Way back in 1999 I found out about the Independent Games Festival at the Games Developer Conference from some people I was acquainted with that were working on Terminus, as it had been entered into the competition.

This was a while before my job in the games industry. I knew I wanted to make games, so I wanted to go to the conference and see what it was all about. And entering a game into the IGF would be great too!

But at the time I wasn’t prepared to make a game. I had a prototype game engine that did some fancy graphics things with a 3DFX Voodoo3 with the Glide API and/or OpenGL. It even had audio, input, collision detection, and a plugin system for writing games using the engine. But there was no game in sight. Back then I tended to implement things far enough to know that I could do them – and then I’d drop it and work on something new.

Beyond not having a game, I spent the majority of my extra money on graphics cards, faster CPUs and more RAM, so that I could play Counter-Strike and Quake III at a slightly higher framerate. No conference passes were in sight. But eventually the tech I built did help me get a job in the games industry….

Over the years, I’ve gone to the GDC a bunch of times and always enjoyed looking at and playing the games that were IGF finalists – still hoping one day to enter my own game. And finally – a few weeks ago – I submitted Banished into the 2014 IGF main competition. Woot. Fifteen years wasn’t that long to wait, was it?

This year there are a whopping 658 entrants. Will Banished even be a finalist? I don’t know – there’s a lot of good competition out there – but I’m happy to have finally built a game, (nearly) finished it, and entered the IGF.


    November 13, 2013 4:22 pm

    That’s awesome Duke, but honestly I just wish we had something to test already while you tease us with your high probability of success in the works of everything that ever existed ever :(


    Ben Doerr
    November 13, 2013 4:22 pm

    That is super exciting. I imagine Banished crushing the competition.

    November 13, 2013 4:24 pm

    Hope it does well and makes it mark – you surely deserve it

    November 13, 2013 4:24 pm

    Im happy you finally got one of your dreams come true. Now as for mine. I wanna play! :)

    November 13, 2013 4:27 pm

    Can we vote?

    rick e
    November 13, 2013 4:28 pm

    If Banished is not a top ten contender, then THERE IS NO JUSTICE.

    November 13, 2013 4:31 pm

    If you’ve entered it, then it must be good enough to be judged – So why in the wide blue fuck are we not buying it and downloading it ??? ????

    November 13, 2013 4:32 pm

    Must be really nice to have such a dream fulfilled! Looking over the various screenshots, I think that Banished stand out quite a bit (among others). I’m sure it will do well.

    I don’t know if it matters, but there’s a question mark instead of a space in the second paragraph of the text in your entry: “Building new homes is not enough?there must be”.

    Cyclone Jack
    November 13, 2013 4:35 pm

    Congratulations on fulfilling a dream! Good luck!

    thiago ribeiro
    November 13, 2013 4:38 pm

    Good luck on competition and grats on personal milestone completion.
    is there a voting system we could select banished?!

    November 13, 2013 4:41 pm

    Great story…truly a feat to be proud of. Best of luck!

    November 13, 2013 5:06 pm

    Congratulations Luke!! That’s amazing, really awesome milestone. Something to be proud of.

    November 13, 2013 5:30 pm

    This story owns. Congrats dude.

    November 13, 2013 5:46 pm

    This story made my day. Congratulations on what you have achieved so far. It’s awesome, and I’m sure it will only get better. Good luck!

    November 13, 2013 6:03 pm

    Cool story – Good Luck with IGF
    also in my eyes this game already more than average unknown strategy game
    eventually people will play it more and more
    because Banished can be a solid game with unique neat style without alternatives
    I can not see many good neat strategy games on the market
    these city-builder games are generally very little now :\ (in my eyes)
    so.. this game is win for me

    November 13, 2013 6:04 pm

    “is win for me” already – i mean

    November 13, 2013 6:49 pm

    Looking at alot of the other games, I think you have a good chance… most of them look like crap.

    November 13, 2013 7:41 pm

    Awesome! I wish you the best of luck, and can wait to try it out while I’m there!

    November 13, 2013 7:43 pm

    Confrats mate, there has never been a game at an IGF i’ve been interested in like i am this one. My sister is really looking foreword to trying Banished out!
    Now what do you mean by “(nearly) finished it”? IGF 2014 isn’t until the 17th-21st of March!

    November 13, 2013 7:52 pm

    I can understand all the excitement and like the others I also want to put my hands on this game.
    But it is important especially for an Indie developer that the game you release is as bug free as possible. Because the same people would come back and complain that it is unacceptable to have to pay for an unfinished product.

    November 13, 2013 8:02 pm

    If it doesn’t win, I say we… banish… the winner!

    November 13, 2013 8:27 pm

    Grats. Hopefully will mean some exposure!

    November 13, 2013 10:03 pm

    Having taken a good look at the IGF entries, I must say that there are many very good ones and some not so good ones this year competiting. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Banished” would end up in the Top 10. I will cross my fingers for you. šŸ˜‰
    …more to see here……

    November 13, 2013 10:16 pm

    So congratulations, you have entered your Plum ale into the county fair, everyone has told you how delicious it is, you grew the plums and fermented the ale and now I have the feeling that the next move is to sell the ale. I take this as the game is done, for I doubt one would enter without a finished product. I am thirsty.

    November 14, 2013 1:43 am

    Good luck man.

    November 14, 2013 3:46 am

    Best of luck!

    November 14, 2013 5:55 am

    Shut up and take my money! (Also if i could vote). HULK WANTS TO BUY AND PLAY!

    November 14, 2013 8:13 am

    Looks interesting and I’m all about supporting indie development. I’m very disappointed with the state of PC gaming at the moment and have been a big backer of Chris Robert’s work. I would be happy to Beta as well and would even pay for the game up front etc. Also have you considered kickstarter?

    November 14, 2013 9:22 am

    I’ll be surprised if Banished doesn’t make the list. Good luck!

    November 14, 2013 10:51 am

    To Be Honest~ i thin kthe game needs fancier roofs, that is shiny and polished šŸ˜›

    it would be nice if it look like this:-

    it’s just a suggestion~

    and to me maybe, complicated politics and armies ( Armies Don’t have to be big, maybe a 25 men per army and little standard to be carried ) r the best in games, and a little complexity would be nice too!~

    i hope to see it in future updates if planned ~ Best of luck!~

    November 14, 2013 10:51 am

    I want some of dat beta already!

    November 14, 2013 11:54 am

    Congrats on realizing your IDF wish :)

    November 14, 2013 11:59 am

    I wish you all the luck, the game is looking amazing!

    November 14, 2013 1:03 pm

    Congrats man. Best of luck!

    November 14, 2013 3:21 pm

    Congrats! Looking at last year’s finalists, I don’t see how Banished isn’t in the Top 5.

    There are so many of us that are excited for this game. We are so grateful that you put the time and money into doing it right the first time.

    One way or another, you will be rewarded for the blood, sweat, and tears you have put into the game. I’m sure of that.

    November 14, 2013 4:45 pm

    i really cant wait for this game im happy for you but i wish we could have a date for realease

    November 14, 2013 5:50 pm

    I really enjoy following this game. Ya, I also like to play it, but I can wait. šŸ˜€

    What I can read and see in the log and videos, show me that you don’t make this game for our pleasure, but for your own.
    That is a trait many of the big companies forget – at least in my opinion.

    I like the UI is plain, with no fancy pattern or colors, just the buttons I need.
    I like that things takes time to build, grow, breed etc. its something that annoys me a lot in similar games, when I make something, i will see it progress not just emerge out of nowhere.
    Also, you didnt add any military – perfect. You made a city-sim, and not another “lets-build-a-city-to-support-my-grand-army-that-will-ceush-petty-NPC-village” game, theres to many of them out there already.

    I am pretty sure you hide a lot of nifty details ingame from us, which is for us to discover, and it is that I’m looking forward to experience.

    But all the details you do show us, is amazing.

    I haven’t followed you THAT long, a few months maybe, but I can tell you for sure, you have my money on release date. šŸ˜€

    Im a big fan of both the Anno and Settlers series, and I am pretty sure that Ubisoft should watch their back once you release Banished, cus they have a serious competitor in this game.

    All best of luck at the IGF.

    November 15, 2013 9:33 am

    You should be happy and proud ! the game must be a finalist.
    Also please release it already !

    November 15, 2013 6:03 pm

    Are you planning on trying to be at PAX East this year?

    November 28, 2013 12:33 am

    When I read ‘Back then I tended to implement things far enough to know that I could do them ā€“ and then Iā€™d drop it and work on something new.’, I laughed. I’m the exact same way.