Andrew Czarnietzki is only too happy to show off physical copies of Curved Space, a 3D twin-stick shooter featuring “transtemporal spiders.”
It’s the realization of a childhood dream to one day develop his own video game.
“It was just crazy to unbox this and see this thing made manifest — and real.”
Czarnietzki is one half of Only by Midnight Ltd., an independent game studio he started with his wife, Jen Laface. Over the past few years the couple have worked jobs, raised their young child, and somehow found time to develop a video game, all from their Edmonton home.
“I find that with Edmonton, you get this atmosphere of support, which has been great,” said Laface.
🥰🤩🥳 Thank you so much and thanks for playing! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NintendoSwitch?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NintendoSwitch</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Nindies?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Nindies</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Nbaufop7o4″>https://t.co/Nbaufop7o4</a>
Alberta’s capital is famously home to game giant Bioware, which planted roots there in 1995 and grew to prominence after a slew of highly-regarded video game blockbusters like the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series.
In more recent years, Bioware has been joined by other well-known studios like Improbable and Beamdog.
But a scene of smaller, independent game developers has grown in Edmonton’s fertile gaming soil, leveraging a ready talent pool and supportive community to create a space for hobbyists, full-time professionals and everything in between.
The Edmonton Screen Industries Office estimates there are now around 75 indie game developers in the city.
Bioware a draw for developers
It was back in 2015 during a game jam — short events where creators work individually or in teams to create games centred around a theme — that Jace Boechler first started work on the competitive fighting game Little Hellions.
With a background in web development, Boechler made the jump three years later to work full-time on the project.
Like many indie developers, part of the reason he’s stayed in Edmonton is simple: it’s home. But Boechler also sees in the city a culture of curiosity for game development.
“There are so many people who are hungry to get into game development in Edmonton, and I think that’s largely by the virtue of the presence of Bioware,” he said.
“But I think that’s just the diving off point — I think there’s so much more that we have here that people don’t actually know about.”
Growing the community
GameCamp Edmonton is a game development organization that aims to connect creators and help them network and learn, something it’s done for more than a decade. Before the pandemic it held monthly meet-ups where it invited local talents to share their expertise.
Vanessa Capito, also an associate producer at Beamdog, is one of the group’s organizers.
“Edmonton and Alberta, I think they’re special in that we still have a relatively small community, but it’s been very welcoming and open.”
She says game jams have been a great way for people to collaborate and build up a portfolio.
“I love our community,” Capito said. “When I first joined six years ago, I was just a shy student who was just wowed that we had something like this here in Edmonton.”
Edmonton’s gaming support system
The Edmonton Screen Industries Office was established in 2017 to support the development of screen media projects. From its inception, the economic development organization has included video games under its wide-ranging purview.
“I think we’re seeing continued growth, and I expect that we will continue to do that,” said CEO Tom Viinikka. “Our hope and our goal in our office is to foster that growth.”
The screen industries office aims to connect creators and offers information and workshops for developers. It provides some granting opportunities — it is currently taking applications for $1,500 micro grants to help with third-party costs during a project’s initial planning phase.
I love our community. When I first joined six years ago, I was just a shy student who was just wowed that we had something like this here in Edmonton.– Vanessa Capito, Beamdog associate producer and GameCamp organizer
Viinikka said there are a number of ways that Edmonton is well-suited to the indie development scene.
“Edmonton is an amazing place to do business in general,” he said. “I think that we have a really entrepreneurial spirit in this city.”
Bioware’s presence has seen indie studios started by former employees while post-secondary institutions in Edmonton have been forward-thinking, Viinikka said, referencing the University of Alberta’s certificate in computer game development and NAIT’s digital media and IT program.
“We need to feed this talent pipeline and they’ve done a wonderful job of that.”
A 2019 report by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada found that Canadian video game companies generated an estimated $3.6 billion in revenue. Despite the pandemic, global video game revenue was forecasted to rise to $175 billion for 2020.
Shift to digital distribution
When Kyle Kulyk lost his job in finance during the 2007 financial crisis, he went back to school to study game programming at NAIT before starting his own video game company, Itzy Interactive.
Opportunities for smaller indie studios have been made possible by a global shift in video game distribution in recent years — digital platforms now offer the chance to get more games out to the masses.
WATCH | Indie game scene on the rise in Edmonton:
Game engines — software frameworks for games — were previously the purview of big studios, but Kulyk says they’ve become more user-friendly and reasonably-priced. At the same time, major console-makers like Sony and Nintendo opened up their digital distribution platforms to indie games.
“Things turned around the last console generation, over the last 10 years or so,” he said.
Itzy Interactive started in mobile games but has since turned to console and computer platforms. In May it published its fourth title, the co-op arcade shooter Mad Devils.
Funding can be challenging
Kulyk readily admits that the reality of the industry can be harsh for indie game studios vying for attention in a more accessible market.
“It’s certainly not for the faint of heart in terms of the commitment that it takes to get there,” he said.
“We wouldn’t exist right now if it wasn’t for the Canada Media Fund.”
The fund develops and finances Canadian content across audiovisual media — one funding source for projects that can require long, irregular hours without any guarantee of a pay off.
Alberta previously offered a Digital Media Tax Credit, which was viewed as a major boon for the game development industry, but the provincial government eliminated the credit in 2019.
Kulyk’s small indie studio has still managed to grow from just him and his brother-in-law to a team of four full-time employees, resulting in a collaborative creative effort he finds rewarding.
“To put these ideas out there to my team and then to see where we end up at the end of the day is so much more to me than selling mutual funds ever was.”
The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutras community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
5 main skills of a game designer
From time to time Game designers need to learn different skills specific for the game they are making, but there is five core skill that every game designer need to know, in this post, I will talk about these five skills and why game designers need them.
Documentation is the first and the primary job of a game designer. In GDDs you are going to write down specific detail about how to make your game.
It’s essential for a game designer to write the documents understandable and straightforward because they help you and your team understand your game better.
The purpose of these GDDs is to have the answer to everything; there should not be an undetailed subject in your docs.
Now I have to be honest with you no one will read your docs unless you tell them to do it. Make sure everyone in your team reads the docs to be updated with the changes in the game. Everyone will try to read the docs as fast as possible, so remember there is no need to use big words for a GDD. You are not writing a novel. You are writing a manual for how to make a game. Write simple, accurate, and detailed.
RND (Research and Development)
RND is one of the most critical and basic knowledge that a game designer should have; Research is the basic foundation of every work in the world; you can never move forward without using the knowledge of others; for example, An author spends three to twelve months of studying and researching to write a book, It is very important that you, as a game designer, know how to do your research and use it correctly and quickly.
Always have a list of sites that can help you do your research; if you ever saw a good article, save it somewhere; one day, you will need it.
Look for people who have made similar games, and if you can, contact them and ask them for advice,
look at failed games and find The reason for failure.
For designing even the smallest mechanics of your game, do an RND!
Stay away from reading useless content that might be good, but you have no use for them right now, save them for later.
Before designing or documenting anything, ask the production team for time to do RND.
Again, I’m asking you Please Do nothing without research and study because a mistake and a wrong choice can damage the game’s success.
Note that research and study for game designers should happen as quickly as possible.
Mathematics is an important principle from which many novice designers escape,
Game designers who have a good knowledge of mathematics are more proficient in designing systems and balancing different game parts. Game design is not just about producing and writing mechanics, But you should also develop the formulas and equations that make those mechanics work and present them to the programming team.
Many world-famous designers consider mathematics to be the main basis of game design and believe that it would not be possible to produce any game without it. All the rules you design for your game will work based on math.
The lack of math in the game means that Mario will be suspended while jumping in the air or that Angry Birds will all be thrown in a straight line.
In most cases, the math you learned in high school or university is enough to design a game. For example, I will write down a few chapters that are widely used in game design:
- Linear Algebra
- Discrete Mathematics
- And more …
Programming may not be one of the essential requirements for a game designer, But it is one of the best skills a game designer can have.
In all AAA companies, game designers are fluent in one programming language, and the reason is that sometimes a document won’t be enough for the Programming team to understand a mechanic, so a designer Create a prototype, that way everyone will see and understand the mechanic easyli.
Sometimes the programming team is busy with the engine and writing the core parts of the game; They may not have time to implement game mechanics until the end of the project, so designers must create the prototypes!
What you write and design in paper worth noting until it gets imported to the game engine because there is a huge difference between what you create on paper and what you see and feel in the game engine, so it will be very useful to know a programming language.
Game designers do not need to learn Low_Level programming languages such as C but most of the time, High_Level languages such as C # or C++ will meet a game designer’s needs.
You do not need to learn these languages completely; learn enough to implement and test the mechanics in the simplest way.
Another thing that you will discover with your programming knowledge is finding mutual understanding with programmers; Once you have that same understanding, you will be careful with what you are designing.
Understanding the limitations
Understanding the limitations of the project may not be everyone’s job, and creating restrictions will indeed lead to the gradual death of creativity. Still, understanding what is suitable for the project and what takes too much time is a topic that every game designer should understand.
Sometimes you design a game for a one-day Game jam, and sometimes for a game that takes three years to produce; understanding the time and designing based on it is very important.
Another limitation that game designers must consider is the team itself; get to know your team before designing, consider their strengths and weaknesses, and start creating and producing content based on that; in a team that has no 3D Artist, making a 3D game is pure nonsense, In a team that does not have a server programmer, producing an online game will be a costly mistake.
So it is essential to know your team well and consider them when you are designing.
This limitation may come in many forms; it can come from the programming team or even the publishers. Remember that you can’t have everything together, make a list of the game priorities and focus on them. Fighting with the limitations won’t help, you may change some of them, but there will always be some off-limit things to do. The only thing you can do as a game designer is to understand them and design your work around them.
Some of the greatest games take the novel experiences of real life and translate them into a cunning virtual experience. For example, this train building game by James Vanas is reminiscent of the feeling of holding one of those plastic 3D bookmarks sold in tchotchke tourist shops. As you tilt it, the game moves like a holographic card.
We have this and more in Cool WIP, Polygon’s weekly roundup of eye-catching clips and screenshots of works in progress. Each week, the Polygon staff scours the internet for the most interesting games still under construction, to give you a sampler of the coolest up-and-coming projects.
This week we have a tool that makes a game look like it’s displayed on a CRT screen, a sparkly platformer, a skateboarding game with robots, and a spooky walk through the woods. Read on to learn more about each project.
You don’t need the 3DS for cool effects
Holographic effects aren’t all that new, but it’s cool to see developers really embrace the effect with video games. Loco Looper is a top-down (or isometric if you want) train-building game for mobile devices that recreates a 3D look by tilting the phone. In a clip posted by James Vanas, you can see a person holding a phone running their game and tilting the phone back and forth. As the phone moves, the buildings tilt as well, which gives the game a 3D effect. Loco Looper doesn’t have a release date but you can follow the game’s progress on Vana’s Twitter account.
A game that looks like it’s on an old-school monitor
Sometimes, games get remastered or ported to newer consoles, but on an LED screen, the remake can’t quite recapture the feeling of the original low-res monitor. Mrmo Tarius, a 2D and 3D artist, illustrator, and graphics designer, is making a game that looks like it’s displayed on an old-school CRT screen as you play it. Mrmo Tarius also created a tool that allows any developer to add the effect to their game. If you want to see what they’re working on and all the cool clips they’re cooking up with the tool, you can check out their Twitter page.
A neon wonderland
Honestly, I didn’t realize it until I saw this platformer, but we need more glitter in games. This clip of Lazr, by Garrick Campsey, features the main character jumping and navigating through a neon world and a barrage of glittery attacks. Lazr’s developer bills the game as a “cyberpunk platformer” and it’s scheduled to release in spring 2021.
Skateboard through a twisting factory
I’ve already written about KevKev’s work before, when the developer posted progress on a smaller skating game, but this takes the idea in a new direction. In this short GIF, we see a robot gliding through an industrial world on a hoverboard. The factory-like setting makes for the perfect setting, giving the character plenty of rails to grind and platforms to launch tricks. This clip is not for any announced game yet, but you can check out more on the developer’s Twitter page.
The Lost Woods get a little creepier
This short clip of The Milk Lake from Boltzmann Games shows a mysterious character running through a dark and foggy woods. As the character dashes by, it stops to place its hands on a tree and interact with it. This action RPG is early in development and doesn’t have a release date yet, but you can follow updates on the developer’s Twitter page.
Chicago’s crime wave claimed another victim Tuesday night: a 67-year-old special education teacher who was fatally struck by a bullet while traveling home from a White Sox game, according to reports.
Denise Huguelet was pronounced dead at a hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to her back, FOX 32 of Chicago reported.
The highway shooting, around 10 p.m. on the Dan Ryan Expressway, was the 156th such crime in the city so far this year, surpassing the 128 total for all of 2020, and tripling the 52 total for all of 2019, the report said.
Huguelet was riding home with her husband when suspects in two other vehicles started firing at one another, and Huguelet was killed by a crossfire shot, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
She and her husband had five children and 11 grandchildren, local media reported.
CHICAGO OFFICER INJURED IN SHOOTING THAT KILLED ELLA FRENCH SPEAKS OUT FOR FIRST TIME
Illinois State Police later apprehended two suspects in connection with the shooting and recovered a handgun, FOX 32 reported.
State Police tracked down the suspects after a police helicopter spotted their vehicle speeding away from the site of the shooting, the station reported.
Huguelet, a resident of Orland Park, taught for 24 years in nearby Evergreen Park, was a beloved and dedicated educator, Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124 wrote in a Facebook post.
“Her passion for students and her dedication to the community showed in all aspects of her work,” the school district’s statement said.
“Mrs. Huguelet’s nature with kids was kind, yet firm, to ensure that students were taught the independent skills they needed to be successful in their futures. She cared deeply about the academic needs of students, and the social and emotional well-being of every students’ needs,” the post continued.
CHICAGO MOM KILLED IN DRIVE-BY SHOOTING IN FRONT OF HER KIDS DAY BEFORE SON’S 7TH BIRTHDAY: FAMILY
“An Evergreen Park native, she was a dear friend to many colleagues who will remember her character as pure, honest, fair and kind. She was an incredible woman whose memory will always be with us.”
“She was a dear friend to many colleagues who will remember her character as pure, honest, fair and kind. She was an incredible woman whose memory will always be with us.”
The Chicago White Sox, who played the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night, also expressed condolences after learning about Huguelet’s death.
“Our hearts are broken for the family of Denise Huguelet,” the team’s statement said. “She dedicated her career to making a difference in the lives of so many young students. The entire White Sox organization is deeply pained by the news of her passing and the loss of her warm, caring spirit that her friends, family and community remember well about Denise.”
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The Dan Ryan has seen 50 shootings this year, the Eisenhower Expressway 34, the Bishop Ford 25, the Kennedy five and the Edens three, according to FOX 32.
Earlier this year, the Illinois State Police received $12.5 million to install high-definition cameras to help prevent expressway shootings and gather evidence to solve those cases that occur, the station reported.
Many are investing in the gaming industry and seeking for best game developers. It is significant to choose an excellent partner to design, build, test and release it. Currently, there are numerous game developers in the market, which has made it challenging for service seekers to find reliable game developers.
Thus, GoodFirms.co has unveiled the list of Top Game Development Companies to assist the service seekers. Moreover, here is a list of game development companies specialized in developing 2D, 3D, Android, AR, Cross-Platform, Facebook, and HTML5 Games.
Take a Sneak Peek at the List of Top Game Development Companies worldwide and experts in delivering high-standard 2D, 3D, Android, AR, Cross-Platform, Facebook, and HTML5 Games:
Top Game Development Companies:
Argentics, Cubix, Whimsy Games, Logic Simplified, KEVURU GAMES, Next Big Technology (NBT), Riseup Labs, Visartech Inc., Kmphitech, Nimblechapps Pvt. Ltd.
Top 2D Game Development Companies:
Appingine, BEETSOFT CO., Ltd, SYNARION IT SOLUTIONS, Orion InfoSolutions, Buildbox Developers, Juego Studio Private Limited, Perpetio, Terasol Technologies, The NineHertz, Algoworks.
Top 3D Game Development Companies
RV Technologies Softwares Pvt. Ltd, Aalpha Information Systems India Pvt. Ltd., Crickle Studio Pvt. Ltd., INGIC, Technoloader, InnoApps Technologies Pvt. Ltd., APPSTIRR, iQlance Solutions, Technource.
Top Android App Development Companies:
OpenXcell, Utility, Ads N Url, Mobcoder, Swenson He, RipenApps, SoluLab, SPEC INDIA, Day One Technologies, Zco Corporation.
Top AR Game Development Companies:
N-iX, Chaos Theory, Bit Space Development Ltd, Mantreza Technologies Private Limited, Jploft Solutions Pvt. Ltd, ViitorCloud, Awakeen Studio Pvt. Ltd., Queppelin, Azmi Studio, Vidhema Technologies Pte Ltd.
Top Cross Platform Game Development Companies:
Quokka Labs, MobMaxime, Anthill Worldwide, iLogos Game Studios, Sababa Labs LLC, Unanimous Studios, JoyTime Apps, Vibra Infotech, Emblem Technologies Private Limited, Codehunt Technology Pvt Ltd.
Top Facebook Game Development Companies:
Brillmindz Technologies, Apps Nado, Lafont Innovation LLC, iLogos Game Studios, Golden Logic Company, Brainsmiths Labs, Softclain Technologies Private Limited, SRGH, South Games Studio, Onlyplay.
Top HTML5 Game Development Companies:
Logic Simplified, TechPhant Consulting Group, FuGenX Technologies, CreatioSoft, Appiskey Inc, HelloPixelsDigital, GamePix, Freak X Apps, Mobitsolutions, Technogiq IT Solutions Private Limited.
Washington DC, based GoodFirms is an internationally renowned B2B research, ratings, and reviews platform. It aims to associate the service seekers with top companies. The analyst team of GoodFirms conducts an assessment to evaluate every firm from different industries following three main critical criteria that are Quality, Reliability, and Ability.
These components are sub-divided into several parameters such as to determine the complete background of every firm, years of experience in their proficiency, online market penetration, and client reviews. Focusing on overall research measures, agencies are provided the scores that are out of total 60. Thus, considering these points companies are indexed in the catalog as per their categories.
Moreover, GoodFirms uplift the service providers by asking them to be involved in the research process and present strong proof of the work done by them. Hence, grab a chance to Get Listed for free in the list of outstanding IT companies, best software, and other organizations from various sectors of industries. Securing a position among the list of top companies at GoodFirms will help you spread your wings globally and attract new prospects to earn more revenue.
GoodFirms is a Washington, D.C. based research firm that aligns its efforts in identifying the most prominent and efficient game development companies that deliver results to their clients. GoodFirms research is a confluence of new age consumer reference processes and conventional industry-wide review & rankings that help service seekers leap further and multiply their industry-wide value and credibility.
Citing the area’s appeal to creative and tech talent, Greenville, North Carolina-based Grover Gaming is opening its new game development studio in Wilmington, according to a press release.
The studio, located in The Cotton Exchange in downtown Wilmington, already has several employees working in the office, and will officially open Sept. 27 with about 20 employees. Ultimately, the company plans to hire over 60 team members, Chief Product Officer Dean Smith said in an email.
“Grover Gaming has been pooling talent from all over the country, and as we get newer, younger talent, there is more and more demand for an urban location that is central to food, festivals and city events,” Smith said. “Wilmington has a huge appeal for creatives with close proximity to EUE/Screen Gems Studios and downtown art galleries and museums.”
Grover Gaming develops software, game content and gaming systems for lotteries and charitable gaming jurisdictions. The company produces over 80 game titles played across the country, according to Smith.
General manager Dottie Battoe will be leading the Wilmington game studio.
The positions the company has and is currently hiring for include game developers, programmers, 3D artists, quality assurance professionals and quality testers, as well as leadership positions such as studio general manager, art director, director of game design and director of game development.
These positions, Smith said, are highly sought after by employers.
“[They] are very in-demand jobs at the moment and are getting recruited from companies located in California, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Chicago. With all that Wilmington has to offer, we are confident that we can compete with any of these other cities,” Smith said.
Grover Gaming aims to draw from local tech employees as well as employees from other locations.
“Wilmington has a vibrant culture and lively art scene – if we are not finding people locally, we are hoping to attract talent from across the country with the many things the city has to offer, such as events, local restaurants and beaches,” Smith said.
The software company also hopes to support the local growth of tech talent through working with local colleges and universities
“This expansion really makes sense for us,” Kevin Morse, director of market development, said in the release. “Wilmington is growing as fast as we are, and we know that having an independent game studio there will allow us to continue to attract top-notch talent.”
Game Maker Studio 2 is the most advanced piece of software on our list, and may intimidate total newcomers. However, it is by far the easiest professional-level game engine to learn, and has been used by many indie developers to create games like Hyper Light Drifter, Momodora, Katana Zero, and more.
The key to Game Maker Studio 2’s accessibility is its streamlined, object-based scripting. Instead of coding your games from scratch, the built-in editor lets you program character behaviors and gameplay systems with simple drop-down menus based on Game Maker Studio’s unique scripting language. There are tons of tutorials available that teach you the basics of the engine, as well as sample projects to get you started and community-made assets you can use if you’re not yet up to making your own.
The only downside is that the skills you learn making games with Game Maker Studio 2 won’t necessarily translate to other engines like Godot, Unity, and Unreal, since those use common coding languages like C#, which allow for more complexity. However, since Game Maker Studio 2 supports 2D and 3D games, you could easily make all your games in Game Maker Studio 2 for as long as it suits your needs.
Game Maker Studio is free to download and use, but you will have to pay to unlock certain features and to publish your games. You can buy a 1-year license for $39 that lets you publish to Windows and Mac, or a permanent license for $99 that adds iOS, Android, Amazon Fire devices, Ubuntu, HTML 5, and Universal Windows Program publishing support. Game Maker Studio 2 also has publishing tools for PS4/PS5, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One/Xbox Series X/S, but each one requires a license that costs a whopping $700 per year—or you can bundle them for $1,500 per year. That’s pretty steep, though comparable to the console publishing costs you’ll see with other professional-level software.