Unity Nights: Pimp my game

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How do you turn a game from this into that in under one hour?

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That’s exactly what Tim Garbos will be showing on October 15th at Aalborg University Copenhagen for the next session of the Unity Nights that starts at 18:00.

Titled “Unity Nights: Pimp my Game”, Tim will be showing everyone how to take a simple-looking build of a game into something far more visually pleasing and engaging in just under one hour by using a series of tricks, tips and adjustments that you can later on apply to your games in a simple way to achieve different effects.

You can actually see the results yourself in this web build of the game in which you can switch between “boring” and “fancy” graphics with a press of the SPACEBAR key.

If you want to, you can also sign up on the Facebook event page here.

This talk is part of the Unity Nights series where each session will focus on a different aspect of game development. We will be announcing more of these talks soon, so stay tuned!

Want to be a core organizer for #NGJ15?

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New year, new edition of Nordic Game Jam. And it’s time to make a call to all of you who want to be part of organizing the event for 2015!

This time we are having an online sign-up form where those interested can apply for specific core roles in the organization, and then the board of IGDA Denmark, our parent organization, will make the selection according to the responses.

This is not a call for volunteers to help during the event! That is something that will come later down the year. Instead, this is for filling in the main roles that will be working from now on and until a bit after the event is finished to make sure that everything goes as perfect as possible. And that includes managing sponsors, organizing ticket sales, doing PR, setting up the talks and workshops… It’s a small team of 5 to 7 people and we need your commitment to ensure that next year’s Nordic Game Jam is even better than the last!

2014 was a huge success (500 participants!!!) and we want to see the same level of excitement and passion that the organizers put last time.

So if you are up to the challenge, please let us know by filling in this online form!

On October 10 we will be announcing the final group, which will be briefed on the outline of the event (budget, size of the venue, etc.)

Conference ticket + bus ride to [Select/Start] PLAY for 190 DKK

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There’s a new games conference around, and this one is BIG! In fact, we dare say this is probably Denmark’s biggest games conference to date, with over 20 speakers, both from the AAA games industry and indies, and an expo with 25 games showcasing some of the most creative uses of alternative control methods, new gameplay mechanics and just simply fun games.

It’s called [Select/Start] PLAY and it takes place on October 3rd in Viborg, Denmark.

And we are sponsoring a bus from Copenhagen to Viborg and back for just 190 DKK!

While it’s the first year this conference is being held, there’s no denying that the organizers at The Animation Workshop have put together an impressive line-up. There’s well-known industry figures such as Dan Adelman, who until very recently worked for almost 9 years at Nintendo of America. There’s Martin Hollis, who created the insanely well-regarded GoldenEye and Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64. Mike Dailly, who worked on Lemmings and GTA when he was at DMA Design before it became Rockstar North. Shawn Robertson, Lead Animator for Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite. Bjørn Jacobsen, Sound Designer for EVE: OnlineRyan Green, creator of the heart-breaking That Dragon, CancerEline Muijres, producer at GameOven which creates new physical game experiences like Bounden and Fingle. There’s Dajana Dimovska, Mata Haggis, Eva Gaspar, Ed Cooke…

The list goes on and on to cover everything in games from game design lectures to how to protect your IP. And that is before we even get to the w00t GameClubbing event at night at the Games Expo site next door.

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Some of the featured speakers at [Select/Start] PLAY

Put simply, this is one incredibly packed event. And it’s not even expensive at all, with normal tickets running at 120 DKK and students getting in for free.

But we know a lot of people are worried about having to travel all the way to Viborg for the conference. Some don’t know how exactly to get there, and many don’t want to bother with finding a place to stay.

Which is why IGDA Denmark is sponsoring a bus from Copenhagen to Viborg specifically for this event!

We have partnered with the organizers of [Select/Start] PLAY to make sure that those in the Copenhagen area (or even those coming from Sweden!) can have it as easiest as possible to join the conference.

What we are offering is a round bus trip from Copenhagen to Viborg and back included with a full conference ticket for the most affordable price we could reach: 190 DKK.

The bus we are sponsoring will leave from Copenhagen at 5 am on October 3rd and will arrive to Viborg in time for the conference to start.
Then you will be able to stay for the expo and the party before the bus picks everyone up again at midnight to return to Copenhagen (arriving at 3:30 am). We imagine most of you will take a nap in the bus.

There’s only 40 seats available for this bus though! So we suggest you go and get them before they run out!
You can get the tickets at www.selectstartplay.org!

SpilBar 21 – Stone Librande and Guldbrikken Awards

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SpilBar

First of all, it feels great to finally be able to use the new SpilBar logo that was unveiled at the previous SpilBar 20 (which was a great celebratory event full of great micro-talks and marked the last event for the Spring 2014 semester.

But after the Summer a new period begins, and what better way to do so than with a new SpilBar event come September 11th with nothing less than Stone Librande as the guest speaker!

If case his name doesn’t directly ring a bell, perhaps his works will: Stone Librande is Lead Designer at Riot Games (League of Legends) and has worked in the game industry for over 10 years on games such as Diablo 3Spore, and SimCity. In addition to his full-time job designing video games, he also teaches game design courses at Cogswell College and at Carnegie Mellon’s ETC program. He runs design seminars at the Game Developers Conference and at other locations around the world. An avid game collector, Stone’s walk-in closet holds more than 300 card and board games, including 30 that he has designed himself.

Over many years, Stone has been designing card and board games to entertain his children as they grew from age 3 to age 22. During his talk at SpilBar 21, titled 19 Games in 19 Years, he will show 19 of those games and describe how his design techniques have evolved over time, as he went from making simple color matching games to tactical battle simulations. Along the way he will talk about the lessons he has learned and how his children have shaped his personal design philosophy. He invites you to create your own games for your family and friends and shares many tips that will help get you started. 

But not only that, this event will once again host the Guldbrikken Awards, which was so successful last year, where the best board games of 2014 will receive awards. As usual there will be a whole bunch of board games to play, both well known ones and unpublished ones (with an open call for games coming soon!)

So mark down the following date and place:

Where: The Design Society, HC Andersens Boulevard 27, 1553 Copenhagen V
When: Thursday, September 11th from 16:30 to 21:00

Read more about SpilBar in its page on our Danish GameDev Events page.

Meet the Devs: Reign Bros

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Logo Reign Bros Game jams have always been a great way to make teams with new people, come up with new game ideas and, sometimes, transform that idea into a company.

Such is the case of the Copenhagen-based developers at Reign Bros, the creators of the multiplayer game Stikbold, which took its first steps during Nordic Game Jam 2013.

The team worked together to produce a weird experimental multiplayer game for 2-10 players, which ended up winning the “Most Fun” award at NGJ13. The original game was a fun, last-man-standing experience that mixed a traditional ball game with lots of crazy events, such as the arena breaking down into a platform floating on the sea with huge whales jumping out of the water and crushing unsuspecting players while trumpets fall out of the sky for the winning player to annoy the rest.

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With such a success in their hands, the 5-person group formed by Jacob Herold, Anders Østergaard, Lars Bindslev, Martin Petersen and Simon Engelsted Vestergaard decided to apply for other awards and funding opportunities, beginning with CREATE, organized by OUYA and KillScreen Magazine. It won the “Best Game in Unity” award, putting them one step closer towards the realization of a game studio.

Thanks to funding programs such as Nordic Game Program and the Danish Film Institute they were able to officially start the company and work full time on Stikbold, as well as focus on some of the bigger players in games distribution like Sony and Microsoft, so their current focus is consoles and PC.

Since then, the game has been gaining a whole host of new features. Perhaps most notably since the game’s inception (besides making the multiplayer even more fun than the original NGJ prototype) is the addition of a story mode for both single player and 2 player co-op. This was born as a way to let players experience the crazy universe of Stikbold and meet the colorful characters that inhabit it.

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The company believes in creating the games they find interesting to play and work on, something they are confident will give the best results rather than making the same type of game over and over and letting that become the company’s identity. There’s also a high degree of freedom in the team to work on different projects as a way to keep everyone inspired.

The biggest difficulty for them so far has been making people notice their game in order to establish the company properly, though they consider themselves fortunate for being picked for various showcases at Nordic Game Conference, IndieCade East, A Maze Berlin and more. Something that definitely helps the team gain the necessary attention to attract distribution deals.

Their advice to newcomers to the games industry and those looking to establish a games studio? “To start as small as possible and scale the project up according to budget. After all, scaling up is always easier than scaling down”, says Martin Petersen.

Reign Bros team

REIGN BROS
Logo Reign Bros Founded: 2013Location: Copenhagen

Website: www.reignbros.com

Notable games
Stikbold (Under development – PC and consoles)

Win a ticket to w00t Copenhagen Play Festival!

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w00t Copenhagen Play Festival

Last year, a new event celebrating outdoors and board games was born in Copenhagen. Under the name of w00t Copenhagen Play Festival, this gathering brought together whole families, game developers and a lot of people who just wanted to have fun for a great unforgettable weekend!

With the huge success of last year, at IGDA Denmark we wanted to help this event grow bigger and better by becoming official sponsors of the event, which will take place from May 30th to June 1st.

But that’s not enough! We want more people to have the chance to discover w00t and enjoy it alongside everyone else, which is why we are giving away 10 tickets to w00t!

All you have to do is sign up through this form and we will announce the lucky winners on Thursday at noon through a random draw.

Still not convinced? Check out the w00t website for photos and info on the games that will be played!

Bonfires, jamming, baking and more happened at Exile Spring 2014

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Exileposter_1002 Exile Game Jam Spring 2014 was yet another success last week at Vallekilde Højskole. With over 60 participants from parts of all over the world, the coziest game jam in the world provided fun times and a great jamming experience to all the participants.

The extended game jam took place from April 30th until May 4th 2014, days in which we were lucky to have such an amazing weather that allowed us to have meals outside, have bonfires at night over some beers and relax over the lawn on Sunday morning after brunch.

As usual, Exile is a more relaxed type of experience when compared to other events such as Nordic Game Jam or Global Game Jam. It always starts with games prepared to get to know each other and mini-challenges and workshops over the first day before the proper game jam begins.

The theme: Make something that has never been done before, and do something that YOU have never done before (so if you are a programmer, try making art, if you are a sound designer, give coding a go and so on). So with that in mind, all the participants, including the Game Academy students at Vallekilde Højskole, set out to make teams, many of them with new people they have never worked with before, and try their hands on something unique.

So what were the standouts of the game jam?

First of all, we have the audience vote award, which happened to be shared between two different games! First, we have Nicklas Nygren’s Super Air Flyers, and with the exact same amount of votes, Martin Fasterholdt’s Javelin.

In Super Air Flyers, you control a plane with no thrust whatsoever in a psychedelic 3D landscape with a series of rings you have to maneuver your plane through before you make it to the portal in the end.

SuperAirFlyers

And in Javelin, you fight a series of enemies through several levels where enemies will attack you with javelins. However, if you dodge them, you’ll be able to pick them up (even from a dead body) and prepare your counter-attack.

Javelin

But we like to have more than just a winner at Exile. Which is why we had a jury that selected even more games for different categories.

Most emotional game: Old Man Wants to Exile, where you explore the sad, boring house of an old man who will very slowly try to sneak around his annoying children trying to keep him indoors so that he can make it to the Exile Game Jam.

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Best to watch: Baking Simulator, a fun combination of the Oculus Rift and Kinect technologies where the player will have to bake a virtual cake with the help of an assistant providing the hands. Though the poor Matthias fell off the stage while presenting with the Oculus Rift on him. The dangers of virtual reality games!

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Best meta-game: King of Colors, a funny tribute to the Danish artist Per Arnoldi, uses his three favorite colors, red, blue and yellow and his three favorite shapes, square, circle and cone, in a card guessing game to become the King of Colors.
KingOfColors2 KingOfColors

Better than I thought: Hidden in plain text, an ASCII two-player competitive game where one player will have to hide himself in a mess of ASCII characters spread all over the screen, with barely a hint of where the player is moving (based on the speed of his movement) and in the next turn the other player will have to locate his position and make it as close as possible.

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Most commercial game: WeStory, a smartphone experience where several participants can build together a story out of pictures, text and audio as they create a new part of the story to pass along to the next player. As players pass the story to the next person, a full story starts taking place, though usually in a very chaotic and crazy way.

Least/Most Feministic game: Cunt Touch This, inspired by the cunt colouring book by Tee A. Corinne, the game is a meditative drawing activity accompanied by sounds the user creates while painting. But the player has to be careful when painting on the sensitive areas, since too much paint there will cause the image to pulsate in slow motion. The award was given to the game best suited to contribute to the discussion of feminism and games.

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Most Newtonian Gravitation Game: Newtonian Gravitation, which as the name implies, has the player using gravity to his advantage to jump from planet to planet to make it to the goal. The planets are small in size, with the player being able to walk around the entire planet to gain speed and then jump to escape the pull of the planet’s gravity and as such make it to the next planet.

Newtonian gravitation

Tech award: Super Air Flyers, Nicklas Nygren’s game got yet another award for his polished technology behind the game.

Knowledge +1001 award: Boredom Simulator, this award goes to the best game made by Vallekilde students, and in this case it went to a game where you travel in a tourist bus alongside your annoying girlfriend, all of it experienced in marvellous 3D through the Oculus Rift to make the boredom immersion as close to reality as possible.

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As you can see, the selection of winning games is varied quite varied, full of exciting stuff, curiosities and technical achievements.

And this time IGDA Denmark sponsored the final party after the game jam on Saturday night, which we’re sure everyone enjoyed! As usual, the final party includes a music jam at night, a visit to the nearby graveyard and, of course, the sauna.

Group photo Spring 2014

 

We’ve taken quite a few pictures during the event, but here’s a collection of some that will give you an idea of the overall mood of the event.

We look forward to having Exile again next semester for Fall 2014!

USU Jam #6 takes place May 9th

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USU-Jam-6-plakatOur friends at Unge Spiludviklere (Young Game Developers) are back at it with the 6th edition of their USU Jam (previously known as Mini-Jam) and they are ready to have anyone interested joining from May 9th to the 11th.

Open to everybody and accepting everything from computer games to phone games, board games or just any kind of game, even those who just want to hang out and work on their own development projects (games or not) are more than welcome to be part of it at Aalborg University Copenhagen at A.C. Meyers Vænge 15 (the same venue as last Nordic Game Jam).

All you need to do is sign up at: http://goo.gl/XoiZ0m

This time the jam will cost 100 DKK for participation, while there is an optional extra 100 DKK to include food for the whole weekend.

Will you be joining? Let us know in the comments!

Meet the Devs: Logic Artists

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Logic Artists, a game studio based in Copenhagen, is an exemplary case of how a small group of students can get together to start something big.

Formed by a group of three students from ITU while they were working on their Master’s theses, the company that later on launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and released a game both in physical format and as a digital download started in 2011 as a way for these three students to not be unemployed upon graduation.

The CEO and Producer Ali Emek had an entrepreneur spirit in him and got together with Game Director Jonas Wæver and Technical Director Juan Ortega and made good use of an office space they had available. While original they intended to do work-for-hire, the lack of an established network and previous experience made it hard to find clients. So the next step was obvious: to create a game of their own instead.

Their first release was the mobile game Conquistador, released in 2012 for Windows Phone. But while the game got good reviews, the genre was perhaps better suited for bigger screens and for a bigger audience than the still low market-share Windows Phone platform. The core game idea was then expanded and repurposed for PC gaming. But a bigger, more beautiful game with 3D graphics means a bigger budget, and for a small up-and-coming company this can be quite an obstacle. Enter Kickstarter, which allowed the team to find the niche audience for their game that could allow them to reach their goal. The game became a heavily story-based alternative history turn-based RPG.

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The mobile version of the game was adapted and expanded for PC gaming as Expeditions: Conquistador

During the development of Expeditions: Conquistador, the company grew to 7 people and, at the time of this writing, Logic Artists is now 3 years old and has 15 employees in the office, with full-time developers and a half dozen more auxiliary staff and freelancers.

Their philosophy is to make videogames for major niches – mainly the RPG communities – though their current project is an old-school stealth game titled Clandestine. While they did not set out to make mainstream games, they still need to cater to relatively large groups of players who aren’t particularly well served by the mainstream in order to keep the company functioning.

About their currently under development title, Clandestine, it’s a 90’s spy thriller stealth/hacking game. In this 2-player co-op, one player controls a field agent on missions across Europe and North America, and the other player serves as the voice-on-the-radio hacker who has the grand overview of the mission. This mechanic requires close and accurate communication between the players, but the hacker also has plenty of ways to affect the state of the levels directly. Of course the game also features a single-player experience.

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The two different views in Clandestine, one for each player, acting as a field agent or as a hacker

Of course not everything was easy-going for Logic Artists and like every other newcomer to the game development scene, they faced a series of obstacles on the way. According to Game Director Jonas Wæver, even though “Denmark isn’t huge on the bureaucracy, you can’t avoid running into problems if it’s your first time. We had racked up quite a pile of tax fines by the time we hired a freelance book-keeper.” The important thing for them is to plan ahead for investments and having the next infusion of money lined up well in advance, and actual financial stability is still a ways off.

But as a company with a successful game in the market, Logic Artists can now claim to have quite a few good pieces of advice to give to those looking to find a job in the games industry. Jonas has the following gold nuggets to give:

jonas-wæver Make sure you have some actual development skills. Too many people think they can just be designers and get a job having ideas and telling other people what to do, but there are maybe 10 jobs like that in all of Denmark, at most – and usually they’re taken by people with tons of experience. Most game studios in Denmark are about our size or smaller, and if you work for a company like that, you better be able to do some actual work on the game – if you can code, model, animate, or at the very least draw, you’re in a pretty good position. Otherwise you better start learning. In more general terms, getting a job is all about your network. This is much more true in creative industries than other lines of work, and the games industry is no exception. Half the people on our team were hired by a friend who’d worked with them before, usually during their education, and only one of our team members was hired through an actual job post.

You can learn more about Logic Artists and their games at Logicartists.com.

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LOGIC ARTISTS
LogicArtistsLogoBlue_large Founded: 2011

Location: Copenhagen

Website: www.logicartists.com

Notable games
Conquistador (2012 – Windows Phone) Expeditions: Conquistador (2013 – Windows, Mac, Linux)
Clandestine (under development)

Spend your summer in Oslo learning how to run an indie studio

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Game Studio Summer SchoolThe Norwegian School of IT in Oslo has an interesting proposition for students looking for something fun and productive to do over the Summer, and they are extending an invitation to the Danish games community.

Starting June 30th, they will be hosting the Game Studio Summer School, a 3-week Summer program focused on creating a small game studio and surviving as an independent game developer. This is an intensive course, taking place from June 30th to July 18th, where participants work every day towards the goal of creating a completed game with the focus of basing an indie game studio around it, learning how to survive as an indie game developer, and being able to successfully pitch it and make it marketable.

Students (or recent graduates) from any programme are encouraged to apply.  No specific technical expertise is required, but a passion for games and a great work ethic is essential! Those who have not created games before will be able to join teams where they can learn to work with middleware solutions, whereas those more experienced can take their ambitions further. The big focus is how to make your game marketable and monetizable.

If this piques your interest, you can contact NITH at oslo@nith.no before May 31st 2014 for further information. While the course is organized as a non-profit, there is a registration fee of €100 for the whole program. The number of admissions is limited, so reach out to them now and let us know with a comment below!

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