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DevelopmentExclusive InterviewsIndie

Dane Games and the Quirky, Old School Squire Squarefeet

January 25, 2019 — by Catherine Quinton

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The founders of Dane Games, Kasper Fischer Topp and Nanna Fischer Topp, describe their company as a small hobby-based company at present. They both have full-time jobs, as well as a family, so time and resources are limited. But they also have ideas, so they hope eventually to be able to work exclusively at their own studio.

The Pathway To Creating Squire Squarefeet

Kasper and Nanna first heard about Indie Prize in 2017, when they were at Gamescope in Aalborg, Denmark and saw a team win the People’s Choice Award. In 2018, they won the prize themselves, for a short demo of their game Squire Squarefeet and got the chance to compete at Indie Prize during Casual Connect Asia 2018 in Shenzhen. Their hope for Indie Prize is to be able to make connections and establish a network. They would love to meet others who are as passionate as they are about developing quirky, adult humor games. And it would be wonderful if they could also find a way to get funding for completing the Squire Squarefeet project.

DevelopmentExclusive InterviewsIndie

Benoît Freslon: Thinking Outside the EnigmBox

December 5, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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We first saw Benoît Freslon’s game EnigmBox at Casual Connect’s Indie Prize in London 2018 where it won the Best Game Design award. Also at Casual Connect Asia 2016 in Singapore, EnigmBox won the Most Innovative Game and Best in Show: Critic’s Choice award. Winning these prizes gave Benoît the motivation to keep working with the experimental game. But as proud as he was of the awards, he was equally happy with the friends he made there.

Benoit believes the prizes he won with EnigmBox gave him credibility with publishers and partners. Specifically, Asian publishers would like to publish the game in China, but he is still in negotiations with them.

A Game With Potential

Now Benoît has a new version of the game, EnigmBox 2.0. He felt that the game, created in 2013, had become outdated in terms of design, user interface, user experience and game feel. As well, he had many new puzzles he would like to experiment with. And a significant number of players and publishers had asked him to create a version for Android. So, with the awards from Indie Prize confirming that the game had potential, Benoît decided to work on a new version of EnigmBox, but this time using Unity 3D.

Benoit began the process of creating the new version by listening to feedback from players and experts. Then he started redesigning and polishing the design, the monetization, the UI, the UX, the tutorial, the puzzles and even the colors.

DevelopmentExclusive InterviewsIndieStudio Spotlight

Demagog Studio and Golf Club: Wasteland

November 20, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Demagog Studio and their game Golf Club: Wasteland was the winner at Horizon Pitchslap Belgrade 2017. After winning this award, they met with several members of the jury, who all were helpful with suggestions for the next steps to take with the game. One of them, Nikola Ĉavić, introduced them to Apple, giving them new impetus to the project. Now they are collaborating with both Apple and Unity and have won two more awards.

At Casual Connect Europe 2018 Indie Prize, Demagog Studio aimed to shine a light on Golf Club: Wasteland . It was released in June 2018 on iOS. They hope to bring Demogog Studio to the attention of a wider geographic audience.

A Multimedia Project

Igor Simić, who leads Demagog Studio, works in contemporary art and film and is represented by Galerie Anita Beckers in Frankfurt, Germany. The results of the sales of installation and video allow Igor to invest in other projects, such as Golf Club: Wasteland. This project is more than simply a game; from Igor’s perspective it is a multimedia project encompassing a video game, an original soundtrack, and music videos.

DevelopmentExclusive Interviews

Vasiliy Sabirov: Making Games Better with Analytics

September 19, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Vasiliy Sabirov is Lead Analyst at devtodev, a full-cycle analytics platform that helps developers to improve their games. Vasiliy has seven years of experience in game analytics and describes his transition to devtodev as smooth and effortless. He began as a business analyst, then worked in a B2B service for games. He followed that with working for a game development company and from there to devtodev.

Making Decisions That Mean Something

Vasiliy Sabirov is Lead Analyst for devtodev

Vasiliy’s work as Lead Analyst covers three major areas. The first is helping developers understand why analytics is so important to games and how analyzing their games can make them better. At devtodev, this has included writing books, hosting webinars and, most recently, launching a free online course in game analytics. Vasiliy also participates in international gamedev events as a guest speaker, something that involves a great deal of travel and offers opportunities to exchange ideas and opinions with other professionals.

His second major area of responsibility is creating and improving the devtodev platform. He generates ideas for reports that are useful for different game projects in different genres and that help developers understand the meaning behind the numbers in their games. And he is also responsible for analytics outsourcing for some of their clients.

Vasiliy describes, “It is really important for me to feel that my decisions mean something and influence something for the best. And the more things I can influence, the faster those decisions are implemented, the better. I’m getting all those things working at devtodev.”

ContributionsDevelopmentExclusive Interviews

Behind the Title: An Interview with Olga Khomenko, Co-Founder and COO at PlayToMax

July 12, 2018 — by Marina Sapunova

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In this interview, yellowHEAD’s Marina Sapunova speaks with Olga Khomenko about her life as a drummer in an indie band, what exotic places she wants to visit and why she loves playing board games.

Marina: Hi Olga! So we are at Casual Connect Kyiv. Could you please share with us what you do?

Olga: First of all, I want to say that I’m so excited that Casual Connect is back at Kyiv because it’s my native city and I adore it. A lot of new people come to your city and see how cool and beautiful it is. I work at PlayToMax and we create HMTL 5 games. We develop our own games, as well as provide outsourcing services. And I’m also here at the conference together with my friend – he’s an indie developer who’s working on his own game and I’m helping him, so please vote for him.

Marina: Sure! I still haven’t voted so I will do it. Are you a gamer?

Olga: Yes, I am.

Marina: What kind of games do you play?

DevelopmentExclusive InterviewsIndieStudio Spotlight

Studio Spotlight: Dropout Games in Pune, India

April 24, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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The Biggest Lesson

Dropout Games is the studio that created Neo Angle, the game that won at the NASSCOM Game Developers Conference in India. As winners at NASSCOM which is an Indie Prize Partner event, they will be competing at Indie Prize London next month at Casual Connect Europe.

Dropout Games had its origin when Ankush Madad and Sujeet Kumar were both studying Game Design at college. During their second year, both of them, along with several other students, were working on a game that was a big hit in one of the college game jams. At the same time, things weren’t going as well at the college, with staff leaving, curriculum changes and a lack of relevance to the game industry. But they persevered, juggling courses while working on the game in the evenings and on weekends. As the end of the year approached, the project was now a polished game and they believed it had potential. So they took their game, ROTO, to Casual Connect 2014 in Singapore, where it was nominated for Best Free-To-Play Game, and on the final day they met a publisher. The team learned a great deal with ROTO, from starting a game and working it through to completion, including PR, marketing and the publishing process. As Ankush says, “It was the biggest lesson we had taught ourselves that year.”

ROTO screenshots

When it came time to return to college, Ankush realized it no longer seemed worth the cost. He had applied for internships, using ROTO‘s success as an example of his abilities, and was fortunate to receive one at a great company. He also began investigating other Indian game studios making noteworthy games but couldn’t find many. A few were doing great work and there were also a few indie studios, but nothing seemed particularly exciting. Then some new indies began emerging in different corners of the country; their games were small, but they were willing to experiment. This gave Ankush the idea of starting his own indie studio.

AudioExclusive Interviews

Nicolas Diteriks and They Are Billions: Making Music Part of the Gameplay

April 9, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Nicolas Diteriks is the composer who created the music for Numantian Games 2017 game, They Are Billions. Nicolas had worked earlier with Numantian Games in 2013/2014 when they were developing Lords of Xulima. At the time, Numantian Games was doing an Indiegogo campaign; Nicolas noticed the project and sent them a demo-reel, asking if they needed a composer.

When asked about the proudest moment of his career, Nicolas says landing the job of composing for The Lords of Xulima is right at the top. (And, of course, so is the first time he went to record with a live orchestra.) The Lords of Xulima project went so well that Numantian Games invited Nicolas back to work on They Are Billions.

DevelopmentExclusive InterviewsIndie

Yonder and the Circle of Sumo

April 6, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Some of the Yonder team at GameRome accepting their award

At GameRome 2017, Yonder won the Indie Prize award for their game, Circle of Sumo, giving them an invitation to participate in Indie Prize at Casual Connect Europe 2018. They tell us that events like GameRome are essential to receiving “hot feedback” on the game you are creating. As well, they are opportunities to connect with many professionals and increase your network. GamerRome 2017 hosted many international representatives of the game industry. It was especially exciting for Yonder when two of them, Dave Gomes and Simon Gerdesmann, chose Circle of Sumo as the best game of the show. Gamesauce has been fascinated to learn more about this winning team and their game from Giuseppe Mancini, their game and level designer.

Exclusive InterviewsIndie

Global Game Jam Ukraine 2017

March 31, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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There’s nothing quite like the intensity and excitement of forty-eight hours of working together to create a new game. Ask any participant in a game jam. Then, at Global Game Jam, multiply that excitement with the knowledge that teams are doing the same thing in centers around the globe.

2017 was the second year for Global Game Jam Ukraine. It is a partner event with Indie Prize where certain winners are given the opportunity to compete at a Casual Connect and Indie Prize of their choice. Recently Casual Connect asked Oleksii Izvalov, Regional Organizer in Eastern Europe for Global Game Jam, about the event. He described the incredible feeling that came from seeing game developers from every part of the country gathering together to make a game.

DevelopmentExclusive Interviews

Magmic: An Innovative and Resilient Company

March 15, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Fifteen years ago John Criswick and Joshua Ostrowalker founded the game company Magmic. They both had experience in a mobile startup and they had worked on what became one of the most installed mobile operating platforms at Sun Microsystems. Then they realized there was a tremendous opportunity in the consumer market.

They believed that early adopters would be dominant in this initial phase of the mobile app market and that the content most easily monetized by early adopters would be entertainment. So they chose to take advantage of this opportunity by founding Magmic as a mobile game developer and publisher.

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