I got the recent Humble Android Bundle after having seen screenshots from Swords & Soldiers and Avadon: The Black Fortress; I already had the games in the main bundle, but the expansion games actually got me this time…
I’m really stoked to continue playing both S&S and Avadon. Avadon was actually more the reason why I picked up the bundle because I’ve been absolutely aaaachhiiiinnnnggg for an isometric tactics game. I played that for about 10 minutes to get a taste, and I’m pretty stoked for it. It’s a super old-school, slow, atmospheric RPG that really reminds me of Icewind Dale 2. It’s interesting how even the interface and mechanics of games like Avadon and Icewind Dale can influence how I feel about the lore of an RPG… Can’t really describe it… After I get further into Avadon, I might be able to grasp it. I’m curious as to whether or not other people have this feeling.
But man. Swords & Soldiers. At times, it can be so racist, cheesy, and obnoxious, but I dig it despite those shortcomings. I mean, it’s hard not to get a little embarrassed when you send out a Chinese swordsman and he says “I have’a da sword” or “Ooooo, chap chap!” (“Ooooo chop chop”) or when you send out a Chinese Rocketeer and he has horrible giant teeth, but you get over it. I get it, the game is exploring ancient cultures (the three races are Viking, Aztec, and Chinese), but Chinese people still exist, so… that makes it weird.
BUT, I’m a total sucker for 2D real time strategy games after having played Epic War 3 a few years ago, and Swords & Soldiers makes some pretty cool strides for the genre. There’s a little bit of a goofy story to it, the campaign is pretty extensive, the animation is smooth, the races are balanced, the units have some cool mechanics associated with them, and there’s MULTIPLAYER. I’ve been pumped full of ideas for an even more extensive real time strategy sidescroller that I’d love to make in the future, but in the meantime I’ve been learning the tricks that’ll get me with the top ten players on the leaderboards ;D For realziez, if you have this game (and you should since you should have gotten the Humble Bundle), add me so that we can play against each other. Comment on this post, add me via username “scartheatre,” e-mail me – anything. It’s fun!
Man, PAX was a blast this year. I met so many great people, there were about 25 PIGSquad members present, I was actually super excited for some upcoming games thanks to the Megabooth, and I’m just all-around so encouraged by the international indie community and its patrons.
Now that I’m back in Portland, I’m having a hard time emulating that enthusiasm because this area has its work cut out for it. I don’t know what it’s like in Austin, Seattle, San Fran, New York, or other gamedev communities in the states or worldwide because I haven’t spent a worthy amount of time in those environments, but man, it’s been so weird to completely immerse myself in the thing I love most and then go back to a place where people couldn’t care less about game development, aren’t as enthusiastic about the medium but still name it their primary interest, or try to humor me without realizing the massive amounts of enthusiasm that keep people going in the scene. I felt so at home this past weekend, and I really want to create a similarly welcoming environment in Portland so that home isn’t impossible to achieve. And I feel that people with similar amounts of enthusiasm experience what I do upon returning to their more developed game communities even, which I guess is the long way of saying that moving is dumb and that I’m not going to do it.
ThAt BeInG sAiD/lOnG sToRy ShOrT, it’s weird to come home to worrisome things happening with regard to events like XOXO Arcade, the OMSI Mini Maker Faire (which you should go to), and a general PIGSquad meeting after having had a perfectly executed – and in some cases, serendipitous – weekend in the midst of so many awesome people and projects. That just sets a standard, though, and I’m in it for the long haul!
So dang, lots of cool stuff happened. The above is a group photo which a surprising amount of people made it to despite so many panels, tournaments, and dinner timez taking place then; you can see that a whole bunch of people wore the PIGSquad @ PAX 2012 shirt, which is awesome! I think everyone had a great time, and there were many reports of people asking about the group. I spoke with numerous developers and community organizers in Seattle who were interested in collaborating on “local” northwest events, which is great because I want to hop in at every turn! Also got to talk to some people about the details involved in volunteering/attending GDC and other conventions of a similar PAX-ilk, so I’ll be capitalizing on those opportunities when they arise, too!
Also finally got to meet Ashley Zeldin and John Nesky in person! I had been speaking with John for awhile regarding a Beep Box-related project and met Ashley through him, following their Game Jam games and IGDA endeavors since on Twitter and via other means. They’re so so great, and Ashley helped inspire me to look into the idea of hosting a panel on community organizing next year at PAX (which I believe the convention sorely needs)! Can’t wait until we can hang out next, and we’re already talking about ways to help each other promote projects like PIGSquad, Beep Box, games, and more..!
Had the pleasure of meeting developers from Octodad, Spry fox, Bootsnake, Mojang, and Vlambeer as well! Most everyone was super nice and wanted to talk about their games, which is great, because I had a lot to tell them! I’d have to say that I’m most excited for LUFTRAUSER and Leap Day; two beautiful (and totally different) games that are right up my alley. Look into them when you get the chance; they’re the first games that’ve gotten me excited to sit down and play something in awhile!
So yeah, that’s a sum up of my PAX. A super great time leaving me lusting for more upon returning home. But that’s good; I’m stoked to play the networking game (hate that word, though), am realizing lots about how to best help local devs and support our own community, have lots of people to call on for advice/help/collaboration, witnessed a huge boost in motivation to continue work on my own games, and gained a more positive outlook on the future of my personal interactions with game developers, game communities, and even non-game entities.
Here’s to friends, storytelling, and feeling at home!