GAME > Hellarious (Ian Jones)

Hellarious is another entry into Game Jolt’s recent contest. This one is a demake of another hit indie title, Canabalt. Yes, a very high profile game to demake but Hellarious does the job admirably. Instead of being on rooftops, this one-button platformer takes place in hell. You face fireballs, dropping stalactites (hell must be made of limestone) and lava in your quest to race as far as you can before coming to an inevitable and occasionally unfair death. The best side of the game is its addictiveness; the design makes you feel like you can do a bit better every time you die and the online highscores offers more replay value. Graphically, the game is a tad poor and the platforms, especially, look a little rusty. The optional iPhone border looks fairly mismatched but it’s an amusing parody of the Canabalt game found on its home page. If you’re playing this to have fun, the hellish (hur hur) visuals shouldn’t put you off. And the background music, titled ‘Falling Demons’, is all too apt.

GAME > Sulkeis (Ryan Langewisch)

Sulkeis is a ‘demake’ of the popular 2003 GameMaker game, Seiklus, as indicated by the game’s title. Unlike the original, which took six months to develop, this was created in less than a week. Basically, it’s a much more straightforward take on the exploration concept explored in Seiklus, while holding some of the memorable parts of the original game, including the large plants and the small coloured objects which must be collected to unlock the door to reach the finale. The graphics follow suit, with much more lower resolution sprites, though they still hark back to the colourful flowing environments of Seiklus. Sulkeis is near faultless, only with drawbacks like the reported small glitches and the occasionally frustrating level design. There are also some nice tunes to be heard, varying from area to area. This brilliant adventure has a great chance of being awarded in Game Jolt’s ‘Indie Game Demake’ contest.

INTERVIEW > David Scatliffe

David Scatliffe is a fairly well-known GM developer, having been in the indie spotlight on numerous occasions, including cactus’ play through of his game, Up a Lazy Ocean, at the GDC. He’s known for his unique creations, which you can play over at Scattle Ware.

Okay, so who are you?
I'm David Scatliffe, a 16 year old independent game developer, and professional slacker. I try to incorporate a quirky gameplay mechanic into most of my games, but sometimes, I make fan games of other indie masterpieces.

How long have you been using GameMaker?
I've been using Game Maker for about 3 years. In some respects, I am still horrible at GML.

What are your thoughts regarding GM8?
To tell you the truth, I know absolutely nothing about Game Maker 8, except for the new included option to use a .PNG image for a sprite, and have it not look like utter garbage. I'm interested if GM8 will have more d3d functions, so I can port Cool Men and make it look even better.

How about the new logo? Do you have an opinion on that?
To tell you the truth, I know absolutely nothing about Game Maker 8, except for the new included option to use a .PNG image for a sprite, and have it not look like utter garbage. I'm interested if GM8 will have more d3d functions, so I can port Cool Men and make it look even better.

Do you think being an active member of The Poppenkast has an effect on the games you create?
I think being a member in the Poppenkast has it's advantages. The (weekly? monthly?) competitions give me a bit of inspiration, and three of what I consider to be my best games have all been created for those competitions, so, I think that's a sign of some sort.

What do you consider to be your best creation to date?
I'd have to say that one of my earlier games, Up a Lazy Ocean is one of my best creations, mostly because I'm so proud of it. UaLO won the Poppenkast competition that it was entered in, and it was featured in Cactus' lecture for the Indie Games Summit at GDC (which I still brag to my friends about). Not to mention that, it's the first of my games to actually keep my older brother playing for more than thirty seconds.

So how did Duum Mashine come about?
A couple of weeks back, I was doodling in my sketchbook, thinking of potential game ideas, when for no reason whatsoever I drew a giant lazer turret of some sort. I remember near the corner of the paper was a circular shaped monster, which reminded me of the sun. Then the idea hit me, to make an awesome arcade game with a somewhat environmental message, that isn't shoved in your face.

What made you opt to go with a messy graphical style?
To be honest, the style is just me being lazy. I wanted to make the game with pretty, pretty pixel art, so at first, I started doodling each of the components to see what they might look like. The doodles themselves ended up looking pretty good, so I animated them and tossed them in the game, with kindergarten-styled dotted lines in the background.

Looking back, are you impressed with what you produced?
Yes, I think I am... Although I'd like to come up with more enemies later down the line, to make the game a bit more varied.

Which characteristic of Duum Mashine do you think players are most attracted to?
I think players are probably drawn to the style of the game, either because they can associate themselves with the doodle imagery, or simply because it looks odd.

Have you got any more projects in development?
Why, yes I do! I'm currently working on Scattleware 2, Cool Men, Scattle Gallery, and a flash port of Constellation Chaos. I'm pretty busy these days...

Sounds awesome. So, do you see yourself using GM for much longer, or do you have other plans?
In the future I plan to try XNA or C++ so I can hopefully put my games on Xbox Live Indie Games, Playstation Network, or Wiiware.

Thanks for giving us a great insight, David. Would you like to say anything else?
To all those early Game Maker developers, always use 60 frames per second, and give non-generic games a chance.

GAME > Puke! 2 (Zack Banack)

Puke! 2 is a fluid shooter to sequel an old game of Zack’s. Well, I say shooter, but I mean, er... puker. See, the aim of the game is to basically vomit all over the enemies, hence destroying them (must be acidic puke) and increasing your score (online leaderboard). Of course the enemies do everything they can to stop this happening, throwing varieties of bullet arrangements for you to shun. The visuals are very flowing and the small details help put together a nice arena scene. The colours seem well balanced, however the background and the bullet colours can frequently clash, resulting in frustration and injustice to the player. The music is well chosen, but I would’ve liked to see more audio interactivity with events on-screen, such as explosive sound effects when explosions occur; y’know, that sort of thing. Overall, it’s another fun abstract game from Banack.

GAME > Legs (Daray Manning)

Legs is a (very) short and simple precision platformer where the protagonist appears to have lost his arms. You must tackle eleven levels, with the character’s only abilities being to walk and jump (with his legs) in order to find these misplaced limbs. The inspiration from You Probably Won’t Make It is evident, with similar colours and aesthetics used throughout. The game is generally a fun time-waster, although there is a particularly frustrating problem – the player seems to glitch with the wall and bounce off it almost every time. This ends up as the most challenging aspect of the platformer, which is not a good thing. The graphics are suitably basic, but I’m not totally convinced why the developer decided to make the screen size so tiny. While the music matches the general feel, it was highly repetitive with such a short looping time and alas there were no sound effects to be heard. Overall, Legs is a good platformer; it just needed that something more to be great.