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Warlocks side-scroller on Kickstarter with playable demo

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There’s a lot of things that make Polish indie game developer Max Strzelecki different from you and I.

For instance, Strzelecki is a highly capable programmer. The 21-year old has been working at his craft since he was 14 with his friend and business partner Dushan Chaciej. College, Strzelecki says, isn’t all that challenging for him now. That’s part of the reason why he’s launched a Kickstarter to fund his first commercial game, called Warlocks for Linux, Mac, Windows PC, and Wii U.

Warlocks is a retro side-scrolling 2D game inspired heavily by Risk of Rain. It’s being developed for Linux, Mac, Windows PC, and Wii U. Up to four players can work together, locally or online, to explore a dangerous fantasy world. The game features lavish pixel art and classic sprite-based animation. It’s even been enendorsed by the teams behind The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Super Hot.



Strzelecki says that he’s also a pretty capable Dota 2 player. “I’m above average,” he says modestly.”

But the one thing that really separates Strzelecki from other people is the fact that he has no arms.

“I was born this way,” Strzelecki says. “This is the only version of me that I know. And it’s the best version of me I will ever be.”

In all other respects, Strzelecki says, he’s just like everyone else. He is completely self sufficient. To do his work he uses a regular keyboard, even a regular mouse. When the need arises, he can even use a gamepad like you and I. He just manipulates everything with his feet.

“It’s really not a big problem for me,” Strzelecki says. “I’ve completely adapted to it. I don’t really feel my disability on a daily basis.”

Apart from showing him working at his desk on camera during the Kickstarter video, the Warlocks campaign has not drawn much attention to his disability. Strzelecki says that’s because they are confident in the quality of their game.

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There’s even a web-based playable demo for potential backers to try out.

The Warlocks campaign has 14 days to go. Right now they’re a little less than a third of the way toward their $25,000 goal.

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Whether the game is funded or not, Strzelecki is confident this won’t be his last project. And he says that no one should be surprised to find him, or other people with disabilities, in the grueling field of game development.

“I would like to think that I could be an inspiration for someone else,” Strzelecki says. “But for now, I don’t know that I need to be. All the disabled people that I know share the same, tenacious mindset that I do.”



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Commodore 64 title Powerglove released for Linux, Mac, PC

Matthias “Lazycow” Bock has brought something for those owners that still have your 30 year old Commodore 64, he has brought the classic-era run ‘n’ gun game, Powerglove to the fans. It was released as an entry in last year’s RGCD 16K C64 Game Development Competition and it placed 3rd out of 15 games that were entered. It has been 9 whole months that have been filled with fixing bugs, tweaking and cramming additional levels and features that all fit into the tiny 16KB of available ROM space. Lazycow has announced that the game is now finally available to buy as an RGCD published physical C64 game cartridge and also you will be able to download it on the Linux, Mac and WindowsPC.

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But that’s not all… In addition to all this awesomeness, over the past few months Matthias has also ported the game over to Linux, Mac and Windows PC, making Powerglove the first game to be simultaneously launched on the C64 and modern-day systems since, well, ever! This game is exclusive to itch.io, and stays true to the feeling of the original Commodore 64, even if there are some additions to the game like minor enhancements and optional artwork. You are able to download the game on your Linux, Mac, and Windows PC completely free! It is all donation based. Get your free copy here!

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In Powerglove, the features that you will experience include the following:
  • Classic run ‘n’ gun action!
  • Seven types of fiendish mechanical monsters to vanquish!
  • Cool stuff to collect (including Powerboots)!
  • Authentic and pimped C64 artwork!
  • SID Soundtrack by Cyborgjeff!
  • Controller support!
Here is the gameplay video for Powerglove:



So go to your attic or storage or where it may be and just brush off your Commodore 64, and grab your physical copy of this all-new-and improved C64 version of Powerglove. Along with getting your physical copy you will also get a 12-page printed manual, a bunch of vinyl stickers, and double-sided A3 poster/map print, plus an option of an A2/A3 poster set.

You can find out more information and see some of the screenshots from the game on their official game page. You can also follow Matthias Bock on Twitter and check out some of the other games on Lazycow’s official site.

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Habitat devs announced Steam Workshop support now live

Indie developer, 4gency, today announced Steam Workshop support is now live for Habitat: A Thousand Generations In Orbit . The new Steam Workshop support will give players the chance to start creating their own unique space junk, as well as giving all Habitat players the option to use custom space junk content, either locally or downloaded from Steam Workshop.



For players and creators, an in-game browsing interface allows players to quickly see the custom items they have created or subscribed to on Steam Workshop, and makes re-skinning easy.

For creators, an easy-to-use in-game editing interface will allow creators to import FBX models (exportable from many popular 3D modeling packages), select a custom texture, assign collision volumes, weld points for attachment to Habitat space stations, and set properties including mass and resource production. The created item can then be saved locally for use in-game or shared out with Steam Workshop so that others can download it and use it in their game.

This is just the first version of Steam Workshop support and more customizations and functionality will continue to come out with future updates. This update also includes a number of gameplay improvements and bug fixes.

An Early Access build for Linux, Mac and Windows PC is now available through Steam, Amazon, Humble Store, GameFly, Gamer’s Gate, GreenMan Gaming and Nuuvem priced at $14.99, £10.99 and €14.99, but is currently 40% off on Steam all week long.

In Habitat gamers have to build and manage the future homes of humanity from orbital debris they find in space junkyards surrounding Earth’s orbit.  Leading their team of engineers, they will have to build and fly space stations in a zero gravity setting, mastering physics driven flight simulation to explore space. In order to thrive and grow they have to manage their population and their population’s environment.  In the event of a threat they will have to turn their space stations into deadly weapons using pieces of debris picked up such as rockets, lasers and particle accelerators to fight and ultimately survive against attacks from the enemy.  This is a space survival game where crisis is guaranteed and the only chance for survival is to be creative and decisive in the face of disaster.

Follow 4gency on Twitter

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J.U.L.I.A. Among the Stars hits PC, coming to Linux and Mac

After spending some time on Indiegogo  J.U.L.I.A. Among the Stars has at last seen its release on Steam, with Linux and Mac versions being available by the end of September 2014.

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For anyone looking for a well-designed, puzzle heavy space adventure, look no further: J.U.L.I.A. Among the Stars is out now and waiting for you on the cold edges of space.

J.U.L.I.A. Among the Stars is a remake/revamp of the 2012 point and click adventure game J.U.L.I.A., with extensive expansion to a lot of the game’s storyline and concepts. The team behind the original used Indiegogo to crowd fund the game’s upgrade, and if user response so far is any indication, it was money well-spent. Fans of the original are saying that Among the Stars’ upgrades add significantly to what many already considered an incredible exercise in narrative storytelling, and those who are experiencing the game for the first time seem to be finding J.U.L.I.A. Among the Stars to b an immersive, engrossing experience.

In J.U.L.I.A. Among the Stars players take on the role of Rachel Manners. The last surviving member of her exploration team, Rachel is lost on the fringes of space, her ship orbiting a strange alien world. Rachel’s only companions left are a work robot and J.U.L.I.A., the AI that runs her ship. Between the three of them they must explore the world beneath them, finding answers to what has happened, and, with any luck, a way to survive. To do so players will navigate a world filled with puzzles, questions, and clues to the world’s history, all navigated with a simple point and click interface reminiscent of adventure games of the past.



J.U.L.I.A. Among the Stars is available now for anyone running Windows on their PC through both Steam and the developer CBE Software’s own website, the latter DRM free. The team behind the game are planning to have versions available for both Mac and Linux by the end of the month as well.

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Paradigm hits Kickstarter with an ugly mutant and a sloth

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Paradigm is an in-development point-and-click adventure for Linux, Mac and Windows PC, from Jacob Janerka, an independent game developer from Australia. To call it “surreal” would not encompass the sheer absurdity on display here.

In Paradigm, players control a lab-grown mutant who dreams of becoming the best electronic musician in the world. Along his journey to produce his EP (and save the world), he’ll come across a beatboxing eggplant, a pug who is also a professional wrestler, and an evil sloth with Donald Trump hair named Olof.



Janerka is currently seeking $14,000 AUD on Kickstarter to finish his game, and at time of writing, his campaign has amassed just more than $8,000 AUD, with 22 days left for backers to pledge. If you want to get an idea of the game’s quality before you fork over your cash though, there’s a downloadable alpha available via the Kickstarter page.



Paradigm is slated to be completed and shipped mid-2015 on Windows, Mac and Linux. Paradigm is also on Steam Greenlight, awaiting enough votes so that it may appear on Valve’s digital store. You can check out the game’s Kickstarter pitch video after the break.



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Boson X now released for Linux, Mac and Windows PC

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Boson X a “maverick physicist conducting high-energy experiments,” where you perform those experiments by running and jumping around the inside of a particle collider. The (still available) free version last August, and now it’s getting a more robust Steam release today.

Build up speed inside a massive particle accelerator and generate high-energy collisions to discover strange new particles. Use precise timing and fast reflexes to navigate a subatomic world where floors and ceilings don’t exist. Be fast enough to find the elusive Boson X.

Features:

  • Fast-paced, unforgiving gameplay
  • 18 challenging levels to master
  • 3 highly qualified physicists to play as
  • Steam leaderboards and achievements
  • No superfluous powerups, coins or XP systems - just deadly serious scientific research
Details and a trailer are waiting for you below, in the testing chamber.



Steam contains a few of these ‘runner’ games now, though the rotation mechanic is a little bit left-then-right-then-left-again of the norm. You can sprint through those tubes as either one of two human professors, or as “the rodent-controlled robotic lab assistant”, though I’ve no idea if there’s any difference beside the player model. You can also sprint through eighteen different levels and compete for faster times on leaderboards.

It sounds pretty straightforward then, which accounts for the $2.99/£1.99 price tag. If you need convincing, the free version is still available for download for Linux, Mac, and Windows PC via the Boson X site.

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Notch departs Mojang while Microsoft buys Minecraft

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The rumors are true. Minecraft developer Mojang is now part of the Microsoft family, as Head of Xbox Phil Spencer confirms in a new Xbox Wire post. Word of a possible acquisition cropped up only recently, with the latest suggesting that an announcement would happen today, September 15.

The post, which is framed as a letter from Spencer, doesn’t give a lot of insight into what’s next for Mojang or Minecraft. It confirms that Minecon, the not-quite-annual gathering of fans for the world-building survival/creation game, will return in 2015. Spencer also makes it clear that Minecraft‘s cross-platform (Linux, Mac and Windows PC) existence won’t end now that Mojang is technically in the same family of Xbox teams as Forza maker Turn 10 Studios and Halo lead 343 Industries.

“This is a game that has found its audience on touch devices, on phones, on iPads, on console, and obviously its true home, on PC,” Spencer says in an accompanying video. “Whether you’re playing on an Xbox, whether you’re playing on a PlayStation, an Android, iOS device … our goal is to continue to evolve and innovate across all of those platforms.”

In other words, don’t worry PlayStation users. Minecraft only just came to PlayStation 4 (and Xbox One), and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

In a similar post on Mojang’s website, titled “Yes, we’re being bought by Microsoft,” the studio’s Owen Hill confirms the previously rumored $2.5 billion selling price. He also has some things to say about the reasoning behind the sale, not the least of which is the meteoric growth that saw Minecraft transform “from a simple game to a project of monumental significance.” Mojang founder and Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson never imagined or intended for his blocky, little game to get so big.

As for the question of why Microsoft specifically? Here’s what Hill has to say: “There are only a handful of potential buyers with the resources to grow Minecraft on a scale that it deserves. We’ve worked closely with Microsoft since 2012, and have been impressed by their continued dedication to our game and its development. We’re confident that Minecraft will continue to grow in an awesome way.”

Hill also confirms that Persson, along with fellow Mojang founders Carl Manneh (CEO) and Jakob Porsér (designer), will be leaving the company. It’s not clear what their next move is, but Hill’s words suggest a possible collaboration. “We don’t know what they’re planning. It won’t be Minecraft-related but it will probably be cool,” he writes.

Persson echoes Hill’s sentiments in a farewell letter of his own, posted on Notch.net and subsequently shared on Pastebin after the Internet crashed the Persson’s personal website.

“I don’t see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world,” he writes. “Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it’s changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It’s certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.”

He then goes on to tease some of what might be happening next. “As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.”

Minecraft launched in November 2011, but it first came to PC as an alpha release in May 2009. The game’s public, user-supported development process turned out to be a catalyzing force within the development scene, its success spurring the growth of initiatives like Steam Greenlight and the ever-rising wave of “Early Access” releases. Games are built for people to play them, the reasoning goes, so why not give the players some insight into how foundational choices are made, and perhaps let their feedback influence the course of those choices? In many ways, it’s a whole new world for game developers.

We’ll see what happens now that Mojang is an agent of Microsoft. Many questions linger. The latest rumors surrounding the acquisition suggested that Microsoft might primarily be interested in leveraging Minecraft‘s success in the mobile space to help its struggling Windows Phone and Surface tablet divisions (the game is currently only available on Android and iOS).

We’ll have to wait and see. This somewhat vague passage from the Xbox Wire post may be the most telling bit about where Microsoft is headed with Mojang and Minecraft…

The Minecraft community is passionate and diverse, ranging across all ages and demographics. We respect the brand and independent spirit that has made Minecraft great, and we’ll carry on the tradition of innovation to move the franchise forward. Our investments in cloud, Xbox Live and mobile technology will enable players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect with the Minecraft community.

What do you make of the news? And what do you think will becoming of Minecraft?

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Official Gameplay trailer released for AQP City

Have you ever imagined how Grand Theft Auto V would look like if powered by Epic’s Unreal Engine 4. A first gameplay trailer of Chevarria Arts upcoming open world title powered by Unreal Engine 4, AQP City has been released. AQP City is an upcoming title for Linux, SteamOS, Mac, Windows PC, and consoles. An open world game which combines the features of several video games such as Red Dead Redemption, NFS and GTA V.

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The game is about Steve, a secret agent of FBI and a military veteran who lost his memory in a failed attempt to disarm the MAFIA. AQP City is set in fictional world, it about an adventure where friends are villains and villains are allies in this living city.

AQP City is now a great game but this game can be more with $3000 to consolidate and secure the game the right way, everything collected will go directly to game development:
  • Microphones for audio recording.
  • Buy a web domain and own forums.
  • Licensing Music (for Radio Stations)
  • Update main graphics card (the trailer has strange animations)
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad (AQP City Android Edition)
  • Multiplayer Servers
  • Oculus Rift Dev Kit
  • Licensing process: Simplygon, Speedtree and Mixamo Tools
  • Augmented reality for the backers with Metaio SDK Pro

Achieving the goal AQP City will have:

  • Amazing Zombie DLC - Jurasic DLC
  • AQP City PC and ANDROID! (in negotiations with the console version)
  • Oculus Rift Support
  • The real experience of an open world game
Not much can really be said about the release of  AQP City, as details are limited. And the official game page is on Facebook showing references to platform support, yet to be decided maps sizes, and an estimated download of 26 GB which is to be expected.



Check out the trailer, and tell us in the comment section below, how it looks and feels as compared to the undisputed king of open world genre, Grand Theft Auto V.

You can also check more details about AQP City on IndieDB.



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Elder Scrolls lead designer of joins The Long Dark

The Long Dark gains Elder Scrolls designer experience

Ken Rolston, lead designer of Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind and ES4: Oblivion, has partnered with Hinterland Games for The Long Dark, the studio’s first-person, apocalyptic survival simulator. Rolston’s high-profile credentials add to Hinterland’s portfolio of experience, which includes Far Cry 3 Narrative Director Raphael van Lierop, lead writer for the PS3 God of War trilogy, Marianne Krawczyk, and Sascha Dikiciyan, who scored Mass Effect 3 and Borderlands 2.



Regarding whether Rolston will remain with Turbine, the team he joined one year ago as its director of design, Turbine has shared a statement with our friends at Massively: “We don’t normally comment on personnel issues, and we definitely can’t comment on work Ken is doing for other studios, but I can confirm that he continues to consult for us.”

Fans won’t have to wait much longer to test their aptitude at surviving the frozen wilderness – The Long Dark's Sandbox mode will welcome Early Access patrons into the cold on September 22, though beta members began reducing themselves to snowy corpses a few weeks ago.

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First-person survival horror Grave demo released today

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It’s been a little while since we’ve heard from Grave, the first-person survival horror title that features support for the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD). Earlier in the year the title, which successfully passed a Kickstarter campaign looking for $30,000 USD, was confirmed for release on Linux, Mac, and Windows PC, along with Xbox One. Now developer Broken Window Studios has confirmed that it will launch a demo for the title today.

The demo will be released for Kickstarter backers that pledged enough money for the corresponding tier. It is designed to showcase some of the improvements that the developer has made to the title since passing Kickstarter in April 2014, boasting a new environment, an improved combat system in which players hold back enemies using light sources, and even ‘revamped scares’.

It is taken from a segment of the main experience and will feature objectives to complete, secrets to discover and new items to interact with. There will also be a brand new creature for players to battle against. Rather than force players down a set path, the demo features an open world in which they are free to explore, and there are even parts of the full titles ‘fleshed out’ narrative to explore.

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Grave is aiming to come to its confirmed systems in the first quarter of 2015, though the Xbox One release may be slightly later than the Linux, Mac and Windows PC versions.

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Distance coming Steam Early Access this Fall

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Distance a tron-like neon racer, was such an enticing proposition when it launched on Kickstarter back in 2012, swiftly securing more than it asked for. And now the title has been in closed beta for a while, but it will be getting a little more open this Autumn with the release of a Steam Early Access version of the game.

Despite not being on Steam yet, Distance already has around 100 user-created levels on the Steam Workshop, from backers currently playing the closed beta. This and other titbits of Distance info reside in a recent Kickstarter update from developers Refract, which also shows off a neat arcade cabinet the team rigged up for PAX.



Then let the developers try to convince you:
Distance fuses the intense action of arcade racing with the exploration of a mysterious world. You control a unique car that allows you to boost, jump, rotate, and even fly through a chaotic city. The private beta currently features a short single player campaign, as well as additional split-screen and online multiplayer modes such as Sprint, Reverse Tag, Stunt, and Soccer. It also includes a powerful level editor which is connected to Steam Workshop.
If you’re not sure what a Distance is, it’s an arcade stunt-based racer featuring lots of groovy neon lighting effects, based on a free game called Nitronic Rush released a few years back.

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Thotwise Games - The Hum using Unreal Engine 4



The Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for Windows PC, Mac and Linux, an upcoming virtual reality (VR) compatible title The Hum has 17 more days until its 30th September 2014 closure. As such developer Thotwise Games have revealed that the campaign will be cancelled at some point during the course of the week. But the indie developer launched a new website for the universe based around its upcoming virtual reality (VR) compatible horror videogame. The new site reveals that the developer is working on several novels and comics for the title and even teased that there could be some smaller, spin-off experience in development for the project. Now those titles have been officially revealed, with at least one of them featuring support for the Oculus Rift VR HMD.

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Thostwise Games has announced The Hum: The Awakening of the Red Hearth and The Hum: Abduction Chambers. The former is a real-time strategy (RTS)/tower defence title that tells the story of the novel of the same name, announced on The Hum Universe. However The Hum: Abduction Chambers is set to be a little closer to the original title, following a group of people that are abducted by aliens prior to the invasion of Earth that sets up The Hum itself.

It’s The Hum: Abduction Chambers that will definitely support the Oculus Rift and is also developed using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4, just like the full title. The developer revealed that a lot of work on the title had already been completed, thus it would likely arrive before The Hum: The Awakening of the Red Hearth, which is yet to be confirmed to support VR itself. It’s not yet clear exactly when the title might launch, however.

As for The Hum’s development, it’s not clear just how the title will be affected in the wake of the cancellation, although developer’s Ariel Arias does state that he is not sure how much time he will have to work on the project. The Hum casts players of a survivor of an alien invasion of Earth that begins to discover abilities within himself. The title is developed using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 and will arrive on Windows PC, Mac and Linux with full support for the Oculus Rift VR HMD. A PlayStation 4 version with support for Project Morpheus is also planned.



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