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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

Indie Game Links: It's a Cheetah, Man

February 9, 2011 10:00 AM | 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)

2D Boy: World of Goo’s iPad Launch
"World of Goo developer 2D Boy has revealed first-month sales of 125,000 copies of the iPad version of the puzzle title, which is selling much faster than similar versions on WiiWare and Steam."

The Witness: How many puzzles are in The Witness
"There are 222 puzzles in the game. Many more puzzles are going to be added; by the time the game is done, there will be over 400. In comparison, Braid has about 76 puzzles in it. That said, the puzzles in The Witness are often intended to be bite-sized and quick, so it’s not really a direct comparison."

Indie Games Channel: noVer on GLiD and Dreaming of Making Games For a Living
"GLiD has gotten a good amount of attention and exposure over the past year, thanks in large part to its lush environments and the main robot’s spider-like abilities. We reached out to noVer’s two masterminds, Marco and Matt, and we discussed GLiD, the future of noVer, and when players will be able to try the game out."

Indie Games Channel: Black Pants Game Studio on Tiny & Big
"Tiny & Big’s tale is an ongoing saga, as the developers are tirelessly working to complete the series’ upcoming episodes. Even with a busy schedule that includes this month’s Independent Games Festival, the crew at Black Pants were kind enough to talk to us about the series."

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Haunted Temple Talk Skulls Of The Shogun
"Skulls Of The Shogun is a game about skull-eating Samurai in the after-life. We thought it might be a good idea to talk to Haunted Temple’s Borut Pfeifer about the game, and you can read the chat we had, here."

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Arcen Talk A Valley Without Wind, Part 1
"Arcen Games, famed for AI War, financial troubles, and causing a shortage of iron, have announced their new game: A Valley Without Wind. It’s quite the concept: survival in a procedurally generated world, exploration, magic, and perma-death."

GameSetWatch: IGF Student Showcase Winner Rooms Now On iPad
"Hudson has published Rooms for iPad, packing with it support for Game Center, eighty stages to play, two extra modes after clearing the main game, and trophies for clearing various bonus challenges."

Game Developer: February Issue Showcases Minecraft, Shank Postmortems
"The exclusive cover story to this issue, which will be available in all GDC 2011 conference attendees' welcome bags, focuses on Mojang's development of the smash hit Minecraft. The game is an indie dream: self-funded, largely the result of one person's vision, and an immediate, runaway success."

Freeware Game Pick: Neon Lights (Niall Moody)

February 9, 2011 9:52 AM | Michael Rose

Inspired by Rob Fearon's SYNSO2: Squid Harder, Neon Lights is an arena shooter with a multitude of glowing neon lights and explosions of colour. As enemies attack, you need to surge towards them and turn at the last moment, allowing your firepower to wipe them all out.

You can only shoot in the direction you're currently moving, much like the aforementioned SYNSO. The ship movement is the oddity here, as it spins as it changes direction and feels very strange indeed. There are plenty of game modes that offer different takes on the action, from Score Attack to Survival. There's also a Draw mode that was inspired by the classic UK children's show Hartbeat, that will let you draw all sorts of pretty patterns and manipulate them - see just below the cut for an example.

One to four players action on a single keyboard, and plenty of fun. Go give it a download from Niall's site.

GDC 2011's Summits Add Super Meat Boy, Angry Birds, Minecraft Appearances

February 9, 2011 9:16 AM | Simon Carless

GDC 2011 organizers have debuted the final set of GDC Summit talks, including a Super Meat Boy postmortem, an appearance from Minecraft's Notch, and Rovio talking Angry Birds.

The GDC 2011 Summits, taking place on February 28th and March 1st at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, present a series of illuminating, focused sessions about the technology, design, business, marketing, and future of key game industry markets.

There are a total of seven notable standalone Summits, including Social & Online Games, AI, Indie, GDC Education, Serious Games, Localization and the GDC Smartphone Summit, joining multiple high-profile tutorials on the Monday and Tuesday of Game Developers Conference 2011.

As the final sessions get locked into place as part of the overall GDC 2011 schedule, the following major lectures are now confirmed:

- In an Indie Games Summit lecture catchily entitled 'Team Meat Presents: Super Meat Boy - A Team Meat Meatmortem', Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes will examine "sales numbers, contract details... and revel as myths [are debunked]."

The talk will "touch on everything from development of features, mistakes made during the final stages of development, the launch of a game that Microsoft didn't believe in, why Steam is amazing, and the inevitable success of the best indie game of 2010."

Scarlett and the Spark of Life is Free for Today Only

February 9, 2011 6:00 AM | Tim W.


Launching Pad Games (developer of The Pretender) are offering their wondrously humorous 2D adventure game Scarlett and the Spark of Life free on the App Store for today only, in conjunction with the addition of OpenFeint support to the first of four planned Scarlett Adventures episodes. The story is about a princess who is trying to foil the kidnapping of her sister, but before doing so she must first escape from the her own captors that had her tied up and saddled on the back of a horse.

This offer expires pretty soon, so you'd definitely want to grab the game before it goes back to the full price of $1.99.

Browser Game Pick: RIZK (Playerthree)

February 8, 2011 7:43 PM | Cassandra Khaw

rizk.jpg

Back in the early nineties, long before the gaming industry became obsessed with sex and other drivel, edutainment-related material was everywhere. Sadly, only a handful were brilliant; the rest were mostly boring or, at times, borderline preachy. Granted, that's how my nine year old self remembers it - your mileage might vary. Thus, when I first heard of RIZK, a part of the Science Museum's three-year series entitled 'Climate Changing..', I was extremely skeptical about its production values. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

RIZK is, essentially, a 2D tower defense-like game that requires you to nurture and safeguard an alien plant that serves as your only means of escaping to the next level. In order to accomplish this, you'll have to carefully budget a somewhat meagre stash of coins in order to create your strangely ameobic-like minions. There isn't any violence in the game, though. Your enemies here are not hungry herbivores but indigenous vegetation that release spores capable of hurting your plant; your own critters won't do anything outside of generate protective shields of varying strength and range.

According to the press release that popped up in my mail today, RIZK's visual presentation is apparently greatly influenced by the sci-fi posters of the 50's and 60's and honestly, there's something quaintly charming about the game's looks. Most of the terrain is nothing but silhouettes framed against a stary, pastel-flooded sky. The placid outlook, however, bellies the surprisingly intricate gameplay; it rapidly becomes less a question of resource management and more a case of you attempting not to agitate the planet's residents too much.

It took a little while for the message to sink in but once it did, I was impressed with the work put into the game by its developers. RIZK, without sounding overtly 'in your face', rather neatly encapsulates the antagonistic relationship man's technological progress has with Mother Nature. I'm not going to explain exactly how it all works out simply because it'd detract from the message but I can assure you that it'd at least trigger a brief 'Huh' when the epiphany finally strikes.

Play the game now at the Science Museum's official website.

Game Developer Magazine, Gamasutra Ask For Salary Survey Responses

February 8, 2011 3:51 PM | Simon Carless

The editors of Game Developer magazine and Gamasutra are inviting readers to participate in the annual Game Developer Salary Survey, the only worldwide, public-released statistical study of game industry salaries and benefits. The information provided will help inform the entire game development community.

For the second year in a row, the Game Developer Salary Survey also includes money earned for indie and contract developers, which will be reported alongside traditional statistics for full-time employees of established game companies.

The survey takes approximately 7 minutes to complete, and will run until Friday, February 18th. The results will be published in the April 2011 issue of Game Developer magazine, and highlights will be made available on Gamasutra.com, as we did last year.

In addition to salary numbers, the survey also asks for opinions from professionals about the current state of the industry, which we will once again, as last year, make a part of the final article.

The overall results will also be built out into a larger, HR director-appropriate multi-year trending report for sister division Game Developer Research.

In appreciation for their time and effort, participants' names will be entered into a drawing to win a Main Conference Pass for their choice of the lineup of Game Developers Conference (GDC) events in 2011/2012; GDC Europe 2011, GDC Online 2011, and GDC China 2011, as well as GDC 2012.

Interested developers can now fill out the survey and register for the conference pass drawing. This survey is anonymous, and none of the information presented will be associated with any individuals.

Browser Game Pick: LightSpeeder (Ramon Zarate Saiz)

February 8, 2011 2:31 PM | Michael Rose

lightspeeder.jpg
Take multiplayer Snake, throw in the visuals of Tron and ramp up the speed, and you've got LightSpeeder - simple, fast, very fun.

You take control of a neon bike as it zips around an arena, creating coloured walls behind it. Other players are also doing the same, and if you crash into a wall or another player, you're out. The idea is to box the other bikes in and force them to crash, while also jumping over walls whenever you're in a tight situation.

The game is available as a single player Tournament mode, or for two players locally. The feeling of speed is really fantastic, and there are a few tactics involved as well - ride close to another player's wall, and you'll earn a speed boost and even more points.

Lightspeeder is available to play over on the Ayogo Games site.

Browser Game Pick: Save Toshi (Nitako Games)

February 8, 2011 2:08 PM | Michael Rose

toshi.jpg
Save Toshi is cute, hilarious and downright playable. Like a 3D version of Tumbledrop, your task is to remove obstacles to help Toshi reach the dancefloor. She can dance, but she can't walk. How useful!

Shooting certain blocks will cause them to break, while others will bounce and slide around. You cannot, however, shoot directly at Toshi. Knock her in the right direction and she'll 'get down' as they say, but pop her into the water and you'll be told 'Toshi is dead!'. It's really silly and charming, although the majority of levels won't cause any bother, and once it finally begins to get difficult, it ends soon afterwards.

But fear not! If you enjoy the game, there's a full iPhone version available too. Play Save Toshi over on Kongregate.

Browser Game Pick: Duplicator (z3lf)

February 8, 2011 1:40 PM | Michael Rose

duplicator.PNG

The controls in Duplicator are initially frustrating as hell, but battle through and you'll find plenty of lovely puzzles to contend with. You are searching for your missing cat in a very surreal, monochrome house, and only the power of duplication to help you out.

OK, so that power actually comes in useful quite frequently, as you create shadows of yourself to throw switches and create pathways. Your shadow can interact with parts of the level, or you can use your energy to swap places with it and move into areas that were previously unreachable. Again, the controls aren't exactly wonderful, but give the game a few minutes and you'll find that the later levels feature some really clever ideas.

Duplicator is available to play at MochiGames. (Cheers Alex!)

Browser Game Pick: High Tea (Wellcome Collection)

February 8, 2011 6:00 AM | Tim W.


High Tea is a casual trading game where you play as a smuggler trying to meet Britain's demands for a rare commodity during the early 19th century: tea. There is an abundance of tea in China, but the only goods that the Chinese are interested in trading with is opium. This is where you come in. Players must ship opium illegally from Bengal to China, then purchase enough tea from the Chinese to meet the demands of the British nation throughout the ten years of their trade at sea before retirement.

You start out with just one ship to send out to any port that signals an opium supply request, so you'll need to plan your shipping route in order to maximize profit with limited resources. Prices of both trade goods fluctuate too, meaning that you'll have to play the prudent merchant by buying low and selling high at the most opportunistic moments.

High Tea can be found hosted at Wellcome Collection's site and Kongregate.

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