Bitsummit 2014


A few notes from bitsummit 2014

I really had no idea what to expect but Bitsummit seems like a huge success. Apparently it was like 6 times bigger this year that last and I expect it will be even bigger next year.

Supposedly there were over 150 indie games and not all of them were commercial either. Some were just there to show their game off.

My friends at FunkTronic Labs where showing of their new game, Nova-111. It's "a sci−fi themed turn−based adventure game with a twist of real−time action!"

In-fluent. A 3D house you can explore, click on nearly anything and learn how to say that thing in several different languages. It sounded kind of lame to me at first but I tried it out and I actually liked it. I also learned a few Japanese words I didn't know.

Gangs of Space. A really cool looking massively multiplayer action space game. I think the easiest way to describe it would be to call it Team Based Asteroids. Each player controls just one ship in real time. As a team they need to either defeat the other team or large NPC ships. Looked very cool.

Phobos Children Biomechanical Wars. Not to ding these guys but this genre seems to be getting full. It's a game where you attack enemies by playing some simpler unrelated game. Puzzles and Dragons uses a match 3 game. Block Legends uses a match 2 game. This one uses colored circles that scroll down. You have to touch 3 of the same color. The twist is that very quickly becomes a dexterity game as it gets faster and faster.

Ekoro. I honestly didn't really get this game. You first play a match 3 game to "build robots". Match 3 red bricks to make a robot part. Match 3 robot parts to make a robot. Connect robots to build super robots. You get a few minutes to do this as fast as possible. You then switch to a turn based war game where you use the robots you just made to fight other robots. Maybe I don't play any similar games to get the appeal but...

Nom-Nom Galaxy. Here's a similar game in a way which I also didn't really get. In it you control a character with a saw. Side scrolling you can walk around and saw into the dirt (think Dig Dug). But, your goal is to make soup faster than your rival soup company. You do this by clearing out space and building a factory. The factory is built in parts. A soup maker. A soup packer. A rocket launcher to take your soup to the market. Elevators to connect different parts of the factory, etc. You then also have to build robots to man the factory. There are different kinds of robots. You also need to find ingredients for the soup.

On a technical note, the graphics look bitmappy but there are times when they zoom and it doesn't de−res so maybe it's all vector? Interesting decision.

Voxatron. This was interesting in that it was a game making system that used voxels. It's got an entire environment and semi visual programming system so you can make games in it and it already had 6 or so sample games. All of the games shown here were built in the system.

Second Person Shooter Zato is a game where you see through the eyes of the enemy so you have to turn your self to face the camera and shoot straight into it. It gets more intense as multiple enemies approach. The screen splits showing multiple views and you have to figure out which enemy to go for first.

Block Legend which is a match 2+ puzzle RPG shipped on the first day of Bitsummit. It's worth checking out.

Thumper is a beat racing game? Someone described it as hyper Temple Run. I guess I just liked the style a lot. Looking forward to it.

There were several Oculus Rift games. Frame Synthesis had one that was a parking simulator. You just had to park a car in a parking space. The first two times were head in but then it got harder with tail in and parallel parking. What really made it work is that to go tail in or parallel park you have to look behind you, something you can't really do well without an Oculus Rift style display. Even though it wasn't much of a game, something about the immersion of this simulation made me want a Oculus Rift more than any of the other Oculus Rift games.

The game that won game of the show was Modern Zombie Taxi which can best be described as Crazy Taxi with Zombies and an Oculus Rift. You pick up Zombies in your taxi who want you to take them somewhere else in the city. The game play seems pretty much exactly like Crazy Taxi. The funny part though is the physics make the car designed to roll when you turn and or go tail up when you slam on the breaks. The zombies in the backseat go ragdoll and fly out the windows or end up in your lap in the front seat. The fact that you're wearing an Oculus Rift mean you end up looking over your shoulder into the back seat to make sure your passengers are still there.

Talking to the devs it was interesting the lessons they learned. For example HUDs are apparently less effective in Oculus Rift because you have to take your eyes off the road and focus on something closer. If you move the stuff out in the distance then it conflicts with stuff in the world. They moved all the info on to the dash of the car which they claim worked better.

One game used a controller made from a lotion bottle.

You'd tilt the bottle controller to tilt the bottle on the screen which you could use to both aim and to guide its direction. Squirting the bottle controller squirted the bottle on the screen.

Some other guy had made MSX games using an MSX emulator.

And another had made a new NES game

Another guy had made an LED panel and made a bunch of games for it including a fighting game.

Lots of people in costumes

There were also several performances from various artists including Professor Sakamoto and Chipzel who rocked the house.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Minimum Viable Editor