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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

Review: Atom Zombie Smasher (Blendo Games)

February 4, 2011 3:39 PM | Michael Rose

What happens when one of the most exciting indie developers of the moment takes a shot at the zombie survival genre? Atom Zombie Smasher, that's what. But this is no ordinary zombie apocalypse situation, oh no - this is so much more. This is what happens when someone uses their braaaains.

Imagine taking Gratuitous Space Battles, replacing the pew pew spaceships with moaning zombies and military soldiers, and injecting a whole series of hilarious and somewhat bemusing comic strip panels. This will give you a vague idea about what Atom Zombie Smasher plays like, although the level of interactivity is far more involved. It's frantic, tactical and oh so lovely.

Certain elements of the game could have perhaps done with better explanations, and some further variety in enemies and environment wouldn't go amiss, but none of this really matters when you consider that AZS is addictive as hell, with randomly generated cities and campaigns extending the replay value into 'I may never leave my computer again' regions. It's amazing, and you'll love it.

This is What Closure Looks Like Now

February 4, 2011 11:01 AM | Michael Rose

Closure has come a long way since that initial browser game release at the start of 2009. Since winning the Excellence in Audio award at the 2010 IGF and getting a graphical overhaul, it's now looking even more stunning.

There's still no word yet on when the final commercial version will be released, but you can still play the original game here.

Desktop Dungeons, Burn the Trash and Stench Mechanics Now Available for Mac

February 4, 2011 10:00 AM | Tim W.

More reasons to cheer for Mac owners everywhere. A Mac version of the freeware roguelike game Desktop Dungeons is now available to download from QCF Design's official site, and according to developer Danny Day the port is essentially the same as the latest Windows build that was released back in October 2010.

Also just out are new Mac OS X ports for cactus' Burn the Trash, Stench Mechanics and Block On. If you're looking for more of Jonatan's works for the Mac, then do check out our coverage of Clean Asia and Psychosomnium Mac ports (among other recent Game Maker conversions).

Indie Game Links: Dungeon Explorer

February 4, 2011 6:00 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)

DIYgamer: Asking About Octodad
"Following up DePaul University's 2010 entry in the IGF Student Showcase Devil's Tuning Fork, a team of development students from the school have once again cracked into the lineup of the 2011 Festival."

Joystiq: What's in a Name - 2D Boy
"It's time for another origin story of an industry presence. Today, Kyle Gabler explains how he and partner Ron Carmel came up with their studio name, 2D Boy, using the process of elimination."

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Where Next For Desktop Dungeons
"We chat with QCF Design's boss Danny Day about the curious moral debate around game-cloning, the welcome resurgence of roguelikes, and what comes next for Desktop Dungeons."

GameSetWatch: Autumn Games Publishing Skullgirls 2D Fighter
"Autumn Games announced that it will release Reverge Labs' fast-paced 2D fighter Skullgirls to home consoles later this year. The game features a bizarre cast of girls all fighting to acquire an artifact known as the Skull Heart."

Gamasutra: Wolfire Talks Lugaru HD Counterfeit, Worst Ethical Violation
"Wolfire Games says that its open-source Mac game, Lugaru HD, has been counterfeited -- its source code ripped off and re-sold on the Mac Store for a much cheaper price."

Gamasutra: 100 Rogues Dev Says Updates, Expansions Provide Only Brief Sales Boosts
"100 Rogues developer Keith Burgun here describes the bumps in the road that the well-liked, high-quality game has hit on its long slow journey towards release and profitability."

Touch Arcade: NimbleBit Offers Up Its Entire App Store Catalogue For Free
"Pocket Frog developer Nimble Bit's entire App Store catalogue is now available for the price of zero dollars. From now until an indeterminate time, you can download every iOS game that Nimble Bit has to offer for free."

Copenhagen Game Collective: Kill Screen vs Scandinavia
"The Copenhagen Game Collective, together with Kill Screen Magazine, is throwing a Thursday night party at GDC in San Francisco, March 3, 2011. The event will showcase never-before-exhibited mods and early-stage prototypes of IGF-nominated Scandinavian indie games by The Copenhagen Game Collective & Babycastles, Die Gute Fabrik, Playdead (Limbo), and Erik Svedäng."

Road To The IGF: Monobanda's Bohm

February 4, 2011 2:00 AM | Tim W.

[As part of a series of "Road to the IGF" interviews with 2011 IGF finalists, Gamasutra speaks with the team at Monobanda about Bohm, a Nuovo Award-nominated "poetic experience" centered around a procedurally-generated tree.]

Described by its developer as a game "you want to play before you go to bed," Monobanda's Bohm ignores competitive themes and win/loss scenarios in order to evoke a more abstract, poetic experience.

With no clear goals or gameplay explanation in Bohm, players control the growth of a tree in real time while the virtual plant and accompanying music evolve according to the player's actions.

The game is up for a 2011 Independent Game Festival Nuovo Award, which recognizes more esoteric "art game" titles. Monobanda's young five-person team is made up of Sjoerd Wennekes, Mathijs Konings, Liselore Goedhart, Simon van der Linden and Niki Smit.

Here, The Netherlands-based team at Monobanda tells Gamasutra about the creation of Bohm, and how the game spawned from a lunchtime joke.

What background do you have making games?

All five of us at Monobanda graduated with a degree in Design for Virtual Theatre and Games at the Utrecht School of the Arts. This course trained us in looking at game design from different perspectives.

We were educated in things like traditional storytelling, theatre, play, performances, social interaction, etc. After our graduation we wanted to continue our findings and experiences and start our own creative company.

At Monobanda we make games that combine interactive, digital elements with the real world. Pervasive gaming, augmented reality, that kind of stuff. Bohm is currently our only game that does not feature a crossover to the real world. It's our first foray into "real" games (i.e. screen and joypad) and we liked the process a lot.

Browser Game Pick: Hot Throttle (Cactus and Doomlaser)

February 3, 2011 10:17 PM | Michael Rose

When Jonatan told us about Hot Throttle in an IndieGames podcast (it was called Burning Enthusiasm at that point), neither myself or Tim could talk for a few mins from laughing. Now that the game has been released, it's just as messed up as we had hoped.

In Hot Throttle, you play as a semi-naked guy who thinks he is a car, and you race other guys around the city. A warning in advance: It's a little NSFW, as it features comical yet creepy scenes, such as your character offering another man 'a ride in my taxi', and another of him giving 'CPR'.

The game itself is a little awkward to begin with, as it doesn't really explain what the controls are or what you're meant to be doing, and once you do realise what your job is, the other racers are miles ahead. Still, from the second race onwards, it's pretty enjoyable, although those cutscenes remain creepy as hell.

Race over to AdultSwim to play, but preferably with clothes on, please.

Browser Game Pick: Island Survival (styxtwo)

February 3, 2011 7:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw


Engineered by self-proclaimed 'lonely developer' styxtwo, Island Survival is rather formidable proof that the simplest concepts are often the most viable ones. Trapped upon a series of rapidly disintegrating islands, the objective in the game is a rather simple one: survive. As the protoganist, a blocky-looking character who looks rather like a shipwrecked businessman, you have very little at your disposal outside of your dexterity and the snowflakes drifting down from the skies.

The snowflakes are integral to your survival as they add an extra layer to your island each time you catch one. Of course, if you have issues traversing treacherous terrain and have issues surviving platformers, you'll definitely have different problems to worry about first. Minimalistic in nature, Island Survival is a strangely addictive Flash title that might absorb more of your time than you initially expected.

Go give it a play at Armor Games.

Browser Game Pick: Antimatière (Team Antimatter)

February 3, 2011 4:29 PM | Tim W.

Created by a group of students from the ENJMIN university, Antimatière is a 3D puzzle game that features flat 2D objects everywhere you look. A failed experiment had turned all objects and people in the world into wall textures, and you're the only person who can still move around and save the day somehow.

Puzzles are solved by transferring textures from one place to another, although your inventory slot only allows one object to be carried at any time. There are five full levels to play through, and each stage may take anything between five minutes to half an hour to figure out.

You can find Antimatière being hosted at Kongregate.

Win a Copy of Alpha Squad for Xbox 360

February 3, 2011 4:07 PM | Michael Rose

If you read our article on January's Best Xbox Live Indie Games yesterday, you'll have spotted the delightfully silly multiplayer shooter Alpha Squad. It's got guns, girls and muscles, because that's obviously what we all love.

How about winning a copy of the game, then? We'll be giving away a few copies of Alpha Squad via our Twitter and Facebook pages at 10pm GMT tonight, so make sure you're following IndieGames on both and you're waiting, ready to hammer those codes into your Xbox.

In the meantime, you could always try downloading the demo too!

GDC 2011 Adds Cave Story Creator, Limbo, Crawford Talks

February 3, 2011 4:03 PM | Simon Carless

Organizers of GDC 2011 are highlighting a first-ever public lecture from Cave Story creator Pixel, plus talks on Playdead's acclaimed Limbo and Chris Crawford on gaming's 'days of yore'.

As the overall session list for the February/March event expands further, following the announcement of the classic postmortems series and a keynote from Nintendo's Satoru Iwata, new lectures continue to be showcased.

These new talks are part of GDC 2011's Main Conference, which takes place at the Moscone Center from Wednesday March 2nd to Friday March 4th, 2011 during the pre-eminent, San Francisco-based event.

The GDC 2011 Main Conference features discipline-specific Tracks dedicated to programming, design, art, audio, business and management, and production.

These additions to the GDC 2011 roster, highlighted for the first time here, include the following lectures:

- In his first-ever public speech and Western appearance regarding much-beloved 2D indie title Cave Story, Japanese 'dojin' game developer Daisuke 'Pixel' Amaya will discuss his creative process in making the PC freeware title that debuted in 2004.

The evocative retro-themed game -- a 2D platform adventure with genuine emotion, depth, and an intriguing story -- which took 5 years to complete, is an IGF finalist this year in its enhanced WiiWare version, and Amaya will talk about what went both right and wrong in creating a game that turned out completely unlike what he initially had in mind.

- Presenting a lecture called 'Designing Limbo's Puzzles', Playdead's lead gameplay designer Jeppe Carlsen discusses design takeaways from the most-nominated game in this year's prestigious Game Developers Choice Awards.

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