Wind Catcher Games

Games by Josh Raab

Archive for the category “Critical Hit”

Agency is Online!

Like the title says. We’ve put it up on Philomela, a lovely free Twine hosting site. Play it here and tell ya friends!

(Edit: Not sure how to have Philomela access our sound and art assets, so USE THIS LINK instead: http://bit.ly/1lvq1oN)

Here’s the Philomela link, but you should use the previous one: http://philome.la/raabgames/agency

 

Critical Hit Recap

Okay! It’s been well over a month, meaning I have been terribly negligent in my blog duties. So let’s get right into it!

Most of the summer was occupied by the amazing Critical Hit program at Concordia University’s TAG Lab. Each of the 15 other participants were phenomenally talented and wonderful people, and I’m honored to have spent 10 weeks making games alongside them.

I ended up working primarily on Agency, a text-based game built in Twine that explores themes of morality, necessity, and bureaucratic obfuscation in a not-so-distant-future America. You play as a government Inspector tasked with extracting information from a suspect. It will be online very soon, and I’ll post a little addendum when it is. I created the game alongside fellow NYU MFA student Pierre Depaz, and under the indispensable tutelage of Leanne Taylor and Jonathan Lessard.

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On other fronts, Crystal Brawl was accepted into the Boston Festival of Indie Games (September 13 at MIT). Geneses, sadly, was not, but we have some good hypotheses as to why – more to do with difficulties in UI and teaching the rules than with the quality of the design, in which we’re completely confident. Still waiting to hear back from IndieCade about those two and Nika, but that should be coming soon.

Additionally, Crystal Brawl will be showing at two festivals in the near future: lwlvl this weekend in Williamsburg, and Maker Faire NYC September 20-21 in Queens. We’re going as part of Mark Kleback’s wandering indie arcade carnival Deathmatch by Audio, and both events look like they’re going to be awesome. Hope to see you there!

Lastly, team assembly and preliminary design work have begun on my MFA thesis project. I won’t say much for now, but stay tuned. It’s gonna be good.

– Josh

Evo 2014: Nika + Geneses

I’ll be at Evo this weekend showing both Nika and Geneses with the NYU Game Center. Super awesome opportunity to get some competitive games I’ve worked in front of thousands of pairs of eyes. Huge thanks to NYU, and Dylan McKenzie in particular, for reaching

Critical Hit just made the transition from 1-week game jam projects to a 6-week final game. Last week I worked on the twitchy 2D physics platformer Shimmy with Hamish Lambert, Ben Swinden, and Ana Tavera Mendoza, which we showed off at CH’s big public playtest/party on Friday.

People loved Shimmy, but ultimately I decided to return to Welcome, Inspector for the remainder of the program, along with Patrick Chan, Pierre Depaz, and Tuuli Saarinen. As a game primarily concerned with information, hidden roles, and social dynamics, it’s a difficult design challenge I’m eager to tackle. We’ve decided to make it a full-on installation, which will allow us to focus on atmosphere and set design as well. This does mean the game will be harder to set up and run outside of CH, but we believe it’ll be that much more effective this way for those who do get to play it.

More updates coming throughout the summer!

Josh

Nika Sample Copy!

Today I received my advance sample copy of Nika!

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It’s an amazing feeling, having my name on that box. The components are all lovely, and I’m grateful to Eagle Games for doing such a good job on them. I’m also looking forward to finally having a copy of the game that actually fits in a backpack, instead of having to carry it under my arm like I’ve been doing for the past few years. Lesson learned: convenience of storage and transportation is a factor when prototyping.

I’ll be showing the game off to as many people as I can find to play it in Montreal this summer. I’ll most likely be leaving this copy at Concordia University’s TAG Lab as thanks for hosting me at Critical Hit.

How’s that been, you ask? Well, I’ve worked on three games so far…

Still is a meditative game inspired by memories of childhood and my love for walking around vast public spaces at night when no one else is around. Starting in a forest and moving into a city, the player may choose to explore and seek out bits of written narrative. The game plays with perception, with its three sections evoking feelings of being first lost, then awed, and finally trapped. I created Still along with Li Zhi He and Winnie Song.

– Welcome, Inspector is more or less a digitally aided role-playing game for five players. Set in a (technically) fictional capitalist dystopia, four players are brought into the Bureau for Economic Assessment and Rehabilitation (B.E.A.R.) for questioning by the fifth player. Without spoiling too much, let’s just say it involves headphones and a program called the “Sonic Isolator”. The team included myself, Pierre Depaz, Andrew Goudreau, Li Zhi He, and Tuuli Saarinen.

– Spacebro Justice Rocket! is a rhythm combat game controlled by the High-5000, a custom-built controller that uses pressure plates and an Arduino to detect high fives, fist pounds, and elbow bumps. What more could you want? I worked on this with Anh Chi Bui, Nick Kornek, and Louis Sciannamblo. Special shout-out to Nick for assembling the High-5000.

The Critical Hit site has loads of great documentation, including interviews, game summaries, a blog, and tons of fantastic photos. The other games from the program have been as cool as mine if not cooler, so go check it out!

Josh

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