Building WingNuts in Xcode with OpenGL

The Apple Developer Connection just posted a new developer interview. This time they talk to Freeverse, developer of “WingNuts 2” and publisher of “Heroes of Might and Magic V“, “LineForm“, and “ComicLife“.

The 11-person team at Freeverse, Inc. might be small, but the company has scored big with the action arcade game Wingnuts 2: Raina’s Revenge, which won the 2006 Eddy Award for Best Game and was named runner-up for the 2006 Apple Design Awards for Best Mac Game.

While the article is mostly an advertisement piece, it is an interesting read. It’s also nice for a Mac First game developer to get a bit of the spotlight.

ADC: Building WingNuts in Xcode with OpenGL

21 Days Game Development Contest

iDevGames.com has announced their next game development contest:

“21-Days Later: Carlosvision”

Carlosvision – The Concept
Since 1998, the Editor-in-Chief of iDevGames, Carlos Camacho, has been tirelessly promoting gaming on the Macintosh platform, as well through building a strong community of indie Mac game developers. He now invites the community to show appreciation for these efforts by re-creating any game from the list below. The titles below represent his favorite 8-bit classic games from the ’80s, which he often finds himself yearning to play.

Arkanoid
Berzerk
Centipede
Donkey Kong Jr.
Earl Weaver Baseball
Empire Deluxe (turn-based strategic global-domination wargame)
Galaga or Galaxian
Joust
Jungle Hunt or Pitfall
Gauntlet
Gyruss
Lemmings
Miner 2049er
Missile Command
Moon Patrol
Mr. Do
Phoenix
Omega Race (by Midway)
Robotron: 2084
Zaxxon

Schedule:
Start: June 11, 2006 (11:59 PM GMT)
Application Deadline: June 25, 2006 (11:59 PM GMT)
Game Entry Deadline: July 2, 2006 (11:59 PM GMT)

Top Indie Game Developer Blogs

For the past year or so I’ve been organically growing my RSS feed collection with a focus towards what other indie game developers have to say. My collection has grown to a pretty good size including game industry veterans and stalwarts to first-time designers and rookies.

There is a lot to read, and many to learn from. Here is a list my favorite writers from my current feed collection and why I regularly follow them (not in any particular order).

  1. A Shareware Life – Thomas Warfield, developer of “Pretty Good Solitaire” and “Pretty Good MahJongg” is one of those successful super hero indie developers. He’s been at it for a long time and has some very valuable insights on how others can succeed at the independent games business. If you like cats, you’ll enjoy his “Friday CatBlogging”.
  2. Phil Steinmeyer – Phil recently broke away from his old company, PopTop Software, after having success with games such as Railroad Tycoon and Tropico. He left for the freedom and the green fields of the indie game world. In May, 2005 he started his new company Crayon Games and recently released his first product, the casual game “Bonnie’s Bookstore”. I like Phil’s writing because he brings the experience of working for a successful game studio to the world of indie game development.
  3. GBGames – Gianfranco Berardi has a comfortable writing style and is not afraid to talk about his failures along with his successes. He’s new to business and the game industry, but he brings a ton of enthusiasm and a surprisingly mature point of view. He has frequent updates with very little of it off topic. GB provides great inspiration for me since he’s struggling through many of the same issues that I am as he tries to make his way into the game industry.
  4. GameProducer.NET – A recent addition to my feed collection, but has quickly become one of my favorites. Juuso Hietalahti of Polycount Productions shares some great insights into the job of a game producer. But the most interesting stuff comes from his Sales Stats articles from around the indie game industry where he reveals the sales numbers behind recently released games. GameProducer.NET is updated regularly and usually worth the time spent visiting.
  5. Joe Indie – David Michael, author of The Indie Game Developers Survival Guide and developer of Paintball NET, writes about the business side of indie game development. He has a pragmatic view of the indie game industry and shares some great advice.
  6. Casual Game Design – William Willing covers, you guessed it, casual game design. There’s some good stuff on William’s site covering all kinds of topics related to getting the best out of your game designs.
  7. Tales of the Rampant Coyote – Jay Barnson is another game industry veteran turned indie. His site has a good mix of industry commentary and shared wisdom from his experiences.

There are a bunch more that I subscribe to, but these are the ones that consistently have the best signal to noise ratio and that seem to provide information that directly speaks to me.

If you know of any other indie game developers out there that are sharing their experiences and wisdom, I’d love to hear about them.

Jeff Vogel on the View From the Bottom

Spiderweb Software’s Jeff Vogel (Avernum, Geneforge) describes his
View From the Bottom of the game industry over on RPG Vault. Or what Joe Indie calls the “anti-Pavlina” view of game development.

What is the moral of this? The game industry is a highly competitive, scary place. It’s not hopeless, but it’s a tough road. And that’s a good place to start to describe the view from the bottom.

Also check out part two of Jeff’s series View From the Bottom #2:

Indie developers have a real purpose in this world. They make little niche products for markets too small for Activision. They make many new puzzle games for the casual audience. Or, at least, the same old puzzle game again and again. They rewrite Asteroids… because someone has to.

Looks like a series that is well worth following. Vogel has a long successful history in the indie game industry and probably knows what he’s talking about.

Update:
Psychochild responds to Vogel’s article with The Indie Problem…again:

So, let’s talk about the real problems with indie game development and why you don’t see innovation from them.

Let’s be honest here, there are some serious issues you have to deal with as an independent game developer. It would be wonderful if that old myth about “if you build it, they will come” were true. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Inspirational Quotes

I thought I would share this list of quotes I’ve collected that I like to read every now and again for inspiration:

  • “Make something people want.” — Paul Grahm
  • “Break, stretch, an rexamine all the rules.” — Unkown
  • “A good game is a series of interesting decisions. The decisions must be both frequent and meaningful.” — Sid Meier
  • “Explore the other Edge.” — Bruce Mau Design
  • “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” — Steve Jobs
  • “The significant problems we face can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” — Albert Einstein

OMG Contest

If you haven’t heard by now, you may want to look into the OMG Contest over at iDevGames.com.

Contest Overview
The OMG (Original Mac Games) Cup is a new game programming contest established by iDevGames, in connection with Freeverse Software, to encourage unique Mac game development. iDevGames is proud to partner with the Mac platform’s leading game developer of original Mac games, Freeverse Software. The challenge of the contest is to create innovative Mac OS X games that emphasize engaging gameplay—in only six weeks! The OMG Cup builds on the success of our smaller contest, “21 Days Later,” and the industry leading annual contest, “uDevGames.” With numerous success stories of past entrants of our uDevGames contest releasing commercial games, we look forward to fostering the development of a new generation of Mac game programmers. – Carlos Camacho (Editor-in-Chief, iDevGames)
Official Start
October 18, 2005 12:01am GMT
The Three Fs of Winning
Fame, Free games, and Freeverse cash (Please see complete list below)

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going make a go of this or not. But it looks very interesting and fun. I’m sure they will get a bunch of top notch entries. It’s great that Carlos was able to sign up Freeverse as a sponsor, that gives the contest an air of professionalism and adds some great incentives.