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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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Horror Teaser: Routine (Lunar Software)

August 14, 2012 2:30 PM | John Polson

Abandoned moon bases are scary enough. Routine ups the ante with perma-death, no HUD, no extra lives, and no health packs. In this non-linear, first-person horror exploration game, players will have to find enough data to uncover the truth behind the strange disappearance of everyone stationed on the Lunar Research Station.

Peeking around the official website, other features of Routine will include full body awareness and deadzone aiming. Developed by UK-based, three-person team Lunar Software, Routine comes to PCs in 2013.

[via Reddit]

Browser Game Pick: Moonlight (Kostya Plutenko)

August 14, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Kostya Plutenko's Flash action game Moonlight (available at Newgrounds and Kongregate) is a simple, relaxing experience that features gameplay similar to Sega's arcade classic Deep Scan.

In Moonlight, players move left and right across the top of the screen, and drop lanterns on the fish below using the Z key. Higher point values are awarded if you can get a lantern to bounce multiple times before it drops off the bottom of the screen, and extra shots are awarded every 20,000 points. I enjoyed this quite a bit!

Demo and Release: The 4th Wall (GZ Storm)

August 14, 2012 10:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Vidiot Game developer GZ Storm has released The 4th Wall, a first-person "abstract horror puzzler" for Windows and the Xbox Live Indie Games service. A free demo of the PC version can be downloaded here.

Judging from what I've played and the gameplay videos I've seen so far, The 4th Wall definitely measures up to Vidiot Game in terms of weirdness, and the horror element is skillfully executed -- it can be downright creepy at times. I'll be playing through this one later today for sure.

The 4th Wall is priced at $1, or 80 Microsoft points. The original version of the game, which is free but offers less content, is available here, though the author recommends not playing this release if you intend to play the paid version.

Indie Tools: articy:draft

August 14, 2012 7:30 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

articy.pngThere are some times when you run into things you didn't even know existed and then go on and wonder how anyone could live without them. It's those times when you either feel consumerism has finally gotten to you or you are a designer of complex games and discover such tools as articy:draft.

As I sincerely hope you are a designer and not someone who's ready to spend quite a lot of money on the "first professional tool for story and game design", let me just say that articy:draft is a truly impressive program. Or, well, at the very least and after putting marketing jargon aside, the very first tool of its ilk I have ever ran into, and I'm utterly loving it.

Browser Game Pick: Sheepwalk! (benPgil)

August 14, 2012 5:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

sheepwalk.pngI'm pretty sure that herding dogs do rely more on their ability to bark and be menacing rather than the sheep's willingness to follow them, but that doesn't really matter. In Sheepwalk! you are a dog that sheep will blindly follow to their doom (though lambs will run from, thus partially satisfying my need for realism) and it is a mighty fine game. It looks lively and pixelated, sports an excellent soundtrack and its puzzle-arcade gameplay is much more varied than one would expect. In a nutshell, it's absolutely worth a try.

Also, who'd have thought sheep to be such fragile creatures?

What Dear Esther and Minecraft Have in Common

August 14, 2012 3:00 AM | Staff

dearesther gama.jpgIndie hit Dear Esther is "a bit like story Minecraft," believes creator Dan Pinchbeck, as the evocative game allows players to imagine their own story, without forcing them into a particular narrative.

As part of his talk at GDC Europe today, Pinchbeck of thechineseroom noted that the abstract and ambiguous first-person exploration game barely gives you any real details about characters and plot, instead allowing the players' imaginations to run wild.

"We're not in the business of writing a plot -- we're in the business of giving you the tools to create your own," he said of the 250,000-selling Dear Esther. "There is nothing more powerful than your own imagination."

Building a story is "an inevitable product of playing a game" for players, whether a solid plotline is offered or not. Players make a story out of pretty much anything they do, he argued, and developers just need to provide the tools.

Indie Royale Profile: SOL: Exodus

August 14, 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.]

I had the pleasure reviewing Seamless Entertainment's SOL: Exodus previously and found that the mixed response was a bit unfair. You may have noticed that reviews for the game have been scattered all over the map. Within these wildly varied reviews, many of the same complaints keep cropping up: short length, lack of replay value and lack of variety in enemies. Maybe these are fair criticisms, but in the end an important fact is often missed: SOL: Exodus is a really fun game.

Browser Game Pick: Moments of Reflection (stevesan)

August 13, 2012 7:30 PM | Cassandra Khaw

momentsofreflection.jpg Moments of Reflection is a nifty little puzzle-platformer that will feel instantly familiar to those who have played games like Reflexio and Mirror Rays but that doesn't stop it from being rather cool. In this cutesy offering (that bunny could melt a heart of stone), you're getting the aforementioned critter to the carrot in every round. To accomplish this, you're going to have to make creative usage of your ability to mirror space. Currently, there are thirty four levels to work through.

Check out the current build (and devlog) here.

Jonathan Blow on CBS: Games are "a Big Mess Right Now"

August 13, 2012 5:30 PM | John Polson

Indie games continue their widespread proliferation, as Braid developer Jonathan Blow spoke on CBS This Morning about the state of video games and his upcoming 3D exploration puzzler: The Witness.

Dubbed by CBS as probably both "the most famous video game developer in the world" and "the most feared," Blow offered in the interview some interesting sound bites that, while familiar to the indie crowd, hopefully fell on new ears today.

Sharing his idea of creating new video games, as with Braid, "[T]hey should be pushing the boundary of what games have already done, trying to expand the medium because some day - games can have a much bigger role in terms of their participation with human culture, right?"

Hotline Miami Announces Eventual Arrival On Steam With New Trailer

August 13, 2012 4:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

If you haven't heard of Hotline Miami yet, here's your chance to feast your eyes on what some have called the results of a great acid trip and others have named a 'top-down Manhunt.' Scheduled for an eventual arrival on Steam, Hotline Miami is, to quote one of our previous posts on the game, a 'gritty, top-down action game set in the neon-soaked underground of 1980s Miami with over 20 multiscreen levels with 35 unique weapons and collect 25 game-altering masks in one of the darkest and most unusual independent games on the scene.'

Official website here.

P.S: If you're lucky enough to be at Gamescom this year, you can check out the game on the floor.
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