The whole festival took place at Wien University, founded in 1365 and is the oldest university in Austria. Its popularity, location and historical beauty were perfect for this year’s CEGC, and anyone who got lost in Wien could just ask for directions to the Wien University.
The CEGC festival is made with the support of several sponsors and is organized by non-profit organization Games Austria. It’s one of the biggest events in the Central Europe focused on game development, indie developers and gaming community. According to executive director Mariebeth Aquino, the main goal of the whole festival is the support of game development in the whole Central Europe area; and it's not limited to this geographical region. The organization also aims at countries such as those of the Balkans, due to a large number of visitors from the area.
The event hosted more than 630 visitors. More than 40 indie developers showed their games and 60 presentations took place in 3 rooms, with 70 speakers from 18 different countries. The program consisted of several parts, such as the CE WIG & Diversity Summit, Education Summit and CEE++ Summit. Also worth mentioning is Games Made in Poland which was featured at CEGC, dealing about the development of games made by Polish companies.
CE WIG & Diversity Summit
The Central European Women in Games and Diversity Summit was one of the new summits, or features, at CEGC. The objective was to support acceptance and assertion of women in the gaming industry because equality is one of the main goals in the industry's development.
At this meeting visitors had the opportunity to talk and ask questions representatives of different educational institutions about the study possibilities, goals and other aspects regarding the game development in the context of education.
Every organisation and not just developers engaged in the gaming industry could present their ideas, suggestions and projects to the CEE gaming community. The aim was to support and help the game developers in the Central Europe as a large single unit. Each block, presentation and panel discussion toward the end were all held in a friendly spirit while stressing the fact that because of the history in our countries and political situation, we are quite a bit behind the possibilities available to developers in Germany, France, Netherlands and even Poland. Strong organisations exist which are able to take a piece of the big cake of the EU funds or from the local government subsidies from which the smaller developers can profit from and make better games. Hopefully this will become a reality soon in all the countries.
You could see and listen to some of the famous names like Tina Merry (ROU), Marek Rabas (CZE), Simon Sicko (SVK), Michal Staniszewski (POL), Marek Rosa (CZE), Aurélien Nicoleau (FRA), Thibaud Dorousset (FRA), Jari-Pekka Kaleva (FIN), Maciej Hoffman (POL), Pavlína Kalanderová (CZE), Michael Liebe (GER), Eline Muijres (NED), Thierry Platon (FRA), Matta Haggis (NED), Martine Spaans (NED), Eric Jannot (GER), Olga Afanasjeva (CZE) and other representatives, for example from Unreal Engine a Polnisches Institut Wien.
What could you see and try?
In the main showroom visitors could see brand new games from a lot of indie developers and of course some of them were from the Czech Republic and Slovakia; Clayburger, Kubat Software, Charged Monkey and others. The major language at the place was German followed by Polish. But by looking around and focusing on the others it was very easy to hear Czech language. Quite a big part of the volunteers who took care of the event and were responsible for the smooth flow of events were from the Czech Republic. It’s nice that there are many students willing to participate and help at this type of festival even abroad.
Visitors could also try all the mobile, console and PC games (alone or with friends), talk about their development and give ideas and proposals how to make them even better directly to the developers. We talked and contacted almost every developer present at CEGC, and you can look forward to the previews and reviews of their games which they are working on hard right now.
Czech and Slovak games
- Hopply – Clayburger (CZ)
The game is made completely by plasticine and will be released for iOS and Android. The goal of this game is to jump over the river from one water lily to another and not die. Every water lily has its own durability and disappears after a while. We met the developers at GDS in Prague as well and here you can read our interview.
Of course you had the possibility to make your own character which will be implemented to the game.
- Aggressors of Ancient Rome – Kubat Software (CZ)
Turn-based strategy game for more players.
- Blood will be Spilled – Doublequote Studio (SVK)
Unique western platformer from Slovak developers.
- Sumonner's Tale – Charged Monkey (CZ)
Interesting mobile game where the player buys warriors which go automatically forward and fight the enemies. You must destroy the enemy portal and be killed yourself. You can watch our Czech preview here.
Not just game developers were present. We had the opportunity to test some interesting platforms and technologies. There was a software Cinema 4D possible to test which allows you to create 3D models of every objects. Everyone could try and make his or her own original work on the special. Even Unity Engine had its own stall.
Also at the festival was a new service called AirConsole. It’s a service provided by Swiss company N-Dream AG which offers lots of games to play via your mobile phone, while displaying it on a monitor, TV or wherever you can run and see your web browser. Everything could be played locally with your friends and could be very attractive for some parties where everyone could use just their own phones and still have fun together. You just download the application, enter the PIN code visible on the larger screen into your phone, and you're ready to go. There are games for one player, and even games for up to eight players or more. We were quite surprised that the games ran smoothly without big issues of lag or input delay. Because of this positive presentation, we are quite curious how the AirConsole development will continue in the future. It could disappear as many other projects on the developer market, or it could become something bigger even next to Steam. Who knows? In any case, we will inform you more about this platform in the near future.
Next to the showrooms, there was a small room with tables holding refreshments and snacks. Nothing big or worth mentioning, but coffee and water were always present to refresh visitors and developers, and that was the most important feature about this room . Next to the tables were some really old games and platforms from gaming history, including Donkey Kong, Tetris and other games over 20 years old.
PITCH & MATCH
All the important presentations and lectures took place in three lecture theatres. If a visitor wanted to meet someone personally, the best was strategy was to make an appointment in the web application and have a talk in the Pitch & Match room. It was impossible to bump into all the interesting people only in the corridors and ask them important questions.
I have to also honestly say that it was impossible for us to be at all the presentations and we spent a lot of time right at the Pitch & Match place. We met and discuss a lot of interesting matters with CEOs of some great game studios, managers of other big events in Poland, Croatia and Germany, and closely behind were professors and other people tightly connected to the political sphere in EU.
Of course there was just one goal for us: To improve and widen features of our website www.keengamer.com and start cooperation with other companies and associations. Hopefully you will soon see how successful we were .
Who were we talking to?
- Michael Liebe – Booster Space (GER)
- Matta Haggis – Associate Profesor of Entertaiment & Creative Games, NHTV University Breda, Matazone Games (NED)
- Jari-Pekka Kaleva – representative of European Games Developer Federation (FIN)
- Team Red Panda – mobile game developer Fur Fight (SLO)
- Yeve Drovossekova – game artist (CZ)
- Krzysztof Skoracki – manager of the game festival in Poznan
- Alice Ruppert – game designer and developer of AirConsole (CHE)
- Jakub Gemrot – professor of Karlovy univerzity (CZ)
- Alex Mccredie – Business development manager Unity engine
- Markus Wiedemann – Business Development Director
Pitch & Match pictures
This year you could have also your own Showcase. Developers, companies, studios, associations could have their own spot at the conference and present their projects. And the last day you could visit our team (Karel Vik, Roman Vik, Jakub Kobela) and discuss with us whatever was on your mind. The last day's afternoon wasn’t the best time to talk with developers and visitors, because most of the visitors were tired after the night and the entire program. So unfortunately there were no hot discussions but you can at least see our hot team in action.
CEGC Award 2016
During the whole festival everyone could vote for the best game presented at the place. And at the end the winners were announced right after the Mariebeth Aquino’s closing speech.
The winning team and developers were announced The Rogues with their great game Rogues with Benefits. At the second place were polish studio Plastic with their atmospheric platformer for PlayStation 4 Bound and the third place went to British DrDavient with their local multiplayer game Blockships. After the announcement the visitors moved to Schwaryberg bar for the final party.
1. Rogues with Benefits – The Rogues
Roguelike multiplayer coop RPG where players explore and fights enemies and after death starst from the very beginning. The game can also boast about the INDIGO 2015 Audience Award.
2. Bound – Plastic
Atmospheric platformer for PlayStation 4 from Polish developers Plastic which takes you to the marvellously and uniquely elaborated world with the main hero dancing her way through the game. And everything is enriched with magnificent music and animations.
3. Blockships – DrDavient
Local action multiplayer game in Tetris style from British developer Dave Cooper.
This year, CEGC showed tremendous expansion and growth; both with the number of attended developers and so with the number of speakers and presented games, and it was even possible to watch the whole event live on Twitch. If you realise that similar festivals are not so frequent in our countries then we really recommend to every developer that you visit them. Either in the Czech Republic or in other countries in our neighbourhood. You will get many new contacts, new friendships, great feedback and impulses to work more and harder on your game. Trust us.
Of course GDS in Prague has quite a high quality and atmosphere as well but they are still two very different environments. You can find different games, developers, speakers and interesting people to talk and network with and integrate into the gaming industry in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Plus, to be frank, the industry has a lot to catch up in comparison to other western countries.
And that is also the reason why our website was created. At this very moment we are finalising the developers database and we plan to make a lot more and help everyone who tries to make some money in this hard business.
You will be able to meet us again at GDS in Prague this Autumn and probably also at GameDay May 6th – May 7th and maybe also at Game Access in Brno in April 15th or 16th.