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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

Browser Game Pick: The Legend of the Golden Robot (Rob Donkin)

March 7, 2011 4:33 PM | Michael Rose

The Legend of the Golden Robot is a Minesweeper RPG hybrid, mixing the classic tile hunting game with turn-based battling, leveling up and item hoarding.

You play an explorer who is on the hunt for the fabled Golden Robot. You can buy items at the shope, hear rumours of special treasures at the inn, then head out to dig up the land and find some valuables. Each tile you dig will produce a number, which tells you how many surrounding tiles have treasures under them. You can only make 24 hour's worth of moves in a play, and the must retreat back to the village to recuperate.

It all feels a little flimsy at first, but give this game twenty minutes of your time, and you'll be hooked. Play over at Kongregate.

GDC 2011: Hands-On Impressions of Dinner Date

March 7, 2011 5:53 AM | Cassandra Khaw


Regardless of whether we might want to admit to it or not, there is often a running monologue on the inside of our heads, one that talks about both the best of our ideals and our most depraved instincts. Unlike the facade we exhibit to the public, there is no filter between us and our subconscious, something that Dinner Date makes amply clear with its unusual delivery and subject matter. In a competition rife with the unusual, Jeroen Stout's first game is almost surprisingly mundane; Dinner Date has you playing as the subconscious of one Julian Luxemburg, a deeply embittered individual dealt the coup de grâce when he is stood up by his elusive love interest.

I have said it once and I'll say it again though, this time, in a far more condensed manner: Dinner Date's greatest strength lies in the fact that the protoganist is startlingly, unexpectedly human. Neurotic, intelligent, sexually frustrated, paranoid, poetic - those are all words that can be used to describe Julian Luxemburg, words that could be applied to us as well. As alcohol and despair slowly peels away the protoganist's relatively urban facade, players will eventually find themselves confronting what feels almost like a mirror held up to the soul.

GDC 2011 Confirms Record Attendance, Highlights, GDC 2012 Dates

March 7, 2011 3:18 AM | Simon Carless

Organizers of the Game Developers Conference, the world's largest and longest running event serving professionals dedicated to the art and science of making games, hosted a record 19,000 game industry professionals attending San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center for the 25th edition of the conference.

The weeklong anniversary event offered more than 450 lectures, panels, summits, tutorials and roundtable discussions across a full five days of content, with GDC references 'trending' on Twitter in San Francisco.

It also saw unprecedented media coverage from outlets like the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, USA Today and beyond, with GDC sister site Gamasutra including full coverage on its site.

Lecture highlights from Monday and Tuesday's GDC more than 15 tutorials and summits included Rovio's Peter Vesterbacka discussing the Angry Birds phenomenon (GDC Smartphone Summit), Zynga's Mark Skaggs on going from FarmVille to CityVille (Social & Online Games Summit) game designer and author Jane McGonigal on 'gamefulness' (Serious Games Summit), and Super Meat Boy's creators on their rough route to success (Independent Games Summit).

GDC 2011 also played host to the 13th Annual Independent Games Festival and the 11th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards. Swedish independent developer Mojang's acclaimed 3D world-building sandbox title, Minecraft, won the Seumas McNally Grand Prize and Audience Award during the IGF, as well as three awards at the GDCAs, becoming the first title ever to win awards in both ceremonies in the same year.

GDC 2011: Hands-On Impression of Bastion

March 6, 2011 10:31 PM | Cassandra Khaw

It is often a single moment that defines a game for its player, one sequence that elevates it above its peers and leaves the game forever etched in the memory of its audience. Bastion has a lot of moments that could possibly fit such a definition, something rather unsurprising given that Bastion plays out like an post-apocalyptic fairy tale. In spite of this, however, it was a rather unexpected episode that truly made the game for me.

For those unfamiliar with the game, Bastion is essentially the story of the Kid, a white-haired adolescent who must survive the aftermath of the Calamity and reach a place called the Bastion, his city's designated meeting place in the event of emergencies. To accomplish this, the Kid will have to cross a strange, volatile world that constructs itself with every step taken and battle against strange, blue-tinted monstrosities.

GDC 2011: What Brings You Here? (Saturday)

March 6, 2011 12:30 AM | jeriaska

2011 IGF Chairman Brandon Boyer and Baiyon of PixelJunk Lifelike

As the 2011 Game Developers Conference draws to a close, we hear from game designers and event attendees to hear their impressions. To people who made the trip from a neighboring city or a town halfway across the world, we're asking,"GDC: What Brings You Here?" (Images from GDC, as well as the Nidhogg and Kill Screen / Scandinavia parties, can be found on flickr in our photoset and on the official GDC photostream.)

Random, aka Mega Ran
Musician, Black Materia

This is only my first full day here and my first GDC. I was influenced to come out by fellow game music composer Danny Baranowsky, who's done Super Meat Boy and a lot of other great projects. We met on the Bandcamp charts, so to speak, and hit each other up on twitter. We were both charting at the time. He came out to one of my shows and had a good time. Since then he's been kind of a mentor to me in the videogame aspect of my career.

He said, "You have got to come out to GDC." And I said, "Why? I'm not a game developer." And he said, "Trust me. It will be so worth it!" So I did, and here I am.

So far it's been great. You get to meet people with great visions and ideas. Danny has introduced me to Adam Atomic, who did Canabalt. We talked for almost an hour and I got so much great feedback. Meeting with like-minded individuals, picking their brains and working on creating the next great thing is what GDC is about for me.

Trailer: Bumpy Road (Simogo)

March 5, 2011 6:47 PM | Michael Rose

Bumpy Road is a charming game about a car and its journey along a perilous road. Coming soon for your iThing, the game sees you touching the screen to manipulate the road and surrounding, pushing and bouncing the car to safety.

The art is really gorgeous, especially the various backdrops, and the gameplay looks pretty fun. As long as the controls feel tight, this is most likely going to be worth picking up. Bumpy Road will land in the App Store later this spring. It will also see a release on Mac.

GDC 2011: What Brings You Here? (Friday)

March 5, 2011 7:45 AM | jeriaska

Leonard J. Paul, IGF Excellence in Audio Nominee for Retro City Rampage

On the final day of the 2011 Game Developers Conference, we hear from game creators on what brings them to the event. For those making the trip by foot or by plane, we're asking,"GDC: What Brings You Here?" (Images from the conference, the Nidhogg game tournament and Kill Screen indie game party can be found on flickr in our photoset and on the official GDC photostream.)

Erik Svedäng
Game designer, Kometen

Basically it's just meeting all the people. I've been here twice before, so I'm starting to know a lot of them.

It's a very friendly atmosphere. I was a student when I made Blueberry Garden. Winning the award made it possible for me to quit my job and focus just on the game making. This time, I feel Kometen received very good feedback where it got reviewed. People understood the game better than I would ever have hoped for. Nicke and I went to the same college and he was in the art program, while I was in the design program. We both moved to Gothenburg to focus on game projects together. I think he's very talented and has a strong will.

A lot of the talks at GDC are really good, mainly the ones by people that I admire. For instance, Michael Todd talked about depression related to being a game designer. The Meat Boy guys talked about how hard it was to make their game. Being alone or working with a small team, there's no security involved and it can be a bit scary, so it's good to hear other people's horror stories. It's good to know that others have the same experiences. Then there are a bunch of talks that are just about business stuff and how to earn money. Those are boring.

GDC 2011: Daisuke Amaya Draws Lessons From Cave Story's Development

March 5, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.

Even though Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya's Cave Story looks like a much older game, he said in a GDC presentation yesterday that the late 2004 release has found an audience even among younger gamers.

“Maybe it made a mistake in coming to the world too late,” Amaya said of the game. ”When the game was completed, and I thought only older gamers could enjoy this, but after this was released I realized many young ones seemed to enjoy it. Cave Story is perfectly capable of being enjoyed in the current market.”

Amaya said the game's old school look wasn't totally a matter of paying homage to classic games, though. Rather the look developed partly because he was not skilled in the 3D modeling and animation necessary for most modern games.

“It's easy to start a game, but to complete a game is difficult,” he said. “I decided to adopt the retro style to complete it more easily.”

Amaya said he made the game's 16x16 sprites more expressive with a few tricks. The main character's red pants, black shirt and white face were all made so the character would stand out against different colored backgrounds. The large, expressive head and small, highly animated arms were designed for similar reasons, he said.

Indie Game Links: Top Ten Best Moments

March 5, 2011 2:00 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 GDC 2011. (image source)

Minecraft: Volume Alpha
"Download the official soundtrack now for merely four bucks. This album contains every song that is available to date in Minecraft. It also contains even more unreleased music in high quality."

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: BOH
"We're giving indies the chance to sell you, the fans, on their studios and products. This week we talk with Simone Bevilacqua, creator of BOH, about his game and why he'll always love his Amiga."

Jesse Venbrux's Blog: Toriporo
"In Toriporo you control a strange creature in space, that uses its 3 arms to move across planets. Because the game is quite short, we’ve decided to put the game up for free. Toriporo is only available for a limited time."

IGN: GDC Ponytails Montage (video)
"They're showing off Rodain Joubert's ponytail on IGN at 00:32 and gave it a name: The Adventurer. If you thought that GDC was about video game developers, you're wrong. GDC is all about the ponytails!"

GameTrailers: Octodad Kinect Possibilities Interview (video)
"We're showing off with the Kinect that motion controls are a really good fit for Octodad. It would make sense to make a larger version of the game with Kinect, Wiimote or Playstation Move."

PC Gamer: There’s a very good chance of Spelunky HD on PC
"Could it ever come to PC? We asked Spelunky's creator Derek Yu. He answers by saying that there’s a very good chance we’ll see the HD edition of Spelunky on PC at some point."

GameFront: Top Ten Best Moments of the GDCA and IGF Awards
"Unlike other recent awards ceremonies that shall remain nameless, the GDCA and IGF Awards had their fair share of amusing and exciting moments. We’ve tabulated the 10 best, below, in no particular order."

Kotaku: Minecraft Maker Promises No Minecraft 2, Rejoices In Fake Awards
"The truth of the matter is that Minecraft maestro Markus 'Notch' Persson won five awards at the Game Developers Conference this week. And he really doesn't want to make a Minecraft 2. That makes sense."

GDC 2011: Rohrer Wins Game Design Challenge With Unique Minecraft Mod

March 4, 2011 9:00 PM | Tim W.

2011's annual Game Design challenge was literally a spiritual experience. This year's panelists, Jason Rohrer, John Romero and Jenova Chen, were tasked with creating games that were a religion, and Rohrer tapped the romance of permanent objects -- and players' love of Minecraft -- to win the most audience applause.

Fascinated by stories, places and images left behind by his late grandfather, Rohrer based his game concept on the idea that chains of meaning over time create a sense of spirituality. "We become like gods to those who come after us," he says.

So what if there were a game that could be played by only one person at a time until that person passed it on to the next player? By being part of the chain, players would get a sense of legacy, and some of the mystery and excitement around waiting to be chosen, attentive to the myth of that "holy object" circulating somewhere out there in the world.

Rohrer created a Minecraft world that exists only on one USB stick; players are permitted to play until they die once, then must quit immediately after respawning and pass the USB immediately on to someone else interested in participating in the "religion" and willing to respect the rules.

No text signs are allowed in the mod; each new player will be presented with the world and its artifacts and will be able only to wonder about those who came before them much earlier in the chain, and perhaps about the original creator.

The idea proved to be the most popular with audiences, but both Chen and Romero received almost the same enthusiasm for their presentations on the panel.

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