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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 February, 2011

Dino D-Day Beta Coming to Steam on March 1

February 22, 2011 9:57 PM | Michael Rose

This is not the first time we've seen Nazi dinosaurs, and I hope it is not the last. Dino D-Day sees the Allies fighting against the Axis... who have dinosaurs on their side.

Five multiplayer maps, three game modes, and free regular updated content ahoy! A single-player campaign is also planned for release next year as an addition. But seriously, I think punching dinosaurs in the face will be enough for me right now.

The beta will be available via Steam from March 1, and you can sign up for a beta key right now via the Dino D-Day site, Facebook and Twitter. The full release will then happen on March 29. Visit the official site for all the goss.

iPhone Game Pick: Tiny Wings (Andreas Illiger)

February 22, 2011 4:33 PM | Michael Rose

Tiny Wings is a cute one-button game released this week for iPhone and iPad. The idea is to make your little bird soar as high as possible by dipping in and out of the hilly landscape.

There are tasks to fulful, glowing balls of sunshine to gather, and new islands to find, but if the night time catches up with you, it's all over. How about this for a twist - the graphics are procedurally generated, so that every day the game will look different. Pretty neat!

The game is available to buy from the App Store for $0.99.

Indie Game Links: Dinner Under a Star-filled Sky

February 22, 2011 3:00 PM | Tim W.

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

Team Meat: New Chapters added
"As of today two totally new chapters have been uploaded to the XBLA version of Super Meat Boy and you can play them now, free of charge. Expert Remix and Cramps have both been uploaded to 'The Internets', an XBLA exclusive chapter that acts as a hub for us to upload new level content."

The Game Prodigy: Jeroen Stout of IGF Nominee Dinner Date
"The following is a design-focused interview with Jeroen Stout of the fascinating Independent Games Festival Nominee Dinner Date. If you haven't heard of the game, be sure to check out the embedded video for a primer."

GameSetWatch: Winnitron 1000's GDC Trailer, Indie Dev Appearances
"The Winnitron 1000, a custom games arcade cabinet built to play titles from Winnipeg indies, will be at the Game Developers Conference next week, hanging out at the Manitoba booth. Vlambeer, Chevy Ray, Semi Secret, and BlinkWorks (Indie Game: the Movie) will also show up at the booth to discuss their works."

GameSetWatch: Minecraft Documentary Short Released, Feature Film Funding
"2 Player Productions has just released Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, a documentary short about the breakout success of Minecraft and the Swedish developer behind the indie sandbox game."

GameSetWatch: Rohrer Releases Inside a Star-filled Sky
"2009 Independent Games Festival Innovation award winner Jason Rohrer has just released Inside a Star-filled Sky. Rohrer is selling non-DRM versions of the Windows/Mac/Linux game for $1.75 plus whatever donation you want to throw in."

Kotaku: How The Great Gatsby Became A Long Lost NES Game
"The Great Gatsby -- the NES version -- started its life as a single screen shot, a pixelated recreation of the cover art for F. Scott Fitzgerald's great American novel. Nine months later, Hoey and Pete Smith released The Great Gatsby NES online as a Flash game."

PC Game Reviews: Interview with Joshua Nuernberger
"Josh Nuernberger is the creative force behind the highly anticipated adventure game Gemini Rue. We got stuck partway through our review copy, so we decided to interview him and pretend that we were merely waiting for the game to be officially released before we completed it."

Browser Game Pick: Elephant Quest (John Cooney)

February 22, 2011 9:34 AM | Michael Rose

It feels like, since Achievement Unlocked, John Cooney's style has become a parody of itself. Elephant Quest once again puts you in the shoes of that little blue elephant, as he swans around solving quests and shooting baddies with his laser.

Achievement Unlocked was iconic because it distilled the element of achievement-grabbing down to its lowest denominator, throwing them at you every few seconds. Elephant Quest, in comparison, does pretty much the very same thing with leveling up - yet this time around, it isn't meant as a joke. Within five minutes of play, you'll have leveled up ten times, a series of different quests will have filled your screen, you'll have 'discovered a new area!' over and over, and you'll have applied a stupid number of experience points to a sprawling grid system.

Still, while it does all feel a little 'now who is the joke on', Elephant Quest is undeniably good fun. There are tons of areas to explore, upgrades to grab, and quests to complete. Elephant Quest is available to play over at Armor Games.

Freeware Game Pick: Cyber (Andrea Pignataro)

February 21, 2011 5:05 PM | Michael Rose

Cyber is what I like to call a 'feel good' adventure game. The 3D scenes are amateurish in design, the dialogue is broken and badly translated, and the puzzles are hopelessly simple, yet you can feel how much time and effort has gone into the game by developer Andrea Pignataro, and it's impossible not to get swept up in the silly story of Jason Currial and his 'cyberpunk' investigation.

I love how, rather than recycling scenes multiple times, new areas are thrown at you constantly and may only be used once or twice before you never see them again. Indestructable security bot guarding a gate? Easy! Just go down to the local electronics shop and buy an emitter for shutting it down! Developer Andrea also notes that Cyber is an OpenText game, meaning that you can jump into the dialogue for the game and edit it to say whatever you want.

Great for chewing up twenty minutes plus. Download from the Cyber site.

Official Minecraft iOS Edition Coming Later This Year

February 21, 2011 1:16 PM | Michael Rose

I visited the Mojang offices a few days ago, seeking secrets, wealth and free stuff. Wealth mainly. Of those secrets divulged, I can reveal one today - an official iPhone and iPad version of Minecraft is currently in the works.

As I've reported over on sister site Gamasutra, the port is being handled by Aron Neiminen, a new addition to the Mojang squad, and is due for release sometime later this year. The touch-screen version won't receive all of the same updates as the PC and Mac editions, but rather will get the updates that "make sense", according to Notch aka Markus Persson.

There'll be more coming over the next couple of weeks from my trip to Sweden, so make sure you watch out for it.

Metanet's Valentine Day Cards

February 21, 2011 12:00 PM | Tim W.

I've just received a set of limited edition Valentine's Day cards from Metanet (Raigan Burns and Mare Sheppard, developers of N) in the mail today. About a hundred and fifty of these were sent out earlier this month to everyone who requested for it on their blog, and the 2011 cards were personally signed by Mare and Raigan with the message "Stay awesome!"

I've took photos and scanned both cards for anyone who wants to take a closer look at them. The heart in the center of the 2011 card is a bit different this time, and Mare even got a change of hairstyle from last year. Attention to detail!

Indie Game Links: A Fitting Farewell in Space

February 21, 2011 11:00 AM | Tim W.

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

Resolution Magazine: A Look at the IGF
"There are numerous games which have featured in the IGF that have gone on to achieve critical and commercial success, games like Kyle’s World of Goo, Machinarium and Everyday Shooter. If it is possible, this years entries look like they will match, if not surpass the success experienced by those other indie greats."

The Bygone Bureau: Minecraft, an ugly game with no point and endless possibility
"In Minecraft, as in Sartre, existence really does precede essence. There is no goal, no point, no reason at all in this godless universe for playing Minecraft. You can ride a pig, but you don’t get anything for riding a pig. When you have accomplished it, that is simply how you chose to live your Minecraft life. Quit to title. You are your life and nothing else, pig rider."

Tembac: Mantra selected in the Experimental Gameplay Sessions at GDC
"Mantra has been selected to be presented in the Experimental Gameplay Sessions at GDC. A lot of cool projects were selected the years prior, and there are always fresh and amazingly creative ideas presented."

A Hardy Developer's Journal: Interview with Joshua Nuernberger
"Gemini Rue is an upcoming indie adventure game created by Joshua Nuernberger. Recently picked up by Dave Gilbert and his studio Wadjet Eye Games, it quite simply looks stunning, a slice of science fiction adventuring that initially evokes comparisons with Blade Runner."

My Gaming: My Gaming talks with Desktop Dungeons creator
"Desktop Dungeons is on its way to the 13th Annual Independent Games Festival next week, where it's been nominated for the Seamus McNally Grand Prize as well as the Excellence in Design category. Our expert interrogators strapped creator Rodain Joubert to a rack and demanded he answer our questions, or we’d confiscate his fireball spell."

Quote Unquote: Lazy Brain Games Interview
"Lazy Brain Games was formed by a guy who had previously tried his luck with developing longer projects. He considered his previous work to be relatively unrewarding, considering the amount of time spent on development, while the rapid prototyping approach with traditional pixel art seemed to turn a few more heads."

Indie Games Channel: Nidhogg Preview
"While Messhof’s previous titles Pipedreamz and Cream Wolf are a lot of fun, Nidhogg has the potential to blow these games out of the water. Nidhogg has been named a finalist for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at this year’s Independent Games Festival and is coming soon to PC."

Exclusive: Behind The Scenes Of Minecraft

February 21, 2011 1:00 AM | Tim W.

The latest issue of GSW sister publication Game Developer magazine, available now for subscribers and for digital purchase, includes an exclusive, in-depth postmortem of the indie smash-hit Minecraft, written by the game's creator, Markus Persson.

The popular indie PC title, currently in beta, allows players to build their own structures and landscapes using a simple set of tools, spawning a variety of complex and impressive creations from players.

The game was originally conceived as a single person project, and after its sudden success, Persson founded his own studio, known as Mojang, and hired a number of other developers to work on the project.

These excerpts, extracted from the February 2011 issue of Game Developer magazine, also available to all conference attendees of GDC 2011 later this month, reveal various "What Went Right" and "What Went Wrong" highlights from throughout the creation of this eccentric indie title.

Along the way, Persson reveals how he and his team have altered Minecraft to suit the needs of its users, and how, with a bit of luck, Mojang worked through some daunting challenges to make the game what it is today.

Open development

Using feedback from users, the team at Mojang was able to adapt and tailor Minecraft to the needs of its players.

"From the start, I was very open about Minecraft's development. I talked about it on forums, primarily those on TIGSource, and told people what I was doing and where I wanted to take the game. Fairly soon, we set up an IRC channel for Minecraft for more rapid discussion, and after a while, I set up a Tumblr blog in order to get information out to more people more easily.

Discussing with the players and listening to suggestions, I learned a lot about how the game could be played and what directions were most interesting to others. Usually, people played it in completely different ways than I did. For example, when I added more complex game rules to the basic game engine, it turned out a lot of people really liked the free building from the engine test, so I kept it around and called it "creative mode."

Sometimes players manage to convince me that something I originally thought was a bad idea actually is a great idea, like with lighting and custom texture packs. With the texture packs, players were hacking the client to replace the textures for a long time, and I resisted the change until I saw a Portal server mod that basically was a simple version of Portal by Valve Software. It wouldn't have been nearly as cool if it weren't for the custom textures that really helped set the mood (see here).

Another example of the players being right is the ladders. I resisted this for a long time on the basis that I've never ever enjoyed ladders in any game ever, but gave up after being convinced that having huge stairwells took up too much space. It turns out ladders don't get used as frequently as I feared."

Karoshi Now Available For iPhone, iPad and Android

February 20, 2011 7:54 PM | Michael Rose

Jesse Venbrux's classic suicide-em-up Karoshi is now available in handheld form, for your iThings and Android.

There are 50 levels to play through, with increasingly difficult puzzles to overcome that really force you to think outside the box. You'd think killing yourself would be easy, but apparently not! A Karoshi Ware mini game also comes packed with the main puzzles.

The game is available on iPhone and iPad for $0.99, and $1.99 for Android. If you've still not tried the original PC versions, check out Tim's Jesse Venbrux feature.

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