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About The IGF

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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Features

3DSWare Review: VVVVVV (Terry Cavanagh, Nicalis)

December 29, 2011 4:00 PM | John Polson

VVVVVV 3DS.jpg

Gravitational switching platformer VVVVVV began 2010 with a bang, and it looks to end 2011 in a similar fashion for 3DS owners. IndieGames has an in-depth review of Terry Cavanagh's VVVVVV already, so this will focus on Nicalis' 3DS port and its options.

Most notable is the use of the two screens, with the bottom screen conveying helpful information such as missing crew, player stats, and a big map I used often. Controls feel spot on, and players can use the analog or digital pad to steer Captain Viridian. VVVVVV on the 3DS also has some considerate accessibility options, where players can toggle on or off backgrounds, screen shakes and flashes, invincibility and a slowdown mode.

The 3DS version also includes time trials, easy access to the intermission levels, a no death mode (seriously?), a flip mode, and the secret lab (which contains the bounce and avoid survival stage "Super Gravitron"). All of these play modes can be unlocked early, without paying one of those pesky DLC fees or in-app purchases that many games require.

Top 10 Indie Games Of 2011

December 16, 2011 4:00 PM | Michael Rose

dredmorbig.jpgWe don't need to tell you that the gaming industry is currently experiencing an 'indie boom' -- the evidence has been piling up throughout 2011, with numerous developers at AAA studios leaving their jobs behind to work on exactly the kind of games they want to make.

You only have to look at the Independent Games Festival record number of entries to know indies mean business this year. This time around, nearly 570 games were entered into the competition, marking an increase of more than 45 percent compared to the previous year.

We say this every year, but we genuinely mean it -- having to choose just ten titles from the incredible batch of indie titles this year was not only next-to-impossible, but also excruciatingly heart-breaking, as we had to knock favorite after favorite off until there were only ten remaining.

But never fear, as a good number of those titles that we close, but just missed out on a top spot, have been compiled below the main list as honorable mentions.

Terry Cavanagh's At A Distance Is Social, But Not In The Facebook Way

December 14, 2011 1:00 AM | Tim

[VVVVVV developer Terry Cavanagh's new title, At a Distance, is a social game, but it would never work on Facebook. Gamasutra contributor Phill Cameron reports from the game's unique launch event.]

On entry, I'm handed a pair of Tarot cards: The High Priestess and The Emperor. They represent the duality of spirituality and worldly power. The dichotomy between male and female. It's significant, I'm told, that the Empress is missing, that I've merely got the two and four, with an absent three.

It's awfully tempting to draw a comparison between this juxtaposition, when I'm in a pub in Vauxhall, London, to attend the launch of a game that's almost entirely about the interaction between the two sides of the same game.

But they're just the tickets for the drinks, gone in half an hour. A good conversation piece.

Last week on Wednesday night, At a Distance was launched. On Tuesday night, developer Terry Cavanagh was still adding new things to the game. This is a game that, by Cavanagh's own admission, has been completed for "months."

At a Distance is not like other games -- not even like Cavanagh's past efforts like VVVVVV and Don't Look Back.

That's primarily because At a Distance is an event game. It was made as part of the No Quarter project by the NYU Game Center, the second season of it, following the likes of the infamous Nidhogg and 16 Tons. They're games designed to be played in a social space, as an exhibition piece. It's not about sofas or desk chairs. It's about a wide open space filled with people, talking about things while the game is being played. At a Distance is the first of these to be made available outside of an event. You can download it off Terry's website, for free, right now.

At either end of the small function room, there is a pair of screens. Between them is a sea of chairs, some occupied, some empty. During conversation, the independent developer I'm talking to keeps getting distracted by watching the game being played, before catching himself and laughing. You can ruin the game for yourself by watching it, you see, because half the fun is figuring out how it works. I'm finding I'm having the same problem; it's visually striking, and instantly mysterious. Just how does it work?

#indieVisibility End of Year Awards

December 13, 2011 10:00 AM | Michael Rose

indievisibility1.jpg

Last Saturday night saw the extremely coveted #indieVisibility end of year awards take place in London, UK, celebrating the very best indie games of the year with as much silliness as possible. The event was set up by the BAFTA-award winning (that title is now enforceable by law, he told me) Size Five Games dev Dan Marshall of Ben There, Dan That and Privates fame, and hosted by the guys at video games radio show One Life Left.

I'll get to the list of winners soon, but let's set the scene first. We're talking the upstairs room of a cosy pub, with enough space to move around in such that it was possible to get to and from wherever you wanted to be, but also just small enough that it was impossible not to talk to every single person you bumped into. The free booze, as supplied by the wonderful 'indie lawyers for you dot com' Sheridans also helped raise jolliness immensely.

The cream of the British indie dev crop was out and willing, and I ended up having swift chats with the likes of Alex May, Terry Cavanagh, Charlie Knight, Paul Taylor, James Whitehead and many others. Many people commented that they really weren't quite sure why they didn't come to this kind of thing every year, which I couldn't help but agree with.

The awards themselves kicked off quite early on, with Golden Teabags (literally a teabag spraypainted gold) given out to victors. You know how sometimes you watch amateur awards shows, and you find yourself cringing and feeling embarrassed for the quite unfunny host who is really trying his or her hardest? That didn't happen here. One Life Left was hilarious, taking stabs at winners who weren't there to collect awards and generally keeping the audience amused throughout.

Interview: Feign Developer Ian Snyder Turns to Jelly

December 6, 2011 3:00 AM | John Polson

Feign developer Ian Snyder has stepped away from clever maze constructing to create a platformer where the ground is made entirely of jelly in the aptly named The Floor is Jelly. Snyder's browser title Feign was quite popular last year; it even earned an honorable mention from last year's IGF. Snyder hopes to up his game and impress the judges further with this year's gelatinous entry.

Snyder is aiming for a Windows and Mac release for The Floor is Jelly. Though he would like also to do a Linux release, he's currently restricted while coding in Flash. He's aiming to complete the game in about a year.

In the following interview, Snyder shares how "games are basically magic." He discusses how his new game is played, how lessons from Feign - such as the patience of a player - helped shape Jelly, and why he chose the substance.

The Fourth Wall has Eyez: Having the Same Mechanic Part 2

December 5, 2011 3:00 AM | John Polson

eyez.jpg

As discussed last week, IGF 2012 entries The Fourth Wall and Eyez have the same screen-wrapping mechanic in their 2D games, which is also visually represented practically the same with a blue aura around the screen borders.

This time around, we talk to Eyez developer Hua Chen, who's taking another stab at the IGF after being part of 2009 IGF Student Showcase project Kid the World Saver.

Windows Phone 7 title Eyez was actually a prototype submitted to the IGF 2010 competition. Chen shares that based on feedback he received from the IGF and thesis advisor Kim Swift (Portal designer), he pushed forward with the game to what it is today.

Cave Story Dev Daisuke Amaya on Rockfish and iOS Development

December 2, 2011 3:00 AM | John Polson

rockfish header.pngFrom Cave Story dev Daisuke Amaya (Pixel) comes IGF 2012 entry Rockfish, a mobile game where the player assumes the role of a small fish deep in the ocean. Rockfish combines elements from Cave Story and Ikachan into an underwater action-adventure. Like Cave Story, Pixel is creating everything himself, including the music.

Through an exchange of emails, Pixel answered various questions about what could become the iOS equivalent to Cave Story in epicness. While Rockfish is still far away from being finished, Pixel has shed some light on the game, its mechanics and some thoughts on iOS development.

As for the inspiration behind Rockfish, Pixel says that he thought first about creating a submarine action game. However, since he doesn't really know about submarines, he decided on a fish instead.

FLX Devs: Experimenting in and Defining Games

December 1, 2011 3:00 PM | John Polson

The pairing of accomplished game designer Sander van der Vegte and game novice Han Hoogerbrugge of Submarine Channel was an experiment to see what would happen if a game designer and an artist worked together to further the idea of a video game. The team created four-player Kinect title FLX, where all players are bound together in reality, and they must sway from side to side to avoid obstacles and lean forwards or backwards to move.

FLX now is a 4-player only game that requires Kinect and a PC. When asked if any of those players could be substituted for AI, the team said they are looking into ways to change this in future updates.

Submarine Channel initiated this production, having convinced the Stedelijk Museum and Vegte to participate in the Split Second project. Hoogerbrugge has never designed a game. While Vegte has, this process and pairing were new for him. Showing FLX off at an art museum was also rather new for them both.

In the discussion that follows, these two creators discuss the reactions of showing the game at the art museum, the reasons behind joining the project, the inspiration behind FLX, experimenting in games, and even exploring the definition of a "game."

Building around the Music with POP: Methodology Experiment 1

November 30, 2011 3:00 PM | John Polson

That half-minute of WTF has a name - POP: Methodology Experiment 1, created by Rob Lach for IGF 2012. His blog says that POP is built to explore a different approach to game development pipelines. POP's music is created first, and Lach runs with the first game concept that happens to emerge during his creative process (no matter how awful).

POP is built on top of the Monocle Engine and is currently working on PC, Mac, Linux, and iOS devices. Lach is planning for an early 2012 initial release, while which platforms make the final cut is still up in the air. He is hoping to have the interactive elements integrated within the year, but bringing the experience to where he wants it (technically and design-wise) might take a bit of time, he says.

For those curious about his psychedelic work in progress, how it plays, and what other experiments Lach has planned, read on.

The Fourth Wall has Eyez: Having the Same Mechanic Part 1

November 28, 2011 3:00 PM | John Polson

the_fourth_wall_promo04.jpg

IGF 2012 entries The Fourth Wall and Eyez have the same mechanic, which is also visually represented practically the same. Players in both games create a blue aura around the borders of the screen, during which time their character can warp from one side of the screen to the other.

Screen wrapping is by no means innovative. The original Mario Bros did it in the early 80s, and there are games that probably precede this instance. However, as scrolling platformers continue to pour out in droves, screen wrapping hasn't been used all that much recently.

And so, it is no surprise that developers Logan Fieth of The Fourth Wall and Hua Chen of Eyez decided to dip back into the game mechanics pool and put a twist on screen wrapping. Little did they know that they both created a mechanic with the same look and feel. After taking a look at both games beyond the jump, hear Digipen Institute of Technology Junior Logan Fieth talk about The Fourth Wall and how he feels it is different than Eyez.

Desktop Features

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How a bad publisher deal made Mutant Mudds dev Renegade Kid go indie
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Dwarf Fortress: A game that will live forever?
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Road to the IGF: Arcane Kids' Zineth
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Have you considered porting your game to MS-DOS?
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Roundtable: The Interactive Fiction Renaissance
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Road to the IGF: Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
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Road to the IGF: Anna Anthropy's Dys4ia
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Veteran Japanese devs make a game on fighting terrorists with a wrecking ball
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Road to the IGF: Alexander Martin's Starseed Pilgrim
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Video: Relive GDC 2012's popular Experimental Gameplay Sessions
-March 8, 2013 12:00 AM

A history - and call - for German indie developers
-March 6, 2013 3:00 AM

Q&A: Brainwave game hints at future of biometric gameplay
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Road to the IGF: Klaus Pedersen's Back to Bed
-March 4, 2013 3:10 PM

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GDC Play 2013 'Best in Play' game winners announced
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A free Twine game about the homeless of Denver, Colorado's Cherry Creek
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Road to the IGF: Jeppe Carlsen and team's 140
-February 27, 2013 3:00 AM

The Button Affair is a stylish semi-autorunner and fundraiser for disabled gamers
-February 26, 2013 9:00 PM

Sean Barrett didn't enjoy Corrypt's twist, makes a free Brough-like anyway
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Art Game: Make art with games in a game about art
-February 26, 2013 12:01 AM

RIOT interview: ethnicity not a focus as it disconnects us, says developer
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Bastion's argument for doing away with cross-platform development
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Bathe in the gore that is 2BAM's CJR demo
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Is Proteus a game -- and if not, who cares?
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Lume sequel is a gorgeous world of motorized paper and cardboard
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Console Features

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3DS Game Review - Fluidity: Spin Cycle (Curve)
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How Did Indie Studio Broken Rules Get Chummy with Nintendo?
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Molyneux to indies: Don't be afraid to experiment
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Pid's dilemma - how do you make a 2D platformer that stands out?
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Even Canabalt's Creator Can't Explain its Success
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Dust: An Elysian Tail Dev Bit the Bullet, Cut a Third of the Game
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A New Record for IGF Submissions at Nearly 600 Games
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The Benefits of Making Your Players Suffer (and Maybe Throw Up)
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Ask IndieGames: 'Can too much interaction obstruct a game's intended message?'
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Doing Stealth the Monaco Way
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Q&A: Leonard J. Paul on Retro City Chiptunes and Vessel Audio
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Sound Shapes Q&A: Prototyping for PlayStation Consoles
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-July 26, 2012 1:00 PM

HFB Q&A: A Brief History of SideTracks' PixelJunk Soundtrack
-July 23, 2012 12:30 PM

Cactus Goes Commercial: How One Indie Moved Beyond His Freeware Roots
-July 14, 2012 4:00 AM

GDC Europe's Indie Games Summit Adds Fotonica, Eufloria HD Design Discussions
-July 10, 2012 8:00 PM

Games Like Spelunky That Do Not Require An Xbox 360
-July 4, 2012 11:00 AM

A Developer Love Letter to Spelunky
-July 4, 2012 10:00 AM

Indies Challenge Themselves to Find Innovation in the Tired Old FPS Genre
-July 4, 2012 1:00 AM

Ask IndieGames: What makes a good free-to-play game?
-June 30, 2012 1:00 PM

PlayStation Network Indie Devs Divided on Software Pricing
-June 28, 2012 1:00 AM

Mobile Features

Five PR tips indies really need
-July 16, 2013 10:50 AM

Indie Games Summit at GDC Europe debuts line-up, adds Gamescom perk
-July 10, 2013 11:40 AM

What indie game festivals do for the big publishers
-June 25, 2013 3:30 AM

GDC Europe's Indie Summit adds Ridiculous Fishing, Badland postmortems
-June 20, 2013 1:49 PM

Video: Over 20 amazing demos at GDC 2013's Experimental Gameplay Workshop
-May 21, 2013 5:50 PM

AudioBrush aims to cure iOS music games of their offbeat afflictions
-May 14, 2013 8:56 PM

Aliceffekt Interview: Hiversaires' World Without Words
-May 14, 2013 2:45 AM

Video: 'Hothead developers' rant at GDC 2013
-May 7, 2013 6:07 PM

A MAZE. Indie Connect - German Indie Festival - 2nd Encounter
-May 3, 2013 2:10 AM

Four perspectives on personal games
-April 30, 2013 10:40 PM

November's GDC Next open for talk submissions
-April 29, 2013 3:07 PM

Vlambeer's games popular among players, cloners alike
-April 23, 2013 12:01 AM

How a bad publisher deal made Mutant Mudds dev Renegade Kid go indie
-April 18, 2013 12:07 AM

Postmortem: Game Oven's intimate finger twisting Fingle
-April 14, 2013 10:06 AM

Play folk games on the fly with Tiny Games app
-April 3, 2013 11:05 PM

GDC/PAX East Catch-up Part 2: Home, Kentucky Route Zero devs' next plans
-April 2, 2013 2:00 PM

The five reasons freemium sucks (according to QWOP's developer)
-March 30, 2013 1:36 PM

IGF 2013 winners led by Cart Life and FTL: Faster Than Light
-March 27, 2013 10:35 PM

Your indie guide to IGF 2013: a GDC primer
-March 21, 2013 6:23 PM

Road to the IGF: Behold Studios' Knights of Pen & Paper
-March 20, 2013 6:50 PM

Team Meat's Refenes: Apathy and refunds are more dangerous than piracy
-March 20, 2013 11:50 AM

Roundtable: The Interactive Fiction Renaissance
-March 16, 2013 8:00 PM

Veteran Japanese devs make a game on fighting terrorists with a wrecking ball
-March 11, 2013 6:42 PM

Why they're playing: Year Walk
-March 6, 2013 11:58 PM

Vlambeer, Kert Gartner on making a six-second Vine trailer for Ridiculous Fishing
-March 6, 2013 3:43 PM

A history - and call - for German indie developers
-March 6, 2013 3:00 AM

Road to the IGF: Klaus Pedersen's Back to Bed
-March 4, 2013 3:10 PM

Indie game development on the rise in a big way
-March 4, 2013 3:00 AM

GDC Play 2013 'Best in Play' game winners announced
-March 3, 2013 4:00 PM

RIOT interview: ethnicity not a focus as it disconnects us, says developer
-February 25, 2013 3:55 PM

IGF 2013 Audience Award Opens Voting
-February 19, 2013 1:07 PM

BitSummit initiative to help connect Japanese indies to the world
-February 19, 2013 3:00 AM

Shade, and the future of interactive fiction on the App Store
-February 13, 2013 2:15 PM

Q&A: Bit.Trip Business: Indie studio life in 2013
-February 13, 2013 8:00 AM

'Road to the IGF' Pt.1: the stories behind this year's top indie games
-February 8, 2013 10:00 AM

Road to the IGF: Henry Smith's Spaceteam
-February 7, 2013 1:30 PM

Bastion's argument for doing away with cross-platform development
-February 7, 2013 1:00 AM

Video: How to function as a depressed, solo game developer
-February 5, 2013 11:00 AM

Road to the IGF: Simogo's Year Walk
-February 1, 2013 10:30 AM

Road to the IGF: Lucky Frame's Bad Hotel
-January 27, 2013 4:00 PM

Why they're playing: Hundreds
-January 26, 2013 6:00 PM

Interview: The 411 on Indie Speed Run
-January 24, 2013 3:05 PM

Super Crate Box, Thomas Was Alone devs share on new site stories of being bullied
-January 17, 2013 3:00 AM

Joe Danger is a rare example of console-to-mobile done right
-January 13, 2013 9:00 PM

10 Indie Games Scene Shakers in 2012
-January 10, 2013 4:00 PM

GDC 2013 adds Capy, Shellrazer, Yamove! Summit talks
-January 10, 2013 1:30 PM

Betting on style with Saltsman and Wohlwend's Hundreds
-January 6, 2013 7:00 PM

Top Indie Games of 2012: Dev Redux Part 2
-December 31, 2012 2:00 PM

What AAA can learn from indies -- according to indies
-December 30, 2012 12:00 PM

Indies met challenges, learned lessons in 2012
-December 28, 2012 5:00 PM

Top Indie Games of 2012: Dev Redux Part 1
-December 25, 2012 12:00 PM

Unique Showcase Space for Smaller Devs at GDC 2013 via GDC Play
-December 19, 2012 5:00 PM

Top 10 Indie Games Of 2012 (+2!)
-December 18, 2012 6:00 PM

The Avant-Game - brain food for the hardcore weirdos
-December 14, 2012 3:00 AM

Personal Struggles Inspire Personal Games
-December 6, 2012 3:00 AM

The 9 Common Mistakes Every Indie Game Studio Should Avoid
-November 23, 2012 4:00 PM

How competition deadlines whipped FTL into shape
-November 21, 2012 4:01 AM

PlayStation Mobile opens the floodgates for all game developers
-November 20, 2012 9:00 PM

F*ck This Jam Gets Personal: Devs Parody Curiosity, Facebook, and YouTube
-November 16, 2012 12:00 PM

The unique challenges of building a game world out of cardboard
-November 16, 2012 1:00 AM

Molyneux to indies: Don't be afraid to experiment
-November 15, 2012 1:00 AM

Even Canabalt's Creator Can't Explain its Success
-November 7, 2012 1:00 AM

The Secret to Spider's Success: New Forms of Collaboration
-November 3, 2012 2:00 AM

Terry Cavanagh and the Heart of Super Hexagon
-October 30, 2012 3:00 AM

A New Record for IGF Submissions at Nearly 600 Games
-October 23, 2012 8:00 PM

Video: Is Your Game 'Juicy' Enough?
-October 17, 2012 8:00 PM

One Week to Go for 2013 IGF's Main Competition Entries
-October 11, 2012 1:00 AM

Gree Launches New Program to Support, Promote Indie Devs
-October 9, 2012 1:00 AM

The Benefits of Making Your Players Suffer (and Maybe Throw Up)
-October 8, 2012 8:00 PM

Ask IndieGames: 'Can too much interaction obstruct a game's intended message?'
-October 6, 2012 2:00 PM

GDC 2013 Indie Games Summit Call for Submissions
-September 29, 2012 12:00 AM

10 Indie Games to Sing Along with
-September 21, 2012 2:00 PM

Why Indie Games Make Meaningful Spectator Sports
-September 20, 2012 3:00 AM

Rewarding Kickstarter Donors with Copies of Your Game Is Vital
-September 3, 2012 10:00 PM

Ask IndieGames: Are indie developers censoring themselves?
-September 2, 2012 10:00 AM

IGF China Seeking Indie Game Submissions for 2012 Event
-August 17, 2012 8:43 PM

Don't Let Popular Opinion Get in the Way of Your Vision
-August 15, 2012 3:30 AM

Pay Once for PC and iOS? Galcon Dev Experiments with Dynamite Jack
-August 10, 2012 2:00 PM

Ask IndieGames: Which genres do you want to see indie developers tackle?
-August 5, 2012 8:00 AM

The Day After #ScreenshotSaturday 5
-July 29, 2012 9:30 PM

The Day After #ScreenshotSaturday 3
-July 15, 2012 10:00 PM

GDC Europe's Indie Games Summit Adds Fotonica, Eufloria HD Design Discussions
-July 10, 2012 8:00 PM

Take this survey on the motivations of Kickstarter contributors
-July 6, 2012 5:00 PM

Indies Challenge Themselves to Find Innovation in the Tired Old FPS Genre
-July 4, 2012 1:00 AM

Ask IndieGames: What makes a good free-to-play game?
-June 30, 2012 1:00 PM

Feature: 10 iOS Adventure Games You Must Play
-June 28, 2012 7:30 AM

Why a Key Trials Evolution Coder Went Independent
-June 22, 2012 3:00 AM

Letter From The Chairman: Welcome back (soon!) for IGF 2013
-June 19, 2012 12:00 PM

Wreck-It Ralph: The Indie Edition (by Kert Gartner) Must Happen
-June 10, 2012 8:00 AM

Andy Moore on His One-hour Breadth Jam: Jam O'Clock
-June 1, 2012 2:00 PM

Dev Tech Tops Wii U as "Open and Flexible," Uses Gadgets You Already Own
-May 21, 2012 2:00 PM

Ask IndieGames: How Do I Get You Guys To Pay Attention To My Press Release?
-May 18, 2012 4:15 PM

FPS Games and Imitation: What Should Return and What Must Go
-May 18, 2012 2:00 PM

Interview: Hard Lines Dev Pumps His FIST OF AWESOME
-May 17, 2012 2:00 PM

Ask Indie Devs: FPS Games and Innovation
-May 11, 2012 3:00 PM

Exploring Parallel 3D Space and Time with Oliver & Spike
-April 28, 2012 4:30 PM

Bieg and Nasser on Sexy Joysticks and Subversion in Swordfight
-April 27, 2012 2:00 PM

Final Fantasy to Snow White: Composer Kumi Tanioka's Independent Vision
-March 1, 2012 5:00 PM

Road to the IGF: Powerhead's Async Corp.
-February 26, 2012 5:07 PM

Road to the IGF: Game Oven's Fingle
-February 25, 2012 4:43 AM

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