Submissions FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Have a question about submitting your game? See below. For full Submissions info, click here.
If your questions are not answered below, please contact email@example.com for help or clarification.
General Festival Info Click to expand
- Why is this festival being held?
- IndieCade was established to create vibrant festivals and showcases dedicated to independent games and open to the public. It is our goal to showcase exciting and innovative new work, host productive networking environments, hold important discussions, and have fun.
- When will IndieCade be held?
- IndieCade’s annual festival for 2015 will be held October 22 (IndieXchange Summit) and October 23- 25 (Main Festival) in the Los Angeles area (Culver City). IndieCade also holds several additional showcases including IndieCade East and at the E3 Expo. Please see our website for additions to the schedule and updates on the latest events. Submission to our festival automatically enters your game for consideration in one of our showcases. (Note: Consideration for inclusion in our E3 Expo showcase requires submission by the regular deadline).
- I need help from others to develop my idea - can you put me in touch with possible collaborators?
- You are welcome to submit your idea as a work-in-progress. You may also be interested in sharing your work on the IndieCade Tumblr and participating in an IndieCade-organized game jam. Attending the Conference and Festival is also a great way to meet collaborators. Several IndieCade finalists have been developed by teams that originated at previous festivals. Submitting your game to IndieCade also automatically makes you eligible to participate in IndieXchange, our annual summit for developers. IndieXchange includes networking opportunities as well as opportunities to show works-in-progress.
Submission Eligibility Click to expand
- What do you mean by 'game'?
- We use the term “game” very broadly to mean interactive entertainment, art, non-digital games, all types of hybrid games, educational or documentary interactive works and more. These can be in established genres, or they can push the envelope of our traditional understanding and definition of the word “game.” It is the role of independent work to push the envelope. Interactive entertainment of all types, including virtual worlds, puzzles, augmented reality games, alternate reality games, big games, installations, interactive narratives, 2D, 3D, mobile, experimental, web-based games, and social games, are all acceptable. We also welcome such alternative content as serious games, documentary games, activist games, learning games, and other forms that fall outside the traditional categories of entertainment and traditional definitions of the term “game.”
- I’m not sure if I qualify as an independent game. How can I know?
- Simply put, independent games are games that come from the heart, that follow a creative vision, rather than a marketing bottom line. Independent developers are not owned by or beholden to outside forces. This means that they generally have smaller budgets than mainstream games, but they also have the freedom to innovate and to enlarge our conception of games and game audiences. Indie developers can run the gamut from artists, to academic researchers, to students, to emerging development studios striving to make the next big indie hit, and to developers with strong AAA backgrounds. They can be one person or a large team. They may be internally funded, funded by crowdsourcing, funded by a studio that produces mainstream games, by an association with a university, school or non-profit institution, funded by grants or private investors, or not funded at all! The key is that they create games based on their own unique vision. Please feel free to contact us If you have any questions, we will be happy to help you figure it out.
- Does my game need to be finished for me to submit?
- No. Understanding the challenges of independent development, works-in-progress are not only permitted, but encouraged.
- Does my work have to be a computer game?
- No. All games are not only welcome, but encouraged. We look forward to seeing all ideas and formats.
- What kind of games are you looking for?
- We are open to all games. IndieCade’s mission is to promote and highlight innovation in game creation. We welcome games across all platforms, genres, and audiences. We celebrate high production value, but with IndieCade, innovation is the name of the game. If your game is highly derivative or only a minor variant on a well-established genre, even a well-produced one, while you are welcome to submit it, innovation is a key factor in qualifying for IndieCade, and even unpolished games showing great innovation can be selected. One way to get a feel for the games that we show is to look at the Finalists and Selects for past years. This will give you a good picture of the kinds of atypical games that IndieCade has featured in the past.
- What if I have multiple short games? Can I submit them as one entry?
- IndieCade has long accepted compilations of small games as a single submission from one artist. To ease the burden on our judges, and clarify how we deal with such situations, we ask that submitters consider the following rules and information.
1) Please only submit the work of a single individual or collective as a single submission. You will still only receive a total of two passes if accepted as a finalist. Also, if selected, the specific portion of the compilation showcased at any event will be completely at the discretion of the Festival Chairs.
2) To qualify, the individual pieces in your “set” must be short. The set must be of reasonable size in its entirety. Also be aware that multiple games in a single entry may decrease your chances of success, since the judges will base their selection on all the entirety of the games in the set, so if any of your games are weak it may lessen your chance.. They will also base their selections on how the games work together as a whole.
- Can I submit a game on a mobile device, old game system, linux, etc?
- Yes, you may submit games for operating systems, hardware devices, or mobile platforms that may not have a large installed base. In some cases, supplying the hardware might be necessary. We also have a large jury pool who may have access to your game’s platform, so it is crucial that you are as specific as possible when filling out your entry form. Please review the entry form before writing us with questions; we have many bases covered in this regard.
- I am have an iOS game? How do I submit?
1) If the game is published, provide coupons when the game is assigned a juror. (You will be notified when a juror is assigned. The date that they request the coupon does not impact your submission date. As long as you have submitted within the regular or late submission window you are fine. There are no additional steps you need to take in the form beyond responding to this request with a coupon within the timeframe specified).
2) If the game is unpublished, please upload your game to www.Diawi.com and include the link with your submission. If you are unable to use Diawi, there are several other provisions within our system for jurying of unpublished iOS games.
- Can I submit a tabletop game? And if so how?
- Yes. IndieCade is open to games of any platform or format and receives a large number of traditional board, card, and table games. Simply follow the directions in the submission form and send a copy or copies of the game to the address listed. Your entry must be postmarked by the submission date to qualify. Mailing instructions are within the submission form. Note: your entry will only be returned to you if you provide return packaging and postage.
- How do I submit a big game or a physical game?
- IndieCade’s entry form caters to game creations of all types and our jury is prepared for this type of review. Since in these cases you often cannot actually provide the game, the form has provisions for you to provide documentation of your work, as well as identify where the work may have been played in the past. If possible, the jury will play the game first-hand. If there are any components needed to play the game, you must send those and they must be postmarked by the submission date to qualify. Mailing instructions are within the submission form.
- Can I submit an existing game or must it be new?
- So long as it doesn’t violate any other rules your game may be new or old.
- Can I resubmit a game that has been rejected previously?
- Yes. However, in order to improve your chances, here are some suggestions for resubmitting a previously rejected game:
1) The game should be different than your prior submission. For example, make some changes based on juror feedback. This has proven effective for some games in the past.
2) Change the name of the game or in some other concrete way clearly indicate it is different from a previously submitted game (i.e. Game 2.0). This avoids confusion in case jurors have previously played the game through IndieCade or elsewhere.
2) Be sure and select the checkbox in the system that says this is a revision of a previously submitted game.
- Can I resubmit a game that has been a finalist or select (Official Selection) in a previous IndieCade or Showcase?
- Yes, you can resubmit a game that has been a finalist or official selection. To improve your chances of success, please follow the suggestions above when resubmitting a previously exhibited game.
- Is the competition open to professional game developers?
- Yes, absolutely.
- Is the competition open to non- game developers (hobbyists, enthusiasts…)?
- Yes, absolutely.
- Is the competition open to studios that also create mainstream games for major publishers?
- Yes, absolutely, provided the specific game you are submitting meets the qualifications above.
- Can I mod an existing game?
- Yes, but your entry must not violate any End User License Agreements (EULAs) for the software, and you must have the right to submit and display the work.
- If I entered another competition such as The Independent Games Festival, can I enter this one?
- Yes, we have no requirements limiting the exposure of your game and are happy to have you included in IndieCade. We’re happy to consider previously entered or currently entered work. We also ask that you include any events where your game has been shown in your submission; this can be helpful for us during the jurying process.
- If my work is part of a school project, thesis, or otherwise may I still enter?
- Yes, so long as the rules of your school governing projects developed while at the school allow you to do so. IndieCade does not distinguish between student teams and other independent developers. Student teams are eligible for the same recognition. If the game is submitted on behalf of the students, all student and school-based submissions are required to include contact information for the original development team. This is crucial for technical issues and other questions that may arise.
- If I have had a commercial relationship with any of the judges may I enter?
- Yes, in that case judges involved will recuse themselves from your evaluation. You are welcome to input any of these concerns into your form if you wish.
- If I am a juror, may I submit my game?
- Yes, absolutely. You will never be asked to jury your own game or any game you have worked on. We also have a method for abstaining from jurying any game on which you have a conflict of interest.
- How do I sign up to be a juror?
- Participation in the IndieCade jury is by invitation only, and our jury is carefully curated to reflect a broad range of expertise and backgrounds. If you would like to volunteer to be a juror you may get a referral from an associate who is already a juror or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, briefly describing your qualifications and providing 1-2 references from industry professionals.
Submission and Selection Process Click to expand
- Why do you charge to submit a game? What am I paying for?
- IndieCade is an independent organization. We are probably as indie as you are, if not more so. All fees are applied directly to the development of our submission and jurying software, hardware, server fees, maintenance, and processing costs. The creative team who submits their game also receives complimentary admission to our IndieXchange developer summit, an opportunity to network, attend sessions, and share work. Finalists and Official Selections receive two free All Access passes per team.
- Where does my money go?
- As stated above IndieCade is an independent organization. Game processing fees are applied directly to the following:
1)Software development of the jury system: Our jury system has been painstakingly and iteratively developed over the past eight years to create the best possible experience for developers and jurors, and to accommodate the widest range of innovative games. The bulk of our fees go directly to the software development team responsible for creating this system.
2) Server costs: Direct fees associated with maintaining secure servers.
3) Submission processing fees: Our payment system charges a processing fee. And we expend resources ensuring that each game receives a review.
4) 4) Staff and special handling: A small portion of our submission fees goes to assist in handling incoming physical games; for instance, in 2014 we received over 100 board games, and each one of these must be physically logged and tracked at our offices by staff and volunteer interns.
- Why does the late entry cost more?
- The entry deadline for standard submission is May 1, 2015. At that point we start jurying the games to ensure we can carefully review all of the entrants. It requires extra work and software for us to add games after that date. Late submissions are accepted through June 1, 2015. Note: there is absolutely no difference in how the game is reviewed if it is entered late, it simply is more work for us.
- Does entering late impact the way my entry is judged or anything else?
- No. The late entry simply is a grace period for people who cannot complete their submission in time for the regular submission deadline. Submitting in the late submission period does not impact anything about the way the game is reviewed in any way.
- May I update my submission once submitted?
- Yes, submissions can be updated until the deadline (by which you have submitted), at which point all submissions have closed.
- Who will judge the entries?
- Each IndieCade submission is assigned a minimum of two jurors drawn from a pool of over 500 jurors, representing a wide range of expertise, with additional jurors added as needed to give each game a fair assessment. IndieCade jurors include past IndieCade finalists, professional developers from both industry and the mainstream game industry, fine artists, researchers and academics, curators, journalists and game writers, and students with past game development history. Based on detailed profiles, submissions are assigned to jurors who have the best possible
qualifications and technological infrastructure to review each game. For instance, if your game is an art game or an educational game, we will assign it to jurors with expertise in this area. Additionally, each games is also assigned a juror who writes in-depth reviews of each submission. You may also receive some feedback from additional jurors, but we do work hard to ensure that you receive thoughtful feedback. We work to avoid submitting games to jurors with a potential conflict of interest; however, jurors also have the ability to recuse themselves from reviewing games for which such a conflict exists.
- What intellectual property rules pertain to this festival?
- IndieCade does not claim any ownership of your game or any of its associated assets or intellectual property. IndieCade does retain the right to include finalists’ works in its promotional materials. Entrants warrant that any IP submitted for IndieCade is solely owned by the developers and that any licensed content has been legally obtained. IndieCade reserves the right to deem ineligible any submission that violates the intellectual property rights of others.
- Will I receive confirmation of my entry?
- Applicants will receive a submission confirmation within one week of receipt of submission. Finalists will be contacted just prior to the official announcement. Rejection notices will include brief feedback from jurors when it is available.
- Will my entry materials be returned?
- We can only return entry materials if you supply self addressed, pre-paid postage and an appropriate box, envelope, or other necessary shipping package. Please also include shipping materials for padding if needed (i.e. bubble wrap and/or popcorn), and a note requesting that your materials be returned.
- Can I replace my entry with a newer and better version after I’ve submitted?
- Yes, but only within your submission window. Just make sure to change all of the information on your form and to do this within the submission window (so you may update by May 1st if you have a regular submission and June 1st if you have a late submission). Here are the rules:
1) You may update your build at any time free of charge during your submission period.
2) Once you have completed your submission form online, your game will immediately be available to the IndieCade jury for review.
3) At this point, any version (including if you update your game) from the time you submit could be the version that is judged; there is no guarantee that the newer version will be the version that is judged. It is a matter of whether the IndieCade jury has already looked at your game by the time you have updated your build.
4) If you want to submit a later version of the game and guarantee that version is the version we judge, you must submit your new build as a new submission, and withdraw the first version of the game. In this event, you will need to pay a new submission fee. We cannot refund the original submission fee.
- If I am selected, can I show a different version of the game than was submitted?
- Yes, If you are selected as a finalist you will have the opportunity to show the newest and the best version at the festival or any showcase.
- Can I enter more than one game?
- Absolutely! You may enter as many as you like. Each game requires its own submission information in order to be juried as its own game. If you have a series of short games you may submit those as one game, but realize they will also be reviewed as one game.
- Must I have a working version of my (digital) game in order to submit?
- Yes. You must provide access to a working version of your game in order to avoid disqualification. You will be contacted if there are any technical difficulties and it is up to you to respond and help work out the issue. Any submission, even if paid, which does not include access to a working version of the game, will be disqualified. Event-based games can be played by asking jurors to attend an event where the game is already being shown, or asking developers to attend a special jurying session. Board games must be physically mailed or delivered to IndieCade’s Los Angeles office to avoid disqualification. Note that refunds are not provided for entries which are disqualified.
- What are grounds for disqualification?
- A game may be disqualified if:
1) The game does not meet the eligibility requirements.
2) For digital games, jurors are unable to access a working version of the game. Our system has a mechanism for our jurors to contact you with technical problem. If a game does not operate on the specified platform, we will make up to three juror reassignments before the game is disqualified. This is why it’s extremely important to include a reachable technical contact with your submission and to respond in a prompt fashion to inquiries from email@example.com.
3) For event- or installation-based games, if jurors cannot play the game at an existing event or by arrangement with developers via a special jurying session. Again, you must be available to show your game as requested.
4) For board games, if developers do not deliver a physical copy of the game to our offices by the submission deadline; any board game not postmarked by the deadline will be disqualified. Also note that we do not refund fees for games that are disqualified.
- Can my game be disqualified after I submit?
- A game may be disqualified if a) The game does not meet the eligibility requirements; or b) Developers are unable to provide a working version of the game. Our system has a mechanism for our jurors to contact you with technical problem. If a game does not operate on the specified platform, we will make up to three juror reassignments before the game id disqualified. This is why it’s extremely important to include a reachable technical contact with your submission. Also note that we do not refund fees for games that are disqualified.
- What will you do with selected and finalist games after the competition is over?
- We will post materials related to all finalists and official selections on our website for ongoing public exposure and inspiration. If your game is for sale we will also be happy to host links to the appropriate site.
- Will we be notified if I am a finalist or not before the finalists are publicly announced?
- If you are a finalist or an official selection, you will be contacted before the official announcement, so you can begin to make plans to attend the event. All entrants are informed of their game’s status just before the official announcement is made. If your game is selected, we will also send you official logos to post on your web site and other materials. Rejection notices come with a small feedback section synthesizing comments from judges who played your game.
- If we are a team and win an award how is it distributed?
- The award will be given to the designated organization or individual the team specifies in its application.
- Do you have prizes?
- Each award winning game receives a handmade, one-of-a-kind trophy artwork specifically designed for each awardee. IndieCade does not provide traditional prizes or cash for award winners.
- I've already submitted my game for Indiecade 2015. Do I need to resubmit to be eligible for IndieCade's showcase at E3 or other events?
- No, every game submitted before our regular deadline of May 1, 2015 will automatically be considered for the E3 showcase as well. Note that inclusion in IndieCade’s showcase at E3 does not impact selection for IndieCade Festival in October.
- If my game is not selected for the IndieCade showcase at E3, does this mean it won't be selected for the IndieCade Festival either?
- No. Inclusion or not in the showcase does not affect your likelihood of selection for Indiecade Festival in October.
- Can I submit my game just for the E3 Showcase and not for IndieCade Festival?
- No, you must submit to IndieCade Festival to be eligible for the IndieCade Showcase at E3.
- Can I submit my game for IndieCade East?
- No. IndieCade East does not take game submissions, games at East are hand curated. Submissions to the main festival are often considered for these curations.
- What should I do if my game requires a complex technical setup, or multiple players?
- Because IndieCade is all about innovation, the IndieCade jury system is designed to accommodate a wide range of game genres, platforms and contexts. Each juror fills out a detailed profile which includes technology to which they have access, as well as events they have attended. We then work diligently to assign your game to jurors who have both the qualifications and the technology to review your game. Additionally, we have special jurying sessions for multiplayer and special format games. If your game has special format considerations, such as a live, event-based game or installation, we may contact you and ask you to give a demo presentation to jurors. In any case, we ask that you please respond quickly to inquiries from our jury team and make sure your spam folders are cleared for such inquiries. The most common cause for disqualification is failure to respond to requests to make a working version of your game available to jurors. We need your help in order to avoid disqualification since it is our goal to play your game!
- What if my game is installation or event-based?
- The system includes a new feature that allows you to include events and venues where your game has been shown. This will enable us to match your game with jurors who have attended these events or venues and have played your game in its full form. We may also ask you to stage a session of your game, bring your game to one of our special jurying sessions, or provide instructions and/or materials for jurors to run a session themselves.
IndieXchange Click to expand
- What is the IndieXchange?
- IndieXchange is a day-long developer summit that consists of opportunities to showcase games to one another, have meetings, and attend practical developer-focused workshops. Additionally, one-on-one meetings are arranged between developers who have submitted their games to IndieCade and a variety of different indie studios, funders, and publishers interested in investing in games. All games submitted by developers to IndieCade who indicate on their entry form that they are interested are eligible to be included in this event. Examples of workshops and panels from the past years include hands-on legal and PR clinics, technology sessions, pitch sessions and meetings with representatives from IndieCade sponsors such as Sony PlayStation, Nintendo of America, Microsoft, Google, and more, as well as non-profit organizations such as the BBC and the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts). For more information, refer to the IndieXchange section of the website closer to the date.
- When is the IndieXchange?
- The IndieXchange is traditionally held the on Thursday, the day before the Festival begins. It functions like a pre-event summit.
- Can anyone get into IndieXchange?
- Every game creator/developer who is identified/credited on the submission form, of a completed submission to IndieCade, is eligible for a pass to IndieXchange, however, reservations are required. By participating in the IndieXchange you are able to attend a full day of sessions, and sign up for the Game Tasting (show-and-tell). Additionally there are some private meetings, networking opportunities, and high-level workshops. This is ONLY open to developers who submit to IndieCade, no other developers are eligible. All funders and sponsors are invited by special arrangement with IndieCade.
- Does the IndieXchange cost money?
- Yes. However if you complete a game submission you will be provided with complimentary (free) entrance to this event. The event is specifically designed for developers who have submitted to IndieCade.
- What is the benefit to participating in IndieXchange?
- This unique opportunity for developers is designed to provide practical skills to help you level-up, show your game, connect with key players in the industry and the arts, and put you face-to-face with potential funders, publishers, investors, mentors, or advisors. Even if you aren't interested in this for your current game or already have a great deal, this is a prime opportunity for building a long-term relationship that may benefit your future work.
Selection Process: How it works Click to expand
Roles and Definitions
- Jury Committee
- The jury committee is made of four members and overseen by the Festival Director and Chair. Together this committee oversees and coordinates the jury process. This committee is responsible for assigning jurors to games to assure that each game receives a fair evaluation; determine IndieCade Finalists based on scores and reviews; and make recommendations for curated games to the Chairs/Curators of each division/showcase. This committee also recruits and monitors jurors.
- Jurors are drawn from prior IndieCade Finalists and Official Selections, industry professionals, researchers and academics, journalists, game writers, curators and others with expertise in interactive media, game design, and media. Each juror has a profile which specifies their expertise, interest, technical capabilities, and the number of games they review. Games are specifically assigned to each juror based on this information. If a juror has a conflict of interest there is a process in which the juror is recused from reviewing the game. Jurors cannot specifically request a game or developer to review in order to negate potential conflict. Each game is assigned a minimum of two jurors, with jurors added as needed until the game is played or any controversy over its score and review is resolved. The first round jurors assess for technical issues and provide written reviews. Additionally, each game is also assigned a juror who writes in-depth reviews of each submission. You may also receive some feedback from additional jurors, we do work hard to ensure that you receive thoughtful feedback. IndieCade now has approximately 500 jurors from around the world who participate in our jurying process. In order to provide the most fair and best environment for reviewing games, jurors remain anonymous so that they cannot be lobbied. This is a very thorough process and takes nearly three months to complete the work of going through all of the games entered.
- Awards Jury
- Once the games are reviewed, the Jury Committee utilizes IndieCade’s system to sort the jury reviews and scores in order to identify the finalists, their nominations are then put forth to the Awards Jury Committee. In keeping with the models built by the leading festivals world-wide (Cannes in France and Sundance), the Awards Jury Committee includes no more than a dozen jurors from a diverse array of fields, including game design, filmmaking, music, journalism, and writing. Members of the Awards Jury Committee rotate periodically. Every member of this group play all of the Finalist games (recusing themselves from any game on which they may have a conflict of interest). This committee is coordinated by an Awards Jury Chair, who ensures that the games are played to completion in a timely fashion and that the process goes smoothly. The chair does not hold any special voting privileges. Again, jurors remain anonymous throughout the process so that they cannot be lobbied. The Awards jurors are acknowledged at the IndieCade Innovation Awards Ceremony. The Awards Jury Committee is only responsible for determining the recipients of the nine IndieCade Innovation Awards.
- Finalist Game
- A Finalist game has been reviewed by the jury and has been nominated to be considered for an award. IndieCade has one round of finalist games per year. Each of these games have been played and reviewed by the entire Awards Jury. These games are eligible for all of the IndieCade Awards. Only Finalists are eligible for nine of the innovation awards as determined by the jury and reviewed again by the awards jury. Finalist games are also eligible for the three awards determined by popular vote (Developer, Media, and Audience Choice Awards). There are 36 finalist games nominated each year.
- Various aspects of the Festival and IndieCade’s showcases are curated by special task forces. These selected games are usually recommended by the jury for the status of official selection. The curators pull a selection of these games from the IndieCade submission pool for each year in a variety of categories. Curated exhibits include the “digital selects,” “table games,” “big games,” “Night Games,” “eSports,” as well as showcases for E3, East, and other events.
- Official Selection
- Official Selections are hand picked by curation committees to be shown in various external showcases (i.e) or internal showcase at IndieCade (i.e. these include the “digital selects,” “table games,” “big games,” “Night Games,” “eSports,” as well as showcases for E3, East and other events). There are upward of 100 Official Selections across the various genres and platforms each year. Unlike the Finalist Games, Official Selections can be chosen all year long for various events. Official Selections at the IndieCade Festival are eligible for the three “choice awards” (Audience, Media, and Developer) which are bestowed at the culmination of the Festival each fall.
- Award Winners
- At the IndieCade Innovation Awards, we give out a total of nine juried awards in a variety of areas including design, interaction, sound, and more as well as two general awards: Grand Jury and Special Recognition. For more detailed descriptions of the award categories visit that page on the website. Finalist games are eligible for those awards which take place annually the night before the Festival. Unique to IndieCade, all finalist games are eligible for all the categories, they are not nominated in advance for any category thus allowing the most opportunities possible for every game. Receiving an award is highly competitive and it takes a lot of steps to get there. At the IndieCade Festival Closing Ceremony, we give out a total of three awards voted on by various categories - Audience, Developers, and Media. Official Selections and Finalist Games are all eligible for those very meaningful awards.
How the Jurying Process Works
- 1. Submission
- When you submit your game, it goes into our submissions database. Once you have paid your submission processing fees, one of two things will happen:
1) If your game can be reviewed online or via download or coupon, it will be marked submitted and be immediately eligible for jurying.
2) If your game has a special format or requires special handling, such as an events-based, installation, board game, or game with special hardware requirements, your game will be marked Pending. Once we have confirmed that a playable build is available (e.g. your board game has been received at our office, your game will be at an event), the Pending status will be removed and your submission with be authorized for jurying.
Note that games for which no working build is provided will be disqualified. We will contact you and give you three opportunities so make sure your spam filters are set to receive email from IndieCade. We do not give refunds for disqualified games.
- 2. Jurying Begins
- Games that can be immediately played by jurors are put into the processing queue and are assigned jurors by the Jury Committee. We do our utmost to avoid conflicts of interest. Jurors who have accidentally been assigned to games they have a relationship to (financial stake, friendship, co-worker, student, etc.) are asked to abstain from judging those games. When a juror abstains, the game is assigned a new juror.
If your game requires a special setup, is an installation, is a board game, or will be played in a local multiplayer session, then your game is specially assigned to jurors who have played it at an event, or it is played at an IndieCade special jurying session. For these types of games, it is essential that you either mail us the game (required for board games) or be available to assist in getting the game juried; we may even ask you to set up and run a demo of your game for our jurors.
If a game has a wide disparity in marks between any two of its jurors, it is assigned an additional juror until a consensus is reached. Additionally, all games 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 that the game is fully reviewed and considered.
Additionally, each game is also assigned a juror who writes in-depth reviews of each submission. You may also receive some feedback from additional jurors, but we do work hard to ensure that you receive thoughtful feedback.
- 3. Finalist Seleciton Process
- When jurying has finished, the IndieCade Jury Committee analyzes the scores and reviews given to games by jurors. The top scoring games (around 15 to 25 percent of total submissions) are then considered by the Jury Committee as potential Finalists using a special 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 everything lower or higher than one standard deviation away from the whole jury’s average. Additionally Innovation scores are given extra weight (close to twice other scoring categories). A total of 36 finalists are selected each year from the pool of submissions. Up to an additional 100 are recommended and selected as Official Selections.
Some factors to be aware of: Due to the highly competitive nature of the Festival and the wonderful games that are submitted, it is possible to receive high scores, and even a juror’s comment that the game should be in the Festival, and still not be selected as a Finalist. This is because more jurors are likely to suggest admittance than the finalist slots that we can accommodate. Games that score highly are sometimes recommended as Official Selections. Additionally, the jury committee will sometimes recommend a game as an Official Selection if we feel that a later iteration of the game has a stronger chance of being award-worthy. We want to give developers the opportunity to resubmit a more completed version of the game for award consideration at a later date.
- 4. Official Selection Process
- The Jury Committee also makes recommendations to curators of the IndieCade Selects exhibits (Digital Selects, Table Games, Big Games, eSports, Night Games, IndieCade East, E3, etc.), including games with high scores or positive juror reviews, as well as games that may be interesting or noteworthy, works-in-progress, or other games that may not qualify as Finalists. The curation teams may draw from these games in their curation, as well as identifying their own games that have been submitted that they wish to curate into their exhibits. Additionally, curators may exhibit games that were not submitted, or games that were previously at IndieCade and have subsequently been published or further developed.
- 5. Award Selection
- For the nine innovation awards, each Finalist game is played by all members of the Awards Jury Committee who discuss and consider the scores and comments given by the main jury, and determine which of the Finalists should be considered as nominees for each of the juried IndieCade Innovation Awards. As with regular jurying, Awards Jurors recuse themselves from discussing any games on the list they have a relationship to (financial stake, friendship, co-worker, student, etc.) This process takes place over a monthlong period via a series of remote meetings in which each Finalist game is discussed in-depth. During this process, the Awards Jury Committee crafts short a statement as to why a each game was selected as a nominee, as well as why each specific game was given an award. All nominated games are eligible for awards in all categories.
All Finalists and Official Selections are eligible for the three IndieCade Choice Awards. These awards are determined via votes from the audience, media, and developers respectively which are collected during the Festival. Votes are carefully monitored and only one vote per person is allowed and logged. These winners are announced at end of the Festival.
- 6. Rejection/Acceptance and Festival Participation
- Acceptance and rejection notices are typically sent out by September 1. If your game is rejected, you will receive a rejection notice with juror feedback, as well as be invited to register for IndieXchange, our gamemaker’s summit and networking event.
If your game is accepted as either a Finalist or an Official Selection, you will receive notification through our system and begin communications with our Developer Relations representative, who will assist you in all the logistics of getting your game and your team to IndieCade. Acceptance includes two All Access passes for your team members and also includes invitations to the IndieXchange. Should a game have more than two team members IndieCade makes sure that all team members receive exhibition access to showcase the game. You may also receive an invitation from our Conference Committee to speak at our annual professional conference.
If your game is accepted into either track of the exhibition program, we ask that you make at least one of your team members available to attend IndieCade, which will take place October 22-25 in Culver City, California. If you do not have a team member available at this time, we ask that you send a representative. Our experience has shown that games exhibit better when a developer or developer representative is present at the event. We understand that this can be an expense and will work with you if you are not able to come to help find someone to showcase your game and field the media.