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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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Is Steam Greenlight working? Jools Watsham expresses his frustrations

April 22, 2013 6:10 AM | Staff

jools portrait.jpg[Original Post by Jools Watsham]

When we decided to port our critically-acclaimed and award-winning title, Mutant Mudds, over to the PC I looked at the library of games available on Steam to get an idea of pricing and genres available. Based on the games that are available on Steam I expected that Mutant Mudds would not have a problem getting on Steam. Not because I think Mutant Mudds is oh-so deservedly so, but because the library of games available on Steam ranges greatly in genre and quality. It does not give the impression of any strict guidelines.

My development experience with Renegade Kid has primarily been with Nintendo platforms. When we submit a game to Nintendo they test the game to ensure it does not crash or have any major bugs that impede gameplay. If the game contains any issues in this regard Nintendo sends us a report that explains why the game was failed. We fix it and resubmit. Nintendo works with developers where needed to isolate issues and correct them.

Valve is a successful company that is reportedly in good financial shape. With this in mind I assumed they would have a robust team in place that provided a similar submission service as Nintendo. I was lucky enough to be introduced to a Steam team member via email thanks to a friend. The Steam team member sent me a friendly email with a link to the submission form and said they look forward to checking out a playable build of Mutant Mudds.

Freeware Pick: roles reverse as you become RPG bossman in As Was Foretold

April 22, 2013 2:10 AM | John Polson

as was foretold.pngIn the PyWeek entry As Was Foretold, you play as RPG boss Skulltaker, trying to keep the world from being destroyed by an ancient cosmic evil. You do so by training a hero to defeat this evil for you. This involves unleashing enemy after enemy to level up the hero while making sure he doesn't become too demoralized from the challenges.

Freeware Pick: Stemshock's point-and-click comedy Barely Floating

April 21, 2013 9:22 PM | John Polson

One of last year's Summerbatch Bundle entries and point-and-click comedy Barely Floating is now freeware for Windows, Stemshock Interactive emailed us. The game revolves around a hostage situation, with pirates taking control of a luxury yacht. Instead of the typical spy hero saving the day, a sarcastic old man must regain control of the volatile situation in this 2-3 hour adventure.

[Barely Floating]

Is this free AI tool right for you? A RAIN{indie} review

April 21, 2013 4:12 PM | Staff

rainindie_thumb2.jpgHow does Rival Theory's free development tool RAIN{indie} stack up? Here's the rundown by Dave Mark from the April issue of Game Developer magazine.

When the Unity engine came on the scene, it opened up the world of game development to a significantly wider audience. Unity allowed people to sidestep the knowledge, time, and frustration of the complicated process of creating their own rendering engine, lighting effects, physics modeling, and more. Instead, they could get straight to the process of creating worlds, levels, and ultimately games (which is, in and of itself, a complicated process). However, as tickled as people were to be able to dive into Unity and "make things," one question kept coming up: How do I make AI?

Much like the other systems listed above, creating even simple game AI often takes a lot of investment in infrastructure. Even armed with Mexican food metaphors (see my AI Primer in the August 2012 issue of Game Developer), creating AI architectures is not an easy task. Unity users would simply be better off if there was a tool that allowed them to bypass the messy work of creating the underlying infrastructure and get right to the task of creating the actual behaviors. After all, isn't that what Unity is all about? Well, that's what Rival Theory set out to do with RAIN{indie}.

Arcen announces two new games, 75% off library until tomorrow

April 21, 2013 11:35 AM | John Polson

SkywardCollapseTeaser2wLogo.pngArcen Games, the Red Bull of developers, never sleeps. Instead, the team has two new games in the pipeline, including the above-pictured turn-based 4x simulation god-game Skyward Collapse. Players oversee two warring factions (Greeks and Norse) and win by having the most carnage points generated without either side committing genocide. Arcen is far into development with Skyward Collapse, stating a beta may start before the end of April, with a 1.0 following in May.

Linux Tycoon dev Bryan Lunduke releases a game with a deadly, insatiable virus

April 20, 2013 6:15 PM | John Polson

LEAIT.pngLinux Tycoon and 2299: The Game developer Bryan Lunduke has mad jokes. He released this week the "Lunduke Experimental Artificial Intelligence Engine" ("LEAIT" for short) for Linux, Mac and Windows for $3, with free demos. The goal of the game is to save an A.I. from a virus by deleting your actual files. Talk about committing to the game!

Freeware Pick: Mind Trap - a neon-filled, surreal walk inside a strange mind

April 20, 2013 9:50 AM | Nick Reineke

Mind Trap.jpgMind Trap is a surreal first-person adventure from developer SaintHeiser. Players are dropped in the middle of a sci-fi pseudo-city/labyrinth with not a single clue to guide them. The only obvious goal appears to be to explore, but as time passes, players will hopefully stumble upon a number of tasks to complete (like collecting cacti), however odd they may be. Mind Trap may be lacking in direct narrative, but for those of us who don't mind something strange, the open structure of the level design combined with the unique aesthetic make it worth spending a few minutes poking around.

The 5 stages of depression in game development, according to Epiphany Games

April 20, 2013 4:10 AM | Staff

leigh1.jpg

This was originally posted on the Flat Earth Games blog. For background, the company is run by myself and my brother Rohan, and our first game is being co-developed by a Sydney-based studio called Epiphany Games. They and about ten other contributors have been working in their spare time, to be paid in a percentage of the profits from the game. This is an article about the stress I've felt during this process as a result of the depression I've been grappling with at the same time as all this has gone on...

A little over a year ago, or about 3-4 months into the development of my first game, I fell into a very deep depression for which I have since been on medication and in and out of therapy. It’s entirely possible that, given my previous career involved promoting work by others, I’d had distance enough from that work not to let the stress (and there was indeed much stress) get to me. Although with depression of any kind, focusing on one factor (or even external factors at all) isn’t exactly healthy, so I only bring up the work situation because it’s pertinent to my experience here.

Suffice to say, it’s been more and more difficult with each passing month to keep my head up high or down and working, depending on where it needs to be, and I feel it’s been detrimental to the project, the team and to myself in stages.

I should stress that these are stages I’ve identified in my experience only, and I certainly don’t suggest that these are uniform and are felt in the same way by everyone going through depression of any kind.

Among the Sleep Kickstarts its horror game played from a two-year-old's perspective

April 19, 2013 6:10 PM | John Polson

Norway-based Krillbite Studio announced via newsletter a Kickstarter campaign has launched for its first-person horror adventure Among the Sleep, in which you play as a two-year-old trying to reunite with his family. The game features no traditional combat, and the video shows some of the tight spaces in which the player must hide from enemies. The video also demonstrates some of the recording techniques the team is using to create sounds to heighten the atmosphere players will explore.

Dustforce sales figures: The real data, right now

April 19, 2013 4:10 PM | Staff

dustforce.jpg

[Original article by Terrence Lee]

Finding game sales data is notoriously hard. 
Video games have traditionally been a "hits driven" industry – the majority of revenue for a publisher comes from a handful of big commercial successes. With so many non-hits being made, publishers try to keep sales numbers a trade secret, as the more disappointing figures can be worrisome to investors. This trend has made discussing sales figures an uncomfortable topic, akin to talking about your salary.

 When we first started working on Dustforce, it was frustrating to not be able to find much data about whether indie game development is a realistic thing to do with your life. The closest thing out there were unofficial sources, like VGChartz, that gathered retail information, but lacked in digital sales data. Fortunately, independent developers don't have the same financial obligations that publishers do. There was a series of helpful articles [parts 123] by David Galindo that talked about the financial details of his game, The Oil Blue. It was just one data point, but a valuable one. Now that we've finished our own first project, we'd like to contribute our own data about Dustforce to the growing trend of transparency in indie game development.

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