.

Blog

Update for TRI, Making-Of 2, Game Jams, Presskit

TRI

We finally could release a new version of TRI - after "ObliviousFox" comes "OptimusFox" (or in numbers: the game has now version 0.4.1)! Here are the most important changes:

  • Fixed missing collision geometry in level "Tower of Nowhere"
  • Hidden stone parts now save and load their position correctly
  • Kami part of Level "Prisons" is now beatable
  • Changed level info in the pause screen
  • Loading screen can't appear anymore when loading right after death

Level 16

If you got the game via any platform (Desura, our own website, IndieGameStand, GamersGate) we recommend you download the new version as soon as possible, as you can't complete the game otherwise. (Sorry for that!) While we're at it, we'd also like to mention that TRI is now also on itch.io.

      Making-Of, Part 2!

We filmed the second installment of our TRI Making-of series! Have a look:

You can find the first part on YouTube.

      Game Jams!

Two weeks ago, the 7-Day-Roguelike Challenge 2014 started. Tradition demanded that we should participate, and so we did. Unfortunately our ideas didn't trigger the right motivation, and in the end I (Friedrich) started on Friday alone, with only 2.5 days left, to make a small game named Variablo that already got a bit of nice press coverage. In Variablo you have to not only walk through a dungeon and kill monsters, but also move parts of the dungeon around like in a sliding puzzle. It's inspired by the board game Master Mind. It's fairly short.

7drl2014-08

But wait, there's more - this Saturday, Mini Ludum Dare 50 starts - and I am the host! I had several ideas in mind for the theme, but ultimately decided to please the fans and announced that participants need to make a Demake.

miniLD50

Demakes are remakes of already existing games that use a "less advanced" technology - like going from 3D graphics to 2D - or they only present a subset of the original gameplay. Officially the MiniLD starts Saturday and ends Monday, but you can create and upload the game until end of March.

      EGX Rezzed

We changed our plans and decided to fly to Birmingham, UK, the next week, to visit the EGX Rezzed. So if you're around from Friday to Saturday (28th - 30th), and want to have a chat, we will be near the Leftfield Collection (where they exhibit TRI) from time to time! Hope to see you there!

Of course, we will still visit the A MAZE. / Berlin in April. Phew, a lot of traveling around in such a short time frame!

      Presskit

Last but not least Jana took the time to create a new presskit for not only TRI but also about us and our company. She used the excellent presskit() by Rami Ismail. We also have subpages for Pitman, Tumblox and our game jam games now, complete with descriptions, screenshots and videos.

That's it for today! Thanks for reading!

Comments Off

TRI – Beta, Greenlit and a making-of

tri_alllevels

1. Beta

The last months really were a blast. I think for the first time of the development of TRI we managed to stick to our schedules.

After a lot of work and headaches to create the final levels, we now have 16 of them - each more beauti-weird than the other. Ready to keep you busy for around eight hours in our spaces of gravity-madness and color.

  • We also added some gameplay elements like solid light rays - tubes you can reflect like light rays, but are able to walk on.
  • And there is a new effect which greyes out the region where you won't be able to set the other two points and make a full triangle. So creating them will be quicker and more fun!
  • The last levels are not fully tested, but you will be able to play through the complete game from now on.

tri_shader

If you want to have a look at the new content check your favourite platforms to get the latest version!

humblewidget_10
indieGS_logo
desurawidget_799
GamersGate2. Greenlit

Since September we were climbing the steep mountain of Greenlight. After swiftly getting the first 65% ("To the Top 100") we somehow camped in the stormy regions of 70%, took some steps upwards whenever a new batch got greenlit and fell back when we didn't manage to loudly beat the drums for people to recognize us there. But in February we finally reached more than 90%, also through the help of HOCGaming, who did a bunch of Twitch.tv sessions with TRI.

At February the 19th we completely skipped the Top 100 and got greenlit by Steam! We are so very happy and want to thank everybody who supported us on this way!

green_stats

3. Making-of

Because the release date is crawling nearer and nearer (and won't slip through our fingers that easily like it did before), we decided to filma little series of stories that led to the creation of TRI. Have a look at the first episode, in which we talk about the beginning with the Ludum Dare #20 version.

The upcoming month are going to be very stressful AND exciting. TRI will be presented in the Leftfield Collection of the EGX Rezzed in Birmingham from March, 28th-30th and we are going to attend the A Maze in Berlin from April, 9th-11th. It would be cool to see you there, as it is an truly amazing event for indie game developers and gamers alike.

In the meantime we will be working on the characters, animations, cut scenes, sounds, voice overs and polish, polish, polish. So, stay tuned and if you played the beta, we would love to hear your feedback, of course.

Comments Off

Global Game Jam in Leipzig

I wrote this article after a request to GGJ organizers to tell stories about your own location. It got published on the GGJ page, as well.

facebook_gamejam

You might have heard of Leipzig as a game city, once. Until 2009 the GDC Europe and the Games Convention were hosted in the capital of Saxony, Germany. But since it moved to Cologne in 2009 (and was renamed to “Gamescom”), there was not only a huge convention missing. The absence of game developer events were visible and it hurt to realize that the city became unimportant for the developer scene. Besides, Leipzig has a sparse population of game companies – few of them dedicate their 100% manpower to game development only.
But even without company clusters, big names, game events and conventions, we have a very cool monthly regulars' table hosted by René Meyer, who owns the world's biggest retro console collection. Usual visitors are professional game devs, journalists, a twosome who owns the Retro Games Store, a company that has Germany's biggest board game distribution, musicians, amateur game devs and indies like us.

But we still have very few to no events where game devs exchange and show their skills. Although we knew of game jams like Ludum Dare or the Devmania Overnight Contest, we never heard of the Global Game Jam – until we met Zuraida (GGJ Dir) in Berlin at the local BIG Jam, where we learned about this global madness. Totally enthusiastic to participate in the Global Game Jam I started a web search for locations near Halle/Leipzig. Error. The next local event was in Berlin.

Die Teilnehmer des GGJ 2014 von Klaus Bastian

Die Teilnehmer des GGJ 2014 von Klaus Bastian

So we did something I totally hate, but which was necessary to be part of the jam: we searched for rooms and became organizers ourselves! Together with Klaus Bastian from the local university HTWK we started the first GGJ location ever in Leipzig.
Now that we got the location and the knowledge to set up everything there was only one thing left for completion: people. Where the hell would we get people for a jam from a city that has no huge game developer community?

René and Klaus started everything super-professional and sent out press releases to local newspapers and it worked! They responded and wanted interviews to learn more about the event. Afterwards, people I never heard of appeared on the website and subscribed to be part of this new jam thingy.

When the jam started on Friday, the 27th January 2012, people showed up and we managed to develop seven games. Yes, I'm talking about seven games here! But the jam was not only about creating games. Thanks to the event we got to know new people, exchanged addresses for future works and finally had our own one-weekend game development event in the year.

Vorstellungsrunde von Klaus Bastian

Vorstellungsrunde von Klaus Bastian

Additionally to the jam we opened up the “dev cave” on Saturday for visitors, introduced the open development not only to families with their little game-devs-to-be, but also got new people interested for the upcoming jam. This event worked out so well, we continued encouraging people to jam with us the following year.

2014 we are going to host the third edition of the Global Game Jam in Leipzig and everybody is super excited. We want to grow and try to find even more interested people from around Leipzig.

Thank you, creators, executives, directors and admins behind the Global Game Jam. You guys encourage local scenes with this amazing concept of worldwide jamming! Because of your already established concept and infrastructure you motivate us to get out of our holes and force us to find like-minded people. And the greatest thing: it doesn't matter if there was or is an already big scene.
Go create your own location, or make more of the already established ones!

runde

Comments Off

The winners of Ludum Dare, and what to learn from them

This was originally a quick and dirty talk I held in 2014 at our Global Game Jam location in Leipzig, Germany. I wanted to give the audience (mostly students, a lot of them without experience in the art of game jam) an impression on what is possible during a game jam even when you're alone and have to do stuff from scratch; so I showed them the last five Ludum Dare compo winners, which means each of them got the first place in the "Overall" category. The talk would conclude with some best practices, at least in my opinion.

As most of you probably know, Ludum Dare is an online game jam held several times in the year, with the big versions always commencing in April, August and December. Thousands of participants make a game in 48 hours each time, and a lot of them also are part of the quite active community surrounding the jam. Everybody who joins can be sure to get feedback and answers via the blog on ludumdare.com, and via the IRC channel #ludumdare on AfterNET. And don't forget that for three weeks afterwards, every participant can rate all the others' games, so the brutal final ratings for each category (e.g. Graphics, Fun, Mood) are there for the whole world to see. With the high numbers of entries, winning the competition may sound nearly impossible. So let's take a look at some of those who actually did it!

 

Ludum Dare 24 – Theme: Evolution

Evoland

Evoland is a Zelda-like with a funny idea implemented well. It has a lot of chests – in each chest you find a feature that hauls the game to the next step of videogame evolution. At first you can only walk right, but you get the ability to walk left soon. After that, you can walk north and south, how cool is that! Scrolling! Colors! Sounds! Weapons! Nicolas Cannasse broke down a pretty standard Zelda clone into its most minimal parts, used those parts to let the player explore them, and made a unique game this way. (Later on he even extended the game and you can now buy it on Steam.)

As a game jam game Evoland is very ambitious and I couldn't believe that it was made in 48 hours. I assume Nicolas had the idea and concept very early in the process, and using a programming language he invented himself might have given him a good headstart.

 

Ludum Dare 25 – Theme: You Are The Villain

Atomic Creep Spawner

Atomic Creep Spawner!! reminds me a bit of Dungeon Keeper, although you can only do a fraction of what is possible in that game. A pompous knight is raiding your very own dungeon, stealing your money and destroying your orbs, and you have to stop him by spawning a lot of monsters. You create those hordes of zombies and ghosts via simple clicks on the floor, and they find their own way (more or less) to the rampaging knight. A fair bit of AI must have been programmed for this game.

Made by Sébastien Bénard (known as deepnight, one of the most successful Ludum Darers!), Atomic Creep Spawner features great humor and amazing pixel art. Sébastien even found time to include a tutorial at the beginning. What the game lacks in interactivity it makes more than up with polish and love for details.

 

Ludum Dare 26 – Theme: Minimalism

MONO

MONO implements the theme via its graphical style (which looks simplicistic, but is actually very well done), but most certainly not via the gameplay. While at first glance it seems to be a minimalistic game in every sense – you navigate a small sphere through a world of rectangles – the levels soon become more and more diverse, which is what keeps the game interesting. This is a nice trick you can learn from: make a game with only some basic functionality, and if you have the time, add another level with new elements and mechanics inside it – rinse, repeat.

Tim Hantel managed to make a neat dexterity puzzle game with a lot of atmosphere, mostly by adding a fitting soundscape. The gameplay mechanics sometimes make the game a bit frustrating (you die by touching a wall already), but in general the player's death is a forgivable experience: you spawn instantly at the level start again. An important lesson I think.

 

Ludum Dare 27 – Theme: 10 Seconds

PROBE TEAM

PROBE TEAM could easily be part of the Ludum Dare before – it uses one single color only, enhanced by some cool looking post effects. While I never liked the theme in itself, because I always felt that it would cripple gameplay concepts instead of fertilize them, Andrew Shouldice actually made an interesting type of exploration game out of it. You start little probes which have 10 seconds of fuel each (so be economical with your commands), lead them through some kind of maze and activate triggers to open doors. It feels a bit repetitive, but the moody atmosphere absolutely helps to tolerate and even enjoy it.

 

Ludum Dare 28 – Theme: You Only Get One

One Take

One Take by Daniël Haazen is a great example for an unusual idea creating a whole new experience. You play as a camera operator taking one continuous take from a movie scene, and all you do is following orders from a film director in the form of short sentences, like "Zoom in on the sheriff" or "Go back to the guy in the alley". The scenes are a bit animated (while most of the action comes from yourself) and actually feel like small movies – already worth an honorable mention in my opinion. The cherry on top are the pixelated newspapers after each level, including reviews about the 'movie' and your performance.

 

Learnings

So what can we learn from these great examples of Ludum Dare rapid game development, for our own jam games?

  • Make something simple. All the mentioned games concentrate on a single idea. Be it spawning monsters in a dungeon or moving a small sphere around obstacles – important is to focus the game's concept on one aspect and not trying to add more and more features. Of course, this implies you actually have a nice idea that can be played barebone and that you like.
  • Be inspired by the theme. This one surprised me a bit, probably because more often than not the theme of a jam hinders instead of helps me. But all the winners above are very close to the theme, and that must tell something, probably about inspiration.
  • Think in two dimensions. Although one of the games uses Unity, all of them are 2D games, varying from totally abstract to concrete pixel art. I don't know exactly why that is, but there is probably more than one factor why jam games prefer to be 2D. My guesses are: the game is simpler to make, the graphics look better while being less work, there are a lot of premade frameworks, and you get a nostalgia bonus.
  • Use a framework. The Ludum Dare rules state that you must make your game from scratch, but it is allowed to use libraries, tools and engines that were already made by you or others. So use them! The winners from above utilized Haxe (compiled to Flash), Java with libgdx, Unity and LÖVE. Three of these games were playable in the browser (with plugins), which might also be a small factor adding to their successes. Remember that Ludum Dare's winner are determined by people who have to play thousands of other entries, too – the less problems they have to play your game, the more likely they will play it.
  • Generally you should try to make your game as accessible as possible. Deepnight's winning game Atomic Creep Spawner includes a tutorial, but you don't always have to go this far. Just don't innovate where it isn't needed, and explain things when they come up for the first time, be it via text or picture (better yet, force the user to play it to understand it).
  • The last learning for now is somewhat vague, as the games tackle this very differently. Some of them use a lot of humor, via little comments from the characters for example, others are pretty atmospheric, often thanks to their great use of sound. What we can take away from this is: don't shy away from trying to evoke emotions in the player. It seems the humoristic way is a bit easier than the one with the dark mood and the feels. Speak to the player, or let them explore interesting places. Give them reasons to attach to your game!

 

Conclusion

Making a game in 48 hours is hard, winning Ludum Dare is even harder. But if you look at the above examples you see it's not impossible! Sure, you need to know your tools in and out – the Ludum Dare Top 10 isn't the place for learning a new programming language. (This could be a bonus learning.) Just keep in mind to have fun and make something worth playing. Everything else comes afterwards.

Comments Off

A bit of 2013, and a bit of 2014

Hey there, dear friends of the Rat King!

The year 2013 is over soon, and boy, was it a year ever. We had some really bad stuff happening for us, like a flood nearly in our home and serious health problems and fights against the lack of motivation. Not to mention the money. It didn't help that there was a lot of whining going on in the world of indie developers, for example about some bursting bubbles ...

But there also was some good stuff, especially the updates for TRI, mainly 0.2 and MagicalMonk, which got positive feedback only, or the start of our Greenlight campaign. We're a bit sad that we couldn't release the game like we planned, because of the bad stuff mentioned, but also because the project is still "in flux", unfortunately. Of course we won't give it up! We just have to make some cuts to get it out soon enough.

Which brings us to 2014. Our current thinking is to release TRI in the first quarter; this is now a deadline. We still need to make a masterplan for that, so the game must not grow any bigger. (The only thing in the way of productivity will be the Global Game Jam which Jana will organize in Leipzig.) And we don't have any concrete plans for it right now, but the project afterwards will be a lot smaller, and preferably also released in 2014. So yeah, hopefully this might become a more productive year.

ADVENT OF INDIES

To conclude this year for ourselves we tried to create yet another Advent of Indies; but as we didn't have that much time for it, we only made a small blog and wrote about 24 indie games, one game each day, which we played in 2013 and were inspiring to us or just a lot of fun. (We thought long and hard about how to make it yet again a "big" event like in 2012, but each idea was either too much work or just kinda meh.) Nonetheless, it became a nice list of "games you should play or at least have heard of".

TL;DR:
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays
and an Awesome New Year 2014 to all of you! :-)

Comments Off

The German Developer Award 2013

deutscherentwpreis

Yesterday we were in Düsseldorf to attend the 10th German Developer Award. We were nominated in the category 'Best Learning Game' with TRI. This little nomination made us happy as much as it amused us. For this award you choose the categories by yourself when submitting a game, so we decided to take this category for the lack of a better fitting one. Best Learning Game! Yay.

The award ceremony was held in a super hot location called the Kesselhaus (= boiler) which is an exciting looking old industrial building, but also quite hot, literally. You watch the ceremony sitting on round tables together with members of other studios and enjoy the ceremony while dealing with the melted lebkuchen on your plate.

Four years earlier (flashback!) when we were students we attended our first Developer Award. Still wet behind the ears and full of hope and passion we were lucky to be part of the show as winners of free tickets. Back then Crytek - the most famous and probably most important German developer, won in nearly every category. In that year the organizers started a new category called 'Best Studio' - which also went to Crytek. Who also did the main sponsoring. Well, this is how awards work, I guess.
A new studio appeared there for the first time, the adventure game developer Daedalic ("Edna breaks out"), who made the trailer animation to announce the 'Best Graphics' with their weird hand-drawn 2D Flash style. Ironically Crytek won the award, but I had the feeling Daedalic was the winner of hearts with that rabbit trailer. Foresight?

entwicklerpreis13_start

And the winners are...

In 2013 Daedalic seems to be the Crytek of 2009. They were nominated in nearly every category with three games: Goodbye Deponia, Das Schwarze Auge - Memoria and The Night of the Rabbit. Of course Crytek has an abo on the Developer award, so at least they didn't go home bare-handed.
Between the no-surprises-at-all winners also some Indies were nominated and even won awards. The fresh Studio Fizbin won with their congenial adventure "The Inner World" ('Best Familiy Game'). The nice guys of Threaks won in two categories - Best Serious Game and Best Game Design - for their musical platformer Beatbuddy. Also one of the few developers that answered with an spontaneous and enormous funny reaction of pouring sparkling wine over each other. The price for the best publisher went to Headup Games again, which also seems to be like a good sign of the games industry having a new generation of fresh and interesting players. And, more important, one with a good taste for smaller games and superb boxed editions. One award went to our neighbors from FAKT Software for their Crazy Machines – Golden Gears ('Best Mobile Casual Game').
Our friends from Uniworlds shared their Newcomer award third place for Tristoy with another student team. The first place went to Schein by an Austrian student team, who seem to get a lot of awards and nominations for their upcoming project. An interesting fact about the student works: all of them were 2D platformers. I miss some experiments here, guys!
That the Computer Games Museum was honored with a 'Special Prize' was a nice moment, as well, because this place is worth visiting whenever you are in Berlin!

entwicklerpreis13_kategorie

Strange categories

The award process was extremely weird, by the way. After some categories we realized that only the games were shown in the trailer that didn't win the prize. Which made the winner, with all nominees in mind, no surprise at all. Together with puns and insiders (most likely not everybody got them), the whole award show was a rush through 90s gaming history personalities. Futhermore, the organizers from Aruba decided to change the categories for this year. Instead of having the same developer appearing on stage three times in a row, they batched together two to three categories like 'Best Serious Game' and 'Best Game Design'. Or 'Best Simulation' and 'Best Strategy Game'. Or, in our case: 'Best Family Game', 'Best Children Game', 'Best Teen Game' and 'Best Learning Game' was put together. Who cares! Whatever not-winners trailer will be shown next, one of them will be ours!

We knew we wouldn't win the award, but were thrilled to see TRI at least one second on a big screen. Cameras pulled out I was ready to film the historic second of us being on screen for the very first time at the German Developer Award. Now. Any minute...
Eventually Aruba also decided that family and children games are boring without no explosions and blood sparks, so those were the only categories where no nomination trailers where shown. They quickly announced the winners in every category and our little non-existent moment of glory was over. Meh.
Next time completely leave out all the categories you think are unworthy for the proud German Game Dev Scene right upfront! Instead of asking for submissions, nominations and leaving out trailers we were asked to provide for nothing. Whatever.

entwicklerpreis13_4categ

This award also showed how useless categories are. 'Best Core Mobile Game' and 'Best Casual Mobile Game' ( they were all pretty casual?!). Best children game, best children mobile game (the winner Fiete is an app for 1-2 yr old children), best teen game, best family game, best learning game (again Fiete, seems to be like the good old Memory game, but with nice graphics). I wish they would handle it like the IGF: developers send in their games and the jury chooses categories that are most fitting.

TL;DR: I guess awards are mostly about rewarding a community and in some places great games as well. Moreover, The German Developer Award is no place for innovation. It's hard to remember this, especially as indie developer, because this is the only way to succeed, in my opinion. But if they really want to reward certain developers, they should do it without categories! Or at least decide them AFTER developers sent in their games.

After all, this was a nice journey into the lap of the big old German industry giants. The event seems to give us a nice overview about the core game industry, which is still not the place where we totally feel home. So I believe the talks with our fellow indie developers (who we mostly only meet in real life at occasions like this) after the show were the most rewarding event here. Nice to see you guys, again and good to meet also some new people in Düsseldorf!

If you want to vote for us in a different place - why not help us to get into the Top10 games of 2013? :D

Indie of the Year Awards

Comments (1)

TRI – preparing cut scenes and new levels

131125_blogentry_01

Now that most of the levels are made (but not yet finished), Jana is preparing foxes for the cutscenes. They will tell the story of friendship and why the monk wants you to go to the "magic world" and use the triangles.

1. Everything starts with a story board

Before Jana began to animate the scenes, she was sketching the plot sequences of the back story. You won't see this story in one go, which means she needed to decide how to cut the backstory into small pieces of mini stories. The way the foxes and the monk are displayed in the pictures will be important for later news articles.
We will not tell you the story now. But maybe you come up with your own interpretation! :D

s_tri_story

2. Fleshing out the foxes

After these fast sketches Jana took every pose of the monk and the foxes and drew them in detail. The dynamic of every pose is very important for later use.

131125_blogentry_02

3. Testing animatics

First she colorized the sketches to test how they would look animated and which parts of the fox, like ears or tails, have to be in separate pieces to be animated. Jana did the animation in 3dsMax, so we don't need to render videos, but use real-time animation instead.

4. The final art style

The final pieces of graphics necessary to animate the characters are done in Illustrator. Jana is using the sketches a basis for the colored cel shading art.

Foxes_sequence

5. Real time animation

This is how the foxes are animated in the finished style. At the moment we are looking for a voice actor to read the story, so that it will feel like a fable or fairy tale.

6. Leveldesign

Friedrich recently finished one of the last levels. Just have a look at the screenshots (the scene doesn't have an art style yet, so it's all test-textures). Sadly, we are not sure yet when the next update with the new levels will be released. It needs to be tested and polished a bit. Bit hey, it has portals and trees.

131125_level_02 131125_level_01

And a very small and quick sneak peek on the last level of TRI. You gain the ability to reflect solid rays there and walk on them:

131125_lastlevel

(Of course, this is very alpha right now.)

We hope you enjoyed this news article, and don't forget to vote for us on Greenlight. ;-)

Comments (2)

Artgame Weekend #4 in Lille

I've never been to France before. Home is where my desktop is and I like to stay at home, to work on my games. The only things that are luring me out of the cave are festivals, exhibitions or game jams. Last weekend I got my reason to visit Lille, France. I was invited to be in the jury for a game jam.

TL,DR: It was amazing! Scroll down to see all the jam results immediately.

The theme of the Artgame Weekend 4 already sounded awesome: Instead of selecting a theme the organizers chose to let the participants think up new ways to interact with a game. “Think art, Use controllers, Make a game, Play with us!” is the claim of their event. So here is my blog post to everybody who missed it or didn't realize the amazing French indie scene.

The first moment of an ongoing chain of enthusiasm about the Artgame Weekend was made by the building the jam took place at. The former textile manufactory was rebuilt to an inspiring, modern work space with an amazing area to work, enjoy and to display projects (in the form of a huge Gameboy!).

artgame_location_04

Seventy people worked together in twelve groups. When we arrived the attendees already teamed up after pitching their ideas. With this method no ideas or controllers were used twice!
The second moment of excitement took me when I arrived in this room full of creative energy. There were guitars to control characters, pianos to create objects, buttons attached to human bodies, chalk for blackboards to draw on or even ten mice attached for one game. A group of people was building a bomb. Someone was wearing an Oculus Rift. Two participants connected their smartphones to the laptop to control their game ... Breath in, breath out. Wow!

If you want great games to be made, bring together talented people from different backgrounds in the right place.

The whole event was assembled by Marc Lavigne (game industry north) and Simon Bachelier (One Life Remains). All the people they brought together for technology, exhibition, cooking and organization worked together so well! If I learned one thing in Lille it is how to really make the perfect game jam. If you want great games to be made, bring together talented people from different backgrounds in the right place. I'm not sure if I could copy this event easily. But I think I should care more about the participants well-being next time I organize a jam.

So did the organizers of this jam: To make sure everybody can face technical issues they engaged talents to help out, like Armel Gibson, one of the coaches for design and technique, who was helping with getting the PS Move controllers working in Unity. While Sosowski was whirling around to help a team whose game was called 'Yetis with machetes' (made with the UDK), I met Nicolas Tilly (Ecriture Videoludique Magazine), who was the third coach in this mad mayhem of handicraft work.

photo by Leon Denise, http://poly.gonum.free.fr/

photo by Leon Denise, http://poly.gonum.free.fr/

And they engaged us, a jury to judge the jam's work. A fact that puzzled me, but I guess with competing against each other and a jury to show their stuff to, you get these kind of excellent projects and getting really motivated.
After a while the jury was complete, consisting of Jon Bro (Lucky Frame, GB), Chris Priestman (Indiestatik, GB), Cara Ellison (Rockpaper,etc. GB), Thorsten Storno (Amaze Festival, D) and me (Rat King, D). In the end I was glad we didn't really judge the projects, especially because people could switch between groups. So we grouped up, checked out the projects, talked to people, asked critical questions, got impressed and ate delicious freshly-made food they served at the jam.

And instead of working the night through we did have a party with DJ and nice Belgian beer. And a party after the jam, with J.S. Jousting and a couple of other multiplayer games.

The biggest shame: I didn't bring my laptop, because I feared to have too much package for the flight. Next year I want to take part in game-making myself. Bring my own Arduino and build awesome stuff! Be part of this creative madness.

artgame_location_02

To make sure you understand why the results of this jam where so inspiring that I really missed taking part myself, here is the complete list:

 

1. Chirac If we would have to judge this game would have gotten the WTF?!-Award! I knew some of the team from Bokida before, which is a clean, well-designed sand-box game I first saw at the Notgames Fest. It seems too much artsyness needed to be destroyed with a mad story about people dressing like horses and horses dressing like men. And only six-legged Chirac is able to save the world. Color. Penis-tentacle action. Shooting. Button-smashing. Music! artgame_location_03

photo by Leon Denise, http://poly.gonum.free.fr/

photo by Leon Denise, http://poly.gonum.free.fr/

2. Adsono This game caught my interest from the beginning. The team crafted with Arduino, physical buttons, Xbox-controller and Kinder eggs. The idea: Two people attach the buttons to their body. When one button is pressed, the other player feels a vibration. Both create a sequence dance with pushing the buttons in turns. Although they couldn't finish the game like intended, this game was the perfect essence of a good jamming: Try hard, find new stuff that wasn't made before and learn. I hope you guys finish it! artgame_bomb_02 artgame_bomb 3. Prepare to meet thy god When the last Ludum Dare asked for games themed “10 seconds” how many bomb defusing games did we see? This team had the same idea for the controller, but believe me: Defusing a bomb on a screen and actually sitting fully dressed with glasses, gas mask and suit in front of a box with cables, bottles and blinking lights alone in a room with just a tool to cut these cables: such a difference! From outside we could watch the contestants via webcam, which added an extra creepy real-life level to the game. Guys, your game was a blast! artgame_piano artgame_piano_02 4. Keyboard Mandala In this two-player game you start in an empty, lifeless desert. One player has a controller to move around, while the other does magic with a keyboard. With every key played you can create a huge variety of objects from huge buildings, bridges, fountains to tiny groups of ants. And stones, stones, stones to irritate the other player. I could have played this one for hours! Either you play it to create worlds with your songs or to find out what the creators did hide behind every key. This game is pure magic! artgame_demon 5. Necronomicon Forget Harry Potter! You can be a witch (or witcher ;)) in this game yourself! Just take the Necronomicon and draw the ancient ritual signs on the black board to summon powerful creatures that fight against the other player's demons. What made this game especially atmospheric was the dark cellar vault where it took place at. One of the team members sat in the corner, dressed black with red-stained hands (of course it was blood!). Red lights and the foul-smelling sponge added an extra dark flavour.

6. Space Ship
Imagine combining Space Team with the scenario of FTL. Imagine people running around to find the right computers. Imagine people getting mad to fulfill the right procedure to stop the alien invasion on the space ship. And imagine that all the people that tried to watch you playing to run with you in order to find out what this game is about. Ahh, people should run more often in games!

artgame_holyshit

7. Holy Shit
Holy Shit is just like the name implicates: a game about shit and not getting hugged by it with holy-awesome looking characters. Play it with ten players that click ten mice at once and try to find out what your character is. It's as silly as it is fun.

photo by Pierre Corbinouze, http://oujevipo.fr

photo by Pierre Corbinouze, http://oujevipo.fr

8. Live
In this Kinect game you are the conductor of an orchestra of light and kaleidoscope colours. Just raise your hand and be creative: Dance, jump, draw.

artgame_mindcontrol

9. Cerebro
In X-Men Cerebro is used by Professor Xavier to detect mutants by amplifying the brain waves of the user. In this game I didn't detect mutants, but felt as bad ass by controlling a game with my brain by relaxing and stressing behavior. What I saw were beautifully composed spaces with weird structures that I could manipulate with pure mind control. Not only the game was interesting, but especially the technology they used and improved by building their own devices.

artgame_cake

10. Monkey vs. Cake
In this multiplayer game every contestant gets a smartphone to tap the enemy to death. Cute muffins and cute monkeys! But you don't really know where exactly the buttons lies, so you have find out while tapping. Funny and fast game.

11. Rock'n'Dolls
One player is getting a bass to move the bike with two girls forward. The other player is moving the guitar in front of a camera and so is the weapon of one of the girls on the bike. By playing the guitar you shoot a thunderbolt. You don't really know how to play a guitar, but I felt more bad ass than with guitar hero. Cool idea!

artgame_yeti

12. Shooting yetis with machetes
Why didn't anybody come up with that scenario before: You walk through Doom-like corridors to kill undead yetis with a rocket-empowered machete sling-shot gun. Also, this game brought light effects to the test. Mad.

Okay, ladies and gentleman. Lille did rock! Great people, great conversations, great games. Make sure to follow these guys to get a notification for the next Artgame Weekend! I think you already realized it, by reading this article, but woohoo, Viva la Lille, I highly enjoyed this!

Comments Off