2012 Independent Games Festival Opens Submissions

IGF2012.jpgOrganizers have officially opened submissions for the 2012 Independent Games Festival, being held at the Game Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco next March 5-9.

The Independent Games Festival is
the longest-running and highest-profile independent video game festival,
summit, and showcase, and is now accepting entries to its 14th annual
edition, with deadlines in the Main and Student Showcase categories by
October 17 and October 31 respectively, and finalists to be announced in
January 2012.

All games selected as finalists will be available in playable form at
the IGF Pavilion on the GDC show floor from March 7-9, 2012, and will
compete for nearly $60,000 in prizes, a significant increase from last

This includes the high-profile $5,000 Nuovo Award, honoring abstract,
short-form, and unconventional video game development, and previously
won by designers including Jason Rohrer (Between) and Messhof (Nidhogg).

In addition, awards for Excellence in Visual Art, Audio, and Design,
Technical Excellence, Best Mobile Game, the Best Student Game, and the
Audience Award each now receive a $3,000 prize, and the signature Seumas
McNally Grand Prize for the independent game of the year (won by
Mojang’s Minecraft in 2011) has been increased by 50 percent to a record $30,000.

Winners will be announced on stage at the high-profile Independent
Games Festival Awards on Wednesday, March 7, 2012, at the Moscone Center
in San Francisco. The Independent Games Festival Awards are held
immediately before the wider Game Developers Choice Awards.

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Letter From The Chairman: Welcome Back For IGF 2012

the announcement of the 2012 Independent Games Festival competition,
IGF Chairman Brandon Boyer goes in-depth on the changes made for this year’s Festival, examining the ethos for the competition and the shifts in policy and rules for this year’s 14th annual IGF experience.]

Well, we made it unscathed through that lucky-13th, and here we are
again, back where we started, with the opening of the 14th year of the
Independent Games Festival. Last year’s festival was a landmark one on a
number of levels.

It was the first that folded the IGF Mobile into the main
competition, the first where one of the entrants (and the eventual Grand
Prize winner) surprised everyone (the developers included!) by selling
several hundred thousand copies of their game before judging had even
begun, our first with a new two-tier judge and jury system, and,
obviously, my first year as chairman.

I learned a lot about the festival and how it operates and how it
could better be improved over the past year. So I’m here now to outline
some of the changes we’ll be implementing this year, as the IGF, its
role in the community, and the community itself grows and evolves. But
we’ll start with one aspect of the festival that we won’t be changing:

The IGF will continue to utilize its two-tier judge and jury system.

the conversations I’ve had over the past several months, nearly
everyone involved — from the judges and jurors themselves to the
individual entrants to those of us organizing the festival — felt like
the change to this system was an incredibly important and positive

The two-tier system – with our 150-200 judges recommending games in
certain categories, and discipline-specific juries of 8-10 subject
matter experts assigned to each award, ensured that all games in the
festival got an equal chance at making it into the finalist round.

With more eyes than ever on each entry, and each jurist chosen for their specific professional merits for each category (our list of 2011 jurors is available here), experts were able to make a strong case for any game, whether it gathered an initial popular vote or not.

It also meant that our finalist and winner selection was less of a
binary process, and more of a conversation about the deeper merits of
the games and their place and legacy in the independent game community.
Those intimate conversations were a passionate, productive, valuable
look at the pulse of professional indie developers, as you can read in
our Nuovo jury comments and Main Competition jury statements, and we’re looking forward to those conversations again this year.

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IGF China 2011 Opens Call For Submissions

Organizers of the Independent Games Festival China, which runs in conjunction with the Game Developers Conference China, have officially announced a call for indie game submissions from the pan-Pacific area now through Thursday, September 1.

Following on its success in past years, GDC China will continue to host the three main elements of IGF China, including the Independent Games Summit, which provides valuable conference sessions specializing in the challenges of independent game development.

These include the Independent Games Festival Pavilion, an onsite exhibition of the very best in local indie games, and the Independent Games Festival Awards, which honors the work of the talented pool of local independent game developers.

The 2011 IGF China Main Competition will give out awards and cash prizes in five categories, including:

– Best Game (RMB20,000 ~ $3,060 USD)
– Mobile Best Game (RMB10, 000 ~ $1,530 USD)
– Excellence In Audio (RMB5,000 ~ $760 USD)
– Excellence In Technology (RMB5,000 ~ $760 USD)
– Excellence In Visual Arts (RMB5,000 ~ $760 USD)

Finalists — who will receive VIP and expo passes to attend GDC China and the IGF awards ceremony on November 12, 2011 — will be chosen by a panel of expert jurors including Kevin Li (CEO, TipCat Interactive); Monte Singman (CEO, Radiance Digital Entertainment); Xubo Yang (Director of Digital Art Lab and Assistant Professor; Shanghai Jiaotong University’s School of Software), and jury chairman Simon Carless, IGF Chairman Emeritus and EVP of the GDC shows and Gamasutra.

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Minecraft, Amnesia Top Winners At 13th Annual IGF Awards

Swedish developer Mojang’s acclaimed 3D world-building sandbox title, Minecraft was a big winner at the 13th Annual Independent Games Festival tonight at Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, earning the Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game, as well as the community-voted Audience Award.

In a diverse set of award-winners, other Independent Games Festival award recipients included Frictional Games’ psychological horror game Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which took home awards for Technical Excellence and Excellence in Audio, as well as the sponsor-supported Direct2Drive Vision Award.

Elsewhere, noted independent developer Messhof received the $5,000 Nuovo Award – which honors abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development which “advances the medium and the way we think about games” – for his two-player art game, Nidhogg.

In addition, QCF Design’s short playtime dungeon crawl adventure Desktop Dungeons earned the award for Excellence in Design, and the Excellence in Visual Art award was won by Gaijin Games’ retro-psychedelic BIT.TRIP RUNNER.

Finally, the award for the Best Student Game went to the Myst-like abstract adventure game FRACT, from the University of Montreal, and Best Mobile Game was awarded to Ratloop’s unique ‘line of sight’ puzzler Helsing’s Fire.

All of this year’s IGF winners and finalists are playable at Game Developers Conference at the IGF Pavilion on the GDC Expo Floor, which is open Wednesday, March 2nd through Friday, March 4th.

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2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Student Showcase Winners

The Independent Games Festival has announced the eight Student Showcase winners for the thirteenth annual presentation of its prestigious awards, celebrating the brightest and most innovative creations to come out of universities and games programs from around the world in the past year.

This year’s showcase of top student talent include slapstick physical comedy adventure Octodad, from DePaul University’s Team DGE2, University of Montreal student Richard E. Flanagan’s boldly styled Myst-like adventure Fract, and Tiny and Big, an ambitious, comic-book styled 3D action platformer from Germany’s School of Arts and Design Kassel.

In total, this year’s Student Competition took in more than 280 game entries across all platforms — PC, console and mobile — from a wide diversity of the world’s most prestigious universities and games programs, a 47% increase from entrants in the 2010 Festival, making the Student IGF one of the world’s largest showcases of student talent.

All of the Student Showcase winners announced today will be playable on the Expo show floor at the historic 25th Game Developers Conference, to be held in San Francisco starting February 28th, 2011. Each team will receive a $500 prize for being selected into the Showcase, and will are finalists for an additional $2,500 prize for Best Student Game, revealed during the Independent Games Festival Awards on March 2nd.

In conjunction with this announcement, IGF organizers are also revealing that this year’s Independent Games Festival Awards at GDC will be hosted by Anthony Carboni. Carboni is host and producer of Bytejacker, the acclaimed indie and downloadable game video show and website, and one of the most enthusiastic and devoted followers of the independent game scene.

The full list of Student Showcase winners for the 2011 Independent Games Festival, along with ‘honorable mentions’ to those top-quality games that didn’t quite make it to finalist status, are as follows:

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2010 IGF China Announces Asian, Australasian Indie Winners

Organizers of the second annual Independent Games Festival China have announced winners for the Asian and Australasian indie games showcase in Shanghai, with South Korean developer Turtle Cream’s 2D tile-flipping platformer Sugar Cube getting the Best Game prize, and a host of other notable winners.

Following the announcement of the finalists last month, the teams attended a special awards show at the Shanghai International Convention Center during GDC China last night, where the winners of each category were revealed.

Supported by Platinum Sponsor Crystal CG and Gold Sponsor NetEase, the winners of the 2010 Independent Games Festival China announced at the award ceremony include unique modular ‘tower defense’-style title The White Laboratory, which won Best Student Game, and The Voxel Agents’ addictive iPhone/iPad puzzle hit Train Conductor 2: USA, which took Best Mobile Game.

The winners of the 2010 IGF China awards are:

Best Game: Sugar Cube (Turtle Cream, South Korea) [RMB 20,000, $3,000]
Best Mobile Game: Train Conductor 2 (The Voxel Agents, Australia) [RMB 10,000, $1,500]
Excellence In Audio: Skillz: The DJ Game (Playpen Studios, Hong Kong) [RMB 5,000, $750]
Excellence In Visual Arts: ButaVX: Justice Fighter (Nekomura Games, Singapore) [RMB 5,000, $750]

Best Student Game: The White Laboratory (Huazhong University of Science & Technology, China) [RMB 10,000, $1,500]
Excellent Student Award: Dead Steel (Media Design School, Auckland, New Zealand) [RMB 3,000, $450]
Excellent Student Award: Ponlai (National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Taiwan) [RMB 3,000, $450]

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2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Audio Award Jury

Organizers of the 2011 Independent Games Festival are pleased to announce the jury panel that will determine the finalists and winner of its Excellence in Audio award, a category which seeks to highlight the best musical & sound innovation, quality, and impressiveness in independent gaming.

Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Excellence in Audio award, which will be given out at Game Developers Conference 2011 next March, earned recognition for games that took an entirely new and unique to approach to sound in games or otherwise excelled at their craft.

These have included Queasy Games’ abstract acoustic guitar shooter and 2007 award winner Everyday Shooter, 2008 finalist guitar-controller platformer Fret Nice, 2009’s ultra-stylized finalist PixelJunk Eden from Q-Games and Osaka musician/DJ Baiyon, and the atmospheric 2010 award winning Closure (pictured).

This year, the jury will receive recommendations from the wider body of over 150 IGF Main Competition judges (itself including notable former IGF winners, finalists and indie game notables including Ron Carmel, Andy Schatz, Ramiro Corbetta, Kellee Santiago, and Olivier Lejade) as they consider the merits of each of the five finalists and eventual award winner.

The 2011 IGF Excellence in Audio award jury consists of the following:

– Danny Baranowsky (Founder of dB soundworks and musician behind games like Canabalt & 2010 Excellence in Audio finalist Super Meat Boy.)
– Vincent Diamante (Composer and sound designer behind PS3 indie hit Flower, audio & game design teacher at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.)
– Jordan Fehr (Sound designer/editor/mixer with credits on Super Meat Boy, Donkey Kong Country Returns, SteamBirds, Realm of the Mad God, & Spewer.)
– Dylan Fitterer (Creator of music-puzzle racer and 2008 IGF Excellence in Audio winner Audiosurf.)
– David Lloyd & Larry Oji (Respectively, musician and founder of game music site OverClocked ReMix; OCR head and soundtrack director on Capcom’s Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.)
– Matt Piersall (Founder of GL33K, the indie audio studio behind games like Splosion Man, Comic Jumper, Epic Mickey & Donkey Kong Country Returns.)
– Emily Ridgway (Music director and audio designer on games like BioShock, Brutal Legend & Costume Quest.)
– William Stallwood & Dain Saint (Respectively, creative director & technical director of Cipher Prime Studios, creator of ambient music puzzler Auditorium.)
– Rich Vreeland (Composer, sound designer, netlabel curator, and chiptune musician performing as Disasterpeace.)
– Josh Whelchel (Independent composer behind The Spirit Engine 2 & Bonesaw: The Game and works for UbiSoft, MTV and Zynga.)

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2011 Independent Games Festival Debuts Record Student Entry Numbers

The organizers of the 13th Annual Independent Games Festival — the longest-running and largest festival relating to independent games worldwide — are proud to announce another year of record entry numbers for IGF 2011’s Student Competition, following its submission deadline this week.

In total, this year’s Student Competition took in more than 280 game entries across all platforms — PC, console and mobile — from a wide diversity of the most prestigious universities and games programs from around the world.

While 2010’s content saw an impressive 193 entries, this year sees that number increase another 47% to 283 total games, making the Student IGF one of the world’s largest showcases of student talent.

Together with the record Main Competition entries, this year’s IGF has taken in roughly 650 total entries — the largest number in the festival’s history across the Main and Student competitions.

This year’s Student Competition includes a number of entries from students tackling intimate personal issues through the medium of games, including Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab’s Elude, a game which mirrors “the rising tide of depression, and the search for a path to happiness”.

Also in this vein is the University of Portsmouth team’s self-reflective portrait of a single man in Dinner Date, which looks at “his desires and doubts to reflections on his friends and his place in the world” as he waits alone for a would-be romantic evening.

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2010 Independent Games Festival China Announces Finalists

Organizers of the second annual Independent Games Festival China have revealed finalists for both the Main and Student competitions, including over 10 stand-out indie games from across Asia.

High-quality submissions for the second iteration of the event — a newly formed sister competition to the main yearly Independent Games Festival in San Francisco — were received from multiple Chinese provinces, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Iran, India and beyond.

Finalists were chosen by a panel of distinguished local judges, including representatives from Shanda Games, Tencent, IGDA Shanghai, TipCat Interactive and more.

IGF China finalists are invited to Shanghai for the Game Developers Conference China event from December 5th to 7th, where they will be showing their games at a special Pavilion on the Expo Floor, open to all GDC China attendees.

In addition, finalists are eligible to win up to RMB61,000 ($9,100) in cash prizes, as well as specially created awards and All Access Passes to GDC San Francisco 2011 worth thousands of dollars.

The Main Competition finalists for the 2010 Independent Games Festival China are:

Sugar Cube (Turtle Cream, South Korea)
Hazard: The Journey Of Life (Alexander Bruce, Australia)
Train Conductor 2 (The Voxel Agents, Australia)
Cut & Paste (Turtle Cream, South Korea)
Skillz: The DJ Game (Playpen Studios, Hong Kong)
ButaVX: Justice Fighter (Nekomura Games, Singapore)
Crossout (Coconut Island Studio, China)

The Student Competition finalists for this year’s IGF China event are as follows:

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2011 Independent Games Festival Announces Nuovo Award Jury

Organizers of the 2011 Independent Games Festival are announcing the distinguished jury panel that will determine the eight finalists and overall winner of its Nuovo Award.

This special award, part of the IGF, which takes place at Game Developers Conference 2011 next February, is dedicated to honoring abstract, shortform, and unconventional game development which “advances the medium and the way we think about games.”

Now in its third year, the Nuovo Award allows more esoteric ‘art games’ from among the almost 400 IGF entries to compete on their own terms alongside longer-form indie titles, and has been newly expanded to include eight finalists.

The Nuovo has previously been awarded to Jason Rohrer’s abstract multiplayer title Between and to Tuning [YouTube link] — the perception-warping platform puzzler from Swedish indie Cactus.

This year’s Nuovo Award jury has been selected to represent a diverse body of developers both independent and mainstream, academics, art world notables, and — in general — some of our industry’s top thinkers on the future of art and the video game medium.

The jury will receive game recommendations from the wider body of over 150 IGF Main Competition judges (itself including notable former IGF winners and finalists including Petri Purho, Kyle Gabler, Jakub Dvorsky, Tyler Glaiel, and Dylan Fitterer).

The 2011 IGF Nuovo jury consists of the following:

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