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 3, Spore, 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 As usual there will be a whole bunch of board games to play, both well known ones and unpublished ones (with an open call for games coming soon!)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
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.
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.
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.
|Founded: 2013Location: Copenhagen
|Stikbold (Under development - PC and consoles)|
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Our 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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
|Conquistador (2012 – Windows Phone)||Expeditions: Conquistador (2013 - Windows, Mac, Linux)|
|Clandestine (under development)|
The 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
We love game jams. And we love when friends organize game jams. But we like it even more when game jams have a cause they fight for.
Enter the Game Changer Game Jam.
This event, which will take place in Aarhus in May 2-4 2014, follows the principle that games dealing with political, social and environmental challenges can be an platform for massive change.
The organizers quote Jane McGonigal on the main page of their event:
Today 1 billion people spend more than 7 billion hours weekly, joyfully, solving epic quests. What if we could, through games, utilize this enormous resource into solving real world challenges? - Jane McGonigal
Our friends organizing in Aarhus believe that Game Designers, Gamers and Games together hold an important role in society. As such, games dealing with political, social and environmental challenges can be a platform for massive change, inspiring Gamers to connect and engage with important issues more effectively.
Want to learn more about it? Then there’s three key places where you can do so!
First of all, you should check their cool website: http://www.gcgj.org/
Second, you can get your ticket at their Billetto page: http://billetto.dk/events/36794
And finally, you can join the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GameChangerGameJam
Interested? Let us know in the comments!
Once again DADIU invites everyone to join the next SpilBar event, this time about the paradox of fans: how do you deal with your fanbase when they tend to be such a tricky group to handle?
This time the event will take place at a new venue, the Design Society, located in HC Andersens Boulevard 27 in Copenhagen, and will go from 16:30 to 20:00 on Thursday, March 27th 2014.
While as always everybody is welcome to join, with free admission, this time sign-up beforehand is needed. Sign up for the event here!
So what can you expect at SpilBar this time? Check out the programme!
16:30-17:00: Arrival and coffee
17:00-17:10: Welcome by Nille Juul-Sørensen, CEO at The Danish Design Center
17:10-17:40: Frederikke Hoff: I Was Told There’d be LEGO Bricks …
17:40-18:00: Break 18:00-18:20: Roman Graebsch: Bound by words and expectations
18:20.18:40: Debate hosted by Thomas Vigild
18:40: Beer and mingling! The beers are sponsored by Danish Design Center and Interactive Denmark. Burger Jack will sell burgers – bring cash!
Where: Design Society, HC Andersens Boulevard 27, 1553 København When: Thursday, March 27th from 16:30 to 20:00
More information about the talks and the speakers:
Frederikke Hoff: I Was Told There’d be LEGO Bricks …
LEGO fans make up one of the most enthusiastic online fan communities in existence. We don’t mean kids within the product target group; we mean the teen and adult fans. That’s right: Adult fans! By nature, these fans build what appeals to grown-ups, and that doesn’t always fit well with the company line. So how does The LEGO Group nurture these online fans while not pissing them off? Frederikke Hoff from the LEGO Group talks about online fans and co-creation.
Roman Graebsch: Bound by words and expectations
In this talk, Roman will highlight why you cannot simply run off and develop a game which is part of a revered 20 year old franchise still developed by fans throughout the world today. He will present the challenges of convincing die-hard fans that ’we are doing it right this time, now give us your money!’. Furthermore, what does it mean to follow up on a successfully funded Kickstarter project, and how to best interact with your community? Promises were made – how can you keep them, how does it influence your game design decisions? What opportunities lie there in being an independent studio creating a crowd funded niche game with a premium payment model – and how it all ties into making the game you want to make – for yourself and the customer alike.
About Frederikke Hoff Frederikke is a Community Editor at The LEGO Group. She spends most of her time working with adult LEGO fans. She has previously worked for companies such as Guinness World Records, Danmarks Radio and IO Interactive. She also watches way too many Sci-fi TV-shows.
About Roman Graebsch
Roman Graebsch is Producer at Full Control ApS in Copenhagen. After finishing his M.Sc. in Game Design at the ITU, various student productions and a short excourse as co-founder of a company on a work-for-hire project in connection with the Experimentarium, he got his foot in the door of the danish game industry. After working as Project Manager on the Olsen Banden game for iOS, he found his dream job working on Jagged Alliance: Flashback and is now responsible for re-creating a favourite game of his childhood.
About SpilBar SpilBar is a bimonthly event, where everyone in or close to the computer games industry can meet and mingle. The meetings always start with a talk and end with a drink. SpilBar is initiated by Kristine Ploug from DADIU, and Thomas Vigild from The Danish Game Council (Dansk Spilråd). SpilBar is organized in collaboration with IGDA Denmark, Unge Spiludviklere, Spilordningen, and Interactive Denmark.
Join SpilBar’s Facebook group here.
SpilBar 19 is organized in collaboration with the Danish Design Center.
Everybody is welcome, admission is free, but sign-up is needed. Sign up here.
It is my pleasure, after a successfull Nordic Game Jam, to call for our annual general assembly.
It will be held Tuesday the 8th of April from 18:00 at Pilestræde 43, 3. floor, 1112 København K
Our bylaws state the following agenda:
- Choice of moderator.
- Choice minutes taker
- Report of the Chairman
- Treasurer’s report and its approval
- Set membership fee
- Election of auditor and deputy auditor
- Election of Board
Proposals need to be sent in written and actionable form to the board (email@example.com), no later that 2 weeks before the assembly.