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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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Road To The IGF: The Quick-Burst Roguelike Fun Of Desktop Dungeons

February 10, 2011 11:00 AM | Tim W.

[As part of a series of "Road to the IGF" interviews with 2011 IGF finalists, Gamasutra speaks with Danny Day of QCF Design about quick-burst roguelike and Seumas McNally Grand Prize nominee Desktop Dungeons.]

Roguelikes are famous -- or infamous, depending on who you ask -- for their somewhat impenetrable design and epic, life-engulfing quests that can take months to complete. But there's no reason they have to be that way, as IGF entry Desktop Dungeons proves quite adeptly.

Born from the South African trio of developers at the pithily named Quarter Circle Forward + Design (QCF), Desktop Dungeons condenses the procedurally generated, perma-death infused questing roguelikes are known for into a streamlined package, so that each quest takes an average of only 10 minutes to complete.

The game is up for two 2011 IGF Awards, including the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. We talked to QCF's Danny Day Rodain Joubert about the game's inspiration, creation and future plans for monetization.

What background do you have making games?

Danny Day: There aren't really industry veterans here in South Africa (apart from one or two notable Canadian imports) so we were all on the hobbyist side until a few years ago.

I did some really eclectic game design freelancing after accidentally starting a development community and ended up briefly working at the only console development studio in the country. When they closed, I started QCF as a place to make the sorts of game ideas that you keep wanting to make, but never get around to.

Indie Game Links: It's a Cheetah, Man

February 9, 2011 10:00 AM | Tim W.

Today's collection of independent game links includes more indie game previews, a couple of development updates, and interviews with developers from around the 'net. (image source)

2D Boy: World of Goo’s iPad Launch
"World of Goo developer 2D Boy has revealed first-month sales of 125,000 copies of the iPad version of the puzzle title, which is selling much faster than similar versions on WiiWare and Steam."

The Witness: How many puzzles are in The Witness
"There are 222 puzzles in the game. Many more puzzles are going to be added; by the time the game is done, there will be over 400. In comparison, Braid has about 76 puzzles in it. That said, the puzzles in The Witness are often intended to be bite-sized and quick, so it’s not really a direct comparison."

Indie Games Channel: noVer on GLiD and Dreaming of Making Games For a Living
"GLiD has gotten a good amount of attention and exposure over the past year, thanks in large part to its lush environments and the main robot’s spider-like abilities. We reached out to noVer’s two masterminds, Marco and Matt, and we discussed GLiD, the future of noVer, and when players will be able to try the game out."

Indie Games Channel: Black Pants Game Studio on Tiny & Big
"Tiny & Big’s tale is an ongoing saga, as the developers are tirelessly working to complete the series’ upcoming episodes. Even with a busy schedule that includes this month’s Independent Games Festival, the crew at Black Pants were kind enough to talk to us about the series."

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Haunted Temple Talk Skulls Of The Shogun
"Skulls Of The Shogun is a game about skull-eating Samurai in the after-life. We thought it might be a good idea to talk to Haunted Temple’s Borut Pfeifer about the game, and you can read the chat we had, here."

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Arcen Talk A Valley Without Wind, Part 1
"Arcen Games, famed for AI War, financial troubles, and causing a shortage of iron, have announced their new game: A Valley Without Wind. It’s quite the concept: survival in a procedurally generated world, exploration, magic, and perma-death."

GameSetWatch: IGF Student Showcase Winner Rooms Now On iPad
"Hudson has published Rooms for iPad, packing with it support for Game Center, eighty stages to play, two extra modes after clearing the main game, and trophies for clearing various bonus challenges."

Game Developer: February Issue Showcases Minecraft, Shank Postmortems
"The exclusive cover story to this issue, which will be available in all GDC 2011 conference attendees' welcome bags, focuses on Mojang's development of the smash hit Minecraft. The game is an indie dream: self-funded, largely the result of one person's vision, and an immediate, runaway success."

GDC 2011's Summits Add Super Meat Boy, Angry Birds, Minecraft Appearances

February 9, 2011 9:16 AM | Simon Carless

GDC 2011 organizers have debuted the final set of GDC Summit talks, including a Super Meat Boy postmortem, an appearance from Minecraft's Notch, and Rovio talking Angry Birds.

The GDC 2011 Summits, taking place on February 28th and March 1st at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, present a series of illuminating, focused sessions about the technology, design, business, marketing, and future of key game industry markets.

There are a total of seven notable standalone Summits, including Social & Online Games, AI, Indie, GDC Education, Serious Games, Localization and the GDC Smartphone Summit, joining multiple high-profile tutorials on the Monday and Tuesday of Game Developers Conference 2011.

As the final sessions get locked into place as part of the overall GDC 2011 schedule, the following major lectures are now confirmed:

- In an Indie Games Summit lecture catchily entitled 'Team Meat Presents: Super Meat Boy - A Team Meat Meatmortem', Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes will examine "sales numbers, contract details... and revel as myths [are debunked]."

The talk will "touch on everything from development of features, mistakes made during the final stages of development, the launch of a game that Microsoft didn't believe in, why Steam is amazing, and the inevitable success of the best indie game of 2010."

Scarlett and the Spark of Life is Free for Today Only

February 9, 2011 6:00 AM | Tim W.


Launching Pad Games (developer of The Pretender) are offering their wondrously humorous 2D adventure game Scarlett and the Spark of Life free on the App Store for today only, in conjunction with the addition of OpenFeint support to the first of four planned Scarlett Adventures episodes. The story is about a princess who is trying to foil the kidnapping of her sister, but before doing so she must first escape from the her own captors that had her tied up and saddled on the back of a horse.

This offer expires pretty soon, so you'd definitely want to grab the game before it goes back to the full price of $1.99.

Road To The IGF: Ratloop's Lucas Pope Plays With Helsing's Fire

February 8, 2011 5:00 AM | Tim W.

[As part of a series of "Road to the IGF" interviews with 2011 IGF finalists, Gamasutra speaks with Lucas Pope of Ratloop about the Best Mobile Game nomination for Helsing's Fire.]

Ratloop is no stranger to the Independent Games Festival, having already seen two of its games in the running in previous years.

For the third consecutive year, Ratloop co-founder Lucas Pope is celebrating an IGF nomination -- this time for Best Mobile Game with light-based iOS puzzler Helsing's Fire, developed by himself and his wife.

As the app's description explains: "With intuitive touchscreen controls, use your torch and limited supply of powerful tonics to pierce the shadows and destroy Dracula's monsters. Torch placement is critical, and different tonics affect each creature differently."

We spoke with Pope about the history of Ratloop, his foray into the world of iPhone development and what we can expect from Ratloop next.

What is your background in making games?

I started as a small independent developer, worked at a big developer for a few years, and now I'm back where I belong.

A few friends and I started Ratloop 13 years ago when there was no indie scene and you needed the support of a large publisher to get your game into stores.

Unfortunately, back then that support didn't come easy; we could only hold on so long before going our separate ways. Now that digital distribution is nice and prevalent, we're back together trying to rock some games.

Our recent titles Mightier and Helsing's Fire were both two-person projects by my wife Keiko and I. Rocketbirds: Revolution was created by Tan Sian Yue and James Anderson as part of Ratloop Asia in Singapore.

Indie Game Links: Action Shoot

February 8, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.

Today's collection of independent game links includes more indie game previews, a couple of development updates, and interviews with developers from around the 'net. (image source)

Animate Dead: Frictional Games Interview
"Frictional Games was behind 2010’s most scary game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. By some accounts, the most scary video game ever. We reached out for a few comments on their success and on being an indie developer."

Temple of the Roguelike: International Roguelike Database Updated
"The International Roguelike Database has been updated and now allows you to rate and comment on the roguelikes. There are currently 290 roguelikes on the list."

PlayStation Blog: Chatting About Journey With Thatgamecompany
"Journey is the upcoming PlayStation Network title from the people that brought you flOw and Flower. Here is our conversation with Robin Hunicke, Journey’s producer and Jenova Chen, co-founder of thatgamecompany."

GameSetWatch: Sword of Fargoal Legends Now Out For Mac
"Fargoal has released Sword of Fargoal Legends, its iOS remake of Jeff McCord's classic Commodore 64 game, on the Mac App Store. In this old-school adventure, players explore a randomly generated dungeon, fight 28 different monsters and avoid traps, all in the effort of trying to retrieve the Sword of Fargoal."

Andy Schatz: The Original Monaco was sort of an MMO
"I've pitched Monaco to publishers in different forms over the years. This is a version that includes social features, pitched to GarageGames for their yet-to-be-launched InstantAction portal."

Indie Games Channel: Richard E. Flanagan on FRACT
"Richard E. Flanagan has an extensive portfolio that includes video game design, animation, and even card games. Mr. Flanagan has taken the time to speak with us about the ongoing work-in-progress that is FRACT."

GamePro: 36 Best iPhone Games
"We've sifted through the thousands of games currently available in the iTunes App Store, and have settled on these thirty-six titles to enthusiastically recommend. Some are old, some are new, but all are worth both your time and money."

Quote Unquote: Beau Blyth
"Beau Blyth has slowly but surely made a name for himself with the memorable likes of Fish Face, Action Fist and Shoot First. He has grown comfortable with Game Maker, is uncomfortable that so many of his games have involved shooting so far and is positive about learning more about the craft of development."

iPhone Game Pick: Dungeon Raid (Fireflame Games)

February 7, 2011 12:00 PM | Tim W.


Dungeon Raid is an unassuming little casual puzzle game that is easy to pick up and learn, but hidden underneath is an incredible amount of strategy and complexity that players would need to master if they want to achieve an enviable high score to post online.

The gameplay screen consists of the main window that displays the tiles that you have to match by drawing a line through them, with a minimum of at least three tiles of the same type required before they can be removed from the field. An exception to this are the skulls. Enemy skulls have to be matched with swords to attack them, and the more swords you match with the skulls the higher the damage you will inflict on them.

The blue and green gauge at the bottom of the screen indicates your current upgrade level and experience points. If you collect enough shields, you can earn yourself an item upgrade. Same goes for experience points, giving you stat boosts and even spells that may be useful when you are in a bind. Coins also work in a very similar way, and matching potions will restore any health points you'd lost during a battle.

Once you get better at the game, you'll want to conserve any swords and spells you may have for the tougher fights with special monsters, since they will crush any novice adventurers who are not prepared or experienced enough to take on an entire horde of skeletons. Even choosing the right upgrades can mean life or death for our brave hero, and nothing could be worse than facing your foes with depleted resources and no means of attack left on the board.

The price of Dungeon Raid is a bit steep at $2.99, but few titles in the App Store can match the replay value that this game has to offer.

QWOP on iPhone Free For the Next 48 Hours

February 6, 2011 6:44 PM | Michael Rose

QWOP.jpg
What's with all the iPhone news today, huh? The most magnificent and ultimately impossible-to-play QWOP is now available to download for free for your iJiggery.

In case you're not familiar with the game, the idea is that you control his feet and thighs via two pads on either side of the screen. Before you can even get into the game, you'll spend the first fifteen minutes trying to work out how to actually run! Then you've got plenty of events to pelt through, including the 100 metre sprint, the long jump and the steeple chase.

All good, free fun. Grab it while you can from the App Store.

Super Soviet Missile Mastar Out Now for iOS, Free

February 6, 2011 6:00 AM | Tim W.


Super Soviet Missile Mastar for the iDevices is a mini-game which originated from the console release of Alien Hominid HD, recently ported by The Behemoth as their first attempt at iOS development. Your objective here is basically to help guide a Soviet rocket towards a floating map of America flying high in the skies, all the while trying to avoid copters, planes and even birds that'll bring your missile down quicker than you can say Tetris.

It's not a very complicated game to control, and every subsequent level is just a more difficult variation of the previous one, but for the price of free it does a great job of being entertaining for a couple of plays. You can download it from the App Store by going here.

NimbleBit's Entire App Store Catalogue is Free for a Limited Time

February 6, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.


Zero Gear developer NimbleBit is currently offering their entire line of App Store products as free downloads for an indeterminate time, numbering eleven games for all iOS devices (the exception here is Omium, which is an iPad-only App). Dizzypad and Sky Burger are both pretty fun to play on the bus or train, but they also have word puzzle offerings like Textropolis and Fishtropolis which are equally just as entertaining.

The list of free NimbleBit games are as follows: Dizzypad, Dizzypad HD (iPad only), Sky Burger, Scoops, Textropolis, Fishtropolis, Moon Drop, Mega Panda, Bluebird, Kyper, Hanoi Plus, Omium (iPad only) and Pocket Frogs.

Get them while they're still free.

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