It's amazing what you can do with instant noodles and coffee. A mere plastic bag full of empty carbohydrates and salts, when mixed with a sufficient catalyst of caffeine-riddled bean cinders, propels men and women to extraordinary feats of creativity and engineering. Sometimes. Ooh, but if they can afford the kinds that have freeze-dried little pieces of meat flecks in them? With some protein, they're super extra likely to make something cool.
Screenshot Saturday, a showcase for independent games in development, displays some of these starchy brain-children. The people behind the pictures below probably had the fancy ramen.
Diluvion by Arachnid Games
From the creators of the award-winning and entirely pen-illustrated adventure game Ballpoint Universe comes something entirely different. Diluvion places you in a kind of brass tea kettle or other manner submarine and sets you to exploring the depths of an unnamed abyss. The other inhabitants, of course, are largely unhappy about your presence there. Deep sea torpedo battles and giant crustacean monsters hiding in the darker reaches await.
Karmaflow by Karmaflow
Your run of the mill puzzling, platforming, adventuring fare. Except for the fact it's also a full-blown rock opera featuring the likes of Dragonforce and Cradle of Filth members as voice talent. These crooning rockstars provide exposition through song as the orchestrated opera progresses according to your decisions. Karmaflow won't need to be remotely fun to play, I think, to generate a vast amount of interest as it nears completion, but the crew plans to make it enjoyable anyway.
Expect live theater performances to coincide with the release of the game early next year.
Wings of St. Nazaire by Day, Simon, and Hoffman
Retro sensibilities and modern design can be a beautiful pair. Take Wings of St. Nazaire, for example. Howard Day's baby is a labour for the love of space explosions and science fiction in the vein of Wing Commander and X-Wing. While the other picks for this week might entertain loftier notions of emotion and design concepts, Wings feels remarkably pure.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter by The Astronauts
The founding trio of The Astronauts are, wouldn't you know it, the same three responsible for founding People Can Fly (Painkiller, Bulletstorm). Their first game under the new moniker is far less enthusiastically violent. This is a "weird fiction" horror tale with wide swathes of landscape that remains completely indifferent to your presence, some psychic insights into murder scenes, and a rather fascinating method of generating realistic game assets from photographs. Expect to wander and explore with nary a firefight in sight.
The team is building a great deal of content and space with no in-game purpose other than to be, but a very explicit external function. Idle content, they posit, does wonders for selling the world and sense of immersion and believability. Details beget credibility, and Ethan Carter packs a lot of detail.
Transmigration by Transhuman Design
Joseph isn't a happy man. His life is an indistinct blur of company work and sleepless nights. He's considering transmigrating.
Look at this. Then join the rest of us in wondering what this is all about.