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IndieGames.com 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, Gamasutra.com 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 Candy Box became more social than 'social games'

May 8, 2013 10:14 PM | Staff

candybox small.jpgOver the last week, the Twitter feeds of game creators and fans alike began to fill with a peculiar wave of notices about candy. Things like: "I've maxed out at 100 lollipops a second," and "I've now thrown 1000 candies on the ground, why am I throwing candies on the ground," and people answering frog riddles and upgrading their swords into better swords. It looked a lot like a Facebook game.

Except Aniwey's Candy Box, the source of the craze, isn't a Facebook game, or even a "social game," per se. It's a tiny, free, ASCII stat-based grind played in a browser tab, and for a hot second there, it was all the rage.

This in spite of the fact that it has the same kind of "empty" grind mechanics players have derided in social games for years now: Your resource counts increase simply with time spent, which means scores of people bragging about how they left the game open all weekend at the office in eagerness to return to a candy bounty.

When you spend resources on an upgrade, you have to wait to interact with the upgrade system again. You can undertake a quest, but need to wait about two minutes until you can do another. There's even a dual currency system (though no real money is ever involved).

Freeware Pick: take a suicide swing on a ninja rope in We Are Subjects

May 8, 2013 6:58 PM | Paul Hack

Jocce Marklund of Marklund Games emailed us with word that his rope-swinging, procedurally generated platformer We Are Subjects has been released as a fully playable alpha, and I'm happy to report that the game is a solid and complete experience in its current form. You control a succession of "subjects" forced by your shadowy handlers to explore a deadly series of caves and collect precious crystals. Motivated by the prospect of escape, you have no choice but to embrace your suicide mission. Just being in these caves is toxic, and the floating turtle-aliens don't help make it any safer, but your worst enemy may be yourself.

Kenta Cho browser double feature: Tossed Humans Split Over and WASD Thrust

May 8, 2013 4:40 PM | John Polson

split humans.pngDeveloper Kenta Cho is poking at some interesting ideas again, with his latest browser-based experiments WASD Thrust and Tossed Humans Split Over. Tossed Humans is a hyper vertical jumper, where the score comes from the amount of jumps and not the distance traveled. Players can leave dozens of platforms for the multiplying humans to jump on, but if they miss the platforms or hit them with their head, they are dead.

Indie development in the 1990s: The Game-Maker story

May 8, 2013 2:37 PM | Staff

The cover art to Recreational Software Designs' Game-Maker

[Written by EJR Tairne]

Fifteen years before indie games gained traction, the buzzword for amateur game design, and PC games in general, was Shareware.

In the early ‘90s, PCs were the realm of the tinkerer and the white-collar professional. Thanks to the crash of ’84, they were also the only major outlet for North American game design. The problem was, PCs were built for business rather than leisure. After a decade of hacking and add-ons, the hardware reached a level where a bedroom programmer could attempt the fast-paced action of arcade and console games. Add in a growing network of dial-up boards, and you have distribution. Creativity exploded, giving rise to games like Commander Keen, Jill of the Jungle, and Doom.

Browser Pick: Scrounger, if starvation or fatigue doesn't kill you, the zombies will

May 8, 2013 12:29 PM | Paul Hack

scrounger1.pngWe received word from Alessandro Ituarte that his "survival arcade game" Scrounger has been released. I've spent some time with it and I'm enjoying this small post-apocalyptic adventure a lot more than most zombie games with bigger budgets. But to call it a zombie game is selling it short, since Scrounger is really about survival, and zombies are no worse a threat than hunger or fatigue.

Rhythm roguelike Crypt of the NecroDancer has Grubby Games, Canabalt, Aquaria talent

May 8, 2013 12:02 AM | John Polson

Crypt of the NecroDancer is an upcoming rhythm roguelike from Grubby Games co-founder (now Brace Yourself Games) Ryan Clark. The early Windows build I played evoked my Konami music skills, with a rhythm judgment meter on the left of the screen that dictated whether my character moved at all. Unfortunately for me, every enemy knew the beat all too well, so I had to plan my attacks cunningly.

Freeware Pick: i need to lie down, an abstract game of existential horror

May 7, 2013 9:16 PM | Paul Hack

ineedtoliedown.pngAustralian developer Andy Sum emailed me about his Ludum Dare 26 competition entry, i need to lie down, and I am happy to give this excellent game some attention. Though I've enjoyed each playthrough, I wouldn't exactly say the game is "fun". The game is designed to create a certain atmosphere and to make you uncomfortable. The fact that it succeeds at this while also being an enjoyable play is remarkable.

Video: 'Hothead developers' rant at GDC 2013

May 7, 2013 6:07 PM | Staff

hotheaddev.jpgThe tradition of developer rants at GDC continues, with 2013's edition including OUYA head of developer relations Kellee Santiago, Eidos turned indie dev Anna Marsh, and Chris Hecker sharing what they feel is wrong with the industry.

Courtesy of the GDC Vault, this free, hour-long panel shows Santiago suggesting a Renaissance-like approach to help better and richer games to be made by people who could otherwise not afford to do so. Lady Shotgun's Marsh encourages more pre-production efforts to avoid crunch and says developers should experience life outside games to avoid otherwise incestuous ideas.

For all the hothead rants, including Chris Hecker's now famous wordless rant, check out the free video after the jump.

Browser Pick: This is not a minimalist game, a mini-epic of anti-minimalism

May 7, 2013 3:40 PM | Paul Hack

notmin.pngWhen you begin This is not a minimalist game, you are a jaded adventurer in the service of a wizard, but you won't stay that way for long. Cursed by an evil sorceror, your world is minimalized and you and everyone else in it are transformed into simple, colorless rectangles with no memory of how things used to be. Faced with something bigger than your usual mercenary exploits, you have no choice but to set about restoring color, detail, and complexity to the world.

Watch heads roll in this guillotine simulator for Oculus Rift

May 7, 2013 1:45 PM | Staff

While we've seen plenty of experiments showing the potential for utilizing the upcoming Oculus Rift technology to fully immerse a player in a game world, we haven't seen anything quite like this.

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