The Swiss delegation just came back from one of the most important game conference on the planet: the Game Developers Conference. The impact of Swiss game design at the venue was big! Both Krautscape and Grooh received the Best in Play Awards from GDC, and have successfully presented their games for the public to play at the GDC. Also at GDC, LiquidSketch, has been nominated for Technical Excellence at the IGF Awards. Congratulations to the winners!
While GDC was running, swissnex San Francisco was showing outstanding games from two Swiss art schools – Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK and HEAD Genève – with contributions from UCLA Game Lab in an exhibition called GameGazer. Games shown were Ned and Ted, OKO and Journey of a Roach amongst many others.
Journalist Jan Graber has accompanied the Swiss game developers delegation in and around the conference and has reported about it in 20 Minuten.
In the meantime releases and broad coverage of games has happened in Switzerland. As always, the Swiss Industry gets awards, media coverage and is busy creating new games!
All eyes were on the results of the 2nd Call for Projects. The jury has convened and decided what games are being supported. While no official announcement has been made to date, you can follow the Twitter list of Swiss game developers and get reactions first hand as soon as the official statement is out. Congratulations to the winners!
Bitforge is already a winner, too, by taking home the bronze award in the Best of Swiss Web competition.
Swiss game designers Mario von Rickenbach, Chris Solarski and Tobias Neukom had talks at the FMX in Stuttgart, and at Quo Vadis in Berlin Dragica Kahlina is talking about procedural sound design as an opportunity for small indie teams.
Rosario Azzarello released a serious game for the SUVA, teaching carpenters how to properly use the machinery they’re dealing with on a daily basis. The game has been created in Flash using Stage3D, which allows for 3D content within Flash.
Feinheit released Meet the Street, a serious game about road safety for pedestrians, and managed to get it to the top of the downloads in the iTunes App store in practically no time. Well done!
Last but not least, if you want to watch other people designing beautiful games: The game art master students of EPAC have offered a glimpse of their current project called Emissaire. Done in CryEngine, the game is about exploring a labyrinthine city as a bearer of light. The Facebook page gives some first impressions and follows the future development of the game.
Train Fever by Urban Games, meanwhile, have completely revamped their website and are going a similar way as Traentworks, but on another site: They, too, have a crowd funding campaign at the start, but on Gambitious, a platform specialised on funding games that might be worth checking out for other companies as well. Train Fever, a train simulation game for Mac and PC, is also on Steam Greenlight, if you want to support them there.
Swiss Game Design is moving east and being displayed in Bejing, as GameCulture reports. Various works of Swiss game and multimedia designers are being shown, with Florian Faller of Feist fame having a presentation on Swiss game design.
Nothing Interactive, meanwhile, completely revamped their website. Completely adaptive, their site showcases their latest projects. And they're still looking for co-robots! So if you're having your sight on different stars, it might be time for your take-off!
Awards season is coming up, and Swiss games are once again in the running to get prestigious prices.
Several games have been shortlisted for the Swiss App Award 2013: Grooh by digiDingo, s**thead by codebox, MonsterUp Memory by Karios Games and Bitforge's ByeBye Mosquito, done for World Vision. The ceremony will be on February 7th – good luck to all the contestants!
And in case you are already planning your next LAN party: Why not Farming Simulator 2013 by Giants Software?
Also still last year, Gbanga has pushed out a huge update to their Gbanga Familia location based game, not just making their client speedier, but updating large parts of their game mechanics as well. Check out the changes and keep on playing.
Most of you will have entered your games for this year's Call For Projects (good luck to all of you, by the way), so I will assume that you have time to unwind for a few days. What could be better than a friendly game jam? Of course, there will be a Swiss version again, happening from Januar 25 to January 27 2013. Stay tuned for more news!
27.11.2012 Saxon, Thomas Crausaz
After last year's success, bitforge once more delights the customers of Coop with Sternenflug – with updated graphics and reworked gameplay, but still the same fun for the whole family.
Fun for the whole family promises the new game by Skuami Studio, Help Harry. The freshly released game features over 75 physics based puzzle levels and definitely cute graphics. Cleary, with this games, the reputation of pigs on smart phones should improve considerably.
If you prefer wilder animals, then Gbanga's new game Animals: Redd might be something for you. Guide around the cute little fox and play his favourite game with him. The fox is the first of a new cast of characters that will be introduced in new games by Gbanga. Available for iOS.
Mirage, Mario von Rickenbach's weird little tale about a solitary top hat has been nominated for "Best Sound" at the Brazilian International Game Festival in São Paulo. The soundtrack, created by Andi Bissig, adds yet another wonderful dimension to an already peculiar game.
Still Alive Studios' Chris Polus has been interviewed by German game site in-ga.me about their upcoming title Son of Nor. Find the interview here – it's in German, though.
Apart from the upcoming Mixer on December 18, 2012, at Hotel and Bar Rothaus in Zürich, starting at 18 o'clock, there is also something else of importance.
While the IGDA is here to connect game industry professionals, a new group has been formed under the name of SGDA – Swiss Game Developers Association, which will be concerned with all political aspects of representing Swiss game developers.
In order to understand what's needed to do, the SGDA asks you to fill out a short questionnaire, so the new association can be aligned with the needs of its (future) members. It's short and painless.
And of course, still up: On November 30th 2012, the state and future of Swiss game development will be discussed at Forum Rolex in Lausanne. Get the full timetable of the day as well as the possibility to register over at the GameCulture site.
Do you miss the nineties? You know, The Nineties? The raves, the bright colours, the omnipresent gradients, when techno was just techno and world peace just around the corner? Relive all* of that with Aaron Sommer's Eagle Ride, either on Kongregate or on your iPhone.
* Okay. Maybe not quite all of that. But the colours are definitely there. And that feeling you had on that one trip where you imagined yourself standing on an eagle and flying over the crowd, catching people's jewel-shaped thoughts. Or something like that. Guess the details turned hazy over time.
The new Farming Simulator 2013 got a nice review on rather big gaming website IGN, calling it a "a focused and enjoyable business sim", and giving it a 7.4/10 score.
The french speaking part of Switzerland is active as well. Nadeza Suvorova got the Swisscom App of the Year Award for her beautiful game OKO, which we presented here earlier. If you haven't checked it out yet, you definitely should. It might provide some new perspectives on our planet.
GameCulture, the programme of the Swiss Arts Council prohelvetia, will soon come to a close. On November 30th 2012, the state and future of Swiss game development will be discussed at Forum Rolex in Lausanne. Get the full timetable of the day as well as the possibility to register over at the GameCulture site.
Also, don't forget to join us for the Winter Mixer in December!
SevenOnly Games have re-released their racing game formerly known as Jaggy Race as AeroDrift! Get it in the iTunes App store and enjoy the rush of speed.
digiDingo amped the cuteness factor once again a notch with their release of Colorooh. Get an idea of what they’re up in their video they’ve recently posted – right here and check out their mini site.
Giants Software, too, are showing off new features of their upcoming Farming Simulator 2013 over on YouTube, which will be released this week. Also, the slightly older Farming Simulator 2012 is now available for Windows 8.
If you have a heart for animals, you should check out Games2be's update for Tiny Owls Free for iOS and Android.
Meanwhile, still alive studios received prizes for their project Son of Nor over at Devmania. Check out their experience over on their blog.
Chris Polus has written an insightful blog post on how to manage locally dispersed teams when developing a game – using, of course, Son of Nor (currently in development) as an example.
Chris Solarski’s book Drawing Basics and Video Game Art is now available for purchase. Dive deep into art history and how it relates to game art:
"Video games are not a revolution in art history, but an evolution. Whether the medium is paper or canvas—or a computer screen—the artist’s challenge is to make something without depth seem like a window into a living, breathing world. Video game art is no different. Drawing Basics and Video Game Art is first to examine the connections between classical art and video games, enabling developers to create more expressive and varied emotional experiences in games."
Find out more about the book here – and then get it at your favourite local bookshop (because they need your support, too). And if you want a primer to the book by Chris himself, look no further than his blogpost with the video of the talk he gave at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
Do you have kids at home that are occasionally hard to get to clean their teeth? The freelancer team Artgear (consisting of several ZHdK students) created a cute iOS app for CSS health insurance that will teach children how to properly clean their teeth. But … do you really want to drive away these cuddly monsters? I would keep them all.
digiDingo, makers of the über-cute (coot?) Grooh!!, are back again with a new game celebrating the Olympic Games: Athleticooh for iOS and Android, in which you compete for medals in a casual track-and-field game. Do you have the dexterity and stamina to beat your Facebook friends?
RNDRLN Games created a sports game as well, but chose to fuse downhill biking and trick challenges in DMBX2 for iOS. It features 3 different worlds, 12 different levels and up to 36 challenges to beat.
Millform revealed new rules for their location-based game Gbanga, making the whole thing a whole lot more tactical. Which of the new families will you join?
In case you missed the first Game Designer Ping-Pong Tournament, there is a write-up of the events over at gamelab.ch – you missed something there, I told you from the start. There will be a next one, though, where you can prove your skill and defend your honour.
Don’t miss this year’s Scientifica at ETH and the University of Zurich on September 1st and 2nd. Two projects by the Serious Game Design unit of the ZHdK that fuse games and science will be presented: Gabarello and Hotel Plastisse. See those games in action and talk to their makers to see what went into the development of those special games.
For the third time, IGDA Switzerland teams up with Fantoche and presents you another Postmortem. Come along to the next IGDA Chapter Meeting on September 6th, 2012 in Baden and learn from the successes, failures and dirty little secrets of your peers!
As a member of the IGDA (and if your not, you should become one, seriously), you are also cordially invited to be part of the X Media Lab in Basel, held on September 14th 2012. X Media Lab is an event that updates you on all the trends in digital culture, in includes keynote presentations by Susan O’Connor (award wining video game writer for Bioshock 1 & 2 as well as Gears of War), Chris Bergstresser (computer games veteran) and Christoper Sandberg (transmedia producer, i.e. for Joss Wheedon), amongst many others. You should get your tickets now!