The 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.
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!
You’ve come to Nordic Game Jam. You spent 48 hours making a game and you’re really proud of that little baby of yours.
Now you want to make it better… but how?
SUPERHOT is a great example of what to do afterwards. The FPS game, where time moves only when you move, got a lot of media interest when it first was shown after the 7 Day FPS challenge because of its innovative and intuitive time control mechanism that creates great new gameplay possibilities. Basically it becomes a game of short and intense action scenes dodging bullets and taking down enemies.
The group of SUPERHOT is composed of Marek Baczynski, Luke Spierewka and Jakub Ziembinski, and they all have previous experience in game jams, mobile game development, electrical engineering and a couple of quirky projects that might or might not have involved cats and iPads.
And now they want to share that experience with Nordic Game Jam participants in a talk where they will explain their successes and problems (mostly the problems though) that they’ve encountered during the transition from a simple 7DFPS game to a much larger project.
So don’t miss them on Friday during the talks session at NGJ14!
No, the title you see above is not the actual name of the talk. It would be strange if it was, but the real name of the talk is even more strange.
And it is quite fitting actually, considering that Nicklas Nygren, the developer behind Knytt Underground, Nightsky and Saira among many others, is quite a strange character. He’ll probably read this announcement and agree with it.
Those of you who attended Nordic Game Jam last year probably remember seeing him doing his dance moves on the stage after winning the Grand Prize at NGJ13, so you’ll probably agree with this as well.
But… what is this talk then? How is it called? And what is it about? Well… it’s called “The talk where I show and give away some cool Unity components I did, then play a song at the end for some reason“, which is surprisingly self-explanatory.
Nicklas, who is originally from Umeå, northern Sweden, but currently lives in Copenhagen, is the founder of Nifflas’ Games and he has developed some really interesting techniques to design and coordinate his games. He recently started to create games using Unity, and since then he has already created quite some cool stuff with it. If you want to see a piece of what lies within his mind, this is the talk to go to!
It’s time for more talks announcements! Today we’re happy to reveal that Adriaan de Jongh, best known for his International Games Festival nominated iPad game Fingle (for the Nuovo award for most innovative), will be giving a talk at Nordic Game Jam during the Friday series of talks before the event kick-off.
Adriaan is usually delving around unusual ways of interacting with devices, something he is overwhelmingly enthusiastic about. That, and he is great at coming up with quick prototypes for his game ideas, something that fits perfectly with the game jam spirit.
His game Fingle is a co-operative two-player game that encourages awkward human interaction with the players’ fingers touching each other while playing on a tablet. And you could say that Adriaan’s hair is almost as famous as his game.
For #NGJ14 he will be giving a talk called “All Your Games Are The Same“, in which he will clame that 98% of the games we know have the same interactions we’ve been seeing for the past two decades. So join him on Friday, February 14th to learn how to take a shallow look at your designs, resist the easy path, go down the “fuck it” route and move forward in game design. As he puts it: “Let’s talk real game design for a change.”
The group, formed by Kristín Guðmundsdóttir, Ioana Marin, Anders Lystad Brevik, Tróndur Justinussen, and Simon Cutajar made the award-winning board game Mussades at Nordic Game Jam 2012 and the year after they decided to work together again, creating Wanted: Igor(back then under the name of Beast Builder), which became yet another success.
With the team doing so well, it’s no wonder they started their own board games company out of it, Kvasir Games, and got ready to start selling their first formally published game.
The team recently posted an article on the worldwide-reaching IGDA Perspectives Newsletter on creating board games from scratch to finish in just 48 hours at a game jam which we seriously recommend taking a look at.
What’s more, the team will be giving a talk this Nordic Game Jam 2014 that will also serve as a great introduction to this year’s Board Game Track!
That’s right! Once again the successful board games track is back in action and will be providing you and your team with lots of materials to create something different. We will announce more details about this soon, but if playing and making board games is right up your alley then we encourage you to join NGJ14 and get a ticket right away!
Because not everything at Nordic Game Jam has to be digital!
Every year we see some great games coming out of Nordic Game Jam. Many of them become an amazing showcase for participant’s portfolios. But others become much more: their teams continue to actively develop the game.
That was the case of last year’s “Most Fun Game” winner Stikbold, which is currently in development for the OUYA console and looking ahead into the future to release in pretty much every platform under the sun.
Stikbold, a traditional ball game where you have to be the last man standing without being hit with a foam ball, became a fast-paced multiplayer game of 1 to 6 players full of crazy events such as the arena breaking down into a platform floating on the sea with whales jumping out of the water and crushing unsuspecting players while trumpets fall of the sky and allow the player who picks it up to play an annoyingly catchy Mexican song. Well, that was a mouthful…
Right after Nordic Game Jam the team, named Reign Bros, submitted their game to CREATE, organized by OUYA and Killscreen Magazine, where they won the “Best Game in Unity” award.
The Reign Bros team, from left to right: Jacob Herold, Anders Østergaard, Lars Bindslev, Martin Petersen and Simon Engelsted Vestergaard
With such a success under their belt, they decided to apply for funding programs, resulting in them getting a Nordic Game Program grant that allowed them to start working full time on Stikbold. They even got more funding from the Danish Film Institute Spilordningen!
Since then they have been showcasing the game all over the place, including Roskilde Festival 2013 and A Maze Festival in Berlin.
They’re definitely one interesting story that started at Nordic Game Jam, which is why they will be giving a talk duringNordic Game Jam 2014’s round of talks and workshops on Friday 14th 2014!
So come and join to learn the story behind their success. Hopefully it will inspire you to make the next triumph story at NGJ!
You can watch the trailer of the Alpha version of the game below:
Here at Nordic Game Jam we are big fans of Unity, the popular game engine that was born in Copenhagen and quickly caught on with indie game developers, especially in the mobile market. Since it first came out in 2005 the engine has been getting all sort of improvements in usability, performance, features and soon a great new 2D workflow system that makes modern game development extremely accessible to everyone. It’s no wonder it’s become an industry standard!
So after some careful planning we want to announce the Unity Nights, a series of free lectures where you can go from zero to hero with Unity, that we’re organizing through IGDA Denmark.
These lectures will take you from the very first basics of working with Unity to start creating your own games and polishing them up. Later lectures will take on more advanced topics such as working with the Mecanim animation system, scripting, physics and programming custom shaders. These will certainly help you also when you join one of the many game jams happening in Denmark!
But for the moment being, let’s focus on the first three lectures:
Thursday, September 26th – Unity for absolute dummies
Wednesday, October 2nd – Building your first game in Unity
Thursday, October 10th – Building a BETTER game with Unity
The first lecture will get you accustomed with Unity, it’s interface, controls and basic elements, as well as learning a proper workflow. No coding skills required! (Though they will, of course, help). The following two lectures are step-by-step examples where you will be making a fully working game in a tutorial style. If you prefer to, you can save the event on Facebook as well!
All the lectures will begin at 19:00 in order to keep a consistent schedule. Also these lectures will end with a questions session where you can come with your problems with Unity and we will try to help you as much as possible. The location is at Aalborg University Copenhagen, located in Sydhavn (not far from the Sydhavn S-train station, a couple of stops away from the central train station). We will be placing signs at the entrance so you can find the room where these lectures will be taking place.
And that’s not all! Don’t forget that later on we will announce more lectures to continue with the program into more advanced topics, so keep updated with our announcements here or on our Twitter and Facebookpages to be the first one to hear about upcoming Unity Nights!
We will be liveblogging the entire game jam this year!
Do you have anything cool you want to show to the world? Tell your friends and family how great being here is? Then catch either Anchel Labena or Samuel Walz around the venue and we might feature you in one of the videos!
Here’s a proposal: take a virtual tour of Nordic Game Jam BEFORE Nordic Game Jam 2013 starts!
If you’ve been following the news you will have probably heard of the 48 Hour Games interactive documentary by Suvi Andrea Helminen, where the viewer becomes a player going through the different paths from the moment the Nordic Game Jam starts to its end.
Now we invite you to watch it… with all of the participants for this year’s game jam!
Right at the beginning of the pre-party hosted by the Copenhagen Game Collective this Thursday 17th we will be screening the documentary and let the crowd decide who to follow, what to see and what to learn more about. If you haven’t seen the documentary yet, this is your best chance, with many of the people in the documentary being present right there. And if you’ve seen it already, perhaps you will discover a new path that you hadn’t seen before?