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Indie Fund backs Miegakure.

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

(by Jonathan Blow)

I am happy to announce that Indie Fund, continuing our tradition of backing interesting and innovative games, is funding Miegakure by Marc ten Bosch.

“Miegakure” is a Japanese term meaning “hide-and-reveal”, and refers to an art of garden design that creates an illusion of a larger garden within a smaller space.

Miegakure, the game itself, is a puzzle adventure that takes place in four spatial dimensions. Our everyday world has only three spatial dimensions, but there’s no limit to the number of dimensions we can simulate on a computer. Miegakure simulates a higher-dimensional space and invites you to solve puzzles inside that space. The hiding-and-revealing happens because, though Miegakure’s world is 4D, we can only see three dimensions at once; as we play the game, we are finding different vantage points from which to see the four-dimensional world, revealing something new each time.

This makes for very interesting puzzles. But it’s also just mind-expanding and trippy.

Here’s a video showing the way the game handles movement and visibility:

This video goes deeper into the technical foundations:

I am deeply interested in games that help us see the world in new ways, and that make new mental states available to us. Miegakure is the best example I know of such a game. By the time you finish playing, you may feel your mind has changed, and that you now understand 4D in a new way, a way that is intimate but difficult to fully grasp.

Also, the puzzles are very cool. They are fun to play.

I first saw Miegakure years ago when Marc demoed it at the Experimental Gameplay Workshop in 2009. Back then, the game was very new; though only a few months of work had been done so far, Marc had already put together the basic gameplay. He could have released the game then, but instead he’s worked on it for years, making it as beautiful and as interesting as possible. You’ll feel all this effort when you play the game.

Ron Carmel, one of the chief instigators of Indie Fund, has also played Miegakure. He says, “When i play the game I feel like my mind is at the cusp of understanding something profound about the 4th spatial dimension, even though it never quite gets there.” It’s a very interesting feeling!

For more information about Miegakure, you can visit the game’s site.

Indie Fund Now Backing The Flock

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Remember flashlight tag? You didn’t play it like this. Vogelsap’s The Flock is a brutal first-person asymmetrical multiplayer game where three to five people compete for control of an artifact containing the last bit of sunlight left in the world. Only one player can be “it.” The rest remain monsters, trying to claw that person apart. By combining stealth with seamless motion through a dark and stifled atmosphere, The Flock manages to be as fast-paced as it is suspenseful – and Indie Fund is proud to now support it.

The Flock

Ambitious as a 3D online multiplayer may be for the first project of a student team, Vogelsap has restricted the scope of their game in a way that reinforces all its elements. Players begin as members of “the Flock”, a dying but deadly species with the speed and agility of Ridley Scott’s Alien. Players must pick up a glowing orb to win, either from it’s original spawn point or the corpse of whoever had it last, but doing so transforms them into a slow and vulnerable humanoid “Carrier,” unable to hide the light they’ve stolen for long. Catching the Flock in this light turns them to dust unless, of course, they’re not moving. Or was that just a statue?

“I love sharing new experiences with gamers online, but I hate the tired mechanics of most of them,” Indie Fund investor Kellee Santiago said. “The Flock stood out to me immediately as a delightfully scary and fun game to play with friends, both old and new. There’s something about shrieking and then laughing at yourselves that really bonds people together – and that feeling of connection is ultimately what I’m always looking for in an online game. And it’s why I’m proud to be a part of this unique project.”

To convey the consequences of the Flock’s lemming-like attraction to light, and to heighten the stakes of an otherwise endlessly looping deathmatch, Vogelsap is introducing a new twist – The Flock’s population will be finite. Each senseless death will count against a running total, resulting eventually in extinction. Players will trigger a finale when the counter reaches zero, in which players can partake and then the game will never be playable again. Vogelsap is still working out the details, but they’ve pledged to be transparent about the extinction process, and disciplined in applying it.

The Flock is currently in a closed beta, and will release on PC this summer. Until then, you can follow the project on Twitter and visit Vogelsap’s website for updates.

Indie Fund Now Backing SoundSelf

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

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We’re proud to announce Robin Arnott’s audio-visual exploration game SoundSelf as our newest addition to the Indie Fund family. Robin’s game abandons design convention by imposing no goals on the players. Instead, it uses hypnosis techniques to entrance the player while they explore an abstract musical environment generated by their voice.

SoundSelf ran a successful KickStarter in 2013, but the project has grown in scope. Robin will use these new funds primarily to hire visual programmer Cale Bradbury for work on the Gear VR version of SoundSelf. “This is especially important to me because I see Gear VR as an opportunity to make an early statement about the potential of virtual reality while the conversation is still fresh,” Robin told us, and he expanded upon this in more detail on his blog.

Despite being showcased across a myriad of events including IGF, IndieCade, Gamercamp, and GameCity, our own Ron Carmel remained skeptical until he tried it himself. “One of the things we get excited about most in the games we fund is when they break new design ground. I was very skeptical of SoundSelf before I tried it, thinking it will be just another high concept sound visualizer that won’t deliver on the claims. I could not have been more wrong. Within 10 minutes of plugging in I had experienced something I had never before experienced. My best (but inadequate) description of the experience is ‘amplified meditation’. For me, there is nothing more ground-breaking in interaction design than opening the door for a person to have a completely new experience. Thank you, for that, Robin!”

An alpha version is available for purchase now via on the SoundSelf website for Windows and Mac users (Linux support forthcoming), along with a pre-order option. We want to congratulate Robin and wish him the best as he finishes his transformational project!

Indie Fund Now Backing Gorogoa

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Gorogoa Top

As this year’s excellent Fantastic Arcade comes to a close, we are happy to announce that Jason Roberts’s Gorogoa is now being supported by Indie Fund. Although the game initially appears to be a simple point-and-click adventure with sliding tile elements, players tumble down the rabbit hole when they realize that pieces of the scene can be pulled from one picture to another. Each delicately-illustrated panel operates under its own unique logic, and players must gently tease out their curious inter-relationships in order to progress.

Gorogoa is Jason’s first major release, yet it has already won awards in Visual Art from IndieCade and the Independent Games Festival. Indie Fund partner Aaron Isaksen explains its success so far: “Gorogoa is just jaw-droppingly beautiful, and this is especially remarkable because it’s one person doing the programming, design, and artwork. If this was a children’s book it would win the Caldecott Medal. The gameplay is also quite intriguing; the connections that you make between locations, objects, and visuals is deliciously non-linear in a way we don’t experience in the real world.”

We would like to congratulate Jason for the long, hard work he has put into Gorogoa so far. The game will be available for Windows and Mac in early 2015, with a mobile release to follow. Check out the Gorogoa Twitter feed and website for news on its development over the coming months.