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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 October, 2007

Pitch Black Sea

October 12, 2007 7:32 PM | Tim W.

Pitch Black Sea is a horizontal shooter game based underwater, in which the player controls a fish with the ability to shoot in two opposite directions. Use the C or V key to fire left and right. Press the V key to start a game when the continue screen is shown.

Only one level is playable at the moment.

Name: Pitch Black Sea
Developer: Lazrael
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB
Direct download link: Click here

Jenka's Nightmare

October 12, 2007 2:00 AM | Tim W.

Jenka's Nightmare, a prominent Cave Story mod by Mark "Shmitz" Major was updated a few months back, marking the first release since the original one about a year ago. According to the author, this new version contains about 75 to 85% of the mod's full content.

The mod follows on from the "Sacred Grounds" ending from the original game. A short time after leaving the island, Quote is teleported back by a distraught Jenka to a familar looking cave - however, it seems to have gotten a lot bigger since he was last there.

Jenka's Nightmare is a good deal harder than Cave Story - but it's not the frustrating kind of hard - it's the good kind of hard. The kinda hard where everytime you die, you just want to retry and take one more shot at whatever killed you. But don't worry - if you managed to take Ballos out in the original Cave Story, it "shouldn't be anything you can't handle", as Kanpachi puts it!

Of all the Cave Story mods I've played, Jenka's Nightmare is easily my favourite. It's clever and inventive, it gets the character's personalities right, and best of all, it's fun. And right now, it's the closest thing out there to a Cave Story sequel. Highly recommended to anyone who likes challenging platformers - or to anyone who just misses Cave Story.

Name: Jenka's Nightmare
Developer: Shmitz
Category: Platformer
Type: Mod, Cave Story
Direct Download (Note: The mod requires a copy of Cave Story to run.)

Interview: James Whitehead (Tormishire)

October 11, 2007 2:36 PM | Tim W.

Article by moshboy

James Whitehead was responsible for developing the New Satan Sam, which was most memorable for its adorable pixels and ridiculous amount of levels. Most other developers would have started on something slightly smaller for their next project but not James. Not content with how the New Satan Sam performed, he returned with an improved engine and a whole new bag of tricks up his sleeve in the form of a work in progress game called Tormishire. From the first glance (and bear in mind that there isn't even a playable demo available yet), it is easy to see that Tormishire eclipses the New Satan Sam in every way possible, from its size, level design (with many multiple routes and sub-quests planned) and graphical appearance (which is absolutely stunning by the way). It doesn't really take much to realise just how passionate James is about Tormishire. You wouldn't expect anything less from someone that spends so much time and effort on the development process. And this makes James all the more pleasurable and interesting to interview. So without further ado..

Give us some background about yourself..

My name is James Whitehead. I'm 21 and currently live near Manchester in England. I've just graduated university and heading back to college to start work as a lecturer.

What systems did you own and videogames did you playing growing up? How have they influenced you?

I grew up on the Amiga. I think we got an A600 when I was about 6 years old and I still used it frequently until the N64 era. Games like Turrican, Flashback and the whole public domain scene really inspired me at a young age. Turrican 1 and 2 are easily my biggest influences just for the soundtrack and level design. Factor 5 really did produce something spectacular there.

At what point did you become interested in game development? Why did you choose MMF as a game development tool?

We didn't have many NES games since the Amiga was the console in our house. Through boredom I used to draw my own NES carts and design boxes for them. A few years later we bought our first PC and ordered Klik and Play from some magazine. Then it all started! Picked up the Games Factory in high school, then MMF1.5 during college, MMF2 at university. I’ve taught myself bits of other languages too but to get a game finished quickly MMF2 is my preferred application.

Where did the concept for Tormishire come from?

During The New Satan Sam development I planned on breaking the linear design with a sprawling world map where levels would be represented as dungeons. I split this game into The New Satan Sam and Red Lands - the working title for a new adventure game using the Sam engine. I ended up scrapping the whole thing and starting afresh, basing it around a neat little physics engine. I decided to split the game completely from Sam and start with a whole new game.

So how far into development did Red Lands get? What made you decide to scrap it?

I suppose it was more a transition than a scrap, so much that the player sprite is still called "Sam 2". I just felt I could build a much better engine (more efficient), since Sam's was a bit of a bad performer, system wise. I built everything around a unified physics engine this time round and there’s a much more consistent feel throughout the gameplay for it.

Do you have any other abandoned projects?

Madventures of the Love Rockets was an RPG I started a few years ago. It was similar to Golden Sun in gameplay but the project just lost steam and it was cancelled. This was my first project that Mr. Pineapple produced music for and has been essential contributor to my games ever since.

At what point did you decide to make it shareware?

The decision to make it shareware didn't come lightly, it's all down to the scope of the project. It’s definitely the biggest game I’ve worked on and it does take up a huge chunk of the day just making this. The full version will come with at least 1 other short game too, but I’ve only just started work on it so even I don’t know the full details. Um, stay tuned!

Tormishire will be your largest project to date with multiple paths to take, also creating a large replayability factor. Do the features that you add to your projects stem from things that you, yourself would like to see in videogames?

I love replayability, whether it’s achieved through unlockable playable characters or new modes. Because of the nature of Tormishire, there will only be a few unlockables but the replayability here lies in the diversity and optional areas. I want to make something truly giant in terms of level design. I've also always wanted to play a game where the player can get hopelessly lost but still find a sub-quest and to change the overall story through their own choices. It’s a complete nightmare to design and code since you have to take so many items and previous stories into account but it’s worth it.

What has the development process been like so far?

It’s been good and bad. Team Fortress 2 and Knytt Stories don’t help much! I normally get around 2 - 4 solid hours a day working on it, more if I’m doing the concept art pieces or music. Music is terrible for me. I can only get musical inspiration when I’m as far from my computer as possible.

Since all I have to do now is expand the game, I just sit down, put on some Tangerine Dream tracks and get designing!

Have you experienced any unique challenges in the development process?

The online side of the things have been a constant source of troubles. It’s something I’ve always wanted to put into a game but too overwhelmed by it. It’s certainly a challenge for me but I’d get bored otherwise. Once I got the online parts sorted I went ahead and added in custom servers for anyone to run.

Best and worst aspects of developing games - what are they and why?

Level and enemy design is something I enjoy doing. I’m a media artist by trade so I like to fuse together everything I’ve been brought up with, trying to create games as good as those I played growing up. I can’t stand bug testing but that’s been solved by a very helpful group of testers.

Since Tormishire is your most ambitious project to date, do you find it hard to keep motivated throughout such a long development process?

Motivation is certainly hard to keep up, whenever I get tired of a certain area and design I'll just switch to another area or shake up the current layout a bit. It’s all down to moderation. Spending all day just designing levels breaks my eyes, doing more than 1 track a day makes all the tracks sound too similar.

Do you always feel that all the blood, sweat and tears are worth it in the end? What is the best reward about creating games like this?

Oh they’re always worth it. I don’t play that many games really so it’s how I spend my free time. For Sam it was seeing guides popping up, knowing that people had played the game and uncovered every inch. Just little silly things like that really.

You have stated that this will be your last game. Do you think that the game development bug will catch you again? Do you ever catch yourself thinking about projects beyond Tormishire?

Tormishire will definitely be my last game of this scale, at least on my own. I’ll probably throw out some smaller games for my solo work. I’d actually love to make something beyond Tormishire pushing it into a series of sorts. But I don’t want to plan ahead just yet!

So game development isn't something that you would like to make a career out of? Just as a hypothetical, what if the release of Tormishire went really well and you made a decent amount of money, would this make you re-evaluate things?

I wouldn't mind a career in the industry. If Tormishire did perform well, then I'd just grab a bunch of the most creative people I know and get us producing games. I suppose we'll see what happens next year round!

Are you entering IGF?

I have entered Tormishire yes and I've been working my socks off to get a proper demo together! It's certainly given me a nice solid deadline to work towards.

In the indie community, exploration platformers seem to be more in fashion then ever. Have you had the chance to play many of these? Do you have any favourites? (Knytt, Knytt Stories, Alex Adventure, Lyle In Cube Sector).

I adored Knytt. I linked it to my friends and demanded they play it. Nifflas achieved something great with that style of his. I’m a sucker for these stylized platform games! I really enjoy these and hope designers can take note that there’s an army of players screaming out for these games.

Protoganda (Preview)

October 10, 2007 9:12 PM | Tim W.

According to his site, cactus will releasing a new 3D shmup within a week or two. He describes it as "a bossrush game with gameplay mechanics inspired by Warning Forever."

He has also posted a gameplay video that shows off the gameplay mechanics and the stylish graphics. Check it out here. Apparently, a donation of at least a dollar will let you get to play the game in it's current beta state.

IGF Entrants Announced

October 9, 2007 1:50 PM | Tim W.

The full list of entrants (173 in total) for this year's IGF main competition is now available to view from the IGF main site.

Simon had posted a selection of entries on GameSetWatch, but here are more games to keep an eye on (plus downloads whenever available):


3D Logic
Cube-based puzzler, playable through browser.

Ablation X (nenad)
Vertical shooter by the developer of Counterclockwise and Ablation. No download links yet.

Rez-type game. No download links yet.

Ants remake. Turn-based card game, playable through browser.

Clean Asia (cactus)
Download available. [direct download link]

PGD compo version available for download. [direct download link]

Crayon Physics Deluxe (Kloonigames)
Original version available for download.

Dino Run (Pixeljam Games)
Dino-run is a free web-based game from Pixeljam. Full version to be released end of 2007. (description from IGF main site)

DROD: The City Beneath


Empyreal Nocturne
Aerial action game. Download available. [direct download link]

Gish 2
Sequel to the IGF 2005 Grand Prize Winner. No download links yet.

Demo available for download, 60 minutes of playtime per save file. [direct download link]

Free online-only shmup game. [direct download link]

Immortal Defense
Tower defense game. Demo available for download. [direct download link]

Invader (dessgeega)
Download available. [direct download link]

Word game. Beta test version available for download.

A mix of adventure and interactive fiction. Full version available for download. [direct download link]

Noitu Love 2: Devolution (Joakim Sandberg)
Action game from the developer of Chalk. No download links yet. [Noitu Love]

OokiBloks (Hermit Games)
Puzzler by Matt Verran, developer of Fren-ze. No download links yet.


A lot of stuff on page 3 are playable in one form or the other, so I'm going to skip it unless someone requests otherwise.


The Last Stand
Action game, with zombies. Playable through browser.

The Night Journey
An experimental game created in collaboration with Bill Viola. [watch trailer]

The Path (Tale of Tales)
Horror game by the developers of The Endless Forest. Due out in early 2009 for the Windows platform. [watch trailer]

Understanding Games: Episode 1 - 4
Playable through browser.

Geometry Wars with an underwater setting. Due out for the Xbox Live Arcade in October 2007. [gameplay video, watch at YouTube]

World of Goo (Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel, 2D Boy)
Sequel to Tower of Goo. Last in the list, but it just might come first next year. No download links yet. [watch trailer]

Visit the IGF main site for a complete list of entrants.

Update: Brian Crescente (one of the IGF judges) had posted a list of games assigned to him for scoring purposes, which reads like this:

Invader, GYM!, Supernova Shootout, Discs of Mayhem, Artisan, Venture Arctic, Regnum Online, Polychromatic Funk Monkey and Gate.

If your game is in that list, better start scoring some points with him pronto!

Everyday Shooter Out Thursday

October 9, 2007 3:46 AM | Tim W.

According to IGN, Jonathan Mak's Everyday Shooter will be released this Thursday (11th of October 2007). PS3 owners can find out what the fuss is all about in two days' time! [thanks to J. Blow]

- Queasy Games
- PSN info page
- trailers, gameplay videos
- information thread


October 7, 2007 4:37 PM | Tim W.

What do you get if you combine a MS Paint doodle with a nifty vector engine and throw on a mouse controlled Asteroids variation? Something wonderful, for sure. Add online highscores and you've got a charming little game.

Use space to generate new colours, move with WASD and shoot with the mouse. Simple as that. Make sure to extract the game to a separate folder!

Developer: cactus
Category: Arcade
Type: Freeware
Click here to download


October 7, 2007 8:52 AM | Tim W.


JelloCar: JelloCar (physics game) version 1.0 released.

HOST: Diverge Creations has a new online multiplayer game up, called HOST. Also playable at XGen Studios.

Jet Dunk: GamePure released a new BreakOut clone named Jet Dunk.


Knytt Stories: Knytt Stories updated to version 1.1.0. [change list]

Starquake Remake: Evert van Oosten has released a Starquake remake. Download link available from Retro Remakes.

Space Barnacle: Doomlaser is the official site for all things related to Space Barnacle.


MFOR: Information about Oddbob's upcoming vertical shooter titled MFOR posted at the Mersey Remakes forums.

TWilight refrAIN: Eikyuu Loop announces a new shooter entitled TWilight refrAIN.

Nameless Shmup: Lazrael had posted a gameplay video for the currently untitled project. Don't expect a release though.

DroneSwarm: The new web site for DroneSwarm is up.


Tale of Tales: I was planning to mention a recent article posted on the Tale of Tales' blog (entitled 'IGF has too few female judges'), but it seems to have been removed...

Novint Falcon: Here's an interesting gaming peripheral named the Novint Falcon, also reviewed by Popular Mechanics back in May.

Bullet Clock: Bullet Clock is a nifty little Flash application which displays the current time using a combination of bullet patterns. A screensaver version is also available. Embedding instructions can be found on the same page. [source: Danmaku Gata]


October 6, 2007 3:58 AM | Tim W.

dive is a small action game in which players are given the chance to venture into the sea for a bit underwater exploration. Communicate with friendly blue creatures by pressing the Z key to acquire more air. You will lose a small amount of air if you touch any of the dangerous creatures.

Press the plus or minus key to change window size, and use the alt and enter key to enter full screen mode. The game has a proper ending. Mac version available.

Name: dive
Developer: namako team
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
Direct download link: Click here

Akuchizoku Demo

October 4, 2007 11:34 AM | Tim W.

Here's a slightly more polished version of the competition version of cactus' Akuchizoku. It might still have some smaller bugs and is a bit rough on the edges, but probably worth a try for fans of retro graphics and music, as well as shmup freaks.

The demo features three levels and three different pilots, two difficulty levels and two modes of gameplay. The difficulty adjusts the amount of bosses and enemies you get to battle, so those who whimp out will miss a lot of content.

There is a gameplay video of the first level available here, which can be used as a guide on how to beat the difficult bosses. The controls can be a bit complex for the various pilots, read an explanation of how to play here.

Worth noting is that you can't select pilot in story mode, while you can instantly access any level and pilot in free play mode.

Music as always by the excellent John Marwin, and the great effects provided by Aaron Kurtz.

Name: Akuchizoku
Developer: cactus
Category: Shoot 'em up
Type: Demo
Click here to download

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