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Swedish Game Awards 2017 – Submitted Games

SGA17LostAceGames.pngSGALogo

Swedish Game Awards is a game making competition for students in Sweden. The goal of the competition is to connect students to the industry. Theres 8 different categories:

  • Art
  • Sound
  • Narrative
  • Technical
  • Diversity Effort
  • Gamers Choice
  • Game Design
  • Game of the Year

Theres also a conference with presentations by companies from Swedish gaming industry. Recordings of the 2015 presentations can be found here.

There reason I post about SGA 17 is because I submitted some games for the contest. I submitted The Studie Game, Endless Midnight, Snow Maker, Awake On Crete, 5 Bladed Lotus, and Custom Poems. It was kind of overkill to submit so many games, but to be honest, it was hard to deiced which ones. The plan was to submit games for the game design category, because none of the games had enough polish to get into art or sound and technical (construct 2 for the win 🙂 ). I tried to submit games that didn’t overlap to much. I basically have two types of games, one which is more action oriented, skill based with feedback loops, like Endless Midnight, the other more narrative, experience based without loss condition like Awake on Crete. I then included the other games because I like them and because they are similar but with a different twist.

I looked through all of the games (75 st) before the result and noticed that theres enough good games, more then enough for the game design category. So I was not super surprised that none of the games I submitted got nominated. What surprised me was which of the games got selected for the game design category, where three out of four was puzzle games. One reason might be that the only information I had about the games was from trailers, and puzzle games usually don’t look that exciting in trailers. Anyway here are some of the games I noticed that stand out in terms of gameplay:

There was also some interesting VR gameplays:

Game Trailer vs Gameplay Video

One thing I made differently compared to a lot of the games is that I used gameplay videos instead of a trailer. I don’t think trailer vs gameplay is a question of right or wrong, I would say that it depends on what kind of game the video is made for. I personally prefer gameplay videos, mainly because when I watch material for games I want to know what kind of game it is, and make a call whenever it is worth paying attention to or not. A lot of the time when I watch a trailer theres very little actual gameplay. Its hard to say if the game looks interesting if you only get to see the good parts. Therefore gameplay trailers are more true to the experience of playing. But in a lot of games, the gameplay doesn’t look very exciting, and the gameplay usually don’t tell you anything about the premise of the game. I would say that games that have more focus on narrative, strategy or something that is hard to understand if you just show the raw gameplay footage, would benefit more to have a traditional trailer then just the gameplay video. But I prefer to have at least some parts that have longer gameplay, ex 5-10 seconds, so you get some hits of how the game plays out, instead of only being left with catch phrases and empty promises.

Some thoughts:

  • Edit to music
  • Don’t show all of the game if its short
  • Have the premise in the trailer
  • 1 min period

Endless Midnight, Snow Maker and 5 Bladed Lotus are more gameplay focused, so gameplay videos work, but they could be shorter, and more focused by cutting together the awesome parts. Especially Endless Midnight, where I tried to recored multiple rounds, but ended up getting killed early multiple times, and only show a good round in the very end.

The other games, Awake on Crete, the Studie Game and Custom Poems, probably need a trailer, to explain the premise, and better explain the gameplay. The Studie Game and Custom Poems also lack sound effects so a good background music would fit perfectly there. Also, it was a mistake to play all of Awake on Crete, theres a difference between a playthrough and a gameplay trailer.

How to write a game pitch

The main reason I write this post is because I updated the description and pitches for most of the games I submitted. Some of the games turned out to be really hard to write pitches for. Here are some of the things I used to make the game pitches:

Value proposition – When I talk about a game theres something in the game that has value for the player. Its a kind of a promise: ”If you play this game you are going to experience X.” It has nothing to do with genre or gameplay or what ever infinite details theres in the game, its about the value your are promising the player. I could be about the genere or gameplay, but it depends where the value lies. This is a perspective change of how I was thinking about pitches before. I used to think that the purpose of a pitch was to describe what the game was, but because ex elevator pitches (a pitch the size to be described in a elevator ride) are so short you can hardly say anything descriptive about the game. So I tended to think of pitches as empty words, like a marketing trick, rather describing what the creators want the game to be, then what it is. I usually think about extreamly vague words, that sounds compelling, but are hard to actually implement in games, etc. A pitch promise something, don’t over promise, and don’t use vague words. They might sound positive but if the player imagines something that isn’t, the hype is only going to lead to disappointment.

Name, genre, setting, difference –

Hard to write a pitch for some of the games – So I submitted 6 games, all of them had previously been published on my blog, so I had some material already. But for some of the games, especially the earlier ones, I skipped the premise part, and focused more on game play. Its not critical when you are one click away to play the game, but it creates problems when trying to describe the game for others. I noticed this with 5 Bladed Lotus, which is the reason why I made a premise for the next game, CryoRacers inside the game. So I had a hard time making the pitch for 5 Bladed Lotus, Endless midnight and Awake on Crete.

PDFs – I also made pdfs, like readme files, which was included with the games. I wanted them to have the same graphical design as the game, but I had problems on deciding on the format. I would like to make a extended version of them to print out and have in a physical folder on events. Here are the pdfs: The Studie Game SGA 2017, Endless Midnight SGA 2017, Endless Midnight SGA 2017, Awake On Crete SGA 2017, 5Bladed Lotus SGA 2017, and Custom Poems SGA 2017.

LD38 Toxic Isolation

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They can’t get you, but you can’t get out.

Monitor the surveillance of a toxic invasion.

Now in VR!

Use the remote controller to zoom into different monitors and use the turrets to stop the advancing plague.

Download (25 mb)

Ludum dare 38 page

Credits

Einar – Programming

Jonas – Modelling

Anton – Modelling

Danne – Sound and Music (Lucky Star Creative)

Christoffer – Utility

Post-Morten

Cumbersome to test VR – If I maker more VR projects its going to be necessary to have debug tools which makes it possible to test and play the game without VR. Mainly because of two reasons:

Read more…

W17 Mirror Man

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You meet yourself from the future and embark on a jump and shooting journey to perfecting the world.

Controls

Gamepad: d-pad/stick (move), a (jump), x (shoot)

Keyboard: Arrowkeys, x, z

FPS: wasd, space, left click

Play Online

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Screenshot from 2017-05-04 18:33:41.png

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Read more…

Game Jam Talk

Game jam Talk 2017-04-10 English

I had a short talk in a local gaming class to highlight a upcoming game jam.

Here are the slides:

English Slides (pdf)

Swedish Slides (pdf)

Post-Morten

The goal of the talk was to present game jams in general and a upcoming local meet-up of ludum dare in particularity. So the plan was to talk about game jams and summaries a couple of game jams I have attended in the past. I also planned to make a summary of my own game development experience and why I ended up liking game jams so much, but scope turned out to be key also in writing talks, like in game development.

Read more…

Snow Maker

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 The snow storm started a month ago, no rest. So far all the snow has been polluted, dirty or stained. Something is wrong with the sky. The legends tell about the Snow Maker. We are the first expedition going there, and we are going to find the truth.

 

Snow maker: a fast paced platforming game of dashing between snowflakes and aiming for the sky.

Controls

Game pad recommended, the game also have mouse support.

Game pad

Aim – Left stick

Dash – A

Mouse

Aim – Mouse movement

Dash – Left click

Download windows 1.1, windows 1.0 (game jam version)

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SnowMaker Screenshot 5 2017-04-06

Credits

Programming – Christoffer Lundberg

Snow Junk – Jessika Åström

Character Design – Jessica Öhlund

Background Art – Xiaoshu Mayer

Special Thanks – Audun Otherbech & Arctic game lab

Resources

Music – Technological Ambience by burning-mir (public domain)

Wale sound (public domain)

Sound effects made in sfxr

Made in Construct 2

W16 Bigfoot Battle

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Giants competing with elemental forces of the highlands in a strategic two player duel.

Control

Chose elements – keyboard, mouse or touch

Play Online (also works on mobile)

Bigfoot Battle tutorial.png

Bigfoot Battle Gameplay.png

Resource

Made in Construct 2

Public domain music by Juhani Junkala (Level 2)

Sound effects are made in sfxr

Post-Morten

The idea of the game is base on a strategy game design book; Clockwork game design by Keith Burgun (Keith Burgun also have a youtube channel which describes the same concepts, don’t take them as objective truth, but as a alternative, and exchange all uses of “games” with “strategy games” or “clockwork games”). The main concept of the book is how to create strategy games with as few components as possible which also don’t use design elements as: fast reactions, memorization, grinding and random outcome. I don’t agree with the author on why these elements should be avoided, but I consider it as a interesting challenge, and Bigfoot Battle is the result. (But rock, paper, scissor was considered as a kind of random outcome, as well as simultaneous actions, but hey I tried )

Its nice to have a limited number of components with almost no parameters, because its a lot less to think about for balancing the game, which is nice in short projects. But its also harder to add new objects. Still theres some ideas about having different elements which change lains, slow down other elements and how different terrains on the levels could interact with them.

Also some ideas about resource gathering as a alternative win condition.

It was also the first game where I used a drawing tablet, it worked okay to make outlines in vector and export to png, import, lock alpha, draw on one layer and export back to png. (I use Inkscape for vector graphics, and Krita for drawing) But it takes time… I wanted to have different art for the flame and grass/vegetation, and character portrait, but time…

Most of the playtest problem come from the use of keyboard buttons which is not standardized, and the lack of instant feedback, to make it possible for both players to make actions simultaneously.

And overall its hard to playtest multiplayer games, so I’m not really sure how well it stands up in the long run. But I really like the local coop on mobile, so hopefully I will have opportunity to find out in the future.

W15 Custom Poems

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Custom Poems is a newly found service, which provides customers to order customized poems for tailored occasions. So fare the demand has been very high and the staff needs extra help. Are you ready to aid the liberation of personalized poetry?

 

Instructions

Drag words to assemble lines. You can copy words by dropping them on the copy icon in the right corner. Delete words by dropping them in the trash bin. When you are done, click on the camera in the middle, it will also ask you if you want to save the poem as a image file, png. Keep calm and poems for all!

Play Online (runs on mobile)

Post-Morten

WIP