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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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Freeware Game Pick: Sunk Coast (Jonathan Whiting)

March 17, 2013 3:59 PM | John Polson

sunk coast.pngJonathan Whiting's Sunk Coast is a free, "aquatic roguelike" for Windows and Linux made for the 7DRL competition. Instead of health, players have to be mindful of their oxygen (O2) while diving 200 fathoms to discover "priceless golden doubloons." While moving around uses a little air, enemy conflicts and diving consumes even more.

Along with arrows or WASD controls to move, players pickup with p, drop with o, use items with u, dive with d, and rise with r. See how far you can descend in Whiting's Sunk Coast.

Browser Game Pick: 24 Killers (Todd Luke)

March 17, 2013 11:59 AM | John Polson

24 killers.png An investigative game made for the Seven-day Roguelike Challenge, Todd Luke's 24 Killers has you gather clues from 24 possible killers at a club to try to figure out who wants you dead. The crowd slowly opens up with turn-based movement, but impatient players can kill two innocent creatures that stand in their way.

I didn't see any other use for the killing mechanic, aside from selecting the eventual killer. I did notice a bit humor behind each innocent creature, if you keep talking to them. All in all, 24 Killers is fun for a couple rounds of questioning with catchy music from Sam English.

Kickstarter Projects: Telepath Tactics - Take Two (Craig Stern)

March 17, 2013 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Indie Megabooth member Craig Stern has launched a new Kickstarter campaign for his in-development strategy-RPG Telepath Tactics, and the results so far seem quite promising.

Citing inspiration from Fire Emblem and the Disgaea series, Telepath Tactics is being developed for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and will offer a multiplayer mode for up to six players, in addition to a lengthy single-player campaign. The game's first Kickstarter attempt fell short of its goal, but Stern is finding greater success this time around, and is already halfway to meeting his funding goal of $15,000.

Backers who pledge $10 or more will receive a copy of the game when it launches in April of next year.

Roundtable: The Interactive Fiction Renaissance

March 16, 2013 8:00 PM | Staff


A reprint from the March 2013 issue of Gamasutra's sister publication Game Developer magazine, this article explores the world of cutting-edge interactive fiction. You can subscribe to the print or digital edition at GDMag's subscription page, download the Game Developer iOS app to subscribe or buy individual issues from your iOS device, or purchase individual digital issues from our store.

Text games have come a long way from Zork. Thanks to new tools, new authors, and ubiquitous mobile devices enabling new players, the interactive fiction genre is enjoying a revival of sorts.

Game Developer spoke with Inklewriter dev Jon Ingold, longtime author Andrew Plotkin, indie dev and advocate Anna Anthropy, Failbetter Games CEO Alexis Kennedy, and interactive-fiction pioneer Emily Short about how (and why) the IF scene is expanding.

Jon Ingold, longtime text-game author (Fail-Safe, All Roads), now spearheads interactive fiction innovations at Cambridge, UK-based Inkle. Notably, Inkle's new choice-oriented IF tool, Inklewriter, is one of the more prominent new tools designed for the kind of accessibility needed to democratize a once-niche art form.

Road to the IGF: Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

March 16, 2013 4:00 AM | Staff

As part of our Road to the IGF series, Gamasutra is speaking to each of the finalists in the 2013 Independent Games Festival to find out the story behind the games.

Today we speak to Matt Hammill and Jamie Tucker of Asteroid Base, the team behind Love in a Dangerous Spacetime, which is nominated for the Excellence in Visual Art thanks to its unique 2D viewpoint that is, in reality, taking advantage of 3D polygons.

Dark Side of the Jam: A NASA game jam postmortem

March 16, 2013 12:00 AM | Staff

dark side.jpgJams are a great way to get people to talk to each other, make games, and generally feel good about the industry and themselves. But what happens when you hook up directly with a government agency for your jam?

A few months ago, some folks from the Night Rover Challenge got in touch with me, and a few others (Ryan Williams, Brendan Mauro, and Kieth Nemitz) because they were interested in doing a NASA-tied jam. And on the weekend of March 9, 40 years (and a week) after the release of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, we made it happen.

Dark Side of the Jam's main site was on the NASA Ames campus in California's South Bay Area, and had everything from an astronaut's suit you could try on, to a working lunar rover robot. The aim of the jam was to create products that could be shown to kids in at-risk schools, to demonstrate some of the interesting things you can do with science. "Hey, you can even make games with science, maybe you should get engaged with sciencey things!" was the intended message, and to that end, we provided all kinds of actual space images, 3D models, and other data from NASA itself for the jam.

Frozen Synapse devs reveal Frozen Endzone, a tactical future sports game

March 15, 2013 3:10 PM | John Polson

Mode 7 Games is taking what it learned from Frozen Synapse and applying it to the self-billed "premiere tactical future sports game" Frozen Endzone, coming in 2014 for PC. The gameplay involves two teams (single or multiplayer) facing off in a randomly-generated arena, and players must design a play to get the ball into your opponent's end zone, using the stadium's terrain to their advantage.

Enjoying that trailer track? It's part of Frozen Endzone's OST and free to download here. For those wanting the game on Steam, head to its Greenlight page to vote it up. Lastly, for juicy details on the game, check out this PC Gamer interview.

The Castle Doctrine: The Alpha Release

March 15, 2013 9:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

CastleDoctrine.pngI am convinced that Jason Rohrer's The Castle Doctrine is not an interactive dystopia determined to critique contemporary society. It is simply the product of our dystopian era. A product of fear and the rampant fetishization of guns. A game that doesn't wish to offer any sort of hope or alternative, but seems to instead perversely enjoy the current state of things. A dark and pessimistic game, that, thankfully, is stylized enough and strongly focused on its mechanics to not allow its dark soul become apparent and for that I am thankful; I wouldn't have otherwise been able to enjoy this brilliant and utterly innovative example of game design.

castledoctrine2.pngIn the freshly released alpha version of The Castle Doctrine, you see, setting is merely a backdrop. Cut-out scenery merely existing in order to support the ingenious multiplayer mechanics, in which each player tries to simultaneously build an impenetrable house in which to protect his or her cash and family, and invade and rob other peoples' places. A game in which, essentially, players attack each other by creating the most devious puzzles they can think of; puzzles that have to be solvable at least once and are not wholly dissimilar to elaborate Rube Goldberg contraptions.

Interestingly and to add even more depth to its mechanics, besides the core rob/protect idea, The Castle Doctrine makes sure that each house you design has to be a clever balancing act of discouraging (preferably murdering and looting too) invaders and providing decent escape routes for ones family members should the burglars overcome its security. So, uhm, intrigued yet? Good.

Road to the IGF: Team Pixel Pi's Pulse

March 15, 2013 3:00 AM | John Polson

2013 IGF student finalist Pulse paints a canvas not with color but with sound. It is a first person survival game where echoes trigger the now-blind player's memory, along with clarity provided from the noises and reactions of fuzzy creature-companions.

Team Pixel Pi initially created Pulse last year as a playable Windows and Mac prototype. The team has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a more realized version of the game.

Here, Vancouver Film School Game Design student and programmer/designer for Pulse Maxwell Hannaman discusses his team's research and inspiration behind creating a game starring a blind character. He also explores how blindness as a mechanic was both constraining and creatively freeing.

$18K to be awarded in first ever game jam for cats

March 15, 2013 12:00 AM | Staff

tonygame.jpgThere's a game jam happening in Los Angeles the weekend before GDC which we're pretty sure is the first of its kind.

Friskies maker Purina is sponsoring what it is calling the "Games for Cats Hackathon," a weekend-long jam where aspiring developers will compete to create games (or apps) for cats to play with.

The grand prize-winning team will take home $15,000, with $3,000 and $2,000 awards for the runners-up.

Thinking of entering, but don't know where to start? Gamasutra's got you covered: check out 5 tips for making video games your cat wants to play.

Event registration is open here.

[Frank Cifaldi wrote this originally for sister site Gamasutra.]

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