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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

GAMESTORM: Indie Sketches and Scrap-Paper Designs

February 3, 2011 2:42 PM | Michael Rose

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If you felt inspired by the recent opening of the ScreenshotSaturday site, here's something else very cool to bolster your efforts. GAMESTORM is "a collection of doodles, sketches, and scrap-paper designs by game developers around the world", started by Chevy Ray Johnston.

Anyone can upload their own scribbles to the site, which already includes sketches from the likes of Beau Blyth, Adam Saltsman and Farbs. Rather than scrolling through all the sketches one by one, there's the option to click 'Archive' at the top of the page and check all the drawings out in one big montage.

Very awesome stuff, and worth poking your way through. Check it out, and the upload some of your own!

Browser Game Pick: Canary (Nitrome)

February 3, 2011 12:59 PM | Michael Rose

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Another clever Nitrome game for you today - Canary puts you in control of a blue feathered miner, equipped with a jetpack and laser drilling gun. There are some strange goings-on down in the mines, and you're tasked with investigating and removing the threats.

Clicking and holding fires the laser, which can cut straight through rock and baddies. Cut away two lines through a rock wall, and you'll then be able to push against it and create a pathway. Walls can also be cut to fall on top of baddies, or fling into them if you position the cuts cleverly enough. There's also a fair amount of shmup action on show, with aliens flying at you in formation.

A lovely way to spend 15 minutes and beyond. Go play over on the Nitrome site.

Indie Game Links: A Rapid-Fire Gunslinger is in Town

February 3, 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)

Gamasutra: Minecraft and the Question of Luck
"In this Gamasutra opinion piece, London-based lead designer and producer Tadhg Kelly looks at the indie PC hit Minecraft and what makes the unusual title such a success."

Metanet Software Inc: A Quick Note
"We have decided to start a secret project, part of which requires us to get a few small things printed every year. This year, due to an oversight by the printer, we have some extras. If you'd like to receive a special limited-edition card from Metanet this year via snail-mail, email your mailing address to us and we'll send you one."

GamerBytes: Twisted Pixel Announce The Gunstringer
"So Twisted Pixel are big enough to work on two projects at once now -- Ms. Splosion Man is the first, and now we have their second -- a Kinect title called The Gunstringer. The game will feature both side scrolling platforming action as well as dual-wielding Rez-styled gameplay, all while using a skeletal man as a marionette."

Indie Game The Movie: Want to see IGTM in your town?
"We would love to tour the film in theatrical venues and hold community screening events. We want to do it right - a theatre, post-screening Q & A, community get togethers and unique screening bonuses. We are starting to put feelers out to people and associations that would like to see an IGTM screening in their town."

GameSetWatch: Monaco's Original Game Design Document
"The document outlines Monaco's basic concepts, character creation and customization, mission flow, assets, and more. It also describes RPG elements that were eventually cut after Schatz decided it would be easier to balance set characters without them."

Wolfire Games: Counterfeit Lugaru on Apple's App Store
"You may recall that two weeks ago we added Lugaru HD to the Mac App Store for $9.99, so you can imagine our surprise when we saw it listed on the Mac store for only $0.99. When we looked into it further, we saw that it was uploaded and sold by someone we had never heard of."

Game Developers Conference: Rapid-Fire Indies
"Rapid-Fire Indies is a series of short, exquisite talks by notable indie game creators like Chris Hecker, Markus Persson and Petri Purho. Come experience different points of view on games, art, technology, and the future presented by an all-star cast of international friends."

Gamasutra: Queens - A Story In Four Screens
"Queens is a 2D platformer created for one of those Ludum Dare challenges; a bite-sized game done in three days and based on the theme 'domestic violence'. Left in a rather unpleasant-looking dungeon, your goal is to escape the four screens the game is comprised of, a difficult task given the amount of traps festooning the place."

Adventure Gamers: Gemini Rue hands-on
"If you're into gritty sci-fi adventures set in bleak, dystopian futures, you'll want to keep an eye out for the upcoming Gemini Rue. The first commercial game by UCLA undergraduate student Joshua Nuernberger following several freeware adventures, Gemini Rue was an Independent Game Festival Student Showcase winner in 2010."

Road To The IGF: Thomas Grip Talks Amnesia

February 3, 2011 2:00 AM | Tim W.

[In the latest in our "Road to the IGF" series of interviews with 2011 IGF finalists, Mike Rose speaks with Frictional Games' Thomas Grip about the multi-nominated Amnesia: The Dark Descent.]

Founded in 2006 by Thomas Grip and Jens Nilsson, Swedish indie developer Frictional Games first entered the survival horror gaming scene with its Penumbra series.

Last year saw the developer really step up its game with the release of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, now nominated for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Technical Excellence and Excellence in Audio awards at this year's IGF.

Gamasutra talked to Frictional Games Co-Founder Thomas Grip about the development of Amnesia, and what it takes to rouse fear in the mind of a player.

What is your background in making games?

I am pretty much a hobby games programmer that has succeeded in doing it as a full-time job. The only professional experience I had before starting Frictional Games with Jens four years ago had been two smaller freelance jobs.

It's crazy how little my workplace, work times and such have changed since I started out making hobby games fifteen years ago.

What development tools did you use to develop Amnesia?

We mainly used Visual Studio, Maya and Photoshop to make the game. Added to that are internal tools for level, entity and material editing. We use SVN to do all of our source control and asset sharing.

How long did your team work on the game?

It took exactly (to the day!) three years from when we started work on the game until we released it. The first year or so was mostly engine and tool development and then we slowly started building the actual game.

Play Tom Sennett's Coordinate Quest Tonight, Win Eternal Glory

February 2, 2011 5:40 PM | Michael Rose

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Tom Sennett of RunMan and When the Bomb Goes Off indie fame has a new experience for you to try out, if you're available tonight and have a few friends to help you out. Coordinate Quest is an online competitive team race to find a bunch of muffins before any other teams get there first.

At 6pm EST tonight, the game will go live via the official site and you'll find a link supplied. Each person will then be placed randomly in a world, with a grid over the top. The idea is for everyone in your team to spread out, find all the muffins and record the grid references. However, the site says that there are "obstacles which can only be overcome by skill, cunning, and coordination" - in other words, it sounds like you may need to stick together in certain places to pass certain objects.

The first team to contact Tom with all the muffin coordinates wins. If you want to get involved, find a few friends, sign up on the Facebook page, and then be ready to play at 6pm EST (11pm GMT).

January's Best Xbox Live Indie Games

February 2, 2011 4:48 PM | Michael Rose

With each month that goes by, the Xbox Live Indie Games selection gets better and better. I find myself even recommending friends to check out the games on there! Good times indeed, and January wasn't any different. Here are all the games you should check out with your Microsoft Points.

Radiangames Ballistic

Luke Schneider, the god of XBLIG dual-stick shooters, has come full circle with his seventh and final release on the service. After Ballistic (trailer above), he'll be switching over to PC releases due to the poor sales figures, but that doesn't mean he's going out without a bang. Ballistic returns back to the simple yet deep blasting action that JoyJoy provided, and it is more polished than your dad's bald head. Than your granny's bedroom dresser. Than a polishing factory. Lovely - go buy for a single dollar.

Freeware Game Pick: Games Journo Story (Brendan Caldwell)

February 2, 2011 2:31 PM | Michael Rose

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You've played Game Dev Story - now find out what it feels like to write about the games instead. Games Journo Story is the nearly true story of Arthur McStension on his way to a games expo in 'The London' to play games and meet other journalists.

There are plenty of in-jokes that will go straight over most players' heads, but the dialogue is hilarious throughout, and there are a number of indie games involved. You'll also need a decent knowledge of popular indie music to get through the 'Rhyme Game' sections, although it doesn't actually matter if you lose them.

A very real depiction of the games journalism race in the UK that'll take you around 15 minutes to play through. Download from Brendan's blog.

Richard Perrin Discusses Storytelling in Video Games

February 2, 2011 1:33 PM | Michael Rose


Richard Perrin gave a 5-minute rant at the World of Love conference in London last week, and has now uploaded a re-recorded of the talk along with the slides.

Talking issue with the phrase "If I wanted a story, I would read a book", Perrin provides some great examples of indie games that provide a great underlying story, and hence a far better experience for the player. Definitely worth a listen.

Freeware Game Pick: Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles (Yuan Works)

February 2, 2011 11:45 AM | Michael Rose


Tim mentioned Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles briefly in his indie links roundup yesterday, but I wanted to make a full post as you really shouldn't miss out on it. Previously a GP2X and Dreamcast release, the tile-matching game is now free to download for PC.

The gameplay mechanic isn't all that original, but the sheer level of creativity and polish make this a must-play. The idea is to rotate tiles so that four of the same colour are in a diamond formation, then any other blocks of the same colour around them will also explode. There's plenty of depth involved, from altering the fall time of the blocks above to creating long chains and combos, plus a huge overworld to explore and cute dialogue throughout.

Then you've got a Puzzle mode, competitive modes, unlockables, secrets to discover, the works. But here's the best bit - pay $10 for the game, and the developers will draw your own avatar for use in the game. Pay $15 and they'll even animate it! Make sure you check this one out.

Road To The IGF: Alexander Bruce's Hazard: The Journey Of Life

February 2, 2011 10:00 AM | Tim W.

[In the latest in our "Road to the IGF" series of interviews with 2011 IGF finalists, Kris Graft speaks with Alexander Bruce about his 2011 IGF Nuovo Award nomination for Hazard: The Journey of Life.]

Known around game conferences for his charismatic presentations and a blinding pink suit, Alexander "Demruth" Bruce's enthusiasm for game development is particularly clear when he talks about his self-described "art game," Hazard: The Journey of Life.

The game is a finalist in the 2011 Independent Games Festival Nuovo Award category and powered by Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3. But players would be hard-pressed to recognize that this is the same engine used in mainstream games like Gears of War and Mass Effect.

There are no space marines, no aliens; just the player, a multipurpose "gun" and challenging puzzles that Bruce uses to convey philosophical ideas. Hazard's unique art style values simplicity and stark color contrasts over the hyper-detailed realism that the engine is capable of producing.

A regular in video game competitions, Bruce's game has already won accolades at contests including Epic's Make Something Unreal contest, IndiePubGames' competition, Sense of Wonder Night, IGF China and other shows.

Here, Melbourne, Australia-based Bruce explains some of the background behind the creation of Hazard, which he humorously bills as an "MAWPFPSPEPAG," or a "multiple award-winning philosophical first-person single-player exploration puzzle art game" -- a completely unnecessary acronym that's also a pretty accurate description.

What background do you have making games?

My commercial record from working at studios is pretty awesome: two cancelled titles, one game that was top of the charts in the UK for a while, one game that reviewed horribly and caused the studio to close and a sprint cars game.

I maintain that I caused none of that to happen though. Outside of that, I don't have a long history of making games. Chris Hecker said he started making games back in 1996? I started making my own cereal back in 1996.

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