Oh yes! After getting Greenlit last year, we’re hitting Steam! Here’s the full info…
Upgraded WW1 Themed ‘Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land’ Arrives on Steam
The multi-award winning World War 1 strategy RPG launches today on Steam for PC. The critically acclaimed title originally launched on mobile and PC in 2012. The title successfully passed Steam’s Greenlight process and now arrives as a fully-fledged game on Steam. The Steam launch includes updated graphics and the bonus DLC “Kaul’s Dairy”, which had previously only been available on iOS and is priced at $5.
The game features 14 levels set in the trenches of World War One. The player controls a team of up to six investigators charged with uncovering a deadly inhuman conspiracy underlying the clash of empires of the Great War. Barbed wire, mustard gas and machine guns prove to be the least dangerous challenges the investigators encounter as they venture into no man’s land to solve the mystery of the Wasted Land. As the game progresses, the player must build up the team’s skills, weapons and equipment to counter the rising tide of darkness. As well as the physical danger, the investigators must guard their sanity against myriad horrors that threaten to destroy them.
Jennifer Ann’s Group announces the “7th Annual Life.Love. Game Design Challenge” with a first place prize of $7,000
This looks like a great design challenge and a worthy cause:
Jennifer Ann’s Group announces the “7th Annual Life.Love. Game Design Challenge” with a first place prize of $7,000.
Can you create a video game about teen dating violence . . .
without using violence in the game itself?
Since 2008 Jennifer Ann’s Group, a nonprofit charity headquartered in Atlanta, has run a game design challenge to promote awareness of teen dating violence and provide educational information to protect teens. The contest is the largest and longest-running of its kind in the world and was recently named a 2014 Top 10 Trailblazer as selected by the National Youth Advisory Board. The contest is open to all over the age of 13 and receives entries from both the domestic and international video game community. The winning games for 2013 came from Argentina, Belgium, Ireland, and Thailand.
Previous winning games have been received with a great deal of praise:
“I was surprised how much I learned about my own relationships as well as having some really useful conversations with my family about establishing healthy boundaries.”
- Geek Dad, Wired.com
“Unlike some games with a message, Finding Jane really allows you to interact with your environment and keeps the preachy facts at a minimum. It’s a great example of learning by doing.”
- Jen Schiller, Kotaku
“I approached Grace’s Diary quite sure I had never encountered dating violence. But playing caused me to stop and remember back to when I was a teenager, and I realised that wasn’t completely true.”
- Microcosm Gamer
“This is the first game to get a perfect 5 on this site, and I’m not just being swayed by the fact that it’s made to support a good cause.”
Drew Crecente, Executive Director of Jennifer Ann’s Group, has this to say:
“Video games are often unfairly blamed for violence in our society. Using them as a tool for social change to prevent violence is fitting as well as being very effective. We have found that teens prefer to explore a sensitive issue like teen dating violence through self-paced exploration. Additionally, parents like to use these games as an easy way to begin a conversation with their teenagers about abusive behavior in dating relationships.”
Registration for the contest is open now and entries are due by June 1, 2014.
Rules, sign-up information, FAQs, and previous winners are available through Jennifer Ann’s Group online at:http://bit.ly/LifeLove2014 (http://stopTDV.com/2014-life-love-game-design-challenge.htm)
ABOUT Jennifer Ann’s Group – Jennifer Ann’s Group is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization preventing teen dating violence through awareness, education, and advocacy. The organization has been instrumental in the passing of legislation mandating teen dating violence awareness in schools and has distributed over 1/2 million free educational materials to schools, churches, and other organizations throughout the U.S. and U.K. at no cost to the recipients.
On February 15 2006, Jennifer Ann Crecente – a high school senior – was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. Jennifer was an honor roll student in high school, a camp counselor, a hospital volunteer, and participated in community theatre with her dad. Jennifer Ann’s Group is run by her father.
I’m going to be speaking at Quo Vadis next month (8th-10th April) …
Buried Treasure and Chainsaw Warriors
With over 370 apps per day now being released, how can an indie developer stand out from the crowd? One approach is to re-invigorate an older IP, which is the route taken by Auroch Digital who recently relaunched Games Workshop’s classic 1987 solo-boardgame ‘Chainsaw Warrior’ on mobile and PC. The games producer and designer, Tomas Rawlings, will talk though the process of going from dead tree to pixel, what they learned from the process, what of the classic game was kept and chat was changed during the conversion process, how they worked with the IP holder and what their future plans are. He will also talk more generally about the strategy behind this decision of seeking buried treasure in the form of older IP and more specifically about ones that can, with a bit of polish, be made to shine. He will also discuss how other developers can see their own gaming gold.
I enjoy playing FPS games (though I’m not that great at them!) and really enjoyed the split screen versions of Modern Warfare and also Crysis 1 and 2. However the last FPS I purchased and played was the sadly disappointing Crysis 3 (which looked amazing but played very averagely). The last of Modern Warfare games I got was Black Ops, which was also fun but didn’t really grab me. The last Call of Duty underwhelmed on review, so I didn’t get it. So the question I was wondering is who is pushing forward FPS?
I have a feeling the answer is Titanfall.
I’ve not played it as I don’t have an XboxOne – but it looks great and (importantly) fun. Fast paced, full of cool kit. It does seem like the developers have really thought about how to take FPS further forward. I have to say I’m now pondering an XboxOne…
One of the great things about making games is that you can re-visit things from your youth. When we got the chance to work with Games Workshop on a game I loved as a kid, Chainsaw Warrior, I was over the moon.
Then I got to interview it’s creator, Stephen Hand, about the game! Geek overload!
I was really interested to find out that another interest of mine, Cthulhu, crossed over with this game too!
Tomas: One of the things fans seem to like is the 80s vibe about the game; what other media and games at the time influenced your creative process?
Stephen: …Providing a full list of influences on Chainsaw Warrior is impossible. Books, comics, movies, games — they all went into the soup: “Alien”, John Carpenter’s remake of “The Thing”, the original “Dawn of the Dead” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, the books of HP Lovecraft and Michael Moorcock and many more. I’ll take full credit for The Meat Machine and the Slime. The violent tone of the game was fuelled by the quite brilliant “Action” comic, though there are also a few hints of “2000 AD” in there — thanks to Chainsaw Warrior, I got to meet Brett Ewins whose work I greatly admired. We were slated to work on a Chainsaw Warrior comic together.
Part 2 is here – check it out!
There is a stereotype that gamers are poor communicators. I am sure that it is easy to find examples of this, though in my own person experience of development communities my peers are very chatty! What I think is one of the things that challenges this stereotype is MMOs – these are games that require you to form groups to success and to work in a group takes people skills. I did a TEDx talk where I suggested that future political leaders might learn these people skills in the cut-and-thrust of World of Warcraft (excuse the pun!) as likely as they would from student or local politics. And to back this assertion comes an AMA on Reddit about EVE Online… This is from the intro to the Ask Me Anything (AMA):
I used to run the largest alliance in Eve Online – AMA … I started out as a complete noobie, and within a few months was helping to train other noobies, and then became a diplomat and worked up the ranks from there. … The best way to describe running an Eve alliance is like being a CEO of a major multinational company, except nobody gets paid but a shit ton of work still has to get done.
On the subject of EVE Online – there has been a huge series of battles for control within the game recently that are on a space-opera scale:
Marketing is the eternal bugbear for many indie devs. I know I’ve spent waaaaaaaaaaaaay more time doing marketing over the last few years for games I’ve worked on like Chainsaw Warrior, Call of Cthulhu:The Wasted Land and NarcoGuerra, than I ever thought I would. I’ve also seen a lot of these sort of sessions, and we got to them (or take part) I suspect because we’re all looking for the killer formula we can apply over and over.
What this talk did so well was burst that bubble that such a formula exists. So here’s the notes:
When to start marketing? Consensus was early is best. However you need to make sure you keep the information coming over the development period. So don’t just blast everything out, drip feed it over time. Use this drip process to assess what works and what does not. So if you can, tray starting small with a focused community or at events and get a feel for how people are responding. When people see your game on the store, ready for sale, people need to have heard of it already to guide them into buying it. If they have not heard of it, then it’s probably too late.
Is marketing and development not a different set of skills? No! You make a marketing decision early on – in what the game is and what you are going to call it. These matter and are core to communicating your game with players. It’s wrong to think developers don’t have to be marketers. Marketing is a developer skill – so get stuck in. For example in-game features need to sell the game and so are part of marketing.
What is your game? You’ll get asked this by everyone from journalists to gamers. Have a good answer ready. For example try summarizing your game up in a single sentence. If this does not sound cool, then you might need to rethink? It might be that you need multiple versions of those sentences; a nongamer one, a gamer one, a long version, a short version etc. Experimenting at events to talk about the game is good as you can test these sentences out in advance. The panel talked about how their experience of demoing the games at events helped shape these sentences, which then helps shape the marketing.
Are trade shows worth doing? Mixed views but all agreed that trade shows are not about sales, they are about networking, about the media being able to meet you and put a name to a face… Meeting a journalist face-to-face is key, seeing people play your game and respond to your messages about it is key too.
Are ads not a waste of time? No! If you’re doing it right, it’s a major undertaking. Marketing is a science – data analytics, split A/B testing etc. You need to take this seriously and analyse where people go, how they find you and more. So just buying ad space alone won’t work, but buying ad space linked to data analytics, testing and iteration does.
When is the marketing done? It’s not! Marketing is ongoing – keep the game in the mind of people. You’ll never speak to all the people you who might buy your game, so lots will still not have heard of it. Make sure there are always things to say, so keep an ongoing list of interesting stuff. User generated content is always good for this.
Are demos worth it? A mixed response. The Stanley Parable demo as a good example of the idea but not the game, so you sell the concept and keep back the game itself. Mixed thoughts of how it works. Some say it has made the success, others that it can put people off. However if not demo you need to prove what the game is and why they should buy it…
And… The key take away from this was that marketing is an essential and ongoing process. What works now won’t work in the future and you can’t just copy what others have done and expect the same results. Take the essence of what successful marketing ideas and use that to come up with new versions of it as for all marketing it always has to feel fresh…