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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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Why they're playing: Hundreds

January 26, 2013 6:00 PM | Staff

hundreds small.jpgUniversal iOS app Hundreds has a certain opaque mystique -- it looks minimalist and inviting, even trendy, but it's hard to tell from a superficial glance exactly what it's about.

Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing on the crowded App Store is an interesting discussion point: Indie game fans would probably buy the game on the names of Saltsman and Wohlwend alone, but is the average player invited by stand-out style and mystery, or do they avoid it in favor of a sure bet?

You'd probably have to look at the sales numbers to know the answer to that, but loads of my friends and colleagues in the game industry and in the press alike are wild about Hundreds. In an interview with Gamasutra Wohlwend recently said they never meant to be "overly mysterious and weird." It's just that the game is hard to explain -- or, more accurately, it's hard to explain why it's as captivating as it is.

Spend a few minutes with it, though, and the brilliance of its design-- particularly the careful marriage of its visual style to the zen-like, minimalist core of its appeal -- becomes immediately evident. In case you haven't tried it, it's deceptively simple: Each level presents a set of gray bubbles, each of which sports a number. Hold your finger on a bubble and the number rises -- and the bubble grows. While it's growing it's red and cannot touch another bubble or any obstacle; let go and it's safe again. Reach one hundred to pass a level.

The stages get ever more complex, with bubbles in physics-driven motion, or situations where you have to hold two linked bubbles at once to get them to count up. Later on, sawblades even threaten to cleave numbers back down. Ultimately it's a meditative effort that requires patience, discipline and a steady hand.

Here's what makes Hundreds so hooky.

Unity conference goes on a world tour

January 26, 2013 12:00 PM | Staff

unity small.jpgThe makers of the popular development platform Unity are ramping up their conference offerings, announcing that its popular Unite event will be touring the world with seven different events in 2013.

The main event, Unite 2013, will take place at the Vancouver Convention Center in August. Now in its seventh year, Unite will offer tutorials, technical sessions, talks, and previews of upcoming Unity features.

In addition, following up on the success of last year's "Unity Bootcamp" events, Unity will offer smaller, two-day Unite events around the globe this year.

The schedule is as follows:

Unite Japan - April 15-16 - Tokyo
Unite China - April 20-21 - Shanghai
Unite Korea - April 23-24 - Seoul
Unite Nordic - May 21-22 - Malmo
Unite 2013 - August 28-30 - Vancouver
Unite Colombia (TBD)
Unite Brazil (TBD)

More on the Unite 2013 website.

[Frank Cifaldi wrote this article originally for sister site Gamasutra.]

Syder Arcade HD Coming to iOS and Android Next Week

January 25, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Following up on its Windows debut last year, Studio Evil will launch iOS and Android versions of its frantic, Amiga-inspired shoot-'em-up Syder Arcade early next week.

Syder Arcade HD is a classic-styled (ie, not bullet-hell) shooter with an array of playable ships and multiple difficulty settings. Studio Evil notes that an Ouya version of Syder Arcade is also in the works, and is set to premiere alongside the console's launch.

Syder Arcade HD will launch as universal app for iOS (iPad 2+, iPhone5) and Android (dual core/Jelly Bean 4.1 or better) on January 28th.

Trailer: Duplicity (Taco Graveyard)

January 25, 2013 3:30 PM | John Polson

Taco Graveyard's Duplicity is an OUYA Create entry (and possible PC game) that involves versus puzzle play on a horizontal Tetris-like board. Every piece acts as both a block and open space simultaneously.

Taco explained more to me via Twitter: "When you clear a row, it fills their row. You lose when you don't have room for your next block to spawn." They say that it gets tricky because "you have to see it from both perspectives, there is a bit of figure-ground illusion/multistability going on."

I'm dizzy watching it, but anyone interested in learning more should check out this Duplicity postmortem. Sal of Taco said he'll likely release Duplicity on OUYA, PC, and maybe mobile. "I also have a half backed idea to release it on mobile devices and have multiplayer over Bluetooth."

Interview: The 411 on Indie Speed Run

January 24, 2013 3:05 PM | John Polson

indiespeedrun.jpgThe new game jam on the block, Indie Speed Run, is wrapping up its first event, and co-founder Michael Kayatta "couldn't be happier with the outcome." He says that future Runs will happen, and it will "at least" be once a year.

The inaugural competition saw 182 developer teams pay the $25 fee and complete a 48-hour game. They are competing for $2,500 and recognition from some of the industry's top designers, including Notch, Kellee Santiago, and Jason Rohrer.

Whether it be because of the monetary prize, the recognition, or something else, the event brought in a sizable batch of developers who've never jammed like this before. Kayatta said that more than 20% of Indie Speed Run developers had never made a game in 48-hours before this event.

Indie Speed Run has announced four its seven finalists so far and will reveal the winner February 5. With the downtime, Kayatta was able to talk to me about creating the jam, the positive use of celebrity, handling the issues and nuances that came up during the jam, his philosophy of "game jam," the functions of prizes, how Indie Speed Run differentiates itself, and hints at its future.

Super Hexagon: An example of why you shouldn't ignore Android

January 24, 2013 10:30 AM | Staff

super hexagon long.jpgIt isn't really worth launching your mobile game for Android. Thanks to fragmentation and piracy, the Google Play store is a minefield -- you might as well stick to iOS.

That's what some developers believe, and Android is regularly snubbed in favor of an iOS-only release, even at a time when the number of Android devices out there is surging rapidly.

Terry Cavanagh launched Super Hexagon on iOS several months ago, and sold more than 10,000 copies in its first three days on sale on Apple's App Store. Since then he's been slowly but surely, piecing together an Android version, with hardware fragmentation issues holding it back consistently.

But Cavanagh battled through all of this, and finally released the game via the Google Play store earlier this week. And to his surprise, it was most definitely worth the effort -- the game has now sold more than 25,000 copies on Android in just the first four days on sale, easily besting the initial days of the iOS version.

Retro FPS Gun Commando Out Now on PlayStation Mobile

January 23, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Prolific indie-focused production house Green Hill (Knytt Underground, Big Sky Infinity) has partnered with developer Abstraction Games and Ripstone Publishing to release Gun Commando for the PlayStation Mobile platform.

Gun Commando is a retro-styled first-person shooter in the vein of genre classics like Wolfenstein 3D and Duke Nukem 3D. Players have access to a variety of weaponry throughout the campaign, and additional weapon upgrades are awarded for accuracy and high-scoring kills.

Green Hill also notes that the game takes an inventive approach to touch-based FPS controls, and believes that the result rivals a mouse-and-keyboard setup.

"The secret of our controls is the additional momentum we apply when aiming, allowing you to turn and respond blazingly fast, but at the same time allow you to be very precise," Green Hill explains. "We're not fans of on-screen buttons, as we feel you need the tactile feedback from the buttons in order to be in full control, so we allow you to use your thumbs anywhere on the screen."

Gun Commando is available for the PlayStation Vita and PSM-compatible Android devices.

iOS/Android Game Pick: Gunslugs (Orange Pixel)

January 23, 2013 6:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Mobile developer Orange Pixel (Meganoid, Neoteria) has launched Gunslugs, a delightfully pixelated run-and-gun platformer for iOS and Android platforms.

Gunslugs presents players with a randomly-generated series of challenges across multiple mission types, and includes a bevy of unlockable characters and secret areas. Gunslugs also offers a cooperative two-player mode, playable using either the Joypad app (iOS) or Bluetooth controllers and Wii remotes (Android).

The iOS edition of Gunslugs is priced at $1.99, while the Android version is available for $2.64.

GDC 2013 donates Indie Games Summit tickets to Indie Giving charity

January 23, 2013 12:16 PM | John Polson

Organizers of Game Developers Conference 2013 are announcing a partnership with the Indie Giving charity effort, donating 30 GDC Indie Games Summit tickets to the 2013 Indie Giving event.

As part of the new agreement with Indie Giving, which is run by FGL head and indie community veteran Chris Hughes, generous indie game creators will get an exclusive opportunity to buy the now sold-out IGS pass (alongside a pre-GDC Flash Games Summit pass).

Along the way, they will volunteer on an onsite project just before GDC 2013, with 100% of their Indie Giving package price going directly to the U.S. National Parks Conservancy.

For those who sign up for the Indie Giving package, on Saturday, March 23rd, the group will be working with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to help preserve and enhance beautiful landscapes and maintain historic buildings and trails.

Indie Giving package buyers will also have a chance to attend the Independent Games Summit on Monday, March 25th and Tuesday, March 26th at GDC 2013 - the only way you can get this sold-out pass right now. You can also attend Sunday, March 24th's Flash Gaming Summit with your Indie Giving package.

2013 Independent Games Festival announces Student Showcase winners

January 22, 2013 1:27 PM | John Polson

2013studentfinal.jpg

The Independent Games Festival has announced the eight Student Showcase winners for the fifteenth annual presentation of its prestigious awards, celebrating the brightest and most innovative creations to come out of universities and games programs from around the world in the past year.

This year's showcase of top student talent include the first-person meta-videogame ATUM, from the Netherlands' NHTV IGAD, the similarly meta-game-ified pen & paper RPG Knights of Pen & Paper, from Brazil's Instituto de Ensino Superior de Brasilia & Universidade de Brasilia, and the Jet Set Radio-esque Zineth, a game which "celebrates speed, movement & Twitter", from students of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

In total, this year's Student Competition took in over 300 game entries across all platforms -- PC, console and mobile -- from a wide diversity of the world's most prestigious universities and games programs making the Student IGF one of the world's largest showcases of student talent.

All of the Student Showcase winners announced today will be playable on the Expo show floor at the 27th Game Developers Conference, to be held in San Francisco starting March 25th, 2013. Each team will receive a $1,000 prize for being selected into the Showcase, and are finalists for an additional $3,000 prize for Best Student Game, to be revealed during the Independent Games Festival Awards on March 27th.

The full list of Student Showcase winners for the 2013 Independent Games Festival, along with 'honorable mentions' to those top-quality games that didn't quite make it to finalist status, are as follows:

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