Keengamer as a new social website could not be missing at the Czech gaming festival and find out what is happening at similar actions, meet new people from the gaming community, get to know with developers and show others that something like Keengamer exists.
Because the city of Třeboň is not close to the cities we live in (Ostrava and Zlín) we had to set out for the GameDay 2015 the day before on Thursday's evening. As an "unskilled labour" we took our girlfriends and because we had one practical advantage over other visitors, caravan, we decided after some detours and delays to stop in a village about an hour ride from Třeboň and visited local pub to finalize our strategy for the coming days and nights. Which was of course a complete success after few beers and we ended up in our beds full of expectations at 2 a.m. :-)
We came to Třeboň at half past ten and drove through the whole crowded city centre even with our small "bus". When we were leaving the main square I saw a simple notice saying "GameDay" so it was immediately clear where to go. And what was even better we were able to park just about 300 metres away.
Arrival at the place was in the mood of expectations future events. The whole action took place in the old Town Hall. The house was probably not very used and was opened only for the festival and the informational centre at the ground floor. Which was nothing to worry about and we hurried up to the second floor where all the game maniacs should be present.
The whole place of the game festival was a little bit archaic. Walls were dirty, room for the public lectures must have been abandoned for many years and all the surroundings were not top-notch. However all the activities were from the developers to the fans. And that was accomplished. In about three rooms and a hallway there were tables and stalls where you could see and take a lot of informational leaflets, talk with hostesses and developers who were answering with a genuine enthusiasm to the prying questions of fans or whoever climbed up the stairs.
We arrived practically right at the start of the first lecture "Marketing and how to get money on the Czech Startovač (local version of KickStarter)" presented by Zdeněk Záhora from Fun 2 Robots. Of course because it was the initial lecture the room was not crowded so our small team of four with other ten guys helped to make the impression that the room was almost full if nothing else :-). And it was a pity that only a bunch of people were interested because it will be hard to find out another professional like Zdeněk who could tell you about the Czech crowd funding process and how to be successful. There were real facts and experience showed during the lecture so if you plan to try to start your own campaign in the Czech crowd funding scene, come next year to the GameDay to learn more. We can only recommend it. Of course we have talked with Zdeněk also during the party later that day and his understanding and avidity for the commencing developers and authors was infectious. Hopefully it could help us to improve Keengamer.
After the lecture we had to visit at least for a short time all the developers and take a look who was present and what games were available and ready to try and chat about.
WHAT DEVELOPERS WERE PRESENT?
Right across the stairs we were welcomed by the girls from Lipa Learning. Their project is focused on children and their education with mobile devices. And as we all know children likes electronic toys and if parents could give them games which will teach them new information, what could be better? And trust us that the already spent money €3.65 million are visible. The studio's goal is to create 40 educational games and teach children in every aspect. Additionally even the developers say that their vision is not to make applications which will earn millions. On the other hand. They want to deliver well made tools for kids to make learning new things funny and entertaining. Their slogan is simple: "We can change education." And we too believe, after seeing their stall with queues of kids, that the development is going the right way.
In the room on the right side from the staircase there was Paperash studio. Not very visible on Friday but we caught them nevertheless the day after and at the party. If you don't know Dark Train game then it's the best time to rectify it. Take a look at their profile here. I must also say in all honesty that we had a great talk with the developers, namely with Vojta. And when you see the enthusiasm of these few guys and girl, how they make the game, show the presentation and make the audio background in the room where a musician was playing on glasses like on drums and much more... Simply the game looks amazing and the style of making the game is really unique. You can bet that next year Dark Train will win the Czech game of the year in the Artistic contribution for the Czech gaming industry category.
On the left-hand side from the staircase was another smaller room where three developer studios were in attendance. And on Saturday even four. Because we are in tight cooperation with Martin Mastný and know all the possible details of his Novus Inceptio game and I know him for several years personally we were obliged to visit him. And as was quickly noticeable, Martin had a very nice corner equipped with one monitor showing in a cycle the teaser of his game, on the other computer you could try to play the early alpha and talk to the developer at the same time. As you can see on the pictures posted below we also tried the game and everything worked as intended :-). News about the game can be found here.
Right next to Martin there was a duo of sympathetic guys from Vicious Mime. They are making a platform game Other inside which would be based on solving logical problems and the story will divide into many ways depending on your actions and answers. It was clear that the game's core system, graphical and audio functions are well created but as it often happens the users' experience here at GameDay showed that there are problems with controls and there are several issues which must be improved or changed. In every case the game is interesting and it could please both younger and older players.
One of the top studios were located in the same room. Dreadlocks studio has released DEX just one day before GameDay. It is a 2D action rpg sandbox game in an open cyberpunk world. It sounds crazy but it looks great. You can read our review here. If you want to play it then buy and download it on Steam. According to the developers the game takes around 19 hours to complete which I think is just right. What's more one of the developers was in a costume and nicely improved the feeling about the game and was pleasing to the eye at the same time :-).
In the evening guys from Fiola Soft have showed up. They released a very hard platformer Blackhole. Unfortunately we missed them but the game has a great score in every reviews and if you are eager to play such a game, destroy your keyboard with rage and die a lot then go for it! :-) Our review is here.
Have you ever wished to be a shepherd? Yes? Then the game So Shepherd! is for you. The goal is simple. You are a dog and have to defend your herd of sheeps by running and barking at wolves, UFOs and other menaces until the time finishes. The rules are simple but the game could be fun for children and motivating to make records. Game was presented by pleasant developer Katka and you could have seen that she breathes for the game. Even the game was presented with an older graphical version (new is already done but was not available) the gameplay was fine.
Even though the presentation of Future Factory game was in the hallway it was still easy to try this game for mobiles and tablets and make records. Or maybe it wasn't so easy because younger visitors took the mobile or tablet just few seconds after the previous kid has stopped playing :-). Graphics, gameplay and everything you can do in the game is fluent, fun to play and the title looks very professional. You can download the game at Windows Phone Store and more systems should be available soon. As I said at the beginning this game was prepared for the crowdfunding campaign by Zdeněk Záhora and you should see the promo video because it's worth of watching :-). Unfortunately just in Czech but you can notice that it was done late in the night and in a very different way you are used to :-).
It was very pleasurable to talk to Tomáš and Lukáš. What's more the games they were presenting appeared at the mobiles of our girlfriends the same day and my better half discharged her battery on our way home on Sunday by playing Tile Monsters. Do you need another promo? :-) Tile Monsters is a puzzle game which purpose is to move blocks on the small board and not to get eaten by other monster. And you must think hard doing so. The second game presented was Alchemixo which is again a logical title. You must blend colours and try to make defined potion. Again the idea is hidden in its simplicity but that's also its strength.
Unfortunately the developers were available only on Friday and when we wanted to talk to them they went for lunch. And they were not present on Saturday. They were showing the game Garden of Ants.
Tomáš came to the festival on Saturday and was presenting his new football based game. You choose movements for each of your players and finish your round. The computer or opponent does the same. Then the movements proceed and you see how well you have decided and played. Of course you must shoot goals. The game was in its very alpha and more options, career and motivation must be added to keep players' interest but as Tomáš said it is what he is working on right now.
Of course at the GameDay there were were not just these studios and games. A lot of other known faces have their lectures or presentation of games in other buildings and rooms throughout the city. I must emphasize some of them even we missed many others because it's simply impossible to catch everyone.
During the Saturday party there was a creator of game J.U.L.I.A.: Among the Stars and to be honest it was inspiring to talk to him. His range of skills is enviable. He does programming, plays on musical instruments and understand a lot of areas. I must mention that he told us interesting news from his past and how he has released the game and what were the reaction of critics, lack of interest in his game and knowledge and other troubles he experienced. Although the game was released few months ago we will try to correct this omission and publish articles not just about the game but also about the techniques how it was create and other things which could be interesting not just for other developers. And before you can buy and play J.U.L.I.A. because it's worth buying.
Is it necessary to present you this studio?? Do you know Space Engineers? Or Medieval Engineers? You should. Because the first title was sold over 1.5 million of pieces on Steam and that is a number which majority of developers could only dream of. There is a lot of work and lost nerves behind this success, for sure. But half an hour of discussion late in the night with one of the creator was very inspiring and gave me better insight behind the official news and figures. Many fans could just envy my chat over the beer :-). But don't be afraid we want to publish news and other interesting info just for you.
Unfortunately these developers from the city of Zlín had to cancel their attendance so we can give you only official information about their noir game Renoir.
The game Infinitum: Battle for Europe is the newest title of Allodium studio and in these days the title is fighting on the market and from what we know the game is winning and the player base is increasing. Infinitum: BfE is a browser MMORTS game. Maybe you know its predecessor Infinitum and now the successor has received better graphics, gameplay and functions.
That is all concerning the majority of developers who were at GameDay. If we missed someone then we apologise for this omission and we will try our best to meet everyone next year.
We visited all the stalls and developers, talked with majority of them and tried to build new contacts. Sorry if we were not always pleasant and seemed a little bit like a dinosaur in a flower garden. It was not our intention. However this was our first action of this type and as it is important for developers to sell their games and become rich it is also important for us to get new contacts and interesting content for our website. We are doing this for you, our readers and without a little bit of pressure from our part it won't be possible. I hope that we have not discourage anybody and that we have established good relationships so all of us can profit from it.
We were also not able to be at every lecture but if some of you, developers, missed the lecture about the European grants from Pavlína Kalandrová from Kreativní Evropa (Creative Europe) then you should search the web. Because in the previous year there were 6 developers which asked for the grant and 1 was successful. And this year there is no such a company or developer who wants to get this tribute.
What I cannot forget to mention is the big Friday award ceremony for Czech game of the year 2014. You can read more details here. The whole ceremony was still a little bit "indie" but as I was talking with others the improvement over the last year was visible and the event was more professional and hopefully it will become more and more important for Czech scene and all developers to win this price. We wish the ceremony and future winners only the best.
After that we all moved back to the old Town Hall where you could get something to eat, drink a beer or wine and all was for free. At least at the beginning before new keg had to be opened :-). And as the developers and fans focused on games during the day, the night was more about fun, alcohol and groups of smoking people outside the building all night long. And as you can imagine there were not many sober people after few hours. Including us :-).
We left the party around 2 a.m. but from what we know there was a strong group of individuals who remained until 8 a.m. :-)
Saturday, that day it was really difficult to wake up and try to look fresh. Don't ask me when the hangover left my head. In every case the party gave us A LOT of new ideas, contacts and fresh vision for Keengamer. We also want to start tight cooperation with indie community and hopefully you will see soon new features and articles on the web.
From the Saturday's lectures I must emphasize very enthusiastic young lady who was spreading her ardour all over the room. Her name is Mariebeth Aquino from Games Austria. She and the team around her try to support game developers (like České hry is doing for the Czech Republic) not just in Austria but in the whole Middle Europe. Namely Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia. They try to make one strong structure of developers from all these countries, unite them and get louder voice in Brussels and become an equal partner for big distributors and developers who are for example in Germany and France.
And we will try as Keengamer to help this respectable goal too because if you realize that Mariebeth knew exactly how many developers are creating games in Austria, Slovenia and in other countries but after her question how many of them are positioned in the Czech Republic only silence remained in the audience. Therefore there is a hard work ahead of all of us to unite at least Czech community and this task is worth to do and support. Don't you think?
We were also present at the talking of Tomáš Šebesta from Gamerous Studios who was trying to explain the audience that Having the idea is great but... He was showing examples of their games, how they were created, developed and also some of them even not finished. And what were the reasons not to finish them, how to avoid this end, how to shorten the developing time of projects, what to do with ideas and simply how to optimize the whole process. Having the idea is great but not everyone is able to make it to the final release. It's not an easy task.
The rest of Saturday was rather peaceful and we were just hanging about the city, made a nice walk to the pond Svět (Word in English), went through the main square and because we got also invitations for the final main ceremony of Anifilm festival we ended up there. And in comparison to other Czech widely known ceremonies the one in Třeboň was one of the best I've seen. Absolutely perfect performance of the moderators, guests, accompanying program etc. The hour passed very quickly but was hilarious.
All the invited people for the ceremony later moved to the restaurant Beseda where the party continued. But we have changed the direction and left the crowd into the big and oldest brewery in the Czech Republic, Regent. When we came to the party with new knowledge how to produce beer the only meal left was a pasta salad. Fortunately it was tasty so we got some more glasses of beer and left shortly after 1 a.m. But there were guys again drinking and talking until 4 a.m. :-)
There is not much to talk about. We left the city of Třeboň at 11 a.m. and started our way back to Brno and to our cities of Zlín and Ostrava. Tired but full of impressions, with a lot of new contacts and tens of ideas for the further development of Keengamer.
The action was great and we will certainly visit GameDay 2016 and will get finally fully accredited :-).
For the team behind Keengamer I can just say that not every information and experience was possible to disclose but if you follow our web (or start to), believe us that we have some big plans...
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