For The Statisticians: Guess The Correlation

logoGuess the Correlation is a fun little game with an 8-bit retro look (and sound) perfect for statistics geeks. Made by Cambridge University bioinformatics PhD student, Omar Wagih, the aim of the game is simply to look at scatter-plots and guess the correlation coefficient (R-value). Guess within 0.05 of the true correlation: +1 life and +5 coins, guess within 0.10 of the true correlation: +1 coin, and guess >0.10 of the true correlation: -1 life. Easy … or is it?

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Source: Via Gizmodo
Image sources: Guess the Correlation

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msausretrogamerMs. ausretrogamer
Co-founder, editor and writer at ausretrogamer – The Australian Retro Gamer E-Zine. Lover of science fiction, fashion, books, movies and TV. Player of games, old and new.

Follow Ms. ausretrogamer on Twitter

 

 

Land of ZOM: The Free Zombie MMO

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There is quite a bit of buzz around for Land of ZOM. This indie game (from Netikan Productions) has been in development for over three years. It’s anticipation is killing us non-partially deceased human beings.

Before you start complaining, this game will be free! One particular cool trait of Land of ZOM is its mixed platform world experience – “We believe that all players should be entitled to exactly the same experience, no matter what device they choose to use” – so regardless of your platform, the experience will be identical whether you are playing the game on Android, iOS, Windows, Linux or OS X! The development of this free-to-play Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game will be closely watched.

 

Interview with Indie Developer – Blue Key Games

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Game: Happiness!
Developer: Blue Key Games
Cost: FREE

What is better than playing a free video game? Absolutely nothing. When the lads at Blue Key Games created the free game Happiness!, they knew exactly who their target audience were – gamers like myself that are suckers for 2D platformers. Happiness! oozes 8-bit charm with an infusion of speed running. Just like any good platformer, your timing has to be spot on to stay alive and get deeper into the game. Well, no point in me selling you a game that is totally free to play. If you have spare time on your hands, go and check out Happiness! now.

For those of you that want to know more about the guys behind this game, we rounded up the Blue Key Games team for a grilling. Here is what they had to say for themselves.

Australian Retro Gamer: Tell us a bit about Blue Key Games – how it started?
Blue Key Games: It was originally supposed to be a development team involving Tim and his brothers, started by his brother Jesse. Unfortunately his brother was already loaded down with work after getting a job as a concept artist at Telltale Games, so Tim set out to work on games initially alone under the moniker Six Sides Apart. After development began on Happiness, Tim got Chris involved with the soundtrack for the game. Shortly after, Tom came on board to work on the stories for future games and to also handle the PR side of things. Because we had effectively created our own new development team we had decided to no longer use the Six Sides Apart name and opted to come up with a new branding, out of respect for the intent of Six Sides Apart and also for the founding members of our new team. After a whole lot of headache and brainstorming we adopted the name Blue Key Games, in reference to the trope of collecting keys in games like Doom and Dark Forces and countless others, and how we hope to capture the same feelings those video games of the late 80’s to mid 90’s gave us.

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ARG: What inspired you to make Happiness?
BKG: Happiness actually came about because of the precursor RPG to our next project Revahlen. Tim had been attempting to create an RPG game but was making the same mistake that every new developer makes: shooting too high too soon. The RPG project was put aside in order to develop what was initially supposed to be a simple platformer that would act as a learning experience. We looked to classics like Mario, Mega Man, and Sonic for most of our inspiration, especially on the look and feel of the game. A joke about the violence in the seemingly family friendly Mario games led to the imagery of Mario hugging goombas instead of crushing them. Over time this concept of the Anti-Mario evolved into a game where the point was to help everyone. Somewhere during development we were inspired to turn it into a sort of pop-psychoanalysis about dreams and emotions. Almost everything in the game is symbolic of some sort of emotion, from the color schemes to the designs of the creatures and stages. Needless to say, it ended up snowballing into more work than anticipated.

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ARG: How long did it take to make?
BKG: Conceptualization (sketches and brainstorming, etc…) began probably around March or April 2012 or so but was pretty sporadic. Full actual development began in earnest in June 2012. The game itself was mostly complete in December 2012, needing only bug fixes and some polishing. Work was temporarily halted from late December until early March due to a personal crisis on the team. The final debugging and polishing came in March 2013, along with the website launch and subsequent game release at the end of March, making it around 8 months of actual development on Happiness.

ARG: How many people worked on the game?
BKG: Tim did all of the programming, graphics, stage design, and sound effects and composed around half of the songs. Chris composed the other half of the songs though there was a lot of cross collaboration between the two, similar to the work they’ve done in their band. Tim’s brother Jesse contributed to the alien tower designs featured in stage 7. Scirra community members Mipey, rexrainbow, and GauVeldt created a few of the plugins that were used in the game. Tom has been doing just about all of the PR work. All in all, 7 people have contributed to the game’s development.

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ARG: Was the whole process fun / challenging?
BKG: Both. A lot of both. Like every work of art it’s a labor of love. It’s really frustrating sometimes to come up with the base mechanics or to create all of the assets, but when you finish it and look back on it there is this huge sense of pride and accomplishment. Sometimes we would come up with some new game mechanic but we couldn’t implement it the way we thought we could, so we’d have to come up with workarounds that had to be made in such a way where the end result is the same. Then there’d be an issue where, because there are so many components working together, we’d end up scratching our heads trying to work out what went wrong. There certainly is a lot of tedium to the process, but when our testers played baseball with a cyclops for about 30 pitches straight just because they could all the headache felt worth it.

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ARG: We see you are working on your next game, an RPG titled REVAHLEN – can you tell us more about it?
BKG: Revahlen is an action RPG in the vein of the SNES classics like Secret of Evermore. The game has you playing as a team of treasure hunters in a fantasy landscape just trying to make a couple bucks on the next big relic. Naturally they run across problems, from raiders to monsters to even rival hunters. Tom was brought onto the team as our writer towards the end of Happiness’ development primarily because of this game. The aim is to make a really fun action adventure, akin to the swashbuckling kind of fun in the Star Wars films, while also creating a sense of place and culture. It’s to be the first game in a series exploring the world introduced in Revahlen. It’s still in the early phases, but the game is progressing quite fast. An internal tech demo is almost complete, and we’re aiming for the introductory chapter to be playable on the site before the end of the year.

ARG: What else is in the pipeline for Blue Key Games?
BKG: After Revahlen we have plans to go back to a much simpler action game, likely NES style. The game is planned to be a throwback to ridiculous over the top 80’s action films. And of course we’re already brainstorming new ideas and concepts for a followup to Happiness, though it’s too early to say when work will actually begin on that. Of course, right now we have Revahlen in development so those are both just current plans that may change over time.

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ARG: Lucky last, Sega or Nintendo or Commodore or Atari?
BKG: Nintendo, though Sega gets a close second place. There are just too many classic franchises on Nintendo, both first party and third. Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, Mega Man, Final Fantasy to name a few. All of these got their start on Nintendo systems. Still, Sonic is as much a part of our childhoods as everything else so high marks to Sega, too. At the end of the day though, a good game is a good game, no matter the system.

Well, there you have it. A great insight into an awesome bunch of indie game developers keen on making games for us to enjoy. A big thank you to Tommy Surette from Blue Key Games for rounding up the troops for this interview.

Video Gaming Inspired Artwork

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It never ceases to amaze me how talented people are. Once such person, Jérémy Huet is no exception. His (retro and modern) video gaming inspired artwork should be shared and enjoyed. With that said, I hope you like it.

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