At this month's Auckland Game Works Meetup we held a panel on Freemium games.
Guest speakers from Gameloft Auckland and Grinding Gear Games gave us their insight on the field of Freemium game development. The panel included: Thomas Foricher, Game Monetization Manager from Gameloft, Patrick Wagner, Studio Manager from Gameloft, Jonathan Rogers, Technical Director at Grinding Gear Games and Chris Wilson, Managing Director at Grinding Gear Games.
Gameloft's history and experience within the industry allowed Patrick Wagner to give us a great introduction and overview to the seachange in revenue earning brought about by the app store. He then used the whiteboard to clearly present the difference in the revenue curve between Freemium and the traditional model (in part two of the video).
Dungeon King is an extremely playable, beautifully rendered, browser-based dungeon crawler created by New Zealand dev studio Bulletproof Arcade.
Bulletproof Artist Rod Smith's art is impeccable as usual - the quality of Dungeon King's art is mentioned with great admiration in all the reviews of the game I've seen to date. Check out the trailer and you'll find a visual quality that calls to mind much more expensive titles that have taken far bigger teams to develop.
I don't have the time to play as many Triple A titles as I'd like these days. What I love about Bulletproof's games is that I can get a quick, casual fix with production values on a par with far more expensive games. I don't have to spend time learning a complex interface, convoluted item and skill management system either - like their other titles, Red Riot and Orbital Guard, Bulletproof adhere to a strictly accessible and eminently fun philosophy of game design.
Wellington, New Zealand - 16 November 2011 - The New Zealand video game development industry grew by 46% this year, boosted by the huge growth of smartphone and online games. 114 game development jobs were created in the 12 months to September 2011 and the industry now employs the equivalent of 359 full-time people.
In addition, local game studios expect to create 99 new jobs in the coming 12 months. Approximately 40% of these will be for programmers, 40% for artists and 20% for managers.
If you're in Wellington during November the Retcon event looks like something worth checking out! Classic 80s and 90s games from the PC, Megadrive, SNES, Dreamcast, Gameboy, Master System and Arcade will be featured as well as art on sale from the Drawfest NZ community.
It's hosted by RetroActiveNZ who run a site / blog on the history of games, according to their About page. Anything retro arcade is a good thing in my book and if November wasn't such a busy month for me I'd be down there on the 19th with bells on!
Ret-con is 'The Gamer's Convention' and is scheduled for Saturday the 19th of November in Wellington Central Library on the Level 1 Mezzanine. It's free entry all day for all ages from 10:30am to 4:00pm.
Auckland's Media Design School are holding a series of one-day concept art, character concept art and life drawing workshops in June, July and August for budding game and 3D artists. The school offers New Zealand's only dedicated graduate programme in Game Development and has a host of international talent teaching at the school. The one-day workshops will be facilitated by Media Design School's leading Game Art tutor, Mike Porter. Mike has over 15 years experience in the games industry and his roles have included Art Lead, Environment Art Lead, Vehicle Art Lead and Level Design Lead. Mike has this to say about the upcoming workshops:
"Our one day short courses are designed to kick start your creativity and your understanding of concept art for various industries. We will cover the basics of concept design and how you can become more effective in your visual communication skills. Each course is designed to build your skills and confidence in the shortest time possible and the instructor feedback gives you a personalised insight into how you can hone your skills."
The workshops are on the following dates:
Concept Art: 11 June/16 July/13 August
Character Concept Art: 12 June/17 July/14 August
Life Drawing: 12 June/17 July/14 August
The One-day workshops run from 10am - 4pm and are $250, a set of three is discounted to $650. For more information visit http://www.mediadesignschool.com/courses/short-courses/ or email email@example.com.
Launching Pad Games are trying to incur my wrath by putting time aside from working on the next chapter of the excellent iOS graphical adventure "Scarlett and the Spark of Life" to develop a new, very pretty, casual title called "Mighty Fin".
The trailer promises addictive gameplay that seems to share some characteristics with the excellent Tiny Wings (don't quote me on that - I'm only going off what I can see in the trailer) albeit with a lot more platformy style action going on in the levels, to keep it interesting. And it looks like the team are staying true to their strengths in the graphical department with polished presentation and appealing cartoony characters.
Humour and charm seem to be mainstays of a Launching Pad title and the inclusion of random costumes of various types from cowboy hats to scuba gear and beehive hairdos is just the right comic touch to add some extra appeal.
Mighty Fin is due to be released tomorrow, June 2nd so keep an eye on the app store for it!
If you haven't heard of illustrator Martin Emond you might've heard of the Illicit streetwear label that he co-founded here in Auckland, New Zealand. He also made album covers for metal doom god Danzig and delved in other high profile comics work like Accident Man, Lobo and Heavy Metal.
Sadly, Martin's death in 2004 means we won't see any new creations from his unique talent but Auckland-based developer Metia Interactive, creator of PSP game Cube, aims to keep his legend alive with new projects set in the world of his creation, the Rolling Red Knuckles.
The comic strip for Rolling Red Knuckles developed a cult following in Japan and was in the process of becoming an animated series at the time of Martin's death.
The animation embedded here was developed by Metia to promote the Rolling Red Knuckles property for a future gaming and possible film project. There's a lot of exciting potential for this project and I'm looking forward to hearing more about it in the weeks and months to come!
Sidhe's Rugby Challenge is coming soon!
They're posting weekly videos on Wednesday at the Rugby Challenge site with interesting little snippets from behind the scenes on the making of a much anticipated sports title.
I'm always interested to see the videos where developers (or animators - as in Pixar's efforts) get to grips with the real deal substance of the game or movie they're presently working on.
In this latest video from Sidhe we can see the animators on the rugby field running around and getting knocked about as they pick up the visceral elements that comprise the rugby experience.
Looks like they had a lot of fun and I'm keen to see more in the weeks to come!
Sidhe's marketing machine is in full force releasing ongoing content about the upcoming Rugby Challenge.
This latest behind the scenes video goes into the recording of the commentary audio for the game. So many possible permutations and so many options are required to allow for the dynamic real-time commentary! Veteran Rugby commentator Grant Nisbett (with over 200 Test Matches under his belt) and former All Black Justin Marshall have been in the studio for days, working to complete the content requirements.
Rugby Challenge is in development for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC and will feature multiplayer online play, a multi-year franchise mode, extensive customisation options, tutorials for the novice player and dynamic real-time commentary. The release date is Quarter 3, 2011.