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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 9 Common Mistakes Every Indie Game Studio Should Avoid

November 23, 2012 4:00 PM | Staff

frustratedindie.jpgIchiro Lambe has learned a lot of hard lessons since he founded independent studio Dejobaan (AaaAAAAAaaaaA: A Reckless Disregard For Gravity) over twelve years ago.

At a talk at the Indie Game Summit this week at GDC China, Lambe whittled these down to the nine common pitfalls that most indie studios are in danger of facing.

1. Starting too large

Lambe notes, dryly, admitting that he's fallen into some of the same traps with his indie titles: "People see games like World Of Warcraft or Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare... and [believe] they can create an MMO in 9 months." Being overambitious with scoping is a classic indie failing. So why not pick a smaller game?

F*ck This Pick: The Message (Jeremy Lonien & Dominik Johann)

November 23, 2012 7:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

the message.pngThe Message is wonderful. The Message is wise. The Message will probably make you beautiful. Play it. Don't let me spoil anything for you.

Well, okay, I do suppose I could let you know that this is a lavishly illustrated choose-your-own-adventure thing created with twine that does all sorts of impressive stuff with its presentation. It also happens to be a properly well written and extremely smart offering. With a sci-fi theme. Oh, yes, and it was impressively created for Fuck This Jam, meaning that the people that shouldn't enjoy this sort of thing actually came up with something brilliant.

Get a job: SCE Bend and others hiring now on the Gamasutra jobs board

November 23, 2012 3:00 AM | Eric Caoili

In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles in every major discipline, including opportunities at SCE Bend Studio, ChangYou, BioWare Montreal, and others.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across Gamasutra's network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

ChangYou.com US Inc.: Senior Market Analyst / Strategic Development Manager:
"ChangYou.com Inc. is a U.S. subsidiary of ChangYou.com Ltd, a leading developer and operator of online games in China. We began operations in 2003 as Sohu.com's MMORPG business unit, before our carve-out as a separate, stand-alone company in December 2007 and subsequent listing on the NASDAQ in April 2009.

In 2010, the revenue of ChangYou.com was over $300 million. We now operate one of the most popular MMORPGs in China, and have enjoyed strong growth in user data and revenues for our games. In 2009, ChangYou.com established subsidiaries in California, London and other cities of the world. We are seeking talented professionals in the gaming industry to join us and build a success in the global market."

BioWare Montreal: Online Programmer:
"The BioWare Label is a division of EA which crafts high quality multiplatform role-playing, MMO and strategy games, focused on emotionally engaging, rich stories with unforgettable characters and vast worlds to discover. Since 1995, BioWare has created some of the world's most critically acclaimed titles and franchises, including Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age. BioWare currently operates in eight locations across the world, including Edmonton (Alberta, Canada), Montreal (Quebec, Canada) and Austin (Texas)."

Magical Paint Puzzler Ubinota Releases

November 23, 2012 1:00 AM | John Polson

Rotateam may have a sleeper hit with Ubinota, a 3D puzzler with a release that seemed to just fall from the sky. The main goal requires the player to paint white blocks certain colors to keep houses from falling. The art design is bright and rich, and the music so far is light and fluffy, complementing the real joy that is the gameplay.

The free Windows demo introduces the simpler mechanics of painting white blocks with blue and red. The blue must connect from sturdy columns to somehow keep the houses standing. The first trick comes when players don't have enough paint to connect the columns to the houses and must create a safe bed for the houses to fall on.

Trailer: Splatter (Schrompf)

November 22, 2012 10:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw



Dark, post-apocalyptic city riddled with ravenous ghouls? A lone protagonist out to survive impossible odds? The need to rebuild villages and combat other opponents? Yeah, we've probably all seen it before. Still, there's always room for more arcade-y, survival-driven titles out there, right? Scheduled for an eventual release sometime in the second quarter of 2013, Splatter may, unless the developers change their minds on this, retail for about $12.

More information can be found at their IndieDB page.

Johann Sebastian Joust Turns Motion Control into Slapstick Comedy

November 22, 2012 7:00 PM | Staff

The fun part of making motion-controlled video games isn't making your players feel like virtual heroes -- it's about getting other people to laugh at the players' expense.

In a GDC China talk, Die Gute Fabrik lead game designer and researcher Douglas Wilson explained the history of Game Developers Choice Innovation Award winner Johann Sebastian Joust, suggesting motion control is "the slapstick comedy of games."

Browser Game Pick: Swindler 2 (Nitrome)

November 22, 2012 4:00 PM | John Polson

Nitrome has just released Swindler 2, a rotational action puzzler with signature sleek pixels that follows up the popular original. The stretchy thief still swings and spelunks using its own elastic skin while players rotate the stages. Early on, the Swindler can unhook from its fleshy cord to free float. While floating, Swindler has to grab constant air supply to stay alive. Lastly, the Swindler must reattach to its cord; otherwise, it is too weak to lift the treasure it desires in every stage.

Swindler 2 can be played via keyboard and is compatible with Nitrome's Touchy app to turn one's iOS or Android device into a wireless controller.

Indie Royale Profile - Anomaly: Warzone Earth

November 22, 2012 11:44 AM | Staff



[Guest reviewer Colin Brown profiles each of the games in the latest bundle from IndieGames' co-created site, Indie Royale.]

The tower defence genre has long been a ripe target for an enterprising indie developer to take a crack at. It's popular, but there's plenty of room for some innovative designs to tweak, twist and overhaul the format. 11 bit studios doesn't really do this in Anomaly: Warzone Earth, choosing to keep most of the traditional tower defence elements intact. Of course, the one thing they do change actually changes everything. You see, in Anomaly, the towers are already built, waiting and a tad evil, so it's the creeps that you need to manage. Yes, Anomaly is what the kids are calling a reverse tower defence. A tower offence if you will. By flipping the traditional gameplay on its head, Anomaly makes for a rather neat campaign revolving around the management of a squad of APCs with limited resources.

The Bagfull of Wrong Birthday Sale

November 22, 2012 7:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

death ray manta.pngDue to certain historical events (a birth some time in the past, apparently), indie developer extraordinaire Robert Fearon is celebrating and letting everyone grab the amazing Bagfull of Wrong for $1 (for a few more days). This, well, bundle of sorts includes all the glowy colours of the world and some of the best indie arena shooters ever: Death Ray Manta, the Squid Yes, Not So Octopus series, War Twat and an assortment of very weird, very intriguing arcade bits.

5 tips for using procedurally-generated content in your game

November 22, 2012 5:00 AM | Staff

cargo long.jpgIsn't procedurally-generated content brilliant? Playing the same game over and over again, yet receiving what can be a satisfyingly different experience each time -- and from a development perspective, the prospect of building only a small amount of content, and then being afforded the opportunity to focus more on making your title as enjoyable as possible.

OK, so procedural generation doesn't always work so swimmingly, and there are plenty of mediocre games that have tried and failed to incorporate randomly-placed content. But taking the "less is more" approach, as Eufloria dev Rudolf Kremers recently called it, is a great way for indie studios to free up time to focus on other areas of development -- if done successfully.

Cargo Commander from indie studio Serious Brew manages to ride procedurally-generated content into the sunset, with players zipping through random space containers to grab treasures as quickly as possible. A sort of Spelunky in space, if you will.

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