18 August 2010

Freeplay - Independent Games Festival 2010 - Melbourne

A friend of mine was volunteering at the Freeplay event on at the State Library in Melbourne and asked if I wanted to head over when he finished on Sunday. I headed in with the better half in tow, and was pleasantly surprised.

Colourbind - Nice gravity platformer.
What was on offer wasn't so much complete games, but game projects and pre-betas with the designers there to talk to you about concepts, hurdles and direction. It was a refreshing change from the disappointment that eGames was last year.

A few standout games were:

Colourbind - A novel concept for a platformer using gravity as it's hook. As the designer said, most of the comments have been that the game is hard. Which, was his main intention. The aim is to make a game you can't just roll through, but have to spend some time thinking about to get through.

Hazard:The Journey Of Life - Well worth waiting for.
Hazard: The Journey Of Life - This game is a stand out as it very much as a feel of an FPS, but it is much more than this. Being a puzzle game using logic and lateral thought. I was very impressed with the game's graphics and concepts. It's very much one that could make it far. We didn't get an opportunity to talk to the developer as this was one busy little table.

Noontide - Lots of anime style action here.
Noontide - This UDK based game is a nice little gem. A little Devil May Cry, a little No More Heroes, a little anime art style, and you have a game that's got a lot of potential. Still in the VERY early stages, but showing a lot of promise, I spent some time talking to one of the devs for the game. His attitude toward the future of the project and the future of games was refreshing, as was most of the developers at the festival. The attempt to avoid carbon copying another game's style is an important belief for the Noontide team.

There was some great talent on show, with games like Shadow Field (iPhone/iPad tactical strategy game), A Noir Tale (First person noir style game), MineQuest (A Farmville style game for Facebook that the better half got stuck into). It was a refreshing change to the big game shows where only hired staff man the booths to stop people from stealing stuff. Actually giving feedback like "Make sure it's an iPad native game" (to the Shadow Field crew) really gives a connection to the whole process.

All in all Freeplay was a great event and I'll probably end up going next year for both the games and the talks (rather than just the games).


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