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About The IGF 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, 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 March, 2011

Hands-On Impressions of Sanctum

March 21, 2011 5:12 AM | Cassandra Khaw

When I sat down with the team from Coffee Stain Studios and their demo of Sanctum so many weeks ago, the first thing that came out of Lead Developer Oscar Jilsen's mouth was, 'I think we misplaced the mouse'. It was definitely one of the most awkward statements ever vocalized during a hands-on session of a game. Unfortunately, due to pressing appointments on both sides, there was nothing that could be done. I would have to experience Sanctum via a touchpad.

Now, it wouldn't have been so bad if Sanctum was, for example, a Facebook-based agriculture simulation but it wasn't. A frenetic mix of tower defense and first-person shooting, Sanctum is the story of an elite soldier named Skye. Tasked with the defense of her hometown, players will spend most of their time divided between the construction of new towers and gunning down hordes of aliens. In many ways, it's a pretty standard formula but what surprised me was the fact that it worked so well.

Dark Nebula - Episode Two is Free for a Limited Time

March 19, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.

Here's an offer that iDevice owners should not miss out on: 1337 Game Design's disc-rolling game Dark Nebula - Episode Two is free to download from the App Store throughout the weekend. In it players are tasked with getting a circular object to the exit area without losing too many lives, using only the accelerometer function to control all of the disc's movement on screen. The nineteen levels included in this sequel sounds a bit on the short side, but there are plenty of clever puzzle designs and tense action sequences that'll keep you hooked until the final challenge is beaten.

We suggest grabbing Dark Nebula - Episode Two before the free promotion expires. A trailer for the game can be found in the extended, and you can watch it while waiting for the 80MB download to finish.

Trailer: Jamestown (Final Form Games)

March 19, 2011 2:16 AM | Tim W.

A trailer for the highly-anticipated vertical shooter Jamestown was posted up online by Final Form Games yesterday, showcasing some of the gorgeous pixel art that the development team had been lavishly and painstakingly drawing for the project over the course of the last eighteen months or so. The game will feature Giga Wing-style widescreen display, online leaderboards, and co-op play support for up to four players at the same time.

Final Form Games will be releasing Jamestown for the PC platform sometime in summer 2011.

Trailer: Toad Trouble (Jan Rigerl and Jonas Johansson)

March 18, 2011 4:26 PM | Michael Rose

Toad Trouble is a grappling hook style platformer currently looking for a Flash game sponsor. You are a toad, using your long tongue to swing over and under obstacles and reach the goal on each level.

Looks entertaining and infuriating in equal measures! Should be popping up in the next couple of weeks me thinks. Cheers for the spot, Marcus!

Freeware Game Pick: Improviso (Dramatics)

March 18, 2011 2:15 PM | Michael Rose

Improviso is a two-player acting simulation, where two people act out a story online. Developed by a team at GAMBIT, it plays out a little like a 3D real-time version of Jason Rohrer's Sleep is Death.

The idea is that one person is the Actor, and takes control of the main protagonist. They can walk around, complete the 'objectives' of the current scene, and type sentences to create dialogue. The other player is the Director, and controls all the other characters, as well as sound and visual effects. Together, the two can create short stories all revolving around an alien abduction.

What's really interesting is that GAMBIT are collecting data about how you play to teach AI characters to then eventually be able to act out the scenes on their own. Unfortunately, there aren't many people playing right now, so I wasn't able to get a game going - however, the tutorial alone made this worth talking about (although I wish they'd change the controls to more standard FPS!)

Download Improviso and let's get acting.

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of March 18

March 18, 2011 12:00 PM | Kyle Orland

In a busy week for new job postings, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles across the world and in every major discipline, including opportunities at Blizzard, Rockstar, SCEA, Nintendo, Insomniac and Activision.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across its network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Activision Publishing, Writer - Temporary - Contract
We are looking for an individual to start immediately on a 2-3 month project writing the scripts for a number of different projects. The ideal candidate has experience writing story treatments and scripts for one or more AAA games. You will provide finished scripts for one or more projects.

Blizzard Entertainment, Senior Software Engineer, Server -- Next-Gen MMO
"Blizzard Entertainment is seeking an experienced server software engineer to join the next generation massively multiplayer game. This position is for a senior software engineer who will focus on network communication, player interaction across server boundaries, security countermeasures, maintenance, and implementation of new server features."

Hands-On Impressions of Bohm the Game

March 18, 2011 9:33 AM | Cassandra Khaw


Less of a game and more an interactive piece of art, Monobanda's debut production has a lot in common with the ancient practice of bonsai cultivation. For one, it's absolutely gorgeous; Bohm is something that plenty of people would enjoy looking at. At the same time, it's also something that the general public will probably find unpalatable. While nowhere near as painstaking as growing an actual bonsai, Bohm is definitely not one of those things you can pick up and play.

Browser Game Pick: Cardboard Box Assembler (Miguel Ángel Pérez Martinez and Fernando Ramallo)

March 18, 2011 12:00 AM | Tim W.

Cardboard Box Assembler (formerly known as Cubesome) is a 3D puzzle platformer that features a clever gimmick: every level is presented as a square cube with six rooms on each side, and you can walk off the edge of a room and appear on another side of the cube. Falling into a hole or climbing past a ceiling also causes a similar effect, and soon you'll discover that you can easily end up standing on the wall or the ceiling of a room you just passed by moments ago.

In later levels players have to collect a set of keys first before they are allowed access to the exit portal, and if you're diligent enough to collect the gems you can even unlock a couple of bonus stages too. Beating these special challenges will reward you with some really nifty items (like 3D glasses).

The mouse can be used to rotate the cube at any time, giving you some time to pause and think while you plan out the perfect escape route. Not counting the bonus worlds, there are a total of thirty stages to play through.

Cardboard Box Assembler can be played over at Adult Swim.

Freeware Game Pick: BlockShooter (Milk Corporation)

March 17, 2011 3:00 PM | Michael Rose

When a developer tells me that their game will "make you touch yourself", I obviously have to check out this claim. Milk Corporation's BlockShooter looks like your average abstract shooter, although it has a tongue-in-cheek message to divulge too.

As you attempt to hold back the rushing blocks, your 'hatred' accumulates and eventually the going becomes too difficult to handle. As Milk puts it, "it is only a matter of time until you’re consumed by your own bigotry".

Definitely worth a go, although annoyingly the shoot button is the space bar which, for people like myself who are still living in the stone age of Windows XP, means that you can't move diagonally while shooting. Download from the Corporation's site.

Oh, and by the way - I didn't. Not much anyway.

First Five and a Bit Minutes of Fez

March 17, 2011 1:10 PM | Michael Rose

Last week's Fez trailer was pretty, but a number of commenters noted that it didn't exactly contain much gameplay footage. Never fear - Polytron has released another video, this time showing the first five or so minutes of the game, and there is gameplay ahoy.

Cass has a hands-on with the game coming soon for you to read, but a couple of notes regarding the above footage - the overworld map looks gorgeous, and I love the idea of searching for eight cube bits, Mario 64 red coins style. Also, what was the benefit of going in those rooms near the start of the video? There didn't seem to be much in there at all.

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