Indie game news, reviews, previews and everything else concerning indie game development.


Vote for Your Favorite Indie/Mod of 2010

IOTY_2010The guys over at ModDB and IndieDB have kicked off their usual yearly awards that picks out the cream of the crop of both the mod scene and the indie scene. Only this time there’s a unique twist: us.

While past events have focused largely around simply getting players involved in picking their favorites of the year, this year also includes a number of press members in what they call the “Panel’s Choice.” Being that we are one of the more popular indie-centric blogs on the internet these days, we were naturally chosen to be apart of this amazing contest. Hooray!

Of course, that doesn’t mean that your role in this is tarnished at all. The people’s choice awards are still alive and kickin’ and the guys over at ModDB/IndieDB are asking for you to find your favorite mod or indie game (over 500) and vote on them. From there the top 50 games will head over to phase two of the contest where the real competition begins.

It’s an exciting contest not only for indie developers but also for the community and I highly recommend that you check it out and vote for your favorite indie game of 2010.

[IndieDB, ModDB]


DevLinks: Shoulder the Load


DevLinks return this weekend to share with you developers in a sharing mood.

Cliffksi’s Blog — why most indie game websites suck at getting sales
“For top-secret reasons, I’ve recently been looking at a bunch of indie game websites. Some are great, most are not. Some are laughable. I’ve had an indie games site since 1997, and obsess over it’s performance. Here’s some things I think newcomers to indie game selling should take note of.”

radiangames — 6 Month Report: 20,000 Sales
“I’m starting with the stat above because it makes a nice headline, and I didn’t even know I’d achieved it until I was putting together the sales spreadsheet. Unlike the last big report, I’m focused entirely on numbers this time. I’ll go over the games individually, then look at the overall picture.”

Broken Rules Blog — Adapting And Yet It Moves to the Wii Remote
“Bringing And Yet It Moves to the Wii meant one thing: adapting a game designed for digital input to the wide range of analog values of the Wii Remote. This turned out to be quite a challenge in which we invested a lot of time and energy. Here’s what we learned while doing so.”

Charlie’s Games — Bullet Candy Fast!
“Here’s a video of one of the challenge levels in Scoregasm. The level basically takes all the levels from the original Bullet Candy, adds a few more bullets, and squeezes it down to 3 minutes!”

Retro City Rampage Dev Blog — Soundtrack Demo Mix Tape
“Last week we released a 10 minute Retro City Rampage Soundtrack Demo Mix Tape which you can download for free along with a video with nearly as much gameplay footage!”

distractionware — Saint’s Yarn
“Check out these socks! Cool, huh? They were knitted by TIGSource poster Saint – he’s also knitted Aquaria socks, Fez socks, Hero Core socks, a Star Guard beanie – and he’s auctioning the whole lot off for the charity Child’s Play on ebay.”

The Behemoth — 2010 Halloween Contest RESULTS!
“Once again, we are wowed by the Awesomeness of all the entries. While the good old Knights remain a favorite in the Costume department, this year saw many new characters making their Halloween Debut.”

Wolfire Games Blog — Wolfire’s talk about Overgrowth at Fantastic Fest
“Back in September, Aubrey and I attended a conference in Austin, Texas called Fantastic Fest. When we announced that we would be giving a presentation there, many of you asked us to record it. Well, it turns out that James and Lisanne from BlinkWorks managed to record the whole presentation, and kindly made it available to us!”

Are you a developer and have a blog we may not be aware of? Let us know! Leave a comment below or email erik[dot]johnson@diygamer[dot]com.


At Least One Developer is Turning Away From XBLIG


So, remember that little rant I had a couple weeks ago about Microsoft’s newest endeavor to push the Xbox Live Indie Games channel to further obscurity? Yeah, it’s still kind of a big deal, especially to the developers who are angry that their games are going to get even less attention now than ever before.

Well, as was to be expected, at east one developer is turning it’s back on the service. Stir Fry Games, creator of SFG Soccer and SFG Office Brawlers is planning on pursuing other platforms instead of their traditional mainstay XBLIG. Here’s what Andy Kwiatkowski, founder of Stir Fry Games, had to say:

“The recent dashboard change has been a total disaster. Our sales have been seriously affected and I don’t think XBLIG is a viable platform for full-time Indie developers any more. We’ve now moved on and have started developing technology to allow us to make games for different platforms.”

When asked about what platforms they were actively pursuing for their next game Andy mentioned the usual: iOS, PS, and WiiWare as prospective platforms for their future games.

Are you a developer who is turning away from XBLIG now? Let us know in the comments below!

[Stir Fry Games]

UPDATE: 20 minutes after I wrote this article I received word that Microsoft caved to the pressure and moved XBLIG back to its rightful place with the other video game channels. This is a great victory for indie developers everywhere.


Indie Links Round-Up: Slow Motion


Once again, Indie Links brings us tremendous content and coverage from across the web. We get some indie pitches, interviews, reviews, opinions and of course a little bit of controversy.

The Indie Supper-Singing Spectacular (Alec Meer/Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“So many wonderful indie games, so little unwonderful time. How is RPS to cover them all? Well, making their devs do the hard work for us is a start. A few days ago, we put out a call on the Twit-witter-wotter: tell us, indie developer man/woman-person, in around 100 words, why we should turn our sentinel gaze upon you. So some did. Here’re the funnest entries received, or at least those that came closest to fulfilling the mandate of “incredigood words.””

Sense of Wonder: Indie-fying Japan (Jeriaska/Gamasutra)
“The Tokyo Game Show’s annual Sense of Wonder Night brings together a selection of independent and experimental games from around the world. In October of 2008, PlayStation Network title PixelJunk Eden by independent developer Q-Games was chosen as a showcase finalist.”

Microsoft: new 360 dash helps indies (Fred Dutton/Eurogamer)
“Microsoft has answered concerns that the recent Xbox 360 dashboard update marginalises Xbox Live Indie Games, insisting the new set-up will work better for independent developers.”

Indie Review: A House in California by Cardboard Computer (Jeff Mattas/Shacknews)
“A House in California is a surreal trip through childhood memories that have been filtered through the opaque lenses of time and nostalgia.”

Opinion: Design Diversions – The Games as Art Debate is Dead, Long Live the Games as Art Debate (Andrew Vanden Bossche/GameSetWatch)
“‘Design Diversions’ is a biweekly new GameSetWatch-exclusive column by Andrew Vanden Bossche. It looks at the unexpected moments when games take us behind the scenes, and the details of how game design engages us.”

Redefining a Genre: Skulls of the Shogun Aims to Add Accessibility; Keep Depth (John Laster/XBLA Fans)
“The following article is based around an email interview conducted by our team with Jake Kazdal, CEO of Haunted Temple Studios. For the uninitiated, Haunted Temple Studios is currently developing Skulls of the Shogun for Xbox Live Arcade for Spring 2011 release.”

Preview: Bitejacker (Mike Rose/IndieGames)
“If you listened to this week’s IndieGames podcast, you’ll have heard us talking about an IGF entry called Bitejacker – a zombie survival shooter based on the indie gaming show Bytejacker. There were barely any details available, and we wanted answers!”

Review: Nimbus (James Murff/Big Download)
“There’s a fine line developers walk when making games with clear, focused objectives. On one side of the line is boredom, where the game is too simple and too repetitive to offer any sort of meaningful gameplay to the player. On the other in confusion, where the simplistic and entertaining core mechanic is lost amidst feature creep as the developer tries to make the game more varied and interesting. Right in the middle is the sweet spot, where a game is fun, easy to learn, and offers a great amount of variety despite its adherence to a singular mechanic. Nimbus is one of these games.”


DevLinks: Passing the Torch


DevLinks are a curious bunch this time around–alright more so than usual. Some are exploring the depths of what it’s like after the launch of their game, and some are exploring the depths of what it’s like smack dab in the middle of a development cycle. Progress is being made on either account.

Zeboyd Games — Cthulhu Saves the World is in Playtesting (1st Build)
“Cthulhu Saves the World is in playtesting! If you have an XNA Creator’s Club Membership, you can download the build.”

The Word of Notch — Survival Mode Multiplayer is priority #1
“I just finished moving to a new server, and it’s looking fairly stable. I fixed a few bugs with creative mode, so that should be working now as well. Now I will rest for a few days, as I’m utterly exhausted. After that, I will get cracking on Survival Mode Multiplayer, as it’s still the highest priority for the game.”

The Witness Blog — Experiments in Texturing
“Something like a year and a half ago, when I was starting to get serious about making The Witness, I was talking to Casey Muratori about 3D modeling and texturing. Braid was a 2D game; The Witness being 3D meant that it would be much more expensive and difficult to make, so I was doing a bunch of thinking and seeking advice on the right way to do it.”

The Behemoth — Small update to North America PSN Castle Crashers
“Dear peoples in the northern western hemisphere, you may have noticed a small update to your Castle Crashering experience in the wee hours last night. Here is whats different.”

Cliffski’s Blog — Ad stats, and why people make DLC.
“Sooo. I managed to keep my grubby paws from editing my ad campaigns for 30 seconds. I blogged a few days ago about how I took the top 25 sites for ROI (return-on-investment) and confined the Gratuitous Space Battles ad campaign to just them. Here is the results.”

Limbo Blog — Halloween
“Hello out there…We have received four fan pictures, we really wanna share with the world. They kinda speak for them selfs!”

radiangames — Cutting the Cord
“After finishing up a game or project, most people (including myself) go through what I’d call a post-launch malaise. I’ve seen it for big games at both Volition and Outrage, and it happens for small games too. Last Monday I was suffering from it after Fluid launched. Tuesday I decided to do something about it, so I unplugged the cable modem in my office.”

distractionware — Minigame Roundup
“Sorry I haven’t posted much lately! It’s been a busy month. Very soon I hope to post about how my main project Nexus City is progressing, and also about a small side thing I’ve been working on lately, but first I wanna catch up on a few minigames I made recently that I never got around to posting.”


IGF Receives Record Number of Student Game Entries


I had almost completely forgotten that, aside from the record amount of traditional indie games that IGF had received, we were also waiting on the student indie games that had been submitted under the student competition at IGF. As one can imagine, this section of the IGF is entirely devoted to current students who are learning and creating games from their respective schools, ala DigiPen or MIT as an example.

Well, as with the regular IGF, it seems that the student showcase was quite the hit around the universities this year with a record breaking 283 games being entered into the contest. Impressive numbers considering the 2010 student showcase only saw 193 entries.

I believe that this kind of consistent record breaking phenomena for an indie games contest is further proof that indie games are definitely on the rise around the world. In some manner of respects the indie developers are almost becoming the “middle class” of the game development hierarchy. I can’t wait to see what the next few years has to offer.

Follow the link below to check out the entries.



The Magical Minds Behind ‘Spirits’… Spaces of Play [Interview]


From Mr. Bounce to the award-winning Spirits, the success that Berlin’s four-piece, Spaces of Play, has had in the indie scene speaks for itself. Seeing as how we’re only days away from the release of the studio’s second title, Spirits, we at DIY HQ thought a nice e-sitdown with the auspicious devs would offer some insightful information regarding the game’s and studio’s future. Observe below:

DIYGamer: First off, let me congratulate you guys on the fantastic response that Spirits has received prior to release; you guys won the Aesthetics Award at IndieCade and got nominated for TGS’s Sense of Wonder Night. How does it feel?

Spaces of Play: Great! There was a tough competition at IndieCade which makes the honor of winning this award even bigger. Traveling to Tokyo for the Sense of Wonder Night was amazing as well. It was the first time we visited Japan, and we took the opportunity to look around a bit.

What’s the story on how Spaces of Play came to be? How long have you been working on games together?

We have known each other for a long time, we first met around 6 years ago at the Design Department of the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, Germany. Mattias was teaching Game Design and Andreas and Marek took some of his classes. Last year Andreas and Mattias started working together to create the iPhone version of Mr. Bounce, which was originally a Flash game designed together by Andreas and Martin. Even though we have worked all together in different constellations, Spirits is the first project that involves all four of us.


Seeing as how Spirits is Spaces of Play’s second official game, I think it’s safe to say you have already set the bar really high. Do you guys intend on expanding the team? Did you do so for Spirits?

Spirits was a very dynamic project, we didn’t know exactly how we wanted the final game to be, but we did know what we wanted it to feel like. Being a small team allowed us to experiment and work in a flexible way that would not be possible in a larger team. Therefore, we don’t know if we’d want to include more people in the next project.

Where did the idea(s) for Spirits originate from? It’s certainly unique, but did you guys draw influences from any other games?

We are influenced by other games that we love to play, but none inspired us directly to do Spirits. Instead, we mostly draw inspiration from life and other non-game sources. We tried to design Spirits from the basic design goals of creativity, player freedom, and indirect control over the characters. This last part is of course similar to Lemmings, and when people start out playing Spirits they often notice the similarity, but once they progress they see that the gameplay of Spirits evolves into something quite different.

Marek and Matteas at IndieCade. Photo by Mimi Haddon.

Marek and Matteas at IndieCade. Photo by Mimi Haddon.

I know the game hasn’t even hit the App Store yet, but what are your intentions with its future? Paid downloadable content? Free updates? Are you planning on having any Game Center, OpenFeint, Plus+, etc. integration?

There will be updates to the content, but it’s too early to say exactly how they will look.For a long time we didn’t have scoring in the game at all. We feel the game should be what you do with it. That said, we do provide a custom world ranking system per level, as well as for your total game rank. We don’t have any external API integration, because we feel it doesn’t fit so well with our game.

What makes the iOS your platform of choice? Do you intend on releasing the game on other platforms?

The iPad fits the game perfectly, but we are considering porting the game to other platforms. For the next weeks our focus will be on finishing the iPhone, iPod touch and Retina Display version of the game.

I’m really interested to know what your favorite games are and what you spend your time with when not developing. What does Spaces of Play do on its days off?

What are these “days off” you’re talking about? :D Seriously, when we don’t work on the game we try to go outside and have a walk in the park, play some soccer, go to concerts or exhibitions, or just grab a beer with some friends. But to name a few of our recent favorite games: “Braid”, “PixelJunk Shooter”, “Sixteen Tons”, “Every Day the Same Dream”, “Sleep Is Death”. We also had the chance to play a preview version of thatgamecompany’s “Journey” when we were in LA, which blew our minds.


Let’s take it back for a second, what did you feel Spaces of Play accomplished with Mr. Bounce? Is there a sequel or new content planned for Bounce-fans?

Mr. Bounce was our first project for the iPhone under the Spaces of Play label, so we learned some things about self-publishing a game on the AppStore that should help us with the release of Sprits. Like Spirits, it blends known game mechanics with new and unique ideas, which maybe is a good way of describing how we work. If time allows, we’d love to come back to it and maybe do an update that has native support for resolutions of the iPad and iPhone 4.

Do you have any other games you’ve been working on? Any ideas for what happens after Spirits?

Everyone of us has a couple of ideas, but we not working on another game yet and haven’t decided what kind of project to do after Spirits. We will try to get some more sleep though.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the indie fans, the mainstream fans, and the world in general?

Being still is not the same as doing nothing! Rush into things slowly, and thanks for making it possible for us to work on games like Spirits.

Thanks, gents! Congratulations again. We wish you the best of luck with Spirits and hope to hear from you soon.


There’s Spaces of Play talkin’ games, development, and even sharing philosophies. You can read our preview of Spirits here, and keep an eye out for our upcoming review. For more on Spaces of Play, check out their awesome blog which documents the creation process for Spirits.


IGF China Finalists Announced

GDCCHinaWhile we remain almost entirely focused on the primary IGF being held in 2011, it’s easy to forget that the event transcends the US and Europe. Case and point: IGF China has just announced its finalists for their upcoming festival in December.

Here are the main competition finalists:

Sugar Cube (Turtle Cream, South Korea)
Hazard: The Journey Of Life (Alexander Bruce, Australia)
Train Conductor (The Voxel Agents, Australia)
Cut & Paste (Turtle Cream, South Korea)
Skillz: The DJ Game (Playpen Studios, Hong Kong)
ButaVX: Justice Fighter (Nekomura Games, Singapore)
Crossout (Coconut Island Studio, China)

And here are the student finalists:

Zonelink (Huazhong University Of Science And Technology, China)
Dead Steel (Media Design School, Auckland, New Zealand)
Afterland (Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, Singapore)
The White Laboratory (Huazhong University of Science & Technology, China)
Ponlai (National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Taiwan)

The winners will receive cash prizes up to $9,100 as well as all paid expense trips to GDC in San Francisco next year.

Also, I gotta say, I really enjoy IGF China for giving us a different take on the indie gaming scene. With the US and Europe being such a dominant force in indie games it’s often easy to forget that Asia has a huge game development scene as well with some very talented people working on their own games.

Good luck to all the finalists.

[, GDC China]


PAX East Boston Indie Showcase is Now Accepting Subissions

BostonIndieShowcaseGood news for those indie developers who are looking for the next big event to get their game into, as PAX East has now flung open its doors to allow for indie developers to submit their game to be included in the Boston Indie Showcase, which we assume is much like the PAX 10 was.

Unfortunately, if you don’t live in the greater Boston metropolitan area you aren’t eligible. I don’t recall if this was a requirement for last year, but it certainly seems a bit inane to me to exclude everybody but home developers, especially for an event that’s less than two year’s old at this point. It’s not like there’s a history or something.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic and ranty.

If you do live in Boston and wish to submit your game here are the requirements:

  • You are an independent developer without a traditional publisher-developer relationship in place.
  • You must reside in the greater Boston metropolitan area.
  • You cannot be funded by an outside party.
  • All games must be in at least beta form.
  • All games must be electronic in nature.
  • No mods or levels are allowed. What does this mean? It means you can’t require the installation of other software to run your game. The only exception to this is if you submit a game that uses a 3rd party game engine (like Torque for instance) and you have all the rights to use the engine. In that same vein, middleware can be used for development, but the external software used has to be disclosed with the appropriate copyright and credits assigned.

So there you have it. If you’re interested in submitting simply follow the link below to the application form and GOOD LUCK!

Oh and if you are planning to submit and would like to let us know, we’re more than interested in seeing what you’ve got.

[Boston Indie Showcase]


DevLinks: Costumed Heroes


DevLinks…from beyond the grave!!! Alright, well some of them are fairly spooky. All of the are awesome though, so no sweat there.

Frictional Games — Halloween Tips. Sale and more!
“Now that northern hemisphere people move into darker times what can be better than to indulge in some horror! Read along to get some tips on games, books and movies to check out this Halloween!”

The Behemoth — The Behemoth’s 3rd annual Costume and Pumpkin Carving contest!!
“Do you have mad squash-carving skillz? The best Hatty Hat in town? To enter this contest just post a photo of your BattleBlock Theater, Castle Crashers, Alien Hominid, PDA Games, or Dad ‘N Me or other Behemothy creation in this thread on our forums.”

Zeboyd Games — Happy Halloween from Zeboyd Games and Breath of Death VII!
“Pumpkin carving courtesy of Bill Stiernberg (the artist for Breath of Death VII & Cthulhu Saves the World).”

Dejobaan Games — A Full Level Generated From Music
“Our next title is an action game for Windows where you fly and fight through floating cities generated from your own MP3 music collection. Different songs and genres create different levels — an electronica track might pit you against ceaseless waves of enemies; a hip hop track might challenge you to weave through the city, chaining stunts together; and relaxing new age might float you through a serene level of flowers to collect.”

Charlie’s Games — Ross Bush
“Hi all! Over the last few days i’ve been busy working away on the remaining challenge levels in Scoregasm. I’ve done pretty well too, i’ve done all but two of them! ”

Arcen Games — AI War: Fleet Command 4.0 and AI War: Children of Neinzul Released!
“This release is unreservedly huge. It’s a full re-imagining of AI War, practically a sequel (but free to existing customers). Frankly there were more updates here than in a lot of sequels we’ve seen. So it is with some difficulty that we compile these highlights, as even the list of highlights is enormous, yet omits a lot of major changes.”

Amanita Design — Machinarium Soundtrack Limited LP Reissue
“We are glad to report that limited LP reissue is underway, it’s an edition of 245 hand-numbered copies on black vinyl with different color on the rear side of the jacket, again contains three art reproductions by Adolf Lachman and features a coupon with a code to download MP3/FLAC versions of the album.”

Dynastica — IGF 2011 entrants in graphs
“This year’s IGF 2011 entrants have been announced. The competition is fierce with an awesome variety of indiegames. Of course, we are rooting for our own game but we love that there are so many games of high quality and lots of fantastic and zany ideas.”