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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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XBLIG Pick: Sticky Bump (KeeWeed)

August 17, 2012 10:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Fact: we don't have enough bumper car games. Developer KeeWeed sets out to right this wrong with Sticky Bump, a flashy multiplayer bumper car game for Windows and Xbox Live Indie Games.

In Sticky Bump, up to four players compete to gather as many traffic cones as possible in a single-screen arena, while avoiding the enemy Bully cars. While there's no single-player mode (and multiplayer is local-only), gameplay promises to be quite hectic with a full roster of four players. It looks way better than Burger King's competing Xbox 360 bumper car sim Big Bumpin', in any case.

The Windows version of Sticky Bump is available as a free download. The Xbox Live Indie Games edition is priced at 80 Microsoft points ($1).

Get a job: Respawn and others hiring now on the Gamasutra jobs board

August 17, 2012 4:00 AM | 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 Respawn Entertainment, Turtle Rock Studios, and others.

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 independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Turtle Rock Studios, Inc.: Network Programmer:
"Turtle Rock Studios Inc. is an independent game developer based in Southern California. The team at Turtle Rock is best known for its work with Valve Corporation on Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and Counter-Strike: Source, and for revolutionizing cooperative gaming with the award-winning Left 4 Dead."

Rovio Entertainment Ltd: Game Artists:
"In 2009, Rovio released Angry Birds, a casual puzzle game for touchscreen smartphones that became a worldwide phenomenon from 2010 onwards. The Angry Birds games have enjoyed continuing worldwide chart success, and the franchise has since expanded to a variety of new business areas. Rovio is rapidly expanding its activities in broadcast media, merchandising, publishing and services."

'Why Hasn't Story in Games Advanced?' Amnesia's Designer Has Some Opinions!

August 17, 2012 3:00 AM | Staff

grip gama.jpgIn his incredibly animated talk at GDC Europe on Wednesday, Frictional Games co-founder Thomas Grip (Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Penumbra) discussed horror and storytelling in games, explaining his personal theory of what's vital in telling game stories.

His prime thesis is that in games, "story is not just the plot." In fact, regarding what's important in interactive storytelling, Grip postulated: "We want the player to play through the story, not just sit through it."

In a complex talk, Grip suggested that similar games separated by 20 years like Uncharted and Another World have, in the end, relatively similar types of gameplay and storytelling combined.

In that case, both titles have things like running, followed by jumping and cutscenes -- Grip argued: "This is weird... why haven't we advanced?" He suggests: "The main culprit is how most of these games are designed."

Taking the 'Less is More' Approach to Level Design

August 17, 2012 1:00 AM | Staff

eufloria gama2.jpgEufloria's Rudolf Kremers believes that "less is more" is the perfect approach for indie developers on a budget when it comes to level design, and his GDC Europe talk today described the various ways this approach can be achieved.

Procedural generation in particular, as seen in such indie titles as Spelunky, Minecraft and Kremers' own Eufloria, can help free up development time for other areas of your game, and is "a great way to create enormous amounts of content" in a short space of time, he argued.

The 250,000-selling Eufloria, for example, only uses nine very simple textures throughout the entire game, with visuals procedurally generated from these simple patterns.

User-generated content is another area in which developers can look to build up a huge library of levels with little input themselves. The provided level design and scripting tools that come with Eufloria have seen players making not only their own levels for the game, but also entirely different experiences from the main game, such as art applications and side-scrolling shooters.

Klei's Mark Of The Ninja Set To Launch September 7th On XBLA

August 16, 2012 10:00 AM | Danny Cowan

120815_markninja.png

Shank series creator Klei Entertainment revealed that its latest project, the side-scrolling action title Mark of the Ninja, will premiere for Xbox Live Arcade on September 7th.

Mark of the Ninja is a stealth game in which players must silently evade the squadrons of enemy guards that fill each level. If evasion isn't an option, you can opt to distract guards using diversionary tactics...and then you can just straight-up murder them. That also works.

If the wait is too much to bear, you can hone your ninja skills (?) in the meantime by checking out Klei's text adventure adaptation of the game.

[via Joystiq]

The Real Story of Developing for Nintendo's Download Platforms

August 16, 2012 3:00 AM | Staff


Gaijin Games' Bit.Trip Beat

Nintendo is typically the butt of the joke when it comes to digital storefronts and sales. Developers have routinely lambasted the company's services -- WiiWare, in particular, and DSiWare -- over the past couple of years.

Trent Oster, co-founder of Beamdog Studios, which ported MDK 2 to WiiWare, told Gamasutra earlier this year that Wii (and WiiWare) "isn't a good platform for developers." He also cited problems with how Nintendo handles payments, file size limitations and game certification.

Icon Games released numerous titles for WiiWare -- such as Stunt Cars, Family Games and Soccer Bashi -- and had even harsher words for the digital platform.

"... The WiiWare store is horribly inflexible; so if a title isn't selling you have no options to boost sales," head of development Richard Hill-Whittall wrote on the company's blog. "You can't change the price point, they don't run sales or promotions, you can't update the game once it is on sale unless there is a critical bug found, etc."

PlayStation Mobile Teaser: Passing Time (Honeyslug)

August 15, 2012 4:30 PM | John Polson

As the teaser for Honeyslug's Passing Time suggests, "mobile footy games can be fiddly." Luckily, the Frobisher Says! and Poto & Cabenga portable developer has come to the virtual athletes' rescue. The athletes run by themselves. Players touch the screen to pass, shoot, tackle, make runs and mark opponents.

Coming Autumn 2012, Passing Time should offer 4 different game modes: Passing Time, Challenge Mode, Friendly and League, with several non-traditional football (soccer) awards and features.

Mike Rose wrote about the PlayStation Mobile platform last month, which offers a one-all development solution for any PlayStation-certified tablets, smartphones, and now Vita.

[via @Capy_Nathan]

Demo and Release: The 4th Wall (GZ Storm)

August 14, 2012 10:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Vidiot Game developer GZ Storm has released The 4th Wall, a first-person "abstract horror puzzler" for Windows and the Xbox Live Indie Games service. A free demo of the PC version can be downloaded here.

Judging from what I've played and the gameplay videos I've seen so far, The 4th Wall definitely measures up to Vidiot Game in terms of weirdness, and the horror element is skillfully executed -- it can be downright creepy at times. I'll be playing through this one later today for sure.

The 4th Wall is priced at $1, or 80 Microsoft points. The original version of the game, which is free but offers less content, is available here, though the author recommends not playing this release if you intend to play the paid version.

What Dear Esther and Minecraft Have in Common

August 14, 2012 3:00 AM | Staff

dearesther gama.jpgIndie hit Dear Esther is "a bit like story Minecraft," believes creator Dan Pinchbeck, as the evocative game allows players to imagine their own story, without forcing them into a particular narrative.

As part of his talk at GDC Europe today, Pinchbeck of thechineseroom noted that the abstract and ambiguous first-person exploration game barely gives you any real details about characters and plot, instead allowing the players' imaginations to run wild.

"We're not in the business of writing a plot -- we're in the business of giving you the tools to create your own," he said of the 250,000-selling Dear Esther. "There is nothing more powerful than your own imagination."

Building a story is "an inevitable product of playing a game" for players, whether a solid plotline is offered or not. Players make a story out of pretty much anything they do, he argued, and developers just need to provide the tools.

Jonathan Blow on CBS: Games are "a Big Mess Right Now"

August 13, 2012 5:30 PM | John Polson

Indie games continue their widespread proliferation, as Braid developer Jonathan Blow spoke on CBS This Morning about the state of video games and his upcoming 3D exploration puzzler: The Witness.

Dubbed by CBS as probably both "the most famous video game developer in the world" and "the most feared," Blow offered in the interview some interesting sound bites that, while familiar to the indie crowd, hopefully fell on new ears today.

Sharing his idea of creating new video games, as with Braid, "[T]hey should be pushing the boundary of what games have already done, trying to expand the medium because some day - games can have a much bigger role in terms of their participation with human culture, right?"

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