We are accepting game submissions for IndieCade Festival 2015

Submissions FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Have a question about submitting your game? See below. For full Submissions info, click here.

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 annual festival will be held October, 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 expand

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 http://www.theesa.com/about-esa/members/ 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 Testfairy.com or HockeyApp.net and add jurors to your group (note this is not the preferred method since it compromises juror anonymity; TestFlightApp is not recommended due to recent changes in service)
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 expand

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. In addition, for your submission fee It is our goal to use our resources to provide you with constructive input in the form of written feedback about your game, as well as complimentary admission for your team to our IndieXchange developer summit - for more information refer to the submission form and the website.
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.
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. Based on that input, we have initiated an expanded review process and true coverage system, so that you will get a solid and detailed review from a hand-selected reviewer. It costs us a substantial part of the fees to be able to provide this service; 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 close to 400 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 2015. Do I need to resubmit to be eligible for IndieCade's showcase at E3 or other events?
No, every game submitted before May 1, 2015 will automatically be considered for the E3 showcase as well.
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.

Rules for Updating You Build Click to expand

  • 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.

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 submitted games 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 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.
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.

Selection Process: How it works Click to expand

1. Submission
When you submit your game, it goes into our submissions database. These games are assigned by Jury Chairs to Jurors and Super Jurors.
2. Potential Finalists
Games that can be played by jurors at home are hand assigned one Super Juror and one Regular Juror 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 games requires a special setup, is an installation, is a board game, or should 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 the juror is unable to make the build work, and the developer is unresponsive to requests for help, that juror cancels the review. When a juror cancels, the game is assigned a new juror. If this happens three times, the game is disqualified.

If the games receives marks indicating some accomplishment in artistry, innovation or quality from a Super Juror or high marks in those same categories from a regular juror, it is assigned an additional juror.

If a game has a wide disparity in marks between any two of its jurors, it is assigned an additional juror.
3. Potential Finalist Selection
When jurying has finished, IndieCade analyzes the marks given to the games by the jurors using an algorithm that focuses on the qualities IndieCade looks for in games and averages and weights juror scores based on those jurors proclivities.

The top scoring games in this algorithm (around 15 to 25 percent of total submissions) are then considered by the Jury Committee as potential Finalists.
4. Finalists and Selects
The Committee respects the individual jurors scores, but brings additional research to the table, often playing many of the games on the list for discussion. The Committee focuses on building a selection of finalists that highlights the best games submitted, focusing on innovation and artistry, and balancing the exhibit to display games developed by a wide variety of voices, for a wide variety of audiences, on a variety of platforms, and in a variety of ways. Their job is to ensure the IndieCade Finalists exhibit the breadth and depth of games, play, and interactive media.

The games on the Potential Finalists list are also shared with the curators of the IndieCade Selects exhibits (Digital Selects, Table Games, Big Games, eSports, Night Games, IndieCade East, and E3). These exhibits are hand curated by these curators who consider the games on the list and other exhibit appropriate games (both submitted and unsubmitted) to curate.
5. Award Winners
Each Finalist is played by members of the Awards Jury who report to the whole Jury about the game and their experience playing it. The Awards Jury also considers the marks and comments given by the main jury, and determines which of the Finalists should be considered for each of the juried IndieCade Awards.

The Awards Jury is made up of a collection of insightful and interesting artists from the field of games and other creative media. This team provides an important set of checks and balances. The Awards Jury Chair organizes the process, and serves to lead the meetings of the Awards Jury.

This process takes several meetings over the month between Finalist selection and the Festival, and each game is discussed as a part of the meetings. Awards Jurors recuse themselves from discussing any games on the list they have a relationship to (financial stake, friendship, co-worker, student, etc.)
6. Festival
The Finalists and Selects are announced before the festival, and the Awardees are announced at the festival. All Finalists and Selects are exhibited at the festival.

All Finalists and Selects are eligible for the IndieCade Choice Awards. These awards are determined via votes from the audience, media, and developers respectively. Votes are carefully monitored and only one vote per person is allowed. These winners are announced near the end of the festival.