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IndieGames.com 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, Gamasutra.com 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 February, 2011

GDC 2011: Humble Indie Bundle Creators Talk Inspiration

February 28, 2011 7:00 PM | Tim W.

Though the Humble Indie Bundle eventually introduced an entirely new model for digital distribution of indie games, the bundle's creators said they were actually inspired by one of the most established players in the digital download space.

“One thing that we instantly noticed is that anytime Steam would take a bunch of games and put them together and discount the price, it would become the number one story on Reddit,” noted Humble Indie Bundle co-creator and Wolfire Games founder Jeffrey Rosen in a presentation at the 2011 Game Developers Conference. “I felt like I could do that, [that's] not too hard.”

So Rosen and fellow Wolfire employee John Graham rounded up some friends from the indie development community and offered up a bundle of their own. Now, after two iterations, the Humble Indie Bundle has attracted hundreds of thousands of downloads and brought in over $3 million in revenue, well beyond the low six-figure revenues the creators initially expected.

But Rosen said it wasn't just the viral press attention, nor the inherent appeal of the pay-what-you-want model, that led to the bundles' success. Designing a simple, elegant web site that made purchasing the bundle as simple as possible was also a factor.

“A web site with a Paypal button... that works, but there's a lot of things you can do on the site to make that better,” Rosen said. He pointed out that fancy 'features' such as required registered accounts and shopping carts just make it harder for customers to give you money.

“We were pretty adamant that instead of having to download a client or anything, you would click the buy button, get an e-mail, and download your games, which seems kind of silly, but it really worked,” Rosen continued.

GDC 2011: Welcome To 'Masocore', The Evolution Of Arcade

February 28, 2011 5:00 PM | Tim W.

[Sister site Gamasutra has a dedicated page for GDC 2011 coverage all this week, but we'll be reprinting some highlights over here on IndieGames, starting out with this Indie Games Summit talk from Monday.]

The trend favoring hyper-difficult games is helping evolve the casual, social, browser-based and mobile gaming space, and has even given rise to a new sub-genre developers have dubbed "masocore."

At the 2011 Game Developers Conference, Playmatics' Nick Fortugno and Joju Games' Juan Gril staged a session to honor bright spots in several key trend areas, from innovative platformers (they recommend you check out Level Up and Continuity) to intelligent puzzlers (peep Grayscale, for example).

But it's the evolution in the simple arcade game space that got the largest share of the pair's enthusiasm and audience attention. Fortugno's favorite in that sector was Give Up Robot, the glitzy grappling-hook game that also was Gamasutra's favorite indie pick during 2010.

Fortugno feels that Give Up Robot is especially excellent because it helps define key tenets of what "masocore" means to the arcade gaming space. He loves Give Up Robot's momentum-driven play because it's "very, very hard" -- on beating the game at its highest difficulty, "I screamed for joy in my office," he reveals.

Trailer: Inemeri: A Familiar World (November Software)

February 28, 2011 2:30 PM | Michael Rose

Inemeri: A Familiar World is the first game from new indie start-up November Software. A teaser trailer for the game has just been released (shown above), but most of the details regarding the game are being kept secret for now.

All we know is the Inemeri will combine "next-gen quality with casual social gameplay", along with the following blurb:

"Regaining consciousness in an eerie village on the verge of collapse, you sense a storm looming in the distance. How you got here is unknown, but you feel compelled to escape before it is too late. Explore this mysterious world with the help of your friends and create your own epic tale."

The game will be available to play for free in your web browser or on iPhone/iPad, and will be released this summer.

Browser Game Pick: Sugar, Sugar (Bart Bonte)

February 28, 2011 12:30 PM | Michael Rose

It's easy to dismiss Sugar, Sugar early into play as just another one of those games that revolves around shifting tiny particles. Keep with it though, and you'll find an ultimately relaxing and enjoyable puzzler.

The main idea is to draw lines to lead the falling sugar into the cups. Each cup needs 100 sugar particles to fill to the brim. Simple enough - then you have different coloured sugar, multiple cups, shifts in gravity... It never gets difficult, as you can keep drawing as many lines as you want to fix issues, and just hit reset if necessary, but it's great to watch the sugar piles up and seep through the cracks. It's especially entertaining when you have piles of different coloured sugar all over the place on later levels.

Play Sugar, Sugar on Bart's site.

Indie Game Links: Too Lazy to Wear a Shirt

February 28, 2011 12:00 PM | Tim W.

Today's collection of independent game links includes more indie game previews, a couple of development updates, the usual round-up of interviews with developers from around the 'net. (image source)

2D Boy: World of Goo iPhone
"We’re just about finished with World of Goo iPhone, and hope to release it in the App Store as soon as finishing cramming the last of the Goo Balls inside. In the meantime, here are answers to some frequently asked questions."

GameSetWatch: Bit.Trip Flux Debuts On WiiWare Today, Runner Hits PC Tomorrow
"Tomorrow Gaijin will release Bit.Trip Runner, the IGF award-nominated WiiWare title that originally released last May, on Steam tomorrow with HD graphics, online leaderboards, achievements, and new difficulty modes."

Gamasutra: GDC 2011 - Our Lecture Recommendations For Press
"Since we're rapidly coming up on Game Developers Conference 2011, which Gamasutra parent UBM TechWeb Game Network organizes, there's a wealth of info out there about the show."

GameInformer: Indie Week Day Three, Excellence In Design
"The IGF Excellence in Design award seeks to highlight titles with exceptional and innovative design, especially those that take risks to explore new and different ideas. Previous winners include 2D Boy's World of Goo and Pocketwatch Games' Monaco."

GameSetWatch: Kairosoft Releases Hot Springs Story
"Kairosoft, the studio behind last year's breakout hit Game Dev Story, has released a new sim to iOS that once again has players managing all aspects of a facility, though this they'll oversee a Japanese hot springs inn instead of a game developer."

Joystiq: Inside SpyParty dev Chris Hecker's process
"SpyParty developer Chris Hecker doesn't plan on releasing his ambitious one-on-one spy game until he feels that it's hit the 'perfect jewel' point -- an indescribable essence, or rather, a point in development when the concept and execution gel."

GamerBytes: First Screens Of IndiePub's Storm
"Indiepub published game Storm has come a long way graphically from the very early pitch demo submitted to the 2BeeGames competition a few year ago. The game is set to be released sometime in early 2011 for XBLA and PSN -- look for it soon."

NMcCoy's Games: Setting the record straight
"I would be very interested in seeing any previous game that features single-button controls and gravity manipulation to navigate procedural terrain as its central mechanic, as I have been under the impression that up until Tiny Wings that particular core gameplay was unique to Wavespark."

iPhone Game Pick: Grimm: Ride of the Perambulator (Robox Studios)

February 28, 2011 10:00 AM | Michael Rose

A mother has accidentally left her pram at the train station, along with her baby in it. In Grimm: Ride of the Perambulator, the creepy top-hat wearing Mr. Grimm wants to get his hands on that pram, and your task is to tilt your iPhone to move the pram out of harm's way.

Mr. Grimm isn't the only baddie to deal with though, as you'll need to flip both the pram and baby into the air over obstacles. The puzzles are great, the atmosphere and personality are lovely, and there are ten worlds to play through - all for $0.99. B-B-Baaargain!

Make sure you grab this from the App Store.

La-Mulana WiiWare Live Stream Starts Soon

February 28, 2011 5:00 AM | Tim W.

Soon as in now! For the next one hour or so, the Nigoro team will be demonstrating their game live on their UStream channel. This is part one of the two live broadcasts that they will be doing this week, with the other being done especially for their Japanese audience on NicoNicoLive at 5 PST tomorrow.

The last live stream back in September was recorded and uploaded online, although the video quality is poor and it doesn't contain many of the changes that have been made to La-Mulana WiiWare for the past six months or so (placeholder graphics were still being used back then). You can watch the broadcast here. [UPDATE: Recording of live stream posted above.]

iPhone Game Pick: The Blocks Cometh (Halfbot)

February 27, 2011 7:25 PM | Michael Rose

The Blocks Cometh is a bit like that nightmare where you're in a game of Tetris, and all the blocks are falling down to crush you, and you need to clamber up them and make sure not to get trapped. Anyone? Just me? Oh well.

Blockman has some skills up his sleeve, from double jumping to reach great heights, and his trusty laser gun for tight situations. He can also grind and wall jump off the side of blocks - even blocks that are still falling. If he just splatted or falls too far off the bottom of the screen, then it's all over.

There are online high scoreboards via OpenFeint, extra characters will different abilities, and some pretty interesting achievements to bag that put restrictions on how you play the game - for example, getting the 'climb 150m without using your weapon' is entertaining and frustrating in equal measure, thanks to the randomness of the drops.

The Blocks Cometh is for iPhone and iPad and will set you back $1.99 from the App Store. There's also a free browser version to try out, although it doesn't feel as tight.

Freeware Game Pick: 0Space (Beau Blyth)

February 27, 2011 1:00 AM | Tim W.

0Space is a hotseat-only multiplayer game that supports up to four players on the same PC, created by Beau Blyth (developer of Shoot First and Action Fist) for TIGSource's versus-themed game development jam. The first public release features eight maps to play with, a variety of match setup options, a button configuration menu and a pretty impressive replay recording function that can be used to save your favourite battles.

The objective of the game is basically to shoot everyone else and be the last one standing over a number of rounds. Some of the levels are designed to be closed areas, while others may not have any boundaries and walls to prevent you or your opponent from floating away into space when there's no ground to land on. If you're suspended in mid-air after a botched jump, you can always fire a shot to propel yourself towards safety.

Both the melee and ranged weapon are mapped to the same button, and you'll automatically switch between the two depending on whether your gun is loaded or not. There's also a limit to how many grenades you can carry per round, since they're pretty powerful and have a tendency to end a game very quickly when someone isn't careful. Pressing down and the grenade button simultaneously places a mine on the floor to catch unsuspecting opponents.

0Space can be downloaded from Teknogames. (Windows, 5.46MB)

Browser Game Pick: Second Person Shooter Zato (himo)

February 26, 2011 7:00 PM | Tim W.

Second Person Shooter Zato (SPSZ) is a 3D arcade shooter that presents a clever gimmick - you can only look at your surroundings from an enemy's point of view. The screen splits accordingly when there are two or more enemies in the arena, and a window will disappear automatically whenever an adversary is shot down by your laser beam or missile. Ammunition replenishes over time, but that doesn't mean you can be trigger happy about it and still expect to survive some of the harder waves and difficult boss fights.

There's an amazing diversity of enemy types to fight as well. Your basic opponents can either be slow, quick, strong or large in size, and they might even attack you from all sorts of heights and range. Zato can only shoot forward, and he has only three lives to defeat all enemies in a single wave. By the second level you should be able to walk around freely, and with a bit of practice players can even attempt to circle strafe some of the slower blocks that try to run into them.

SPSZ is available to play over at Kongregate. (source: raitendo)

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