By Graham Smith on July 7th, 2014 at 5:00 pm.
Hype gets a bad reputation. If you think of it as nothing more than advertising, then there’s always the chance that these screenshots, trailers, GIFs and promises add up to nothing more than disappointment and an empty wallet. But if you think those same things as a form of entertainment and a source of enjoyment in their own right, then you’ve got nothing to lose. You can board the hype train, look out the window, and take pleasure in whatever you can see. The destination doesn’t matter and there’s always another view around the next bend.
This month: purple explosions in Wings of Saint Nazaire, rope physics in Tim Cosmonaut, roaming hands in Return of the Obra Dinn, and procedural loveliness in Path to the Sky.
Wings of Saint Nazaire
We wrote about Wings of Saint Nazaire‘s alpha last summer, but have failed to keep up with its development since. The Unity-powered, in-browser space sim looks marvellous though, setting itself apart from numerous other cockpit-fetish-sims by having bright powerful explosions. And fantastic cloaking effects:
Development updates are unfortunately all too rare over at the game’s site – the dev team have day jobs and university coursework – but the game is sumptuous, free and playable right now. Look at those GIFs!
I think to myself, ‘I am a tired of puzzle platformers’. But really that just means I haven’t seen anything to catch my eye in a little while. Then I look at this:
Tim Cosmonaut is a “voxel puzzle shooter”. I like it’s clean, brightly coloured polygons. I like its physicsy ropes. I like its manipulable jump pads. I like the music in its old trailer. I like its sproingy dialogue boxes and violence.
I like its devlog which, while short, is filled with similarly colourful and fun animations.
Return of the Obra Dinn
Lucas Pope went into great detail about the creation of his previous game, Papers, Please. He’s now doing the same with Return of the Obra Dinn, a first-person mystery “set on an East Indiaman merchant ship in 1808.”
It’s rendered in a “1-bit” style, like an old Mac game. Or a dot matrix printer.
While a lot of the posts deal with modelling or developing the art style, I enjoyed this post from earlier today dealing with the game’s interface.
The idea is that the game won’t have a HUD or item highlighting. Any interaction with the environment will happen using the player’s hand. Most of the time the hand isn’t visible, but if you get near something interactive, you’ll reach for it. Get within range and you’ll grip it or hover it. Click the mouse button and you’ll open/pickup/etc whatever it is there. So all the interaction is context sensitive.
I like the idea of walking around an environment, my hand reflexively snatching out at the world around it. I hope that’s exactly how it works.
Path to the Sky
While “puzzle platformer” elicits a little restless sigh, “procedurally generated platformer/roguelike” still sets my tail wagging. It’s not that the genre is any less well served, it’s just that Spelunky created an itch it might take infinite games to scratch. Unless Path to the Sky does the job all on its own:
You are a force knuckle pilot and propel yourself towards the Sky through aerial combat. The higher you manage to climb, the harder the enemies and challenges will become. The world is being generated around you as you move, there are no doors or portals to higher “floors”. I am trying to create a fun game for short but challenging rounds of arcade gameplay. Controller highly recommended.
Path to the Sky’s devlog started in last September, vanished for three months, and has now been updating steadily since January. The artstyle has changed a little since then, and the devlog is worth following for the various new combat GIFs alone.
- David Pittman, creator of Eldritch and currently working on Neon Struct, wrote about timetables and the trouble with Twitter.
- Work continues on Rust’s lovely new engine. This past week’s update doesn’t contain a naked butt like the one before, but it does show work on new weapons.
- The latest post on the Omnia Mecum Porto blog details the addition of sentimental items to the fantasy luggage-packing RPG.
- New dogs added to Dog Park.
- Project Rain World’s devlog is now 121 pages long (!) and similarly continues to track progress on the game’s switch of engine.