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Jammin‘ With Board Games?!

February 13, 2014 at 15:37

Though game jams usually focus on games of the digital persuasion Nordic Game Jam seeks to  offer something more. For the last three years a board game track has run alongside the digital one, offering participants the chance to do something different, and this year it‘s still going strong.

hoardPic
A portion of what awaits! 

To facilitate the brainstorming and building of new board games some sacrifices must be made. In this case that means the cannibalization of other board games, collected together into the Hoard, and available to all board game trackers. And believe us when we say that using  the Hoard (and some scissors and glue) makes life much easier when making a board game on a deadline. The games and game components contained in the Hoard have been generously donated to us from Bergsala Enigma, a Danish board game company.

This year we‘re offering an Audio + Board Games Track during the Friday talks. There will be two board game specific talks, one from Emil Larsen who successfully funded his board game through Kickstarter last year. He‘ll be talking about the do‘s and don‘ts of a Kickstarter campaign, something applicable to both board games and their digital brethren. There will also be a talk by the three award-winning games from last year‘s board game track; The team behind Made in China, Huggenheimer, and Kvasir Games. Stop by if you want to hear tips and tricks on how to survive a cardboard jam.

boardGame1
Getting started

The jammers who choose to work on board games tend to get more sleep during the jam, since technological difficulties are out of the equation. So far all the board game participants have worked together in a single room, surrounded by plastic, paper, and cardboard. Although the entire jam is of course buzzing with ideas and ambition, the proximity and working on such a common theme makes for a very good environment. And for loads of playtesters of course!

boardGame4 boardGame3
Caption: Creativity! 

boardGame2
Judgement in progress

The board game track also has the distinction of having its own awards, while still being eligible for the main awards of the jam. Once the deadline is past the teams create play-stations for their games and the board game track judges (and anybody who is interested) play the games. The categories for the board game awards will be announced at a later time, but we can tell you that there will be three winning games at the end of the jam.

This year’s keynote speaker is… John Polson!

February 13, 2014 at 12:16

JohnPolson

In an unprecedented move, Nordic Game Jam 2014 has sold out BEFORE we ever got to announce our keynote speaker. Which is odd, since the keynote speakers tend to attract lots of sales the days right after announcing them. But this time we’ve kept the surprise from you for long enough.

So, jammers, please welcome our keynote speaker for NGJ14, John Polson, with the talk “Game jams are like what? An international journey to jam“!

So, who exactly is John Polson? Well, he’s a guy who has done A LOT. He’s been working with indie games developer Dejobaan Games (especially famous for the curiously but aptly named “AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity“), he has helped create The Media Indie Exchange, he has helped developers get on IndieRoyale.com and he has worked with Mojang to exhibit the 2013 Minecon Indie Showcase.

Just that alone is an incredibly impressive list of feats, but it doesn’t end there: his current work is overseeing the most important indie games website in the world and part of the Gamasutra network: Indiegames.com. He also maintains the GDC Vault, which houses hours and hours of great talks from over 20 years of Game Developer Conferences worldwide. And on top of all that he organizes a cool alternative control exhibit at GDC called ALT.CTRL.GDC.

With a guy as active and with such a rich background as John Polson, it’s our honor to have him at Nordic Game Jam 2014 to introduce the event and inspire you all to create the awesome projects that we will be seeing in the coming days.

So everyone, get ready for an amazing Nordic Game Jam 2014 with John Polson as this year’s keynote speaker! See you really, REALLY soon!

Talk highlight – “Make bad games” by Sos Sosowski

February 13, 2014 at 12:10

McPixel - Not A Bad Game

At 15:00 next Friday I’m convinced we’ll be witnesses to a good mix of madness and good advice.

2 years ago Sos released the first ever game through Steam Greenlight. It was McPixel. A pixilated puzzle game where you have 20 seconds to defuse a bomb in each level. He’s also the developer of  the ninja mutant flashpunk action fighter brawler Thelemite which been a Newgrounds hit.

Through Sos’ Facebook profile we can learn that he’s a mad scientist of video games. And since scientists are known for their thorough approach towards everything, it’s going to interesting to see what advice this years jammers will be given by a mad one of the kind. Especially since non of the above mentioned games are bad themselves.

Read more about the full program here.

 

Talk: Do’s and Don’t for Disruptive Delight

February 13, 2014 at 10:13
United States

OscarClarkThe games industry is going through a golden age. Never before has there been a mass market audience hungry to play as well as the amazing tools which allow designers to realise their wildest dreams; but also never before has the competition been so difficult and discovery so elusive.

Oscar Clark, Everyplay evangelist and author of Games as a Service: How free to play design can make better games, will host a workshop explaining four techniques which will help you make a game that can delight and disrupt expectations. So what can you expect to learn about during the session? Well, lots of things, for example:

  • The Bond Opening
  • The Flash Gordon Cliffhanger
  • The Star Wars Paradox
  • The Columbo Twist”

So if this sounds like your kind of thing (and as a game jammer, it really should!) then join Oscar Clark at 14:00 on Friday 14th in the Tech + Publisher track.

Letter from OUYA to Nordic Game Jam

February 13, 2014 at 00:48

OUYA

Guess what? We have a special message from one of our new sponsors this year! Here’s Bob Mills from OUYA, our Program Sponsor, with a special announcement!

Hey Nordic Game Jammers!

Hope you’re prepped for a productive weekend.
We’re sad we can’t be there in person, but we’re supporting NGJ this year from afar, and we’re excited to see what you come up with.

Stalagflight_JimmyFallon

After the success of Stalagflight last year, we hope to see more games on OUYA in 2014!

When all is said and done, five of you will get an OUYA kit for your hard work during the Jam, but we look forward to seeing what everyone creates!

Here are the five things we’re recognizing this year:

  • Best Genre Mashup
  • Most Cooperative Game
  • The Unexpected Surprise
  • Best Boss Fight
  • Best Story Game with No Words

We understand that jams can get a bit crazy, so we’re happily flexible in terms of awarding dev teams. We trust the learned judges of NGJ.

If you don’t win an OUYA, don’t fret. Anyone on the DEV team would be happy to talk to you about bringing your stuff to the OUYA gamers across the globe.

If you ever have questions about what it takes to publish your game, you can reach us at officehours@ouya.tv.

We’re working harder than ever on our end to make OUYA a great platform for independent developers. We’re available weekly — every MONDAY at 11:30 a.m. PST from our G+ page — by appointment to discuss issues and requests, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

BobAndAlex

If you wanna reach Bob (left) or Alex (right) you can email us at bob@ouya.tv and alex@ouya.tv!

JAM ON!

3 games talks from Google Play

February 12, 2014 at 15:53

GooglePlayColor

This year we have quite some big names with us to make Nordic Game Jam a better experience than ever. And few names are as big as Google Play, the one-stop shop for all your favorite entertainment on Android devices, from phones to tablets and computers.

Not only will they be sending some people to participate at the game jam, they will also be giving a series of talks on Friday 14th right before the game jam starts!

So, what are the talks about? Here’s some info on each of the three talks!

Physics with LiquidFun – Wolff Dobson

Looking for a tall, cool, refreshing glass of physics?  LiquidFun, Google’s new cross-platform extension to Box2D, adds realistic fluid physics to any game.  We’ll show some splashy demos, and then demonstrate you how quickly you can add LiquidFun to your app.

Wolff Dobson is a Developer Programs Engineer at Google specializing in Android and games.  Before Google, he worked as a game developer for 12 years, including writing AI for the NBA2K series and helping design the Wii Motion Plus.  He has a PhD in artificial intelligence from Northwestern University.

Introduction to Google Play Games services – Wolff Dobson, Rich Hyndman

Google’s Play Games services offers a suite of developer tools for Android, web, and iOS.  We’ll present an introduction to Play Games services for every game, and then drill down on how to use the real-time multiplayer API to match up players and have them play head-to-head.  We’ll also discuss the recently-launched turn-based multiplayer API.

Wolff Dobson will join Rich Hyndman, a Developer Advocate for Android at Google in the UK. He has enjoyed over 12 years in the mobile industry, including experience running a VC funded mobile start up, working for a large mobile operator and a few years consulting. With his J2ME years long behind him, Richard has been devoted to Android since before 1.0 and supports Android developers bringing excellent apps to Google Play.

Indie game success on Google Play – Koh Kim

What does it take to be successful indie game developer on Google Play? Learn more about the Google Play Games business development team and how we helped indie game developers like Capybara, Frogmind and Vlambeer launch and grow on Google Play.

Koh Kim is a Business Development Manager for Google Play Games, where she leads game developer outreach and events. She works with indie game developers to launch and build sustainable businesses on Google Play. She also advises game companies on international expansion and recently spent last year building the Play business development team in Korea.

So close I can almost taste it!

February 12, 2014 at 13:53

Organizers and Volunteers

With so many posts and announcements coming up these days related to Nordic Game Jam 2014, we thought this would be a good moment to say hi from all the team of organizers and volunteers that have been working hard during the last few months for free to ensure that all of you get the best experience during the weekend.

Not only that, all of the people on the photo above (plus quite a few that couldn’t make it for that shoot) will be around the entire game jam and ready to help you out!

Let’s make this the best game jam ever! It’s so close now… See you soon!

EUCROMA sends all their students to Nordic Game Jam

February 12, 2014 at 09:56

Eucroma - The European Cross Media Academy

Every year Nordic Game Jam receives lots of students from many schools in the Nordic region (and beyond!) But this year Nordic Game Jam will be receiving the staggering amount of 66 students from EUCROMA – The European Cross Media Academy in Copenhagen, effectively becoming our first ever educational sponsor.

The EUCROMA students come from all over Europe, from universities in several different fields ranging from programming to concept art, sound design and film direction, and stay in Copenhagen for one semester to learn how to work together in a cross-media production. The education ends with the students producing in groups both a 3D animated movie as part of the same storyworld they have to develop.

With the 2014 generation of students having started just a week ago, Nordic Game Jam 2014 is set to become a great experience for them as they learn to work quickly in a small game production with an accelerated production schedule. With students coming from so many different backgrounds, NGJ14 will help them sync in what a game production implies as they learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

We look forward to receiving so many students and hope that they will enjoy NGJ as much as everyone else!

NGJ’14 PRE-PARTY

February 11, 2014 at 18:46

NGJ party

As per tradition there’s a kick ass kick off pre-party on Thursday, February 13th, the day right before Nordic Game Jam. Once again Copenhagen Game Collective has been planning the best possible night with a line-up consisting of Snorkelitzor (SE) and Kozilek (FI) with their own awesome music. And to back that up there will be glitchy visuals by Sidek1ck (DK) and sick HD VJ’ing by Skrumpen (DK)!

Even the venue is worth mentioning since it has been decided that a universitey isn’t the best place for throwing a party like this. So this time around it’ll be in Basement, in Vesterbro, right under night club Vega.

Since we have these three great party sponsors, there’ll also be free beer at the event, so no excuses not to come!

EVERYPLAY ♥ IO INTERACTIVE ♥ PARADOX INTERACTIVE

If you’re not crazy about beer, then please be crazy about the new line-up of drinks Magic Mike will be serving in the bar. Haven’t heard about him? He’s the guy who has traditionally made videogame themed drinks almost every Nordic Game Jam!

Of course there will also be a wide range of games available to try out. So there’s no excuse to stay home. Bring all the cash you can carry and start the group forming a bit earlier.

Link: Facebook event

Poster design by Simon Nielsen

Why hard core mobile games just might work

February 10, 2014 at 18:50

Jonas Antonsson

Do you have a smartphone at hand? Then unlock it for a second. Come on, take a look at it! Now tell me: how many of the games you have installed feature cutesy graphics or social experiences that cater to everyone? We wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of your games fit that description. Don’t worry, we won’t judge you for that.

But there is someone who dares to do the opposite. One person claims that you can create mobile games directed towards a super-niche audience interested in very specific subject matters. An individual who wants to fight the casual gaming trends and make mobile games hard and complex.

That individual is Jonas Antonsson, an Icelanding “serial entrepeneur” / “crazy person” who has focused on the games industry for almost a decade. He has funded and operated independent development studios. He has actively supported small independent teams, taught courses on game design at Reykjavik University and acted as strategic consultant to both established developers and publishers.

He recently joined independent games publisher Paradox Interactive, one of our Party Sponsors at Nordic Game Jam 2014, as VP of Mobile, and his main focus areas have been browser-based MMOs, mobile games and the now trendy Free-2-Play model in relation to hard-core games.

Is it really possible to do what he proposes though? Can mobile games really be geared towards niche groups of people and make them hard-core? Some people would say he’s mad. However, Jonas has sold $125 authentic-looking virtual viking swords on Facebook in an MMO back in 2009. He has created passion driven cake-pop communities and helped people get in touch with their inner mech. And he has also tried to make games for everyone who ended up being loved by none. So clearly the guy has some experience. Perhaps he’s not that crazy after all? There’s only one way to know that, and it’s by stopping by NGJ14 on Friday 14th at 16:30 to hear his talk “Dare to be Niche – Why hard core mobile games just might work”.

Who knows? Perhaps it will inspire you to make a hard-core mobile game during the game jam!

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