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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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Quarrel Out On XBLA

January 25, 2012 5:00 PM | Lewie Procter



After having wowed mobile gamers on iOS, and impressing BAFTA Scotland enough for them to award it their best game of 2011 award, Denki's linguistic strategy game has made the leap from mobile to console, receiving an XBLA release today.

It has had a rough old road to release on Microsoft's download service, as detailed by Denki MD Colin Anderson over on their blog. It turns out they had a lot of opposition from finance and marketing teams who said that "Gamers don't buy word games".

If you're a gamer who wants to buy a word game, you can do just that for 400 of your Microsoft Points, or why not grab the iOS version for £1.99/$2.99.

Indie Game Links: Voxel Fail, Flirt-Off Win

January 24, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

face.pngToday's collection of independent game links includes news, interviews, and developer blog posts from around the 'net. (image source)

Indie Game Magazine: Castle Story Devs Outline Why Voxels Make Terrible Castles
"You can see how this small design decision makes a big difference in Castle Story and it also goes to prove that while voxels are good for building things, they are awful when placed under more stressed scenarios, i.e. firing a cannon at them."

Quote Unquote: The Last and Final Word: Radstronomical
"I've always been really passionate about games. Some of my earliest memories are of my brothers' Atari, and playing Mixed Up Mother Goose on the IIGS. Most of my relationships are centered around games."

DIY Gamer: City Building With a Puzzle Twist: MegaCity
"Place building tiles on the grid to play the game; but each tile has a different positive or negative effect on its surroundings. Once a column has the required number of points, the game advances, giving you more room to build."

Joystiq Indie Pitch: Defender's Quest
"Instead of generic towers, you have party members. Each one levels up, learns skills, and wields equipment individually. Your "towers" have personality, individualism, customization and persistence between battles."

Indie Game Magazine: Cubemen Enters Alphafunding
"For some reason it has that Frozen Synapse meets Army Men vibe, which is of course not a bad thing. The apparent appeal of the game is its simplicity and fast based gameplay."

The Adrenaline Vault: Top Casual PC Games of 2011
"The wide-ranging ways used to delineate casual games include the following: A low price point, a small or 'indie' development team, and compact code size allowing quick downloads and having low minimum system requirements. "

Junk Jack: iPad work in progress screenshots
"The Junk Jack iPad version is coming along very nicely, here are 2 in-game screenshots to show you the progress we made so far."

XBLIG Parody Shooter 'Game Type' Updated With New Mechanics

January 24, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

120123_gametypeupdate.png

Mommy's Best Games' Xbox 360 dashboard parody / horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up Game Type has received a major update that adds significant depth to the shooter segment's gameplay mechanics.

Previously, the shooter portion of Game Type was a simplistic affair that was overshadowed by the convoluted menu system that preceded it. After the update, however, the shooting mechanics have been overhauled with new features like the Time Pulse meter, which allows players to temporarily slow down time and dodge difficult bullet patterns.

Additionally, the destructive Kick Beam is now powered by cash collected from fallen enemies, and must be used more sparingly than in the game's initial release. To balance out the new limitation, the normal shot is more powerful, and now fires bullets forward, above, and below the player.

Another welcome update: Game Type's shooter segment can now be easily accessed by pushing the Y button after startup. However, this shortcut can only be accessed after Game Type's labyrinthine menu system has been successfully navigated at least once -- a task that's almost as difficult as finding the Indie Games category through the Xbox 360's real dashboard.

Gameplay Video: ibb and obb (Sparpweed)

January 23, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson


A new gameplay trailer for the co-op platformer ibb and obb, which is expected to land on PSN in Q2 this year and later on Steam, surfaced this week. Developer Sparpweed brought some details to my attention in the video, too. The game has orange boundaries that act like springs, which require a strong force to propel the character standing on it. Characters can also traverse the sky by bouncing up on magnificent moon-like objects that burst on impact. While learning this, I was still puzzled by what the little rolling creatures do.

Researching the game's musician, Kettel, I spotted a gameplay clip on his Facebook page. The little creatures that seem to do nothing in the above trailer actually can take out enemies and pass through boundaries, too. Turns out that the lil' guys are named Fins.

I'm still intrigued by ibb and obb, and I hope it catches on, as does the title's correct spelling. Developer Richard Boeser told me the title indeed has no capitals. ibb and obb are named after characters from "The Well of Lost Plots" by Jasper Fforde. The book's characters start out uncapitalized and need to earn their "I" and "O." However, the quest ibb and obb are on is quite simple and doesn't link to the book, explained Boeser. "They'll want to save the world. Though it isn't really their world, and I don't think they realize this at the start of the game. Let's say they're helping the Fins."

Since I had Boeser in email's reach, I asked him about the game's camera. I wondered how often one of the characters would fall off the screen and not respawn. His explanation is after the jump.

Fun Infused Games Releases Hypership Out Of Control Update For XBLIG

January 23, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Bad news: your space-brakes are still out. Good news: it's just a video game, and you're not actually going to die. Whew! Fun Infused Games has released a follow-up to its 2010 Xbox Live Indie Games hit Hypership Out of Control that boasts updated graphics and level layouts.

Hypership Still Out of Control features the same vertically scrolling dodge-'em-up gameplay as its predecessor, though Fun Infused Games notes the update adds "completely redone artwork, new music, a new wave, and nine modified waves." The game offers four unique gameplay modes, each of which supports up to four players.

Hypership Still Out of Control is available for 80 Microsoft points ($1).

Walkthrough Video: Monaco (Pocketwatch Games)

January 22, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson


Pocketwatch Games heeded the call of its Twitter-based Monaco fans and provided the above full level playthrough. Developer Andy Schatz and QA tester-turned-producer and level designer Andy Nguyen (clearly an "Andy" conspiracy) show everyone the Monte Carlo Casino level in all its co-op indie heist glory.

Schatz controls the hacker who can disarm security quickly and can send viruses out into the game world to hack remote devices. Nguyen mans the pickpocket whose monkey gathers loot for him.

While Monaco looks pretty polished, the release is still TBD. As for when Monaco will make its next official public appearance, Schatz stated on Facebook that there won't be a public demo at GDC, but he's always happy to play with people that he runs into. Solution: start an unofficial queue for the game at GDC and demand that Monaco's snazzy shirts are sold at the venue, too.

Indie Game Links: Indie Bundle Debates

January 21, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

sopa.jpg
Today's collection of independent game links includes news, features, and developer blog posts from around the 'net. (image source)

Pixels or Death: Are Indie Bundles Bad for Gaming?
"If retail games represent a dedicated, steady (if not a bit chilly) videogame monogamy, then surely the world of the indie bundle is an orgy of digital promiscuity and fleeting trysts with exciting strangers. The problem is, while I may not condemn this approach, I don't think it's what videogames need right now."

Gamasutra: Persuasive Games: What is a Game Bundle?
"[B]undles are also promotional campaigns in which a temporary reduction in price with a particularly desirable placement results in free marketing with considerable reach -- while also delivering substantial revenue thanks to volume. Bundles are the retail end caps of the indie game supermarket."

Kotaku: Protest Game Super SOPA Bros. Shows a Future Without Any Super [CENSORED] Tributes
Made as part of a protest game jam on rapid development site Ludum Dare, SSB strip out anything recognizable--and thus most of the charm--from World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. I played it for about 10 minutes before I wanted to stop. That's ultimately the point, though."

Die Gute Fabrik: Simulating Simulations
"Reflecting on Mega-GIRP and Robo-QWOP, I would say that both installations thrive off the same comedic device - that of simulating simulations back out into the real world."

Gamasutra: Minecraft: Pocket Edition sells 700K copies
"These numbers bode quite well for the app, especially considering it currently bears a (relatively hefty) price tag of $6.99 on the Android Market."

Joystiq: A Diversity of Roguelikes
"There are three Roguelikes, two released last year, and one in public development, which illustrate the potential of the subgenre in very different fashions: The Binding Of Isaac, Dungeons Of Dredmor, and Desktop Dungeons. Each is well worth examining."

Carbon Games: Porting AirMech to Native Client
"[W]hen Native Client support was made available for the Chrome web browser, we decided to give it a try. This blog post is short description of the process of porting our game to support Native Client."

Get a job: Visceral, Retro, others hiring now on the Gamasutra jobs board

January 20, 2012 11:00 PM | 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 Visceral Games, Retro Studios, Ubisoft Massive, 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:

Ubisoft Massive: Lead Online Programmer (MMO):
"Founded in 1997 and now fully owned by Ubisoft Entertainment, Massive is a premier producer of games and interactive entertainment software for a worldwide market. World in Conflict proved that aiming for excellence pays off, as it met high critical acclaim across the world and received multiple Game of the Year and Editor's Choice Awards. This was one of the reasons Massive was ranked as the 42nd best game studio in the world by Game Developers Research in 2008, making Massive the only Nordic game studio on the list. Massive was also ranked as the 8th best place to work in Sweden and received an award for "Best Integration and Multicultural Work" by the Great Place to Work Institute."

Visceral Games Redwood Shores: Sr. Audio Artist:
"Visceral Games Redwood Shores is the Electronic Arts studio responsible for such next-gen action games as Dead Space, Dead Space 2, Dante's Inferno, as well as past hits like Godfather, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and 007: Everything or Nothing. We have over a decade of experience at delivering a high-intensity action gaming experience. As an EA studio, we have the stability and backing of a large company combined with the agility and fun culture of a small studio and the mandate to make original IP. We have a great campus in sunny Redwood City, 40 minutes south of San Francisco, with on-campus gym, cafeterias, daycare, soccer-field, and more. Here at Visceral, we are focused on creativity, polish, and shipping games that millions love. We are looking for game developers who want to join a AAA-quality studio and make AAA-quality games!"

Xbox Live Arcade by the numbers - the 2011 year in review

January 20, 2012 6:15 PM | John Polson

111231_bastion.jpg[Gamasutra contributor Ryan Langley examines the successes and failures of the past 12 months of Xbox Live Arcade games -- from Bastion to Might & Magic: Clash Of Heroes, checking Leaderboard statistics over the whole of 2011.]

Back in July, we released a list of XBLA Leaderboard statistics for the first half of 2011. Now another six months behind us, it's time to look at what became the biggest sellers on the marketplace throughout 2011.

Please note: Not all of 2011's released games are here. Many had to be skipped due to a lack of information available to us, such as From Dust and Outland, which have no Leaderboard support.

Now with the year complete, we have a full analysis of 175 releases on the platform -- both XBLA games themselves, as well as the downloadable content released alongside them.

Six months of sales

The list below consists of the last six months of new titles being available on the XBLA marketplace, including their Metacritic scores, and the total number of players on any Leaderboards we could follow (which tends to map in some meaningful way to popularity).

Gorgeous New Trials Evolution Footage

January 20, 2012 4:00 PM | Lewie Procter



Trials developer RedLynx have shown off their work in progress follow up to the XBLA mega-hit Trials HD, Trials Evolution, to the folks over at Inside Xbox. Here's what it looks like.

New features for Trials Evolution are beautiful outdoor environments, four player local and online simultaneous racing, hugely revamped level editor and track sharing system, new minigames and a terrifying stone hand that will crush you. I very much approve.

It's running on the same engine as Trials HD, and has the exact same physics and controls, so all those hours embedding how to manoeuvre your bike into your muscle memory won't have been for waste.

No release date yet, but this is definitely one to watch. They've said that Microsoft is 100% behind them, so I guess we won't be seeing this on any platforms other than the Xbox 360 any time soon.
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