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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 May, 2011

Review: Lume (State of Play Games)

May 31, 2011 3:15 PM | Cassandra Khaw



Does anyone else out there remember Dr. Brain? Yes? No? Some of my formulative years were spent investigating the many puzzles that lined his twisted quarters. For those of you too young to remember when edutainment was cool, the Dr. Brain series was a franchise that Sierra On-Line made which revolved around solving a chain of puzzles in order to move further into the game. One of my most vivid childhood memories involves trying to solve a Tower of Hanoi thing in one of the installments.

Lume reminds me a lot of it. Except that, you know, Lume doesn't feature a suspicious old man and instead has one of the most innocuous-looking heroines ever. Lume, the titular character, is adorable and so is the world that she dwells in. Set within a 2.5 universe, State of Play's point-and-click adventure/puzzle game looks like it was lifted straight from a child's imagination. It's filled with cardboard constructs, simple shapes, rich textures and the faintest hint of sepia-toned nostalgia. Lume is a little bit of childhood brought back to life, a way to reconnect with what you've left behind.

Browser Game Pick: zOMT (Preloaded)

May 31, 2011 11:55 AM | Cassandra Khaw



Although side-scrolling 'tower defense'-esque games have been appearing in droves lately, it doesn't make zOMT any less impressive. Billed as a mash-up of Lemmings with Tower Defense and a sprinkling of Pocket God for good measure, zOMT features rather distinctive artwork and an odd resemblance to the Patapon universe.

The game isn't particularly long; it only consists of fifteen levels. However, zOMT doesn't really hold back either. A careless mistake or two can make even the initial stages a surprising failure. For the most part, gameplay mechanics will feel rather familiar. The twist here, perhaps, is how the environment is already utilized as part of divine warfare. Need to buy time? Easy. Grow a forest of trees to trap the invading horde and position a lightning cloud above them. Flying projectiles? Have a cloud bounce them back at the unfortunate fools.

Created by the same people responsible for High Tea, I'm impressed still with the amount of polish that goes into their work. Then again, I could also be biased towards anything that allows my monomaniacal side to run unsupervised.

Go here to play zOMT.

Preview: Project Zomboid (Indie Stone)

May 31, 2011 11:00 AM | Cassandra Khaw

zomboid.jpg

Let's pretend, just for a minute, that a zombie apocalypse had indeed occurred. Months have passed. Almost everyone you know is dead. You've spent countless weeks with your back to the door, afraid to sleep, afraid to even close your eyes. The only person you have left is someone you love, someone you trust; a wife, a husband, a sister, a brother. It could be anyone. It's also not much, not in the wake of everything else that has happened but still enough to keep you sane. You don't know what you would do without them.

One day, something happens.

Freeware Game Pick: Survival (Black and White)

May 31, 2011 9:00 AM | Tim W.


In Survival you play as a female student who woke up from a deep slumber inside a rather empty school, surrounded by blue ghosts that will chase after and hurt her if they spot our clueless pupil nearby. The objective here is to explore your surroundings and collect ten hearts before making your way to the exit on the ground floor, carefully avoiding contact with any of the said ghosts unless you want to lose your health quicker than you can say 'boo!'.

You can run for a short period of time before having to catch your breath, although stamina and health can also be recovered by acquiring one of the ten hearts. Players are only allowed ten minutes to escape from the building, so don't expect to beat it on your first run without knowing where a couple of the hearts are located at.

Survival can be download from freem.jp.

Indie Game Links: Budgetary Woes

May 31, 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)

Gamasutra: Digital Distribution Woes
"Martin Pichlmair, developer at Broken Rules (IGF Student winner And Yet It Moves), shares the challenges indie studios face when releasing their games on digital platforms."

Broken Rules Blog: Indie Project Budgets
"The average budget for iPhone software can be assumed as $35k. Even with a budget that low, you can not expect to generate enough revenue to recoup your investment. In fact, it is not a sane economic decision to invest $140k in a project for a platform where the average return is as low as on the iPhone."

www.Farbs.org: Captain Jameson Alpha is Go
"This afternoon three forums and a reddit subforum all came online. If you're wondering what to talk about, why not start with the Captain Jameson Alpha? I'd love to hear about bugs, suggestions, and stories from the final frontier."

PC Gamer: The future of indie
"I'm getting used to indie games surprising me: freedom to create without interference from the men in suits is the reason their developers go into this murky, unfunded realm, trading security for the chance to follow their own path. Every developer in this list has taken the opportunity to make exactly what they want to make."

Trailer: OpenClonk

May 30, 2011 1:37 PM | Cassandra Khaw



I'm having trouble finding the precise words to describe OpenClonk. In a nutshell, it's a little bit like a cross between Worms and the Settlers. At least, that's what a lot of other people have described it as. Of course, it could also pass off as Terraria-esque except with hobbits if you want to look at it that way. OpenClonk is a lot of things to a lot of people but one thing's for sure. OpenClonk is an absolutely delightful idea. After all, there're not all too many games in the genre that come as an open source offering.

A free, multiplayer game that focuses on fast-paced melee, subterranean exploration and building, OpenKlonk is the successor of the shareware series entitled Clonk; a substantial explanation of its checkered history here at the game's wikipedia. Released under the ISC license, OpenClonk has a lot of features that would appeal both to the budding developer and the casual gamer. While the visuals can seem somewhat rough, OpenClonk boasts smooth controls and relatively intuitive gameplay. There's something ridiculously satisfying about catapulting yourself through the caverns with a grappling hook.

I didn't have the chance to play too far into the game but I definitely approve of what I've seen so far. Sadly, there's no support for Macs but Linux players will have reason to rejoice here.

Those interested in taking a gander at OpenClonk should probably check out the website here.

Trailer: King Arthur's Gold

May 30, 2011 12:26 PM | Cassandra Khaw



A mix of RTS elements, Minecraft and that old SNES classic King Arthur's World, King Arthur's Gold is a somewhat intriguing little offering that doesn't remind me at all of a recently released game except with PvP elements. Granted, there's absolutely nothing wrong about the resemblance. It seems that there are three classes to choose from: the knight, the builder and the archer.

All three roles have fairly obvious functions. The knight's a melee combatant but he has the ability to point his shield upwards in order to turn himself into a conventional step ladder. The builder creates buildings and conducts mining expeditions. As for the archer, well, he just shoots things.

The objective of the game is simple: have more gold than your opponents. Obviously, this involves some petty theft and mining but it seems like you can also loot bodies for it.

Free to play though I'm not sure how much longer it's going to stay that way, you can download King Arthur's Gold from here.

Source: TIGSource

IGF China 2011 Opens Call For Submissions

May 30, 2011 12:01 PM | Full Administrator

Organizers of the Independent Games Festival China, which runs in conjunction with the Game Developers Conference China, have officially announced a call for indie game submissions from the pan-Pacific area now through Thursday, September 1.

Following on its success in past years, GDC China will continue to host the three main elements of IGF China, including the Independent Games Summit, which provides valuable conference sessions specializing in the challenges of independent game development.

These include the Independent Games Festival Pavilion, an onsite exhibition of the very best in local indie games, and the Independent Games Festival Awards, which honors the work of the talented pool of local independent game developers.

The 2011 IGF China Main Competition will give out awards and cash prizes in five categories, including:

- Best Game (RMB20,000 ~ $3,060 USD)
- Mobile Best Game (RMB10, 000 ~ $1,530 USD)
- Excellence In Audio (RMB5,000 ~ $760 USD)
- Excellence In Technology (RMB5,000 ~ $760 USD)
- Excellence In Visual Arts (RMB5,000 ~ $760 USD)

Finalists -- who will receive VIP and expo passes to attend GDC China and the IGF awards ceremony on November 12, 2011 -- will be chosen by a panel of expert jurors including Kevin Li (CEO, TipCat Interactive); Monte Singman (CEO, Radiance Digital Entertainment); Xubo Yang (Director of Digital Art Lab and Assistant Professor; Shanghai Jiaotong University's School of Software), and jury chairman Simon Carless, IGF Chairman Emeritus and EVP of the GDC shows and Gamasutra.

Trailer: Starfarer (Fractal Softworks)

May 30, 2011 10:10 AM | Cassandra Khaw



From the depths of the ocean in a steampunk universe, we move to the final frontiers of space. Starfarer, according to the developers, is a single-player style space role-playing game with strategic elements. To use the analogy that Fractal Softworks had created, Starfarer is a slice of Star Control, mixed with cubed Master of Orion 2 and flavored with a dash of MechWarrior.

Seriously, the only thing that would make this even more appealing is the ability to disembark, build up a retinue of allies and engage in long, laborious yet epic quests on some distant planet.

I haven't had the opportunity to test it out just yet but Starfarer definitely looks promising. Currently in alpha, Starfarer is priced at $9.99. However, once released, the game is going to cost approximately $19.99 barring unfortunate circumstances. Those interested in picking up a little retro-inspired slice of space should probably do so now. As an added bonus, the game is available not only on the PC but also Mac and Linux.

The official site can be found here.

Browser Game Pick: 1899 Steam & Spirit (Moloc Lab)

May 30, 2011 7:24 AM | Cassandra Khaw



Can there ever be too much steampunk? I suppose I'd eventually get sick of it when we have iOS titles that allow you to grow a crop of clockwork-powered androids but until then, things like 1899 Steam & Spirit will still make my heart flutter. What really impresses me about this little adventure game, however, is the fact that it was constructed entirely in javascript and HTML.

It seems that 1899 Steam & Spirit is set sometime in the late Victorian Ages and will feature an espionage war between the French and British empires. Historical celebrities like Winston Churchill (who serves as the first character you control), the Wright Brothers and Guglielmo Marconi will make an appearance during the adventure as well. Based on what I've seen so far, I know submarines are valid modes of transportation in the game but I can't tell how far they've taken the steampunk theme otherwise as I'm still stuck in the character's room, feeling rather like an idiot.

1899 Steam & Spirit will apparently consist of multiple episodes. The first has already been completed and is free-to-play. Assuming you like such retro-flavored things, 1899 Steam & Spirit is also lovely to behold. It reminds me somewhat of Swords & Sworcery but that isn't exactly a bad thing.

Moloc Lab has the game up on IndieGoGo right now and they're requesting $5000 worth of funding in order to expand the game's framework, publish new episodes, porting to mobile devices and most importantly, remain free. If you're inclined towards helping them out, you might want to check out their IndieGoGo page right here.

As for everyone else, the first episode can be found here.
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