Spooky Squid Games on Electric Playground

Electric Playground did a bunch of indie games coverage this month and we got covered twice! Over the summer they visited Spooky Squid HQ (aka my home office) to film and talk about our games.

ep-squid
ep-squid

EP: Spooky Squid Games

They also covered the OCAD Start Show in September.  Around a minute in they interview me about Cephalopods: Co-op Cottage Defence. If your quick you can also catch Andrew and his kid playing the game in the background.

ep-start
ep-start

EP: The Start Show

If you're wondering about the big black squares around everything, it looks like they ran into a common gamemaker bug while capturing it at EP (If you're getting that bug at home, a good old reboot usually fixes it).   Lesson learned! After seeing that we're definitely going to be providing our own footage to journalists in the future.

Nuit Blanche Arcadian Renaissance

We recently had Nuit Blanche 2010 in Toronto, an all night event where the city is filled with all sorts of art, from gallery shows to huge building sized interactive installations. This year it also had an arcade thanks to The Hand Eye Society. Our game Cephalopods: Co-op Cottage Defence was one of the indie games exhibited.

There were six cabinets in all, each running an indie game made in part or in whole by people in and around Toronto.  Unfortunately the Osmos cabinet, a modified original Torontron, gave up the ghost and had to be reverted to it's standard set of games.

 
 

Cephalopods: Co-op Cottage Defence got a new arcade specific build, and (finally) a proper title screen.  I'm still doing some tweaks before I put the home version up on the Spooky Squid website, but the old version is still available for play.

A full shot of the cabinet complete with back lit marquee.

The arcade took place in an amazing space at the brand new TIFF Bell Lightbox Building.  The Lightbox was designed for film festivals which means we also had access to a huge projector...

...which was used for rounds of Everyday Shooter, Cephalopods: Co-op Cottage Defence, and a midnight Nidhogg tournament!

The award winning Nidhogg was our international guest game for the event. You can really see the size of the screen here.

Several of the cabinets will now be loaded up with multiple games and distributed around the city. Each cabinet is set up for different control schemes.  Shown here the 'one button' cabinet playing Silent Skies!

Mark Rabo from Gamercamp put together a great video of the event:

And the TIFF folks produced this one with an awesome packman soundtrack:

This was put together thanks to a huge number of volunteers and several generous sponsors.  Full list of games and everyone involved is posted on the Hand Eye Society Website.

START show and The Indie Showcase

If you've been following our twitter feed you know this has been the year of indie game events here in Toronto, the Hand Eye Society has ended up being wildly more successful then any of us expected and there have been a ton of side projects and events spawned by it. If you're in Toronto two events are coming up in the next few days that are well worth attending:

START

Tomorrow night (Oct 16)  is the gala event for START a celebration of independent games at the Ontario Collage of Art and Design. They've been showing a huge number of independent games from around the world all week in a great space on big projected screens.   We probably won't be there due to being in the last week of grant writing hell (Canada's grants are awesome. Writing hundred plus page submissions, not so much) but a new build of Cephalopod's Co-op Cottage Defense will be there and projected huge!  The space they have is amazing and it's well worth checking out even if you miss the gala.

As part of START the folks at Gamercamp put together this great trailer on the local indie scene.

It's part of a bigger project they're working on. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they make from all the interviews they've been doing.

The Indie Showcase

On Saturday (Oct 18) my friend Alex from Golden Gear Games is holding the Indie Showcase with live music, presentations from local indie developers, more games to play and, weather permitting, games projected outside on a 40 foot wall! Info on the event here.  We will not be attending, again due to what will by then be a full blown grantpocalypse .  However Night Balloonists and Cephalopod's Co-op Cottage Defense will be playable.

More events coming soon (and eventually more development vids I freaking promise!).

RGBfilter Interview

Been quiet on the blogging front for a bit, but not to worry we've just been busy on Guerrilla Gardening and some other projects. Here's a rather epic sized interview with the folks at RGBfilter that hopefully makes up for our absence. [blip.tv ?posts_id=3897684&dest=-1]

It was taped a few months ago, so I don't remember everything we talked about.  I know we touched on my not-so-mysterious origin story, the Toronto indie game scene, the inspiration for Co-op Cottage Defense and Guerrilla Gardening... oh and that pesky are games art debate crops up as well.

'Cephalopods Co-op Cottage Defence' and other AGI games released.

I've posted a few times about the current round of the Artsy Games Incubator and the co-operative game set in the world of Night of the Cephalopods I've been working on as part of it. Well all the games are now online and playable.  Other then myself all the games are made by first time game makers, most with little or no experience programming.  There's a real range, from simple reskins of existing games to small complete experiences built from scratch to promising works in progress that are just a taste of what will hopefully one day be a larger experience.   Go check them out!

As for the NotC Co-op game it now has a name "Cephalopods Co-op Cottage Defence" while it isn't feature complete (it lacks sound and a few other features) it's still very playable.  I've sat down with several testers over the last few weeks and we've always found ourselves playing 'just one more time' in an attempt to beat our last high score.

Cephalopods Co-Op Cottage Defence is a two player co-operative horror game with old school pixel art graphics that takes place in the same world as my previous game Night of The Cephalopods. Unlike NotC it's emphasis is on teamwork gameplay rather then narrative.

Lady Amber Pennyworth (scientist, suffragette, and researcher of the occult) and Winston Mainspring (her clockwork valet and lab assistant) have found their cottage lab besieged by foul eldrich octopi.  Armed with only a hammer and a fowling shotgun filled with low grade birdshot they must defend the cottage for as long as they can.

It should be obvious at this point that the game isn't the same as Night of the Cephalopods it's a lot more about game play and a lot less about interesting narrative techniques.  Don't worry it's not supposed to be a replacement for the new and improved NotC, it's its own thing. Though I'll be taking some of the stuff I learned making it and apply that knowledge to the new NotC.

Here's the description from the readme:

Lady Amber Pennyworth (scientist, suffragette, and researcher of the occult) and Winston Mainspring (her clockwork valet and lab assistant) have found their cottage lab besieged by foul eldrich octopi.  Armed with only a hammer and a fowling shotgun filled with low grade birdshot they must defend the cottage for as long as they can.

Anyway grab a friend, download it from the AGI page and give it a spin.  Let me know if you find bugs and feel free to comment with high scores if you think you've got an unbeatable score (once the game is feature complete I'll be adding online high scores)

Prepping for Hand Eye.

co-op-background
co-op-background

I spent some time tonight working on the background for the Still un-named Cephalopod's co-op game in preperation for having it playable (albeit in an early and rough form) at the Hand Eye Society Social this Thursday and thought I'd share.  For those worried that there's been a lack of Guerrilla Gardening news, don't worry a new video goes up this weekend!

Crafty Cephalopods and Other Miscellanea.

Check this out! My old housemate and friend Jen created this incredibly awesome 'tentacled monstrosity' amigurumi from my game Night of the Cephalopods!  I love how she captured the heavy brow and creepy yellow eyes. If you want to see my own much less cool Plasticine version of the same critter check out this old post on the excellent abootplay.ca, a great game blog that covers gaming culture of all sorts (from indie videogames to LARPing) across Canada.

While you're no doubt slavishly clicking on links I provide, I also recommend you check out the Fishdog game development blog which covers games made by indie creator Angelo Yazar.  I met him last GDC and he started his dev blog after checking out this one (neat!).  He currently has a steampunk themed strategy game out called Zepilin Nations on Facebook.  I avoid the dreaded Book of Faces so I haven't had a chance to try it out.  But it has zeppelins so I figure it's got to be awesome.

I mentioned in the last post that things have been extra busy, along with Guerrilla Gardening, there's been TOJam and I've also been running a round of the Artsy Games Incubator for the last month or two.  The AGI is a workshop started by Jim Munroe (creator of  Everybody Dies) where artists, writers and other creative types learn how to make games.  I  was a participant in round 3, and learned how to make Night of the Cephalopods as part of it.  Jim asked if I'd like to take on the task of running the next round which I happily accepted.  This latest round has a great crop of new games including my small co-operative Cephalopod's spin off game (it needs a title, any ideas? It has shotguns, hammers and stars a lady scientist and her robotic manservant).

  Work in progress for un-named NotC co-op game.

Work in progress for un-named NotC co-op game.

The games will be playable at a public indie game event in Toronto soon  (announcement forthcoming) and the plan is to make them available on the AGI blog around the end of the month.

In terms of Guerrilla Gardening, I just finished a bunch of art for new plants that we're in the middle of implementing and  I'll be posting a new dev video early next week. If the slower updates are getting you down,  you can now follow  us on the Twitters !  You can also see the latest twitter update in the little box on the left side of the blog.