German automaker Volkswagen has launched a design contest encouraging students to "create a cool video game car for Volkswagen." Those individual students or teams interested in the contest, found here, have until August 15 to create cars and video game scenarios for them to be played out in.
Volkswagen does have one reasonable stipulation; that "the typical character of a Volkswagen should at least be somewhat recognizable."
The contest will be judged by Volkswagen design chief Klaus Bischoff.
Ukie, the trade group representing the games and interactive entertainment industry in the United Kingdom, announced that it has teamed up with Staffordshire University for a one day student and indie developer conference at the university's campus in Staffordshire, UK (College Rd, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 2DE, United Kingdom).
It's always a nice thing when fans create something and their efforts get recognized by the makers of the games that inspire them. That's what happened with Serious Sam Classics: Revolution, a fan-made project that's officially been sanctioned by series developer Croteam and is being distributed by Hotline Miami publisher Devolver Digital. The game is officially available (for a limited time) for a mere $4.99 on Steam Early Access today.
UK video games industry trade group TIGA has written an open letter to European game content rating system PEGI calling for a review and adjustment of its pricing policy, which the groups claims is charging indie developers in the UK "unreasonably high and repetitious fees." TIGA wrote the letter in response to complaints from its members about PEGI’s pricing policy.
The annual Ludum Dare will begin in the wee hours of this evening and in multiple time zone to boot. Founded by Geoff Howland, and running since 2002, Ludum Dare challenges developers of all skill levels to make a game in 72 hours. Since its launch the community has run more than 22 regular events, and has collectively created thousands of games.
Lucas Pope's popular indie game Papers, Please won the Most Innovative and Best Gameplay categories at the 11th Annual Games for Change Awards. The annual awards honors games that show creativity and aspire ideas. In Papers, Please players take on the role of an agent at a border crossing who is charged with approving or rejecting entry into their country.
The Fullbright Company's popular hit Gone Home won the Game of the Year category.
Indie developer Digital Eel let us know that its crowd-funded 3D space exploration game, Infinite Space III: Sea of Stars is now available via Steam Early Access.
"Even as development continues, we're very excited to be able to share Sea of Stars early with Kickstarter backers and the gaming community at large," the company said today. "Steam's Early Access allows you to play work-in-progress versions of the game (new build updates are automatic), provide critical feedback and actually help shape its creation."
Starbound developer Chucklefish announced that it will publish the Metroidvania-style role-playing game Heart Forth, Alicia. Chucklefish will enable developer Alonso Martin to bring the game to platforms beyond Windows PC. The game has been in development for seven years and is currently seeking $60,000 in a Kickstarter campaign. As of this writing the game has already collected $59,368 of its $60,000 goal. By the time you read this, the game will likely hit its initial funding goal.
Ciro Continisio, the developer behind the successfully crowd-funded turn-based strategy title UFHO2, released his game as a torrent on Pirate Bay after the game failed to get approved via Steam's Greenlight program. The game was successfully funded by a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign in early 2012, and in August of that same year Continisio submitted it to the Greenlight program.
Lyon, France-based indie developer Little Worlds Studio said that it is "playing its last card" and "places its fate in the hands of the public" with the launch of an initiative to save the company through what it is calling a "Kickfailer." Unlike a "Kickstarter," this initiative seeks support through its already established free-to-play mobile game Mana Crusher.
Indie developer Last Limb will be exhibiting its crowd-funded puzzle platformer Organic Panic at PAX East this weekend in Boston. Organic Panic was recently given the Greenlight by the Steam community and Last Limb signed a publishing deal with indie publishing label Midnight City in the summer of 2013.
Vlambeer studio co-founder Rami Ismail issued a statement today to address concerns that its hit 2D fighting game Luftrausers "implies" that players are controlling Nazi pilots and aircraft during World War II. The concerns likely stem from the name, which is similar to the "Luftwaffe," the air force of the German Wehrmacht during World War II; and the uniforms worn by commanders in the game that look similar to uniforms worn by German officers during the war.
The Fine Young Capitalists is looking for a few good women (or anyone who self identifies as a woman) to take part in its special Women In Video Games Initiative. To take part, would-be applicants are asked to submit a pitch document about a game idea that is right around 1,500 words in length.
The submissions will be judged by the community, with the top five best pitches getting some very professional treatment.
Here's more from the website:
Two key founders of Torchlight series makers Runic Games, Travis Baldree and Erich Schaefer, have left the company to form an indie studio called Double Damage Games that will work on products of a smaller scale. Travis Baldree and Erich Schaefer announced their departure from Runic Games on the developer's forum, saying the split was "amicable."
UK-based 'Cut the Rope' developer ZeptoLab has filed an official challenge to King's "Candy" trademark in Europe. The company filed its official challenge to the broad trademark on March 20. In the European Union, King still has an active trademark registration for Candy that covers video games, video game services, and clothing. ZeptoLab is strongly objecting to this in that region, noting that no company should holds the rights to such a broad and commonly used term such as "Candy."
Oddworld Inhabitants co-founder Lorne Lanning isn't interested in working with big publishers like Electronic Arts now or ever again, and in an interview with VG247 to discuss his latest game (Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty), he uses some colorful language to express his feelings on the matter.
Luftrausers developer Vlambeer claims the game has already generated profits for the studio just two days after being released. Published by Devolver Digital, Luftrausers was released on March 18 for PC, PS3, and Vita. In the game, players take control of a single fighter plane to take out an onslaught of enemy aircraft. In a post on the official Vlambeer Twitter page, the studio said the game is already profitable.
"It had a two and a half year development cycle. We are super overwhelmed and thankful."
Indie developer Positech Games said via a new blog post that game sales (like the kind found on Steam and in the Humble Bundle) are providing the endorphin rush instead of the fun of actually playing the games players are purchasing at deep discounts. Positech Games' Cliff Harris says that these kinds of sales are insidious dangers that normalize huge price reductions.
"This is a big psychology trick that is being used to siphon money from gamers, and it's a bad thing," he said. "And if we can - and I think we probably can't - we should stop it."
Hot on the heels of Epic Games announcing that it would offer a monthly subscription plan to allow anyone to license its Unreal Engine 4 technology, Crytek is offering a similar deal for its CryEngine technology - for about $9 less. Crytek announced this week during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco that it would offer the CryEngine for $9.90 a month per user.
During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, Microsoft offered more details on some of the games that are coming to Xbox One as part of its self-publishing program, ID@Xbox. Microsoft revealed 25 games that are being developed through the program for Xbox One including 1001 Spikes by Nicalis, It Draws a Red Box by Other Ocean, and Roundabout by No Goblin.
In 2012 Jay Pavlina raised $53,509 on Kickstarter for a game called Super Action Squad. Flash forward to 2014 and we learn that the game is now "on hold" as Pavlina admits that he bit off more than he could chew with this project, calling it "a bad idea in the first place." The news is a stark reminder that you are investing in something when you back a Kickstarter project, and sometimes you lose money on investments.
According to CVG, indie darling Papers, Please has sold half a million units to-date. The game recently won a BAFTA for Best Strategy and Simulation Game. In a recent BBC profile, Lucas Pope, the game's creator said that the game had sold 500,000 units. Some of those sales can be attributed to recent Steam sales, but the game has gotten plenty of positive press for its unique gameplay and it subject matter.
Microsoft has softened its position on enforcing the controversial parity clause in its agreement with independent developers who join the ID@Xbox program for Xbox One. Normally the clause in ID@Xbox program agreement requires independent developers interested in self-publishing on Xbox One to release their games on Microsoft's console or at the same time as it does on other platforms like the PS4.
The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute announced that Boston-based independent educational game development studio Little Worlds Interactive has won the overall Grand Prize and the Serious Game Prototype category awards in its third annual MassDiGI Game Challenge for The Counting Kingdom. The Counting Kingdom encourages players ages 7+ to practice their math skills in a playful and engaging way. The Counting Kingdom has the distinct honor of being the first serious or educational game to win the MassDiGI Game Challenge Grand Prize.
A GoFundMe crowd-funding campaign has launched to raise money for games journalist Brandon Boyer, who was left with over $100,000 in medical bills after his insurance company Humana refused to pay them, using a "pre-existing condition" clause in his insurance policy. Keep in mind that Boyer's surgery, which saw part of his small intestine and liver removed, happened before the Affordable Care Act went into effect.
Microsoft's Xbox One self-publishing indie program ID@Xbox continues to grow with the announcement today that 65 new members have joined the program including Tony Hawk developer Robomodo, Castle Crashers creator The Behemoth, and Limbo developer Playdead. ID@Xbox program director Chris Charla said that with the addition of today's new members, total enrollment in the program currently stands at more than 200 developers.