The TIGSource Versus Competition has ended and voting has begun! There were 81 games submitted to the competition. Follow the link, try the games, and cast your votes for your favorites. Voting will last two weeks.
At long last, a new TIGCompo approaches…
Many of the participants of last year’s TIGJam were treated to some late-night brawls between eager combatants in Paul Hubans’ MADHOUSE and Mark Essen’s NIDHOGG (as well as sporadic skirmishes in Street Fighter III: Third Strike and Super Street Fighter IV). At GAMMA IV, we engaged in the tragicomical four-player mayhem that is B.U.T.T.O.N. Truly, these battles instilled in us not only the warrior spirit and the joy of friendly competition, but also the sadistic pleasure that comes from watching other people pit themselves in mortal
For the TIGSource Versus Compo, the rules are simple: make a game that pits at least one human player versus another human player. The rest is up to you!
Deadline: February 27th, Midnight
1. Gigadeep. By Peposoft (Houkai Mura). Some resemblance to Mega Man X, but overall an amazing game. Japanese-only, but playable even if you don’t know the language. A bit of a lengthy download though (over 200 MB). [Windows]
2. Space Funeral. By thecatamites (Paul Moose in Space World, Ghost Voyage). A very different setting from most RPGs, with a unique style. Even if you hate jRPG-style games you should give this one a chance, it’s not a world I’d have liked to miss out on. It’s about two hours long, a manageable length. [Windows]
3. Sombreros. By Dustin Gunn (who runs the Indie Game Bingo site). Created for MrPodunkian’s Action52 OWNS contest (which yes is still ongoing). One of the better games made for it so far. The game is almost impossibly challenging when played straight up, but is made possible with the addition of the ability to stop time, target individual opponents, and then hit them all in very quick succession when time speeds up again. The boss battles are also fun & creative. [Windows]
1. Hikuri. By Lief. Danmaku (bullet hell) game, where the main goal is to avoid bullets, but not Japanese (sorry, Ashford Pride and Anarkex). The movement’s radial, you can only shoot when within a circle (and it’s automatic inside it). I found it very fun, and it’s still early in development so I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like when complete, although the only things I think it really lacks are music and a variety of bosses. 29113 is my high score.
2. FRENZY DEFENSE. By JW, who has made dozens of other games like Coptra, 10800 Zombies, The Gutter, and Gregg the Egg. It’s a simplified tower defense game where clicking places a tower; the type placed depends only on how much money you have. Although somewhat random rather than strategic the frenzy makes up for it. My current high score is 109.
3. Probe L. By Tadeon. Mouse-controlled game, hard to describe but easy to understand once you see how it works. The challenge ramps up quickly, and is usually of the “I know what I have to do but it’s very hard to do it” sort, rather than being a puzzle. The movement system is what really makes this game unique, it’d be interesting to see this system used in an action game.
This is a new feature where I’ll be covering ten notable releases and newly posted games in production of the past week. A couple of people suggested I call this “The Eres Report” but it’s really just as much Ortoslon, who suggested most of the games here. These are all good games so try them all out, the numbering is just in the order of my preference. I’ll also include a weekly classic (2+ years old) game that was never covered in TIGSource.
#1 – Shoot 3. By Erik Leppen (ByteAlity). Like many of Erik’s games, this one has superb controls and particle effects, and despite lo-fi graphics like the ship sprite feels very solid and polished. One of the best shmups I’ve played this year, although, like the other games in his Shoot series, it intentionally starts off slow and builds up, with a gradual increase in frenzy. [Windows]
#2 – Hubris. A platformer by shushgame. The game doesn’t look like much from the screenshot, but it is. 30 levels, most invisible. The platforming itself is standard, this game just tests how well you can do it despite various visual impairments. It also uses the “narrator taunts the player and keep secrets from the player” motif that some other games have used, like Loved, Seven Minutes, and Portal. Also has a ‘skip level’ feature, although using it may have an effect on the ending. [Windows/Mac]
#3 – Seasons with Thomas. By Vectorpark. Graphics and style are similar to their other games (such as Feed the Head and Windosill) so if you enjoyed those you’d probably enjoy this. This game has even less of a puzzle element than those games, with nothing getting in the way of your progress through the seasons of the year at all. Very nice effects and environmental interactions. If you’ve never played a Vectorpark game before this would be a good start. [Flash]
Part two of the Assemblee Competition has wrapped up, the entries from both parts have been compiled, and voting has begun! For those of you who have forgotten (or are now joining us), Assemblee was started two months ago. In the first part, people entered artwork and music that could be used in a game to enter in the second part. Only the graphics and music made for the competition was allowed, although they could be modified in-game.
170+ (!!!) people submitted art and music for part one, and you can view samples of everyone’s work here (warning: very very image-heavy), and vote for them here. All of this work is being released under a non-commercial Creative Commons license. You may use this work for your own projects so long as you agree to the license. Oh, and make sure you look in a creator’s actual thread if you like their work – there may be more inside (like different file format options).
That’s really a staggering amount of great work done in two months’ time, ladies and gentlemen. Be proud! Another successful compo behind us and so much to look forward to in the rest of the year! Cheers!
The prevailing idea has been that the independent games community is getting bigger each year: more games, more people, more quality, more press. Partway through 2009, however, I was getting the impression that we were in a lull. Understandable, I suppose, since 2008 saw the arrival of Braid, World of Goo, and Castle Crashers, arguably three of the most critically and commercially successful indie games ever, as well as Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, one of the least commercially successful but most awesome games ever. It’s a tough act to follow.
Of course, “big” has never been the only barometer for success in the indie community (for some, it’s the antithesis). Personally, I’m really enjoying being able to watch and be a part of a growing scene; being able to make a living making my own games and watch others do the same is extremely gratifying. So is getting to interact and work with some of the most creative, excitable, passionate, opinionated people I’ve ever met.
But no matter how you look at it – big, small, commercial, free, 2d, 3d, forward, back, or sideways – 2009 was a sleeper year for independent games, and a huge leap forward. Going back through our front page posts, skimming the forums, trolling the database, I was shocked and awed by what you guys have accomplished this year – by what I managed to get done, too, despite all the wonderful distractions!
I cringed at some of the arguments and flamewars that were had, too. But regret nothing – it’s all part of the experience, in my opinion, and the scene would be poorer without it.
2009. Oh Nine. The Niner. You will be missed!
You know, I’ll never understand it when people say indie games are only about platformers, or shoot ‘em ups, or art games, or 2d games, or retro games, or cactus games, or whatever else. First of all, those are a lot of really broad genres. Second of all, what about all the games that aren’t?!
A metric ton of fantastical and diverse games came out in 2009. Here are 20 of them:
Machinarium – If I had to choose a best game of 2009, this would be it. Machinarium took adventure games to another level, offering many subtle innovations to a genre that really needed some. Plus it dazzled with its fantastic artwork, audio, and puzzles. I love this game.
Hammerfight – I’ve been waiting patiently for Hammerfight ever since I played the demo in 2007. It did not disappoint. Innovative physics-based game mechanics and incredibly stylish.
Captain Forever – Farbs, who quit his job spectacularly this year to work on indie games full-time, didn’t waste a moment in putting out a great title. Captain Forever and Captain Successor combine the fun of putting together spaceships with the fun of blowing them up.
RunMan: Race Around the World – In a day and age where our platform heroes have become shiny, polished, and pre-packaged to a fault, here comes RunMan, who showed me that joy comes with rough pixel art and public domain bluegrass.
Canabalt – A great one-button game, a slick production throughout, and a testament to the flixel engine which creator Adam Saltsman released to the public… Canabalt showed us this year how to do Flash and iPhone games right.
Fl0wer – ThatGameCompany is, frankly, one of the best game companies, and followed up fl0w with a PS3 game that’s even more lovely and original.
Opera Omnia – I’ve never seen mechanics married so well with a game’s theme before. Stephen Lavelle is one of indie gaming’s most underrated and most prolific experimental developers.
Eufloria – Once called Dyson, this game started out as an entry for TIGSource’s Procedural Generation competition and turned heads for its cool atmosphere and casual strategy.
Time Fcuk – Edmund McMillen brought his A game with this puzzle platformer, which explores all sides of a dimension-shifting mechanic and comes with hundreds of user-made levels.
Minecraft – Minecraft is an epic project that might end up being a 3d massively multiplayer online Dwarf Fortress but for the moment works very well as a 3d massively multiplayer online sandbox building game.
Enviro-Bear 2000 – This is one of the funniest games I played all year, period. Enviro-Bear 2000 was the winner of TIGSource’s Cockpit Competition and is now available for the iPhone!
Small Worlds – Created for the JayIsGames Casual Gameplay Competition 6, Small Worlds was a real treat for fans of chunky pixel art. As you explore, the world gradually zooms out and reveals itself in this charming platform game.
Crayon Physics Deluxe – Winner of the 2008 IGF Grand Prize and spawner of numerous copycat clones because it is so awesome, Crayon Physics Deluxe started our year off right.
Star Guard – Fast, tough, and decidedly retro, Star Guard is a shining example of the pixel platformer genre. The narrative that develops as you play the game serves mostly as background noise, but it’s evocative nonetheless.
Time Gentleman, Please! – Funny, kooky, British. These are the words I’m using to describe Zombie Cow’s funny, kooky, British adventure game.
Zeno Clash – Zeno Clash is a weird and beautiful first-person brawler, and ACE Team, the developers, also released a black and white adventure game Ã la Shadowgate this year. They’re awesome.
Fatale – Love them or hate them, Tale of Tales never fails to draw a reaction, and that’s one of the things I love about them. Despite their bellyaching about games being too much like games, I like to think that they really do enjoy some of the same things that I do! I thought Fatale was surprisingly good, although I have to admit I enjoy the ensuing discussions even more.
Blueberry Garden – The winner of this year’s IGF didn’t see a lot of press outside of the festival, I thought, but it is an fun game with a charming, peculiar look.
Blue Lacuna – One of my New Year’s resolutions is to have more coverage of Interactive Fiction games on TIGSource. This year saw the release of many good IF games, but Blue Lacuna stands out as one of the most ambitious. Calling itself an “interactive novel”, the game will offer some players over 20 hours of playtime, and is recommended highly by noted IF authors such as Emily Short.
Don’t Shit Your Pants – It’s a survival horror game that really hits close to home. It’ll probably be an IGF finalist, so get your diapers ready! (Actually, I have no idea whether it will be a finalist.)
2009 was a great year for tools. Not, like, douchebag tools, but actual software tools for game development.
flixel – As if you needed another reason to love Adam Saltsman. This year he released his Flash framework flixel, which makes 2d Flash game development simple and efficient.
Unity 3d – Unity 3d gained in popularity this year, due to its simple interface, great 3d tools, and incredible cross-platformyness (Windows, Mac, iPhone, Wii, and eventually Xbox 360). The Indie edition became free this year!
Unreal Development Kit – Epic Games’s Unreal Engine 3 became free this year, as well!
Sculptris – DrPetter’s new free tool let’s you create 3d models intuitively.
Game Maker 8 – Despite controversies over its logo and the general management of its product, YoYo Games did put out another version of Game Maker. Even though it’s lacking in a lot of long-awaited features, it does have some neat improvements and it’s faster.
If I missed anything, please let me have it in the comments. (I know I missed some stuff. Be gentle.)
It’s a Gooey World – Even though World of Goo came out last year, I really enjoyed watching its success continue this year, when it garnered big press for its “Name Your Price” birthday sale and was named one of 2009’s hottest brands by Advertising Age. Couldn’t have happened to two better guys, and their continued success is great for all of us. Thanks, homies!
IGF – The Indie Game Summit had the funniest and most heartful talks I’ve ever seen, including the fantastic 5 Minute Rant Session, and Experimental Gameplay Workshop drew huge crowds. The award show was truly memorable, and not just because Dan Tabar took off his shirt (but that certainly helped). And IGF 2010’s record number of entries is being met by a record number of judges.
ArtXGame – Asian Pop Culture powerhouse Giant Robot teamed up with superstore Attract Mode to pair people’s favorite indie games and artists, and the result was a wet dream for everyone, not just hipsters (but mostly for hipsters). All in all, it showed that games not only belong in the gallery space, they thrive there.
Tim Langdell – Every great year brings forth a great villain to battle. Unfortunately, all we managed to dig up in 2009 was Tim Langdell, who slimed his way into all of our hearts by (allegedly) “spawning” many unhappy “licensees” with his notorious brand “Edge”. It’s doubtful this year will be the last we hear of him, but thanks to the hard work and support of many bloggers and commenters, it will hopefully be the last year he will get away with it. The Langdell discussion also called brought a spotlight down on the IGDA for its ineffectiveness in addressing developer issues (and its role, perhaps, in exacerbating them).
Blurst Changes – I never gave this the proper post it deserved, but Blurst announced a few months ago that they are abandoning their “experimental game every 8 weeks” model to concentrate on a fuller version of their most popular game, Raptor Safari. Aside from being a critical contributor to both TIGSource and IGF/IGS, the Flashbang boys put out some fun games this year and are just plain inspiring in the way they handle their shit, to say the least. I can’t imagine an indie world without them.
TIGJam – Our second annual TIGJam in Phoenix (hosted by Flashbang) was, dare I say it, even more fun than it was last year.
Projects – I never believed that internet forum projects could get anywhere until TIGSource. This year our two biggest and longest-running projects, Balding’s Quest and Indie Brawl, saw significant releases.
Competitions – The TIGSource competitions have become such an important part of the site, due to the insanely high volume and high quality of the entries. No prizes given, no prizes necessary – some of the games entered have gone on to become famous in their own right. Join one today!
TIGRadio – Matthew Wegner, Ben Ruiz, and Tommy Refenes hosted Edmund McMillen, Brandon Boyer, Danny Baronowsky, Colin Northway, and Adam Saltsman to end 2009 with the first inaugural TIGRadio podcast, a weekly discussion of what’s happening in the indie games scene.
TIGCast – TIGCast is a podcast that was started by Dragonmaw and godsavant, and provides a community-oriented perspective on indie games.
This was a bigger year for me than I realized, too. Aside from enjoying all the TIGSource-related shenanigans, I released version 1.0 of Spelunky, Diabolika for the iPhone, and started working on my first XBLA game. I was excited to be able to participate in the Game Over Continue show with my friends Hellen Jo and Calvin Wong, too. I’m very much looking forward to where independent games will go next year and am proud and grateful as ever to be a part.
Well, what did indie games mean for you in 2009? What did you or didn’t you accomplish? What are you looking forward to in 2010?
Calling all artists, musicians, and programmers! A two-part TIGSource Competition is beginning! In Assemblee, artists, musicians, and coders will work separately to create games together.
The first part is a month-long art and music competition, where entrants submit as many cool art and music assets as possible. Anything your febrile creative mind can come up with – characters, backgrounds, user interfaces, random icons, crazy tunes, sound effects, and who knows what else. We’ll cheer you on as you dump your brain onto the internet for us to look at.
In the second part is for you design monkeys and code wizards. You guys will have one month to make games using only the assets created for part 1. Could that sprite be used as a character for my game, or maybe as something else entirely? What kind of game does this song make me think of? You guys and gals better cheer the loudest for the artists and musicians, because whatever they make, you’ll have to use!
This is a competition about interpreting game artwork (both 2d and 3d) and music and finding interesting uses for them. It’s also about sharing – all the art and music will be made freely available to the public for non-commercial usage. Part 1 is beginning RIGHT NOW! Join the fun!