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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 April, 2011

Develop Indie Showcase Submissions Now Open

April 21, 2011 12:32 PM | Michael Rose


Submissions have opened for the Indie Showcase at the Develop Expo this July. Indie developers can now enter their games in the hope of being selected to showcase their game to attendees at the conference, and receive a great deal of publicity.

Ten independently-developed games will be chosen to take part in the event from 20-21 July at the Develop Expo in Brighton, UK. To enter, you need to have a team smaller than 15 people, and a development budget of less than £1 million. The terms also say "It's essential the game has been created in the 'indie spirit'" which, let's be fair, is a little vague, but we all know what they mean.

The Showcase will compliment the Indie Dev Day on the 21 July, a day-long conference of half-hour sessions that have been designed specifically for established independent studios, new start-ups, developers teetering on the brink of becoming an indie, freelance developers and students.

If you're planning to submit your game, check out the official Develop Expo site for all the details.

Browser Game Pick: FoldingStory (FoldingStory Team)

April 21, 2011 10:00 AM | Michael Rose


FoldingStory is a digital version of the classic classroom collaboration story game, in which participants take it in turns to add the next line to a story until the whole thing is complete. However, each player can only see the last couple of lines, and hence have no idea how the story goes before that point.

As you'd expect, this can lead to some very strange tales, as characters and plots twist and turn all over the place. Using FoldingStory is a breeze - you simply sign up, then add the next line to a story. Once the whole story is completed, you'll be send a copy in your email, and you can then 'like' any section of the story, to show your appreciation to other players.

I didn't think I was going to enjoy it at first, as you find a number of people write some serious drivel that isn't very funny or interesting and simply spoils a story. However, once you get properly into it, there's plenty of fun to be had. Plus, it's great that it's quite a passive experience - you can add a line or two, then forget about the game. Hours later, you'll receive the end result, have a good laugh, then add some more lines, and repeat.

Definitely worth checking out to see if it's your kind of thing. Go play at the FoldingStory site.

The Persistence of Memory: Exploring ButaVX's Secret Psychology

April 21, 2011 7:00 AM | Tim W.

[In his latest interview for GameSetWatch, Jason Johnson talks to Raymond Cindric about his free to download IGF China-winning adventure game ButaVX and its uniquely charming visuals.]

ButaVX: Justice Fighter is cute. Very cute. It's so cute that it won the "Excellence In Visual Arts" award at the Independent Games Festival 2010 in China, a country whose culture is renowned for being cute. Nekomura Games, the small studio who developed it, has a cute name. (Nekomura means "cat village" in Japanese.) Most of all, the black-and-white, sketchbook-style graphics are cute. Justice Fighter looks like it was cut out of children's manga.

The setting, story, and characters are likewise cute. The fable of a young pig who sets out on an adventure to retrieve his soccer ball is endearing. Yet underneath the cheerful facade of cartoon piggies, a thoughtful experiment is being performed. Behind all this cuteness, a subtle play on psychology unfolds.

"It's a joke at the expense of how the brain uses patterns to read the world - with all the funny stuff that results from this approach," says Raymond Cindric, the artist, designer, and programmer who developed Justice Fighter alongside his wife Linda in Singapore.

The first hint that something strange is afoot comes in Justice Fighter's opening cinematic, when the player is introduced to young ButaVX, the self-decreed hero of the game. (His name is a hodgepodge. Buta is Japanese for "pig," the "X" is an allusion to Mega Man X, and the "V" was put in between so the name wouldn't be mispronounced as "buttocks.")


Buta is playing soccer in a sold-out stadium. The crowd is cheering wildly. Cheerleaders chant his name. But when he accidentally kicks his ball through an old lady's window, the stadium mysteriously vanishes. Buta is no longer on the field. He's stranded in wasteland. The old lady looks like an evildoer. And her house looks like a castle. The change occurs quickly, and the player might not notice the broken continuity, nor that the game takes place in an entirely unstable reality.

Trailer: Proun (Joost van Dongen)

April 20, 2011 3:00 PM | Michael Rose

Tube-racer Proun is finally ready to go, with a Spring release set. This latest trailer shows off the abstract landscapes and surroundings of the upcoming title, with the action moving along is slow-motion so you have the chance to admire them before they zip by.

The final release will see you rotating around the tube, dodging abstract obstacles and speeding up until it's simply too much to handle. We're looking at a PC only release right now, with online leaderboards so you can race to beat your friends.

The original beta version is still available for download if you want to check it out. More details about the game can be found at the Proun website.

Trailer: Garshasp: The Monster Slayer (Dead Mage Studio)

April 20, 2011 12:30 PM | Michael Rose

I can honestly say that, after reading the name of this game, I was not expecting such an awesome trailer. Garshasp: The Monster Slayer is an upcoming PC hack 'n' slasher, bound for Steam sometime in May.

Looks pretty, huh! What's impressive is that the dev team Dead Mage Studio consists of just nine people - I was expecting far more than that, especially given some of the scenes towards the end of the trailer. [EDIT: On closer inspection, it appears that another dev team, Fanfazar Game Studios, were also very much involved in the development of the game.] Very much looking forward to seeing how this one plays out - check out the official Garshasp website for all the details.

Demo: Bio Guardian (Oniric-Factor)

April 20, 2011 10:00 AM | Michael Rose

Bio Guardian is a stylish arena shooter that revolves around shooting a strange biological virus and keeping the crew of a cultivation vessel safe. These anomalies attack on the way to the planet Nimbos, but fortunately you've got a number of tiny ships to kill them before they can spread.

I've given it a short play, and there's plenty to do with a heavy emphasis on story and building up the universe. There are multiple ships to choose from with different control schemes and weapons, and plenty of levels and boss battles to conquer.

The full game is $5.90 to purchase, but you can also download the demo for free. If you like your arena shooters, make sure to check this one out. Available for PC only.

Indie Game Links: This Spider-Queen's Bite Won't Hurt a Bit

April 20, 2011 8:00 AM | 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)

FingerGaming: Beyond Ynth Available for Free
"FDG Entertainment is giving away its critically lauded iOS puzzler Beyond Ynth (and Beyond Ynth HD) for free over the next three days as part of an Easter promotion."

Lexaloffle Games: Web-playable Puzzles
"Thanks to the magic of Adobe Alchemy, it's now possible to play puzzles on the BBS directly in your web browser. Just click the 'Play' links in listings for Zen Puzzle Garden and Chocolate Castle to get a flash version."

Gamasutra: Minecraft-Like Xbox Live Indie FortressCraft Sells 16K On Launch Day
"Developer ProjectorGames claims its Xbox Live Indie Game FortressCraft saw 16,000 sales on its April 8 launch day, selling to a full 70 percent of players who've tried out the demo so far."

GameSetWatch: Sword & Sworcery EP Releases For iPhone This Thursday
"Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, the lauded iPad adventure game from Toronto indies Capybara, Superbrothers, and Jim Guthrie, will make its debut on iPhone (3GS and newer) and iPod Touch (third generation and newer) this Thursday for $2.99."

reddit: We're game developers from Frozenbyte, ask us anything
"We are a few members of the company called Frozenbyte, currently running the Humble Frozenbyte Bundle. Basically we made Trine 2 and mostly everything else awesome, and it would be cool to get some feedback or random questions."

Opposable Thumbs: How early reviews hurt sales of indie games
"Major developers have leverage over review sites because big games drive big traffic. Small developers don't have that same influence, which means that they have to work with writers without resorting to heavy-handed tactics."

Indie Games Searchlight: Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars (video)
"I am not making this one up. The game I have today is indeed about homosexual women anthropomorphed from a spider's body from outer space. And indie games get a reputation of being nothing but pretentious Braid clones."

Quote Unquote: Interview with Daniel-David Guertin
"Daniel-David Guertin is a game developer who does not feel compelled to rush or force finish his projects. Rebirth is an intriguing game that he started development on back in 2007. After some failed iterations, he put the game on ice until he had a 'spark of inspiration' to wrap it up in 2011."

Browser Game Pick: Cathode Rays (Christoffer Hedborg)

April 19, 2011 3:00 PM | Tim W.

Cathode Rays is a zero-button puzzle game that involves directing a set of coloured rays from one prism to another. While moving the rays you must avoid letting beams of different colours touch each other, else you'll be forced to play the same puzzle all over again until you get it right.

The game was made by Christoffer Hedborg (who also created the IGF Student Showcase winning entry Toys) for the Lunarcade Factory event held in Milan, Italy just two days ago, although participants actually had a two week period before that to design and submit something for the friendly game development meet. Cathode Rays also features music by Mattias Häggström Gerdt (otherwise known as anosou, composer for Cobalt), and you can either play it now at Kongregate or download a Windows or Mac build from Christoffer's site.

Trailer: Voxatron (Lexaloffle)

April 19, 2011 12:00 PM | Tim W.

Here is another preview of Lexaloffle's upcoming action shooter Voxatron, showcasing the voxel editor that Joseph White's using to make the 3d model of the hero character we see in the video. There's also a bit of demonstration with the sword weapon, which can be used to deadly effect in melee combat or just to deflect bullets back at the enemies that fired them, Jedi-style.

According to Joseph, the editor will be included with the game when it is released, although you can expect a much-improved user interface once he's done prettying it up. Voxatron should be out for the PC, Mac and Linux sometime later this year.

Interviewing Indies in Japan: 'Second Person Shooter Zato' Creator

April 19, 2011 11:00 AM | Tim W.

[In this in-depth interview, John Polson speaks with creator Himo about his experiences from Tokyo Game Show's experimental gameplay showcase Sense of Wonder Night and the design inspiration for his latest game.]

Many have played third- and first-person shooters. Not many have experienced second-person shooters, nor even have entertained the idea of what kind of game that would be. Fortunately, Himo has shared his latest creation, Second Person Shooter Zato (SPSZ), with people across the world via Kongregate.

Himo first received wide acclaim at the 2009 Sense of Wonder Night ("SOWN", an experimental gameplay celebration and critique) at the Tokyo Game Show, for his dialogue matching game, His and Her Disconnected Conversations. Himo released SPSZ in mid February 2011 and the game was quickly covered at DIYGamer, Indie Games, and finally GameSetWatch thanks to the tip of another SOWN finalist: Marcus Richert.

This interview was in many ways also made possible thanks to Marcus and is a testament to how the indie community helps out each other, transcending distance and language boundaries. Developer Himo broke down some of his own boundaries, pushing himself to the limit to bring his second person idea to life.

He heavily credits Unity's ease of development for his success. His inspiration for SPSZ may seem simplistic to some; however, his discussion may just inspire others to look at commonplace images and tools in the real world and consider how to implement the perspectives they illuminate.

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