This week in indie gaming (9th-15th April)
This indie gaming update will be a fairly quick one. I spent the last three days at EGX Rezzed, so watch out for my roundup of the games that caught my interest there. But, without further ado, let’s get into the news that caught my eye between the 9th and 15th of April.
AI game designer demo’d at Rezzed
While this is technically news from EGX Rezzed, it won’t be appearing in my game roundup. AI researcher Mike Cook demonstrated his AI creation ANGELINA at the event. This AI creates games, including the rules, art selection, and level designs. An interesting feature is that the public can teach ANGELINA about new concepts that she can integrate into the games she develops. She also has a Twitter account where she polls for opinion on how games objects could sensibly interact and posts screenshots.
According to Mike, over the course of Rezzed people contributed 570 opinions, 60 new concepts, 60 new facts, and 36 new game ideas. ANGELINA released 3 games and tested 72 million moves across the game candidates she was developing at the time.
Billie Bust Up plush revealed
Blueprint Games, developers of animal-based 3D platformer Billie Bust Up, have revealed the plush that will be available during their upcoming Kickstarter campaign for the game. It is based on Billie’s sidekick, Oscar the fox, and is 16 inches in size.
Lotte demonstrates new Unity Mathematics library
Lotte posted a thread on Twitter showing, with easy to follow examples, how to use Unity’s new Mathematics library. This library is for use with Unity’s new Burst compiler, uses a shader-like syntax, and can provide a significant speedup in maths operations if used correctly. The “if used correctly” part is exactly what Lotte shows in her thread, taking the time required for a million operations from 157ms to 3ms while still only using a single thread. As you can probably tell, this could be huge for devs that are trying to wring every possible bit of performance out of their code.
BAFTA Game Awards
The 14th British Academy Games Awards were held on 12th April at Tobacco Dock in London. The winners in each category were as follows:
|Artistic Achievement||Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice|
|Audio Achievement||Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice|
|Best Game||What Remains Of Edith Finch|
|British Game||Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice|
|Family||Super Mario Odyssey|
|Game Beyond Entertainment||Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice|
|Game Design||Super Mario Odyssey|
|Game Innovation||The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild|
|Mobile Game||Golf Clash|
|Multiplayer||Divinity: Original Sin 2|
|Narrative||Night In The Woods|
|Original Property||Horizon Zero Dawn|
|Performer||Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Melina Juergens)|
Ludum Dare starts this week
The final round of theme voting for the Ludum Dare game jam is now open, with the jam itself starting in 4 days at the time of writing. Ludum Dare is one of the largest and longest running game jams, bringing indie game developers together every four months to create a game in 72 hours. They can approach this task individually or in a team. Before each jam the community votes on a theme that each game must approach in its own way.
Steam privacy changes cause Steam Spy shutdown
Steam Spy will cease operating due to changes made by Steam with the intention of better protecting the privacy of their users. The key change from the perspective of Steam Spy is that players’ game libraries will be private by default. These are where Steam Spy harvests its information on game ownership, so the change will prevent this from being possible. Opinion among devs is divided on the usefulness of the statistics provided by Steam Spy due to the huge inaccuracies present in the data, but there is a general agreement that they need some way of establishing rough sales figures for comparison between games from different studios.