briliant, nearly as hard as Super Hegaxon and just as fun and addictive. The music is also awesome, this is a real ‘I don’t want to stop playing EVER’ game but I had to try some of the other games. Soon as I get home though, this bad boy ain’t being turned off!
Flap.Txt, a Flappy Bird style text adventure! This one is very clever and probably one of my favourites for sheer ingeniousness alone, I love it. I didn’t get a very high score but I’ll be showing this one off just to see the look of realisation I’m sure I had when I worked out what this is.
Kid Dickarus - It's cool that FlappyJam wanted graphics inspired by favourite classic games and Kid Dickarus is a really nice example of that. It’s also hard, this is my second lowest score (which means yes there is a zero score coming up) but it looks good so I don’t mind it kicking my ass!
There are a few games inspired by Flappy Bird directly with some sort of twist on them.
Lillian Gish and the Pipes of Reason – the addition of throwing knives allows you to destroy the pipes!
Flappy Bird's Revenge – the point here is to destroy the ‘pipes’, took me a minute to realise I was meant to be hitting them and not avoiding them, still managed to fall into the avoid mindset a few times.
Fallopian Bird – The grossest one I’ve played, and the punishment for failing is loads of babies all at once! This one might not be to everyone’s taste but I appreciate the humour here, brilliant!
Type Type Evolution is a load of fun, I love typing games, I love music games, I love rhythm action games! The monkey evolution cycle is pretty cute here too.
Flip The Bird - This is my only zero score. I love the idea but I cannot get through a single bloody gap. I got that frustrated I started to enjoy seeing the bird hit the spikes, macabre I know but this games pushed me there!
Flappybalt - This Canabalt inspired game, from the Canabalt dude, was a more unusual take on the flap idea, contained in a single screen this tricky little game is gorgeous to look at but infuriating thanks to the spikes at the top, I’d be a master if they weren’t there!
Flapigon is a Super Hexagon type game where you flap to navigate the enclosing shapes, it’s enjoyable but immeaditely made me want to play Super Hexagon again, for hours on end until I’m crying so hard I can’t see my phone and need a cuddle. This seems to be almost as hard but I got scared and stopped playing early, I don’t need another Hexagonesque addiction.
They are the 1st 10 I played, I will eventually get a go at all of them. Hopefully as more submissions appear I’ll be able to convince the boss I need to spend a full week playing them, but what are the chances?
I’m also still working on a submission alongside my dev buddies, Zombiesaurus Games, shouldn’t take us too much longer to get it tidied up. In the meantime you can have a sneak peek at our character, I’m sure it’ll be pretty clear what classic we were inspired by!
Under the Bridge has been a busy place recently between new plans, new staff and new awards, it’s about time we gave you an update.
We have been lucky to win a few awards over the years, from the Fast Forward Small Business ‘Best Overall Start Up’ award in 2011 to our most recent ‘Innovation Continuum’ award from NORIBIC’s iFactory, below you can see how we clean up when we have an award to collect!
We have started work on the 21 monsters mentioned for Terramentals and they’re coming along nicely, ranging from absolutely terrifying to cute as a button! We can give you an early look at one of them right here, meet Eugene!
There are plenty more to come and with the varied personalities emerging the battle possibilities are going to be extensive!
We are still working on adapting some of our previous work for release on Wii U, more information on that coming soon. We also have some new faces in the office, you can read more about our super talented team and see all their lovely bakes here!
We're nearing the end of a project that so far has been kept under wraps. I still can’t announce the game just yet but I can give you a completely out of context picture to start you guessing - enjoy!
Recently there has been a lot of chatter regarding copyright, theft, cloning and ripping off of game ideas and assets leading to a huge negative response to some individuals. As an indie game developer it’s been disheartening to see the abuse, to know one guy has to deal with unwarranted levels of hate, unnecessary barrages of personal attacks. This is not what making games should result in.
Fortunately there is a silver lining, LOADS of indie devs have hit back at the abuse, hit back at the haters and come up with the best way to show support to those in our community – making games!
There have been a few game jams that sprung up in support of indie devs facing some sort of negative backlash; CandyJam was set up to oppose trademark claims made against Stoic and more recently Flappy Jam was set up to encourage indie devs to support each other after the backlash against Flappy Bird caused the developer to remove the game.
There is much speculation about the exact reason Dong Nguyen decided to remove Flappy Bird, maybe we’ll get a comprehensive answer from the man himself someday but until then I have no intention of adding to the speculation. It’s beside the point here anyway; this post is a look at the positive things to have come about as result of Flappy Bird, namely Flappy Jam and the support of loads of indie developers.
Ivano Palmentieri, the mastermind behind Flappy Jam, wants to remind everyone that
“indie gamedevs are friendly and supportive, envy and teasing should not belong to our community, nor be a cause of suffering.”
And he seems to be right about the friendly and supportive gamedevs because there are already 12 games available from www.flappyjam.com. Every one made in the same spirit – we are here to be part of something positive. If you search #flappyjam on Twitter you can also see how many more indies are getting into the spirit of support with many more games still in development. I hope Dong Nguyen and everyone who’s ever faced such negative backlash about their games feels the support and realises that we all can pull together and move past hate.
I’d happily say that the majority of the indie dev community are supportive of each other but I have no actual stats to back it up. Still, based on my own experience this is a great industry to be in. I’ve only ever encountered a sense of friendship, of camaraderie and togetherness in my time trying to make games. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones, I just hope it stays that way.
Hey everyone just a little update post beta for Terramentals.
So we ran the beta and sent out all the invites last month and got a great response in terms of feedback. We got some really useful feedback for the game and we’re hoping to integrate into our roadmap for the game.
We’ve opened up the game here so anyone can play, so feel free to try it out if you haven’t already and see what you think of it so far. Here it is Terramentals Beta
So what’s our plan now? Well the beta was always meant as a proof of concept to test out many of the game components, but now as we move into production we’ve got quite a few changes to make. We’ve outlined them below here.
The campaign mode will feature different themed maps to play on and with different objectives. Some will involve routing all the monsters in an area, others defeating another character and some will involve capturing a very powerful Terramental.
Better Terrain System
One of the major improvements we’ll be working on is improving the Terrain system and how it affects the battle. We’re aiming to bring a more immediate and noticeable difference when you are on each terrain area as well as feedback visually as to what each terrain does and how it affects you.
One big improvement we’re aiming for is a ton more feedback as to what is happening during the game, from the visuals in the attacks to the visuals and feedback for what to do next all of this will be greatly improved.
We’ll also be adding a nice little tutorial to quickly run through the game and all the features so people can quickly get up to speed on it.
Unique Terramentals 21 in all
In the beta there are only 3 different types of monsters in total, with their colours changed. We want to give each Terramental its own unique personality and feel, so each will look different, with 21 different characters in all
Special and Customisable Avatars
The avatars we used were just basic ones we used to quickly test the game, but we’d really love to give a more dynamic and better-suited character to the game.
Terramental Collections and Capturing
One of the things we wanted to get in the Beta but was quite complicated to understand in a 5 minute demo was monster capturing. The ability for avatars to capture enemy Terramentals. This is something we’re working on now
Terramental Leveling up system
We want to add the ability to level up your Terramentals and watch as they grow in strength.
More Dynamic and Fluid Movement
We’ll be improving the movements and cameras so that it has a little more action focus during the gameplay to keep things exciting.
The visuals will be going through a big change as we add the characters and we will be improving many of the existing art assets
We’ll of course be adding more music; something with a nice orchestrated feel.
That’s a few of the main changes we’ll be adding many of them decided from feedback from the beta from everyone. We’ll be working hard on these changes over the next few months and thank you to everyone that’s helped out so far. We’re going to keep the beta available for the next while so if you’d like to add any new feedback just head on over to this link and add any feedback in the bottom right panel called feedback.
We were down at the Global Game Craft on Friday; check their site is here they will be running a few more Game Crafts soon so check them out! The objective of the game craft is to make a game in 24 hours based on a theme.
Nintendo were in attendance too and they were helping many of the teams quickly get to grips with their SDK, our friends over at Zombiesaurus actually developed their game using it and had really impressive results, so much so that they won the most potential award.
We won an award for our game which was a great little bonus.
Our team was a few of our regular team and our old colleague Ciaran Harrigan.
The theme was a quote: "Reality becomes a prison to those who can't get out", we thought we'd try something a bit out there with it and try something more psychological.
Our game was Escape Harmony
Here's the spiel: