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About The IGF 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, 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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Indies: Don't Run Before You Can Walk

November 8, 2012 3:00 AM | Staff

running.jpg"Build on our existing engines or growing expertise in genres we'd already tackled? Not for us!" says Tristan Clark, founder of Launching Pad Games, on what sank his indie studio.

Many studios are founded with high ideals, and end up floundering. One such was New Zealand-based Launching Pad Games, which released seven games before calling it quits.

The studio continuously transitioned between passion projects and commercial titles, never really finding its niche, Clark writes, in a new Gamasutra feature. The company released a casual flash game, Run Boots Run, but followed it with The Pretender, "a puzzle/platformer trilogy with a tragic tale of love and hubris weaved into it."

When it shifted to iOS, Zoo Lasso, a casual game, was its first release. Up next? Scarlett and the Spark of Life, "the closest I've gotten to the kind of games I want to make," writes Clark. This foundered, and the company moved back to casual games, finding modest success.

"But as many people have found, it's extraordinarily hard to pull free from the kind of projects that only allow you to limp towards the next project," writes Clark.

"To me, the story of Launching Pad Games is one of pursuing enjoyment over sensible decisions -- and of often never even knowing what a sensible decision was."

As for Clark? He now works at number two Facebook developer You can read the entire history of Launching Pad Games -- mistakes and all -- in his new feature, live now on Gamasutra.

IndieCade 2012 Narrated by Indie Creators

November 7, 2012 11:10 AM | jeriaska

The developers of Pop Pop Battle J at IndieCade

Last month's IndieCade festival saw creators of independently financed games giving presentations and demoing prototypes in Culver City, California.

Our flickr photo set provides an indication of the varied settings of the event, from the evening red carpet awards hosted by Felicia Day, to the afternoon play sessions arranged throughout a rented firehouse, and the late-night, outdoors Night Games curated by Antichamber sound designer Robin Arnott. For Ragtag Studio, the IndieXchange workshop session preceding the festival provided an opportunity to introduce their iOS app Unstoppable Fist to fellow devs, while also receiving feedback on a separate title's proof of concept build.

Fist (whose karate-kicking protagonist sports a pastel-dominated wardrobe and penny loafers in a callback to Miami Vice) was released earlier this year together with a free soundtrack album through Bandcamp. Co-founder Chris Cobb says of attending the festival, "[W]e have quickly learned the value of spreading our wings and meeting other like-minded developers."

IndieCade 2012 narrated by Matt Carter. Further videos after the break

Mobile Game Pick: Monkey vs Robots (Pixelatom)

November 7, 2012 5:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

monkey robots.pngMonkey vs Robots is one of those simple yet highly entertaining delights one can enjoy on an iDevice and an interesting little action puzzler with cute retro graphics. Also, it plays like a bit like Puzzle Bubble and is free to grab (without any in-apps so far) and, well, I suppose that's all there is you should know. That and the fact that it will eventually evolve into a full blown commercial release and maybe even port itself to Android too.

Even Canabalt's Creator Can't Explain its Success

November 7, 2012 1:00 AM | Staff

canabalt thumb.jpgAdam Saltsman, developer of Canabalt talks to Gamasutra about why the game has been a hit with fans -- though he's "hesitant to give any specific reason," maybe the key lies in one of his workaday fantasies.

"I used to have this fantasy when I worked in an office building with this long, long hallway with this glass window at the end that looked out over a river and a cliff," says Saltsman.

"You'd be in this office and a two story party boat would just creep down the river, filled with people partying. What a beautiful thing to feel -- if you were invincible, how beautiful would it be to take off down the hallway at top speed and physically and metaphorically explode out?"

That, as much as anything, could explain the appeal of Canabalt -- a game which has become not just successful but highly influential in the mobile space, with its one-button approach toward platforming easily executable on smartphones.

"My general sense is that there's a clutch of different things that it does that are good" about Canabalt, says Saltsman. "It's pretty awesome right away. One of the things that doesn't hurt it is that the game turns on, the music gets super creepy, things start shaking, you jump out of a window, barely land on your feet and take off running."

For more on Canabalt -- and the claustrophobic Capsule, which forces players who run out of fuel to wait for death -- check out Gamasutra's full feature interview with Saltsman, live now.

Trailer: Beatdown (Ravenous Games)

November 6, 2012 4:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

Ravenous Games calls it a tribute to classics like Double Dragon, River City Ransom and Turtles In Time. All said and done, the upcoming (and aptly-named) Beatdown, which features a wrongfully retrenched and highly disgruntled ex-employee, looks like it may be an inordinate amount of fun for those looking for a nostalgic, side-scrolling romp. I'm normally a little hesitant about stuff that requires anything close to precision work on the iOS but Ravenous Games' games have a history of tight controls, something that may indeed bode well for the soon-to-be-released (it'll be out on the 15th of this month) title.

Official site here.

Android Game Pick: Kung Fu FIGHT! (Nostatic Software)

November 6, 2012 10:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Quiet, Please! developer Nostatic Software has launched its Android action game Kung Fu FIGHT! at Google Play and Amazon's App Store. A free trial version is also available.

Originally released for the Xbox Live Indie Games service last year, Kung Fu FIGHT! is an autoscrolling platformer in which players must jump and slide to avoid obstacles and enemy attacks. You can also strike nearby opponents, if your timing's right. The mechanics are simple but effective, and the graphics give it the same sort of retro charm that Quiet, Please! had.

Kung Fu Fight! is priced at 99 cents.

IGF 2013 Sees Record Entries for its Student Competition

November 6, 2012 1:00 AM | John Polson

igfexpo gama.jpgThe organizers of the 15th annual Independent Games Festival -- the longest-running and largest festival relating to independent games worldwide -- are proud to announce another year of record entry numbers for IGF 2013's Student Competition.

In total, this year's Student Competition took in more than 300 game entries across all platforms -- PC, console and mobile -- from a wide diversity of the most prestigious universities and games programs from around the world.

Together with the record Main Competition entries, this year's IGF has taken in nearly 900 total entries -- the largest number in the festival's history across the Main and Student competitions.

This year's Student Competition includes entries such as the DigiPen-developed Perspective, which combines 2D platforming with 3D first-person navigation, and Nevermind, an experimental horror title that uses biofeedback to manage player stress and change difficulty on the fly.

Other entries include the physics-based tower defense title The White Laboratory, the stealth horror game Blackwell's Asylum, and the experimental narrative title Snowfall.

iPad Game Pick: Help Volty (Tvndra Games)

November 5, 2012 11:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Dutch developer Tvndra Games has released Help Volty, a level-based multitouch puzzler for the iPad (all generations supported).

Help Volty takes place within a wooden box filled with deadly traps. Players must use the series of gears, knobs, wires, and other tools presented in each puzzle in order to get Volty to the exit safely. The game includes dozens of levels, and more will be added with future updates.

Help Volty is priced at $2.99.

Teaser: Electronic Super Joy (Michael Todd)

November 3, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson

Garden and the paradoxically larger Little Gardens developer Michael Todd wants to give 2D platforming a jolt with the upcoming Electronic Super Joy. The game will hit Windows, Mac, and Linux on December 7 and iPad and Android tablets on March 7 for $4.99. Judging from Todd's Twitter feed, part of the story involves an excommunicated and teddy bear-thieving Groove Wizard.

Todd confirmed to IndieGames that the levels are all hand built, and the music effects are mostly hand built. "I go through a song and write down every beat in milliseconds. I'm insane." The tablet versions will have virtual controls with three buttons on the screen: a jump and two arrows.

Nitrome Touchy Now Available for iOS, Android Version Coming Soon

November 3, 2012 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Prolific Flash game developer Nitrome has launched Nitrome Touchy, a free App Store download that turns your iOS device into a controller for a series of supported browser games.

"Controls can be customised on a per game basis both physically and visually and can even change on the fly," Nitrome explains. "We have ten launch games that use the service with a further 20 coming in the next 6 months."

Nitrome continues: "The launch games highlight key aspects of the technology showing of virtual buttons, 1 to 1 motion gaming, touch based drawing, tilt gaming and local multiplayer for 4 player. We also show off some more unusual control schemes that would never get a physical controller."

I like this -- it's an inventive concept that could potentially offer faster, more accurate control schemes for certain types of browser games, and it's ideal for multiplayer. Just be sure to keep a firm grip on your iOS device at all times; the last few seconds of the video above offer a cautionary example of what might happen otherwise.

Nitrome Touchy is currently an iOS exclusive, but Nitrome notes that an Android version will be released soon.

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