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

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Eat This: ‘Chompy Chomp Chomp’ Coming This Week To XBLIG

When your development studio’s name happens to be Utopian World of Sandwiches, it’s clear that you’ve got a penchant for the bizarre. With Chompy Chomp Chomp, the company’s forthcoming Xbox Live Indie Games release, that’s exactly what they’re looking to deliver.

The game is described as a “multiplayer eat-em-up,” which perhaps single-handedly sets the marker for what players can expect to gain from the Chompy Chomp Chomp experience. Much in the same vein as Pac-Man, players run around a 2D maze in search of power-ups, which allow them not only to boost their scores, but also to ruthlessly devour their opponents.


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XBLIG Devs Can “Experiment” With Pricing More Frequently From May 23rd

Xbox Live Indie Games

The folks who attend to Xbox Live Indie Games have reported in for their bi-annual update (may as well be) and announced that developers on the platform will be able to change the pricing of their games more frequently starting May 23rd.

The changes come slow but not really that steady for XBLIG developers. They’ve asked for things to be changed several times and gave plenty of feedback, yet they rarely see the luxury of what they ask. Even when they do it happens overnight and no one is told about it. Still, they do get the odd update and this latest one is to allow developers to change their pricing for their games every seven days rather than the current once every 90 days.

“Existing requirements around game sizes and price points remain in place. Games with packages less than 150MB in size can be 80, 240 or 400 points. Games larger than 150MB can be 240 or 400 points”, it reads in the announcement.

That’s all this update is, nothing more as of yet, though they say they’re continuing to listen to feedback and adapt the system to demand apparently. Will be interesting to see if any developers on the platform will fiddle with this new pricing rule. It seems pretty pointless really to do so though; anything more than minimum is not likely to sell well at all, so putting prices down is probably the only decent option.


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The Indie Games Day 7-Day Competition Is Underway!

To Celebrate and promote indie game developers, IGM is holding a 7-day Game Challenge.  Developers will spend no more than 7 days working on a game prototype that they will submit to www.indiegamesday.com.

There will be no entry fees, but your game will be made freely available on www.indiegamesday.com for download/judging.  Players will download and play your free game and vote on a winner.  The winner will receive a cash prize with the hopes that the money will go towards further developing and crafting an awesome independent game.

The theme was just announced so you have a little over 4 weeks to spend some time on a kick ass game that relates to this theme:

That’s it! The theme is that picture – interpret and create your game accordingly.  In case you missed it, here are the rules for this year’s challenge:

  • Each game must be made in LESS than seven days
  • Each game must be based around the competition theme (the picture above)
  • All entries must be submitted no later than 11:59pm (EST) on the 17th of June.
  • Each game must be playable on PC, Mac or browsers (no mobile games)
  • Each game will be made freely available on the indiegamesday.com website
  • Judging will run from June 18th to June 22nd, and will be open to the public, with the winner being announced on IndieGamesDay.com on International Indie Games Day (June 23rd).
  • The winner will receive a cash prize of at least $250 (stay tuned for more info on prizes)
  • All games and intellectual property stays with the developer
    • The Indie Game Magazine reserves the right to offer these games for free on the website IndieGamesDay.com for the public to download them and judge them.
    • The Indie Game Magazine will inform all affected developers if further usage of the game is planned

For more information check out: http://indiegamesday.com/let-the-game-challenge-begin/


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More ‘Bundle In A Box’ Details Eke Out

Bundle In A Box

Here’s an age old question: “What’s in the box?” Well, we’ll readily admit that, in the case of Bundle in a Box, we’re still not certain, but we’re now just that little bit closer to finding out, thanks to an article with its creators over on Indie Game Bundles.

As has been widely speculated, a May launch date is still very much on the cards, with the bundle being made available to the public for two weeks once it launches in earnest. As with most indie bundles, the Bundle in a Box will operate on a pay-what-you-like basis, with a minimum price in effect. Contrary to most conventional bundles, however, the minimum price will apparently be a “constantly dropping one,” rather than one that constantly re-adjusts itself to suit the average monetary donation at the time of purchase. Quite how this payment system will work has still yet to be revealed, but suffice it to say we’ll be waiting with bated breath.

But as we all know, a bundle lives and dies by its games, and it’s now been revealed that Bundle in a Box will contain seven of them. Thankfully, they’ll all be available as DRM-free downloads, although some of them will be redeemable through Steam and Desura for players who prefer to keep all their gaming products in one tidy location. We’ve also been told to expect a plethora of juicy non-gaming extras, perhaps including a soundtrack or two if we’re well behaved.

Most curious, however, is the revelation that the bundle will include a game belonging to a gaming genre that’s never been part of an indie bundle before. Cue the speculation, detectives, because that’s a hint that’s gone right over my head.

If you’d like to receive more information as and when it arrives on the charity-friendly Bundle in a Box, subscribe to its newsletter over on its official site.


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Aircut: ‘Eyestorm’ Gets Temporary Price Cut

Eyestorm

Would-be virtual rescuers have been buoyed by the news that Eyestorm, 3Crew’s action-packed helicopter disaster rescue simulator, has been given a temporary price reduction on Microsoft’s Xbox Live Indie Games service. For a limited time only, it’s downloadable for just 80 Microsoft Points, down from its standard price of 240 Microsoft Points.

As we detailed upon its release, Eyestorm puts players in the role of the knight in shining armour, albeit with less armour and more rescue choppers. It’s your job to successfully execute over 40 complex gameplay objectives on an archipelago of islands, including rescuing shipwrecked survivors, locating missing expeditionists and transporting vital cargos. Sounds simple enough, yes? Not when you’re staring down the barrel of a time limit, and certainly not when you’re battling desperate weather conditions.


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Google Trends Charts Explosion Of Interest In Indie Games Since 2008

World of Goo

If you ever needed evidence of the rise of indie games since 2008, or as our very own Dominic Tarason put it, the “indieplosion”, then a Google Trends graph certainly provides just that.

In an interview with Gamespot (this one), Jonathan Blow of Braid, The Witness and Indie Fund fame, said the following:

“Back when Braid came out, there certainly had been indie games that people were paying attention to before that. But, sort of that year, 2008, saw a number of indie games that all came in the same year that were all kind of at the same level of seriousness…these are no longer tiny games that you just kind of like ‘aww this is some kid doing something cute’, right? There’s enough meat here to this game so that you might care as much about this game as you would a AAA retail game”.

He then goes on to name these games that he is referring to which we’ll list below with a couple extra noteworthy titles thrown in, all from 2008:

  • N+
  • Braid
  • World of Goo
  • Spelunky
  • Castle Crashers

It was games like these that Jonathan Blow says turned indie games into something that people learned to expect things from and that they’re worth paying attention to. We have to agree with him on this and it seems that if you look at Google Trends, there is strong evidence to suggest that 2008 was the year that everything turned around – arguably, when indie games became an interest to a wider audience.

Here’s the chart of which we speak below and a link if you want to get a good look yourself:

Indie Game Google Trends

It’s quite easy to see the explosion of interest in searches for “indie game” since 2008 – quite significant. The reason that the chart starts at 2008 is because the volume of those searching for “indie game” before that was too low to be effectively tracked.

We love these kinds of things and it’s especially great to see that indie games are becoming more and more of an interest to people and culture in general. Of course, since the explosion has started, the rise of mobile gaming has also carved another huge path for indie game development to rise and at a great rate. Let’s hope it continues to, there are certainly no signs of it slowing down.


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Suite Emotion: ‘Playstation Suite’ Beta Opens To Developers

Would-be handheld developers have received a boost today with the news that Sony’s Playstation Suite has now entered its Open Beta phase.

In essence, what that means is that anyone looking to experiment with the development tools for the Playstation Vita and the Sony Experia Play can do so for free through the PS Suite Development Assistant application, now available to all developers for a limited period of time. Once the Developer Program for Playstation Suite is granted its full release, currently slated to be at some point during 2012, a $99 per year payment will be required for the continued use of the service, along with the mandatory signature of a contract to validate any future developed content.

Although Sony is still ironing out some of the finer details of the programme, it’s been revealed that validated content will be restricted to paid content, meaning that free-to-play games without the support of micro-transactions are a no-go. In-game purchasing, however, appears to be permitted, but developers wanting to implement such a system must wait for it to be integrated into a scheduled update at some stage during the Open Beta stage.

Undecided too are the exact price structures we can expect to see once independently-developed content see the light of day, and it’s also unclear what percentage of sales profits will go to the developers. Sony has, however, stated that pricing will be determined at a rate “based on current market conditions,” for whatever that might be worth.

What this means for indie game development remains unclear as this new venture breaks into its infancy, but it’s difficult not to arouse at least a modicum of curiosity. Could this mark the beginning of a new dawn for independent development beyond the predominantly PC-centric market? Is such an idea wrought with naivete? One thing’s for sure; we’d be interested in reading what the IGM community has to say.


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What Is Indie? Epic Games Say “We’re Big Indie”

Infinity Blade

Yes, that question is rearing its ugly head once again. What is indie? We all know there is no solid definition but Eurogamer have made it their task to question a number of developers as to what they think ‘indie’ means and if they are ‘indie developers’ themselves.

Constantly we’re asking ourselves with every game we come across “is it indie?” There’s a number of factors that will go into deciding upon the answer to that question, ones that were picked up on by the many developers question by Eurogamer. The question these developers faced is simple but the answer has never been nor will it likely ever be.

Here are some of the great quotes from the article:

  • Robert Boyd (Cthulhu Saves The World)

“An indie developer is an individual or small group that is not owned by another company that makes games. An indie game is a game made by an indie developer, simple as that.”

  • Jeremiah Slaczka (Scribblenauts)

“Is it an image thing? Is it an arthouse game, is that what indie is? Is it smaller teams? Simple gameplay, simple graphics, small teams – that seems to be the definition of indie right now. But I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t know if I agree with it, but I don’t have a better definition either.”

  • Adam Saltsman (Canabalt)

“It’s being able to tell if a game was ‘made with love’.”

  • Kellee Santiago (Flower, Journey)

“It’s being able to tell if a game was ‘made with love’.”

Bastion

Perhaps more interesting are the words of Mark Rein from Epic Games (Gears of War) and Greg Kasavin of Supergiant Games (Bastion) – both belonging to companies that have worked with corporations to publish their games but both claim that they are indie.

First up, Mark Rein who makes the case for Epic Games being “indie”:

“We’re big indie, I guess. We are an independent company. We make games and we publish them ourselves through iOS so, yeah, Epic still embodies the indie spirit. There’s no question.

“I don’t think anyone thinks of us as an indie because we make games for Microsoft. But we think of ourselves as an indie. We own the company, we make the decisions about what we’re going to do and we work very hard to please our consumers.”

Rein was also asked what he thought “indie spirit” meant to which he replied: “A little bit of gold rush mentality. Look! The grass is greener on the other side of the fence! That sort of thing.”

While we won’t be covering Epic Games on IGM any time soon, we have covered Bastion and claimed it to be an indie game. So with that said, Greg Kasavin is up next and he seems to say many of the same things as Rein in a way. It should be noted that Supergiant Games are a much smaller company – is that enough to make the difference between indie and non-indie?

“Speaking just for my own experience, Supergiant Games is an independent studio. This to me has a clear and inarguable definition, which is, we are a private company and do not have a parent company. Moreover, we have been able to self-fund our projects, which means we can make the games we want to make without pressure from publishers or other larger companies to steer our projects in different directions.”

“The story of how we made Bastion was important to us, and I think the stories of how independent games get made are often interesting.”

So, after all of these quotes, are we any closer to a definition of “indie”? Certainly not. Though it is easily said that many people have differing factors that play into their own definition of indie. Team size, budget, whether a parent company exists, innovation and it goes on. If you look to our About page you’ll find that we have put up what we look our for in games in order to make the distinction, it goes:

“Indie Games are video games which are made by passionate game developers who typically publish their game on their own via the internet. Indie Games are typically not funded nor published under major labels and therefore the developers are not limited in their scope of creativity. Indie Games will typically stretch the boundaries of what has been done already and sometimes even what is commonly accepted as normal practice. The one thing that they all have in common is the level of passion poured into the game by their developer, as these games are made out of a desire to make a game rather than making money.”

Let us know what you think defines an indie in the comment section below.

Via Eurogamer


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‘Rezzed’ – New PC And Indie Game Show Announced For July

Rezzed

A new PC and indie games show has been announced by Eurogamer and Rock, Paper, Shotgun – Rezzed will take place in Brighton, UK across July 6th-7th.

Brought to you by the people behind the Eurogamer Expo, Rezzed is a brand new game show that aims to highlight PC games from the whole range of production levels, including indie games of course. Those who attend will be able to go hands-on with a number of unreleased games, be treated to developer sessions and play some retro machines, compete in game tournaments and plenty more we’re assured.

The line-up of games and developers is still very much under wraps with the only indie announcement being The Indie Stone of Project Zomboid. The rest of the reveals being non-indie related so we’ll turn our nose away and won’t look back when we hear more word of indie developers, thank you (it’s mostly SEGA titles announced so far).

“Following last year’s hugely successful fourth Eurogamer Expo, we’re broadening our horizons for 2012 by introducing a new summer event to highlight the best of PC and indie games,” said Eurogamer managing director Rupert Loman. “PC and indie games are enjoying huge success now after years in the ascendancy and we want to draw more attention to that fact and give people the opportunity to get up close to the biggest names and games before they’re released.”

You can buy your ticket for Rezzed over on the official website, priced at £12 for one day or £20 for a two-day ticket.

Via Eurogamer


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Chamber, Chamber!: ’48 Chambers’ Receives Update and 50% Discount

Discord Games launched their latest title, 48 Chambers, last week, but that’s not to say that they’ve finished with the game. Far from it, in fact.

Today marks the release of the game’s first update and, to celebrate, Discord are putting 48 Chambers on sale for the next 48 hours. That’s a new price of $1.49, although the discount doesn’t apply to the Supporter Edition of the game, which still stands at $4.99, although it’s worth bearing in mind that all proceeds from this version go towards Discord’s next project, whatever that may turn out to be.

Along with a few technical amendments, such as reduced loading times and alternate background colours, the update also adds a brand new Casual Mode into the fray, allowing players to progress through every level in the game with the helpful crutch of an unlimited supply of lives. That’s not to forget its antithesis, the leaderboard-supported Hardcore Mode, which forces players to last as long as possible with just one life. Serious stuff, that is.

The sale can be taken advantage of through one of three different avenues. First, there’s the game’s official site, where you can also snap up the aforementioned Supporter Edition. Alternatively, you can head over to Desura or Indievania. While we’re at it, even though it isn’t on sale, an Xbox 360 version is also available through the Xbox Live Indie Games channel at a price of 80 Microsoft Points.