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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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Vlambeer's Luftrausers Launches for PS3, PS Vita This Spring

March 23, 2013 12:30 AM | Danny Cowan

Super Crate Box creator Vlambeer, in a partnership with Hotline Miami publisher Devolver Digital, will publish the slick-looking aerial combat game Luftrausers for the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita this spring via the PlayStation Network.

"Thanks the team at Devolver Digital and the people we've been working with at Sony, we've been able to get right to what matters most: making a fun game about airplanes for people to enjoy on their PlayStation devices," Vlambeer's Rami Ismail notes. "So instead of worrying about that sort of thing, we've been working hard to balance the game so you're always in the heat of battle, we've been adding more impossible missions and most importantly, we've been making the plane crashes more satisfying."

Luftrausers will also be released for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

What happened to PlayStation Mobile?

March 22, 2013 6:04 PM | Staff

ps mobile small.jpgWhen PlayStation Mobile launched late last year, I truly had high hopes for the platform. Six months on, and it seems like my optimism may have been misguided.

The PS Mobile platform allows indie developers to sell their games via the PlayStation Store with relative ease. Once a studio or individual has registered and paid $99 per year for a publisher license, they can then release as many games as they want, as long as they keep to the relatively lax service guidelines.

It's without a doubt one of the easiest avenue for indie developers to launch a game on a "proper" video game console alongside Microsoft's own Xbox Live Indie Games, and those studios involved in the launch back in October were also pretty positive about what the system offered.

I've been covering PS Mobile over on Pocket Gamer since its inception, and each week has seen a new release or two ever since launch. It's been but a trickle, sure, but for a new platform it's been a great start. The coverage for PS Mobile on the official PlayStation blog has been great too, with each new title getting its own "Spotlight" post, and every new release rounded up in the weekly releases lists.

That was up until mid-January anyway. All of a sudden the regular posts about PS Mobile games on the PS Blog stopped, and PS Mobile was no longer mentioned in the weekly roundups. In fact, the only way to find out which new games had been added to the PS Mobile store was to boot your PS Vita up and hit the "Recent" tab.

Gameplay Trailer: Sanctum 2 (Coffee Stain)

March 22, 2013 2:07 PM | John Polson

A year after Coffee Stain Studios announced Sanctum 2 for PC, XBLA, and PSN, the team has finally begun to leak footage of the FPS and tower defense hybrid. Due to release in 2013, Sanctum 2 will offer new towers, more story with an in-game graphic novel, an expanded Survival Mode, aggressive enemies that will now attack the player and the core, co-op with up to 4 players, and a single or multiplayer campaign.

Those looking for more Sanctum 2 can check out the previously released (but new to the blog) teaser trailer after the jump.

Unity comes to PS4, Vita, PlayStation Mobile

March 22, 2013 3:00 AM | Staff

unity.jpgPopular indie game development environment Unity is coming to all of Sony's PlayStation platforms.

Unity already supports PlayStation 3, but new versions currently in the early stages of development will support the PlayStation 4, the Vita, PlayStation Mobile, and Sony's upcoming cloud gaming service as well.

While Unity will be present at GDC next week, it says that work on these platforms is too early to show off, though a release is expected this year.

More on the Unity Blog.

[Frank Cifaldi wrote this newsbrief originally for sister site Gamasutra]

Trailer: Penny Arcade's Rain-Slick 4 (Zeboyd Games)

March 21, 2013 11:50 PM | Danny Cowan

In advance of a public appearance at PAX East this weekend, Cthulhu Saves the World developer Zeboyd Games has released a teaser trailer for its upcoming retro-styled RPG Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4.

Much has changed for the newest chapter in the series. The world, as players knew it, has been destroyed, and the game's cast must now battle through the Underhell in search of their teammates. Zeboyd notes that Rain-Slick 4 "expands considerably on its predecessor in size, scope and gameplay," and offers a new monster-recruiting mechanic during battle sequences.

On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4 is set for release this year for Windows and for the Xbox 360 via the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

Your indie guide to IGF 2013: a GDC primer

March 21, 2013 6:23 PM | John Polson

igf pavilion async 2012.jpgThe week-long 2013 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco's Moscone Center, which hosts both the Independent Games Festival and related Summit, begins Monday, March 25, and we're listing a thorough indie to-do list, highlighting some of the can't miss indie-related events happening every day.

The week begins with the two-day Indie Games Summit (Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26), which is packed with sessions on some of the latest and greatest titles released. Attendees will want to build their own GDC schedule to avoid missing any of these talks.

Postmortems of several hit indie games will include the fake-science puzzler SpaceChem, spacecraft crew sim and RTS FTL: Faster Than Light, the stealth-redefining action game Mark of the Ninja, and the reverse shmup and rhythm hybrid Retro/Grade.

Other notable lectures include crowdfunding tips for indies, designing the mystery behind the episodic Kentucky Route Zero, and the game idea-spawning Twitter account PeterMolydeux and its corresponding Molyjam.

Finally, the ever-popular Indie Soapbox session returns, allowing several devs 5 minutes to rant about indie game development. The lineup includes: Renaud Bedard (FEZ), Bennett Foddy (QWOP), Chris Hecker (SpyParty), Rami Ismail (Super Crate Box), Noel Llopis (Casey's Contraptions), Tim Rogers (Ziggurat), David Rosen (Lugaru), Emily Short (Galatea), Rich Vreeland (FEZ OST), and Matthew Wegner (Aztez).

Indie Game Developer Quality-of-Life Survey Results

March 21, 2013 12:55 PM | Staff


[Sister site Gamasutra polled approximately 1,000 developers at the end of 2012 on their quality-of-life. While the site normally performs a yearly Salary Survey every April to check the pulse of developers' financial health, it thought to supplement that with a quality-of-life survey to see how you're doing in ways not measured by dollars and cents.]

With so many experienced developers deciding to start their own studios after one too many layoff cycles, we thought we'd ask: How are the indies doing?

Indie devs have half the market success rate of other devs. 34% of indies (both individual developers and small independent studios) have successful projects, compared to 70% for publisher-owned studios and 65% for first-party studios.

Indies are far more likely to work less than full-time. 28% of small indies work less than 40 hours per week, compared to 6% of first-party devs, 10% for publisher-owned devs, and 15% for established indies.

Small indies are having the best of times and the worst of times. On one hand, small indie developers are far more likely to be able to work from home (81%, followed by 56% from first-party devs), they're the most confident in their current project's quality (36% of "very confident" responses were from small indies, followed by 30% from first-party devs), and they report that their job has the least negative impact and greatest positive impacts on their family and social life than any other dev studio type.

Team Meat's Refenes: Apathy and refunds are more dangerous than piracy

March 20, 2013 11:50 AM | Staff

tommy refenes sm.jpgBy Tommy Refenes

I think I can safely say that Super Meat Boy has been pirated at least 200,000 times. We are closing in on 2 million sales and assuming a 10% piracy to sales ratio does not seem unreasonable. As a forward thinking developer who exists in the present, I realize and accept that a pirated copy of a digital game does not equate to money being taken out of my pocket. Team Meat shows no loss in our year end totals due to piracy and neither should any other developer.

For the sake of argument, some of those people that did pirate Super Meat Boy could have bought the game if piracy didn't exist but there is no actual way to calculate that lost revenue. It is impossible to know with certainty the intentions of people. With the SimCity fiasco and several companies trying to find new ways to combat piracy and stating piracy has negatively affected their bottom line I wonder if they've taken the time to accurately try to determine what their losses are due to piracy.

My first job outside my parents cabinet shop was at KMart. KMart, like countless other retailers, calculates loss by counting purchased inventory and matching it to sales. Loss is always built into the budget because it is inevitable. Loss could come from items breaking, being stolen, or being defective. If someone broke a light bulb, that was a calculable loss. If someone returned a blender for being defective, it wasn't a loss to KMart, but a calculable loss to the manufacturer. If someone steals a copy of BattleToads, it's a loss to KMart.

Battleblock Theater Launches April 3rd

March 19, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

The Behemoth announced that its Castle Crashers follow-up BattleBlock Theater will launch for Xbox Live Arcade on April 3rd.

The Behemoth recently wrapped up a public beta for BattleBlock Theater, and player reactions have been positive. The developer recently put together a compilation video showcasing levels created by beta testers -- even prior to the game's public launch, players were able to assemble a wide variety of side-scrolling challenges, and you can expect to see more ridiculous creations when the full version launches next month.

BattleBlock Theater will be priced at 1,200 Microsoft points ($15).

Bastion dev's next game is sci-fi action RPG Transistor, playable at PAX East 2013

March 19, 2013 12:55 PM | John Polson

Bastion developer Supergiant Games has announced its next game, a sci-fi themed action RPG named Transistor, will be playable at PAX East 2013 this weekend. The developers promise that it will be fast-paced and have Supergiant's "signature melding of responsive gameplay and rich atmospheric storytelling."

Supergiant's blog also describes Transistor's premise: "players will assume the role of a young woman who gains control of a powerful weapon after a mysterious group of assailants nearly kills her with it. Now she must fight from street to street against forces that will stop at nothing to recover the weapon. During the course of the adventure, players will piece together the Transistor's mysteries as they pursue its former owners."

Transistor is due in early 2014, with platforms to be announced. Bastion eventually released on mobile, console, and desktop, so theoretically, the dystopian sky's the limit for Transistor.

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