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Tuesday, December 25, 2007
- Here's some news - the Independent Gaming weblog is moving to a new domain and becoming IndieGames.com: The Weblog, as part of the CMP Game Group (Independent Games Festival creator)'s outreach into the independent gaming scene.

Please change your bookmarks to point to IndieGames.com: The Weblog at http://www.indiegames.com/blog - indygamer.blogspot.com will no longer be updated. The Feedburner RSS feed for Independent Gaming has been automatically switched to point to the new site. Comments are being migrated as we speak.

Thanks to the CMP Game Group and Simon Carless for the invaluable support and hosting of the new site; we promise to continue to serve all your indie games news and review needs as we have done before. Here's a word from Simon about this change:

Simon: "Hey folks - you may know me already from running GameSetWatch and also helping to manage various other Game Group properties like Gamasutra, Game Developer magazine, and - of course - the Independent Games Festival, which is definitely the most relevant for this announcement!

This whole concept started a couple of months ago when Tim announced that he might have to shut the Independent Gaming blog unless he got some help in hosting and partly paying for his time working on the site. We wanted to help out, and we'd already launched IndieGames.com to help educate people about independent games, so having him move his blog over here made a lot of sense.

So nothing is really changing here - Tim's still got an open editorial remit to blog and interview who he likes, and we may occasionally pop in to mention IGF and other Game Group-related news - which is likely of interest anyhow. We'll also be working with him to look at whether we can help to better develop the indie scene through setting up better distribution mechanisms for independent games - though we've only just started thinking about this."
 

Sunday, December 23, 2007
UPDATE: cactus has decided to update the game due to the feedback he's gotten. The jumping level is now easier and skippable for those who have trouble beating it. There's been a few other changes as well, including vital bug fixes.

This is cactus entry for the winter competition at YoYoGames.com.

"Welcome to Mondo Agency! An eerie cyber FPS with horror and puzzle elements. As an agent it is your mission to kill laser indians and save the president!

Turn off your lights and turn up your speakers for maximum enjoyment!"


Name: Mondo Agency
Developer: cactus
Category: FPS/Adventure/Weird
Type: Freeware
Size: 7.5MB
Download: link 1
Walkthrough: link

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Tekkyuuman is a new release by prolific Japanese developer Ikiki, famous for a number of controversial games featuring ninjas, bloodbath and outrageous violence. Usually with all three elements at the same time.

In this game, you must make your way towards the green spiky object and smash it with the flail. Use the control key to swing your weapon and tap the left shift key to jump. A wall jump can also be executed by pressing the same shift key when scaling up walls.

Red switches can be activated either by touch or hitting them with your flail. An extra life is awarded after every boss fight. [zip file of Ikiki's games]

Web site address belongs to the musician.

Name: Tekkyuuman
Developer: Ikiki
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
Direct download link: Click here [zip format]
Video walkthrough: Available (major spoilers!)
 

EDIT: Exclusive preview image courtesy of MDickie.

MDickie is the author of dozens of unique games, and probably needs no introduction for most of this audience so I'll get right to the interview.

1. One thing that's notable about you is how fast you complete games, often in three months; did you ever have problems with procrastination, or is working so fast natural to you? Do you use any productivity tools such as to-do lists or schedules, or do you just work on things as you feel like it?

MD: Well, let's not fly that flag too hard because time is gushing away from me like water at the moment! I estimated it would only take 3 months to turn Reach into a wrestling game, but the project is heading into its 6th month and I'm still working 12-hour days. Of course, 6 months is still pretty astonishing for a game of that size and sophistication. My closest counterpart, "Pro Wrestling X", has clocked up a good 3 YEARS in production - and that's a team effort! As you say, 3 months is the standard for me now though - so my fans get restless at anything longer. After all these years, I guess I just know what I'm doing. I instinctively know exactly WHAT needs to be done, WHEN it needs to be done, and HOW I might best achieve that. It's a lot like a puzzle - I just know how to put all the pieces together as quickly as possible. One of my best tricks is dividing the day into art work and programming work. I create media in the morning and then bring it to life in the afternoon, so there's a nice flow to what I'm doing. Other than that, it's a race against the clock that makes me work so fast. I don't really have a choice! It may be a cliché, but time is money. The longer I spend making a game, the more money it has to make. For instance, if I had spent all year making World War Alpha I'd be out of business now because it didn't fly. Game over. I'm only here because Hard Time arrived and picked up the slack. My scattergun approach makes me failure-proof. If one concept doesn't work, another one is right around the corner to take the next shot. And on and on it goes, evolving towards perfection. The weak concepts die out and the strong concepts live to fight another day...


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Genetos is a vertical shooter by Tatsuya Koyama featuring stages with design styles from different eras of arcade gaming classics. Use the cursor keys to move your ship, and tap the Z key to shoot. Press the X key to launch a bomb if available.

Name: Genetos
Developer: Tatsuya Koyama
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
Direct download link: Click here
 



Midwinter Rites is an incomplete interactive fiction adventure made to mimic the look of a Commodore 64 release. There are few commands to use but important objects and characters are always highlighted.

Name: Midwinter Rites
Developer: Mattias Gustavsson
Category: Adventure/IF
Type: Demo
Size: 1MB
Direct download link: Click here
 

RGCD is a downloadable CD-ROM based magazine containing retro reviews, features and developer interviews. Each issue of RGCD contains direct links (to files on disc) of each game, emulator or tool reviewed irrespective of platform.

Previews of each issue are available at www.rgcd.co.uk, but in order to actually read the rest of the articles and reviews you'll need to download the .ISO image and either burn it to disc or mount it on a virtual drive. There is also a cut-down 'lite' version (excluding all games and emulators) provided as a downloadable .ZIP archive.

RGCD is 100% spyware free and all files are virus checked before uploading. Magazine contents are posted in the comments section.
 



Pen Pen Xmas Olympics is a skiing game with seventeen events consisting of slaloms, downhill races and ski jumps. In the first two categories, players must attempt to reach the end of each track under the qualifying time to progress or lose a credit if they fail.

Use the cursor keys to control the protagonist's speed or direction of travel, and press the space key to jump over obstacles.

Name: Pen Pen Xmas Olympics
Developer: Army of Trolls
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
 



HandMade Game announces latest information of the deluxe version of Rooms, the IGF2007 Student Showcase Finalist game.

Rooms is an original puzzle game, based on logical sliding puzzle and platformer. As we’ve gotten hot response to the previously introduced freeware version of Rooms, we’ve been developing the deluxe version, Rooms: the main building.

The deluxe version contains 100% only-mouse interface, new objects & items, more improved graphics, 5 original soundtracks and a Level Editor to create your own puzzles. With all these, 80 new attractive levels are waiting for you to challenge.

For more info, visit HandMadeGame.

Also, HandMade Game is looking for the online distribution partner of Rooms: the main building.

Check out freeware version of Rooms.

Contact us anytime, if you are interested.

Name: Rooms: The Main Building
Developer: HandMade Game
Category: Puzzle-Platformer
Type: Download Commercial
Release: Coming soon…
 



In Frozzd, you take the role of an astronaut tasked with the mission of freeing orange-colored creatures named Mubblies from their frozen state. You begin each level with King Mubbly as your companion, who has the ability to unfreeze his subjects or attack the Frozzds with a tap of the space key. Drink coffee to increase your suit's temperature, and use the points you've acquired to unlock new stages.

Each of the twelve levels introduces a different enemy, and points acquired from previous stages can be used to unlock new ones.

Name: Frozzd
Developer: Jesse Venbrux
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 5MB
Direct download link: Click here

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Kei Mesuda's Arcanacra Black Label is an update of his earlier browser-based vertical shooter release. Another Mode can now be accessed right from the start, and replays of any level by the top ranked players can be watched even if you have not attempted that particular stage yet. Bomb stock is also increased from three to five.

Click on the screen to add credits. Press the Z key to shoot and hold the shift key to target enemies with your ship's homing lasers. Switch between rapid and spread shot by holding either one or both shoot buttons. The boss of each stage can be beaten easily once your ship has a persistent lock on it, especially when the lock weapon has been upgraded.

Push the right arrow key when the main menu is displayed to view the high score table.

Name: Arcanacra Black Label
Developer: keim
Category: Shooter
Type: Browser
 


Rise of the Video Game is a five-part series which examines the evolution of the video game and its cultural impact on the world of entertainment today.

"From the early days of Pong to today's ever-popular Halo 2, and from Atari 2600 to Nintendo to PlayStation, this Discovery Channel special tells the story of the people, the ideologies and the technology behind video games and how they have exploded into a cultural phenomenon."

Level 1: part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5

Level 2: part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5

Level 3: part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5

Level 4: part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5

Level 5: part 1 - part 2 - part 3 - part 4 - part 5

Knowing YouTube, the videos are probably in the process of being removed even as you're reading this.
 

Saturday, December 22, 2007
I interviewed Jon Blow, creator of upcoming XBLA (and PC eventually!) game Braid, and found him to be an wonderfully nice and insightful fellow.


EB: How do you go about designing a level? In Braid, the levels are sort of no-nonsense. They're very efficient.

The game is about understanding what it means if time behaves in certain ways -- exploring the consequences of these hypothetical laws of spacetime, and the puzzle pieces you collect are concrete tokens representing the understanding you have gained. So, every puzzle in Braid has a very specific point; it is there to tell you one thing.

Because I wanted the game to be focused (and not long and bloated with filler), I decided early on that the levels would only contain the elements necessary to create the puzzles inside them. There aren't lots of random enemies to jump on or big levels to just sort of wander through. Everything is in the game for a specific reason. After being in the game for a while, the player might start to pick up on some of the nuances (why certain puzzles are grouped together, for example).

What I've said here only applies to Braid, though; if designing a different game, I would probably take a different approach.


 



Eyeball 3: Rorschach Dungeon is a short game in which both of the main characters can be controlled with the same mouse. Left click on an area to approach it, and hold the right mouse button to use your eye beam. Right clicking on one of the character's pupil will cause it to generate a shield, protecting it's caster while damaging other enemies on contact as well.

The health indicator at the top of the screen is shared by both eyeballs, and can be increased by colliding with enemies of the same colour.

Name: Eyeball 3: Rorschach Dungeon
Developer: Sergio Cornaga
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB
Direct download link: Click here
 



The North, Pohjola is a strategy game which resembles David Galindo's The Sandbox of God. Players have to help a tribe survive a harsh winter season by making decisions limited to the four cards drawn in each round. The game ends once all thirty cards from the deck have been exhausted, and scores are then calculated for online submission.

Population count is represented by a percentage at the top left of the screen. Temperature can be manipulated by choosing the right cards to maintain a warm surrounding for your tribe. Certain cards award bonus points, and may only affect proceedings when their specific conditions are met.

Name: The North, Pohjola
Developer: Fire Dragon
Category: Strategy
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
Download: link 1, link 2

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R-Theta 2: Expanded Edition is a game based in polar coordinates. Every point in the game is assigned a radius and theta value, denoting the distance of the point from the centre, as well as the angle it makes with the x-axis.

The player is in control of a triangular shooter, built into a constantly rotating radar-scope which must be protected from collision with other enemies. Use the up and down arrow keys to decrease or increase the ship's radius from the centre. Hold the X key for rapid fire, tap the C key to shoot and use the Z key to launch a destructive missile. Keys can be reconfigured by pressing the F2 function key at the title screen.

This updated version includes nine new enemies and an adjustable difficulty setting.

Name: R-Theta 2: Expanded Edition
Developer: Theta Games
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 2MB
Direct download link: Click here (Vista version)
 

Friday, December 21, 2007
The evolution of physics games which involves drawing objects using basic lines or circles. (post updated with download link for Chalk Physics)

Chalk by Joakim Sandberg
download, 3.85 MB



Crayon Physics by Petri Purho
download, 5.63 MB



 



The IGF organizers have announced the 12 recipients of the 2008 Independent Games Festival Student Showcase awards from a field of over 125 entries. Each student showcase finalist will receive a $500 travel stipend to help aid their trip to GDC 2008. The $2,500 Best Student Game prize winner will be announced during the same event this coming February.

View the list of twelve entries (after the main competition finalists)
 

Winter's Heart is probably my favorite of the over 100 Game Maker winter contest games I've played so far. It's made by Bit Pimp aka Darthlupi, who is responsible for some of the best classic Game Maker games (such as Mage Craft, Raging Skies, The Cleaner, and Legend of Shadow). It fits in no one genre, it has puzzle and action elements, and RPG-like upgrades.

Use Z to hoist and then strike with your staff, holding it longer produces more forceful blows. This however cannot harm enemies, but it can be used to knock snowballs into them, which can create chain reactions and temporarily stun enemies -- and while they are stunned, use the staff again to banish them. You can also use X to roll up snowballs for this purpose if you run out of a level's starting set, although this drains your freeze meter. Press C to use a spell (which takes away from your score), and press A and S to cycle between your spells (which you can buy and upgrade using your score).

I like that it isn't just a set of levels, but there's a background story, bosses, and really great music. One thing I like about the game is that it's very economical with its elements, you only have two meters. The freeze meter doubles as health (you have to restart the level when it fills) and, because it's constantly moving down, also triples as your time limit. Your score and doubles as your magic points, because you use it up when you cast spells, and it triples as your currency, because you use it to buy new spells and upgrade them.

Name: Winter's Heart
Developer: BitPimp/Darthlupi
Category: Arcade/Action/Puzzle/RPG
Type: Freeware
Size: 3.2 MB
Direct download page: Click here

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Same Cube is an addictive puzzler which involves using the Z and X keys to rotate four tiles clockwise or counterclockwise to make a match of four blocks with the same color. Remove the blocks quickly to increase time, and complete all ten levels to unlock the unlimited mode.

Glass tiles are automatically removed if an entire column or row of these exists when the game is in progress.

Name: Same Cube
Developer: Yamahara
Category: Puzzle
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
Direct download link: Click here
 



Clock Tower's Secret is a platformer in which players have to figure out a way to reach the exit portal by activating the correct switches to rotate the entire world towards the direction shown by the blue arrows.

Hold the Z key to zoom out, and tap the C key to jump. Press the X key when your character is next to a switch to activate it. Developed by ssi for a recent Three Minute Game competition.

Name: Clock Tower's Secret
Developer: SSI
Category: Platform
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
Direct download link: Click here
 



Grilled Box is an action game which resembles Every Extend, developed by TERU-soach for a recent Three Minute Game competition. Blocks appear from the top of the screen at a steady rate, and players have to destroy as many blocks as they can before they reach the bottom. Left click on a block to start a chain reaction, or right click to use the magnet and bring the blocks closer to each other. Use these two actions sparingly, as clicking rapidly will decrease their charges faster and render them inactive for a short while when completely depleted. A time penalty is incurred for every block that escapes intact.

Name: Grilled Box
Developer: TERU-soach
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
Direct download link: Click here
 

Thursday, December 20, 2007


MinishoterRS is a horizontal shooter by Peposoft which features multiple ships to choose from, each with it's own strengths and weaknesses in combat. Hold or tap the Z key rapidly to alternate between your ship's primary and secondary weapons. Use the X key to activate a temporary speed boost, handy for dodging bullets or reaching a certain spot on screen quickly. Press the F2 function key to cancel a selection or exit a game in progress at any time.

This release boasts more than ten stages, with different routes to undertake and end level bosses to defeat. Press the Alt and enter key to switch between full screen and windowed mode, or use the Q, W and E keys for the same effect. Additional omake bonuses are unlocked when you have beaten the game and fulfilled certain conditions.

Name: MinishoterRS
Developer: Peposoft
Category: Shooter
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
Direct download link: Click here
 

Santa Claus Vs the Ice Demons by Ablach Blackrat is another Game Maker winter's contest entry. This one's a danmaku game. I found it pretty easy until level 7, then increasingly difficult. Use Z to shoot and X to move slowly for more accurate movement. Your belt buckle is your hit-target.

It's not too special compared to the better games in the danmaku genre, and is pretty rough in a lot of places, but it's sometimes fun to have a nice warm cup of danmaku now and then in the cold winter months. I recommend that you turn effects off if you have a slow computer, it really helped the frame rate for me.

Name: Santa Claus Vs the Ice Demons
Developer: Ablach Blackrat
Category: Danmaku/Shmup
Type: Freeware
Size: 6.5 MB
Download Page: Click Here

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BenW's Chain Reaction is an arcade game with a simple premise, in which players have to continuously move towards the right of the screen while trying to avoid falling off collapsing tiles or contact with red blocks. Use the cursor keys to move your block around, or press the Alt and F4 function key to quit at any time.

Name: Chain Reaction
Developer: BenW
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 10MB
Direct download link: Click here
 



In Rakukore, the aim of the game is to guide a ball towards it's end level destination while attempting to collect as many black dots as possible. The left and right cursor key can be used to change it's screen position. Tap the left shift key to jump. Press the same button repeatedly to execute a double or triple jump. Use the control key to pause the game or cancel a selected option.

MattC - "There are actually five difficulties with four levels each. Once you beat a set it opens up the next. After all five there is a "high speed" version of each. Once a level is available in campaign mode, they're available in free mode as well. Ctrl is pause/back."

Name: Rakukore
Developer: Cheese
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
Direct download link: Click here
 

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Yore is an exploration game to be released by Crobasoft in February 2008.
 



Samurai High Jump is a new Flash release from GamePure with a passing resemblance to Nanaca Crash, but not quite as addictive. Left click to plant the pole, then repeat the same action to control your ascent. The game doesn't end unless you make three mistakes consecutively, while the height of the bar is incremented progressively for each successful jump.

Name: Samurai High Jump
Developer: GamePure
Category: Action
Type: Browser
 



Unbound: A Wound Vignette is a sequel to Heartland Deluxe, and the second in a series of three short introductory games based on the backstory of an upcoming full-length game entitled: Wound. This release is shorter than it's predecessor, and will take less than five minutes to complete.

Name: Unbound - A Wound Vignette
Developer: LimpingFish
Category: Adventure
Type: Freeware
Size: 30MB
Direct download link: Click here
 



Simon had posted a selection of five titles considered the best freeware games released in 2007 at GameSetWatch.

peruse the article here
 



Dino Run: Pixeljam had posted eight new screenshots from their upcoming browser game.

Army of Trolls: A new game from Army of Trolls will be made available for download this Christmas eve. [previous mention]

Blackwell Convergence: Two new screenshots from Dave Gilbert's upcoming adventure game posted at the Wadjet Eye Games' web site.

Resonance: Another sprite art from Vince Twelve's upcoming adventure game posted.

MarkUp Issue 10: MarkUp issue 10 (the official GM magazine) is now available for download.

War Angels: Apparently Hamish's arena shooter has been picked up by Hail of Bullets Software for a future release on the Xbox Live platform.

Your Electronic Arms: dessgeega has released a new game. [TGQ forum thread posting]

A Diary of a Little Aviator: Orange-Juice has released a demo for their upcoming Comiket 73 release. [direct download link]

Winter's Heart: darthlupi has released his entry for the YoYoGames Winter Competition.

Binary Zoo: As indicated by fog, Binary Zoo's next release after Tension could possibly be a puzzler.

Punishment 3: messhof had posted a teaser image for his upcoming platformer, currently titled Deep Space.

Metanet's N+: The metablog updated with a link to the trailer for their upcoming XBox360 release.

pxTone: Pixel is currently working on an update for his popular music editing software. [pxTone tutorial]

Cactus Software: cactus had uploaded a whole bunch of screenshots from his upcoming projects in a recent forum thread posting.

"You might want to wait with taking a look, since some of them will be finished rather soon, though." - cactus
 

Monday, December 17, 2007
Motnxoqe is a rather clever strategy game of a variety that I don't recall ever seeing before. You have no direct control over the units in your "army", instead placing and removing road blocks on the map with the left mouse button. Any units that encounter an obstacle, either a wall or a roadblock, will turn 90 degrees clockwise and continue on their way.

You must guide your army (represented by the blue numbers) to the enemy base and destroy all enemy units on the screen to clear each stage. The key to victory is passing your units through the PI symbols located around the map, which will increase the value of your units and allow them to take out multiple enemy units before before being destroyed.

You can shift your view around with the arrow keys or the right mouse button, although I found the mouse technique to be somewhat cumbersome.

Name: Motnxoqe
Developer: N.I.
Category: Game
Type: Freeware
Size: 76KB
Download page: Click here
Direct download link: Click here
 

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Possibly one of the most useful application that a game developer could have. DrPetter has written a program which randomly generates a sound effect based on selected options and slider settings. The results can then be saved as .wav files, ready for use in any projects.

Name: sfxr
Developer: DrPetter
Category: Application
Type: Freeware
Size: 1MB
Direct download link: Click here
 

Saturday, December 15, 2007
Gem Tower Defense by Peter Holko and Dorian Cox is, yes, another of the hundreds of flash tower defense games. But this one has a few new interesting mechanics: you place down five towers each round, but can only choose to keep one, the rest become rocks. You can also combine two of the five if they are the same level and color to make a stronger one. There are also special towers that you can create using special 'recipes' of other towers (the recipe list is shown under the game window).

I enjoyed it because of that mechanic, and because it also doesn't suffer from a common problem in similarly structured "mazing" tower defense games such as Desktop Tower Defense -- juggling, a cheap technique where you open and close routes to keep creeps wandering perpetually, which assures total victory if you know how to do it. It avoids it by not letting the player build during the battle period.

One big problem with the game is a lack of sound or music of any kind, but I assume the game is still being worked on. Recommended if you like the tower defense genre, ignore it if you don't.

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