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CreaVures is now available on iOS!

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We’re very pleased to announce that CreaVures is now on sale for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch! Reception has been really positive so far, with great reviews and the game being named iPhone Game of the Week in the UK! You can head over to the iTunes App Store to snag it now at the introductory sale price of just $0.99: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/creavures/id453010095

The forest has never looked as beautiful as when you hold it in your hands. This game has always wanted to be a mobile game, and we’re glad to finally be able to bring it to iOS. We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, and we wouldn’t have gotten here without support from you, our fans! So THANK YOU! And remember to like us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/CreaVuresiOS) if you’d like to keep on top of the latest Creavures news and updates!

Another Award Nomination for CreaVures

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CreaVures has just been nominated for the SxSW/Independent Propeller Awards in the Mobile Game category! It’s CreaVures fourth awards nomination, and we are proud and humbled.

On another note, Pocket Gamer did an awesome write up, calling the game one of the strongest looking title for a long time, wow!

The game comes out on the App Store tomorrow! Get it for your iPhone or iPad!

CreaVures App Store Release Date!

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Hi everyone,


CreaVures, the award-winning puzzle platformer, will be coming to your iPhones and iPads worldwide this coming Thursday, April 5th! It will be an universal app and ready to support the retina display of the new iPad. You can now enjoy the stunning visuals and unique tandem play, and have Bitey, Pokey, and the rest of the creavures to keep you company for a special launch sale price of only $0.99!

We’ve put a lot of hard work into the game to make sure that the controls are reinvented from the ground up for the best mobile gaming experience. The visuals and user interface are significantly more polished, and we made sure that the game performs well on any device that Apple supports. We are really excited about what we achieved, and we are confident that it will be one of the most unique and visually stunning experiences on the iPhone and iPad. We hope that you’ll enjoy the fruit of our labor. Please support the game and help us spread the word!

To follow the game’s release more closely, like it on facebook. We’ll be posting lots more updates there for you.

Thanks very much and take care! – Team Muse

CreaVures Nominated for Best Casual Game at IMGA

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CreaVures has been nominated as one of 5 finalists for Best Casual Game at IMGA! This is an incredible honor, as it was selected from close to 500 entrants. On the short list of finalists for the category, CreaVures is next to incredible games such as Jetpack Joyride and Hector. Unreal.

Additionally, CreaVures is also up for the People’s Choice Award, and you can vote for it here!

We have also finished the game! It is now going through Chillingo’s QA finally! We don’t have a release date to announce yet, but we are getting close!

Get Guns of Icarus Pre-Orders on Kickstarter!

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Guns of Icarus Online is available for pre-order on Kickstarter! We are over half way to the goal and on our way!

Pledge an amount of your choosing in support of the project, and you can get great rewards, including pre-order copies of the game, the original soundtrack, exclusive closed beta access, limited edition costumes, t-shirts, posters, art books, the chance to design your own custom characters and items in the game, and more!

Guns of Icarus Online Costume Design Contest

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DESCRIPTION OF CONTEST: Muse, an indie game studio in NYC, is sponsoring a costume design contest for the upcoming Guns of Icarus Online title! Submit a concept like the example in #IcarusSteampunk group at Deviantart.com or via email at contest@musegames.com. If you win, you get 1) the ultimate tribute of having your concept be made into an in-game costume, 2) your name immortalized in developer credits, 3) a handful of free copies and other goodies!

Contest begins on 10/24/11 and ends on 12/5/11.

HOW TO ENTER/REQUIREMENTS: Submit your costume concept art in .jpg or .png formats with the resolution of 1280×800 by uploading to Deviantart.com and tag with #IcaruSteampunk or emailing to contest@musegames.com. Muse Games will create a contests album on facebook/gunsoficarusonline, repost all contest submission in the facebook album, and post updates of the contest, including finalist selection announcements, on facebook/gunsoficarus. If submission is made via email, please provide your name, age, address, phone number, and email address, and write Guns of Icarus Online Costume Submit as the subject.
Muse Games Corporation (“Muse Games”) will evaluate the submissions to determine the 10 best submissions as finalists, from which 3 winning submissions are awarded. The prizes for finalists and the winners are described below.
Entries may NOT contain, as determined by us, in our sole and absolute discretion, any content that:
i. is sexually explicit, unnecessarily violent or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group; profane or pornographic;
ii. promotes illegal drugs, (or the use of any of the foregoing) or a particular political agenda;
iii. defames, misrepresents or contains disparaging remarks about other people or companies;
iv. contains trademarks, logos, or trade dress (such as distinctive without express written consent of the rights holder(s) or a reasonably apparent lawful basis for your use(s);
v. contains copyrighted materials owned by others (including photographs, sculptures, paintings, and other works of art or images published on or in websites, television, movies or other media) either without express written consent of the rights holder(s) or a reasonably apparent lawful basis for your use(s);
vi. contains materials embodying the names, likenesses, voices, or other indicia identifying any person (other than a member of your family or community for whom you have received consent) including, without limitation, celebrities and/or other public or private figures, living or dead either without express written consent of the rights holder(s) or a reasonably apparent lawful basis for your use(s);
vii. contains look-alikes of celebrities or other public or private figures, living or dead either without express written consent of the rights holder(s) or a reasonably apparent lawful basis for your use(s);
viii. communicates messages or images inconsistent with the positive images and/or good will to which we wish to associate; and/or violates any law;
ix. packaging or building exteriors/interiors) owned by others either
We reserve the right to investigate and verify, conditionally reject, or reject outright any tendered Entry, in our sole and absolute discretion, that we in good faith determine may not, or does not, meet the above criteria or any terms and conditions in these rules.

WINNER SELECTION – Muse Games will evaluate all the submissions received. Winners will be selected on or before [ENTER DATE]. By participating, entrants agree to abide by and be bound by these official rules and Muse Games’ decisions. Finalists and winners will be notified by email. All federal, state and local taxes, insurance, licensing, registration and title fees are the sole responsibility of the winner.

PRIZES:
Finalists:
• Feature on Muse Games website
• Developer credit in Guns of Icarus Online
• Three free copy of Guns of Icarus Online
• One copy of Guns of Icarus Online poster
• Advance game sneak peaks

Winners:
• Concept art be made into final in-game costume
• Developer credit in Guns of Icarus Online
• Five free copies of Guns of Icarus Online
• One Guns of Icarus Online t-shirt
• One copy of Guns of Icarus Online poster
• Advance game sneak peaks

NO MONETARY PAYMENT NECESSARY. Multiple entries shall be accepted.

Contest eligibility is open to worldwide participants over the age of 18 at the time of entry who may access the world wide web. You are not eligible if you are:

1. An employee, agent or representative of Muse Games, its respective affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising or promotional agencies.
2. A member of the respective immediate family (defined as mother, father, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and husband or wife) or household of any of the above persons.

This Contest is void where prohibited by law and is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulations. Muse Games reserves the right to request additional information to confirm eligibility.

By entering, you are representing that you are eligible for this Contest and that your submission(s) do not include any of the prohibited items under the above official rules. As the contest entrant, you will retain full intellectual property of your submission(s) but grant Muse Games a worldwide, irrevocable, fully-paid, royalty-free, non-exclusive right, including the right to sublicense rights to Muse Games’s subcontractors, to reproduce and publicly display your submission(s), and to prepare derivative works based upon the submission(s). If you are selected as a finalist or winner, you agree to waive any and all intellectual property rights including the moral rights to all such submissions so that the submission(s) are available for use by Muse Games Corp.

Muse Games is not responsible for lost, late, or misdirected entries, prizes or releases; or failed, incomplete, interrupted or delayed operation or transmission, or other Internet entry problems; problems with computer equipment, software, on-line systems, servers, online service providers, telephone network/lines or online communications; failure of any entry to be received due to technical problems or Internet traffic. Proof of connecting or logging on to the musegames.com or the deviantart.com site is not considered proof of delivery or receipt. In case of dispute as to identity of a winner who entered online, winner will be the authorized account holder of the e-mail account, and, if a prize is won and such authorized account holder is a valid entrant, the prize will be awarded to the authorized account holder. The “authorized account holder” is the natural person assigned an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted address. The potential winner may be required to show proof of being the authorized account holder.

RELEASE AND WAIVER – By entering this Contest, you forever release and waive any and all claims that you might have against Muse Games and its subsidiaries, affiliates, successors, licensees, agents and assigns, and the officers, directors, members, shareholders and employees of the foregoing (collectively, “Muse”) from (A) any and all claims or liability, including but not limited to damages, losses or injuries, (COMPENSATORY, DIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR OTHERWISE suffered by the entrant or any third parties in connection with participation in this Contest or acceptance or use, misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded and (B) any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the Contest. You further indemnify and hold harmless Muse from and against any and all third-party claims, liabilities, costs and expenses (including attorneys’ fees reasonably incurred) arising out of or related to (i) any breach or alleged breach or violation of these Rules by you, (ii) your acceptance, use or misuse of any prize or parts thereof, and (iii) your participation in this Contest.

Non-compliance with these requirements may result in disqualification, and the prizes may be forfeited and an alternate winner selected. In the event that a prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable, such prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner selected. Entrance into this Contest constitutes permission to Muse Games and their representatives to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, redistribute, and display your submission(s). By participating, you agree to the official rules and judges’ decisions. In the event that any dispute arises regarding the meaning or interpretation of these official rules, participants agree that the dispute shall be resolved by applying the laws of New York and that it shall be resolved by and within the courts of New York, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of, and service of process by, such Courts for the purpose of resolving any disputes, and further consent to the propriety of venue in such Courts.

Muse Games reserves the right to terminate further Internet entry in the Contest if technical difficulties, including but not limited to infection caused by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud or other technical failures, compromise the integrity or ability to continue such Internet entry. Unless otherwise set forth herein, Muse Games’s Privacy Policy shall apply to this Contest; provided, however, in the event of any discrepancy or inconsistency between or among the Privacy Policy and these Rules, these Rules shall govern.

WINNERS LIST: Winners will be posted on Muse Games’ website at musegames.com/news/.

Sponsored by Muse Games Corp., 11 Broadway, Suite 333, New York, NY 10004.

THIS CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

Highlights from IndieCade

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Space Invaded: these public sculptures dotted downtown Culver City, including here in IndieCade Village

This past weekend I flew out to Los Angeles for my first IndieCade, the annual festival that is sometimes described as “the Sundance of games” and celebrates the indie gaming spirit (whatever “indie” means — ask that question around the office and you’re in for a long and potentially heated discussion!). IndieCade has many parts, including a public weekend festival, game exhibitions, and awards, as well as a professional conference. I suppose I was expecting some kind of “indie GDC,” which was both sort of right and sort of way off. There were slightly shorter lines, many fewer business cards, about the same amount of swag (so many Magic card decks!), and many more zombies. Also a lot more children (although sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference).

 
Read the rest of this entry »

Guns of Icarus Post-mortem

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This post-mortem an account of learnings and struggles during and after the development of Guns of Icarus. Hope it’s useful for others developers and indie studios. The We first released Guns of Icarus in late 2009 to early 2010. Later, the game was featured on Steam, Mac App Store, and other distribution platforms. It was not a wildly successful game but enough for us to now make Guns of Icarus Online. The entire story can be viewed here.

20 Minutes

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The artists at Muse Games know how important it is to keep our artistic abilities honed to a fine edge, but it isn’t everyday we’re required to march into “art battle”. Somedays only require us to layout UV sets, tile textures, bake ambient occlusion maps or go on a dreaded “icon binge”. Usually a studio will make their interns/slaves do this mind-numbing work but because we’re a smaller operation, we have to do these degrading tasks ourselves. To make sure we’re ready for the next “art battle”, everyday we take a 20 minute break from whatever we’re doing to create a painting and get as far as we can. Sometimes we even manage to trick a few non artists to join us. Here’s a sample of what we’ve been up to:

“Alaska Samurai Monkey”

Derek Chow, Lead Animator

“Cyclopes Cannibal with Lazer”

Brian Kehrer, Game Designer

“Undead Kickboxer”

Da Sol Lim, Art Intern

“Rogue with Helmet and Cape”

Eugene Chu, Modeling and Texture Artist

“Rocket Guard Frog”

Howard Tsao, CEO

“Render from Shape”

Tim Doolen, Lead Artist

“Concept from Shape”

Jon Lin,  Modeling and Texture Artist

“Deadly Old Paladin”

Alex Jarocha-Ernst,  Lead Engineer

“Cameleon”

Chris Piron, Modeling and Texture Artist

“Brush Study”

Carolina Moya, Lead Artist

“Bouncing Ninja”

George Simpson III, Technical Artist

“Alaska Monkey Samurai”

Emily Compton, Lead Artist


Contests – to be or not to be

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It is of course contest season! Or contest submissions season to be more exact. We already submitted to a smaller one, and submission for IGF still needs some work. Submitting for IGF is of course worth it, not only because it is one of the biggest opportunities for an indie dev team to stand out and be recognized, but it is also the fairest, with little to no strings attached. It is not beholden to a big publisher, and it is an opportunity for indie devs to shine.

Another contest that we are thinking about is the Activision Indie Competition. The cash prices are outrageous. Basically the winner gets $175K, and the runner up gets $75K. And it is judged by IndieCade judges. So far so good! But then as we read the contest rules in more detail, we were more confused and concerned.

The submission asks for “expected schedule, budget, team make up for development of the game, and execution plan.” While this is fine and reasonable in a way, to ask a contest submission for this much information is a bit out of the ordinary. Especially in terms of execution plan. Not exactly sure what to say there, that we will work day and night to make the game? I guess the point is to see if the team knows what it is doing or not, and if it has any organization at all.

“The submission must not feature brand names or trademarks.” This is really unclear. I’ve asked ePrize, the entity running the contest, but haven’t gotten any response yet. The confusion is that, I don’t know what feature refers to. Is it referring to someone else’s brand name or trademark? If so, this makes total sense. But is it referring to our own brand name or trademark? If so, then this is more than a bit weird. Does this mean that we cannot have a name or logo for the game? If we happen to like our game, and want to get it trademarked, are we disqualified? And what is the point of not allowing a developer to brand his or her own game? Doesn’t seem to make sense. Hope I can get some clarifications about this soon.

“The Submission cannot have been submitted previously in a promotion of
any kind or exhibited or displayed publicly through any means.” We’re not quite sure what “publicly” means. Does it prohibit us from entering into other contests? Does it mean that we can’t have game progress or game content be shown on our own blog or by any game media? If so, this seems really harsh. Indie devs deserve every opportunity to shout at the mountain top, since no one else would do the shouting for us.

According to the submissions rules, in order to become a finalist, an dev must sign documents giving “Activision the right of first refusal to be the publisher.” But also according to the rules, there can be more than 2 finalists, which means that some finalists may not receive any money at all from the contest. And the submission has to sign to “acknowledge of Sponsor’s development of game concepts that may be similar to entrant’s Submission.” In this case, there is a concerning worst case scenario, a dev places as a finalist, gets no money from the contest, has to have Activision as the publisher, and Activision doesn’t do enough to market the game. While this of course protects Activision, and I’m sure Activision has the best of intentions, signing this doesn’t make me feel totally comfortable. Granted, we are talking about Activision here. It would probably be an awesome opportunity to work with Activision. But strictly speaking in terms of the rules of the contest, this does seem a bit forceful. Activision is paying a lot of money, but this entire contest reads more like a vehicle for Activision to scout for games to publish. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that, the lesson here is just to understand what a contest is exactly about, why we are entering it, and making sure that everything is clear.

For the time being, we will probably elect to pass on it and focus Guns Online for IGF next year.