Archive for the ‘announcement’ Category

Indie Fund Now Backing Soft Body

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Soft Body Top

This year’s Gamercamp is close on the horizon, with a huge selection of games making their Canadian premiere. We are proud to announce that one of its official selections, Zeke Virant’s Soft Body, is now being supported by Indie Fund. Soft Body is a twin-stick shooter that asks players to split their brains and thumbs, navigating two unique “bodies” through a beautiful, minimalist shoot-em-up space at the same time. Zeke calls it a “bullet heaven,” because the emphasis isn’t on memorizing bullet patterns so much as reacting to them creatively as the arena shifts and changes.

A long-time musician, Virant wanted to create a game analogy for singing and playing an instrument at the same time. Indie Fund partner Ron Carmel explains how this feels to the player: “Human consciousness has, for obvious reasons, evolved around the idea of being in one place and experiencing the world as a single entity. Putting some time into Soft Body led me to feeling more and more like I could split my consciousness for brief periods of time. The minute-to-minute experience was definitely about clearing the levels, but the second-to-second experience for me was all about maintaining a sense of split consciousness for as long as I could.”

Soft Body will be Zeke’s first major release, but it has already garnered praise for its evolving bullet patterns, the dynamic soundtrack, and its unique way of dividing your input while focusing your attention on a singular task. In his earliest prototypes, Zeke drilled deep on one aspect of his design that he could polish from the start: the game’s feel, how the twin bodies move through virtual space and respond to the player’s control. This attention to detail has paid off, and recently Soft Body took home an award at the Zurich Games Festival.

We want to congratulate Zeke as he enters the world of full-time indie development with Soft Body. The game will be available in the summer of 2015 for the PS4 and Vita, with a PC release following soon after. If you’re in Toronto, you should definitely make the trip out to play Soft Body at Gamercamp. Otherwise, be sure to follow Zeke on Twitter and check out the Soft Body website for ongoing updates on the project.

Soft Body GIF

Indie Fund Now Backing Ernesto RPG

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Ernesto Top

Today we are continuing an exciting September blitz with the announcement that Daniel Benmergui’s Ernesto RPG is now receiving support from the Indie Fund. Ernesto is a “puzzle crawler” focused on survival, character progression, and strategic scoring.

Jonathan Blow, partner in Indie Fund, says about Ernesto, “It’s a single-player RPG condensed into a focused and powerful pill. Every minute you’re making interesting choices, and the decisions are often tough, which makes for a lot of fun.”

Ernesto Choice

Think of it as single-screen puzzle elements reminiscent of indie roguelike Desktop Dungeons, mixed with the trace-and-match mechanic of iOS classic Dungeon Raid, then cherry-topped by the ability to rewind and replay levels to maximize your global score.

In the past, Benmergui garnered praised for the IGF 2010 Finalist interactive poem Today I Die and his series of early artgames. However, Ernesto emerged from the humblest of origins: Daniel needed to press pause and get some perspective on the three-year development cycle of IGF Nuovo-winning Storyteller. After a whirlwind week of experimentation and a released prototype, Daniel decided that seeing Ernesto through might just be the thing to recharge his creative batteries.

In taking Ernesto full-time, Daniel enlisted the talents of two fellow Argentinian artists, Hernán Rozenwasser (who previously worked on the audio for Today I Die) and Jeremías Babini. Things really picked up in April, when Jeremías’s new visuals landed in the beta to give us a taste of Ernesto’s future look and feel.

Recently, Daniel showed Ernesto off in the Indie MEGABOOTH at PAX Prime 2014. We want to congratulate this team on their work so far, and we can’t wait to see where Daniel, Hernán, and Jeremías take Ernesto RPG in the coming months. Ernesto RPG is slated for a early 2015 release on PC/Mac/Tablets. Be sure to follow Daniel on Twitter and the Ernesto RPG Tumblr for ongoing updates on the project.

Ernesto Tutorial

Indie Fund Now Backing Nova-111

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

nova111-cropped

We’re excited to announce our support of Funktronic Labs’ Nova-111, the Fund’s first project which began development in Japan. What caught our eyes initially was how Nova-111 smoothly blended the mechanics of real-time and turn-based games into one. Players will witness these mechanics evolve through innovative puzzles and strategic battles while searching for scientists who were lost in the cosmic REAL-TIME vortex.

After releasing free audiovisual experiences Kyoto for PC and Lotus for Leap Motion, Funktronic Labs dove into Nova-111 development in November 2013. The game has since been chosen for exhibition at Bit.Summit, Media Indie Exchange, and IndieCade @ E3.

We want to congratulate Eddie, Kalin, Michael, and Jack! They already impressed us with an extremely polished prototype, and we can’t wait to see how Nova-111 ultimately turns out when it releases for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Can We Find More Games By Growing Our Team?

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

How many games are we not finding? That’s a question we’ve been asking ourselves for a while now. So far, we’ve been funding an average of about 4 games per year, predominantly through introductions, and people and games we randomly come across both in person and online. It’s not bad, but can we be of service to more developers? How many more? The major bottleneck has been, from the very start, our own limited ability to identify Promising Projects* to invest in, not a lack of money. If we spent more time and effort looking for developers and projects, that might help, but we all have full time gigs and operate Indie Fund in our spare time. We simply can’t make more time for it. Starting now, we will be trying something new. We are working with a small team of talented folks from different backgrounds to help us find more promising projects we can get involved with. So far this team includes John Polson (@JohnPolson), Kelly Wallick (@KellyWallick), and Simon Ferrari (@simonFerrari).

John comes from a media and games vetting background. After earning his indie stripes with Boston-based devpolsoneloper Dejobaan, he worked for Simon Carless of UBM Tech, finding games for Indie Royale, running IndieGames.com, assisting with GDC Vault, and testing and judging for IGF. In his spare time, he co-created and organized Media Indie Exchange and alternative controller exhibit alt.ctrl.GDC, both high-exposure efforts for indies doing something different. John will be in LA for E3 (June 10-13), and indies who have a game they’d like to show him can get in touch with him via twitter.

wallick

Kelly is the founder of Indie MEGABOOTH, a showcase that brings indie games into the heart of conferences previously dominated by AAA budgets and works to create support networks for small development teams. She’s involved in local community building along with creating cross community networks and acts as an advocate for indie developers with platform holders, distributors, publishers and press. The MEGABOOTH’s current focus is on expanding community support efforts and addressing discoverability issues for indie games.

Ferrari

Simon is a researcher and instructor based out of the NYU Game Center. For four years he assisted Ian Bogost on the Journalism & Games project, writing about games that comment upon (and often parody) current events. These days, Simon mostly works to connect game festivals with the people who design, publicly perform, and live-stream competitive play.

So are we finding all the games we should be finding? Are we missing dozens of projects we could be supporting each year because we’re doing a less than perfect job with outreach, scouting, and research? We honestly don’t know, but we are going to find out. We’re really excited to be working with you, John, Kelly, and Simon! Welcome aboard.

— * A note on what we mean when we say “Promising Projects”: Our goal for Indie Fund is to help developers become, and then stay, independent. What we consider a Promising Project is one that (a) is doing something new/interesting/special/noteworthy/remarkable in our medium, AND (b) stands a good chance of making the developer enough money to self fund their next game.