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Video Coverage

FDG Entertainment’s Philipp Doeschl on the Challenges of a Creating a Business and the Importance of Cross-Promotion

January 9, 2013 — by Catherine Quinton

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FDG Entertainment’s Philipp Doeschl became fascinated with video games at a very young age. From the time he was given his first Nintendo system when he was four years old, he realized he wanted to be involved in making video games. That became a reality when he went on to co-found FDG Entertainment at only 19 years old.

The Challenges of Starting the Business

Doeschl tells us that because he and his co-founder Thomas Kern did not have a technical background they faced many challenges during their first few years in the industry. Although they had many ideas, finding ways to realize these ideas was very difficult. They had to learn everything about running the business, making good use of the people, and how to make games.

One of their first challenges was finding people they could rely on who had the necessary technical knowledge – Doeschl was a sound engineer and Kern was a Product Manager of Games at O2 Germany for three years. A second major challenge was the limited money they had available to invest in making a game. They solved this problem through finding people willing to work with them on a revenue share basis. Once the first sales of games began and money was being generated, the situation changed, but it took several years to realize the success they were hoping for.

The FDG Entertainment team checking out a new mobile phone in 2006

Doeschl describes most of the early mistakes they made with the company as a result of their lack of experience and the fact that they had to learn everything from the beginning. Their greatest difficulty was finding the right people to trust. When they discovered they had relied on the wrong people, they began attempting to run more and more of the business by themselves. Ironically, this was also an error; the games they were attempting to develop simply were not being made when they had been promised. It took until the beginning of 2004, approximately 2 years after founding, until the company was profitable and successful.

Moving to a New Platform

“You have to open your eyes and be thinking of new ways to interact with this new input which is touch.”

Moving into the production of iOS games also took longer than expected because it was so new. As Doeschl says, “This cool new touchscreen interface was excellent matter, and we had to play with some limitations. It was a totally different approach and quite a challenge to work without the hardware buttons.” Their first iOS game was an import of their successful mobile game, Bobby Carrot Forever, chosen because they already knew the game and only had to renew it, not create a whole new game. But Doeschl discovered that it was particularly challenging to adapt a game from one platform to a totally new platform.

With what they learned with their first iOS game, they were able to rapidly develop their next game, Parachute Panic. As Doeschl says, “You have to open your eyes and be thinking of new ways to interact with this new input which is touch. It’s a totally different way of creating games and thinking up games.” He also emphasized, “What we learned was you have to make the best of the technology you have. So if there is touch, use it wisely; don’t try to take old controls schemes into the new world because it won’t work.”

Philipp in front of the “garage”, the shelf that ended up hosting almost 150 different mobile phones in 2007.

The Importance of Marketing

When Doeschl speaks about the challenges of developing a successful game, he emphasizes the importance of marketing. The biggest mistake a developer can make is thinking marketing is unnecessary; that all you need to do is upload the game to the app store and everything will be fine. Without good marketing, it will be impossible to find the game. “That’s where the publishers come into play. It’s harder and harder for devs to get visibility, so marketing is very important inside the app store and outside the app store. It’s important everywhere.”

Doeschl asserts that cross-promotion has now become very important. “It’s the easiest way to tell people about your game and the other games from you as well that people may like. If you can present to a user apps with cross-promotion, they may enjoy it and everybody wins.” He feels that it makes the user base stronger because their background awareness increases. When FDG Entertainment first began using cross promotion, they had difficulties, including technical difficulties. He discovered that it is important to find the company that can provide the cross promotion services that you want. Every cross promotion provider has advantages and disadvantages, so you may have to work with more than one.

FDG Entertainment has several social freemium games in development, to be released within the next few months.  They also have several other games in development, including a Japanese action/adventure, Across Age 2.

Video Coverage

ReignGames’ Matthew Mayer on Designing the Perfect Touch Control Schemes, Tapping vs. Slicing and Creating Games That Fit Today’s Lifestyles

January 4, 2013 — by Catherine Quinton

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Melting Pot of Ideas

The whole ReignGames team on a company outing to a Pixar exhibition in Shanghai.

ReignGames’ goal was to create games that would appeal to as many people as possible. They decided the best way to do that was to create a casual game that could be played for a few minutes at a time. Their first game, Pig Rush, was not immediately successful, but, as they received feedback from players who downloaded the game, they added additional aspects to the game and launched updates and new versions. The game became increasingly popular in countries around the world. “It gave us the chance to work on something that could make people really happy, and reaching people around the world is what drove us,” says Mayer.

“We all love tech, we all love games, so that brings people together from different cultures. And I think that melting pot helps create more interesting ideas, and more interesting design aesthetics.”

As part of ReignGames’ effort to appeal to the greatest number of people, they have hired people from around the world. But Mayer emphasizes, “We, of course, all share common loves. We all love tech, we all love games, so that brings people together from different cultures. And I think that melting pot helps create more interesting ideas, and more interesting design aesthetics.” Mayer believes an important aspect to generating these exciting ideas is the fact that they are a small company, together in one office.

One Chance at a First Impression

Mayer asserts that players’ first time experiences with a game are vitally important because that influences their ongoing opinion of the game. Pig Rush, for example, attracts casual gamers because it is simple to learn and becomes more challenging as the player progresses through the game. It starts out with a lot of flexibility and retains player interest by increasing the difficulty with moving platforms, larger gaps to jump, and bonus items, but the game stays basically the same. The simplicity of the game is the primary reason for its popularity. Mayer emphasizes that using a touch screen well is important in creating a game that people will enjoy playing. The advantage of the touch screen is that the player can interact directly with the game with a simple touch and drag. The screen can also allow additional ways of interacting with the game by using different motions on the screen. These motions include pulling and releasing, tilting the screen (Doodlebug, Labyrinth), slicing (Fruit Ninja, Slice It), and swipe and flick (Mirror’s Edge). This allows more feedback than a simple tap. For example, in Angry Birds where you pull and release, you can adjust the strength and power of your control before you release.

Testing a new level in Flockwork for iPad with designer Shinae from South Korea and developer Tuo from China.

New ways of interacting with the touch screen will continue to be developed. Dual-controlled systems will be developed, and voice controls are already beginning to be used. Mayer believes that voice controls are particularly exciting, essentially allowing a gamer to play with a third hand. Mayer points out several aspects of casual games that contribute to their continuing popularity. As he says, “They just really suit the lifestyles of most of the people who are going to have smartphones and tablets.” The growth of social games on Facebook has more people than ever playing games. Games are now readily accessible on tablets and iPhones, so people will continue to want games that use these to their best advantage. These will be games that have short play sessions and that are easy to pick up and play.

ReignDesign are working on a follow up to Pig Rush called Pig Rush 3000, as well as bringing Flockwork to iPhone.

Video Coverage

GameHouse’s Matt Hulett on the evolution of successful social game development, monetization, discoverability and the tools you need

November 21, 2012 — by Clelia Rivera

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Matt Hulett’s passion for games led him to this industry. He has successfully built profitable companies from scratch and has helped businesses throughout a variety of stages. His experiences eventually led him to his current position as the President of GameHouse, which has provided him with a deeper view on the industry.


Gamesauce: So what made you interested in this industry?

Matt: I am a life-long gamer and have a huge passion for the industry.  The industry is in such a rapid stage of growth that the opportunity to be a part of the social/mobile sea change has a huge appeal, too.


But this is a new time for the video game industry. It’s no longer dominated by console games played by teenage boys, but by women on Facebook or their mobile phones who are just as passionate about gaming. We have new players, emerging platforms and growing businesses—all of which are taking the video game industry into the future.

I, along with many others in the video game industry, want to be part of this transformation and make a mark on history. As the President of GameHouse, I plan for us to continue making our mark on the casual game space.  Thanks to our talented team of developers, our growing catalog of titles, and our loyal gamer fans, we are one of the leading casual games companies across the PC, social and mobile.

I’m excited about this opportunity for GameHouse. We’re expanding our games business into social and mobile and have already become one of the top 20 developers on Facebook. We’re in a good position, and we are continuing to scale our business and our market lead.

GS: What past experiences have you been most helpful to you as President of GameHouse?

During my 20-plus years in the consumer tech and dotcom arena, I’ve experienced the challenges of launching a startup as well as turning around an entire global business. I’ve seen hundreds of companies rise and fall, and even rise again from their ruins to become leading companies.

I’ve learned to listen to my gut over the years. You need commitment to be successful in any industry, including social games. When others tell you that you can’t, you work harder to prove them wrong. You stay the course.

GameHouse has millions of players that believe in our vision, and they come back to play our games on Facebook or on one of many smartphones and tablets including the new Kindle Fire. They tell us what they want, and we listen to them. We iterate, adapt and change to meet their needs. If they are pleased, then so are we because they are the market – our market, our consumers.

When others tell you that you can’t, you work harder to prove them wrong. You stay the course.

GameHouse has a long tradition, which started out as the first real casual gaming company (as RealArcade).  We’re rapidly changing our business to become the leader in casual gaming on social and mobile environments.  We’re not afraid of companies who currently outperform, outsize and out-finance us.  We’re inspired by the challenge and look to outmaneuver them by expanding into areas where we can win.

GS: Can you tell us more about GameHouse and how it has impacted the industry?

We are one of the leading providers of casual games across PC downloads, social and mobile, and one of the top developers on Facebook thanks to our titles such as Collapse! Blast and Slot-O-Rama.

As a smaller game company, we are far more nimble and tenacious in the industry than others, and have the experience to master social gaming across multiple screens. Our extensive history in the casual games market gives us rich knowledge about game design and mechanics, platforms and devices, and monetization strategies. We’ve brought this wealth of knowledge to the social games industry, along with plans to make social games fundamentally more social, and offer meaningful ways to play with friends, and create a sense of accomplishment, success and achievement in a matter of minutes, not hours. This is a dawn of a new era for the social games industry, and for GameHouse as we expand upon the success of our Collapse! franchise and bring new game experiences to the market.

GS: Which social game is your favorite?

My favorite game is always the one I can’t talk about just yet, but I’m a huge fan of arcade and casino games. I seem to always find time to jump into a game of Bayou Blast or Collapse! Blast. I also love to play titles that sit on the fringes and that may not have effective design but have intriguing game mechanics.

“I seem to always find time to jump into a game of Bayou Blast or Collapse! Blast.”

GS: What social game created this year do you think has been most successful?

It’s a bit hard to say since there has been a tidal wave of copycat games released from major studios this year. I’ve been playing a few indie games that hang on the fringes like the dice game Zilch or the word game Palindromes. I have been playing the Facebook game SongPop quite a bit, too.  These games are simple, yet have so much potential, especially for multiple players on mobile devices, which is why I’ve found myself playing them recently.

Just imagine if we all whipped out our phones to play a quick game of dice like Zilch with friends in the room, or competed against each other to answer the same scrambled word on Palindromes. Now that becomes more social than some of the current games out there.

GS: What qualities do successful social games share to make them successful?

Building successful social games requires having aptitude and attitude around running games-as-a-service.

This isn’t like the console market, where you pay for the complete version of a game upfront. Social games need constant iteration to be successful. There’s no such thing as a final game release on Facebook. Building successful social games requires having aptitude and attitude around running games-as-a-service.  Social games not only need the classic game components of game mechanics, game economy, etc., but they also need to incorporate compelling viral and reward loops to organically grow and retain audience.

GS: What recent trends have you noticed in game development? Do you think they are long-lasting?

The casino-game genre is booming on Facebook’s canvas as well as on smartphones and tablets this year, which indicates that there is plenty of room to go beyond Villes and beyond Facebook even. For Facebook canvas games, there is rapid diversification into casual style games including Match 3, slots, bubble poppers, etc.

Developers have taken notice. We’ve seen a significant uptick in the release of non-Ville games and mobile games in 2012. Game genres across multiple platforms, including Facebook, iOS, Android and Google+, will continue to expand, bringing forth new opportunities for developers.

Take, for instance, Ouya, a startup working on a $99 game console built on an Android platform. Where others saw the impossible, Ouya sees an opportunity to change the game and has raised more than $2 million on Kickstarter in 24 hours. If they pull this off, they will open up game development on the TV screen, dramatically reduce production costs and could instantly have mass-market penetration. This may be the meteor that strikes the console industry in ways that will forever change how people play and produce games for the TV screen.

GS: Where do you see the social game market heading?

By 2015, I predict that mobile games will rise, new platforms will emerge and new gaming experiences will take shape. Those that respond quickly to these market conditions will not only survive these changes, but will likely outperform these current industry beasts who are large, but may move slowly.

With that said, I foresee smaller-game companies leading the next-generation in social gaming, and they will have mastered social gaming experiences and monetization strategies across multiple screens. Meanwhile, those who currently lead the social games market will likely look prehistoric in 5 to 10 years, I believe.

GS: What can we look forward to from GameHouse?

We love casual games just as much as our players, and we will continue to deliver interactive experiences across the social and mobile arena that give our fans heart-pounding fun, even for a few minutes. We’ve already launched several social games this year, including Mystic Ice Blast and Slot-O-Rama.

We’re working on more arcade and casino-style games, and plan to expand some of our most successful franchises like Collapse! to new devices.

The bottom line – we want to make social games social and give players even more ways to win in minutes, not hours. Isn’t that what casual gaming is all about?

Indie

Insolita’s Martin Fabichak on the Brazilian Game Industry and Taking on Big Challenges (part 1)

February 25, 2011 — by Javier

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In the last decade Brazil’s economy has been flourishing, spawning all kinds of new commercial and creative initiatives. Brazil has a fond love for gaming and a growing industry to match it. We had a talk with the cheerful Martin Fabichak, Technical Director of Insolita Studios in São Paulo, to find out more about him, his company and what makes the Brazilian game industry unique.

After Fabichak graduated in Applied Math with a specialization in Programming, he quickly realized that his true passion was game development, leading him to create flash games. In 2008 he joined Insolita where he recently became Technical Director and a partner of the company six months ago.

Size matters

Martin Fabichak's team at Insolita

One of the characteristics of being a young company in an upcoming industry is that you get to create all sorts of games. Insolita Studios has a diverse repertoire, from serious games to teach management skills, to comedic platformers featuring cavemen and devils.

CaveDays allowed Insolita to get noticed in the Brazilian industry, especially after winning the Jogos BR contest.

While they were making three serious games to encourage entrepreneurship in collaboration with professional experts, they decided to make something less serious, yet important on the side: CaveDays. “This cool platforming game allowed the company get noticed in the Brazilian industry, especially after winning the Jogos BR contest for Best Game, a contest organized by the Brazilian government to stimulate Brazilian game design.” Fabichak explains.

To promote their game CaveDays, Insolita published web comics made with the graphics from the game.

The award was the first step to start more, and bigger, projects. Fabichak likes to describe them in superlatives: “Afterwards we made a huge serious game, LudoPark. Pretty much one of the biggest serious games ever made because it’s a real-time multiplayer management game where 40 players compete to manage their business.” Besides this “huge” game, Insolita Studios joined up with the independent Brazilian game developer Abdução to make something “mini” that turned out quite big.

Freekscape from Brazil

Freekscape was the first 100% Brazilian IP in the world market.

The two companies joined forces as Kidguru Studios to work on the first Sony-licensed game in Brazil for the PSP Minis platform, Freekscape. “We’re the only licensees for Sony.” Fabichak explains. “There is no one with a PS3 license here. It’s really hard to get that in Latin America. Being able to get Freekscape on the PSP Mini platform was a unique opportunity for us.”

Developing Freekscape took Insolita’s international relationships to another level in many different ways. “We developed a prototype with 3 levels and took it to GDC in 2009. There we got in touch with the publisher Creat from the US that gave us the opportunity to work with Sony that was looking for games for its new PSP Minis platform that had yet to be announced.” Fabichak recounts.

Sony was really happy with the way Freekscape fitted their original idea of the type of games they wanted to offer on PSP Minis.

Compared to other PSP Minis games, Freekscape was a big mini. “Out of 40 levels we had in this project, only 15 remained in the game,” Fabichak admits. “We did not know that Minis would mostly be smaller-sized casual games. Most games come down to 1 or 2 hours of playtime, with a lot of replay value, of course,” Fabichak explains. “But Freekscape was disproportionately bigger with about 8 hours of gameplay. We believed and hoped PSP Minis was going to be a platform for small studios with big ideas.” Was Freekscape too big to be a Mini? “Sony was happy with the way Freekscape fit into their original idea of the type of games they wanted to offer on PSP Minis.”

Lessons from the little devil

At the Sony booth at GDC 2010. On the left is Daniel, Founder of Abdução, and on the right is Fabichak's partner, Winston Petty, founder of Insolita. Freekscape was a joint project of Abdução e Insolita as Kidguru.

Fabichak is happy with having an odd-one-out on a platform that has tough competition with delivering bite-sized portable games. He is proud of the game it turned out to be, but especially the lessons and relationships they gained through it. “We learned a lot from Freekscape. Especially in maintaining a relationship with an international publisher and a big player like Sony.” Fabichak says. “One of the things we struggled with was developing for Minis at such an early stage. Developing Freekscape before PSP Minis had even been announced, brought some difficulties, specifically nearing the end of our development cycle because the requirements and features for PSP Minis changed from one week to the other.”

Fabichak does not take his hardships for granted, however. “During this time, we had a great relationship with Vicious Cycle Software, who made the Vicious Engine we worked with. They helped us with a lot of issues. They even made some tweaks to the engine to help us out with some of the issues,” Fabichak recounts. “But when it came to one of the specific requirements from Sony, I spent about a month in the engine’s source code trying to solve it. That was really hard, especially since it came out of the blue, nearing the end of development.”

Now we can approach publishers and companies like Sony with much more ease.

“Despite these problems, we had great help from Sony.” Fabichak admits. It also gave them more confidence to step things up. “Through this project we now talk to others on a whole other level. Now we can approach publishers and companies like Sony with more ease. You can’t reach this level as a company without earning your stripes with a previous project. Now we have the credentials to talk to them and prove we can deliver on what we propose, and our partners know that. We feel like we’re on another level now.” Fabichak says proudly.

The second part of Fabichak’s interview will be published next week, including his views on the Brazilian game industry, Insolita’s current projects, and his effort to inform upcoming talents about the real world of game development in Brazil through his podcast, Doublejump.

Online

Gamesauce Challenge Announces Global Game Jam Winners

February 2, 2011 — by Vlad Micu and Javier Sancho

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The GGJ2011 Poster by Sjors Houkes

We have announced the ten winners of the Gamesauce Challenge for the IGDA Global Game Jam!

The ten winning games were selected from the 1487 games that were developed last weekend during the Global Game Jam 2011. Each winning team has been awarded the opportunity to showcase their game during Casual Connect Europe on Thursday, February 10, 2011 in Hamburg, Germany and all-access passes to Casual Connect Europe and three nights of accommodation.

Submissions were judged based on the potential of their teams to create commercially viable projects and meet with publishers during Casual Connect Europe. Each Global Game Jam site was given the opportunity to nominate their very best project for the contest.

The Rhythm of the Stars team from Finland
The Rhythm of the Stars team from Tampere, Finland


The Winners (in alphabetical order)

Death Pizza
Turku, Finland
Sabastian Jakaus, Tatu-Pekka Saarinen, Arash John Sammander. [email]

Hamsters and Plague
Oulu, Finland
Mika Oja, Teemu Kaukoranta. [email]

The Last Fleet
Capetown, South Africa
Marc Luck, Luke Marcus Viljoen, Rodain Joubert. [email]

Ned, You Really Suck the Life Out of a Room
New York, USA
Team NED: New York, USA, Randall Li, Chris Makris, Ben Norskov, Matthew LoPresti, Roger Cheng. [email]

Planetary Plan C
Curitiba, Brazil
Henrique Schlatter Manfroi, Pedro Medeiros de Almeida, Amora B., Karen Garcia, Rafael Miranda Gomes, Rodrigo Braz Monteiro, Fernando Su, Ne Sasaki. [email]

Rhythm of the Stars
Tampere, Finland
Pekka Kujansuu, Olli Etuaho, Juho Korhonen, Aki Jäntti. [email]

Somyeol2D
Bremen, Germany
Kolja Lubitz, Jannik Waschkau, Carsten Pfeffer, Jan Niklas Hasse. [email]

Snobli Run
Kajaani, Finland
Veli Vainio & Ilkka Leino. [email]

Speck
Manila, Philippines
Marnielle Lloyd Estrada. [email]

Ultimate celebration
Rochester, New York, USA
Lane Lawley, Brian Soulliard, Devin Ford, Lawrence Jung, Kevin MacLeod. [email]

The Somyeol2D team from Bremen, Germany
The Somyeol2D team from Bremen, Germany

The Runner Ups (in alphabetical order)

Dramatic Extinction
Hamar, Norway
Stig-Owe Sandvik, Kenneth Aas Hansen, Andreas Fuglesang.

Glitchhiker
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Jan Willem Nijman, Rami Ismail, Jonathan Barbosa Rutger Muller, Paul Veer, Laurens de Gier.

How to Kill Pandas
Pelitalo Outokumpu, Finland
Antti Piironen, Anssi Pehrman, Tuuka Rinkinen, Salla Hakko, Heikki Koljonen, Hannu-Pekka Rötkö, Lauri Salo, Juho-Petteri Yliuntinen, Lari Strand, Henry Härkönen, Sina Aho.

Johann Sebastian Joust!
Copenhagen Game Collective
Douglas Wilson, Nils Deneken, Lau Korsgaard, Sebbe Selvig, Patrick Jarnveldt.

MeteorCrash
Córdoba,  Argentina
Ezequiel Soler, German A. Martin, Carla Soledad Corcoba.

Make sure to participate in the IGDA Global Game Jam next year for your opportunity to win!

EventsNews

Indie Prize USA 2016: What to Expect

June 30, 2016 — by Yuliya Moshkaryova

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One of the developers has just contacted me (yes it is 2 am 🙂 ) and has asked me to give him some information to persuade his investor to make his trip to Indie Prize USA possible as his investor doesn’t think it is a good idea to fly from Australia to San Francisco just to visit the conference. This article is my reply to those who are still hesitating whether to showcase their games or not.

First, let’s highlight WHO WILL VISIT INDIE PRIZE USA 2016.

  • Color Switch (75 millions downloads)
  • The infamous Liyla & the Shadows of War (a game based on the story about Palestinian people and rejection from AppStore)
  • The Forest Song (based on the Ukrainian folk novel, created by an American with Ukrainian roots)
  • Choices: Stories You Play which was #35 on the App Store’s Top Grossing Games list the first week after launch
  • Winners of local games’ contests from our Indie Indie Prize Nomination Partners
  • Up to 20 VR games in the showcase, as well as the opening of a new nomination genre Best VR Game!

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Europe 2015Video Coverage

Andy Sum: Making Games People Want to Share | Casual Connect Video

June 19, 2015 — by Catherine Quinton

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'I had an itch nagging away at me to work on my ideas…I just had to try and build them.'–Andy SumClick To Tweet
Andy Sum
Andy Sum

At the Casual Connect Europe 2015 conference, Andy Sum and Matt Hall revealed their processes, influences and key decisions made during the three month development cycle of their hit game Crossy Road. “Our goal was not to make money; our goal was to make something popular,” says Andy Sum.

Europe 2018Video Coverage

Teut Weidemann: Conversion and ARPPU in Your F2P Game | Casual Connect Video

August 16, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Teut Weidemann speaking at Casual Connect Europe in London

Are you a game developer who has decided to use the free-to-play business model? Then, no matter how exciting your game, you must find ways to make it profitable if you are to continue in business. How will you convert the users into paying users? Then how will you convince those paying users to continue spending in your game? These are difficult but absolutely essential challenges. There is no better person to advise you than Teut Weidemann.

Teut Weidemann is the F2P Consultant at I Teut You So. As a senior online games specialist, he consults with companies in the F2P space, sharing the knowledge he gained working in games since the 1980s and shipping over 100 titles on multiple platforms. He was part of the team that created the browser game of the year, The Settlers Online.

At Casual Connect Europe 2018, Teut gave the session titled Raising ARPPU and Conversion in Your F2P Game. In it he used examples from dozens of different games in best practices for raising ARPPU and conversion: the most difficult problem. Once past this hurdle, raising ARPPU is a little easier, but still tricky. You must always be aware of the fact that players want value for the money they spend in the game.

To learn more about how you can keep your game profitable while providing the value players want, be sure to watch the video of this session.

To read more about Teut including some more of his wisdom from Casual Connect Europe 2017 which took place in Berlin, see this exclusive article.

IndustryNews

Presenting the Indie Prize Finalists from Europe Part 2

May 24, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Indie Prize at Casual Connect Europe 2018 has attracted many entries from all over Europe, including Italy, France, Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, as well as the United Kingdom. And the innovation in these games is remarkable. Competitive games have a variety of new twists that require speed, precision and skill to succeed. Adventure and narrative games pit the player against novel situations and obstacles. Settings range from the historically accurate (or inaccurate) to fantasy or dungeons or even the player’s mind. And a variety of puzzle games challenge players’ thinking in different ways. Whatever kind of gaming you prefer, there are games here you will enjoy. These fantastic games total 38 from Europe. The finalists have been broken up into two parts. To see the other 19, see this article.

Game Title: Falling Sky
Developer: Falling Sky
Platform: Desktop Win
Country: United Kingdom/Norway

Falling Sky is a cinematic 3D mystery game. It was developed at the National Film and Television School and the project leader and sole developer was Jonathan Nielssen. The game uses Unreal Engine and motion capture technology to create immersive, narrative-driven drama. It has a Twin Peaks influence and elements of open world adventure.

The characters of the game are brothers Daniel and Tommy, who are attempting to solve the mystery of their mother’s disappearance. Guided by a series of cryptic messages, the boys set off on a quest to find the truth.

Falling Sky was nominated for Best Student Game at the Game Awards. It has also been receiving attention in the press.

Game Title: Lost Words
Developer: Sketchbook Games
Platform: Desktop Win
Country: United Kingdom

Lost Words is an atmospheric puzzle game that is set between the pages of a diary and a fantasy land. The narrative of the game is tied into the gameplay in an unusual way, having the player running on and solving puzzles by interacting with words.

Lost Words won Best Indie Game, Best Casual Game and and Most Original Game at Game Connection 2017 in France. It was also nominated for Best Idea at AzPlay 2017 in Spain and won UK Game of the Show from UKE at Gamescom 2017 in Germany. It also received the Special Selection Indie Award at Reboot Develop 2017 in Croatia.

Game Title: Super Chicken Catchers
Developer: Game Design : Maxime BODIN, Rafael LOPES Game Art : Benoit RICHARD, Sylvain LACERES, Etienne POV, Marion CHABROL SUPT Game Programming : Alexis COEURDEROY, Yanis HAMEL, Ilyes OUHABI LESURTEL
Platform: Desktop Win
Country: France

Super Chicken Catchers is a 2v2 game set in a multi-player arena. Each team of two players is made up of the mount, who chases the chickens, and the rider, who must catch the chickens with his yo-yo.

Game Title: Naraa: The Living Book
Developer: Game Design : Nicolas DUVAL, David BIRGE-COTTE Game Art : Perrine LOZINGUEZ, Charlotte COUDERC, Julie MIZREH, Violaine BERTHOUMIEU Game Programming : Rémi CARREIRA, Benjamin HADDAD, Matthieu JAGU
Platform: Other mobile platform
Country: France

Naraa: the Living Book uses augmented reality to explore the landscapes of Mongolia with a real children’s book. In this story Naraa wants to become a shaman but she needs help from the player. The realms of the spirits have been invaded by the villainous Iblis. To win the trust of the spirits, Naraa must have help from the player to free them from the Iblis; only then can the player wake up the Great Bear.

Game Title: Planet’s Revenge
Developer: Planet’s Revenge team
Platform: Android
Country: France

In the Planet’s Revenge, the Nias have escaped from their planet and are invading the universe. Only the player can stop this parasitic invasion. To do it you must clean each planet by creating tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes and unleashing other destructive powers.

Game Title: QUBE 2
Developer: Toxic Games
Platform: Desktop Win
Country: United Kingdom

Q.U.B.E. 2 is the sequel to the first-person puzzle game Q.U.B.E. As Amelia Cross, a stranded archaeologist, the player mysteriously awakens in the ruins of an ancient alien landscape. Your goal is to find your way home, but to do it you must manipulate and travel through this forgotten world. Your only help comes from another, although distant, survivor, Commander Emma Sutcliffe.

Q.U.B.E. 2 has won the following awards: Outstanding Gameplay – Reboot Develop 2016, Game of the Year – Reboot Develop 2016, Global VR Challenge 2016, Kotaku – Best of British 2018.

Game Title: Mission 1545
Developer: City Quests Media
Platform: Desktop Win, Desktop Mac, Web
Country: United Kingdom

Mission 1545 is a rescue mission adventure set in Tudor London of the 16th Century. Spies are everywhere and players must stay out of sight, avoiding enemy light comes. They must win the eight themed gate towers in a night-long race along the city wall in order to reach the Tower of London. Then they must find and release the prisoner held there.

Mission 1545 is the first game for City Quests Media. The team is dedicated to making games set in English history, using an outstanding cast and a comic book art style, soundtrack, acting and script.

Game Title: Gaze
Developer: Franck Morgand, Clément Mezelle, Grégoire Chamberland, Lothario Areski Peon de Schuyter
Platform: Android
Country: France

Gaze is a game that combines speed, observation and sculpture. Players must find the anamorphic shapes printed on the sculpture using the camera of their smartphone. Once they find the anamorphosis, they take a picture to validate it and receive a score. And the player with the highest score wins.

Gaze was an official selection at Indiecade Europe 2017. It has been reviewed on a number of websites that include Shake That Button, Factornews, Game Side Story, and The Broadcast Show.

Game Title: Over the Alps
Developer: Stave Studios
Platform: iOS, Desktop Win
Country: United Kingdom

Over the Alps takes players on a race through the Switzerland of 1939 in a text adventure/point-and-click adventure. They explore scenes inspired by vintage travel posters and read postcard written in invisible ink. They must navigate the intrigue of wartime Europe, trying to stay undercover while being chased by a Nazi spycatcher. They must escape the spycatcher, rescue the Watchmaker and unlock the secrets of the past.

Over the Alps has been accepted into the Leftfield Collection and has appeared in Gamesmaster.

Game Title: Ruya
Developer: Miracle Tea
Platform: Miracle Tea
Country: United Kingdom

Players of this game find tranquility as they match the characters of Ruya‘s world. They visit surreal landscapes while decorating themselves in flowers and introspect. Ruya offers a calming experience with interactions and color combinations designed to make players feel at ease. And the dreamlike soundtrack pulls you into the state of peaceful flow.

Ruya has been featured in the Top 10 Charts in the App stores worldwide and was rated 9.1 on App Advice. It won Game of the Show at Game Anglia 2017 and was an Official Selection at Casual Connect Asia 2017. And it was a winner at Trazfuser 2016.

Game Title: Disco Flip
Developer: ALL CAPS
Platform: Android
Country: Denmark

Disco Flip has players navigating obstacles and enemies through a unique twist of music and action in an endless runner game. This game is filled with different characters and the players must traverse a dangerous path while everything, even the trees, moves to the beat of the music.

Disco Flip won the People’s Choice Award at GameScope 2017.

Game Title: Swim Out
Developer: Lozange Lab
Platform: iOS, Android, Console, Desktop Win, Desktop Mac
Country: France

Swim Out is a strategic turn-based puzzle game. It takes place in the refreshing, relaxing atmosphere of a sunny day by the pool, the river or the sea. But you must plan each of your strokes wisely so that you never cross another swimmer’s path in order to enjoy the view from a cozy chaise longue.

Swim Out was a finalist for Best Mobile Game at Ping Awards 2017 and was a finalist for Best Puzzle Game at TIGA Games Industry Awards 2017. It has been receiving very positive reviews and comments, for example, “Swim Out is a gorgeous, stylish pool puzzler” from Rock, Paper, Shotgun. It has been featured in the AppStore, Google Play, itch.io and GameJolt.

Game Title: Kawaii
Developer: kickAlive
Platform: Android
Country: France

Kawaii is a game that lets players, with their friends, breed hundreds of creatures such as cats, dogs, dragons. And you build their world.

Kawaii was soft launched in France. It acquired 100 users and gained 100,000 in return.

Game Title: Too Many Cooks
Developer: FINIFUGU && friends
Platform: iOS, Android
Country: United Kingdom

Too Many Cooks is a local cooperative game for 3 – 6 players. The players join together, each using their own phone, no central screen is needed. In the kitchen where the game is set, each player has different job objects – one might have a crate to gather ingredients, one might have a board for chopping, a rice cooker, perhaps the sink for cleanup. But players can also pass around objects or jobs they would rather not have. Each player can help others finish their jobs.

Too Many Cooks won the Very Big Indie Pitch 2018 in London and was nominated at the SXSW’s Gamers Voice Awards.

Game Title: Still Here
Developer: David Smit
Platform: iOS, Android
Country: Germany

Still Here is 2D flight game set in the near future and focused on a central question: Why did mankind leave the earth? The game takes the player, as the character Pip, on a journey through a dystopian world full of secrets and unique locations. As Pip journeys, he befriends and helps artificial life. Their plight sets the course for the adventure among the remains of the long gone human civilization. But there are rewards to unlock that will help Pip on his journey.

Still Here was featured in Early Access for over eight months. It gained more than 200,000 players and a 4.5 rating from Tip Tap in China and similar players and ratings throughout the world.

Game Title: Smash Tanks
Developer: Dumpling (Design Ltd)
Platform: iOS, Android
Country: United Kingdom

Smash Tanks is an augmented reality game with destructive its defining feature. Players take turns to launch their tanks into enemy territory to take out the enemy, grab supply crates or topple the towers. The game continues until only one team is left.

Augmented reality turns Smash Tanks into an ultra-exciting experience. Anywhere can become a battle arena, the living room, kitchen or even outdoors. Soon players are moving around and getting close to line up the trick shots.

SmashTanks was selected by The Guardian as one of the best games of EGX 2017. It was demoed as part of Apples AR Showcase and it was the #1 selling AR and board game app during the Christmas season.

Game Title: Silent Streets: Mockingbird
Developer: Funbakers
Platform: iOS, Android
Country: Ireland

Silent Streets: Mockingbird is a detective adventure game that features augmented reality. The immersive story is set in the Victorian Era and has crime scene investigation with ARKit technology. The game includes beautiful artwork and impressive sound and voice over. It has been localized in French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Silent Streets: Mockingbird has received positive coverage from Touch Arcade and Pocket Gamer as well as other media.

Game Title: Castle Cats: Epic Story Quests
Developer: PocApp Studios
Platform: iOS, Android, Other mobile platform
Country: Sweden

Castle Cats: Epic Story Quests is a humorous RPG narrative game blended with cat collecting and hero management. When you play this game, you become the leader of a guild of cat heroes saving the Kingdom of Catania by defeating the evil Pugomancer. You can recruit from over one hundred cat heroes including knights, mages or flying dragon cats, and send them on quests to earn prestige and loot for your guild. You train your cat heroes and send them on dozens of different quests and to fight enemies such as wolves and zombie chihuahuas.

Castle Cats has a rating of 4.8 on both iOS and Play Store and almost 2 million downloads. It was featured on NewsWatch TV and has raised $17000 for animal charities.

To view all of the Indie Prize finalists for Casual Connect Europe, visit indieprize.org.

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.

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