Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Band of Bugs gets Avatar support and all-new DLC

NinjaBee Lets Avatars be the Hero, Releases New Game as DLC

OREM, Utah – June 29, 2009 – NinjaBee, the creators of the first fully-enabled Avatar game on Xbox LIVE® Arcade, A Kingdom for Keflings, announced today that beginning July 8, Band of Bugs will include Avatar support. In addition, NinjaBee will be releasing Tales of Kaloki, a new, game-changing DLC for Band of Bugs.

The added Avatar support will allow gamers the option of replacing the original story’s hero, Maal, with their custom Avatar as they play through the main story mode. Players will also be able to engage in hand-to-hand combat and spell casting in eight-player Spider Hunter mode. Spider Hunter, one of several multiplayer modes, allows players to battle with or against their friends over Xbox LIVE to survive an onslaught of deadly spiders, mosquitoes, centipedes and more.

The Tales of Kaloki DLC is based on NinjaBee’s first Xbox LIVE Arcade game, Outpost Kaloki X. The DLC is set in space and uses the basic mechanics of Band of Bugs but adds a new tile set, new characters, new story, new skills, new strategy, new attacks and new abilities.

“We’re giving you an entirely new game,” said Steve Taylor, president of NinjaBee. “The Tales of Kaloki DLC is Band of Bugs but with long-range combat using lasers, rocket launchers, OO rays and a ton of other sweet weapons to blow attacking space ships to smithereens. It’s all the wackiness from Outpost Kaloki X and tactics from Band of Bugs rolled into one, and we’re stoked to be releasing it.”

In addition, NinjaBee will release a Band of Bugs Premium Theme. This theme, which features scenes from the game and concept art, can be downloaded through the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 240 Microsoft Points.

The Avatar support will be added to the original game for free and the Tales of Kaloki DLC will be purchasable through the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 240 Microsoft Points. Like the extensive collection of DLC already available for Band of Bugs, Tales of Kaloki can be played by downloading the original game, Band of Bugs (800 MS points). The Avatar support, Tales of Kaloki DLC and the Premium Theme will be available Wednesday, July 8. Band of Bugs is rated E for Everyone.

About NinjaBee
NinjaBee, located in Orem, Utah, began developing games in 2004. With every game they make, NinjaBee’s goal is to create a unique, top-quality, fun experience for people of all ages. Their popular titles include Outpost Kaloki X, Cloning Clyde, Band of Bugs, Boingz, Doritos Dash of Destruction and A Kingdom for Keflings.

For more information, please visit http://www.NinjaBee.com.

Wahoo Studios and NinjaBee are registered trademarks of Wahoo Studios, Inc. All other company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright © 2009 Wahoo Studios, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Avatars and Fireballs

So we released this picture today announcing that we're bringing new things to Avatars that you haven't been able to do previously, like throw fireballs with your Avatar.

To clear up any confusion, this image was taken from a screenshot from the game. Our art director, Brent, took it from the screenshot and erased the background, touched up the color, tilted the positioning so the Avatar was in a better position and added a glow around the Avatar, but other than that, nothing was added in terms of the fireball. You will, in fact, be able to throw a fireball in this game. And a whole bunch of other really cool stuff.

Later in the week we'll be posting more info on this new prospect, so follow this blog, follow us on Twitter, or check out our forums for more info!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Indie Game Developer: The Definition

A continual debate rages that is more charged than politics, more heartfelt than religious conviction and more hotly contested than Roe vs. Wade. The unanswered question echoes; “What is Indie game development?” This argument endures throughout the year, but it’s never heard louder than right after the announcement of finalists or winners of an Indie game development contest. Cries of “Cheater, Cheater, you’re not I N D I E” ring throughout the air (well, okay, the internet air).

My desire to unite the world and promote love and happiness has driven my quest for an answer. Not just an answer to satisfy myself but one that is so clear and so undeniable that everyone must agree, “That’s Indie.” I believe that, in a moment of pure brilliance, I have uncovered the truth.

Drum roll…..

Indie is exactly what you are. Anyone who you think has an advantage over you isn’t Indie.

I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of years living in Italy. There I learned something about human nature. Many of the northern Italians believe that their culture and traditions are different from the southern Italians. They also believe that they are slightly superior to their southern neighbors. The northern Italians are quick to point out the higher crime rate in southern Italy and the fact the Italian Mob also began there. I believe this type of division is common in many countries, cities and even small towns. The fact that this division exists isn’t interesting in itself. The interesting observation is the geographical location where everyone places this division between the north and the south. I lived in many different cities during my stay in Italy and I noticed that everyone placed the division just a little south of where they lived. The further north a person lived the higher he or she felt that dividing line should be. In fact, in some very northern cities many of the Italians consider themselves to be Swiss. They were just stuck in Italy because of some arbitrary division of countries and would quickly point out that their ancestors, living in that very city many generations ago, hadn’t always been Italian. Despite the fact everyone in these towns can speak perfect Italian, many would choose to not speak Italian and often pretend they didn’t know how.

This same type of thinking is often apparent when developers are finding reasons to disqualify a developer from holding the honored title of “Indie.” This list can be as innumerable of the stars. It is rare that a definition is solely based on what qualifies a developer, but instead focuses on what limitations a developer must embrace. Some of these restrictions include items such as the following:

• Big publisher financial support
• Budgets that are too big
• Financing from investors
• Too much industry experience
• Publishing on platforms other than PC or Mac (no consoles)
• Publishing on any platform or with any web site that has restrictions or requirements
• Having worked with publishers - ever
• Previous Indie development success
• Schedules that are considered too long for the development of a single game
• Too large of a team
• Use of office space for development instead of a basement
• Use of commercial software or big commercial game engines
• Telling a story in a game
• Visuals that are too high-end and pretty
• Use of 3D
• Making a game that is mainstream and commercially viable (No first-person shooters)
• Desire for financial success
• Lack of distain for authority and publishers
• Not high enough quality

Of course this is just a small sampling of disqualifiers. The amounts on some of these items also can vary greatly. For example, on the budget issue, some developers go so far as to say that you shouldn’t spend any actual money--everything should be done with free, volunteered labor--while others might place the budget cap at $1 million.

Some of these restrictions seem very logical and fair and some seem totally ridiculous. But look closely. Can you see how each item actually reveals the self perceived flaw or weakness of the developer who is using these criteria as a means of disqualification of other developers? For example, the developer who excludes developers who use too large of a team may actually wish he had a bigger team or at lest think he could make a better game with a bigger team. Take thought before you next choose to cry out in protest--you may be inadvertently exposing your innermost insecurities to the world.

There are some developers who feel confident enough to include other developers with larger teams and lots more cash than themselves in the sacred Indie circle. These individuals simply believe that these factors don’t actually provide as strong of an advantage as other attributes often found in Indie developers. With creative freedom and a willingness to take risks, they can make amazing games that aren’t dependant on big teams or big budgets.

This definition doesn’t answer the question of who should be granted the privilege of entering an Indie game development contest. However, it forces me to think harder about my own evaluation of who I consider to be an Indie developer. The next time I try and make this distinction, I should ask myself the question, “Would my opinion change if I was just like them?”