PAX Australia 2015 kicked off today, and the whole LoadScreen team is here to check it out. All the game developers have come out to play, from the head honchos of Playstation, Xbox and Nintendo, to the indie studios keen to get their games out into the world.
We have lots in store regarding the big guns, but here we thought we’d show the highlights from the PAX Rising indie games show-floor.
The third game in their Siegecraft series, and the first to be coming to PC and consoles, Blowfish Studios conceived Siegecraft Commander from two principles, the first being a lack of strategy games on home consoles.
“We were accepted into the ID@Xbox program, and also approved for the PS4 and Wii U stores,” says Ben Lee, managing director of Blowish, “and we noticed there aren’t very many real-time strategy games on the console market, mainly because the lack of a mouse and keyboard set up really turns players off.
“So we thought our Siegecraft franchise would be perfect, as it doesn’t rely on the micro-management of units.”
The core mechanic of the game is using slingshots to place new buildings, akin to the mobile roots of the franchise (the original Siegecraft becoming the number one US iPad game in 2011) and similar to the likes of Angry Birds. The same idea is then used for combat, where towers and barracks can launch attacks against enemy strongholds.
The second inspiration for Commander was that adult gamers are finding less and less time to play games. Lee says this led the team to develop the title as an “action strategy” by adding a real-time mode on top of the series’ traditional turn based combat.
“It’s all about time,” Lee says, “turn based matches can go for a long time, so players who want a faster experience can go head-to-head and just let loose.”
Siegecraft Commander is coming to PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One and Wii U in early 2016.
Blight of the Immortals
Developer Ironhelmet also wants to tackle the “adult gamers have no time” problem with their new game Blight of the Immortals, but in a completely different way.
Blight is a fantasy co-op strategy game that takes the approach of slowing things down, where a single game can take up to a month to finish. Players log on either on a computer or mobile throughout the day and give orders such as troop deployment or combat, and those orders will come with a time for completion.
“With Blight, we wanted to make it simple so as not to turn off people who shy away from strategy games,” says Jay Kyburz of Ironhelmet. Blight revolves around players combating an exponential zombie crisis, and combat boils down to strength in numbers against them. But the longer a match drags on, the more time the zombies have to grow their numbers, so planning ahead is key.
There is also a single player mode, where players can spend “valour” points to speed up time to move things along, but Kyburz hopes more players lean towards the online co-op.
“A lot of people can feel intimidated by the online space, but the purpose of Blight is to work together, so hopefully we can win them over,” he says.
Blight of the Immortals is currently looking for play-testers.
Lastly, Postbug is inspired by the developer’s favourite games from the 1980s. A browser based game, players play as a ladybug navigating the dangers of the outside world while trying to deliver letters around the neighbourhood.
Postbug plays like Pac-Man with a physics engine. While the spiders and other critters roam around the map on a randomised AI, the real danger comes from the environment. A particularly impressive use of the simple grid layout of the level design was the way water could flood sections surprisingly quickly, and also be redirected to put a barrier between you and enemies.
However, there are jellyfish in the water. This neighbourhood sure is a deathtrap.
Play Postbug for free here.