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DevelopmentExclusive Interviews

Vicens Martí: Making the Right Bet

September 22, 2016 — by David Radd

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Vicens Martí is the President of Tangelo Games. Tangelo Games was formed through the acquisition of Diwip and Akamon Entertainment and was formerly Imperus Technologies Corporation. While their time in the gaming industry includes being the Managing Director at Cirsa Gaming Corporation, Vicens has also been CMO at Vueling (a Spanish low-cost airline) and CEO of Custo Barcelona (a fashion label).


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Vicens Martí is President of Tangelo Games.

Cirsa is a notable casino company in Spain, Italy, and Latin America, helping to operate table games and casino slot machines. Vicens says that the experience in real money gambling was beneficial. “I did so much at Cirsa… You learn by doing,” they said.

While Vicens says they had the childhood dream of being an astronaut, they have no difficultly imagining what they’d be doing if they weren’t at their current position. “Oh, that’s easy. I am a simultaneous entrepreneur,” they described. “I have invested in a company called Appeth. I have interest in electronic music. Fintech is another company that I have going too. I have many projects going at once so if I wasn’t in the industry, I have plenty else I could be doing.”

Exclusive InterviewsIndie

Abdullah Alsayed: Hopping to Indie Prize with Pix Hop

September 21, 2016 — by David Radd

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Run Double Jump is an indie gaming gathering (organized by 2024 Studios and the IGDA) that takes place every year in Egypt. It aims to encourage indie developers, expose their games, and to help the industry in the MENA region flourish and grow rapidly.
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The event showcases some of the best indie games in the region for gamers to play and test. In addition to Indie Games Exhibit, there are a bunch of sessions presented by pioneering local indie developers.

RDJ helps indie developers to share their experiences and success stories as well as the obstacles that faces them in their careers. Also, gamers will get to discover these games developed and produced by indie developers, and increase general awareness surrounding these titles. This networking will help boost the regional gaming industry.

This year, RDJ partnered with Indie Prize – Casual Connect for a contest between the submitted games. The game selected “best in show” will be able to take part in Indie Prize Berlin – that winner was Abdullah Alsayed of BNOO Games for the title Pix Hop.

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DevelopmentExclusive Interviews

Dave Bisceglia and The Tap Lab: Evolving with the Game Industry

September 20, 2016 — by Catherine Quinton

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Have a unified lifetime value perspective for user acquisition. - Dave BiscegliaClick To Tweet

Dave Bisceglia is Co-Founder and CEO of The Tap Lab. At this mobile game studio, based in Cambridge, MA, Dave focuses on game design, product management and business development. During the past two years, since Gamesauce last talked with Dave, The Tap Lab has transitioned from self-publishing their own IP to working with major publishers and third-party IPs. Dave’s role as CEO now is concentrated much more on business development and relationships with publishers and IPs. They emphasize, “We’ve been fortunate to work with some great partners on projects we’re passionate about.”


DevelopmentExclusive InterviewsGame DevelopmentIndiePR & Marketing

Party Hard: Community-Driven Updates

September 16, 2016 — by Orchid

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The Ukrainian team of Pinokl Games team was working on a huge ambitious project of Mecha Titans and some other casual and family-friendly games… and then got tired of that all. They unleashed their darkest thoughts and participated in Kanobu Game Jam with Party Hard, a game of a bloody massacre at a noisy neighbors’ party at 3AM, or “third-person urban conflict simulator” as they describe their creation.

The bloodthirsty theme found a response in the hearts of Casual Connect Europe 2015 critics, having brought the team the Critics Choice award in Indie Prize. The team recently celebrated the 1st anniversary of Party Hard launch, having scored numerous other awards and gaining a massive creative fan base. Pinokl Games’ marketing manager and producer Alina Husevyk shares the most noticeable learnings of the year.


DevelopmentExclusive Interviews

Christopher Natsuume: Boomzap’s Pop

September 12, 2016 — by David Radd

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Christopher Natsuume is the Creative Director for Boomzap. He helped co-found the studio in 2005, though he has been working in games since 1994 on console, PC and mobile platforms. Christopher calls running his own studio a fulfillment of a dream since he worked with his co-founder Allan in Scotland.


“I have been a game developer most of my adult life – starting as a level designer, then lead designer, then producer,” says Christopher. “The truth is – nothing prepares you for running a game dev studio like working in game dev. I had the benefit of making a lot of my worst mistakes when I was working for other people – and that’s the best way to learn: on someone else’s dime.”

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Christopher Natsuume is the Creative Director for Boomzap.

Still, Christopher was dreaming of being a game designer since grade school. Back then, he was designing Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, creating modules and the like, but regarded it all at the time as just a hobby. “Later on I discovered that you could actually make games as a career,” said Christopher.

“A bunch of my friends also happened to work for a game company and when they broke off and started their own company, I used to play with them at their offices every week,” Chris detailed. “I didn’t work for them but I was their dungeon master, so they asked me to join and I got a job as a Level Designer, which was my first stint in the game dev industry.”

the love of making games

Christopher is definitely living the dream by being a game developer. he says that it was his dream as a child, even if he didn’t know he could make money doing it. Christopher notes that since entering game development, it’s occupied most of his time and he is happy for it.

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One should enjoy making games, not just playing, in order to be a game designer.

Despite this, Christopher is quick to say that game development is not for everyone. “You should think very carefully before pursuing it. Most people want to develop games because they think it’s about coming up with great game ideas and making fun decisions. It’s not. It’s 5 percent that and 95 percent ‘figuring out how to make it work’. Be a game developer not just because you love games, but because you love MAKING them, and whatever type of game it is.”

All I do is develop games and exercise to prevent the physical decay caused by a life at a computer.

Along those lines, Christopher notes he has very little free time for hobbies, though it is a sacrifice he is willing to make. “In all honesty, essentially all I do is develop games and exercise to prevent the physical decay caused by a life at a computer,” Christopher notes. “I run, swim, bike, and do a good bit of climbing. Depending on how things are going with the company I am either very fit, or very unfit. The size of my gut is inversely proportional to the current success of the company. I also do some work with a charity organization that builds schools in the mountains of Nepal.”

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How fit Chris is depends on what it going on in the company.

Making the Legends of Callasia

Christopher’s creative process is one of iteration, looking at different games, whether made by him or someone else, and trying to find something that he can improve. “Our strategy game Legends of Callasia actually started as a trading simulation game, but you couldn’t fight anyone,” noted Christopher. “We decided it was boring, so we redeveloped it into a fantasy-themed multiplayer world conquest game.”

Experience in making games for a long time is less relevant than time spent playing different games.

Along those same lines, playing old games is also a huge inspiration for Christopher. He claims that his experience in making games for a long time is less relevant than his time spent playing different games. “There’s value in the fact that I have played a metric ton of games such as Ultima Online, Wing Commander: Privateer, and Zork. I was into tabletop games such as Axis & Allies, D&D, and Diplomacy before I became a computer gamer,” said Christopher. “I get a lot of my inspiration from games I grew up playing with, and when we built Legends of Callasia, I wanted it to look like the traditional fantasy games.”

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Legends of Callasia is a game that is near and dear to Christopher’s heart, so it’s not surprising that he would love to expand on the idea if he had unlimited resources. “I have always loved playing strategy games like Crusader Kings, but I never have enough time play that anymore,” said Christopher. “Legends of Callasia is the answer to that. It has all the fun of grand strategy games condensed into one to two hours, and it’s the game I’ve always wanted to make. Maybe one day if I do have unlimited resources and time, we’ll make an MMO of it? That would be the ultimate project.”

Unfortunately, financing is the hardest part of making games, between getting a publisher and paying everyone. It’s very rewarding in the end, though, especially since there are always new ideas to explore in new games. “The time between having an idea and implementing that idea is too long,” Christopher says. “I have more game ideas in my head that I can ever make in my lifetime.”

you have to leave the nest to grow

Christopher is very proud of what the company has built over at Boomzap. The studio being virtual is a huge convenience for him and other members.

“I get to see so much of my family, and be part of my family life so much more than other people I know, especially in the game industry,” said Christopher. “I work where I want to. I don’t waste time or money commuting. I don’t have to spend a fortune going out to eat. And in the winter I work every day in a very comfy pair of fleece pants and a Japanese hanten jacket… it’s like I never got out of bed.”

Managing a studio is always a challenge, and can often involve people leaving to pursue their own ambitions. When that happened at Boomzap it was hard for Christopher, but eventually that feeling was replaced with pride over what the former team members accomplished. “Two years ago, three of our senior staff left our studio. At the time, I was pissed off, but over time I realized that it was a dream they had and one they could never achieve while at my studio,” he said. “I’ve been watching them develop their games and some of the processes they use are from what we did together in Boomzap. It is fascinating to watch them build their company and go their own direction.”

 

Exclusive Interviews

Gary D. Nissenbaum: Ace Gaming Attorney

September 10, 2016 — by David Radd

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Gary D. Nissenbaum is the managing attorney and founding principal of the Nissenbaum Law Group, a commercial law firm with offices in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas. Gary has over thirty years worth of experience in business litigation and transactions. Along with overseeing the firm’s commercial litigation in the State and Federal Courts, Gary also represents clients in substantive areas like Internet law, entertainment law and domestic and international commercial transactions.

“When the internet began to impact our clients in a meaningful way in the mid-to-late 1990s, we saw an opportunity to develop the ability to provide legal advice in this area. We have continued to try to keep up with our clients’ technology law needs, most recently making a full-court press to expand our practice into the area of gaming and apps,” Gary detailed. “There is a tight-knit circle of professionals who work in this area, and hopefully we have joined those ranks. We want to be a firm that clients in the entertainment and gaming industries seek out when they are serious about running their businesses.”

Five Legal Specialties for Game Makers

The Nissenbaum Law Group currently deals with a large amount of work in the area of video games and app development. Gary says this breaks down into five distinct categories.

AudioExclusive Interviews

Arkadiusz Reikowski: Layers of Musical Fear

September 7, 2016 — by David Radd

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Darkness in music is really inspiring. - Arkadiusz ReikowskiClick To Tweet

Arkadiusz Reikowski is a composer who’s made music for horror games such as Kholat and Layers of Fear, in addition to their own unique material like Inner Silence. They cite Akira Yamaoka, the famous Japanese composer of the Silent Hill series, as a major inspiration along with other Japanese composers.

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Exclusive InterviewsIndie

Jammin’ on Bolt Riley with Creator Oded Sharon

August 26, 2016 — by David Radd

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Five years in the making, Bolt Riley: A Reggae Adventure Game was recently released. Set in Jamaica in the 1970s, it tells the story of the titular main character who wants to become a reggae star. Bolt Riley is a point-and-click adventure game set in the Caribbean with a soundtrack tinged with local flavor, which despite the different subject matter and time period, is evocative of the seminal Monkey Island series. Creator Oded Sharon is open in saying that Monkey Island is an inspiration for the Bolt Riley game.

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“Yes, I’m a huge fan of both Monkey Island and its creator Ron Gilbert. In fact, Monkey Island is the game that inspired me the most when becoming a game developer,” said Oded. “I was actually one of the first people online to do a crowdfunding campaign, a joke website called ‘Buy a car for Ron Gilbert’ which raised money to buy Ron Gilbert a car.  We ended up raising enough money to actually buy Ron a toy car which I gave to him at GDC 2008.”

BusinessExclusive InterviewsPR & Marketing

Wally Nguyen: Why Downloads Are Dead

August 25, 2016 — by David Radd

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Wally Nguyen, CEO of mNectar, helped found the company about three and a half years ago. Inspiration hit while on iTunes, they were able to listen to a song for 30 seconds before buying it or the album. Wally had a “light-bulb moment” that if you could do that with a song, then why not with a game.

“My co-founder comes from a technical background and there were ads that let you manipulate an image back then, and I asked if they had that, why can’t you play a game?” Wally said. “Back then we raised a little bit of a money with developers like with Kabam being our first customers. With playable ads, 99 percent of our customers are game developers or publishers, giving people a sample of their games.”

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