Independent Games Festival Opens 2011 Submissions, Adds Mobile Category

Today the UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizer of the Game Developers Conference events, announced submissions for the Independent Games Festival have opened. Submissions for the popular indie game award close on October 18 for the primary IGF competition, while student entries close on November 1. Keeping with tradition, the IGF selections will be playable during all GDC events later this year, with winners announced at an award ceremony during the conference.

The IGF also revealed changes to its award category structure. In response to "developer feedback," the IGF will now allow titles developed for mobile and handheld devices to be entered into all major IGF categories, as well as its own new Best Mobile Game award category. Since 2008, the IGF did not include titles developed for mobile and handheld devices into the main competition categories. Rounding out changes to the IGF format is a new category that focuses on alternative game design choices, including "honoring abstract, shortform, and otherwise esoteric 'art games.'"

In a letter posted by IGF Chairman Brandon Boyer on the festival's official website, more changes and their reasoning were outlined. The major shift from 2010 is the decision to put all entrants through a judge and jury process, rather than "grading games on a numerical scale to quantitatively determine the "best games."

"Our hope is that this will make the process more engaging for the jurists and more fair for developers, who will now be directly appraised by a jury of industry peers: visual artists for the visual art category, engineers for technical excellence and so on," Boyer wrote. Winners for the 2011 Independent Games Festival will be announced on March 2, 2011, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.