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Every now and then, a game appears from what seems to be thin air yet its popularity grows exponentially.

To name a few examples: Limbo, Pokemon Go, Cuphead.

Cuphead is an indie game released on the 29th September and within 2 weeks of its release, went platinum.

It has a perfect score on Steam from over 16,000 reviews and countless amounts of positive reviews around the web.

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But why is Cuphead successful? Surely it’s just another indie game – there’s thousands of them to chose from. What made this one so different?

Well today, we are going to uncover:

  • What is Cuphead?
  • Why is Cuphead Successful?
  • Who developed the game?

What is Cuphead?

Cuphead is a side scrolling, imaginative platformer which has its players forced upon impossible boss levels and stages.

You play as Cuphead and can team up with Mugboy when enjoying multiplayer. The duo compete against cleverly designed enemies through flick book animation and creative fighting styles such as the finger guns.

cuphead

Through gambling success at a Casino, Cuphead and Mugboy are offered one final bet. If they win, they own the Casino! If they lose, their souls belong to the Devil.

From this point, you can probably assume what happens.

In order to pay off the debt to the devil, Cuphead and Mugboy instead travel across the lands collecting soul contracts from other residents who have promised their soul to the devil facing many challenges along the way.

It’s hard to believe that from a small story and two small characters that this game could have received such a positive reception.

However, as we will soon find out, we will understand why Cuphead became so popular.

Why is Cuphead successful?

Retro Art Style

If you haven’t already noticed yet, Cuphead has a very different art style to most games – this ultimately makes it stand out from the rest.

With the inspiration of 1930s-style cartoons, Studio MDHR has managed to create a throwback game reminding us of the very beginnings of the animation style.

This video gives a clever insight into how the Indie Team constructed their characters:

As for the backgrounds, these were all hand painted with watercolors. So everything you see in the game was created in real life and then inserted into the game.

This method of animation of a video game is revolutionary. Never would you have imagined that it is possible to interact and control a drawing.

For lovers of the retro animations like Disney’s creation, I would definitely recommend this game.

One clever reddit user played his copy of Cuphead on an old, black and white TV:

Level Difficulty

In addition to its bespoke art style, Cuphead is renowned for its near incredibly difficult boss levels.

This game is based on defeating 17 bose phases in order to retrieve the contracts for the devil; each bose is just as difficult, if not more, than the last.

Fighting all of these difficult levels, Cuphead feels like a never ending battle against a stream of difficult levels that each try to kill you in a unique way.

Many gamers have been left raging in fits of anger after losing multiple times just like this streamer:

https://twitter.com/Twitch/status/915698094360207366

Despite this, fans have praised Cuphead for introducing a challenging yet rewarding experience for its users.

Its refreshing to discover a light hearted game that also has the ability to test our hand-eye coordination.

Typically it’s the cute, unrealistic characters that venture on a happy journey meeting happy characters in mythical worlds and there isn’t much to challenge us.

Equally, it’s the heart-wrenching, war-driven or apocalyptic, reality-based video games that are rich in difficult levels we can spend hours trying to solve.

Of course, this isn’t always a case however, its nice to be introduced to a video game that breaks the mould and defies its stereotype.

Price

After learning about the huge potential this game possesses for creating hours and hours of entertainment, you go to purchase the game on Steam or on Xbox and discover that Cuphead only costs £14.99.

Seeing as the game was created by a small indie studio, the game also has the price of a small indie game as expected.

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But comparing it to AAA titles that have just been or are about to be released that have the same level of anticipation, the price is unbelievable.

Ultram Tramadol Online for Nintendo is set at the price of £49.99 brand new which is nothing compared to Star Wars Battlefront 2!

If you don’t want to pay the microtransactions, Tramadol Hydrochloride Buy UkThat’s roughly 27 weeks of continuous play. Alternatively, you can pay $2,100 on top of the price of the game.

Now, looking back at Cuphead, everything is included in the game at the beautiful price of £14.99.

This is perfect for those of us who may not be able to afford the extortionate price of AAA titles but want to experience the lives and stories of unique characters through detailed gameplay.

Also, this price makes this game a perfect Christmas present as it isn’t emptying your pocket and the receiver is getting an awesome game to play over the festive season.

About Studio MDHR

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The creators of Cuphead are a Canadian based team founded by the Moldenhauer brothers, Chad and Jared.

The pair frequently watched cartoons from the likes of Disney and Fleischer Studios which fueled their love for the art style.

The inspiration for Cuphead originates from a 1936 Japanese Propaganda video where Evil Mickeys from the western world are being destroyed by the Japanese forces.

Their particular inspiration was the man with a tea cup for a head who transforms into a tank.

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“We just thought, well, let’s try that,” Chad Moldenhauer said. “We thought it was so odd. I drew a couple versions of it and right away it stuck.”

While this is their first project, they have left us with high expectations for their next game.

In Conclusion

So why is Cuphead successful? With its radical game design as well as painfully difficult boss levels, Cuphead introduces gamers to a unique experience for an affordable price.

Have you had a chance to play Cuphead yet? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Finding a unique game can be tough.

When you long to experience something different after years of repetitive games, finally having a new game to enjoy with unique characters, unusual tasks and exclusive level designs can feel like a god send.

That’s why we recommend Night In The Woods

With an in-depth story surrounding a whole town filled with exclusive personalities, Night In The Woods is just the game to play if you want to experience something new.

Not only is the game entertaining to play, it can also give brilliant inspiration for those seeking help to start their own game – there are many brilliant qualities we can learn from this game.

What makes Night In The Woods so different? Today we are going to discover:

  • What is it about?
  • Why is it so Playable?
  • Games like NITW

What is Night In The Woods About?

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20 Year Old Mae Borowski returns to Possum Springs having just dropped out of college.

You follow her journey and troubles as she explores the changing town, connecting with old friends and family.

As we learn more about our lead character, we unveil the truths behind why she returned to her hometown, the secrets behind her nightmares and the tormenting stories in Mae’s past.

Mae has an excellent sense of humour and a supportive group of friends yet something doesn’t seem to balance right inside her mind.

While finding out how to fix her mental state, she and her friends, Gregg, Bea, and Angus, take on the momentous task of discovering what is disturbing the peace in Possum Springs and why people keep disappearing.

Is it a Ghost? Or is it something much bigger?

The Retro-styled, 2D platformer offers the opportunity to explore a beautifully detailed town filled with unique stories.

What Makes Night In The Woods so Playable?

Art Style

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The first thing that strikes the player as different is the artstyle.

The game is set in Autumn so of course, the designers have picked the perfect colour scheme to match – lots of oranges, blues and earthy colours.

Not only that but the design behind the levels and the characters is well …art!

Night In The Woods is beautiful; it’s bedroom-poster worthy for sure!

For me, the design behind the game was enough to make me want to follow the story.

It’s great that it had other fantastic qualities behind the game as well.

A quirk that added to the artstyle behind the game were the speech bubbles used for text.

These could be animated in anyway by the developers in order to perfectly express what the player is trying the say and exaggerate their tone of voice.

It isn’t often that games these days prefer speech bubbles over voice acting however, in this situation, it added so much more personality to the game.

Not only that but it allowed the user to easily pick an option for what they wanted Mae to say next.

We loved the art style so much, we labelled Night In The Woods’ developers, Infinite Fall, as Masters of Creativity! Tramadol Online Echeck

Story

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Unlike most games, this game isn’t necessarily about following a hero.

Instead we follow Mae, a college dropout, and her journey as she reconnects with old friends and her home town.

She doesn’t have any particular superpowers yet we love her so much because she is so relatable.

Mae has problems in her own life that we can reflect in our own – adult responsibilities, people growing distant, etc.

So maybe we want to play the game because we want to see how she solved the problems and give us advice as we approach them too.

It is not only our protagonist that completes the story.

She, and her home town, have many dark secrets that the player is so desperate to find out.

Background characters always mention an event in Mae’s past that affected everyone greatly yet won’t mention what it was.

Meanwhile, people are being kidnapped and potentially murdered while no one does anything about it.

Everyone in the town seems to have hidden secrets that make you want to uncover truths even more.

The way the story was told was what made it unique. It’s rare that you hear from the point of views of trying-yet-slightly-failing 20-odd year olds.

But [no] game can fill the hole in my heart that NITW left. The writing is so good it’s basically permanently raised my expectations to the point that most story-based games can’t satisfy me anymore.

– Reddit User MaydayxBeebee

The story originates from a more recognisable dialog. Rather than having some Morgan Freeman-type narrate it, we hear only from the characters in which we connect with in order to piece the story together.

Ease of Play

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Playing this game was like reading a visual book (if that makes any sense at all).

A lot of the gameplay is reading dialog from the characters to understand the story.

The rest of the story is typically Mae exploring Possum Springs, living within her dreams and band practices. That’s pretty much it.

No gameplay is overly difficult. 

Night In The Woods was definitely not designed to challenge the abilities within the user.

Thanks to this, the game allows you to focus on the story and small hidden details instead.

Also, so many players who may not necessarily be gamers but may appreciate the story can play this game.

Characters

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Every character in this game is different. They dress differently, speak differently, act differently.

I don’t just mean characters within the game are unique, I mean no other game has had such an original cast.

We are presented with such a great collection of misfits that we are graced with the opportunity to discover a unique story from each of them.

All of them have such a fantastic sense of humour as well. In all of the horrid situations they may be thrown into, they still find something to laugh about.

Not to mention that two of our protagonist’s closest friends are in an openly gay relationship and no one in the town is truly disturbed by this! It isn’t unusual, it isn’t weird, it’s just normal.

Not only is it the main group who have such developed personalities – people all over the town are also filled to the brim with personal traits.

For example, we have Selmers who is the unlikely poet and our old English teacher who is now a budding astronomer. There is so much to discover within each character.

Life Lessons I learnt from playing this game

I learnt many valuable lessons having played Night In The Woods:

  1. Make friends that manically wave their arms when they haven’t seen you after a long time. Friends like Gregg are the ones that look out for you in the future.c67d0d08cc168d89d74bbdb8b225380a
  2. Talk to everyone because they might have something interesting and quirky to say. Having such a variety of personalities, I never say no to anything anyone says. Wanna read me your poem? I will definitely listen.
  3. Mischievous behaviour from your youth may follow you into your adulthood. People’s perceptions of you may have permanently change and you many never find yourself growing up.maxresdefault
  4. Don’t poke random limbs you find in the street. You can never predict where they will lead you…

About Infinite Fall

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With a successful Kickstarter, the creators of Night In The Woods, Infinite Fall are a small team consisting of 3 main helpers: Alec Holowka, Scott Benson, and Bethany Hockenberry.

While this is only their first creation, it was still a massive success receiving a variety of positive reviews across the board.

They did, however, release a couple of mini games developed in short bursts of time based on the Night In The Woods game. Buying Tramadol For Dogs

With design being such a prominent part within the game, Scott Benson, animator and illustrator, gave us a comment on the importance of artstyle within a game:

Photorealism, even if it’s somewhat stylized, is just considered a goal. Once you get away from how something is ‘supposed’ to look is where things get interesting, and interesting is memorable.

“I want to know what an artist’s trees look like when they can’t make them look like photographs of trees.

That choice alone puts such a fingerprint down, and tells you so much about the artist and the game itself.”

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Games Like Night In The Woods

Completing this game will definitely have you longing for more.

So, we found some games that we know you’ll love!

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You play as Henry in the year 1989. After traumatic experiences, you decide to change your career to escape the life you once lived.

The only contact with the outside world that you have is through Delilah: the co-worker you communicate with through walkie talkies.

Peace is disturbed within the Wyoming forest and it’s your job to figure out who is causing this.

Like Night In The Woods, Firewatch includes a well thought out story and detailed narrative equipped with humour and lots of feels.

Learning the stories behind Henry and Delilah, you sympathise with each character and desire to aid them to safety.

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Wiki-background

This game relates to Night In The Woods through its mysteries.

“Follow the story of Max Caulfield, a photography senior who discovers she can rewind time while saving her best friend Chloe Price.

The pair soon find themselves investigating the mysterious disappearance of fellow student Rachel Amber, uncovering a dark side to life in Arcadia Bay.”

While no one else is willing to handle the situation, it’s up to our protagonist to save the day – like Mae and her group of friends.

Players have described Life Is Strange to have “similar themes, and emotional impact” to that in Night In The Woods. However, the game mechanics within this one make this game more unique.

Being able to rewind time is an ability various developers have used in games; they have shown their approach on how to personalise it.

Life Is Strange showed us their own special way to implicate time changing within their game.

There’s our reasons why you should play Night In The Woods.

Know any more unique games? Let us know in the comments below.

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Brainstorming a new game concept can be tough. Before you’ve even began the designing and coding, you need to birth the idea, discover the story, imagine the characters.

With there being such a variety of styles of games out there, the challenge can be picking a style of game to focus on. However, have you tried to make a multiplayer game?

A particular type of game we can all agree on being one of the most hilarious is multiplayer games.

Either the ones we take turns playing at parties or the more serious co-operatives played between friends or couples; there are plenty of multiplayer games that we could name as being one of the most entertaining games ever.

I’m certain even by just saying that, a few games came to your mind. Maybe Mario Kart? Or Wii Sports? How about Call of Duty?

We’d never have moments like this if it wasn’t for multiplayer games:

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Players are constantly on the prowl looking for the most entertaining, wacky game to enjoy with friends.

It can be hard to know where or how to start developing your own co-op adventure or competitive argument solver.

That’s why today, we are going to explore:

  • Case Studies of games that come to mind for being addictive multiplayers.
  • Advice from developers who have made quirky games.
  • What makes a successful multiplayer game?

Make a Multiplayer Game.

Focusing on the starting stages of concocting a multiplayer game, we focus on the initial, brainstorming steps.

We have searched long and hard for gaming’s most recent yet entertaining multiplayer games. We discover what it is that made each of those games unmissable and continue to hear from the developers of those games. Enjoy!

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While cooperation is certainly an option, that won’t win you the game.

The simple objective is to get your animal from A to B. Succeed and you are crowned the Ultimate Horse / Chicken / Sheep / Racoon (delete where appropriate).

As you start, you won’t be able to get to the goal, Fact. However, as you play each round, you are allowed to chose one item each to help you reach the end.

During the first few rounds, you can work together to build a path. But if you all manage to make it to the end then the game doesn’t award any points; no one wins.

This is where things get interesting. 

You can place traps and bombs to make reaching the end all that much harder. Choose from killer plants, slippery ice, cross bows and more to kill your opponents.

What Made Ultimate Chicken Horse Successful?

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We found this game to be an excellent stress release at the end of a busy day at the office; everyone on their own PC to battle to the death.

We were giggling ourselves silly until we had forgotten all the stresses that had followed us throughout our day.

So with the characters and objectives within the game being so wacky, Ultimate Chicken Horse acted as a fantastic distraction. No matter how scaring the day had been, this game still managed to make everyone laugh.

It also allowed everyone in the office to interact in a different way other than doing work. You can associate with those around you in a fun and memorable way through this multiplayer game.

One thing I particularly loved about this game was the art style.

The characters look like they’ve been taken out of some cute cartoon and have been animated brilliantly.

Advice from Clever Endeavor Games

How do you brainstorm creating such a unique game?

Speaking with Kyler, Chief Creative Officer, he gave a brilliant insight into how he deeply immersed himself with the game he was creating.

“When we are thinking up new things to put in the game, I always like to think from the perspective of the cartoony animals in the game.

Like if it’s a new block, I imagine which character would have decided to build it, and how they added it to their imaginary game.  This helps make the blocks feel a little more believable in the universe of the game.

After we have the idea, we test it a lot to see how it feels and what wackiness it can create.  We also fine tune all the physics values to make them result in the funny situations that you often see in the game.”

What is the thing that you believe makes a multiplayer game like Ultimate Chicken Horse successful (besides being multiplayer)?

“I think how “watchable” Ultimate Chicken Horse is, has gone a long ways to making it successful.

People who aren’t playing the game still feel very invested in the action, because every round is a new little drama taking place: Will the Chicken or the Horse succeed or fail. How will the new level design change the outcome?  How will this end in a hilarious disaster?”

The way the game engages people watching it as helped make the game spread to new players in person, via YouTube and via Twitch

 What tips would you give developers creating a fun, fast-paced multiplayer game? 

“Have a playable menu scene.”

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“Ultimate Chicken Horse level select system is a platforming level. 
 
This allows players to always be the character that they are, and to get a feel for the jumping and running before they are put in a life threatening action. 
 
It also makes the downtime between runs more engaging and enjoyable, control isn’t handed over to player 1, everybody gets to stay engaged and in character.”

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Death Squared is on the complete other side of the spectrum compared to Ultimate Chicken Horse.

Killing all the other players through a gruesome violent death is something you desperately want to avoid.

Through tactful, careful movements, you need to move your square onto its respective circle. Once everyone is on their circle, you can progress to the next level.

Simple? No.

Be warned, this game is impossible without working together. You won’t be able to move you square on your own – guaranteed.

Communicating with the other players, you have to move in certain ways in order to make sure no one else dies.

What Made Death Squared Successful?

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The simple controls in this game is what makes Death Squared so popular.

It isn’t testing your hand-eye coordination and your ability to use a controller. It is testing your cognitive skills and ability to work in a team.

It is awesome to be given the chance to play a truly puzzling game. Especially when everyone else’s moves affects yours; it gives you much MUCH more to think about.

Thanks to this, saying you aren’t a good gamer isn’t an excuse to not play.

Anyone that enjoys puzzles will love this and not having played games before won’t get in their way.

Advice from SMG Studio

The Sydney based developers gave their own insight into developing Multiplayer games and a useful bullet point list including a number of things you need to consider.

How do you brainstorm creating such a unique game?

“Be open to all sorts of ideas in and outside of gaming, movies, books, sports, theater etc. Test with people who aren’t gamers and prototype quick and fast. Your game should be fun with not artwork and just boxes. 
 
Death Squared and many of our other games were the product of “game jams” in which we rapidly prototype different game ideas in a short period of time 24-48hrs. Go in with no idea, give yourself extreme constraints and then see what comes out of it. 
  • What if you can only use 1 button?
  • What if your voice was the only control?”

What is the thing that you believe makes a multiplayer game like Death Squared successful (besides being multiplayer)?

“The ability for anyone to be able to play. Death Squared was made to be accessible to your grandparents to kids.”

To prove their point, they even supplied a brilliant picture of a local, Aussie gran playing the game on Nintendo Switch. Check out that Switch Stand!

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“We had a lot of people say “I don’t have people I can play with” and we tell them to play this with their non gamer friends as it will help convert them.
 
Also in Death Squared you work together as opposed to against someone. So this makes it a much more enjoyable and rewarding experience. As a good player can play with a “bad” player.”What tips would you give developers creating a fun, co-operative multiplayer game?
  • Make it pick up and play without needing instructions. You want to just shove a controller in someones hand and say “lets play”.
  • Allow the game to be fun / playable even with drunk.
  • It needs to work without sound too as you will have people just yelling / laughing at each other. You dont want them sitting their shushing each other.
  • It needs to be balanced but if it’s local co-op you can have some over powered exploits (if they are fun) and just let them players implement their own “house rules”.
  • Focus on simple & fun. Games can take themselves too seriously sometimes.
  • If you have any “adult themes” have a toggle for a G rated version so parents like me can play with younger kids.

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gang-beasts-screen-05-ps4-eu-06may16

This game, once again, varies dramatically from both of our previous examples.

Neither does it require skill and patience to win this game nor does it require co-operation.

Instead, Gang Beasts is one of those good ol’ button mashers. Of course, there are controls there to help you win but you get so caught up in the moment that you end up pushing anything in the hopes that it does something.

Gang Beasts involves players picking a character who appears to possess no bones inside its body. They then proceed to fight their characters through fast paced punches until one is knocked out. Once unconscious, you need to kill your opponent in whatever way is available on the map to secure a win.

The game is so intense as you fight to death that you easily forget the controls and hope for the best.

What Made Gang Beasts Successful?

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Similar to Ultimate Chicken Horse, the sheer craziness in this game is enough to make you forget about any worries you had throughout the day.

What’s particularly unique about this game is the quirky controls used to direct the characters.

They can be so challenging at times that it feels like an accomplishment mastering the techniques and killer moves without have to win the game!

Of course, winning does feel good though.

With the colourful people being made of jelly, getting them to stand can be funny enough letting alone trying to kill the other players.

Advice from BoneLoaf

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James at BoneLoaf offered some inventive answers to our questions:

How do you brainstorm creating such a unique game?

He explained that the niche in the game, the cartoon combat, was birthed from previous game concepts:

Gang Beasts came from the suggestion to add a punch mechanic to a high fantasy game prototype we postponed making in late 2013.

We added a limited punch mechanic to test if the prototype could be modified to make a mêlée fighting game similar to Capcom’s Final Fight but prioritised work on local multiplayer game modes to help with stress testing and iterating the game and character physics and character systems by playing the game against each other.

What is the thing that you believe makes a multiplayer game like Gang Beasts successful (besides being multiplayer)?

“Fun. There are multiplayer games that are successful because of the balance of their fight mechanics or the immediacy of their gameplay.

We think Gang Beasts has been successful because it is a platform for casually inflicting silly cartoon violence on friends and enemies in absurd and hazardous contexts”

What tips would you give developers creating a fun, co-operative multiplayer game?

They explained that the variety of controls used within Gang Beasts can make multiplayer games more popular amongst players.

For party games, accessible control schemes and game modes are important to support inexpert players to play with other more informed players without victimisations and frustration.
“Gang Beasts has a complex control scheme but this is split into two tiers.
 
A basic control scheme for the default character movement set (moving, jumping, punching, head-butting, kicking, and grabbing).
 
And a secondary character movement set using multiple buttons pressed or held concurrently (lifting, climbing, sliding, leaping, drop kicking, and diving head-butting) to trigger more complex and aggressive moves to approximate the immediacy and accessibility of console party games and the scope of movement of classic arcade fighting games.
 
Complex moves are more forceful but are difficult to execute without exposing your character to assault.”

Key Tips Learnt for Making a Multiplayer Game

We have found that the most important thing you need to consider before starting to conjure up your game is whether you want to make or break relationships. Do you want a cooperative game or a competitive one? 

We have created this mind map to give you some influence as to which you’d rather create. Here are reasons for creating competitive games against reasons to create a cooperative one.

make a multipplayer game-01

 

The next question that needs to be asked is what ability do you want to test and compare between players?

Do you want to see how quickly and skillfully players can run across a difficult, deadly map like in Ultimate Chicken Horse? Or do you want to stretch their mental capacity in order to succeed like in Death Squared?

Finding new ways to test players abilities can make you game all more desirable.

Another question that should pop into your mind is who do you want to play your game?

This follows from what skills you want to test in your players. You’ll find that the more difficult the game is to control, the younger your audience will be.

With such simple controls, Death Squared found much older generations enjoy their game. However, the fast technical play in ultimate chicken horse would have a younger audience.

The final question to ask is what do you want players to achieve from playing the game? 

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You can either achieve a sense of accomplishment from working together or victory from defeating all the other players. Players could use the game to settle arguments and use it as the final decider.

Adding on this questions, you’ll need to decide the speed of the game.

Gang Beasts is a very fast game where you don’t have time to think. Therefore, people playing this game will achieve a different sense of accomplishment compared to those playing Ultimate Chicken Horse as those people have more time to win in the game.

Both are competitive games but both have different achievements available.

I hope this article has given you some food for thought and will inspire when you decide to make a multiplayer game.

 

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Game trailers are typically one of the first points of contact between game studios and buyers. This means that they may never even have heard about your game until now.

And first impressions count.

If they are not impressed by what they see then they won't bother to follow it up in the future.

There are a number of Marketing Strategies that game creators have to consider in order to make their game as popular as it can be by the time of its release:

  • Keep people on their toes with screen grabs and concept art on social media
  • Any Merchandise they want to sell pre and post release
  • Physical adverts in Magazines and on Poster
  • Game Trailers

We previously explored Bethesda's Marketing Strategy with Fallout 4 and why that was so beneficial for the company and the game. Buying Tramadol From India

Now, we are going to focus on what aspects makes a successful, attention grabbing advert without spilling too much information to the target audience.

Why do you need a good trailer?

path to success-01

The benefits that a trailer can give you immense. And here's why:

It's the best insight your audience is going to receive as your game is in development.

Concept art is great and so is information about the story but trailers deliver key material on characters, game physics, level design and so much more integral parts of the game that capture the audience.

Without the trailer, it will be a lot more difficult for players to understand what your game is about and why they should look forward to it.

The Graphic above gives the simple steps in which a trailer can better your popularity:

  • Having watched your ad, enticed enthusiasts will become more involved in watching your game develop.
  • The trailer will increase the anticipation of the game's release.
  • The more people talk and share, the bigger your fan base is. Getting these people to follow your social media accounts, check out your website and even join mailing lists will be much simpler.

A successful trailer seems pretty commonsensical right? You'd be surprised at how many people would overlook this key step in marketing their game.

Here's the bit we've all been waiting for:

The Secrets to Successful Game Trailers

We have devised a criteria which has proved necessary for creating an enticing and captivating trailer.

criteria-01

 

Uniqueness

The first thing you have to think about when creating an advert is "What makes my game special?".

Find that key thing in your game that makes people want to buy it. If they feel that no other game has been able to give them that kind of gameplay before, they have a bigger desire to play it.

For instance, Skylanders was (and still is) insanely popular because players loved collecting the physical characters to use in the game. No other game, at the time, could offer that.

So what did they focus on in the advert? Of course, the collectable figurines.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktZSxMlQu_w

Back in the 80s, Nintendo would focus on the fact that their consoles where playable at home simply because that was their niche. People, otherwise, could only play quality video games at the local arcade but Nintendo made video games at home possible.

Make sure to show off the feature in your game that makes you unique. 

Cinematic Quality

We mention this over and over again on our site because it's so poignant:

One of the main reasons we play games is for Escapism and a game that provides amazing graphics with realistic movement can make anyone forget about the real world.

If you can show off the level of immersiveness that your game can bring then great.

You'll know that a lot of the time, this is achieved by using animated parts in the trailer that isn't necessarily gameplay. Sometimes, people have gone to the extreme and have real life actors roleplay the game.

This can be great for demonstrating the depth and detail that can be used in the game but if it isn't similar to gameplay, then don't abuse. You should find parts of the gameplay that are just as dramatic and appealing and include those shots.

Remember: You don't always need animated, "not gameplay" footage inside your trailer.

Many indie games have proven that the scenes in their game are enough to show it off. If your game is a well-designed, well-thought out game, then it shouldn't be difficult to show this off with the gameplay footage.

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The only scenes they have used are from within in the game. The shots at the beginning are just displays of their level design.

What made the trailer dramatic was its phenomenal use of sound design; these are all sounds that haunt you within the game as well as the daunting areas players are forced to walk through.

Story

The Story is what sells the game.

Okay, you might have a game with really cute n cuddly animals but if the story is about the animals eating each other then I ain't gonna buy it.

So really, the story is the cherry on top. The audience have been introduced to the world they can discover as well as all the characters they can interact with. But now it's time to introduce the characters journey, their aspirations, their challenges.

You don't have to give away a 1000 word essay on the story - that will probably spoil the game.

But you need to give hints as to why players should follow the protagonist; why they should help the protagonist complete their end goal.

You want to scratch the surface of the story and leave it to the audience to discover more about the journey. That way, you have more creativity with the trailer. If your looking to include all info about the story in the trailer, it won't give you anytime to show anything else.

A fantastic example is Blackwood Crossing

We are immediately introduced to a brother and sister. Having lost their parents (for reasons unknown to us), they are looked after by their grandparents but obviously, the big sister is the role model for her brother.

We know they're on a journey to somewhere when something strange is occurring that could be causing the brother and sister to be separated.

While giving us a quick insight into the lives and stories of the characters, we are left asking a number of questions: "Where are they going? What happened to their parents?" and so on.

The only way to find out is by playing the game. 

Music

Music is ideal for describing the atmosphere you will experience within the game.

If the game is a horror, you can expect the music to be jumpy and the chords and playing techniques on instruments to be unpleasant.

If the game is filled with fast paced fighting scenes, the music will be the complete opposite of smooth jazz. Instead, you'll hear fast and loud drums with more electro or rock instruments playing fast riffs and licks to keep up with the pace of the game.

The music purely depends on the nature of the game and it is important to pick the right one.

Listen to the music in Buying Tramadol Online Cheap's trailer.

The music accurately depicts the story of someone commencing a long but rewarding journey. While having to overcome problems in order to make their way, they are surrounded by a beautiful landscape which invites players to explore.

The music screams optimism to the watcher. The boy has somewhere he needs to go and is determined to get there.

Humour

This one is very much dependent on the game and what message the developers want to get across to the audience.

A game like Inside, which we saw above, definitely wouldn't suit a humorous trailer.

However, the humourous trailers can sometimes be the more memorable one.

If a game is quirky with unique actions and a humourous story, then it is definitely inline for a funny trailer.

Check out this video for BattleBlock Theatre:

This is only to announce that the game will be available on Steam yet they have captured PC Gamers perfectly.

Announcing frame rates and graphics not visible to the human eye as well as 5 simultaneous Oculus Rift Support, what PC Gamer wouldn't want to try this game!

One youtuber commented: "Looks like my computer can't run this..." due to the technology that would be required to support 1000000000p resolution.

This definitely got people talking about the game.

Even if they weren't as interested in playing it, they shared the trailer anyway just because it was funny. The developers immediately got the brand exposure they needed.

Having concentrated on the humour, there was less info about the story and objectives but that's okay as it made viewers want to find out more at the website. We were still introduced to characters, level design  and hints as to how the game is played.

In this case, there wasn't as much need to focus on the story as players had been enticed.

Speaking with Derek Lieu, Trailer Editor for BattleBlock Theater, he gave his own insight on why he believed their trailer was the success that it was:

"We think it became successful because it simultaneously shows the game’s sense of humor, and uses it to target the Steam user audience.

The trailer ostensibly makes fun of aspects of PC gaming culture, but at the same time it shows the audience that it’s in on the joke; people enjoy it when their very specific interests are acknowledged."

The humour used in the trailer particularly appeals to the target audience thanks to its relatability. Having this trailer jokingly mock PC Gaming, it made PC Gamers relate to the trailer more and want to watch. 

Derek continued:

"What really took this idea to the next level was the amazing writing, narration and audio editing by Will Stamper.
 
He took a bullet point list of ideas, and filtered it through the voice of the game’s narrator to provide the backbone that made the trailer funny and entertaining despite the fact that the gameplay isn’t featured as prominently as it is in a typical trailer."
 
If nothing else, the key takeaway is to know the audience, and have the trailer reflect the spirit of your game.

Call to Action

This is where you make your fans. 

They've just watched your trailer and are gaining interest. Some may be immediately sold on the concept however, others may need convincing.

If you want to keep them interested, you give them a call to action.

This is when you tell them to check out your website, your social media, more videos on youtube etc.

That way, they can find out all the possible information they need to know. They have the opportunity to find out:

  • A written description about the game.
  • A possible release date.
  • Info on other games you've released.
  • Awards you've won.
  • Platforms the game will be available on.
  • Plenty of screenshots.

By having a call to action, you won't have to overload the audience with information in the trailer. You can save that info for the website.

Like I said, the trailer scratches the surface of the game to create curiosity within the audience.

Here's a screenshot from the Super Mario Odyssey trailer. You can see in the description there are a number of links for you to follow the game as well as follow the developers.

Untitled

Another great thing they have done is created hashtags for people to share their enthusiasm for Mario - an excellent way to alert others and increase the level of anticipation amongst players and industry influencers.

Examples

The best example that always comes to mind for having a brilliant advert is Battlefield 1.

It ticks every box on our check list (well, except for humour) with high marks.

It proves itself as a terrifyingly realistic FPS that you would never believe is based on real events judging by how inhumane the scenes of war are.

The game throws you straight into WW1 and also teaches you about some of the fights you didn't even know happened.

We are given hints into the characters and various stories to play as well as the different weapons and vehicles available.

And the music is timed perfect with the scenes. The advert doesn't need typical horror music to make the game look horrific.

On the complete other side of the spectrum is STRAFE.


STRAFE is the 2017 FPS that allows you to "shoot hordes of things in the face" in the style of a retro, 90s video game.

That's of course why the kid is using a dinosaur of a computer in the ad. But if you think the computer is nostalgic, Tramadol Buy Uk.

They opted to use actors to make their advert hilarious instead of solely relying on animation and gameplay. They worked brilliantly in showing off the 90s vibes that the audience can experience - showing off their unique feature.

They equally succeeded in convincing that the game is intense. Villains so powerful they can melt the players face! (Yes, I know this is just special effects).

They hilariously used the mum to explain what the game was about so that the viewers could learn more.

They also showed off the unique feature of the game being that the levels regenerate everytime so that every experience is different - a neat feature for a "1996 video game".

The fast action pace of the game is accompanied by modern, fast paced music.

Once again, ticking every point on our checklist, STRAFE has an effective advert. Purchase Tramadol Cod Fedex

Conclusion

Having a trailer is essential to promote your game and increase your fan base. Each of the following points (except humour) are key things to think about when planning your ad.

  • Uniqueness
  • Cinematic Quality
  • Story
  • Music
  • Humour
  • Call to Action

You don't have to go into an immense amount of detail in order to complete each point; scratching the surface of some and focusing more in depth on overs will still have you achieve the trailer your game deserves.

Satisfying each point on our checklist, you'll find yourself creating a successful game trailer.

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Sometimes, life isn’t all smiles and happy endings. Many games are brilliant from escaping real life so that we can experience those rainbows and cupcakes that we rarely get to enjoy in our everyday lives.

However, it can also be interesting to experience the opposite to rainbows and cupcakes; to place yourself in someone elses shoes to make you appreciate all that you have today.

There are games out there that are perfect for indulging yourself in darkness, torture and crippling fear. While this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there is still some fun to have in these games.

For a whole new style of escapism, you might want to try Inside.

The 2016 installment from Playdead hits a new level, portraying a game with such little optimism and chance of survival.

Today we are going to explore:

  • What is Inside?
  • How does it achieve its darkness?
  • What other dark games are on the market?

What is Inside About?

INSIDE_shot_20

A little boy no older that ten: no name, no voice, not even a face.

With no intro or any sort of information, you are thrown into the game and expected to run. Men hidden by white masks are immediately chasing you with weapons and guard dogs.

Get caught and you face imminent death. 

From playing the game for 5 minutes, I have been mauled by dogs, shot through the chest, fallen from deadly heights and even waterboarded; this game certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.

The adrenaline that surges through your veins from fear starts immediately as you play this game.

The objective is unclear, all you know that you MUST do is get away!

As you play, you begin to discover more civilization and start to question exactly what has gone wrong in the world to cause all of this!

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How It Creates it’s Darkness

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Intensive Sound Effects

This means that, a lot of the time, the player are subjected to this little boy’s heavy breathing from fear and continuous running, as well as other suspicious sounds around the game. The worst part is no music wants to hide that from you.

Why does this have a bigger effect on the darkness of the game?

It is in our nature to look after the vulnerable, especially children. When it is your responsibility to direct this child, the last thing you want is to have him suffer a gruesome death. And you have to listen to the fear in every single one of this child’s breath as he tries to get away.

You can here that he doesn’t want to be there, you can here that he is trying desperately to run away.

Not only that but you can hear other sounds such as heart beats, dogs growling, men shouting and more.

Unsettling sounds such as a child panting can be much more atmospheric than music.

Music

This isn’t to say that there isn’t any eerie music.

The music is used in moments to show where the stress in Inside is at its highest! It is used sparingly and wisely and adds to the pressure within those scenes.

The level design

Another factor to add to the darkness of this game is the level design.

A lot of the time, as you’re playing Inside, the game takes place at night time meaning the levels are obviously going to be darker.

(in fact, the levels are so dark that there is an option for brightness in the main menu!)

Not only that but your path is littered with objects purposefully designed to cringe you with disgust or make you shiver with fear thinking about what’s about to come.

Not long after you start, you are surrounded by dead pigs who seemed to have died from malnutrition – just some of the unsightly objects to cross your path.

Common Phobias

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Inside is letting you experience situations in which you would never want experience in real life. Particularly as many fears that still play in adults minds are used within the game to make it more terrifying.

Take this, the majority of the game takes place at night.

In a sample of children aged 4 to 12, 73% said they had a fear of the dark. While a fear of the dark is less common in adults, it is still prominent.

This can be partly due to the fact that more crimes happen a night. You are more likely to be murdered at night, robbed in the night, kidnapped at night, attacked by wild animals at night, etc.

Bad things happen at night. Therefore you wouldn’t be in a rush to leave the house alone after dark.

And yet, you have to play as a young child, all along trying to escape these villainous murders at night. 

Another fear abused in this game is a fear of people chasing you.

A common fear that fills people’s nightmares is used throughout this game and I can tell you that it got my heart racing.

Everytime a character is chasing me with a mask and flashlight, I can feel the pulse in my veins speed up and I start to panic with the controller in my hand.

They are only two examples of phobias used within the game and there are many more for you to discover.

The Developers

Untitled design

The developers behind Inside are known for their dark and nightmare-inducing games.

Playdead are a team with a deadly imagination and have a fascination for creating all the ways their characters can die.

Limbo was their first release in 2010 and has seen floods of positivity ever since:

Dark, disturbing, yet eerily beautiful, Limbo is a world that deserves to be explored.

– Joystiq

We first discovered this game when searching for the Tramadol Online Cod 180. Limbo is proof that colour isn’t needed to make the game visually entertaining and enticing.

Limbo-2

And its terrifying and disturbing story means players frequently find themselves covering their eyes as scenes prove too alarming to watch.

Despite this, you feel you have a duty to see the main character to safety; very similar to Inside.

The differences between Inside and Limbo is that Limbo feels more fanciful. During Inside, you can be shot, mauled and/ or drowned while Limbo introduces deaths through giant spiders and bear traps while running through the woods.

Deaths are used inside Limbo that could be considered less realistic. However, this doesn’t mean that this game is any less ghastly.

Other Dark Games on the Market

While searching for games, it’s difficult to find one quite as dark as Inside.

Nevertheless, many developers have had a shot at creating anxiety within the audience.

Typoman

“You slip into the role of a character made of letters, struggling to make your way through a dark and hostile world. Despite your small stature you have a powerful gift: You can craft words to alter your environment. But choose your words wisely. They can either be a blessing… or a curse!”

Having won a number of awards, this game strikes the audience as a well thought out game with an imaginative back story.

Gameplay shows a dark world surrounding the protagonist with fire, graves and deadly monsters filling the scenery.

Yet an ingenious use of letters will be your ticket to survival.

Deadlight

https://youtu.be/QUlKEH8Kc3c

“The world has ended. There is no hope. No new beginning. Only the survivors. DEADLIGHT follows the journey of Randall Wayne, a man searching for his family across Seattle during the aftermath of a 1980s event that has decimated life on earth.”

An apocalyptic world screams darkness and no hope to the audience as they explore this game.

Showing a gaming style similar to Inside, this is a platformer with no sign of any happy ending.

Despite their being a strong presence of dark and broody games on the market, there is something I have to admit:

I truly believe no other game has quite captured fear and innocence as effectively as Playdead’s creation.

Every aspect of this game brilliantly comes together to induce fear that I have never felt before while playing a game. Not only that, but I feel unbelievably sorry for our protagonist and wonder how he copes with the stress of the situation he is in.

However,

If you’re not one for being chased by men with guns and ravenous dogs while controlling zombies with 1950’s sci-fi helmets, then this game probably isn’t for you.

Not sure whether this game is for you? I recommend that you definitely give it a try and let me know whether you enjoyed it!

We cannot wait for the next installment from Playdead!

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While exploring the depths of EGX Rezzed earlier this year, there was one game that truly stood out amongst the rest: RiME

With crowds surrounding the screens, the public discovered the puzzling story of a young boy. I was even featured on the Gadget Show playing this game at Tobacco Dock!

Tequila Works has birthed a game that takes the subject of exploration to a completely different level. All though not unseen, it is an option rarely picked by developers: a journey with no information, no back story, just questions induced by the surroundings.

This particular type of game mode might not be for some as many titles are appealing due to their depth of story and detail amongst the protagonist however, RiME has not failed in  standing out for its uniqueness.

Having such a positive impact, we have taken apart everything about RiME to discover why the game is so popular.

What is RiME about?

Rime-gif-free

You begin on a beach to see a small boy. He seems to have washed up on shore, from where we don’t know. A nudge on your controller wakes him up.

And that’s it, that’s all the backstory the player receives. Questions are already circling minds: Who is he? Where did he come from? Why was he left in the sea? Why is he on his own? And so on.

From there, we are left to explore the island. We can go in any direction we want to find puzzle pieces, collectables and find our way around the island. In order to complete the journey, we must complete puzzles in order to unlock new routes.

With the power of his voice, our hero can, what I would describe as, unleash spirits from certain statutes in order to open doors.

We meet a fox early on but, with no dialog, we are not sure the purpose of the fox however, we can assume that the fox is there to guide us around the island. There is also a red, hooded figure that we see from a distance and, as soon as we get close, they vanish.

There are many mysteries behind this game.

We get hints from ac collective of gold butterflies that gather at places of interest. The game will also give help with certain controls so players aren’t completely in the dark.

As there is no dialog, hints about the past are told through pictures scattered around on the the ruins. Despite no obvious story, there is plenty about the protagonist left to discover.

RiME_20170630174205

RiME is set in what appears to be a gloriously sunny mediterranean island complete with historic white buildings for us to climb upon and beautiful scenery, one could only dream of this island.

The boy himself is wearing traditional rags and leathers suggesting the game is based in a much older, maybe ancient, time. From research, we know his name is Ino and that’s about it. He has no particular super powers; he seems just like an ordinary boy.

Ino’s innocence is obvious given by the fact the game will try to stop you from pushing him off the edge of ledges. He can’t survive falls nor does he have some incredible super jump – he’s just a boy!

WelcomeSizzlingAfricanrockpython

For any more information on the protagonist, you have to play the game!

What are the main themes in this game?

Exploration

rime-gameplay-screenshot-ps4-wall-climbing

The famous quote “The world is your oyster” certainly comes to play in RiME.

Even though you are left on the island due to, what we to believe to be, circumstances out of our control, we then have the choice of where to go and what to do without a crowd saying you can’t do that!

With no back story or dialog, you are in complete control of discovering your way around the island. As you don’t have another character saying, “You must go this place by taking this path”, you have the ultimate freedom of where to go.

This game is full of independence and sometimes, it’s nice not being told what to do.

And I will keep mentioning this because it is so prominent but the island left for you to examine is so utterly beautiful that the journey you take makes you truly wish you were there in person!

The scenery is so breath taking that it almost forces you to continue exploring as you want to see more of it.

Depth of Detail

RiME_20170630180513

The graphics behind the game are absolutely stunning! Bright colours are used throughout and characters have such neat designs; it is incredibly satisfying for the eyes playing RiME.

Designs are sketched into stone that light up as you pass, other paintings react as you move your character. Developers have used design in order to give hints to the game and the character’s past.

In fact the design is beautiful that it also calming to play. If you need a gentle, relaxing game to play after a hectic day, I would definitely recommend this.

Your character doesn’t wear an armour but just some old rags adding to his innocence and young age. The design of our protagonist explains that this is a calming game that isn’t a race but a journey.

Not only are the graphics impressive but the music that follows you as you explore just adds to the experience.

Every time there is a major development, we find that the music melodically builds to show we have somewhat succeeded in advancing in the game. It subtly adds the feeling of success within the player without making it incredibly obvious like other games.

It also builds the music up without affecting the calm feeling already developed.

I, myself, am a classical fan so that is why the music has made such a positive effect on me.

Isolation

RiME_20170630173716

You spend the majority of this game alone. There are no villages full of residents on this island or even passers by for you to come across, it is just you and the land (and the occasional fox).

You see a distant, red figure from time to time but you can never get close enough to see them.

However, RiME approaches isolation in a very different way.

Despite being alone, I wouldn’t say the character was lonely, it is not as if he is searching for company. He is quite content exploring the island on his own.

Commonly in games, if a protagonist is alone, they are usually seeking company or discovering why everyone has disappeared.

However, as there is no dialog, we don’t quite know what our protagonist is thinking. He does the occasional giggle and smile so he doesn’t seem distressed so, therefore, doesn’t seem particularly bothered about his current situation.

And that is one of the reasons I adore this game.

It’s one of the few games where you can be selfish. You’re not completing quests for the village people or saving lives as a super hero. You are merely exploring a beautiful island and completing puzzles in order to complete your journey.

You are not responsible for anyone else. I believe this can make the game more therapeutic as there are no time restraints and no one else’s well being to take into consideration.

What Other Games have Mastered Isolation

There have been a number of games that have excellently demonstrated isolation within their story. Here are some examples:

Forma.8 

Forma-8-1

You follow the path of a small alien part of a larger group in hopes of taking over a planet.

They are small and designed to portray innocence, not necessarily looking to harm. The graphics are adorable and just add to the charming nature of the unidentified being.

However, your particular mascot has fallen astray and you have to help them find their way – no other of their kind at hand.

You complete puzzles, similarly to RiME, in order to find your way.

Journey

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With a similar art style and peacefulness to its story, Journey equally has gameplay equipped for the solo gamer.

“You wake alone and surrounded by miles of burning, sprawling desert, and soon discover the looming mountaintop which is your goal.”

Like RiME, you start alone, asking a number of questions, before setting off on your journey (if you’ll pardon pun).

This game is all about self exploration; finding out who the character truly is. And you get to do this in the scenic sandy desserts.

Inside

INSIDE_shot_20

From the makers of Limbo, playdead released a game not for the faint of heart.

You play as a young boy avoiding the evils and horrors as you travel across a dark world.

Monsters will try to eat you, mysterious people will try to hunt you down but your job is to escape them.

No one is there to help you tackle all of these villains and devils, you feel completely isolated. That’s why this game can be difficult to complete as there are no characters there to motivate you, no one on your side. It’s up to you.

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We Asked the Developers some Questions…

RiME_20170703183006

Most developers will know that being an Indie Developer can be hard.

Having created RiME, an incredibly successful game, we asked Tequila Works for some advice for Indie Studios. CEO & Creative Director, Raúl Rubio, was quick to answer.

What are the benefits of having a smaller team work on a bigger game?

Raúl initially mentioned how being a smaller team allows you to know your teams weaknesses and strengths much easier. This can certainly be used to your advantage.

A smaller team can work closely – the obvious analogy would be a football team where players know how the others play and react without endless meetings!

The human scale makes contributions more meaningful, everyone feels the game as theirs. This collective approach (not to be mistaken with design by committee by any means!) enhances any idea a single person may have had.”

Along from this, ideas are much easier to be heard from members of the team as they don’t have hundreds of voices to compete with!

Being small allows you to be agile. Thinking out of the box and in essence adapt faster to an ever-changing environment.”

Games such as No Man’s Sky over-hyped the audience’s expectations. How do you manage people’s expectations as a smaller developer without tarnishing the reputation of the game?

No one wants to overhype the public and end with a game that seems disappointing on release.

Raúl explained that honesty is definitely the best policy:

“We try to be as honest as possible. That’s why after showing RiME twice, we decided that we wouldn’t show it again until they could play it and judge for themselves.

The silence on the radio helped to lower the pressure on the team, deep breath and not over-hype. Our publisher Grey Box has been also a supporter of this policy.”

So without pressuring the game on the audience, developers didn’t feel pressured into creating the game that everyone was asking to see. The could continue to direct their creative flow effectively.

What are the main difficulties of having less of a budget than other AAA titles?

Many will probably know a few answers to this question already. However, Raúl may have a few more key points up his sleeve that people forgot to even think about!

The most obvious one is that you can’t pretend to compete openly against those giants. We are mice, but mice can do great things.

“Mice can scare elephants! (laughs). Now seriously, making games is hard. Having too much time and budget is as bad as having none. Because you need restrictions, you need a motivation to push yourself beyond your own limitations.

The downside of that is not being able to sleep at night because you don’t know how you’ll pay your team’s salaries next month.”

Having less of a budget means you’re keeping your minds down to Earth; you won’t be overstretching your game in any way as money isn’t pouring out of you ears. However, budgeting then becomes an issue.

“Also the perception by the public. Gamers don’t distinguish between games with a budget of 1M or 100M (even if they think they do). Gamers don’t differentiate between games with a price of 15 or 60. Gamers don’t care if a game has a Metascore of 70 or 90.

They do care about good experiences, good games. That’s all that counts for them and that should be our measure. Obviously it’s easier to show top quality with a bigger budget.

But remember, the higher the budget, the lower the risk you can take as you are responsible of the jobs of hundreds and the welfare of their families…”

Having less of a budget doesn’t mean a terrible game, at the end of the day, Gamers just want to play quality games. But having the budget means more security, more guaranteed work can be completed and more people you can hire to get the job done.

Is RiME for You?

If you are looking for a more calm relaxing game to play solo, then RiME is definitely for you!

The soothing scenery and lyrical background music can keep you entertained for hours, especially after a hard days work!

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Has it already been a year?? That can only mean we’ve seen another one of our annual events!

21st March saw us celebrate one of DoubleUpGaming’s most treasured days of the year:

IDM Essex 2017

The one day a year where our Essex Gaming Industry newbies and experts can come together to rejoice all that is great about our local game companies.

A year had passed since our immensely popular IDM Essex 2016 event and we had a variety of new surprises ready for our local Games Devs.

New to IDM Essex?

Save the date - abstract-01-01

This event is targeted towards the young and old in the gaming industry to learn about advancing in their field as well as meeting people who can help them achieve their goal.

So if you’re a Game Dev, Student, or Industry Expert in the Essex Region, this event is perfect for you.

IDM Essex includes networking time with 150+ attendees as well as a talk from our guest speaker who will give all kinds of advice to better yourself in your field.

All attendees enjoy some free food and beer and learn how to advance their product and services.

The best part? Tickets are free.

The event is all non-profit so attendees can choose to purchase different tickets to help fund the cause.

Don’t worry if you missed the big day, IDM Essex 2018 is already in the works!

What was new this year?

First off, we had a massive industry expert grace us with his knowledge:

Phil Elliott

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Phil, from Square Enix Collective gave us a talk on how to create a successful game as an Indie Developer.

Phil created Square Enix Collective in 2013, and built it from scratch to offer a range of services for indie developers globally. He also runs the Community team in London. Prior to joining Square Enix, Phil ran GamesIndustry.biz for four years, with stints at GameSpot and BBC 5Live before that.

He also gave an in depth question and answer session for our hero ticket holders. Attendees left saying that “the closed session one on one time with Phil was invaluable”.

Sponsors

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IDM Essex is fortunate to have such supportive people helping the event blossom.

OPM Response Ltd had the pleasure of being our headline sponsors for the night and featured throughout the venue.

Games Industry Recruitment Specialists

OPM Response Ltd provides a unique service acting as an intermediary between the employers and job seekers in the computer games and associated industries worldwide. As an established brand they consistently listen to their client needs and candidate stories to match expectations.

If you want to find out more about our headline sponsor, please feel free to email [email protected]

We also had Shark Infested Custard, a local, award-winning games development studio based in the heart of East Anglia provide food for the evening.

Thanks to these awesome people, we had stacks of pizza ready for our volunteers all for free! (and who could turn down free pizza!)

Invest Essex were also incredibly generous and helped support IDM Essex.

Finally, we had Fragers kindly bring down one of their amazing buses.

The Razer Bus

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We were honoured to feature the famed Razer Bus outside our venue available to all that attended. Topped up with all the consoles and PCs that you could ever desire, all gaming needs were met on the night.

We had Mortal Kombat, Rocket League, and even FIFA 2017! This bus really was designed for all. It certainly was the biggest change that no attendee could have missed.

It proved so popular, it managed to steal our volunteers too!

We hope to see the gaming bus feature at our events in the future.

A new feature we also introduced this year:

IDM Ticket Rewards

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For those that have attended before, you’ll know that tickets were either free or you could choose to donate an amount to help fund the event.

This year we created a new ticket scheme that included “I <3 Indie Games” Wristbands, IDM Posters and T-shirts. All of which were personally designed by our volunteers.

The night was filled with the glorious colours of the event as volunteers sported their t-shirts, and attendees received their gifts.

The ticket sales were a huge hit and really helped us fund the night!

Did you guys enjoy it?

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Phil Elliott, our speaker, sent us a wonderful comment regarding the evening:

“IDM Essex is a superbly organised and thoroughly worthwhile event, I have to say one of the best I’ve attended anywhere. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, while the attendance was strong and a great mix of developers and students – vital components of any good dev hub. I’d happily recommend it to anybody.”

And we also had comments from our local educators:

“The IDM Essex event was absolutely fantastic. The DoubleUpGaming team provided a brilliant and informative speaker and gave ample opportunity for networking which proved to be beneficial for myself and my students. The event gets bigger and better every year and I would recommend it to anybody who is aiming carve a career pathway in the games industry.” – Lizzy Ellam, Colchester Institute.

As for our hashtag, #IDMEssex, it saw a lot of use on the night:

https://twitter.com/reicherumusic/status/844623162113495041

So awesome to see so much support from the Gaming Community.

What’s new for next year?

As we only have less than a year to go until IDM Essex 2018, planning is already underway! If you have any ideas to improve the event, we’d love some feedback!

We appreciate all feedback we can get to make IDM Essex the most effective and entertaining meetup in the area!

If you would like to give feedback, follow the link below.

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Something that is repeated over and over again is that gaming is perfect for escapism. As soon as you load your game, you can be transported to a whole other dimension.

A certain characteristic that aids with escapism is the story in the game. So many brilliant stories have been created by the smallest of studios.

That’s why today, we are going to be exploring:

Indie Games with the Best Stories

We will explore:

  • What story makes a successful game
  • Which games have the best stories
  • Why they are so engaging

In order to discuss this topic, we will first have to pick apart all the key elements that constructs an engaging story.

What is it that makes us desperate to engross ourselves in the lives of the main characters?

There are four integral points that make us want to play as these characters and learn how the journey unfolds:

 Plot

What is a story without a plot? How would we possibly want to spend time learning and playing as these characters if there is no plot to follow?

This, I feel is the backbone of a story. It describes the main events about to happen before us that will shape the decisions in the future; it is what made us want to buy the game in the first place! Without this, there is no story.

Equally, the plot has to be unique and unpredictable. I know I certainly wouldn’t bother following a character if I could keep guessing what was going to happen to them.

Characters

Characters are free to the imagination of the developers. They can make them as relatable to the player as possible in order to feel more linked to the story that is being portrayed in the game. Equally they can be as distant from you as possible creating the ability to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes”. You can live as if you are somebody completely new.

For instance, Battlefield lets you follow the stories of soldiers in World War One while Grand Theft Auto lets you live the life of American Gangsters: something you never saw happening before.

As the character has more personality – maybe some traits you can relate to, you’re more likely to grow attached to their story and what to seem them through till the end.

Goals

If a character’s goal was to finish his Maths homework, I don’t think this target would motivate anyone to follow his story. However, if the goal was to discover the reason for the disappearance of the human race, we are certainly more likely to want to complete that goal.

The targets that the main characters have to reach are what motivate us to play the game in the first place. While we’ll have a bigger sense of achievement for completing a more dramatic goal, we’ll also find ourselves engaging with a more dramatic story.

Setting

Where the game is set is equally as important as it can control the emotions we feel in a certain point in the game. Dark, dreary rooms can easily make us feel more anxious and scared while lighter settings can relax our emotions.

Taking this into consideration, here are examples of games that have mastered all the areas that make or break a story.

The First game that deserves a mention is Abi.

Abi

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This is the sweet mobile game developed by Lilith Games.

“The world was once a place brimming with life, a place full of people. Now, the last of humanity has mysteriously disappeared in pursuit of perfection and immortality, transforming themselves into machines. Then they vanished altogether. The only beings left are the robots who were once servants to humanity.”

The story unfolds as you follow two deserted robots, travelling the world trying to discover what happened to the human race.

Each character has quirky designs and is full of personality – something you wouldn’t expect a robot to pursue. This trait alone adds to the attraction of the story as the players feel empathy for the robots making them want to follow their story.

As for the setting, we see the game unfold on a dust ridden planet that was once our home. The relatability of this – telling the players that this was once our home – definitely adds to emotions it brings as the story unfolds.

The game has us view what are distant memories for the robots making us feel even more sorry for them! All the flashbacks that include the humans of the future make the players ask the question “Is that really what we are going to be like in the future? Are we really going to be that naive?” Seeing more hidden factors about our future reveal in the game makes our curiosity grow more and more.

I had the chance to speak to the developers behind the game and the key to the unpredictable story was “Keep asking ourselves “what if” What if most of the science fiction stories are true, that the robots walk the earth in the end?

Next, we lead to our next question: where happened to the humans? Were they wiped out by evil robots, or did they find the earth was no longer ideal for living so they just took a ship and left? Or something else? 

After some discussions, we realized that this could be the question for the players as well. After we had decided the answer to the question, we started to plant the clues (in both the main and the branch storylines) throughout the whole game.”

The topic of mystery and discovery reminded me of another game:

Unravel

Certainly a story to pull on your heart strings, Unravel was created with exactly that in mind.

You play as “Yarny”, the curious character made solely out of  yarn who unravels the further he travels to reconnect the lost memories of a lonely, old woman. He journeys through the recognisable surroundings of a traditional back garden as well as other settings more challenging for our protagonist.

The main goal is such a deep and meaningful one never truly approached by developers before that it instantly wants I see to help Yarny help the old lady reconnect with her past.

With the majority of us having the older generation close to us in one way or another, this can become quite a personal experience.

And with the character being so fragile and innocent yet so selfless and determined to complete his journey, the players are continuously routing for him to succeed.

While we can imagine, what would seem to him as huge obstacles, it still quite difficult to predict what will happen in the end. Will he unravel just as he finds all the memories?

Will he be destroyed before he gets there? I’m left with so many questions that I have to play the game!

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Creative Director, Martin Sahlin communicated why meaningful stories behind a game are important to him:

“The way I see it, games are really powerful. They reach so many people, and they have the ability to truly captivate the audience in a way that few other art forms can. As a game maker, that makes me feel a certain responsibility.

I don’t want to make games that are just distractions. Time is worth more than that. I want to give players more meaningful experiences instead. Unravel™ was created in that spirit. I wanted to make something more personal, something with more impact.”

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While having a sweet back story, Unravel still offers a wonderful problem solving game that will have you playing it for ages.

Firewatch

If any quote promotes the story in a game, it’s this one:

If there can be such a thing as a page-turner in video games, this is one.

– polygon

Similar to Abi, this game is a mystery game where you play as a lone man who wanders the wilderness keeping lookout for fires with specialist tools and a walkie talkie. The person on the other side of the line is your only contact while on the job – they are your only emotional lifeline.

As you continue your job in the Wyoming outdoors, you uncover more about the character you play and the messy life he left behind as well as the area you live in.

This game differs from the ones mentioned above as the character you play as is just an ordinary guy named Henry in 1989; he’s not an Alien or Robot. As he is just a normal human being, hearing his story can really make you feel for him.

As for the setting, while it might not be one we are all used to, it can be somewhat recognisable to a wider range of players than other settings.

This idea of a (quite literally) down to Earth game offers a more real experience rather than offering a story that you know is imaginary.

What’s special about the goals and objectives in this game as this they are more hidden than they seem. While he continues his job in the outdoors, the hidden goal is more between Henry and his colleague on the handheld radio.

Here’s an example of stories with plots and characters we are less likely to be able to relate to:

Never Alone

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Another game that approaches a story from a complete new angle is Never Alone.

To develop this game, Upper One Games had the help of just under 40 native Alaskan people to help with the authenticity of the game. Thanks to this, it makes the plot, goals, setting, and characters more unique and realistic than any other game on the market.

The game was inspired by the Native Art and stories – the foundations of Alaska’s history.

“Play as a young Iñupiat girl and an arctic fox as they set out to find the source of the eternal blizzard which threatens the survival of everything they have ever known.”

You play as two characters: Nuna, the young girl and the fox, each with their own unique personality and skills to complete different tasks.

The setting communicates the harshness of Arctic Winter – something only few of us can genuinely say we’ve experienced. With the character belonging to a complete new culture, we don’t find ourselves relating to her any where near as much as with the characters in other games.

However, as this game allows us to step into somebody’s shoes, someone we never thought about, the games creates a completely unique and educational experience.

And with goal of hushing the vast winds that play havoc in her village, we want to help her, and the fox, complete it seeing how selfless she is being.

What have we learnt?

Certain trends in all of these games and their stories have definitely showed themselves:

  • Relatability – the more we connect with the characters and/ or their story, the more we want to complete their story and help them complete their objectives.
  • Mystery – plots that involve us uncovering more clues in order to complete a mystery have certainly contributed to creating an interesting story.
  • Uniqueness – the more original (and sometimes imaginative) the story is, the more it draws us to the game. Everyone has played a first person shooter or a fantasy role playing game. However, these games with the great stories are the ones that win our hearts.
  • Emotional Empathy – Seeing how vulnerable and yet determined the character is, you want to help them out more and more.

So, if you’re a developer, here is a useful tip to help create the most attractive game: focus on that story!

And if you’re a game enthusiast, try uncover indie games that aren’t as popular as the ones everyone plays. The hidden indie games can include some of the most captivating adventures.

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2016 has come and gone and yet again, the masterminds behind the “Worms” franchise have graced us with a game so brilliant, we have to mention it!

Team 17 published a game that will truly succeed in entertaining us for hours this Christmas Holiday:

Overcooked

Created for testing our fragile minds to the limit, Overcooked is all about teamwork to pass the inventive levels.

You can choose from a number of budding chefs to represent as you enter kitchens you never thought would have existed.

Designed in mind to make sure cooking is as hard and frustrating as possible, you and up to three others have to complete orders to earn as much money as you can before the time runs out.

Your goal is to train your culinary skills in the wackiest of locations to finally defeat the boss level and save the Onion Kingdom.

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You may be thinking to yourself: how on Earth could a game like this possibly be difficult??

Well my friend, you are purely underestimating the power of the game designers at Ghost Town Games.

The levels are designed so that players don’t have access to exactly everything they need so other chefs will have to complete other jobs in the game.

For instance, one has the ingredients and the other is next to the chopping boards so one chef will have to pass the other chef the food. Basically, communication is key t0 completing the game.

With this in mind, there is a single player function where you control two chefs one at a time but you can tell while playing it that’s not what the game was created for.

Multiplayer in this game is extremely entertaining.

This is the function that truly makes the game and that’s why everyone loves it:

While there’ll doubtless be at least one person determined to appoint themselves de facto head chef, Overcooked is, simply put, a hilarious game to experience with a bunch of friends.

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The more you continue through this game completing the levels, the more intense its gets!

The floor starts moving, the orders are harder to complete, enjoyment intensifies.

But there are so many aspects of this game that make it so unique; we need to go into a bit more detail to understand why this game is such a great party game for everyone to play.

The controls.

This game has been designed with the varieties of players enjoying this game in mind.

Understanding the potential of the amusement achieved with Overcooked, they have created controls that anyone can understand.

When one person is using one controller, there are only three buttons you have to worry about; Three.

Use the left joystick to move your person, X (or A) to pick up items and put them down, and “Square” (or B) to chop up. That’s it!

The observant ones among us would have realised I said “When one person is using one controller”. That’s because there is also the option for two people to share one controller!

Having such simple controls with the use of only a few buttons per player, why not utilise the rest of the controller and share it!

It also allows more people to play in one go if someone doesn’t own enough controllers.

However, playing this way is a lot harder if you’re sharing a controller with someone who’s not particularly good at sharing.

I tried this mode with a member of the older generation who felt they needed a hold of the whole controller to understand what was happening on the one side that they were using; annoying yet fun at the same time.

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Team Building

Communication is a must for excelling in this game and I mean it.

If you don’t like the people you are playing with then co-operative play is not the mode for you.

But that’s also why it’s a great party game:

People tend to show up at parties where they like their fellow attendees thus are guaranteed to like the people they play with.

If you’re playing with some people you’ve just met, this is a fantastic way to get to know them. I would consider this the perfect team building exercise.

When we played Overcooked, our strategy would be to start the level, get to know the kitchen and any obstructions and then designate tasks in the kitchen. Of course, in this process, there was always a friend that would consider themselves head chef.

However,

if you don’t like the sound of team work, don’t fret! There is also an awesome competitive multiplayer mode that tests to see who can complete the most orders before the time runs out.

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The sheer stupidness of the game.

I mean this as a compliment.

The process to completing the game required steps you would NEVER see in a normal kitchen.

What am I referring to?

I’m referring to the store cupboards that would keep disappearing so, in a rush, I would take as many vegetables as I could and throw them on the floor before they abandoned me.

Let me reiterate: I would store my vegetables on the floor.

In fact, if I ran out of table space, I would continue to store cut and uncut vegetables on the floor.

I’m also referring to the kitchens in which you cook in. Some would be in volcanoes, others would be in multiple moving trucks.
They would be set in incredibly challenging situations with multiple hazards getting in your way.

Each kitchen would break so many health and safety regulations in the real world, it’s unbelievable!

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Last but not least:

The characters

Each has a quirky sense about them and some of them are certainly not creatures you’d find in a day to day cooking game!

From Raccoons in Wheelchairs to a box-head man, you never know which character you will unlock next.

You get attached to one in particular to the point you know you’ll fail each level unless you have your favourite character (Mine’s the angry looking cat, just saying).

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What makes this game the most ultimate, super-amazing party game ever?!

If I was ever at a party and forced to play a game, what would it usually be? Something like Just Dance on the Nintendo Wii.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I just want to sit down and hold a controller in my hand, I don’t want to be physically active. Yet, I still want to be social while I do this. You definitely couldn’t do that with Just Dance.

Another game? One thing a mate would bring to a party would always be Mario Kart.

What makes Overcooked better than Mario Kart? We’ve all played Mario Kart before; we’ve been playing it since we were kids!

I’ve never been offered a party game before that revolves around cooking in ridiculous conditions but I love how Ghost Town Games realised that and now, they have given us the chance.

Overcooked has offered us a way out of the trends of mainstream games such as Mario, Rock Band and so on.

But what makes me like Overcooked so much?

This game is designed to make you happy, not for you to play when you’re happy. 

For me, I think it’s because this game has no reference to parties or celebrations or happiness. You don’t have to play it at a party, but it certainly makes a great impact on the evening!

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Overcooked has one complaint…

Many fans have been saddened by the fact that it doesn’t have online multiplayer.

When initially pondering whether online play is necessary, I kept thinking to myself: “Do we really need it? This game is so much fun when playing it with people in the same room!”.

Which is true. People love this game creates immense fun when with friends at a party, round their house etc.

Nethertheless,

Adding online functions would only be another great thing to add to the game; it would just be another reason to buy it.

I’m not thinking about the hardcore gamers that like to challenge strangers but for the long distance friends who want to find ways to play games together but can’t physically get into the same room.

Overcooked holds the perfect opportunity to reconnect distant friends and family; the developers have created something that can let people forget the miles between them.

The creatives behind this mastermind are apparently considering an online function but this however, hasn’t been confirmed (please please please make online multiplayer).

Have you played this game before?

Tell us your experiences with Overcooked in the comments below.