2018 Freeplay Award Rules & Submission Guidelines

The following rules are the conditions for participating in the 2018 Freeplay Awards. By entering and participating, entrants accept these conditions.

Who can enter?

  • The awards are open to all Australian independent game developers, students, and artists. This year we welcome New Zealand independent game developers to submit their games to our new ‘Across the Ditch’ category. Entries may be made by either individuals or teams.


  • This competition is a game of skill, and chance plays no part in determining the winners.
  • Freeplay reserves the right in its sole discretion to decide whether an entry may compete or not.
  • Freeplay’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The judges must be confident that Entries are created in the “indie spirit”. Anyone who feels unsure about eligibility may contact us via the email below.
  • Entrants must be Australian or residing in Australia. If an entry is made by a team, the majority of the team should be Australian or residing in Australia.
  • For the ‘Across The Ditch’ category, Entrants (or the majority of the Entrant team) must be New Zealanders or residing in New Zealand. This is the only category New Zealand game developers are eligible for.
  • For the ‘Student Game’ category, Entrants (or the majority of the student-led Entrant team) must be current full-time or part-time secondary/tertiary students, or students who have graduated within six months of the submission closing date. Students may submit their games to any and all other categories.
  • Non-digital games may be submitted to any and all other categories.
  • Entries may not have been completed or released for sale or public play before the previous Freeplay Awards in April 2015.
  • Entries may not have been a finalist for any previous Freeplay Award, unless the Entry has been substantially developed/changed since the last submission.
  • Entries must be complete, near complete works are eligible as long as they are representative of the finished piece.


  • To compete, an Entry must be submitted via the online submission form located here, and any additional supporting material via email or post.
  • Entries for the Awards may be submitted in one of the following formats:
    • A direct download URL (hosted on Google Drive, Dropbox, website, etc.)
    • A link to a webpage (HTML5/web games, etc.)
    • A promo code, key, or invitation (Steam, Humble, Itch.io, TestFlight, etc.) – you must provide a minimum of 5 keys for our judges.
    • A CD, DVD, or USB stick. The game should be directly runnable, or have an installer.
    • A physical package with instructions/rules or other in the case of non-digital or physical/live games.
  • Entries, including the online form, must be submitted or postmarked no later than 11:59pm (AEST) on Friday, 30th March 2018.
  • If your game has specific hardware requirements such as custom peripherals or hardware, Freeplay will work with you to arrange an opportunity to showcase your game to the judges prior to the closing of the judging period. Please indicate this on your application form.
  • We cannot guarantee that judges will have access to any special hardware required to play your game.
  • For physical entries, it is recommended that you use registered post to submit your entry. The mail address is:
    • Freeplay Independent Games Festival,
      The Wheeler Centre,
      176 Little Lonsdale Street,
      Melbourne, VIC 3000


  • Before submitting an Entry, the Entrant must have obtained the written permission of all persons or entities having any rights in the Entry, and the Entrant must be authorised by all people involved in the entry’s creation.
  • A competing team owns all the rights to its entry and Freeplay will not distribute the final game without the team’s consent.
  • Freeplay reserves the right to use screenshots of submitted works in their publicity, with the team’s consent.
  • Entries that make use of pre-existing technology (libraries, game engines, etc.) must have all the necessary rights to use that technology in a non-commercial setting, i.e. respect copyrights and any applicable licence agreements.


  • Submission is free of charge.

Exhibition space

  • Exhibition opportunities may become available for finalists & winners during and after the festival. Freeplay will contact eligible projects and discuss agreements and exhibition rights.


  • Award nominees and winners are selected by the competition’s panel of Judges. The Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The panel of Judges will consist of judges as selected by Freeplay.
  • The judges will select the best five Entrants in each category as the ‘Award nominees’.
  • Judging Categories are:
    • The Freeplay Award (Best Game)
    • Excellence in Design
    • Excellence in Visual Art
    • Excellence in Audio
    • Excellence in Narrative
    • Non-Digital Game Award
    • Micro-Game Award
    • Experimental Game Award
    • Student Game Award
    • Across The Ditch Award
  • Games may be entered in any category for which Entrants feel they are eligible. This includes non-digital games being eligible for more than just the Non-Digital category, and students being eligible for more than just the Student Game category.
  • The Judges will judge the entries of each of the award nominees and will select the best entrant in each category as the winner based on originality, creativity, artistic vision, and willingness to experiment.
  • Judges shall have no pecuniary or other interest in a nominee, or if so will disclose this interest and recuse themselves from discussions and votes involving the nominee.
  • The winner of each category will be awarded a Freeplay 2018 Independent Games Festival Awards Trophy.


  • Nominated projects will be notified six weeks after the submission closing date.
  • Nominated projects will be requested to provide imagery or video for the Freeplay Awards ceremony.
  • The award winners will be announced during the Freeplay Awards event at the Freeplay Independent Games Festival, in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday, 27 May 2018.
  • Nominees who are unable to make it in person to the Awards ceremony on 27 May 2018 will be required to nominate someone to receive any Awards on behalf of the Nominees. Freeplay must be notified of this arrangement via email prior to the Awards ceremony.



Time left before submissions close: