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About The IGF is presented by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, which runs the Independent Games Festival & Summit every year at Game Developers Conference. The company (producer of the Game Developers Conference series, and Game Developer magazine) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers.

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Archive For December, 2006


December 18, 2006 9:08 AM | Tim W.

Also known as Victi, Vigil is a different sort of adventure game suitable only for mature audiences. The subject matter is questionable, and some of the scenes are mildly disturbing even when much of the story is shrouded in mystery.

The demo showcases quite a bit of gameplay, in which all movements and interactions can be controlled using the mouse. Left click on a destination to make Dehon run towards it, and right click when standing on a correct spot to wave your hand or chant a prayer. Rather useful in activating objects or opening doors.

Perhaps best described as Sin City meets Killer 7. The trial version is available from GarageGames as well.

Name: Vigil
Developer: Freegamer
Category: Adventure
Type: Demo
Size: 120MB

Galshell 2 Bullet Rain

December 17, 2006 9:18 AM | Tim W.

Warning: Contains nudity.

Galshell 2 Bullet Rain is perhaps the most accessible of all Artesneit releases, though they're not taking it any easier on the nudity content.

It's possible to begin playing from any of the three levels, with plenty of continues to use and a different character assigned to each difficulty. Collect items marked with the letter P to increase your power-up gauge. When it's completely filled, your weapon will receive a decent firepower upgrade.

Not suitable for players with weak stomaches.

Name: Galshell 2 Bullet Rain
Developer: Artesneit
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB

Jets'n'Guns Gold Cheats

December 17, 2006 9:08 AM | Tim W.

Click here to view the cheats, but be warned. It will ruin much of the experience.

Get the Jets'n'Guns expansion pack here.

Plasma Pong

December 16, 2006 4:18 PM | Tim W.

This is the fifth in a series of Slamdance Finalist reviews.

Plasma Pong is Steve Taylor's remake of Atari's 1972 arcade game Pong, but it's a remake with a very interesting twist. Instead of batting a ball back and forth in the 2D, gravity-free vacuum of the classic, Plasma Pong moves the game into a 2D fluid field.

As the ball bounces and the paddles move, they interact with the field through simulated fluid dynamics. The state of the field is presented with both a color map (showing---I'm guessing---the fluid pressure at each point in the field) and particles that are suspended in the fluid. The suspended particles help to reveal currents, eddies, and other features of the flow. The ball is also suspended in the fluid, and its motion can be affected dramatically by the flow. As the fluid gets stirred up, the ball's motion can become quite unpredictable.

You can affect the state of the fluid with more than just the motion of your paddle, however. The left mouse button sends a stream of fluid out from the center of your paddle, while the right button sucks fluid into your paddle. The suction is strong enough to attract and retain the ball. Once the paddle fills with fluid, releasing the right mouse button creates shockwave in the fluid that hurtles the ball back into the field.

The game is visually dazzling. Yeah, it's very 2D, but I still found my jaw on the floor---it's hard to believe that a computer in 2006 can actually produce such a display.

Read the full review at Arthouse Games.

Name: Plasma Pong
Developer: Steve Taylor
Category: Classic Remake
Type: Freeware
Size: 7.41 MB


December 16, 2006 9:18 AM | Tim W.

Explosion TrainObject and world editors have been included in the latest Thrust Xtreme download. [Thrust Xtreme review]

X-Out's Gravitron updated, now comes with an online high score system. [Gravitron review]

A new version for Spider was recently released to cater for owners of videocards that do not support pixel shader 2.0 features. [Spider review]

The expansion pack for Jets'n'Guns is now available, simply entitled Jets'n'Guns Gold. [screenshots, features list]

Click here for a list of all 104 IGF Student Showcase entries to try out.

Some of the entries previously mentioned: Invalid Tangram, NaaC, The Blob, Spider, Plasma Pong, Fire and Forget, Base Invaders, Toblo, Spherious, Helium Boy, And Yet It Moves.

Anything by students of the Game Academy is pretty impressive: Explosion Train, Desire, Into the Tale: Dream Fall, Fate, Weaponed Head.

Worthy mentions: Space Shooter 3D 2k7, Opera Slinger, Lily and the Giant, etc...

Jets'n'Guns Gold

December 16, 2006 9:18 AM | Tim W.

Calling this just an expansion pack is practically a crime, as it contains twice as much content as the original. The demo for Jets'n'Guns Gold only showcases two levels, though they are replayable with earned credits accumulative and added to your total after consecutive attempts.

There's plenty of stuff to shoot at and it does get rather annoying when your weapon overheats but an expensive cooling system upgrade should solve that problem. Sprites are extremely detailed, thanks to a game resolution increase. New ships, enemies, weapons and secrets, the list of new features doesn't seem to end.

Undoubtedly one of the best 2D horizontal shooter available.

Name: Jets'n'Guns Gold
Developer: Rake in Grass
Category: Shooter
Type: Demo
Size: 20MB

Book and Volume: Review and Interview

December 15, 2006 9:18 AM | Tim W.

This is part of a series of Slamdance Finalist reviews and interviews.

Book and Volume is an interactive fiction (IF) piece by Nick Montfort. If you're wondering what IF is, think of an old-school text adventure and then turn the literary craft up a few notches. This particular piece deals with information-tech and geek culture, and it has a bit of a cyberpunk flavor.

For me, reviewing IF is tough: I'm so new to the genre that almost all of it is 100%-pure magic. Here's my take on it: an almost palpable world comes to life right inside your head. Because you can explore the world actively, it feels even more compelling than what I've ever experienced while reading non-interactive fiction. The result, for me, is incredibly powerful---almost to the point of making me feel like my mind is coming unhinged.

Of course, it's what the creator does with the medium that really counts. Mr. Montfort is obviously a solid prose writer, and his descriptions are what bring the 24-block city of nTopia to life. Within this artificial world, he tells a relatively simple story, at least in terms of surface-level plot points: Some servers in the city are down, and you need to reboot them; a user needs tech support; another server is down. Beyond completing the various maintenance tasks that are assigned by your in-game boss, the rest of the story---I'll call it the sub-plot---seems to be optional.

The piece plays on a fixed in-game time schedule, and it always comes to an end eventually, no matter what choices you make. Thus, you can't get "stuck" at an obstacle half-way through that will keep you thrashing for many real-world hours. You always get an ending of one kind or another after reading for a while.

One ending, it seems, is the "winning" ending, although the piece does not make this very clear. That ending ties the whole work together with a some nice prose flourishes and a heavy dose of post-modern self-referentiality. I'm still thinking about the piece, mining the experience for meaning. Issues such as illusion, reality, creators, creations, and corporate culture are explored nicely.

Nick Montfort is not only an active IF creator, he's also the field's chief theorist. His book Twisty Little Passages was the first to analyze IF. I recently had an opportunity to interview Nick by email, and we discussed, among other things, the importance of storylines to successful games.

Read the full review and the full interview at Arthouse Games.

Name: Book and Volume
Developer: Nick Montfort
Category: Interactive Fiction
Type: Freeware
Size: 221 KB


December 15, 2006 9:08 AM | Tim W.

First in-game screenshot from FTG released. [The White Chamber: International Edition]

Mike Bithell (Visiting Day) is currently developing Reunion.

An image of the complete Jet Set Willy Online cast can be found at oddbob's site.

Herculean Effort Productions (Apprentice) will release Super Jazz Man soon.


December 12, 2006 4:18 PM | Tim W.

Asougi is a freeware vertical shooter that resembles ESP Ra.De., a Cave arcade favorite featuring characters with the ability to fly and amazing psychic powers.

Some of the bullet patterns are rather unique and not the sort commonly found in recent shmup releases. It's also rather friendly to beginners as the number of continues are set to unlimited, though progress past stage three is only allowed to players using three credits or less.

The executable file with a longer name is the version with less effects for slower computers. Click here for the direct download link.

Name: Asougi
Developer: Asougi Project Team
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 120MB


December 12, 2006 10:18 AM | Tim W.

RIAH is a decent but short platformer with most of its gameplay elements originating from the Castlevania series. Press the Z key to attack, hold the X key to jump or use the C key to swap weapons. Choose from axes, knives, hammers and spinning discs.

The double jump skill is available by tapping the X button twice, and an editor is included as well to facilitate user creations. Click here to download the file.

Name: RIAH
Developer: Folio
Category: Platform
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB

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