Until the 18th of May, Show Me The Games is orchestrating a collective sale of 32 indie games. Show Me The Sales games include Voxatron (50% Off), Scoregasm, Darwinia, Gratuitous Tank Battles, and Offspring Fling. If you haven't grabbed a copy of Voxatron, you can get it this week for just $7.50 (along with a bonus copy of Swarm Racer 3000 Prototype).
The interesting thing about SMTS is that it is not run by any particular portal or distributor; all of the discounted games can be purchased directly from the developers. It has become usual and expected to buy games through some kind of store (e.g. Steam / App Store), and it's easy to forget that there was a time not so long ago when most indie developers didn't need to rely on such middlemen. Apart from allowing players to support devs without losing a big chunk of each sale to the reseller, being able to sell direct has a great influence on diversity and reduces the need to design games around potential sales channels. In other words, allowing indie developers to really be independent.
The current state of the market is not terrible -- it's still possible to sell indie games via channels that treat developers moderately well, and for niche games to find their audience. However, this could turn to custard very quickly and without warning! SMTG is just a way to fight back a little and keep the most indie-friendly channel alive and in the collective consciousness of indie game supporters. That channel is ... The Internet!
A preview of local multiplayer. The co-op mode follows typical arcade rules: player bullets don't hurt and when one player dies the other is left to play out the game solo. Bullets push the players around quite a lot, so it pays to coordinate your efforts to some degree to avoid inadvertently pushing your comrade into hurty things.
Competitive modes are still on the cards but will probably deviate from the obvious approach of transplanting existing characters into a death-math scenario. Pitting the default robot characters against each other results in quite chaotic play where the best strategy is often to spam bullets and leap around randomly. It might turn out better to have quite a separate set of characters and rules for this purpose. In any case, it will also be possible to invent silly 4-player party games using the editor.
This is something I've been working on for a while and have hinted at a couple of times, but can now finally post some solid details! Yesterday at NY Tech Day, Voxon showed one of their first working prototypes of a volumetric display called Voxiebox; a cuboid light field that can be viewed from any angle.
This is exactly the format that Voxatron is designed from the ground up to run on: a 128x128x64 block of voxels. Until now the game has only been viewable on a virtual, simulated display that is projected onto flat screens. That is about to change!
Voxatron Table is the working title of a collaboration between Voxon and Lexaloffle. It is an arcade table supporting up to 8 players facing a volumetric display fixed in the center. The game is based on multiplayer Voxatron, allowing both co-operative and competitive styles of play. We don't have any footage to show yet, but I have mocked up this little visualization aid that shows roughly the format of the table. Unfortunately the mockup is also made in Voxatron, leading to a kind of Russian Doll situation -- the resolution of the real display is much higher than is shown here!
Voxatron Table is initially aimed at the arcade market, but in the future Voxon aims to also produce lower cost home editions. Of course, Voxatron will also support future Voxon displays, and so with the addition of scripting will become a complete stand-alone unit for developing arbitrary volumetric animations, games and visualizations.
Some of Voxatron's soundtrack is composed entirely digitally (using MilkyTracker), but most of it is starting out as sketches on acoustic piano. Here's a quick sample of music in development for the adventure mode, and at the end you'll hear the title theme for Zoot -- a new demo level coming in alpha 0.3. All of these pieces will eventually become 100% chip-tunes, so the finished product may sound quite different (and usually less melancholy!).
Voxatron 0.2.5 builds are now up, and will shortly be up on Humble Store (check the version number in the filename). If you don't have a lexaloffle account (Games > My Games) and would like one, see this thread. To update from a Humble Store account, search your email for the download page link, or request a new one here
This is a quick bug-fixing update. To see a list of the recent features, see the v0.2.4 post
Fixed: Crash caused by monster property: spread out
Changed: Monster chasing player ignores axes that are locked