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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 February, 2009

Freeware Game Pick: Descent (Ted Lauterbach)

February 13, 2009 2:26 AM | Tim W.

Descent is a new platformer created by the developer of the Visit series, where complicated moves such as air jumps, spring jumps and ledge grabbing must be mastered if you are to stand any chance of completing the game. Players assume control over an unnamed character who has to explore winding corridors and climb down pits, so that he or she could discover what lies at the bottom of this massive cave.

You can switch between full screen and windowed mode by pressing the F4 function key. Graphical glitches can be fixed by restarting your machine before playing. (download instructions)

Name: Descent
Developer: Ted Lauterbach
Category: Platformer
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB

Review: City Rain - Building Sustainability (Mother Gaia Studio)

February 12, 2009 11:52 AM | Michael Rose


Released this week over on Direct2Drive, IGF 09 Student Showcase winner 'City Rain - Building Sustainability' sees players forming a city by placing falling buildings onto a plot of land. Objectives must be met to progress and the happiness of your residents is essential to moving on.

Road To The IGF: Ratloop's Mightier

February 11, 2009 5:59 PM | Simon Carless

[We're talking to this year's Independent Games Festival finalists, and Eric Caoili talks to Ratloop's Lucas Pope about Mightier -- a combination puzzle and action game, best played with a printer and webcam -- nominated for the Innovation Award.]

Raising the game's barrier of entry and requiring players to go beyond their usual efforts to fully experience its unique mechanics, Mightier Engineer section asks players to print out puzzles before attempting to collect "Datagon" pieces scattered around a particular stage.

Players draw out a solution -- a plan for eventually obtaining those Datagons -- on the printed sheet, and use a webcam to record the sketch into the game. In Mightier's Actionaut portion, they'll explore a 3D version of the puzzle, jumping on platforms that were shaped by their drawings to reach the level's Datagons.

The PC title's printing aspect also enables players to illustrate their own characters and see them appear in the game in 3D. For the less bold, or for users without a printer or webcam, Mightier provides an in-game interface that allows users to draw puzzle solutions and characters with their mouse.

We spoke with Pope about Mightier, nominated for the Innovation award at this year's Independent Games Festival (part of Think Services, as is this website).

He discusses the game's origins as a technology experiment in 2001, his thoughts on 5th Cell's Drawn to Life for Nintendo DS, and why he believes that most people would've dismissed Mightier, despite its quirkiness, were it not for the more traditional, mouse-drawing interface:

GDC 2009 Early Registration Ends February 12th

February 11, 2009 4:01 PM | Simon Carless

[A final - we promise - reminder for anyone who hasn't signed up for GDC 2009 and still wants to. You can save 30% on registration by doing so today or tomorrow.]

Organizers of the 2009 Game Developers Conference are reminding potential attendees that early registration for the March 23rd-27th San Francisco conference ends on Thursday, February 12th, with 30% discounts only available until that date.

Game Developers Conference, which is run by Think Services, as it this website, has been running a weblog covering the major GDC news this year, which includes the latest information on the Moscone Center-located conference.

Major recent announcements include major keynotes from Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, with his GDC debut 'Solid Game Design: Making the ‘Impossible’ Possible', and from Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, with a lecture named 'Discovering New Development Opportunities'.

In addition, organizers have profiled each of the individual Tutorials and Summits on the GDC website. These Summits, which take place on the Monday and Tuesday of GDC, include standalone events devoted to AI, casual games, mobile games, game outsourcing, education, independent games, serious games, localization, and online worlds.

The main GDC event takes place from Wednesday to Friday, and includes major three-day tracks regarding audio, business and management, game design, production, programming, and visual arts. In hundreds of lectures, major developers from all the year's big games (from LittleBigPlanet through Gears Of War 2 and Fable II) will discuss the art and science of game creation.

On the Wednesday night of GDC, the flagship Independent Games Festival Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards, honoring the best titles of the year, will take place. Other major events at the show include the Independent Games Festival Pavilion, located on the Expo Show Floor, which will also have exhibits from major tools companies and game publishers.

Early registration savings for the 2009 Game Developers Conference end at midnight PDT on Thursday, February 12th, and more information about registration and content is available at the official GDC website.

Freeware Game Pick: Exit Fate (SCF)

February 11, 2009 6:47 AM | Tim W.

Exit Fate is a new full-length RPG from SCF, creator of the well-received RPGMaker effort Last Scenario. The game not only features standard 2D battle encounters but boasts a tactical strategy mode as well, in which players must assume control over legions of troops, issue commands and lead their armies to a crushing victory. Bonus items are awarded for good results, especially if the fight ends quickly with minimal losses to your side.

A new addition is the bribe system, allowing players to avoid potentially dangerous encounters by using the local currency as a bargaining device. Use the C key to confirm your selections, or press the X key to cancel your choices.

The magic system is also a slight departure from most common RPGs. You earn mana points as the battle progresses, meaning that most spells can only be cast after several turns. The number of times a spell can be used in each battle is limited, but unused healing spells are cast automatically to restore the health of party members after battle.

Press the Left Alt and Enter key to switch between full screen and windowed mode. This game comes highly recommended if you're a big fan of RPGs, and wouldn't mind a couple of ripped sound effects, music and familiar-looking tilesets. (Windows, 148MB)

Freeware Game Pick: Din (Team Bill)

February 10, 2009 5:24 PM | Tim W.

Din is a short experimental work which uses audio in a very novel manner, where each game lasts for only a couple of minutes and players are scored based on their listening ability. The story is centered around a laid-back character named Bill who is having a quiet walk in the park, but is soon followed by his friends and family who harasses him with their troubles, concerns and opinions. Being the friendly guy that he is, Bill must be attentive to their requests or risk upsetting and losing a couple of close buddies. (source: Play This Thing)

Name: Din
Developers: Ted Diefenbach, Mansa Gory and Brian Lee
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 70MB
Direct download link: Click here

Browser Game Pick: Twin Shot (Nitrome)

February 10, 2009 10:24 AM | Michael Rose

Twin Shot is a single or 2-player platformer by Nitrome in which strange cat-like angels jump and fly around simple arenas destroying all the enemies with use of a bow and arrow.

There are coins and powerups to grab and players can move off any side of the screen to reappear back on the other side. It's very reminiscent of the classic Bubble Bobble... with arrow-firing angel blobs, obviously. A nice touch is that arrows can be fired into walls to create temporary platforms.

Sit yourself down with a friend and see what you think. And if you like this (or even if you don't), it's worth checking out another of Nitrome's games, the brilliant Icebreaker, where cutting ice to save trapped vikings is the name of the game.

Game Developers Choice Awards 2009 Finalists Announced

February 9, 2009 10:06 PM | Michael Rose

GDchoiceawards.JPGThe finalists for the 2009 Game Developers Choice Awards have been announced.

Posted on the official site, the list of nominees features a number of indie gaming selections, including Number None's Braid, which has been nominated for 5 awards, and 2D Boy's World of Goo, nominated for 2 awards. Also nominated in the Best Downloadable Game category: N+, PixelJunk Eden and Castle Crashers.

The awards ceremony will be held on March 25th in conjunction with the Independent Games Festival. It has also been revealed that YouTube-famous Mega64, past contributors at the awards, will be producing exclusive video skits to accompany the evening.

It's a neat step for the indie scene to be featuring for such prestigious awards, although with the buzz behind titles like Braid and World of Goo, it's not exactly surprising.

Check out more info over at the awards site now.

Freeware Game Pick: You Probably Won't Make It (Jesse Venbrux)

February 9, 2009 8:48 PM | Michael Rose

Following on from his original title 'You Made It', Jesse Venbrux has released sequel 'You Probably Won't Make It'.

It's an extremely difficult platformer which involves spikes, double jumps and recorded deaths. That's right - when you die, not only must you restart the level again, but your spilt blood and death path stick around. You'll soon find each level becomes coated in red and your frustration rising.

It's a nice little time-waster for when boredom sets in - just don't try too hard to complete all 20 levels, you might pop a vein.

You Probably Won't Make It on Jesse's Blog

Best of Global Game Jam

February 9, 2009 2:41 PM | Michael Rose


The Global Game Jam was held a week ago, from the 31st January to 1st February. Over the course of 48 hours in 53 different cities, participants were asked to work in teams to create a game. The full list of games eventually outputted can be found over at the official GGJ site. We've had a trawl through them all and now present you with our hot picks of the weekend.

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