In episode 2: It's the end of the first week, and we get to look at what games were made and how every-one did.
In episode 3: The team enters a new week, we take a look at some of the projects happenings & meet more of our awesome guests (including a sea monster??)
Game Jam Island 2:
12 Mar 2018
In 2016, Free Lives moved the entire studio to Mauritius for three whole months for Game Jam Island 1. As it turns out, Free Lives only managed to make 1 actual game jam game. We did also release Genital Jousting onto Early Access, Yojimbrawl in a Humble Bundle, and start GORN. Our international indie game dev friends fared much better than us at sticking to the game jam plan ;)
This year, we have headed out to Canggu, Bali for Game Jam Island 2. Rule 1? NO EXISTING PROJECTS! We are here to jam, baby!
Just like Game Jam Island 1 (watch HERE), we're documenting the whole experiment. Follow our progress to find out if we manage to find our next big project! Here's episode 1:
GORN EARLY ACCESS UPDATE 3
23 Feb 2018
The wait has been long enough - time for a GIANT GORN update, featuring new GIANT things to kill and new GIANT things to kill them with!
NEW CHAMPION (AND A HALF)!
Taking too much or too little steroids can have severe adverse effects on the muscular development of a gladiator. Our new champion team, The Giant (and Mitch) demonstrates both!
Be ready for anything with your new trusty sidekick.
Whether you like to defeat your enemies with sheer power, or skill and dexterity, we have one for you!
and by far our most requested weapon...
Bigger and better, and with environmental hazards for you to use against your enemies.
As well as a slew of other features and improvements:
- New difficulty setting under Gameplay Options - now goes up to NIGHTMARE difficulty! Enemies are tougher and more ruthless, and you have less time to recover from hits.
- Improved combat physics and animations
- Improved cell and arena visuals - from our testing performance should be as before or better, let us know if that's not the case for you!
- Option to disable blur
- Improved and expanded options for rotation
- New look “Low Violence” mode - let us know what you think!
BIG thanks to the community as always for all the feedback that was essential in shaping this update. We welcome all bug reports, performance complaints and suggestions!
Genital Jousting Full Launch!
18 Jan 2018
Genital Jousting has pulled out of Early Access into full launch! You can now play with yourself (in the fully narrated single player mode, The Story of John).
GENITAL JOUSTING FULL LAUNCH!
18 JANUARY 2018
15 Jan 2018
Genital Jousting pulls out of Early Access and goes Full Release on Thursday 18 January!
Sorry about being so quiet for so long on the development front, but we've been working on a massive content update behind the scenes - in the form of a fully narrated single player story mode. Expect an hour and a half of tasteful dick jokes, told over tastelessly wobbly penis action.
At the same time, the price will increase to $6.99 at launch, an increase we hope is more than justified by the extra playtime, content and love we've put into it.
You can still enjoy the variety of party modes with 8 other penises, on your couch or over the internet, plus unlock a variety of adorable outfits to dress your flaccid willy up with. All of that goodness is still in Genital Jousting, plus this extra experience for those who just want a quiet time playing with their own dick.
THE (FULLY NARRATED) SINGLE PLAYER STORY MODE
Play as John, a dick who wants to find a date for his high school reunion.
He'll need some help along the way. He's wobbly, he's soft. But he wants to be hard. So very hard. He wants to show everyone his astounding rigidity. And with your help, that's exactly what he'll do.
GENITAL JOUSTING PLUSHIE!
Wrap your hands around the new Genital Jousting plush with squirty sfx and a STEAM CODE for the game ahead of the launch for $30!
10% OFF at checkout until Official Game Launch on January 18th!!
The perfect gift for any situation. Halloween, Burning Man, Mother's Day, Team Building Exercises, Retrenchments, First Dates, Divorces. Any situation!
This update we're introducing some of our most-requested weapons in the form of caestus.
Each champion you defeat unlocks a new pair of caestus which you can then use in any of the game modes.
Currently unlockable are the Punch, Claw, Grapple, Mobility and Throwing Knife Caestu...ses? Caesti? Caesu?... Gloves!
In the last update, we introduced local multiplayer as an undocumented extra feature for custom modes. Following up on feedback, we've taken that and polished it into a local multiplayer Party Mode!
We've also spent some time refining the controls for the gladiators and brought back VSIM-style controls, 1998's greatest gaming innovation. Settle who gets to go into VR next the GORN way!
▪ Facelift for features in the cell and arena ▪ The character animation and physics have been redone from scratch using an entirely different method. The changes are subtle but very significant, and will allow us to do more with the character going forward. We have an actual simulation of a character's strength now, which wasn't present before, for example. ▪ For those who prefer their killing with less violence, we've improved the Low Violence mode in GORN with new textures and effects, because everyone knows beating the crap out of a piñata is okay. ▪ For those who prefer their killing with more violence, we've adding gibbing and more organs for you to explode! ▪ The Quarterstaff and non-unlockable Spiked Baseball bat have also been added to the game
FEEEEEEEED US WITH FEEDBACK! If there are things that you like and dislike, let us know! You can post on the Steam forums, the subreddit, or even chat directly to us on the Discord.
Free Lives is tearing apart! The Genital Jousting and GORN teams are at war! Who will win??
And find out if the Free Lives house renovations will ever be finished! (lol no)
Design Talks: Jamming Culture
17 Oct 2017
In this episode of Design Talks, Evan and Robbie chat about the jamming culture at Free Lives; why we jam; possible pitfalls; and how to get the most out of the practice.
SA Game Jam 2017
17 Oct 2017
Free Lives hosted the second annual South African Game Jam in September, with over R15 000 in cash prizes and a spot at A MAZE JHB for the winning game. Here's a look at how things went at the Cape Town venue, and the winners!
Congratulations everyone! SA GAME JAM 2017 had around 30 entries made over the event’s weekend.
And congratulations to those that jammed together at the jam locations (and especially to those that organized the in-person jams). We hope you had a great experience, learned from those around you, and made some friends in the process!
This year had fewer games entered than last year, which made the judging job a bit easier, but there were still many games deserving of consideration, and it’s never easy choosing what to reward. (Next year we’ll start a discussion about how to make the SA Game Jam more exciting and accessible and see if we can beat the entry count from the first year).
Having said this, the greatest congratulations belongs to the winners. Those teams (and individuals) that spent a weekend building games, and created something spectacular.
- Student, Hobbyist and Diversity category winners each received R2500 - Best Art R2000 - Best Audio R2000 - Technical Excellence R2000 - Best Narrative R2000 - Overall Winner gets R5000 - Three entrants were exhibited at A MAZE JHB! - The overall winner exhibited their game at Amaze 2017 and had a five minute hypertalk slot - An additional prize of a trip to A MAZE JHB 2017 was awarded to the Overall Winner team (this included a flight to JHB from anywhere in SA and an entry ticket to A MAZE)
The “overall winner” was the game that we thought provided the most novel experience, and best embodied the theme.
OVERALL WINNER: Human Resource
by Ben McInnes, Adone Kitching, Nina Lewis and William Christian
Human Resource both continues the (mis)adventures in the world of Parasol Corp, as well as this team’s winning streak. Once again, impressive world building and writing is at the forefront of the experience. While the game suffers a little bit from an ambitious scope, all the details feel considered (right down to the design of the corporate letterheads), and given a bit more time we’re convinced this game would be amazing.
Human Resource interprets the theme in a novel way, with the player collecting evidence that allows them to fill in the blanks the report they’re tasked with compiling. The brilliant twist here is that the evidence is needed to not solve the crime, but instead construct a false narrative that suits Parasol Corp’s dystopian purposes. This forces players to adopt a role where they don’t “see what’s right in front of [their] noses” but instead find useful clues in the periphery, all the while filled with certainty that they’re on the wrong side and that the crime they’re helping cover up could happen to them if they don’t show obedience dedication.
On top of this, Human Resource is excellently presented, with a lot of love having gone into the construction of this wonderfully mundane office location, along with tasteful audio design that brings even more detail into the world.
Team Group Effort, behind the overall winning game Human Resource is being partly sponsored to fly up to Johannesburg and exhibit their game at A MAZE.
Honourable mentions for Overall Winner:
Blird Watching by @creative630, @bestnickname, @steamhat, @Ramperkash and Richard Ramsbottom This was a particularly weird and novel experience. It incorporated the theme well, and while games where players collect animals in locations have been done before, this experience subverts all expectations. If anything it’s an anti-animal-collection game. If Blird Watching had some additional goals (like earning cash from photographs of rare birds that allow improvements that induce new rarer birds) this could be a really compelling experience (as well as being an utterly hilarious one).
The Student Prize and the Hobbyist Prize both had very strong contenders, and these were the same contenders (as the teams both were both comprised of students and hobbyists). It’d be accurate to say they are both equal runner-ups to the overall prize.
STUDENT PRIZE: Truth Be Tolled
by Andrea Hayes, Bracken Hall and Benjamin Crooks
Truth Be Tolled tells a story from the perspective of a gatekeeper in a medieval town. The fate of the town being at least partially dependent on the decisions they make, like who they accept into town and how much money they collect. This sets up some difficult choices, as the circumstances of the town begin to grow dire, as well as some enjoyably silly choices, like answering “What is my occupation here?”. While the story cut’s off early, presumably due to a lack of development time, Truth Be Tolled is a strong concept worth exploring.
HOBBYIST PRIZE: Collecting Regrets
by Julian Pritchard, Romeo Molongoana and Sean Goncalves
Collecting Regrets is a simple game, but a good experience. The player plays a life of a person who must make a series of binary choices which affect the course of their lives. It’s a detailed and melancholy story which appears to have but one happy ending and many regretful ones.
Gravitron by Duncan Fraser, Paul Myburgh
Gravitron is a relaxing but challenging cooperative local multiplayer experience. The objective is always the same, that of using the various forces at your disposal to push balls into holes, but each level introduces a new complexity that has to be solved. Cooperation is essential in the later levels of this game, and so, coupled with the pleasant ambience that soothes frustration, Gravitron provides a lot of opportunities to learn to trust the person you’re playing with.
DIVERSITY PRIZE: Blob Eat Blob World
by Kirsten-Lee Naidoo and Rohun Ranjith
Blob Eat Blob World is a small but charmingly executed local multiplayer game where players attack each other with bits of themselves. The twist is that you if you fire off your last blob you will die, and as you collect more blobs you grow larger and become an easier target for your enemy to hit.
ART: Truth Be Tolled
by Andrea Hayes, Bracken Hall and Benjamin Crooks
Truth Be Tolled is beautifully presented. The pixel art conveys the mood of the game extremely well, and the slowly shifting lighting gives a sense of the passage of time. A lot of work has also gone into the character designs and their animations, and this work let's Truth Be Told stand out above the rest in terms of visual presentation.
Earth Prison by Ashley Sanders
Earth Prison also has some lovely pixel art, and is especially impressive for the whole project having been done by one person. The way the level comes alive once the portal has been opened is particularly well realized.
NARRATIVE: Human Resource
by Ben McInnes, Adone Kitching, Nina Lewis and William Christian
As has already been said, the world building and role the player takes on in Human Resource make this game really special. The writing itself is very funny, and feels like there were almost too many ideas to fit into just the one game.
Collecting Regrets by Julian Pritchard, Romeo Molongoana and Sean Goncalves
Truth Be Tolled by Andrea Hayes, Bracken Hall and Benjamin Crooks
Apart from Blird Watching’s absurd premise (that of photographing what appear to be boneless flightless birds), where Blird Watching stands apart is in the number of technical tricks it pulls off. Photographs can be taken with a variety of graphical filters (parodying Instagram filters) and the resultant images can be saved onto the hard drive. Along with that the birds themselves are floppy and rigged, and while they don’t behave like blirds per se, their behaviour is surprisingly engaging to watch.
This year was a bit of a drought for Audio. In fact so much so that we’ve decided not to hand out an audio prize.
Agra the Agoraphobe by CrissOle had some lovely music composed for it, but the three stock sounds used for the rest of the game weren’t particularly fitting. And while the audio design in Human Resource was excellent, the sounds themselves weren’t custom made for the game.
Next year we’ll double the audio prize instead!
The judges who sacrificed their time judging the games, and who you should blame should you disagree with their decisions, are:
Evan Greenwood Dawid Strauss Francois van Niekerk Jason Sutherland
The judges tried the best they could to award the prizes in a way that rewarded the finest of the games entered, as well as trying to bear in mind the expectations of the entrants (which is always tricky). If you felt anything was amiss, or would like more transparency in some regard, please let us know your suggestions or thoughts.