Webinar: Alternative paths for Indie GameDevs

A webinar by Procolombia (in Spanish: “Caminos alternativos para desarrolladores de videojuegos independientes“) led by Carlos Reyes from Game Art & Design Studios Colombia – GADS. Some takeaways for Indie GameDevs:

  • Have a clear success goal for your game, it doesn’t have to be money, it may be things like Social Impact (measured by feedback received by people on how your game changed their lives), or number of players.
  • Use your personal experiences to craft games that are different from the mainstream.
  • Indie games can focus on a single mechanic providing a shorter experience than commercial games which must provide enough content to justify a high price tag.
  • Before embarking on a game, evaluate you have the resources to complete it (don’t aim too high), and there is a public for it (aim somewhere).
  • Push technical boundaries, do things differently using existing technology (for example alternative controllers, or tweaking existing engines like Unity or Unreal in ways that are not commonly done). Take a license to experiment.
  • Get inspired at events like alt.ctrl at GDC, AMAZE, Fantastic Arcade
  • Look for alternative funding sources. Look for the niche that can support you. If your game has a social impact you can rent it to Art Expos or find persons that might be interested in sponsoring you.

 

ExpeditionZ – Tech Demo Update 2

We have been working on the tech demo for about a month now.

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 10.36.28 PM

Some of the things we did since the last update:

  • Added (and then broke) a minimap system where the game world gets unveiled as you explore.
  • Add a “journal”-like thing to the HUD, displaying the date, location, supplies, mood, and weather info.
  • Add a day/night cycle, time goes by and is reflected on the lighting conditions of the main map.
  • Moved away from the fantasy land and into Earth
  • Added “rain” particle effect for when it rains.
  • Decided to go 3D for the main map view instead of the antique map aesthetic. Invested quite a bit of time on making the water look fine.
  • Added instance-able test towns including test town view.
  • Added temp title screen.
  • Acquired and imported Earth’s terrain elevation data (mainly from 2000’s NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission), for a sector including the Caribbean, Central America, and part of South America.

Along with these developments, I’ve been working on finishing the GDD and the plans for the completed Tech Demo. We are focusing on finishing a test scenario, and soon we are going to have more involvement from a cool 2D artist to bring the UI to life. The title screen painting is also being worked on now.

ExpeditionZ – Tech Demo Update 1

We have been working on a new version of Expedition for a couple weeks now.

Exploring the test map

After some initial brainstorming sessions, we set to create a game based on the original Expedition, but streamlined and more focused.

What we have so far is a ship sailing in a test fantasy world, you can also land, walk around, and board back your ship.

Along the way, we also experimented with some simple Line of Sight / Fog of War thing, but ended up ditching it in favor of an automap currently in the works.

Some simple fog of darkness

Stay tuned for more info!

Comic-Con Medellin 2018

This year, for the first time, Comic-Con Colombia was split into two events, the first one took place in June in Bogotá (Capital of the country), and the second part is taking place November 16 to 18 in Medellín (my hometown, fabled city of Eternal Spring).

20181116_103132.jpg

The talks

I was able to assist there on its first day, aiming to attend some interesting talks based on their program. Given my previous year’s experiences with the talks I was ready to be disappointed with the organization; unfortunately, it went even worse than expected. One of the issues they had past years was people couldn’t find out where the conference rooms were; well, this year I was hopeful it was going to be better when I saw this sign at the entrance.

20181116_103226.jpg

Unfortunately, the track ended abruptly ahead in the main pavilion, leaving you clueless as to where the talks took place. After wandering around aimlessly for a bit, I managed to find the rooms in a corridor outside the building, devoid of any indications.

After completing the quest of finding the rooms, I found out the first talk was not going to happen due to the rooms still being set up, and also because (unsurprisingly) only the speaker had managed to arrive (and even he had some difficulties). We were not alone in this, of course, during the day I saw stickers pasted on the program poster, asking for directions.

20181116_111550.jpg

The second talk was also canceled for similar reasons which discouraged me to try to attend most of the other talks for the day. Almost by the end of the day I attended one about Science Fiction which was ok, and found out the other talk I was interested in was actually a writing workshop, which I was too tired already to take part in.

I discussed this with a friend and we agreed all of this “academic” track of Comic-Con Colombia is something they are keeping just for the “status” of the event, but they don’t put a lot of energies on it since all they care about is fitting more stores to increase their revenue. Not like this hasn’t happened in other comic-cons around the world, but I feel there’s a lot of room for improvement.

20181116_132121.jpg

Some interesting discussion took place in the main stage tho; in one of them, Juan Camacho from UPB’s Digital Entertainment program and Andrés Gomez from lafinka.tv, discussed the current status of the animation and video games scene in Colombia.

The Artists’ Alley

20181116_140029.jpg

Let’s go into the happier news with the Artists’ Alley which was pretty good this year and seems like the only reason I would attend the event again next year. I was able to see comic artists from Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali, as well as two professional cosplayers and a sculptor. I wish again this particular section was bigger since I believe it’s what makes more sense to check (the work of local artists). But of course, it doesn’t bring enough money.

20181116_140350.jpg

Karmao’s “Bestiarum Maleficarum” is a nice rendition of monsters from Colombian legends, with the added coolness of all of them having Augmented Reality visualizations.

20181116_145956.jpg

Heroes Latinos by Mikealdi Comics is a saga inspired by Latin American countries.

20181117_104036.jpg

The comics tell the backstory of each hero and how they come to fight reptilian villains disguised as familiar faces…

20181116_151823.jpg

In “Buziraco”, from Dragón Negro Comics, the city of Cali is attacked by a demon in 1825. Two brothers, Franciscan friars, are tasked with defeating the demon with their holy weapons, but it will not be easy…

20181116_171454.jpg

7 Fábulas & Demonios” by Grecox and Santísima Daysi, is the story of how a group of innocent and happy animals becomes demons representing the seven deadly sins, thru the magic of living in “Maldita Fé de Bogotá”.

20181117_105907.jpg

Jonathan Vélez Muriel (JVM Ilustrador) was also in the Alley showcasing his work, including compilations of his InkTober work, and some watercolors and illustrations.

20181116_170156.jpg

The Zape Pelele guys were also in the event, drawing people and promoting their “New Zape” magazine.

Game Arena

20181116_165609.jpg

The game area was bigger this year, including areas with different kind of games, organized tournaments, booths for Gaming Hardware companies and spaces where players could experience VR games. It was organized again by Gamers and Geeks and it keeps getting better every year.

20181116_115437.jpg

UPB also had a booth again, with games made by their students including a bullet hell game I almost won.

Communities

20181116_162514.jpg

The communities area was pretty sparse this year, I saw an area where the Mil Espadas guys were having a tournament, and they also had an archery range. There was another area for the Tolkien Fans community where you could take pictures with some monsters.

LaFinka.tv

20181116_130208.jpg

This creative studio is the creator of “Mariposas”, an animated short that received the “City of Annecy Award” in the Festival international du film d’animation d’Annecy. They were displaying their services portfolio, meeting other Colombian companies and having some talks about Mariposas and other topics related to the animation.

Stores

20181116_133755.jpg

Of course, a big chunk of the event was devoted to the stores, including comics and manga, action figures, books, otaku-stuff and clothing.

20181116_121415.jpg

Some of the interesting things I saw where hand-made rubber guns of different types, I almost bought one.

Closing thoughts

There were some positives this year, with higher quality for the exhibitors, and the game arena was much better organized from what I could see.

I already discussed the problems with the organization of the talks; they also missed again publishing the event program on the website baring a link on their facebook page that you had to dig really deep to find (and was not completely accurate). I wonder what will happen this year in this regard, will they get better at it or will it be dismissed for good?

Again, I wish the Artist’s Alley area would grow and more welcoming for local artists. Some of the things I also missed this year was a strong presence of special guests (I was there on Friday and I didn’t really hear anything from them) and a much-reduced number of cosplayer walking around.

Even so, the event remains a good chance to meet artists and geek friends, I hope they address the issues and make it better next time. Until next year!

20181116_181400.jpg