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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

E3 2011: Hands-On Impressions of Papo & Yo (Minority)

June 9, 2011 7:04 PM | Cassandra Khaw

papa1.jpg

My interview with Vanders Caballero, the man behind Papo & Yo, was the first interview that had ever driven me close to tears. It began far too awkwardly. I had difficulties putting my questions to words, afraid that I would somehow offend the wild-haired maestro responsible for what many consider as Sony's next Playstation Network darling. A veteran of the gaming industry, Caballero had been previously involved with Electronic Arts and, to paraphrase the man, has been somehow involved in almost every one of their major franchises. Driven by a need to relate his story, Vanders Caballero left his job of eight years and moved on to create Minority in order to tell the story of Papo & Yo.

Preview: Splatters (SpikySnail Games)

June 9, 2011 3:00 PM | Michael Rose

ConfettiCarnival.jpg

Remember Confetti Carnival? If you've watched the videos and read the previews, you'll know that it's one to watch out for, with its physics-based paint-splattery. But now, you need to erase that name from your memory, and replace it with a different one. SpikySnail Games has changed the name to the more straight-forward Splatters.

It definitely describes the game well, but it seems highly risky to change it at this point, given how much attention the game has received under the Confetti Carnival name. Sagi Koren, one of the SpikySnail co-founders, told us that Confetti Carnival was only ever meant to be a placeholder, until they'd decided on the final name.

It's not just a new name, however - the game is also equipped with enhanced visuals and sounds from what you've seen in the past, as well as an overhauled tutorial system, that is set to teach players the ropes in a more entertaining manner, rather than simply throwing each idea at you one by one and hoping they all stick.

E3 2011: Planck's Music-Based Mechanics (Shadegrown Games)

June 8, 2011 3:30 PM | jeriaska


Planck Level 2 Trailer

Shadegrown Games founder Matthew Burns describes Planck as an amalgamation of vertical shooter and musical instrument. The player guides a speeding ship across the surface of an aquatic environment, generating pieces of music through swerving and firing. Each level offers a distinct set of instruments and obstacles where the visual art consciously mirrors the dynamic soundtrack.

We caught up with the independent developer during the E3 Expo to hear about the newest additions to Planck, namely the Scored Mode and Level 2.

Your studio is called "Shadegrown," referring to a specific approach to independent game creation. How would you say these practices have suited the needs of your development team?

Matthew Burns (Shadegrown Games): Part of the concept behind Shadegrown Games is giving something room to grow... not just the games, but the people who work on the games as well.

So often in the triple-A industry, I see big companies harvesting people: taking bright, young graduates from school who are just thrilled to be working on a game and mowing them over with work. You get a higher rate of return in the short-term, but then you have these employees that are burnt out at age 30.

To me that's like planting a crop that exhausts the land and depletes the soil. You don't get the best, most creative experience by working for decades and decades in overly specialized roles. I think it's very important for game developers to be multi-disciplinary and to have well-rounded interests.

Interview: The Complicated Journey Of Rohrer's Diamond Trust

June 3, 2011 9:00 AM | Tim

[Jason Rohrer reveals exclusively to Leigh Alexander of Gamasutra the circumstances that led Diamond Trust of London from Majesco to Zoo Games -- a cautionary tale for publishers who want to go retail.]

When you sign a contract with a publisher to make a DS game, that doesn't necessarily mean they've promised to release your game on a cartridge instead of digitally. That's what indie developer Jason Rohrer learned working on Diamond Trust of London with Majesco, the strategy title about global diamond trading that's now found the home with Zoo Games that he always hoped it would have.

Rohrer originally began working with Majesco when the company looked to be using the breathing room earned by Cooking Mama's massive success to experiment with unusual creative titles, like Harvey Smith's Karmastar for iOS. They got in touch with Rohrer, known for artistic indie games like Passage, Between and Sleep Is Death, and asked him for a meeting.

They asked him to make a retail game with DSi features, as implementing them earned games special retail billing at the time, he tells Gamasutra. "DSi Ware was coming on the scene at the time, and they basically said there was no money in downloadable games," says Rohrer. "They were kind of discouraging me from the idea of making a downloadable game."

"So I got the dev kit, I got an office, and I worked on [Diamond Trust] for about five months; I turned in like four different milestones to them. It was going really well, although the DS is a hard platform to program for... I got the networking and two-player and AI working, and the game was pretty much done except for the tutorial and music," Rohrer explains.

Preview: Sound Shapes (Jonathan Mak)

June 3, 2011 7:00 AM | Tim


Bloody 'ell Mak, where have you been? Developing a musical platformer for Sony's new portable console, that's what. In the video above the developer of Everyday Shooter walks us through his latest project (called Sound Shapes), explaining how a platformer level is generated procedurally based on the musical composition that you write. Clever!

According to Mak, you control a 'blue ball' that will stick and roll on just about any surface. There's a button that you can press to jump, and holding the square button causes the ball to release its grip and move at a faster speed across the landscape. The objective of the game is basically to collect as many dots as you can while avoiding the traps and enemies, all the while chilling to the unique soundtrack that will morph and change depending on what kinds of events are happening on screen.

Mak mentions that the game will come with pre-loaded levels to play with, and you can even share your own musical creations and platformer challenges on a cloud system with other friends as well. A follow-up video about the creation of Sound Shapes can be found in the extended, as Mak talks to Dean Takahashi of Venture Beat about what he's been up to in the past four years since the release of Everyday Shooter.


Interview: Indie Fund Supports The Mesmerizing Dear Esther

June 2, 2011 3:00 PM | Michael Rose

pinchbeck.jpg[In this interview originally found at sister site Gamasutra, developer Dan Pinchbeck talks about his Source-powered mod Dear Esther, which has been added to the Indie Fund lineup.]

Like many individuals who undertake artistic endeavors, Dan Pinchbeck found that his desire to create and spread his art and ideas led him down a path he never could have predicted.

Conceived as a research project by Pinchbeck and a team at the University of Portsmouth, his experimental game Dear Esther is a Source engine mod released in 2007, with the most recent version of the mod arriving in 2009, the same year it won the best world/story award at the IndieCade festival.

But that didn't mark the end of Pinchbeck's journey with Dear Esther. Indie Fund - a collective that funds unique indie games - is betting that gamers are ready for subtler, more powerful, more meaningful experiences. Now the group has told Gamasutra that it selected Dear Esther as its fourth game in its increasingly compelling stable of funded titles.

What Indie Fund will do is help Pinchbeck and his small team finish bringing Dear Esther from an academic experimental Half-Life 2 Source mod to a full commercial release that utilizes the Portal 2 version of Valve Software's engine.

Preview: Project Zomboid (Indie Stone)

May 31, 2011 11:00 AM | Cassandra Khaw

zomboid.jpg

Let's pretend, just for a minute, that a zombie apocalypse had indeed occurred. Months have passed. Almost everyone you know is dead. You've spent countless weeks with your back to the door, afraid to sleep, afraid to even close your eyes. The only person you have left is someone you love, someone you trust; a wife, a husband, a sister, a brother. It could be anyone. It's also not much, not in the wake of everything else that has happened but still enough to keep you sane. You don't know what you would do without them.

One day, something happens.

Interview with Rebecca Whittaker, voice of Rosa Blackwell

May 28, 2011 11:16 PM | Cassandra Khaw

rebecca.jpg

Sitting in on a voice-over recording session can feel rather voyeuristic. It's intimate. It's walking on a game half-dressed. It's seeing all the important bits, not quite done up, being put together for the grand show. It was one person trying to write a personality into someone else's mind; none of the lines were being recorded in order, resulting in the need to help the actress visualize the scene properly. While this might not be true for bigger companies, it was certainly the case that afternoon at Dave Gilbert's apartment/studio. I had been invited to take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the fourth Blackwell game but had not had the opportunity to do so up till recently.

Terraria vs Minecraft: Why 2D Is King

May 25, 2011 5:00 PM | Michael Rose

terraria1.jpg

Ever since the behemoth that is Minecraft starting eating all the monies in the world, other developers - both indie and AAA alike - have been trying to work out what the heckers makes it so popular. Then there are those developers who have decided to take it a step further and make their own Minecraft, with success-bearing results.

Anyone who tells you that Terraria is not a 2D Minecraft clone is either a) a huge Terraria fanboy, or b) a bit dense. The game never admits its roots, yet never tries to conceal them either, from its blocky world to its crafting system to its enemies coming out at night... everything screams Minecraft. But then, Terraria also builds on the 3D original, adding tons of its own ideas and, of course, featuring a whole new side-on perspective.

In doing this, Terraria has actually managed to better its inspiration. Indeed, Terraria is not simply 2D Minecraft - it's far better than that, and my 20+ hours of play, coupled with numerous late nights of 'just one more descent', are proof of that.

Composing for Independent Games - 3rd Annual Group Chat

May 19, 2011 6:00 PM | jeriaska


Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya of Cave Story and Baiyon of PixelJunk lifelike

At this year's Game Developers Conference, PixelJunk Eden art and sound director Baiyon met with several game composers for his third annual group chat on the subject of composing music for independent games.

Hosting this installment of the yearly informal meetup is Double Fine sound director Emily Ridgway. During the 2011 Independent Games Festival competition, she served as a judge on the Excellence in Audio award jury.

Game composer Yoshi Miyamoto (Pocket Groovy) reprises his role as interpreter, this time for Daisuke Amaya (Pixel), the designer and composer of Cave Story. The platformer is currently making its way to the Nintendo 3DS portable console.

Also participating in the chat this year, Mattias Häggström Gerdt was nominated for a 2011 IGF Excellence in Audio Award for his music for Cobalt. Darren Korb received an IGF nomination as well, for his music and sound direction for Bastion, due out this summer on Xbox Live Arcade. Daniel Olsén, the composer of ilomilo, is currently preparing the release of the puzzle game's original soundtrack album.

Transcripts of the two previous discussions, with Chris Schlarb (Night Sky), Laura Shigihara (Melolune), and Danny Baranowsky (Super Meat Boy) among other participants, can be found on Gamasutra and IndieGames.com.


Teaser for the PixelJunk lifelike music visualizer

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Dwarf Fortress: A game that will live forever?
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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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