The Art Behind Ustwo Games
David Fernández Huerta (Spain, United Kingdom)
Ustwo Games / www.ustwo.com
David Fernández Huerta talks about the art behind Ustwo Games.
David Fernández Huerta is the lead artist at Ustwo Games, where he’s working on the art direction of their next big secret thing. As part of Ustwo Games, he worked on the critically acclaimed Monument Valley and the virtual reality adventure Land’s End. He has been making games as a hobby for the last 20 years, and professionally for the last ten. With a background in illustration and film making, David has always sought new ways of telling stories and building worlds to engage people in ways that only an interactive medium can achieve.
CHUCHEL CHUCHEL CHUCHEL!
Jaromír Plachý (Czech Republic)
Amanita Design / www.amanita-design.net
Chuchel is an in-progress game by Amanita Design studio. The point-and-click adventure game filled with humorous animations features main character Chuchel, who embarks on a long adventurous journey towards a coveted reward: a cherry. He is accompanied by Kekel, who firstly tries to get the cherry for himself – but eventually they join forces to reach their shared goal of the fruit. This grotesque game has been in the making since 2012, and it creators had previously worked on Botanicula. The presentation will include an exclusive preview of completed parts.
Jaromír Plachý is an artist, animator and game developer. His cooperation with Amanita Design began with Machinarium and continued with Botanicula. Chuchel – set for release in 2017 – is his most recent project.
The Art of Future Unfolding
Marek Plichta (Germany)
Spaces of Play / www.spacesofplay.com
Marek will talk about the art and tricks behind the weird adventure game Future Unfolding, which stunned with its novel art style.
Marek Plichta is a game designer and art director at Spaces of Play in Berlin. He worked on the weird adventure game Future Unfolding, the silly physical art game Ordnungswissenschaft, and the relaxing puzzle game Spirits, all of which received wide critical recognition around the world. He taught game design at the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, Germany, and worked as an interaction designer for German Telekom Laboratories. Marek is passionate about experimental media and loves any form of physical movement.
Q.U.B.E. 2 – Pumping the Production Pipeline
Dan Da Rocha (United Kingdom)
Toxic Games / www.toxicgames.co.uk
Ever felt like there are 1,001 things to do on a game’s development – in addition to running a team, the business, and marketing? Dan talks about previous development woes, and how by inadvertently hiring a full-time producer everything flipped around and the team became a well-oiled machine. Taking a deeper look at the Q.U.B.E. 2 development process and comparing it to the “make-it-up-as-we-go-along” Q.U.B.E. 1 process, attendees will gain insights into the importance of having a producer onboard – even on the smallest teams.
Dan Da Rocha is the MD at Toxic Games. Securing investment from Indie Fund straight out of university, Dan went on to create the award-winning indie game Q.U.B.E. – and then set up a full-time game studio. Six years on, he has produced games including the multi-award winning Hue and the upcoming Q.U.B.E. 2. Dan regularly attends and speaks at international events, and thrives on sharing knowledge, expertise, and learning new ways to do business in the ever-changing games industry.
Emergent Aesthetics: Developing A Light In Chorus
Eliott Johnson, Matthew Warshaw (United Kingdom)
Broken Fence Games / www.alightinchorus.com
A Light In Chorus (in development) is a first–person adventure game about reconstructing parts of Earth using the contents of a musical time capsule. Everything in the game is rendered using particles – and the team will talk about how they arrived at this distinctive art style, how it has influenced the game’s overall design, and how it presents some unique development difficulties.
Eliott Johnson and Matthew Warshaw are UK-based artists and game developers who run Broken Fence Games. Their backgrounds are fine art, software engineering and visual effects. A Light In Chorus will be their first commercial videogame.
Pros and Cons of Developing a Videogame Independently
Miro Straka (Austria)
Miro Straka / www.euclideanlands.com
Key developments of Euclidean Lands. From idea to prototype, how to evaluate prototype potential, problems, and development fuckups, useful hacks for artists, how to filter overly ambitious ideas, lean asset and graphics development, and performance optimization.
Miro Straka was born 1990 in Slovakia, studied architecture, is married, and lives in Vienna. He developed Euclidean Lands independently, alongside studies and work – it received Apple App Store Editor’s choice, Best of Show at GDC 2017, the Pocket Gamer Gold Award, and numerous overwhelmingly positive reviews from major
gaming sites and players. The game was published by Kunabi Brother, developer and publisher of internationally acclaimed game Blek, also based in Vienna. Miro worked in various international architecture and tech offices, and is currently a technical director for VR projects at innovation.rocks.
Levelling Up Your Innovation
Mark Backler (United Kingdom)
Fourth State / www.lostwordsgame.com
With the ever-increasing level of competition in the games industry, how can you ensure that your game stands out for its innovation and quality? In this talk, Mark will look at using playtesting to help with ideation, and what companies can learn from game jams and drawing inspiration from outside the games industry. He will also discuss the creative process and how he went about designing Lost Words, as well as looking at the four secrets behind making great games.
Mark Backler has been working in the games industry for 11 years at companies such as EA, Lionhead, and Sony on games such as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Fable 2. He has now founded Fourth State and Sketchbook Games, and is working on Lost Words – a multi-award winning narrative adventure about a young girl aspiring to be a writer while dealing with the loss of her gran. It’s set between the pages of her diary and a fantasy land, and the game features a story written by Rhianna Pratchett. It ties the narrative into the gameplay in an unusual way, by having the player running on and interacting with the words in the diary to solve puzzles.
Working in the Multiverse – Telling Stories in Games, Movies and Print
Rebekka Niederländer (Germany)
Mixtvision / www.far-game.com
In an ever-changing media landscape, finding a project’s place can be challenging. Transmedia offers new ways of telling stories and crafting experiences for users, whilst also posing its own set of challenges. In this talk, we examine our experience as Mixtvision – a developer and publisher working in books, movies and games – in interconnecting those three mediums to offer customers new experiences.
Rebekka Niederländer studied game design at Mediadesign – Hochschule für Design und Informatik, and has worked on the multi-award winning iOS puzzle game Cubiverse. She is Mixtvision’s product & project manager.
Juggling with Fragile
Jakub Jablonski (Poland)
Juggler Games / www.memoryofus.com
Is gamification problematic when confronting sensitive subjects? Can a crazy, fairy-tale story about living in a Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland ever be subtle? Juggler Games believes that gently injecting a huge dose of pop culture into delicate historical subjects is possible and necessary to convey important messages about friendship and the power of memory. The inspiration and creative process behind My Memory of Us.
Jakub Jablonski was born in Łódź in 1981. He studied painting and graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts and graduated from the National Film School in Łódź with a degree in animation and special effects. He joined Platige Image in 2008, where he currently directs game CGI trailers. At Juggler Games, Jakub is the creative director and lead artist working on My Memory of Us. He created the illustrations for Jacek Dukaj’s novel The Crowe, and designed all the visual elements for The Kinematograph directed by Tomek Bagiński. Recently Jakub directed and supervised art for CGI trailers and cinematics such as Total War: Warhammer 2, Frostpunk, Watch Dogs 2, Ryse Son of Rome, and Hitman.
Small Educational Attempts at a System Change
Lucia Šicková (Slovakia)
Pixel Federation / www.edufactory.pixelfederation.com
Edufactory is an educational initiative by Pixel Federation. It aims to launch and employ smaller as well as large-scale projects in order to kickstart education for digital media and game subculture social dialogue, as well as to change views about using digital and game concepts in education. We’ll talk about what we’ve done, what we’re preparing, why we do what we do, and the potential overlaps between projects such as SkillDrill, Butterfly Effect, Paf and Nimbus.
Lucia Šicková is a co-founder of Pixel Federation, Edufactory, a mother of three, education projects driver, and edugaming enthusiast with plenty of experience from HR, game & web development, and project management. Her managerial skills range from corporate through consulting and all the way to new labels branding. An eternal happy-go-lucky, or as we Slovaks like to say – a slniečkar.