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So you want to get started making your own video games, eh? Well there’s a few things that you should know before you dive headfirst into what is a vast and deep ocean of possibilities. Let this article, along with our advice compilation video, guide you.

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PapayaMobile CEO Si Shen shares her take on the future of mobile games and discusses the company's new Games Academy, "a program for elite developers who want to create innovative and profitable mobile social games."

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face.pngToday's collection of independent game links includes news, interviews, and developer blog posts from around the 'net. (image source)

Indie Game Magazine: Castle Story Devs Outline Why Voxels Make Terrible Castles
"You can see how this small design decision makes a big difference in Castle Story and it also goes to prove that while voxels are good for building things, they are awful when placed under more stressed scenarios, i.e. firing a cannon at them."

Quote Unquote: The Last and Final Word: Radstronomical
"I've always been really passionate about games. Some of my earliest memories are of my brothers' Atari, and playing Mixed Up Mother Goose on the IIGS. Most of my relationships are centered around games."

DIY Gamer: City Building With a Puzzle Twist: MegaCity
"Place building tiles on the grid to play the game; but each tile has a different positive or negative effect on its surroundings. Once a column has the required number of points, the game advances, giving you more room to build."

Joystiq Indie Pitch: Defender's Quest
"Instead of generic towers, you have party members. Each one levels up, learns skills, and wields equipment individually. Your "towers" have personality, individualism, customization and persistence between battles."

Indie Game Magazine: Cubemen Enters Alphafunding
"For some reason it has that Frozen Synapse meets Army Men vibe, which is of course not a bad thing. The apparent appeal of the game is its simplicity and fast based gameplay."

The Adrenaline Vault: Top Casual PC Games of 2011
"The wide-ranging ways used to delineate casual games include the following: A low price point, a small or 'indie' development team, and compact code size allowing quick downloads and having low minimum system requirements. "

Junk Jack: iPad work in progress screenshots
"The Junk Jack iPad version is coming along very nicely, here are 2 in-game screenshots to show you the progress we made so far."

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Brand recognition is important in any consumer based industry, and the video game industry is no exception. However, there is always the danger of misusing brands which this post examines two of those ways.

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fingle 1.jpgGame Oven's IGF nominated Fingle on iPad offers over 50 stages that encourage physically compromising positions much like the above photo. Players use their fingers to drag, match, and hold yellow or white squares over like-colored dashed areas for several seconds, until the screen is totally engulfed in a white light. Those dashed areas often move, requiring one or two active hands to avoid colliding while keeping the squares in their targets.

I revealed the bulk of its gameplay in the release trailer post last week. I figure I would account here the one- and two-player experience I had with Fingle.

I very much enjoy most of the hand contorting puzzles offered. I also chuckle a bit hearing the sultry, "bow chicka wow wow"-ness of the music and vocals. Fingle seems to be a great party game, as I also enjoy seeing how people go about solving the puzzles and observing the awkwardness. In other words, Fingle brings out the gaming voyeur in me.

But that may not be everyone's idea of fun. My Fingle partner left the game after about 20 stages in. His patience for video games is lower than mine, but I understand his frustrations. The precision Fingle calls for, along with the visual obstruction of (at least) two hands on the screen at once, may prove a bit aggravating for the some players.

fingle 2.jpg
While aggravation may not have been the goal, Fingle has been touted by its developers as awkward and intimate. For the attention spans at a the typical social/casual gathering (not playing through all the harder levels), I think Fingle is a no-brainer purchase at $0.99. If you consider yourself a patient gamer (bonus if you have a patient gaming partner), then I also think it's worth your dollar, as few touch screen games have required this much physical investment, wrapped in a creative single player and co-op experience.

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The four-person Brisbane, Australian based Hitbox Team has released its combo-filled clean-em-up plaformer, Dustforce, on Steam for Windows. As an acrobatic janitor, players will leap and dash off walls and ceilings and traverse 50 precarious environments varying in difficulty. Dustforce has online leaderboards, online replays, and four-player local multiplayer modes like King Of The Hill and Survival for "loads of dust-cleaning fun."

Dustforce has already won the hearts of judges, earning an Honorable Mention for art at this years' Independent Games Festival and the Grand Prize at indiePub's Independent Developer Competition in 2010. The coming weeks will tell if it wins the hearts of consumers, too.

While Dustforce is now available via Steam for $9.99 (with 10% off) for Windows only, an update for Mac and Linux is planned to come soon. Right now the team has no plans for a stand-alone version, but Desura publishing is a possibility.

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