Sometimes I wonder where all the love in the world has gone. As such, I’ve vowed to resolve this by telling people about Wolfire Games. They’ve been going for a while now (Their first release was in 2002), and they’ve made a fair few little games. I remember Black Shades, and which was when you played a bodyguard who had to look after a VIP from the dangers of zombies, knife carrying maniacs and various armed men. It was a real bastard of a game to play, and damn hard to play through, but was fun for when I needed a quick fix of shooting people.

Black Shades

They’ve done some other stuff (Black Shades now has an iPhone version), including Lugaru, which I hadn’t heard about until Google Reader decided to put the Wolfire Blog in my list of recommended items. They’re nice and open about the fun work behind the game development, without it really being dumbed down, so when you read a word you understand (Most of it was ‘and’ for me) you feel clever. That made my inner geek nerdgasm, so they moved up in my list of awesome people.

To tip me into preordering their new game (Overgrowth, which is a sequel to Luguru), they did a preorder double pack with the people making Natural Selection 2. As both were indie games and I had christmas money to spare, I did it. Not only did I get 2 games for $50, but that money went straight to the developers, so it gave me a nice fuzzy feeling inside. What nobody told me was the Wolfire have been doing weekly builds for those who preordered. What a brilliant idea.

Every week, the SVN repositry of the build is comiled and uploaded for those who preordered to download and play with. This is a great thing for 2 reasons: 1) We get to play with the current build and see what’s happening progress wise (Which considering there isn’t a release date and we’ve paid money for it, that means we’ll need to know where they’re up to) and 2) They get free testers. This is completely different to the preorder betas that usually get all the big press. Wolfire are giving it as an incentive, but they stress about 20 million times that this is an alpha and is nowhere near the quality of the final build.

I’ve finally had the chance to play with the current build (Build 65 I believe. Consider that they’ve been doing them weekly, and thats over a year). It is shaping up quite nicely, and there’s a fun little editor which, if I was so inclined, I could probably learn to use pretty easily. The important thing is that the weekly alpha hasn’t been used as an excuse. It might not have the full things, and it has it’s rough edges, but it works and I only had a problem with the damn thing not liking 64 bit vista until I ran it in compatability mode. I really do advise people go have a look at their other work and then preorder Overgrowth.

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