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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

Independent Propeller Awards Announces Finalists

March 4, 2011 8:00 PM | Tim W.

The Independent Propeller Awards, an indie game development competition organized by South by Southwest and Zoo Entertainment's IndiePub community, announced its seven finalists competing for $150,000 in prizes.

After reviewing around 150 entries submitted between December 2010 through mid-February 2011, the competition's organizers have selected several finalists to present their projects at SXSW Screenburn, the video game segment of SXSW's Interactive festival running from March 11-15 in Austin, TX.

The shortlisted titles, their developers, and game descriptions follow:

  • The Uncanny Fish Hunt by Uncanny Games – "An adventure game where players take on the role of Siméon, to fight an unleashed ocean."
  • Skinny by Thomas Brush – "An exploration and adventure game where players help Skinny, a skinny freak, save the apocalyptic world from their minds."
  • Chewy by Happy Candy Co. –" A 2D platformer in which players control Chewy, a sticky piece of gum."
  • CREO by Peter Angstadt – "A physics puzzle game in which players must create and experiment to succeed by helping Creo and his friends home from school each day."
  • Deep Sea by Robin Arnott – "An audio-only game, where players lose their vision and hearing and are plunged into a world of blackness occupied only by the sound of their own breathing and the rumbles made by unseen terrors."
  • Tiny and Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers by Black Pants Game Studio – "A story of a thief who had stolen our hero's most valued possession - a pair of underpants."
  • GLiD by noVer – "A single player ambient exploration game where a small robot is tasked with exploring and restoring an abandoned world."
Organizers for the competition will announce the grand-prize winner and sub-category winners (Best Art, Best Audio, Best Design, and Technical Excellence) at a March 13 ceremony that will be hosted by Canabalt developer Adam "Atomic" Saltsman and The Tester's Meredith Molinari.

The competition's grand-prize winner will take home $50,000 while the sub-category winners will win $25,000. The finalists also have an opportunity to receive a potential publishing deal with Zoo Entertainment.

"We are thrilled to be able to provide this group of talented indie game developers the opportunity to exhibit and compete through our SXSW Interactive partnership," says Zoo Entertainment CEO Mark Seremet.

Seremet adds, "Indie gaming has evolved and grown into its own thriving, vibrant community, and we are dedicated to fostering these artists by offering them the resources they need to create and share their original games."

Under My Rule: Fate of the World Playthroughs Part 1

March 4, 2011 4:33 PM | Michael Rose

fateoftheworld.jpg

[Fate of the World was released on Steam this week. In a nutshell, it's a management game about the future of the Earth, in which no-one is ever damn happy. It's a little depressing to say the least, but superbly addictive. I've decided to have a few playthroughs, trying out various tactics. You know - just in case I'm running the world one day. This week, I'm going to be merciless.]

Hi there. My name is Mike, but you can called me Mr President. I've been appointed leader of the newly formed GEO, ready to take on the responsibilities of our world and tidy this place up. Unfortunately, the people of the world aren't exactly into owning up to their mistakes, and with the polar ice-caps melting, fuel resources running out and weather conditions ranging from floods to droughts all over the place, they've all taken to rioting and generally being a nuisance, and blaming me for their shortcomings.

Time to give them all a kick up the arse, no matter what it takes.

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of March 4

March 4, 2011 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

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 Turtle Rock Studios, CCP, Relic Entertainment, and more.

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:

- Turtle Rock Studios: Prop Modeler, Writer:
"Turtle Rock Studios Inc. is an independent game developer based in Southern California. The team at Turtle Rock is best known for its work with Valve Corporation on Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and Counter-Strike: Source, and for revolutionizing cooperative gaming with the award-winning Left 4 Dead. The core team has extensive experience in the gaming industry, with over 80 collective years in the business. With a track record of innovation and success, Turtle Rock has attracted key contributors from such titles as: Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2; Command & Conquer: Generals; Neverwinter Nights 2 and more."

- CCP - Iceland: Technical Director - Core Cluster:
"Each of our four studios have unique environments, while working with cutting edge technology and freedom to innovate across the globe. Awesome benefits include things free meals, childcare support, health/recreation supplements and company trips to exotic locations like Morocco and a team spirit that is so unique you just have to visit us to believe it! We have employees from over 30 countries, representing a truly international community and we are growing in 2010."

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Browser Game Pick: TransmoverNG (Polygon Gmen)

March 4, 2011 3:00 PM | Tim W.


Transmover New Generation is the sequel to Polygon Gmen's clever puzzle platformer released two years ago, and boy did they pack a lot of new features into this one. There are sixty stages to play through, and every new level seems to introduce a new element or twist to challenge your puzzle-solving skills. Our protagonist runs faster now, and you can even bump up the speed further if moving around a room still seems slow to you.

Like the previous iteration, your objective here is to grab the yellow key that unlocks the exit door in each area. In your possession is a gun that can be fired at any green-coloured blocks, which then causes you to switch place with the object you just shot at. Sounds easy, right? Just when things are coasting along smoothly, you'll soon come across larger green blocks that cannot be split apart, gears that move around the screen when a projectile hits it, and blue barriers that allows fired shots to pass through them but not the player.

It's a huge improvement over the original, and if you like puzzlers then this game is perfect for a lazy weekend afternoon. There are even user-created levels that can be accessed using the online stage option from the main menu, ensuring that it's going to be a while before you run out of challenges to attempt.

Go play Transmover New Generation at Polygon Gmen's site.

Indie Game Links: Jesus at a Party

March 4, 2011 9:00 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)

GameFront: Playdead on Limbo's puzzles
"At GDC, Playdead's Jeppe Carlsen (Limbo's lead gameplay designer) opens up on the Xbox Live Arcade puzzle platformer, explaining how he envisaged players as both enemies and friends."

Kotaku: Kinect Can Control Octodad
"Octodad is the video game tale of one suit-wearing dad whose family doesn't realize he is an Octopus. They've created a Kinect demo of the game, because otherwise playing this game would just feel too normal."

Dev.Mag: Desktop Dungeons, Design Analysis
"A little more than a year ago, Rodain Joubert innocently put his latest creation on the NAG forums for community feedback. Even the first, raw prototype was liked right away. The 10-minute games that were promised were inevitably stringed together into many hours of play."

Kickstarter: Save Indie Game Site, GameTunnel.com
"Indie Game Magazine is a small community driven magazine, and we blew our load on purchasing GameTunnel. We want to redesign, relaunch and resurrect GameTunnel, but we just don't have the time, money and resources so we need your help."

Andy Schatz: Minecraft Wins! Also, here's my statement
"I was lucky enough to be part of a long-standing tradition: the IGF Grand Prize winner from the previous year makes a statement and passes the torch to the winner of the following year. Here's the full statement."

DIYgamer: How SpyParty Changed My Perspective on Competitive Gaming
"PVP. Versus. Competitive. All of these are words that I don't particularly look for when looking to pick up a new game. SpyParty, by indie developer Chris Hecker, may have just changed my entire perspective on competitive gaming."

Joystiq: Totally crazy, totally canceled indie games, and the people who made them
"From World of Goo dev Kyle Gabler to Plants vs. Zombies director George Fan, GDC's 'The Failure Workshop' panel was full of thrills. Each of the panel's developers brought a project that never managed to make our acquaintance, offering a detailed explanation of what went wrong."

GDC 2011: The Experimental Gameplay Sessions Highlights

March 4, 2011 7:00 AM | Tim W.

The Experimental Gameplay Sessions made a return to the Game Developer's Conference after a break last year, once again showcasing leading examples of innovation in game design.

Chaired by Robin Hunicke (thatgamecompany), Richard Lemarchand (Naughty Dog), and Daniel Benmergui (independent), eight hand-picked games were shown to the audience, each one an experiment that is potentially "the beginning of new meaning in games", according to Hunicke.

Maquette by Hanford Lemoore was the first title shown to the packed room.

A game based on the theme of recursion, Maquette puts the player in a drab 3D dome world that features a scale model of the same environment within a smaller dome at its center.

Move an object in the smaller place and its equivalent in the "big" world moves in kind, a conceit that Lemoore has already blossomed into a series of "elegant puzzles".

"Maquette started as an experiment trying to create a clone of Angry Birds," explained Lemoore, a UI designer who has worked with Netflix, Google, and Disney.

"I was attracted to physics-driven objects, and my work there led to the idea of one smaller object controlling a identical larger object."

The demo, which drew numerous outbursts of applause from the audience, represents around 100 hours of work, according to the designer, who intends to grow it into a fully-featured game.

GDC 2011: What Brings You Here? (Thursday)

March 3, 2011 9:30 PM | jeriaska

Game composers Chris Schlarb and Shaw-Han Liem

In the third installment of our discussion with game creators, filmmakers and industry experts attending the 2011 Game Developers Conference, we ask the question to those traveling across the state or across the planet, "GDC: What Brings You Here?" (Images of the event can be found on flickr in our photoset and on the official GDC photostream.)

Rich Grillotti
Game Designer, Pixeljam

We were nominated in 2007 for Gamma Bros. That was our first introduction to the whole scene. Before that we were just dudes in an apartment wondering if we could make a game.

Suddenly we were amidst this whole crowd we didn't know existed. We got to see people trying our game at the booth and not playing it very well. They tell you "It's too complex" or "I didn't know what to do." You can then think about what you've done wrong to cause this.

Since then it's seemed like a really good idea to check in at GDC. We worked with Mark Essen on Cream Wolf and met him here during that process. It had its challenges, but it was fun to be collaborating with somebody whose games we like. We have different game development styles, so it was fun to make that work, and it really does feel like a Pixeljam / Messhof game to me. It has both of our strong suits.

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Steam Indie Overload: SpaceChem, NightSky and More

March 3, 2011 3:30 PM | Michael Rose

spacechem.jpg
So many awesome indie titles popping up on Steam over the last few days that you should be aware of, including some IGF finalists. Let's mention the wonderful SpaceChem first - I wrote about it recently, and in a nutshell, you should check it out. There's a demo, so at the very least grab that.

Next up, Nifflas hits the Steam Store with his ball-rolling NightSky. It's gorgeous, it's clever, it's essential - read my review and then give it a try. Dinner Date is also now available from Steam, following the life of Julian Luxemburg as he is stood up on a date. Ouch. Read my write-up about it.

BUTTON hits the Steam Store, and indeed the PC for the first time - it was originally an Xbox Live Indie Game title. I'm not sure how useful a copy of this game on PC is, as you'll need multiple wired Xbox controllers to play it and enough space around your PC, but hey - it's cheap!

Fate of the World is also available - I'm going to be giving this a proper write-up later as it is vaaanderful, but I can tell you now that it's worth checking out. Finally, BIT.TRIP.RUNNER leaves its home on WiiWare and lands on PC. Lovely rhythmic running action that, again, is totally worth a download.

GDC 2011: Minecraft, Amnesia Win Big At Independent Games Festival Awards

March 3, 2011 8:13 AM | Tim W.

Frictional Games' dark survival horror title Amnesia: The Dark Descent won three awards while Mojang's indie mega-hit Minecraft took the Seumas McNally Grand Prize in tonight's 13th annual Independent Games Festival Awards presentation.

Minecraft, which has sold over 1.3 million copies of its beta, also won the night's audience award, attracting a plurality of over 5,000 e-mail veified votes made on igf.com.

"I think we're finally going to finish Minecraft soon," said developer Markus "Notch" Persson in accepting the night's top indie game award. "Everyone who's ever made a game or played a game, you are awesome."

"I know it's my job to be impartial, but it really warms my heart to see those guys win, because they're had a really tough year," awards host Anthony Carboni joked after Minecraft's win. "They could really use the cash."

Minecraft was also a big winner at the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony, earning three categories: Best Debut Game, Best Downloadable Game and the Innovation Award.

Amnesia, which had sold over 200,000 copies though January, took home three prizes during the Independent Games Festival Awards ceremony for Excellence in Audio, Technical Excellence, and the $10,000 Direct2Drive Vision award.

"I think that we need to buy another bag or get more luggage," Frictional co-founder Thomas Grip said upon accepting the oversized check accompanying the Direct2Drive Award. "After three years of thinking we're not going to make games anymore and hating everything and living on noodles... it's totally getting done... and getting awards for it, that seems like too much."

The IGF Nuovo Award for innovative, artistic games went to Meshoff for low-res fencing simulation Nidhogg. Two tall figures in orange and yellow bodysuits resembling characters from the game came up to accept the award in one of the evening's more memorable moments.

Below is a full list of 2011 IGF Award Winners:

Minecraft, Red Dead Redemption Big Winners At 11th Annual Choice Awards

March 3, 2011 7:53 AM | Simon Carless

Rockstar San Diego's critically-acclaimed Wild West adventure title Red Dead Redemption was the big winner at the 11th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco yesterday evening.

The awards were presented at a ceremony at UBM TechWeb Game Network's historic 25th Game Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, with Red Dead Redemption receiving a total of four awards, including Best Game Design and the coveted Game of the Year award.

Another award stand-out, Swedish developer Mojang's 3D sandbox title Minecraft, received awards for Best Debut Game, Best Downloadable Game, and the Innovation Award. The game was also awarded the Seumas McNally Grand Prize earlier in the evening at the 11th Annual Independent Games Festival Awards, making this the first year a game has been recognized by both the GDCA and the IGF during the same year.

Other Choice Awards winners include BioWare's emotionally-charged science fiction adventure Mass Effect 2, which won the award for Best Writing, and ZeptoLab's iOS hit Cut the Rope, which took home the prize for Best Handheld Game.

Finally, the Best Visual Arts Award went to indie developer Playdead's Xbox Live Arcade hit Limbo. The evocative monochrome puzzle platformer won last year's Independent Game Festival Awards for Visual Art and Technical Excellence.

The Game Developers Choice Awards, which honor the very best games of the year, was created for and voted on by developers. The finalists were chosen via a combination of open game industry nominations and the votes of the leading creators in the Choice Awards Advisory Committee.

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