This week everyone’s attention was turned in some way to GDC, one of the biggest gaming events of the year. However, the indie gaming world continues on so here’s my pick of indie gaming news that caught my attention this week.

GDC and #notGDC

First up is GDC itself, where Rami Ismail, co-founder of Vlambeer and with releases such as LUFTRAUSERS and Nuclear Throne, received the Game Developers Choice Ambassador Award. He was awarded this for his efforts in raising awareness of injustices within the industry and promoting fairness and diversity. These have been, and continue to be, big issues in the game development industry and Rami has been ceaseless in his efforts, including organizing the #1ReasonToBe diversity panel at GDC each year.

While GDC can be a significant event for attendees, the large costs associated with it mean that many can’t be there. This is one of the reasons behind the creation of #notGDC, a “game development non-conference, for everyone” that happens at the same time. #notGDC was the creation of Ben Porter, organised this year by Lucy Morris and Mike Cook. It is open to anyone wishing to submit a blog post, video, game demo, or many other types of creation on a wide range of topics. It’s well worth having a browse as there is almost certainly something for everyone, whether you’re interested in anything from high-level game design approaches right down to how a particular game rendered its cursors.

IGF Awards

My second item also involves GDC in a way because, among other things, it hosted the Independent Games Festival (IGF) awards. The winners this year were as follows:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize Night in the Woods
Nuovo (Innovation) Award Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy
Excellence In Visual Art Chuchel
Excellence In Audio Uurnog Uurnlimited
Excellence in Design Baba is You
Excellence in Narrative Night in the Woods
Audience Award Celeste

Congratulations to the developers of those games along with the other finalists, of which you can find a complete list on the IGF website.

Kickstarter highlights

Obviously I can’t list all the Kickstarters happening in indie games, but here are a few that caught my eye.

Fire in the Library is a board game in which “players are heroic librarians rescuing books to accumulate knowledge and earn bravery all while avoiding the flames before the library collapses”. The game is structured so that players can push their luck for greater rewards, but at much higher cost. The game is being published by Weird Giraffe Games who have previously launched several of their own games. I’ve seen the work and love that they put into their games, so I’m sure that this one will be a fun one to play.

Harm Other, despite the aggressive sounding name, is a PC game in which you “make uninformed choices with unpredictable outcomes in a galaxy-hopping choose-your-own-adventure comedy game”. Essentially it is a text adventure where your two choices for any situation are “Harm” and “Other”, even if they seem unrelated to what is actually happening. The cost of entry is really low, with the pledge level to get the game at a mere $5, so it seems well worth jumping in for some hilarious misunderstandings.

Finally there is a book that may be of interest to readers who have played the Oddworld games: Oddworld: Abe’s Origins. This is a hardcover book containing “freshly unearthed concept art, original game design documents, brand new interviews with the Oddworld creators and more”. Additionally, backers have the option of a game collection featuring Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus on DVD. The people behind this book previously Kickstarted their book “Independent By Design: Art & Stories of Indie Game Creation“, which I own and can vouch for the quality of.