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16.01.2014 Zürich, Kaspar Manz

Soon: The Swiss Game Jam

Get ready for the next Game Jam! Take a weekend off, do something crazy, and be inspired for the rest of the year!

Soon it will be that time of the year again that game designers all over the world look forward to: on 24–26 january 2014, the Global Game Jam will be held – and with that, of course, also the Swiss Game Jam.

The challenge is to create a game in 48h – possibly with complete strangers, with new technology, and likely with the power of lack of sleep.

Still located at the Rote Fabrik in Zurich, this year we will have more space to create stuff, with an additional dedicated room for sleeping (in case you need to).

Short introductory courses on various topics will be held in order to get you up to speed on some specific topic, with an additional introduction to game design for people that are taking their first steps in the wild wild world of game development.

Get more information about the Swiss Game Jam on their dedicated site, and then register over at the Global Game Jam site and join the Swiss jam site to facilitate the planning.

Take a weekend off from your normal job, do something crazy – and be inspired for the rest of the year! See you there!

Seriously, you guys definitely keep me busy. With several new games on the horizon, getting greenlighted on Steam, receiving awards or getting rave reviews from WIRED, we have a lot to cover in this newest issue of the chapter news.

DigiDingo released their newest iOS puzzle game, this one called Buffalooh – and are currently climbing up iTunes’ top ranks.

Meanwhile, recently published games stay in the spotlight, most notably Drei, which got a nice review on WIRED, where it’s called “brilliant” and “gorgeous”. It also received the Site of the Day Award at FWA. apelab’s demonstrated their spatial storytelling app at various events and received awards for it. And finally, Krautscape has been greenlit on Steam.

Games also play an increasingly important role in museums and exhibitions. The city of Zurich is presenting a exhibition on courage in the Stadthaus. The interactive visuals have been created by Ludic. Meanwhile in Heiden, the Henry Dunant museum has an exhibition enhanced with augmented reality elements, created by ateo.

Several new games have been spotted on the horizon. On one hand we have IF Games The Perils of Man, a promising adventure game for the iPad, whose credits include LucasArts veterans which had a hand in the writing of the game. I’d say it’s pretty sure we can expect something pretty funny.

On the other hand, however, something far more sinister is coming up from the depths: Shoggoth, the monstrous ancient from H.P. Lovecraft’s lore is rising in Dreipol’s aptly named Shoggoth Rising, soon out for iOS devices as well. Expect some blood-chilling action while defending your light tower from the monsters that rise from the deep. Get a sneak peak with the teaser trailer.

In case Shoggoth overpowers you, it might be time to bring out the big guns. A new game by Feinheit is just promising that: Play safely with a large arsenal of nuclear weapons and kill the world several times over. That should take care of Shoggoth as well, right? Never mind the casualties, as long as you get the First Strike

Further in the future is Mana Crystals, a project of Robbert van Rooden’s Inlusio, with some nice concept art from Chris Solarski.

Working a lot with clients, like advertising agencies? Gbanga Millform has collected a few helpful pointers how to deal with that.

Help to give Swiss indie games more exposure! IndieDB is running their Indie of the Year Award again, and you can vote for your favourites (or your friendly neighbourhood game studio): so why not Son of Nor?

This is likely the last chapter news – before next year, of course. Enjoy the holidays, play with family and friends, and see you on the other side of the gap!

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25.11.2013 Zürich, Kaspar Manz

Bronze, Silver, Gold and Monsters

With Journey of a Roach and Drei taking the limelight and headlines those last few weeks, it is easy to overlook that there have been a few other releases and events that are worth noting.

This year for the very first time the best Swiss (mobile) apps have been chosen at the Best Of Swiss Apps awards. Game apps had their own category and received a surprising amount of submissions – well, surprising for the organisers, as we all know that Switzerland has a vibrant game developer scene! Gbanga, Bitforge, Goldfish Software (Odddots), webguerillas and SchmauderRohr GmbH all received bronze or silver awards. LerNetz got a gold award in the category Knowledge for their games appolino Plus & Minus and appolino Schreiben.

The breakout star however was clearly Tobias Neukom who not only received the gold award for his physics puzzler LiquidSketch but then continued to secure himself the Master of Swiss Apps 2013 award for the overall best app of the year! Congratulations to him and all of the other winners! And of course, we’re looking forward to what you’re coming up with next year!

But not only awards have been collected, also games have been released: First and foremost there is Black Island, the horror exploration game by wotokah, exclusively for the Occulus Rift. They already wowed the audience with their game at the Game Demo Night this August, and now you can try the game for yourself (given you have an Occulus Rift, that is). The game is available on itch.io (the last one being a new store for indie games, which might be interesting to you as well).

Working its way up on Steam Greenlight is MokMok by 2beats. If you want to see the innovative music game on Steam, then you should go and vote it up. In case you’re not yet completely convinced, you should go and visit the game’s website, which isn’t just gorgeous to look at, but also gives you an interactive teaser of the game.

Just like urban development traffic planning doesn’t seem like a terribly interesting subject – unless you turn it into a game. And what happened with SimCity could also happen with Philipp Kuhn’s Stop, Ampeltime! Originally presented as his bachelor thesis for his graduation at the Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK, Philipp has taken up development of the game once again and is chronicling the progress on his blog and his Twitter. Following him to catch up on all the turns, diversions and forks along the way!

Face animation is something that seems out of reach with limiting budgets and small teams – something that a lot of Swiss game studios have to deal with. Swiss innovation to the rescue! Faceshift just released a plugin for Unity 3D 3.4 that allows you to record your face and integrate those movements into Unity. All you need is a Kinect, and you’re all set up. Go ahead, give your characters the emotions they deserve!

Interested to know the people behind those projects? Secure yourself a place at the SGDA Gala on November 27, 2013 at the G27 in Zürich and get in touch with them! And if you’re a Swiss game developer, then you should definitely join the Swiss Game Developers Association, if you haven’t already! See you there!

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12.11.2013 Zürich, Kaspar Manz

Dream Big

It is time to dream big! There are several call for projects on the horizon which are worth checking out. And Zürich has been taken over by game mechanics at the first Zürich game festival, while Swiss game design was also busy taking over Tokyo. Check out all of this, with some additional goodies thrown in, in the current chapter news!

Mario von Rickenbach has clearly found a way to wow an audience. His experimental game Mirage once again managed to snag an award, this time in Tokyo: he received a Best Experimental Game Award at the Tokyo Game Show 2013.

Also at the Tokyo Game Show 2013 were Gbanga, which presented two new games; EverdreamSoft, faceshift, apelab and Gango Games.

The first game festival in Zurich, the gameZfestival, has been quite the success, as several news articles show. And going by the enthusiastic tweets one can be quite certain that the attendants had a blast as well. Luckily, the organisers are already planning on repeating their success!

And a new event is coming up! The Swiss Game Developers Association SGDA is hosting their first gala event and award ceremony end of Novemeber - make sure your enter your game project for the the SGDA Swiss Game Award 2013.

In case you develop for mobile devices or are gearing up for Pro Helvetia’s newest programme “Mobile”, these statistics might be interesting to you, as they show the usage patterns in Switzerland when it comes to mobile devices. And it turns out that the time to develop for both Android and iOS devices seems to have come, as Android is gaining more ground even in the originally iOS-phile country of Switzerland …

Also of note is another call for projects, this one made throughout Europe: The Future Internet initiative is looking for radical new ideas that connect all kinds of devices, like TVs, tablets, smartphones, in innovative and unexpected ways. Their Open Call is looking for proposals for a Social Connected TV, for Smart City Services and most of all Pervasive Games. If you have a great idea, you should hand in your proposal now, or at least until January 8, 2014. In case your proposal is accepted, you can expect “a funding amount in the range of 100 to 200 k€” – so dream big!

Talking of dreaming big: Two releases happened recently with the potential of becoming big hits. Go get Journey of a Roach on Steam or in a box (!) and Drei in the App Store for your iPad.

And lastly, some additional eye candy to sweeten your day. Two game designers recently brushed up their portfolios: Roman Schmid over at bummzack.ch (watch out for that super cute alien!) on one hand, on the other Tobias Baumann, whose works you can find over at tobiasbaumann.net. Go check them out – maybe one of them is your next collaborator?

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17.09.2013 Zürich, Kaspar Manz

All Systems Go

Swiss games are taking over Steam! A lot of them are currently on Greenlight – either having already passed the votes, or still in need of them. Have a look at the contestants right here!

Happy news from Son of Nor, too. Not only did their Kickstarter campaign end successfully, they also got green lighted on Steam.

And you can still support more current Swiss game development! Krautscape still needs your votes. And so does Daina: The Herbarium, which also arrived on Steam Greenlight and awaits your votes!

Vanija celebrate their 5-year-anniversary! Five years of advertising games and augmented reality apps for quite a number of clients. Happy birthday!

The games from 416games are being released one by one. First was Drownings by Philomena Schwab to be released and last week Draw me the Way by Andreas Halter and Stardust by Tabea Iseli were also put on the Samsung App Store. More games are on the way for your Galaxy Note!

In case you are an iPhone or iPad user, there is no need for envy. After all, the cute Monster Up Adventures by Karios Games are now also available for iOS devices. Go get them!

Just like every year, Fantoche, the animation film festival in Baden also brings games to the forefront. Not only was the last IGDA Chapter Meeting there, but right before that the Game Talks were held: Rémi Boutin, Tiphaine Chazeau, Sylvain Trabut, Jasmin Widmer and Yasemin Günay talked about exceptional visual design in games.

And during the whole week you could enjoy the exposition «Arcade Closed. Reopening everywhere» at the Stanzerei and dive into gaming’s current retro trend and some surprising gems from Switzerland’s secret history in game development. In case you missed it, you’ll have a second chance soon – just read on.

We should look into the future – especially to the 4th to 6th October, where you are invited to take part at the gameZfestival in Zurich. Three days game culture apart from the mainstream: enjoy retro games (including the aforementioned exhibition), art games, indie games and board games – and meet new people. Vote for the worst gamification example! Have a look at their website, and meet us there!

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19.08.2013 Zürich, Kaspar Manz

Summer Holidays are Over!

Summer holidays are definitely over! A flurry of news has reached us – be it about games that need your support, articles published about Swiss game studios or games being in the final rounds, ready to get some awards!

A lot is happening with Wotokah. Their game Black Island has been featured on the Swiss national radio. Right now, they are visiting GDC Europe and are promoting their game and their just launched Indiegogo campaign! Time to support Swiss game design!

You should also support Krautscape by Mario von Rickenbach, which has made it on Steam Greenlight and is in need of your votes! Give that wacky racing game wings and let it go global!

Journey of a Roach by Koboldgames has seen a lot of exposure, too, since their publisher Daedalic announced its release date, and it promptly got featured on Rock, Paper, Shotgun!

DNA Studios who got awarded money at the last Call for Projects recently got featured in the newspaper La Liberté.

And finally, moving on to awards, the bachelor project Shattered by Yury Schicker and Jan Werner is a finalist at the Unity Awards 2013; they are nominated as Best Student Project. We keep our fingers crossed!

 

UP NEXT: A LOT OF EVENTS

A lot of events are coming up!

Today on Monday, August 19 at 19:00 gamespace meets at Mechart Lab for another meet&make. Go tell a joke with a game!

This Wednesday, August 21 at 18:30, the IGDA Switzerland will host the Second Game Demo Night at Colab Zürich. Join us and meet exciting new games, among them aforementioned Shattered.

From August 30 to September 1, gamespace together with dock18 will hold the Summer Game Jam. Always toyed with the idea of going to a game jam, but afraid of the chilly temperatures in winter? Don’t fear, this time, you’re covered: jam in beautiful summer weather and get your chills exclusively from the nearby lake (and your brilliant ideas). Places are limited, so head to the Swiss Game Jam site as your starting point!

And, finally, on September 6, We are hosting another IGDA Switzerland chapter meeting at the Fantoche festival. Details will be announced soon on our event page.

 

 

 

 

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15.07.2013 Zürich, Kaspar Manz

What a Week!

The last week surely has been exciting for Swiss game design! Not only did it see the Call for Projects party, where all winners were announced and additional prizes handed out, but also the release of several new games and a flurry of news articles!

On tuesday, NIFFF and Pro Helvetia celebrated the winners of the Call for Projects in Neuchâtel, handing out even more prizes: The SUISA awarded theirs to Unmem for their score, and Miniclip awarded their prize to Drei, and will feature the multiplayer game on their website. A complete list of all winners has been published in the last news. Once again, congratulations to all!

As was intended, the awards ceremony generated a lot of buzz. 20 Minuten titled that “Swiss games are raising the bar” (article in German). Swiss Radio SRF featured Koboldgames and their quest to teach a cockroach how to limp.

Indie critic darling Feist, while not part of this years Call for Projects, was in the newspaper as well with a lengthy article (in German as well).

And then there are the new releases: First we have Cannon Crasha, which has been presented at IGDA Switzerland’s first Demo Night. The Reddit brainchild is now available for iOS devices and gets rave reviews on Kotaku.

Monster Up Adventures by Karios Games has been ported from Windows Phone to Android and is now available for free on the Google Play Store.

Gbanga also got a release on Android, including an exclusive fancy augmented reality mode!

Wotokah, which presented their game Black Island at the last Demo Night as well, released a demo of their game. While not yet a proper release, it is a preview of things to come. Mount those Oculus Rifts and be prepared to be scared … (requires Windows, and not necessarily an Oculus Rift to play).

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01.07.2013 Zürich, Kaspar Manz

Lists of Excellence

Nothing is better than showing off the fruits of your labour after countless nights of hard work! In this instalment of the chapter news, we have the names and the games that either have been shown or will be shown – and that have been recognised for their excellence.

Our first Game Demo Night was a roaring success! Thanks to everyone for showing up – it was a great evening. In case you want to keep up with the games and their developers, here they are again:

Follow these nice people! And rest assured that the next instalment of the Game Demo Night is already planned, with more great games to look forward to!

And, since we’re already making lists, let’s add another, as it is finally clear who is being supported in this year’s call for projects of Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF), pro helvetia and Fondation SUISA. The seven winners are:

On July 9, the winners will be presented at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival and are afterwards part of a public exhibition, where they can be played and tested.

Mario von Rickenbach also received another grant, together with Florian Faller and Adrian Stutz, from the Alexander Clavel Foundation for their work: Their works (among them Feist and Krautscape) were put on display at the exhibition Bits and Beasts at Villa Wenkenhof.

Today on July 1, Feinheit just launched a new game called Born to Run. Set in the near future, the player competes in a race at break-neck speed. In order to gain an edge, the player can get boosts, but risks losing it all at the end of the game. Check out the teaser video – and get the game.

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31.05.2013 Zürich, Kaspar Manz

Swiss Games to Improve Activities of Daily Living

Drive better (and faster). Get home safely. Yodel. All things you can learn with these new games, curtesy of Swiss game developers. And there are more on the way – more Swiss game developers, that is to say.

Jasmine Kent recently released her game TriggerRally. What’s special? It’s a port of a game to the web, using WebGL and JavaScript … quite impressive! Go to the website and start playing right away!

Going home after a wild party has its own challenges. And challenges are best put into games. This one is called After Party and has been made by Millform (makers of Gbanga) for iOS and Android in cooperation with the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH and the bfu – Swiss Council for Accident Prevention to raise awareness for the dangers that lurk when getting home from a boozed-up night.

Gregor Falk, together with dreipol, released a new version of their advergame Talerschwingen for iOS and Android. The new version even features a simplified version for all Zürcher that just aren’t that experienced in that sport ;)

And not to be forgotten: the new games from the ZHdK Game Design bachelor students will be on display at the Diplomausstellung from June 1 to 13 2013, from 12 – 20 o'clock (Ausstellungsstrasse 60, 8005 Zürich). Get a taste of what will be shown and news right on their Facebook page and check out the overview of the games on the official site.

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15.05.2013 Zürich, Kaspar Manz

Make Things Happen

Kickstarter campaigns are launched, and Facebook pages and Twitter accounts created, questionnaires are waiting to be filled out: Swiss game devs are creating new and exciting things. Be there when they are shown to the public the first time – or be the one presenting it yourself!

In our last chapter edition we have covered Swiss Games being part of the world. And the movement continues: games of students from HEAD Geneva will be shown at the Game Art Festival in Los Angeles.

stillalive studios launched their Kickstarter campaign for Son of Nor. Help them make this game a reality! And why not catch a glimpse of how they’re doing it while you're at it?

With game studios being a large part of the creative industry, having a possibility to influence that industry can be important. As part of his bachelor’s thesis, a student from Chur wants to know what an internet platform would have to look like to be most useful to you. Just fill out the short questionnaire, and you can be a part of shaping the future.

While not a lot of features have been shared yet, there seems to be a new Swiss game in the making: Drownings. Check out their Twitter feed to be in the know!

A bit more is known about Samuel Vonaesch’s game CMYK, which he currently works on as his bachelor’s thesis. Visit CMYK’s Facebook page to keep up to date with its development – and be notified when it will be available to play (very likely at ZHdK’s diploma exhibition, which is around the corner as well).


UPCOMING EVENTS NOT TO BE MISSED

On May 16, you have the chance to get insights into the development of Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams. At the ZHdK Gameforum, the game designers of Black Forest Games show how their Kickstarter campaign was organised and how the the re-imagined Giana Sisters came to be. Get more information at GameLab.

On May 20, drop in at GameSpace’s meet&make, play with index cards and get all the news from the German game dev conferences Quo Vadis, Indie Connect and Berlin MiniGameJam. And maybe, just maybe, you might get a sneak peek at the upcoming bachelor games of the students of ZHdK … Find out where and when right on GameSpace’ website.

On June 26, it might be your time to shine. The IGDA Switzerland chapter organises a Game Demo Night, where you have the chance to present your game to the public. Send in your game to demonight@igda.ch and you might get into one of five available slots. Your game will be presented on that night, and featured on all available channels of the IGDA Switzerland chapter. Get all the information right here, right now – we’re looking forward to seeing you!

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