It’s looking really nice, too. I didn’t play it myself but the controls seem to be simple and responsive, and the visuals are pretty darn... pretty. Of course since it’s still in Early Access there are lots more features in the works that haven’t been implemented yet, so it’s bound to be even more interesting once it’s officially released.
Since the App Store doesn’t actually have anything comparable to Early Access we’re going to have to wait a bit for the iOS version, but that’s understandable given how - let’s go with “finicky” - App Store reviews can be. But I’ve been assured that the iOS release should be right behind the Steam release, so we won’t have to wait too terribly long to get our hands on Drifter in its final form.
Celsius Game Studios, headed by Colin Walsh, is hard at work on the space trading simulator Drifter. Last seen at GDC 2012, the game has since seen a Kickstarter for a PC and Mac version that also sees plenty of benefits for the iOS version. There's more detailed graphics, and a soundtrack by Danny Baranowsky. There's over 20,000 planets to explore across the game's vast, vast universe, which can take up to an hour to travel across a star system in real time, though it's possible to slipstream at five times the speed to a system.
Right now, the game is in beta testing for Kickstarter backers, and the sandbox mode is the focus, though a story mode is definitely in the works. If all goes as planned, a mid-to-late-summer launch is planned. Those looking to play the game on PC or Mac will be glad to know that technically, save games are compatible with each other between the different versions, though Celsius Game Studios - no longer just Colin Walsh - is looking into a cloud save solution.
Developers met with us last week at GDC to show us their latest projects, the games that currently are deep in the works for them. Some of these games are closer to release – one game actually had its update approved by Apple an hour after we talked about it. These are the games that are more off in the distance.
Drifter from Celsius Game Studios is well in the works at the moment. This will be a space trading game, an homage to games like Freelancer. Colin Walsh of the one man studio had an iPad 2 build on hand, showing off the massive procedurally-generated galaxy the game will boast (that will take a very long time at warp speed to travel across), ships docking in space stations, and some of the combat that’s in the works. The game uses the same 3D engine as Red Nova, but the game uses a lower camera angle, and the engine is obviously more expansive to cover this massive space trading epic. A new teaser trailer featuring music from Danny Baranowsky was recently released, and the game is expected sometime in the second half of this year.
Ezone’s Simon Edis showed off their new endless runner, Awesome Man. This game uses a Unity engine and graphic style similar to Diversion, but it features a faster pace and a flying superhero. Players try to fill up their flight meter by collecting gems, also collecting coins on their way. The arrogant eponymous hero can be hurt by flying into walls or dropping to the ground from great heights, but these also grant the player coins. The scale of the levels are massive: Awesome Man can fly up to great heights using jump pads, and can even fly through the windows of some of the floating office buildings in the sky. Awesome Man is still a couple months away, and next up on the list is adding and refining the game’s difficulty curve.
Finally, Gamerizon, developers of Chop Chop Ninja, showed off their upcoming game, Chop Chop Ninja World. This promises to combine two different styles of game: the typical side-scrolling gameplay the series is known for, and a social city-building element. The city-building will be in a side-scrolling interface as well, with players able to build their cities of different elemental types to create custom looks. Gamerizon have announced bold plans for connecting with friends, utilizing push notifications to help protect friends' villages for rewards, pushing new content through background content downloads, and potential integration with an upcoming Chop Chop Ninja cartoon series on Cartoon Network. The game will be free to play, and is currently scheduled for a September worldwide release after an extended single-country release in order to refine the game based on public feedback, according to Kael Lazla of Gamerizon.