Many game developers are suspicious about alternative controllers, believing that since they can’t be easily mass produced, they are useless. Well, this is the story of how an Arduino got me to San Francisco for free. Twice.
Some games are insta-buy from the very moment you see the first frame of their trailers. Shape of the World is one of those games. The game doesn’t really have a clear purpose. As described by its developer, is a “world that grows around you”. Compared to similar games such as PROTEUS and Journey, Shape of the World has a stronger focus on interactivity. Everything reacts to you, as if your only presence brings life to the world. The trailer showed a huge variety of biomes and events, which will hopefully keep players entertained in their wander.
With its Steam release approaching, the coding on 0RBITALIS continues in San Fancisco. This week the game has been demoed at GDC 2014, in the alt.ctrl.GDC section. Yes, 0RBITALIS landed in an exhibition about alternative controllers. The game is playable with mouse and keyboard, although all the people who stopped by at my booth could have a glimpse of how to launch a space probe with its own, custom made controller: the MCMC. The decision to showcase the game at alt.ctrl.GDC has been taken quite late. The main reason is that Flash does not allow any easy way to communicate with the serial port, preventing me to attach the controller earlier. Luckily, I found an Adobe Native Extension for Arduino that is compatible with the Teensy 3.1 micro-controller I am using; that helped me a lot. No, seriously: a lot!
One of my most important design principles is elegance. And I cannot think about any other game which beautifully achieves it such as Mini Metro. Initially developed during Ludum Dare, the game has gone a long way. Yet, it has always remained faithful both to its mechanic and its style. Mini Metro really has, in a nutshell, everything a 2D game can ask for. Including one of the highest score on Steam and and audio experience designed by Disasterpeace. Now the real question: why didn’t I thought about something so simple and ingenious myself? :p