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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 June, 2011

Browser Game Pick: Dillo Hills (fexLabs)

June 19, 2011 11:31 PM | Cassandra Khaw

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What better way to end your summer-drenched Sunday (or to start a dreary Monday) than to play a round of Dillo Hills? Those with an iPhone might recognize the gameplay mechanics here; Dillo Hills is essentially a free Flash version of Tiny Wings except with armadillos. And penguins. And turtles. And, well, yeah.

The premise behind Dillo Hills is simple. You have to send surprisingly aerodynamic critters flying through the air and keep them there as long as possible. After a while, they will slowly fall back down to earth and that is where you must ensure they fluidly hit a slope the right way in order to maintain momentum, crest the hill and return to the skies. Failure to do so will result in a depletion of the happiness meter. It also contains an upgrade shop that allows you to make use of the gems you acquire during your runs to better your next impending flight.

Overall, it's an adorable little time waster and definitely worth a few minutes of your time today. Click here to play.

Updates on Project Zomboid: Paid Version is Down but Public Demo is Now Available

June 19, 2011 5:16 AM | Cassandra Khaw

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Project Zomboid is a name that might be familiar to those who have been following the blog for a while. First spotlighted by fellow editor Mike Rose, Project Zomboid is, in a nutshell, an isometric zombie apocalypse simulation sandbox. It's also ridiculously awesome. Heck, even PC Gamer and RockPaperShotgun seem to be in agreement with this.

Given the recent media attention (and just how damn good the game is), it wasn't surprising to learn that desperate fans had gone the extra mile and created a program that would allow them to bypass the username/password system to download the game off Indie Stone's servers. The developers have stated that they hold no grudge against those who have pirated their game. One of the major reasons behind this is that Paypal is not a payment method that Project Zomboid supports which means that, for some, piracy is the only option.

In spite of this, Indie Stone have chosen to remove the game from their servers; the reasons behind this decision were explained fully in a blog post by Indie Stone. However, the good news is that a free public demo is now available. So, for those of you who have been on the fence about whether or not you should purchase the game, I highly recommend you take a look at it here.

Browser Game Pick: Revolutions (Zink Interactive)

June 17, 2011 5:00 PM | Tim W.


Revolutions is a short 2D platformer that was originally made for an Experimental Gameplay Project theme early last year, where the levels are shaped in a cyclindrical manner and you will arrive back at the same spot if you keep moving in either horizontal direction. Your objective here is to reach a white orb located somewhere in the current level, and touching this glowing object will transport you to the next area where more platforming challenges await.

Occasionally you'll find lava pits that you have to jump over to reach the other side of a room, or yellow switches that'll move platforms around when you step on them. The game will put you back at the starting point if you miss a jump and drown in hot lava, but even the poorest of players won't need more than fifteen minutes to play through this Flash prototype.

Kongregate is the place to head on over to if you feel like checking out this game.

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of June 17

June 17, 2011 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles in every major discipline, including opportunities at Beachhead Activision, BioWare Austin, and The Behemoth.

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 Gamasutra's 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:

- Beachhead Activision: Lead Back End Web Engineer:
"Beachhead, a new wholly-owned Activision development studio, is focusing solely on the development of an innovative new digital platform and special services for our Call of Duty community. The platform will support in-game integration and bring online experiences and console play together for the first time."

- BioWare Austin: Build Engineer:
"BioWare, the newest member of the incredible family of EA studios, has created some of the world's best-selling titles including the award-winning Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights series, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Original BioWare-created IPs include Jade Empire and the critically acclaimed, Mass Effect. BioWare is hard at work on the epic fantasy RPG Dragon Age; Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood for the Nintendo DS; and unannounced projects including a highly anticipated massively multiplayer online game."

Browser Game Pick: Probe (Koubo)

June 17, 2011 3:00 PM | Tim W.


Probe is a browser-based 2D platformer that features a cool greenish monochromatic look, complemented by a handful of fitting ambient noises that play in the background as you go around exploring an underground cave. Starting out from your spaceship (which had just run out of power), you'll have to jump down to the surface of an uncharted planet and search for a new power source to get the ship's engine running again.

Besides jumping, you can also grab loose blocks to add to your inventory. These blocks can then be used to create new platforms to stand on, and clever players could also construct stairs and bridges to reach new areas inside the cave. The sun indicator at the bottom right of the screen shows how much power the probe still has. As you venture further into the cavern, you will start to lose precious energy and can only recharge your batteries by standing under a ray of light.

The lack of a tutorial and text to tell the story is refreshing, and though I liked Probe quite a bit I have to warn that there are a few outstanding bugs that will impede your enjoyment of the game. Your probe can get stuck between walls from time to time, the dodgy object collision will constantly frustrate players, and room borders are not properly defined in several places. The game would have been an easy recommendation had the developer addressed these problems and increased the window size a bit.

Probe can be played over at Newgrounds or downloaded from the Koubo's site.

Indie Game Links: Pixel and Rockfish

June 17, 2011 11:00 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: Microsoft Releases Non-commercial Kinect SDK For PC
"Microsoft has officially released a non-commercial beta version of a long-promised PC software development kit for its Kinect depth-sensing camera. The SDK provides academics and hobbyists access to raw sensor streams from Kinect's RGB and depth-sensing cameras, as well as its directional microphones."

Msnbc.com: These little games are getting big buzz
"At last week's E3, small games based on unique ideas were generating some of the biggest buzz. These games -- often created by tiny teams and independent studios -- drew long lines to their modest displays. Here are five of these gaming underdogs to keep an eye om."

Wadjet Eye Games: Your game sucks (and how to respond)
"This might be shocking to hear, but there are people out there who don't like my games and will eagerly declare their feelings on reviews and public forums. The desire to leap into the fray and defend your work is great, but is it a good thing to do so? Well, it depends."

Opposable Thumbs: Why Adult Swim may be the best indie game publisher
"There's a place on the Internet that has become synonymous with high-quality yet absolutely ridiculous games. It has managed to attract underground indie talent like Pixeljam Games, cactus and Mark Essen. Adult Swim might just be the best indie games publisher around."

Q&A: The Publication of Gemini Rue

June 16, 2011 11:05 PM | jeriaska

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Joshua Nuernberger at the 2011 E3 Expo in Los Angeles

Point-and-click adventure title Gemini Rue was a finalist of the 2010 Independent Games Festival's Student Showcase. Published for the PC by Wadjet Eye Games, the sci-fi noir thriller puts you in control of two separate protagonists, whose past histories are shrouded in secrecy. Locations to explore include a seedy urban sprawl on the surface of the planet Barracus and a hermetically sealed rehabilitation center set in an undisclosed location.

At E3 we had the chance to hear from Joshua Nuernberger, the independently developed game's creator, on the subject of Gemini Rue's release. Developing the final build with the publisher, which entailed the inclusion of additional character portraits and voice acting, he says succeeded in serving the game's artistic vision.

Were there particular techniques that were useful in developing such a detail-oriented and coherent storyline for Gemini Rue?

There were a couple things that I would always keep in mind when implementing the story through gameplay. I really wanted to establish the two central characters at the beginning and set up this mysterious relationship between them. You don't really know who Delta-Six is or what the doctors are doing to him.

Upon cutting to Azriel, there's a lot of mysterious details surrounding his circumstances. Why is he on this planet and who is he trying to find? Leaving out a lot of the standard exposition I thought would be a way to motivate players to continue playing to the end.

Browser Game Pick: Dinosaur Zookeeper (Not Vlambeer)

June 16, 2011 11:00 PM | Michael Rose

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Oh dear. I was planning on getting some important things done tonight. Things that can't be put off until later, you know? And then those guys who are definitely not Vlambeer went and surprise released a new game, and now my evening is ruined. RUINED. I hope you are happy, you petty thieves of time.

Dinosaur Zookeeper is exactly what it sounds like. You have dinosaurs, you have fences, you have visitors. Don't give the dinosaurs what they want, and they'll stampede, feast on each other, and then feast on your visitors too. As you keep them under control, you'll earn special items and be able to keep the dinos away from each other. Except that huge one, he's an absolute bastard.

This is lovely, and you will love it - these things are certain. Go give it a play at Adult Swim.

GDC Vault Debuts Free Playdom, AI Rant, Humble Bundle Sessions

June 16, 2011 9:47 PM | Tom Curtis

The GDC Vault service has debuted several free videos from the Game Developers Conference 2011, featuring Playdom's Raph Koster on whether social games are truly social, a rant on game AI, and a retrospective look at the forces behind the successful Humble Indie Bundle.

These talks join recently-debuted free videos from GDC founder Chris Crawford, Bungie's David Aldridge, and Maxis veteran Stone Librande, as well as the much-watched classic postmortem series as part of GDC 2011's 'free recordings' section on GDC Vault.

The following free lectures include highlights from the conference's notable Summits, which covered topics such as social and online games, AI, independent games, and more.

The first talk offered for free is a lecture from Playdom's Raph Koster dubbed, "Social Mechanics for Social Games." In this session, Koster picks apart the interpersonal interactions that take place within online social titles.

As he notes in his talk, "Many have accused social games of not really being social. But they are underpinned by many classic social mechanics that drive interaction and community-building. Some of these have been proven to work in other genres such as MMOs and are beginning to filter into the social games market; others are easily visible and quite familiar in real life, but have yet to be seen in the design of social games."

Trailer: Lone Survivor (Superflat Games)

June 16, 2011 3:00 PM | Tim W.


Lone Survivor is an upcoming survival horror game from Jasper Byrne (creator of Soul Brother and Soundless Mountain II) that has been in development for more than two years. The title comes from the fact that our hero might be the last person alive in a city overrun by the undead, and the exhausted state of his mind makes it difficult to tell whether the things he'd seen are real or mere hallucinations. Players will have to scavenge for items like food or weapons in order to survive, because running out battery power for the flashlight or ammunition for your gun isn't an ideal situation when you're desperately trying to flee from a pack of monsters.

We're also delighted to report that Lone Survivor isn't the only project that Jasper's currently busy with at the moment. During his spare time he's managed to put in some work on a Spectrum-like arcade game called XOR and an action RPG titled Legend of the Starmen (screenshots below). No word yet on when any of these games will be done, but we'll keep you posted when we hear anything new from Jasper.

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