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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 February, 2012

Road to the IGF: Ian Snyder's The Floor is Jelly

February 29, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson

the floor is jelly.jpgWhat if everything players touched in their game world was made of jelly? That is the question Ian Snyder's IGF Student Showcase finalist The Floor is Jelly seeks to answer, in the form of a colorful but atypical 2D platformer.

Snyder has explored this question since July 2011, while continuing his studies at the Kansas City Art Institute. He's been exploring the boundaries of games in a larger context since he began honing his craft in 2005, his freshman year of high school. His unconventional maze game Feign even earned him an honorable mention for the Nuovo Award at IGF in 2011.

While wrapped in the shell of a 2D platformer, The Mac- and PC-bound The Floor is Jelly will be unconventional in many ways. However, Snyder aims to make it extremely fun and rewarding, especially for the players who like to "poke at the holes in the corners of their universe until it unravels." Here Snyder begins to unravel his mysterious, gelatinous universe in-the-making.

Could you tell me about yourself and the development tools you've used?

I've been making games in general for about 7 years now. I also made the game Feign, which you may have heard of before.

I'm using flash to build this. It's the program I've worked with since I began making games, so it's just easiest for me to use that. Someday I will teach myself a real programming language, really! I've been making the game off and on since July, and it is still in development.

What bits of games served as your inspiration?

Videos of games like Loco Roco, Patapon, Pixeljunk Eden/Shooter, and Hohokum have all had an influence visually, I think. I haven't actually gotten the change to play most of these... That vectored style is something that stuck with me though.

I keep returning to Everyday Shooter when I feel like I'm out of ideas. There is a synthesis of graphics, sound, and play in that game I find particularly inspiring.

Proteus got me thinking about games as a place the player exists in. Somewhere you are rather than something you do, which is important to the kinds of aesthetic decisions I'm making in the game.

Freeware Game Pick: Russian Subway Dogs (Miguel Sternberg)

February 28, 2012 10:55 PM | Cassandra Khaw

russiansubwaydogs.jpg Russian Subway Dogs is one of the many delightful games that is being assembled for Pirate Kart V: The 2012-in-one Glorious Developers Konference Kollection. Created by Miguel Sternberg, it's an arcade-y little title that works on a very simple premise. You're a dog. You're hungry. You're totally okay with scaring people into dropping their food - they don't need it as much as you, after all. You also fight rival dogs by causing vodka bottles to explode in their general vicinity. No, don't ask me how that works.

There is not much to the game itself. You have a stamina bar that gets drained with every bark. Your goal is to ensure that it doesn't deplete. Your real objective is to compose a score higher than the one you had before. For what it is, Russian Subway Dogs is pretty darn awesome. If you have a little bit of free time and nothing to do, you should download this one. Heck, even if you have something to do, take a break and download it anyway.

Get the game here.

Be Mine Bundle Now Underway, New Bonuses Added

February 28, 2012 10:00 PM | Danny Cowan

After initial demand proved overwhelming to site servers, has relaunched its Be Mine Indie Game Bundle with a wide variety of new bonus content.

In addition to the featured games Wasteland Angel, Sideway: New York, Xotic, BEEP, and The Ball, the package now includes an additional game, Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals, and three DLC packs for Xotic. After total earnings recently exceeded $50,000, bundle buyers also have access to full downloadable soundtracks for The Ball and BEEP, along with a selection of tracks from electronic artists Celldweller, Fantomenk, and Damage Vault.

Bundle organizers revealed that the vehicular combat title Post Apocalyptic Mayhem and a special limited edition of the aquarium sim Dream Aquarium will be added once the bundle reaches its next target of $75,000. An additional bonus, to be decided by fan vote via Facebook, will be unlocked once the bundle reaches $100,000 in total sales.

All Be Mine content is available for a minimum purchase price of $1. Steam keys are included with all featured titles, and 20 percent of each purchase will be donated toward the Child's Play charity.

Insurgent Games' iOS Catalog Goes Free, Open Source

February 28, 2012 8:00 PM | Danny Cowan

iOS developer Insurgent Games is now giving away its entire iOS and Android app catalog for free, and is providing downloadable source code for all of the company's released projects.

Insurgent's offerings include the 2D platformer Aeropack, educational app Alphabet Blocks, and playable meme compilation teh internets, among other titles. iPad-specific code for the puzzler Skeleton Key is also available.

"Insurgent Games was founded in 2009 by Micah Lee and Crystal Mayer out of their San Francisco studio apartment," the company's founders explain. "For a couple of years they happily made iPhone and Android games. They quickly realized that unless you're incredibly lucky, it's hard to make enough money developing indie mobile games to pay San Francisco rent. So Micah got a full time job and Crystal moved on to other things."

Lee and Mayer, now working for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and as a freelance web designer, respectively, hope that their GNU General Public Licensed games "will thrive and be reborn as bigger and better things."

Q&A: Sound in Thatgamecompany's Journey

February 28, 2012 7:00 PM | jeriaska

sidescroller-albumtn.jpgIn development since 2009, Journey by Thatgamecompany is due out the week of March 13.

In this interview, composer Austin Wintory and sound designer Steve Johnson join us to discuss the use of audio on the PlayStation 3-exclusive online game.

In what ways is Journey attempting to make interactions with other players a novel experience?

Sound Designer Steve Johnson: ThatGameCompany's vision with the multiplayer is out-of-the-ordinary. You start off alone, and then cross paths with other players as you walk to the mountain. Jenova's analogy is that if you've been hiking a trail by yourself, you're naturally a little more inclined to wave or say hello when you see someone walking towards you. They are more interesting in contrast to your own isolation and "smallness."

Composer Austin Wintory: If we've done our job right, only half of the enjoyment will be due to the novelty of encountering another player for the first time. It's not simply that you're playing with someone else, but that the experience is meaningful.

Even though you don't know who they are or where they are in the world, and you're not looking up their profile on PSN or hearing them over voice chat, it's a meaningful connection. There have been playtests where we have asked people what they thought of the other player. The range of responses is really fascinating. When you remove dialog, PSN handles or an image of someone's face on a webcam, you're judging purely by the "body language" of their actions within the game.

Browser Game Pick: Zombies, Inc (Aethos Games)

February 28, 2012 6:00 PM | Cassandra Khaw

zombiesinc.jpg In spite of how much I complain about the prevalence of zombies in the media these days, I have a soft spot for those rotting buggers. Zombies, Inc is yet another title that features the cannibalistic undead but this time around, things are a little different. Instead of shambling mindlessly into human cities, these zombies have offices to plot in. They do marketing. They have portraits.They have researchers. They have generals. They even have desk monkeys.

It's all a little silly, yes. Your goal in Zombies, Inc is to balance the growth of your nascent corporation with your desire to take over the living world. Interesting as all that might sound, the problem with all this is the fact you won't be doing much outside of juggling budgets, picking upgrades and directing your armies from afar. Nonetheless, that doesn't mean it's bad. If you were a fan of Pandemic, you might enjoy this one as well. It isn't quite as deep as the Pandemic but that won't stop it from taking a bite out of your free time anyway.

Play it here.

Kickstarter Projects: FTL - Faster Than Light

February 28, 2012 4:05 PM | Cassandra Khaw

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. Our presence here is not required. FTL: Faster Than Light, a space simulation roguelike-like, recently made its way onto Kickstarter less than two or three days ago. Now? They're done with the whole funding thing. In fact, they're at $18, 674 out of $10, 000. Congratulations, fellows! Those interested in contributing to the cause regardless of the fact they've hit their target are welcome to do so. As for everyone else, well, there's a demo hosted by OnLive that you can investigate.

You can find the Kickstarter page here.

Nexuiz Release Imminent, Short Q&A with IllFonic

February 28, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson

Developer Illfonic's re-invention of Alientrap's Nexuiz lands on XBLA February 29 for 800 MS Points as part of Microsoft's House Party. Nexuiz will also appear on PlayStation 3 and Steam later this spring.

Nexuiz takes classic, arena first-person shooter gameplay and mixes it up with dynamic mutators-- game-changing power ups that can turn the tide of battle in an instant. Graphics are pretty darn fancy, too, being powered by CryENGINE 3.

It's a bit premature to talk about, but a quick glance at Illfonic's self-labeled "upcoming shit" reveals a crazy game called Ghetto Golf. I think the team is playing it safe releasing something solid and safe like Nexuiz first. Fighting the urge to talk about the racy, satirical golf game, I asked creative director Kedhrin Gonzalez a few questions about their collaboration with Alientrap on Nexuiz, what arena FPS titles are doing wrong today, and what the Denver, Colorado indie scene is like.

Trailer: Antichamber

February 28, 2012 1:00 PM | Lewie Procter

Feast your eyes on that. I've already had a decent play of an early build of Antichamber, and it's one of those games where it spends the entire time making you feel like you're not quite clever enough to play it, until you work out what you are supposed to do, and then you feel like a genius.

It's an incredibly stylish and atmospheric first person puzzler, full of impossible room layouts, rules that break themselves over and over again, and some pretty sharp minimalist writing. This is certainly a game you want to have on your radar.

It's currently billed for a release sometime later on this year, and it's coming to PC and Mac. More info can be found over at the game's website.

Tecmo Bowl-Inspired Kickstarter Project Gridiron Heroes Nears Conclusion

February 28, 2012 12:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Pixel Rampage is wrapping up a fundraising campaign for its upcoming Tecmo Bowl-styled social sports sim Gridiron Heroes, which is set to conclude March 8th.

Tecmo's iconic football sims Tecmo Bowl and Super Tecmo Bowl serve as the graphical basis for the game's on-field action, but much of Gridiron Heroes' gameplay hinges on shrewd team management. Players are fully in charge of their own football franchise, and are able to buy and sell players, train new hires, and even manage stadium hot dog prices.

Gameplay is tied to each user's Facebook friends list, and seasons last 28 days. Gridiron Heroes will focus entirely on team simulation at launch, but future updates will introduce live multiplayer and direct player control.

Multiple donation awards are available for the $7,500 project; pledges over $15 receive beta access, while $35 earns the ability to create a player in the game.

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