BIC Fest 2018

In mid-September, I went to South Korea for the BIC Festival (Busan Indie Connect, not to confuse with Casual Connect) with a little detour in Seoul. The first thing that happened in Busan was the “Make Play Jam”, a game jam before the conferences & exhibition. There, I had the change to meet Zak (programmer at 11-bits studio) and Wolf (part of Poppy Works). Each of us got separated into different teams as we were mostly the only programmers. The novelty for me was to make a game with people that barely spoke english, which was challenging in a way. We were communicating through Slack to exchange informations. I was also sick to death, so I was happy to buy laxative.

 

We finally did a small platformer game called Happy Dog:

After the jam, there was one day (13.11) for conferences, with high quality talks from Chris Hecker, Tyrone Rodriguez (Nicalis), Casey Muratori, Nick Suttner and others. Even though the day was full, it seemed pretty short of a lineup compared to events like Reboot Develop, Respawn (before Gamescom) or other smaller conferences events (not like GDC).

Then the day after was Business Day (14.11), it was the occasion for press to test the game before the consumer’s days and to pitch to publishers (mostly sponsors of the event). I got the occasion to pitch the early prototype of Soup Raiders to Nicalis and Devolver Digital to get feedback (there was also Humble Bundle and Epic Games).

Of course, the two days following where the exhibition open to the public. The festival organization did a little game where developers gave stickers to players when they came to their booth, motivating them to test as much game as possible. Because it is a indie game only festival, there was no too much noise (compare to Taipei Game Show for example).

BIC Fest would be what it is without talking the Beach parties. every evening, after dinner, was probably the best networking opportunity with beer and alcohol. This is the place I met some developers from the Kyoto indie game scene and other.

In the end, the BIC Fest is a nice stop before TGS, without the crowd and noise, but with the high quality developers.

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Orbital Game Jam

Between Sat. March 17th to Sun. March 18th, Alexis and I went to the Orbital Game Jam, a small student game jam at the EPFL. Unlike most game jams, it only lasted 24 hours, so we needed to be quick and simple with our game. The themes were:

  • Et si ?
  • Plus loin que la nuit et le jour

We took the second one and turned it as travelling and finally train. We went for a second German empire setting with those lovely German soliders with spikes on top of them. We decide for a twist in term of mechanic by not having the player shoot but bounce.

So we did Orbital Express where you play as  Agent Herrington and you have to stop Docteur Heinrich Grüter’s train to save London. You have dog steam machinery trying to kill you. Your only weapon is your typical English gentleman stick that you use to bounce the projectile back. You can play it here: https://teamkwakwa.itch.io/orbital-express

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Can’t stop the jamming!

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I remember my post from last year. After one year and a half of exhausting jamming and master study, I was starting to get bored by game jams. But I did a game on GameBoy and suddenly I realized something important. Game jams are not just about creating games. It is about living extraordinary experience (painful one too). Oh God I was happy when I compiled the last rom and uploaded it (with my shitty upload bandwidth, I was actually happy to create a 256kB gb rom instead of the usual 100mB .zip files that takes 20 min to upload home).

Jamming is easy for me now, so I try to go outside of my comfort zone on the game ideas. Welcome at Houdini’s for example made me try something new in terms of gameplay. As a beginner game developer, I was focused on creating game in a certain genre. Now, I have several prototypes that I want to continue as game project. For example, I want to have a Soup Raiders TRPG with crazy cartoon mechanics inspired by Disgaea, Fire Emblem and the like.

Jamming is about creating new ideas out of nowhere. I tend to want to create games in the genre I like, but game jams force me to try anything. If my colleagues want to try a specific idea, I bow to that and start to think how I will code it. With the Master in Game Design, I can also think to better way of implementing a mechanic, in a way, I became a gameplay programer.

This month of May was super busy at my job and I did not jam, but I don’t feel I missed something. I was always trying to make one game jam a month. It was my way of being creative. Now, I am also trying new engines (for example, I want to get my hand on Godot 3 as an alternative to Unity) and new platforms (GameBoy, Nintendo DS, Arduboy…).

So, in short, I can’t stop the jamming!

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