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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Nordic Game Jam

I took one week and half for the Nordic Game Jam and the Reboot: Develop conference. Switching from 10°C-15°C to 25°C-30°C was pretty brutal, but immensely needed. I was pretty down after the disease of the year after Polymanga and those trips were a nice opportunity to recover.

First stop, Copenhagen. We went there with Alexis and Anirul. The theme of the jam was Breaking Point. I wanted to try to do a city management game, but with the constraint of the 48 hours, it would been to create a really compelling game experience. Then Alexis had the brilliant idea to add Arcade mechanics, where you click on building to repair them or get taxes and then the setting unfolded. It would be an industrial siberian city. And then we had Novyzavod:

You have workers pouring into the city. They come at the city center and starts to complain. If you do nothing, they die, because they are political opponents. You realise you have to build them housing and then they go to sleep. After a while they come back from the building and starts to complain again. You have to build factories for them to work somewhere. Then everything is okay…

Except that buildings a fragile, meaning you have to repair them. And it costs you money. And your budget is tight. If you don’t repair the building, they fall apart and when they destroy, everybody inside of it die. But you can always fill it by taking taxes in a building, but… Workers that just arrived have no money, so they instantly die and you never know how many workers have money in their buildings.

The last twist is that political opponents cost you money when they die. Each person in a destroying building cost you money. But first-time worker that dies because of taxes does not. So the twist of the game is in the meta game, where you realise that you optimising actions (that are good actions) are morally wrong, because you contribute to a system that is killing people to optimise its production. It is a example of commodification of bodies in an industrial setting.

We went to the final presentation on stage and it was pretty funny. On Friday and Monday, there were really good presentation about game design and business. And then I had 12 hours back to Switzerland before going to Reboot Develop.

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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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