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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

Road To The IGF: Ratloop's Lucas Pope Plays With Helsing's Fire

February 8, 2011 5:00 AM | Tim W.

[As part of a series of "Road to the IGF" interviews with 2011 IGF finalists, Gamasutra speaks with Lucas Pope of Ratloop about the Best Mobile Game nomination for Helsing's Fire.]

Ratloop is no stranger to the Independent Games Festival, having already seen two of its games in the running in previous years.

For the third consecutive year, Ratloop co-founder Lucas Pope is celebrating an IGF nomination -- this time for Best Mobile Game with light-based iOS puzzler Helsing's Fire, developed by himself and his wife.

As the app's description explains: "With intuitive touchscreen controls, use your torch and limited supply of powerful tonics to pierce the shadows and destroy Dracula's monsters. Torch placement is critical, and different tonics affect each creature differently."

We spoke with Pope about the history of Ratloop, his foray into the world of iPhone development and what we can expect from Ratloop next.

What is your background in making games?

I started as a small independent developer, worked at a big developer for a few years, and now I'm back where I belong.

A few friends and I started Ratloop 13 years ago when there was no indie scene and you needed the support of a large publisher to get your game into stores.

Unfortunately, back then that support didn't come easy; we could only hold on so long before going our separate ways. Now that digital distribution is nice and prevalent, we're back together trying to rock some games.

Our recent titles Mightier and Helsing's Fire were both two-person projects by my wife Keiko and I. Rocketbirds: Revolution was created by Tan Sian Yue and James Anderson as part of Ratloop Asia in Singapore.

Indie Game Links: Action Shoot

February 8, 2011 3:00 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)

Animate Dead: Frictional Games Interview
"Frictional Games was behind 2010’s most scary game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. By some accounts, the most scary video game ever. We reached out for a few comments on their success and on being an indie developer."

Temple of the Roguelike: International Roguelike Database Updated
"The International Roguelike Database has been updated and now allows you to rate and comment on the roguelikes. There are currently 290 roguelikes on the list."

PlayStation Blog: Chatting About Journey With Thatgamecompany
"Journey is the upcoming PlayStation Network title from the people that brought you flOw and Flower. Here is our conversation with Robin Hunicke, Journey’s producer and Jenova Chen, co-founder of thatgamecompany."

GameSetWatch: Sword of Fargoal Legends Now Out For Mac
"Fargoal has released Sword of Fargoal Legends, its iOS remake of Jeff McCord's classic Commodore 64 game, on the Mac App Store. In this old-school adventure, players explore a randomly generated dungeon, fight 28 different monsters and avoid traps, all in the effort of trying to retrieve the Sword of Fargoal."

Andy Schatz: The Original Monaco was sort of an MMO
"I've pitched Monaco to publishers in different forms over the years. This is a version that includes social features, pitched to GarageGames for their yet-to-be-launched InstantAction portal."

Indie Games Channel: Richard E. Flanagan on FRACT
"Richard E. Flanagan has an extensive portfolio that includes video game design, animation, and even card games. Mr. Flanagan has taken the time to speak with us about the ongoing work-in-progress that is FRACT."

GamePro: 36 Best iPhone Games
"We've sifted through the thousands of games currently available in the iTunes App Store, and have settled on these thirty-six titles to enthusiastically recommend. Some are old, some are new, but all are worth both your time and money."

Quote Unquote: Beau Blyth
"Beau Blyth has slowly but surely made a name for himself with the memorable likes of Fish Face, Action Fist and Shoot First. He has grown comfortable with Game Maker, is uncomfortable that so many of his games have involved shooting so far and is positive about learning more about the craft of development."

A Valley Without Wind Early Footage

February 7, 2011 4:28 PM | Michael Rose


Arcen Games has thrown some pre-alpha footage of its upcoming exploration game A Valley Without Wind onto the webs. The game is set in a post-ice-age world, where survival is the only thing you need to focus on.

The world is procedurally generated, and spans far and wide. It's one of those 'make your own journey' setups, as you decide where to go and what to do. Perhaps you'll set up camp and explore the surrounding areas, or maybe you'll start walking in one direction and see where that takes you. Along the way, you'll find enemies and friendly survivors, and everything you do will affect the game world.

Dying moulds future stories too. If you get killed and continue on with a different character, other survivors will apparently remember your past hero. Sounds rather like a 2D take on Minecraft with plenty of story elements, perhaps? A public alpha is planned for March, so we don't have long to wait before we can check it out.

Don't worry about those running animations and the skyscrapers - apparently they'll be altered later on. Read more about A Valley Without Wind over at the official site.

Explodemon Launches This Week on PSN

February 7, 2011 3:57 PM | Michael Rose


Curve Studios' Explodemon finally releases this week, coming to PSN tomorrow (8th Feb) in the US and Wednesday in Europe. The above launch trailer has been released, showing off the game in action, along with the not seen before motion-comic cutscenes.

Inspired by "classic Japanese games from the golden era of the SNES", you'll be utilizing malfunctioning robot Explodemon's kabooming capabilities to blast around the place, solving puzzles and taking out enemies. Can you hold the Vortex forces back and restore peace to the land? Well, if you can complete all twelve levels, then quite possible, yeah.

The game will cost $9.99 / €9.99 / £7.99, depending on where you have decided to settle your abode. I should have impressions for you later in the week. For a few extra details, head over to the official site.

Freeware Game Pick: NullpoMino (NullpoMino Team)

February 7, 2011 3:41 PM | Michael Rose


NullpoMino has been around for quite some time, but the developers are constantly adding new features until it's fit to burst. Version 7.5 was recently released, and the game now houses a total of 38 game modes. Thirty eight. Three-Eight. Yikes.

The game features plenty of variations on Tetris, from your standard marathon run to dig challenges to other strange modes that I honestly don't fully understand. The twist is that clearing lines one after the other will build up your combo - hence, rather than trying to go for the big four-liner over and over, it's best to try and clear those four one after the other in quick succession.

Net play is also available, with dedicated servers for finding opponents. It's all very impressive stuff, and well worth checking out whether you're a Tetris fan or not. Download for Windows, Mac or Linux from the official NullpoMino site.

iPhone Game Pick: Dungeon Raid (Fireflame Games)

February 7, 2011 12:00 PM | Tim W.


Dungeon Raid is an unassuming little casual puzzle game that is easy to pick up and learn, but hidden underneath is an incredible amount of strategy and complexity that players would need to master if they want to achieve an enviable high score to post online.

The gameplay screen consists of the main window that displays the tiles that you have to match by drawing a line through them, with a minimum of at least three tiles of the same type required before they can be removed from the field. An exception to this are the skulls. Enemy skulls have to be matched with swords to attack them, and the more swords you match with the skulls the higher the damage you will inflict on them.

The blue and green gauge at the bottom of the screen indicates your current upgrade level and experience points. If you collect enough shields, you can earn yourself an item upgrade. Same goes for experience points, giving you stat boosts and even spells that may be useful when you are in a bind. Coins also work in a very similar way, and matching potions will restore any health points you'd lost during a battle.

Once you get better at the game, you'll want to conserve any swords and spells you may have for the tougher fights with special monsters, since they will crush any novice adventurers who are not prepared or experienced enough to take on an entire horde of skeletons. Even choosing the right upgrades can mean life or death for our brave hero, and nothing could be worse than facing your foes with depleted resources and no means of attack left on the board.

The price of Dungeon Raid is a bit steep at $2.99, but few titles in the App Store can match the replay value that this game has to offer.

Freeware Game Pick: Survivor - The Living Dead (Radical Endeavors)

February 7, 2011 7:36 AM | Cassandra Khaw

survivorthelivingdead.jpg


I like Survivor: The Living Dead. To be precise, I like watching other people play it. It's one of those games I refuse to touch with a ten feet pole simply because I know it'd involve me throwing my laptop out of the window in sheer, unadulterated frustration. Created by Radical Endeavors, Survivor: The Living Dead is essentially the story of a curvaceous young woman named Amber Chaplin and the adversity she faces after her brother is eaten alive by a convenient zombie and she finds herself making a last stand in a two-storey building filled with, for some reason, a fair number of random guns.

It's a fairly standard 'survive at all costs and try, in the name of all that's holy, to not get bitten' scenario but dear god, it's difficult. There is infection to worry about, health to fuss over, weapons that break or become useless after sufficient usage and far, far too many zombies. Have I mentioned that exhausting your sprint gauge will result in you tripping, falling down and basically turning into the game's idea of a free buffet table? As an added dimension to things, you'll also have the option of making creative usage of things like a closet which you must drop from the second floor and everyone's stereotypical favorite: the chainsaw. While somewhat pedestrian in its delivery, Survivor: the Living Dead's occasionally outrageous difficulty level is perfect for anyone who wants to prove their manhood or, you know, is just in the mood for extreme pain.

Curiosity piqued? Drop by the official Survivor: The Living Dead website and download the game.

Road To The IGF: Confetti Carnival's SpikySnail Games

February 7, 2011 6:00 AM | Tim W.

[As part of a series of "Road to the IGF" interviews with 2011 IGF finalists, Mike Rose speaks with SpikySnail Games about physics-based "stunt-em-up" Confetti Carnival.]

SpikySnail Games is an independent game development studio based in Israel, consisting of programmer Niv Fisher and designer Sagi Koren.

The duo's first title, Confetti Carnival, has already received much attention, including a nomination for the Technical Excellence award at this year's Independent Games Festival.

We spoke with the developers about their individual backgrounds in game development, how the concept for Confetti Carnival came about, and what we can expect from the finished product.

What is your background in making games?

Niv: I started to take an interest in programming when I was about 14. My main passion was graphics and interactivity. My first programming job was for a game development company (of the very few that were in Israel at the time) but that company didn't last very long and the project we were working on was never released.

I did a lot of 'video game development' for surgical training - what people now call 'serious games'. It's a very challenging field, technically, and utilizes much of the same tech video games do, but it can get very constraining creatively.

Sagi: Niv took the programming path at the age of 14 - I took graphics and animation. I remember working on 3D Studio since its first version. Back then, it was the very beginning of 3D graphics and I remember sitting at home, having fun orbiting around a 3D box and giving it different materials.

Doesn't sound much today, but in 1990, it was quite a thrill.

QWOP on iPhone Free For the Next 48 Hours

February 6, 2011 6:44 PM | Michael Rose

QWOP.jpg
What's with all the iPhone news today, huh? The most magnificent and ultimately impossible-to-play QWOP is now available to download for free for your iJiggery.

In case you're not familiar with the game, the idea is that you control his feet and thighs via two pads on either side of the screen. Before you can even get into the game, you'll spend the first fifteen minutes trying to work out how to actually run! Then you've got plenty of events to pelt through, including the 100 metre sprint, the long jump and the steeple chase.

All good, free fun. Grab it while you can from the App Store.

Super Soviet Missile Mastar Out Now for iOS, Free

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


Super Soviet Missile Mastar for the iDevices is a mini-game which originated from the console release of Alien Hominid HD, recently ported by The Behemoth as their first attempt at iOS development. Your objective here is basically to help guide a Soviet rocket towards a floating map of America flying high in the skies, all the while trying to avoid copters, planes and even birds that'll bring your missile down quicker than you can say Tetris.

It's not a very complicated game to control, and every subsequent level is just a more difficult variation of the previous one, but for the price of free it does a great job of being entertaining for a couple of plays. You can download it from the App Store by going here.

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