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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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The Return of the Days of Dawn Kickstarter

February 5, 2013 6:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

We first mentioned the Days of Dawn Kickstarter back in December, but, intriguing as the project sounded, it sadly failed to reach its apparently too ambitious goal. Happily, Bumblebbe, the developers responsible for the project, have decided to not give up, and have already launched a new, improved yet humbler in its funding goals kickstarter campaign. The new Days of Dawn Kickstarter asks for $50,000, offers some quality rewards (including a full copy of the game for $20) and manages to make this unique-sounding RPG seem even more enticing. Have a look!

Dust the demons away in 16-bit era action RPG Anodyne

February 4, 2013 5:00 PM | John Polson

Sean Hogan and Jonathan Kittaka's action RPG Anodyne releases today for Windows, Mac, and Linux users at an $8 sale price, enchanted demon broom included. Those who enjoy solid Zelda-esque action/adventure mechanics and exploration of dream worlds should at least try the new demo; I promise you'll be swept away.

Sean says testers took 6.5-9.5 hours to finish the game, but that's without finding all the secrets nor the "secret-secret-secrets." He forebodes, "There are a few things I expect no one to find for a very long time."

While Anodyne is available direct and on Desura (with GamersGate coming soon), the developers are also still hacking away at Greenlight, with Steam codes going to those who purchase the game direct if it is Greenlit.

Browser Game Pick: Art Game (Pippin Barr)

February 4, 2013 2:10 PM | John Polson

art game.png"Experience the exhilaration of making art you really believe in! Experience the agony of rejection by the curatorial team! Consider selling out and just making what people seem to want! Change your mind again and follow your dreams! Be a star of the art world! Be a horrible failure! Be an artist!"

That's Pippin Barr's Art Game, from the words of the creator. You'll play games similar to Tetris, Snake, and a two-player Asteroids and record them for a curator to judge, hoping to get them shown in a gallery. I'm not sure if it's the the success or the failure that is considered art, here, because your game over screen is what seems to make the curator happy. Such is the art game, no?

Related to the game, I wondered if painting does feel like playing Snake. The squiggles my Snake body become look chaotic, almost like abstract art. I suppose there's also an analogy to never knowing when art is "complete" and how Snake never feels completed (the game eventually beats you before you beat it).

[source: @doougle]

Freeware Pick: Jelly no Puzzle (Qrostar)

February 4, 2013 3:00 AM | John Polson

jellynopuzzle.pngJelly no Puzzle's cute and squishy exterior lures you in, but its 40 fiercely tricky push-puzzles make you try and try again. The goal is to push all like-colored jelly pieces together. Because most pieces can only move left to right, there's a lot of sliding and carrying those pieces on other jellies' heads while minding gaps and other obstacles.

Jelly no Puzzle has been in development for a while, but Qrostar just released an English version (Windows only), so more people can now approach it without apprehension. Have fun sinking hours into this one!

[source: @TerryCavanagh]

Stealth in 2D: Design lessons from Mark of the Ninja

February 3, 2013 9:00 PM | Staff

ninjacover2.pngHow do you make a 2D stealth game? In the postmortem for the February 2013 issue of Game Developer magazine, Klei devs explain how they adapted core stealth principles to work in a new environment -- and some of the design challenges that came up in the process.

Here are some choice extracts from the postmortem:

What went right: Focus on core stealth principles

Early on in the project, we decided that being stealthy had four core elements: Observe, Plan, Execute, React. Our design decisions continued to come back to this core, and allowed us to move away from simply copying genre tropes to creating new ways to move the genre forward.

As there are very few examples of 2D stealth games, and there were even fewer when we began Ninja, we had no templates to draw from. Instead, we ended up looking at the core experience that 3D stealth games provided, and really dug into how they are novel compared to other types of character-based action-adventure games. From this, we distilled what we believe makes stealth games interesting: player-centric systems, and intentional gameplay.

Bathe in the gore that is 2BAM's CJR demo

February 3, 2013 12:15 PM | John Polson

CJR_aliens_mockup.pngIn the realm of run-and-gun (think Contra, Metal Slug), I can think of so few 2D games that top the celebration of gore in 2BAM's CJR. While the game is still early in development, CJR already feels quite satisfying.

The visual treatment of destroying sprites often feels unsatisfying, such as when a generic explosion animation attempts to cloak the sprite's disappearing act. That is not the case here, but I won't spoil the visual surprise. Additionally, the mechanics surrounding the gore are mostly solid so far, with punishing stage environment sequences, frequent checkpoints, and heavy fire power.

Runner 2 Submitted for Consoles, Launching Later This Month

February 3, 2013 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

130201_runner2.jpg

Gaijin Games has completed work on its upcoming Bit.Trip Runner sequel Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, and has successfully submitted the game to Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony for certification.

Gaijin founder Alex Neuse details the experience in this blog post, noting that each submission was plagued with its own unique issues. After squashing some last-minute bugs, however, the team is confident that certification should proceed smoothly.

Gaijin Games' current task is to finish up the Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of the game. If all goes well, Runner2 will launch across all platforms in late February.

It's official: XNA is dead

February 2, 2013 6:00 PM | Staff

xna.jpgMicrosoft has confirmed that it does not plan to release future versions of the XNA development toolset.

A blog post from developer Promit Roy earlier this week apparently detailed Microsoft's plans to fully retire the XNA Game Studio tools on April 1, 2014, while also suggesting that the future of API collection DirectX is uncertain.

The company has now further explained the situation to Polygon, assuring developers that DirectX development will continue, but stating that XNA has received its last update.

"XNA Game Studio remains a supported toolset for developing games for Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone," said the representative. "Many developers have found financial success creating Xbox LIVE Indie Games using XNA. However, there are no plans for future versions of the XNA product."

Numerous developers took to Twitter to mourn the death of the platform -- or otherwise. Unity CEO David Helgason in particular tweeted, "Farewell XNA, you were never quite the worthy opponent I expected, though you hit some high notes along the way."

Hammerwatch is Gauntlet-inspired, mod-friendly co-op action with bosses and puzzles

February 2, 2013 1:30 PM | John Polson

Gauntlet-style dungeon crawling with puzzles and local/online co-op? Sounds like an easy pitch for Jochum Skoglund and Niklas Myrberg's game, Hammerwatch, currently sitting on Steam Greenlight.

Tentatively set for a Q2 2013 release on Windows, Mac, and Linux, Hammerwatch promises fierce hack and slash action with "character development, complex levels, bosses, and much more." The game will also offer mod and editing support, so players can make their own levels and adjust other options to their liking.

The game looks and sounds great, too! Kudos to Two Feathers for the music that I hope to hear in-game, too!

Ancient Shadows, AI War and the Steam sale competition

February 2, 2013 9:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

AIWarCompo.pngEver-evolving sci-fi strategy-'em-up AI War and its AI War: Alien Bundle are currently available for a rather impressive 75% off on Steam. The promotion will end on the 7th February and, well, it's quite the deal, especially when considering that AI War is a most excellent and immensely smart strategic offering.

To celebrate, Arcen Games have provided us with five Steam codes for the AI War base game and another five Steam codes for its latest expansion: Ancient Shadows.

Leave a comment on this post (and make sure there's a way for us to contact you) for a chance to win one copy of AI War and one of Ancient Shadows. The competition will end on 7 February and the winners will be announced on this very post.


Update - THE WINNERS (with a little help from Random.org):

Arian Jafari
Robin Stacey
hog8oy
Andrew Cherepanov
Matthew Wirick

Please contact me over at konstantinos[.]dimopoulos[at]gmail.com for your codes.

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