I'm normally immune to the draw of competitive leaderboard chasing. Waves was one of the few that penetrated my usually pacifist shell, leading to a few weeks of intense competition among friends. It was an elegantly designed twin-stick arena shooter, in which increasing your combo gave a temporary bomb power-up that would further increase your combo, thus granting more bombs, thus further increasing your combo, and so on.
Squid in a Box made waves with Waves back in the day, which is an annoying way of saying they released a celebrated twin-stick shooter that involved pretty particles exploding all over everything. Now they've announced a sequel, Waves: Arena Tactics, that takes the arcade shmupping of the original game and pairs it with "more of everything", including new weapons, abilities, loadout customisation, and four-player online co-op and competitive multiplayer. It's due out in 2014, and even though I've broken the first rule of internetting and told you everything before the break, you should stick around for an expectedly gorgeous first-look trailer.
If I was nerdy enough to have a "favorite engine," it would probably be the Unreal Engine - not necessarily for its technical achievements (though you can't say it hasn't been pivotal in game development's innovation the past decade), but for its accessibility. The easy-breezy development kit has been especially kind to indies, and because of that, some brilliantly creative games have been built on the engine. Now Steam's flogging an Unreal Indie Bundle, and for $20, it's actually got a pretty admirable selection of games.
You might have heard that “It’s never been easier to make a game.” And it’s true. But how do you actually make one? What do you make it ‘in’? How much does it cost? How long does it take? Can you sell what you make, and do you owe anyone any royalties? Do you need to learn a programming language?
I don’t know, but I do know a lot of indie games. And lots of them are made with tools and suites that claim to be beginner friendly. So for each of the most popular tools, I found an indie developer who had made something cool with it, and asked them what it’s like to work with.
Yes, it’s another psychedelic twin-stick shooter - but Waves does just enough to rise above the current crop of move ‘n aim games. As reported on RPS, it’s just been released by developers Squid in a Box for £5.94, complete with a Steam code. If you’re not ready to pony up the cash you can download a demo and see what it’s like. Clue: it’s a lot like other twin-stick shooters.
Waves is powered by Unreal Engine 3, so it looks pretty damn nice, even if it did make my laptop heat up to the melting point of the sun. There’s also a slow-mo mode for when things inevitably get too intense. I do like slo-mo, but I still think the only game to get it right is FEAR. When you slow everything down, bullets should travel at the same speed they normally would. That’s basic physics.