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New to the blog?  Check the “About the Game” Section for an overview of Guerrilla Gardening:Seeds of Revolution.  We also post a lot about our other games so don’t get too confused if the first post you see doesn’t have gardening in it.

They Bleed Pixels

If you’ve been following us on Twitter you’ve probably heard me mention “TBP” a collaboration we’ve been working on with musician Shaun Hatton (aka DJ Finish Him).  We’ve been keeping the actual title under wraps till we we were ready to show some video.

Last week’s Gamercamp festival seemed like a perfect opportunity to properly announce the game with this short teaser.  I suggest cranking your speakers, going full screen and HD so the pixels are huge and sharp.

So there you have it. “TBP” is They Bleed Pixels, a fast paced, gothic, low-fi pixel art, platforming beat’em up with a chiptune style  soundtrack coming out on Xbox Live Indies.

You’ll notice this game looks very different then our other games.    Inspired by games like Niddhogg I wanted to experiment with a more abstract,  simple style that would let me really focus on smooth and stylish animation.

In terms of gameplay, all of our games are built with specific goals in mind:

  • Night of Cephalopods: Experimenting with Dynamic Narration.
  • Cephalopods: Co-op Cottage Defence: Creating co-op play that requires players to constantly talk and plan while they play.
  • The Night Balloonists: Make a one button party game that had the same pacing and skill vs chance balance of games like bomber man.
  • Guerrilla Gardening: Creating opportunities for creative puzzle solving through the interplay of dynamic systems and AI.  Exploring themes of public space and direct action. It’s a bigger game so it gets to have more ambitious goals.

They Bleed Pixels is about game feel. The kinetic joy of moving and interacting with the game and creating beat’em up combat that isn’t button mashy or button heavy.  We also wanted it to be a game that was radically different from our others so we could switch back and forth and keep our brains active.

Shaun's rig: half retro game systems - half Korg Kaossilators

This is also our first game collaborating with a musician.  We met Shaun in the summer when he interviewed us for Electric Playground, a month or so later I ran into him at a Hand Eye Society social and he handed me a postcard with a link to his chiptunes mentioning that he was interested in doing game music.  I saw a good fit between what he was doing and the look I had in mind for They Bleed Pixels and a few emails later and we were set.

We’ll be posting more info on the game as it gets closer to completion.  Till then I suggest you head over to Shaun’s DJ Finish Him site and download his awesome free albums!

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: 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: 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.

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 (click for full size).  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 sponsores.  Full list of games and everyone involved is posted on the Hand Eye Society Website.

Guerrilla Gardening: Seeds of Revolution got some coverage in the September issue of Comics and Gaming Monthly (even though it’s October now it’s the one on the stands).  The article is Games Go Green and covers a handful of games with environmental themes.  The other’s are Flutter and the Venture Arctic and Africa games.

I’ve played some Venture Arctic and it’s really worth checking out.  It does some very clever things involving difficulty settings and climate change that teach the player about environmental impacts entirely through gameplay.

I haven’t tried flutter but it I have to say it  looks very pretty.

C&G is relatively new and as far as I know the first Canadian magazine dedicated to games or comics, no idea if it’s available outside of Canada but if you do live here it’s worth picking up the issue.

We’re also in this months issue of This Magazine which has a short article with some nice close up game art.  I’m not sure if This Magazine is available outside Canada either, but it’s probably more likely since it’s been around for several decades.

All in all, pretty awesome seeing the game showing up in print!

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.

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.

Guerrilla Gardening: Seeds of Revolution was on La Matinale, a French morning show last Monday!  We only have the sketchiest idea what they’re saying since we’re both terrible Canadians and neither of us are fluent in French.  I assume the bits where she’s reading off paper are the interview questions they emailed me though.  Who knows!  I just get a kick out of hearing the name ‘General Bauhaus’ on TV. Go check it out and if you’re more fluent we’d love to find out what they’re saying.

This may actually be the second time we’ve been on TV in France, I had someone contact me for info last year, but never got a link to the show.

I’ve been doing a few interviews and the like in the last few months, here’s a quick roundup:

Torontoist – ‘Guerrilla Pixeling’

GOOD Magazine/Kill Screen – ‘Guerrilla Gardening for Gamers’

Guest Appearance on Level Fourtytwo‘s Talk is Cheap 4/12/10

UPDATE: Thanks to French game developer Shiftyweb (blog in French game portfolio in English) there’s now  a quick and dirty translation in the comments.  Looks like the report was full of terrible puns and they misjudged Molly’s age by a good chunk.  Still super cool to see the game in that context!

Guerrilla Pixelling

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