IndieCade Europe:
October 30 - 31, 2017
Paris, France

Submissions for IndieCade 2017 are now closed.
Thank you to the developers of all of this year’s entries!

Join us in Downtown LA for this year’s Festival, tickets are available now!


IndieCade Submission Guidelines 2017

For more than a decade, IndieCade’s vibrant annual public festivals and showcases celebrate and spotlight exciting and innovative independent work from around the globe. Each year, we invite independent game developers, artists, and designers from around the world to submit interactive media of all types for inclusion in IndieCade events. We welcome both work-in-progress or completed projects.

We take pride in hosting events that feature ground breaking independent games, productive networking environments, spaces for important discussions, play, and a ton of fun! All submissions are reviewed by a diverse jury of leaders from the games industry, academia, fine arts, and indie development for placement & award nominations at IndieCade Festival. Read our guidelines below (or our Frequently Asked Questions) page to learn more about our submission process. We can be emailed via [email protected] to answer your specific questions.


Submission Dates & Fees

When you submit, you submit for participation in all our 2017 events so long as you make the appropriate deadlines. We offer IndieCade Submission Fee Assistance to a limited number developers and creators in need of financial assistance - click here to learn more.Please note that this scholarship is ONLY to help with the submission fee and is NOT a scholarship for travel assistance should you be chosen to be showcased.

Submission Deadlines:

All submissions are closed as of July 1st

Notifications:

IndieCade Festival Finalists & Official Selections will be notified by September 2017.
IndieCade Europe Selections will be notified by September 2017.
All entrants will receive feedback on their game by the time of IndieCade Festival in approximately October.
IndieCade is an independent organization and our ultimate goal is to bring the eye of the industry & general public to your submission. All submission fees directly cover the costs associated with processing your submission and showcasing selected games - see our IndieCade Submission Fee Breakdown section later in this document for more information.


What You Get For Submitting

All entries submitted to IndieCade by the above deadlines receive the following benefits:
IndieCade does not charge any additional exhibitor booth fees.

  1. Consideration as an Official Selection and/or Finalist* to the IndieCade Festival, IndieCade Europe, and IndieCade East. Submissions before March 19th, 2017 will be considered for the IndieCade Showcase @ E3.

  2. A detailed evaluation of your entry by a hand-selected reviewer from the IndieCade Jury.

  3. Expo level admission to IndieCade Festival for two team members and/or invitation to IndieCade Europe special event, with the ability to upgrade to other passes.

  4. A minimum of two passes for admission to IndieXchange.** IndieXchange is our pre-Festival developer summit. IXC attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for workshops, network, show-and-tell, and meet one-on-one with major industry leaders and Platforms.

  5. Consideration for Official Selection status at IndieCade Europe 2016.

  6. Opportunity to submit a talk to the IndieXchange and GameU. Talk submissions are due June 30th.

Note:

*Finalists: Entries eligible, based on reviews by our Jury committee and volunteer reviewers, for our annual IndieCade Festival Red Carpet Awards as well as the IndieCade Festival Audience, Media, Developer, & Jury Choice Awards. They also qualify for future IndieCade East and IndieCade Europe curated showcases. Official Selections: Entries curated by the Jury committee with input from our volunteer reviewers for showcases at IndieCade Festival. Official Selections are eligible for the IndieCade Festival Audience, Media, Developer, & Jury Choice Awards. They also qualify for future IndieCade East and IndieCade Europe curated showcases.

** IndieXchange takes place in Los Angeles the day prior to the main festival. If there are additional IndieXchange style events at IndieCade East or Europe you will be invited to those as well. Additional admissions to the IndieXchange can be provided pending team size and availability.

Accepted games:
In addition to the general benefits for submitting a game listed above, if you are accepted as either an Official Selection or a Finalist you will also receive:

  1. Two VIP Passes to the IndieCade event(s) for which you are accepted (Festival, East, Europe).

  2. Invitations to related IndieCade social events for the applicant team.

  3. Features and promotions of your entry and team via the IndieCade website, social media channels, press releases, and more. This includes our onsite publicists.

  4. Opportunity for a preview or media event (must be organized prior to the event in coordination with indieCade staff and support).

  5. Use of a display booth and signs created for the entry. Please note that IndieCade does NOT charge for booth space. Basic equipment such as a PC computer/laptop, headphones may be provided with priority going to international developers who must travel from afar. (Developers of mobile games may be asked to bring their own devices. Developers of custom installation, pervasive, performance, or other alternative genres should plan on bringing their own specialized equipment, although standard equipment such as projection and display monitors may be provided by IndieCade. Board game developers are expected to provide a playable copy of their game.)

  6. Award Eligibility: All games accepted (Official Selections and Finalists) to IndieCade Festival and IndieCade Europe are eligible for the following four “choice” awards - Audience Choice Award, Developer Choice Award, Media Choice Award, and Jury Choice Award. In additional Finalists also are eligible for the following eight juried awards - Grand Jury Award, Visual Design Award, Audio Design Award, Game Design Award, Story / World Design Award, Technology Award, Impact Award, and Interaction Award. Currently IndieCade East does not designate awards, but it may in the future. All Official Selections and Finalist games are invited to the Red Carpet Award Events.

Note: For large teams there is potential complimentary access for additional members of the applicant team to any showcase where their entry is on display or awards for which their game might be nominated. This is not guaranteed and depends entirely on space and capacity.


Submission Eligibility

IndieCade welcomes work from across all genres and mediums, be they digital, tabletop, big and/or physical, performative, competitive, cooperative, experimental, experiential, or hybrids thereof. From works-in-progress to fully completed and/or released works on traditional platforms, on new platforms or on something from beyond our expectations - there are no limits!

Independent, as defined by IndieCade, are works that receive funding via its own developers, private investors, crowdsourcing, grants, internal studio funding, or association with a university, school, or nonprofit institution. Submissions may be published or unpublished, but their development may not be fully funded by a publisher. Partial funding, marketing help, etc are valid ways to have a relationship with a publisher while still being eligible for IndieCade. If you need assistance in determining your project's eligibility status, please email [email protected] - we will be happy to help you figure it out.

Previous submissions to, or inclusion in, other festivals does not prevent eligibility in any way. Works which were previously submitted to IndieCade may be re-submitted provided they:

  1. Were not IndieCade Award winners in a previous IndieCade Festival
  2. Have undergone significant changes since last submitted
  3. While not required, we recommend that you provide a different name that clearly indicates a new version (e.g. Project Name 2.0 or Project Name 20XX version). This avoids confusion in the event jurors have previously played the original submission through IndieCade or elsewhere.

Disqualified games are eligible for resubmission provided all other submission requirements, including the above, have been met.

IndieCade has an inclusive submissions policy and invites entries of all game styles and genres to apply - including PC, console, browser-based, casual, puzzle, mobile, alternate-reality, big / physical games, installation-based games, mods (provided they conform to game engine licensing agreements), serious games, documentary games, activist games, art games, virtual worlds, "sandbox" games, and more! We welcome submissions developed by individuals, small teams, large teams, artists, students, universities and schools, non-profit organizations and beyond. We also strongly encourage submissions from diverse creators of any nationality, ethnicity, culture, gender, orientation, age, or experience range. Diversity is encouraged. Innovation is celebrated.

Works-in-progress are permitted and encouraged, but make sure that you do not have any bugs that would prevent reviewers from assessing the work or progressing through your submission.

All game content and copyrighted material must be fully owned by the designers / developers of the entry; if outside material is used, legal permission must be secured or your game will be disqualified. If you plan to submit a work that is on a non-standard game operating system (e.g., Linux, Atari, custom hardware), please plan to submit review hardware or host a scheduled evaluation of your entry. If your non-standard entry is chosen as an Official Selection or Finalist, also plan to have a representative on-site during your designated event to be responsible for installation, or to supply hardware with the game fully installed. If your submission can not be reviewed or displayed, it will be disqualified.


How To Submit

Step 1 - Complete the Online Entry Form

Compete the online entry form and be sure to include the following information:

  • Contact information (please ensure the email & phone contacts entered are accurate, active, and frequently monitored as to not miss communications from our Jury team. We often communicate via a mailing list so make sure [email protected] and [email protected] do not go to your Spam folder).
  • Technical contact who is available to respond to troubleshooting and support requests via email within 24 hours.
  • Agree to the http://www.indiecade.com/Submissions/Terms_and_Conditions.
Step 2 - Submit the Online Entry Form and Pay for Your Entry Processing

At the end of the submission form, you will be able to submit your completed online application and pay the submission processing fee. If you are interested in the IndieCade Submission Fee Assistance program, you must apply and wait for your your acceptance notice before you submit your entry. More information about the Submission Fee Assistance can be found at: http://www.indiecade.com/Submissions/scholarship

IMPORTANT: Only completed, paid submissions will be considered. Be sure to complete and pay for your application prior to your submission period deadline. Unpaid submissions will not be marked as complete and will not be eligible for review or inclusion at any IndieCade events.

Unlike prior years, please note that you will not be able to edit your submission application once you have pressed the submit button and paid your fees. There is some leniency in the case of broken links or expired download codes, and IndieCade staff will contact you if your submission form has such. If you are selected to showcase, you will have the opportunity to update information that will appear on the website and promotional materials, as well as show your latest work or build.

Step 3 - What to Expect After Submitting Your Online Entry Form

All entries must provide a working build of their game along with their online application. How one does so depends on the type of submission. Please read the below list of entry categories carefully to understand how and when to provide us access to your entry. If you are unsure which category your entry falls into, feel free to email us at [email protected]

  • Digital Games (excluding unpublished mobile games): If the entry can be reviewed online, or via a download or coupon, there will be fields in the submission form where you may place links or coupons. After paying for your entry, it will be marked as “Submitted” and will be immediately be passed on to the jury committee for review. Please note that we do not ask IndieCade jurors to purchase submitted entries or to pay for any in-app purchase.
  • Downloadable LARP / RPG books or rulesets: Like digital games, as long as the book or ruleset can be downloaded online, there will be a field in the submission form where you may place your download link. After paying for your entry, it will be marked as “Submitted” and immediately passed on to the jury committee for review. Mailing in a physical copy of the book is not necessary.
    • Note about facilitation: For some entries, we may ask the developer or a representative to facilitate the game. In that instance, we will either ask you to give a demonstration for jurors at a nearby location OR we will ask jurors to travel out to you. Should this be the case with your submission, we will contact you for more information AFTER you have submitted your online application. We may contact you after the submission deadline.
  • Installations, performances, or entries that otherwise require jurors to experience them in person: After paying for your entry, it will be marked as “Submitted.” For your entry, it will take personal coordination with you in order to gain access to it and start evaluating it. IndieCade staff will contact you AFTER you have submitted your online application in order to coordinate access to your entry. We may contact you after the submission deadline and will ask you to do one of the following:
    • Work with IndieCade staff to coordinate jurors traveling out to your entry’s location at an event, venue, exhibition, etc. If access to your entry requires paid admission, we will need complimentary tickets from you.
    • Be available and prepared to give a demonstration (if possible) at a jury hub in your area. Jury hubs are physical locations where multiple jurors gather to play submissions.
    • Provide a list of people without a conflict of interest who can fairly review your game for IndieCade.
  • Big Games / Physical Games: If your entry has a downloadable ruleset and requires no specialized set up materials (i.e. Your game does not require materials beyond what can commonly be found in one’s house like pens, paper, string, etc.), then it will be marked as “Submitted” and immediately passed on to our jury committee. If your submission does require specialized set up materials, staff will contact you AFTER you have submitted your online application. We may contact you after the submission deadline and will work with you to decide what is the best way to evaluate your entry, whether that be having you mail materials in, having jurors travel out to you, or having you travel out to jurors.
  • Tabletop games and games that otherwise need to mail materials in: After paying for your entry, it will be marked as “Submitted.” For your entry, it will take personal coordination with you in order to gain access to it and start evaluating it. IndieCade staff will contact you AFTER you have submitted your online application. We may contact you after the submission deadline. When we do contact you, we will provide with you with an address to send your entry to as well as a date that the entry must be postmarked by. If the entry is not postmarked by the later provided date, your entry will be disqualified. When shipping your game, include a printout with your material(s) that clearly state your game’s name, your submission number, and your team name. Please note that your materials will only be returned to you if you provide a return shipping label and the necessary packaging.
    • Please note that if you are submitting a Print and Play version of your game, you must still mail in an assembled Print and Play copy. We do not ask jurors to review unassembled Print and Play games as it becomes a large time commitment to both assemble and play the games.
  • Alternate controllers / Custom hardware games: After paying for your entry, it will be marked as “Submitted.” For your entry, it will take personal coordination with you in order to gain access to it and start evaluating it. IndieCade staff will contact you AFTER you have submitted your online application in order to coordinate access to your entry. We may contact you after the submission deadline and will ask you to do one of the following:
    • Mail your hardware to an address IndieCade will provide to you after you have submitted your online application. Include a printout with your material(s) that clearly state your game’s name, your submission number, and your team name. Staff may reach out to your after the submission deadline. Your entry will only be returned to you if you provide return packaging and postage.
    • Work with IndieCade staff to coordinate jurors traveling out to your entry’s location at an event, venue, exhibition, etc. If access to your entry requires paid admission, we will need complimentary tickets from you.
    • Be available and prepared to give a demonstration (if possible) at a jury hub in your area. Jury hubs are physical locations where multiple jurors gather to play submissions.
    • Provide a list of people without a conflict of interest who can fairly review your game for IndieCade.
  • Unpublished mobile games: For unpublished mobile submissions, we STRONGLY recommend using a distribution method that does not require our reviewers to share a UDID or an email. Diawi.com (a freemium service) or a Google Drive link are two good options. Should you use a distribution method that does not require jurors to give up their anonymity, you will be treated like the Digital Game category. Please see the above category for details. If you are an unpublished mobile game using TestFlight or similar distribution method that requires a juror to give up their anonymity, you must wait to be contacted by IndieCade staff or a juror who will provide the necessary UDID / email. IndieCade will not automatically give you a juror’s email or UDID as it is each juror’s personal choice on whether they are open to breaking their anonymity. You will be contacted for access to your submission AFTER you submit your online application. We may contact you for access after the submission deadline.

If you are unsure as to which category your entry falls into, please email [email protected] and we will be happy to work with you to decide what is the best way to evaluate your entry.

Disqualification
IndieCade reserves the right to disqualify entries if any of the submission requirements are not met. Disqualified entries will not receive a submission refund. Grounds for disqualification are:

  • If our reviewers cannot play your submission for technical reasons, they will contact the person listed under the technical support contact. If we do not receive a response within 48 hours of a plan on how to get your submission reviewed, it risks disqualification.
  • If you do not mail in materials by the indicated postmark date. For all work that needs to be sent - you will receive instructions about where to send your work and the postmark deadline. The postmark date is not the same as the submission deadline. Should you need to mail materials in, IndieCade staff will contact you with instructions on where to mail your materials as well as a date it must be postmarked by. Staff will contact you with this info after you have submitted your online application and may contact you after a submission deadline.
  • You abuse the Creator Location discount. If you select a location that has an automatic discount but less than a third (33%) of your team is living in the discounted location, your entry will be disqualified.

Submission Translations

If you require language translation assistance for your submission, please send your request to: [email protected]


IndieCade Submission Fee Assistance

IndieCade is a small, independently-run organization which relies on submission fees to maintain and administer our jurying process. However, we do provide full and reduced submission fee assistance to developers who would not otherwise be able to afford our submission fees. We are also delighted to receive contributions to this scholarship fund. Learn more about the program and how to apply on our IndieCade Scholarship page.Please note that the scholarships are only for the submissions processing fee and not for any related travel or expenses.

In order to account for economic differences, we also have location discounts for Brazil, China, India, and Taiwan with more locations to be added. If the previously mentioned locations are selected as your “Creator Location” in the submission form, the location discount will automatically be applied at checkout. To be eligible for this location discount, a third (33%) of your team must be living in the aforementioned countries. If you abuse the location discount and less than a third (33%) of your team is living in the country, your entry will be disqualified.


IndieCade Submission Fee Breakdown

The submission processing fees are applied directly to costs associated with the submission and reviewing process, including:

  • Software: Development and maintenance of the submissions and jury system software.
  • Reviews: We provide each application a detailed review of their entry created by a hand-picked jury member. Based on feedback we have received about this system, we have an improved evaluation system for 2017 which requires additional funds to support.
  • Server & Operational Costs: A percentage of submission fees also go towards our annual server and storage fees, as well as fees from our payment system.

How The IndieCade Jurying Process Works

Overview
Your entry will pass through several reviewers whose input is taken into consideration when determining whether or not your entry should be accepted into an IndieCade showcase. While the input of some jurors is weighted more, any juror can contest the decision of another, in which case your entry will be further evaluated by others. This evaluation process happens on a rolling basis but a final decision for the Festival is not delivered until later in the year in order to give late submissions an equal chance of acceptance. Please make sure your spam filters do not filter out emails from [email protected] or [email protected] as we use these addresses with Mailchimp to deliver updates, feedback, and festival acceptance notifications.

Part 1: Evaluating Your Game

The jury evaluation period for entries occurs on a rolling basis from March to September. Jurors are assigned entries based on the technical platforms they have available for evaluations and their proficiencies. Jurors are asked to abstain from reviewing entries with which they have a conflict of interest. When a juror abstains or cancels their participation, the entry is assigned to a new juror. All entries are evaluated by the jury committee. Documentation of your submission (gameplay videos, artistic statement, screenshots, etc.) is now more important than ever as it is vital for the jury committee to understand your submission.

For some Special Format entries one of the following may occur:

  • The entry may be assigned to one of our Jury Hubs; these are locations where jurors come together to test local multiplayer, special-format, or tabletop entries and staff will reach out to you with the address of the Hub if you need to mail materials in. If we do not receive a physical or digital copy of your entry to provide to a Jury Hub (if applicable), you risk disqualification.
  • If you have listed events in which your entry has been or will be exhibited, we may assign jurors attending these events to your entry.
  • If your entry is site-specific or performative, we may contact jurors and ask them to visit the installation or performance - or we may contact you with a request to provide a demo of your entry to local jurors.
  • If your entry can be mailed in, IndieCade staff will contact you after you have submitted your online entry form. We will provide you with an address to mail your entry to as well as a date your entry must be postmarked by (risking disqualification otherwise). We may contact you after a submission deadline.
  • If we are unable to do any of the above, we will contact individuals (with your assistance) who have already played your entry and are able to provide a non-biased review of it.

If your entry is, in any way, unusual or unique (which we strongly encourage), we will work with you to assure it is properly juried. In order to do this, we need your help and cooperation by being responsive to email & phone communications from our Jury team.

Due to the scale and complexity of this process, we occasionally have significant challenges getting a game properly juried. If at any time you have concerns about the jurying of your submission, please contact us immediately via [email protected]

Part 2: Finalist Selection Process

At the close of the jurying cycle, the IndieCade Jury Committee - which includes our Jury Chairs, Festival Director, and Festival Chair - analyzes an entry’s submission materials and considers reviewers’ input in order to select our Finalists. Each entrant into the festival is hand selected after multiple rounds of curation. A total of 36 Finalists are selected each year from the pool of submissions. Up to an additional 100 are selected as Official Selections.

Please note: Due to the highly competitive nature of our submissions process and the many wonderful applications we receive, it is possible to receive high praise from the jurors recommending inclusion in the Festival, and still not be selected as a Finalist. This is because we receive more juror recommendations than we can accommodate. Entries that are reviewed highly might be considered as Official Selections.

Part 3: Official Selection Process

The Jury Committee makes the final decision on IndieCade Official Selections. Recommendations can be made based on high juror review scores, positive reviewer feedback or entries that strike the Jury Committee as interesting or noteworthy, or works-in-progress just shy of qualifying as Finalists. Additionally, Official Selections may exhibit entries that were not submitted to IndieCade, or entries that were previously shown at an IndieCade event and have subsequently been published or further developed.

Part 4: E3 Official Selection Process

Entries submitted prior to March 19th, 2017 are eligible for Official Selection status at the IndieCade Showcase @ E3, taking place in June in Los Angeles, California. If an entry is selected for this showcase, the applicants will be contacted no later than May 1st. Unlike Festival notifications, applicants do not receive an email notification if they were not selected. If you do not hear back by the previously mentioned date, we have had to pass on your submission for our IndieCade Showcase @ E3 this year. Acceptance into the IndieCade Showcase @ E3 does not help nor hinder acceptance into the Festival.

Please note: Attendance is required for inclusion in the IndieCade Showcase @ E3. Be aware that, if chosen, you, or a designated representative of your entry, should be available and able to travel to E3 in order to participate in the showcase. If however, you are unable to attend because of travel or visa issues entering the United States please contact us and we will work out a solution.

Part 5: Awards

IndieCade Red Carpet Awards
The IndieCade Red Carpet Awards presents nine innovation-based awards each year at the IndieCade Festival. All Finalist games are eligible for awards in any category. To determine award recipients, all Finalist submissions are played by each member of the Jury Committee who discuss and consider the scores and comments provided by jurors and reviewers. They then determine which Finalist entries should be nominated for each award category. As with regular jurors, the Jury Committee must recuse themselves from discussing any entries to which they may have a relationship (e.g. financial stake, friendship, co-worker, student).

This process takes place over a month-long period via a series of remote meetings in which each Finalist entry is discussed in-depth. During this process, the Jury Committee crafts short statements that detail the reasons each entry is selected as a nominee in a given category, as well as notes on why each of the award-selected games will receive their award.

IndieCade Choice Awards
All Finalists and Official Selections are also eligible for the four IndieCade Choice Awards - a series of awards determined via public votes from Festival attendees, media, the IndieCade Jury, and fellow developers of Finalist and Official Selection entries. These votes are collected throughout IndieCade Festival and IndieCade Europe. Votes are carefully monitored and only one vote per person is allowed. The winners of the IndieCade Choice Awards are announced at the end of the event. The Choice Awards exist in both the Festival and IndieCade Europe.

Part 6: Rejection & Acceptance Notices

Acceptance and rejection notices to all IndieCade events are typically sent out in September. At this point, one of the following will occur:

  • Rejections: Applicants will receive a rejection notice that includes a detailed juror review and an invitation to register for the IndieXchange, our pre-Festival developer and artist summits at IndieCade Festival. Every applicant is eligible to receive at least two tickets for their team to IXC and one Expo level (or equivalent) pass to the rest of the Festival.
  • Finalist or Official Selection Acceptances: If an applicant is accepted as either a Finalist or an Official Selection, they will receive an email from our jury system which will initiate communications with our Games Manager. They will assist applicants with all the logistics regarding preparing your entry and team for their IndieCade event. Acceptance includes two VIP Passes, including IndieXchange invitations for the applicant team. IndieCade does not charge for booth space and some equipment may be provided with priority given to international developers traveling from afar. Additional passes may be obtained via special request, based on availability. Accepted applicants may also receive a speaking invitation from our IndieCade Festival Conference Committee.
    If an entry is accepted, either as a Finalist or Official Selection, we ask that applicants have one team member available to attend the IndieCade event they are chosen for. If a team member is not available to attend the event, we ask that a representative be sent. Our experience has shown that an entry’s exhibition experience is greatly enhanced by the presence of one of its creators or a representative. However, we understand travel arrangements could be difficult to secure and we would be happy to work with applicants who may not be able to find someone to represent their work and field attending media.
Part 7: Inclusion in IndieCade East

IndieCade East takes place in New York City. There is no separate submission process for inclusion of games at IndieCade East and games are curated specifically for the annual theme. In addition to the showcase, we do welcome everyone to apply to the event’s Show & Tell, an open demo space where attendees can sign up (first come, first serve) to show their game in two-hour timeslots - information about Show & Tell signups will be announced alongside IndieCade East ticket sale announcements on www.indiecade.com/east_2017 - keep an eye out for updates. If the IndieCade East Committee determines they would like to include a game in an IndieCade East showcase, the creators will be contacted.


Thank you for taking the time to review the IndieCade 2017 Submission Guidelines.

Find answers to commonly-asked questions on our FAQ page.