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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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IGF Audience Award Voting Ends Soon

February 16, 2012 11:38 PM | John Polson

IGF2012.jpgThe deadline for public voting on the Independent Games Festival's Audience Award ends February 19. All members of the public and the indie game community are eligible to vote, so cast your vote today!

As we've done in prior years, we're allowing voting for any game chosen as a finalist in the festival, as opposed to just those with public PC demos. This is because many of the titles have been playable at other indie game events - or have Beta and other OS versions that many indie game fans may have checked out.

To be part of this year's vote, simply visit the IGF Audience Award page and download any of the games or demos that are currently publicly available (each has been marked whether there's a version for you to purchase or otherwise download). When you've made up your mind, return to vote for your favorite.

After voting and inputting your email address, you'll need to verify your vote by clicking on a link sent to that email. Voting remains open until Sunday, February 19th at midnight PST -- go check it out now and start making your way through the games!

Thatgamecompany's Journey Premieres March 13th, Priced At $15

February 16, 2012 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

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Thatgamecompany creative director Jenova Chen revealed today that the studio's latest project, Journey, will launch as a downloadable PlayStation Network title on March 13th for $14.99.

Following up on the developer's previous PlayStation 3 releases flOw and Flower, Journey is "an interactive parable, an anonymous online adventure to experience a person's life passage and their intersections with other's." Players explore an expansive desert world either alone or with a stranger met during the trek, with gameplay focusing more on discovery and introspection than the eventual goal of reaching a faraway mountaintop.

Journey will debut in Europe on March 14th.

Out Now: Warp (Trapdoor Inc.)

February 16, 2012 2:00 PM | Lewie Procter



Laboratory based mischievous stealth 'em up Warp is out now. In Warp you take control of Zero, a kidnapped alien trying to escape from an underwater research facility. Using a range of powers like possession, creating echo decoy versions yourself, and indeed warping, you have to escape, and solve a load of puzzles on the way. Looks rather fun, says I.

Warp is available now on the Xbox 360 via XBLA, and will be coming to PSN on the 13th of March, and PC via Origin and Steam on the 16th of March.

[I had originally reported that it was only due for an Origin release, but Trapdoor have confirmed that it will be coming to Steam too]

Toy Stunt Bike Sequel Out Now For Xbox Live Indie Games

February 15, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

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Raoghard has released a sequel to its top-selling Xbox Live Indie Games title Toy Stunt Bike, adding dozens of new levels and a variety of community-oriented features.

Inspired by RedLynx's Trials series, the Toy Stunt Bike games challenge Xbox Avatar characters to race through a series of miniature motocross courses littered with common household items. The sequel adds a split-screen multiplayer mode, along with a level editor that allows players to create, race, and share custom tracks with other Xbox Live Gold members

Toy Stunt Bike 2 is priced at 80 Microsoft points ($1).

Oozi: Earth Adventure Episode 3 Launches For XBLIG

February 14, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

The third chapter in Awesome Games Studio's episodic platformer series Oozi: Earth Adventure has been released, and is now available for download via Microsoft's Xbox Live Indie Games service.

The stakes are higher in the latest episode, as Oozi finds himself in a trap-filled laboratory that brings to mind Twisted Pixel's 'Splosion Man. Players will need to get the most out of Oozi's abilities throughout multiple difficult levels. The game features the series' usual high production values, along with a variety of unique and challenging enemy types.

Each chapter in the Oozi: Earth Adventure franchise is priced at 80 Microsoft points ($1). Awesome Games Studio expects to release the series' final episode by the end of April.

Announced: Derrick the Deathfin (Different Tuna)

February 13, 2012 8:00 PM | Lewie Procter

derrickscreen21309.jpg A new UK Indie super-group has arisen. Different Tuna is what you get when you mash Different Cloth (Lilt Line) together with Tuna (Cletus Clay), along with artist Ronzo, and financial backing from Channel 4 and Screen Yorkshire. Derrick the Deathfin for PSN is the game they're working on now, and they've just unveiled it over at Joystiq. Go take a look.

It's a delightful looking paper-craft undersea adventure. Developer Gordon Midwood describes it as "the illegitimate lovechild of Sonic the Hedgehog and Ecco the Dolphin", which sounds pretty spot on to me looking at the trailer.

They're going to be self publishing Derrick the Deathfin on PSN, although haven't ruled out any other platforms yet. I'm hoping to get my grubby mitts on it at GDC next month. More details, screenshots and video over at Joystiq.

PSN developer Drinkbox Studios on porting code to 'mini-PS3' quality Vita hardware

February 13, 2012 5:00 PM | John Polson

DrinkBox Logo (high-res).JPGPSN developers will have a leg-up when porting existing code and assets to the PlayStation Vita, shares Chris Harvey of Drinkbox Studios. He further suggests that current generation devs won't have to sacrifice much to get their game up and running, describing the Vita as a "mini-PS3."

Harvey's team is currently working on Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack!!!, one of 25 titles scheduled for the Vita's North American launch. This is far from the team's first console effort, having been certified to develop across leading gaming platforms and having worked for studios such as Vicarious Visions and Electronic Arts. Drinkbox last year went solo with its PSN release of About A Blob, with the help of Sony's Pub Fund. The team's Mutant Blobs Attack follow up, however, is without Pub Fund assistance.

In the following interview, Harvey shares Drinkbox's experience with porting onto the Vita, its development as compared to other platforms, and the benefits found in using the Vita GPU's Tile Based Deferred Rendering (TBDR). Harvey also shares what he thinks could make more successful North American and European launches.

PS Vita has a lot of user input possibilities. What can you share about integrating these with your game?

Our main objective with the inputs has been to find control updates and additions that enhance core gameplay. Our general process for experimentation has been:

Step 1 - Brainstorm control change ideas, implement draft versions of our favorite ideas.
Step 2 - Watch people try the game once control changes have gone in. Think about the results, go back to Step 1.

Mutant Blobs Attack still plays like a platformer, with thumbstick-and-button-based core movement controls, but we've been finding that touch controls in particular can be worked into the gameplay in pretty interesting ways. We're also still experimenting.

You've ported onto many different platforms. How do other platforms compare to working on Vita?

Managing shaders and VRAM is similar to the PS3, although simpler. Because the CPU is a symmetric multi-core device, the threading process is similar to the PC or Xbox 360. The basic porting took about 2 weeks. At that point the original game was playable on the device, although it ran too slowly. Since then, we've probably spent another 4-plus weeks on performance. We've had to get a lot more aggressive with how much threading we do, like threading the input-device reading.

Fortunately, these changes have benefited the engine for all the other platforms. The Vita's API hasn't changed too much since we started, and the documentation was been pretty good from the start, so I think the porting process was on the easy side. Keep in mind that our engine had already been ported a couple of times, so we were in a good position to port to Vita. If you haven't ported your engine before, then it might not be quite as easy.

Uberzombie USA: Undead Tower Defense For PC, XBLIG

February 13, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Xsyntax Studio has released its tower defense action-strategy title Uberzombie USA for Windows platforms, with an Xbox Live Indie Games version set to launch soon.

Uberzombie USA's gameplay is divided into phases; during the daytime phase, players can set landmines and fortify their central defenses. When the undead onslaught arrives at night, gameplay transforms into an action-packed twin-stick shooter. The game also features a multiplayer component in which up to four players can team up to fend off the undead armies.

Uberzombie USA is priced at $2.99. A trial version is also available via Desura.

What's That On Your Lip? It's A Virus Named TOM (For Pre-order)

February 13, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson

Misfits Attic has begun pre-orders for its action-puzzler A Virus Named TOM, where purchasers get early beta access. Players use their puzzle skills to rearrange circuits to spread the virus and their twitch action skills to avoid anti-virus drones that seek to stop them.

As another game using the "Humble Store" checkout, A Virus Named TOM's PC beta can be purchased many ways for $5, which is half off the release price. The developer is also doing a Valentine's Day promotion: "Give a virus to the ones you love." If TOM reaches 50 pre-orders by V-Day, each order will receive an additional copy "for a loved one." While the beta is only PC, Misfits Attic is targeting Mac, Linux, Onlive, XBLA, and PSN in the future.

After the jump, check out a quick multiplayer match with other current IGN Open House residents: Cryptic Sea's Alex Austin and Wolfire's "sneaky" David Rosen.

Flip Out for SpikySnail's New Mechanic in The Splatters

February 12, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

After a successful PAX 10 showing, SpikySnail Games had gone missing-in-action for a while. The developers have broken that silence to reveal a new "flip" mechanic to their physics puzzler, The Splatters.

While the flip may look like simple time reversing, it is actually a neat way to redirect or manipulate an object's momentum before the game's physics kick back in. It seems useful for maximizing or honing splatter coverage, which aids in the goal of covering like-colored bombs with goo.

The Splatters (previewed here) was once called Confetti Carnival and was nominated in the 2011 IGF for technical excellence. SpikySnail has been working to deliver The Splatters by Spring on XBLA, but they haven't finalized a release date. The developers have stated that a PC version would come shortly thereafter.

Aside from the flip button being easily accessible, I wonder if touch or mouse controls would be more intuitive for picking the paint balls than the 360 controller. But I'm excited for SpikySnail to enlighten me at GDC 2012.

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