I’ve never in my life had the experience of tilting a book off an old dusty bookshelf and unlocking a secret passageway, but I hope I do before I die. Movies have never sold us a more believable-but-still-magical fantasy than the passage behind the bookshelf, or the revolving bookshelf that turns under your feet and rotates you, speechless, into a hidden laboratory. But I have now gotten to play a game inspired by that fantasy, and it’s one of the most creative things I’ve seen at this year’s Game Developer’s Conference.
GDC hosts a small selection of games with weird input methods every year under the banner of Alt.Ctrl.GDC, and the standout for me this year was bookshelf game Cryptogram.
Every year, the best and brightest of the game industry gather in San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference (GDC). As part of the 5 day event the organizers also host alt.ctrl.GDC – an on-site showcase of unique games built around alternative control schemes and interactions. Or in their own words: “a chance to play some of the most inventive and innovative games around using unique, one-of-a-kind controllers.”
This year, two of our student teams will be present! Among the only 20 finalists chosen, our first-year teams Cryptogram and Zombie Crawler both made the cut and thus will be travelling to the US this spring and exhibit their games alongside a long time friend of the department; developer, all round creative, and now teacher – Jerry Belich.
This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to present their games on an international stage, and we’re incredibly proud and happy that they can represent the education in San Francisco.
If you missed those events, you can look at the gallery here and see what you missed out on. 🙂
As you know, we’ve recently made a substantial upgrade to our motion capture equipment. We’ve swapped out all the tech and swapped out the studio – we moved it from our previous spot at the Baltic Art Center, to the university’s own F-building – ie: the GAME house, right next to the small boat harbor in Visby.
Anyway – a week ago Nataska sent out a call for students to come help exercise the system, and she put together this little video of her first impressions:
(Thank you: Eva, Lucas and Svante for putting on the suits and helping out!)
In addition to this recording setup we’ve also got two sets of TrackIR so our students can experiment with simpler head tracking in their games.
We have moved and upgraded our old motion capture equipment! The new hotness consists of 16 brand new OptiTrack Prime13 cameras, new software, the works! And now we need test subjects, hehe.
So Finn Engström and Nataska have been installing the new motion capture cameras this week and they’re happy to report they did a successful test with an actor today and it has all been smooth sailing so far 🙂
Now we want to see just how good our new system is, and that means we need actors: we need 3 volunteers to help us Monday 21st with a bit of light acting for about 1-2h, 10am at F20. Any takers?
The weekend 8-10th of December sees old students returning to the education for our annual Alumni Days. All of them started where our students are now, and are now firmly part of the games industry either as members of a AAA studio, or as a lone indie developer. By bringing alumni back we kick start our students industry networks, and show them how our education can help them get a start in the industry after they leave.
This year’s speaker line-up cover the full range of industry positions, but don’t worry if you can’t be here in person – most of the presentations are recorded and will appear on our YouTube channel.
Are you an ex-GAME student? Join the Uppsala University Alumn Network.
And, of course, join our Facebook group for students past and present.
Here’s a schedule for your copy-paste convenience. Please note that the schedule is tentative. Talks might be brought forward or delayed. ALL UPDATES REGARDING TIME CHANGES WILL BE DONE ON THE FACEBOOK EVENT. So please sign up if you want updates. And not just regarding time, but whether a session is full or other important updates.
08 December, Thursday, B51
- 10.30 Sebastian Larsson – Game Designer, Team Crew. Sebastian is giving a postmortem for Frog Climbers.
- 13.00 Robert Graff – Game Designer, Freshly Squeezed. Robert is giving a postmortem for Defunct.
- 14.15 Christian Kähkönen – 3D/Tech Artist, Zoink Games. Christian will be talking about how he went from never had worked on a game to be a Tech Artist. And what a Tech Artist does at Zoink and what you should think about before seeking out an internship.
- 15.30 Niklas Hallin – Solo Developer, Neckbolt. Niklas will present his timeline. From student, to studio founder, onto freelancing artist and arrive as a well-renowned solo developer and his time at Stugan. He’ll also give a sneak peek of his next project after he’s done with the elephant game.
- 16.45 Malin Lövenberg – Game Designer, Lionbite. Malin will give some tips about how to get your first job. And then go on to talk about everything you can learn as level designer by writing comics. As well as challenge tropes.
09 December, Friday, B51
- 09.30 Maria Norkvist – 3D Artist, Lionbite. Maria will talk about how she is building the world of Rain of Reflection. She will also talk about and demonstrating how to build props with modularity in mind for optimization. So environment artists don’t want to miss this.
- 10.45 Olof Wallentin – Gameplay Programmer, Starbreeze Studios. Olof’s presentation is a two-parter. First he’ll be covering his time in Kyoto, the new indie scene that is growing in Japan and how the corporate culture can suffocate creativity. The other half is dedicated to Starbreeze ambition and vision for games as a service and the future of VR, primarily StarVR.
- 13.00 Robin Powell – QA Art Analyst, DICE. Robin will be talking about how he balanced his work as an Art Analyst on Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and Battlefield 1 and at the same time studying for a master in Human-Computer Interaction. How can you combine work and studies and how do they overlap.
- 14.15 Annika Fogelgren – Producer, King. Annika will talk about how to create the best environment for your team to deliver a game in a 10 points format. She’ll also talk about how she views the current state of the game industry.
- 15.30 Daniel Hagström – Developer, Resolution Games. Daniel will give the latest updates on what Resolution Games has learned from developing games for VR, as well as talking about soft values. The importance of a good work environment, dealing with imposter syndrome and that perks shouldn’t replace pay or sleep.
10 December, Saturday, B51
- 13.00 Viva Ivarsson – Game Designer, A Sweet Studio. Viva will be talking about how to design games for soft launch as well as presenting 7 lessons you can learn from Jack Skellington (The Nightmare before Christmas) about game design.
- 14.15 Karin Bruér – Art Director, Fast Travel Games. Karin will be talking about going from artist to Art Director as well as going from mobile to VR. She also give some inside tips about how to recruit artists and what your portfolio should contain. As well as 5 lessons from 5 years in the industry.
- 15.30 Aydin Afzoud – Game Designer, MachineGames. Aydin will talk about his work on Wolfenstein and DOOM as well as things you should know as a designer.
- 20.00 Alumnipanel & Party (at Rindi) Come hang out, play some games and make new friends.
In order to attend the Alumni Panel and the party you need to fill out this form before 17.00. And while you’re at it, send in a question for the panel!