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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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The evolving coverage of indie games

March 31, 2013 10:00 PM | Staff

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By Robert Fearon

It seems to me we’re in a weird position right now with indie games and the press.

It’s never been easier for more people to get their work on a site somewhere. It’s never been easier to get your five minutes of the day as the top post on a site somewhere.

This is a tremendously good thing.

There’s a few non-indie specific sites that really help get games out there to the mainstream, stand up RockPaperShotgun, stand up Eurogamer, stand up Edge, all of whom have widened the net even more so that games can be exposed to all manner of people.

This is a tremendously good thing.

I like that Indie Statik, Free Indie Games, Venus Patrol and many many more all exist.

This is a tremendously good thing.

The press has, generally speaking, never been more accessible to indie devs. More open to talking to them and in a perverse sort of way, never more eager to get news from their loud mouths.

This is a tremendously good thing also.

With all that said, I'm concerned that somewhere, we're losing something in the more mainstream indie friendly press. Something not quite so obvious.

The five reasons freemium sucks (according to QWOP's developer)

March 30, 2013 1:36 PM | Staff

bennettfoddysmall.jpgDesigner Bennett Foddy of QWOP and GIRP fame counts five major reasons why the free to play model doesn't work well in its current incarnation, but suggests that by being creative with microtransactions, designers have the chance to do better work.

1. They're pay not to play, really. Foddy believes lots of freemium games give players the choice between paying or grinding -- "which suggests you might want to pay money to reduce the amount of time you spend playing the game," he notes. "Not playing the game is the 'luxury option'... [and] ultimately reduces the value players see in the game."

2. There's no level playing field. If some players are playing with different rules and others, you can't meaningfully compare their experiences. "If somebody is buying progress, or advantages from the IAP store, they're just cheating," Foddy says. "It's like you're selling players steroids to cheat with."

3. It corrupts the experience. Seeking real money from players during the gameplay breaks immersion, Foddy believes. "In my view, a really good game has a particular relationship with the player," he says. "In a freemium game, it's relating to you more as a vendor, or a drug dealer."

Kickstarter Projects: The Unbreakable Chain (Leon Sadler)

March 29, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Leon Sadler of UK art collective FAMICON (Bart the General, RE: Get to Schol on Time) has launched a Kickstarter project for The Unbreakable Chain, an evolution-themed game for Windows that boasts a unique premise and some truly striking artwork.

Citing inspiration from Grasshopper Manufacture's PlayStation 2 oddity Michigan: Report From Hell, The Unbreakable Chain includes eight stages, each of which revolves around a unique species-themed gameplay mechanic. Sadler hopes to raise £2,000 in order to put the finishing touches on the Windows version, while stretch goals of £3,000 and £4,000 will fund ports for iOS and the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

Backers who pledge £10 or more will receive a copy of the game for Windows upon completion. Other pledge rewards include digital copies of The Unbreakable Chain's soundtrack (created by Mars Matrix composer Yasushi Kaminishi), posters, original artwork, and homemade stoneware garden ornaments.

IGF 2013 winners led by Cart Life and FTL: Faster Than Light

March 27, 2013 10:35 PM | John Polson

cart life small.jpgCart Life, Richard Hofmeier's realistic, sometimes heart-breaking game about food cart workers trying to achieve their dreams, earned the Seumas McNally Award for Best Independent Game and its associated $30,000 cash prize this evening at the 15th Annual Independent Games Festival, hosted by the Game Developers Conference (GDC) at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

In addition to winning the Grand Prize, Cart Life also won the Best Narrative Award and the Nuovo Award for abstract and unconventional games, an impressive sweep for a sometimes deliberately obtuse title that was relatively underappreciated before the IGF Awards season.

The other IGF multi-award winner for the evening was acclaimed space strategy title FTL: Faster Than Light by Subset Games. FTL was helped to prominence by an IGF China nomination early in its development and was honored with both the Excellence in Design Award and the Audience Award.

Other IGF award recipients for 2013 include Tomorrow Corporation's quirky title about burning objects in an 'entertainment fireplace,' Little Inferno, which won the Technical Excellence Award. Surreal magical realist adventure game Kentucky Route Zero by Cardboard Computer won the Excellence in Visual Art award for its beautifully designed environments, and Jeppe Carlsen's beat-based platformer 140 won the Excellence in Audio Award.

Finally, the Best Student Game was awarded to the third-person, high-speed skating game that celebrates Twitter and cell phone culture, Zineth, by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, picked from another strong set of student game finalists.

All finalists and winners for this year's competition are playable at the Game Developers Conference at the IGF Pavilion on the GDC Expo Floor in San Francisco's Moscone Center through Friday, March 29.

The IGF awarded the following games as winners of its 15th Annual Awards:

Sony Reveals Slate of Upcoming Indie Titles for PlayStation 3, PS Vita

March 27, 2013 6:00 PM | Danny Cowan

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As part of its recently announced efforts to court indie developers, Sony has revealed a lineup of several indie-produced games that are coming soon to the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita via the PlayStation Network.

Sony announced that the Xbox Live Arcade hits Limbo and Spelunky are on their way to the PlayStation Vita later this year, accompanied by previously announced games like Velocity Ultra, Thomas Was Alone, Hotline Miami, and Luftrausers.

The 2D fighter parody Divekick is also coming to the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. Other featured titles include Rain (PS3), Metrico (PS Vita), and Guacamelee, the latter of which will launch April 9th.

A full list of announced games follows after the break below.

Terraria Out Now on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network

March 27, 2013 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Re-Logic's Minecraft-inspired 2D sandbox adventure game Terraria is now available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 via Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.

Terraria hits consoles this week with a bevy of exclusive features, including split-screen co-op for up to four players. Publisher 505 Games notes that additional content will be released regularly, and players can expect to see new enemies and new craftable items with each forthcoming update.

The console version of Terraria is priced at $14.99.

Sony kills concept approval, makes moves to get indies onto PS4

March 27, 2013 3:00 AM | Staff

boyes.jpgTonight in San Francisco, Sony announced another indie PlayStation 4 game: Zombie's Studios' Blacklight: Retribution. The company also announced that popular parody fighting game Divekick, new puzzle game Metrico, from Digital Dreams, and Primal Carnage Genesis, from Lukewarm Media, are coming to its platforms. These games all come under its Pub Fund,

This news comes on top of further announcements that the company is making things easier for indie developers and big publishers alike. Sony's Adam Boyes, who heads up its publisher and developer relations teams, talks to Gamasutra about that evolution, why having veteran software developer Mark Cerny as the lead architect for its PlayStation 4 hardware is so important, and how the company might try to compete with a Steam Box.

Tell me about the changes you're making.

We've just changed our whole concept submission process. It used to be two stages, and all this feedback, and now it's just one, and it's optional feedback, so there's no greenlighting process, no voting, no weird stuff.

So is that just for indies, or is that across the board?

Nintendo's indies guy tells you how to get your games approved

March 26, 2013 4:00 AM | Staff

adelman.jpegIf you want to get your indie game onto Nintendo's platforms -- the Wii U and 3DS -- you'll want to talk to Dan Adelman, who works as the company's liaison with indies.

While his title is "business development manager," he's best known as the man who helped World of Goo and the Bit.Trip series, among many others, land on the WiiWare service for the original Wii. He joined Nintendo in 2005 to help build that service; Since then, the company has transitioned to new platforms, and offers a much better shop on them, called the eShop.

The abovementioned games were notable successes. Some other developers, however, later spoke out against Nintendo's policies and practices, and shared dismal sales numbers for WiiWare titles. The company has quietly been changing its policies, but has had a difficult time getting the word out.

As GDC begins, in this extensive interview, Adelman fills Gamasutra in on exactly what indie developers want to know about releasing a game on the Wii U and 3DS.

Let's state this simply, to start. Is it possible for an indie to get a game onto the eShop service right now?

Trailer: Dinora (Neuron Vexx)

March 25, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

In advance of Terraria's launch for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 this week, indie studio Neuron Vexx announced that its Terraria-like sandbox adventure game Dinora is on its way to the Xbox Live Indie Games service next month.

Though Dinora shares many similarities with Terraria as far as presentation and gameplay mechanics are concerned, the game offers a number of unique features focused on character development. Players will forge relationships with AI-controlled characters, and in between mining and crafting sessions, you can build a village in which its inhabitants will age, marry, and have children.

"I wanted to create a world that players could form a connection with, something I felt could be achieved by adding depth to character relations," creator Zac Wootton notes. "By giving players options like marriage and children I hope to get them to think of characters as more than just resources. If I can get you worrying that your kid might be infected by a werewolf, during a full moon, my job is done!"

Dinora will be priced at 80 Microsoft points ($1) when it launches in April.

Slender With Friends: Milkstone's White Noise Online Updates with New Content

March 23, 2013 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Milkstone Studios has issued a sizable content update for its online multiplayer Slender-like White Noise Online for the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

Though White Noise originally launched as a fairly straightforward Slender clone, the separate Online version builds on the formula significantly, offering online cooperative gameplay and multiple playable characters. This week's update adds an entirely new scenario based on a remote island, along with a greater range of difficulty settings and four new characters (for a total of 18).

White Noise Online is priced at 80 Microsoft points ($1).

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