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Indie Prize Singapore 2017 Winners Revealed

May 17, 2017 — by David Radd

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Casual Games Association has announced the winners of the 18th Indie Prize awards. The honorees were revealed during an awards ceremony at Casual Connect Asia in Singapore.

Stifled, a mic-enabled sound-based stealth thriller by Singapore developer Gattai Games, won Best Game Design and Most Innovative Game.  In Stifled, players use echolocation with both sounds made in the game universe and by the players themselves using a microphone, to find there way around the world, but they must be careful not to attract attention to creatures in the darkness. The game came be experienced at Steam.

AudioExclusive Interviews

Mikolai Stroinski: Making Bewitching Music for Witcher 3

May 15, 2017 — by David Radd

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We spoke to Mikolai Stroinski, an award-winning Polish game composer based in Los Angeles, about his music for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter as well as Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, The Witcher 3 expansions Wild Hunt and Blood & Wine. Mikolai describes working on the most famous of Polish development franchises in The Witcher as “a dream come true.”

“Each time I’ve experienced an amazing game, film or TV show, I felt a desire to illustrate it with my music and therefore be a part of it,” said Mikolai. “However, in case of The Witcher it was more than that. When I read the Sapkowski’s books in the mid ‘90s I loved them, but was aware that one needed to know Polish language to appreciate it and therefore felt bad about those who didn’t. Now not only am I able to share the world of Geralt but also my music attached to it. What a joy!!!”

Poland has itself grown into a hub for gamedev in Europe over the past decade. He’s also at the forefront of a growing Polish game music composer scene, including Kamil Orman-Janowski and Arkadiusz Reikowski. Mikolai attributes this rise to the use of personal computers from Spectrum, Atari and Commodore in Polish apartments in the ’80s.

AudioExclusive Interviews

Rob Zahn: Making the Most of Music

May 7, 2017 — by David Radd

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Rob Zahn is a composer that has worked on a variety of genres including horror, fantasy, science fiction and more. Rob says that more than enjoying it, this makes him into a better composer.

“Regardless of whether you like it or not, it’s absolutely essential to know how to handle different styles of music if you want to get hired on a consistent basis,” noted Rob. “Having said that, I don’t think it’s an especially healthy habit to get too comfortable with labels like ‘horror’ or ‘fantasy’ because they’re much too broad and imply the overuse of tropes that can quickly make your stuff sound extremely tired and generic. But yeah, obviously variety is spicy, or something!”

One of the various musical experiences Rob has had is with the band Dead Wake. “I kind of grew up on rock and metal and there was a time when I didn’t listen to very much other than Dream Theater and Opeth and guys like that…but after a while I sort of abandoned it for various reasons,” said Rob. “I’ve gotten to stretch out a bit with Dead Wake as a bassist, vocalist, lyricist and arranger. Metal is definitely not a style I’m often asked to write in for gigs – hopefully that’ll change though! We recently finished tracking our debut album ‘Ghost Stories’ with Kevin Antreassian of The Dillinger Escape Plan and are looking forward to releasing it within the next few months.”

ContributionsEventsIndieNews

Introducing Eastern and Southern European Finalists for Indie Prize Singapore 2017

April 19, 2017 — by Yuliya Moshkaryova

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Developers from six countries will represent Eastern Europe at Indie Prize during Casual Connect Asia in Singapore. Five games from Poland, two games from Spain and one game from Czech Republic, Russia, Cyprus, Italy and Turkey.

The single representative from Italy is the game Downward. The game was nominated by Indie Prize nomination partner in Italy: Codemotion Rome. Codemotion is the biggest tech conference in EMEA. It is about all programming languages and technologies.

ContributionsDevelopment

A “Real” How-to for Unreal Engine

April 12, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

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By: Chris Murphy, Unreal Engine Evangelist and Director of Pub Games

Darkness surrounds you, black as night for what seems like light years away. You’ve seen 16 sunrises and sunsets in the past 24-hours. Suddenly, a lightning flash strikes through the quiet. Your head whips around, searching for more under the spotlight. The flash is reflecting off the shiny solar arrays of the space station, and back to the camera. The gravity (and the lack thereof) of the moment hits you: you’re in a 460-ton platform hurtling toward Earth at about 17,150 miles per hour, and you’re a long way from home….or are you?

Virtual Reality

To prepare and train their astronauts for the surreal experience of living on the International Space Station (ISS), NASA uses a perfect replica of ISS developed in Unreal Engine. The fabricated, three-dimensional environment incorporates many of the tasks and challenges that astronauts will face while in the $150-billion ISS, orbiting 240 miles above Earth. This training is critical to their success and ability to explore space.

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Bill Mooney: The Next Mobile Esports Revolution | Casual Connect Video

April 10, 2017 — by David Radd

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I still hope to think that my proudest moment is still to come. - Bill MooneyClick To Tweet

The three elements which comprise an esport are: competition, organized tournaments and spectatorship. In 1972, esports began with a Spacewar tournament. About 50 years later, esports has evolved into its own entity within the games industry. Join Bill Mooney, CPO of Skillz, at Casual Connect Europe at his talk entitled Esports 101: The Past, Present and Future of an Industry on the Rise as he explores the history behind esports and talks about the future as well. Esports has a projected audience of 180 million by 2019 and over $5 billion in revenue by 2020. Bill described, “Esports drives the committed audience.” To hear more insights into this exciting part of the games industry, tune in to Bill’s full session below.

Exclusive InterviewsIndie

Matthew Paxman: Brawl For Fun with Cowbots and Aliens

April 6, 2017 — by David Radd

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Matthew Paxman is a developer at Wizard Games, maker of Cowbots and Aliens. The VR game won the IGDA Victoria contest, meaning Wizard Games will able to show the title off at Indie Prize Seattle and Casual Connect USA.

Wizard Games’ Booth at IDGA Victoria

“We were super excited to see people enjoying Cowbots and Aliens so much at the IDGA Victoria contest,” said Matthew. “Being able to show the game off at Casual Connect Indie Prize will be a great opportunity to gather feedback, gain exposure, meet other indie game makers and just have a ton of fun.”

This might not of been possible without releasing Cowbots and Aliens on Steam Early Access. Matthew confirmed that doing so has allowed Wizard Games to have some great community feedback that has helped with the direction of how to develop the game.

“Our vision of what Cowbots and Aliens will be when we release the final version out of Early Access has changed dramatically and we think for the better due to the community’s feedback,” Matthew detailed. “It’s helped us understand what fans really care about and want to see more of.”

ContributionsIndustryPR & Marketing

Six Ways Chinese Mobile Game Devs Can Improve Their Western PR Launches

April 3, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

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By James Kaye, Director of Big Games Machine

Lots of attention is given to helping Western developers launch their games in China. Virtually every gaming conference will feature at least one talk on the topic. Yet, there is little focus the other way round. This is largely because Chinese developers will often use a Western publisher. For the few that decide to self-publish, they will often seek the help of an agency partner.

James Kaye is Director & Co-Founder at Big Ideas Machine

Over the past few years, we’ve worked with several Chinese game developers wanting to launch their games in the West. As specialists in gaming PR and marketing, this means we often see developers making the same common mistakes, time and time again.

If you’re a Chinese developer, a publisher or even PR who has never worked with Chinese game developers before, here are six core areas we think deserve your attention. If you’re not a Chinese developer, then many of these tips will still likely apply to you.

Tel Aviv 2016Video Coverage

Alexander Nasonov: Why Free-to-Play is the Future of Children’s Apps | Casual Connect Video

April 1, 2017 — by David Radd

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Art is unpractical, but still is the most valuable thing in our life. - Alexander NasonovClick To Tweet

Premium kids apps sales have decreased drastically: even using Dinotrux or Shrek didn’t help Fox and Sheep to achieve planned sales volumes. Bobaka’s Green Riding Hood as well didn’t sell well even through it was named iPad App of the Year by Apple in 2015. Why out? Transform your creation into a free-to-play children’s educational service with episodic content and parents-friendly microtransactions, suggests Alexander Nasonov, co-founder and executive producer at Bobaka in his Casual Connect Tel Aviv session, explaining it on the case of Green Riding Hood. 

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Maurice Wheeler: Seeing Children’s Needs Through Adult Eyes | Casual Connect Video

March 31, 2017 — by David Radd

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Children aren't just small adults, they have extremely different motivations and reward mechanics. -…Click To Tweet

Every time you think you’ve “cracked it” with what children are into, you attend a workshop or focus group and they do something and confuse you again, admits Maurice Wheeler of Little Big Partnership. Maurice also notes we become less creative as we grow up, so the Little Big Partnership is focused on helping other businesses make sure they are creating something that will work with kids and their families. “With digital devices children get quickly the result they could be proud of“, Maurice comments in the Casual Connect Europe lecture below. 

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