New Kickstarter from Norway

My good friends at Antagonist are in the middle of their Kickstarter campaign and you should definitely support them!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1854868411/through-the-woods/widget/video.html
It’s a promising game with many very specific nordic features like art inspired by Kittelsen and Hertervig. The nature of and the forest seem to be extremely Norwegian as well as the folklore and mythology that’s put into the game.  But nothing is more Norwegian than these guys with their lumberjack beards and Norwegian sweaters.

Skjermbilde 2015-05-27 19.30.35

They’re a determined group of developers and I believe in them. I believe that they will reach far! I love that audio is such a core game mechanic for their game and it seems they’re trying out some good new ways of thinking about narrative in games. What’s not to love?

They’ve also received some love from the Norwegian game developing community, which says a lot about them. So much love, in fact that a new hashtag was born #ThroughTheBeards. Please join us!!

LinnAntagonist2

LinnAntagonist2

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#Konsoll13

I’m so extremely proud that we’ve successfully managed to put together a game conference in Bergen again this year!

#konsoll13 will be in Bergen 3rd and 4th of October this year! For the observant readers you’ll recognise that this coincides with The Philosophy of Computer Games conference. Same city, same time and a wonderful opportunity for game academics and developers to co-exist in the same space.

This year I’ve received some wonderful help. Yngvill Hopen and John Edward Armstrong have put together a wonderful program with guests such as Ken Wong, Emmy Jonassen, Ernest Adams, Ole Andreas Jordet, Ragnar Tørnquist, Jory Prum, Dag Scheve, Nils Anderssen and our dear friends Alex Trowers and Luke Dicken. We’ll be having talks and workshops simultaneously.

Yngvill will also be this year’s Game Master. We had a great chat this weekend and I guarantee that you will enjoy!

We’ll be in an amazing house called “The Literary House”, which I love! It’s a beautiful place for cultural happenings in Bergen and I’m pleased to offer game developers something so aesthetically pleasing and warm as the back drop for celebrating their craft!

We’re also having a Dragon Den where game developers can pitch their projects to our

Dragons Den illustration by Øyvind Lien from Turbo Tape Games

Dragons Den illustration by Øyvind Lien from Turbo Tape Games

expert panel. We’re already filled up with game developers willing to fight the dragons and there are some suprises in the mix that make me so incredibly happy! I’m also very pleased with this year’s panel which is Alex Trowers, Ernest Adams, Helge Hannisdal (founder of Its Learning) and Tor Ole Rognaldsen representing the film and game fund, FUZZ. Dungeon Master this year will be Bjørn Alsterberg from BTO.

A huge thanks also to Morten Formo who’s designed our wonderful website and will be in charge of media!

There’s so much great stuff happening in Norway these days and you’ll be able to witness all of it by joinging us:

Something’s Brewing in Norway – part 1

Something’s Brewing in Norway – part 2

Something’s Brewing in Norway – part 3

I’m still short on funding though, so if you want your logo with our work – please let me know so that we can make this the best exprience! We offer the following packages:

1) € 1300 for logo on our webpage
2) € 1900 for logo on all our advertising material, screens and t-shirts.
3) € 2500 for all of the above and a stand with roll-up or whatever you wish for.

Something’s brewing in Norway – part 3

This is part 3 of a series where I’m trying to describe the lay of the land of game development in Norway. The more I dig the more astounded I am over the talent that exists here and some of the wonderful projects that are about to burst outta here! For more please read part 1 and part 2.

Moving east we arrive at one of the most exciting game developing companies in Norway, Rock Pocket Games. These days they’re developing the gorgeous looking Oliver and Spike – Dimension Jumpers:

Still not convinced? Here’s some more people drooling:

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Something’s brewing in Norway part 2

In part 1 I started introducing the game developers in Norway starting with Bergen. So far I’ve mentioned Rain (keep an eye out for them at GDC – they’ll be at the Nordic Game stand), D-Pad Studios, Henchman & Goon and Turbo Tape Games. I still have a few more I’d like to mention:

Mentalfish Mentalfish logo

This is pretty much a one-man band named Petter Sundnes. I’ve had the privilege of working with Petter on a few potential projects and I enjoy his visions and game developing skills. We’ve also worked with students together and he’s an excellent and patient teacher  while introducing Unity (I’ve even started dabbling with it). His game mechanic skills are excellent, creativity top notch and management skills are great. I hope to work more with him in the future and is my number one choice to bring along for meetings with potential new clients.

Read more about Mentalfish here.

Vostopia

Vostopia is slightly outside Bergen in beautiful Voss. Vostopia’s founding father is Bjarne Rene who has the most impressive game developing CV that I’ve seen around here. I keep describing him as a person with gravitas, by this I mean he is a man with experience and connections and we all value his opinion greatly. But he’s also a genuinely nice and fun guy who’s very willing to share and contribute to building a sustainable game developing industry in Norway. Here’s a little profile piece from our local paper, BT (again – in Norwegian): http://lisa.bt.no/btmultimedia/prosjekt/vestlendingen/#story_13

Vostopia offers avatars or avatar systems for game developers. They’re very versatile and fun and I think it’s a very smart business idea. Are you creating a game in Unity I would definitely recommend having a look. Here’s their demo reel:

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Something’s brewing in Norway – part 1

I spent the better half of 2012 getting to know the Norwegian game development community. There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening and I thought I’d take some time off this Sunday afternoon and write a few observations, while the local game developers are slaving away at Bergen Game Jam (over 30 participants and a good handful of women – not bad – very proud girl geek heart!).

There’s over 70 companies registered in Norway that are game developers and I’m willing to wager that there’s at least as many individuals dabbling with game development in their spare time but not taken the steps towards professionalisation yet.

Norway may be a very small country but we are also spread far and wide with massive mountains inbetween. Usually what comes out of our capital, Oslo, has the main focus, but I’m wondering if those of us who are a part of one of the “districts” of Norway are also coming into our “own”. We can debate on why later.

First off let me introduce my home town:

Bergen

There’s so much excitement in the air here in Bergen. We’ve got a unique community here that is all about sharing and boosting each other’s projects. We meet once a month for beer and informal chats and it’s quickly turning into one of the highlights of my month.

At present I count 9 game developing companies in Bergen and nearby districts. I’m sure there are more, so please let me know if I’m missing something.
Rain Games
Rain is very currently adding the finishing touches to their game, Teslagrad and it looks beautiful, or as Nathan Grayson from Rock Paper Shotgun puts it:

“Titled Teslagrad, the outwardly Braid-esque (read: hand-drawn and utterly gorgeous) sidescroller deals not in time-bending, lionsheep-smacking hijinx, but instead traverses terrain by magnetizing objects and characters.”

January 17th, 2013

They’re a very passionate group of game developers and artists with a very clear vision of the worlds they are creating. They’re very dedicated to their craft and the results are obviously gorgeous. Here’s a clip of gameplay:

 

It should be finished and ready for release March/April 2013 – so look out for it!

Other media mentions of Teslagrad:

Indie Statik

Gamereactor (Norwegian)
Bergens Tidene (Norwegian)

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Linn – an agent for game developers?

This is the one that I am most unclear about, but it’s so closely related to part 1 of my next adventures – so I’ll let you into my foggy thoughts on the subject.

Image

From Walter and Marianne’s wonderful house!

I want to establish myself as some form of agent for game developers. I want to help them find the best publishing and distribution platforms for their games and I want to help them with professional PR and advertisement.

I’m very strongly influenced by Bandello and UKIE, and I hope to learn more from them.

I think game publishing and distribution is coming into a very good era, but I also think that it’s a growing into a challenging landscape to coordinate in. I want to be the woman who guides these game designers on to the paths that are right for them.

I have a lot to learn and the last couple of months have been good research for me. I’ve been using the gaming event that I’m organising with Spillmakerlauget as a base for this research, which is also why I gush so when I write about them, for they’ve been very open and welcoming. It’s been a great way for me to learn more about the game development community in Norway and what their needs are. Where’s the gap and can I fill it? I most definitely can (when did I become so arrogant?) and I see there’s a lot of potential for me to start a good business. There are some pretty amazing games in production and I sincerely want them to do well.

I’ve been wanting to get into the computer game industry for a while now, I just didn’t know how. But I truly believe that this is something I could do well.

So this is where I’m at right now:

  • I’m setting up meetings and introductions
  • I’m writing a business plan
  • I’m trying to think of a good name – but struggling. Suggestions are very welcome!
  • And I’m reading wonderful blogs such as Games Brief to get a grip on the industry
  • I’m making my own map of what publishing and distribution looks like today in the computer game industry
  • Strongly considering bankrupting myself by going to GDC Europe to start establishing the relationships I need. Are you going?

I’m sure that this will be a forum where I brainstorm more openly about how to do this. Cause I’ll be honest with you – I’m kinda scared about this whole “found my vocation in life” thing. I have days of feeling very alone and vulnerable. But then I have a meeting or a phone call with a non-believer of the industry and I find myself doing well and sounding pretty convincing (yes – I surprise myself!).  I soooo hope that it is not an illusion and that I can make this work.

Naval War: Arctic Circle

I’ve been looking forward to this game being released for a long time. And I therefore have to give a little personal rant before talking about the game:

I’m a huge fan of Turbo Tape Games. They’ve done so much excellent work in bringing the computer games industry into the spotlight in Norway and doing an excellent job in preaching the value of the industry. These guys have opened so many doors and broken down so many barriers for the future of game development in Norway – I hope that we can do it justice. I remember meeting Fredrik Sundt Breien (Managing Director) at a First Tuesday event about games (OMG! 7 years ago!). He has the charisma and enthusiasm to charm any audience into believing that games are worth investing in – which he’s done! And continues to do so as he’s speaking at (Bergen’s new innovators and The Nordic Media Festival). In many ways I guess I’m kinda jealous, cause I’d like to do the exact same thing some day.

I met the technical director, Jan Haugland, at the Industrial Gaming conference, which was also one of my first presentations of Machinima hungover – thankfully come a long way since then! We had an indept conversation about game mechanics and the genious of Tetris, the details elude me, but I remember the happy feeling of meeting a good friend that day.

As for the rest of the gang – we still haven’t reached the threshold where hugs are a natural greeting. 

So when Turbo Tape Games was established, it was only natural for me to invite myself and the cHixOrs (pre Spillpikene) to visit the headquarters at Pixel Park. My what a long way they’ve come! I remember spending a good hour in their cramped office and still having absolutely no clue what Naval War was about. All I saw was a lot of code I did not understand and a lot of indication that this game was going to be just a tad too complicated for my taste.

—-

But as you may have understood from the long personal rant and reminiscing – I adore them and on launch day of Naval War: Arctic Circle – I wanted to stop by and wish them good luck. I incidently had a meeting next door and thought I’d stop by with the gift of coffee and wish them good luck. They were surprisingly calm and relaxed and I felt like such a fan girl being so enthused and excited for them.

And then … I was allowed to try the game and I was scared.

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Spillpikene and I are collecting used games for youths with cancer

A while back I read about this gorgeous room that was built at my local hospital. It’s a room for youths fighting cancer (plea

se note that they categorise youths as those aged between 15 and 35 – this pleased me so) to hang out and escape their everyday ordeals.

So for those who don’t know, I’m also blogging at another site in Norwegian called Spillpikene. I’ve blogged about them here before – but we didn’t start blogging together until spring 2009. Well – I say blogging – but I have to admit that I’ve been a slowpokey there as well, the girls have been good at keeping it alive.

Anyhow – I decided that it would be cool if Spillpikene and I started a drive to collect used games that have meant a lot to people in times of turmoil. Let’s face it – games help us escape – and by golly life needs escaping at times! And some games have helped us through hard ordeals and I wanted people to donate a game that helped them through a hard time. Of course loads of people thought this was a brilliant idea – but I have yet to receive a single one.

Why yes – I’m extremely disappointed. Spillpikene and I have, however, donated Playstation 2, Buzz handsets, 2 Buzz games and some more. Electronic Arts has also given a generous donation and Nintendo has donated a Wii. So it’s not all bad – I’m just wanting more!

So please – if you have a used game to help someone going through a hellish fight – send it to:

Linn Søvig
Aad Gjellesgate 12
5036 Bergen
Norway

Board games are definitely welcome as well!  And please do remember that we’re in Europe and under the zone 2 restrictions!

Games seminar

Or symposium (do I need a phd-degree to understand the differences between them?).

Floating Points 6. Games of Culture | Art of Games

Is a symposium, film screening and workshop in Boston, Massachusetts on the 20th and 21st of March.

They’re livestreaming the event and I hope that will include the workshop because Friedrich Kirschner is having a workshop entitle “Introduction to Machinima” – which I would love to witness.

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Aesthetics?

Yesterday UiB hosted the “New Aesthetic Technologies Conference”, which I really would have loved to attend! Firstly because I really want to know what my (?) university department thinks about aesthetics and new media – because I’m not sure I know. Two years ago (good golly – has it been that long?) – the brilliant Rune Klevjer put together a conference called “The Aesthetics of Play” – it’s just such an excellent title, don’t you think?
Look what I found!!

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