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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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Postmortem: Smudged Cat Games' The Adventures Of Shuggy

September 30, 2011 12:00 AM | Tim W.

[In this revealing postmortem of The Adventures of Shuggy, Smudged Cat Games' David Johnston reveals how working with the best of intentions and inspiration can have a bad commercial result when the cards fall in the wrong places creatively and business-wise.]

The Adventures of Shuggy was released on Xbox Live Arcade on the 15th of June 2011. I had started work on the game Shuggy would become back in the beginning of 2007; what followed was four and a half years of various ups and downs.

It was developed using Microsoft's XNA framework which enabled me (as a lone developer) to get something up and running really quickly. The game was entered into Microsoft's Dream Build Play competition in 2007 and made it into the top 20.

Sadly, it didn't get one of the four top prizes that were issued that year, which would have led straight to an XBLA contract, but it did gain enough publicity that a few publishers were interested, and a deal was signed with Sierra the following year.

Things were going great until Activision Blizzard took over Vivendi Games (the owner of Sierra) and decided to wind down Sierra's operations.

After a long period of uncertainty, the publishing contract was terminated at the end of 2008, leaving me looking for another publisher. Eventually a new deal was signed with Valcon Games at the end of 2009, allowing me to complete development and finally get the game released.

Smudged Cat Games didn't exist prior to the development of Shuggy, but I'd worked on various personal projects over the years, which gave me the experience I needed to complete a game and get it out the door.

I've only actually spent one year working in the "proper" games industry, generally finding the lower pay and longer working hours a turn off compared to working as a general software engineer. I'm still the only employee of Smudged Cat Games; everyone else involved in the project was brought in as a contractor.

Best of GameSetWatch: From C64anabalt To Glider

September 28, 2011 11:00 PM | Eric Caoili

[Every week GameSetWatch editor-in-chief Eric Caoili rounds up the latest news/media for obscure and offbeat games from Gamasutra's sister site and alternative video game blog.]

Over at our recently alt video game blog GameSetWatch, we shared a number of fun stories during the past week, including an authorized Commodore 64 conversion for Canabalt, an iOS port of Mac classic Glider, Bloody Wolf bandannas, and more.

GameSetWatch's highlights from the last week:

C64anabalt: Canabalt For Commodore 64 (pictured) - Following up his Commodore 64 conversion of Terry Cavanagh's platformer VVVVVV, Paul 'Paulko64' Koller is working on re-creating another modern indie game for the 8-bit system: Adam Saltsman's popular Flash/iOS one-button game Canabalt.

What Pet Vet Could Learn From Xenoblade, And Other IGeNerator Revelations - Inspired by the ever-wonderful Video Game Name Generator, Jocchan's IGeNerator applies the formula to feature articles for gaming websites. The results may hit a little too close to home for some, but you'll probably end up getting a few good laughs out of it anyway.

Trailer: Shank 2 (Klei Entertainment)

September 28, 2011 6:00 AM | Tim W.


Klei Entertainment announced yesterday that a sequel to their violent 2D action game Shank is getting a sequel, set to arrive on the Playstation Network, XBLA and PC as early as next year. The follow-up has been in development secretly for over a year, and will introduce new features like an online co-op survival mode, improved graphics, a redesigned weapon system, and more inventive ways to take down your adversaries in the most gruesome manner possible.

In Shank 2 our favorite anti-hero must once again do battle with new enemies who are threatening the lives of his closest friends. During his adventure Shank will be able to pick up a variety of weapons to use, ranging from handguns, shotguns, automatic weapons, the classic chainsaw, machetes, grenades, and a couple of unrevealed surprises that the development team are keeping close to their chests for now.

As noted by Klei Entertainment on their site, Shank 2 isn't just the first game with new levels tacked on. They've learnt quite a bit about what worked well and what could be improved on in the original Shank, and the team is now eager to show the result of all that hard work they've put into the sequel when it comes out in early 2012.

Faraway, Fez Take Home Indie Awards At Fantastic Arcade

September 27, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.


As four-day genre film event Fantastic Fest wrapped up in Austin last Sunday, its gaming spin-off Fantastic Arcade recognized eight independently developed titles at an awards party, including Best in Show winner Faraway by Steph Thirion, and Audience Choice winner Fez by Polytron.

The eight titles, and thirteen other showcased games at Fantastic Arcade, were chosen from over 100 projects submitted to the juried competition, and were presented at the event with retro-style arcade cabinets available for the general public to play.

Fantastic Arcade's full list of award categories and winners include the following:

- Best in Show: Faraway by Little--Eyes
- Audience Choice Award: Fez by Polytron
- Most Punished for Lack of Ninjas Award: Radical Fishing by Vlambeer
- The Bionic Commando Award for Grappling Hook Excellence Award: Capsized by AlienTrap
- The "You got 2D in my 3D, or maybe 3D in my 2D" Award: Fez by Polytron
- The Mandlebrot Award: Fract by Phosfiend Systems
- The Most Recent Use of Japanese Tradition by Westerners Award: Skulls of the Shogun by Haunted Temple Studios
- The Implied Cephalopod Intercourse Award: Octodad by Team Octodad
- The Teach the Controversy Award: Jesus vs. Dinosaurs by Martin Jonasson, Petri Purho

"Fantastic Arcade fuses the world of genre film with the burgeoning indie game community," says Fantastic Arcade artistic director Mike Plante. "Each Fantastic Arcade Spotlight game proved to be compelling, fun, accessible and a blast to play. In fact, the audience reached new record levels of thumb blisters!"

[This post originally appeared on GameSetWatch and was written by Eric Caoili.]

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of September 23

September 23, 2011 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 Bethesda Softworks, Ready at Dawn Studios, Bungie, and more.

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 alternative gaming news, independent games, and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Bethesda Softworks: Quest Designer:
"Bethesda Softworks, one of the premier creators of entertainment software, has been producing quality games since it was first founded in 1986. As part of the ZeniMax Media Inc. family, Bethesda has access to some of the most talented artists, designers, and programmers in the industry. Bethesda Game Studios is the award-winning studio that won 2006 Game of the Year awards for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and 2008 Game of the Year awards for Fallout 3."

Unity Technologies: Development Manager:
"Unity Technologies is revolutionizing the game industry with Unity, its award-winning breakthrough development platform. Unity Technologies has more than 500,000 registered users worldwide -- including Bigpoint, Cartoon Network, Coca-Cola, Disney, Electronic Arts, LEGO, Microsoft, NASA, Nickelodeon, Ubisoft, Warner Bros., large and small studios, indies, students and hobbyists -- all using Unity to create games and interactive 3D, like training simulations and medical and architectural visualizations, on the web, mobile, consoles and beyond."

Trailer: The Bridge (Case Western)

September 22, 2011 5:00 AM | Tim W.


The Bridge is an upcoming puzzle game that was recently selected as a finalist for both the IndieCade and Dream.Build.Play contest, set to be released for PC and Xbox Live Indie Games service sometime in the coming months. Similar to Broken Rules' And Yet It Moves, players can manipulate gravity inside a level by shifting the layout and orientation in any direction. Puzzles in the game adopt a rather unique M.C. Escher-like design, meaning that illusions and impossible structures are surely the main highlights in this intriguing 2D platformer.

There's no official site yet to obtain more information regarding The Bridge, but we'll keep you updated about it should any news surface (presumably as soon as next month's Indiecade Festival in Culver City, CA).

Trailer: Rocketbirds Hardboiled Chicken (Ratloop Asia)

September 22, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.


There's a new trailer out for the PS3 remake of Rocketbirds: Revolution, showcasing some of the action-packed sequences that Mr. Hardboiled will be engaging in during his mission to take down Putzki and his army of penguin soldiers. If you're wondering what happened to the previously-announced Rocketbirds: Reloaded, not to worry: the game was only renamed to Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken so that our feathered hero would be featured more prominently in the title.

This upcoming 2.5D platformer is currently being produced by Ratloop Asia (winner of the IGF 2010 Best Mobile Game category), and scheduled for a release on the Playstation Network sometime later this year.

Best of GameSetWatch: From Tommy Wiseau To Korn

September 21, 2011 11:00 PM | Eric Caoili

[Every week GameSetWatch editor-in-chief Eric Caoili rounds up the latest news/media for obscure and offbeat games from IndieGames.com's sister site and alternative video game blog.]

Over at alt video game blog GameSetWatch, we shared a number of fun stories during the past week, including The Room director/star Tommy Wiseau's new video game show, Silent Hill: Downpour's theme by Korn, Capcom's latest Final Fight blunder on iOS, and more.

GameSetWatch's highlights from the last week:

Tommy Wiseau Has A New Internet Show, And It's About Video Games - Like many longtime Tommy Wiseau fans, I too have become a bit weary of his fame. What made The Room so special is how it's a genuine affair, an attempt at a legit serious movie. When he tries to be funny on purpose, it's not quite the same. But even I'm willing to toss all cynicism aside and look forward to his new series, The Tommy Wi-Show.

Behold The Korn x Silent Hill: Downpour Theme - Despite petitions begging Konami and Vatra to not let "nu metal" band Korn handle the theme song for Silent Hill: Downpour, the companies went ahead with the collaboration anyway, and debuted the track with this new Tokyo Game Show trailer.

Spooky Squid's They Bleed Pixels Has Unlockable Guest Levels

September 20, 2011 8:48 PM | Cassandra Khaw



Remember 'They Bleed Pixels'? It's the one they called a 'gothic lo-fi' platformer, the one with a Gothic Lolita, Super Meat Boy-esque levels and one of the most sadistic checkpoint system known to man. To recap for those who missed our initial coverage on the game, They Bleed Pixels works something like this: the more you maim, murder and destroy, the more checkpoints you get.

That said, I'm pleased to announce that Spooky Squid has unleashed yet another trailer onto the world. More importantly, as you might have already discovered if you watched the trailer prior to reading this entry, They Bleed Pixels will feature unlockable four guest levels, each created by a separate indie developer. And yes, in case you weren't sure, Ryan and Cassie Creighton, the dynamic duo behind Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure, do indeed number amongst the contributors.

According to the press release that we received, it looks like this is but one of the two secret collaborative projects they've been working on.

Check out their website here.

Indie Game Pick: Demolition Inc. (Zeroscale Games)

September 20, 2011 9:00 AM | Michael Rose

You like watching things blow up, right? I mean, who doesn't. Demolition Inc. is a game all about this very topic, putting you in charge of leveling as many different cities as possible. Smashing! (I'm sorry)

You are Mike the alien who has been sent to Earth to demolish everything around in a variety of different ways. You can abduct cows and place them in the road to cause crashes, or take control of cars and trucks and smash into buildings, or perhaps simply take a huge rock and roll it through town. Warning: things will go boom.

Unfortunately there's no demo as of yet, which is a bit of a nuisance, but hopefully one will appear soon. The game is now available on PC, and is also headed to PSN in November.

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