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IndieGames.com 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, Gamasutra.com 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, 2009

Review: Eufloria (Alex May and Rudolf Kremers)

October 28, 2009 1:16 PM | Michael Rose

eu1.jpg
Eufloria, previously Dyson, winner of the TIGSource Procedural Generation Competition in 2008 and IGF finalist this year, is all about being an almighty conqueror. Strip away its beautifully simple universe and ambient medium, and you've got an army sent out to destroy anything that is in anyway different to itself.

This kind of gameplay would normally involve tactics, planning and strategy on the player's part, yet Eufloria turns out to be nothing like that whatsoever. What could potentially have been a solid RTS title falls awkwardly into more of a casual market where the best option a player has is to have patience, build up their seedlings and finally launch a full-on attack to wipe out the enemy.

That's not to say the game suffers badly for it, of course - it's still feels devilishly fun to send an army of hundreds powering through enemy lines and the whole experience feels incredibly polished. The lack of difficulty and actual need for strategy, however, will most likely put many hardcore gamers off.

Blurst Calls For Game Submissions

October 27, 2009 6:59 PM | Michael Rose

blurst.jpgFlashbang Studios today opened up their Blurst online gaming site to outside developers, asking for any devs who make games using Unity to submit their masterpieces. As of yet only Flashbang games adorn the Blurst site, but this is all about to change.

If you have a Unity-based game which "will mesh with [their] existing portfolio", this would be an excellent opportunity to get your work noticed. The Blurst site has over 500k registered player accounts, so you can be sure people will be playing your game. They also offer a huge range of services for any developer chosen, including lots of community API features, Unity libraries, the chance to sell customized versions of your game and tons of stats and feedback for your title so you can work out what's hot and what's not about your work.

All in all, fantastic news. Be warned, Flashbang says they are going to be picky about who gets featured and who doesn't, but if you've got what you believe to be an excellent Unity game, what have you got to lose? Head over to the Blurst site and submit your work pronto!

Browser Game Pick: Destroy the Level (sauli)

October 27, 2009 2:34 AM | Tim W.


Destroy the Level is a side-scrolling shooter in which you have absolutely no control over the ship at all. The brain roughly moves in a straight line, and it's your job to prevent it from crashing into any obstacles in its path. This is done by using your mouse to drag objects away, demolish buildings, and even divert missiles headed towards the brain.

Red objects cannot be dragged, but you can still use other objects to shift them around by force. There is only one short level to play in this build, but Destroy the Level is already proving to be one of the highlights in Muse Games' Unity 3D game development competition. (requires the installation of the Unity browser plug-in to play)

XBL Indie Game Pick: Crate Expectations (Haiku Interactive)

October 27, 2009 12:46 AM | Michael Rose

Available via Xbox Live Indie Games for 240 MS Points ($3), Crate Expectations sees players sliding crates around and placing ice blocks in an attempt to get their deliveries finished before everyone else.

It's a lovely strategy title which I found myself glued to for a good few hours tonight. The action is turn-based, with 5 moves permitted per go. These moves can be used to slide your crates, build new crates at the starting area and place ice walls (either to help your cause or hinder others' progress). I'm not exactly a huge fan of strategy games, but I have a lot of respect for this one - it's great fun to play with a friend.

There's a bundle of bonuses to keep the game fresh too. Both local multiplayer and play via Xbox Live are included, with a drop-in/drop-out system in place, so players can hand control to a bot, or vice-versa. The AI can be set to a number of different difficulties, ranging from stupid to stupidly good. Throw in over 60 diverse levels and you're onto a winner.

Crate Expectations can be downloaded via the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Interview: Jeremiah Slaczka (Scribblenauts)

October 26, 2009 7:41 PM | Tim W.

Recently, Scribblenauts' lead designer, Jeremiah Slaczka, found some precious spare time to answer some questions about 5th Cell's design process and how Scribblenauts came to be. Colin Northway asked him about being creative with a team of twenty people, designing for an audience of everyone and how to make a level hard when your players have access to every tool ever created or imagined.


I know you are a proponent of iterative design. It seems like all my favorite games came from a very organic process where design and development happen simultaneously. I read that Scribblenauts had a team of fifteen to twenty people. Is it a challenge designing iteratively with such a large team?

Organic, iterative design is the best way to handle new, untested concepts. I usually work with a very high concept which is usually anywhere between a couple of sentences to a one-page idea. From there I flesh it out to about five to thirty pages depending on the scope of the project. Then, I usually get feedback from the programmers, artists or designers asking me questions on things I haven't thought of yet. I love that process, it keeps the GDD light, but allows both me and the other person working on a system to understand exactly what's in my brain and exactly what's in their brain on that system. When we're happy those questions are answered, usually in a separate doc, we put it into motion and see how it flies.

I'm a firm believer if you have a problem and try to solve it on paper and can't see it on paper, you probably can't see it by prototyping it. So you just make sure you got a direction to go in on paper first. That's not to say I write everything down. I don't think you should have a huge 300 page GDD, but boy do publishers love 'em. Things change too much, as long as you know where you're going on the big picture, you'll solve the questions as they come. Sometimes it's a compromise, sometimes it's an ingenious little idea, but you'll solve it.

GDC 2010: Indie Games Summit Open For Submissions, New Summits Announced

October 26, 2009 5:48 PM | Simon Carless

[Just a note that GDC 2010 has just announced new summits on social gaming and iPhone games, as well as the return of the Indie Games Summit, which you can now submit to if you'd like, hurrah. Details below...]

Game Developers Conference organizers have announced that the call for submissions is open for the 2010 event's suite of Summits, which take place on the first two days of GDC in San Francisco, March 9th-10th 2010.

This year's GDC Summit line-up includes two new events in the form of the Social & Online Games Summit and iPhone Games Summit, alongside the GDC Mobile/Handheld, Independent Games, and Serious Games Summits, which are all accepting submissions through November 13th.

Trailer: Toki Arcade (Golgoth Studio)

October 26, 2009 4:38 PM | Michael Rose

Toki Arcade is a faithful remake of the original Toki game by Tad Corporation way back in 1989. The above video shows a comparison between the original and Golgoth's beautiful creation.

No details have been released yet as to which platform Toki will be landing on or when it's to be released, but let's have a stab in the dark and say early 2010 on PSN. I can always deny everything when it turns out I'm wrong, eh? (I was! It's headed for XBox and PC!)

XBL Indie Game Pick: Run Away! (Jon Keatley)

October 25, 2009 12:46 PM | Michael Rose

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Run Away!, as Jon puts it, is an 'on-rails platformer' in which you scramble over and under hedges, walls, gnomes, bananas and beehives to escape your pursuers who have decided to chase you for various reasons. Succeed and the love of Angry Girl may just be yours for the taking.

There are only 3 actions at your disposal - jump, roll and jump-roll. Hit an obstacle and you'll slow down, allowing your predator to close the gap. It's all incredibly silly and rather difficult too. There are only 5 levels in total, but if you get caught just once, you'll have to go all the way back to the start again.

An additional multiplayer mode could have been wonderful fun - running away is always more exciting with company - but still, this is great as a little something to rid that Sunday afternoon boredom. Run Away! is a mere 80 MS Points ($1) via the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Note: Indie Game Trends/Sales - Autumn 2009 Update

October 25, 2009 12:24 PM | Simon Carless

Just a quick note about some slides (and a taped lecture) related to independent game trends and stats that I [Simon Carless, Independent Games Festival chairman and Gamasutra publisher] presented in recent weeks in Asia and Australia, and are now available to everyone thanks to the magic of the Interwebs and file/videosharing devices.

As some of you may know, earlier this year I presented a lecture called 'Independent Games & Sales: Stats 101' at the Independent Games Summit at GDC 2009 in San Francisco. I made info on it available via my Gamasutra Expert Blog. Rather pleasingly, the full IGS 2009 lecture slides, hosted on Slideshare.net, have now had more than 10,000 views, and it seems to be one of the few comprehensive overviews of the space.

The lecture was fairly well-received at GDC, especially in terms of its content, though I rather overstuffed things for a 30-minute talk, especially in terms of calculation minutiae. So when I was invited to speak at the Digital Distribution Summit in Melbourne, Australia (at the pictured BMW Edge conference hall) in September, followed by GDC China in Shanghai in October, I decided to simplify and update the metrics, while adding a section on trends/routes to success.

I've now put versions of two slide decks online. Firstly, there's 'Indie Game Metrics - October 2009' [Slideshare.net link.] This updates my March 2009 estimates for markets like Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, WiiWare, iPhone, and PC digital download, and ends with a couple of slides on important trends in the indie market - and it's fairly easy to understand without hearing the accompanying narration.

Browser Game Pick: Cat Got Lost (Stephen Lavelle)

October 25, 2009 11:39 AM | Tim W.


Cat Got Lost is a lock and key puzzle game in which you have to find your cat hiding somewhere in one of the four corridors. You can press the X or C key to reset a puzzle, but players are only allowed to do that after collecting at least one key inside a room.

There are twenty levels to play in total.

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