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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 March, 2011

GDC 2011: Game Designers Confront, Learn From Failure

March 3, 2011 7:00 AM | Tim W.

At the conference's lighthearted "Failure Workshop," Kyle Gabler with World of Goo developer 2D Boy showed off the studio's failed game Robot and the Cities that Built Him, a Flash game that that has robots blasting humans.

Gabler said the game ended up being a waste of six months of work because 2D Boy was more in love with the concept of the game, and not obsessed enough with making the game fun.

Six months into development, Gabler said, "We did what we should've done six months earlier... which is building a gameplay prototype. I don't know why we didn't think of it sooner," he laughed.

He showed a prototype of the game to the audience. "The point of this is... aren't you so bored? We realized our game had never evolved [from the initial idea]." Gabler explained that the game just "wasn't us."

Ultimately, he learned from the failure that "No amount of theming will save a bad idea, also known as 'you can't polish a turd'."

And coming off of the smash success of World of Goo he warned that "trying to live up to a previous game is paralyzing. Don't bother competing with yourself." Instead, make a game that can't be compared to your previous success.

IGF Awards Live Streaming on GameSpot

March 2, 2011 10:00 PM | Tim W.

Thanks to the folks at GameSpot, those of us who can't attend GDC this year can still watch the full 13th Annual Independent Games Festival Awards ceremony online and live. The event is presented by Anthony Carboni, host of the popular indie game review show Bytejacker. You can view the archived video here.

The 2011 IGF Award winners are as follows:

Best Student Game:
Fract by Richard E Flanagan

Excellence in Design:
Desktop Dungeons by QCF Design

Technical Excellence:
Amnesia: The Dark Descent by Frictional Games

Best Mobile Game:
Helsing's Fire by Ratloop

Excellence in Visual Art:
Bit.Trip Runner by Gaijin Games

Excellence in Audio:
Amnesia: The Dark Descent by Frictional Games

Direct2Drive Vision Award:
Amnesia: The Dark Descent by Frictional Games

Audience Award:
Minecraft by Mojang

IGF Nuovo Award
Nidhogg by Messhof

Seumas McNally Grand Prize:
Minecraft by Mojang

Indie Game Links: Seeing Double

March 2, 2011 8:00 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 GDC 2011. (image source)

Eurogamer: GDC After Dusk, Indie Night (video)
"GDC After Dusk is a new online show tying in with this year's Games Developers Conference, hosted by John Teti and Ellie Gibson. The first episode features Markus Persson (Minecraft), Chris Hecker (Spy Party), Kellee Santiago (thatgamecompany) and Andy Schatz (Monaco)."

indiePub: 2011 Independent Propeller Awards semi-finalists announced
"indiePub has narrowed the field of potential Independent Propeller Award winners to 24 semi-finalists. The finalists will be announced on March 4th, and winners will be announced at indiePub's first Independent Propeller Awards ceremony on March 13th at the Day Stage in the Austin Convention Center."

GameFront: Monaco Creator Andy Schatz Describes Designing a Winner
"Developer Andy Schatz won the big prize at GDC 2010, and he took over a sizeable conference hall on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the process of making his award-winning title Monaco."

Joystiq: Indie Fund assists with Monaco, Q.U.B.E., and Shadow Physics
"One year in, the Indie Fund is currently providing money for the development of three games. Nathan Vella, Ron Carmel, and Kellee Santiago of the Indie Fund – all established indies themselves – and fundees Andy Schatz (Monaco), Steve Swink (Shadow Physics), and Daniel Da Rocha (Q.U.B.E.) gathered in a panel to discuss the successes and failures of the alternate funding method."

Joystiq: Klei Entertainment on 'The Journey to Creating Shank'
"Klei Entertainment was pushed to the verge of bankruptcy during the development of Shank. Studio founder Jamie Cheng described some of the more tumultuous periods in the game's development at a GDC panel on Tuesday morning, admitting that stress even managed to crack his normally calm demeanor."

The Feed: The IGF Finalists, Minecraft Through Miegakure
"We've picked out some of the best bets in each of the categories ranging from audio all the way up to the big prize: the Seumas McNally award. And just to cover all the bases, we’ve even thrown in a dark horse contender in the competition."

Joystiq: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP preview
"Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP manages to combine very disparate elements to create something special -- epic fantasy imagery with goofy humor, point-and-click gameplay with Punch-Out and, yes, immersion with an iPhone."

Quote Unquote: Loren Schmidt
"Loren Schmidt managed to garner critical acclaim and recognition as a talented up-and-coming indie developer with his pixelated platformer, Star Guard. We talked to Loren to find out just what makes him tick."

Freeware Game Pick: Bug Hunt (Lazy Brain Games)

March 2, 2011 6:00 PM | Tim W.


Bug Hunt is a score-based arcade game that features a familiar green dragon with a sticky tongue, hungry for a serving of insects like flies and mosquitoes. The jungle is swarming with these little critters, so all you have to do is stick out your tongue to catch some food and fill up your tummy.

The one thing you have to avoid are the bees, which will sting our starving protagonist and end your game if they are captured. Players can submit their score to an online leaderboard, although only the names of the top five players are recorded.

Bug Hunt is available for download from Lazy Brain Games. (Windows, 4.33MB)

GDC 2011: What Brings You Here? (Wednesday)

March 2, 2011 5:00 PM | jeriaska


Lau Korsgaard of the Copenhagen Game Collective

Today we continue our conversation with game designers, filmmakers and industry experts attending the 2011 Game Developers Conference. The question we're asking for those who traveled across the city or across the globe to be at the event is "What Brings You Here?" (For more images of the conference, see the flickr sets from our feed and the official GDC photostream.)

N'Gai Croal
Founder, Hit Detection, LLC

The name says it all. The Game Developers Conference is put on by developers for developers, and it's all levels. At a conference like D.I.C.E. it's going to be a lot of established creators and high level executives. I feel like here you get to see what's coming up from the gaming equivalent of the streets: the next generation of things that are going to happen, as well as the techniques and processes that create great games.

As with every conference, some sessions are going to be better than others, but I feel that the hit-to-miss ratio is pretty good. What I like are the frank conversations. I feel like Jamie Chang from Klei Entertainment and the guys who did the Humble Indie Bundle were very open. We all benefit when people are as frank as they can be about the realities of making games. Debunking any myths, both good and bad, about what it is to work in the game industry is important.

It's just as important to socialize with your fellow developers, as it is to hear what the more prominent ones have to say to each other. The conversations that are happening in the hallways, in the bars and the hotel lobbies are invaluable.

GDC 2011: IGF Finalists Relate Futures, Fears and Football

March 2, 2011 12:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

Overwhelmed, awed, gobstruck - those are words that work surprisingly well with some of the IGF finalists. While huddled up in one corner of the convention centre, wires strewn everywhere, I had the unexpected fortune of almost literally being stumbled upon by one of the finalists for the IGF Nuovo category.

With a rather jaunty hat and an impeccable-looking waistcoat, Jeroen D Stout, creator of Dinner Date, looked every bit the avant-garde game designer, the romantic behind the subconscious of Julian Luxemburg. He also looked rather pleased to have found an available power socket along the convention corridors. Naturally, given my day job, I took the opportunity to solicit his opinion about the IGF finals, the impact of Dinner Date's release, the future of Stout Games and patridges in pear trees.

"The first month was just exhausting." Jeroen sighed. "I remember spending most of it being tired, just exhausted by everything. There was a lot to recover from, interviews to come, things to write, people to write to. It wasn't till the second month that it finally hit, that I finally realized that I had actually released a game!"

Trailer: Catapult For Hire (pixelMEGA Games)

March 2, 2011 11:00 AM | Michael Rose


At first, indiePub Games award winner Catapult For Hire looks a little like a 3D version of Crush the Castle. Then it throws in some bunnies, a bit of fishing, moving targets, and a whole bunch of fun ideas. Colour me intrigued!

The game has just entered the alpha stages, and is due for release later this year. Check out the official site for all the details.

Browser Game Pick: Go Go Sunshine (Bored)

March 2, 2011 9:30 AM | Michael Rose

sunshine.PNG
Go Go Sunshine is a puzzle platformer about the sun, the rain, and the people of Go Go Land. It's been raining heavily for a long time, and finally the sun has come out to chase the rain clouds away.

Your job is to make the sun jump from cloud to cloud, dodging lightning, birds and other assorted nasties. Once you've touched every rain cloud, you can then jump off and try to be as low as possible when the last drop of water falls - the lower you are in the sky, the more bonus points you'll receive. There's nothing too clever here, but it's all good fun and worth fifteen minutes of your time. Bonus levels are available too, for those people who just can't get enough sun.

Give Go Go Sunshine a play over at Bored.

GDC 2011: Andy Schatz: 'I'll Make My Last Game When I Die'

March 2, 2011 5:00 AM | Tim W.

"I started developing Monaco in October [2009], and in 15 plus weeks, it won IGF," began Andy Schatz of Pocketwatch Games during an Independent Games Summit talk at GDC 2011. Though the game is not yet released, working on Monaco got him out of a depressive rut, and wound up being his saving grace - and it only took him 15 weeks to make the build that won the grand prize at the IGF in 2010.

"I was depressed," he admitted. "Not clinically depressed ... but I was in a huge rut." He'd been independent for a few years, he had an employee, and he was making a game called Venture: Dinosauria, "and it sucked," he said. He had to fire the employee, and he ran out of money.

"If I'm not there now, I may as well give up," he thought, after 5 years being an indie. So he took a break to do other fun things. "I started working on board games. I think board game design is a really fantastic way to get up your designer juices," he said.

The first board game he made was with African animals. "Finally I got to the point where I'd been working for 5 years on animal games," he said, with kids as main audience. "But there was this one game I'd had in the back of my mind for years and years, but it was about stealing shit. So I'd lose my entire audience immediately." But he went for it, and made a Monaco board game.

Scrolls: The Next Game from Minecraft Creator Mojang

March 2, 2011 2:00 AM | Michael Rose

scrollslogo.jpg
I mentioned last week that I had more secrets to divulge from my trip to the Mojang offices in Sweden. So here's the big one: I can exclusively reveal that the next game from the Minecraft developer is called Scrolls.

It's a digital card game/board game mashup, with two players going head-to-head, playing scrolls against each other on a playing grid similar to a Chess board. There will be a single player campaign to play through, but the main part of the game will be dedicated to the online play. Players will be able to collect cards, create decks, enter online leagues and put in bids at the auction house.

I've got plenty more details for you over at sister site Gamasutra. Read the detailed description first, then check out my interview with lead developer Jakob Porser, in which he goes into a boatload of detail.

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