Indie Games Spotlight for November 11th, 2012

By mancide, 6 years ago
Mine elements and items to aid your survival on the moon your space-ship has crash-landed on in Xenominer.

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Just Updated with More Updates in Progress! Finally a voxel sandbox game in a sci-fi setting. Features fully scriptable autonomous bots, an intense lunar survival theme, an AI companion, futuristic tools and tech, a growing community and more updates to come.

RELEASE DATE: 9/19/2012
DEVELOPER: Gristmill Studios
GENRE: Action & Adventure

Offline players 1
Dolby Digital
The obvious comparisons to Minecraft will be made, and the core mechanics are much the same. However, Xenominer takes you to a whole new setting, one based in science fiction on a far away moon called Xenos.

With only a little oxygen in your spacesuit and a bit of salvage from the remains of your ship, you must find a way to survive alone in the harsh lunar environment. XenoMiner brings several new concepts to the genre, such as futuristic technology, anti-gravity pads and gravity-bending boots, solar-powered drilling equipment with matter-to-energy storage, and programmable bots of alien origin.

We got a chance to sit down with Brian Rossman one the developers of Xenocraft for some questions about the development process.

How long have you been developing games?

Brian: I pretty much got my start to programming because of games. At around 8, I would play with basic (basic basic - not visual at all) and follow any examples I could to get some form of a graphic output on the screen. I think I spent a couple weeks on an adventure game, but I didn't get much farther than the title screen. It looked pretty cool though. Over the last decade, I've worked for a company making educational software. The titles have a purpose and I'd like to think of them as games - they are kind of like games that aren't very fun. Don't get me wrong, not all educational software is boring - I just haven't found many. I signed on to the Gristmill team in May after a happy hour that lasted almost all night and have truly enjoyed working on the XenoMiner project. I guess that would be 4 months...

What are some games that you would point to that are your greatest sources of inspiration? On the converse, which games have you learned mechanics that you have chosen not implement into your games?

Brian: The first game I can really remember (other than paying the quarter for some kid at the roller rink to get my name in the vanity board of a lady bug game) was Pacman on the Atari. When my older brother's friend brought over the console, I was hooked, although I couldn't play it until about 1 in the morning when they finally fell asleep - little brothers get used to playing Luigi. I have always enjoyed quest and adventure games, starting with Adventure for Atari. The games were simple and the cover art for the games inspired much imagination, since the graphics were quite limited by the technology of the day (crap). The Legend of Zelda was another amazing game and I've been a huge fan of the series ever since. It doesn't matter that it's the same story over and over again - if Link had to save the princess from the creepy convenient store clerk, I'd probably buy that title too. I also loved the humor in Sierra games. I still have an original box of Space Quest purchased from Radio Shack for 19.97 complete with 5.25" and the much more advanced 3.5" floppies.

If a game has a finish, it's nice that it would have some kind of reward at the end for your efforts. I can still remember the first time finishing Pitfall on Atari without dying once - 3 guys, 20 minutes and that's it. Kind of a let down - even then.

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

Devilsong was done in one month on a hard burn. That was us working more than just our usual Tuesday nights. Etch, which we haven’t released yet, has at least 6 months of development. With XenoMiner we’ve had two periods now, right before Dream.Build.Play, and leading up to this Indie Games Uprising release, where Tuesdays became Mondays/Tuesdays, and by the end we’ve been working almost every day. We’ve been working on XenoMiner for about 6 months now.

What drove you to participate in the Indie Games Uprising promotion?
We really wanted to get our studio name out there, in front of people, in their minds. We think we have some great games to make and share, but we need the community to know we exist - there simply aren’t a lot of channels for indie developers.

The Indie Games Uprising has been the perfect promotion for us, we love that it is home-grown and gritty, a kind of common cause that brings a bunch of strangers together and makes something great out of them. We love that, that’s really the heart of the gristmill mentality.

What is the greatest asset to the Xbox Live Indie Games community? What is the biggest detractor?
I think the greatest asset the XBLIG community has is the the Live Dashboard and the Xbox itself. It’s easy to discount, but I frankly find it amazing every time I turn on an Xbox 360 and load my own game on there - or even better, when I go into the marketplace and see my game for sale. It’s incredible - if I could go back and tell that little kid playing Zelda and Rad Racer that one day he’d write a game that people could play in their homes on a future console, I’d blow his mind.

The greatest detractor. That’s tough. I think the XBLIG community struggles in several areas - low bandwidth in the media and on the dash, no access to achievements or standard leaderboards. The lack of achievements is actually probably the biggest issue we have: you’d be surprised how many gamers simply won’t even consider a game on our channel simply because we’re not able to offer gamer score.

You can add Xenominer 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.