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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

Browser Game Pick: Convergence (Streetlight Studios)

April 19, 2011 4:51 AM | Cassandra Khaw

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Though quick to inform the world that they aren't 'really a studio' but 'three friends who are trying to make some games' in their free time, streetlight studios somehow managed to produce a pretty formidable first game.

Unearthed by Ludus Novus, Convergence has been described as a blend of 'Passage', 'Pathways' and 'How to Raise a Dragon' - minus the scales, it's a pretty good description for this surprisingly deep Flash game. In a nutshell, Convergence is one of those 'what if' life sims that will have you making crucial decisions for the protagonist. As a baby, you will find yourself fighting with your sibling for control of toys. As an adult, you will juggle love and work and finally, in the sunset of your virtual life, you'll see the results of your selections.

Though some of the endings are rather straightforward, others offer something more. It won't be obvious if you only play through the game only once or twice but if you sit down with Convergence long enough, it's likely you'll find yourself charmed by the way everything seems to click together.

Play it here on Kongregate.

Q&A: Sampling Masters AYA and MEGA's Prismatic Solid Soundtrack

April 18, 2011 6:45 PM | jeriaska

Produced for Microsoft's Xbox Live Indie Games platform, six-stage rail shooter Prismatic Solid attracted attention upon its debut last year for its solid gameplay, low price and abstract, prismatic visual design.

A finalist in Microsoft's Dream-Build-Play competition, the title was developed by one-man team Heloli, run by seasoned game programmer YO1 KOMORI, based in Shinagawa, Japan.

What Prismatic Solid demonstrates is that establishing a career in the mainstream game industry does not necessarily overshadow the allure of indie development. Projects more modest in scope, like the auteur showcase Prismatic Solid, can offer designers greater creative freedom and a relaxed environment for artistic expression.

The music score to the Xbox Indie Game comes courtesy of Shinji Hosoe and Ayako Saso of SuperSweep. The two frequent collaborators are among the most experienced game composers working today and also perform live DJ sets as Sampling Masters AYA and MEGA. New to the industry back in the late '80s and early '90s, the musicians began their careers with Namco arcade games Dragon Spirit and Rolling Thunder 2.

Even today, the musicians' work reflects an independent spirit. The publication of the Prismatic Solid CD soundtrack album took place through their Sweep Record label and was sold by the Sampling Masters in person at the Comic Market hobbyist festival. Translation for our interview with the composers is by Yoshi Miyamoto, the interpreter on our previous GDC music chat.


Sampling Masters AYA and MEGA

Browser Game Pick: Steamlands (Nitrome)

April 18, 2011 4:51 PM | Michael Rose

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Steamlands has been released! As mentioned last week, it's a bit like Captain Forever but with tanks - which, let's be honest, can only be a good thing.

Each level requires you grab pieces with your mouse, tack them onto your tank, and roll towards the enemy all guns blazing. Selecting the guns you want to fire can be a little tricky at first, but once you get into the swing of it, the customization elements take over, and it's rather too easy to lose a good few hours to this latest Nitrome release. I found the game is at its most interesting when you try a whole load of different tactics, from building a huge wall on the front of your tank, to giving equal coverage all over with guns evenly spread out.

The game is available to play now on the Nitrome site.

Browser Game Pick: Stalwart (Jonathan Whiting)

April 18, 2011 12:54 PM | Michael Rose

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Stalwart is a browser game that you should very much play. It's got a knight, neon colours, flaming balls of fire, destructive beams of light from the sky, and the most wonderful music.

OK, more details: It's a sort of rhythm runner, playing out like a BIT.TRIP game but with more interactivity. Lasers, fireballs and the like try to strike you down to the beat, while you jump, dodge and flip around, keeping that score multiplier intact. It's magical, although highscore junkies will be left hoping for an update which adds online leaderboards. My advice would be to start straight away on Normal mode - you don't really get the full effect on Easy.

You know what this needs to be? An iPhone game. That would be an insta-grab for me. Go play Stalwart now.

Indie Devs In Love: Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn of Tale of Tales

April 18, 2011 9:00 AM | Cassandra Khaw

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Ideas often have a life of their own.

I first came up with this notion of writing about couples within the industry when I met up with Dave Gilbert and his wife in New York. After listening to the story of how they met, I decided I wanted to see if there were similar heart-warming tales out there. More importantly, I wanted to know how much of a factor a relationship could be in the development of a game.

Unsurprisingly, one of the first couples I turned to for an interview was Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn, the creative minds behind Tale of Tales. I asked them about how they met, about what it was like to learn of a similar love in video games, of development, of perspectives and the role their mutual affection might have played in their work. Now, initially, I had expected to write a one-piece about couples in love. After seeing their eloquent response, I think this might end up a monthly column sort of thing.

What follows after the cut is the answer, raw and unedited, that I received.

Indie Game Links: A Bundle of Joy

April 18, 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)

Dev.Mag: How are puzzle games designed
"We asked five developers of interesting puzzle games how they did it: what they consider a good puzzle, what processes they follow, and how they zone in on fun and manage difficulty."

Gamasutra: Penny Arcade Launching PAX Dev
"The people behind the Penny Arcade Expo and its PAX East spin-off have announced PAX Dev, a new conference dedicated to the developer community to be held for the first time this August."

Gamasutra: Humble Frozenbyte Bundle Reaches Over $576K
"Just three days after the charity campaign launched, the latest Humble Indie Bundle, filled with Frozenbyte titles, has already sold more than 112,000 packages and generated over $576,000."

GameSetWatch: Ace Of Spades Brings Team-Based FPS to Minecraft
"While it isn't something as fantastic as a video game interpretation of the Motörhead song, Ace of Spades is definitely a game you should check out, especially if you've ever wanted some team-based, first-person gunplay mixed in with your Minecraft."

Alternative Magazine Online: In Conversation with Joshua Nuernberger
"We recently reviewed indie adventure game Gemini Rue, proclaiming it to be one of the best adventure games of 2011. Following on from this review, the game's creator Joshua Nuernberger was kind enough to join us for a follow-up interview where we discussed the game and its multiple layers in-depth."

A Hardy Developer's Journal: Interview with Jake Elliot
"Jake Elliot is an independent video game developer who releases his games through an experimental studio he calls Cardboard Computer. His game A House in California was nominated for the IGF's Nuovo Award, and the source code for each of his games is released to the public."

Amon26: Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars OST
"Some people have been mailing and asking if I could send them the mp3's of my music I wrote for LSQM. The good news is that the other day I received an e-mail from Anna Anthropy giving me her blessing to share this music with all of you."

Browser Game Pick: Straw Hat Samurai (LutGames)

April 18, 2011 7:11 AM | Cassandra Khaw

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Who doesn't like starting their Monday with a bang? Or, well, a well-polished katana and a quiver full of hurt. Seeing as how it's generally considered socially unacceptable to show up at your office with a bagful of weapons, Straw Hat Samurai, old as it might be, provides the perfect alternative to your need for Monday mayhem.

In a nutshell, you play as a samurai who looks suspiciously like, uh, Samurai Jack - straw hat, robes and all. Your job, obviously enough, is to take down as many unsuspecting opponents as you can. Unlike most 2D titles of a similar nature, you won't do much button mashing here. Instead, Straw Hat Samurai will have you drawing lines with the mouse button to plot the trajectory of your sword strokes. It's extremely simple to do but rather satisfying; there's nothing quite like watching your character turn into a blur and decapacitate five people in a row.

As you progress through the game, you'll have the opportunity to acquire upgrades and even a bow. I didn't get the chance to play too far into the game. However, based on the comments, it seems that Straw Hat Samurai also comes with bosses. Blood, stylish deaths, arrows and swords - what's there not to like?

Play it now on Kongregate.

Vertigo Games Mega Sale

April 17, 2011 11:49 AM | Michael Rose

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Vertigo Games is having a big old sale on all of its games, with individual discount on certain titles, and combo packs offering extra money off if you buy multiple games at once.

The big one to zone in on here is The Oil Blue, now down to $8.95 with 40% off. You can grab it on its own, or fork out for a combo pack - for $15 you can get The Oil Blue, ShellBlast, The Sandbox of God: Remastered, greenTech Plus and Spirits of Metropolis. Which, let's be honest, is a rather good price for so much gaming.

Then there's also two small packs, containing action and puzzle games. Here's the blog post about the deals, and here's the store page.

Kickstarter Projects: In Profundis Wants to Make Every Cave-In Special

April 17, 2011 6:24 AM | Cassandra Khaw

Phrases like 'cellular automaton' are one of the reasons I leave game design to the professionals. I don't think I could even begin to conceive the logic necessary to build something like In Profundis, a sort of simulation-game that has only recently taken root in Kickstarter.

It looks like In Profundis is going to be the love child of a variety of well-known influences. There's some Bouldar Dash, Dwarf Fortress, Minecraft and even a little bit of that 'Falling Sand' java game mixed into its genetics. As if that wasn't enough, In Profundis also draws inspiration from roguelikes.

In other words, this game is probably going to kill you repeatedly and make you love every death. I mean, what's there not to like. It's a procedurally-generated random world, filled with dangerous substances and hazards. Set in huge caverns on alien worlds, it's probably going to have the claustrophobic wriggling ever-so-slightly in their seats.

Funding for this project is going to be used for a variety of things but what makes me rather excited is the implication that it might eventually arrive on the Android and the iPhone.

Those interested in helping out can make their pledges at In Profundis's Kickstarter site. Those who just want to keep tabs on the game, thrifty people that you are, can refer to John Harris's blog here.

Browser Game Pick: I Have 1 Day (Cellar Door Games)

April 17, 2011 4:35 AM | Cassandra Khaw

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Time management has never been a major concern in the world of adventure games. Well, not since a certain King's Quest installment, at least. But then again, what Sierra had us doing way back in the way isn't quite the same as the approach that Cellar Door Games had taken with I Have 1 Day.

In case it wasn't obvious before, you literally only do have one day here. Everything is measured in hours - a pretty unique spin given that most adventure games will have you wandering hopefully around in circles. As a fan of the genre, I found it disorienting to have that liberty taken away from you. More than once, I found myself cursing quietly when a haphazardous guess fell short and precious hours were burned for nothing. Fortunately, however, I Have 1 Day keeps tabs on your progress and allows you an infinite amount of attempts.

Beautifully 8-bit in design, 1 Have 1 Day is played entirely with the mouse. You'll spend most of your time working with both your inventory and your surroundings; standard procedure for any modern adventure game, really. The story itself is pretty standard as well. You've been thrown into prison to keep you away from a certain coronation. Unsurprisingly, you also have no idea why thanks to a convenient case of amnesia. The objective is simple: get out, get your memories, get to the coronation.

As generic as that might sound, it isn't. The game is filled with clever dialogue and more than one unique puzzle. The developers also seem somewhat shameless about breaking the fourth wall, something that I find absolutely wonderful.

If you have no clue as to how to start your Saturday morning or have this overwhelming need to do something prior to Portal 2, I would totally recommend giving 1 Have 1 Day at least one playthrough. Heck, I would recommend the game regardless of any prior commitments you might have. You probably won't regret it.

Play it here on Max Games.

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