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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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Student Developers Launch Music Island For Xbox Live Indie Games

March 20, 2012 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Student-led indie studio Thunderfish Entertainment has released Music Island, its debut effort for the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

In Music Island, players fend off invading wildlife by holding a direction on the thumb stick and pressing buttons to the beat of a background music track. Certain animals require specific button presses to defeat, and the music can change up unexpectedly during each stage, creating new challenges.

I liked what I played of the trial version -- the mechanics are solid, and the tones created with each button press mesh well with the background music. Fun stuff! Music Island is priced at 240 Microsoft points ($3).

Indie Connect 2012 Confirmations, Last Call for Most Amazing Game

March 20, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

amaze indie connect.jpgThe international indie game festival A MAZE. Indie Connect 2012 has confirmed a list of speakers and exhibits and has put a last call out for independent developers to submit their Most Amazing Game. Once submitted, games will be reviewed by an international jury. Those selected as finalists will be available to play at the A MAZE. Indie Connect, which runs April 26 and 27, and will compete for a 5000€ prize.

The submission fee is 45€. The rules state that those who are "14 years or older at April 26th 2012" can apply. Games can be on any platform but must have at least one playable, completed level. The five games with the highest nominations from all jury members will constitute the finalists.

The event itself will have a key note speech by Jonatan Söderström/Cactusquid. Click through to see all the guests lined up so far.

New Derrick the Deathfin Screens: Africa

March 20, 2012 4:00 AM | Lewie Procter

EastAfrica2.jpg Derrick the Deathfin developer, Different Tuna, have just sent us some new screenshots of their upcoming papercraft styled underwater adventure, showing off their origami vision of the coast of East and South Africa.

Click here to see the second one of East Africa, and here & here for the South African ones.

I had a quick hands on with this at GDC, and it's a lovely little game. The art style is just adorable, controls are pretty tight, and it feels great when you pull off a well executed jump our of the sea.

Derrick the Deathfin is coming out on PSN later this year, head to the game's website for more info.

How freelancing on the side let Auditorium dev Cipher Prime follow a dream

March 19, 2012 8:00 AM | John Polson

cipher prime auditorium duet.jpg[Written by Mike Rose on Gamasutra]

Philadelphia-based developer Cipher Prime is an indie games studio with a clear-cut vision. The team has a set focus on games that explore the link between music and interactivity, with a wealthy back catalog of successful experiments in the field.

But the fun that the studio has had developing its games, Auditorium, Fractal and Pulse hasn't always been easy-going, as development has been very touch-and-go over the years, co-founder and creative director Will Stallwood tells Gamasutra.

"The first year was extremely rough and scary," he admits. "We started out in my apartment and moved into a very tiny office a few months in."

"A great deal of our success was based on constant freelance work as well as donations. The donations were hefty, but they certainly didn't pay for much. In fact, the donations only covered a small portion of development."

In the beginning, the team was forced to work a grueling 15 hours a day, 7 days a week -- 9 hours a day spent on freelance projects, and an extra 6 hours on its first game Auditorium. This went on for 8 months straight, and was "an uphill battle," says Stallwood.

Stallwood's advice to indie developers starting up as full-time is that you should have around $20,000 stored away -- but even that probably won't be enough to keep you going unless you take on freelance work too, as Cipher Prime did.

"Your best bet is to take on part-time work at something you're proficient at while you work on your game," he explains. "That first game can easily be the hardest. There are many ways to do it, but you're going to need an alternative income in the long run."

Closure Headed to PSN in March; PC, Mac, and Steam Possible

March 16, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson


Recipients of the $100,000 Grand Prize at the 2012 Indie Games Challenge, the three-man team at Eyebrow Interactive just announced important release date information regarding their puzzle-platformer. Closure will release in North America via the PlayStation Store on March 27 as part of the Spring Fever promotion and will cost $14.99 (and 20% off for PS+ Subscribers).

Closure operates on a rather clever premise: if you can't see it, it doesn't exist. Players have to shine some source of light to uncover hidden platforms, doors, and puzzle pieces to traverse through almost 100 levels.

I occupied the same couch space as developer Tyler Glaiel at Sony's both at GDC 2012, playing about a dozen levels before I realized I was hogging the controller. We sat mostly silently; I couldn't tell if he was trying to ignore my failing skills while whacking away at his smartphone (GDC is super busy) or if he wanted me to experience the game as untainted as I could.

In the end, I appreciated the fact that I didn't need his help to progress. The puzzles took thought, but everything worked. Closure didn't seem to be entirely linear, either. When I saw the game had larger world-like maps, I wanted to explore even more. Luckily, I will be able to do so in a couple weeks at home.

Glaiel has suggested to fans via YouTube and Reddit that Closure will be out on Mac, PC, and Steam later this year. When I followed up with Glaiel in email he said that the non-North American PSN releases are a higher priority for the team to work on right now. "PC and Mac release later in the year is still TBD, (we'll probably do DRM-free if we can)."

I hope console and computer owners will get to experience this, especially since Closure began as a popular browser title.

Hermitgames Announce qrth-phyl

March 16, 2012 1:00 PM | Lewie Procter

qp1.jpg Your guess is as good as mine to how that's supposed to be pronounced. This was announced a little while back, but I didn't notice it until today. Sloppy, I know, but I did managed to secure a pair of exclusive screenshots, so I'm not a total amateur.

Qrth-phyl comes from Hermitgames, purveyor of wierdo neon procedurally driven arcade games, like the brilliant Leave Home. It looks like snake in 3D, but I suspect there's plenty more to it than that.

It's coming to the Xbox 360 and PC, and due out "in a month or so". More details and screens over here.

Retro Arcade Adventure Hits Xbox Live Indie Games

March 16, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Developer SIACTRO's debut title Retro Arcade Adventure is now available for purchase from the Xbox Live Indie Games service, and it's looking mighty fine.

Retro Arcade Adventure is an arena-styled action game in which players fend off enemies with screen-wide sword swipes and the occasional dragon transformation. The game is filled to capacity with bright, chunky pixels, and there's a humorous bent to the writing -- one of the screenshots has a quote from one of the CD-i Zelda games in it, which is always appreciated.

Retro Arcade Adventure is priced at 80 Microsoft points ($1).

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

March 16, 2012 3:00 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 Quantic Dream, Robot Entertainment, Tencent Boston, 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:

Robot Entertainment: Game Programmer:
"Robot Entertainment is a world-class independent game development studio owned and operated by many of the founders of Ensemble Studios. With a team that has proven experience and expertise in creating games that appeal to massive audiences, Robot Entertainment is focused on titles that set new standards for their respective genres as well as groundbreaking original IPs."

EA DICE: Producer - Mobile:
"DICE (EA Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment), the award-winning developer based in Stockholm, Sweden, is best known for creating the phenomenally successful Battlefield franchise with the widely acclaimed Battlefield 3 being the latest installment. DICE is also home of the Frostbite Engine and creators of Mirror's Edge and Medal of Honor multiplayer experience.""

Best of IGF returns to Melbourne's ACMI

March 16, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson

aman IGF.jpgMelbourne's Australian Centre for the Moving Image will present the "Best of the Independent Games Festival 2012" exhibition, featuring winners, finalists, and honorable mentions from this year's IGF competition.

Opening on March 27 (the day after its ongoing Best of IGF 2011 exhibition ends) and running until July 8, this annual curated installment invites attendees to play independently-developed games previously featured at San Francisco's IGF event, held by Gamasutra parent UBM TechWeb Game Network. Several of the titles, which visitors can play for free, have not yet released to the public.

The showcase will display 14 games from local and international developers, including IGF's Seumas McNally Grand Prize winner Fez (XBLA) from Polytron, Excellence in Design winner Spelunky (XBLA) from Mossmouth, and Excellence in Visual Art honorable mention Dustforce (Windows) by Australian developer Hitbox Team.

Other games set to be featured at ACMI include PC titles like Amanita's Botanicula (Excellence in Audio winner, pictured), Thechineseroom's Dear Esther (Visual Art winner), and Mode 7's Frozen Synapse (Audience Award winner).

Joost van Dongen's Proun (Visual Art honorable mention), Firebird Games' To The Moon (Audio finalist), State of Play's Lume (Visual art finalist), and Ed Key's Proteus (Audio honorable mention) will be exhibited there, too.

iOS games that will be on display include Powerhead Games' Async Corp (Best Mobile Game finalist), Simogo Games' Beat Sneak Bandit (Best Mobile Game winner), Game Oven Studios' Fingle (Nuovo Award finalist), and Imangi Studio's Temple Run (Best Mobile Game honorable mention).

More information on the event will be made available at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image's official site.

[This article appeared on Gamasutra originally, written by Eric Caoili.]

'Molydeux' Twitter parody inspires new indie game jam

March 15, 2012 6:00 AM | John Polson

molydeux.jpgA newsbrief originally posted on Gamasutra by Tom Curtis:

While ex-Lionhead lead Peter Molyneux is well known throughout the industry for his lofty design ideas, a parody Twitter account dubbed "@petermolydeux" has taken his reputation one step further, paying homage to the Populous and Fable creator with bizarre, silly, and thought provoking game pitches.

Now, that parody account has become the source of inspiration for a new indie game jam, in which participants will design and build a game based on one of "Molydeux's" eccentric concepts.

Double Fine programmer Anna Kipnis recently pitched the idea on Twitter, and the game jam has already amassed an impressive following, with more than 85 attendees on the event's sign-up list.

The jam is open to the public, and is scheduled to take place in or around the San Francisco Bay Area, starting the evening of March 30 and running until April 1.

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