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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 January, 2010

Tumbledrop Available on iPhone

January 22, 2010 7:28 PM | Michael Rose

I'm totally behind with this news, and for this I apologise profusely. Dock's classic puzzler Tumbledrop is now available for your iPod/Phone/Thing for the small sum of $1.99 (£1.19). It's a brand new version, with a bunch of new levels and islands, and lots of lovely medals to collect. If you liked the original Unity version (still available to play here) then this is a must-have.

GDC 2010, Google Debut Android Phone Promotion

January 22, 2010 12:50 PM | Simon Carless

[Just wanted to point this out to potential Indie Games Summit attendees, since Google giving away a _lot_ of Android phones to GDC 2010 attendees who sign up for specific Summits, and IGS is one of the eligible events.]

Game Developers Conference 2010 organizers have announced that they are working together with Google "to celebrate and inspire the mobile and independent game development communities" by offering free Nexus One and Verizon Droid by Motorola phones to select attendees.

The newly announced offer, part of Google's outreach into the mobile phone space as it expands use of its Android operating system, is open to qualifying developers who register to attend GDC 2010 by February 4th, 2010.

The Game Developers Conference, as the world's largest professional-only game developer event, has been at the center of the industry's discussions on these topics.

It serves as home to major Summits such as the GDC Mobile/Handheld Summit and the Independent Games Summit, as well as the IGF Mobile competition to award handheld game innovation.

In recent years, the smartphone has become one of the most widespread and widely-used game platforms, and has proven particularly suited to independent developers experimenting with new and unusual gameplay.

As an official statement on the tie-in notes: "This makes conference attendees great potential developers of new content for phones using the Android operating system." Alongside the announcement, Google's Eric Chu has posted about Android's GDC 2010 presence on the official Android Developers weblog.

"At the GDC, we are constantly looking for ways to help the game development community learn and thrive. The mobile and independent game spaces having been providing so many of those opportunities for years now," said Meggan Scavio, event director of the Game Developers Conference. "We are so appreciative that we can better reach those goals by actually putting a new opportunity - Android-powered devices - into the hands of our attendees."

Early Bird rates for GDC 2010 end February 4. For more information about the 2010 Game Developers Conference, including the eight summits and the Android phone promotion, please visit the official Game Developers Conference website.

Freeware Game Pick: Flood the Chamber (Matt Scorah)

January 21, 2010 10:55 AM | Michael Rose

flood.jpg
Picture the scene - a mad scientist throws Dot Zo Games' Journey to the Center of the Earth and Terry Cavanagh's VVVVVV into his incredible game-splicing machine, and after it chugs away for a few hours suddenly the contraption grinds to a halt, the dust settles, and Flood the Chamber spews out of the other end. And they said he was crazy.

It's precision platforming time, folks, with a time limit no less. Your job is to help the prisoner escape the chamber, reaching the top of the screen before the advancing water level reaches our agile rogue. A warning: you will not complete this on your first attempt. Or your second. Or your... well, let's put it another way - if you manage to complete Flood the Chamber, you have some serious skills. Get to it.

GDC Debuts 2010 Indie Games Summit Line-Up

January 21, 2010 9:09 AM | Simon Carless

GDC 2010 organizers have revealed an initial set of Independent Games Summit talks for the March event, including notable lectures by Ron Carmel (World Of Goo) and Randy Smith (Spider).

The summit, now in its fourth year and taking place on March 9th-10th during Game Developers Conference 2010 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, features lectures, postmortems and roundtables from some of the most notable independent game creators -- including many former and current Independent Games Festival finalists and winners.

Overall, the 2010 Independent Games Summit "seeks to highlight the brightest and the best of indie development, with discussions ranging from game design philosophy, distribution, business, marketing, and much more."

Advisors for the Summit include Independent Games Festival chairman Simon Carless and independent developers such as Flashbang Studios founder Matthew Wegner (Off-Road-Velociraptor Safari), as well as colleague Steve Swink (Shadow Physics).

With a final set of lectures to be announced soon, a number of major talks have been revealed on the Summit homepage. Highlights include the following:

- Indies and Publishers: Fixing a System That Never Worked
In IGS 2010's kickoff talk, 2D Boy co-founder Ron Carmel (World Of Goo) will discuss "the problems with the current model (a tenant farming ecosystem built upon a weak security model), contrast how Valve and Microsoft deal with developers, and propose that creating more transparency in the game industry will give rise to a healthy model for developers and publishers/distributors to work together."

- Increasing Our Reach: Designing To Grab and Retain Players
During his keynote talk, Looking Glass Studios veteran and Steven Spielberg collaborator Randy Smith (Thief) will talkk about the design concepts behind 'immediacy with depth', as applied to his recent iPhone hit Spider: The Secret Of Bryce Manor. He notes: "The indie games movement should be the wellspring of daring and innovative ideas, but we need a sizable and devoted audience to help us realize that potential. How do we reach more players? Is there something we’re doing wrong?", and vows to look at design solutions.

Freeware Game Pick: Probability 0 (Droqen)

January 21, 2010 2:07 AM | Michael Rose

prob.PNG

Fantastic stuff by Mr. Droqen in the form of Probability 0. A downward-scrolling platformer, this is definitely a case of practice makes perfect aka when you first play this game, you will die. LOTS.

Players first opt for either Talent (set amount of skill points to distribute) or Potential (no skill points to begin with, but points picked up from killing enemies), before setting off on their plunge into the unknown. Z jumps, X punches/throws ninja stars. Pressing space accesses the Upgrade Menu - and this is where it gets interesting. Skill points can be used to buy special abilities and upgrades for your stocky little guy, and each ability bought opens up more abilities available for purchase.

Each ability, of course, will make your descent easier. It's all very nicely done, and the skill tree really makes you sit and wonder if there is a perfect set or order to choose. Throw into this music which gets more aggravated as more enemies are close by, and flashing statistics all over the place which, in general, want to tell you how close you are to death, and you've got yourself quite the experience.

Give it a shot over at Gamejolt.

Freeware Game Pick: ro9 (Justin Smith)

January 21, 2010 12:00 AM | Tim W.


ro9 is a turn-based role-playing game in which you get to control the actions of nine different characters at the same time, using only one set of controls for all. The objective here is to get all of your heroes down to the ninth and last level of the dungeon to loot the treasure, although you can still win if some of them succumb to their injuries before reaching the goal.

There are three types of monsters in each level. Humanoids are easy to defeat, while animals or creatures take a couple more shots to kill. Bosses are the strongest, and will take quite a beating before they drop an ankh. Collecting an ankh resurrects all rogues that died on the same dungeon level.

The basic strategy here is to win enemy encounters and increase your level before proceeding down the stairs, indicated by the number of yellow squares inside the window of each hero. The red outline that surrounds each view shows the amount of damage a character has taken, and players are advised to look for a health potion if it starts to turn bright red. Download it here. (Windows, 1.41MB)

Interview: Cliff Harris (Positech Games)

January 20, 2010 10:00 AM | Tim W.

[Originally published on Mod DB, these interviews from Leo Jaitley of Dejobaan Games explores the neat nooks and crannies in indie gaming. First up is a chat with Cliff Harris, developer and founder of the UK-based one-man company Positech Games.]

This is the face of a British indie game developer. Examine it. Imagine your hands caressing his cheeks. Feel your fingers play over his ears. You are touching Cliff Harris of Positech Games. And this is the third in our series of spotlights on indie game developers. Our first spotlight was one on our own studio, Dejobaan Games. The second was on Alex Neuse of Gaijin Games.


Please introduce yourself! Who are you, and what's your background as a game developer?

CH: I'm Cliff Harris, an English geek who started programming age 11 (yes really), but had a detour as a rock star wannabe before ending up working at Elixir, and then at Lionhead before eventually going full time as bedroom coder, about 20 years after everyone else did it.


I've heard through the grapevine that you just bought a new mansion. Congratulations! Care to tell us about it?

CH: I have indeed moved out into 'the sticks' as we say over here. I used to live near Guildford, but I've moved to deepest Wiltshire into a very strange house built 20 years before Napoleon was born. It has a well in the cellar and we occasionally find pheasants and deer in the garden. It's about as English as it could possibly be. If you ignore the TV aerial it would actually look at home in a BBC costume drama. Plus it's not far from Salisbury plain where they train British tanks, so you see 'warning, tanks crossing' signs locally. It's cool.


They call you Cliffski - I thought you were English, not Polish! (Who came up with your nickname?)

CH: I worked for a guy who was called muffski, so they called me cliffski. I don't know why. I'm not polish. It was best not to ask questions back then.


Gratuitous Space Battles. A good name or a great name for a space game?

CH: An awesome name. Plus it doubles up as a great headline for reviews.

Trailer: Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games)

January 19, 2010 11:57 PM | Michael Rose

A trailer emerges for Mode 7 Games' tactical strike team-em-up! The release date for Frozen Synapse is still to be announced, but at least the above teaser gives us an idea of what's going on strategy-wise. You choose your moves, they choose their moves, you hit go, and bam, death most likely happens.

Browser Game Pick: Reclamation (Zeke Brill)

January 19, 2010 9:00 PM | Tim W.


Reclamation is a browser-based remake of the classic arcade game Qix, in which players have to claim a certain percentage of each level as their own to progress. This is achieved by drawing a closed shape around enemies while trying to avoid a collision with any of them. The main difference that might catch a few veteran players off-guard is that enemies can destroy your ship even when it isn't drawing a line.

There are a couple of power-up items to collect, ranging from those that reward you with a boost ability, missiles, and even a shockwave weapon that eliminates just about all anthropods in close proximity. The game offers a total of forty-two levels to play, and many players should be able to complete them all in a sitting or two at most.

Indie Game Links: Experiment For the Best Results

January 19, 2010 12:00 PM | Tim W.

Today's collection of independent game links include a reminder about the Experimental Gameplay Workshop's submission date, an update on the Experimental Gameplay Project's monthly theme, Brandon Boyer's guide to the 2010 Indie Games Festival, and the revelation of a new unlockable character for Team Meat's Super Meat Boy. (image source)

Super Meat Boy: You Unlocked Flywrench
"Flywrench will be a playable character in Super Meat Boy. When you find the secret warp zone you get sucked into the low-fi world of Flywrench, where Meat Boy is infiltrated by the popular flapping protagonist."

Braid Blog: The Experimental Gameplay deadline is looming...
"If you are a designer of interesting/experimental/different games, and you'd like to present a game to a large audience that's excited by new and challenging work, you've got just about one week to send in your submission."

DIYgamer: 10 Great Indie Games You Didn't Play in 2009
"Many, many indie games get released each year. We have our superstar, sure-to-be-a-hit titles. We also have our games that should have been a hit, but, for whatever reason, just seemed to slip through the cracks of the gaming world. This list is largely based on my own opinion about games that should have been more appreciated but, ultimately, weren't."

Boing Boing: Guide to the 2010 Indie Games Festival
"A complete illustrated guide to all twenty of 2010's IGF finalists across all its categories, with a précis of each, links for more information, and, where available, a link to play all finalists that have already released their games."

Maximum PC: 22 Flash Games Worth Getting Addicted To
"You don't want to waste time browsing--you need the definitive go-to guide to the best of what's out there. For a hint of nostalgia, or to get your feet wet with casual gaming, spend some quality time with classics of the genre, collected in our list of all-time favorites."

Jamie Woodhouse: Pay What You Want Sale (for Qwak)
"Visit the Qwak site, select PC or Mac, name your own price, then proceed through to PayPal to purchase the game."

Experimental Gameplay Project: 2010 calls for 100 Things.
"100 Things is the name of the game this month, in honor of the original Indie Game Jam, which back in March of 2002 tasked developers with using 100,000 sprites on screen at the same time."

Experimental Gameplay Project: And the winner is...
"The results from the Art Theme competition are back, and while it was a grueling, grueling judging time, congratulations are in order for one Mr. Alexitrón for his lifetime platformer entry And Everything Started to Fall."

Charlie's Games: Making Bullet Candy
"I thought it was about time I got this Making Bullet Candy thing I've been wanting to do written up."

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