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About The IGF 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, 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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Plants Vs. Zombies Creator George Fan Depicts the End Times in Octogeddon

August 27, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

octogeddon.pngPopCap layoffs don't have Plants Vs. Zombies creator George Fan down and out, even with rumors reported that he may not be around for the game's sequel. Instead, Fan jammed to the evolution-theme Ludum Dare this weekend to create the Windows freeware defense title Octogeddon, which he admits is somewhat familiar territory.

In Octogeddon, players must grow more limbs while evolving each one into deadlier weapons to wipe out the human race. Players evolve by collecting DNA points from defeated enemies to upgrade the amount and strength of the tentacles. Soon enough, players can look like the above mutated monstrosity. Whereas Plants Vs. Zombies allows stage progression while upgrading, Octogeddon constantly kills and restarts, allowing players to upgrade after losing.

I'm wondering if PopCap Games represents the human race and Fan is the octopus, evolving to overcome the chaos that has surrounded him. Either way, welcome back to the indie world, Fan! I hope you'll stick around.

[via @supershigi]

Green Light Bundle Launches With Eight Games

August 27, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Stolen Couch Games' Green Light Bundle is now up for grabs, offering a collection of four games for a minimum $1 purchase, or up to eight games for $5 or more.

Pay more than $1 and you'll get Stolen Couch's one-button puzzler Ichi, AngryMob Games' platformer Muffin Knight, PixelJam's prehistoric autoscroller Dino Run SE, and Studio Evil's shoot-'em-up Syder Arcade.

Purchase the bundle for $5 or more and you'll also receive Bertil Hörberg's side-scrolling action game Gunman Clive, Madfinger's hack-and-slasher Samurai II Vengeance, AngryMob's top-down shooter Guerrilla Bob, and Crescent Moon Games' platformer Paper Monsters, along with a collection of five bonus soundtracks.

"All games featured in this bundle are on Steam Greenlight but are not yet in the Steam store," the collection's organizers explain. "You can help the developers out by rating the games on Steam Greenlight. If enough people rate a game it will likely make it to the Steam Store."

Radial, Dejobaan Reveal Monster Loves You For PC, iOS

August 27, 2012 10:00 AM | Danny Cowan

monsterloves_sm.jpgRadial Games and Dejobaan Games will show off their newly announced collaborative project Monster Loves You at PAX Prime this coming weekend.

Described as "part virtual pet, part adventure," Monster Loves You puts players in charge of raising an orphaned monster, shaping its development into either a benevolent creature or a human-devouring beast. The game will be playable at the adjacent Dejobaan and Radial booths, part of PAX Prime's Indie Megabooth.

Monster Loves You will be released in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Just how long is a novella-length adventure?

August 27, 2012 5:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

my burden to keep.pngWell, I suppose we will all find out the moment My Burden to Keep gets released, and that moment really shouldn't be too far off. Seems like this very interesting AGS point-and-click adventure is almost finished and that it will be all about solving the murder of a 1940s small town mayor. The game will be a freeware offering and you can find out more about it over at the Perpetual Diversion dev-blog.

Slender Developer Goes for One Good Scare in Where am I?

August 27, 2012 12:00 AM | John Polson

where am i.pngSlender developer Mark J. Hadley's Ludum Dare entry Where am I? spends the entire game in first-person to give at least one (arguably good) scare.

Evolution can be quite scary, though I wonder if it would be scarier for those who don't believe in it. Hadley avoids such a debate and incorporates the theme with "slowly evolving visuals as you progress further along the hallways of the complex."

I haven't found many Ludum Dare horror or thriller games, though Slender's recent viral popularity along with other indie horror titles may have changed that this time around. I enjoyed the scare(s) of Where am I? once, but I don't think I'll be back a second time. The visual degradation felt a bit drawn out for me, with my impatience building more than my fear.

Still, Hadley's Where am I? is an interesting proposition as a different type of game developed in 48 hours.

Browser Game Pick: The Balance

August 26, 2012 11:00 PM | John Polson

The Balance.pngIn visually striking Ludum Dare entry The Balance, players zig-zag between good and evil dimensions of planets with undecided fates. Players can choose to destroy (collide into) the good or evil creatures, and whoever is left "evolves" to rule the planet.

Choosing to eradicate good or evil creatures affects the game dynamically, too. The more one set of creatures is killed, the larger the opposite dimension expands. Even the character morphs depending on its killing inclinations. The Balance also keeps real-world statistics of how many creatures are killed. So far, over 36,000 have met their fate, and players have killed 1,000 more good creatures.

Do we collectively have a slightly evil inclination, or are the game's instructions a little confusing? It tells players in the beginning that it is up to them to decide if the planet will be good or evil. However, it also warns players not to mess things up and to keep the balance. Am I actually allowed to make the decision to turn the planet good or evil, or does the game prefer I keep the balance?

I'll try not to debate The Balance's philosophy and just marvel at the pretty colors and especially the luscious ink trail. Those who register with Ludum Dare can vote for The Balance here. Nice work, Renaud Forestié, Abe, Mister _Hk_, and Kuru.

Trailer: In Verbis Virtus (Indomitus Games)

August 26, 2012 4:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

In Verbis Virtus is an upcoming first-person action/puzzle game that makes use of speech recognition in a rather interesting way. If you want to cast a spell, you're going to have to actually say the words. Should you succeed in pronouncing the words correctly, you'll be able to make use of the associated spells to overcome traps, solve puzzles and kill enemies. The developers are currently working on the first episode of the series. However, if you're curious as to how it all works, there's a handy demo available on their website.

Those interested in learning more about the game should head down here.

What to Do Until Ludum Dare Finishes? Play The Waiting Game

August 26, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

Ludum Dare is like Christmas three times a year, with so many surprising games to open and explore. This particular Ludum Dare even has bit of controversy and celebrity tied to it: Team Meat, Notch, Erin Robinson and more tweeted their participation. For me, this weekend feels like a big waiting game.

Chris Collins' "time-wasting simulator" The Waiting Game is a great expression of my anxiety, with over 10 level upgrades (such as new desks) and secrets waiting for those with a rhythmic tenacity. I have no idea why the game didn't register the strumming rhythm of either my left or right hand, but I got into a fiery groove using both of my index and middle fingers.

Those who enjoy playing the freeware Mac and Windows game can donate to Collins, a busking option I think more freeware developers should offer.

Sometimes Frustrating Design Can Be Fun

August 26, 2012 12:00 AM | Staff

cooptom gasma.jpgDevelopers shouldn't be so quick to cull parts of their game that players find frustrating -- sometimes that frustration can be good in the long run if used correctly.

After implementing co-op gameplay in his action-puzzler A Virus Named Tom, developer Tim Keenan discovered that playtesters had become frustrated by their characters colliding into each other while trying to solve puzzles and avoid enemies.

They almost unanimously suggested allowing players to pass through one another, but Keenan likened that idea to turning off friendly fire in a first-person shooter, and called it a step in the wrong direction.

"It takes the game one step closer to everyone playing the game as an individual, because it means players don't have to consider one another in their movement, which is arguably half of the gameplay in A Virus Named Tom," he explains.

That added difficulty forces players to communicate and work together in order to become more efficient, and it actually enabled another appealing part of the game: griefing, or players having fun screwing each other over.

Preview: The Cat that Got the Milk Devs' Button Affair

August 25, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

TheButtonAffair_Poster.jpgOllie Clark, Helana Santos, Chris Randle, and Jon Mann's freeware title The Cat that Got the Milk set the Internet on fire in January, and the team looks to raise and singe a few more eyebrows with its three-chapter auto-runner The Button Affair for free next month.

While The Cat that Got the Milk dazzled with abstract art, The Button Affair taps into the fantastical 1950s-60s Jet-Set era, with images like this serving as inspiration. Developer Oliver Clarke says, "I have a copy on the wall next to our times of recession, I think it says there are better times ahead full of excitement, glamour, drama, and life."

Click on to see The Button Affair's in-game art and gameplay recap.

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