Expedition – May 6 Update

Fatigue System

  • Updates are more granular now (every 10 mins of game time)
  • Fatigue area is more compact now in the UI.
  • Reduce Expedition speed based on max fatigue to a maximum of 30%

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Hunger System

  • Add Hunger Alert bar (only display when average Expedition hunger is > 1)
  • Add fatigue modifiers for Expedition hunger. (The more hungry you get, the more quickly you become tired)
  • Kill Expedition units if starving for too long.

User Interface

  • Adapted buy supplies dialog to a new simpler schema (Still pending UI assets)
  • Import new test assets for Town and NPC Interaction UI

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World

  • Make cloud particle effects follow the player.
  • Add grasslands.
  • Tweaks on Island

Combat

  • Drag select units when in combat mode

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Coming up

  • Individual movement and attack commands during combat.
  • Changes in Camp command to be able to sleep anywhere, anytime.
  • Enable back Map screen
  • Add more towns to map include native town in the mainland.
  • Add animals and monsters attacking you in the mainland.
  • Add ruins with treasure.

Bucaramanga GameQuest 2019 #BGAGameQuest

Organized by Below the Game, at the Chamber of Commerce of Santander in Bucaramanga, Colombia, May 2nd and 3rd 2019. This was the speakers’ line-up (from the official website).

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Following are some personal takeaways from the talks and panels.

Day 1

Rami Ismail kicked off the event with a “Talk Jam”, having the public decide the contents of his talk after giving a short introduction of his story with Vlambeer.

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  • You are likely going to make a lot of games until you make your first hit game.
  • That game will still not make you money but will serve as a great presentation card.
  • People spend a lot of money on merchandise, if you are developing a game, sell some merchandise
  • Funding
    • Gather funds yourself by working for companies that need games made. Emerging countries have a huge advantage of a lower cost of living thus being able to offer very competitive prices.
    • Find a publisher, in which case the second step is pitching your game to them.
    • A good pitch makes the publisher care about your project and lets them know you are the right person to do it.
    • Having a “vertical slice” of your game ready is a nice (but expensive) way to achieve both things. A vertical slice provides 5 minutes of gameplay for almost the full quality you are aiming to have for your game.
  • Exposure
    • You will need always exposure, even if you are “famous” already.
    • Look for medium size streamers of the same genre or content you are creating and send them a build.
    • Don’t ask them if they want a build of your game, just send it to them to reduce friction.
  • Challenges
    • Getting the game out there timely, while still having it be interesting for the market.
    • A game dev studio works better if there are two people fulfilling two different roles: A creative director and a producer, with each having the last word in their specifics.
    • There need to be a certain conflict between them in order for the games to be released instead of being in-dev forever, while keeping an end product that is still relevant in the market
    • Getting funding: Your goal for your first game is to survive and get funds for your second game.
  • Inspiration
    • Inspiration comes from the less likely places. Radical Fishing emerged from a National Geographic documentary.
    • Whenever an idea comes, take notes, prototype, discuss with the team.
    • Brainstorming is not a good time for criticism, it is better to add to ideas instead of trying to rebut them.
  • Good networking works sideways, not upward. Don’t try to “climb” to a higher level of contacts, instead work to lift up everybody who is at your level. Try and help each other, share knowledge and contacts.
  • Our job as game devs is to make the players think that the game is fair, even if it takes some liberties and cheats on the side of the player in order to be fun. In Nuclear Throne’s first levels, enemies don’t even aim at the player.
  • Working the “Game feel” includes “juicing” critical actions, punishments, and rewards by adding an exaggerated amount of feedback (Sound, Particle effects, rumble.), and make them work well with kinesthetics.
  • For Nuclear Throne, we wanted to make a game we enjoyed playing. We decided to do a roguelike because we couldn’t predict the content and we would enjoy it ourselves. From the business perspective, we wanted to experiment how well it would work with streaming platforms like Twitch.

Latin America GameDev Panel with Carlos Rocha from Below the Game, Gerson Da Silva from Ironhide, Luis Zambrano from Teravision Games and Antonio Uribe from HyperBeard Games.

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  • Good game design is a process that connects all the disciplines required to generate an experience.
  • Game ideas come from everywhere, even dreams. The challenge of game dev is turning these ideas into a fun experience, implementing interesting mechanics around them.
  • Every country has a unique culture, as Latin American game devs we have the opportunity to include unique details of our culture in our games, which can be done in a subtle way without having to adopt a complete theme.
  • Game design pillars can help remove unneeded “cool” features that don’t really add to a fun game.
  • Playtesting
    • Should be a freeform exercise, and free from external influence. Relying on forms and structured interviews will only give you the answers you want to hear.
    • Playtesting with people different than your main target may lead to widening your audience.
    • Leaders from different roles should be present to analyze the experience from their perspectives.
    • Playtesting works better with critical audiences, people ready and willing to tell you your game is bad. Open game events might not be very effective in this sense. Seek the reality instead of an echo chamber.

Maureen Berho, from Niebla Games, discussed their experience running a business that produces both video games and board games.

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  • One way to approach game dev is creating an Intellectual Property and then build both videogames and board games within it.
  • Some advantages:
    • It can help strengthen the franchise, providing a greater reach.
    • Diversify market risk.
    • Generate additional income.
    • Make your pitch more interesting to publishers.
    • Have one real of gaming influence the other, keeping the design of the videogames more focused, while making the board games deeper.
  • Handling multiple project lines requires
    • Discipline, sticking to the plans and finishing the projects instead of leaving things in progress.
    • Collaborating with other companies and the community
    • Study the target markets
    • Researching funding sources, consider private investors or the government as an alternative to publishers as a funding source. Build a company, not just a game.

Randy Greenback from GUN talks about Innovation and how to create a successful game in today’s market.

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  • You need to make sure players LOVE your game, not just like it. You need them to get attached to something that makes it unique.
  • Innovation is not a choice if your game studio relies on your game to be successful commercially. If you don’t innovate your game will just not be noticed.
  • There are many ways to approach innovation, for instance: Technology, Design, Art, Social, UX, Audio, Narrative, Game Structure, Monetization.
  • If your game innovates in one or more of these areas, stacking them, they will very likely add up to be a success.
  • The biggest risk in innovation may be biting more than you can chew. Check how far can your team go. Maybe you can do it in steps or iterations, and make that growing innovation a staple of your franchise, instead of trying to do it all at once.

Martín Cao from NGD Studios (Argentina) shared some tips on how to make videogames and not die trying.

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  • Asia now surpasses North America on videogame consumption, Latin America remains extremely small.
  • Most of the income on the videogames industry (>80%, probably >90%) is concentrated in 25 game dev companies.
  • Unlike these big companies, indie game devs have a better opportunity to rock the board, challenge the status quo, and capture a player base that is enough to keep them afloat.
  • Having a list of “verticals”, genres or type of projects your company wants to work in, helps keep focus while meeting the varying demands of the market. Strive to be the best on these verticals.
  • Produce ideas constantly in brainstorming sessions. One idea is to produce “Player Fantasy” outlines, what does our game allow the player to imagine he is?
  • Player Fantasies and ideas are validated and evolve to a proof of concept, to the game pitch, demo and finally a vertical slice. (Or they may die at any point along the way)
  • Work hard, but smart: practice a lot and learn from your mistakes.
  • Know your target audience and make a game for them, not for yourself.
  • Think hard on the several facets of marketing for your game.

Rami, Randy and Luis Villegas discussed game dev for a global audience.

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  • Modern communication channels like discord or other social media
    • Can be used to educate the players on how hard and complex game dev can be, keeping their expectations on what the dev team can do reasonable.
    • While it’s great to obtain and respond to player’s feedback, feel free to ignore the trolls, you don’t have to deal with them.
  • Game Dev Happiness
    • Connecting with friends by making games together.
    • Making hardcore fans happy after working hard on a release
    • Making your family proud when they understand what you do.
  • Game Dev Hardships
    • Watching promising projects fall apart and dreams are crushed.
    • Realizing the impact your work has on people’s lives and not knowing how to handle it properly.
    • Seeing the game you worked hard on being shamelessly cloned.
  • Future of Game Dev
    • There’s still lots of space to imagine new mechanics, narrative structures and ludo-narrative consistency.
    • The industry must continue evolving by trying, failing and learning.
    • The possibilities to merge narrative and interactive technologies are limitless. Discovering how to achieve this thru creativity and technology adoption is what makes working on this industry interesting.

Day 2

Eivar Rojas, from Efecto Studios, shared his experiences on AAA Work for Hire from Colombia.

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  • Efecto worked in the ARK franchise for over three years, increasing their artistic and technical capabilities, and figuring out better workflows.
  • The first part of their workflow involves doing very elaborate concept art for the environments. While the finished game never reaches their level of graphical detail, this is a critical tool to validate the vision of the game and guide the team during development.
  • The second part of their workflow is conceptualizing props and scene elements, it normally requires a lot of iteration and creating several variations for each item until a style reflects the vision of the client.
  • Even with a process of concept validation, there will be moments when the client won’t have a clear idea of what will be better for the project. Your company must generate lots of empathy and trust with your clients so they entrust you with critical design choices.
  • Concept Art
    • Traditionally made using illustration tools, however there are some specialized tools (such as 3D Coat) that can be used to reduce its cost, generating 3D concepts closer to the final output, and allowing to iterate on the design based on the client’s feedback without having to go through all the work of modeling and skinning.
    • Can sometimes take longer than actual modeling and animation due to cultural differences with clients. The concept of a “dragon”, for instance, is very different in the east and the west.
    • Is critical throughout all the development process. It’s not efficient to iterate towards what the client will approve using a full-fledged production workflow.
  • In the office, the physical location of the members of the development team is critical in order to keep communication flowing and ensuring consistency thru the process.
  • Keep clients engaged through all the production process so that they get to see how the assets evolve from the concept art. This helps keep expectations clear and respond to changes in a more timely manner.
  • The game dev process changes constantly. It’s important to keep up to date on new tools and processes to remain competitive.
  • In order to reduce the impact of crunch and for team members to have healthy work habits, their company has a backup team that covers the main team on challenging situations. This is costly but it’s the only way they have found to address the issue.
  • We have detected a lot of talent in Colombia. We have also found the people from technical institutions to respond better to feedback and fit more into our processes when compared to people coming from prestigious universities.

Luis Zambrano, Martín Cao, Eivar Rojas, and Nitae Uribe (Cofounder of Below The Game, and teacher at Bucaramanga’s University UNAB), discussed the current dynamics between the academy and the game dev industry, and ways to make it work better.

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  • What does the Industry expect from the academy?
    • Have students be exposed to more hands-on work so they have more mileage when they enter the workforce.
    • Have teachers with real industry experience that can prepare them adequately.
    • Prepare students to roles where they have to adapt to change and do a lot of different things depending on the project.
    • Induce empathy as a soft skill required to interact with both the client and the team.
  • What does the academy expect from the industry?
    • Have companies open their doors to students, for them to see the realities of game dev.
    • Have companies send their senior people to spaces in the academy and let them share their experiences
  • For the companies, to find good people from the academy, art and engineering are two different worlds. For art, they find potential artists and train them remotely for six months to a year. Engineering is much more complex given the academy is preparing them for higher level, managerial roles so it might take longer.
  • Academy moves at a slower pace, sometimes teachers have to “hack” into the existing program, teaching more valuable skills than the ones originally planned.

Luis Daniel Zambrano, Jose Joel and Edgar Blanco from Teravision Games discussed the development of Neon Fury, the Tower Defense VR game.

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  • Challenges of UI design in VR
    • Traditional elements used in displays don’t feel natural, are lost in the scene or are not legible.
    • UI components must have depth (3d models affected by lighting) and/or be presented as “curved” element in a kind of fish-eye perspective, else they may feel like “stickers”, with a jarring effect.
    • UI elements must also keep some distance from the player to give him some room to breathe.
  • Challenges of moving around in a #VR environment.
    • Some elements required by current equipment like cables and sensors often get on the way of the experience.
    • Having your eyes perceiving movement while your body doesn’t, often makes the player dizzy. Some creative solutions include teleportation, but it can be disorienting.
  • Technical limitations are still steering heavily the design and development of VR games, especially when trying to aim multiple devices. Requirements of constant FPSs and lower resolution of VR headsets require using creative tricks or old methods for SFX.
  • Neon Fury art had to step down from photorealism to a more comic style, but they took this a chance for the game to have a more defined personality.
  • Keep a smooth player experience in higher priority than mind-blowing visuals.

Christian Andorade, an evangelist from Epic Games, talked about the state of Unreal Engine.

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  • Epic has allowed players to create content from their onset with ZZT and others.
  • The Epic way for game developers: a collection of products and services targetting multiple stores and technologies.
  • They launched the store to take advantage of 75 millions of existing installs, however, it’s still in dev, they are still adding features to it.
  • The store won’t be restricted to Unreal Engine games, will be more open soon.
  • Services such as player identities, profiles, chats, matchmaking developed for Fornite will be available later this year for free for developers.

Gerson da Silva from Ironhide Studios shared his experiences for taking games from Concept to Production.

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  • Maintain a high-level vision of the game design on the initial phases of development, explore options prior to detailing, even before prototyping. This helps foresee problems and “seed” mechanics to be properly detailed later.
  • A paper prototype seeks to abstract the experience of the game, change things quickly and evaluate. You can also create a digital version of the paper prototype simplifying the abstractions into cleaner systems (Note that this is different than a prototype for the game itself). Each iteration of prototyping grows the game model.
  • During preproduction, loose ideas from previous phases can become an obstacle to come up with a final concept and a scope. They should be transformed into design choices, or be discarded, using the development and market pillars as criteria.
  • It’s impossible to know if an idea is good or bad. The best you can do is transform it into a low-cost game experience and test it. Don’t spend time detailing or integrating it before validating it as an abstraction.

Luis Villegas, Director of Services and Infrastructure at Bungie, shared his experience working with global Intellectual Properties.

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  • Bungie has always obsessed with FPSs. With Destiny, the idea was to promote friendships, coordination, and cooperation inside the game.
  • Destiny was planned as a 10 years long project and ended up making the foundations for GaaS (Gaming as a Service).
  • Barriers for a brand to become global
    • Nationalism: Players supporting local development companies or hardware makers.
    • Language, although some countries preferring a foreign language due to cultural influence.
    • Cultural differences like jokes or context of the content.
    • Incompatible fantasies: For instance, “American supersoldier saving the world” not very popular in some countries in Asia.
  • Tools for a brand to be global:
    • Localized web forums and blogs.
    • Making characters more human and with features people can identify with on different demographics.
    • Using local publishers.
    • Tailored marketing and features based on the target culture.

Arturo Nereu, spoke about starting a Gamedev business locally using Unity.

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  • Unity provides multiple business opportunities within a single tech stack including Mobile, Console, Instant Games (with Project Tiny), AR/VR.
  • Alternative businesses such as projects for ATM (Automotive, Transportation, Manufacturing) can bring income and help learn skills, especially for local markets.
  • Help local companies grow: animation studios, architecture, car sellers, data visualization, interactive installations, museums. Use these opportunities to get resources and grow in skills.
  • Leverage on the new capabilities of Unity to create outstanding scenes efficiently, such as the Data-Oriented Tech Stack.

The closing panel, Moderated by Maureen,  featured Carlos Rocha, Luis Wong, Antonio Uribe, and Martin Cao, talking about creating Game Dev companies in Latin America.

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  • Making game development your work as opposed to a hobby helps focus and grow, but brings risks. It is your call to decide when to do it but it helps a lot to have several projects under your name already.
  • Appear to be what you want to be, projecting your company to one year in the future, but work actively to achieve it and persevere.
  • Believe in yourself while being humble and honest, and your chances to succeed will increase automatically.
  • Asking for help when you need it is vital to surviving. Build a group of mentors and experts to consult when needed, connect well and you are likely to find people willing to help just for the good of the industry.
  • Getting a partner helps in many ways, do your homework and research about him, and always be ready to break things apart when it doesn’t work.
  • Team building is a constant challenge, a good team is able to understand choices are made for the good of the game and are not personal.
  • If someone is ruining your team, get rid of him quickly. Hire or partner with people you would feel comfortable talking with for hours.
  • It’s impossible to start a company without facing risks: partner, break partnerships, hire people, fire people, don’t be afraid to get things rolling.

Missed Talks

  • Luis Wong from LEAP Game Studios (Perú)- Launching a successful Kickstarter
  • Antonio Uribe from Hyperbeard Games (México) – Creating a successful transmedia IP

 

 

Expedition: April 27 update

Here comes a new update packed with awesomeness!

We made the ambient light much brighter (also during the night, but blueish) and did some work on the sun and moon’ lights to accommodate better to the scene, along with some tweaks on the terrain’ reflection.

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We also made the camera hover much closer to the player, in order to both create a better connection between the player and the characters, and to make exploration more interesting (less world visible at a time)

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Implemented a first version of the fatigue system, including modifiers. Environment changes will affect the rate at which your expedition gets tired. The hunger system was also simplified, made a bit more abstract and easier to understand and control.

You can now create a camp for your Expedition to recover the fatigue. It will take some time to create and then you can either rest on it or transform it into a town which you can name. The definitive town creation will likely be a bit different tho. You also now you see a title with the day of the Expedition every new day, which now last 3 minutes.

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We did further tests with low poly trees for forests, but definitively the texture alone looks better for now. Also switched the models used for Soldiers and Archers, for lighter equipped versions.

The UI was also remade for a higher base resolution (full HD), with placeholder buttons and icons replaced with better-looking placeholder buttons and icons.

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Created a new town, “Nueva Esperanza” located on an island near the mainland. Re-imagined the setting (still in progress) but basically, this island is a safe place where a city was established years ago but the mainland remains unexplored and savage, so your mission is to fix that.

Redesigned the town dialog based on a new model with actions and buildings with people inside, also implemented a new “interaction” dialog, to talk with people in towns and access the stores.

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Next steps are:

  • Replacing the placeholder graphics on the UI, our artist is already conceptualizing these.
  • Implement adventure targets in the mainland, temples, towns, and stuff to find.
  • Add different enemies in the mainland.
  • Implement unit selection and allow setting them to attack a given enemy.
  • Allow hiring units.
  • Allow equipping units.

Screenshot Saturday

This week we have progress in Expedition, OpenArthurianX6 and Age of Golf

News about Expedition

It’s been over a month since I last posted about Expedition; while we had to switch to client work for a little bit, that doesn’t mean the dev has stalled.

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As usual, you can discuss this update or the game in general at the community here.

Some of the things that have happened:

  • We went to GDC 2019, pitched the game to many people and got very useful feedback (and most people was pretty excited about the game). This will impact both the game design and the project to complete it since we are looking forward to having a better playable demo and gameplay video to send along the project deck.
  • I upgraded my computer, having future work on Expedition as one of the main motivations for the change.

We are currently working on making the game look better, especially on land, as well as being able to produce a build displaying a full gameplay cycle. We already went over a couple visual improvement cycles, trying different options especially for the vegetation. Since the game is meant to be portraying a “high scale” map, it was tricky. We tried using tree models but the varying zoom levels made it hard to settle on a polygon count and we hit performance issues when displaying big populated forests.

Another thing we tried was using TextureForest, which implements a technique that works pretty well for flight simulators, but for our case in which the camera zooms in pretty close, it didn’t look as good as we needed.

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What we are using now are flat textures for forests (obtained from the assets used by TextureForest). We are going to experiment a bit further by including normal maps and maybe very low poly models for the forests, but for now, I’m content on how it looks. It needs more variety, of course, but I like the style and I believe it successfully portraits the scale of the game, if maybe in a bit of a symbolic way.

Of course, in order for this to look half-decent, it should be rendered on a good heightmap. After trying to create the map manually it became evident that would be a lot of work and results were not very good so we had to find a way to generate the terrain with procedural tools. We experimented with the Gaia, but I found it cumbersome to use, and too intrusive in the project structure. Granted, I could have investigated more into it, but I didn’t feel it was going to be very helpful since it seemed aimed at a higher level of detail, first or third person scenes.

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In the end, I decided to use FractScape, a simple, effective, and pretty old tool that does the job very well. Basically, you start with a height map of the general shape you want, then it runs some displacement algorithms on it and applies textures to the heightmap based on the height, blending them nicely. It has a ton of other options to tweak the result but that’s the core of it. After you are done with it you can export the RAW heightmap as well as a TIFF splat map that can be loaded into Unity using a simple script to paint the terrains.

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Another big thing that was added since the last update was the first iteration of the combat mode. Right now your party can be ambushed, and if that happens you can command your expedition members to either attack or flee. There are melee and ranged units, and the combat is similar in some aspects to an RTS.

We are still working on the design of the second iteration of it where you can give more detailed commands to your units. But my idea, following the original version of Expedition, is having combat be almost automatically driven without any micromanagement on the player’s part. The role of the player is to keep the expedition members well fed, well equipped, rested and motivated.

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There were also big changes on the clouds, for now, we have discarded the plugin we were using, and we are instead showing a very simple mist effect that looks much, much better. From the gameplay perspective, we have completely disabled the effects that the clouds had on the player, removing both the storm mode and some effects we added afterward when transversing them. The reason is I could find a good justification to keep them as an interesting gameplay element.

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Sailing also had another big change, and now the sailing speed remains constant from the player’s perspective, regardless of the difference between wind direction and ship’s heading. However, time will pass quicker if you are sailing slowly, and this will affect your Expedition’s supplies. This makes sailing less tedious while still keeping the component of optimizing your voyages using prevailing winds currents.

We replaced the painting in the Title screen with a 3D scene. This is still early progress but I believe it works much better.

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One of the things about the game that I haven’t detailed a lot is the procedural stories aspect, the idea being that the game will be able to create histories around your characters and unveil them as you progress in your adventure. We included some initial components for that, but it’s still underdeveloped.

The foundations for this, or at least some inspiration, come from my latest 7DRL (Heroes of Noresskia), in which I toyed with the idea of an automated DM.

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And that’s it for now! Hopefully we’ll have a gameplay video up soon, showing how this all works together 🙂

GDC 2019 – Parties

Here’s a summary of some GDC 2019 parties and events based on my experience, hope it’s useful for someone planning their next GDC journey! You can also see my summary from last year.

For each one, I tried to categorize it under a type and rated how nice it was for me. This year I didn’t hit as many parties like last year, but still had great fun.

Polish GameDev Party

  • Type: Game Showcase, Networking
  • Sponsors: Lots of Polish GameDev studios, Polish Game Industry Conference, Indie Games Poland Foundation.
  • Venue: Alloy Collective (Coworking)
  • Access: Free, Requires Invitation
  • Free Food: Yes
  • Free Drinks: Yes
  • Rating: 5/5

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Check out cool games made by Polish companies, eat amazing Polish food, drink lots of Polish Vodka and beer. What could go wrong?

Oh, snap, it’s just Monday. 😛

IGDA @ GDC Networking Event

  • Type: Game Showcase, Networking
  • Organizers / Sponsors: IGDA, Dell
  • Venue: Children’s Creativity Museum
  • Access: Free
  • Requires Invitation: No
  • Free Food: Yes
  • Free Drinks: Yes
  • Rating: 5/5

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Great venue with lots of fun activities, good food and drinks, and lots of networking opportunities in a talk-friendly space.

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Indiepocalypse

  • Type: Game Showcase
  • Organizers / Sponsors: Game Jolt, Devolver Digital, Good Shepherd and DreamHack
  • Venue: 715 Harrison (Club)
  • Access: Free
  • Free Food: No
  • Free Drinks: No
  • Rating: 2/5

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Some good games there, but not as many as last year? and definitively too packed and loud, so it was hard to actually check out the game, let alone talk with someone.

PowX8

  • Type: Dance Party – Chiptune
  • Organizers: 8bitSF and Monobomb Records
  • Venue: DNA Lounge
  • Access: $19
  • Free Food: No
  • Free Drinks: No
  • Rating: 5/5

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If you like chiptune music you cannot miss Pow. Great DJs and a cool atmosphere, nice merch from underground DJs. Awesome performances. I missed the separate “chill room” from last year where you could relax for a bit while listening videogame OSTs, but the main stage was definitively better and full of energy.

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Celebrating Latinx in Gaming 2019

  • Type: Networking
  • Organizers / Sponsors: XBOX
  • Venue: Minna Gallery
  • Access: Free
  • Free Food: Yes
  • Free Drinks: Yes
  • Rating: 4/5

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Good for networking, nothing really mind-blowing. There were some cool activities tho (like a photobooth?) and some swag from XBox. Always a good chance to meet fellow Latin american developers.

Roguelike Developers @ GDC 2019

  • Type: Networking
  • Organizers: Temple of The Roguelike
  • Venue: Yerbabuena Gardens
  • Access: Free
  • Free Food: No
  • Free Drinks: No
  • Rating: 5/5

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Amazing meetup of the roguelike developers community with devs of influential roguelikes freely available to talk, and many roguelike enthusiasts talking about their projects. Hope the organizers can keep the meeting happening in upcoming GDCs!

Zynga

  • Type: Networking
  • Organizers: Zynga
  • Venue: Zynga San Francisco
  • Access: Free
  • Free Food: Yes
  • Free Drinks: Yes
  • Rating: 4/5

I somehow missed taking some pics this year. It was more packed than last year extending into Zynga’s arcade basement. Nice food and drinks, music a bit too loud to talk so actual networking was hard, there were fun games around too.

Marioke @ GDC19

  • Type: Karaoke Party
  • Organizers: Sing Marioke
  • Venue: Encore Karaoke Lounge
  • Access: $20
  • Free Food: No
  • Free Drinks: No
  • Rating: 2/5

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The venue was not very good this year, it was too narrow and small, and didn’t have a properly elevated stage. The hosts were not very fun, or maybe I was just not in the mood. Plus, there was no additional fun stuff being displayed (like in 2018). So it really felt like a setback.

AltCtrl Party

  • Type: Game Showcase + Networking
  • Organizers: GitHub, Particle, Oculus, SuperHot, Gametheory.co
  • Venue: Minna Gallery
  • Access: Free
  • Free Food: No
  • Free Drinks: No
  • Rating: 5/5

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Although the venue was a bit packed thru the night, the game selection was great and the music had just a good volume to be able to talk with people while still getting in a videogame mood.

Closing Party at The Foundry

  • Type: Videogame Party
  • Organizers: Showdown Entertainment
  • Venue: Folsom Street Foundry
  • Access: 18$
  • Free Food: No
  • Free Drinks: No
  • Rating: 4/5

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Great space to play videogames (modern and retro) with your friends, in giant and tiny screens. Sadly I don’t have friends that do this kind of thing, so I was mostly checking other people play.

Some parties I missed because of conflicting schedules:

  • Pocket Gamer Party
  • Kongregate Party
  • Github Party
  • Latin American Gathering at GDC

Also, that.party was cancelled, seemingly because of conflicts between the organizers.