This is a great video created by Pixel Bokeh. Since iFEST is a non-profit, Pixel Bokeh volunteered their services (free of charge) to help bring awareness to the Indie scene. They really know what they are doing, and this video proves it! Thanks again Einar Johnson, and Antonella Fragapane from Pixel Bokeh!
iFest from Pixel Bokeh on Vimeo.
Better late than never…
Here are the winners from our May 2nd iFEST at the Seattle Center Armory:
1st Place – People’s Choice Award was given to Ariadne’s Thread from Ellipsis games. ellipsisgames.com
2nd Place – People’s Choice Award was given to Sportsball from Too DX. www.toodx.com
3rd Place – People’s Choice Award was given to Tumblestone from The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild. www.tumblestonegame.com
On the scene at iFEST
“You have died of dysentery!”
John Krajewski Studio Head of Strange Loop Games, is convinced that games will revolutionize education. He cites the Oregon Trail game of the 1980’s as an exemplar of games that give students the experience of being a pioneer making the choices of what to stock in their covered wagon and then living (or dying) with their choices as they move over the oxen trail to Oregon Territory.
Some serious games are not as successful, for example those that force the player to complete math problems in order to play a game, or “stealthy” games that push information at players rather than letting them “pull” it. The award-winning game “Papers Please,” where the player has to decide whether or not to approve entry, is cited as an example of a game that makes the player care about the subject, not just practice recognizing documents.
Krajewski feels that textbooks are going away, so this is an opportunity for indies and other makers of serious games to redefine the goal of supplemental materials: learning is the tool, not the goal. Games should not push, but let the player pull. Create the need for the player to seek information. Dynamic systems are best. Let the player be part of it; allow dry subjects to become rich by creating curiosity.
The reward of developing a serious game is illustrated by the middle-schooler who was playing SimCell at the Strange Loop Games table on the iFEST floor who turned to his father to ask, “Is all this stuff really in me?” Arousing this curiosity is the real reward.
On the scene at iFEST Seattle…
Chris Charla: “If it needs a tutorial, it probably won’t sell well”
Chris is currently Director of ID@XBox, Microsoft’s independent developer self-publishing program for Xbox One. He spoke in Seattle at iFEST about game design across platforms: phone, laptop, PC and console. Doing it smartly will allow an indie studio to sell more, have transportability, be able to market more effectively and participate in more promotional events.
Chris pointed out the limitations of each platform in terms of control and location where a game will be played. Certain types of games lend themselves to input with a fingertip and others with a controller or keyboard. Is the game going to be played on a bus with a handheld device, a pc or in a living room? This insight will help determine whether to “game across” platforms with the same look and feel, or to “franchise across” platforms with a similar related environment but different gameplay appropriate to the platform.
Encouraging indies to develop for the Xbox One, Chris indicated that developers can get two free dev kits from ID@XBox. He stated that applicants standout in the certification process when they list their website and previous games. A list of XR’s for the certification process is available as a download from the portal after dev kits are sent. Chris described several features of the developer’s portal including 3 developer’s events per year and private forums for developers only.
Asked what’s doing well, Chris described a typical decay curve after the 1st or 2nd day of sales. Possibly since there are not as many games available for the Xbox One, there have been bumps in game sales, but no decay curve. Commenting on genres, running guns have been popular as well as twin-stick shooters. Casual games have not sold well for the Xbox. Puzzle games seem to do better on touch devices. Racing games also have not performed well. “In general,” Chris stated, “if your game needs a tutorial it probably won’t sell well.”