The summer term ended with a real blast, as game designer and academic Eric Zimmerman attended our final presentations and gave feedback to our concepts and prototypes from the “Frankenstein-Adaptation Project”.
Financing your debut game is one of the big challenges for Independent Developers. Getting a great game published without being tied to an actual publisher often end up in debts or stretches development times drastically.
In Germany and throughout Europe, the established major funding institutions for cinema have been experimenting with the funding of interactive media and games for quiet some time now and as a whitty developer there are other options to e.g. applying for a company startup support or co-financing your project with art funding.
For two years now, a bunch of successful US based Indie Studios have teamed up to help aspiring startups to get their debut game out there. I had the chance to talk to Ron Carmel, co-founder of 2D Boy and partner of the Indie Fund.
So this is the first part of my chronicles from the Game Developer´s Conference 2012…which is kind of ironic because I spent most of the last two days off conference on several studio tours.
Me and my fellow IGDA scholars had the chance to visit some big names from the industry: Lucas Arts, zynga and Double Fine.
Being well familiar with the companies´ history and games, it was super interesting to get some on site insights on their very different work culture.
At zynga we were welcomed by a colorful and communicative college-like atmosphere. The workspaces were all themed by the different products (zynga poker, cityville …). It felt almost lie a parallel world, as the staff seemed to even enjoy spending their free time to hang out in different social activities at the studio.
Despite their young attitude, the user research driven company seems to be totally happy with their conservative thinking towards new gaming concepts. In the end it´s the user research where they are really really good at. So it was not suprising when they told us that zynga´s next coup will be the expansion and transformatin of their new games platform zynga.com (currently in beta) into a service for third party products. Zynga´s plan is to pass on their expertise in social games and their multimillion audience to other developers and thus enable them to feature more innovative products on zynga.com in the near future.
Lucas Arts turned out to be the complete opposite in terms of the work atmosphere. Being situated in a calm and elite neighborhood with a breathtaking view on the Golden Gate Bridge, the company seemes withstand the highspeed zeitgeist of the industry. A reminiscence to the golden days of film?
We learned that synergies between Lucas Arts, Lucas Film and ILM were rather on a level of creative and intellectual exchange than on a technical level. Working almost entirely with the very strong and almost historic Star Wars IP, Lucas Arts today seems to stick very more to their tradition than to innovation.
After the big impact of Double Fine´s upcoming Adventure Game project that will be crowd-funded with over 2.5 Milion USD via Kickstarter, it was awesome to talk to Tim Schafer and two of his employees about their experiences and perspective on future financing structures for games. Having been dependent on publishers from the company´s first game on, Schafer today strives for a double role as developer/publisher.
The atmosphere at the studio was very friendly, productive and unpretentious. The employees´workspaces were individual and packed with passionate gamer accessories. – Definitely a place where you´d feel comfortable even throughout crunchtime. Despite being commercially successfull, Double Fine has mastered to hold on to the Indie Spirit of having fun in what you do and exploring new grounds.
A special thanks to Ashley Zeldin, Gordon Bellamy an everyone at IGDA who made this studio tour happen!
Amazing news for me! I am one of 15 student scholars who were selected by the IGDA to have a free All Access Pass to this year´s Game Developer´s Conference in San Francisco from March 5-9. On top of joining the GDC, me and my fellow scholars will exclusively meet up with some of the most amazing game designers from the industry and we will visit some of the greatest studios in and around San Francisco.
I am pretty excited and really looking forward to the event.
For my blog and also for the Cologne Game Lab, I will be covering the GDC with a daily videopodcast. Watch out for it!
DOWNLOAD my first (public) videogame “drop here:
Hi everyone and thanks for downloading, playing and commenting my first digital game “drop.
The game is part of the Rapid Fire Prototyping Project at the Cologne Game Lab where I have startet my studies in Game Development and Research 4 months ago.
Juggeling with minimal flash coding experience and being bound to a very little time frame I decided to realize this game with Game Maker for MAC, where you can work with a mix of drag&drop and code snippets. I startet out with focussing on the basic gameplay elements and then added the different assets, design and music elements in various iterations.
The lovely music was composed by my dear friend Julia Klomfass.
Tools: Game Maker for Mac (Fullversion), Photoshop CS4, Logic 7
Development Time: approx. 24 hours
Tools: Game Maker for Mac (Fullversion), Photoshop CS4
Entwicklungszeit: ca. 20 Stunden
Hier ist mein zweites Minigame, das Jump&Run basierte “drop, dass ich Rahmen meines Studiums im Rapid Fire Prototyping Projekt am Cologne Game Lab entwickelt habe.
Für die Entwicklung habe ich zum ersten Mal mit Game Maker for Mac gearbeitet. In einer Mischung aus Drag&Drop und eigenen Code-Schnipseln konnte ich so innerhalb von 4 Stunden schon das Basis-Gameplay umsetzen. Grafiken, Leveldesign, Menüs und Sounds sind dann in verschiedenen Iterationen dazu gekommen.
Mit Musik von der wunderbaren Julia Klomfass.
Das Spiel ist noch work-in-progress und ich schraube noch an ein paar bugs, freue mich aber schon über Euer Feedback.
Download “dropgame.zip (MAC)