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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

Browser Game Pick: Help the Hero! (Tony)

May 20, 2011 9:33 PM | Cassandra Khaw


"It was like watching a fight between a child and a slightly larger child. With Weapons."

You're not the titular hero. You're his hired help. With a bandana around your head, a back perpetually bowed by the weight of the hero's inventory and a look of perpetual woe, you're not most impressive-looking thing in the world but you're certainly important. After all, who else is going to solve the not-so-convoluted but oddly amusing task of sorting all the random junk the hero acquires and fitting it into his limited bag space.

Gameplay in Help the Hero! basically consists of two segments. In the first section, you'll have a variety of equipment meandering along a conveyor belt. Your job there is to pick up as many as possible and fit them into a limited bag space, one that you can increase as you acquire more gold. It's kinda like Tetris, except not quite. The second part is even simpler: equip the hero with all the items neccessary to ensure his win against the creature dominating that stage.

Dim Vian of the Super Flash Bros did an excellent job as always on the visuals here, by the way. I personally liked the 'pop-up' book inspired look and how the hero seems to have this ambigious-looking mask on all the time. Help the Hero! isn't particularly deep; I stopped around the fifth stage myself. However, it's an entertaining diversion for people who are unfamiliar with stuff like this.

Go here to play now.

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of May 20

May 20, 2011 9:00 PM | Eric Caoili


In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles across the world and in every major discipline, including opportunities at Bungie, Retro Studios, and Capcom.

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:

- Capcom Game Studio Vancouver, Inc: Senior Environment Artist (Lead):
"Capcom Game Studio Vancouver is a full-service, multi-project and multi-platform developer located in Vancouver, Canada. Capcom Game Studio Vancouver is the newest member of the Capcom family and was added to the company's portfolio in October 2010. Capcom Game Studio Vancouver is recognized for its development of Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, Dead Rising 2, and Dead Rising 2: Case West."

- NetherRealm Studios: Senior Software Engineer, Network:
"NetherRealm Studios, wholly owned by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, is a leader in the development of interactive entertainment as the creator of the billion dollar Mortal Kombat franchise. Mortal Kombat has spawned two theatrical films, multiple television series, and has sold over 28 million games to date. Located in Chicago, Illinois the award-winning NetherRealm team has been working and creating games together since 1992."

- Bungie: Entry Level Programmer:
"Bungie was founded in 1991 with two simple goals: develop games that combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, compelling stories and deep gameplay, and sell enough copies to achieve our real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years we have produced games such as the Marathon trilogy and the first two Myth games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. Bungie's Halo franchise is an international award-winning action franchise that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 25 million units worldwide, spawning best-selling novels and award winning soundtracks. Players have logged nearly 2 billion hours of multiplayer action over Xbox Live, created millions of pieces of user created content, and established a ravenous fan community."

Time Gentlemen, Please! Dev Takes A Risk With Name Change

May 20, 2011 4:00 PM | Michael Rose

sizeFive.jpgZombie Cow Studios, the indie developer behind Time Gentlemen, Please! and Channel 4 funded sex education game Privates, has changed its name, now going by the title Size Five Games.

For such a small operation it's a risky move -- Zombie Cow had been building a name for itself, and by losing that name, the developer also loses some brand recognition.

But for Dan Marshall, the sole developer behind the company, the name change comes as a result of him not being happy with the current name, and while he said the move is "probably pretty reckless... You only get one life, and there's no point going through it unhappy with something if it's well within your capability to change it."

Speaking to sister site Gamasutra, Marshall admitted that he's worried to see what happens next. "I'm absolutely petrified. Changing the name so completely is pretty reckless, especially for a struggling indie."

"I'm hoping that the vast majority of the fanbase will hear about the name change, and that for the rest, we were always 'those Time Gentlemen, Please! guys' more than anything else."

Trailer: Celestial Mechanica (Roger Hicks and Paul Veer)

May 20, 2011 3:00 PM | Michael Rose

Celestial Mechanica is an upcoming platformer made by Roger Hicks (rComplex) and Paul Veer (Super Crate Box), and it's looking a bit lovely. The duo are looking for Flash sponsorship at the moment, and are selling it as a mixture of action, puzzle, exploration and adventure.

The idea appears to be that you can grab enemy missiles and the like, and then use them to your own advantage, taking out other enemies or forging a path to progression. It looks gorgeous, and sounds gorgeous too. Can something sound gorgeous? It must be able to, because this does. Statement followed by evidence. We should see this released sometime in the next few weeks hopefully.

Nidhogg Now On The Winnitron

May 20, 2011 12:59 PM | Michael Rose

I must admit, it baffles me that Nidhogg still hasn't been released on the interwebs. It appears that Messhof is using it more as an 'events game', and spreading the love to as many indie game conferences and get-togethers as possible, but that still doesn't seem to explain why he won't just let the rest of the world have a go too.

Perhaps, however, you may now be a little closer to giving it a go, as the game is now available on the various Winnitron arcade machines. Live in or around Winnipeg Canada, Utrecht Netherlands, Christchurch New Zealand, or New York USA? Then find out where your local Winnitron is and check it out.

I'll tell you what, though - it will be a bit of a nice surprise when it finally does land on the net, huh?

Android Game Pick: Tales of Pocoro (Curved Cat Games)

May 20, 2011 11:07 AM | Michael Rose


Loooving this one, so much so that a rather late night was had. Tales of Pocoro is a puzzle game that is seemingly set in an RPG-styled world, giving it a really nice atmosphere.

It's essentially a simple idea that has been done numerous times before, yet the setting makes it feel so fresh. On each level, you need to reach the end portal, but must first destroy all the platforms in the water by stepping on them. Grey platforms disappear after one step, while blue are destroyed after two, green three, and so on. Then there are special platforms that bounce you, blow you over gaps, and other such ideas.

There's nothing particularly difficult about it, but it's strangely addictive, with easy swiping used to move your character. The amount of detail surrounding each level is pretty amazing, considering that levels can last just 10-15 seconds at times.

There's a demo available if you'd like to check it out for free, and the full game can also be found on the Android Marketplace.

Browser Game Pick: Tobe's Hookshot Escape (SecretBase)

May 20, 2011 4:17 AM | Cassandra Khaw


Secret Base is once again back with yet another deliciously addictive platformer, one that has me determinedly fighting against my own ineptitude at the genre. Tobe's Hookshot Escape is the third installment in the franchise and a brilliant representation of the whole 'just one more round' syndrome. This article would have been done a lot sooner otherwise.

Decked out in Secret Base's signature visuals, the up-scrolling platformer will have you working to see how high you can go before you finally plummet into the abyss. There's no end to Tobe Hookshot's Escape so it really is an exercise in futility. However, it doesn't stop it from being rather entertaining nonetheless. The hookshot mechanic works rather well and the power-ups scattered across the caverns will assist your frenzied flight. There are treasure chests and gems to collect along the way, both of which are necessary to prove your superiority on the leader boards.

Tobe Hookshot's Escape also features 20 achievements for those who like that sort of thing. It also appears that there is an upcoming Windows 7 version of this as well. But hey, that's not all that important. The important thing is you go try this game now. As for me, I'm going for another round. Just one more.


Click here to play.

Indie Game Pick: Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

May 20, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.

Cart Life is a retail simulation game which took Richard Hofmeier three years to create with the Adventure Game Studio (AGS) engine. You can play as any of the three hopeful entrepeneurs: Andrus Poder, a migrating Ukrainian who is taking over a newspaper stand business, Melanie Emberley, a divorcee who harbor plans of setting up a coffee shop, and Vinny, the final playable character that can only be accessed in the paid version of the game.

Each of these characters have their own storyline to play through, although Andrus does begin with a bit of advantage because his business is already set up and he has a permit in his possession. Players can open their premise for business at any time, but you may have to keep an eye on your rest and hunger level if you want to get any tasks done for the day.

Food can be bought and eaten at stalls or restaurants all over the city, and you can return home at any time to get a bit of shuteye before exhaustion sets in. Grocery stores carry miscellaneous items like cigarettes, cat food, coffee-making machines and luxury goods for you to make a purchase on, but spend wisely because money is really hard to come by in the early stages of this game.

Indie Game Links: Here Kitty Kittey

May 19, 2011 11:00 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)

Mechanically Separated Meat: Drumcircle
"Drumcircle is a radial drum machine: you place tiles corresponding to notes or drum samples, and they play as the clock hand sweeps past them. An internet-play mode lets you collaborate on drum patterns online with other users of the program."

QCF Design: Desktop Dungeons will be at E3
"We should be ready to start taking pre-orders for Desktop Dungeons on PC and Mac in the next couple of weeks. The Desktop Dungeons beta will be available soon afterward to pre-order customers."

indiePub Games: IndieCade's E3 2011 indie game lineup
"IndieCade has announced the games that will be on display in its Indie Game Showcase at E3 2011. The list was sent to E3 media by IndieCade and includes 16 showcase games and two attendee participation games that are moderated by IndieCade each year."

Gamasutra: Pulse's Cipher Prime On The Future Of Mobile Music Games
"In this Q&A, Cipher Prime's William Stallwood and Dain Saint together offer insight on the making of Pulse, the challenges of developing for Unity for the first time, and just how badly they want Harmonix to update Frequency."

Composing for Independent Games - 3rd Annual Group Chat

May 19, 2011 6:00 PM | jeriaska

Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya of Cave Story and Baiyon of PixelJunk lifelike

At this year's Game Developers Conference, PixelJunk Eden art and sound director Baiyon met with several game composers for his third annual group chat on the subject of composing music for independent games.

Hosting this installment of the yearly informal meetup is Double Fine sound director Emily Ridgway. During the 2011 Independent Games Festival competition, she served as a judge on the Excellence in Audio award jury.

Game composer Yoshi Miyamoto (Pocket Groovy) reprises his role as interpreter, this time for Daisuke Amaya (Pixel), the designer and composer of Cave Story. The platformer is currently making its way to the Nintendo 3DS portable console.

Also participating in the chat this year, Mattias Häggström Gerdt was nominated for a 2011 IGF Excellence in Audio Award for his music for Cobalt. Darren Korb received an IGF nomination as well, for his music and sound direction for Bastion, due out this summer on Xbox Live Arcade. Daniel Olsén, the composer of ilomilo, is currently preparing the release of the puzzle game's original soundtrack album.

Transcripts of the two previous discussions, with Chris Schlarb (Night Sky), Laura Shigihara (Melolune), and Danny Baranowsky (Super Meat Boy) among other participants, can be found on Gamasutra and IndieGames.com.

Teaser for the PixelJunk lifelike music visualizer

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