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  • Writer's pictureConnor Riley

VoxPop's New Middleware Direction!

Hello Everyone!

Today I’d like to introduce VoxPop’s new direction. This has been in the works for the past few months, so I’m very excited to finally announce this. VoxPop is currently expanding on and building out a brand new middleware toolset for indie game developers. What does that mean exactly? Read below to find out more!

Indie Game Developers face many challenges, but there are two main ones that VoxPop is trying to solve.

  1. Indie Game Developers are often strapped for cash (liquidity).

  2. Making games is hard, and you might not always have the exact skills you need to create/market/produce the game you want. Hiring contractors is a solution, but that brings us back to issue number one, indie developers being strapped for cash.

In order to solve this problem, we’ve created the VoxPop Middleware Toolset initiative. The aim of this new toolset is to bring various collaborators together, within our centralized platform, in order to make the best games possible, and pay collaborators with an equity stake in the game.

Here’s an example, let’s say you’re working on a project but creating 3D models just isn’t your thing. We will help you find collaborators to help build out your 3D models, and you can pay them with an equity split of your game. This means that you won’t have to pay them upfront, but will pay them with a percentage of each sale of your game. This goes the other way around as well, if you’re a contractor and looking to find projects to take equity in, we will help you find them.

The next part of our middleware platform is to help make sure your game gets seen. We have plenty of streamers that will stream your game to a new audience and get extra eyes on your project. There’s no worse feeling than working on something for months or even years, only for it to go unnoticed. We want to make sure every voice is heard,

Earlier this year we did our first test run of our new middleware project with the game Outer Terror. Developed by Salt & Pixel, the game was released on April 20th, this year.

Outer Terror is a horror survival bullet hell with a Tales From the Crypt art style. We helped with many aspects of the game's development, including QA testing, translating the game to bring it to new regions of the world, and even creating our own content for the game.

Additionally, we had over forty streamers stream the game. From there we created even more micro content from the streams to make sure as many people saw it as possible. If you haven’t checked out Outer Terror already, you can purchase it here.

Our next big project to be taking advantage of our middleware toolset is Disaster Golf, by Hippo Havoc.

Disaster Golf was the capstone project of the Bradley University Game Design class of 2022, and my alma mater. Post graduation, a core group of students continued working on the development of the game. Disaster Golf is a fast paced mini golf game where players use natural disasters in order to move the ball instead of the standard golf putter.

Par is determined by time in this game, instead of by number of strokes, and includes a leaderboard of all the best times on each level, promoting competition for world records. This is a very recent signing, so look forward to more news about Disaster Golf soon, but until then, make sure to Wishlist it here.

Since the original team on this game was ~thirty students, having their group size lowered down to only four people allowed the Hippo Havoc team to really hone in on what they wanted the game to be, as well as massively overhauling what was already there. Ashley, the teams artist stated that post graduation

"All of the level art in the game went through a massive upgrade. I made a whole bunch of new models and then went through each level to redesign the environments and round out the geometry. I wanted each level to look visually unique, so variety was key.".

One of my favorite things about Disaster Golf is how much the team truly cares about the game and their work. When I asked the team each what their favorite levels were, they each responded with a different level, all with a unique reason. Some had to do with the development of the level while others had to do with the level itself. In response to being asked his favorite level in the game, Doug, one of the the programmers of the team responded

"Dino Peninsula for sure. The story behind that level will forever and always make it my favorite. The first version of that level was designed in under a day right after our professor told us that we would fail if we turned the game in its current state. Cue a few days of crunch and the first iteration of that level. Dino Peninsula then became the set-piece of the Jungle level set and one of the best levels in the game."

I think Kyle, the team lead of Hippo Havoc gave a great synopsis of the game, and shows how dynamic a game like Disaster Golf can be. When I asked him what type of experience he was hoping players would get out of Disaster Golf, he responded with

"I'm hoping people see Disaster Golf as a game for both casual and competitive audiences. Although speed running is emphasized in the game, it's perfectly okay to play at your own pace! On the flip side, there is much potential for players to master unique combos. That being said, I'm very eager for a competitive crowd to grow!"

It's been great to work again with my fellow classmates and friends. This brings me to another core group of developers we are targeting, students. We are hoping students, whether they are game designers or not, take advantage of our middleware toolset. Are you an artist? Cool! We will try to find a project for you that you can do art on. Are you a programmer? Sick! We will help you find a project that you can do some programming work in. Regardless of your major or interests, we will help you find projects to boost your portfolio.

So what are you waiting for? Make sure to sign up today!

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