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About The IGF 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, 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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Studio MiniBoss' roguelike Deep Dungeons of Doom now crawling onto OUYA, iOS, Android

April 11, 2013 1:50 AM | John Polson

Out There Somewhere developer Studio MiniBoss has teamed up with Bossa Studios to release rhythmic roguelike Deep Dungeons of Doom. While iOS and Android users have to wait for its release, Android-based OUYA console owners can already give it a go.

While the name of the game changed from "Deepest" to plain, old "Deep," the core fighting gameplay still revolves around only 3 buttons: attack, defense and item use. Accompanying the rhythmic fighting style is a variety of monsters with varied attack patterns and special weak spots. An earlier developer video gives a little better peak at the gameplay, so be sure to check it out after the jump.

Draw Slasher turns your finger into a ninja on your Vita

April 9, 2013 10:18 PM | Anthony Swinnich

There seems to be little debate that ninjas are among the deadliest things in the world, and you never know when they may be lurking nearby. Expect to feel their power when Polish studio Mass Creation turns your finger into a silent, masked warrior with Draw Slasher on the Playstation Vita.

As Hanzo, it's your duty to dismember the pirate zombie monkeys that plague your land. Don't worry about those pesky buttons -- The touchscreen appears to control every aspect of the game. Whether it's tapping to move to a spot or slashing to attack an enemy, your finger will be the key to putting a stop to the march of the undead horde.

Mass Creation has doubled the amount of content found in the mobile entries for the Vita version by adding new locations and enemies. There will be two extra modes alongside the campaign as well. Survival asks the player to build a kill count to as high a point as possible, while Gatekeeper is a mode where the player must prevent zombies from entering Hanzo's home village.

Draw Slasher will release in the US on April 23 and in Europe on April 24.

[via Eurogamer]

PS3 and Vita Pick: luchador metroidvania Guacamelee!

April 9, 2013 4:37 PM | John Polson

Playing DrinkBox Studios' Guacamelee! on the PS Vita at night was just wrong. I ended up with baggy eyes two nights in a row going for 100% completion on one of the finest metroidvanias, and possibly the finest luchador one, ever. I also played in silent the first night, which was a major mistake because the siesta-fused music is just as stirring and refreshing as the graphics.

While the damsel in distress trope may feel a bit overplayed as the driving narrative, the always invigorating, 7-8 hour exploratory, beam 'em up platformer feels perfect for the tactile Sony systems. All of the moves Juan earns from a mysterious goat-man allow him to advance to new areas (a genre staple). But more importantly, most increase his fighting ability. Suffice to say that 100-hit combos are not hard to come by in the game.

What you need to know before porting your game to Ouya

April 9, 2013 11:55 AM | John Polson

[Making mobile games work with a console controller is a challenge, says indie developer Nathan Fouts (Serious Sam Double D). Here are a few of the tips and tricks he's learned in the process.]

The Ouya game console officially launches June 4th, but has already been sending out Kickstarter backer versions. The game store itself is live. I've had a dev kit console for some time and have been working on an original game for it called Pig Eat Ball. I'm interested in this console, am making a game for it, and want it to do well. It's a low cost console, but doesn't need to come off as cheap. What can make it look cheap and neglected? Quick ports.

XBLIG Trailer: Astralis, an open-world shooter on an alien planet

April 4, 2013 10:57 AM | Anthony Swinnich

What do you do when your spaceship crash-lands on an alien planet? The answer, at least according to the upcoming XBLIG title Astralis, is to pick up your guns and terminate any hostile lifeforms before they do the same to you.

Players will explore the open-world environment of Tellaryn IV, obtaining missions from NPCs as they try to survive. Foxhaut Games has some ambitious features planned, like conversation trees and dynamic weather. Your arsenal should be stacked as well, with options ranging from shotguns to plasma rifles.

Astralis is still several months away from completion but you can keep an eye on its progress on Facebook.

[via theXBLIG]

Lessons from The Unfinished Swan's unique development journey

April 2, 2013 8:00 PM | Staff

garden22.jpgThe Unfinished Swan began its life as a student prototype before it achieved acclaim on the PlayStation network created by Giant Sparrow's 12-person team. It's something of an unusual journey, but creative director Ian Dallas says important takeaways from his education at USC's Interactive Media division helped him flesh out his vision and create a fully-fledged game with a major publisher.

In the game, players explore the mysterious world and its storybook narrative by splashing paint on the environment to reveal the shape and detail in its white landscape. As part of his fellowship, he'd make a new prototype every week for faculty advisor Marc Bolas, and The Unfinished Swan came from there.

"At the time, I was interested in how people move around space," he muses. "That's what ended up segueing into this whole Unfinished Swan... monstrosity."

The prototype debuted at 2008's Sense of Wonder night, and a YouTube video caught Sony's attention. The students signed a publishing deal, somewhat unusual at the time -- iOS, Android and other indie-friendly platforms were less accessible.

"For us, it ended up being a really good decision, because the game we wanted to make was a little bit bigger and lusher, and that's something that really benefited from having a publisher involved," Dallas says. More interested in scope and quality than in financial returns, for him it was a good decision.

The game also came in 400 percent over budget and well behind schedule, he laughs.

GDC/PAX East Catch-up Part 2: Home, Kentucky Route Zero devs' next plans

April 2, 2013 2:00 PM | John Polson

[Over the next two days, the blog will share some of the most interesting news found around the internet from GDC 2013 and PAX East 2013. The two conferences occurred back-to-back, spanning March 22 to March 29. Here is the second part of the highlights, starting with the above GDC 2013 time lapse from indie friend and video editor, Kert Gartner.]

Joystiq on 'Home' creator Benjamin Rivers wants to make a psychological dating sim "Like Home, Rivers' next game will likely still be two-dimensional and will focus on psychologically influencing the player in subtle ways, though this time the goal will be to induce emotional attachment to a fictional character, rather than instill terror."

Mark of the Ninja creator: Innovation no excuse for crunch

April 2, 2013 1:00 AM | Staff

jamie cheng small.jpgJamie Cheng, founder of Klei Entertainment, creator of the XBLA games Shank and Mark of the Ninja had strong words for any game maker who might claim that working extensive overtime is an intrinsic part of making 'art'.

Speaking at a GDC talk in San Fransisco today, Cheng said: "I find it disingenuous when game developers claim that the reason they work a whole load of overtime is because they are trying to do something new. To hide behind 'art' as a shield for poor process is wrong. You will screw with future developments by taking this approach."

Indeed, while producing mediocre games is a quick way to sink a company, "employing an unsustainable development style will suffocate one over the long term," said Cheng.

He explained that, following a difficult development process during the creation of one of the company's earlier titles, Shank , he made a promise to himself that he would never put himself or his team through crunch again. "I realised that not only do we need to build great games but we also need to find a way to do this without ruining our lives in the process," he said.

How can game music feel as meaningful as a live experience?

April 1, 2013 3:59 PM | Staff

audio_jury_vreeland.jpgRich "Disasterpeace" Vreeland (Fez) notes music has always been as impermanent as life -- a performance was heard once, then gone forever. "This impermanence has great potential to create meaning," he says. "If you go to a really good show, the event you're witnessing may even feel important somehow."

The accessibility of recorded music changes that relationship; video game music accustoms us to listening to loops. But could games imitate the impermanence of live music?

It's a useful question to think about: Suppose there was a great game that took only 15 minutes to play, where interactions felt fresh and you could replay the experience as many times as you liked and still get something out of it. But if that game had only one piece of looping music, it would blunt the uniqueness of each interaction.

"Why would you do this to your player?" Vreeland says. "Why would you... invite someone to hear something so much that it's rendered completely meaningless?"

GDC/PAX East Catch-up Part 1: N+, Cart Life, Hotline Miami follow-ups

April 1, 2013 9:00 AM | John Polson

GDC13.jpg[Over the next two days, the blog will share some of the most interesting news found around the internet from GDC 2013 and PAX East 2013. The two conferences occurred back-to-back, spanning March 22 to March 29. Here is the first part of the highlights:]

Joystiq on Papo and Yo devs confront more monsters in next game, Silent Enemy "It's an exploration and puzzle game in mind for PC, tablets, Ouya, PS4 and possibly other platforms by the end of the year... [weaving] a subtle story about the hopelessness, weakness and determination that victims of bullying regularly face."

Metanet Software on The Year of N, For Real This Time "N v2.0 features some new and some classic levels, local 2P co-op, level-sharing, highscores and some new "fun-lockables" (TM), including Arcade Mode... N++ will fill a different niche, and allow us to explore some avenues we're excited about that don't work in the web version."

Wired on Kickstarted, $99 Game Console Ouya Will Launch June 4 "The interface is simple, just a menu of four words: Play, Discover, Make and Manage. The latter lets you adjust the system settings; the first is a list of the games you own. It's in the middle two options where things get interesting."

Joystiq on Cart Life follow-up, Blood of the Ortolan, sets the table in a few weeks "It's about food," Hofmeier said. "It's a food-themed murder mystery in the way that Cart Life is a retail simulation. I haven't said much about it yet because I don't want to over-promise and under-deliver, which I did with Cart Life."

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