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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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Browser Game Pick: Contraste (Paste)

July 19, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson


Aptly named for the contrast-themed Ludum Dare Mini LD #36, Paste's Contraste proves that platformers are an excellent, or at least efficient, way to implement mechanics built around a theme. In the game, players adjust their color to pass through objects of different contrast.

Fortunately, Paste doesn't rely on mechanics alone. Contraste contains clever narrative that pops up for extra laughs and mild reprieve. It may lack the voice acting and visual effects of Thomas Was Alone, but the text provides an extra incentive to work through Contraste's puzzle platforming.

Contraste is available to play in browsers here.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Procedural Generation

July 19, 2012 1:00 AM | Staff

uglybaby.jpgThe developers of the IGF-nominated Aaaaa! explain on Gamasutra how the allure of procedural content generation turns out not to be a replacement for manual design, but an important tool to help it along.

Dejobaan once thought that procedural content generation could be a panacea for the time-consuming and sometimes tedious job of level design.

They were wrong, writes Ichiro Lambe, the founder and lead developer of the studio, in a new Gamasutra feature. But they did learn something important: it's an important tool to create more interesting level designs all the same, when paired with manual tweaks.

When the team started out using their random-generation tool, "Things that were completely unplayable popped up, but so did some things that ended up being fun in ways we didn't expect. It's this bit that really interested us, because we were neck-deep in level design, and things like this provided a fresh look at things," Lambe writes.

While the team couldn't use procedurally-generated levels out of the box, "more than once, using simple scripts... we encountered things that made us grin. These changed the ways we built levels, and suggested new challenges for players," writes Lambe.

Driving Discussion: Mario von Rickenbach on Krautscape

July 18, 2012 8:00 PM | John Polson

krautscape block.jpg [Driving Discussion is a week-long feature aimed at examining unique racing and driving indie games and the developers who are pushing the genre forward.]

The creators of procedurally generated racer Krautscape may not have licenses to drive, but they have no such restriction on their ability to imagine and innovate.

Michael Burgdorfer and Straight, No Chaser and IGF finalist Mirage developer Mario von Rickenbach are working on their first racing game with gorgeous landscapes that allow for flying or driving to get to a goal, somewhere in space, as quickly as possible. While the leader in a multiplayer race creates the path with the direction he or she veers, others can create shortcuts often by flying to take the lead.

Mario von Rickenbach had experience with a physics-based engine in Rakete, but he says its physics are very basic compared to Krautscape. It may be his rich background in illustration and animation that allows him to see the possibilities of driving games differently than most, but it no doubt helps make them look breathtaking.

In this discussion, von Rickenbach explores the freedom of adding flight to his procedurally generated Krautscape, why there are so few driving games, and where indies can go right and wrong with making the next great racer.

Browser Game Pick: DIWOC (Droqen)

July 18, 2012 5:03 PM | John Polson


Fishbane and Don't Lose Your Head puzzle platformer practitioner Droqen is back with DIWOC, a brief, fun, and possibly seizure-inducing platformer where players must gather hearts in one of overlapped two dimensions.

Gathering hearts may seem reminiscent of Die Gute Fabrik's Where is My Heart?, but the platforming mechanics are rather different. Pressing up initiates not only a glimpse into the second dimension, it also flips gravity.

After several rounds, players will repeatedly press up to keep the character floating in mid air, avoiding spikes from both dimensions. Protip #1: DIWOC uses screen wrapping. #2: Play a bunch of great Droqen/Alexander Martin games here.


Super T.I.M.E. Force, SpyParty, Aztez, Super Comboman Dev Talk at EVO 2012

July 18, 2012 3:30 PM | John Polson

At EVO 2012, four indie developers of the inaugural Indie Showcase walk their audience through their games and field questions on breaking into the industry and creating their titles.

Justin Woodward of Interabang Entertainment shows off sticker-collecting beat 'em up Super Comboman. Ben Ruiz of Team Colorblind walks players through the brawler half of Aztez (there's also a strategy component). Finally, Nathan Vella of CAPY shows off Super T.I.M.E. Force, the XBLA exclusive run-and-gun platformer: think Contra or Gunstar Heroes combined with Braid.

Chris Hecker is late to the party, so they don't show off SpyParty. However, he hops right in with some great commentary, when the mike picks up his voice. Also unfortunate, the audience questions aren't all repeated, but the developer responses offer enough context clues to fill in the blanks. It's EVO's first Indie Showcase, so I imagine they'll work out the bugs next year.

Release: Cute Things Dying Violently (ApathyWorks)

July 18, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Oh, those poor Cute Things. Alex "AlejandroDaJ" Jordan has released a Windows version of his XBLIG Summer Uprising hit Cute Things Dying Violently at Desura and IndieCity.

In Cute Things Dying Violently, players are charged with guiding a gaggle of Critters to each level's exit by flicking them through murderous gauntlets of enemies and sharp objects. Expect to see blood, and lots of it. The game offers 60 levels, along with additional challenge stages, unlockable achievements, and a built-in level editor.

Cute Things Dying Violently is priced at $2.99.

Pay What You Want, Buy What You Want In Groupees' Build A Bundle 2

July 18, 2012 10:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Groupees has launched Build A Bundle 2, a pay-what-you-want collection in which buyers can pick and choose among the games they want to purchase.

Twelve games are up for grabs here: Dead Horde, Iron Grip: Warlord, Will Fight for Food, Dino D-Day, Syberia II, A Stroke of Fate: Operation Valkyrie, Depth Hunter, Hammerfight, Alien Breed: Impact, DogFighter, and Postal. Most games include Steam keys, and the rest are redeemable at Desura.

The bundle is available for a minimum price of $3 (which includes your choice of three games), and the whole pack can be purchased for $8.40. Bonus items, including downloadable soundtracks and at least one additional game, will be released to buyers throughout the week.

Freeware Game Pick: Bonsai Defense (Mate Cziner)

July 18, 2012 7:30 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

bonsai defense.pngBonsai Defense is the result of a graduation thesis and all I can think is that I would have loved doing a wonderful game instead of tackling geographical concepts myself. Anyway, Bonsai Defense also happens to be a brilliant, wildly innovative, incredibly polished and visually stunning tower defense offering, you can enjoy for free on your PC or Mac. Mind you, this could have easily been a commercial indie offering and I'm pretty certain Mate Cziner got some excellent grades, but I digress.

Let's stick to the game.

Interestingly and, one has to admit, confusingly at first, Bonsai Defense is a first person tower defense game, in which players have to actually become the tree and grow fruit that will serve as both weapons and companions, while simultaneously making sure said tree, their in-game body, gets properly pruned, maintains its balance and thus survives. Happily the tutorial sorts everything out and lets the game and its many modes shine and impress and do things we never thought the WASD/mouse combo could pull off.

Kickstarter Projects: OURFIRG (A and B and S and A)

July 18, 2012 5:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

There are certain Kickstarter projects that do not actually come with an impressive video-pitch showing off celebrity game designers, ultra-polished tech demos or an almost finished game that is simply looking for some extra publicity and a bit of cash. There are indeed projects like OURFIRG that ask for modest funding in order to simply have a chance at fulfilling their promise and, you'll have to agree, the promise of a well written 3D arcade-adventure with traditional point-and-click elements is something that begs to be fulfilled.

Besides, OURFIRG is one of the few games to have been inspired by Loom and looks like a blend of genres that is bound to work. Then again, it really is early to tell even though the first videos, the uniqueness of the plot and certain bits of evocative concept art look rather exciting.

OURFIRG will be released for Mac, PC and iOS and, should its funding hit the stretch goals, it will also appear on Linux and Android.

Free Indie Games Spotlight: ParaParaParanoid

July 18, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson


In Windows freeware platformer ParaParaParanoid, Veronica must collect her memories and avoid her demons, while trying to find herself.

Her demons behave rather oddly, too. They seem to mimic Veronica's movements and to correct those movements if it means tracking her down. Adding a momentary "stun" after jumping makes this race from her demons more frantic.

Getting the good ending in ParaParaParanoid may be a trial in patience, as it requires either faster clear times or fewer deaths than I could manage.

[Game reposted with permission from Free Indie Games.]

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