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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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Limbo Sound Design: Ambiguity Is the Key to Atmosphere

July 18, 2012 1:00 AM | John Polson

andersenms gama.jpgIn video games, sound is often used as a vehicle for a game's developers to project their own interpretation of their game onto players.

But Limbo audio director Martin Stig Andersen tells Gamasutra in a new feature interview that he avoided using music that would "manipulate" the player and instead aimed for sounds with less "identity."

"The more identity the sounds had, the more I would distort them," says Andersen, who created the soundtrack for the popular indie title.

"So I wouldn't include sounds that gave too strong associations. If we added something that had a strong identity like a voice or an animal, then it would almost destroy the atmosphere. So with that style, Limbo offered an audio and visual atmosphere that can really get into the player's mind, and make them feel scared, worried or on edge."

In fact, says Andersen, he and game director Arnt Jensen feel that "everything should be open to interpretation", and that's what drove the audio aesthetic of the game.

Release: Dyad (][ Games)

July 17, 2012 8:30 PM | John Polson

The racer, puzzler, self-alterer Dyad from ][ Games is now available exclusively on the PlayStation Network for $14.99; PS+ users pay only $11.99. Though developer Shawn McGrath and countless editors fail to find the exact words to describe Dyad, that doesn't make it a difficult game to get into and subsequently surrender to.

Controls remain basic throughout Dyad, even as it tasks players with harder goals. The d-pad or stick moves players left to right and the X button grapples and hooks onto objects for a short burst.

Dyad soon has players hooking onto pairs of objects and grazing near the center of hooked objects. With enough energy from grazing, players can lance: an invincible dash that players extend by colliding into specific enemies. Hooking onto specific pairs later creates zip-lines that add even more speed.

Video: Cubes all the way down: Fez technical postmortem

July 17, 2012 3:00 AM | Staff

[Note: To access chapter selection, click the fullscreen button or check out the video on the GDC Vault website]

After nearly five years of development and plenty of major changes along the way, it's safe to say that Polytron's Fez has quite a storied history. It all began with a very small team -- just one designer and one programmer -- but eventually became one of the most anticipated indie games of all time.

Just ahead of the game's debut in April, programmer Renaud Bedard offered a behind the scenes look at Fez's creation in a technical postmortem at GDC 2012, where he showcased the techniques he used and the lessons he learned while creating the mind-bending platformer.

Now, that session is available (above) as a free video, courtesy of the GDC Vault. It's a detailed, comprehensive talk that examines not only the programming techniques that powered Fez, but also the dynamic between Bedard and designer Phil Fish.

Machinarium Coming To PS Vita, Says ESRB

July 16, 2012 11:00 PM | Danny Cowan

120716_machinarium.jpg

The ESRB has updated its listing for Amanita Design's popular adventure game Machinarium, revealing that a PlayStation Vita port is likely in the works.

A downloadable PlayStation 3 version of Machinarium is scheduled to launch this summer, making the title a good candidate for a simultaneous release across both platforms via the PlayStation Store.

Speaking to Joystiq, designer Jakub Dvorsky notes that Amanita would "like to bring the game to Vita," but was unable to officially confirm the existence of a PS Vita edition.

[via Joystiq]

Free 2012 Game Career Guide issue available from Game Developer

July 15, 2012 12:00 PM | Staff

game career guide fall 2012.jpegFor the fifth year running, Game Developer magazine's annual Game Career Guide issue -- which aims to help students and aspiring developer secure a job in the game industry -- will be given away for free.

The free special issue is available in digital form, and print versions will be distributed at several major video game consumer and trade shows, including Penny Arcade Expo, GDC, and more.

The 2012 Game Career Guide includes beginner-friendly tutorials on starting out with the Unreal Development Kit, building a mod with the Source Engine SDK, prototyping quick and dirty art assets, and a primer on game modifications. The issue also includes a version of Game Developer's yearly Salary Survey tailored for entry-level game developers, a listing of industry conferences, game jams, and indie competitions that every developer should know of, and a directory of game development programs across the world for students interested in getting into the industry.

It wouldn't be a Game Developer issue without a postmortem, of course. This year's Game Career Guide postmortem is on The Snowfield, an IGF Student Showcase-nominated experimental title from the MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. Project lead Matthew Weise explains what went right and wrong while exploring alternative theories of game narrative (and managing a team of student interns).

Cactus Goes Commercial: How One Indie Moved Beyond His Freeware Roots

July 14, 2012 4:00 AM | Staff

cactus gama.jpgJonatan Soderstrom has made an unusual reputation for himself among independent game developers. More often known as "Cactus," the Swedish developer has created dozens of games, yet he's never sold a single copy. Until now, his experimental freeware titles have defined his career as a game designer.

But that's about to change, as Soderstrom recently announced that he's partnered with artist Dennis Wedin and publisher Devolver Digital to create Hotline Miami, a slick, surreal action game coming to the PC, Mac, and eventually consoles.

Soderstrom has been developing free games on his own for years, so why did he wait until now to make his first real commercial product?

"During the last few years it has been a personal choice [to work alone], since I wasn't feeling confident about managing the work on such a big project," Soderstrom told us. "I've tried a few times before, but never got very far before I lost my motivation. I guess I've had a short attention span, and have lacked the drive to pull off something large scale."

So rather than create a large-scale game for profit, Soderstrom experimented with games like Clean Asia!, Space Fuck!, and Mondo Medicals, all unusual, quirky projects that he put together extremely quickly -- sometimes in as little as just a few hours.

But he didn't just make these small freeware games because of a short attention span. Soderstrom said working on these smaller projects has given him a chance to become more creative as a game designer. After all, if you only work on long-term projects, you can only play around with a finite number of ideas.

XBLIG Pick: Sushi Castle (Milkstone Studios)

July 14, 2012 12:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Little Racers: Street developer Milkstone Studios has released Sushi Castle for the Xbox Live Indie Games service, which it describes as "the biggest game [we've] ever made."

Sushi Castle is a twin-stick shooter that takes place within a series of randomly generated dungeons. The gameplay is very similar to The Binding of Isaac, judging from the trailer above -- the short-ranged weaponry, the power-ups, and even the boss encounters are all reminiscent of Edmund McMillen's game. It seems like a good fit for the Xbox 360's controller!

Sushi Castle is priced at 80 Microsoft points ($1).

PAX Prime 2012's PAX 10 Revealed

July 13, 2012 2:00 PM | John Polson

pax prime pax 10.jpgPax Prime 2012, the sold-out Seattle, WA game conference, has announced the indie developers they will feature in PAX 10. Fifty industry experts have chosen these ten games for the show as the best of all submissions "in regard to gameplay and overall fun-factor."

The ten games include four unreleased titles, five published titles, and one title that requires too many friends that own a Move motion controller. Here are your indies:

Play Now:
Containment: The Zombie Puzzler, Bootsnake Games (puzzle for iPad and PC)
Deity, DigiPen (freeware stealth action for PC)
Offspring Fling!, Kyle Pulver (Windows and Mac puzzle platformer out now)
Puzzlejuice, Asher Vollmer (iOS puzzler out now)
Splice, Cipher Prime (puzzle for Mac and Windows out now)

Play only at PAX Prime:
Johann Sebastian Joust, Die Gute Fabrik (PS Move disturb 'em up)
The Bridge, Ty Taylor and Mario Castaneda (puzzle platformer for PC)
The Swapper, Facepalm Games (puzzle platformer for PC)
Cannon Brawl, Turtle Sandbox (2D artillery game mixed with RTS for PC and Xbox 360)
Catch-22, Mango Down! (one-button game for Facebook and iOS)

Pinball RPG Rollers Of The Realm To Debut For XBLIG, PC, iPad In 2013

July 12, 2012 10:00 AM | Danny Cowan

After being featured at the 2012 Canadian Interactive Showcase and earning support from the Canada Media Fund, Phantom Compass announced that its pinball RPG Rollers of the Realm will be released for the iPad, Xbox Live Indie Games, and PC platforms in 2013.

"Each chapter of the story features new areas to explore (and destroy), new enemies to conquer, and new party members to collect," Phantom Compass explains. "Every playable party member -- represented by a pinball -- has different abilities used for strategic play."

If the RPG elements don't interest you, Rollers of the Realm also offers a selection of standalone pinball tables that can be played with friends in a series of high score challenges.

The concept of a pinball-themed adventure game is one that's been attempted many times over the years, believe it or not (see: Pinball Quest, Odama, Flipnic), though the results to date haven't been too impressive. Here's hoping that this one lives up to its potential!

Kickstarter Projects - OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console

July 10, 2012 11:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Jambox and One Laptop per Child designer Yves Behar seeks funding for OUYA, an Android-powered $99 game system that aims to bridge the gap between console and mobile gaming.

"Developers will have access to OUYA's open design so they can produce their games for the living room, taking advantage of everything the TV has to offer," OUYA's promoters note. "Best of all, OUYA's world-class controller, console, and interface come in one beautiful, inexpensive package. All the games on it will be free, at least to try."

Backed by former Microsoft vice president of game publishing Ed Fries, the OUYA claims to be of particular value for indie developers. The console's YouTube channel features testimonials from Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman and Owlchemy Labs' Alex Schwartz.

The OUYA's Kickstarter project surpassed its funding goal in its first 24 hours, and has earned over $1 million in pledges as of this writing. Backers who pledge $99 or more will receive an OUYA console upon its expected completion in March of 2013.

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