Indie Games Spotlight for October 7th, 2012

By mancide, 4 years ago
Gateways is 2D platformer that brings a new mechanic to the genre.

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Gateways is a world-twisting 2D platform game. Acquire the powerful gateways gauntlet and its power-ups to place gateways allowing you to travel instantly from one place to another, change size, rotate the world and even travel in time.

RELEASE DATE: 13/09/2012
DEVELOPER: Smudged Cat Games
GENRE: Platformer

Offline players 1
Dolby Digital
Gateways is a traditional 2D platformer that takes place in the lab of Ed, an inventor, following an outbreak of his more "creative" experiments. You must assist Ed to escape his lab.

In addition to the more traditional elements such as jumping on enemies, deadly spikes, and moving platforms, Gateways adds the gateway gun which allows you to place two gateways on the wall, floor or ceiling of the lab to pass from one to the other. As you progress through the game you can upgrade your gateway gun with different effects like creating gateways of different sizes to shrink Ed to half his size, or grow twice as large. You also gain the ability to manipulate time as well as locations, which can allow you to encounter past versions of yourself. Finally you gain the ability to manipulate gravity allowing yourself to walk on ceilings and walls.

Gateways takes place on a single map which contains a large amount of puzzles and challenges. As you acquire power ups more and more of the map opens up containing more power ups and secrets.

We had the chance to sit down with Smudged Cat Games the developer of Gateways for some questions.

How long have you been developing games?

On and off, about 20 years. I started experimenting with the family BBC Micro when I was really young, probably about 8 or 9. I got my first thing published in a listings magazine when I was 11 which was really exciting back then. I got a Yaroze when I was at university and wrote a game called Timeslip which a few people seem to still remember (I recently rereleased it on XBLIG). After getting a job at Rare when I graduated I got really turned off the games industry though and worked at some non-games jobs for a few years. It’s only recently I’ve got back into doing games.

What are some games that you would point to that are your greatest sources of inspiration?

For Gateways, Portal is the obvious source of inspiration. Like so many other people I really loved Portal and wondered how the portal system could be implemented in 2D. I realised there were a few other things you could do using portals and that’s basically how Gateways was born. I love the classic Nintendo games as well, Mario has to be an inspiration to anyone making a platform game and the single level style of map in Gateways is inspired by Metroid. I know people always call it Metroidvania but I’ve actually never played a Castlevania title so that’s certainly more inspired by Metroid.

How much time do you typically spend on developing a title?

My large projects suffer quite heavily from fractured development. With Shuggy I started working on the game and then stopped when it went into the Dream Build Play competition and I tried to find a publisher. I had problems with the first publisher for Shuggy which meant the game went into limbo again while I tried to find a new one. I started working on Gateways during that time but had to stop work on it when things kicked off with Shuggy again. Towards the end I’ve had to find non-games contract work to make ends meet which meant development slowed right down until I’d made a bit of money and could return to work on the game. If I worked on either game solidly I reckon they could have been completed in a year.

Do you feel Microsoft has made any progress on helping the Xbox Live Indie Games community?

It seems to be constantly changing. I never know from one moment to the next where I’m going to find the XBLIG channel! I think things have improved recently though. The XBLIG games are right next to the XBLA games now, although some would argue that they’re both buried behind movies, adverts and social media. At least it feels like they’re more on a slightly even footing now. The fact that Bing searches can also help people stumble across XBLIG titles also helps.

What is the greatest asset to the Xbox Live Indie Games community? What is the biggest detractor?

The best thing about XBLIG is how easy it is to create a great game and get it out there. XNA is really easy to work with and is worlds apart from using C++ and Direct X to make a game. The peer review system has it’s flaws but it’s a lot less intimidating that going through Microsoft’s certification process. The worst thing about XBLIG is how easy it is to create something rubbish and get it out there! The fact that it’s so easy has meant that people have come up with some ridiculous “games” which are just dreadful but they’ve managed to get them released on the channel. It creates this impression that XBLIG is filled with these sub-par apps and I worry that it puts people off checking what’s there.

Gateways can be added to your Indie Games collection for 80 MSP.

If you have an Xbox Live Indie Game that you feel should be featured in an edition of the Indie Games Spotlight, please PM your suggestions to mancide.
Written by mancide
When not enjoying video games, our fearless newshound enjoys an nice pint of fermented barley and hops in a variety of styles. India Pale Ales, Stouts, Porters, Witbiers, Saisons, Gose, Lambics, Barleywine, you name it. If it has water, malted barley, hops and yeast in it, I'll consume it. I also enjoy all things technological, Doctor Who, wrasslin, traveling, and spending time with my family.