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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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Kickstarter Projects: The Unbreakable Chain (Leon Sadler)

March 29, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Leon Sadler of UK art collective FAMICON (Bart the General, RE: Get to Schol on Time) has launched a Kickstarter project for The Unbreakable Chain, an evolution-themed game for Windows that boasts a unique premise and some truly striking artwork.

Citing inspiration from Grasshopper Manufacture's PlayStation 2 oddity Michigan: Report From Hell, The Unbreakable Chain includes eight stages, each of which revolves around a unique species-themed gameplay mechanic. Sadler hopes to raise £2,000 in order to put the finishing touches on the Windows version, while stretch goals of £3,000 and £4,000 will fund ports for iOS and the Xbox Live Indie Games service.

Backers who pledge £10 or more will receive a copy of the game for Windows upon completion. Other pledge rewards include digital copies of The Unbreakable Chain's soundtrack (created by Mars Matrix composer Yasushi Kaminishi), posters, original artwork, and homemade stoneware garden ornaments.

iOS/Android Pick: Fairune (Skipmore and Urara-Works)

March 29, 2013 6:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Japanese indie developers Skipmore and Urara-Works (Calculator Quest, Blind Man's Dungeon) have partnered to launch Fairune, a free retro-styled puzzle-RPG for iOS and Android.

Designed in response to fan requests for a "full-scale pixel RPG," Fairune features the same sort of charming artwork featured in Skipmore's previous games, but boasts deeper gameplay mechanics and a lengthier quest than the developer's previous arcade-style releases. The result is something very special indeed -- the chiptune soundtrack is outstanding, and the game includes more than 100 screens filled with monsters and environmental puzzles. You should definitely check this one out, especially if you're a fan of Skipmore's previous work.

IGF 2013 winners led by Cart Life and FTL: Faster Than Light

March 27, 2013 10:35 PM | John Polson

cart life small.jpgCart Life, Richard Hofmeier's realistic, sometimes heart-breaking game about food cart workers trying to achieve their dreams, earned the Seumas McNally Award for Best Independent Game and its associated $30,000 cash prize this evening at the 15th Annual Independent Games Festival, hosted by the Game Developers Conference (GDC) at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

In addition to winning the Grand Prize, Cart Life also won the Best Narrative Award and the Nuovo Award for abstract and unconventional games, an impressive sweep for a sometimes deliberately obtuse title that was relatively underappreciated before the IGF Awards season.

The other IGF multi-award winner for the evening was acclaimed space strategy title FTL: Faster Than Light by Subset Games. FTL was helped to prominence by an IGF China nomination early in its development and was honored with both the Excellence in Design Award and the Audience Award.

Other IGF award recipients for 2013 include Tomorrow Corporation's quirky title about burning objects in an 'entertainment fireplace,' Little Inferno, which won the Technical Excellence Award. Surreal magical realist adventure game Kentucky Route Zero by Cardboard Computer won the Excellence in Visual Art award for its beautifully designed environments, and Jeppe Carlsen's beat-based platformer 140 won the Excellence in Audio Award.

Finally, the Best Student Game was awarded to the third-person, high-speed skating game that celebrates Twitter and cell phone culture, Zineth, by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, picked from another strong set of student game finalists.

All finalists and winners for this year's competition are playable at the Game Developers Conference at the IGF Pavilion on the GDC Expo Floor in San Francisco's Moscone Center through Friday, March 29.

The IGF awarded the following games as winners of its 15th Annual Awards:

Trailer: Fist Of Awesome (I Fight Bears)

March 27, 2013 6:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

Apparently opening up for pre-orders is a cause of celebrations and I Fight Bears decided to celebrate with a new Fist Of Awesome trailer. Happily, it's not any old sort of trailer. Oh no. It's a gameplay trailer and one sporting sexy Bare Bears bars and even sexier neon bears. A sight to behold really...

Kickstarter Projects: The Big Blue (Ed Annunziata)

March 26, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Developer Ed Annunziata has launched a Kickstarter project for The Big Blue, a spiritual successor to Novotrade's 16-bit Ecco the Dolphin series.

Annunziata, the creator of Ecco the Dolphin, has partnered with Ecco series composer Spencer Nilsen, and hopes to create an action-adventure game for Windows, Mac, and mobile platforms that focuses on sealife simulation. Set for launch in April of next year, The Big Blue will debut as a single-player game, though Annunziata notes that an MMO version will be produced if the project doubles its funding goal of $665,000.

Backers who pledge $25 or more will receive access to demo and prototype versions of The Big Blue during development, along with a downloadable copy of the game upon completion. Other backer awards include exclusive in-game creature cards, downloadable soundtracks, and character naming rights.

iOS Game Pick: Goatup 2 (Llamasoft)

March 25, 2013 9:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

goatup2.pngJeff Minter and Llamasoft return with another brilliant arcade offering for iOS and, this time around, even ask us to "unleash our inner Matthew Smith", which sounds very exciting indeed, but doesn't mean much to those gamers that weren't brought up with Mr. Smith's classic Manic Miner platformer. Anyway. I digress. The point is Goatup 2 has been released for iPhones and iPads, is an utterly amazing platformer and you must grab it immediately.

Oh, and it does come complete with a level editor, that, to use the Yak's exact words, will let you "design, test, export and share your own levels. Devise devilish caprine capers to share with the nanny and kids. Set testing ungulate-related challenges for your mates and work colleagues. Earn bonus points for not farting in front of the Queen!"

Your indie guide to IGF 2013: a GDC primer

March 21, 2013 6:23 PM | John Polson

igf pavilion async 2012.jpgThe week-long 2013 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco's Moscone Center, which hosts both the Independent Games Festival and related Summit, begins Monday, March 25, and we're listing a thorough indie to-do list, highlighting some of the can't miss indie-related events happening every day.

The week begins with the two-day Indie Games Summit (Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26), which is packed with sessions on some of the latest and greatest titles released. Attendees will want to build their own GDC schedule to avoid missing any of these talks.

Postmortems of several hit indie games will include the fake-science puzzler SpaceChem, spacecraft crew sim and RTS FTL: Faster Than Light, the stealth-redefining action game Mark of the Ninja, and the reverse shmup and rhythm hybrid Retro/Grade.

Other notable lectures include crowdfunding tips for indies, designing the mystery behind the episodic Kentucky Route Zero, and the game idea-spawning Twitter account PeterMolydeux and its corresponding Molyjam.

Finally, the ever-popular Indie Soapbox session returns, allowing several devs 5 minutes to rant about indie game development. The lineup includes: Renaud Bedard (FEZ), Bennett Foddy (QWOP), Chris Hecker (SpyParty), Rami Ismail (Super Crate Box), Noel Llopis (Casey's Contraptions), Tim Rogers (Ziggurat), David Rosen (Lugaru), Emily Short (Galatea), Rich Vreeland (FEZ OST), and Matthew Wegner (Aztez).

Road to the IGF: Behold Studios' Knights of Pen & Paper

March 20, 2013 6:50 PM | Staff

As part of the Road to the IGF series, sister site Gamasutra is speaking to each of the student finalists in the 2013 Independent Games Festival to find out the story behind the games.

Today, Instituto de Ensino Superior de Brasilia (Brazil, South America) student Ronaldo Nonato discusses the creation of his team's mobile pen and paper-inspired RPG, Knights of Pen & Paper. He also discusses how mutliplayer would ruin the game, despite group participation being fundamental to the traditional pen and paper RPG experience.

Team Meat's Refenes: Apathy and refunds are more dangerous than piracy

March 20, 2013 11:50 AM | Staff

tommy refenes sm.jpgBy Tommy Refenes

I think I can safely say that Super Meat Boy has been pirated at least 200,000 times. We are closing in on 2 million sales and assuming a 10% piracy to sales ratio does not seem unreasonable. As a forward thinking developer who exists in the present, I realize and accept that a pirated copy of a digital game does not equate to money being taken out of my pocket. Team Meat shows no loss in our year end totals due to piracy and neither should any other developer.

For the sake of argument, some of those people that did pirate Super Meat Boy could have bought the game if piracy didn't exist but there is no actual way to calculate that lost revenue. It is impossible to know with certainty the intentions of people. With the SimCity fiasco and several companies trying to find new ways to combat piracy and stating piracy has negatively affected their bottom line I wonder if they've taken the time to accurately try to determine what their losses are due to piracy.

My first job outside my parents cabinet shop was at KMart. KMart, like countless other retailers, calculates loss by counting purchased inventory and matching it to sales. Loss is always built into the budget because it is inevitable. Loss could come from items breaking, being stolen, or being defective. If someone broke a light bulb, that was a calculable loss. If someone returned a blender for being defective, it wasn't a loss to KMart, but a calculable loss to the manufacturer. If someone steals a copy of BattleToads, it's a loss to KMart.

Ridiculous Fishing fights mobile game devaluation with a $3 pricetag

March 19, 2013 4:30 PM | Staff


"But since its almost impossible to do F2P in a non-evil way and without sacrificing the elegance of your game design, we'll prefer to charge $3."

-Ridiculous Fishing developer Vlambeer responds to a question about whether the mobile market undervalues games in an Ask Me Anthing thread on Reddit (we're not sure exactly who to attribute the quote to, as both Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman were posting from the same account).

Vlambeer is echoing statements we've heard a few times now from high profile developers who haven't yet dipped their toes into a microtransaction-based business model. Most recently, Thatgamecompany's Jenova Chen said that in-game purchases only work when the player is unhappy, and that he'd only give them a shot if he could figure out how to make his players pay because they are happy.

It's funny to think that a full game for $3 is seen as higher-tier on a platform like iOS these days, but as Vlambeer explains, even a $0.99 price point wouldn't have worked for Ridiculous Fishing.

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