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Independent Games Festival

IGF winners photo
IGF winners

These are the 2015 Independent Games Festival winners

Space exploration game Outer Wilds takes grand prize
Mar 05
// Jordan Devore
The winners of the 17th Annual Independent Games Festival were revealed last night in San Francisco and, my goodness, I've got names to Google today. I hardly recognize any of these! Excellence in Visual Art ($3,000) - Metam...
IGF 2015 photo
IGF 2015

2015 Independent Games Festival finalists named

A bunch of cool games are getting awards soon
Jan 07
// Steven Hansen
We're a couple months away from March's Game Developers Conference, where everyone has to travel to where I live (uh, the city, not my home) and I just get to roll out of a nice non-hotel bed and make my way to appointments. ...
2014 IGF photo
2014 IGF

Westerado and Risk of Rain are 2014 IGF student winners

That forced perspective puzzle game also got a nod
Jan 22
// Jordan Devore
The Student Showcase winners have been announced for the 2014 Independent Games Festival and a few of the names are surprising to see. I had no idea Westerado, for instance, was a student project. Wow. Risk of Rain similarly ...
2014 IGF photo
2014 IGF

2014 Independent Games Festival finalists named

DEVICE 6, Jazzpunk, The Stanely Parable, and more nominated
Jan 07
// Jordan Devore
The Main Competition finalists for the 16th annual Independent Games Festival have been announced ahead of the awards ceremony on March 19, 2014 in San Francisco. For this year's Seumas McNally Grand Prize, it's between: The...

IGF photo

Over a record 1000 entries to the 2014 IGF

That's a lot. No really, a lot.
Nov 12
// Alasdair Duncan
It feels like every year the Independent Games Festival gets bigger and bigger but that's definitely the case with the student prize. There have been over 1000 entrants to the 2014 IGF in total, split between the Main and St...
Free stealth game for PC photo
Free stealth game for PC

Download Path of Shadows for free and sneak up on people

I'd prefer a straight fight to all this sneaking around
Nov 01
// Joshua Derocher
It seems that there are more interesting-looking free games hitting the PC lately than I have time to play. The latest free game you can check out is The Path of Shadows, a stealth-based game of assassination where the playe...
Gunpoint photo

Gunpoint's stealth puzzles look delightfully morbid

A Steam release is in the works
Apr 23
// Jordan Devore
This trailer for Gunpoint serves as an excellent introduction to the PC stealth-puzzle game, which you need to be introduced to if you haven't been already. The video itself is a glorified walkthrough from designer...
Kentucky Route Zero photo
IGF award-winning game takes an unusual approach to decision making
In yet another stellar interview, Spencer Hayes speaks with Justin Elliot of Cardboard Computer about their game, Kentucky Route Zero, which took the IGF award for "Excellence in Visual Arts." But it's the way player choice is managed that has captured Spencer's interest in this unique, narrative-driven title.

We all win photo
We all win

Cart Life and FTL win big at the Indie Games Festival

I would have given all the awards to Kentucky Route Zero, but I guess this is fair too
Mar 28
// Steven Hansen
The Game Developers Conference currently going on in San Francisco is home to the Independent Games Festival. A couple of months ago, the finalists were revealed. Last night, the winners were revealed. Richard Hofmeier’...
Steam indie deals photo
Steam indie deals

Steam starts 2013 Indie Spring Sale

Hundreds of games included
Mar 21
// Jordan Devore
Now through March 29, Steam will be running its Indie Spring Sale. There are discounts on some real hits that have been featured at the Independent Games Festival as well as a selection from PAX East. If you've been known to ...
Prepare your ears photo
Prepare your ears

'Rhythmic awareness' required for platformer 140

New game from Limbo's lead gameplay designer
Feb 16
// Jordan Devore
At first glance, I was ready to write off 140 for its unabashedly simple art style. Silly me. I should know better than to do something like that by now. Nominated for Excellence in Audio at the 2013 Independent Games Festiv...

Independent Games Festival 2013 finalists announced

Hotline Miami, FTL, and more up for awards
Jan 07
// Alasdair Duncan
The annual Independent Games Festival will be taking place on March 27 during GDC 2013 and the list of main competition finalists has now been revealed. Pruned from a list of over 580 entries, the nominees here are truly some...

GDC: Interview with the indie team behind Nous

Mar 11 // Chris Morris
Destructoid: What is Nous about? Brett Cutler, Game Designer: Nous is a top-down action game inside an AI that’s going insane. Nous can’t figure out what it’s for, and it constantly switches personas -- incompetent shrink, abusive drill sergeant, suicidal robot -- on its spiral down. The player’s choices and playstyle shape the character that emerges. What is the history behind the development of the game? Jason Meisel, Graphics Programmer: We began in May 2010. We wanted to create the most “awesome” game we possibly could; we even went around asking people to name the most awesome things they could think of (spiders, bears, motorcycles, and bears riding motorcycles were all very common responses.) However, we soon realized that wasn’t working out. We created tons of prototypes that involved different gravity-based mechanics and gameplay styles. We then shipped the first playable version of the game based on one of those prototypes. We kept creating prototypes, reaching even farther into things like sidescrollers and bullet hells. It wasn’t until Brett pitched Nous that we stopped focusing on gameplay and began focusing on the experience of the game. What inspired the design? BC: Failure. Every milestone we had a different game -- we kept prototyping and throwing it out. We went through so many desperate changes, searching for a great idea but we never found it. We did the only honest thing and poured that frustration and searching into the game itself. How did you arrive at the final mechanics and theme? BC: In the end, we took what was good enough and built up the narrative. The illusion of talking to and influencing this program drove the final design and the last few months of work. How did you approach audio design? BC: Nous needed to sound like a computer in pain -- the SFX are electronic screams. We wrote a lot of original music but in the end relied on a computer -- we used super-slow-mo versions of classical music tracks and ambient electronic tracks to build the world inside Nous. What influenced the art direction? Pohung Chen, Producer/Physics Programmer: A lot of it was due to the lack of art production power. We went with simple abstract shapes because that is within our artistic ability. We then just relied heavily on graphical effects to make the game look interesting and unique. I think it really helps that a lot of players feel very saturated with the super-realistic, high production value art style that many big titles go with today. So seeing a game stripped to bare minimum essentials and still have a visually interesting style is refreshing. How did you achieve the visual aesthetic? JM: When we switched our thematic direction to Nous, we knew we wanted to leverage our graphics technology (which had already been built up to a large number of effects at that point). However, it had to be in a way that we (as programmers) could accomplish ourselves. We decided to make the game more abstract, and I created simple 3D meshes that could be patterned, lit, and moved in interesting ways. We applied particle effects liberally, and iterated on the environmental art a ridiculous number of times. Finally, I created many different glitching and distortion effects that, in tandem, made the visuals much more interesting. Why did you choose to go with a narrative driven game? BC: Nous has a lot of text, and I didn't mean it to be that way. But it ended up being the best way to communicate. When the game wasn’t working, when we hated just not being good enough -- those are real feelings. Narrative ended up being the only clumsy tool I had to get through and reach people. What challenges did this present and how did you tackle them? JM: As the focus shifted towards narrative, it became more clear that a large portion of players just wouldn’t appreciate what the game was doing. We originally wanted Nous to come off as mocking the pretentiousness of “artistic games”, but to be effectively poignant, it had to become just as pretentious! We decided to focus on those who would enjoy the style of game it was becoming; the haters were a hopeless cause. We finished with something that people either love or hate, but the former seems like it’s a large enough group that we did what was best. What did you take away from your IGF experience? Treb Connell, Technical Director: I was incredibly impressed by all the indie games, especially the submissions for the Nuovo awards. They helped me reconsider what a game can be and what effects it can have on a player. I hope that these games motivate developers to think outside the box. I know that I’ll be trying to. JM: IGF was incredible! It’s an incredible feeling to have developers you admire be impressed with your work. I’ve been becoming a bigger and bigger fan of the indie community over the past few years, and being in the same pavilion as all these truly awesome games and developers was an huge honor. I’ve never really felt like a part of the industry, but this week I’ve felt right at home. Where is the game available to play? TC: It’s available for free on

Awesome Shark Volcano, the team behind the IGF nominated Nous, was able to take some time with me after the Game Developers Conference was over to talk a bit about their game, Nous. We covered everything from the histor...


GDC: 2012 Independent Games Festival award winners

Mar 08
// Dale North
Last night's 2012 Independent Games Festival awards show was totally refreshing. It wasn't some flashy television event where scantily-clad dancers and lasers give way to booming game trailers. Each of the night's winners wer...

OnLive to host demos of IGF nominated games on Facebook

Feb 28
// Dale North
The Independent Games Festival nominees will have demos hosted on Facebook, courtesy of cloud-gaming service OnLive. They're calling it the OnLive Indie Showcase, and it will run from today through March 11, showcasing 16 ind...

The winners of the 2012 IGF Student Showcase

Jan 14
// Jordan Devore
Following the Main Competition finalists of the 2012 Independent Games Festival are the eight Student Showcase winners. Beyond the exposure and glory that comes with earning top honors, each team is getting $500 for making th...

2012 IGF Main Competition finalists named

Jan 10
// Jordan Devore
The results are in for the 2012 Independent Games Festival. Hundreds of entrants were narrowed down considerably, and what we're left with is a delightful collection of very different games. The finalists for the Seumas McNal...

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