Friday we took to the expo floor at PAX Australia 2015 for a look at The Division, spoke to Wargaming.net and Newegg. On Saturday I devoted some time to up and coming Aussie talent in the PAX Rising area.
The PAX Indie Showcase and the general Pax Rising area was full to the brim with quality indie games that I’ll go through in just a bit. If you’re looking for something a little more bite sized, you can’t go past some of these Aussie gems (Opals maybe?)
Our first stop brought us to Blowfish studios for an interview with Ben Lee co-founder and managing director. He filled us in on two very different games.
Siegecraft is a real-time strategy game with a bit of a twist. The way you expand your base is by launching new buildings from your old ones. Different building types can spawn units, defend against units or open up more building paths.
The strategy in Siegecraft comes from where you place your buildings and the walls that are automatically created when you do.
Your enemy of course is trying to wipe you out and the pace quickens as you’re focused on one side of the map only to find your opponent has snuck around the side.
Gunscape is built from the ground up and feels a bit closer to the early Doom or Quake games than any sandbox dig em’ up. We played Deathmatch and were instantly caught up in the fun of hunting each other down with a variety of weapons.
The first person shooter had a great retro feel with rocket launchers, shotguns and ammo strewn about the place. Lee explained how the community have been creating and sharing maps with the tools provided by Blowfish.
“Gunscape provides a toolbox full of iconic weapons, monsters and level elements as the foundation for players to build co-op, and single-player, FPS levels or MP Arenas in the most intuitive way possible.”
Next stop (Pun totally intended) had us with the iOS game Station Stop. How are you at sending a train hurtling down the track and easing off the accelerator to have it coast into the station? This cute game has caught our eye for the simple yet addictive gameplay.
You obviously want to get to the next station as fast as possible, however there are no brakes, you have to gauge momentum so you don’t overshoot and miss the platform.
The joint developers CoopFly and Quest’s End Games are running a competition with the highest score getting their likeness in the game. The less said about how I went the better.
Ever watched those inflatable creatures outside the used car lot and thought it would make an interesting fighting character? Hojo Studio must have because at its core Inflatality is just that.
There’s fun to be had with customising your fighter’s colour and expression then it’s into a best of three battle. Don’t expect amazing combos or juggling, expect to be blown around by the wind and to work your attacks into a kind of rhythm.
If all else fails you can wave the controller around and flail your arms for a laugh.
Ascent: The Space Game
We’ve talked about space games like EVE Online and Star Citizen in the past because there are fans out there who just love them some pace. Ascent: The Space Game has the massive galaxy to explore, trade routes to establish and even colonies to create.
The main thing that separates this Indie Space explorer from something like EVE Online is that someone can’t come along and destroy all your hard work in Ascent. Fluffy Kitten Studios want you to know your colony, space station or capital ships are safe if you need to take a break and log off.
The game looks massive and has an impressive gravity system which involves asteroids (for mining ore) being in an orbit and everything constantly moving. You’ll need to be aware of relative speeds and momentum if you’re to live out your dream of being a space geologist, space scout, or space trader.
Keep an eye out for our interview with James Hicks the CEO of Fluffy Kitten Studios in the coming weeks. The game is $19.99 on Steam though you can play a low-res version in your browser (connected to the same server) on their website.
Armed with Wings: Rearmed
Daniel Sun and I (another Daniel) met on Thursday and had a play through of Armed with Wings: Rearmed. A crisp looking, black and white action platformer with no conventional jump button.
The combat in Armed with Wings feels really fluid and after playing around for moment I discovered a range of combos that came in hand for dispatching enemies. Saturday we came back to do a proper interview and hear about some of the feedback he’s been getting and what it’s like being in the PAX Indie Showcase area.
The game is currently in Early Access on Steam for $7.99 and I recommend giving it a try with a controller if you can.
Bonus: CG Spectrum
Not an indie developer but a group who works with people looking to get into game development and specifically digital art and animation. We were lucky enough to get some time with Jeff Pepper the head of the CG Spectrum school to chat about how artists can break into the industry.
There’s way too much information to go into here in this short (short are you kidding?) write-up, but it was pretty eye-opening to hear him speak candidly about the opportunities available and how hard work can take you places.
If you’re an aspiring digital artist looking to learn from people currently in the industry, CG Spectrum should definitely rate a look.
Overall for Day Two of PAX?
Another massive day, and my feet are killing me. A special shout-out to Wargaming who hosted a drinks event this evening in the city. It was great to unwind a little with some gamers and chat about the cool things they’ve seen at PAX so far, and of course what’s in store tomorrow.
Speaking of which, I’ll leave you there so I can still get in some Zzz’s and be fresh for the final day of PAX Australia 2015. I aim to get stuck into some tabletop games. If you have any suggestions let me know.