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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.

Europe 2018Video Coverage

Aleksey Savchenko: Understanding the Needs of Developers | Casual Connect Video

September 26, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Live your life so you have something to be proud of every day, then let it go and set higher goals. -…Click To Tweet

Are you ready to use Unreal Engine 4 for development in casual genres? Learn how to utilize this amazing tool in smart and effective ways. Tune in to a presentation by Aleksey Savchenko, a licensing manager at Epic Games, at Casual Connect Europe. This session, Unreal Engine 4: Perspectives for Casual, discussed smart and effective ways of using, including tips and tricks of the toolset, optimization and pipeline. Aleksey also concentrated on some specific hypothetical cases in HOG/HOPA genres to give a good example of what can be done with UE4 in this field.

Europe 2018Video Coverage

Owen McCarthy: Pushing Boundaries | Casual Connect Video

September 4, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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There is a little bit of instinct involved in this and mine hasn't failed me yet... - Owen McCarthyClick To Tweet

If you have ever been to a theme park or large carnival, you know first hand how crowded such places can be. As a game developer, have you have tried to tackle simulating something like that in a game? Frontier Development’s Principal Programmer Owen McCarthy Traditional has some pointers. In a talk at Casual Connect Europe in London entitled Simulating 10,000 Guests in Planet Coaster, Owen gave an overview of how Frontier did it in Planet Coaster. They were able to successfully simulate over 10,000 park guests in a player-created environment by using potential field research based on continuum crowds. In the presentation, he takes a deep dive into the studio’s development process to show how they took this system from prototype to full production. See the full session below.

Europe 2018Video Coverage

Michael Leznik: Using Science to Support Social Casino | Casual Connect Video

August 28, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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If everything agreed with our intuition, we would never have needed the science. - Michael LeznikClick To Tweet

Virality matters. It has become one of the essential features describing the propagation on social networks. This ranges from viral news to viral videos on YouTube or Vimeo to viral games. It helps to monetize, but in spite of being such a vital feature of digital marketing, the ways of measuring virality remain somewhat elusive and non-ubiquitous. Join Michael Leznik, Head of Data Science at Product Madness, during his talk at Casual Connect Europe 2018 where he discussed separate metrics and some technical possibilities of evaluations.

Europe 2018Video Coverage

Richard Bartle: Games Are a Force for Good | Casual Connect Video

August 15, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Games are a force for good, and the more know how to design them, the better games will be. - Richard…Click To Tweet

The idea of Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic for many but for game developers in particular. Enjoy this non-technical presentation which draws on recent work by a Professor at Essex University, Dr Richard Bartle. At his presentation AI for Games and AI for Gamers at Casual Connect Europe, he outlined how AI can help game development right now as well as how it will be able to help and/or hinder it in the near future. “A must read when learning AI technology is Yannakalis & Togelius: Artificial Intelligence and Games”, he recommended. Tune in for highlights on: testing game balance, prediction of player experiences, rapid testing AI opponents, data mining, story generation and automatic game creation.

Europe 2018Video Coverage

Hyper Casual Games: A Monumental Shakeup | Casual Connect Video

August 14, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Hyper Casual, the latest genre of mobile gaming, has caused a monumental shakeup in the app stores in the past year. But what exactly makes a game hyper-casual and why has this genre been seeing such success? How do we expect hyper-casual games to evolve? And, most important, what can strategies can you learn from the developers of hyper-casual games?

If these are questions that concern you, there was a session at Casual Connect Europe 2018 that offered some answers. This was a panel session, The Ascension of Hyper Casual Games, that brought together experts in the field to discuss all aspects of this new genre. These are the participants on the panel:

PANEL: The Ascension of Hyper Casual Games at Casual Connect Europe in London

Eren Yanik, Chief Revenue Officer at Gram Games. Eren is responsible for both ad and IAP monetization, overseeing Gram’s ad business and the shift of the focus on IAP. Previously, Eren was a management consultant with McKinsey and ran projects in the US, Middle East and Europe.

Hugo Peyron, Head of Creation at Voodoo. Hugo co-founded publishing at Voodoo and has helped it grow to the number one ultra-casual game publisher in the world. As Head of Creation he is involved in the company’s reflexion on continuously creating the best performing games possible.

Nimrod Klinger, Senior User Acquisition Manager at TabTale. Nimrod, as a mobile growth expert, is responsible for managing the growth of more than fifty of TabTale’s games, including its greatest hit, Run, Sausage, Run. Nimrod is in charge of the entire conversion funnel, including briefing creative teams, managing channels and campaigns, until the final conversion, getting in and staying in the app store’s top charts.

The panel was moderated by Carl Livie, Senior Manager, Business Development at AppLovin. AppLovin is a comprehensive platform that helps developers of all sizes finance, market and expand their businesses. Carl leads the European Business Development team and is responsible for helping European publishing partners scale their ad revenue. As an avid gamer with a BA degree in Arabic, Carl has the perfect attributes for a career in performance marketing.

To learn more about hyper-casual games and the strategies you can take from them, be sure to watch the video of The Ascension of Hyper Casual Games.

Europe 2018Video Coverage

Nicol Cseko: Innovation in Ad Technology | Casual Connect Video

June 30, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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I relish the fast pace of innovation and experimentation in the Ad Tech industry. - Nicol CsekoClick To Tweet

At Casual Connect Europe, Nicol Cseko (VP of Product at Aarki) gave a talk entitled Level Up Your App Marketing with the Power of Creatives. She advised others on how to take the performance of your mobile app campaign up a notch by leveraging data for creative optimization. She also gave insights into successes and failures for mobile app campaigns and answered why they had the outcome that they did. Learn how you too can optimize ad creatives using data and previous lessons to deliver significant improvements in ad performance. Please see the video below for the full talk.

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.

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.

EventsNews

Presenting the Indie Prize Finalists from Europe Part 1

May 22, 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, Portugal, 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 17, see this article.

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

Circle of Sumo is a fast-paced competitive multi-player game where players alone or in teams fight for supremacy in the ring. This intense challenge requires power, precision, quick reflexes and cunning. Yonder describe the game as “a real mini-games box, a sort of kaleidoscope of playable pills with a joyful and inclusive soul.” But the competitive aspects are always retained. There are dozens of different arenas and the ring could be anywhere a circle could be imagined, even a traffic circle.

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