23 Aug

Asura has been Greenlit!

Asura Greenlight

It’s great to announce that Asura has been Greenlit on Steam!

We have been on  Greenlight for 26 days and the game was ranked 8th of 1800 games eventually. More in-depth stats during our final day of the process is below. Will be sharing all about our experience in green-light and the daily reports soon!

Final Day

Thank you to everyone who really rallied behind the campaign, sharing, tweeting, and really going out of your way to spread the word of our game. We are trying our best to forge the epicest game we can make with the resources we have and it is been a long ride indeed.

We are on the final home stretch with regards to development as I write this and hopefully, the game should be done soon. Stay tuned for more updates and thanks again for your support and awesomeness, it really drives us to do crazy things like work 16-18 hrs days every day.

Also, a special video for all of you :)

18 Aug

Asura will be in PAX 2016 at Indie Megabooth!

Hey!

Feels great to finally announce that we will be showcasing Asura in PAX at Indie Megabooth along side other great games. You can check out the whole line up of indie titles at their blog. This is our first time in PAX as well as Indie Megabooth and hence we are super excited as well as nervous. It has all been in our wish-list to go to PAX and showcase and the fact that it is actually happening is a great feeling.

We are also happy to announce that the game is 95% complete, all the features are in and we think that it is in a great shape for beta test. Also, cool merch for Asura is under production and will be revealing our new t-shirt designs soon.

Shoutout to folks at Indie Megabooth for selecting Asura and supporting us for PAX. Congrats to all other games who made it to Indie Megabooth. Can’t wait to check out each and every one of them!

We will be sharing more updates regarding the event, Asura and other stuff soon. Thank you for your support and for dropping by

PAXEventBanner

31 Jul

Asura is Top 100 in 2 days at Greenlight, Thank you!!

Hi,

Super excited and happy to announce that Asura has reached Top 100 games on Steam Greenlight within 2 days!! We just wanted to thank you all for the support, the votes and the comments which you have been pouring in our greenlight page. We have learnt a lot during these past two days and still learning a lot while in greenlight. Will definitely be sharing all the data, info and our experience of the process as it can help other developers with their campaign.

TOP100

Thank you once again for all the awesomeness, now lets take Asura to #1!

29 Jul

Asura in on Steam Greenlight!

We are super excited to announce that Asura has been launched on Steam Greenlight. We also have a new trailer cooked-up for exactly that and you can check it out below. If you are into rogue-like genre or if you find Asura interesting then we encourage you to head over to our green-light page and vote of us to help get Asura on STEAM.

The development of Asura has been an amazing but bumpy journey but it is not over yet! We have yet to fix a ton of bugs, iron out some features and finish the game. However, it is very encouraging for both of us to see our game page on Steam!

We really appreciate all the support and love that you have poured up till now and we hope it continues in the future. The goal is to try to forge some epic stuff which can help bring a change in the Indian games industry and we are going trying our bestest to make that happen. There are more exciting news coming soon and we will be announcing them shortly. In the meantime, if you want to support Asura or Ogre Head then please do share the news with your friends and family!

Thanks for dropping by and be EPIC !

25 Jul

Our Time At Indie Prize 2016!

Hello,

I recently had gone to Indie Prize 2016 at San Fransico. If you are not aware of the event, it is a convention where a bunch of upcoming or released Indie games are showcased. We had set-up our upcoming game Asura at Indie Prize with the latest updates and had a blast play-testing the game with folks visiting our table space. Although I was super busy during the show, I managed to check out some of the other amazing games which were being showcased at the gig and would love to share them with you all!

Asura

 

Splitter Critter by Rac7 

A game with an interesting and really unique mechanic, Splitter Critter is a puzzle game where in you split the level and try to navigate your critters towards their space ship. We played it on iPad and the game required us to use the fingers to literally slice the level, set it up and make way for our little minions to navigate through the maze. Splitter critter was first conceived in a lundum dare 35 and was forged within 72 hours. Check out the game-play below and you can even play the proto-type here!

Veterans Online by Nuked Cockroach

Veterans Online is a multiplayer free to play shooter wherein you play as a soldier inspired from World War setting and duke out among each other in the arena with guns, grenades and other face melting arsenals. The game features a top down camera and has amazing art style. It has been green-light and as per our talks with the developers of Nuked Cockroach, they are all set to release it in September. If you are into top-down twin-stick shooters and multiplayer action then definitely keep this one in your radar!

Goat Punkz by Studio Canvas

A party multiplayer game where in you play as a goat and try to reach the top of the mountain and hold your guard as you lay down fire as well as other crazy power-ups upon your enemies. The game is developed by one man team, Alberto Santiago A.K.A  Studio Canvas. Made in Unity, Goat Punkz has a great charm with hand painted textures and toony art style

Fossil Echo by Awaceb

Fossil Echo is a 2D platformer with really great hand drawn graphics where in you play as a boy and set forth on a journey to climb an immense tower. We got to play the demo and had a great time traversing through the interesting levels in the game. To back it up, the music crafted  is simply brilliant and boosts the awesomeness of an already beautiful game. If you are into difficult platforms then you should definitely give this one a look!

We even got a chance to stream Asura with Dan Long at the event. Had an amazing time showcasing the various game-play features of Asura. Due to some technical issues the steam lags from time to time which  but you can still check out Asura in action with the other games below. If you would like to just skip at the Asura part then start the video from approximately 1:56:00 mark. Check out the video by HERE!

It was a crazy gig this time around and we got tons of people coming down to check out our game. Really happy to say that things have been shaping super well and have recieved some valuable feedback which we have been working after returning from the event. I had thought of sharing our time at E3 and all that jazz but due to the crazy schedule that we have been going through, it has been delayed. Most of the write-up is done  for the article as I finished it on my flight back from SFO. The pictures and other assets are yet to be peppered in the blog and it is something that I have been working on so It should be up pretty soon. We will be announcing some more exciting news soon so keep your heads up!

Also, A huge shout-out to Super Woman Yuliya Moshkaryova and her team who manage and host Indie Prize for having our game, Asura, at the event. If you  would like to showcase your games at future Indie Prize events then do get in touch with her.

Thanks for dropping by and be EPIC!

-Zain

 

 

10 May

Our Time at Pocket Gamer Connect 2016, Bangalore!

Hi,

As you might know, we attended the Pocket Gamer Connect at Bangalore. The event was hosted at Taj Vivanta in Yeshwantpur on April 21, 2016. We had planned to attend the event last year but because our mobile build of Asura not being up to expectation, We had to cancel the event at the very last moment. Even though we don’t have any of our own IP on mobile platform , we still do work on various mobile projects for our clients at Ogre Head. It is kind of our bread and butter and apart from working on our games, we do work on mobile games and keep juggling in between them.

The first day started with a key note by ketchapp founder and a talk by Kunal Soni on latest update of the Google Play platform. It was all about the new features
that google play has added for the developers. I attended one talk through out the event as I was mostly present at the venue to meet other game developers and make connections with Industry folks. The best aspect of Pocket Gamer was the Indie showcase in our opinion and this is exactly is where I spent most of my time. So as always, allow me to share with you the games which we got to play at the event!

Huebe

1.) Huebe : from the makers of Super nano which is still in development comes a new puzzler called Huebe. You play as a cube who has to traverse through platforms. It may sound easy but the whole catch is that there are tiles on the floor which are color coded and if you wish to travel past them then your cube should have the same color on the side which will connect while passing through that particular color tile. You first grab the color by tumbling over it and then try to pass through the mazes. Although it was still in development, I thought the game had the polish and was heading at a great direction. If I confused you with the very bad explanation of the game, Do check out the GIF to understand it better!

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2) Movie Studio Tycoon: Believe it or not, there is a tycoon game being developed in India and we are super duper excited for it. Movie studio tycoon is being developed by All In A Days Play, an indie studio from Mumbai! The game is all about getting into the role of a Movie studio executive and managing complicated yet fun aspects like making movies, handling budgets, promotion and marketing etc of a film studio. You get to hire directors,set scripts, choose your favorite actors and try to make the best of movies. Turns out that i am a horrible movie head though. I tried the game two times and in both those sessions, I managed to sink my studio in huge debt thanks to the horrendous decisions i made in the game. The game at the moment is a skeleton which will soon be turned into a polished product as the developers work on it more, but for the time i got to check it out, had a great deal of fun. Also got to discuss design elements in the game and share feedback with the developers which is again, always fun!

Futurebike

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3.)Future Bike : One of my favorite games from the show, let me share with you this simple yet brilliant sports arcade game by ‘All in a days play’, yes the same guys who are making Movie studio tycoon. Future Bike is inspired by football but with bikes. It plays on a 2D arena where in you and your opponent duke it out to hit the ball inside each others goal. Now i know what you are thinking, Zain! This is rocket league! Trust me, i also thought the same when i first got to check out the game. Also, it was on Mobile which made me even more skeptical especially with regards to the controls but honestly, after getting my hands on it, I had a great time with Future bike. The movement, ball physics and the overall feel of the game was present while i checked it out. As the game is still under development, they just have a battle mode and will be working on the multiplayer aspects soon. I am sure once polished and released,this will turn out be a super fun game to play on handheld devices.

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4.) Monarchy: As you might know, we are a big fan of board games at Ogre Head but to think of digital board game being developed in our country was a big surprise. Await! Monarchy by big boot games. A board game for handheld devices, loosely inspired by Snake & Ladder, Chess,etc where in you strategical try to get all your knights into the center of the game board. You can place soldiers which acts like a bridge through which the knights can traverse but things get really messy when your opponent meddles with the strategy and tries to break the link of your bridge. The game has dice rolls, cards, and other mechanics which has simple rules but adds tons of flavor in the game. The game is still in works and I am waiting for my beta access, so Nairith or Aarti, if you are are reading this, please bhejo yaar!

Wartanks

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5.) War Tanks: I got my hands on War tanks and let me tell you this, it is the best mobile multiplayer game that i have got my hands on especially for Mobile. With regards to design and execution, It just looks how it is meant to be and plays beautifully! Game-play is loosely inspired by the classic battleship, where you are opponent are in adjacent arena and tap on each others tile to shoot. You can manoeuvre the tank by tapping at the tiles in your arena. There are tons of power-ups which spawn in the center of the stage which can be equipped by shooting them but then it is all about who shoots it first, that gets rewarded with the power-up. I had blast playing it and duking it out with other people.

WordFly

6.) Wordfly: A word game with a twist, Wordfly pits you in the role of a firefly as you collect letters and try to make words out it. You being a firefly, has embers burning at your tail which also represents your health. Run out of it and game over! but if you keep making words then you can try to break all the records. Simple yet effective, in our opinion it excels at what it does with an amazing aesthetic.

Jhulo

7.) Jhulo: is a game by Seema Dhatar released on the app store at the moment. She has with her power of creative awesomeness used the concept of a pendulum and turned it into an amazing puzzle game. Tap on the screen to let the spheres swing and make sure none of them collide with each other, seems easy right but wait till you see all the levels in the game. You can download the game here!

There were still some more games that I got to play which where kind of very early in development to share and as a result, we don’t think it would be a good idea to write about it at the moment.

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I also got to showcase Asura where I could which was basically setting up the laptop on the floor or lobby and showcasing it to people who where interested and had some time in their hands. Shailesh was also present, showcasing Skysutra, an upcoming game by Yellow Monkey. I am not sharing much about it because it will be much more appropriate to show-off more about his game when it is closer to release but it is an amazing flying local co-op racing brawler nonetheless!

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On the final day, everyone came together as the results for the Big Indie pitch was to be announced. Big Indie pitch is an opportunity for game developers to  garner coverage for their upcoming game as well as win a cash prize. 5 finalist are selected from the indie showcase for the pitch. The developers are provided with 2 to 3 minutes time limit to explain and showcase their game on stage in front of audience and judges alike. One more pass, Jhulo, Monarchy, Wordfly and Light inside us where the selected games for the pitch. It was a huge surprise when Monarchy, a niche board game was called out as the winner along with ‘Wordfly’ being the runner up for the contest. Light inside us also happen to win the bloggers award. All the five games where amazing in our opinion and super congratulations to both the finalist and winners for being awesome! :D

Monarchy

If there was one caveat i had regarding the event, it would be a request to please try and keep the showcase of all the games as one of the most important part of the event. We were once literally shooed off from the showcase room just because a speaker did not have enough people attending in his session. We were asked to sit at the talks just so that the speaker does not feel bad. The talks are for people who are interested in it. There is no point forcing people to sit in talks and we hope such things does not happen next time and showcase is the prime hallmark of the event.

Thanks to folks at reliance for hosting and managing the show, To all of the fellow developers and industry people for making the event much awesomer and too all the developers who showcased their games, you lot made the event epic!

Appreciate dropping by and hope you found the read fun and useful. BE EPIC!

- Zain

25 Apr

Day 3,4 & 5 at GDC | IGF Booth, Tons of upcoming Games & Diablo Postmortem

Hi,

We couldn’t update our GDC experience since past 2 weeks due to the super duper crunch of Asura which has been going on for a while but worry not! we are back in action. We have tried to compile all the 3 days of experience in one post because I spent the majority of the time for the rest of  the days playing games at IGF booth, checking out the expo area and the attending meetings. The games are of course super interesting and exciting to share but the expo areas are just a big mash up of game software and hardware companies of which there is no point of noting down over here. As a result, we have tried to compile all of the games that we got to play and so grab your favorite drink if you have one around…. read along!

Day 3 started with an amazing “ Flash Backward: 30 Years of Making Games” by legends like Chris Crawford, Lori Cole, Phil Harrison and many more. It was an amalgamation of short talks by industry veterans who in one way or another contributed to the various revolutions in the games industry. It was one of the best segments or shows i have ever attended and you can check out the whole event in the video below.

After seeping in all the inspirational talks and nostalgic moments, I ran to the IGF pavillion which was about to open up at 10.30 AM. Now there is no point in sharing games which were nominated for the Indie games festival award because most of you would have already  played or at least heard about games like Darkest Dungeon, Super Hot, Keep talking and nobody dies, Her Story etc. But the cool part is that I got to meet most of the developers who were responsible for making such amazing games and even got to show our upcoming game in return.

IGF

Apart from the IGF nominees, there was a huge collection of games in showcase at IGF which was where I planned to spend my rest of the day and with that said, Here are some amazing stuff i got to see in action!

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Tantra Rumble: A mash up of RPG and MOBA, Tantra Rumble is an genre mix which offers 8 players to duke it on in an online battlefield. It is clearly inspired by the Indian mythos, especially the writing and the lore.  You can know more about it by checking the video below!

Shooting_sm

Realm Of Conquest: If you are into hardcore table top war games, this one is for you! It is digital adaptation of the war games played on table which means a lot more visual awesomeness and no hassle of calculating with the dices. Based on medieval fantasy setting, I got to play  Humans vs Ork, marching with my army to obliterate the enemies. Since i am a very much into table top war games, this was super appealing to me. You can know whether it is you jam by heading to their website.


Overfall: One of my favorites at GDC, It is a turn based action combat game with randomly generated missions and role playing awesomeness! You play as band of 2 heroes who are in search for their lost king all the while travelling in your ship to various places, unlocking new heroes, and completing quest! The game has huge randomly generated map which you can be used to explore and sail on. Clicking on different islands in the map will maneuver your ship to the location where you will encounter randomly generated quest. It can be a troll who is asking you to give him some food or an Ogre who wants to bash your head and you don’t have to even fight them to resolve the situation. You can use the dialogue system to communicate or use other mechanics which makes for a super fun and fresh game play session every time you complete a mission.The game can be unforgiving with brutal perma death which adds to the tension. I would highly recommend you check out the game over at steam.

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Niche: A digital board game, it is all about Genetics, heredity and evolution. You are in control of your pack of animals, breeding, feeding all the while making sure that they don’t go extinct. It is a very interesting concept which is being developed by Philomena Schwab and Severin Walker. If you are a fan of board games, you can download the demo here .

InfinuimStrike

Infinium Strike:  A mix between a strategy and action game, Infinimuim pits you in the role of a weapons commander of an epic ship equipped with multiple turrets, drones fleet and epic weapons. As the game is in 3D, enemies attack from all directions while you blast them with your arsenal. It has both a campaign and an endless mode in which you can compete for high-score.

Antegods: is a fast paced arena shooter by Code glue based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. You play as a pilot one of the teams of space faring maya pilots destroying enemy ships and collecting artificats which you can feed to the colossal titan statue who can rain down epic amounts of punishments to the opposing team. I tried the game with one of the developers and ended up beating him which i am guessing is only because he went easy on me! The game looks amazing and you can check out more about it here

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Hob: Ever since they released their teaser in one of the earlier PAX, I have been waiting to get my hands on this beaut for a very very long time. Hob is an action adventure game by one our favorite developers Runic games, the team responsible for developing Torchlight series and also the legendary Diablo 1 & 2. After successfully finishing their demo, I can say that it EPIC! The story or the lore of the game seemed very symbolic then literal and from what i understood, you play as this protagonist who is trying to save a very friendly race of creatures from these crazy looking mechanical steam punky badies. The world and the whole art style is superbly crafted, inspired from Steam punk style with hand painted textures and that Runic style treatment which you can experience in their past titles a.k.a TORCHLIGHT! It harkens back to the good old days where we used to be in our chaddies without T-shirt, dipping the bourbon biscuit inside freshly brewed milk of Milo, and enjoying games like Crash Bandicoot or Spyro, the dragon.

Below: Upcoming game by Cappy , makers of games like Super time force & Sword & Sworcery, is a survival, exploration, adventure game with a great aesthetic and art style. It kind of plays like the Zelda: A link to the past with mechanics of a survival game like Don’t Starve. But boy. does it look amazing! It is very atmospheric experience and since your character is this tiny speck in a huge environment, the visual style is very unique. Do check the awesome trailer below!

Postmortem

Except for the Design workshop, I had not attended any other talks and on the final day was all prepared for the postmortem of Diablo 1 by David Brevik. As you might know, we both in Ogre Head are big fans of the the Diablo series and I couldn’t miss this. David shared some amazing info regarding how the Diablo series was actually forged with some super secret facts which was unheard of. Let me give you an example from the 1 hour talk that he shared with us. Apparently, there was this guy who came to David  and asked him if he would alow him to rent out one of the rooms in his office to start his venture. The guy was ready to offer 10% of his start-up to the founders which included David and others but they turned the random dude down anyways. Long story short, after a year or so, the random dude turned out to be Shabeer Bhatia and the company he started was hotmail.com which you all might be very well aware of. If David would have let Shabeer use in his office space, he would have some 250 million dollars in his bank account. Ouch!

slidfe1

All in all, it was an amazing and informative talk with the creator himself while he made possibly one of the best game series in the industry. Also as a bonus, I got our Diablo 2 manual signed by David and got to chat with him for sometime regarding the various design elements of the game!

Manual

GDC was an amazing experience and I got to meet tons of amazing people, play awesome games and learn new things. It is definitely a surreal experience when you see your childhood heroes who forged things that made up most of your childhood memories and getting a chance to talk to them. We will definitely be sharing a detailed info on how you can prepare for event like GDC so that you can avoid and be much more prepared then we were before the show! It would be much better to share such info couple of months before the next GDC, so that the topic of discussion is much more relevant.

Also, a huge shout to Blake Merriam and other scholarship members including Ankush, Lalima, Kadambari, Shailesh, Mariam, Vishwas, Laxmi, Dipender, Jibran and others from the designers network who made the event that much better. Without the scholarship program we wouldn’t have made it to the event and for that we are super grateful!

In the next post, we will be sharing about our time at Pocket Gamer Connect, which happened at Bangalore. We got to play an amazing roster of games from our country and will be sharing about it soon.

Thanks for dropping by and hope you enjoyed us sharing our GDC experience. Make epic stuff and be awesome!

 

18 Apr

OGRE HEAD IS 2 YEAR OLD!

Thank you

Ogre Head Studio is now 2 years old and we just wanted to thank everyone in the games industry, family and friends for the amazing support and help you all have shared with us. It is blessing to have a job like ours where we make games for ourselves and others and although it gets kind of hectic sometimes, we cant really complain because we make GAMES! How cool is that?! we imagine crazy ideas in our head and then we forge it with love, care and awesomeness. The whole idea behind why we started our studio is very simple, it was to  forge games which we thought were epic  and bring a change in the Indian games industry. To make a place where creative people can come together and make amazing stuff. We are on our way, and sooner or later it will happen and when that happens, we hope you will be proud of us!

Zain & Neeraj,
Team Ogre Head.

04 Apr

Day 2 at GDC 2016 | Indie Megabooth, Board games and Asura Showcase !

Day 1 had been stuff of legends and my expectation were super high for Day 2 at GDC. If you missed out on us sharing about the first day experience, you can read it over here!

As most of my time on the first day was spent on one spot which is the design workshop. I thought of exploring a bit more and checking out the games which were on display. What better place to play some amazing upcoming games other than at the Indie Megabooth. Allow me share to with you some of the cool new stuff i got to check out while my time over there!

1.) Su and quest for meaning:  It is a hardcore action platformer with minimilist but beautiful aesthetics. The player has to jump around the platforms collecting coins but As soon as you land on the platform it will sink and to make matters worse, the spawning of these platforms are completely random. You get to experience some nerve wrenching but cool moments while playing the game more so because of the real tight controls that Guillaume had worked upon in Su and the quest for meaning. If you like twitch based action jumpers, do have a watch over this one.

2.) Sumer:  Oh Boy! this is a difficult one to explain, Sumer is a digital board game where in you play as one of the four Sumerian nobles engaged in a political game of worship. You have to manage your resources and build structures in order to help you craft gifts which can be offered to the gods. The gifts have different values depending on the complexity to craft them and the player who offers the most gifts wins the game! It is heavily inspired by Sumerian mythos and the style even bleeds in their art. With Sumer, they have managed to have a blend of a RTS and a co-op game in a very nice fashion. Plus they have also added AI so even if you happen to be a lonely human being without any friends to play, this game has got you covered :). Do make sure to stay tuned with the game via their website and also do check out the game-play in the video below.

3.) Fort Triumph: It is a tactical RPG, kind of like XCOM but you can use the environment in your advantage to help you win the battles. Fox ex. The mage can use her force abilities to knock down rocks which in turn can deal a lot of damage to enemies. Barbarian can kick a pillar to create a cascading effect with other pillars and damage the enemies if crushed underneath it. I got to play the demo and I must say that even though there are many aspect which requires polish, if executed properly, it can turn out to be a gem of a game. You can know more about the it here and check out the gameplay below:

4.)  Streets of Rogue: A Rogue-lite game where in even the missions are randomly generated. You play as one of the many characters in the game, fetching missions and trying to complete them. The missions might vary based on the character you have picked.  Once you have completed minimum amount of missions you can go to the next floor. One of the key elements in the game is its non linearity. You can approach the quests in numerous methods, also sometimes things get too hectic due to a silly mistake you have made in the past. You can even hire hench-mans to fight for you for some money and It is a cool spin on the rogue-like genre. The Great new is that you can check it out for free, yup! The developer has released an alpha build of the game which you can download from their website. Also, you can check out more about the game in the below video.

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There were a couple of other games which i couldn’t check out because every other table was super busy although it was super inspiring to play the games which i could. The best part of going to such events is to play other developers game and discuss with them regarding the design issues, to know more about their game industry, their work culture etc. And most of the developers will engage with you no matter how busy they are, Had a great deal of fun at Indie Megabooth as always.

Adjacent to the Indie Mega-booth stalls, there was a place set-up for board games. People where encouraged to check and preview any of the games on display and I, of course went in to check out the awesomeness.

Mictepiym: A murder mystery board game where in you and your friends are trying to figure out the murderer through a pattern of dreams. You have 12 days to uncover the whole plot before loosing the game. One of the player plays the game as a ghost who got murdered handing out the dream sequences in the form of card to each player. Every card will have some clues which can help solve the puzzle. The ghost cannot speak through out the game and can just tap on the table for basic communication. It is kind of clue-do, where in you have to find the weapon, the place and the person who murdered but that is where the similarities end. During our session, we lost the game but it was still an amazing experience. I couldn’t find the website for the game but here are some images!

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I couldn’t play any other board games reson being the showcase of Asura which was hosted at an another venue by the University of Utah.  Everyone from GDC who had a working build of their game were allowed to get their product on the show floor and show it to the crowd.  I had a blast showcasing Asura as there had been some major updates since the last build. The new game had stamina implemented, new inventory system, new items etc which we had not yet tested and the showcase helped us narrow down some of the issues in the game. In my opinion, it is always great to show people the game that you are developing but only if you can see them play. It is observing them experience your game which helps you pinpoint the issue and understand the problem, not them speaking about it. Not that the voiced opinion of the player doesn’t matter which of-course does. It is just that in the beginning, you need to establish core systems which has to be flawless after which you can tweak it based on the criticism voiced by your players.

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Once the showcase was wrapped up, that was it for me for the day and I literally ran to my place to get some well needed rest. Had a blast playing other developers game and getting to know more people in the industry which is always my favorite part in any event. Also, I can now say that the showcase was really helpful since we have tried to rectify the issue after getting back and it seems that Asura now plays much better. We are working on it as hard as we can with the best of our abilities, hopefully you will be able to judge it soon for yourself! :)

We will try bring our post to a closure with the next part. In the meantime, stay awesome and be EPIC and as always thanks a ton for all the support and for dropping by.

28 Mar

Day 1 at GDC 2016| All about Game Design workshop, Pen & Paper prototype & XCOM

headerv3-2016

As you may be aware of, It has been one week since Game Developer Conference 2016 and we thought why not share about our experience at San Francisco attending GDC.

Full disclaimer!  I got the All access pass for the event via the game designer network headed by Blake Merriam who was awesome enough to allot me with one of the slots. The All access pass costs approximately 1,500 $ which was taken care by the scholarship program but we had to pay for the travel and accommodation. I was unaware of the scholarship until Manav Arya, one of the colleagues in the game industry introduced me to the program which resulted in us attending GDC 2016 so a huge shout out for helping us out. Now since you know how we actually got the GDC pass , stay a while and listen about our time at GDC 2016!

As soon as I landed at SFO, the first thing in my list was to head straight to the Hostel. I had made the arrangements well in advance and since I had already been to Frisco before, it was easy enough to find my abode. I couldn’t check in my room before 3.00 PM and since my flight had landed at around 9.00 AM, there was a lot of spare time in my hands. I headed up to the lobby and low and behold, a whole bunch of people readying up their build for GDC 2016!

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The lobby was filled with game devs fixing and polishing their games which they were going to showcase at GDC Connection. I din’t waste anytime and unpacked my laptop to show our game. I met the guys from Moped Games, Peter and Morten, who were developing a puzzler game about an Astronaut Dog who was stranded in a desolate planet and had to find the resources for his rocket to get back home ( the resources being  fishes because why not?!). It featured tile based movements inspired by Rogue and I found their level design tech very impressive. They would lay down the tiles of their levels in a plane as usual and they had made this tool which would programmatically curve the plane like a sphere making it look like a curved planet in the game! I know i am confusing you but check out the video below and you will understand once you look at the levels or the game-play!

Blake had asked all of us, the people from the scholarship program to come at Rackspace where I got to meet for the first time all of the others who had participated in the scholarship. We had lunch, discussed some more games and headed to grab our pass for GDC. Since I had a 24 hour flight which was super exhuasting, I ran back to my abode to recharge for the next day.

GDC Day 1!

The event started with talk sessions and full day workshops. You could play games at the Indie mega-booth and  a space was set-up where the Train Jam games where being showcased . I was definitely confused as to which session to attend and how to plan my day even though i had made an agenda through the GDC app. The sheer amount of awesomeness around had overwhelmed me greatly and I had to come up with a plan set the priorities right.

The Game Design Workshop- 

Since I have always been more of a design and art guy, I decided to  attend the design workshop which was 2 full day session hosted by Andrew Leker, Marc leblanc, George Skleres and other faculty members. I had also stumbled upon Pratik Muraka from Idea labs who had past experience in GDC and suggested that I at least experience the workshop once.

The module that I attended had us form into groups depending on the games we liked. For example, there was a group who liked Super Smash Bros, another one with some Super Mario Bros passion, and I joined the XCOM group because it is one of the best video game in the world, period. :D

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We were a 5 member team who were passionate about the XCOM games and were tasked to come up with 3 words which represented the feel of XCOM. Every team had to do this for their respective games by writing it down on a paper. Then we had to select one of the word which we thought was the most relevant and drop it in the center. Our group had one word in common, Tension, so we chose that as our theme for the game!

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The reason for doing the above task was to make sure that every member in the group was on the same page. We all had to have a common goal especially since the time was short.

After the theme for the games were set and we were asked to make a very basic  pen and paper version of the game in half an hour with the emotion we chose and keep  that as the game-play theme. We tried to come up with a game-play mechanic with cards and Dice. Andrew Leker was going through each table checking out games being made and discussed with the respective teams giving constructive feedback’s and suggestions all the while. As soon as we had laid down a rough playable version of our pen and paper game, the teams scrambled for a quick lunch break.

Post lunch, Andrew gave a talk on MDA frame work which stands for Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics written by Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc and Robert Zubek.
It is an amazing approach which can help people in improving their design skills also in figuring out the various problems in their games. If you want to know more about the MDA frame work please visit do visit the following link: http://www.cs.northwestern.edu/~hunicke/MDA.pdf

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Once the talk was over, we demoed our initial version of the game and then fleshed out  the game mechanics further for another hour or so. Each of the teams in the room were asked to select one member from their team and move to the other teams table. The transferred member would play the  other teams game and then share about his experience to the whole crowd. This was kind of scary but an interesting idea and Every team elected one member who would move to  other teams table. The person who came to our spot had never played XCOM so for him the concept was very fresh which made us understand more about the problems in our game and also the parts which were working fine. At the end, he had fun with our game which was a huge relief.

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After the transferred member checked out our game, it was time to showcase the game to the other teams and faculty . Everyone had to gather around a teams table and the transferred representative would share the game-play and his experience.

All the games in the workshop had very unique and amazing choice of games on display. I have tried my best to share below  the games made by various teams however i am not to able to recollect the emotional theme that each game was based up so please bear with me and enjoy!

Team Super Smash Bros

I cant even begin to imagine how can someone come up with a pen and paper style Super Smash Bros but when a force of creative minds come together, anything is possible i guess. The board was laid basically like a single huge horizontal strip and both players had a deck of combat cards with them. Each player had to play a card and roll the dice to check the success rate after which depending on the result each player would either knock the other one out a couple of tiles. If any player goes out of the board he looses. It had some amazing core mechanics with some recovering and rubber band design elements which is what Super Smash Bros is all about. It never felt like any one was being overpowered and recovery was eminent which made the battles feel very dynamic and usually kept the players on their toes.

Team Counter strike

Yup, stuff of awesomeness and a very brave choice of game especially for pen and paper medium. So how they came up with their game is that they had a deck of card which had A and B denoting bomb site A and B in the Counter Strike video game. They had 6 people divided into 2 teams. Every one would draw the cards, and check their result. If for example, a person in team 1 would draw a card with bomb site A and the person in team 2 would draw a card with bombsite A, they would both battle each other out. How the battles work? Simple, you play rock, paper and scissors with both hands. So If you win the round, you get one point and everyone else resolves their battle in the same method and calculate the points, The team with the last man standing wins the round. It was very good adaptation of the Counter- strike and nailed the design almost 100% with the time they had. It was fast, action packed and kind of chaotic which is what Counter-strike is!

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 Team Super Mario Brothers -

Can you believe this, a board game for Super Mario Brothers. Mario has always been known for its level design so their team exactly focused on that. They had designed a 2 player game with player one having a deck of cards at his disposal. The cards would represent a tile of a level in the game, so for example let say the tile has a number 3 in it, Then player B in order to cross the platform would have to roll a D6,  If you rolled above 3 you would pass the obstacle. The cool part of their game-play was that the player A has to use his hand properly because there are certain cards which can even help his opponent.  Player A had to make sure player B would not be able to cross 6 of  his Tile cards and player B had to make sure he did not run out of lives while crossing the tiles. It was again a great adaptation of Mario brothers with some luck elements and it was super fun!!

Team XCOM -

Finally, Time to blabber about our game! So as I mentioned we had chosen ‘Tension’ as our theme for the game and wanted to focus on that emotion. We designed a single player game were you played as a four member squad. A gunner, a sniper, a support and a Medic. They were represented by Squad Cards . Then we designed the aliens based on XCOM, for example Sectoids, Thin man, Mutton etc. You had 3 lanes in your table which were represented 3 horizontal pens, This was your zone of fire. You could place you squad  in whichever zone. The idea behind the zone was that your squadie could only fire the enemies in the same zone. This introduced some flanking and maneuver mechanics in the game which I will explain later. The aliens were placed in the other side of the board, facing down. You had to choose a squad and flip an enemy card to reveal the alien after which you would shoot continue with the shoot phase. The shoot phase consisted of rolling a 2 D6 dices and comparing it with an accuracy stat. If higher, you successfully deal the damage which again is mentioned in your card. Once your shoot phase is complete, it is enemies turn to retaliate. We had critical strike, special abilities, over-watch based on each character and it was super fun to build each element in the game with such short notice and with a great team. We all had played board and card games ex. Yu-gi-oh, duel master,  DND, Talisman etc, and XCOM is one of our favorite computer game hence it was not that difficult to come with the pen and paper design!

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Day 1 ended with me dropping  at GDC Brewcade where people drank beers and checked out games, it was way to loud and too busy at least for me to check out any games and since i don’t drink, went back to my place and crashed which marked the end of Day 1 at GDC 2016.

I will try to share about our experience in parts due to crunch on Asura. GDC 2016 is a five day, all day event and it is super hard to cram it all in one post, so next time will share about the happenings in day 2 and maybe 3 since day 2 was not that busy. The post should be by sometime next week.

Thank you so much for dropping by and hope you enjoyed the read.

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