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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

Trailer: Superbrothers - Sword & Sworcery EP (Capybara)

February 26, 2011 5:00 AM | Tim W.

Last year's IGF Mobile Achievement in Art award winner Sword & Sorcery had a new teaser trailer posted for it yesterday, and the game looks to be the killer showcase app to own for both the old and new iPad set to be unveiled at GDC next week. The developers have mentioned that Superbrothers - Sword & Sworcery EP is close to being done, and they're even hinting that it could be released sometime as early as before the end of next month.

Those who don't own an iPad, no worries. Capybara Games and Craig 'Superbrothers' Adams are also prepping their collaborative project for the iPhone and iPod Touch, although playing it on the iPad's large display is really the only way to experience this game in all of its pixelated glory.

Nathan Vella (president of Capybara) and co. will be at GDC 2011 to demonstrate Sword & Sorcery to press and attendees, so expect to hear more news about the game in a couple of days' time from now.

Interview: Markus Persson On Bringing Achievements to Minecraft

February 26, 2011 3:00 AM | Tim W.

[Mike Rose talks to Markus 'Notch' Persson about the future of hit online indie title Minecraft, as he explains why achievements are in his plans, and how sales went up after a price rise.]

I had a chance to visit Mojang headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden last week, and along the way, sat down with Markus Persson, known online as Notch, about the future of his surprise indie smash Minecraft.

The open-world 'sandbox' title, which started as a one-man project, has ended up selling 1.4 million copies to date at anywhere between 10 euros ($13.75) and 15 euros ($20.60), and this has allowed Mojang to hire people and expand its vision for the blocky hit.

By way of introduction, Persson told me that he's really excited about the mods being created by the community for Minecraft, which runs in a browser as well as as downloadable PC, Mac, and Linux versions.

In fact, the Swedish native hope that one day the Minecraft modding scene will be as popular as Half Life 2 mods, and that people will approach him in the future with ideas for commercial mods for Minecraft.

Ideas for mods? Persson himself would like to work on a Capture the Flag-style game set in the Minecraft world, and said that it would be "the best idea ever" to build on the game's retro-style framework, citing Team Fortress Classic as an angle he'd like to approach the idea from.

Along the way, I also had a chance to ask Persson a number of additional questions about the smash title, which is nominated for awards in both the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards at this year's Game Developers Conference, which kicks off in San Francisco next week:

Will you ever host your own servers [to play Minecraft collaboratively with others]? Right now third parties host their own servers.

MP: We might. I mean, if we controlled the servers, then we could give out badges and things like that.

So you're thinking of adding achievements?

Yeah, I like achievements. I know a lot of people don't, but I like them. I've had the idea to make achievements kind of like the in-game questing. So you'd be able to see the first achievement in a tree of achievements, and you have to unlock the top ones first before you can unlock the ones further down.

So the first one might be to chop down a tree, or kill a chicken, and then these branch into more things you can do. Hopefully it would encourage people to try new areas.

Video: Fami-Mode Talks (Sexy-Synthesizer)

February 26, 2011 2:00 AM | jeriaska

In the final installment of our video series on the Fami-Mode NES festival, we hear from Takeshi Nagai of music group Sexy-Synthesizer. Entailing game-inspired music performances and 8-bit game tournaments in Kichijouji, Tokyo, Fami-Mode is celebrated once a year in late January, organized by game culture shop owner Satoshi Sakagami.

A regular performer in the festival series, Sexy-Synthesizer is musician Nagai, VJ Otani and guest vocalist Chihiro. Inspired by the sprite art and sound effects of old school titles, the group has on several occasions been invited by game developers to share their renditions of popular videogame music.

Arrangements by Sexy-Synthesizer can be heard in Namco Bandai Games' Katamari Forever for Playstation 3, as well as the Square Enix album Love SQ, where they perform Frog's Theme from Chrono Trigger. The music group's original albums include Funky Bit, Rock and Happy Synthesizer.

In this video interview, we hear about the influence of retro-future aesthetics on the group's audio-visual presentation. Nagai also describes how the DIY mentality of independent creation has been central to the group's creativity. To hear more about METEOR's celebration of gaming culture, see also our previous interviews with 6955 and Omodaka, Smallest and Consumers, and Kplecraft.

Browser Game Pick: Omega Enfo Bla (Gameshot)

February 25, 2011 5:54 PM | Michael Rose

Omega Enfo Bla-Bla-Blaaaaaa! Here's something that will both entertain and confuse in equal doses. Omega Enfo Bla is a collection of WarioWare style minigames about helping aliens abduct humans and return to their home planet.

It's very odd, and rather funny. The sound effects are enough to do it, but then some of the solutions are utterly ridiculous too. The control scheme constantly changes, and numerous times doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Sure to get a few laughs - well, except for that crop circle game. Damn crop circles.

Play Omega Enfo Bla over at Addicting Games.

Trailer: Ittle Dew (Ludosity Interactive)

February 25, 2011 3:25 PM | Michael Rose

Ittle Dew is an upcoming episodic adventure game series from Ludosity Interactive. The gameplay is looking very Zelda-esque, with crystal switches, bombs, and plenty of top-down puzzles.

According to a blog post on the Ludosity site, the game is still "in its early stages", but it's already looking rather charming. Each episode will be a separate game, but you'll be able to travel between them if you own more than one. No more details are available as of yet, but we shall keep you informed!

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of February 25

February 25, 2011 3:06 PM | Tom Curtis

In a busy week for new job postings, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles across the world and in every major discipline, including opportunities at Silicon Knights, Monolith, Raven Software, 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:

- Silicon Knights: Lead Level Designer:
"Silicon Knights is hiring! Located in St. Catharines, ON Canada, Silicon Knights proudly ranks as one of the top independent game developers in the world. Incorporating in 1992, Silicon Knights has developed a reputation for creating superior original content, and is dedicated to creating ground-breaking video games. Within a focused and collaborative climate, our studio offers a passionate and spirited workplace where all creative contributions are encouraged ... We're currently working on other new and exciting AAA, multi-platforms projects. If you're talented and inspired to create exceptional games, we invite you to apply!"

- Nihilistic Software: Console Engine Programmer:
"Nihilistic Software is seeking an experienced and talented console engine programmer to continue to develop the company's proprietary engine technology on our current unannounced next generation console action-adventure title with a top publisher. Applicants must have a strong sense of how to develop high performance systems on console hardware. A keen sense of how to balance performance with a flexible and robust feature set that meets the needs of the project is also required. Professional experience developing a wide range of PS3 and/or Xbox 360 engine systems, and working with new or in-development hardware is ideal. A passion for playing and creating AAA action games is also highly desirable."

- Monolith Productions: Senior Software Engineer, Network:
"As a senior engineer for networking you will work closely with the lead engineer and the rest of your peers to develop state-of-the-art networking technology for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Your domain will cover the networking components of the engine and your responsibilities will include both optimizations of current-gen systems and design and implementation of pivotal new technology."

GDC 2011 Reminds On Pre-Registration, Highlights Final Lectures

February 25, 2011 3:01 PM | Simon Carless

GDC 2011 organizers are reminding that reduced-price online registration for next week's San Francisco show is only available until Sunday, also highlighting a number of late-breaking and previously unfocused-on talks.

With on-site registration also available for Game Developers Conference 2011 - the historic 25th iteration of the show - interested parties can continue to register on the official website at a discount until Sunday, February 27th.

The complete conference schedule for next week's GDC, including over 650 speakers, is currently available on both GDC Schedule Builder and the newly launched, smartphone-centric GDC Mobile site.

With the Moscone Center, San Francisco-based show commencing its February 28th through March 4th run on Monday, organizers are highlighting the following lectures that have been added to the program later in the process:

- In a high-profile talk, Ben Cousins of EA's Easy free-to-play game division presents 'Paying to Win? Battlefield Heroes, Virtual Goods and Selling Gameplay Advantages', "takes us through the story of this controversy" behind sweeping changes to the game's in-game economy and virtual item catalog -- including key lessons learned.

- A Main Conference video game funding panel, 'Funding Development: How to Raise Money if You're Not a Social Games Darling', includes notables like London Venture Partner's Phil Harrison, Seahorn Capital Group's Marc Jackson, Indie Fund's Aaron Isaksen and Tenshi Ventures' Jonathan Newth, talking "the world of financing beyond Silicon Valley venture capitalists."

- Zynga's Brian Reynolds (Civilization II, FrontierVille) is presenting 'Launching Great Features on the Frontier of Social Games', discussing the latter hit Facebook game game "as a lens to discuss the production challenges in launching great social game features" - including "marrying good game design with good business practices and the constant need for new content in a live service."

- Bungie's Jamie Griesemer presents the epicly-titled 'Design in Detail: Tuning the Muzzle Velocity of the Plasma Rifle Bolt on Legendary Difficulty Across the Halo Franchise', following up GDC 2010's much-lauded lecture about gameplay tuning for the franchise's sniper rifle, and targeted at "senior designers working on gameplay balance for a game with a sophisticated world simulation."

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Indie Game Pick: Inside a Star-filled Sky (Jason Rohrer)

February 25, 2011 10:24 AM | Michael Rose

Inside a Star-filled Sky is rather different to Jason's past work, although it retains that sense of intrigue and innovation. You are a procedurally generated creature in an infinite, recursive, procedurally generated world. There is no real goal, and you're left to delve into the layers of play available.

Starting at level one with simple attacks and some easy baddies to kill, you can find arrow panels that will take you up a level. Every power-up that you collect is stored away rather than applied to your current character, and when you go up to the next level, you'll gain those collected abilities. Get killed by a bad guy, and you'll move back down a level.

Sounds simple... but it's really not. You can also delve into enemies, blocks and even power-ups, collecting abilities inside of them to change how they act in the level up, or forge a new path to higher levels. Seeing how deep you can get is the pull, and your path to getting there is the kicker.

The deeper you go, the most powerful the abilities are, and the more dangerous the enemies can be. Eventually there is bullet-fire all over the screen, and you may have to purposely go down a level to collect better upgrades for your creatures.

I'm still having a proper delve with it, and while I wouldn't say I'm having an incredible amount of fun, it's definitely an intriguing experience. Definitely worth checking out, especially since, for a limited time, you can pay-what-you-want for the game (with a minimum price of $1.75). Check out more details at the official site.

Indie Game Links: A Tiny Spark of Inspiration

February 25, 2011 5:00 AM | Tim W.

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

Gamasutra: A Declaration Of Independence
"Brandon Sheffield takes a look at the definition of an indie developer, noting that the line between small teams and big-budget studios becomes blurrier by the day."

GameInformer: An Introduction To The IGF
"Over the next seven days we’ll be taking a look at all of the IGF 2011 nominees in seven unique categories, providing perspective on the cutting edge of independent game development."

Retro City Rampage: Long awaited Grand Theftendo to finally be revealed at GDC
"I will finally reveal the precursor to Retro City Rampage at GDC’s Independent Games Summit on Tuesday March 1st, in a lecture titled The Next Steps of Indie: Four Perspectives. Grand Theftendo will finally be shown in motion where you’ll see GTA III re-envisioned in 8-bit."

NMcCoy's Games: On the whole Wavespark / Tiny Wings thing
"The current top-selling game for iPhone is pretty clearly heavily inspired by my game Wavespark, published a year and a day prior. I recognize that you can’t copyright gameplay. All the same, a nod of acknowledgment would have been appreciated."

GameSetWatch: Octodad To Show Off Kinect Support At GDC
"The developers behind the Octodad have decided to make the controls even more silly by adding support for the Xbox 360s Kinect accessory, challenging players to direct all eight tentacles with their limited limbs. The team intends to show off Octodad with Kinect at the GDC next week."

Gnome's Lair: King's Quest III Redux - To Heir Is Human
"King's Quest III Redux is a PC/Mac remake of the original KQ3: To Heir is Human by Sierra, adding a beautiful soundtrack, an excellent voice-over, a sleek point-and-click interface, and amazing 256-colour VGA graphics to an already great game."

Bytejacker: Pre-GDC Ramblings (video)
"I've been working on the IGF Awards script and shirking my indie duties. The IGF Awards are coming next Wednesday, March 2nd at 9:30 PM EST/6:30 PST, and you can watch them live at Gamespot."

distractionware: My new game
"My new game was finally announced today. This is a game I’m making for this year’s NYU No Quarter exhibition, which takes place in New York this May. It’s a two player game, designed to be played in an exhibition space."

NYU Game Center Announces Second 'No Quarter Exhibition'

February 25, 2011 1:00 AM | Tim W.

NYU Game Center announced that No Quarter, its exhibition designed to "explore the possibilities for social play in real-world environments," will return this May with new games from designers like Terry Cavanagh (VVVVVV).

No Quarter seeks to create an arcade setting "that generates complex, surprising, and playful interactions in the public setting of a gallery space". Last year's inaugural event featured several commissioned games: multiple IGF award finalist Nidhogg by Mark "messhof" Essen, Recurse by Matt Parker, and Deep Sea by Robin Arnott.

This year's No Quarter Exhibition will have comissioned games from Terry Cavanagh, Ramiro Corbetta of Powerhead Games (IGF Award winner Glow Artisan), and New York-based board game designer Charley Miller. Luke O'Conner's Clock, which originally premiered at indie arcade Babycastles, will also appear at the gallery.

The developers will debut their projects at No Quarter's opening party on May 12th. Afterward, the gallery will remain on display and available for the public to play until the end of the month.

Opened in 2008, NYU Game Center seeks to "incubate new ideas, create partnerships, and establish a multi-school curriculum to explore new directions for the creative development and critical understanding of games". It is is located at the Tisch School in the Skirball Center for New Media in New York City.

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