HomeBearStudio is an indie team based in Breda, Netherlands. “Just two! You Miichi, the artist, does all the art. I’m in charge of everything else”, says project lead Joshua van Kuilenburg. Right now, this is a full-time job for them, and trying to keep it this way is one of reasons for their Kickstarter campaign. The debut game NAIRI is a cute point-and-click adventure where you follow Nairi, an abandoned upper-class girl, and a rugged scholar rat named Rex, as they uncover a dark mystery within the exotic oasis city of Shirin. In addition to adorable visuals and challenging puzzles, there’s a strong narrative. So the developers say it would appeal to both casual and hardcore players. Joshua sheds some more light on the development experience and some future steps.
At ICT Hub on August 13th 2016, several top Serbian indie developers presented their games at an event Serbian Game Community which is organized by companies that included Bincode Entertainment, Thoril and COFA Games. Judges from several veteran Serbian game studios picked Kiss Hero, winning a spot to present at Casual Connect Tel Aviv as a result.
Filip Žarković has used Indie Prize as a motivating factor, pushing them to raise the quality of their games. “I found out about it two years ago when it was held in Belgrade, my hometown,” Filip said. “I’ve been following Indie Prize ever since, and participated in CC Tel Aviv last year.”
For Filip, representing the Serbian game development community at Casual Connect means a lot and its a huge validation. “We’re a recently formed studio, and this really feels like a verification that we’re doing something right, especially because the day we were chosen to go to Casual Connect Tel Aviv, our first game, Nukleus, was getting some great results on the AppStore,” Filip noted. “It also means a lot to us because the competition in the Serbian part of the contest is really awesome!”
Joymasher is the developer of Oniken and Odallus, two pixel-art titles inspired by various NES action games. The developer is based out of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The studio is led by Danilo Dias, his wife Thaís Weiller and their friend Marco Galvão. When they started out, Danilo confirmed that they weren’t operating under the mentality of making an “indie” game.
“Well, to be honest at the time I started making Oniken I didn’t even knew what an indie game was!” said Danilo, laughing. “I just wanted to make a fun action 8-bit game, like the ones that I used to play as a kid. Every time that I think about making a game, I ask myself, ‘Hum… I think that I want to make a Contra-like game, or a Castlevania-like game’ and so on. I know that this isn’t something refined or creative but I really love games from 8/16-bit era and I want to make games like these.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
Liyla and the Shadows of War is a game that wasn’t made with profit in mind. It’s a free mobile game, and one that has a serious message to it about the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.
The game was recently the winner of Reboot Develop Indie Award in category of “Visual Excellence”. It was also nominated for Best in Show & Most Innovative Game and Best Game Narrative for Indie Prize at Casual Connect Asia 2016. But talking to Rasheed Abu-Eideh, the creator of Liyla and the Shadows of War, it was not a easy road to the game’s release.
In order to test Defold on “outside” devs other than King, their team gave early access to a Swedish indie developer Johan Hogfeldt and his team of Hammarhaja AB, whose game is called Hammerwatch Coliseum. King’s CTO Thomas Hartwig says this developer helped them define the community they wanted to build around Defold. While working on the game, Johan was sharing his feedback, and his game has already been released on iOS. After the show Gamesauce reached out to Johan to check out his impressions from the engine.
Leveraging Community So People Care About Your Game: 4 ways to generate interest in your game outside of traditional news
by Kenny Johnston of Pocket Gems
Getting people excited about your mobile game is hard work. Whether it’s press, streamers or some unlucky bystander that you’ve cornered at a bus stop, people often just don’t care. This can be a sobering experience for someone who’s poured their blood, sweat and tears into a game only to see it fall on glazed eyes and deaf ears. This is also the main reason why so many developers you meet have that haunted sporadic eye twitch that’s usually reserved for DMV workers and bomb squads.
But you know what’s 100 times harder than getting someone to notice your game when it launches? Getting someone to care about your game after it launches. Even if you have a roadmap chalk full of updates, nerfs, buffs, new characters and customizable skins, pitching a game that’s already launched often feels like trying to get Miley Cyrus to go to prom with you (but with less press coverage). Without product updates, this gets even more challenging. Most PR will generally tell you to focus on momentum like revenue, downloads, and in-game metrics. However, in today’s landscape everyone outside of your competitors will still usually receive this with a symphony of yawns and eye rolls.
SpeedRunners recently sprinted across the finish line to a full release after five years in development. It’s been a long process, but after a few years using Steam Green Light, awards from SXSW and Indie DB and various play-throughs by famous YouTubers, it’s now fully released for Steam, with an Xbox One release coming later.
We talked with Gert-Jan Stolk of DoubleDutch Games about SpeedRunners. They detail how publisher tinyBuild helped with the game’s aesthetic, how SpeedRunners eventually became an eSport and why indie developers should have a back up plan because their first game probably won’t be profitable.