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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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Indies Challenge Themselves to Find Innovation in the Tired Old FPS Genre

July 4, 2012 1:00 AM | Staff

7dfps gama.jpg"FPSes are a horribly oversaturated genre, indies can easily do amazing new stuff. Who's up for it?" tweeted Jan Willem Nijman, co-founder of indie studio Vlambeer, back in April. What started out as a random thought quickly snowballed into one of the most interesting indie development jams of recent times.

The 7 Day First Person Shooter Challenge (7DFPS) ran early in June, and aimed to create weird and wonderful first-person shooter concepts in the space of just a week, a genre that independent developers tend to avoid.

"It seemed like indies were avoiding shooters because they view those as the pinnacle of all that is wrong with triple-A," Nijman tells us. "I figured it was time to change that."

After fumbling around with how to get the jam organized, Nijman recruited the help of McPixel developer Sos Sosowski and dev and musician Sven Bergstrom. 7DFPS went on to see hundreds of entries, with the likes of Wolfire and Cryptic Sea taking part.

The issue with the FPS space, says Nijman, is that gamers have no idea of the potential innovation that can occur, and instead choose to throw money at publishers who churn out the same dreary titles over and over again.

Indie Royale Profiles: Dino Run SE and Serious Sam 2

July 3, 2012 9:00 PM | Staff

[Colin Brown of Backlog Journey profiles the games in the eight-game Summer Bundle currently running on the IndieGames' co-created site, Indie Royale.]

Dino Run is best known as a popular Flash game in which a dinosaur needs to outrun its own imminent extinction. It was cute, fun, a bit poignant and went beyond what you usually find in a runner game in terms of platforming and player strategy. Reflexes were all well and good, but players had to quickly think about the best way past whatever the game threw at them to avoid wasting time. It was rather good is what I'm saying.

Browser Game Pick: Glean (okaybmd/Leguma)

July 3, 2012 6:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

glean.jpg Featuring procedurally-generated levels and object-based crafting, Glean is a sedately paced game of exploration. Unlike a lot of other titles out there, there are no alien swarms to fight here. In Glean, you're really just out there to collect artifacts, build things and explore. While this probably won't excite everyone, it's actually a rather nice break for those disinclined towards the idea of going through yet another arcade-y experience.

Play the game here.

Trailer: The Sparkle 2 - Evo (Forever Entertainment)

July 3, 2012 4:10 PM | Cassandra Khaw

Strongly reminiscent of thatgamecompany's Flow and the first stage of Spore, The Sparkle 2 is an extremely colorful-looking affair. Here, you'll take charge of the life of this one, puny aquatic being. Your mission? To help it become the most powerful entity within the thirteen levels of the game. In order to accomplish this, you're going to have to cultivate its evolution, deal with other creatures, eat and battle bosses. It's a "strange-entity-eats-strange-entity" sort of world out there.

My only issue is the lack of a demo for those who must simply try before they buy. That said, those who are curious about the title can check it out here.

Indies Have to Stand out or Else, Says Arkedo's Guermonprez

July 3, 2012 3:00 PM | Staff

Lustre gama.jpeg"We are a small studio; we are making a very specific kind of game for a very specific kind of gamers. Let's call it the 'bright yellow' crowd," says Camille Guermonprez, co-founder of Paris based indie studio Arkedo.

The company is currently developing 2D action game Hell Yeah! for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC download.

He believes that standing out in the crowd is the key to indie success. The problem, he says, is that publishers can sometimes get in the way of the creative process.

"The problem we have when we have to meet a publisher when the game is not done, is they give their opinion. Some of them are good. But my issue is that, as many people as you put around the table giving their color, in the end you've got brown. I can't be small and brown; it's not possible," he says.

Cactus and Dennis Wedin Pair for Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games)

July 3, 2012 1:00 PM | John Polson

Jonatan Söderström (cactus) and graphic artist Dennis Wedin have teamed up to form Dennaton Games to release their gritty, top-down action game Hotline Miami. The two previously teamed up for Keyboard Drumset Fucking Werewolf.

The game is 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."

Hotline Miami is set to murder PCs and Macs soon, with console versions following courtesy of publisher Devolver Digital. I'm hoping the original soundtrack is as awesome as the trailer music. Oh, and go ahead and call the number at the end of the trailer. I think part of the mumbling says "Leave a message," so I did!

Kickstarter Projects: Divekick (Adam Heart)

July 3, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Developer Adam Heart seeks funding to complete Divekick, a competitive one-on-one fighter that has surprising depth, despite the fact that it's controlled entirely with two buttons.

Satirizing a notoriously overpowered move from Capcom's Street Fighter series, Divekick is a game in which players can only dive (jump) or kick; the game does not accept directional input. Pressing the kick button while on the ground makes your character retreat. Gameplay revolves around executing divekicks of varying height, in order to keep your opponent guessing.

"As simple as this sounds, you'll have to trust that it is not," Heart warns. "Movement is unorthodox, and players are unable to guard against incoming attacks.

"Finding the optimal spot to stand in order to score a counter is key, but actually standing in that position is a lot harder than you'd think! Players can also build up their Kick-Meter to activate Kick-Factor, a super charged mode in which your character dives higher and kicks faster."

Divekick's funding goal is set at $30,000. Pledges of $10 or more act as digital preorders, while higher pledge tiers offer custom loading screen messages, t-shirts, and in-game appearances.

Indie Tools: RPG Maker

July 3, 2012 7:30 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

To say that using RPG Maker (well, RPG Maker VX Ace to be precise) is fun would be a gross understatement. It's an elating and most addictive experience that makes forgetting the fact you are actually creating a game so incredibly easy. I've wasted, you see, the better part of two days designing worlds within worlds with dungeons within dungeons and even a world within a dungeon. But, well, I digress.

What you really need to know is that RPG Maker is a fantastic tool for creating JRPG adventures reminiscent of the 16-bit era. It's easy and intuitive to use (you can start designing maps without even going through the first tutorial), seems powerful enough to handle anything a top-down RPG might require, sports a very straightforward scripting language and comes with a ton of content such as tiles, UI elements and monsters to let you immediately start designing your game.

Mind you, I did use the latest RPG Maker version, but I'm pretty sure that the tool's central ideas are to be found in all of its iterations.

All versions of RPG Maker are sold for prices from $29.99 to $89.99 and come with a 30 day trial, which should be more than enough time to actually create your first, small-ish RPG. RPG Maker will only run under Windows.

Freeware Game Pick: Neocolonialism (Subaltern Games)

July 3, 2012 5:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

neocolonialism.pngNeocolonialism: The Video Game by Subaltern Games is a multiplayer-only turn based strategy affair mainly inspired by the works of David Harvey and Fernando Cardoso and, thus, a deeply political game that has players assume the roles of investors in an attempt to conquer the world over LAN. Internet play may not have been implemented yet (the game is still in alpha), but everything from installing puppet governments, to buying off countries and imposing IMF policies is there to make you feel like the powerful, greedy person you aspire to be, while simultaneously providing certain insights as to how economic geography works.

Neocolonialism is available for Windows PCs and you can grab it by directly downloading via this link.

Nerve-wracking Beta: Slender (Mark J. Hadley)

July 3, 2012 12:00 AM | John Polson

The goal in first-person horror/terror Slender is to find 8 creepy manuscripts about the paranormal creature Slender Man and avoid going insane. The more directly the player views Slender Man and the closer he is, the faster your sanity will drain. He appears rather startlingly in-game, like old-school Michael Meyers from Halloween.

The Slender Man myth started from a Something Awful thread of fabricated paranormal images. Apparently, the creature has made his rounds in several games, but Hadley/Parsec Productions' stressful game has people talking.

[EDIT:] If you wish to brave Slender, here are the current download links for Mac and Windows.

I consciously avoided turning around while preparing this blog post and trying Slender. I may just go to sleep here.

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