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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

Grand Theftendo's Retro City Reinvention

March 10, 2011 11:00 PM | jeriaska


Brian Provinciano of Vblank Entertainment

2011 Independent Games Festival award nominee Retro City Rampage started out as an 8-bit demake of Grand Theft Auto III. Titled "Grand Theftendo," the hobbyist project was written entirely in 6502 Assembly Language, aiming to recreate (in the style of an NES title) the Portland city location of Rockstar's open-world game.

The results of Brian Provinciano's pet project were technically fascinating, but surprisingly less fun than the source material. Rather than scrap the project outright, the programmer and game designer decided to utilize his build as the foundation for an original virtual environment. Retro City Rampage would derive its missions by parodying a recklessly violent game world built from the bricks and mortar of 8-bit sprites and squarewaves.

You've been working on the game that eventually became Retro City Rampage since 2002. Were you interested in your Game Developers Conference presentation providing an overview of how the project has evolved since that time?

Brian Provinciano, Vblank Entertainment: Definitely, and something that I wish I had more time to talk on was the transition from programmer to designer. Everyone seems to think they are already a designer, but there's a lot to learn to really become one. It was quite a journey for me to move from thinking technically to thinking more creatively. The whole checklist approach I had as a programmer--implementing all the features that Grand Theft Auto had--didn't end up with a fun game. It took a lot of playtesting and iteration to make it enjoyable.

Indie Game Links: Troubled by Marketing and Sales Figures

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

Today's collection of independent game links includes more indie game previews, a couple of development updates, the usual round-up of interviews with developers from around the 'net. (image source)

Gamasutra: Warner Picks Up Bastion
"Warner Bros. will publish Supergiant Games' action role-playing title Bastion, due to release on XBLA this summer. A PC version is also in the works and due to release later this year."

Robert Boyd's Blog: 9 Tips for XBLIG Marketing
"Many indie developers are under the mistaken impression that they can just make an awesome game and the big bucks will roll in. If you don't market your game, you'll see limited success or none at all."

Kotaku: The Hat, the Dreams, the Vegas Fantasies and a Minecraft To-Do List
"If you're the guy who made Minecraft, you've got it good. Your game's a hit. You're getting lots of money for it and winning lots of awards. But what's it like to be Notch?"

GameSetWatch: Adhesive's Hawken Promises Beautiful Multiplayer Mech Battles
"Hawken is an upcoming multiplayer mech combat game from L.A.-based indie studio Adhesive Games. The development team hasn't announced what platform the game will release for, but it's interested in Xbox 360, PS3, and PC."

Gamasutra: Three Indie Developers To Get A Bite At Serious Sam License
"CroTeam and Devolver Digital have opened the Serious Sam license to three well-known indie developers: Mommy's Best Games (Shoot 1UP), Be-Rad Entertainment (Lame Castle) and Vlambeer (Super Crate Box)."

Touch Arcade: A Stroll Around the IGF Display
"I wanted to share with readers a short video I captured at the Independent Games Festival (IGF) area on the GDC show floor on Friday. It provide a glimpse of some of the indie games honored by the IGF, for both iOS and other platforms."

Destructoid: The Pixel GDC Experience
"Daisuke (Pixel) is the coolest, nicest person you'll meet. He's also incredibly shy. The idea of him speaking in a large group took some convincing. I was able to twist Daisuke's arm to come to his first GDC and Simon Carless handled the rest."

DHG Games: AppStore Sale Figures
"After one year since the release of our Motocross Challenge and Cowtopia on the AppStore, we're now ready to share our sales numbers with other developers. As you may have guessed, these are not solid enough numbers to make a living out of this."

Trailer: Super Crossfire (Radiangames)

March 10, 2011 5:38 PM | Michael Rose


Hurray! Finally, some Radiangames action for the PC - not to mention Mac, iPhone and iPad too. If I remember correctly, Super Crossfire is set to be the ultimate version of the flip-action shooter, combining the best bits of Crossfire and Crossfire 2.

Luke Schneider told us in an IndieGames podcast that he was looking into developing for the PC, and although he's not sure where to head after this release, it's pretty clear that if Super Crossfire does well, we will see more of him on PC. Don't be surprised if you see his titles popping up on Steam soon! Super Crossfire release soon.

Trailer: Mos Speedrun (Physmo)

March 10, 2011 4:28 PM | Michael Rose


Mos Speedrun is an upcoming iPhone platformer that revolves around - you guessed it - speedruns. Players are tasked with blazing through each level, collecting as many coins as possible and bagging the fastest time possible.

Each level can have "many, many replay ghosts" on screen at the same time, so eventually you'll be racing herds of yourself. Twenty levels in total, with regular future level packs promised, awesome chiptune soundtrack, and shareable ghost data in a future update.

What's got me really interested is the "two button control system" - the devs decided that they don't like the virtual d-pads that most iPhone platforming games uses, and have opted for a simplier approach. Although the specific details aren't listed, it sounds like you'll have a left and right button, and each will change your run, jump and swim.

The Journey Down Wins Big at AGS Awards 2010

March 10, 2011 12:35 PM | Michael Rose

The Adventure Game Studio award winners for 2010 have been announced, with The Journey Down: Over the Edge sweeping a hefty eleven awards in total.

Other winners include the likes of Eternally Us and Operation: FORKLIFT. The above video shows a recording of the live AGS awards, which took place inside an AGS game! How cool is that! Here's the winners in full:

Best Game Created with AGS for 2010: The Journey Down: Over the Edge
Best Gameplay: The Journey Down: Over the Edge
Best Dialogue Writing: Eternally Us
Best Original Story: The Journey Down: Over the Edge
Best Puzzles: The Journey Down: Over the Edge
Best Short Game: Eternally Us
Best Non-Adventure Game Created with AGS: Operation: FORKLIFT
Best Demo: Matt to the Future
Best Player Character: The Journey Down: Over the Edge
Best Non Player Character: The Journey Down: Over the Edge
Best Background Art: The Journey Down: Over the Edge
Best Animation: The Journey Down: Over the Edge
Best Character Art: The Journey Down: Over the Edge
Best Programming: Operation: FORKLIFT
Best Sound Effects: The Journey Down: Over the Edge
Best Voice Work: Ben Jordan - Case 2 Deluxe
Best Music: The Journey Down: Over the Edge

Source: Gnome's Lair

Invent An Indie Chemical Element, Win SpaceChem

March 10, 2011 10:54 AM | Michael Rose

spacechem.png
SpaceChem is easily one of our favourite indie games of the last few months, as my review would suggest. We had developer Zach Barth on the podcast this week, and he promised to give away some free copies of the game to IndieGames readers. So here they are, ready for the taking!

If you'd like to bag a code for activation on Steam (or for download through his site), simply submit the following: We want you to come up with an indie gaming orientated chemical element, and post about it in the comments below. Perhaps you envision Fezon, an element that disappears when you turn it ninety degrees, or Minecraftium, important in the building blocks of life. It's not necessary to come up with a description of your element, but as the five best will win copies of SpaceChem, it may be wise to write a brief line or two.

Now for the usual spiel: Only one entry per person please - anyone entering more than once will be disqualified. Make sure you supply your email address so that we can contact you if you win - don't worry, email addresses are not publicly displayed. Winners will be picked on Monday 14th March. Good luck!

HyperDuck Unearths Bitejacker: Undead on Arrival Soundtrack

March 9, 2011 10:00 PM | jeriaska

Developed by Singapore game studio Secret Base, Flash game Bitejacker plunges Bytejacker show host Anthony Carboni and heroic cameraman Jon Rivera into a zombie outbreak of epic proportions. With time rapidly running out, the camera crew has only their wits and a bunch of guns to protect them from the onslaught of the rampaging undead.

The sprite-based top-down shooter by the makers of Tobe's Vertical Adventure features music by UK sound studio HyperDuck SoundWorks. Chris Geehan and Dan Byrne-McCullough previously wrote the score to Daniel Remar's Iji among other game titles, and are currently lending their vision to the forthcoming Dream-Build-Play competition prize winner Dust: An Elysian Tail.

Today marks the release of HyperDuck's Bitejacker: Undead on Arrival album. The brief one-minute loops written to accommodate the size restrictions of Flash have erupted into pieces of greater size and scope. Each level theme displays three "phases" of intensity, which have been seamlessly knit together into single tracks on the Bitejacker soundtrack album.

We caught up with HyperDuck's Chris Geehan to hear about the making of the game score, along with details on today's release of Undead on Arrival. Feel free to give the songs a listen as he explicates the creative process behind the soundtrack, as the entire album is available to stream for free through the HyperDuck SoundWorks Bandcamp page.

Indie Game Pick: BIT.TRIP RUNNER (Gaijin Games)

March 9, 2011 4:32 PM | Michael Rose

bittrip.jpg
We mentioned the release of BIT.TRIP RUNNER on Steam earlier in the week, but after playing it for the last couple of hours with a big smile on my face and a foot that just wouldn't stop a-tappin', there's no way I can't give it a proper mention.

Commander Video runs through worlds full of traps and dangers, and his only guidance is your quick and precise trigger finger - although having a sense of rhythm helps too. Grab gold, jump craters, bounce on springs, slide under hungry beasts, punch crystals and scream blue murder whenever you hit something and get sent back to the start. It all starts off relatively simple, but after just half an hour, your eyes will be straining and your head will be shouting 'DON'T FORGET THAT UFO AT THE... GAAAH'.

There are tons of bonus retro levels to play through too, online leaderboards, Steam achievements, and the most wonderful chiptune music from Anamanaguchi. If you enjoyed BIT.TRIP BEAT, then you should be all over this one. It also won the Excellence in Visual Arts award at this year's IGF! Because, you know, it's a bit gorgeous.

Make sure you grab a copy from Steam.

Indie Game Links: Death of an Indie

March 9, 2011 3:00 PM | Tim W.

Today's collection of independent game links includes more indie game previews, a couple of development updates, the usual round-up of interviews with developers from around the 'net. (image source)

Kotaku: Nidhogg, Acted Out For You
"What is Nidhogg? It's an orange man vs. a yellow man. It's a fencing football game. It's about dragons and it's the winner of the 2011 Nuovo Award, which means its great at being experimental, artsy, and peculiar."

Lemmy's Blog: The Perils of XNA and the Death of an Indie
"Here’s a blog post I’ve been wanting to write for a while. It’s a somewhat romantic tale about a man and the game development platform he loved unconditionally. As with a lot of romances, it didn’t end well."

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Notch On The Future Of Minecraft
"Find out why Notch thinks Minecraft will sell more copies in 2011 than 2010, what it’s like to have some money, plans for quests in Minecraft and the villages of NPCs who could dispense them, how a survival mode might work, and also why Notch doesn’t think he’ll be the one to develop Minecraft 2."

Unity Technologies Blog: Kongregate Unity Game Contest Winners
"The Kongregate Unity Game Contest with prizes worth a total of $25.000 is over and the winners have been selected. Thanks to everyone who participated, and congratulations to all the winners."

Indie Games Channel: Interview with Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games
"At GDC 2011, I got to sit down and chat with Wadjet Eye Games founder and CEO, Dave Gilbert. We talked a bit about Gemini Rue, Wadjet Eye's origins, and his transition to publishing games, rather than just developing them. Dave also shared his thoughts about the future of adventure games, as well as Wadjet Eye's future plans."

GameSetWatch: Spiderweb Introduces New Fantasy RPG Saga With Avadon
"Independent developer Spiderweb Software, maker of fine PC RPGs like the Avernum and Geneforge RPG series, has launched Avadon: The Black Fortress, the first chapter of what promises to be a new and original epic fantasy saga."

Experimental Gameplay Project: March & April are filled with Cheap Clones
"Take your favorite game and make the most horrible B-rated version you can -- points for including a link to the original game so we can see how far you’ve gone."

GDC 2011: IGF Finalists Talk About Fireflies and Origami

March 9, 2011 1:52 PM | Cassandra Khaw

dreammachine_link.jpg

"When we got nominated, all I could think was - What? Why? Are you guys nuts?!" Niki Smit, IGF Nuovo Finalist and creator of Bohm the Game, was somewhat empathic about his own incredulity. According to Niki, Bohm wasn't originally intended to win awards or even be acknowledged by the industry. "I wanted to make something pure." He said. "I wanted to make something pure and zen-like, something that didn't have energy bars or combat or anything else familiar to the game industry. I wanted to make something artistic, something - " A pause and then, with a flourish, he added, "Something beautiful, I suppose."

With his expansive gestures and eerie resemblance to the protoganist from House, Niki Smit doesn't quite look like the kind of the guy you'd expect to come up with something as serene as Bohm. When questioned about his chances at winning the IGF, he had shrugged and remarked that he did not see the proceedings as a competition. There was, in his perspective, no winning and losing.

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