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Submissions FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Have a question about submitting your game? Click on the links below to reveal the answers. For full Submissions info, click here.

Rules for Updating You Build

  • You may update your build at any time free of charge.
  • HOWEVER, once submitted online, your game will immediately be available to the IndieCade jury for review
  • ANY version (including if you update your game) from the time you submit could be the version that is judged, but there is NO GUARANTEE that the newer version will be the version judged. It is a matter of whether the IndieCade jury has already looked at your game by the time you have updated your build.
  • If you want to submit a later version and GUARANTEE that version is the version we juror, you MUST submit your new build as a NEW SUBMISSION, and WITHDRAW the first version of the game. In this event, you will pay a NEW SUBMISSION FEE, and the original submission fee is NOT REFUNDED.

General Festival Info (click to reveal)

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 annual festival will be held October 9-12, 2014 in the Los Angeles area (Culver City). Often IndieCade also holds several additional showcases including IndieCade East. Please see our website for additions to the schedule and updates on the latest events.
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 posting a notice on the IndieCade Facebook page to find such people. 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.

Submission Eligibility (click to reveal)

What do you mean by 'game'?
We use the term “game” very broadly to mean interactive entertainment, art, or even educational or documentary interactive works. 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, interactive narratives, design, 2D, 3D, mobile, experimental, web-based 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?
IndieCade defines independent as any interactive product motivated by creative passion and inspiration, rather than marketing objectives, and which does not currently have a funding for the actual game design and development by major publisher (see www.theesa.com for a list of major game publishers) or portal. Independent games can be independently funded by the developers, by private investors, by grants, or by association with a non-profit institution. Please feel free to contact submissions@indiecade.com. 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?
Understanding the challenges of independent development, works-in-progress are not only permitted, but encouraged. Please contact submissions@indiecade.com if you have specific questions about the eligibility of your game.
Does my work have to be a computer game?
No. While most games have a digital component, all games are not only welcome, but encouraged. Innovation is the name of the game here.
What kind of games are you looking for?
If you are making it, we want to see it.
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 2 passes if accepted as a finalist, and the festival may accept one or two of the games in the submission, but not all, making it unfair to submissions with multiple discrete creative teams.
  2. Because of the large number of submissions received, and the amount of time our judges have to play them, we ask that your single submission cart be of reasonable size - that if it include several games, they be small games. Also be aware that multiple games in a single may decrease your chances of success, since the judges will base their selection on all the games in the set.
Can I submit a game on a mobile device, old game system, linux, etc?
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. There should be plenty of ways for you to indicate this in your entry form. If you don’t feel that this is adequately represented in the form, please contact submissions@indiecade.com.
For iOS games, developers can do one of the following:
1) If the game is published, provide coupons. Note that iOS coupons expire so you may need to update them. Keep an eye out for mails from jurors asking for updated coupons.
2) If the game is unpublished, you can do one of the following:
a) Upload your game to www.Diawi.com and include a link in your submission. (Preferred method for unpublished games.)
b) Make a special build for jurors; juror UDID's should be automatically sent to yo for an iOS game
c) Upload your game to www.testflightapp.com and add jurors to your group (note this is not the preferred method since it compromises juror anonymity)
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.
Is the competition open to professional game developers?
Yes, absolutely.
Is the competition open to non- game developers (hobbyists, enthusiasts…)?
Yes, absolutely.
Can I mod an existing game?
Yes, but your entry must not violate any End User License Agreements (EULAs) for the software.
If I entered another competition such as The Independent Games Festival, or The Independent Games Competition or LevelUp 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.
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 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.

Submission and Selection Process (click to reveal)

What should I do if my game requires a complex technical setup, or multiple players?
Please include detailed, explicit instructions for getting the game up and running. Make sure the necessary items and individuals are clearly stated in the instructions and description. Please email jury@indiecade.com to explain any special difficulties, and offer advice to the jury coordinator on getting the game successfully run. IndieCade has a special jury task force to coordinate the review of all non-traditional games and prides itself on this process. Please do not communicate directly with judges in any way other than through the jury system.
What if my game is installation or event-based?
The system now 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 or provide instructions and/or materials for jurors to run a session themselves.
Why do you charge to submit a game and where does it go?
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, maintenance, and processing costs. IndieCade is primarily an organization of volunteers, we are not getting rich on this – we are doing the best job we can to respect your games and jurying the to the best of our ability. As a bonus we provide one Three-Day Festival Pass to each game that submits.
Why does the late entry cost more?
The entry deadline for standard submission is 2014 is May 15, 2013. 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 15, 2013.
Where does my money go?
As stated above IndieCade is an independent organization. Game processing fees are applied directly to the following; 1) Submissions and jury software development: IndieCade has built the custom system and continues to build and maintain this system to best meet the needs of the unique and wonderful game submissions to IndieCade and to review them with the utmost respect; 2) Reviews: Developers have asked for better reviews so based on your input this year (2014) we are initiating an expanded review process and true coverage system, so that you will get a solid detailed review from a hand selected reviewer, but this costs us a substantial part of the fees to be able to provide this; 3) And finally the small amount of remaining funds go to keeping the electricity on, as well as the server and storage fees.
May I update my submission once submitted?
Yes, submissions can be updated until the deadline, at which point all submissions have closed.
Who will judge the entries?
A large international jury of more than 100 members representing a wide range of expertise, including professional game designers, games researchers, authors and game writers, and artists, selects the games included in IndieCade. Jurors are selected by invitation only by the IndieCade team and the Board of Advisors. Each game will be played by 2 to 6 specially selected jurors from this pool with total confidentiality. Jurors may be affiliated with submitted projects; however, they will be required to recuse themselves from judging any project with which they have a personal, financial or professional relationship.
What intellectual property rules pertain to this festival?
Our IP rules protect the dual needs of entrants and the operators/sponsors of the contest. They do not transfer ownership from developers to any other entity. IndieCade retains the right to include finalists’ works in its promotional materials but does not claim any ownership to such materials. Entrants warrant that any IP submitted for IndieCade is solely owned by the developers and that any licensed content has been legally obtain. 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 if it is available.
Will my entry materials be returned?
We can only return entry materials if you supply self addressed, pre-paid postage and appropriate box, envelop, or other necessary shipping package. Please also include shipping materials for padding if needed (i.e. bubble wrap and/or popcorn).
Can I replace my entry with a newer and better version after I’ve submitted?
Yes. Just make sure to change all of the information on your form and to do this within the submission window. If you are selected as a finalist you will have the opportunity to show the newest and the best version at the festival.
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 juried as one game.
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 our entries, the finalists, etc. after the competition is over?
We will post materials related to all finalists 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, 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 games 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 (if available) 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.
I've already submitted my game for Indiecade 2014. Do I need to resubmit my game?
No, every game submitted before May 15th will automatically be considered for the E3 showcase as well.
If my game is not selected for the E3 showcase, does this mean I won't be selected for Indiecade either?
No. Inclusion or not in the showcase does not affect your likelihood of selection for Indiecade in October.
Can I submit my game just for the E3 showcase and not for Indiecade?
No, you must submit to IndieCade to be eligible for the E3 showcase.

IndieXchange (click to reveal)

What is the IndieXchange?
IndieXchange is a day-long series of practical developer-focused workshops and one-on-one meetings arranged between developers who have submitted their games to IndieCade and a variety of different funders and publishers interested in investing in games. All submitted games who indicate on their entry form that they are interested are eligible to be included in this event, which includes specially tailored meetings between developers and funders, publishers, participants. Workshops and panels are practical and hands on in nature, examples from 2011 included hands on copies of contracts and IP information by leading lawyers, promotional plans, pitch sessions and more. Meetings were taken with representatives from companies such as Sony, Microsoft, as well as the non-profit organizations such as BBC and the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts).
Can anyone get into IndieXchange?
Every game creator/developer who submits to IndieCade is eligible for a pass to IndieXchange, however, reservations are required. Each private meeting is specifically tailored to the participants. Even if you do not take a private meeting, the event is offers productive 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.
What is the benefit to participating in IndieXchange?
This unique opportunity for developers is designed to provide practical skills to help you level-up, 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.