The prolific Arcen Games is following up last year's excellent Bionic Dues with a new tactical grand strategy. The Last Federation isn't the name of some fatalistic Next Generation fan-fiction, but rather a space-based strategy/tactics hybrid set in a simulated procedural universe. You take command of a small mercenary fleet, exploring a solar system containing eight alien races, and attempting to unify its survivors into a solar federation.
"Hello everybody, a roguelike has just been released," is a sentence that that I could have written on any day of the last few months and still have it be accurate. There's been a lot of them, is what I'm saying. Not that it's a bad thing: personally, I'd rather this than endless waves of DotA-likes or, *shudder* tower defence. The latest is Bionic Dues, from AI War developer Arcen Games. It's a robo-roguelike featuring a seemingly unstoppable invasion and a lot of mechs.
Arcen's been pumping out the indie goods this year, with A Valley Without Wind 2 and Shattered Haven and the recent Skyward Collapse threatening our shame-piles with another kind of collapse. And that's not it for 2013—Arcen dev Chris Park has revealed that besides numerous expansions for existing games, there is one more full game release on the studio's calendar this year. Bionic Dues is a tactical roguelike thing which will see us playing as legless, hovering mechs called Exos.
Skyward Collapse is a game of village building, civilian nurturing, and war quashing, as you attempt to keep aggressive factions alive by arming them just enough that they can't wipe each other out. Aiding you in this were mythological creatures; the two factions balanced by the protective (and occasionally murderous) nature of Greek and Norse beasties. Now developer Arcen Games want to not so much tip the scales, as knock them over completely - with a third, Japanese faction, to be introduced in the upcoming first expansion: Nihon no Mura.
By my count, over 13,400 bundles are running at this moment. And now, just as one Indie Royale ends, another springs up to replace it. Maybe this is it: bundles in perpetuity. A constant stream of cheap indie games being thrown at us for the rest of eternity.
This Arclight bundle does make the idea seem palatable. It's a near-complete collection from developer Arcen Games, including the beta for the upcoming AI War expansion, Vengeance of the Machine.
The thing about humans is, you try and do something nice for them, and then they throw it back in your face by raising an army and going to war. Even innocent things, like building a bakery so they don't starve, will result in more soldiers prowling the floating island you watch over. Well, at least they can defend themselves from bandits... No, wait, they're charging head-first into a big Greek mythological monstrosity. The other thing about humans is they're kind of dumb.
That's what you'll have to deal with in Skyward Collapse, the turn-based 4X god game from AI War developer Arcen Games. You play as The Creator, who is attempting to help two warring civilizations thrive, without letting either get advanced enough to wipe out their rival. It's an interesting twist on the god 'em up genre, and it's out now through Steam and the developer's website.
Previous details on Skyward Collapse, the turn-based god game from AI War developer Arcen, had suggested a mostly peacekeeping role for your deity. Not so, according to this first trailer. Your job is to keep both the island's factions alive, seemingly by escalating the conflict just enough that neither side can gain the other hand. A sort of mutually assured non-destruction.
Arcen Games, creators of AI War and A Valley Without Wind, have announced their next game, Skyward Collapse. It's a strategy collision, incorporating elements of turn-based 4X, god games and simulation. Rather than a vengeful deity of elemental destruction, you play a hovering peacekeeper, attempting to persuade the inhabitants of the floating island you watch over to stop smacking each other with sticks.
Shattered Haven calls its hordes of zombies "Grays," but that just confuses me into thinking I'm fighting off undead Roswell aliens. That actually sounds kind of cool, but Shattered Haven already looks neat enough as it is. It's a top-down indie puzzler from Arcen Games, the same developer behind the side-scroller A Valley Without Wind, and its near 100 hand-shaped levels form a post-apocalyptic world wracked with zom—er, Grays.
Arcen's Shattered Haven bills itself as "an environmental puzzle game about family, grit, and survival", and I'm very grateful for that first comma because family grit is something I generally steer well clear of. Following hot on the heels of A Valley Without Wind 2, Shattered Haven is a zombie survival game, sorta, and from the available evidence it appears to be a very slightly tower defencey one, in that you lay traps to defeat the zombie menace. The game's currently in beta - a beta only a week long because the full game is launching March 18th. Blimey, Arcen work fast.
Remember when we mentioned that A Valley Without Wind 2 was due out in February? Well - checks watch - it's February now, and like clockwork the game has quietly sidled onto Steam. With 25% off until next Monday, £7.11/$11.24 is the cost of admission to this most windless of valleys, but if you've previously purchased AVWW1, Arcen Games are generously giving you this sequel for free. For a couple of months now you've also had the chance to try the beta version of the game, but now everyone can sample version 1.0, as a big ol' demo has just been made available right here.
Things move fast when there's no wind holding you back. It was only last week that we showed you the first footage of A Valley Without Wind 2, and now it's available to pre-purchase from Steam (currently at 60% off in the sale). That'll give you access to the beta, which has just been launched, though if you already own the first AVWW, the beta should now be automagically in your game library.
AI War/Tidalis/A Valley Without Wind developer Arcen Games has shown off the first footage of AVWW2, the sequel/do-over to their divisive procedurally generated platformer. You might remember us telling you that owners of the original game will be given this for free, but now you can finally see what your non-money will be getting you (well, if you already bought the first game).
Version 1.0 of procedurally generated 2D explorathon, A Valley Without Wind, is out now on Steam and directly from the developers, Arcen. It casts you as a wandering adventurer on a mission to take down the powerful Overlord of the realm. You can wander into his chambers at any time, but he'll reduce you to a gooey smear in moments if you confront him right away. Exploring the world, saving citizens, building villages and defeating monsters will grant you the equipment, spells and enchantments needed to take him down.
A colossal new expansion has been released for AI War adding a new faction, 180 new ships, story-based victory conditions and a new 'defender' game type that concentrates AI War's huge, brainy space battles into frantic scraps that last minutes instead of hours. Read on for details and a trailer for the expansion.
Arcen games, whose financial troubles have been splashed across our frontpage of late, have announced two new games. Hopefully, if they can release them before they shrivel up and moths explode out of their pockets, they'll be so awesome that everyone will buy them and it'll all be great. There are two: a zombie trap-laying roguelike thing, and a tower defence game.
Let me say that again: a tower defence game from the makers of AI war.
Earlier this month Chris Park revealed that his company could be bankrupt by November. His company is Arcen Games, the developer of popular space strategy game AI War. Despite that game's excellence, it wasn't a surprise to find he was struggling: most indie games developers do.
Prompted by the tale of trouble on his site, I sent him an email asking for more information. What are the costs involved in independent game development? What are the profits of a game like AI War? Chris was willing to talk numbers - something no developer ever does - and he kindly replied with a breakdown of the profits and costs of AI War and his latest game Tidalis. I'm reprinting his email in full below with permission.
This is review appeared in PC Gamer UK 206, which was like a million years ago. We're putting it online because Arcen Games are dying of no money disease, and you need to know how good their game is. It's only got better in the year since we reviewed it.
The difficult thing is trying to describe what AI War actually is. It’s an RTS with turnbased combat. It’s tower defence with spaceships and wormholes. It’s galactic conquest where the silliest thing you can do is try to conquer everything. It’s a skirmish game where the AI has no interest in pretending it’s a human player.
There are a lot of indie gaming success stories, but for every World of Goo, Minecraft, or Garry's Mod, there are a lot of small companies that struggle to make a living from their games. Chris Park, developer of space strategy AI War, is one of them. He's just revealed that Arcen Games will be out of money by November unless things change. Maybe you can help? More info and a trailer about Arcen and their 86% rated (in PC Gamer Issue 205) game below.