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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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Release: Dynamite Jack (Phil Hassey)

May 11, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson

Galcon developer Phil Hassey has released his top-down, action adventure Dynamite Jack on his store DRM-Free for Windows, Mac, and Linux and on Steam.

I generally had fun sneaking around and blowing up living and nonliving things with planted bombs, feeling like I was playing a more exploratory, multi-tasked Bomberman. In an effort to get the fastest time and collect all the crystal shards on the same run, I am glad each shard reduced the time by 2 seconds.

The enemies moved while I checked my map for collectibles, which added a sense of urgency. However, seeing the enemies move made me want to move with the map open, too. When the enemy spotted and shot me, I couldn't help but smile and imagine a militant Hassey making all the sound effects, even if he didn't. Now you will have that image to carry you through your Friday, too!

Four Key Advantages of a Procedural Platformer

May 11, 2012 1:00 AM | John Polson

HardcoreDifficulty.jpgJordan Fisher, founder and lead programmer of Pwnee Studios, developer of AI-generated and -tested platformer Cloudberry Kingdom, explains four things that are gained by procedurally-generated levels.

Cloudberry Kingdom was inspired in part by the Mario series, well known for its handcrafted level designs. How can a procedural approach stack up?

Here are four advantages Fisher outlines:

Challenge. No matter how good a player gets, the algorithm can make a level that will challenge her. Likewise, if a player is more casual, the algorithm can cater to her skill level.

New game types. We can make game types that depend on random levels, rather than just utilizing them. For instance, imagine an infinite string of levels strung together in a Tetris-like progression of difficulty. Without randomness, this game would devolve into a memorization challenge. With randomness, the focus shifts toward the player's skill, rather than muscle memory.

Alien Hominid Exceeds 20 Million Plays On Newgrounds

May 10, 2012 11:00 PM | Danny Cowan

120510_hominid.jpg

The original Flash version of the run-and-gun shooter Alien Hominid has been played more than 20 million times since its launch in 2002, developer The Behemoth announced this week.

Alien Hominid later saw an expanded release for the GameCube and PlayStation 2, followed by the launch of an HD version for Xbox Live Arcade in 2007. Despite its many ports, the original version remains quite popular, apparently. Congrats, Tom Fulp and Dan Paladin!

[via Joystiq]

Kickstarter Projects - Redux: Dark Matters (René Hellwig)

May 10, 2012 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

NG:DEV.TEAM's René Hellwig has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund upgraded Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, and PlayStation Network ports for his R-Type-inspired Sega Dreamcast shoot-'em-up Redux: Dark Matters.

The campaign's main draw is a Kickstarter-exclusive Limited Edition preorder for the Sega Dreamcast version of Redux. Backers who pledge $65 or more will receive a two-disc set featuring Redux: Dark Matters and its predecessor DUX 1.5, both of which are playable on Dreamcast consoles. Only 1,000 copies of the set will ever be produced, and none will be sold after the Kickstarter campaign concludes.

As of this writing, the project has earned $8,000 toward its goal of $25,000, with 28 days left until the funding deadline. Pledge rewards range from downloadable soundtracks ($25) to custom-made arcade sticks ($1,000).

Browser Game Pick: Passengers (jarnik)

May 10, 2012 4:31 PM | Cassandra Khaw

passengers.png Described by its creator as an atmospheric 'puzzle game/toy' sort of thing, Passengers is a very unique sort of experience. Here, you'll get to play as one of three .. train conductors, I guess. In each vehicle, there'd be a different assortment of strange, surreal-looking characters. You're required to catch bits and pieces of dialogue as they float through the air before eventually deciding on whom you should assist.

The developer is shooting to eventually push this onto mobile platforms, something I'm actually eagerly waiting for. We have enough Angry Birds clones, after all. Those interested in learning more about the game should check out the forum thread over here. There's a nifty prototype for you to investigate too.

DLC Quest Out Now In Mac App Store

May 10, 2012 11:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Going Loud Studios' satirical platformer DLC Quest is now available for Mac platforms via the Mac App Store.

Initially released for the Xbox Live Indie Games service, DLC Quest is a side-scrolling action game in which players must purchase key gameplay components with in-game currency in order to progress through the story. It's a clever bit of commentary, and it's enjoyable throughout. Make sure you save up for that horse armor -- it's totally worth it!

DLC Quest is priced at 99 cents.

Browser Game Pick: Tiny Timmy and Big Bill (4urentertainment)

May 10, 2012 8:00 AM | Steve Cook

timmy.png Tiny Timmy and Big Bill is a polished, quirky, endearing Ludum Dare 23 entry. Big Bill is controlled with the mouse, while Tiny Timmy is controlled with the keyboard. Collect all the mustaches to advance to the next level. Tiny Timmy is able to do this by jumping off Big Bill's shoulder to navigate bench tops. He can also land on Big Bill's hand, which can be controlled to reach higher or lower places. Big Bill must protect Tiny Timmy from enemies by clenching his fist and knocking them off screen.

While the controls may take some getting used to, the beauty of this game lies in the way that Bill and Timmy co-operate to navigate the house.

Play the game here.

Browser Game Pick: Tiny Wizard (Hannes Rahm)

May 10, 2012 7:30 AM | Steve Cook

tiny wizard.png In Tiny Wizard, your tower has been invaded and you must defeat waves of enemies, floor by floor. Your wizard's hat allows you shoot, the spacebar allows you cast a rechargeable, multi-directional 'uberspell' and bombs appear randomly, which can be collected and thrown when chosen.

The game starts out with promise. It has a nice graphical style and the controls feel smooth and responsive, however by level 15, I felt let down by the scarcity of new power-ups, enemies, terrain and the general lack of reward.

Tiny Wizard is an Ludum Dare 23 entry. It can be played here.

Freeware Game Pick: Reversion (3f interativo)

May 10, 2012 5:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

reversion.pngReversion, or to be precise the first episode of Reversion, is a freeware point-and-click adventure from Argentina. Now, as one of the best horror adventures I've ever played, Scratches, was of the same origin, I wasn't surprised to discover that Reversion is a very interesting game indeed.

What, on the other hand, was actually surprising for a freeware offering was the fact that Reversion sports beautiful, high-resolution 2D graphics that, though slightly lacking in the animation department, are a (detailed) joy to behold. Add a full (and fully subtitled in English) Spanish voice-over, a sleek interface, hundreds of things to click on, relatively taxing yet logical puzzles, splashes of delightfully odd humor and a particularly engaging plot and, well, you have a game fans of the genre simply can't afford to miss.

Mind you, Reversion isn't without its translation problems and that font the devs have chosen is pretty tiring, but don't let these minor niggles stop you from enjoying a point-and-clicker set in post-apocalyptic Buenos Aires.

The Key to Depth: Simplicity

May 10, 2012 1:00 AM | John Polson

gungodzgama.jpgIn Gamasutra's latest feature, a postmortem of Gun Godz, Super Crate Box developer Vlambeer's first FPS, the developer explains its penchant for "minimalist game design."

As the game was developed as a bonus for Kickstarter backers of forthcoming website Venus Patrol, Vlambeer's Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman admit that they had "limited resources, as this was a free project."

However, they write, "we also believe in minimalist game design."

"The fewer rules your ruleset has, the more responsibility you can give every single one of those rules, and the easier it is to make small, incremental improvements," the pair explains.

The two then shoot down a common fallacy of contemporary game development. "Simplicity does not exclude depth, as a strong combination of simple rules can make for incredibly deep gameplay."

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