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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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CastleVille designer leaves Zynga to lead a (much) smaller team

July 24, 2012 3:00 AM | Staff

BonusXP gama.jpg"I enjoyed my time at Zynga," says Dave Pottinger, ex-lead designer on Facebook behemoth CastleVille. "The reality is that I want to work on smaller projects with smaller teams."

This yearning to run with the smaller teams is what led Pottinger (bottom right in picture) to found new studio BonusXP earlier this year, alongside a few other notable industry veterans, including former Robot Entertainment programmer John Evanson (bottom left in pic) and former id Software artist Jason Sallenbach (top).

With BonusXP, the team is looking to develop mobile games with a particular focus on experiences that offer plenty of replay value to players. Pottinger tells Gamasutra that his move to be independent "has more to do with the opportunity BonusXP presented than anything about Zynga."

"The CastleVille team was tremendous; it was an honor to lead and be part of that group," he adds. "I'm proud of the characters, stories, and depth we were able to put into CastleVille."

His move to found BonusXP has just as much to do with his past position at Ensemble Studios, where he led a team of 100+ staffers in the development of multiple Age of Empires titles and Halo Wars alongside Evanson.

DRM firm Uniloc files infringement suit against Mojang's 'Mindcraft'

July 24, 2012 1:00 AM | Staff

uniloc gama.pngDRM tech firm Uniloc, which has previously clashed with such high-profile publishers as Activision Blizzard and Sony, has now set its sights on Minecraft developer Mojang, amongst a string of other publishers and developers.

The firm previously filed a patent infringement suit against Activision Blizzard and Mac game specialist Aspyr back in 2010, also naming Sony, Borland Software, McAfee and Quark in the same suit, alleging that the defendants infringed on a patented anti-piracy product activation method for software.

Now Uniloc has filed a patent infringement suit against Swedish studio Mojang, claiming that the company is infringing on its patent "System and Method for Preventing Unauthorized Access to Electronic Data." It has also filed similar suits against numerous other companies, including Electronic Arts, Square Enix, Madfinger Games, Gameloft and Halfbrick Studios.

Uniloc alleges [PDF] that Mojang has infringed on its patent by making the Android version of Minecraft -- or "Mindcraft" as the complaint calls it -- available for purchase in such a way that communication with a server to perform a license check is required.

Brilliant Blue-G's Chester Free For A Limited Time At Desura

July 23, 2012 11:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Got a case of post-Steam Sale depression? Brilliant Blue-G hopes to soothe your pain by offering its Windows 2D platformer Chester free for a limited time via Desura.

"This 100% off of the usual $9.99 price point is an attempt to build up as many of you delicious Chester fans as possible before Steam launches their Greenlight platform, where fan support will hopefully be able to finally get Chester onto Steam," developer Benn Friedrich explains.

Chester contains around 50 levels, and includes multiple unlockable characters and a variety of distinct graphic skins that can be toggled at the player's whim. The game will be available as a free download over the next 48 hours.

Freeware Game Pick: A Story About My Uncle (A Sick Sheep Production)

July 23, 2012 8:00 PM | John Polson

A Sick Sheep Production's A Story About My Uncle offers up first-person platforming, as the uncle-searching player can power leap, power jump, and hook grapple to explore a mysterious world. Instead of altering or creating landscapes as in Portal or Quantum Conundrum, A Story About My Uncle is all about using one's own momentum for traversing.

A Story About My Uncle also packs on the narrative without pulling any punches, literally. The team had to make a non-violent game, after all. Those who are hesitant to download the free game for Windows can check out the spoilerific playthrough after the jump.

Browser Game Pick: Super Adventure Pals (Corupt3d & JayArmstrongGames)

July 23, 2012 6:05 PM | Cassandra Khaw

An odd-looking if highly likable offering, Super Adventure Pals will have you spearheading a rescue mission. The victim? Your pet rock. Yup. A side-scrolling action-adventure platformer that will have you bouncing through a variety of levels, you'll find yourself fighting a host of strangely adorable monstrosities. There are all the requisite components of your average RPG title: boss battles, a level-up system, gear and helpless NPCs.

Curious as to how it all goes down? You can play the game here.

Trailer: Cloudbuilt (Coilworks)

July 23, 2012 4:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

Described as a mix between the 'jump-and-shoot platformer of the NES/SNES era' and a 'modern-day run-and-run Third Person Shooter', Cloudbuilt feels wonderfully reminiscent of a high-speed Mirror's Edge. What's even more impressive is the fact that what we're seeing is actually alpha footage. I can only imagine what the finished product will eventually will look like. Sadly, asides from what we've mentioned so far, that's about all we know about the game. We'll let you know when Coilworks releases more information.

For now, bookmark their IndieDB page here.

Kickstarter Projects: AR-K: A Dark Acid Adventure Comedy (Gato Salvaje)

July 23, 2012 5:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

Point-and-click adventures will of course never die, but this doesn't necessarily mean that each and every adventure Kickstarter project is bound to succeed. Especially the projects asking for substantial amounts of money. Then again, I would like to see AR-K: A Dark Acid Adventure Comedy hit its funding goal. It sports a brilliant visual style, seems to be a well written affair and, well, one can always do with more episodic adventures. Oh, and you can already download the first and very much finished episode of AR-K for free. You'll most probably love it.

The Day After #ScreenshotSaturday 4

July 22, 2012 10:00 PM | John Polson

screenshotsaturday4 header.png

Though Zombies Go to a Party is small in scale, the above Chiptune Fest seemed a pretty rockin' way to start off this week's feature. Not to mention, devs have overworked zombies in games, and they deserve a party. This party belongs to Mini LD #36 entry Eruption developer Derevenksy.

This week's Screenshot Saturday sampling is about a lot more than zombies, though, with almost 200 pics to peruse. Enviro-bear 2010 dev Justin Smith posted a cryptic character shot (of something!?!). The arwork of Tyrone Henrie's Catapult for Hire and Final Boss Entertainment's Doom-like FPS Wrack have received major updates, too.

But that's just the beginning of The Day After #ScreenshotSaturday.

Driving Discussion: Jordan Hemenway on Nitronic Rush

July 22, 2012 7:00 PM | John Polson

nitronic rush.jpg[This is the final entry to Driving Discussion, a week-long feature aimed at examining unique racing and driving indie games and the developers who are pushing the genre forward.]

Nitronic Rush's neon-lit, futuristic feel and gravity-defying acrobatics have helped ingrain the game in the minds of driving fans looking for a thrill beyond the realistic bumper-to-bumper experience often offered in the AAA racing space.

The DigiPen-developed Nitronic Rush actually has no racing opponents. Instead, this free game offers an experiment in survival driving on Windows that has become widely acclaimed, earning the 11-person team recognition from IGF, Indie Game Challenge and Independent Propeller Awards and more. Nudged by continual fan interest, Nitronic Rush has already received four major updates since it released last year.

In this discussion, Jordan Hemenway of Team Nitronic shares his thoughts on what makes the game so special. He explores the hurdles developers have to overcome in creating a driving game, while presenting a vast area ripe for indies to tap into.

Are driving physics harder than, say, a speedy platformer's physics?

3D platforming physics are definitely in a similar realm of difficulty for similar "feel" reasons. From what I've seen of many physics programmers, it's hard to break the engine in a way that leads to predictable but fun behavior.

Browser Game Pick: Outsmart! (stellarNull)

July 22, 2012 4:23 PM | Cassandra Khaw

outsmart.jpg Outsmart! Is a fun little browser game that will have you playing as Anneite, a highly motivated young woman who is, unfortunately, engaged to a slacker of a fiance. After being told you must accumulate $50,000 over the course of the next two months, you're then dumped into the game to make the best out of your situation. It's a pretty straightforward affair. To gain money, you'll have to regularly visit your boyfriend to coerce him into working. There is also a variety of contests that will reward you with money if your stats are high enough. Stats, in turn, can be increased through good old-fashioned grinding or a lucky random encounter.

Outsmart! probably won't take you more than twenty minutes or so to complete. While troubled by less-than-perfect dialogue, it's still a surprisingly absorbing offering.

Play the game here.
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