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

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Indie Links Round-Up: Socially Aware

Indie_Links_NDAOur latest set of Indie Links gathered from far and wide consists primarily of conversations and connections between developers/enthusiasts and gaming journos/bloggers. There’s really nothing more easy going out there than those who work in the indie slice of the industry. Often, both sides reach out to one another often to form both a business and personal relationship and we all benefit for it. Check out today’s picks.

The Worth(lessness) of NDAs (IndieFund)
“It’s been almost two weeks since we opened up the submission process and the response has been fantastic, if somewhat overwhelming. We’ve gotten over 70 applications so far and we’re working through them as best we can. Please be patient with us… we will get back to you. One thing that has come up a couple of times is a request to sign an NDA, and that’s actually the focus of this post. We do not sign NDAs and would like to share the rationale behind this decision.”

Inteview: Andrew Goulding on Jolly Rover (Martin Mulrooney, Philip Jong/Adventure Classic Gaming)
“Jolly Rover is the debut adventure game from indie developer Andrew Goulding and his company Brawsome. Goulding is no stranger to the games industry, having worked for years as a game tester, programmer, and producer. Although comedy pirate adventures are certainly not unique to the genre, Jolly Rover seems to have taken on a new twist to an old theme by casting all of the game’s main characters as canines. Indeed, it is this unique design choice that makes Goulding’s game different from the competition.”

Unity Giveaway Contest Winners (Henley/IndieDB)
“Our Unity contest has come to a close, with over 50 entries and 10 amazing finalists, the quality of entries has been amazing. We asked for original concepts and we had an amazing response but in the end there can only be 2 winners.”

Interview: Dejobaan Games’ Lambe, Jaitley On Doing Things A Little Different (Mike Rose/GameSetWatch)
“Mike Rose sits down with two of the principals from super-quirky independent developer Dejobaan Games — creator of AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity and The Wonderful End of the World – to reference upcoming title ooo! ooO! oOO! OOO! and their unique way of approaching game creation.”

Talking Shop: Carpe Fulgur On Recettear (Alec Meer/RPS)
“The demo of Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale is one of the best things I’ve played in a while. A Japanese indie game pitching an RPG shopkeeper as the star… well, you can read all that in the last post. Given the slightly unusual nature of the project – it’s only available here thanks to a third-party translation company- I thought I’d chat to said translators about the why, how, who and what next. Interesting stuff – there’s this whole vein of (slick) indie gaming that we otherwise hear nothing about. Take it away, Carpe Fulgur’s Andrew Dice.”

LIMBO Review (Jeff Mattas/Shacknews)
“Playdead’s action-based, puzzle-platformer, LIMBO, [is] out for Xbox LIVE Arcade and to put it bluntly: prepare to die!”

Tom Jubert Talks Projects, Plots, Penumbra (Lewis Denby/RPS)
“At the Develop Conference in Brighton last week, I had the opportunity to sit down for a beer and a chat with Tom Jubert, perhaps most famous for writing the excellent horror adventure series Penumbra. They’re dark and sinister games whose writing, and the structure of their storytelling, were often their strongest asset. Read on for Tom’s thoughts on the writing process, tales of game design tribulations, and his involvement in a major new title.”

Alhóndiga Bilbao Announces International hó Play Competition (Eric Caoili/GameSetWatch)
“Spanish culture and leisure center Alhóndiga Bilbao has announced hó Play, a new project that aims to present and promote video games that “stand out for their originality, creativeness, and innovation.”"

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Delve Deeper (Justin McElroy/Joystiq)
“This week we talk Lunar Giant Studio’s Adam Eidukas (Lead Developer) and Neil Wickman (Creative Director / Lead Artist) about how Adam FULLY beat Final Fantasy with just the thief. … Oh, also they made a game.”

Interview: Riot Games’ co-founder talks about Season One of League of Legends (John Callaham/Big Download)
“The game didn’t get a lot of attention from the mainstream game industry or the media when it launched last October but today it looks like League of Legends has been a huge success for its developer/publisher Riot Games. The company made the free-to-play multiplayer RTS-action game with some of the people behind the popular WarCraft III mod Defense of the Ancients.”


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League of Legends Mac Client Coming This Summer

League_of_Legends_MacRiot Games has announced that they will be bringing their multiplayer free-to-play action-RTS game League of Legends to Mac, revealing that the fantasy themed title will become available for the OS this summer.

The great news is that Mac players will be able to play with/against their PC buddies as the game will be cross compatible for multiplayer. The port will be handled by Transgaming’s Cider engine tools.

LoL is also expected to launch its official competitive phase this summer, urging both Mac and PC players to participate if their stuff is good enough. From the full press release:

Riot Games and TransGaming to Launch “League of Legends” for Mac

Acclaimed Indie Video Game Developer and Publisher to Bring Its Award-Winning Online Multiplayer to Millions of Mac Gamers This Summer

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA and TORONTO, ONTARIO — May 27, 2010 Riot Games, a leading independent developer and publisher of premium online video games, announced that they are working with TransGaming Inc. (TSX-V: TNG) to expand their debut title, League of Legends™, and releasing a version for the Mac that will be available for download this summer. The new Mac version of the online multiplayer strategy game, powered by TransGaming’s Cider™ Portability Engine, will bring millions of Mac owners the same fast-paced gaming action that more than one million PC gamers have enjoyed since the game launched in October, 2009.

“Millions of gamers across the world are accessing their gaming content on Macs but until now they have not been able to play League of Legends,” said Brandon Beck, co-founder and CEO of Riot Games. “The first competitive phase of the game will be kicking off this summer, and we’re excited that Mac gamers will also be able to participate and have a chance to vie for top prizes.”

With TransGaming’s Cider Engine, the Mac version of League of Legends will have all the same game features as its award-winning PC counterpart. Players can download the game for free from www.leagueoflegends.com and, after a short installation, begin playing instantly. Artwork, graphics, in-game items and controls will remain the same in the Mac version, giving both PC and Mac gamers equal opportunity to compete in the game at high levels for free.

“League of Legends is an outstanding game and one that will be thoroughly enjoyed by Mac gamers everywhere who have been waiting for a premium free-to-play release,” commented Vikas Gupta, CEO & President of TransGaming Inc. “League of Legends represents TransGaming’s commitment to bring a breadth of exceptional video gaming entertainment to the Mac community.”

League of Legends, Riot Games’ debut title, launched on Oct. 27, 2009 in North America and Europe. It is a session-based, multiplayer online game where rival teams compete for victory. Built by a veteran development team and the original creators of Defense of the Ancients, one of the world’s most popular player-made mods, League of Legends combines elements of the role-playing and strategy genres with addictive competitive action.

League of Legends is rated “T” for Teen and now available for free via download at www.leagueoflegends.com.

For more information about League of Legends, visit www.leagueoflegends.com.


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Indie Links Round-Up: Show & Tell

Indie_Links_May_18Indie links are back yet again.

Plenty to share this week, with some really solid help and advice for aspiring developers, a list of previews and impressions and a trio of interviews including a hilarious RPS exclusive with Zombie Cow on their upcoming title Privates. Quite a few to get through so let’s dive in.

How to make interesting games by accident (Wolfire)
“The blank page, is one of the greatest things ever, as well as one of the most irritating; it can become anything you imagine, the trouble is your imagination is pretty crap. Don’t get me wrong, it does some amazing things, but to most of us, sooner or later those amazing things start to get repetitive, you wonder if you are really as creative as you once thought you were, when all your ideas turn out to be more or less along the same lines.”

Three More Tips For Getting Started In the Indie Gaming Biz (The Bottom Feeder)
“In February, I wrote my first three tips for getting started in the Indie gaming biz. I am starting to feel old and outdated in this business, so I feel like I’d probably be better off not trying to act wise. Sometimes I get e-mails from successful Indie developers, telling me what an inspiration I was to them when they were young. And then my skin starts to peel off in sheets and my hip spontaneously breaks. And yet, there are still several more bits of advice that I think are genuinely helpful.”

The Indie Game Doctor (formspring.me)
“All heavens and all earths. Your indie games. I will fix them. Ask me how to fix them. I am indie game guru and I can help you make indie game better. All solution applied.”

Independent Games Festival Names Boyer As Chairman (IndieGames)
“The UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizers of the yearly Independent Games Festival and Independent Games Summit has announced that scene notable Brandon Boyer has been named Chairman of the IGF, as it continues to expand its role in evangelizing and rewarding the best indie games.”

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Rotor’scope (Joystiq)
“Being a giant, beloved video game blog has its downsides. For example, we sometimes neglect to give independent developers our coverage love (or loverage, if you will) as we get caught up in AAA, AAAA or the rare quintuple-A titles. To remedy that, we’re giving indies the chance to create their own loverage and sell you, the fans, on their studios and products. This week we talk with Mauricio Garcia, one of the programmers of Nivel21, about how their game Rotor’scope proves that nothing is impossible.”

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Armor Games (Joystiq)
“This week we talk with Armor Games’ Daniel McNeely (Founder) and John Cooney (Head of Game Development), who converted a love of medieval Flash games into a full-on gaming hub.”

Xbox Live Indie Games: 10 Titles For 2010 (Gamasutra)
“With almost 1000 titles now available on Xbox Live Indie Games, what kind of games are breaking through from a quality — or quirkiness — point of view on the service? Gamasutra looks at 10 of the best new titles on the Xbox 360′s hobbyist and indie-contributed game service, from Mamotte Knight through Zombie Estate and beyond.”

No Longer A One-Button Game: Canabalt’s Typing Tutor Edition (GameSetWatch)
“If you’ve spent months playing Canabalt, mastering the one-button game to the point where you can vault across dozens of rooftops at breakneck speeds without increasing your heartrate or hit the 30,000 meter mark in every playthrough, developer Adam “Atomic” Saltsman has posted a slight variant of the game that adds some complexity (with a purpose!) to the simple title.”

Interviews

Exclusive: Getting Intimate With Privates (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“Upon hearing the news of Zombie Cow’s pee-pee and hoo-hah themed game, Privates, we clearly wanted to know more. What are these “vaginas” and “penises” they’re talking about? So we got ourselves a chat with project lead Dan Marshall to find out the details on their STI-busting project. We exclusively reveal what the game’s about, how it will play, and what disgusting items lie in Zombie Cow’s search history.”

Halfbrick shares Fruit Ninja sales numbers, how to succeed on the App store (Joystiq)
“iPhone and iPod Touch gamers have likely already heard of Fruit Ninja, a game where you coldly murder different offerings from nature’s bounty — by tapping and slicing across the screen, you cut down watermelons and the like. It’s a pretty simple game and at only $.99, it’s quickly climbed the charts of the most popular Apps in the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Denmark and Sweden. So we decided to grill Halbrick’s creator and lead designer of Fruit Ninja, Luke Muscat, on all things iPhone.”

League Of Legends’ Merrill On Succeeding With Free-To-Play Core Games (GameSetWatch)
“Free-to-play games often associate with the social/casual market, but Riot Games’ neat, core gamer-centric League of Legends has topped 1 million downloads — Marc Merrill tells our own Chris Remo about growth and prospects for the DoTA-style game.”

Previews and Impressions

Impressions: Frozen Synapse Beta (Mode 7 Games) (IndieGames)
“Lagging behind with this one, but I’ve finally gotten around to giving the Frozen Synapse beta a playthrough. For those out of the loop, it’s an upcoming turn-based strategy with a Rainbow Six feel to it.”

Preview: Super Meat Boy (Team Meat) (IndieGames)
“Caution: loud music.”

Preview: Voyager (Big Block Games) (IndieGames)
“Voyager (currently in alpha) is a space trading game in which you play as the pilot of a spacecraft, transporting goods for a quick profit and earning the experience needed to access other planets around the system you’re in.”

Preview: The Wretcher (Alan v. Drake) (IndieGames)
“Made with the AGS game creation engine, The Wretcher is a 2D adventure game about a writer named Keith Morrison and his girlfriend Aileen Hayward, both visiting a town called Crowhaven to investigate the mysterious circumstances that led to the death of Ms. Hayward’s uncle. The story begins with the couple arriving at her uncle’s manor, not knowing what horrors await for the two of them.”


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Indie Links Round-Up: Experiencing the Experiment

Indie_Links_May_5In the mood for an in depth indie session? Great news, we’re back again with another batch of great links from around the web. We’re not trying to send you away or anything, it ain’t that type of thing; we just want what’s best for you, to allow you to spread your wings and become a more well-rounded individual. There’s more to see out in this busy indie world than our ‘little site that could’ can currently provide dammit, so we scratch and claw to try to accomplish the impossible anyway and when we get tired we pepper in a little ILRU.

How To Make It As An Indie (Edge Online)
“It’s never been easier to set yourself up as an independent studio. Open platforms such as Xbox Live’s Indie Games and iTunes’ App Store are democratising development on consoles as well as the PC, while tools like XNA and Flash lower the barriers to entry in terms of both cost and experience. Suddenly, designers who have spent years submerged within massive hierarchies – “devoting their entire lives to modelling footballers’ noses,” as Frontier’s David Braben puts it – can suddenly have total control of their own projects. This comes at a price, however…”

In-Depth: Inside The Eerie Fiction Of The Devil’s Tuning Fork (GameSetWatch)
“Checking out student game and IGF Student Showcase winner The Devil’s Tuning Fork, Andrew Vanden Bossche examines its unique echolocation mechanic in conversation with the development team.”

Retro: Slay (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)
“Too many papers, too many books, too many MP3s. Games. I need games. Games that use my mind, that focus, sharpen and obsess it. Slay. Slay is perfect. I shall attempt to gather up the pieces of my travel-maddened brain and tell you about it. Slay is an independent turn-based strategy game from 1994, created by one man (with help from his brother) in an age where indie development was a very different thing to today’s web-wide chest-beating and constant discovery.”

Xbox Live Indie-Dome: April 4th-17th (Crush! Frag! Destroy!)
“Last time we had a surprising amount of quality releases, especially towards the end. But will this new installment see the same amount of love? Or will it be nothing but a load of “Meh!”? Read on and find out. Or just skip straight to the recap at the bottom if you’re the impatient type.”

@Play: Interview – Enjoy A Coffee Break Of Victory With Desktop Dungeons (GameSetWatch)
“‘@ Play’ is a monthly column by John Harris which discusses the history, present and future of the Roguelike dungeon exploring genre. This time – an interview with Rodain Joubert about the buzzed about Desktop Dungeons.”

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: Overgrowth (Joystiq)
“This week we talk with John Graham of Wolfire Games, whose Overgrowth, a follow-up to underground hit Lugaru, is currently in development.”

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: League of Legends (Joystiq)
“This week we talk with Riot Games co-founder and president Marc Merrill about how he and his team turned their passion for a Warcraft III mod into a full-fledged game.”

IGS 2010: Fantastic Contraption Postmortem (TIGSource)
“Colin Northway gave a fairly business-oriented postmortem of his game Fantastic Contraption at this year’s Independent Games Summit called (no big surprise here) Postmortem: The Design & Business Behind Fantastic Contraption.In short: Flash is good, Box2D is great, and anyone can create and publish a successful game all by themselves. (Though, backup from Andy Moore certainly doesn’t hurt!) Okay, it was a bit more in depth than that. Read on, if you dare!”

Interview: Loren Schmidt On Star Guard’s Retro Charm (GameSetWatch)
“In this interview for GameSetWatch conducted by Andrew Vanden Bossche, we talk to Loren Schmidt to satisfy our curiosity on his beautifully constructed, pixel-heavy PC/Mac freeware action game Star Guard, finding out just how its 1982-era lookalike retro charm was birthed.”

Issue 10 is ON SALE (The Indie Game Magazine)
“Change has arrived! Feast your eyes on the new look of IGM. Issue 10 features a brand new look to coincide with our new website launch. It is also our largest issue yet and is chock full of the best indie games of the year. The best games are shown at the Indie Game Festival every year, so we take a look at some of the best past winners and some of the new entries. We review Machinarium, Osmos, Saira, and 10+ other IGF indie games. There’s also the ultimate indie gaming quiz! You can send in your answers for some great indie prizes too! How indie are you? Find out in this issue of the new IGM and support the little guys and the geeks who write about them.”