uDG 2004 your favorite overlooked games

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Post: #1
As everyone else, I was very impressed by the quality of the games this year. I was surprised that some of my favorites did not place a bit higher than they did, though- if you haven't tried any of these, I recommend them.

5. Industrial Revolution
Initially I thought this game was rather boring, but after fooling around a bit with it, the enjoyment of old-school civilization style turned-based gameplay came back to me and I ended up having fun with the game. The music is also pleasant, though since the game is a long extended strategy game it starts to grow weary, but the audio as a whole was good.

4. Okugai
I unfortunately voted on this game fairly early in the contest, and though I thought the graphics were fairly impressive, the gameplay was a bit unclear without reading the instructions (even afterwards, it wasn't exactly clear what you were supposed to do.) However, I was able to play a more recent version, and there are a lot of great improvements- possibly if the game was as refined when voting started this game would have gotten better scores.

3. Goldgeier
Like IR, I think a lot of people had trouble getting into this game, but once you get into it, you find the gameplay is quite good for a turn-based game. It felt to me like sort of a board game you would play with friends, though possibly there was a bit much random-ness to the gameplay and not enough strategy.

2. Toad Muncher
This game had really neat psychedelic graphics with a cool flowing effect, and the gameplay was also fairly simple, but solid- there were also a large number of levels to explore. The sounds were simple but pleasant enough for the game. I'm not sure what turned people off to this game.

1. Water Tower 3d
I still don't understand how this one didn't do better. In my book, this game tied for the best gameplay with a few other games- each level ended up being an interesting combination of action and puzzle, which I found to be very appealing and non-repetitive. It had pretty nice, clean, 3d graphics. Perhaps not having music hurt, though it's not clear how much of a difference that made this year.
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Post: #2
Indeed, I think the audio and graphics front are where Water Tower 3D lost out. Also, the absence of an "easy" camera management option made it difficult to play. That said, I enjoyed it a lot.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say that Themsalltook (Alex) has probably been THE most helpful person in the IRC channel, day and night. He's constantly helpful, constantly encouraging, and, most importantly, constantly positive. The number of times I've got discouraged (alas, a frequent occurrence when it comes to me and programming) and had him encourage me to keep going... If there were a "Most Helpful" or "Most representative of the UDG Spirit" award, it would without a doubt go to Alex. Thanks for everything you give to the community.
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Post: #3
In no particular order:

-PictureFrameX
-Industrial Revolution
-WordBeGone

These games were all very modest- full fledged but simply not flashy enough to compete with the games that ended up in the winner's circle. I ended up ranting a bit on the air Monday night for PictureFrameX in particular- I spent a huge amount of time playing with it. The gameplay is perfect Picture Frame, and all the required graphics and sound were in there. It had a high score table, and was a full-fledged, well-behaved Cocoa app. But its modesty I feel put it at a disadvantage in the contest.

-Nanocrisis

Even though it won best story, I really strongly feel Nanocrisis was overlooked in the public categories. It deserved a better score in originality too. Weren't people reading the dialog, or slapping around the masochistic frog? I'm still proud that I caught the Goonies II reference Smile

- Water Tower 3D

IMO, the most overlooked game this year. Let me echo what Alex and Aaron have said already- it really did deserve a top spot in gameplay, or at least Honorable Mention. Aside from the iffy camera and ladder control, it was a blast to play and I spent tons of time with it.

And add me to the list of developers Alex has helped out in IRC. Probably the most helpful and friendly dev I've had the pleasure to meet in my first year here. Alex rules.

Justin Ficarrotta
http://www.justinfic.com
"It is better to be The Man than to work for The Man." - Alexander Seropian
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Post: #4
This thread brought a tear to my eye... A heartfelt thanks to everyone for all the encouragement. You guys are the best.

Back on topic... Other than the games already mentioned, I thought Gokuban was rather overlooked. It may not have been original, but it was a solid, well put together game. It certainly deserved better than 30th place! I have to wonder if this is really what people thought of the game, or if it's a flaw in the way the voting system works...

- Alex Diener
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Post: #5
awww thanks alex Smile, yeah i do feel that Gokuban should have placed a little better (at least it would have helped my programming confidence a little)

I honestly think that WT3D should have been placed way better too, at least got a prize or two, it was very well done IMO, the only thing i say that was "iffy" about it was the camera, but in what 3d game doesn't the camera bother anyone? can't make everyone happy all the time Wink but all in all i think the camera system was ok

keep working on WT3D alex

ThunderBlast wasn't that bad either, pretty good IMO, but that's just my opinion, anyway
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Post: #6
Thanks phydeaux! I should have added some in-game instructions, that would probably have helped increase my gameplay scores a bit. So close (to an HM)! Anyway, I'm pretty happy with the results!
Like JustinFic, I also feel that Nanocrisis should have gotten a better originality score!
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Post: #7
I didn't play every game, yet. But from the ones I did play and from the screenshots I saw, I thought l1neum was quite cool.

Kind of motivated me to restart doing stuff in OpenGL

"When you dream, there are no rules..."
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Post: #8
Okugai was a game that I first played in the contest. Until then, I had heard that this year's games were good. But when I saw Okugai, I was floored. Yes, it had its quirks, and JUST missed some categories -- yet I thought, "This is what people are turning in this year!?!?" WOW! Now, I almost NEVER play FPS, and haven't even see a Halo game in action, but I thought, "We have many future Bungies in our mists!" Please work on Okugai more!!

Cheers,

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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Post: #9
JustinFic Wrote:Weren't people reading the dialog, or slapping around the masochistic frog? I'm still proud that I caught the Goonies II reference Smile

I think pretty much everything in the game was a subtle reference to something or other. I did get some decent comments on third-party download sites, but I don't know if those guys went and then voted afterwards.


blobbo Wrote:Indeed, I think the audio and graphics front are where Water Tower 3D lost out. Also, the absence of an "easy" camera management option made it difficult to play.

I have to disagree with everyone about the camera management- I think the manual camera in WT3D was fundamental to the gameplay, and actually added more of a puzzle aspect to the game- you were forced to sort of look around and pick the best camera angle for you at the time. I admit though in some places of the game it was obvious what angle you wanted to change to (such as turning a corner) but there's not really an easy way to handle this. Probably it would have helped if in a lot of the earlier levels you didn't need to change the camera at all, so people would get hooked on the gameplay, and then slowly the game would introduce you to the notion of needing to change the camera in order to find things or get a better angle to make jumps or somesuch.
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Post: #10
You know I really found something I thought was great hidden in each of the games that made it to the end. When I set out to seriously look at each entry I was often surprised at some of the games I had previously dismissed as contenders early on (for whatever reason.)

Nobody mentioned Wildlands Hockey. It is a bit tricky to get used to at first, but it has some really fun one-on-one hockey action that takes quite a bit of technique, even against the AI. Networking, too!

MadTak deserves some more credit, too. It has some original ideas that force the player to use a bit more clever techniques to survive. Pick one of the fastest ships only though, otherwise... well, it's very slow. Smile (hint: down arrow switches between move and attack mode)

Icarus really satisfies the shooter itch. Hundreds of shots flying around. Love it. 10 more levels, please. Smile

Games like Thunderblast, Astronknights, Splock and Starport seemed like games with a lot of potential that simply ran out of time. With another 3 months of feedback I think they could have really shaped up.

The two games I was shocked about? I thought Water Tower 3D and Nanocrisis were two of the toughest competitors and only Nanocrisis placed.

Water Tower 3D. The graphics are perfect, in my book. The solid colors and simplicity is important to keep you focused on the puzzle. I think it could have used a slightly easier difficulty curve and the camera was a big issue. Maybe if the camera angles that went above and below went in steps rather than completely free? Maybe camera hints throughout the level?

I thoroughly enjoyed Nanocrisis from start to end. It was well thought out and it felt complete. Very ambitious.

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." - Wizard of Oz
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Post: #11
Carlos Camacho Wrote:Okugai was a game that I first played in the contest. Until then, I had heard that this year's games were good. But when I saw Okugai, I was floored. Yes, it had its quirks, and JUST missed some categories -- yet I thought, "This is what people are turning in this year!?!?" WOW! Now, I almost NEVER play FPS, and haven't even see a Halo game in action, but I thought, "We have many future Bungies in our mists!" Please work on Okugai more!!

Cheers,

Thanks Love ! I'll start working on it as soon as I finish my exams!
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Post: #12
I think the biggest element that showed this year was that when most of the entries are really good (which they were), the ones that are *finished* completely will tend to score the highest in the public eye. Some of the games that just missed out were *really* good, but not quite there yet. Water Tower 3D for instance has major potential to be a serious shareware/commercial title, but if you're doing a 3D platformer, the camera has to be spot on. Nanocrisis also suffered from cameraitis a little too. Again it's a game that's going to be really big, especially once people play it a bit and realize how deep the story and style are, but its initial impact at the time of voting was a little unfinished.

The two 'puzzle' games, Picture Frame and Word be Gone both got good scores from me (although later realising that the sounds in Picture Frame were Windows beeps nearly had me wanting to go back and knock a point off Wink ) and are games that should be released. I suspect they'll both do very well. Gokuban would have benefited from an artwork revamp and a more obvious name (just in case most of the voters don't know the original game's name and don't mentally attach anything to a random Japanese name). Functionally it was a pretty well finished game.

Toad Muncher should have had its own category too. Really novel game with a nice graphical touch (and way difficult on later levels) Smile

Barring the couple of titles that weren't running at the time the voting started, all the games showed that there are some very serious game authors out there. We recently went to an indie developers meet in the UK that was mostly PC devs and barring one or two titles there, the uDev stuff was either way better already or is obviously going to blow them away when they've had the final bits of finess bolted on.
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Post: #13
Water Tower 3D rules all.

just needs zombies
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Post: #14
you think everything needs zombies. or ants. zombie ants. 3D zombie ants.

Of all the games I downloaded, I still play: Kill Dr Coté, Snowball (need a way to start on the level I quit on last time (if it doesn't already, I've got an old version, I'm sure)), and PictureFrameX. The first two placed well, but I'm afraid most people didn't take the time to get addicted to Picture Frame like I did (its interface needs some help also).

Chris Burkhardt
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Post: #15
About Snowball. The latest version (downloadable from the udg site or formation-games.com) has a quick hack so you don't have to start at the beginning every time. It's not the complete solution it will eventually have but I threw it in just before the awards show. (It's basically start on lvl 1, lvl 6, or lvl 15)

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." - Wizard of Oz
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