Wacky indie game dev wants you to Throw Trucks With Your Mind

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Lat Ware is quite the character, and his game reflects his humor. Photo: Jim Merithew, Cult of Mac
Lat Ware is quite the character, and his game reflects his humor. Photo: Jim Merithew, Cult of Mac

Lat Ware is a pretty loquacious dude, without a bit of shyness in his persona. We came across Ware at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco the first week of March and tried out his upcoming game, Throw Trucks With Your Mind. He was strapping headsets onto conference attendees and keeping up a steady stream of patter to keep them off balance when trying to manage their character in-game.

You see, Throw Trucks With Your Mind uses an $80 headset from NeuroSky to actually read your brainwaves. Ware has set it up in the game to track opposite parameters: focus and relaxation. When you focus intensely, the onscreen red bar will fill up, allowing you to do things like jump, push, and toss heavy in-game objects. When you relax, a blue bar fills up and lets you do four other cool things for a total of eight different ways to interact with the game using your mind.

Try that while some chatty indie dev is all up in your ear, trying to distract you.

Scenes from the Game Developers Conference 2015

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Apple's diving into virtual reality.
Anyone seen my Xbox? At GDC 2015, virtual reality transported many attendees to another world. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — Whether they’re in town to pitch products, apply for jobs or ponder the next big thing, the Game Developers Conference is an annual rite of passage for gaming geeks of all sizes, shapes and economic persuasions.

More than 24,000 game developers, publishers and journalists cram into Moscone Center for a weeklong dive into the latest gaming trends. In between panels like “Adventures of a Video Game Drag Queen,” “How Players Engage with Morality” and “Designing for Mobile VR in Dead Secret,” they mix and mingle — at least the ones who don’t have VR goggles strapped to their heads.

Here’s a taste of the action on the ground.

Indie dev hopes Zombie Match Defense will chew its way to the top

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This guy really wants his game to do well. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
This guy really wants his game to do well. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — After his best friend deemed it impossible to make a fun game using the oversaturated staples of mobile gaming — match three, tower defense and zombies — indie developer Jake Sones made a bet.

Now Sones and his three-person team at Shovelware Games are ready to win that bet with upcoming game Zombie Match Defense, which makes players defend a row of scientists against an attacking horde of zombies by matching three or more brains of the same type. It’s as if Plants vs. Zombies and Candy Crush had a goofy baby and invaded your iPad.

How Crossy Road developers made $10 million in 90 days

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Who (and what) will make it across Crossy Road? Photo: Hipster Whale
Who (and what) will make it across Crossy Road? Photo: Hipster Whale

SAN FRANCISCO — Crossy Road developers Andy Sum and Matt Hall never set out to rake in a pile of cash. They did, however, want to create a popular game.

“We wanted to make the next Flappy Bird,” said Sum at the duo’s Game Developers Conference session here Tuesday.

“But our goal wasn’t to make money,” added Hall.

And yet make money they did. While Crossy Road hasn’t hit Flappy Bird levels of success (or notoriety), it pulled in 50 million downloads — on iOS, Android and Amazon — during the game’s first 90 days. It also generated $10 million for Hipster Whale, Sum and Hall’s development company.

Not bad for a game that was originally named Roadkill Simulator 2014.

Become predator and prey in multiplayer creep-fest, The Flock

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Peter Dijkstra (right) and Jeroen Van Hasselt, two of the devs of creepy arena game, The Flock. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Peter Dijkstra (right) and Jeroen Van Hasselt, two of the devs of creepy arena game, The Flock. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — When I went to meet Peter Dijkstra, the business guy at Dutch game developer Vogelsap, I had to wait in line to see the small, indie team’s new horror game, The Flock. I wasn’t too upset, though, as the guy in front of my was none other than famed Doom and Quake developer, John Romero.

Dijkstra’s The Flock is an upcoming horror multiplayer game that takes place in one of three different arenas. Playing the game with three other people Monday at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco brought back memories of those long-ago sessions of Quake Arena, as well as more modern examples of asymmetric multiplayer like Left 4 Dead and Evolve.