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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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Gameplay Videos: Vessel (Strange Loop Games)

January 20, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson


Strange Loop Games' first release, the physics puzzle platformer Vessel, has finally been dated; it will be available on March 1 for $14.99 via Steam and the developer's official site. Vessel has been pushed back to "TBA" status for XBLA and PSN.

We've already learned about the different liquids that will be manipulated to solve puzzles. Now, in the above video, we learn about the Fluros. They also require different liquid; with it, they grow to be crazy-looking, animated creatures that have unique abilities to operate machines. This is conjecture, but I hope Earth or we humans don't end up being the vessels for these automatons!

Vessel didn't quite make its 2011 release date, but it has received some polish since last covered. However, that polish wasn't simply visual aesthetics. Shares Strange Loop Games co-founder John Krajewski, "With Vessel, we wanted to push the boundaries of how hardware power is used in games. Typically, hardware power put towards graphics and physics is only an aesthetic addition. In Vessel, the foundation of the gameplay and puzzles is based in liquid simulation."

For an in-depth developer discussion of Vessel with gameplay, check out the video after the jump.

Indie Game Challenge 2012 Finalists Revealed

January 20, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson

indie game challenge.jpgThe organizers of the third annual Indie Game Challenge have revealed the 10 finalists for this year's competition, with winners scheduled to be announced February 10 at the 2012 D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas.

The competition, hosted by the Academy of Interactive Sciences, The Guildhall at SMU, and GameStop, will offer
technical, art, and gameplay awards for $2,500 each, along with a $100,000 grand prize award.

This year's nominees for the 2012 Indie Game Challenge are as follows:

- Blendo Games - Atom Zombie Smasher
- Eyebrow Interactive - Closure
- Zeroscale - Demolition, Inc.
- Team Nitronic - Nitronic Rush
- Paradox Shift - Paradox Shift
- Empty Clip Studios, Inc. - Symphony
- Ty Taylor and Mario Castaneda - The Bridge
- Team Dream - The Dream Machine
- The Fourth Team - The Fourth Wall
- Facepalm Games - The Swapper

Gamers can visit the official site and vote for their favorite choice, too.

Indie Game Links: Villains and Trends

January 19, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

girp bird.jpg Today's collection of independent game links includes news, interviews, and developer announcements from around the 'net. (image source)

Project Stormos: And the Top Video Game Villain of 2011 is...
"There is one exception that I found where an annoying element can actually elevate a game's design. Comedy. The best way that I can wholeheartedly accept an annoying element is if its purposeful and hilarious. Easily the best example of this I've seen recently is in GIRP and some other games on foddy.net."

Venture Beat: Trip the light fantastic in indie video game Waveform
"Impressed by the minimalism of indie games Auditorium and Art Style: Orbient, Vandendyck says he came up with the idea for Waveform while doodling in a notebook and created a prototype in about three evenings after work."

Quote Unquote: The Last and Final Word: Kenta Cho
"Currently I have 3 concepts for new games. One is a shmup, while the other two are other genres. I'd like to implement these as soon as possible but it may take a while before I can release them."

Siliconera: Shifting World, Aksys' Black And White Puzzle Platformer, Is Coming In April
"The Flash game [Shift] has been redesigned with a new art style and puzzles where you switch between 2D and 3D... Shifting World will be released as a $29.99 retail game on April 24, an Aksys representative shared with Siliconera."

The Indie Game Magazine: 'Alien Jelly' Review: Brain Wobbling Brilliance
"Alien Jelly is a 3D logic puzzle game that takes place in the large vacuum of space where the Earth used to be. You play as up to 4 coloured blocks of...well, alien jelly."

Eurogamer: Trends of 2012: Indie Games
"And the PC will continue being what it always has been and people will continue to deny that it's somewhere that isn't just a piracy riddled filthland and everyone else will continue shouting at those who say that because it's a stupid thing to say and every week hundreds of games will fall onto it that pretty much covers the 'there'll be something for everyone somewhere on the PC' and we can all sit back and have fun and lots of people will play good games on it and lots of people will make lots of money on it and lots of people who don't care about making money will make games on it and huzzah and yay. And Steam sales."

Lootfest: Live Design Out Now For XBLIG

January 18, 2012 10:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Xbox Live Indie Games developer Gamefarm has released Lootfest: Live Design, a creation-focused expansion for its 3D Dot Game Heroes-inspired adventure game Lootfest.

Live Design includes a robust series of tools that allow players to terraform, design structures, and populate an action-RPG game world. Once a world is built, players can fend off zombie hordes in a dedicated gameplay mode, and can construct tracks for radio-controlled car races over Xbox Live.

Lootfest: Live Design is available for 240 Microsoft points ($3).

Indie Game Links: Treasure GET!

January 18, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

Treasure.jpgToday's collection of independent game links includes news, interviews, and developer announcements from around the 'net. (image source)

DIY Gamer: Jonathan Blow on The Witness, Teamwork, and Tai Chi [Interview]
"I think this is a difference that a lot of the more successful indie games have with the ones that languish and you only hear about on tigsource or whatever. With the really successful ones, usually they didn't just ship the first thing they got together that was playable."

Rock, Paper Shotgun: IGF Factor 2012: Antichamber
"I feel that although the number of people making games has steadily increased, the number of people making those games that really smash things out of the park has stayed about the same as it's always been. I'm talking about the games that took real risks, and were polished to perfection. I'm tired of alphas and unfinished games."

Andy Moore: Puzzlejuice review
"I find myself constantly juggling between Tetris skill-set and my Boggle skill-set... But my Tetris skills are old and rusty, and my Boggle skills are not accustomed to this speed of processing and level of perpetual distraction."

Extra Guy: Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet Likely PC Bound
"An ESRB rating for the game has gone up...While not official confirmation, the Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet Twitter feed has tweeted this article with a winky-face at the end."

Joystiq: Q.U.B.E. being prototyped for iOS, Mac and OnLive versions on the way
"We're currently prototyping an iOS version, and a Mac version has been in the works for two months now."

The Indie Game Magazine: Think Outside the Box in Yamada Box Legend
"Each environment and new box you jump into contains a surprise in both content and surreality. One of the puzzles actually involves playing a Game Boy inside the game."

Polytron Corporation: What is FEZ?
"There are no enemies in FEZ. No bosses, no combat. In fact, no conflict of any kind. You can die, but there is no penalty for doing so. FEZ aims to create a non-threatening world rich with ambiance, a pleasant place to spend time in."

XBLIG Trailer: Snops Attack! (Snops Games)

January 17, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

Snops Attack! looks to be one of the furriest, brightest, and undead-est shmups on XBLIG this year. The game has an all-animal cast, a pig buddy weapon system, and one of the most colorful bombs I've ever seen.

Snops Attack! developer Mike W. says he aims to pay homage to all the shmups he's played over the years. However, "since the game features a zombie theme, I am trying to have tons of enemy zombies attack in massive waves, more so than most shmups... It should be easy to get 10,000 Hit Chains during the levels, as I don't want to have any downtime."

Mike also describes an interesting "Edge of Death" mode in Snops Attack!. On those game types with shields, the player will have an overall score multiplier of x2 if the player scores while having only one shield left. This affects all scoring (including chains/combos) and is added after all other multipliers are applied. On the Expert difficulty level, the "Edge of Death" mode is permanently on.

Snops is aiming for peer review in February. Snops Attack! will be on XBLIG first, with a possible PC port following.

Indie Game Links: Weekend Edition

January 14, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

swift switch.pngToday's collection of independent game links includes news, interviews, and developer announcements from around the 'net. (image source)

TIGSource: Swift Stitch
"The slick mathematical aesthetic, the palette of black, white, and bright flickering neons, and the bare-minimum control method may seem otherworldly amongst today's fare. On deeper examination however, you may discover that Swift Stitch is a game firmly rooted in the present, taking a unique approach in addressing several modern game design paradigms."

DIY Gamer: 16-Bit Killer - RetroBlazer Demo Offers 2.5d FPS Nostlagia With A Twist
"Early 2.5d FPS gameplay (Wolfenstein, Rise of The Triad, etc) with an aesthetic very heavily inspired by the MegaMan X series, and running on the Darkplaces engine, a very powerful modern variant of the software behind Quake."

Over00: From indies to indies: James Niesewand from Illyriad
"Writing the game isn't the problem - making it compelling and monetised is the harder task. And it seems to me that if you get the "compulsion" right (with a sensible, non-fleecing monetisation strategy), then the game will market itself via the legions of happy and satisfied players."

Joystiq: Competing in the indie world is fun and games for IGF entrant Zarzecki
"He was a one-man team and had absolutely no budget, so Zarzecki could see how, out of the 300 games submitted to the IGF student competition, he may have been out-performed."

Indie Game Mag: Hostile Takeover - When Project Zomboid Met Hitman
"If you were to take the Hitman games, make them isometric and then add in the attention to detail and realism that Project Zomboid boasts, you would have Hostile Takeover. You play as an assassin who is often assigned to takedown CEOs and shoot up entire offices in a near-future world in which corporations literally go to war with each other."

Joystiq: Mojang working on three new games, two of which will be announced before Q3
"Notch is now free to focus on his new project that, according to Mojang CEO Carl Manneh, is still a complete mystery."

DIY Gamer: Battle Out Of Hell: Party Of Sin
"It's a co-op title for up to four players and is being marketed as a platform-puzzler. Weaponry and magic is available, teamwork is encouraged and multiple methods of overcoming obstacles are said to be the norm."

Round-Up: Gamasutra network jobs, week of January 13

January 13, 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 PopCap, Wooga, Adbesive Games 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:

Adhesive Games: Unreal FX Artist:
"Adhesive Games is a new, rapidly growing game studio with locations in Alhambra, CA and Seattle, WA."

Wooga: UI & Graphics Pro for Mobile Games:
"Wooga is a leading European social games developer, based in Berlin. With currently over 7 mn DAU wooga has - in just a few months - become the third largest game developer on Facebook! With colleagues from over 25 nations we are truly international. All work is done in English, our games are built for the world to enjoy!"

Trailer: Retro Arcade Adventure (XBLIG, PC)

January 13, 2012 10:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Marcus Horn of developer SIACTRO has released a new trailer for Retro Arcade Adventure, an upcoming arena-styled action title for Xbox Live Indie Games and PC platforms.

Retro Arcade Adventure revels in its 8-bit aesthetic, putting players in control of pixelated heroes who wield oversized, absurdly destructive melee weaponry. As fellow IG editor John Polson notes, the sweeping sword effect recalls From Software's 3D Dot Game Heroes -- cutting massive swaths through the game's hordes of enemies seems quite satisfying.

The XBLIG version of Retro Arcade Adventure will be available soon. A PC version is set to launch later this year.

Indie Game Links: Unexpected Learning

January 12, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

dog1.pngToday's collection of independent game links includes news, interviews, and developer announcements from around the 'net. (image source)

Shank 2: The Official Blog: An Unexpected Learning
"Immediately, we saw a huge improvement: players were much less likely to simply mash their way into a fight, and started experimenting with different moves and strategies. We would never have figured this out just by thinking and theorizing about the problem."

Randomnine: DOG [Cardinal Quest 2]
"Yup. I have added a dog to this game. It has created an EMOTIONAL CONNECTION. I am now Peter Molyneux."

IndieWire: Meet the 2012 Sundance Filmmakers #26: Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, 'Indie Game: The Movie' "The film is about what it's like to create in a digital age. What it's like [to] create under the Internet microscope. How [it] feels [to] put yourself out there and expose yourself to the real-time social media feedback."

True PC Gaming: Dustforce Preview: Sublime Housekeeping
"The beautiful thing at work in this game is the balanced level of challenge that Super Meat Boy simply did not have; players are eased into the trials of the game in a challenging, yet comfortable learning curve."

DIY Gamer: Osmos Hits Android on Tuesday
"Hemisphere Games passes along word that their award-winning ambient title Osmos will arrive on the Android Market on Tuesday, January 17th for $4.99."

Armless Octopus: The Top 10 Xbox Live Indie Games of 2011
"You won't find any spurious Minecraft rip-offs or something that is impressive merely because it's like some other game, only not nearly as cool. This list represents everything that is distinctive about Xbox Live Indie games."

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