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.
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.
All submissions are closed as of July 1st
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.
All entries submitted to IndieCade by the above deadlines receive the following benefits:
IndieCade does not charge any additional exhibitor booth fees.
*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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
Compete the online entry form and be sure to include the following information:
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]
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.
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 you require language translation assistance for your submission, please send your request to: [email protected]
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.
The submission processing fees are applied directly to costs associated with the submission and reviewing process, including:
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.
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:
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.
Acceptance and rejection notices to all IndieCade events are typically sent out in September. At this point, one of the following will occur:
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.
Find answers to commonly-asked questions on our FAQ page.