Sunday 7 October 2012

From Diablo to Torchlight

Diablo CD Cover © Blizzard Entertainment
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away... There was a company called Blizzard North. 

In this company there worked a developer named David Brevik, two artistically inclined brothers called Max and Erich Schaefer, and a multi-instrumentalist by the name of Matt Uelmen, whose 12-string guitar picking skills were devil-iscious. Together, they made a game called Diablo, and it was awesome.

Blizzard North was originally a small company named Condor, but were bought by Blizzard Entertainment and re-branded in 1996, six months before they released Diablo. The man who incorporated them into the Blizzard fold was Bill Roper, at the time a producer for Warcraft II.

Diablo was one of those games that drew you in primarily because of its atmosphere. It was dark and Gothic, with phenomenal ambiance and beautiful music. It was exactly how a game for fans of dark fantasy in the Alternative/Post-Grunge era should be.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Apps on Steam and indie game creation

As of today, Steam is offering productivity applications as well as games on their online store. On the surface, this may not necessarily seem like a big deal. After all there already are online stores for productivity applications, for instance the App Store from Apple. It is however a big deal for budding video game makers, and here is why: Steam Workshop.

Steam Workshop is a mechanism that allows easy distribution and consumption of user created content for games on the Steam platform. Popular games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, has an active modding community that so far has released over 10.000 user modifications of variable quality on the game's workshop channel.

One of the seven applications currently being offered on the Steam App Store is GameMaker: Studio from YoYo Games. And it just so happens, that it has Steam Workshop integration built in right off the bat. 

At the same time, numerous indie-developers are currently engaging in the gated popularity contest that is Steam Greenlight to get their game considered for publication on the Steam platform. The contestants are many, but the winners are few.

Now, if your game is made with GameMaker, you can now put it or a demo on Steam through GameMaker's workshop channel, thus bypassing the nomination process of Steam Greenlight.

At the time of writing there are currently just over 50 titles being offered as workshop items for GameMaker. Many of them just demos or works in progress. Expect this number to increase over the next couple of days as creators realize the buzz-making potential this gives to a game in development.