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Indie Prize Asia 2018 Participants from Western Europe

November 7, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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The participants in Indie Prize at Casual Connect Asia always show amazing creativity and diversity, and this certainly true of these entries for Indie Prize Asia 2018 from Western Europe. From creative learning apps to complex puzzles to adventure games, and even some filled with horror, there is something here for every kind of gamer.

Game Title: Looters
Developer: Karizma Studio
Platform: Android
Country: Iran
Video: https://bit.ly/2REDTyf

Once upon a time there was a magical game studio named KARIZMA. They were known across the land for developing games, and one day a glorious castle emerged from the studio. The castle was filled with magic and gold so it attracted every looter in the world. Eventually the castle became known as Looters.

When you play as one of the Looters, you must avoid the traps and weapons that protect the castle. Be alert for unexpected dangers; you never know what lies ahead!

Game Title: Squirrel & Bear: Europe (Culture Travel)
Developer: The Good Evil GmbH
Platform: iOS, Android, Console Nintendo Switch
Country: Germany
Video: https://bit.ly/2QlBbxv

Squirrel & Bear: Europe is an adventure game that allows children to explore the diversity of language and culture in Europe. And it is a Badger rescue mission! Players explore Europe’s cities, food, sights and animals, and along the way they find hidden gems. They can listen to the different languages, take pictures, and, of course, save Badger!

Squirrel & Bear: Europe is a new adventure from the characters in Squirrel & Bear: Original. The original game received many awards, including: Die Bienenretter: Comenius-EduMedia Seal 2018, App of the Month September 2016, German Academy of Kids and Youth Literature e. V., Nomination for German Video Game Award as Best Kids Game 2015, Dyslexia Quality Award 2015, German Developer Award 2014 – Best Kids Game, Tommi Kids Software Prize 2014 – Winner Preschool, GIGA-Mouse 2014 – Best Lernapplication Languages, and Pädi 2014 – the Medien Interaktivpreis.

Game Title: ROPAS
Developer: Saif Ahmed
Platform: Android
Country:Tunisia

ROPAS is a complex puzzle based on Rock-Paper-Scissors. The goal at each level is to eliminate all but one of the pieces and leave the single winning piece. This winning piece is different at each level.

Each puzzle piece has its own unique features and interacts differently with other pieces; as well, it has a limited number of movements.

ROPAS is the first step toward realizing the developer’s idea of an interesting puzzle game that is both unique and complex. They began with adding mechanics each time they played Rock-Paper-Scissors, until it evolved into ROPAS.

Game Title: Mind the Gap!
Developer: Ashiokai
Platform: iOS, Android
Country: United Kingdom

In Mind the Gap, a simple arcade game, the goal is survival but at a relaxed, satisfying pace. The player increases their score by collecting power ups and Gwap coins. They can also buy additional playable characters.

Game Title: Need a packet?
Developer: Marginal act
Platform: Desktop Win, Desktop Mac
Country: Ukraine

Need a packet?, a horror-simulator game, takes place against a background of a garbage crisis in the city. The grounds are rotting, recycling containers are overflowing, the water is poisoned and the citizens start disappearing in the forests. The game’s character is Molly, a supermarket cashier, who is gradually losing her mind because of her boring, repetitive work. She begins believing the cash register is turning into a medieval tower and dragons and chimeras are flying around and trying to kill her.

Game Title: Désiré
Developer: Sylvain Seccia
Platform: iOS, Android, Desktop Win, Desktop Mac
Country: France

Désiré is a point-and-click adventure in which the main character sees only in black and white. Désiré, the game’s main character, meets different characters as the game progresses. Each of these characters elicits intense emotional response from him, changing the way he sees the world.

The game has four chapters, more than fifty scenes and over forty characters. At Indie Prize Tel Aviv 2016 it was awarded Best Mobile Game and Best Game Audio. At Indie Prize Asia 2016 is received Best Game Narrative and at Evry Games City it received Best Game Audio.

Game Title: Kabounce
Developer: Stitch Heads
Platform: Desktop Win, Console PlayStation 4
Country: The Netherlands

Kabounce is a fast-paced pinball game in a team versus team experience. You control the ball and must master your movements to dominate the field and annihilate the opponents, taking their points by force. You play parkour time attack challenges to test your skills against ghosts, friends or the leaderboards.

Kabounce was the winner at UE4Jam, 2015, received an Unreal Dev Grant in 2016, and was given a “very positive” rating on Steam. It was the winner at Codemotion Amsterdam 2018 and Grads in Games Winner.

Kabounce was nominated for the Indie Prize by Codemotion Amsterdam.

Game Title: Squire Squarefeet
Developer: Dane Games
Platform: Desktop Win
Country: Denmark

Squire Squarefeet is a nostalgic adventure that takes the player back to a time when games were easy to learn but hard to master. The characters in the game are the knight, Sir Hot-a-Lot and his squire, anti-hero Squire Squarefeet. Follow them on their journey to save the princess, and enjoy this game filled with fun for all ages.

At Game Scope 2018, Denmark, Squire Squarefeet won the People’s Choice award. People of all ages, groups of friends, and parents with children, played together to figure out the puzzles. The game is filled with adult humor, hard puzzle solving and pattern-based mechanics. These bring out the fighter in players as they sit down to take Squire Squarefeet for a spin.

Squire Squarefeet was nominated for Indie Prize by Game Scope.

Game Title: Circle of Sumo
Developer: Yonder
Platform: Desktop Win, Desktop Mac, Console Nintendo Switch
Country: Italy

Circle of Sumo is a fast-paced, competitive game that can take place in dozens of different arenas. Players can play alone or in teams as they fight for supremacy in the ring using their power, precision, reflexes and cunning. Sumo is only the starting point, the game is a real mini-games box; it has a joyful and inclusive soul that still keeps its purely competitive aspects, such as controllers’ precision and characters’ statistics.

Circle of Sumo can be played anywhere your imagination can see a ring: a traditional dohyo, the top of a tower, traffic roundabouts, desert islands, carousels, golf courses, sunny cemeteries, dark attics, and all sorts of unlikely places. There are mini-games for everyone’s taste: original creations, re-imaginings of different sports and tributes to traditional video games, such as Pong.

Circle of Sumo aims to be one of the most inclusive, cross-cutting games and to ensure pure fun while keeping the taste for challenge.

This game received the Game of the Fair award at Game Rome, 2017, where a ten-year-old child called it, “the funniest game of the last thirty years.” At Game Jam Rome 2017 it received the Best Game Award.

Circle of Sumo was nominated for Indie Prize by Codemotion Rome 2018.

Game Title: The Wizards – Trials of Meliora
Developer: Carbon Studio
Platform: VR mobile
Country: Poland

The Wizards – Trials of Meliora lets you test your magic abilities and your mettle as you defend the realm of Meliora. It is based on the award-winning action/adventure The Wizards, but is a completely new adventure. It takes place in the same world, adapted to Oculus Go and Gear VR headsets. Enjoy the fun of immersive gesture-based spell casting in standalone VR and the breath taking environments from the original The Wizards.

Carbon Studio released The Wizards – Trials of Meliora on July 5, 2018, a mobile VR game that brings the fun of casting spells with hand gestures to Oculus Go, Samsung Gear VR and Mi VR headsets. This independent title takes full advantage of 3DOF motion controller’s potential and introduces players to the rich world of The Wizards. The games casting mechanic puts magic directly into the player’s hands, eliminating pop-up menus, button combinations and other traditional systems.

The Wizards – Trials of Meliora was nominated for Indie Prize by RESPAWN.

Game Title: The Grandfather Machine
Developer: Shane Hou
Platform: Desktop Win, Desktop Mac
Country: United Kingdom

The Grandfather Machine is a first person maze/ puzzle game featuring a live performance actor. It is set in a desert environment divided into two main spaces, the Real World and the Virtual World. The mechanics of play in the game change, depending on where you are in these worlds. These core game mechanics include wall walking, gravity manipulations and space paradoxes. The game narrative is an experience into the adventure of a surreal world of alternative thinking and bizarre logic.

When you awaken in the game you find yourself in a strange place. A scientist asks you to take several tests to answer some of life’s biggest questions. You must finish a series of challenges in a virtual space; you could walk on every plane, such as ground, wall and ceiling, go through different dimensions and travel by gravity pads to your final destination. But what lies at the end of your journey?

Game Title: OIC: Obviously Inappropriate Content
Developer: Last Life Left Game Studio
Platform: Desktop Win
Country: United Kingdom

OIC: Obviously Inappropriate Content is an adventure game set in a fictional Eastern-bloc country called Belkasvena. In this narrative-rich game, the player is a game tester who must censor a developing game under government regulation. The government, led by the SUPREME LEADER, continually implements new regulations to “ensure that all video games ensure a healthy and positive culture”. The game tester, employed by the “Last Life Left Game Studio”, has the job of testing a 2D action shooter game, “Ural Death Machine. If they discover any bug or anything that violates regulations, they must take a screen shot and report it.

The total testing period is six months in the story and each pass of testing a level in the game represents one week. At the beginning and end of each working day, the tester can check emails, interact with colleagues on social media and find out the news. This is how the player discovers the effects their work has on the company, the events in the outside world that will affect the pressures of their job, and the changing attitudes and censorship regulations of the government.

OIC explores the origin and development of video game censorship and how it might affect the video game industry and our society as a whole. Developer Shualying “Shane” Hou found inspiration for this game from Metal Slug, Papers, Please and Orwell.

Game Title: Voxel Clicker
Developer: Quantumfrog Mobile GmbH
Platform: iOS, Android, Web, other consoles
Country: Germany
Video: https://bit.ly/2zAgNl5

Voxel Clicker is a role playing game with voxel graphics and clicker elements, set in a beautiful kingdom. Players fight with one hero and up to four companions. When you play this game you fight against fantasy creatures, collect treasures, develop skills, and craft new items.

Voxel Clicker was the winner of GTR 2016.

Game Title: Vocarbicar
Developer: Quantumfrog GmbH
Platform: iOS, Android
Country: Germany
Video: https://bit.ly/2Qpr36N

Vocarbicar is a learning app for children in grades 3-4 and 5-6 and was developed in cooperation with Westermann Group. Vocabicar helps children extend their English vocabulary. They control toy cars through theme worlds and collect letters, words and objects, depending on the game mode. As they play, they memorize words which have been collected and repeated before. The game mechanic and high scores keep the children motivated.

Features include individually adjustable difficulty levels, choice of vehicles, exciting challenges in various fields, high learning motivation through high score list, and awards for specific successes. Either German or English can be selected.

Vocabicar received the Best Serious Game at the German Video Game Awards 2018.

Game Title: Bushy Tail
Developer: Fuero Games Sp. z o.o.
Platform: Desktop Win
Country: Poland

In this adventure narrative game, we learn the story of Little Fox. Three children are processing their experiences of the sudden arrival of refugees and foreign cultures by turning to the fictional world and using Little Fox as the hero who grows through, adapts to and overcomes the challenges of change. This game constantly transforms, depending on which child is telling the story, giving the player a sense of influencing the plot.

Bushy Tail has received the following awards: PC Indie Pitch award by Steel Media at Game Industry Conference, Best Story/Storytelling at Paris Game Connection, Developer Showcase winner at Games Forum London, Best Game Animation and Best Narrative at Casual Connect USA, and Warsaw Excellence Prize at Pixel Awards 2018.

It has also received many nominations, including: Most Original Game, Most Promising IP, Best Quality Art, Best Casual Game, and Best Console PC/Hardcore all at Game Connection Europe 2017: as well as Indie Game Award Finalist at Taipei Games Show 2018.

To view all of the Indie Prize finalists for Casual Connect Asia 2018, visit indieprize.org.

EventsGame DesignNews

Announcing the Indie Prize Asia 2018 Participants from Eastern and Northern Europe

October 31, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Would you enjoy making first contact with alien life? Perhaps you would prefer farming as a devil harvesting souls? Or would you crush enemies and destroy evil? In some games you must hone your skills and solve puzzles to win. Whatever your preference, you will find opportunities to enjoy it in these games from Eastern and Northern Europe at Casual Connect‘s Indie Prize in Asia 2018.

Game Title: Hopply
Developer: Clayburger
Platform: iOS, Android, Web
Country: Czechia

Hopply is an endless jumper game with clay-like graphics. Its original music and sound effects were created using only the human voice and body.

When playing this game you are trying to jump over the pond and get to the other side. As you go you collect golden nuggets and try to avoid poops and bombs. But you must also avoid your enemies, Doggie, a peaceful, shy lily pad destroyer and Badass, a slow, slimy betrayer.

EventsGame DesignNews

Meet the Indie Prize Serbia Entries from Eastern Europe

September 18, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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The entries for Casual Connect‘s Indie Prize coming from Eastern Europe will challenge players in many different ways. A game may explore fighting with weapons that include ladles, chimney brushes and hair dryers, while another requires players to cooperate in teams to reach their objective. A more serious game explores the stages of grief as a different game explores a network of universes and another leads players to rely on their sense of hearing to explore. Players will need to use quick reflexes, logical thinking, puzzle solving skills and more in these games.

Game Title: Cube
Developer: ColdCoffee
Platform: Android
Country: Turkey

In this game, you are trying to reach the key with Cube while avoiding the tricks and overcoming the traps. To do so, you must keep your head, remain calm and don’t rush. But eventually this won’t be enough; the path ahead will only be revealed when Cube rotates on its axis.

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?

EventsNews

The 22nd Indie Prize Winners at Casual Connect Europe 2018

June 1, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Indie Prize London 2018 featured many exciting games that we will enjoy playing. The judging is now complete and Casual Connect Europe is happy to announce the winners and nominees in each category.

Best Game Audio award was given to Zebrainy ABCs, created by Zebrainy Limited

The winner of Best Game Audio is Zebrainy ABCs, created by Zebrainy Limited from Ukraine. This is an alphabet learning game for young children that takes them on a journey where they learn to construct each letter and then to know animals, objects and characters that begin with that letter.

Nominees for Best Game Audio were: LUNA the Shadow Dust, developed by Lantern Studio from the United Kingdom, a point-and-click puzzle adventure set in a fantasy world; Nishan Shaman by Next Studio from China, inspired by ancient Chinese Manchu mythology; and Hyperforma by Nord Unit of Russia, an arcade puzzle in a steampunk setting.

The winner of Best Game Design was EnigmBox by Benoit Freslom from France. EnigmBox is a puzzle game that requires you to use all the functionalities of your smartphone to solve the puzzles, including things like the location service, plug-in accessories and much more.

EventsNews

Casual Connect Europe 2018 Indie Prize Finalists from Eastern Europe

May 18, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Indie Prize London at Casual Connect Europe 2018 has attracted an outstanding variety of games from Eastern Europe. Role playing is featured in many games, and is perhaps taken to new heights in a game where the player literally chooses a role to play on stage. Many also combine role playing with different types of adventure, such as surviving on a sinking island or digging through caves or being lost in a desert. There are games that challenge the brain with puzzles, multiplayer games, beautiful learning games for children, and even games that take players into accurate representations of history. There is something in this group of games that will attract everyone.

Game Title: Theatre VR
Developer: Misterine
Platform: VR desktop/console
Country: Czech Republic

Theatre VR is the perfect game for aspiring actors and anyone who would like to experience what it would be like to be on stage. It allows you to choose a play and a role, then act that character. You say the lines while making gestures and moving around the stage. But you are not alone on stage; there are other characters driven by the computer. You can also create your own productions and share them with others and enjoy the play with your friends.

ContributionsIndiePostmortem

Creating PROZE by SignSine

May 15, 2018 — by Industry Contributions

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Company/Team Introduction

We are SignSine – a two people game studio from Kyiv, Ukraine.

We are developing PROZE, an atmospheric survival adventure game focused on telling a compelling story “about friendship with massive Cold War conspiracy background” and providing an immersive experience in VR.

Where did everything start?

In August 2016, we went to a countryside house (dacha) nearby Kyiv with a company of old friends. After getting lost in the woods we were very inspired telling the story to each other from a different perspective. Some time after we decided to turn our memories of that evening into a game screenplay, that’s how the initial idea came together.

We weren’t sure about genre, setting or technology. It was just a draft story and we kept developing it, collecting ideas and references for everything, drawing early sketches, describing game mechanics and creating puzzles — basically doing what we could.

We knew exactly what kind of experience PROZE should be in the end – a unique story with massive background, characters, which you love, hate and empathize. Cozy and at the same time – scary atmosphere that will be left imprinted in players memories for decades. Our sights of what the perfect game should be and on many other things was uncommon, that’s why we settled as a team and kept progressing on the development.

The decision of making a VR game was not instant. However while putting our design document together we realized that this technology can fully project our idea, thoughts, and emotions that we have put into the screenplay. To embody those moments as it could happen in real life we decided to make a VR game at first place.

Going for technologies that we are using in the game creation is a bigger challenge for us, as we are trying to reach really stunning quality of visuals and audio with no budget.

So pretty much all the things that we are doing, we are doing ourselves, including photogrammetry, motion capture, spatial sound design, 3D modeling.
The hardest part was to combine the development with our day jobs. We have to support financially ourselves and the project. We have to spend tons of time on doing things and learning new as we set this unreachable goal of making an uncompromised game.

There were 4 of us in the very beginning, but only 2 of us left carrying the torch. All of us have motivational, financial, family, time and other problems from time to time, it makes huge impacts on the progress of PROZE development, nevertheless we work as a team and support each other during the hard times.


Today we went for full time development, rented a small office, upgraded some gear.
That’s not fine when we can’t afford buying food everyday, but we truly believe that things will change and PROZE will be a blast when it’s done.

We have spend a lot of time on crafting the cinematic story trailer, which is not completed yet today. It still lacks of visual effects and expensive 3D character models.

Perhaps it was a mistake starting from such complex footage that required all states of technology and art in itself ignoring the actual gameplay.

However we’ve learned a lot and gained big experience with

  • The new game engine.
  • Motion capture, which we were recording with 2 soldiered Kinects in the rotten basement of the 18 story building. Where we were disturbed all the time by the tenants that were looking at us as on aliens trying to steal their gigabytes of internet.

Crawling through the dungeons and caught cold standing on the windy highways and fields and lakes to record authentic ambiances and sound effects.

But wrong moves were made right. Using the experience and groundwork we started from scratch creating a playable game episode in VR. Not much time has passed and we are showcasing PROZE pre-Aplha at our first conference. So many gamers that have never played anything like that before were extremeley excited.

After 2 months and huge update we are getting 2 main prizes during our second in life conference.

We’ve been awarded the Audience Choice Award and the Best Indie Game Award. Now as winners from GameDev Lviv (an Indie Prize Partner event), we are Indie Prize London finalist at Casual Connect Europe and the game looks and feels like never before.

 

The mistake that we won’t regret if you can call it a mistake is that we are not following the trends.

The development of such complex project takes a lot of time and the industry changes every now and then. PROZE is not social, it is not a multiplayer. It doesn’t have loot boxes or similar things.
It may sound strange, but it is designed mostly for introverts that want to relax after a busy day, spend a few hours alone and take part in the breathtaking story, experience the situations that might be related to them, but in an extraordinary way and get the emotional connection with the characters.

Hopefully we will connect with our audience and together we will prove that there are no such thing as unreachable goals. And the higher you aim the more you gain. That probably would be the main tip for other developers trying hard to bring their worlds to life.

It might be early to judge if our approach repays.

But if you liked our story you are more than welcome to follow us and witness the Q4 2018 release of the first episode of PROZE.
https://www.facebook.com/prozegame/
https://twitter.com/SignSineGames

Be cool, Stay cool!

ContributionsIndustry

Behind the Title: An Interview with Jessica Tams, Founder and Managing Director of Casual Games Association

April 25, 2018 — by Marina Sapunova

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In this interview, yellowHEAD’s Marina Sapunova speaks with Jessica Tams about her life behind one of the most successful events in the games industry, why she moved to a farm and what she was like in high school.

Marina Sapunova: Hi Jessica! I’m happy to have you with me. I don’t think that you need an introduction for our audience, but it would be great if you could say just a few words about what you do.

Jessica Tams: I’m Jessica Tams – I am the Managing Director of CGA. We have a couple of things that we do: Casual Connect; we also organize Indie Prize, which is the scholarship program for indie developers; and a media outlet – Gamesauce.biz. We’ve been doing this for 13 years. We do 4 shows a year. So that’s what I do.

Marina: Nice! And you are so good at what you do! But let’s talk about Jessica. Who’s Jessica behind her title?

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.

ContributionsIndustry

Behind the Title: An Interview with Javier Castro, Head of EMEA Apps Gaming at Google

February 21, 2018 — by Marina Sapunova

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In this interview, yellowHEAD’s Marina Sapunova speaks with Javier Castro, Head of EMEA Apps Gaming Sales, to find out about the person behind the title, what interests him in life besides work and what brought him to Casual Connect in Kyiv.

Marina: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Javi. Could you kick things off by sharing with our audience what company you work for and your title?

Javier: For the last 5 years, I’ve been working at Google. I started working at the Google Cloud team and then I moved to the Google apps business. Currently, I am managing a team of colleagues who are working with gaming companies across EMEA, so pretty much working with most of our top gaming companies. 

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