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Unraveling the Indie - Acidbomb 2


Every other week on Unraveling the Indie we'll sit down with an independent developer to unearth the dark secrets of indie game creation:

Terrorists have scattered bombs across the country. It's your job to disarm them. Acidbomb 2: Rearmed is everything a sequel should be: bigger, badder, and infinitely more polished. Combining elements from Minesweeper and Picross, Acidbomb is a challenging puzzle game with the added tension of watching a bomb's timer tick down to zero. Using latitude and longitude-like information, you must determine which areas of the grid are pistons (bad) and which are safe. Mark them with the corresponding symbols, then watch the countdown and hope you got it right. If not ... kaboom.

We recently sat down with Dave Galindo of Vertigo Games to get some inside-information about Acidbomb 2. Read on for the full interrogation.

To start things off, give us a little background on yourself and Vertigo Games.

Well, I've been making small freeware games for the last five years or so, but just recently started to make them more professional and "commercial". Acidbomb 2 is the first one I've really pushed hard; I spent more time polishing than anything else. Vertigo Games is simply the "company" tag I use; it's only composed of a few guys and a nice community of fans.

How did the idea for Acidbomb come around?

Well it actually started with a game called Smart Bomb on PSP that virtually no one played it seems ... It got bad reviews all around. I did end up buying it and had some fun, but was kinda disappointed. Just for fun, I downloaded a save from GameFAQs that unlocks all the minigames, and one of them was a simple 4x4 hexagonal puzzle. I spent more time playing that little minigame than anything else in the game ... which got me to thinking, wow, what if someone built on top of this idea? So, I took that little minigame and kept adding and adding to it until I got two games out of it. So I cant 100% take credit for the whole idea, as much as I'd want to. Or could, since no one played Smart Bomb. :-)

So Acidbomb just uses the core minigame idea from Smart Bomb, the two aren't even close to identical?

Right. Aside from defusing bombs, both games couldn't be more different. In both gameplay and presentation. It was really fun adding my own stuff to it...especially the different bomb types, etc.

Even though you put a lot of work into it, you've kept Acidbomb 2 free. Most games of that caliber come with a price tag. Not that we're complaining, but why did you elect to keep it as freeware?

I don't know what I was thinking. I should have sold it. Haha, too late now! But seriously, there is a reason actually. My next project will be the first commercial game I've done. I've teamed up with an excellent artist named JKR -- he does some comics over at the IGN Wii channel -- and we're working hard to make a really awesome, fun commercial game. But I wasn't sure if I could do it, because the last five years was spent making fun, free games. So, I took Acidbomb 2 and poured as much as I could into making it good enough to sell, without actually selling it, like an experiment to see if I could work on a commercial game before doing so.

And I learned a lot from it. I have been offered from a few distributors in taking Acidbomb 2 commercial, and I'm prepping a version with some new features (like a chamber that you can make your own bombs in) to take on the downloadable retail circuit, but the version you're playing now will always remain free.

You're pushing for it to be a PlayStation downloadable, correct?

I was, but in retrospect that might have been a bit too hasty. I do a PS3 blog over on IGN, and I've interviewed a few indie game devs that I got really inspired by. Sony saw flOw on the internet, for example, and hired that team to make several more experimental games. I thought that was awesome, and I wanted to try and do the same. But really, it's not very logical to assume that Sony is going to call me up one day and say, "Hey, we played Acidbomb 2 and love it! Come make games for us!" despite them doing it for a few people (like the LittleBigPlanet devs). So what I'm now focused on is making a good, strong PC gaming "company" and get some games for sell before looking towards consoles.

Can you spill any info about your next project, or would you have to, you know, "silence" us afterwards?

Hah, I suppose I can. It's going to be a simulation. It involves knives. And a chef's hat. And it's nothing like that extremely mediocre Cooking Mama series either.

Take that, Office Create!

Hah! It's influenced once again by another game, Ore no Ryouri, that never made it to the states. It was a PS1 game back in the day. But obviously it will be much different, under a new name, and something really fun. I'm really excited

Too early to call a release date/month?

I'm shooting for a later summer release, though if the guys at my forums heard that they'd laugh at me. Me and release dates is like Nintendo and ... release dates. But I'm really gunning for late summer.

Just dangle some screenshots in front of us and we'll wait as long as you want.

I wish I had some, but it's still being put together. :-( But I will very soon!

And finally: Where were you on the night of July 7, 2005?!! *accusing glare*

Wait! No! I have to think! I was...

...this interview is over.

Download Acidbomb 2: Rearmed (Windows)

Also released ...

Virtual Villagers 2
The title may sound campy, but developer Last Day of Work has a huge casual hit on their hands with the fledgling series of sim games. You control a village of castaways (no Tom Hanks or Lost references) and must teach them survival skills such as farming, building, healing, etc. As you train people your village grows and new secrets are uncovered on the island. You also gain tech points that can be used to level-up the various abilities. The game takes place in real-time, so set your villagers to work and leave them for a few hours to see the fruits of their labor. Download Virtual Villagers 2 (demo, Win/Mac)

Mars Miner
It's Bomberman with updated graphics and a darker theme. Unlike Bomberman: Act Zero, this game is actually good. Mars Miner takes the bomb-blasting fun from the series and updates it with a little sci-fi twist. Several modes of play add life to the game, but in the end, blowing stuff up is all the fun we need. Download Mars Miner (demo, Win)

Gallery: Virtual Villagers 2 and Mars Miner | 5 Photos

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