DEVELOPMENT • BUSINESS • INSPIRATION
9TH INTERNATIONAL EDITION • Q3 2012 • WWW.CONTROLMAGAZINE.NET
THIS IS WHY OUR KICKSTARTER FAILED! DEVELOPERS SHARE THEIR STORIES
BUILDING CHARACTER WHAT MAKES A GREAT GAME CHARACTER?
INTERFACE DESIGN IPHONE & ANDROID 8-STEP GUIDE
THE PORTRAYAL OF WOMEN IN GAMES POINT OF VIEW
C O PY R I G H T G E R R I T W I LL E M S E .C O M
the perfect city for your game company
It’s true, Amsterdam ís the perfect city for your game company. But don’t take our word for it, listen to these game professionals. They feel Amsterdam is an integral part of their success. HERMEN HULST
MANAGING DIRECTOR GUERRILLA GAMES “For Guerrilla, Amsterdam has always been an important source of inspiration. The City offers all the attractions of a modern day metropolis condensed in the setting of small historic town. There’s no need to worry about commuting, walking to the Van Gogh museum or cycling your kid to school is the norm. It’s easy for our many foreign employees to feel at home: Everyone is fluent in English and although Schiphol airport is just a 15min train ride from the office, it typically offers a direct flight home.”
GERRIT WILLEMSE ARTIST
The beautiful artwork for this page is created by concept artist Gerrit Willemse. He worked at Lost Boys Games (which later transformed into Guerrilla Games) and Playlogic. His latest project is Speedrunner. Check his portfolio online at www.gerritwillemse.com
MARTIN DE RONDE
CCO VANGUARD GAMES “Amsterdam is a great location for our game development studio. It provides a perfect balance between a creative place to work in, and a city that provides lots of leisure opportunities after work. And above all, it’s a relatively small and thus socially strong place where it’s easy to quickly meet friends, colleagues and other game developers scattered around the Amsterdam area. That combined with a great digital and physical infrastructure and it’s international orientation makes Amsterdam the best location for Vanguard full stop.”
DID YOU KNOW?
SOUNDS OF AMSTERDAM When working on Killzone 2 the sound department of Guerrilla Games looked for the perfect sound for their flying ships, called intruders. They found it literally across the street from their office. The intruders are powered by the sound of an Amsterdam tram!
CLAIRE BOONSTRA CO-FOUNDER LAYAR
“We have no difficulty getting international people over to Layar. We already have 13 different nationalities (including USA, Cyprus, China, India, Spain and various Eastern European countries) working at Layar and they all love living and working here. Amsterdam is an asset!”
CONTACT AMSTERDAM Annelies in ‘t Veld +31 20 552 3204 firstname.lastname@example.org
W W W. A M ST E R D A M I N B U S I N E S S .C O M
Control Magazine Neude 5 3512 AD Utrecht, The Netherlands T: +31 (0)30 - 231 99 14 M: email@example.com MAGAZINE TEAM Publisher / Matthijs Dierckx firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor-in-chief / Eric Bartelson email@example.com
Editor / Alessandra van Otterlo firstname.lastname@example.org
Manager Operations / Arno Landsbergen Marketing & project management / Kitty Calis Website & network management / Peter den Hartog CONTRIBUTORS Martijn van Best Dennis Scimeca Derk de Geus Joost van Dongen Pamela Kato Adriaan de Jongh COVER IMAGE Romano Molenaar / www.artkingstudio.com ADVERTISING Print and Online / www.control-online.nl/sales T: +31 (0)30 - 231 99 14 E: email@example.com
Contents >> 5 Opening Business • Consoles • Awards 10 Inspiration: art Killing your beauties 12 Crowdfunding: feature On Kickstarter: Sell, don't plea 14 Crowdfunding: interview Gambitious is taking on Kickstarter 16 Vision What GTA told me about graphics in serious games / I made people touch each other
Welcome to Control Magazine, the publication for the gamesindustry. We cover development, we cover business, we cover inspiration. Control Magazine launched as the newspaper for the Dutch game development community, but has since gathered an international reader base. We hope to see you at our international website: www.controlmagazine.net! Eric Bartelson, editor & Matthijs Dierckx, publisher
18 Coverstory: building character Colourful: design game characters 22 Coverstory: building character Beyond the Portrayal of Women in Video Games 24 The 8 Step Guide To... Interface Design for iOS and Android 26 Directory of Companies & Organisations
10 Inspiration: art Killing your beauties Sometimes you have to kill off your favorite art style. Even if it's one of the most beautiful things your studio has ever created.
ABOUT CONTROL Control is an international pivotal platform for news, information, opinion and job opportunities within the game industry. Print International editions (English) 2-3 times a year Special Editions: Serious Games & Educational
12 Business: crowdfunding 14 Kickstarter & Gambitious
News website (English) / www.controlmagazine.net Jobsite for gamejobs / www.controlmagazine.net/JOBS Facebook / www.facebook.com/ControlMagazine Twitter /@ControlMagazine
Got a great idea for a game? Just run a Kickstarter campaign and get it funded by the crowd. If only it were that simple.
Control Magazine was founded in 2007 by Matthijs Dierckx and Eric Bartelson
SUBSCRIPTIONS Dutch speakers can register for a free subscription at control-online.nl/abonneren PARTNERS Control Magazine is proud media partner of: • GDC San Francisco • GDC Europe • Dutch Games Association • Indigo – the indie showcase • GATE Gameresearch DISCLAIMER Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. Copyright © 2012 Control Magazine All Rights Reserved
18 Coverstory: building character Coverartist: Romano Molenaar The lady on the cover is the product of the imagination (and skills) of official Batman penciller Romano Molenaar. Besides working for DC Comics, he runs an art studio, together with a colleague, called Artking Studio. Go to Artkingstudio.com to see more of Molenaar's work.
From the hero, to the monkey and from the bad ass to the squirrel: game characters come in many sizes and flavours. Developers reveal how their main guys, or girls, or rodents came about.
24 The 8 Step Guide To...: Interface Design for iOS and Android Derk De Geus recently had to redo the whole interface for his upcoming game. That thaught him a thing or two... or well, eight.
GUTS & GLORY GAME AWARD NEW EUROPEAN PRIZE FOR COURAGEOUS DEVELOPER
Best Graphics, Best Design, Best Music, Best whateveryou-can-come-up-with... there seems to be an award for every single discipline, genre and platform thinkable (see page 6). However, we’ve yet to see the most risk taking, the most courageous of developers receiving an award for their guts. Enter: The Guts & Glory Game Award. The organisers came up with the idea when they had to figure out what to do after killing off their Euro Indie Award (because, you know, we really have more than enough of those anyway). They found that taking a risk in game development is one of the most un-awarded (is that a word?) feats in this industry. Which is strange, considering the fact that risk is a main ingredient of game development. THE GUTS & GLORY GAME AWARD WILL BE PRESENTED DURING THE CONTROL INDUSTRY DINNER IN AMERSFOORT, THE NETHERLANDS, PART OF THE GAME IN THE CITY GAME CONFERENCE. PREVIOUSLY PETER MOLYNEUX HANDED OUT AN AWARD TO RONIMO GAMES FOR THEIR SWORDS & SOLDIERS.
Who’s eligible? Any European developer with a game (project) released between July 1st 2011 and September 1st 2012. Just go to ControlMagazine.net/guts. (advertisement)
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INSIDERVILLE AT ZYNGA?
Four screens. players Data time company payers moneyNewzoo provided us with this interesting 21% graph on the four different screens of gamers games on that people useallplay for gaming. four screens Check out newzoo.com for more.
Entertainment screen 2012 EU Data © Newzoo
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ZYNGA HEADQUARTERS SAN FRANCISCO
2012 EU Data © Newzoo
>> Will Zynga be able to recover from the current onslaught of bad news? Bazynga! CashVille. CrashVille. And so on, and so on. Although Zynga's apparent demise is a fruitful source of clever word jokes, the situation is actually not be laughed at. At the time of writing, the first class action suits were filed. Could this be the beginning of the end for what once was social gaming’s first superpower? Analysts seem to be unable to find a consensus. Some are certain a combination of possible insider trading, drop in share price and the profit’s free fall already doomed the company. Others look at the strenghts of Zynga.
AWARDS Have a look at these upcoming (semi) international game award shows. This list is by no means complete, but it’s a good starting point.
• Guts & Glory Game Award
22 NOVEMBER AMERSFOORT, THE NETHERLANDS
Special award for a European game studio that showed guts. Whether it’s a business
722M Personal screen
2012 EU Data © Newzoo
CONTROLMAGAZINE.NET For your daily dose of news, opinions, interviews and job openings. And funny videos. Written by developers, for developers. Contact us at: EDITORIAL@CONTROLMAGAZINE.NET
• Independent Games Festival (IGF) Awards SAN FRANCISCO, USA
The biggest award an indie game studio can win. Next year marks the 15th edition of the annual celebration of
144M Floating screen 2012 EU Data © Newzoo
or an artistic risk, the winner of this award has overcome its own personal demons. Submissions open until September 1st. (More info: see page 5.)
Next•Games step ...for Health independent game making. And boy has Europe Awards 2012 EU Data it come to fruition the 22 NOVEMBER AMERSFOORT, © Newzoo Per screen last couple of years. NETHERLANDS Submissions: October Open to all national Business Model identify game-specific growth Game fee 17th Toopportunities (main competition) and international every screen is segmented Subscription and October 31st developers of in depth in multiple ways. Add-on content Virtual items (students). healthcare games. Demographics
Age/gender Home/work situation Media consumption
Casual Mid-core Core
Enhanced functionality Access Skillgaming/Casino
Distribution Physical Download Cloud
Payment method PayPal, CreditCard, Pre-Paid, E-banking etc
We asked iQU CEO Reinout Te Brake to weigh in. Here’s his response: "Currently Zynga is under pressure. It seems that they’re buying players at a high price and are not making the return on it. Besides, they are losing players. Analysts are looking very closely how Zynga is
going to solve both issues. This is even more important then strategy, which is next. Don’t forget Zynga has raised quite a lot of money and still has a lot of money - even after some acquisitions that might have been too expensive looking back. It’s interesting to see how their current offer on Ongame will evolve. However, the market is sceptical. It's Zynga's job to prove them wrong.”
A lot has been said about Ouya already. The believers praise Ouya as the most successful Kickstarter project ever, the underdog console with indie support, highly affordable and ready early next year. But critics are keen to point out its flaws. Not very powerful hardware, easy to hack, no installed base beyond the 50,000 or so that pledged money on Kickstarter. However the future of Ouya turns out, it’s an interesting prospect in more ways than one. It could potentially upset the balance (or status quo if you like) of the traditional consoles. A dark horse console that will bring cheap bite-size games to the living room. Perfect for that new gaming demographic that grew up playing mobile games. They don’t have the attention span -or money- to invest in dedicated console games, but these mobile games will do just fine. It’s also a case study in setting up a successful crowdfunding campaign. The Kickstarter hit all the right notes with mass media coverage and well known industry names lending their
WILL THE 50,000 THAT PLEDGED A HUNDRED BUCKS, RECEIVE A WORKING CONSOLE? support right from the get-go. And while a large part of the online games press remains skeptical, consumers embraced the tiny console en masse. Ouya walks a fine line between greatness and failure. Come spring next year, will the 50,000 that pledged a hundred bucks (or more), actually receive a working console or will it be delayed and delayed and delayed until it finally becomes obsolete? Like these:
THE WAY OF THE PHANTOM >>The rise of Ouya is a valid excuse for every magazine to take a trip down memory lane. A trip through the industry's darker moments. Gizmondo
TIGER TELEMATICS 2005
INFINIUM LABS (LATER PHANTOM ENTERTAINMENT LTD) 2004/05/06 Ouya is being compared to Phantom a lot these days. The Phantom game console aimed to change the video game landscape back in 2004 (and 2005 and 2006) by promising on demand gameplay via the internet. But the console never actually materialized. Phantom Entertainment now makes the Phantom lapboard, literally a keyboard and mouse on your lap. Yeah.
Gizmondo’s story reads as a crime novel, with a band of merry men burning through a 400 million dollar investment in four years. Funding a luxurious lifestyle and bringing to market a sub par handheld that never stood a fighting chance. The whole thing came crushing down spectacularly with one of the men crashing his million dollar Ferrari Enzo.
Zodiac TAPWAVE 2003
The Zodiac was designed to be a ‘high performance mobile entertainment system’ running an enhanced version of the Palm Operating System (remember that one?). It could handle anything from games, music, images and video. But with less than 200.000 units sold the Zodiac was discontinued in 2005.
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The highly anticipated Awesomenauts by Swords & Soldiers veterans Ronimo Games.
US Top 10 iPad hit Fingle by Game Oven
AAA-localisation to many languages for titles such as Heavy Rain and Uncharted
AAA-codevelopment such as the PCversion of Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Populair indie games such as Super Crate Box and the IGFfinalist Ridiculous Fishing
Two great conferences, with great keynote speakers like Peter Molyneux
INSPIRATION KILLING DARLINGS
Killing your beauties Sometimes you have to kill off your favorite art style. Even if it's one of the most beautiful things your studio has ever created. Ronimo Games' Joost Van Dongen knows all about it... >>
Ronimo Games - known for De Blob and Swords & Soldiers â€“ recently launched Awesomenauts, their vision of a MOBA: multiplayer online battle arena. The PlayStation, Xbox 360 and PC-game went on to score high marks from publications like Edge (8) and websites like Joystiq (9) and Destructoid (9.5). Joost Van Dongen, co-founder and Lead Programmer at Ronimo Games and sole creator of the popular artistic race game Proun, shares his thoughts. "I still consider the above image to be one of the prettiest things made by Ronimo so far. So just imagine how bad I felt about letting this one go. It was the right choice, though: this purple style is extremely difficult to read. It looks great, but in which teams are those characters? How could we
More on Awesomenauts ar: www.Ronimo-Games.com
Top: Awesomenauts initial art style: Ronimo Games decided against this beautiful style mainly because of its negative effect on the gameplay.
visualise what skills a character is using, when the colour palette is so limited and the backgrounds so dense? This style finally got cancelled when, while playing around with the gameplay, it turned out that Awesomenauts was going to be very chaotic. This chaos was part of the fun, but a chaotic game requires a lot of clarity in the art, which is just not possible in the Purple Style. So we switched to something that was inspired by the likes of Earthworm Jim and Ratchet & Clank."
Left: Screenshot from the PC-release of Awesomenauts, showing the final style of the game. Van Dongen: "Initially we were going to make only one level. To keep screenshots varied, we added a lot of variety to this single level - jungle, purple caves, space station elements. In the end, we decided to make two more levels, allowing those two levels to be more focussed on a single unique type of environment. Since the 'Ribbit IV' map was originally meant to be the only level, in the final game you can still see that it has more variety than the other two maps."
Follow Joost Van Dongen at Twitter: @JoostDevBlog Blog: read Van Dongen's surprisingly insightful weblog at blog.oogst3d.net
The pitfalls of Kickstarter
SELL, DON'T PLEA Got a great idea for a game? Just run a Kickstarter campaign and get it funded by the crowd. If only it were that simple. >>
The Banner Saga by Stoic: On of those extreme (and rare) successes on Kickstarter. Stoic asked for 100,000 dollar. They got 723,887 instead.
Before Kickstarter, nobody would have guessed that a silly air-guitar peripheral for the iPhone would receive more than 30,000 dollars in funding from complete strangers in a matter of weeks. Yet that's exactly what happened with the Air Guitar Move by Yobble, a young games and toy company headed by a team of two. Thanks to the individuals who backed Yobble's Kickstarter campaign, you can now strum a guitar pick attached to your phone and pseudo-rock to your hearts' MORE content.
>>IT'S BECOME LIKE A PLATFORM FOR PRE-ORDERING AND LESS FOR CROWDFUNDING<<
Lately, there's been a string of successfully funded game projects on Kickstarter. Examples such as the one above, but also the Banner Saga, Double Fine Adventure and (more or less) the Ouya are at once surprising and inspiring. "If these guys can do it, then why not me?”, some of us are thinking. "Now I can finally make that Sudoku-meets-FPSkart game crossover that I'm sure people are dying to fund!” And
there you go, uploading videos and putting up rewards like t-shirts, soundtracks and having dinner with the CEO at some fancy rooftop restaurant. However, it might be a good idea to check some of the facts before you do. Truth is, only 44 percent of projects on Kickstarter is successfully funded. The most successful categories are art-related, be it theater, dance or music. These succeed close to 75 percent of the time. Technology, games and product design projects tend to do much worse, with funding only successful in less than 34 percent of the cases. On the other hand, games are among the few categories which – if funded – tend to massively exceed their goal. Influential ambassadors Whatever the numbers, running a Kickstarter campaign is hard. Just ask Remco De Rooij, CEO of Netherlands-based Triangle Studios. The studio's history-inspired title Cross of the Dutchman (bottom left) only managed to raise 13,711 dollars instead of the 50,000 goal. De Rooij partly blames the failure on the lack
of an inspiring industry leader to act as ambassador for this game by a relatively unknown studio. "Whenever an influential blogger or iconic figure from the games industry lends his or her voice to a project, it greatly boosts the amount of money pledged for projects by non-famous developers”, he argues. De Rooij doesn't shy away from self-criticism, though: "I think the material we had on display could have been better. That got us thinking, and we came up with new plans for improving upon the game as it is now. Another thing: we really thought the rewards we were offering were going to make a difference. That they would make more people want to fund our project. That didn't happen.” Added value "Backers get an enormous amount of value in return for their pledge”, De Rooij says. (Think soundtracks, posters, special editions of the finished games and meet & greets with the creators.) "With all these goodies being promised, I wonder how much money can be spent on the actual project.”
The failed Kickstarter project Cross of the Dutchman lives on at: www.crossofthedutchman.com. Triangle Studios: "The game will be better because of all the feedback gathered during the campaign."
TIPS TO GET YOUR GAME FUNDED • Don't set your goal too high. Aim for an amount between 10 to 20 K. Aim low, then hope for oversubscribing. • Be precise in your description. Offer great videos or a proof of concept. Make people believe you can pull this off and you are taking things seriously. Set compelling goals: " if we reach this amount, we'll add that awesome thing.” • Most people pledge small amounts. Make it worth their while and don't save all your cool rewards for just the highest amounts. • You can adjust the rewards and amounts to pledge during the campaign. Make use of that to reinvigorate a campaign that's halfway through.
According to Alex Thomas, creative director of The Banner Saga-creator Stoic, the price of a reward should be roughly eight times more than the cost to produce and ship it. This way, you keep yourself from having to use the raised money to pay for the rewards. In a helpful blog post on the Games Brief website (www.gamesbrief.com), he shares several other insights on running a successful campaign on Kickstarter. "Kickstarter is your new job”, he explains. Campaigners should prepare for an entire month of answering emails, responding to questions, adjusting your campaign based on demands by the audience and building (and keeping) an active, engaged community. "Without a marketing budget, this was our one chance to really advocate the game, and we only had 30 days to hit it as hard as possible while eyes were on us”, Thomas recalls. It's one of those lessons Remco De Rooij from Triangle learned despite being unsuccessful: "You should respond to questions and remarks by potential backers as soon as possible, as much as
possible. A lot of people prefer to contact you directly, even though most info is available online.” Another tip the Triangle CEO shares is getting in touch with people behind other Kickstarter projects and promoting their campaigns. It often leads to word-of-mouth advertising and valuable contacts. The chief aim of Triangle's campaign was to acquire additional funding to allow for extra content. Despite the setback, Remco De Rooij says the final game will be better than it would have been without all the feedback and advice gathered during the campaign. Cross of the Dutchman is due for release in the fourth quarter of 2012. Project canceled Another project that didn't make it is Panzer Pets by Gamundo (top left). It actually got canceled by the team halfway through. "It's a free to play-game, which means that from the start it was probably better suited for a crowdfunding platform that doesn't focus on rewards as much as Kickstarter”, Gamundo CEO and Founder Ilja Goossens explains the reason to pull the plug.
Read more on crowdsourcing at: www.ControlMagazine.net Want to respond to this feature article? Mail us at: editorial@ControlMagazine.net
"Game projects on Kickstarter have increasingly become celebrity or retro projects. If you don't have a high profile name or beloved old IP attached to your game, it's more difficult to get funding.” Goossens also thinks he underestimated the amount of actual gamers on Kickstarter. What that means is that the percentage of pledgers who actually want to play your game is very high. "That's not the original thought behind Kickstarter. It's become more like a platform for preordering and less for crowdfunding.” Perhaps that's the point. When looking at some of the most successful campaigns, they seem to have one thing in common. The team behind them treat Kickstarter like a sellers' platform, with projects looking a lot like finished products already. If you merely use it to plea for money there's a good chance you won't succeed. Perhaps that's not what crowdfunding was originally about, but maybe that's just how it works on Kickstarter nowadays. Martijn Van Best is Communications Manager at Dutch Game Garden and a regular contributor to Control Magazine.
What determines success or failure :) • Great rewards: the better the rewards offered, the better your chances of getting people to pledge. • Lots of Facebook friends: popularity goes a long way. More friends on social media means more sharing. • A feature on Kickstarter's homepage: more chance of being noticed • Noticable quality: if your project oozes with quality, potential backers tend to find you more trustworthy. :( • A very steep goal: don't ask for too much at once. Determine how much you really need. • A very long campaign: if you let your campaign drag on for too long, people tend to lose interest.
GAMBITIOUS A NEW WAY OF CROWDFUNDING A quarter of a century after he helped id Software launch Doom, Mike Wilson is taking on Kickstarter >>
THIS IS HOW IT WORKS Developers set their own funding goal, project terms, and if they decide to (partly) go for funding through equity raise, determine how much equity they are willing to offer investors in return for each €20 share in the project. Developers always retain intellectual property rights and creative control of the project. Gambitious offers access to a global audience of investors and enables those investors to directly contribute to game projects and allowing them to share in their success. Gambitious uses a secure and dedicated trust account for all investments on the platform protecting the funds until the capital requirements have been reached. Only when the funding goal is met is the transaction executed, ensuring that investors receive their equity stake and the studios receive the financing to support their game projects.
Hot on the heels of recent high profile Kickstarter successes (and failures) comes Gambitious. The first crowdfunding platform exclusively intended for game projects. The website offers more than just donations in change for rewards. It gives gamers and investors the possibility to really invest money in a game and share in the revenue if the game does well. Industry veteran Mike Wilson tells all. Why Gambitious? "Gambitious is the answer to a problem that is really just developing: the inevitable backlash toward crowdfunding done by inexperienced teams often asking for way too little money to actually reach the market - thus the very common 2nd or 3rd ask. Or teams having little or no idea what finishing a game and reaching the marketing on their target platform really means. I truly believe we will lose the opportunity for crowdfunding for games by the end of 2013 if we don't offer something more professional and more discerning to give gamers and investor types a better chance to see something for their money.” How is Gambitious different from other crowdfunding sites? "Well, the most obvious answer is that we focus exclusively on the games industry and are run by a team and advisory board of very experienced game developers, producers, publishers, and marketers. We speak the language and are going to make sure the projects offered on the platform are well-thought out in their business plans and have some real chance at commercial viability. Other than that, ‘under the hood’ Gambitious is very different. At Gamescom we'll be presenting the world's only hybrid system for developers. It will enable them to receive pledges/pre-orders from fans as well as equity investments from
people looking to invest a little more in return for an actual piece of the project they are backing.”
looking for something more interesting to invest in, people who don't play games but are interested in the industry, you name it. Once we are fully operational on both sides of the Atlantic, we'll be launching a very large marketing and PR campaign to make sure the crowd knows where to find us. But we also hope and expect that
So every project is going to be checked and judged by a panel? We are not looking to truly ‘judge’ every title. We just have a more rigorous submission process that forces the developers to present a business plan to people who have been looking at game >>WE WILL LOSE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR pitches for years. CROWDFUNDING FOR GAMES IF WE DON'T We don't pretend to OFFER SOMETHING MORE PROFESSIONAL<< know which titles will be hits or not, but we do want to feel like the team can do what the developers all over the world they promise and will have enough will steer their fans and networks money to get to the finish line to us once they realize what an and get their product released.” attractive option we are for their fundraising. When you look at our How is the advisory board going lineup of first projects launching to help developers with their their campaigns at Gamescom, projects. you'll see that we already offer a "Just asking the tough questions very robust lineup with some very and forcing developers to actually successful developers. Games that think through their proposition are well into production alongside is most of it. But we will offer very promising indies, such as additional services as well MiMiMi with ‘Tink’, who have been (‘Production Services’) for those our test case for our beta phase.” who wish to benefit more directly from our team and our network's What's in it for the investor? experience. Anything a team might What's in it for Gambitious? Mike Wilson has need. Ranging from help with their "For the investor, it's a bit of peace been a computer and business plan to budgeting to of mind knowing that someone ‘at video game execuactual development/outsourcing the wheel’ knows the industry. My tive since 1995. He assistance, marketing/pr strategy. partners and I are in this because worked with id SoftIt's basically an à la carte menu we believe that crowdfunding is the ware an ION Storm before setting up of everything that a developer greatest thing to happen to indies Gathering of Develmight need, without forcing things since Shareware in the 90's and opers (GodGames), upon them they don't need, and we would absolutely hate to see it a developer friendly no infringing on their control of crash and burn due to unfulfilled publisher (later acquired by Take the game or Intellectual Property promises and unfinished projects. Two Interactive). rights, like they often get with We want innovation, we want both Years later Wilson a traditional publishing deal." new and established indies, and founded Gamecock even small, progressive publishers to Media Group (later Crowdfunding requires... well a be able to reach their audience and bought by Southpeak Interactive). Wilson crowd. Are there going to be enough compete in this increasingly difficult now holds a posipeople on Gambitious? and challenging landscape, which is tion as partner of "We are building it, and we do hope actually full of opportunity for nimble, Devolver Digital and and expect that ‘they’ will come! creative teams if they can just is founder/partner of Gambitious. They being gamers, investors get the funding they need.”
Read more interviews at: www.ControlMagazine.net Want to respond to this interview? Mail us at: editorial@ControlMagazine.net
>> GRAPHICS IN SERIOUS GAMES >> WHAT GAMES COULD OR SHOULD BE
SERIOUS GAMES DESIGNER PAMELA KATO:
WHAT GTA TAUGHT ME ABOUT GRAPHICS IN SERIOUS GAMES >> "Wait, I wasn’t wrong about the graphics. They ‘sucked’ as we like to say in academia.” Wait, I wasn’t wrong about the graphics. They ‘sucked’ as we like to say in academia. The graphics were blocky and the characters walked around the environment like they were wearing diapers that needed to be changed. In a city scene with lots of people in it, I remember laughing about how you would see identical characters walking around in the same scene. The graphics overall made the game look very low-budget.
THE GRAPHICS OVERALL MADE THE GAME LOOK VERY LOW-BUDGET
When I was growing up on Lookout Mountain in the great state of Tennessee, there was a tourist shop close to my house that sold items that were supposed to reflect the rural culture of the area. I particularly remember a ceramic trivet you could hang on your wall that showed a country woman saying, “Good looks don’t last, good cookin’ do.” I thought of that quote when I thought about what Grand Theft Auto III taught me, namely, “Good graphics don’t matter, good gameplay do.” The release of many GTA games was often accompanied by news reports of how the games were banned for being violent and glorifying criminal activity. The sales would soar despite concerns in the media about the car jacking, cruelty and prostitution in the game. I cynically concluded that GTA III couldn’t be that good. After all, screen shots looked like it didn’t have very good graphics. I assumed that the game was selling because people wanted the forbidden fruit of playing with a banned game. So I played the game to see what was going on and I found that I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Where I was wrong was in my thinking that the game was popular because of the negative hype. After playing it I realized it was popular because it simply was a really good game. It drew me in with a suspenseful story line. For me, it is one of the few games where the story line is actually prominent and important to the progression of the game. It was also fun because you could freely explore an environment. I usually don’t like exploring environments in games because they tax my limited spatial reasoning skills (ability to navigate 3D environments). The environments in GTA often had unique landmarks in them so that they actually supported my more female strategies of navigating environments successfully by using landmarks. Also, progression in the game included a pretty broad array of activities so it was continually challenging and new. So, whenever I hear someone say that graphics are key to a good video game, I ALWAYS disagree and bring up Grand Theft Auto as an example. It has horrible graphics but it was wildly popular and it was really fun to play. When I created Re-Mission, a game for cancer patients, I tried to make it look as good as possible, but really focussed on the most important aspect: gameplay. A lesson learned in the unlikeliest of places: the streets of GTA.
Pamela M. Kato, Ed.M., Ph.D. makes serious games for education and training in healthcare. She was involved in the development of R eMission and Air Medic Sky 1, a training tool for young docters. http://pamkato.wordpress.com Read more on serious games at: www.ControlMagazine.net Want to reply to this story? Send an e-mail to: editorial@ControlMagazine.net
I MADE PEOPLE TOUCH EACH OTHER >> Fingle’s creator Adriaan De Jongh on the untapped potential of games.
“All you have to do is move along with the targets,” is what I tell the two people playing my game Fingle. But they know that is not what the game is about. Moments later, they are intertwining theirs hands, the look on their faces tell me that this game is way outside their comfort zone. The first prototype of Fingle was already different from anything I had experienced in games before. Not only did the prototype use ten fingers on the screen simultaneously, I made people touch each other. I had found a way to trigger a feeling of incredible awkwardness by utilising a cultural taboo - on which I accidentally stumbled upon earlier. It's unique. All the people that played my prototype told me nobody would buy a game like that. Long after Fingle’s release, the game has proved them wrong, very wrong.
And yet, developers continuously make games with high scores, points, achievements, ranks and other labels as their main features. They’re ignoring the fact that these are just failed attempts to create or alter a bond between people. Sure, all these gaming conventions have added value in games: they make a lot of games much more fun. But interaction between people is personal, and - honestly - a score of 3,216 is not. As developers of games, we can do better than that. We can make games that address each other’s personalities so we truly get to know each other. We can make games about empathy, entering the mind of someone else. We can make people fall in love because of our games people confessed to me that Fingle got them laid. We can make games that will make two friends talk about unspoken frustrations. Games can be more personal than any other medium. A true form of art!
Fingle is a digital game about context, not about mechanics or visual style. It is a game played best at certain moments with certain people. It is social - in a way that it makes people interact with each other in ways they normally wouldn’t. And by doing that, it shows the true power of games as a medium. Games have the ability to ‘force’ people to interact, other media cannot. (advertisement)
Adriaan de Jongh is co-founder of Game Oven. Their game Fingle was nominated for the 2012 IGF Awards (Nuovo Award) and received an honorable mention in the same competition (IGF 2012, Best Mobile Game).
COLOURFUL CHARACTERS From the hero, to the monkey and from the bad ass to the squirrel: game characters come in many sizes and flavours. Developers reveal how their main guys, or girls, or rodents came about. >>
Company: thatgamecompany Game: Journey (PS3) Character: Mystery creatures What is it: unknown Who: Jenova Chen
Why did Journey have faceless, nonspeaking characters? "We want the character to be an avatar which means it reflects the player's true nature. Therefore, it should not have any personality or any feature that misleads other player's perception on who might be controlling the avatar. No age, gender, racial definition. It can be anyone from anywhere on earth." How did the design of the character come about? "It went through six iterations: 1. Character made of blocks that looks like a humanoid - we need some human scale character to help us prototype. 2. With a mask on, a bit ninja like, it looks agile and durable like a nomad warrior - we know the game happens in a desert, so we want a character more like a desert inhabitant. 3. An owl like robed character with extended sleeves as wings - we want the character to be completely made of fabric rather than bone and flesh so that he can fly and soar. 4. A chicken-shaped cloth character with no arms - the all cloth simulation character turns out to be too expensive to render, and the arms causes too much trouble to implement since arms may require a pull up animation, and can make player want to pick up weapons and attack each other. 5. A swan shaped cloth character with slightly matured look and pointy feet - the chicken cloth character is a bit too cute for the serious tone of the game. And feet have to be aligned to tilted surfaces, we just end up not having enough resources to do, therefore we cut it. 6. Final Journey character - not too young or too old, not male or female, no arms, pointy feet, and a simple cloth simulated robe.” Many players felt an emotional connection to these creatures. How did you achieve that? "In screenwriting class, you learn that you don't know a character from the words he/ she says, the dress he/she wears. You know a person through the actions and choices he/she makes. Therefore, we create various scenarios to let players experience together, and through the actions they take on moving the character and signalling each other, you can read a lot more humanity.”
Company: Vlambeer Game: Serious Sam - The Random Encounter (PC) Character: Serious Sam What is it: Human Who: pixel artist Roy Nathan de Groot
What makes a good game character in pixels? "Style, silhouette, and exaggerated characteristics. A simple character is much more memorable than a character with way too much detail. Focusing on one detail in particular makes that character so much easier to recognize. Though I’ve seen some great characters that were only 8x8 pixels, I feel that 16x16 gives you that extra bit of space to give a character a little charm and detail to make it stand out.” How do pixel characters express emotions? "Body language and actions can be enough for most emotions. Even something as simple as a character turning away from another character could convey emotions like anger, shyness, disgust or boredom.” How do you make a pixel character come to life? "I think the story and drive of a character should be reflected in the style and animations. If they match up it will enhance the liveliness of a character. I’ts the same as acting, but on a much smaller scale.”
Company: Gamistry Game: Munch Time (iOS, Android) Character: Munch What is it: A Chameleon Who: Alex Kentie - Creative Director
Why a chameleon? "We wanted to create a character that was instantly recognizable on a small screen. We also looked for a certain ‘cuteness-factor’, so people could easily relate to him. Chameleons are just awesome creatures and we knew people were going to love seeing a chameleon swinging around with a sticky tongue. Munch also has a distinctive ‘I really don't care what's going on-look’, which we found very suitable for him.”
How many iterations did he go through before you were satisfied? "The basic outlines of Munch were set pretty quickly, but we took a lot of time in iterating on his colors and stripe patterns. We needed a combination that made him stand out on a tiny screen. We also faced the problem that the colours we chose had to match with his hue-shift as well. For example, if Munch would change from green to blue, we wanted the orange stripes to change to a colour that matched as well as the original. When I iterated on Munch's colours and stripes I would constantly be shifting his colour-hue to check this.”
THE Why introduce characters -through an extensive comic between missionswhen they’re not ingame? "People never have any empathy for a dead object. And you want your user to be emotionally involved with your game. Introducing a story also lets you diversify the experience. 6th Planet had mediocre ingame graphics and basic gameplay, but the story and characters set it apart. You not only follow the story of Darius, the monkey that's been sent into space, but also the power struggle between nations and people of different beliefs back on earth. The key here is conflict. You need high stakes and opposing sides to make a strong story. And because we had that on different levels on earth, we had the freedom to make Darius' struggle one with the loneliness of space. Which worked quite well, in the end.” Will Darius eventually show up as a playable character? "That's another advantage of doing a story. If people like your protagonist, they'll want to play him in a game. So... who knows. People will remember Darius longer than they remember the space pod in our game.” Company: Monkube Game: 6th Planet (iOS, Android) Character: Darius What is it: A monkey Who: Sven van de Perre - MD
Company: Paladin Studios Game: Momonga Pinball Adventures (iOS, Android) Character: Momo What is it: Squirrel Who: Derk de Geus - studio director
How do you make players connect to a squirrel? "First of all, he is one of the cutest animals alive: the Momonga, or Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrel. The fact that it is a real animal gives us a lot to work with. He has a natural habitat, eating patterns, natural abilities. We use all of this to create a believable character. Then, in the game’s story, we are real bastards. We take away everything from him - his friends, family and his home. This is when the call for adventure begins. He is vulnerable, but is willing to take action for the greater good. In that sense he is the classical hero, and this resonates with people on a deep level. Plus the in-game model has 1500 triangles, is fully rigged and even has facial animation. That gives us the tools we need to tell the story.” A lot of work went into the boss enemies, are you not afraid they will steal the limelight from our little friend? "I don't really see this as a problem. A bad guy can be very interesting. The same goes for sidekicks. Most of the time, the heroes are the "average" characters. They need to be well-rounded, and a tiny bit serious. They have a load to carry, a mission to accomplish. The characters around the hero don't have that burden. It would be a shame to waste that opportunity!”
T H E B A D Company: Game: Character: Wat is it: Who:
Guerrilla Games Killzone 3 Jorham Stahl Helghan bad guy Jan Bart van Beek - Art Director
How did you come up with Killzone 3’s bad guys? "Killzone’s universe is very heavily inspired by the wars of the previous century. So we often look at that era’s leaders, states and political events. In Killzone 3 we had two competitors fighting for power, both very clearly delineated. Admiral Orlock would represent the military, while Jorham Stahl would represent the Helghan industry. Both individually very powerful, but dependent on each other as well. We did a first sketch of Orlock where he looked a lot like Stalin and it immediately clicked. Jorham Stahl was a bit trickier. Where Orlock was about physical power, Stahl needed to be smart and cunning. There is some Albert Speer in there. Some Doctor Mengele. Some Oppenheimer. A little Trotski. A bit of Goebbels as well. But I think most of all, he’s based on Senator Palpetine from the Star Wars prequels.” What comes first, the character design or the voice acting? "Most characters are first thought up in story meetings. Once you know who the character is and what he represents, it’s all about making sure that message comes through loud and clear. You do need to be careful not to communicate something about the character that’s the exact opposite of what you’re looking for. Say if we would have given Stahl a big bushy mustache. We design a character before we cast him. That sometimes means we adapt him a bit when we know what actor portrays him. In the case of Orlock we didn’t really change much. In Stahl's case we tuned his facial features and hair a bit just to make him look a bit more like Malcolm McDowell.”
Who is ibb? "ibb is the bright green, slightly smaller friend of obb.” What is obb like? "For me obb is the slower less daring of the two. Typically thinks things through before taking action. The one showing up slightly too early for a party. Never panics. Probably the one you want around when stranded on a desert island.” How do you make players bond with these two simple creatures? "Keeping the character design simple leaves a lot of room for interpretation. ibb and obb can be male or female, friends, lovers or escaped criminals. Because the characters' personalities are not clearly defined, it's easy for a player to become that character.”
THE WEIRD Company: Game: Characters: What are they: Who:
Sparpweed ibb and obb (PS3) ibb and obb not quite sure Richard Boeser - creative director
What’s more fun to design, good or bad guys? "There isn’t a lot of difference between designing a bad guy or a good guy. Any major story character is a lot of fun to design. It can take months to get it right and it’s very rewarding to finally see that character come to life in the final game.”
BEYOND THE PORTRAYAL OF
WOMEN IN VIDEO GAMES Itâ€™s time to address the wider issues Writer Dennis Scimeca argues that the problem of equitable representation of women in video games is just the tip of the iceberg. >> 22 |
In social justice circles a 101-level conversation is the kind of conversation one has with a person who debates the existence of prejudice or inequality. The 101-level conversation is often exhausting because to a social justice activist the problems being addressed are painfully obvious. I feel much the same way on the issue of the portrayal of women in video games. The fact that it’s a problem is self-evident to me. Never mind referring to the established and deep body of critical work on the subject, we need look no further than the video games in my own collection.
The importance of Femshep I think the gold standard for the portrayal of women in video games falls mostly to the role playing games published by Bethesda and developed by BioWare. Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises have either allowed players to take the role of a woman protagonist and shape them into fully-developed characters, or portray women as non-player characters in a variety of different ways. That role playing games are in the vanguard for equitable character treatment of women should come as no surprise because role playing games place In many of those games women are sim- narrative center stage more than any other ply not present. I can’t think of a single genre, and thus characters are less an accouwoman character from any of my Call of trement to mechanics and more a necessity. Duty or Battlefield games. If there are any women characters in the Resistance or Kill- The importance of Commander Shepard zone franchises, I certainly can’t remember from Mass Effect in feminist criticism of vidthem. There are no female avatars in Brink eo games cannot be overstated. When Biobecause the team over at Splash Damage Ware decided to put the canonical portrayal didn’t want to budget the time and money of the female version of Shepard, known colto create a female model and then make loquially as FemShep by fans, up to a public female versions of all the clothing items in vote on Facebook the outcry was immediate the game’s very deep customization system. and vociferous because male standards of Women were optional. beauty were clearly evidenced in the voting patterns. FemShep was important because Damsel in distress she belied the male gaze that so often domiOften when there are women in my games nates the way women are portrayed in video they adhere to stereotypes, like the painted- games. By carrying character choices over up baby-doll Mad Moxxi in Borderlands who between all three games in the Mass Efoffers me missions over the radio in a las- fect series, BioWare had allowed players to civious voice. Every woman character I can fully flesh-out their version of Commander remember from Max Payne 3 was a damsel Shepard, potentially resulting in a woman in distress. In Heavy Rain Lauren Winter protagonist of unique depth and complexity is a whore with a heart of gold and Madi- in the video game world. son Paige is either a sexually-manipulative woman trying to grab a scoop as a journalist Ludonarrative dissonance and/or a love interest for the hero. Or there Commander Shepard is also an important are games absent from my collection like case because he or she could be portrayed as Metroid: Other M which takes Samus Aran, a any race or ethnicity, and by the third game woman character who had previously been in the series as holding a variety of sexual either portrayed or implied as a strong, inde- orientations. Social justice is an intersecpendent woman, and reduces her to a young tional issue at heart, and this is no different girl who requires male approval or authority in the realm of video games. The questions to take action. I had zero interest in seeing around how women are portrayed in video such a strong, female character reduced in games are opening the doors to other, relatthis way. ed inquiries. Evan Narcisse’s Kotaku editorial ‘Come On, Video Games, Let’s See Some Some social justice activists consider char- Black People I’m Not Embarrassed By’ and acters like Anya in Gears of War 3, Gun- the work being written by Denis Farr of the fighter 11 (the woman AH-64 Apache pilot) website GayGamer.net are great places to in the 2010 Medal of Honor reboot, CIA op- start reading about how people are queserative Tara Strickland from Crysis 2, Lilith tioning the depiction of race and sexual orifrom Borderlands and Trishka Novak from entation in video games. Bulletstorm to be improvements. The question is one of representation, of video games What punctuates all of these issues is the that present women as something other problematic nature of portraying characters than over-sexed figures meant to draw the of any design in video games. Game designattention of a male audience and/or vul- er Clint Hocking coined the phrase ‘ludonarnerable figures to be rescued. Even if these rative dissonance’ to describe the conflict woman characters are not particularly well- between how characters are presented in drawn or deep, they are at least presented cutscenes and how they are portrayed withas competent equals to the male warriors in in game mechanics. Nathan Drake from the the story. Uncharted franchise is a suave combina-
tion of James Bond and Indiana Jones in the cutscenes but in the game itself turns into a sociopath who murders hundreds of people. Tom Bissell’s recent work on the website Grantland has delved into the question of whether or not it’s even possible for certain video games to portray proper characters in light of this quintessential conflict. White straight male This problem becomes a serious issue for the portrayal of anything other than the stereotypical white, straight, male protagonists that we’ve been seeing in video games for decades. That these characters aren’t really characters isn’t as great of a loss because at least white men have been receiving representation of some sort in video games. For women, people of color, or persons of varying sexual orientation, to have the few and far between examples of video game characters they can relate to relegated to similar stereotyping is a proportionately greater loss. Before video games can divorce themselves from the lazy casting of women, persons of color, or people of varying sexual orientations as predictable stereotypes, the video game industry has to learn better how to depict characters across the board, or how to create game mechanics that allow for the creation of real characters without the dissonance that currently plagues video games. Thus the issue of the portrayal of women in video games has become a 101-level conversation within its own confines, meaning the problem with how women are portrayed in video games should be so obvious by now that we can move beyond validating the existence of the problem and instead focus on solutions, but it’s also a 101-level conversation for this larger discourse of disproportionate representation in video games for many different groups of people. And floating above all these conversations is the need to continue promoting diversity within the video game development community itself. The fact that game development is still dominated by straight, white men is ultimately the root cause of all these issues, because that equates to the perspective of straight, white men being the default perspective taken by almost every video game the industry produces. When the challenge of diversity within the development community is properly tackled, the rest of the changes social justice activists would like to see in video games, will naturally follow. Dennis Scimeca is a freelance writer from Boston, Massachusetts. His video game opinion column First Person runs on The Escapist. You can follow him on Twitter: @DennisScimeca, and find his personal blog on PunchingSnakes.com.
Read more op-eds at: www.ControlMagazine.net Do you think we're a bunch of hypocrites, considering the cover of this magazine? Let us know at: editorial@ControlMagazine.net
DEVELOPMENT INTERFACE DESIGN
The 8-Step Guide To...
Interface Design for iOS & Android Derk De Geus recently had to redo the whole interface for his upcoming game. That thaught him a thing or two... or well, eight. >> Paladin Studios is finishing up work on their anticipated mobile game Momonga – a very orginal take on the pinball genre. Founder and CEO Derk De Geus explains: "We are currently in the process of a complete redesign of the interface. This hurts: we spent a lot of time designing the old layouts and the visuals were carefully crafted. We spent weeks on it. But it didn’t work. So we have to do it again. This time in vectors for retina, and this time with a better interaction design. Could I have known that the old design would suck? Maybe. Looking back, it is quite obvious. But then again, we had to see it in the hands of testers to actually know it for sure. And that is simply the way it is." He presents his lessons learned in our 8 Step Guide To... Interface Design for iOS & Android.
Determine the platforms The first step is to find out which platforms your interface will support. With our new game, we're supporting iOS and Android at launch. This seems simple enough, but in fact we need to support for the following screens: iOS device resolutions: •iPhone 3GS and equivalent (480 x 320 pixels) •iPhone 4(S) and equivalent (960 x 640 pixels) •iPad 1 & 2 (1024 x 768 pixels) •iPad 'new' retina (2048 x 1536 pixels) Android device resolutions: •Samsung, HTC, Acer, Asus – resolutions are all over the place! The displays for iOS are fairly straightforward. There are two aspect ratios, and retina simply doubles the pixels. If you are developing for iOS only, you could consider making just two interfaces: one for iPhone / iPod Touch, and one for iPad. Design it at retina resolution and scale it down to fit the older models. For Android, however, there are so many different devices out there that it is impractical to create a custom interface layout for each one. We therefore chose two basic resolutions (one for phones, one for tablets). We worked with the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the Droid, but any popular device will do. We then made sure that the design matches those resolutions perfectly. The interface should scale and adapt to other resolutions. It will not be perfect on those devices, but it will work without too much extra effort.
This is an obvious but easily overlooked step. Will you support portrait or landscape orientation? Or both? This is a critical question before you do any design work at all.
There are so many great games out there, that it would be silly not to look for references. Buy some games, make screenshots of the interface and take a bit of time to think about the decisions these designers made. Will they apply to your game? The trick here is to look beyond the visual splendor and identify the purpose of the screen. Bluntly copying a design won’t make you smarter, and it might not fit your specific goal. Ask yourself these questions: • What information do I need to convey to the user? • What kind of functionality does the user need? • What needs to stand out from the rest? • What is the context for this window?
Determine the Orientation
Choosing one orientation cuts your work in half. For Momonga we use landscape only, because the game simply plays better in landscape mode. Don’t be lazy though – there are many different mobile gamers out there, and they each have their own preferences. Play around a bit to see what works and what does not. Then stick to that decision.
Search for references
Read more about the development of Momonga: www.PaladinStudios.com
Old Interface: The old Victory Screen: too busy, too much information. It prompted a complete redesign.
Before you start on the individual screens, make a list of all the windows your game will have. This is your to-do list for the upcoming weeks.
The next step is to choose the functionality of the screens. This is where you actually start the interaction design for your game. An interface does two things: It provides information and it allows users to do something. It is your job to decide what information should be on the screen and what actions the user can take. I make small and simple sketches of what buttons the interface should have, and what info should be displayed. These sketches are small and rough – they don’t take into account size and positioning. The question here is: To Be Or Not To Be. Should the button be here or not? Where you place it, and how big it is, that is for the next step. Some things to keep in mind: • Less is more. Keep information and buttons to a minimum. • Stick to the one primary purpose for the screen. • Keep the context of the screen flow in mind. • Try to remove any doubles you may find, unless it is a necessary one. • Consider splitting things up into multiple screens, to keep the info bite-sized.
Make the Screen Flow
When that is done, it is time to make a flowchart of all those screens. I call it the 'screen flow'. It is a handy flowchart that states how all those screens relate to each other. When you complete a level, which screen comes first? Should you be able to go to the high score list from the main menu? These are tough questions, and you will probably have to make changes to the screen flow as you progress through the design process. The screen flow has a main menu, a victory sequence, a game over screen, level selection screen, all the things the game needs to work well. The screen flow tells you which buttons need to be on every screen. Players need to be able to progress to the next window and in most cases, move back to the previous one.
Make the Wireframes (Step 6): the basic layout of the screens, without colour or fluff.
Create the design (Step 7): This is where the Photoshop (or Illustrator) Guru takes over.
Choose the functionality Step 6:
This is where things get Photoshoppy! The next step is about making the basic layout of the screens, without colour or fluff. This is still about interaction design, but this time we start to think seriously about positioning and size.
This is where the Photoshop (or Illustrator) guru takes over. That could be you, in my case it’s a colleague of mine. If you did your design work well, the making of the actual shiny interface should be a walk in the park. Of course, that is not how it works in real life. No matter how well you thought everything through, when it is time to really make the thing there will always be gaps to fill. Stay in close touch with your graphics guru and be prepared to answer some tough questions. Make sure that you allow for creative freedom, but stick to your guns when necessary.
Make the Wireframes
In step 5 you were probably making a doodle on a napkin, but a wireframe is more than that. It is a guideline for the designer, and you want to do the thinking for him. Some tips for wireframing your game interface: • Use a template that supports all your device resolutions. • Before you start, sit down with your programmers to discuss the implementation. • Along the way, sit down with your programmers regularly to verify that your design is feasible. • In Photoshop, make a group for every screen of your game. Fill them with your wireframes as you go along. • When making a destructive change, copy the entire group and start with a new one. You can always go back that way. • One grid to rule them all: Create your guides and stick to them, no matter the platform or screen you are working on. • Work in greyscale. Emphasize buttons with colors if you need to. • No rounded corners yet: you will do a lot of re-sizing and plain rectangles are much easier to work with. • With Dropbox you can easily test the designs on your target devices. Save it as jpeg in Dropbox, and open the design right on your iPhone. • I like to save the designs as jpeg often. In the end I have all chronological steps in numbered files.
Read more developer articles at: www.ControlMagazine.net Want to respond to this story? Send an e-mail to: editorial@ControlMagazine.net
Create the design
One tip for designing for mobile games: Work with vectors. We have made the mistake to work in pixels on our previous interface, and when the new iPad came out with its fancy retina display, we had to do the whole thing over again.
Test and iterate This is the part where you get to do the whole thing over again. All jokes aside, in this step the programmers take over the show and implement the designs in the game. Of course, this will be a breeze and there will be champagne and happy faces. In your dreams. Be prepared to do things over again. Design is a wicked problem: you only know if it works after you have built the darn thing and see it in action. So test your interface, and get back to the drawing board when necessary.
Follow Derk De Geus, author of this article, on Twitter: @derkdegeus
The Holland Pavilion WWW.TASKFORCEINNOVATIE.NL WWW.DUTCHGAMESASSOCIATION.NL
The Taskforce Innovation Utrecht Region (TFI) is a major player in accelerating the growth of the games-sector in the Netherlands, and in particular in Utrecht. The focus of TFI is to stimulate innovation through collaboration between R&D, business and the (local) government. TFI has been successful in developing a number of large programs stimulating the Dutch games industry, including the Dutch Game Garden, Dutch Game Valley (geared towards making serious business of serious games), and Level Up!, a program to match talent to the needs of the games industry. On top of this, TFI frequently organizes serious game jams in a wide range of crossover sectors, such as sustainability and health care.
The Dutch Games Association (DGA) is the branch organiÂzation for the Dutch games industry. The mission of the DGA is to stimulate a healthy climate for the games industry in the Netherlands. To support this mission, DGA is involved in various activities ranging from organizing conferences and workshops to networking events. The association is also the main liaison for the Dutch Government when it comes to all disciplines within the games industry. TFI and DGA have joined forces to organize a Holland Pavilion at Gamescom 2012 in order to showcase our countryâ€™s reputation as a rapidly expanding game creating nation. The Holland Pavilion contributes to this by offering young, innovative and progressive entrepreneurs a place to show their work. The Holland Pavilion is made possible by a grant of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, Province of Utrecht and the city council of Utrecht. Other project partners are Dutch Game Garden, TNO and Utrecht School of the Arts. Interested? Please do not hesitate to contact us. TASKFORCE INNOVATION UTRECHT REGION: www.taskforceinnovatie.nl, firstname.lastname@example.org or +31 30 2363 455 DUTCH GAMES ASSOCIATION: www.dutchgamesassociation.nl, email@example.com or +31 6 1208 5949
You can find the Holland Pavillion at Gamescom: hall 4.2, F 030
Open to: Games released between the 1st of July 2011 and the 1st of September 2012.
The Dutch Game Awards display the achievements of the Dutch Game Industry in the Netherlands and abroad. The Awards will be presented during the Awards Dinner on the 22nd of November 2012 in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.
Guts & Glory Game Award: Developers located in the EU.
There are two international awards:
Games for Health Award: All international developers of healthcare games.
Guts & Glory Game Award Games for Health Europe Award Register your games before the 17th of September 2012 at www.dutchgameawards.nl.
Dutch Game Awards is realised with the financial support of the European Fund for Regional Development of the European Commission.
Artking Studio ARTKING STUDIO DELIVERS QUALITY ART FOR GAMES We deliver quality game art in its widest form, Ranging from setting visual art styles to unique concept art and 2D/3D graphics. We bring quality into the game! Developed: • Pocket Quest: social strategy game for mobile platforms • Raceday Challenge: Social strategy game for mobile platforms • Unforgiving: Full project design for unforgiving album Within Temptation • Pathfinder: Branded game, overall Art development. • Rank a Brand: Branded game, Art development
Looking for: • Game development companies that are looking for Art direction, concept art and/or art production. • Game development Partners for codeveloping games.
CONTACT DETAILS Niel Vredeveldt Founder E-mail: Niel@ artkingstudio.com Telephone: +31 (0) 620743644 Website: artkingstudio.com
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DIRECTORY Kalydo KALYDO PROVIDES INSTANT PLAYABILITY FOR ANY GAME IN A COST EFFECTIVE WAY. Kalydo provides instant playability for any high-end game in a cost effective way. Kalydo revolutionizes the way developers and publishers distribute and operate their games. Works with any game technology and is scalable for high CCU (MMORPG) games. Kalydo customers include Cartoon Network, Shanda Games, Frogster, Gameforge, Gravity and many more.
Developed: Kalydo powers the following games: Runes of Magic, Godswar Online, Requiem, Nostale, 4Story, Soul Captor, Crazy Car and many more. Looking for: New business: Game developers & publishers interested in launching their titles on Kalydo.
CONTACT DETAILS Richard van Barneveld Business Development Director E-mail: r.vanbarneveld@ kalydo.com Telephone: +31 (0) 40 762 07 00 Website: www.kalydo.com
COMPANY ADDRESS Kalydo • Paradijslaan 5 • 5611 KM Eindhoven (NL)
GamePoint GAMEPOINT DEVELOPS AND PUBLISHES SYNCHRONOUS MULTIPLAYER SOCIAL GAMES CONTACT DETAILS Rik Haandrikman Director of Business Development E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: +31 (0) 613138659 Website: www.gamepoint. net
We develop and publish realtime multiplayer social games on our own websites, partner websites and social networks. By combining engaging gameplay with advanced social features we've managed to create one of the biggest time sinks on the net with over 120 minutes played per user per day. Developed: • GamePoint Bingo: One of the Top 100 monetizing games on Facebook worldwide • RoyalDice: A refreshing take on a well-known dicegame • CardParty: A fast-paced card game with a wildly popular team mode • SpinBingo: Slots meets bingo in a game where a little bit of luck goes a long way, but where the strategists tend to take away the prize
COMPANY ADDRESS GamePoint • Gevers Deynootweg 93G • 2586BK Den Haag (NL) 28 |
Looking for: Traffic partners that are looking for high quality content for their websites, new traffic sources, data analytics platforms, ad platforms
>>AN OVERVIEW OF ALL DUTCH GAME COMPANIES // VISIT WWW.CONTROLMAGAZINE.NET/DIRECTORY
GameHouse Europe GAMEHOUSE IS LEADING PUBLISHER, DEVELOPER AND DISTRIBUTOR OF CASUAL GAMES GameHouse distributes Casual Games through our in-house storefronts: Zylom. com (Europe), GameHouse.com (NorthAmerica) and Atrativa.com (SouthAmerica). Next to that through our many syndication partners varying from large publishers to games platforms. Consumers are attracted to our platforms because of a large catalogue of Casual Games like, Delicious, Bejeweled, Bubble Shooter and Mahjong Fortuna. Through a great catalogue, GameHouse is an expert on monetizing the consumer on all level of game playing. Whether it be free, pay-perplay or a subscription model, independent of the platform we offer the casual games. “GameHouse makes life more Fun, by offering our loyal players the best casual games, whenever and wherever they want! “ COMPANY ADDRESS GameHouse Europe • Emmasingel 21 • 5611 AZ • Eindhoven (NL)
In order to fulfill our mission, our casual games are available in 8 localized languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish. Our Casual Games are not only available online and on PC, but can also be played on mobile handhelds like Android, iPhone and iPad and on social networks like Facebook.
Developed: GameHouse Studio has developed many AAA-games, one of them is the successful Delicious-series. This time management game has won many prices. For example the ‘Best Casual Game Award ‘ in 2011 at the Dutch Game Awards and ‘Best Time
Management Game’ Award in 2011 on Jayisgames.com in 2011. Other great performing titles that the GameHouse Studio has developed are the time management game ‘Heart’s Medicine’ and the hidden object series ‘Campfire Legends’. The newest invention of the studio is ‘Episodic Gaming’. Every week a new episode of ‘Delicious – Emily’s Wonder Wedding’ is available on Zylom. com. After 25 weeks we will find out if Emily will finally get married or not… See for yourself: http://bit.ly/ NdMErM
CONTACT DETAILS Lisa Victorian Director of Business Development EMEA E-mail: lisav@ gamehouse.com Telephone: +31 (0) 402391370 Website: www.gamehouse. com/eu
Iceberg Interactive ICEBERG INTERACTIVE IS AN INTERNATIONAL VIDEOGAMES PUBLISHER Iceberg operates in the vibrant European games market through retail publishing and worldwide via direct relationships with dozens of digital download portals. With a distinct focus on the genres of simulations, adventure, strategy and MMO/action games, Iceberg has successfully released digital hits in European retail, such as Killing Floor, Wings of Prey & APB Reloaded – but is also known to back indie developers in getting their games into both the retail and digital space Developed: You may know Iceberg from titles like: • Endless Space: Guide one of eight civilizations as you strive for galactic dominion in this 4x Space Strategy game. • Killing Floor: Ten different monster types trying to eat your face off…survive long enough in this Co-op Survival Horror FPS game.
• APB Reloaded: The city never sleeps and the fight never ends in this fast paced Massively Multi-player, Action Shooter. • Tiny Troopers: Lead a team of tiny soldiers on a modern battlefield, fighting some nameless but familiar war in this 3D squad-based action game.
COMPANY ADDRESS Iceberg Interactive • Robert Kochlaan 328 • 2035BK • Haarlem (NL)
Looking for: Passionate indie developers looking to make their mark in the publishing world Digital Portals we are not already working with Press interested in reviewing our upcoming titles
CONTACT DETAILS Mayke Griffioen PR Manager E-mail: email@example.com Telephone: +31 (0) 235430960 Website: www.iceberginteractive.com | 29
DIRECTORY QINQO QINQO FORMS A REAL LIFE BRIDGE BETWEEN RETAIL AND THE ONLINE WORLD QINQO is a one stop shop premium gift card solution to sell digital entertainment and products through various channels including retail and via vending machines!
Developed: Over 700 QINQO outlets in the Benelux and expanding rapidly in the Benelux region and across Europe. QINQO QIOSQ© is a 24/7 self service solution for high traffic places like airports, train stations and shopping malls. It is based on the same information system as our in-store solutions with some technical adjustments and standalone enhancements. Looking for: Content owners who want to... •E nter retail via premium branded prepaid cards; •A re thinking long term (brand) value; •W ant to add value to their offerings; •W ant to widen their marketing, audience, reach & monetization
CONTACT DETAILS Mike Hendrixen Marketing DIrector E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: +31 (0) 2620203299 Website: www.qinqo.com
COMPANY ADDRESS QINQO • Nieuwe Stationsstraat 10 • 6811 KS Arnhem (NL)
Newzoo NEWZOO IS AN INTERNATIONAL GAMES MARKET RESEARCH FIRM
Consumer research data: •F ull data access to the Newzoo Data Explorer including all the segments, business models and hottest topics for the Key European countries, US, Russia, Poland and Turkey. • T wo standard reports: 2012 Newzoo MMO Report and the 2012 Newzoo Revenue Report. Monthly iOS/Playstore data: In co-operation with Distimo, Newzoo offers a monthly service on game revenues and downloads in the various Apple AppStores as well as Google PlayStore. We have been poviding our clients monthly iOS game revenue and download data now for a year in combination with our consumer research data. More information can be found on www.iosdata.com.
Newzoo is an international market research firm focused purely on the games industry. The company aims to provide the best independent market data across all game platforms and business models.
COMPANY ADDRESS Newzoo • Valkenburgerstraat 196B • 1011 NC Amsterdam (NL) 30 |
Looking for: • Companies interested in consumer market data to assist in marketing, business development and strategic decision making • Companies interested in high level reports on Revenues, Players and Payers • Companies interested in game-by-game data on iOS / Playstore games (Revenues & Downloads) CONTACT DETAILS Peter Warman CEO E-mail: email@example.com Telephone: +31 (0) 20 663 58 16 Website: www.newzoo.com
>>AN OVERVIEW OF ALL DUTCH GAME COMPANIES // VISIT WWW.CONTROLMAGAZINE.NET/DIRECTORY Keuze stempel Cook&Becker
Keuze beeldmerk Cook&Becker
Cook & Becker
COOK & BECKER EXHIBITS & SELLS CONTEMPORARY ART FROM THE GAMES INDUSTRY
U-TRAX - SERVICE PROVIDER EXTRAORDINAIRE SINCE 1997
Cook & Becker specializes in digitally created art and artists that represent the very best from the international games, entertainment and urban lifestyle Woordemerk Stempel industries. We’re an international art dealership that exhibits and sells exclusive works from known and upcoming artists, illustrators, concept artists studios and Aanschaf van de fonts: designers from around the world. CONTACT DETAILS Utopia Std Italic: http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/adobe/utopia/ Cook & Becker is the destination for art Neutra: Display Titling http://www.houseind.com/fonts/neutraface collectors and enthusiasts interested in Maarten Brands the next-generation of contemporary art, CEO design, home and corporate decor. E-mail: maarten@ Developed: candb.com • Killzone Fine Art Collection Telephone: •B ioschock Infinite Fine Art Collection +31 (0) 30 320 05 30 (upcoming) Website: • Mirror's Edge Fine Art Collection (upcoming) www.candb.com
We help our clients reach as many people as possible, all over the world, by providing consultancy, marketing, music, testing and localization services. Woorderk + Beeldmerk
Developed: In 15 years, we have worked on 2000+ titles, including many triple A games and over 800 casual, mobile & social games. Our clients range from small indpendent studios to the world's largest publishers.
CONTACT DETAILS Richard van der Giessen President & founder E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: +31 (0) 30 293 20 98 Website: www.utrax.com
Looking for: Buyers, Artists
Looking for: Developers and publishers that want to conquer the world and are looking for some advice and/or fun and creative adaptations of their games for anything from main markets to uncharted territories.
COMPANY ADDRESS Cook & Becker •Nieuwegracht 19 • 3512LC Utrecht (NL)
COMPANY ADDRESS U-TRAX • Voetiusstraat 2 • 3512 JM Utrecht (NL)
Mindscape Nothern Europe
BOOSTERMEDIA - THE MOBILE CLOUD-GAMING NETWORK
MINDSCAPE IS A LEADING PUBLISHER OF PC AND CONSOLEGAMES IN THE BENELUX
BoosterMedia provides mobile gaming solutions portals, social games and advertising opportunities. We bring gaming websites and brands to the mobile internet and help them monetize mobile traffic. Our Games Studio develops exclusively for mobile with robust portal-based social gaming coming soon. Via our growing network, advertisers can effectively target mobile users globally..
With more than 20 years of experience Mindscape launched many great titles successfully in the Benelux and Scandivia. Titles like Prince of Persia, Myst, Reader Rabbit, Pippi Langkous, U-sing, Sniperv2 and many many more. We are specialized in publishing and localizing titles for the Benelux market. Please look for more info at www.mindscape.nl. Today Mindscape NOE is a 100% Dutch company.
Developed: Successfull release last year are: a range of animal games on 3DS, Stronghold 3, Sniper v2, and a repulishing line 100% HITS with great games from Ubi Soft, Warner and THQ.
Robbert Hoogstraten Sales Manager E-mail: robbert. hoogstraten@ boostermedia.com Telephone: +31 (0) 646331120 Website: www.boostermedia. com
Developed: Connected GameStore - a revolutionary cloud-based platform for distributing mobile games. Looking for: • Partnerships to help build a cloudgaming HTML5 network • Mobile browser based games (HTML5) • Media/Game/Social Community companies COMPANY ADDRESS BoosterMedia B.V. • Weteringschans 28 • 1017 SG Amsterdam (NL)
CONTACT DETAILS Mark Huijmans Commercial Director E-mail: mark.huijmans@ mindscape.nl Telephone: +31 (0) 5170089 Website: www.mindscape.nl
Looking for: Mindscape is looking for publishing distribution deals for all platforms: pc / nintendo / sony / microsoft / ios and android. COMPANY ADDRESS Mindscape Nothern Europe • Professor Eijkmanlaan 2 • 2035 XB Haarlem (NL) | 31
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W W W. G D C o n f . C o M
Magazine for the game industry with articles on the Character Design, Crowdfunding: Kickstarter & Gambitious, Interface Design for iOS and A...