August 8, 2013

Letter From The Chairman: Welcome To IGF 2014


Hello everyone, and welcome back for the 2014 Independent Games Festival, our 16th annual ceremony celebrating the best in independent games. As you've no doubt seen by now, we've just opened this year's call for submissions, beginning the process that will culminate in the awards show Wednesday, March 19, 2014 during Game Developers Conference 2014, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

As we kick off this year's festival, I'd like to take a few moments to again explain some of the changes & enhancements we're making this year, and reiterate some of the new policies that will be carried over. So, let's start with the latter and remind everyone of last year's biggest change:

Previous IGF finalists will not be allowed to re-enter the same game to this year's festival.

A reminder of a rule that went into effect in 2013 - if at any point in the past you have been a finalist in either the Main or Student category, you will not be allowed to re-enter that same game into this year's Main or Student festival. This provision includes former Student Showcase games attempting to now enter the Main category. We're maintaining this rule with the belief that it keeps our annual showcase as fresh, exciting and diverse as possible. If you have previously entered a game that did not become a finalist in either Student or Main, you are free to re-enter that game this year.

From this year forward, we are removing the Technical Excellence category.

We've received a lot of feedback from jurists, entrants and the community at large and agree that while this once was an important category -- which recognized the best and most innovative use of homegrown technology. But the rise of widespread, affordable middleware has, if not leveled the playing field, then at least given many equal footing from which to begin. While there are still obviously innovative and enormously creative uses of all middleware and homegrown technologies, we believe that other award categories will showcase games whose technology serves their gameplay, and agree with many that it's time to retire the category.

The minimum number of finalists in each category will be raised from five to six.

Because we've removed the Technical Excellence category, we are free to expand the number of finalists we can include in the rest of our categories -- Visual Art, Audio, Design, Narrative & the Seumas McNally Grand Prize -- which we hope will ensure a broader and more diverse range of games will come out of each. Our Student Showcase and Nuovo Awards will remain steady at eight finalists each. (We'll still also name Honorable Mentions for each award.)

Those are the most notable changes for this year's festival as we officially open submissions for IGF 2014. This year's submissions will close on October 19th (for our Main Competition) and October 31st (for our Student Competition). The official rules for each are available here.

If you have any questions about any of the detailed changes above, please don't hesitate to drop us an email at [email protected] to discuss this further. Hope you're all having a great year, and looking forward to seeing what you're all preparing for this year's Festival!