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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 December, 2010

180 by Headcase Games Free Until 2011

December 14, 2010 1:00 AM | jeriaska

Mobile developer Headcase Games is currently giving away iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad title 180. The puzzle game hearkens back to classics like Tetris Attack, while also integrating the tactile feedback of the touchscreen into a layered combo/chaining gameplay system. The promotion, intended to boost brand name recognition for the indie dev over the holidays, will run until New Year's Day.

Ron Alpert, co-founder of Headcase Games, worked for mainstream game companies for over a decade before going independent. He views indie gaming as comparable in its design methodologies to what existed in earlier eras of the industry. "I think if more modern-day developers start embracing those older philosophies," he says, "examining the core of why a lot of older mechanics were so enjoyable, we'll see more unique and exhilarating developments taking place."

Ron has written at length about old school gaming on his "Retro Game of the Day" blog, frequently featured on Gamasutra. He also appeared on a panel called "Going Indie" at the most recent PAX Expo in Seattle. As for whether small scale startups like the one that created 180 will have a shot at remaining profitable as more big budget enterprises enter the marketplace, the game designer says it remains to be seen. "The only real way to compete with that nowadays is to just try and get your app installed on as many devices as possible, even if it is for free." 180 can be found on the Headcase Games website.

Trailer: Explodemon (Curve Studios)

December 13, 2010 11:34 PM | Michael Rose


It's Explodemon! Explodemonstrous! Explodemongolian! Explodemongoose! OK, perhaps not those last two, but it is an upcoming PSN release that's looking mighty fine, and heading for an early 2011 slot. A PC release is also being considered, so feel free to beg the developers in the comments and hopefully it will become a reality - it worked last time!

I called the game a cross between Mega Man and Splosion Man last time we saw it, and I'm probably going to stick by that vague analysis for now. It shall all become more clear in a few months time.

Ulrich Jones: Rogue Survivor (Part 2)

December 13, 2010 6:19 PM | Michael Rose

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[Here comes part two of our Rogue Survivor story - part one can be found here. If you're reading this and thinking 'eh?', then check out the game - it will all become clear soon.

Again, you can click on screenshots to see full size versions.]

The moon is out, and so are the beasts who wouldn't mind a chomp or two on my flesh and bones. I am Ulrich Jones, and yesterday I woke up in a train station with no recollection of how I got there. I know that I need to find my sweetheart Laura, and for some reason I believe the hospital will provide some answers. That's why I've traipsed through streets of the undead, dragged my soiled boots through the city's sewers and ended up in the park a few blocks away from the medical centre.

The ground is muddy as hell, and movement is awkward beyond belief. Amazingly, I managed to steer clear of danger, climb the park fence and land on the adjacent street.

Time to move.

Browser Game Pick: Fallen From the Moon (Gamystar)

December 13, 2010 3:16 PM | Michael Rose

fallen.PNG
Fallen From the Moon is a simple but cute puzzler about a boy who has fallen off the Moon, and now must past a series of obstacles to get back home again. Over a number of screens, you are tasked with clicking objects in order to clear pathways.

It starts off incredibly easy, with just a couple of clicks on obvious points to pass the levels, and while it never really gets difficult, the game is worth playing for the animations. It's impossible to lose at any point, so getting stuck is rarely frustrating as you're usually only a couple of clicks away from the solution. The way the main character is constantly smiling, despite his predicament, reminded me a lot of a certain other smiley character.

My only real problem was that on screens where multiple obstacles are being moved out of the way, you can usually only move the obstacles in a certain order, even though it doesn't appear to matter which order they are moved in.

Go and play Fallen From The Moon at Newgrounds.

IndieGames.com Now Covers iPhone Games

December 13, 2010 1:47 PM | Michael Rose

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You may have heard the news last week that promo codes for the App Store can now be claimed internationally, rather than being US only. This is great news for us non-US IndieGames editors, as we can now properly cover iPhone indie games too.

We've covered a smattering of iPhone games in the past, but we now plan to keep you informed about all the latest and best iPhone indie game releases. If you're an iPhone indie developer and you'd like us to check out your game, feel free to email us at editors@indiegames.com. Note that only promo codes released from the 10th December onwards will work internationally, and we still won't be able to claim codes released before that date.

Readers: which indie iPhone games do you think deserve coverage on the blog? What were the iPhone highlights of 2010? Let us know in the comments!

2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Excellence in Visual Art Jury

December 13, 2010 1:17 PM | Simon Carless

Organizers of the 2011 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Excellence in Visual Art award, a category which seeks to highlight the innovation and quality in visuals for indie games.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Visual Art award have gone to entrants which featured impressive displays of the craft of games, including The Behemoth's vibrant cartoon-ish beat-em-up Castle Crashers, Polytron's 2D/3D "trixel"-based puzzle platformer Fez, Amanita Design's hand-painted adventure game Machinarium, and Playdead's equal parts soft and stark monochromatic puzzler Limbo.

This year, the jury will receive recommendations from the wider body of over 150 IGF Main Competition judges (itself including notable former IGF winners, finalists and game development notables including Jon Chey, Soren Johnson, Brandon McCartin, Miguel Sternberg and Tom Sennett) as they consider the merits of each of the five finalists and eventual award winner.

The jury consists of the following:

- Craig Adams (as 'Superbrothers', art director & co-creator of the IGF award winning Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP.)
- Grant Duncan (founding member & artist on Hello Games' IGF finalist Joe Danger.)
- Jakub Dvorsky (founder, Amanita Design, creators of multiple IGF award winning games like Samorost & Machinarium.)
- Phil Fish (chief creative officer at Polytron Corporation, creators of the IGF award winning Fez.)
- Kyle Gabler (co-founder of 2D Boy, creators of IGF award winner World of Goo; co-founder of upstart indie dev Tomorrow Corporation.)
- Edmund McMillen (co-creator of IGF finalists Super Meat Boy, Coil.)
- Paul Robertson (lead animator, Ubisoft's Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: The Game, creator of short films 'Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006' & 'Kings of Power 4 Billion %'.)
- Ben Ruiz (art director, Flashbang Studios on games like Off-Road Velociraptor Safari & Minotaur China Shop.)
- Patrick Smith (as 'Vectorpark', creator of games & interactive toys like Windosill, Feed the Head & Levers.)
- Derek Yu (illustrator and designer of Spelunky & the IGF award winning Aquaria, EIC of indie community TIGSource.)

Indie Game Pick: A.R.E.S. : Extinction Agenda (Extend Studio)

December 13, 2010 12:52 PM | Michael Rose

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Here's something mighty nice to start your week off with. A.R.E.S. : Extinction Agenda, the first prize winner of XNA Dream Build Play 2010, is released tomorrow - but there's a demo available today, so you can give it a shot before considering a purchase.

A nasty race called the Zytron have taken over all the machines in the world, and are wreaking havoc. Oddly, robot hero A.R.E.S. hasn't been affected, and sets out to save stranded survivors and destroy the Zytron. The game is a side-scrolling platformer with plenty of blasting and Metroidvania level design. You've got big boss battles, secrets to find, weapons to upgrade... and if you haven't already noticed from the above video, A.R.E.S. looks really gorgeous in motion.

I've just spent a good portion of my morning playing the final version, and it's brilliant stuff. Dead robots drop their parts all over the floor, and you can pick them up and recycle them, turning junk into health kits and weapon upgrades. The visuals were definitely a highlight - in full HD, it all looks so crisp and wonderful.

I found that the game was best played with an Xbox 360 controller as the double-stick shooting is glorious, although the mouse + keyboard combo is perfectly fine too. There's another video just below the cut, which shows even more gameplay footage. Make sure you check the demo out, and if it takes your fancy, the game is available to pre-order for $15 (£13).

Indie Game Links: Making a Game in One Month

December 13, 2010 12:00 PM | Tim W.

Today's collection of independent game links includes more indie game previews, a couple of development updates, and interviews with developers from around the 'net. (image source)

Gamasutra: Monaco's Schatz On Building An IGF Grand Prize Winner In One Month
"In an Indie Games Summit talk at GDC China earlier this week, Andy Schatz discussed his 2010 IGF Grand Prize-winning Monaco -- which he built on his own up to IGF-winning status in four months, and submitted just one month after starting."

distractionware: 2010 Minigame Collection
"At the start of the year, burnt out after working six months on VVVVVV, I decided I wanted to try making a game a month for the rest of the year. A couple of these games ended up being pretty interesting, so rather than bury them in the blog I thought I’d take a few of my favourite minigames from throughout the year, and bundle them together on the sidebar."

The Happy Medium: A much deeper interface
"Farbs' Captain series of games began with the award-winning Captain Forever, a strange take on top-down shooters that has you building new ships out of defeated enemies and covering long stretches of lonely darkness. Farbs is currently hard at work on the latest module, Captain Jameson, which expands on the formula immensely."

Quote Unquote: The Last and Final Word with Linley Henzell
"Linley Henzell barely needs an introduction. His first game was Crawl, an ambitious roguelike, which remains in active development by others to this day. His spectacular shmups, which include Overgod, Garden of Coloured Lights and White Butterfly, have also attracted a lot of attention over the years."

McFunkypants: Videogames and Charity
"Just to spread the love, I thought I would do some research into game-related charities. Here is your chance to give back by doing what you love. Gamers can truly save the world – and with a little compassion and generosity, gamers have the ability to make a huge difference in the lives of others."

Indie Superstar: Snapshot Developers Share Their Origins
"Snapshot from Retro Affect received an IGF nomination in 2009, and the team now seeks retribution in 2010 with an overhaul to the game’s build. David Carrigg and Peter Jones sat down with us for a talk about their team and their future plans."

Gamasutra: Dejobaan Games Talks New Business Models with Kick It!
"Ichiro Lambe speaks to Andrew Vanden Bossche on Dejobaan Games' latest game, 1...2...3...Kick it! Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby. Along the way, we talked about new business models, how indies stay nimble, and how to manage the expectations of gamers."

Winter Uprising: Chu's Dynasty (Tribetoy)

December 11, 2010 8:36 PM | Michael Rose


The next Indie Games Winter Uprising release is easily the most interesting of the lot. In development for over two years, Chu's Dynasty is a Smash Bros style fighter, with up to four players battling over a variety of arenas.

There are only four characters to choose from, but each has unique special abilities, including powers to control time. One character can rewind his last action, allowing him to confuse his opponents, while another can create their own clones and attack from two different places. There are plenty of tricks to learn, with multiple energy bars to watch and counter-attacks to pull over.

Apart from the multiplayer action, there are also four short campaigns to play through, one as each character. I wouldn't say it's an amazing battler, yet for the price, the multiplayer, the ideas and the lovely visuals, Chu's Dynasty is definitely worth checking out.

Price is a mere 240 MS points ($3), and a demo is also available from the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Minecraft Entering Beta on December 20th

December 11, 2010 4:38 PM | Michael Rose

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In just over a week's time, the behemoth that is Minecraft will move from the alpha stages into beta. Just before that date, there will also be an inventory update to the game.

So what does the move mean for Minecraft players? Well, not a lot actually - in fact, it mainly affects future purchasers of the game. Notch always promised that if you bought the game while it was in the alpha stages, you would receive all updates for free - and he's sticking by his word. However, once the game enters beta, this promise will no longer be valid for subsequent buyers, hence anyone who buys the game after December 20th will NOT get future updates for free. The price will also get a hike from that date, up from ten euros to fifteen.

Notch has said that once the beta lands, development focus will be fully on adding polish and tons more content to the game, while supplying proper modding support. If you haven't yet dabbled in the world of Minecraft, now would be a very good time to do so - go grab a copy!

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