Linux Gaming News

Home-grown game developers ready to take on the world

As video games become more and more commonplace, consumers can find them virtually everywhere.

Instead of being restricted to home consoles, personal computers and low-end cell phone games, high-quality games are being published online and downloadable through smart phones and tablet PCs. Others are played through social networks such as Facebook.

Furthermore, many of these games are created and developed by local developers working across Indonesia.

Operating by and large under the radar, Indonesia’s game developers run mostly on passion and dreams to create products that reach across the globe.

Veteran game designer Bullitt Sesariza, co-founder of the Jakarta-based game development firm Logika Interaktif, said that the rapid growth of internet access in Indonesia has unleashed unprecedented potential for the local game developing industry.

“Nowadays, there is no difference between developing a video game in Indonesia or doing it in Europe or America. It’s just a matter of whether you can develop a good game that people like,” he told The Jakarta Post over the phone.

Bandung-based game designer Nikki Dibya Wardhana, who co-founded the Agate Studio game development company in 2009, said that the gaming industry was among those with the smallest entry barriers in Indonesia.

“A person can own only one middle-end personal computer and a few freeware programs to create video games that generate revenue that can reach into the tens of thousands of [US] dollars,” he told the Post in an email.

“Technically, [Indonesia’s] chance to penetrate the global market is the same as game developers in countries with more advanced gaming industry,” he said.

According to Nikki, the company only employed a staff of 16 people at its inception.

“This year, we are expanding our number to 50,” he said.

While he refused to give any details on the company’s annual revenue, he said that the rapidly increasing number of employees in just two years should indicate that business is good.

He said that quality education was one of the biggest obstacles in creating a sustainable gaming industry in Indonesia.

“This country has many passionate aspiring game developers who have no idea of where to learn and what to learn,” he said, adding that he hoped that some of the country’s leading universities should open up to the idea of establishing game-developing curriculum.

Bullitt shared this sentiment, saying that the government and universities should give more support to the local gaming industry.

“Minimal government support is part of the problem [for the local gaming industry]. The industry can be likened to a baby who has to compete with adults from more developed nations. The government does little to help us,” he said.

He added that businesspeople in the gaming industry, such as online game publishers, should afford more trust to local developers and publish their games instead of just importing foreign games.

The government has included interactive games as one of the 14 fields in the creative economy, along with architecture, fashion, music and film. (mim)

Linux Gaming News

GeneticInvasion : a brand new Tower Defence

Hi! I’m here to show you a new game that I’m working on: GeneticInvasion

It’s Tower Defence game, but it has something special: it uses evolutionary algorithms.
The idea of evolutionary algorithm is to use darwin theory to solve problems:

We generate random solution to the problem.
We evaluate them.
We take some of the better ones, apply random mutations to them, and generate an offspring from them.
The child replaces their parents in the solution population to form a new generation.
And we do this, again and again, until we find a solution that is good enough.

Well, in GeneticInvasion, the problem, is you. So enemies evolve in order to crush you.

We used a real evolutionary computation library called EO to make this game. The library is being used for many serious projects.

So, you heard me, an army of colorful enemies are trying to eliminate you, don’t just sit here, fight!

Some notes:

– For the first time since we began to develop it, the game is now interesting to play. That means that it’s neither too easy nor too hard to play.
– I also added 3 levels that are supposed to be sorted by difficulty.
– There is a medal system, so you can try to get gold on all 3 of them. (I failed to get the gold medal on the third one through :P)
– There are no binaries, if someone is feeling like doing some, please contact me.
– The game is theoretically compatible with at least GNU/Linux, Windows and Mac OS but has only been tested on GNU/Linux. You’ll need SFML, EO and Glu to build it.
– Please send us your remarks and comments.!

Also, I’d like to thanks OpenGameArt and the artists that contribute it, without them our game would probably had hand-drawing art, and we suck at it. (Also many thanks to ozzed who did the music on Jamendo)

Linux Gaming News

[WANTED] 2D Online Puzzle/Action Game Developers

Team name:
Coldsnap Games (Unregistered, possible to change before release)

Project name:
Currently unnamed project

Brief description:
The project will be a top-down, online, puzzle and action-based game. Four players will be matched into a group (friends can join to be matched together) and enter dungeons where they will be required to work together to solve difficult puzzles and defeat enemies. Throughout the dungeon players are awarded various items and currency. Instead of a traditional character leveling system, players use experience points to level up weapons and armor which improves the stat bonuses on the item. Items all have their own starting and maximum level, so players can’t just use the same item forever, eventually they’ll want to upgrade to a better one. During the grouping process, players are matched by the average level of their equipment. Enemies in the dungeon can take and deal damage that is modified by the average level of everyone in the group. Outside of dungeons, there is a small town where players can use a global auction house to purchase and sell items and equipment from other players as well as other features which all focus on a single-player experience.

Target aim:
Retail

Compensation:
Potential revenue which will be agreed on prior to beginning work, however I’m not against offering compensation post completion if you so wish.

Technology:
Target System: Windows, Mac, Linux
Programming: C++ using the SFML library, compiled using GCC
If possible, online distribution through Steam.

Talent needed:
2D/Pixel Artist – Your job is to design customizable player sprites, various tilesets, UI elements and whatever else is required.
Programmer – Mainly needed for the networking aspects.
Level Designer – Design schematics for dungeons, think of puzzles and solutions that are both challenging and fun.

Anyone interested in joining the team who is looking for a long term project this is it, after release I hope to have some form of a schedule for releasing updates around four times a year in the form of low priced DLC if the game goes well.

Team structure:

Currently I am the sole developer of the game. I do all the programming, sound creation and game mechanics design.

Website:
A website will be setup when the time is appropriate. At this point the game is still in the early stages of development and consists entirely of nothing but lots and lots of text most of which is code some of which is a design document.

Contacts:

E-Mail: [email protected]
Skype: mjrasicci

Feel free to post here or send a PM on the forums as well.

Previous Work by Team:

When braking into the field of game development I started by using engines, complexity varying the likes of Game Maker, RPG Maker etc. to Unity, Torque and the UDK. The projects I have completed from scratch are:

Play With Yourself 1 & 2 – Two games with a humorous story line which was used to give a twist to the boring old learning curve of Pac-man, Mario clone, Pong, Tetris etc. mini-game based with plenty of jokes. Nothing particularly impressive but a fun project and was the first notable game I completed in full C++.

Dungeons And Dragons – A way to play D&D (fourth edition) over LAN with groups up to 10 with a DM and all in a fully customizable world for players to explore and control. The game was released at a small scale to family and friends which spread in our local area decently to the point where weekly games occurred for a while. For obvious (IP related) reasons, the game was mainly a project for practicing my skills and nothing more which is why I only released it on a small scale. The last thing I need is to get in trouble with WOTC. Sadly, the source code was lost in the great formatting of ‘09.

This is my first serious project and hopefully will do mildly well.

Additional Info:

The world outside of dungeons is meant to be a place that the player can enjoy themselves in while waiting for a group. Your personal home can be customized to your liking allowing imported art assets to be used. You can also change the layout of your town, move buildings, interact with NPC’s, play mini-games etc. The game is supposed to have a light, casual atmosphere and darker parts should seem almost like a cliche attempt at creating a horror game, think back to the underworld in Mario. Player customization is available for many aspects of game play.

About Me:
My name is Mike, I’m a CS major with an emphasis in programming. I’ve been programming since I was 10 with Visual Basic and I eventually moved onto C# then Java and then beginning C++ about 6 years ago. I’m also a musician, I play guitar, piano and drums. I’m pretty easy to get along with, I like lots of communication and really like people who bring their own ideas to the table (I know artists generally hate having very little to work with and prefer being told exactly what needs to be done) no matter what those ideas may be. Don’t be afraid of your work not being used, if you do something I do have an issue with (rare, I’m very easy going) I’ll simply point out what aspects of it I think could be changed. The only thing I have difficulty tolerating is not getting things done. I understand this isn’t the number one priority in your life no matter who you are, but there is a point when I simply can’t accept someone slowing down production.

Feedback:
Any (If negative, try to throw some constructive comments in there)

GO TO POSITION POSTING

Linux Gaming News

INTERN NEEDED!

Description:

A Houston based Game Development Studio is looking for an intern who wants the opportunity to add real life experience to their portfolio, and development credit. The Studio is looking for a person who is dedicated to taking advantage of an awesome opportunity to get their foot in the door of the exciting world of video game development. We prefer a student that is graduating and may need an internship to complete their course curriculum, but we encourage anyone who may have an educational or self-taught background in game development. No applicants will be accepted without a resume and portfolio. Please contact [email protected] for consideration. This is an unpaid internship, however, full credit will be given in the project for work completed, and we encourage anyone in Houston and the surrounding areas of Houston to apply, if they are interested. (Please be aware that the Studio will not be providing any relocation or sponsorship assistance.)

The requirements that we are seeking are:

• Advanced Level in 3D Studio Max
• Intermediate knowledge in Maya
• The capability to optimize models for video games
• Full UV Mapping skill
• Texturing ability is a plus

Qualifications:

• Advanced Level in 3D Studio Max
• Intermediate knowledge in Maya
• The capability to optimize models for video games
• Full UV Mapping skill
• Texturing ability is a plus

Click here to APPLY NOW

Linux Gaming News

A big leap in the business of gaming

Game on Popular games in China

Dragon Nest This game, set in a fantasy land, was released in China last year and is played throughout Asia. Players search for an antidote to a poison, with the aim of helping to wake a sleeping goddess.

World of Warcraft There are plenty of monsters to fight in this game, which although developed by the California company Blizzard Entertainment, has been a big hit in China. Modifications were made for the Chinese market, such as putting flesh on skeletons, as these were deemed offensive.

Fantasy Westward Journey Taking its theme from Journey to the West, one of China’s most celebrated novels, this game has been described as the most popular in the country.

In internet cafes, rows of gamers stare at the screens in front of them. In offices, young professionals log on to social networking sites and play interactive games in their breaks.

On subways, commuters concentrate on mobile phone games on tiny screens as their trains move from station to station.

Gaming is big business in China, and online games are the leisure activity of choice for young urbanites.

“I am very busy, and I like to play internet games to relax,” says Niu Yao, 22, a student, as he plays a game called World of Warcraft in an east Beijing internet cafe.

“My friends come here to play as well. They’re crazy about it,” he says.

Last year, China’s gaming industry achieved revenues of US$4.8 billion (Dh17.6bn), according to the market research organisation Niko Partners, up 34 per cent on 2009.

This year, a further expansion is expected, with income set to soar 21 per cent to $5.8bn, and analysts expect this figure to almost double by 2015.

As a result, China’s share of the global games market is predicted to increase from about 12 per cent now to more than 25 per cent in 2015.

Estimates have put the total number of Chinese online gamers at 300 million, and companies offering online games can record as many as 20 million users at any one time. In total, 477 million Chinese use the internet, according to figures released this year by the country’s telecommunications administrator.

In internet cafes, highly complex online fantasy games depicting warriors on horseback, Chinese temples and fearsome birds of prey are popular. Hundreds of people can be involved in the same game simultaneously.

“They’re quite a phenomenon because a lot of people don’t have high-speed internet access at home, but in the cafes they do. Many kids don’t really have a lot of [other] things to play with,” says Michael Zhang, an assistant professor and computer industry specialist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

For the gaming companies, online games often have the advantage that in a country where piracy is rampant, with an estimated 95 per cent of offline games being pirated copies, users must pay even a little to play.

Some online games are free to play but impose small charges for the virtual goods such as the guns the players need. Individual costs are modest, but the number of users is huge.

Others levy a fee according to how long the player is logged on.

“There are deals between the internet cafes and the game developers.

“This creates a very interesting dynamic. Game developers sometimes pay the cafes to install their games,” Prof Zhang says.

Analysts such as Niko Partners have said that while the multiplayer online games that are popular at internet cafes will continue to grow, real expansion is taking place with games linked to social networking sites.

Many of these are played by young professionals, in contrast to the multiplayer games at internet cafes, which are more popular with students.

“When they’re at work, sometimes it’s very easy for them to play [social networking site games],” Prof Zhang says.

“You just need a few minutes. Everyone in the office has access to the internet. When you need a break, you can easily play web games.”

No wonder then that Tencent, which runs the wildly popular QQ instant messaging site – it is reported to have more than 800 million active accounts – is said to have as many as 20 million game users at any one time.

This kind of success, partly fuelled by the restrictions in China on foreign social networking sites such as Facebook, has allowed Tencent to fund major overseas transactions, such as its acquisition in February of a majority stake in the US company Riot Games for $400 million.

“In the long-run, there will be more and more game developers entering the market. If you look at entrepreneurship, some game developers became very popular in the short term,” Prof Zhang says.

He cites as an example Kaixin001.com, another social networking site with a strong focus on games.

“It just developed its games from Facebook, but the exponential growth is amazing. It’s got venture capital and it’s moving to an IPO,” he says.

Just as Chinese games companies are targeting overseas markets through acquisitions and by tailoring their games to foreign platforms, so games from abroad, especially other parts of East Asia, have become popular in China.

Significant growth is also expected in China from a field that so far has yet to catch on in a big way: online mobile phone games.

“Most people in China have a cellphone, but not all the cellphones are [internet] connected,” Prof Zhang says.

“A lot of the cellphone games are offline. In the future, as the price goes down, [more] people will have access to play social network games. In that sense, mobile phone games will be converging on web games.”

While games consoles from companies such as Nintendo and Sony have generated frenzied interest in overseas markets, they have largely been banned in China.

Despite this, Lenovo, a PC maker based in Beijing, is launching through its subsidiary Eedoo a games console called the iSec. Its release has been delayed, and reports last month suggested that a launch this month or next month was likely.

The company is said to have negotiated with the authorities to ensure that the device can be released. Yet commercial rather than regulatory factors may be the biggest stumbling block.

“It’s very difficult for new entries [in the consoles market]. Only the currently successful companies can survive,” Prof Zhang says.

Consoles are likely to remain peripheral in China in any case, with the modest pricing of online games likely to mean they remain popular.

“These games are a lot of fun,” says Gao Jing, 27, a female engineering student playing World of Warcraft at an internet cafe. She says she spends four to five hours a day gaming.

“They are a very interesting way to spend your spare time.”