News

Category Archives

Community related news, announcements, competitions, events and more from the Staff.

An Alliance in Java, Rock & Retro Video Games

Coffee Crisis, Features

On one hand there’s Black Forge, a communal celebration of all things artsy, baked and roasted nestled somewhere about the heart of Allentown.

 On the other lies the Pittsburgh-based global ensemble of Mega Cat Studios that never quite left the eighties.

Sure, in seeking to breathe new life into old game consoles via its varied roster of indie game titles, the latter seems to embody the very entrepreneurial spirit Black Forge has been intent on fostering through the years.

Yet letting a mutual respect for copious amounts of caffeine and decrepit consoles drive the two businesses towards a collaboration – a collaboration over a Sega Genesis/Mega Drive video game even – is a story they’re itching to tell.

Coffee Crisis is a successfully crowdfunded affair, an arcade-style beat ‘em up, and Mega Cat Studio’s first major release all bundled in a cartridge reminiscent of the 16-bit gaming era of old. With close to a decade of contract work shared between its members, the team however recounts its Kickstarter venture as everything but idealistic. 

‘It never seemed like it’d be our debut project,’ recalls resident Cat James Deighan. ‘We had a few marketing partners drop out mid-way, before our lead developer came down with personal issues of his own that forced him to break for a few months.’

‘More than once we had to decide between being a Kickstarter campaign that’s forever delayed, or, double down on our commitment to make a game people will enjoy’. Despite the post-Kickstarter rush that had most of Coffee Crisis’ art/team undergo an overhaul, the Studio drew comfort in the fact that at least its script was settled.

This at the unlikely hands of Black Forge baristas/founders Nick Miller and Ashley Corts too, not something an indie game studio is wont to do for its flagship title. It was with 2015’s iteration of Pittsburgh’s Retro Gaming Convention, that the two businesses discovered in their gaming discourses a collaborative tool for coffee, heavy metal and aliens.

Before long Miller found himself trading notes with local comic writer Jeff Williams in a desperate frenzy to put forth a compelling narrative for the game. Admittedly while the challenge lay in meeting a deadline, Miller and Corts had the experience of previous podcast-type scripts and a degree in film to fall back on.

And then of course there was Black Forge’s own Indiegogo campaign. Make no mistake the plot is far from sophisticated; on the contrary, it’s every bit outrageous to the point that no explanation is given as to why players are called to take down a rogue alien race that wants to steal earth’s java and wi-fi.

This they must do in very hyperactive button-mashing side-scrolling fashion, chaining attack-combos, stacking up level scores and partaking in coffee-themed minigames in either single-player or local co-operative multiplayer modes.

‘In all honesty, space aliens are easy targets for potential bad guys!’, state Miller/Corts, both of whom feature as playable protagonists after the alien invasion quite literally lands at Black Forge’s doorstep.   

‘Add in the ability to take over the minds of innocent humans to carry out their bidding and now we can justify hitting little old ladies with walkers in the head with bags of coffee. It’s them or us!’

In its absurd twisting and numerous innuendoes the plot even visits the real-world likes of Warrington Ave, Grandview Boulevard, PNC Park and Duquesne Incline, before ascending to Mars against an unruly shrieking of guitar-riffs. It’s the eighties after all where questions apparently don’t exist.

Growing up playing everything between the Nintendo Entertainment System and the original PlayStation, both coffeeholics allude to seeing in Coffee Crisis the perfect extension of the Black Forge brand. ‘The metal and coffee themes were already in the mix; yet we never thought we would ever see the day that we would be playing ourselves as video game characters!’

‘Now it’s a reality and we have access to a whole new demographic of potential fans and customers.’ It’s true that in calling the entire experience enlightening, the pair goes on to attribute its newfound confidence in breaking molds, diversifying streams of revenue and overall brand awareness to Coffee Crisis.

Moreover with the game gearing up for a release across the more modern PC and Xbox One console this year, expectations of renewed interest in the coffee shop and its merchandise are at an all-time high.

Shortly after sending out its Sega Genesis/Mega Drive copies to backers through 2016, Mega Cat claims to have gone back to the drawing board with its backers. Appearances at some 20-odd gaming convention has not only yielded improved visual effects, animations, controls and a reinvigorated soundtrack, but a cranked up difficulty setting.

Death Metal Difficulty, as Mega Cat calls it, features an interplay of variables known as random modifiers that not only keeps each play-through of its brawler system uniquely challenging, but further enables enthusiasts to actively partake in their favorite Twitch/YouTube gaming content creator’s streams.

‘With support for Twitch & Mixer integration alone, we’ve not only seen average play times double but streamers circling back to play the Coffee Crisis again over subsequent days,’ attests James Deighan. ‘That said, we’re yet to find someone capable of beating Death Metal difficulty’.

Fans of the retrospective absurdity of a gaming experience Coffee Crisis hopes to offer will be able to pick up a Windows/Mac/Linux-compatible copy from either of the Steam or GOG stores this month, while the Xbox One release has been slated for late July.

The original Sega Genesis/Mega Drive edition however is available on the Mega Cat online shop, with a special discount on the same promised to those who successfully score past a particular threshold on either of the PC or Xbox versions.

‘No matter how cool us elderly folk think retro games are, bridging the generational gap of new school gamers to old school platforms is truly very important,’ Black Forge exhorts when asked if a Coffee Crisis port is a necessity it believes in.

‘The video game industry is fascinating after all and very much its own monster.’

This article was commissioned by Mega Cat Studios on account of Coffee Crisis’ PC/Xbox One release, to which Sean Braganza has been contributing as an independent contractor in a PR/content writing capacity. More information on its portfolio listing here.

Coffee Crisis: Why This Pittsburgh Alien-Brew Wants a Shot of PC, Xbox One

Coffee Crisis, News

When it really shouldn’t.

Mega Cat Studios has considered itself part of the ol’ Kickstarter Retro Renaissance after all, wherein anything past discrediting the cloud and evangelizing cassettes is probably heresy.

Coffee Crisis celebrated something of an anniversary this December past, 12 months after 200-odd backers ordered a side-scrolling/beat ‘em up flavored roast off Black Forge Coffee House’s tap.

Retrospective box-sets were delivered to their equally retrospective Sega Genesis/Mega Drive owners and now, the game’s all steamed to make its debut on the PC/Xbox One across May-July. To which you might fairly enquire if the forthcoming ports are any different.

Quite a bit, actually.

Sure the Smurgliens are making a comeback for another serving of the original single player/local co-op plot penned by BFCH baristas/protagonists Nick Miller and Ashley Corts. They’ve tapped into the Earth’s Wi-Fi, the absurdity it calls music and are keen on invasion but then there’s –

Death Metal Mode

Months of research harvested off beta testers and 30-odd event appearances have given Mega Cat something called Random Modifiers.

Yeah there’s no Retro Renaissance without rogue-lite and as if hurling combos, carafes and bags of coffee beans at the aliens gave no satisfaction, these Modifiers mean to keep things re-playable by either helping, hurting or distorting players.

Consider them variables that erratically spawn antagonistic surprises, throw disco/coffee/CRT-themed on-screen filters, deactivate cheat codes, grant buffs and mess with your FOV to keep each play-through of Coffee Crisis’ new Death Metal difficulty unique.

Anywhere from one to five Random Modifiers may come into play within a level’s Finish Them Zones – designated areas where the screen ‘locks’ and prevents onward progress until all the ugly-Smurglies have been eliminated.

Overcoming the Genesis/Mega Drive’s technical limitations are more on-screen enemies, move sets, increased obstacle awareness and amped stats, while you, beloved player, are offered a renewed roster of flings, breakables, power-ups, mini-games and attacks developed exclusively for the PC/Xbox One from the ground up.

Twitch/Mixer Integration

Plus, mash those buttons long enough with a measure of dexterity and you just might earn yourself a discount on a Coffee Crisis cartridge.

Twitch/Mixer support lets players not just spectate their favorite streamers couch-brawl but cast votes upon the Modifiers that Coffee Crisis applies to their broadcasted Death Metal sessions.

‘We started testing with broadcasters early on and have continued testing as we make changes and adjust features,’ Zack Manko, Lead Cat, quips excitedly in noting how the new mode of difficulty is yet to be beaten.

‘Seeing viewers spawn more aliens to harass their favorite streamers (playfully) is always good for laughs, but more importantly it’s good for the streamers, their viewers, and for the gameplay experience.’

Guitar Riffs

And to think much of it derives from Coffee Crisis’ new 10-track jam tuned especially for the PC and Xbox One.

With equal parts double-bass drums, breakdowns and melody that’s apparently meant to both crush and spill coffee beans, relates Mitch Foster, Nylon video game guitarist/composer/sound engineer who pairs with high school band mate AJ NOE.

Rainy streets(above), Tizzy and Reach For Home are your proofs of concept but hey, that’s not all.

A Skinny Chestknee (pictured above) cameo with reinvigorated sound effects, reworked animated sprites, dedicated support for the Razer Chroma keyboard, Level FX, dual controller compatibility with adequate rumble and an in-game backer-celebrating Hall of Fame are all extras.

Coffee Crisis is due across the Steam/GOG marketplaces this May and will be followed by an Xbox One release late July. Pause for a cuppa at the website for a complete breakdown.

This article was commissioned by Mega Cat Studios on account of Coffee Crisis’ forthcoming PC/Xbox One release, to which Sean Braganza is contributing as an independent contractor in a PR/content writing capacity. Also featured on Retronator, Xbox Tavern, Cliqist, Gamasutra and DestructoidMore information on its portfolio listing here.

Sniper Rust 3D Now Available Free-To-Play Across App, Play Stores

News, Press Releases, Sniper Rust

Featuring real-world 3D environments, adaptive A.I and multiple objectives spread across –

  • A Single-Player Campaign of three chapters and unique locales paying homage to classic first-person shooters,
  • A 15-Wave Zombie Survival Mode for all-out RVS/Minigun-fueled warfare, 

 

Sniper 3D Rust is the next instalment in Gujarat, India based Zatun Games Studio’s sharpshooting franchise that also constitutes the Oculus Rift-compatible Sniper Rust VR.

Players must prove themselves capable marksmen/zombie-hunters in conquest of the Ports, Airfields and Wilderness with either of the AS-369, AV.90, J49, RVS and Minigun.

Successfully chaining headshots, beating the clock and courageously withstanding undead hordes merit in-game currency, while in-app purchases further allow for a mix of discounted, weapon and ammo packs to up the ante.

Also planned are up to four additional chapters, increasingly complex campaign objectives, comprehensive strategies such as Air Strikes and WWII-era weaponry as subsequent updates.

Install the game via either of the App or Play Stores today and earn up to 2,500 in-game coins to give your mercenary careers a boost.

The above press release was drafted by Sean Braganza as an independent contractor for Zatun Games Studio. For images, videos and additional information, please visit Sniper Rust’s  profile here on Higher Eclectic Ground. 

Press inquiries meanwhile may be forwarded to biz[at]zatun[dot]com.

About Zatun

Based out of Gujarat, India, Zatun is an award-winning mobile, VR, and cross-platform game development/art studio.

It offers external art production and game development services across multiple genres and platforms, including but not limited to PC, mobile and Virtual Reality devices.

In addition, its own stylized, innovative and award-winning IP’s are enjoyed by millions of players worldwide. Visit the company’s profile for an illustrative overview of projects, clientele, and game releases.

Prove Yourself an Elite Mobile Marksman with Sniper Rust 3D

News, Press Releases, Sniper Rust

The next instalment in Zatun Games’ sharp-shooting franchise is set to bring the armed militia and a wave of the undead to the App and Play Stores on the 12th of April, 2018.

Whereas Sniper Rust VR offers a globe-trotting Virtual Reality adventure, Sniper Rust 3D will position itself as a multi-chapter mobile experience inclusive of –

  • 3D Environments. Ports, Airfields, Wilderness and more, each featuring a quality of level design inspired by Zatun’s favourite war games. 
  • A Varying Difficulty Curve, making every combat sequence a challenge with multiple objectives and adaptive enemy A.I.
  • Real-world Weaponry, à la the AS-369, AV.90, J49, NSF, RVS and Minigun. 

When not impersonating a lone wolf mercenary over a plethora of stealth-based objectives, players may take to a zombie survival mode exclusive to Sniper Rust 3D for periods of all-out warfare.

 

Wages for successfully chaining headshots/kills, beating the clock and general finesse in withstanding the bloodthirsty will take the form of coins, which may also be availed of via in-app purchases offering discounted weapons, ammo and health packs.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Up to four additional chapters, increasingly complex campaign objectives, comprehensive strategies such as Air Strikes and WWII-era weaponry are planned as future updates to the forthcoming release build.

Furthermore installing Sniper Rust 3D from either of the App or Play Store on launch day will reward players with 2500 coins, while VR enthusiasts may choose to try its Oculus Rift-compatible counterpart across the Steam and Oculus stores at any time.

 

The above press release was drafted by Sean Braganza as an independent contractor for Zatun Games Studio. For images, videos and additional information, please visit Sniper Rust’s  profile here on Higher Eclectic Ground. Press inquiries meanwhile may be forwarded to biz[at]zatun[dot]com.

About Zatun

Based out of Gujarat, India, Zatun is an award-winning mobile, VR, and cross-platform game development/art studio.

It offers external art production and game development services across multiple genres and platforms, including but not limited to PC, mobile and Virtual Reality devices.

In addition, its own stylized, innovative and award-winning IP’s are enjoyed by millions of players worldwide. Visit the company’s profile for an illustrative overview of projects, clientele, and game releases.

Play The HyperParasite Prototype on Itch.io

HyperParasite, News, Press Releases, Van Reeves

The preliminary build of Troglobytes Games’ upcoming frantic, rogue-lite SHMUP is now available for free.

Letting players operate as a body-snatching organism in a dystopian rendition of the 1980s, the action-packed prototype offers access to –

  • Downtown, a fully-playable level that randomly differs in layout with every play-through.
  • Eight Playable Characters to Body-Snatch. Wield bats, bottles, rifles and explosives as you wage all-out war against martial law.
  • Unlockable Levels, Secrets & Future Add-ons. Currently inclusive of one hidden level and multiple items to discover.
  • Hi-Res Cover Artwork & an Original Synth-wave Soundtrack. Featuring Guerilla and Space Marine by Mr. Reeves.

Despite not being representative of the complete HyperParasite experience, the prototype’s purpose is that of encouraging player involvement in the game’s ongoing production process.

‘The prototype will progressively be updated with playable characters, collectibles and an assortment of game-play features that we as a team will be mulling over henceforth,’ states Lead Developer Luciano Iurino, addressing retro-SHMUP enthusiasts and game developers alike.

‘We’ll naturally need your feedback more than ever during this period; being avid users of the platform ourselves, itch.io is the perfect means to provide you with early access.’ 

Not ruling out the possibility of Steam Early Access preceding the game’s full release next year, the team prefers to consider the same only once HyperParasite’s more advanced game-play features are implemented in their entirety.

Following multiple event appearances through the course of this year, the game’s core mechanics continue to be worked upon as focus shifts towards implementing local co-operative game-play support.

‘We intend for HyperParasite as a SHMUP to be played with friends, and trust that co-op will only enhance the current prototype experience,’ affirms Iurino.

Graphical assets are also being reworked, with major character design updates expected over the forthcoming weeks.

Those wishing to download the HyperParasite prototype and partake in its going development, are encouraged to leave the development team with regular feedback and/or queries on its itch.io, Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram pages.

For a complete kit of images/GIF’s from HyperParasite, social media profile links and other media, visit the game’s profile here on Higher Eclectic Ground. For any additional press/media enquiries, or to request addition to the game’s mailing list, please e-mail sean.b@highereg.com

About HyperParasite

A top-down, rogue-lite shoot ‘em up at its core, HyperParasite pays homage to an era that developer Troglobytes Games considers itself heavily influenced by.

With players picking up the titular role of a parasitic organism bent on world domination –

  • Being able to dynamically snatch and switch between the bodies of nearly every weapon-wielding Homo sapien they encounter, ensures bullet hell almost never ceases.
  • Persistent wit and dexterity is demanded with multiple character classes to consume, host-specific abilities to exploit and a skill-based progression system to overcome.
  • HyperParasite takes its rogue-lite mechanics very seriously. Procedurally generated levels, multiple game-play objectives, gruelling waves of enemies, deranged bosses and perma-death make it nigh-impossible to beat in a single run.
  • All while Troglobytes’ in-house dungeon-generation technology, Vania, ensures the seamless randomisation of visuals, sub-levels & secrets.

HyperParasite will also feature local co-operative multiplayer, letting players cherish its characters, urban legends, items and pop-culture references with a mullet-wielding friend. In development for a late 2018 release on PC and Consoles.

Website | Facebook | BrightLocker | Indie DB

About Troglobytes Games

Troglobytes is a small independent video-game development studio based in sunny Southern Italy, founded by both veterans and young talents.

As every developer should, it loves both playing and making video games, going so far as to maintain an original arcade gaming cabinet at its HQ to return to for repeated inspiration.

Its mission is to create innovative, high-quality games across a variety of platforms using the latest in technology, while focusing on storytelling and aesthetics.

Additionally, the team’s members are known to frequently take on freelance contracts and outsourced projects within the industry; from game design to 2D/3D artwork & animation, a complete roster of the titles they’ve contributed to so far can be seen on the studio’s website.

HyperParasite is being worked upon by Troglobytes Games’ core members in association with select external collaborators. Besides being a certified Playstation® developer, the studio is also a part of Microsoft’s ID@Xbox Program.

Twitter | WebsiteInstagram | Facebook | IndieDB | YouTube | Steam

Sniper Rust VR Demo Now Available on Steam, Oculus Store

News, Press Releases, Sniper Rust

A demo of Zatun Games Studio’s virtual reality sharpshooting experience, Sniper Rust VR, is now playable via the Steam and Oculus digital marketplaces for free.

Functioning as an elite marksman employed by a covert Agency, players are called to embark on a first-person campaign against an armed militia uprising across international borders. The complete, 18-level Sniper Rust VR adventure features –

  • An Immersive Virtual Reality Experience, with up to four uniquely designed, photorealistic environments to explore.
  • Realistic Weaponry. Each mission begins with one of four real-world guns, locked and loaded with special features.
  • Adaptive Enemy AI. Diverse enemy classes, well-concealed snipers, air/group assaults and traps behind enemy lines make every level a challenge.
  • An Easy Learning Curve. A Sniper Training Area keeps Sniper Rust VR fun to play, minus the nausea and dizziness associated with VR games.
  • An Action-packed Soundtrack of intense orchestral sounds for thrilling, edge-of-your-seat action sequences.

Sniper Rust VR is due for an 8th December 2017 release compatible with the Oculus Rift virtual reality system. Serving to gather user feedback as finishing touches to the full game are implemented, the demo meanwhile includes a singular game-play level with the rest of its features unlocked.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

‘Zatun began work on Sniper Rust VR in the month of January this year when we first got out hands on the Oculus device.’ states CEO Abhinav Chokhavatia.

‘We were already working on a mobile version of Sniper Rust at the time.  With no sharpshooting VR games available and Oculus tech. being relatively new, we believed creating a virtual reality version would be a good idea.’

Also in active development, the mobile version of Sniper Rust will differ largely from its VR counterpart in terms of offered level design, game-play modes, enemy AI and player arsenal. An official announcement of its upcoming release is due soon.

As a freelance content writer, Sean Braganza assisted in the creation of multiple game descriptions of varying character lengths for Sniper Rust VR’s Steam and Oculus store pages in the month of August, 2017.

For images, videos and additional information, please visit Sniper Rust VR’s profile here on Higher Eclectic Ground. Press inquiries meanwhile may be forwarded to biz[at]zatun[dot]com.

About Zatun

Based out of Gujarat, India, Zatun is an award-winning mobile, VR, and cross-platform game development/art studio.

It offers external art production and game development services across multiple genres and platforms, including but not limited to PC, mobile and Virtual Reality devices.

In addition, its own stylized, innovative and award-winning IP’s are enjoyed by millions of players worldwide. Visit the company’s profile for an illustrative overview of projects, clientele, and game releases.

Play Despot Dungeons, a 1-Bit Roguelike Puzzler For Free

JMD, News, Press Releases

Despite challenging himself to a round of Christer Kaitila’s One Game a Month (#1GAM) in the month of August, this year, and subsequently missing his deadline by a large margin, independent games developer Hjalte Tagmose has launched a completed build of his pixelated, roguelite project of Despot Dungeons on itch.io and the Google Play Store.

Featuring an original chip-tune soundtrack composed by Higher Eclectic Ground’s Simone Bernacchia alias Jovanotti Must Die (J.M.D)

  • Despot Dungeons follows a disenfranchised, humiliated little frog’s campaign to dethrone tyranny.
  • To this end, players must conquer up to three distinct levels of enemies, puzzles and bosses in the monochrome sewers they’ve been subjected to.
  • While each area abounds in turn-based movements, varying interactive objects and mechanics.

Available at a base price of free, the game came can be downloaded for either of Windows or Mac and financially contributed towards via itch.io, or for Android via the Play Store.

While Tagmose would certainly like to expand Despot Dungeons with additional content in the future, his plans for the same remain indefinite for the moment.

‘Maybe I’ll pair up with someone who’s a little more competent in level design in the future,’ he adds. ‘If I want to sell the game, I’ll definitely want to work on a lot more content but I’m not really looking to do that as of right now.’

Created by Christer Kaitila alias McFunkypants, himself a freelance game developer, author and musician, the #1GAM challenge is notorious for inviting game development enthusiasts from all walks of life to complete production of a game within a single month.

Running virtually all-year round, offered to participants is plenty of publicity, XP and bragging rights that adds up with every successful release amid a constantly growing community.

Rules are relatively none and there exists no entrance fee, with participants allowed to form teams, use existing code frameworks, create sequels to prior projects, build freeware or even sell their games.

‘If you are having fun, then you qualify. If at least one person in the entire world would call what you just made “a game” then it qualifies. ‘ 

For Tagmose, a 19-year old programmer, artist, writer and storyteller, #1GAM seemed to provide incentive enough to actually finish a game project by himself, having created numerous smaller ones for game jams under the moniker of Real Fast.

Salvaging old rogue-like (turn-based on a grid) game prototypes from his hard drive in the month of August, he proceeded to chronicle Despot’s evolution therefrom by means of a three-part developer-log on his website.

It was around this time that he was put in touch with JMD via myself, the retro game music composer’s representative and manager, who naturally sought direction from the game’s graphical look, The Legend of Zelda, classic telefilms and cartoons in the composition of its OST.

‘With the music almost exclusively making use of micro samples that allow for a chiptune vibe, while being spread over eight channels, I’ve hoped to have it sound like playing a Game Boy on steroids,’ states JMD, a chip-rock, electronic and ambient artist that has been creating music for Amiga homebrew games, modern ‘retro’ games, commercials and animations since 1989.

‘The fact that Despot is a retro game being developed on a modern engine such as that of Unity, allowed me to use a more fitting platform – the fast-tracker format, fully handled by Milkytracker – than my usual MOD files.’ A complete playlist of the game’s soundtrack can be heard on musician’s YouTube, created especially for the purpose.

Those wishing to hear more from his portfolio of work over the years, learn of his expertise, hobbies and references, or reach out with feedback/requests to collaborate, can do so by visiting his profile on Higher Eclectic Ground or by mailing sean.b[at]highereg[dot]com.

Will you be playing Despot Dungeons? Did you enjoy the game’s original soundtrack? Let me know why/why not in the comments below.

 

Retro-Modern Platformer Run Die Retry Debuts Oct. 9, 2017 on App Store, Sam Oz Adds Synthwave

News, Press Releases, Sam Oz

IT consultant Nikola Lajic makes his debut in the independent games space this month with Run Die Retry, a free-to-play platformer for iOS 9.3+. Tasking players with surviving a linear, continually flowing pathway haunted by obstacles and enemies for as long as they can, the game’s endless-running style of play will be accompanied by a looping, synthwave composition by Higher Eclectic Ground’s Sam Oz.

Both game-play and the background music track can be previewed in the game’s launch trailer. With in-game obstacles taking the form of ghosts, boulders and vaporising laser beams —

  • Each play-through of Run Die Retry promises to differ from the previous, thanks to randomisation of levels.
  • Visuals come in retro-modern, pixel art graphics, accentuated by the use of real-time shadows.
  • Future updates are slated to bring a greater variety of traps, enemies and environments.

Although seemingly rudimentary in concept and design, Run Die Retry’s value lies in the fact that it represents Lajic’s first, complete attempt at game development since being introduced to the realm in 2005.

A Novi Sad, Serbia resident, Lajic’s day job has involved the development of various iOS applications since 2009.

Starting with task manager TapDo before progressing to independent lifestyle app releases such as that of For The Next, his occasional experimentation with game design resulted in his first foray into Unity3D circa 2015.

Despite wanting to keep things simple however, Lajic found himself stressing too much over the details to sustain the newfound hobby and eventually burned out. In his own words — ‘“Perfect is the enemy of done”, this has been a problem for me most of my life. Starting something and then never finishing because I was never 100% satisfied with the result.’

By September, 2016, he returned with renewed intention to finish development of a game, however small, and has been documenting progress across a blog and social media ever since.

Via Higher Eclectic Ground in the month May, this year, the developer was put in touch with Winterthur, Switzerland based multi-genre, freelancing music composer for games, Sam Oz .

Oz had first experimented with the Synthwave genre at the time with his two-part composition, In The Stars, that instantly appealed to Lajic’s vision of a retro-sounding background music track for the game.

‘The melody for Run Die Retry’s game-play loop came to me quite quickly,’ Oz recounts. ‘It was one of those times; for usually, in cases such as these, it can take me a while to come up with something appropriate.’

To mark the upcoming launch, Lajic has now established a dedicated website for Run Die Retry that contains links to its App Store page, social media channels, various media and the developer’s blog should one wish to follow-up on his history.

Developers and Synthwave enthusiasts wishing to learn more of Sam Oz’s music services meanwhile, collaborate with the artist or connect with him on grounds of original music requests, may do so via his profile on Higher Eclectic Ground. Also present therein is a complete overview of his work history, software expertise, references and bio-data. Feel free to direct any queries you might have to myself, representative and manager of Oz’s freelance music services for games, via sean.b[at]highereg[dot]com.

Will you be adding Run Die Retry to your casual gaming collection? Did you enjoy Sam Oz’s work? Why/Why not? I’d like to hear from you in the comments below.

CyberThreat® Story Teaser Out Now, Features Music by Van Reeves

News, Press Releases, Van Reeves

Debuted over the weekend, CyberThreat®’s new Story Teaser offers players their first-glimpse at the progress made by the upcoming RPG’s development of narrative, level and soundtrack design. Created by independent developer Conor McKenna in association with numerous freelance contributors, the game’s Teaser also features the Cyberpunk-themed composition of No Chill by Higher Eclectic Ground musician Van Reeves.

CyberThreat® deems to explore the consequences an evolved, highly intricate cyberspace has on  fictional Edendale.

As an adolescent in their final year of High School study, players are confronted with a string of mysterious disappearances that plague the city with Cyber-bullying functioning as the common link.

This ideal year of juggling courses, social lives and a colorful cast of characters is soon turned on its head however, when players discover themselves to be the next victim of technological harassment. With cases to solve and more than their grades to protect, one must —

  • Set out on a story-driven epic as a character with customizable  stats, hacks and costumes.
  • Put all-of-the-above to use in exploring a beautifully hand-crafted 3D world, enlivened by dynamic calendar system, a huge cast to befriend and a host of mini-games/chores/activities to engage in.
  • Accommodate strategic thinking in their case-solving, thanks to a classic turn-based style RPG combat system that pits them against sinister, virtual-reality enemies.
  • All while an over-arching, re-playable storyline expounds itself over multiple episodes and scenarios playable from the perspective of a male or female protagonist.

Powered by the Unity3D game engine, CyberThreat® is being developed for an intended PC release period of 2018-’19. PS Vita and other console ports are planned, although this will ultimately depend on public interest, support and funding.

Additionally, CyberThreat® will feature in-game art, music and audio assets developed by an eclectic ensemble of freelance talent.

The Teaser’s theme of No Chill was originally developed as a Creative Commons, background music track by Synthwave/Cinematic/Metal/Ambient freelance music composer, Van Reeves for use in game projects.

McKenna’s interest in the three-minute, synth/cyberpunk-injected composition saw the developer not only commission Reeves for an exclusive render of No Chill earlier this year, but also for a remix of CyberThreat®’s title theme that has been written by McKenna himself.

Similar remixes by other contributing music artists will feature on the complete soundtrack.

Besides introducing Byte, a shrewd businessman and prominent in-game character voiced by Thomas ‘TommyNom’ Evans that will prove fundamental to CyberThreat®’s narrative, the Teaser also marks the unveiling of other in-game media in the form of screenshots, character bio’s and more reflective of McKenna’s vision thus far.

The bulk of these are best enjoyed on CyberThreat®’s website, that doubles as a portal to the game’s constantly active social media channels.

Developers wishing to learn more of Van Reeves’ music services meanwhile, collaborate with the artist or connect with him on grounds of original music requests, may do so via the latter’s profile on Higher Eclectic Ground.

Also present therein is a complete overview of his work history, software expertise, references and bio-data. Feel free to direct any queries you might have to myself, representative and manager of Reeves’ freelance music services for games, via sean.b[at]highereg[dot]com.

Will you be following CyberThreat®? Did you enjoy No Chill? Why/Why not? I’d like to hear from you in the comments below.

HyperParasite Arrives at Milan Games Week, 2017

HyperParasite, News, Press Releases

Adding to its official reveal of the game from last week, Troglobytes Games announces that HyperParasite will be making an appearance at this year’s iteration of the Milan Games Week.

A three-day, consumer show held from the 29th of September to the 1st of October, 2017, Milan Games Week holds the laurel of being Italy’s premier gaming event, bar none.

Promising 35,000 square meters of previews, tournaments, retro-gaming, cosplay, indie and junior showcases, this year is proving to be no different as up to 50 independent games prepare to debut at the event’s Indie Area.

While HyperParasite’s inclusion within this roster of titles is a milestone in and of itself, it will also mark the first time players and followers will be able to get their hands on a proper, near-vertical slice of the complete frenetic, twin-stick experience that developer Troglobytes has in mind.

This won’t be the first of HyperParasite’s public appearances however.

In the month of June, this year, a prototype of the game made its debut at the 2017 edition of the Bari Geek Fest with its core mechanics of body-snatching between characters, three macro-classes of playable characters (Melee, Ranged & Bomber) and other basics roughly implemented.

Feedback attained at the event proved to be highly instrumental in improving what the team had already started work on.

In contrast, the build Troglobytes Games now intends to showcase at MGW will feature one, fully playable level, an intense boss fight, eight characters derived from the macro-classes that players can body-snatch, special items, a secret sub-level and a lot more.

To commemorate the same and over eight months of development, a September 2017 Update video has been compiled and attached to this press release, serving as a retrospective of HyperParasite’s progress thus far.

The core mechanics may have stayed the same, but the dramatic evolution of its intensity gives testimony to the numerous visual iterations that the game has undergone in such a short span.

 

‘The fact that we’ll be sharing space with 50-odd independent titles is reassuring; a clear indication that Italy’s independent gaming culture continues to grow,’ writes Lead Developer, Luciano Iurino.

‘And yet we’re also anxious to see if visitors will enjoy HyperParasite as much as we have been; seeing strangers pick up the controller to your project is always an enlightening experience, while there’s no denying how beneficial the presence of media and other industry professionals is to networking.’

Following the event, HyperParasite’s production will proceed in full-steam en route to a late 2018 release. A closed beta testing session is also planned for the end of this year, although details pertinent to the same remain to be explored.

If you’ll be in the vicinity of the Fiera Milano Rho exhibition and convention center of Milan, Italy between the 29th of September and 1st of October then, nothing would encourage the team more than having you stop by and play HyperParasite at MGW’s Indie Area.

3D Artist Luca Eberhart and Game Designer Saverio Caporusso of Troglobytes Games will be present with on all three days, so please be sure to leave them with your complete and utterly honest feedback.

For those who cannot make the event, no matter. You can still be of support and influence to HyperParasite’s development by signing up to the official mailing list via the game’s homepage.

For a complete kit of images/GIF’s from HyperParasite, social media profile links and other media, visit the game’s profile here on Higher Eclectic Ground. For any additional press/media enquiries, or to request addition to the game’s mailing list, please e-mail sean.b@highereg.com

About HyperParasite

A top-down, rogue-lite shoot ‘em up at its core, HyperParasite pays homage to an era that developer Troglobytes Games considers itself heavily influenced by.

With players picking up the titular role of a parasitic organism bent on world domination –

  • Being able to dynamically snatch and switch between the bodies of nearly every weapon-wielding Homo sapien they encounter, ensures bullet hell almost never ceases.
  • Persistent wit and dexterity is demanded with multiple character classes to consume, host-specific abilities to exploit and a skill-based progression system to overcome.
  • HyperParasite takes its rogue-lite mechanics very seriously. Procedurally generated levels, multiple game-play objectives, gruelling waves of enemies, deranged bosses and perma-death make it nigh-impossible to beat in a single run.
  • All while Troglobytes’ in-house dungeon-generation technology, Vania, ensures the seamless randomisation of visuals, sub-levels & secrets.

HyperParasite will also feature local co-operative multiplayer, letting players cherish its characters, urban legends, items and pop-culture references with a mullet-wielding friend. In development for a late 2018 release on PC and Consoles.

Website | Facebook | BrightLocker | Indie DB

About Troglobytes Games

Troglobytes is a small independent video-game development studio based in sunny Southern Italy, founded by both veterans and young talents.

As every developer should, it loves both playing and making video games, going so far as to maintain an original arcade gaming cabinet at its HQ to return to for repeated inspiration.

Its mission is to create innovative, high-quality games across a variety of platforms using the latest in technology, while focusing on storytelling and aesthetics.

Additionally, the team’s members are known to frequently take on freelance contracts and outsourced projects within the industry; from game design to 2D/3D artwork & animation, a complete roster of the titles they’ve contributed to so far can be seen on the studio’s website.

HyperParasite is being worked upon by Troglobytes Games’ core members in association with select external collaborators. Besides being a certified Playstation® developer, the studio is also a part of Microsoft’s ID@Xbox Program.

Twitter | WebsiteInstagram | Facebook | IndieDB | YouTube | Steam