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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, 2009

Desura: A New Digital Distribution Service

December 18, 2009 1:34 AM | Michael Rose


Been meaning to post about this for a couple of days now. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Steam, Direct2Drive, Impulse et al, the ModDB team recently released details on their own digital distribution service, codenamed Desura.

While they claim that the platform is 'far from complete', they also go out of their way to make sure everyone knows that this isn't just another 'shop with little to no interaction between the community and the content available'. What they hope will set Desura apart from the competition is the strong links between the games and the community.

It appears much of the inspiration for Desura comes from ModDB itself, with a good portion of the platform being dedicated to user-created mods and community features, including user reviews and uploaded screenshots. The service will also be very developer focused, with tools and functionality provided to game devs.

So what does this mean for the indie gaming world? Seeing as this is a new distribution service based on community, we can safely assume that indie developers are going to get a look in - in fact, there's a link at the bottom of the introduction article for those devs who want to get a piece of the action. Looks like a number already have, including the Wolfire team.

Right now it's in private beta and only available by invitation - you'll want to head here if you're looking to get yourself invited.

Indie Game Links: The Gift of Indie Games

December 17, 2009 2:00 AM | Tim W.

Today's collection of independent game links include a couple of holiday bargains, indie game recommendations for the long vacation, and an inside look at Flashbang Studios' new commercial project.

The Boing Boing 20, pt. 2: the best indie and iPhone games of 2009
"The best web, PC, Mac, and iPhone games -- freeware, commercial, and uniquely otherwise -- that sprang from the best of the indie community this year."

Amanita Design: Amanita Design Christmas Pack
"Our Christmas Sale starts Dec 17th and ends Dec 25th, in that period you can buy the bundle with Machinarium and Samorost2 only for $10 which is 60% discount from it's regular price ($25)."

Gamasutra: IP Enforcement For Independent Developers
"Attorney Mona Ibrahim explains what indie game developers should know about protecting their game's intellectual property, both during the course of development and after it's released."

Flashbang Studios: Raptor Safari 64 First Look
"Most of our energy is being spent on the next version of the game, Raptor Safari 64. This new version will ultimately be a thing of perfect HD beauty. Right now we're planning a late 2010 release."

DIYgamer: Give the Gift of Indie Games This Year
"With Christmas just about on top of us, there's probably still a lot of shopping to do in between now and then and, while you may be struggling with some of your game-loving friends, we've got your back as we introduce you to our favorite picks for this year's Christmas."

Jim McGinley's Blog: Machinarium makes claymation look efficient
"Jakub casually mentioned the game's revolutionary design: 'You can only interact with items you can reach'. Simple. Elegant. Wish I had thought of it."

Vertigo Games: Liquisity 2 - Let’s Kickstart This Project
"Liquisity was released as a freeware game back in 2005, where you guided a ball to the goal in the deep ocean depths. It was a small little game that was quite popular, and was one I always wanted to go back to and make a sequel."

Browser Game Pick: Tetraform (Tyler Glaiel and Greg Wohlwend)

December 17, 2009 1:00 AM | Michael Rose


You'll need to keep your wits about you if you're going to achieve a decent score in Tetraform, a tactical defence game from the brilliant minds of Tyler Glaiel and Greg Wohlwend. It's your job to protect 'that geometric thing in the middle' by selecting enemy ships and crashing them into each other, while building up your planet with powerups.

It all starts off nice and simple, with only a few different types of baddie attempting to plant themselves firmly in your atmosphere, allowing you to experiment with crashing certain types of craft into others. Soon, however, all hell breaks loose and you'll need to plan which ships to attract together quickly before they get too close!

Other defences are supplied, including huge spike rods for taking down pesky ships which just won't die, and a nuke for clearing the screen. All in all some good, hectic fun. Play it over at Newgrounds.

GDC 2010 Reveals First Summit Sessions and Keynotes

December 16, 2009 11:25 PM | Simon Carless

[We're just in the process of announcing lots more GDC 2010 sessions, and there's an IGS keynote announcement in here. Eagle-eyed folks will also note more Indie Games Summit lectures revealed, including talks on Osmos, Scrap Metal, ThatGameCompany's process, Fantastic Contraption, Wolfire and more.]

Organizers of next March's Game Developers Conference 2010 in San Francisco have revealed keynotes and first sessions for Summits, with notables including Facebook's Gareth Davis (Social & Online Games Summit) and Spider's Randy Smith (Independent Games Summit).

Taking place March 9-10th, the GDC Summits highlight the leading edge of game development in emerging and notable areas including; iPhone Games, Social & Online Games, Game Localization, Mobile/Handheld Games, Independent Games, Artificial Intelligence and Serious Games.

Of the major Summits, Facebook's platform manager Gareth Davis will deliver a keynote at the newly formed Social & Online Games Summit titled 'How Friends Change Everything'. It will discuss Facebook's massive disruption in who plays games, as well as how games are best discovered, distributed, designed and monetized on the service.

In addition, Randy Smith, owner and game designer at Tiger Style will keynote the Independent Games Summit. Tiger Style is the developer of the critically and commercially successful iPhone game, Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, named by Apple as their top-rated game of 2009. Smith, who is also a veteran of Thief creator Looking Glass, will deliver a broad keynote address, 'Increasing Our Reach: Designing to Grab and Retain Players.'

Alongside these notable announcements, all of GDC's market-leading Summits have announced initial lectures, with a large number of new speakers and topics now confirmed for the event.

Other notable featured talks at the one and two-day Summit events include:

IndieGames Crossword # 5 Solution

December 16, 2009 10:40 PM | Michael Rose

Scratching-Head.jpgIt was a special edition of the IndieGames crossword this time around - an IGF special, to be exact - so I decided to give you a little more time than usual to get it all filled in. If you still haven't got around to it, don't spoil it just yet - head back and give it a go.

The solution is below the cut, along with links to each of the featured games' IGF entries. If there are some titles you don't recognise, go and check them out! There's plenty of awesomeness to be found.

Article: My Ten IGF 2010 Picks

December 16, 2009 7:43 PM | Tim W.

Before I begin listing some of my personal favorites from this year's IGF competition, I should point out that the first round judging period is already over and my opinions stated here won't be an influence to any of the other IGF judges. I don't know which games made it into the finals. This article isn't supposed to be a prediction of any sort, and maybe none of them will make it as finalists either.

I do a bit of judging work for the IGF, and every year I try to play as many games as I possibly can from both main and student IGF competitions (as long as Windows builds were made available). Besides Brian Crecente, I don't know if anyone had posted about their personal IGF favorites, so I'm doing a list of ten games from the competition that I kind of like more than the rest. If any of these games make it to the finals, you too will get to play them at GDC next March.

I might write about the student entries, but I'm not really sure about that yet. And yes, a lot of good games were left out of this list. Which IGF entries this year were you most looking forward to?

Trailer: Graze (Kairos)

December 15, 2009 11:00 PM | Tim W.

Here's something that I found while randomly searching for indie games on the 'net - a gameplay demonstration of Kairos' new vertical shooter, Graze. Doesn't really feel like two years has passed since we last played Varia, the other shmup that he made using the Game Maker engine.

And while we're on the topic of shmups, I should also point out that Linley Henzell (creator of Dungeon Crawl) is working on an arena shooter called Transdimensional Hellspider. The download link for the demo is only accessible to forum members though.

Freeware Game Pick: Duum Mashine (Scattle)

December 15, 2009 3:23 PM | Tim W.

Duum Mashine is a fast-paced arcade shooter created by David Scatliffe, where you are in control of a solar-powered laser weapon drawn by a child for his school assignment. Every time you activate the lasers a gauge at the top of the screen will deplete quickly, but you can recharge the batteries by collecting energy from direct sunlight exposure.

The game also features an online high score submission feature. (Windows, 5.30MB)

Interview: Pocketwatch Games' Andy Schatz Talks Monaco

December 15, 2009 12:23 PM | Tim W.

I played Andy Schatz's latest project Monaco recently (as part of my IGF judging duties), and found that it was a surprisingly fun top-down co-operative game - a complete departure from anything that Pocketwatch Games (known for their Venture Tycoon series) had produced in the past.

Since a trailer for Monaco was released just today, we thought it'd be a good idea to contact Andy and find out more about this new 'venture' of his.

Hi Andy, can you give us a bit of background about Pocketwatch Games? And are you still actively working on Dinosauria?

I started Pocketwatch Games at the end of 2004 and have had two major releases since then, Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa and Venture Arctic. After Venture Arctic I started working on Venture Dinosauria, and I'm currently taking a break from that game to work on a game of a totally different nature called Monaco, which is a 4 player co-op stealth game where each player has a specific role in an operation. I taught myself C# (not that that's particularly hard), and XNA, and the thing was fun after a week of work.

I said to myself, well, if this is fun, maybe I can put out a quick Xbox Live Community Game in 3 weeks or so, so I kept working on it. After two weeks, I started to see that this game was far more fun than Venture Africa, Arctic, or Dinosauria had ever been, so I kept working on it. It's now been 7 and a half weeks and the thing is really far along... I'm considering at this point what I would have to do to try to get the game into the XBLA or Playstation network catalogs. Obviously a lot more would have to be done to go those routes, but the game has huge amounts of potential, so I'm dreaming big.

Can you tell us more about Monaco then?

Monaco is basically a top-down stealth/thief game. You can choose between 4 different characters, like the Prowler, who stays hidden when standing still or the Cleaner, who can knock out guards from behind with Chloroform. Each mission requires you to get some goal item and find your escape route as fast as you can without dying. You can get trophies for collecting as much loot as possible and compete with your friends to get perfect runs and fast times.

Freeware Game Pick: Let's Go Find El Dorado (Justin Smith)

December 14, 2009 5:00 PM | Tim W.

Let's Go Find El Dorado is a physics-based remake of Oregon Trail which plays a bit like Excite Bike, created by Justin Smith (Enviro-Bear 2000) as an entry for the 16th Ludum Dare competition. The rules of the game is similar to the original, though many of the resource management elements were either simplified or removed completely for this arcade-oriented version.

Your objective here is to guide the family wagon to the city of El Dorado safely, and to achieve this goal you will have to navigate treacherous mountain range, cross polluted rivers, and brave the dangers of visiting native tribe camps that might assist or impede your journey to the promised land. (Windows, 1.39MB)

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