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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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'Why Hasn't Story in Games Advanced?' Amnesia's Designer Has Some Opinions!

August 17, 2012 3:00 AM | Staff

grip gama.jpgIn his incredibly animated talk at GDC Europe on Wednesday, Frictional Games co-founder Thomas Grip (Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Penumbra) discussed horror and storytelling in games, explaining his personal theory of what's vital in telling game stories.

His prime thesis is that in games, "story is not just the plot." In fact, regarding what's important in interactive storytelling, Grip postulated: "We want the player to play through the story, not just sit through it."

In a complex talk, Grip suggested that similar games separated by 20 years like Uncharted and Another World have, in the end, relatively similar types of gameplay and storytelling combined.

In that case, both titles have things like running, followed by jumping and cutscenes -- Grip argued: "This is weird... why haven't we advanced?" He suggests: "The main culprit is how most of these games are designed."

Taking the 'Less is More' Approach to Level Design

August 17, 2012 1:00 AM | Staff

eufloria gama2.jpgEufloria's Rudolf Kremers believes that "less is more" is the perfect approach for indie developers on a budget when it comes to level design, and his GDC Europe talk today described the various ways this approach can be achieved.

Procedural generation in particular, as seen in such indie titles as Spelunky, Minecraft and Kremers' own Eufloria, can help free up development time for other areas of your game, and is "a great way to create enormous amounts of content" in a short space of time, he argued.

The 250,000-selling Eufloria, for example, only uses nine very simple textures throughout the entire game, with visuals procedurally generated from these simple patterns.

User-generated content is another area in which developers can look to build up a huge library of levels with little input themselves. The provided level design and scripting tools that come with Eufloria have seen players making not only their own levels for the game, but also entirely different experiences from the main game, such as art applications and side-scrolling shooters.

Kickstarter Projects: Planetary Annihilation (Uber Entertainment)

August 16, 2012 11:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Uber Entertainment seeks $900,000 to fund the creation of Planetary Annihilation, a Windows and Mac title that it promotes as a next generation real-time strategy game.

Inspired by the 1997 RTS classic Total Annihilation, Planetary Annihilation promises galaxy-spanning battles of interplanetary warfare. Gameplay can accommodate up to 40 players (!) and thousands of troops, or if you're in the mood for something more intimate, you might opt for a quick one-on-one match that takes place on a single planet.

Despite its relatively high funding goal, the project has earned over $270,000 in its first few days of operation, and is on track to receive full funding by its deadline of September 14th. The finished game will be delivered to backers who pledge $20 or more, while higher pledge tiers offer rewards like beta access, t-shirts, and boxed collector's editions.

[Thanks, John V!]

Sports Make Great Tactical Puzzlers: The Football Playbook

August 16, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

The Football Playbook for Windows strips football (soccer) down to its bare tactics, making the game playable and enjoyable with just using the mouse. Described as a "digital collection of tactical puzzles," each of the 42 levels is a snapshot of a football match. Winning requires getting the ball from the goalkeeper at the bottom to the striker. The challenge comes from the opposing team hunting the player and the ball down once in range.

Browser Game Pick: Deepak Fights Robots (Tom Sennett)

August 16, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan


With the recent launch of a free Flash version, Tom Sennett's Deepak Fights Robots is now playable in its entirety in your browser. And that's pretty awesome.

Deepak Fights Robots is a single-screen arcade-style action game in the vein of Bubble Bobble. First, you avoid the robots. Then you collect the items. Then, you destroy the robots. The game has a really satisfying flow that makes it difficult to put down, and the soundtrack is excellent throughout. Make it a priority to play this one, if you haven't already.

If you like what you see, you can buy an ad-free version here for $4.95. The full version also includes a level editor and a bonus survival mode.

[via Free Indie Games]

Browser Game Pick: A Tale of Colours (SavePointJohny)

August 16, 2012 7:30 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

A Tale of Colours.pngStencyl Jam, the aptly named game jam organized by Stencyl, has given us more than a few intriguing games, including action-adventure Reaching Finality and, well, A Tale of Colours: the winner of the jam and a metroidvania game you are bound to enjoy. It is, after all, a "highly gnomic game" complete with gnome legends, contraptions and, err, guys...

What's more, A Tale of Colours is a cheerful and well-designed offering that successfully follows the traditional genre formula of exploration, platforming and evolving your in-game avatar in order to further explore and platform. The sound and graphics are pretty good too and my only minor complain with the game are the slightly iffy controls. Still, if you are into this sort of thing, you'll love exploring its huge and vibrant world.

Castle Crashers crashing into Steam

August 16, 2012 6:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

castle crashers pc.pngThe Behemoth, the gigantic yet very indie developers of Castle Crashers, having heard the cries of the PC gaming masses, have decided to go on and release a poem. A poem that promises a Steam release of Castle Crashers, reveals that the game is already running on the platform, but wisely avoids announcing a release date. This poem (by Dan Paladin):

While BattleBlock has been churning, there's another wheel turning! And that wheel is Castle Crashers running on Steam!

It was accomplished by utilizing one of our programming teams! We always liked this platform so it's kind of a dream!

I'd say a release date but the future's unknown. If I make a mistake I shall never atone.

If you're in Germany this weekend please say hi to John. He is presenting our Steam game at Gamescom. If you're extra nice maybe a hands on!

Schnell! Schnell! And Fare thee well!

Release: Flibble (Games by Zed)

August 16, 2012 5:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

There aren't enough games inspired by the seminal Adventure on the Atari 2600 these days. Nor are there enough properly funny arcade indie games sporting walls of text. Happily, Flibble has just been released and is about to change all that, what with its, err, Adventure inspired design and sharp, text-heavy cutscenes. Actually, the game is a brilliant retro-styled maze exploration, Flibble collecting, monster shooting offering with a keen sense of humour, a silly soundtrack, an impressive variety of levels and game modes, and one of the most sarcastic A.I.s you've ever encountered. What's more, it's the very first game ever to let you sprinkle its levels with breadcrumbs and explode its dialogue.

Flibble is currently only available for Windows, though Linux and Mac ports might actually happen. You can buy it now, DRM-free directly from its site and enjoy a discount on its already low price.

Indie Royale Profiles: Cubemen and VectorGeddon

August 16, 2012 1:00 AM | Staff

[Guest reviewer Colin Brown profiles each game in the Gone Fishin' Bundle, now available at IndieGames' co-created site: Indie Royale.]

The next game in our whirlwind tour of the latest Indie Royale is 3Sprockets' Cubemen. At first glance this probably looks like some kind of tower defence, and, well, that's exactly what it is. But like any good indie game, it tweaks the established genre just enough to present a unique experience with just a handful of alterations to the formula.

Kickstarter Projects: Mercenary Kings (Tribute Games)

August 15, 2012 11:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Wizorb developer Tribute Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of Mercenary Kings, a run-and-gun action game for Windows.

Inspired by Nazca's Metal Slug series, Mercenary Kings features a deep weapon-crafting system, and allows up to four players to team up in a cooperative multiplayer mode. The game is being developed by several members of the team responsible for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, including noted animator Paul Robertson. A sampling of sprites Robertson has already created for the game can be seen at Tribute's Kickstarter page. It's great stuff, especially if you're a fan of mecha-dogs!

Mercenary Kings has earned over $28,000 toward its funding goal of $75,000 as of this writing. Backers who pledge $15 or more will receive a downloadable copy of Mercenary Kings upon its release, along with a bonus digital copy of Wizorb. A boxed copy of Mercenary Kings (limited to a maximum of 380 units) can be reserved by pledging $250 or more.

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