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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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Dinosaurs with Lasers? Sure, As Long As It Makes Sense

August 20, 2012 2:00 AM | Staff

supercrate gama.jpgStoryline and fiction are perhaps not elements you'd associate with the flurry of titles from indie studio Vlambeer. Yet developer duo Jan Willem Nijman and Rami Ismail take the underlying fiction in their games very seriously, whether the players actually notice it or not.

During a GDC Europe talk titled "Sensible Nonsense," Nijman and Ismail discussed how building up a backstory and fictional world for your games is incredibly important to them, as these decisions then give structure to certain settings and gameplay elements injected into each title.

Take Super Crate Box for example -- anyone who has played the arcade-style title would be hard-pushed to explain the story behind the experience. At first glance it appears that the game is simply throwing a variety of random levels your way with very little actual plot involved.

However, there is indeed an entire fiction holding it all together, which revolves around a construction worker who is forced to defend the world from aliens by blasting into space via a rocket, and killing the alien invasion dead at its source -- the Moon. This story can be subtly seen in places, from the rocket ship in the background of the first level, to the final world that is set in a temple on the Moon.

IGF China Seeking Indie Game Submissions for 2012 Event

August 17, 2012 8:43 PM | Staff

gdcchina gama.jpgThe Independent Games Festival China - which will take place alongside this November's GDC China in Shanghai - has opened its call for submissions and is accepting indie game entries from the pan-Pacific area from now through September 10.

Following its success from previous years, GDC China will once again host all three main elements of IGF China, including the IGF Summit, the IGF Pavilion, and the prestigious IGF Awards.

Now in its fourth year, the IGF Summit at GDC China will feature sessions from some of the world's top developers, while the IGF Pavilion will showcase some of the region's best independent and student games.

And of course the IGF Awards - which are split into both Main and Student competitions - will honor the many talented developers in the pan-Pacific area.

Trailer: Zombie Cruise (Tuonela)

August 17, 2012 5:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

I really don't know what to make of that Zombie Cruise video. During its first few seconds I was pretty sure I was looking at a FMV adventure of sorts; then I started being interested in its overall Rocky Horror Show vibe and them quirky zombies, only to be subsequently appalled by the apparent over-the-top sexism of the thing (Niki Titbanger anyone?) and finally be persuaded that this could actually end up being a smart and funny if slightly offensive game. Regardless. Zombie Cruise will most definitely be an episodic, romantic, action adventure for the PC, Mac and iPad and I'll be more than eager to finding out more about it.

Oh, and it apparently has absolutely nothing to do with FMV adventures.

Get a job: Respawn and others hiring now on the Gamasutra jobs board

August 17, 2012 4:00 AM | Eric Caoili

In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles in every major discipline, including opportunities at Respawn Entertainment, Turtle Rock Studios, and others.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across Gamasutra's network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Turtle Rock Studios, Inc.: Network Programmer:
"Turtle Rock Studios Inc. is an independent game developer based in Southern California. The team at Turtle Rock is best known for its work with Valve Corporation on Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and Counter-Strike: Source, and for revolutionizing cooperative gaming with the award-winning Left 4 Dead."

Rovio Entertainment Ltd: Game Artists:
"In 2009, Rovio released Angry Birds, a casual puzzle game for touchscreen smartphones that became a worldwide phenomenon from 2010 onwards. The Angry Birds games have enjoyed continuing worldwide chart success, and the franchise has since expanded to a variety of new business areas. Rovio is rapidly expanding its activities in broadcast media, merchandising, publishing and services."

Taking the 'Less is More' Approach to Level Design

August 17, 2012 1:00 AM | Staff

eufloria gama2.jpgEufloria's Rudolf Kremers believes that "less is more" is the perfect approach for indie developers on a budget when it comes to level design, and his GDC Europe talk today described the various ways this approach can be achieved.

Procedural generation in particular, as seen in such indie titles as Spelunky, Minecraft and Kremers' own Eufloria, can help free up development time for other areas of your game, and is "a great way to create enormous amounts of content" in a short space of time, he argued.

The 250,000-selling Eufloria, for example, only uses nine very simple textures throughout the entire game, with visuals procedurally generated from these simple patterns.

User-generated content is another area in which developers can look to build up a huge library of levels with little input themselves. The provided level design and scripting tools that come with Eufloria have seen players making not only their own levels for the game, but also entirely different experiences from the main game, such as art applications and side-scrolling shooters.

PlayStation Mobile Teaser: Passing Time (Honeyslug)

August 15, 2012 4:30 PM | John Polson

As the teaser for Honeyslug's Passing Time suggests, "mobile footy games can be fiddly." Luckily, the Frobisher Says! and Poto & Cabenga portable developer has come to the virtual athletes' rescue. The athletes run by themselves. Players touch the screen to pass, shoot, tackle, make runs and mark opponents.

Coming Autumn 2012, Passing Time should offer 4 different game modes: Passing Time, Challenge Mode, Friendly and League, with several non-traditional football (soccer) awards and features.

Mike Rose wrote about the PlayStation Mobile platform last month, which offers a one-all development solution for any PlayStation-certified tablets, smartphones, and now Vita.

[via @Capy_Nathan]

Humble Bundle for Android 3 Launches

August 15, 2012 3:30 PM | John Polson

The Humble Bundle for Android 3 is now available, offering four games for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android at a pay-what-you-want price, along with their soundtracks: BIT.TRIP BEAT, Fieldrunners, SpaceChem, and Uplink. Users must spend at least $1 to get Steam codes. Purchasers should note that Uplink and SpaceChem require tablets to play their Android versions.

Those who beat the average price, currently hovering around $6.00, will get Spaces of Play's Spirits. The Humble site asks purchasers to "[p]lease be patient while the developers fix any 1.0 bugs as quickly as they can," as this is the first release for many of the Android and Linux versions of the games.

Don't Let Popular Opinion Get in the Way of Your Vision

August 15, 2012 3:30 AM | Staff

beat sneak bandit gama.gifSimon Flesser and Magnus Gardeback of mobile game studio Simogo urged developers at GDC Europe today to "base [design and business] decisions on what feels right instead of what is considered right."

With the studio's first game, 2010's Kosmo Spin for iOS, the two-man team created the game following all the rules you're "meant" to follow -- 99 cent price, small file size, lots of updates and a very casual setting. These are the elements they had read would make their game sell.

Simogo's second game Bumpy Road also attempted to incorporate a number of these "popular" mobile game elements, with lots of updates released post-launch and cut-price sales from time to time. However, the game was priced higher than 99 cents, and yet still managed to sell solidly, making the development pair question whether there really was a set way to sell mobile games.

Earlier this year, Beat Sneak Bandit was released -- a rather niche rhythm game that was "deliberately difficult" and required that the player had a lot of patience.

It broke every mobile game rule, says Flesser and Gardeback, providing players with hardcore gameplay that featured no in-app purchases, no cross-promotion, no ads, and no cut-price sales at all.

iPhone Game Pick: Bad Hotel (Lucky Frame)

August 14, 2012 6:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

Remember Lucky Frame? They were the ones with the musical canines in Pugs Luv Beats. Well, this time around, they're back with something that has been described as an 'insane hybrid of a tower defense game and a procedurally generated toy with tons of bullets.' That's probably the best summary of the game, really. Filled with an odd collection of enemies and a bevy of rather interesting levels, Bad Hotel is a chaotic, lovely experience that won't damage the wallet too badly.

Check it out here.

Kickstarter Projects: Epic Skater (UpUpStart)

August 13, 2012 11:00 PM | Danny Cowan

UpUpStart, an independent studio helmed by veteran developers of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, seeks Kickstarter funding for Epic Skater, an in-progress skateboarding title for iOS and Android devices.

Epic Skater features the same kind of objective-based gameplay that defined the Tony Hawk series, but presents it in the context of a side-scrolling platformer. Players collect items and perform strings of tricks and aerial stunts throughout multiple events -- a brief gameplay demonstration video can be seen here.

The project's funding goal is set at $50,000. Backers who pledge $10 or more will receive a copy of the game upon its release, while higher pledges are eligible to receive beta invites, t-shirts, and in-game bonuses.

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