- PLEASE READ SUBMISSION GUIDELINES CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH YOUR APPLICATION-
IndieCade was established to create vibrant public festivals and showcases dedicated to celebrating exciting and innovative work within independent games. As such, we’re excited to announce that applications are now open for the IndieCade 2016 season. We invite independent game developers, artists, and designers from around the world to submit interactive media of all types for inclusion in IndieCade events. Both completed or work-in-progress projects are welcome.
We take pride in hosting events that feature amazing indie games, productive networking environments, spaces for important discussions, and a whole ton of fun! All games are reviewed by a diverse jury of leaders from the games industry, academia, fine arts, and indie development for placement & award nominations at IndieCade Showcase @ E3 and IndieCade Festival. Read our guidelines below (or our Frequently Asked Questions page) to learn more about our submission process. We can be contacted via central(at)indiecade(dot)com to answer your specific questions.
IndieCade Showcase @ E3 2016:
June 14 - 16, 2016 | Los Angeles Convention Center | Los Angeles, California, USA
IndieCade Festival 2016:
October 2016 (Days TBA) | (Venue TBA) | Los Angeles, California, USA
Submissions are NOT accepted for IndieCade East. Games at East are chosen from showcases featured at past IndieCade events.
Please note Early Submissions are only considered for IndieCade @ E3 2016 and IndieCade Festival 2016 with Late Submissions only being eligible for IndieCade Festival. We do not accept submissions for IndieCade East 2016. We offer a limited number of IndieCade Scholarships to developers and creators in need of financial assistance - click here to learn more.
Early Submission Period (IndieCade Showcase @ E3 & IndieCade Festival):
February 1 - April 1, 2016 | Fee: $80
Late Submission Period (IndieCade Festival only):
April 2 - May 15, 2016 | Fee: $110
IndieCade Showcase @ E3 2016 Official Selections will be notified by May 15, 2016.
IndieCade Festival Finalists & Official Selections will be notified by August 31, 2016.
IndieCade is an independent organization and our ultimate goal is to bring the eye of the industry & general public to your game. 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.
Games submitted to IndieCade by the above deadlines are eligible for one of two designations:
Finalists: Games selected, based on scores and reviews by the IndieCade Jury, for our annual IndieCade Festival Red Carpet Awards. Finalist games are also eligible for the IndieCade Festival Audience, Media, Developer, & Jury Choice Awards. They also qualify for future IndieCade East curated showcases.
Official Selections: Games curated by IndieCade Chairs for showcases at IndieCade Festival and IndieCade Showcase @ E3. Official Selection games are eligible for the IndieCade Festival Audience, Media, Developer, & Jury Choice Awards. They also qualify for future IndieCade East curated showcases.
All entries submitted to IndieCade receive the following basics:
Applicants that are accepted as IndieCade Showcase @ E3 OR IndieCade Festival Official Selections receive the following, in addition to the basic benefits for all applicants listed above:
Applicants that are accepted as IndieCade Festival Finalists receive the following, in addition to the basic benefits for all applicants listed above:
IndieCade welcomes all applications representing any form of interactive media within the realm of independent games. Independent games, 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. Games may be published or unpublished, but their development may not be funded by a publisher. If you need assistance in determining your project's eligibility status, please contact central(at)indiecade(dot)com - 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. Games which were previously submitted to IndieCade may be re-submitted provided they:
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 games 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 they should include at least one finished, playable level. Please be aware that an unfinished game of merit may be designated as an Official Selection rather than as a Finalist. This is, in part, to allow applicants the opportunity to re-submit their finished work for future Indiecade Festival Red Carpet Awards consideration.
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 game can not be reviewed or displayed, it will be disqualified.
Compete the online entry form and be sure to include the following information:
Applications that are not submitted with a playable entry will be disqualified. All entries sent to us, regardless of format, must be provided, uploaded, or postmarked before their relevant deadlines. You must provide a working version of your game in one of the following formats:
Submit your completed entry and processing fee prior to our submission deadlines. If you are interested in the IndieCade Scholarship program, you must apply and wait your your acceptance notice before you submit your entry.
Early Submissions (Eligible for IndieCade Showcase @ E3 & IndieCade Festival):
Submit by April 1, 2016 11:59PM PST | Fee: $80
Late Submission Period (Eligible for IndieCade Festival only):
Submit by May 15, 2016 11:59PM PST | Fee: $110
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, although you may update the contents of your game or download. However, be aware that jury reviews begin upon submission; if you modify your game, you risk having jurors reviewing different versions of your game.
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. IndieCade reserves the right to disqualify entries if any of the submission requirements are not met. Disqualified games will not receive a submission refund.
If you require language translation assistance for your submission, please send your request to: translation(at)indiecade(dot)com
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 fee scholarships to developers who would not otherwise be able to afford our submission fees. Learn more about the program and how to apply on our IndieCade Scholarship page.
The submission processing fees are applied directly to costs associated with the submission and reviewing process, including:
Our Early Submission period is open between February 1st to April 1st and our Late Submission period is open from April 2nd to May 15th. Once an entry has been submitted and paid its application fee, one of two things will happen:
If an application is received but no working build of the entry is provided, we will contact the applicant and offer them three opportunities to provide access to a working build of their entry. Please make sure all spam filter settings are set to receive emails from IndieCade. Applications that do not provide a working entry to evaluate will be disqualified and no refund will be provided.
The jury evaluation period for entries occurs on a rolling basis throughout February 1st - June 15th. Games that can be immediately played and reviewed via online or download means will be automatically assigned to jurors for review. Jurors are assigned entries based on the technical platforms they have available for evaluations and the designated genres-of-interest keywords they designate on their profiles. Jurors are asked to abstain from reviewing games with which they have a conflict of interest. When a juror abstains or cancels their participation, the game is immediately assigned to a new juror. Each entry is assigned to two jurors and one Review Juror, a hand-selected member of the jury who provides an in-depth review of each submission to its applicants. Feedback from regular jurors, while we request it, is voluntary and we cannot guarantee the quality of the feedback.
For special-format entries, or entries marked as Pending Submissions because of special jury requirements, one of the following will occur:
If you 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.
If an entry has a wide disparity in review scores between any of its jurors, it is assigned an additional juror until a consensus is reached. Additionally, all entries that receive a mark of excellence in any category - even if they do not receive a cumulative high score - are reviewed by additional jurors to ensure the entries are fairly reviewed and considered.
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 game, please contact us immediately via central(at)indiecade(dot)com.
At the close of the jurying cycle, the IndieCade Jury Committee - which includes our Jury Chairs, Festival Director, and Festival Chair - analyzes the jurors’ scores and reviews. Top-scoring entries (around 10-20% of total submissions) are then considered by the Jury Committee as potential Finalists using a special scoring algorithm to assess the games.
This algorithm creates a weighted average of the scores submitted by jurors using the following general rules: Jurors have their scores compared to a standard distribution - and those scores are corrected slightly for Jurors who typically score all their entries lower or higher than one standard deviation away from the whole jury’s average.
A total of 36 finalists are selected each year from the pool of submissions. Up to an additional 100 are selected as Official Selections by our Curatorial Committees based on recommendations from the Jury Committee and showcase curator discretion.
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 scores and even comments 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 score highly might be considered as Official Selections. Additionally, if a future iteration of an entry has a stronger chance of being award-worthy, it might also be considered as an Official Selection - giving developers the opportunity to resubmit a further-completed version for awards consideration at a later date.
The Jury Committee also makes recommendations to the curators of IndieCade Official Selections (Digital Selects, Table Games, Big Games, eSports, Night Games, E3, etc.). Recommendations can be made based on high juror review scores or positive juror feedback. Entries that strike the Jury Committee as interesting or noteworthy, or works-in-progress just shy of qualifying as Finalists, may also be recommended as Official Selections. Additionally, curators of 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.
Entries submitted prior to April 1st 2016 are eligible for Official Selection status at the IndieCade Showcase @ E3 2016 Showcase, taking place June 14 - 16 in Los Angeles, California. If an entry is selected for this showcase, the applicants will be contacted no later than May 15th.
Please note: Attendance is required for inclusion in the IndieCade Showcase @ E3 2016 Showcase. Be aware that you, or a designated representative of your entry, should be available and able to travel to E3 2016 in order to participate in the showcase.
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 games are played by each member of the Awards Jury Committee who discuss and consider the scores and comments provided by the Jury Committee. They then determine which Finalist entries should be nominated for each award category. As with regular jurors, Awards Jurors must recuse themselves from discussing any games 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 Awards 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.
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 games. These votes are collected throughout IndieCade Festival. 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 Festival.
Acceptance and rejection notices to all IndieCade events are typically sent out by August 15th. At this point, one of the following will occur:
Rejections: Applicants will receive a rejection notice that includes at least one juror review and an invitation to register for the IndieXchange, our pre-Festival developer and artist summits at IndieCade Festival 2016. Every applicant is eligible to receive at least two tickets for their team to IXC. Please note that reviews from regular jurors, while we request it, are voluntary and we cannot guarantee the quality of the feedback.
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 All-Access Passes, including IndieXchange invitations for the applicant team. 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 game and field attending media.
IndieCade East takes place April 29 - May 1, 2016 in New York City. Works shown at this event are independently curated by the IndieCade East Committee through a completely separate process that primarily focuses on works shown at prior IndieCade Showcase @ E3 and IndieCade Festival events. There is no submission process for inclusion of games at IndieCade East, but 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 - 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 no later than February 15th.