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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 January, 2010

Trailer: Darwinia+ (Introversion Software)

January 7, 2010 9:38 PM | Michael Rose

According to IGN, a release date is coming very soon for Introversion's XBLA outing of the little Darwinians. Viruses beware!

In-Depth: Demystifying the IGF Judging Process

January 7, 2010 3:22 PM | Simon Carless

[In this informational piece, indie game creator and Independent Games Festival judge Jens Bergensten (Harvest: Massive Encounter) discusses the process of judging the IGF to help entrants understand what their game goes through, with personal views from two other 2010 IGF judges.]

This year I had the great privilege to take part in Independent Games Festival as a judge, getting a chance to evaluate the best independent games that have been recently released or that are still in development. (The finalists for the Main Competition were recently announced.) This task has been really fun, even though it took a little more of my time than I had thought.

I wanted to share my experience from this because when we participated in IGF in 2008 and 2009, the process was somewhat of a black box. Your game was dropped into the box and wasn't seen again until three months later, when an e-mail with commiserations and a few judge comments told you relatively little about the process the titles went through.

Of course, this isn't that different to most competitions out there (even judge comments are rare in other contests), but we had no idea what had happened in that time. And we obviously wanted more information and idea of how this was decided, since IGF is among the most important events for small game start-ups like ours.

So I wrote this article with the permission of the IGF organizers, based on my experience of being on both "sides", without ever getting the luxury of a nomination.

Freeware Game Pick: Squid and Let Die (Robert D. Fearon)

January 7, 2010 5:12 AM | Tim W.

Squid and Let Die is a fast-paced arcade game in which players have to collect all dots on screen to progress to the next level. Cannons will try to home in on your position and fire a shot at you, but you can dodge them with ease if you move quickly enough.

The key to advancing in this game is to trick those cannons into shooting, since the cannons are immobilized while their shots still remain on the grid. The controls will take some getting used to, but players with a fondness for classic gaming will certainly want to add Oddbob's latest to their collection. (Windows, 14.4MB)

Preorder Overgrowth and Natural Selection 2 at 40% Off

January 6, 2010 7:56 PM | Tim W.

Here's a sweet deal if you were interested in getting Wolfire Games' Overgrowth or Unknown Worlds' Natural Selection 2 (and had not pre-ordered them yet). Both development teams are currently offering a special preorder bundle called the Organic Indie Preorder Pack, which includes the two games mentioned above at 40% ($39.95 instead of the usual $70) off until Thursday next week.

Anyone who had preordered either game can get the other for free. For Overgrowth perorder owners who wants to redeem for their copy of NS2, click here. Natural Selection 2 customers can go here.

The website for the offer is here, and we've embedded the promotional video in the extended for your amusement too. Note that the offer is only for pre-ordering the two games (you will get access to the beta), as the release dates for both games have not been announced yet.

Intervvvvvview: Terry Cavanagh

January 6, 2010 12:52 PM | Michael Rose

terry.jpg2009 was a busy time for Distractionware aka Terry Cavanagh. He released a string of brilliant freeware and flash releases including the likes of Don't Look Back, Pathways, Judith and Bullet Time, as well as powering out a bunch of smaller titles in a mere few days when he attended BIGJam 2009 in Berlin.

For the second half of the year, however, Terry has been working hard on a game which was originally meant to be a simple flash release but escalated into so much more. VVVVVV, finally getting a release on January 10th, will be Terry's first commercial game. (Photo Source: Mike Nowak)

Who are you and what do you do?

Hi, I'm Terry, and I make games!

What was it that made you decide to quit your day job and start making independent games full-time?

I went straight from college to working in a bank - the work was ok, but I wasn't really happy. I was constantly thinking about all these games I wanted to make, but I was never able to take my ideas anywhere because I never had the time. I'd been the same way in college, and way back in school when I was making little Qbasic games, and I just felt like I wasn't ever going to get anywhere if I didn't do something to make it happen. So I started carefully saving up, and making plans to give it a shot.

What eventually happened is that I got drunk at a staff night out and told everyone around me that I wanted to quit and spend all my time making games. Somebody told my boss, and the next day he called me in and asked about it. Even though I hadn't saved up nearly enough, I ended up impulsively giving him my notice.

Trailer: Vessel (Strange Loop Games)

January 6, 2010 12:26 PM | Michael Rose

Tim picked it. I bigged it up. Then it got nominated for an IGF award. Finally Strange Loop Games have released a trailer of Vessel so you guys can see why we're all a flutter. Apparently they "intend to ship on both PC and console" which is definitely good news!

Browser Game Pick: Defend Your Honor (Armor Games)

January 6, 2010 1:57 AM | Michael Rose


I don't think we've posted about any tower defence games recently, so take this as long overdue. Defend Your Hono(u)r is such a game, and probably one of the more enjoyable games in the genre that I've played. Created by the guy behind the brilliant Upgrade Complete (who is apparently from the same place as me - clearly Manchester is full of win), it follows the story of one loser's dream to be somebody and claim some pride.

This, of course, involves finding the Golden Statue for the Walrus King via a series of tower defence levels, each a little more difficult than the next. Beginning with a single unit, your army grows over the course of the game, until there is chaos all over the screen. Lovely stuff.

Go get your TD hat on at Armor Games.

Browser Game Pick: Hoshi Saga Ringo (Nekogames)

January 5, 2010 3:45 PM | Tim W.

Hoshi Saga Ringo is a collection of twenty-five new puzzles designed by Yoshio Ishii, in which players must figure out the correct method to reveal a star that is hidden somewhere in every stage. The difficulty for each puzzle is indicated by the stars shown just below the preview image for each level, although most of them are actually pretty easy to solve compared to previous iterations in the series.

Indie Game Links: Nine Out of Ten

January 5, 2010 3:25 PM | Tim W.

Today's collection of independent game links include a couple more favorites and picks from 2009, updates, price reductions, and a summary of one-switch games released in the last twenty-four months. (image source)

Nifflas' Games: Saira Price Reduction
"The price of Saira will be reduced to $12. It will be possible to buy two licenses for only $13.5 but this offer will end on January 20. Then the $12 for one license will be the only option."

Adrenaline Vault: Top Casual PC games of 2009
"This is the 10th anniversary for this awards article, making it the longest-running continuous casual games award series anywhere. Reflecting backward over the past decade, while the technical aspects—graphics and sound quality—of the releases have certainly improved since the beginning of this article series, the gameplay has been highly enjoyable from the very beginning."

Gamasutra: The 99 Best Free Games Of 2009
"Creative talents all over the world are out there spinning out downloadable, browser, Flash and Unity games that you can while away enjoyable hours on without having it cost you one red cent. The sheer number and quality of the games available for nothing is a simple testament to just how broad and active the development community outside the corporate AAA space really is at present."

Fire Hose Games: What We Played in 2009
"2009 was an awesome year for games, and we played a lot of them. Here's a recap of the great games we played this year. If you haven't tried them yet, now's your chance."

Way Too Casual: Bye Bye 2009 (audio)
"Way Too Casual is a podcast about Flash games, with bi-weekly episodes focusing on casual gaming news, events, reviews, and lots more. In the latest episode, Joe, John and Dora shares their picks and favorites from 2009."

Cryptic Sea: A New Zero 0.76
"A New Zero is a multiplayer vehicle simulation inspired by Red Baron, Tie Fighter, Mechwarrior 2, Joust, and some other stuff. It is currently in open beta." All Blogged One Switch Games
One switch games blogged by in 2009 (and 2008).

Freeware Game Pick: Quick as Thieves (Gents of Fortune)

January 5, 2010 2:34 AM | Tim W.

Quick as Thieves is a third-person action game in which you play as a thief out to steal an item called the 'MacGuffin' from a museum. Though driven by a single objective that has to be completed in under ten minutes, there is plenty of room in your sack for just about every item you can get your grubby hands on. Guards will try to stop you on sight, but the combat is a simple affair of tapping the button rapidly until you counter their collective attacks.

The game plays like a variation of the Katamari series, and the loot that you acquire actually serves the purpose of upgrading the thief's skill sets. There are a couple of easter eggs to be found (the gallery near the staircase is one), and if you happen to get lost inside the museum all you have to do is follow the red carpet to find your way to the treasure vault.

An Xbox360 controller is required to play the game, and visitors can only download from the Dare to be Digital site after creating a user account and logging in with it (or you can use this, username: indygamer, password: password). Note that the download server might be offline during peak hours. Quick as Thieves was one of the three games shortlisted for a BAFTA award earlier last year. (Windows, 281MB)

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