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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 April, 2011

Interview: Cipher Prime on 'Pulse', iPad, Unity development and a Call for Indie Musicians

April 16, 2011 11:00 PM | Tim W.

[In this post-GDC happy-hour and email follow-up interview with John Polson, Cipher Prime's William Stallwood and Dain Saint discuss their first iPad game: 'Pulse'. The discussion includes moving onto Unity, interesting anti-tutorial integrations, a call for more indie bands for DLC, and lessons learned from their previous hits.]

Philadelphia, PA based Cipher Prime has built a solid reputations for itself with Fractal and the multi-award winning Auditorium. Gamers can explore Auditorium online free or purchase it for the iOS, PSP, or PlayStation Network. The team is building an iPad version of Fractal and re-releasing it on PC and MAC with a new Unity engine.

For Cipher's new music game, Pulse, the team fearlessly stepped out of its platform comfort zone to actualize Pulse's multi-touch gameplay concepts on the large iPad. Pulse is also the team's first game built on the Unity engine. The duo has teamed up with Kerry Gilbert, who's become the level designer and composer of about half the music of Pulse. Despite all these firsts, the team demos and describes a near-polished product that is destined to stimulate the senses of sight, sound, and touch.

Pulse's core gameplay involves touching notes, represented by white dots, when an expanding pulse lines up with them. Each pulse represents a measure in the music. Each song's time signature determines the amount of rings in the stage. The notes will not always rest on the rings, as Cipher Prime stated they will include eighth and sixteenth notes and more.

One Single Life: Free iPhone Game You Can Only Play Once

April 15, 2011 2:28 PM | Michael Rose

one-single-life.jpg
We've seen a number of browser games you can only play once - most notably You Only Live Once and One Chance. One Single Life is an iOS game that you can download for free, but once you're dead, that's it.

It's a little like an extremely short version of Canabalt, where each level presents a gap between two buildings that you need to jump over. You can give the level a practice as many times as you want, but once you've hit play for real, it's all on that jump. Land it, and you'll get to proceed to a wider, higher gap - fall, and that's it, no continues, not even if you restart the game.

It's amazing how intense it is. The sounds of the street below, the heartbeat pumping faster and faster, the signs telling you how many people died on that particular level. On level 8 I just managed to jump the gap, and my guy clung on for dear life - however, on level 9 I hit jump too late, and he fell to his doom.

Well worth a download if you've got an iToy. Grab it from the App Store [Source: Pocket Gamer]

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of April 15

April 15, 2011 1:43 PM | Tom Curtis

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 Telltale, Sucker Punch, Sony San Diego, 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:

- Rockstar North: Production Coordinator: Art Department:
"Rockstar North, one of the world's leading video game developers, is a community of creatives from a variety of backgrounds. We are based out of modern, spacious, purpose-built studios in the heart of Edinburgh. We develop original game titles and are proud to be the developer of the phenomenally successful Grand Theft Auto series. Rockstar North has been part of the Rockstar family since 1999."

- Crystal Dynamics: Senior Producer:
"Crystal Dynamics has become a pivotal development studio in the video game industry. Our objective is to work on quality titles and create an innovative work space for our employees. With a more humble staff size than other, larger studios, Crystal Dynamics has managed to carve its own unique studio culture. Working at Crystal Dynamics guarantees that you will be on the cutting edge of industry technology, as we prepare to ramp up for exciting, new projects."

- Monolith Productions: Senior Software Engineer, Networking:
"As a senior engineer for networking, you will work closely with the Lead Engineer and the rest of your peers to develop state-of-the-art networking technology for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Your domain will cover the networking components of the engine and your responsibilities will include both optimizations of current-gen systems and design and implementation of pivotal new technology."

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Browser Game Pick: Chocolate Castle (Lexaloffle Games)

April 15, 2011 8:00 AM | Tim W.


This is an old one (three years old, in fact), but it's really good and I couldn't resist making this a browser game pick for the week. Starting today you can play puzzles for Chocolate Castle designed by other users at Lexaloffle's BBS page, but because the commercial version is still being sold you won't have access to any of the 120 levels from the original game. That's still 53 free levels (and counting) which you are able to play, and if you've managed to finish a large chunk of it then helping to support the developer a bit by buying the commercial version can't be too much to ask for.

The concept of the game is pretty clever: each level presents one to four types of animals that can only eat chocolate pieces matching the colour of their skin tone, and they'll disappear immediately from the board after having their fill regardless of whether there are other chocolate pieces still undevoured or not. Chocolate pieces of the same color have to be connected if you want an animal to eat them all in one go, and since tiles and blocks will stick together if two of the same kind is placed next to one another, it's up to you to figure out how to move blocks around tight passageways and get them to their intended targets in order to solve a puzzle correctly.

The latest puzzles submitted are on the last page of the BBS thread, and you can start playing any of them by clicking on the 'Play' link just below the title of each puzzle.

Indie Game Links: Bankers and Adventurers are Greedy

April 15, 2011 7:00 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)

GameZombie.tv: Snapshot Interview
"While we were at PAX, we came across a great game by Retro Affect called Snapshot. We interviewed three of the developers of Snapshot: Kyle Pulver, David Carrigg, and Peter Jones, and we talked about the design and inspiration of the game."

Bytejacker: Free Indie Rapid Fire (video)
"This week we're checking out Beneath the Waves, Bosses Forever, and The Iconoclasts. We've also got voting results from last week's competition between GIRP, Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars, and Viriax."

DIYgamer: Tin Man Games on Gamebook Adventures, Fighting Fantasy Author Pairing
"Australia’s Tim Man Games had a fun booth at PAX East, displaying its Gamebook Adventures series for the iPad and iPhone. The series pulled on my teenage heartstrings, recollecting all those fun 'choose your own adventure' books I’d read."

indiePub: Interview with Black Pants Studio, the creators of Tiny and Big (video)
"This week we're featuring Johannes Spohr and Sebastian Stamm from Black Pants Game Studio which created Tiny & Big in: Grandpa's Leftovers. The game won the Unity Development Award in indiePub's 2011 Independent Propeller Awards."

GameSetWatch: Hydorah Composer Releases Shinobi-Inspired Album
"Gryzor87, a musician you might recognize from his music on Locomalito joints like Hydorah and Viriax, alerted us to his release of Sounds & Shadows, an album inspired by Sega's Shinobi series and created while he worked on the soundtracks for those aforementioned indie titles."

DIYgamer: Chris Hecker on Spy Party’s Public Expo, Realism
"Spy Party never ceases to create a long line of intense onlookers. PAX East presented us the opportunity to meet with Chris Hecker and talk a little bit about the game."

QCF Design: The Desktop Dungeons Adventuring Locker
"The brand-new locker system in the commercial version of Desktop Dungeons will allow players to store a limited number of items at the Adventurers’ Guild between dungeon runs, while charging them some sort of bureaucratic nonsense fee based on their market value."

Drawn in Red Biro: Lessons from Greedy Bankers
"Greedy Bankers, my arcade puzzle game for iPhone, is now available in the App Store. This is a perfect time to look back and see what I’ve learned from the development experience."

Super Meat Boy + Gemini Rue Postmortems

April 14, 2011 11:08 PM | Michael Rose

SMB.jpg
There are a couple of excellent postmortems up on sister site Gamasutra today. The first is from Team Meat, who give details about what went right and what went wrong during the development (and beyond) of Super Meat Boy. It's a fantastic read, and gives lots of in-sight into what happened with Microsoft et al.

The second is for Joshua Nuernberger's Gemini Rue, via Game Career Guide. As with the SMB article, Joshua goes through the rights and wrongs of his adventure game development. It's notable that both developers discuss the awful crunch they had to go through in the last months of development - I thought the whole point of going indie was so that things like crunch weren't an issue! I jest, I jest.

Read the Super Meat Boy postmortem here, and catch the Gemini Rue one here.

Q&A: High Frequency Bandwidth's PixelJunk Shooter Soundtracks

April 14, 2011 10:30 PM | jeriaska

The music for PixelJunk Shooter 1 & 2 is by hip-hop duo Alex Paterson and Dom Beken, writing under the name High Frequency Bandwidth.

The group is the first to partner with independent developer Q-Games on the soundtrack to a Playstation 3 exclusive PixelJunk series installment while working outside of Kyoto, Japan, the studio's base of operations. They follow Takashi Iura and Sachiyo Oshima of Otograph (composers on PixelJunk Monsters) and Baiyon (composer on PixelJunk Eden).

Arrangements of music from PixelJunk Shooter first appeared in album form upon the release of HFB's debut LP, entitled Hell Fire and Brimstone. The addition of vocal performances and other deviations from what was heard in-game led to the demand for a stand-alone soundtrack. The results are HFB: PixelJunked - The Original Soundtrack To Shooter 1 & 2, which includes six tracks from PixelJunk Shooter and an additional six from PixelJunk Shooter 2.

We had the chance to hear from Dom Beken on the album release associated with the BAFTA-nominated soundtrack. The interview offers the musician's perspectives on the making of the hip-hop game score and the numerous collaborations surrounding the creative endeavor.

IndieGames.com Podcast #19: Bennett Foddy

April 14, 2011 9:04 PM | Michael Rose

indiegames.PNGBennett Foddy is on the podcast this week, the Oxford professor who creates games that we all HATE in his spare time. QWOP made us laugh and cry as we attempted to run a mere 100 metres, then GIRP did it all over again with hand-holds that were just out of reach.

So what has the master of disaster got planned for us next then? All is discussed, along with public reaction to his games, past potential sponsorships and why they don't make fighting games like they used to.

You know the drill by now - jump below the cut to listen to the podcast, or you can jump over here and listen instead. You like iTunes? Of course you don't, but it's available on there too (you know, in case you're mental). And finally, there is an RSS feed you can subscribe to, if you like being fed. Go listen!

Indie Game Links: Surprise, A Heart-Shaped Box

April 14, 2011 12:00 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)

Quote Unquote: Interview with Matthew Annal
"Matthew Annal is one of two founders of the popular browser game studio, Nitrome. Nitrome have gained a reputation for churning out quality flash games with colourful 16-bit era pixel art, dating back to when browser gaming websites were chock full of heartless clones and poor quality mini-games."

Gamasutra: Portal 2 ARG Introduces New Themed Content In Indie Game Updates
"A number of well-known indie games have been adding playable and decorative content themed around next week's release of Portal 2 as part of a promotional alternate-reality game surrounding the title."

DIYgamer: Ska Studios Pay As You Like Music Special Now, Dev Talks Dishwasher
"With Dishwasher completed and out for sale now, I asked about the next project for Ska Studios. James said that would be Charlie Murder, a 4 player punk rock street brawler for XBLA."

GameSetWatch: Punch Dudes 'To The Gods In Heaven' With Vlambeer's Karate
"Vlambeer, the Dutch outfit that brought you Independent Games Festival award finalist Super Crate Box and Radical Fishing, has put out a neat diversion of a game called Karate, a project the developer whipped up in less than two hours."

GameSetWatch: Builder Build Footholds and Destroy Obstacles
"Insert Credit co-founder and former GSW contributor Eric-Jon Rössel Tairne has released a fun pazzle platformer about environmental anxiety, created in Game Maker and inspired by titles like Braid and Hero Core."

tametick.com: 8 Games Worth Playing, 2011 Edition, Part 2
"Here are four more games I've played and enjoyed in the past year since writing the previous installment. Same as before - these games aren't all brand new, but I've only gotten around to playing (or finishing) them in the past 12 months. You can check out part one for the first four games if you haven't already."

Ludum Dare: Ludum Dare 20 group session at CB2 Bistro
"Ludum Dare 20 is taking place at the end of this month, and we're having our usual LD jam at CB2 over the weekend. Ludum Dare is a major international 48 hour game jam that takes place every four months, and for the past year we've been having jams in CB2 to coincide. It takes place on the weekend of Saturday 30th."

DIYgamer: Shoot Many Robots from Demiurge Studios
"In a large area with around half a dozen demo stations and a large press booth for scheduled interviews, Demiurge Studios made it apparent it was an indie studio with experience and financing to back its dream. However, the gentlemen behind Shoot Many Robots were anything but stuffy."

Psychosomnium Ported to Flash, Play at Newgrounds

April 14, 2011 10:00 AM | Tim W.


New game releases from cactus have dwindled down to a trickle these days, but many of his older games are still getting ported to other platforms like Mac OS X and Flash. Miroslav Malešević (who handled the Flash versions of games like Kyle Pulver's Depict1, Jan Willem Nijman's Atomic Super Boss and Askiisoft's Tower of Heaven) has decided to port Psychosomnium as his latest project, and the result of that collaboration can now be seen and played over at Newgrounds.

Trying to explain what Psychosomnium is all about will spoil the plot and surprise, hence it's better to find out for yourself if you have never experienced the game before. Hardcore fans of cactus's games will probably be disappointed with this port, since there's very little difference between this version and the original besides some minor cosmetic changes to the character and background art.

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