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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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Demo: Zombies. (bignic)

August 13, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Developer Nic Gorissen has released a two-level demo version of his office-themed arena shooter Zombies., currently in development for Windows, iOS, and Android.

To his credit, Gorissen apologizes in advance for making yet another game about zombies. "But I promise you," he assures, "it's less about zombies and more about frustration, bureaucracy, and overthrowing project management."

Indeed, the game's unique setting and premise set it apart from most zombie shooters. The action is suitably fast-paced, and there's an element of humor throughout; the bosses are buzzword-spewing executives, for instance.

Zombies. is currently in beta testing, and a release date has not been announced. Additional gameplay footage can be seen here.

Mobile Game Pick: Cowbeam (Digital Dreams)

August 10, 2012 11:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Dutch indie studio Digital Dreams released its debut iOS title Cowbeam, a sci-fi puzzler that challenges the player's memory and observation skills.

In Cowbeam, an alien named Hank searches for specific bovine creatures located on different planets throughout the galaxy. The target cow's appearance hints at where it may be found; a cow wearing a hula-hoop will be on a planet near an asteroid belt, for instance, while a cow wearing sunglasses will be located close to the sun. More than 50 levels are included, and the game boasts more than five million different cows (!) throughout its nine galaxies.

Cowbeam is available as a universal app, and is priced at 99 cents during its launch week.

Pay Once for PC and iOS? Galcon Dev Experiments with Dynamite Jack

August 10, 2012 2:00 PM | John Polson

Dynamite-Jack.jpgIn a rather novel pay-once, cross-platform experiment, Galcon developer Phil Hassey has offered a limited deal to give iOS purchasers of Dynamite Jack free Humble Store codes for PC.

The App Store's fierce restrictions on game codes limits this experiment such that consumers must pay for the iOS version first to get the Windows, Mac, and Linux versions free. Whereas Humble Store and Steam developers can get virtually unlimited codes for their games to distribute, Apple only gives 50 free codes per update.

To make this sale reciprocal for PC, Hassey would have had to buy the codes himself, so Apple could keep its 30% profit. Prepping for this promotion with 10,000 iOS codes would have cost him around $9,000 instead of $0.

Despite not being able to reciprocate this sale to PC owners, Hassey said he has received no complaints or backlash so far. "I reassure them that they can give their extra desktop code to a friend, so they still get benefit from this promotion."

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

August 10, 2012 3:00 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 Trion Worlds, CCP North America, Gree International, 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:

Trion Worlds: Server Engineer:
"Trion Worlds is changing everything about the way online games are designed, developed, and delivered. We're infusing the old, static gaming world with a sense of dynamic, creative collaboration to create AAA Connected games. This philosophy applies just as much to the people who make the games as it does to the games we make. At Trion, we give our team members the opportunity to have an impact on our games as well as provide opportunities for personal and professional growth. Ambition and individual creativity are not just encouraged, they're expected."

CCP - North America: Sr. Character Artist:
"Each of our four studios have unique environments, while working with cutting edge technology and freedom to innovate across the globe. Awesome benefits include things free meals, childcare support, health/recreation supplements and company trips to exotic locations like Morocco and a team spirit that is so unique you just have to visit us to believe it! We have employees from over 30 countries, representing a truly international community."

5 Tips for Making Great 16-Bit-Style Action Games

August 10, 2012 3:00 AM | Staff

volgarr gama.jpgBring up Shinobi III, Strider, or a number of other classic action titles to veterans of the 16-bit console game era, and you're likely to see a spark in their eyes, a fond remembrance for the good old games that the industry once produced -- 2D titles that demanded precise attacks, prescient acrobatics, and the sort of time investment that few adults could spare.

"A lot of people look at those games with nostalgia, but they don't really identify the fact that those games never actually stopped being fun," says indie developer Kris Durrschmidt. "These games aren't outdated. The game mechanics aren't outdated. People just stopped [making them]."

Durrschmidt, along with programmer Taron Millet, recently formed a startup called Crazy Viking Studios to create games that look and play like those action titles they remember from the Super Nintendo and Genesis' glory days, the kind of experiences that big publishers have, for the most part, since left behind.

The two have a history producing action-heavy sidescrollers; before forming Crazy Viking, they worked on a number of handheld licensed titles with cult followings at Griptonite Games, such as The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (GBA), Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (DS), and most recently Shinobi 3D (3DS).

When Glu Mobile took over Griptonite last year and transformed it into a smartphone/tablet-focused studio, Durrscmidt and Millet decided it was time to strike out and create something unburdened by someone else's license or the often times irrational demands of IP owners.

Their first project, Volgarr the Viking, promises "16-bit style action from the golden era of arcade games, reimagined for today." To the untrained eye, it looks just like an SNES or Genesis title -- it even comes with a throwback box (provided you pledge enough money to its Kickstarter campaign) -- except the game's releasing for Windows PC.

Mobile Game Pick: Gasketball (Mikengreg)

August 10, 2012 1:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Solipskier developer Mikengreg has released Gasketball, a sports-themed iPad puzzler similar in concept to the playground basketball game H-O-R-S-E.

In addition to featuring over 100 single-player levels, Gasketball allows players to construct their own basketball shot challenges using flippers, bumpers, and other unlockable items. Created levels can be shared online, or played one-on-one locally using a single iPad.

Gasketball is available from the App Store as a free download. Individual level-building kits are priced at 99 cents each, and the whole set can be purchased for $2.99.

Trailer: Vampire Boyfriends (Tin Man Games)

August 9, 2012 4:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

Yes, folks. There's going to be an interactive novel out there that will let you live out your wildest Twilight fantasies. Er. Honestly, I'm about as confused as you are. Nonetheless, it looks like Tin Man Games, who are the current holders of the Fighting Fantasy license, may be trying to appeal to a ... slightly different demographic. Vampire Boyfriends will be, as the title implies, focused on your interactions with a bunch of blood-suckers. Do you stalk them like a helpless puppy? Do you murder them and laugh menacingly? Do you run away to be a crazy cat lady instead?

For those interested in discreetly keeping tabs on the game, here's a link to the official page.

2013 Independent Games Festival Submissions Now Open

August 9, 2012 2:30 PM | Staff

IGF2013polysquare.jpgOrganizers are now officially opening submissions for the 2013 Independent Games Festival, to be held at GDC 2013 in San Francisco next March.

The longest-running and highest-profile independent video game festival, summit and showcase is now accepting entries to the 15th annual Festival, with deadlines in the Main and Student Showcase categories by October 17th and October 31st respectively, and finalists to be announced on January 2013.

Following over 850 entries to IGF 2012, the Festival has expanded each existing category to six finalists, all of which will be available in playable form at a larger, expanded IGF Pavilion on the GDC show floor, and will compete for nearly $60,000 in prizes.

These include the $5,000 Nuovo Award, honoring 'abstract, shortform, and unconventional' games, as well as the Excellence in Art, Audio, Design, Technology, Student Game and Audience Award prizes, each worth $3,000, and the crowning $30,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Mobile Game Pick: Organ Trail - Director's Cut (The Men Who Wear Many Hats)

August 9, 2012 2:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

If you're of a certain age group, you probably grew up struggling to make it to the West on the Oregon Trail. You probably died a lot along the way. You also probably learned about dysentery there. For those of you who want to relive those gory days, here's a trendy homage to The Oregon Trail. Originally a Flash game on the web, Organ Trail, which is essentially The Oregon Trail except with zombies (and then some), has since expanded onto the mobile platform. There are a lot more features in this one and more than an inkling of a narrative.

Have $2.99 to spare? Want to see if you can survive in a ghoul-infested world? Pick up the game here if you're an IOS-type person. If you're an Android user, you should look over here.

Wooly spaceships, new frontiers: Launching an indie career with Voyager

August 9, 2012 2:00 AM | Staff

New-minted indie developer Ken Amarit is something of a jack of all trades, about to make his formal game dev debut on iOS with Voyager. Aiming to do the whole works on his own, he was drawn to emphasize perhaps the most unique of his many skills. It's his approach to game creation that holds interesting takeaways for all beginning indies, and those about to fly solo for the first time.

The most eye-catching feature of accelerometer-controlled flight game Voyager is its stop-motion animation, made out of felted wool. Not only did Amarit think the touchable look of the felted wool animation would be a good fit for iOS platforms, but it was also something he could bring to the competitive App Store landscape that few others could offer.

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