The Big Indie Pitch and Gamescom week

This week has been really exciting, as there were two big events coming up: first the Big Indie Pitch on Tuesday, which was sponsored by Sega, and second the Gamescom, which I haven’t been to for five years.

 

The Big Indie Pitch

The organizers of the Big Indie Pitch seemed to like leaving its attendees in the dark, as the only info I got was that I will be pitching my iOS game SwapQuest to ten journalists (from PocketGamer, TouchGen, Making Games, etc.) in some kind of speed dating manner.
As this was the first time I pitched a game to anyone, I was really nervous. I ran around Cologne for two hours just to walk off my tension and at the time the event started I was calm (or maybe exhausted) enough to enjoy it. The first thing I noticed was that the location was really narrow and after a few minutes overcrowded with developers and journalists. As I only knew one person at the whole event (from the german indie developer forum Indie Arena) I sat down next to him and tried to figure out how this would work. As it turned out, not even the journalists had an idea what they will have to do.

Upon entering the location, though, every developer got a number that told you when you would be pitching. I was number 8, so I didn’t have to wait too long before I could show SwapQuest.
In the end it turned out that the whole pitching really worked like speed dating, as you would sit down at a table with two journalists and present your game in five minutes. After that, you had to hurry to the next table, as there were no breaks between the pitches. It was quite funny to jump from one table to another, restart the game, greet the journalists, pull two business cards out of your pocket and get started with your presentation, all in mere seconds.
After that, the actual fun began. I talked to a lot of different indies and saw some awesome games, like Sky Arena by Hammer Labs or Fiete by Ahoiii (which won the BIP, btw). It was definitely an afternoon/evening well spent.
The only thing that really bothered me was that the organizers didn’t do their homework properly. There were 40 developers that each had 5 minutes to present their game. This means at least 200 minutes of pitching, not counting in any breaks or whatever. I’m not really sure why they hadn’t foreseen it, but after 25 developers had pitched their games to the press, it was decided that it would take too much time to let everyone pitch and the whole event just stopped to announce the winner. I spoke to one of the poor guys that weren’t allowed to pitch and he was really disappointed (and even worse, he had a great game to show!).
In the end, SwapQuest made the 2nd place in the competition and I was very happy with it.

 

Gamescom 2013

The next big event was the Gamescom, one of the biggest gaming exhibitions in the world. I didn’t have high hopes to achieve anything there, but I wanted to promote SwapQuest some more by talking to people about funding and distribution and of course the game itself. Sadly, I made a really bad mistake. I didn’t think of buying a ticket for the business area. What that meant was that I was walking around the exhibition halls for four hours, fighting through hordes of teenagers, becoming almost deaf by the loud music and screaming entertainers on stage, putting business cards into the hands of irritated gamers and onto random tables, just to end up completely exhausted and dizzy and empty-handed. It was a disaster. From the moment I stepped into the large foyer I knew I was in the wrong place. I didn’t care much for the new games and AAA masterpieces and free giveaways.
The only thing that saved this day was being able to see the IndieArena booth, where ten brave indies collaborated to create the first booth for German indie developers. And it was great! The booth was quite simple and straightforward with ten stations where you could play the best of German indie games. My personal highlights were The Inner World by Studio Fizbin, Sky Arena by Hammer Labs (again), and Forced by Beta Dwarf Entertainment. But be sure to check out the trailer to see all of them, there’s just so much quality in these games, it’s amazing!

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I was on the Gamescom only for five hours, but that was more than enough for me. If I go next year, I will definitely make sure I’ll get a ticket that includes the business area. Lesson learned.

Did you go to the Gamescom or even the Big Indie Pitch this year? What were your impressions? Comment below.

ScapeGhost DevLog02 – One last thing before it’s finished

I’m just about to add the last finishing touches to ScapeGhost and I’m at a point where I worked so hard on the game that I’m beginning to doubt whether it’s actually any good. :/

But apart from that, it all seems to come together. My ToDo list is almost empty and I’m planning to submit the final version tomorrow after playing through it one more time, hopefully finishing it 100%.

The last things I added were:

  • A final boss: a giant robot that hunts the player and has three different attacks. The player can only win the battle by throwing its bullets back at it.
  • An intro: it shows how the protagonist lost his head and introduces the prison.
  • More music: finally the awesome soundtrack by André Weiß is complete. The bosses and the intro now have their own tracks and it really adds a lot to the experience.

I have no idea how good the other entries of the competition are, but I do hope that my game can compete with the rest.

Wish me luch, everyone. 🙂

Constantin

ScapeGhost DevLog01 – This… is almost finished!

Hey there everyone,

I’m really lazy when it comes to writing to actual people (whereas I love writing fiction), but still I decided to breathe some life into this neglected blog and keep anyone interested updated on my current game projects.
From now on, every week at least one new entry shall be made and I really want to stick to this rule as much as I hope YOU stick around (more bad puns will definitely follow, it’s my destiny).

As most likely nobody may have noticed, I’m writing this entry not as buttoned up and ‘professional’ as previous ones and that’s simply because I think it’s useless to imitate a style that really doesn’t feel natural. So from now on I write the way my brain comes up with stuff without wanting to sound nice all the time.

But enough of that, let’s get to the topic, shall we?

I’m in the middle of my latest project ScapeGhost, which I am entering for the WinBig competition by YoYo Games – the company behind Game Maker – and Microsoft – the company behind (you probably guessed it by now) Windows 8. Goal of the competition is to get more games into the Windows Store and by offering a nice first price of $10.000 they were quite successful to convince me to enter.

But what kind of game is ScapeGhost?

It is a classic platformer in one way, but more like a hybrid of puzzle solving and action-packed running and jumping with a twist: You play two characters at the same time.
To be true, it’s more one character that has been split in half by a thunderbolt. As gruesome as this sounds, it actually frees the protagonist from the cell he’s been living in for years. Both his head and his body survive the shock and need each other to escape this nightmarish prison.
Playing as two players at the same time might sound intimidating at first, but it’s really simple. The head is controlled with the mouse and can fly through the levels like a ghost. The body is controlled with the keyboard and moves like most characters in platforms. He is still bound to the physical world and cannot move through walls and such. That’s why he is also still vulnerable to attacks and has to be protected by the head.

The goal for me was to create two characters that need each other but also have both strengths they can use to escape the prison. This creates a dynamic relationship between the two figures, as one cannot escape without the other.

Later in the game, the head can learn new abilities like morphing into a platform the body can stand on and many more.

You can watch this video to get a first impression of the gameplay (it is still WIP, though):

The only two parts that still need to be done for the competition are the boss fight at the end of the prison levels and the intro.
Next week I’ll present you the boss in more detail and in the week after that I’ll show a sneak-peak of the intro.

Hope you got the end despite the wall of text.

If you want to hear more of my ramblings, follow me (Rebusmind) on Twitter.

Have a nice day everyone!

-Constantin

Dot. finally released for iPad

Dot.

A completely overhauled version of the fast-paced bullet hell shooter Dot. has been released for iPad devices this week.

Survive as long as possible as a blue sphere in a world full of deadly enemies by shooting and evading bullets all around you. Enjoy complete freedom in 360° with digital twin-stick controls. But beware, every enemy hit makes you smaller.
Emerge yourself in this strategic shoot’em’up and use your shrinking and growing abilities to your own advantage to outwit your countless enemies.

Dot. features an infinite number of enemy waves, intense boss fights, colorful and stylish graphics and an adrenaline-pumped electro soundtrack.

Dot. comes as a free download with a single in-app purchase to unlock the full game. An iPhone version will follow soon.

Download Now

Christmas game Santa’s Quest released for PC and Android

 

To get you in the right mood for Christmas, Rebusmind has released their own Advent calendar in the form of the physics-based platformer Santa’s Quest.

 

Help Santa find all the presents that are scattered around the world. Jump, roll, fall, and fly through 24 varied levels to collect presents and save Christmas!

 

Every day one new level is unlocked, so make sure to come back every day. The game is for free and available for PC and Android devices.

You can download the PC version here: Direct Download

The Android version can be found on Google Play.

 

Rebusmind wishes all our fans a great Christmas season!

Rebusmind is looking for a 2D artist

For one of our next projects, the collaboration of a skilled 2D artist is necessary.

The project has the working title “Eternal Eden Puzzle Challenge” and is a mix of rpg and puzzle elements.

In the game you play as Noah, who is challenged to climb the 15 floors of the tower of Eden. Each floor has its own distinct characteristics and consists of ten puzzles he has to solve. To spice things up, Noah also has to beat his three competitors, who have the same goal.

In order to solve these puzzles, the player moves Noah through the puzzle environments just like in a typical 2D rpg. He then solves the puzzles by activating switches, pushing stones, jumping over gaps, etc.

Early screenshot with placeholder graphics.

Graphical specs:

We need highly detailed 2D assets for the game. In detail, the following assets are needed:

  • 5 characters (4-directional movement, 3-5 frames per walking cycle)
  • 18 backgrounds (one for each floor of the tower + three for cutscenes)
  • 15 Tilesets (one for each floor)
  • 20-30 objects (things Noah can interact with)

The resolution for the game is 1920x1080px.

Pre alpha footage

If you want to apply, please consider the following facts:

  • We are still a very young and small studio, mostly driven by passion.
  • That said, we are very limited when it comes to our financial possibilities.
  • Of course we want to make money with our games, but to get there, we need to stay focused and concentrate on delivering the best possible experience.
  • We are willing to pay a small wage for the work and cut you in on the profits. The details will be discussed after the application.
  • The estimated release of the game is March 2013.

If you are interested in our work and want to complete our team, please send a detailed application (who you are, what you do) to kinta@rebusmind.de or use the contact form below. You can also apply for a part of the work (e.g. if you want to design the characters).

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Thank you very much! If you should have any questions, please use the comments section.

Regards,

Kinta

Hungry for Blocks: new game by Rebusmind released on Google Play

Hungry for Blocks: new game by Rebusmind released on Google Play

After one month of intense work, it is finally finished: the second game for Android devices. titled Hungry for Blocks.

The idea for the game had been in my mind for over two years, when I started working with Game Maker and wrote the first game design attempts for 2D games. I always wanted to make a puzzle game that has a clear set of rules, but doesn’t feel lifeless or artificial. As I was experimenting with different topics revolving around learning AI in games at that time, the idea came to me to combine both approaches. After some heavy refining a puzzle game with a character that has its own personality was born.

The concept was on hold for a very long time, but still I thought about it a lot during the two years and dreamed how it could look and feel.

When it became realistic to start a small company, Hungry for Blocks was one of the first designs on my list due to its simple design and manageable scope. I am very happy that this game finally comes to life on Android, as this platform is perfect for the circular gameplay.

As with Dot., the game can be bought on the Google Play store for 0.79€/0.99$ respectively.

 

Click here to get to Google Play

 

There’s also a microsite, which can be found here.

And finally, for those who have questions, problems or just want to talk about our projects, we have a forum that you can find here. We are looking forward to get to know you!

That’s it for the moment, have a great week everyone and don’t forget to try out Hungry for Blocks!
Kinta

Dot.: First release on Google Play

Dot.: First release on Google Play

Yesterday, our first game has been released on Google Play for Android mobile devices.

The game is called Dot. and it’s a fast-paced shooter in the style of other twin-stick shooters. It features fast and intuitive controls, many waves of enemies, and even a strategic component, as you grow when collecting a powerup and shrink when getting hit. The goal of the game is to stay alive for as long as possible and get the highest score.

Features:

  • Fast-paced shooting action in the palm of your hands
  • Floods of enemies and bullets everywhere
  • Use your growing and shrinking abilities to your advantage
  • Beat the highscore and climb the online leaderboard

So far the reception of it has been pretty small, as very few people have heard of Dot. or Rebusmind so far. But I was very happy when I read that Mark Overmars, the creator of Game Maker, liked the game.

The following weeks will be very exciting and hopefully a small fanbase will form. Of course we’ll work hard on our next projects in the meantime.

Also check out the Trailer and if you want to support a small indie team, buy the game!

 

And then…

So, the time has come. Almost.

I filed in my diploma thesis on Wednesday and my head is in a permanent state of overflow since then. There’s so much to do and so much to organize, like

  • in the case I go ‘indie’
    • register a business
    • request welfare to bridge the lack of income
    • polish this website and all the public channels
    • start finishing game projects
    • publish them on Android
  • else
    • look for an employment or an internship in a video game company

I have to admit that I really would like to make my own games in a small team, but as I have no seed capital, this is going to be hard (especially as I don’t know how much money I will get from the state).

The good news is that I already have more than enough concepts that are developed so far that a realization is possible. They vary widely in their scope, though, but that also makes it even more interesting. A combination of short, but fun casual games that can be completed in a very small amount of time and a more traditional long-term project would be great. Anyhow, there’s a lot in the pipeline for Rebusmind.

An official introduction of Rebusmind will hopefully follow soon, as we are still in a testing phase to find our workflow. Then, a lot more information about our future projects and what can be expected from us will be published, so that this lonely and small blog can finally shine. 🙂

Until then, enjoy your stay.

Kinta

Diploma Thesis and then…

The game project for my diploma thesis: Dream Runner

My diploma thesis is drawing to a close and while I have to devote my whole time on finishing this bastard, I can’t stop thinking about the time after university, when my game-making career finally starts.

Writing about video games (more precisely about the dynamic adaption of the difficulty in a video game) has been a lot of fun, but I can’t wait to leave it behind me and work on my ‘real’ game projects.
The months after the thesis will be very defining for my career, as I still haven’t decided if I will work in a company or try my luck as an indie developer. The safer bet would be to get an employment, as I would have a steady income, but I have so many ideas for games I want to create and with the release of Game Maker Studio there’s a good chance they will find their way onto PC and mobile platforms.

In August there will definitely be some news where Rebusmind will be heading, so stay tuned.

Kinta