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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, 2011

Freeware Game Pick: Sprint - King of the Jungle (Lionsoft)

January 31, 2011 3:00 PM | Tim W.


Sprint - King of the Jungle is a collect-'em-up that features single-screen challenges and twenty levels to play through, made by Darkleo of Lionsoft with the help of YoYo Games' Game Maker engine. The objective here is to collect fifty red gems before making your way to the exit, and if you complete this task before time runs out you'll be rewarded with an extra medal as well.

Besides the usual jump ability, Sprint the lion can also roar to make invisible platforms appear or scare off other animals blocking his way, although you'll have to gather three fruits first before the roar option is made available for you to use. Sprint - King of the Jungle is available to download from YoYo Games.

Road To The IGF: SpyParty's Chris Hecker

January 31, 2011 12:00 PM | Tim W.

[In this latest Road to the IGF interview with 2011 IGF finalists, Gamasutra speaks with Chris Hecker about his two-player competitive espionage-based game SpyParty.]

Having already worked for EA on Spore, a huge AAA game release, Chris Hecker has now returned to his indie roots, and consequently earned himself an IGF finalist place, with his game SpyParty in the running for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Here, Hecker explains his inspirations for SpyParty, the visual style he hopes to achieve and what the next step in development is.

What is your background in making games?

I've been in the industry forever, but only managed to ship one game so far (Spore).

I was indie a long time ago, 1996-2003, and then worked on Spore from 2003-2009. EA laid me off last year, which indified me again.

What development tools are you using to develop SpyParty?

It's C++, a custom OpenGL graphics engine, a modified version of Cal3D, which is an old open source animation library I'm eventually going to replace, and a bunch of spit and bailing wire.

How did you come up with the concept?

Thatcher Ulrich and Marc Leblanc did a cool game called Dueling Machine at Indie Game Jam 0 (the "100,000 guys" one) where one person was hunting another person in a city with 30,000 inhabitants.

It was super cool, and when IGJ3 rolled around (theme: "people interacting"), I was thinking about what a more intimate version of that game would be.

I came up with the inverse Turing test idea, and the spy fiction, and the game kinda designed itself from there!

IGF 2011 Audience Award Opens Voting

January 30, 2011 10:34 PM | Simon Carless

[In this note to indie game fans, Independent Games Festival Chairman Brandon Boyer announces public voting to pick this year's IGF Audience Award from among all of the Main Competition finalist games for this year.]

It's time to have your say for the best Independent Games Festival game of 2011, based on the games you've tried! We've just opened public voting for this year's Audience Award, with all members of the public and the indie game community eligible to vote.

We're allowing voting for to any game chosen as a finalist in the festival, as opposed to just those with public PC demos, as in previous years. This is because many of the titles have been playable at other indie game events - or have Beta and other OS versions that many indie game fans may have checked out.

To be part of this year's vote, simply visit the IGF Audience Award page, download any of the games that are currently publicly available (each has been marked whether there's a version for you to purchase or otherwise download). When you've made up your mind, return to vote for your favorite.

After voting and inputting your email address, you'll need to verify your vote by clicking on a link sent to that email. Voting will be open from now until Friday, February 18th at midnight PST -- go check it out now and start making your way through the games!

Browser Game Pick: Toys (Christoffer Hedborg)

January 30, 2011 10:00 PM | Tim W.


Toys is a zero-button game originally created by Christoffer Hedborg for submission to the Experimental Gameplay Project challenge, featuring twelve short puzzles to play through and using only your mouse for input (no keys or buttons). Each stage provides you with a set of cubes randomly placed in a 3D space, and your task is to move them around until every piece fits into their designated area marked by a non-moving square with a lighter colour scheme.

An iOS version of the game is currently in the works, but you can play the prototype build now at either Christoffer's site or Kongregate.

Indie Game Links: Bearably Stuffing

January 30, 2011 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)

Dev.Mag: Skills to become a game developer
"Dev.Mag asked a few South African game developers what they thought were the most important skills that budding game developers should strive to develop."

The Witness: The Island Today
"Here's your Island snapshot for the end of January. Recently, we've been mostly working on things you can't see, but you may notice some subtler differences in terms of buildings / structures."

Quote Unquote: Glen Forrester
"Glen Forrester has been developing videogames for many years. As is the case with many developers in his position, he wanted to try living off his creations and see where it took him. After the success of Enough Plumbers, the future is looking bright."

Gamasutra: Bugfest Postmortem
"We'ew covering the main challenges and roadblocks we encountered during the development of Bugfest, ranging from game design and technical performances to marketing woes. In the conclusion, We will also reflect upon our goals and achievements with this project and share some extra tips and takeaways that we collected throughout the development period."

Fire Hose Games: Slam Bolt Scrappers hitting PSN in March
"It has been a long and winding road but we're happy to announce today that Slam Bolt Scrappers will be coming to the PlayStation Network in March. If you've been following us these past two years you know how much hard work we've put into this and how much fine tuning we've been doing."

Gamasutra: Rolando Creator Simon Oliver On Okabu's Journey To PSN
"John Polson talks to Simon Oliver of Rolando creator HandCircus, who is now targeting PlayStation Network with the cloud-flying heroes of Okabu, a co-op puzzle-platformer set in a colorful toy box world."

Indie Superstar: Ant Hive Games on China's Indie Scene and The Line
"The developers behind The Line have an extensive list of past professional gaming development projects, and their passion to pursue and realize a very creative dream is evident in The Line's gameplay and design. The team also has high aspirations for inspiring an 'indie' ethic to Chinese students of the game craft."

Indie Games Channel: PaperPlane's Team on Game Development and Nature Rides
"The team behind PaperPlane is comprised of a group of students at ENJMIN, one of France's premier graduate schools for games and interactive media. The team was not only happy to share their experience on creating the game, but also how nature played into the game's inspiration, the importance of team comradery, and the team's plans for the future."

Road To The IGF: We're Very Uncomfortable With The Copenhagen Game Collective

January 30, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.

[Douglas Wilson of the Copenhagen Game Collective wants to make games that make players uncomfortable, and talking IGF Nuovo nominee B.U.T.T.O.N. to Gamasutra, he details the surprising, poignant philosophy behind abusive games.]

It began with a sex game in a dark room. No, seriously -- but the Copenhagen Game Collective isn't that kind of group, not really. Dark Room Sex Game was a very simple project: Two players take turns flicking two Wii remotes, and the game... makes low, excited vocalizations in a deep male voice.

If they can coordinate their movements, the voice escalates. The goal quickly dawns on players. It's kind of uncomfortable, and that's what its creators, Douglas Wilson, Daiana Lau and some of their friends, were shooting for.

Showing the game at exhibitions like IndieCade throughout 2008, Wilson hung out with like-minded designers, like Ruckblende creator Nils Deneken, and realized something.

He had to move back to Copenhagen, where he could find a rapidly expanding base of friends and colleagues with similar aesthetic sensibilities -- for bizarre game works that are often mean, frequently silly, and always fun and thought-provoking.

At Nordic Game Jam in 2009, Deneken and Wilson showed their "silly multiplayer flash game" (as Wilson describes it), 5 Minute MMORPG. And by the middle of the year, they had such a crew gathered that they decided to unite under the banner of the Copenhagen Game Collective. Together, they could aim bigger, they thought.

Wilson stresses that the collective is not a "company", but a "constellation" -- like a record label for video games. Deneken and a colleague have their own company, Die Gute Fabrik, and while others among the collective work at a studio they call Copenhagen Game Productions (for now; the name seems set to change to avoid confusion with the Collective), some of the projects they do are for showcases and festivals, never intended to be commercial at all.

Trino Now on Steam

January 29, 2011 8:00 PM | jeriaska

Trino is now available for the first time on Steam. The game, which combines shooter gameplay with puzzle elements, tasks players with escaping voracious swarms of nano-robots by building powerful triangle traps across 48 challenging levels. The title was featured as part of the 2009 PAX 10 showcase of independent games, appearing on the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

Originally developed by six graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center using XNA and C#, Trino found its way to PCs care of LoadComplete. The social games studio based in Bundang, South Korea provided additional development to release the game for Steam. A Penny Arcade Expo interview with Team Trino/ LoadComplete producer and sound designer Soo Jeong Bae can be found on Gamasutra.

Q&A: Fami-Mode's Indie Game Connection

January 29, 2011 5:00 AM | jeriaska

Once a year Satoshi Sakagami of the Kichijouji game culture shop METEOR hosts an all-night party entailing music performances and NES tournaments, called Fami-Mode. An 8-bit riff on the Hatsum┼Źde festival taking place on New Year's Day at Shinto shrines, Fami-Mode celebrates the lasting appeal of Nintendo's original home console.

Stage performances for past Fami-Mode events have included music sets by developers of independently financed games. 6955, the Toronto game composer behind IGF entry Dyad, played at the first ever installment. Meanwhile, Tokyo-based band Consumers, playing this year's show, created their own retro PC game and distributed the software through their music CD entitled "D.O.T.S.(Dance Object Ten Sound)."

Other participating game-inspired musicians include Kplecraft, whose music videos are created using NES-style sprite art. Omodaka weaves traditional Japanese music with chiptunes. Sexy-Synthesizer draws inspiration from '80s pop culture and arcade sounds for their music, video and vocal performances.

We caught up with several of the event's participants in Kichijouji to hear their thoughts on Fami-Mode. To experience it yourself, drop by Star Pine's Cafe later tonight.

Super Crate Box Versus On the Winnitron

January 28, 2011 12:50 PM | Michael Rose


We're still waiting for the 2-player edition of Canabalt to appear online, and now refurbished arcade machine The Winnitron has gone and bagged itself another exclusive multiplayer game. Super Crate Box Versus is a head-to-head version of the original, with two player vying to grab crates before their opponent.

If you want to have a crack at this, you need to be either in Winnipeg, Canada on February 5th, or Utrecht, The Netherlands on January 28th. More details can be found on the Winnitron official page, and a 'Making of' post about the above trailer can be found here.

Road To The IGF: Minecraft's Markus Persson

January 28, 2011 12:00 PM | Tim W.

[Starting our 'Road to the IGF' interview series, talking to all of this year's 2011 Independent Games Festival finalists, Gamasutra speaks with Mojang's Markus "Notch" Persson about Minecraft, a finalist in three IGF categories.]

Markus Persson's Minecraft is up for three awards at this year's IGF awards - Technical Excellence, Excellence In Design and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. The sandbox exploration game has seen huge success already, with over one million copies sold.

Here, Persson explains his inspirations for Minecraft, his future plans for the game and when he hopes the final version will be released.

What is your background in making games?

I started playing around with BASIC when I was seven years old, and made my first text adventure "game" not long after that. I kept programming games as a hobby, and never received any formal education.

Several years ago while working as a Java programmer, I made Wurm Online with a friend, a fantasy MMORPG that's still up and running.

I left that project after a couple of years mostly because I was only working on the client, and felt frustrated with not having much control of the direction of the game.

Later, I got a job as a Flash game programmer for King.com. When I started there, we were 8 people, and my hobby programming wasn't a problem. When we were about 80 people, they told me to keep my hobby development secret, and when they informed me that anything I won in any competitions would belong to King, I quit that job to be able to focus on my hobby programming.

The first thing I made after that was Minecraft, so I kind of lucked out there.

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