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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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Archive For December, 2009

Indie Game Links: Going Out with a Bang

December 31, 2009 12:23 PM | Tim W.

Today's collection of independent game links include the announcement of a new Game Maker competition, an awards show for the best free independently-developed games of the year, and a release date for Terry Cavanagh's much-anticipated VVVVVV. (image source)

Tale of Tales: My selection for the IGF
"When I had a look at each of the 301 entries in the festival, I couldn't resist the urge to compare them with our own. I have based my selection on the information available on the IGF website, the game developers' own websites, videos and screenshots."

Oxeye Game Studio: Harvest Holiday Bandwagon
"Harvest: Massive Encounter is currently 75% off on Steam. We've matched our own service with the Steam discount, so you Mac users won't feel left out. The 75% discount will be available until January 3rd." Osmos is also 80% off on Steam ($2 USD, usual price $10).

Game.Dev: Competition 24 - Coherence
"The Game.Dev group is currently running a 'Coherence' competition, requiring entrants to meld different genres into one game."

YoYo Games Glog: Competition 05 Announcement
"After a long wait it’s time to have a new competition. The theme for the first competition of 2010 will be 'Design A HandHeld Game'. We want you to design games using either Game Maker 7 or Game Maker 8 that would be suitable to run on a typical handheld device. First Prize is $1,000, 2nd $500, 3rd $250 to be paid by PayPal."

Devil's Tuning Fork: Visual Design Evolution (video)
"This is the documentation of the visual design evolution of Devil's Tuning Fork, a game created by the DePaul Game Elites team. The documentation was created and narrated by Kyle Sullivan, Visual Design Lead on DTF and a senior Animation major at DePaul."

Bytejacker: 2009 Free Indie of the Year Awards (video)
"We studied televised Video Game awards shows, and we think we've got the formula down. It's time to honor the best free, independently-developed games of the last year."

distractionware: Let’s Go Exploring
"VVVVVV will be available on Sunday the 10th of January, 2010. The game will be sold through its website for $15. There will be a demo!"

Game Tycoon: David Edery's IGF tips
A judge makes some useful comments for entrants. (source: GameSetWatch)

Feature: Top Freeware Shoot 'em ups 2009

December 30, 2009 9:52 PM | Tim W.

[From now until early January, The Weblog will be counting down the best independent and freeware games of 2009, with descriptions, screenshots, and links of the best games in each major category.]

Kicking off the first of the in-depth 2009 Best Of Features here on the blog (after the overall Top 10 we did for Gamasutra and the 10 Indie Games for '10 article), we're proud to present ten of the best freeware shoot 'em ups released in 2009.

Let's take a look at a couple of naughty and nice shoot 'em ups, featuring titles with names of insects, cephalopods, and even.. phalluses, in this quirky selection of the best shooters we've played this year.

(You can also access the full 2009 Top Freeware Shoot 'Em Ups chart -- with extra screenshots and information -- as part of the Features section, which includes indie game charts from 2006 to 2008.)

Here are the top freeware shoot 'em ups of the year:

Opinion: Indie Game Design Do-s and Don't-s: A Manifesto

December 30, 2009 4:37 PM | Simon Carless

[Veteran indie game creator Edmund McMillen, known for his work on 2005 IGF Grand Prize winner Gish, Time Fcuk, and Super Meat Boy for WiiWare, shares his opinions and manifesto on making indie games, with 24 clear do-s and don't-s to make your art thrive.]

One of the most common questions I'm asked in interviews is, "Do you have any advice for independent game developers who are new to the scene, or tips for developers in general?" Well, I actually answered it this time: I came up with this list of indie do-s and don't-s.

Now, I'm going to make clear that I'm not perfect and I'm sure as the years go by this list will change. But from where I stand right now, having made independent art/games for a living for the past 10 years, the advice below is crucial to all indie game designers, and all artists for that matter.

Also note that when I refer to a "designer" or "artist," I include programmers. All aspects of art have a fine balance of the technical and creative; just because programming is viewed as a technical field does not mean it is void of creativity. The creative is visible in the work as a whole rather than in the specifics. Light and shadow are vital technical aspects of illustration, but without creativity the piece is nothing more then a photocopy of the subject, void of any personal touch or presence.

This is a list for the creative designer who strives to be independent. This isn't advice on how to monetize your Flash game or survive financially by copying existing trends and juicing the public for their cash. This is a list for artists who are driven by the desire for creative freedom and/or to "just make some cool shit people will love."

Anyway, here's the list. Take what works for you and leave what doesn't:

1. Be honest.
When I say "be honest" I mean to speak from your heart. Don't be manipulative or condescending in your work; treat the player how you'd wanted to be treated. Honesty is extremely valuable when making art.

Trailer: Depth (Matt Simmonds)

December 30, 2009 4:00 PM | Michael Rose

Step aside Avatar, there's a new 3D game in town, and he's indie! OK, so Matt Simmonds' Depth doesn't work with those new fangled 3D glasses, but it does use the old school red/cyan type.

It's a vertical shmup which apparently uses the 3D effect as 'an integral part of the gameplay'. If you've got a pair of those glasses handy, even the above trailer is in 3D! You can follow development of the game on his blog.

(And for those into chiptunes and the demo-scene, you might know Matt as 4Mat [interview], the 'inventor' of tracker-based chiptunes on the Amiga by looping short samples to create tones, and a seminal chiptune music maker in his own right.)

10 Indie Games To Watch Out For In 2010

December 29, 2009 4:06 PM | Michael Rose


That's it, 2009 is soon to be the past and 2010 will be king. We've seen some incredible indie releases this year (just check out our Top 10 Indie Games of 2009 for a glimpse) but 2010 isn't worried - in fact, he's pretty sure he can match that and then some.

So which games should you be keeping a close eye on over the coming 365 days? Would a carefully selected list of the best upcoming titles be useful? Of course it would! After the cut is such a list (please note, in no particular order!) full to the brim with excellent indie gaming goodness which you should be foaming at the mouth for. If you thought this year was fantastic, you may need to hold onto something - here comes 2010.

Fez (Polytron Corporation)
What is it that excites everyone so damn much about Fez? It is THAT trailer released earlier in the year? Is it the dimension-flipping gameplay? Is it the incredible 8-bit polish? Come on, you know the answer to that - it's a little from columns A, B and C. This is the game every indie enthusiast is longing for.

With every new screenshot featuring Gomez the little fez-wearing guy in it, the excitement builds. If we're honest, part of the excitement surrounding Fez is the fact that we know barely anything about it! Beyond 'a 2D man on a voyage through a mysterious 3D world', it's all being kept heavily under wraps. Not for much longer however, as Gomez will be flipping onto an Xbox Live Arcade near you early next year.

Top 20 Rated US, UK Xbox Live Indie Games: Dec. 29th

December 29, 2009 11:19 AM | Michael Rose

xblig.pngIt's been a pretty darn interesting year for the Xbox Live Indie Games service. Back in July Xbox Live Community Games took its new 'Indie Games' title, and a whole new pricing and rating system was banged into place. Since then, a number of indie developers working on XBLIG titles have reported seeing rises in sales and the whole service has definitely picked up a bit more steam.

Of course, with the new rating system in place - in which Xbox gamers can rate any game out of 5 stars - it means we now have a pretty picture of which games are actually higher quality right now (as opposed to the Top 20 most-downloaded, which often has much stranger stuff in it.).

With that said, here's the top 20 best rated games on Xbox Live Indie Games in the US and UK. Please note that the list is changing daily, with some titles moving into the top 20 one week and then disappearing again the next, but since it's ranked from lifetime ratings, it's a decent indication of what's quality out there.

[EDIT: It's just been brought to our attention that these charts are region-specific, so we've added a US chart in addition to the original UK chart posted!]

U.S. Top 20

imadeagame.jpg(1) I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1
(2) Inside Lacrosse's CL2010
(3) Arkedo Series - 03 PIXEL!
(4) Miner Dig Deep
(5) Beat Hazard
(6) ezmuze+ Hamst3r edition
(7) ZP2K9
(8) Groov
(9) Kodu Game Lab
(10) Arkedo Series - 01 JUMP!
(11) CarneyVale Showtime
(12) Platypus
(13) The Impossible Game
(14) Solar
(15) Avatar Wave: Snowball Fight
(16) Square Off
(17) Gerbil Physics
(18) Johnny Platform Saves Xmas!
(19) Avatar Drop
(20) Twin Blades

UK Top 20

plat.jpg(1) I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 - Indie Games Review
(2) Miner Dig Deep
(3) Arkedo Series - 03 PIXEL!
(4) Avatar Wave: Snowball Fight
(5) SFG Soccer
(6) ezmuse + Hamst3r edition
(7) Platypus - Indie Games Review
(8) Beat Hazard
(9) Johnny Platform Saves Christmas - Indie Games Review
(10) ZP2K9
(11) Arkedo Series - 01 JUMP!
(12) Kodu Game Lab
(13) Leave Home
(14) Avatar Drop
(15) The Impossible Game
(16) Johnny Platform's Biscuit Romp
(17) CarneyVale Showtime
(18) Junkyard Battle
(19) Inside Lacrosse's CL2010
(20) Gerbil Physics

Indie Game Links: A New Decade

December 29, 2009 2:59 AM | Tim W.

Today's collection of independent game links include more top ten lists, a MMF competition sponsored by Clickteam, MDickie's games going free, and Knytt merchandises. Thanks to Paul Eres for contributing a couple of these. (image source)

DIYgamer: Top 10 Indie Games of the Decade
"With a new decade just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to revisit some of my indie favorites throughout this decade, one for each year starting with the year 2000."

Boing Boing: the 10 most-anticipated games coming in the new year
"Ten of the games that you'll likely be hearing much more about in the months ahead, as their gestation periods finally end."

GameBuilder: The 20 Event Competition 2010
"Clickteam and GameBuilder are bringing you an amazing competition, with the best and most prizes we've ever had before. We have 10 prizes that will be awarded to the top 10 placing games." The Great Game Giveaway
"It's sad to give away the games I worked so hard on, and to concede that they no longer have so much market value. That said, the compilation CD will still be available to purchase (at an insignificant price) for those who wish to own the full body of work at its best and in a convenient format."

GameSetWatch: Nifflas Selling Knytt, Knytt Stories Shirts
"Developer Nicklas "Nifflas" Nygren (NightSky) is selling two shirts with fantastic black and white artwork drawn by Sara Sandberg and depicting scenes from beloved indie platformers Knytt/Knytt Stories."

Game Maker Gazette: Top 10 GM Games of '09
I don't really agree with the list that much, but it still has the oddest selection of Game Maker projects that most people have not played before, hence it's worth a look.

Gamezebo: Best of 2009
"From January to December, Gamezebo writers played, reviewed, analyzed and picked apart hundreds of games, so it takes something pretty special to stand out from the crowd. The following list contains our picks for the most memorable games of 2009."

Browser Game Pick: Tuper Tario Tros. (Swing Swing Submarine)

December 28, 2009 10:57 AM | Michael Rose


I usually steer clear of Mario remakes and the like, but this is way too clever an idea to pass up on. Initially playing out like a normal game of Mario, you'll soon come to a wall of blocks which seems impassable. But never fear - pressing space will switch to 'Tetris Mode', and you'll then be able to make a route for Mario to climb over using Tetris blocks.

I've seen developers try to meld the two classics together before, but never this well. Tuper Tario Tros. may be experimental, but it just works so beautifully. You also have 2 different scores which are added together at the end - your Mario score, and your Tetris score. Yes, you can indeed build 'Tetrises'.

Just make sure you make it all the way to the end of the level - the final part is pretty clever. Newgrounds ahoy!

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of December 28

December 28, 2009 7:20 AM | Simon Carless

In our latest employment-specific round-up, we highlight some of the notable jobs posted in big sister site Gamasutra's industry-leading game jobs section this week, including positions from 5th Cell, Terminal Reality and more.

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 its network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Robot Entertainment: Game Developer
"Robot Entertainment is a world-class independent game development studio owned and operated by many of the founders of Ensemble Studios. With a team that has proven experience and expertise in creating games that appeal to massive audiences, Robot Entertainment is focused on titles that set new standards for their respective genres as well as groundbreaking original IPs."

Terminal Reality: AI Programmer
"Terminal Reality Inc, is an independent Dallas-area developer devoted to developing top-quality games and technology. Since opening its doors in 1994 Terminal Reality has developed & shipped over 28 game titles including the recently released Ghostbusters: The Video Game on XBox 360, PS3 and PC. Terminal Reality is looking for a programmer who will be able to develop state of the art AI systems. This is your chance to be a part of a talented team working on an exciting AAA Natal Title!"

TIGRadio Launches Tonight... Live!

December 27, 2009 6:23 PM | Michael Rose


A collaboration between a few top indie developers, including Matthew Wegner of Flashbang Studios and Tommy 'Super Meat Boy' Refenes, the first episode of TIGRadio launches tonight at 6PM PST (2AM GMT).

Aimed mainly at providing independent developers with interesting ideas, tips and stories, the guys are also hoping to throw enough non-developer-related stuff in to please everyone. The hour long show will be broadcast via UStream (much like Flashbang's Friday Webcam Chats), so you'll be able to listen/watch on the TIGRadio site.

If you can't make it to a computer screen at that time, have no fear! All past shows will be recorded and archived so you can go back and check them out whenever you'd like. That time once again (just in case you missed it!) - Sunday, December 27th @ 6PM PST.

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