The Game Industry Conference is over!

Phew. That was an exhausting week! We're still not quite done yet, there's some studios to visit tomorrow, but at least GIC and the Polish-Swiss game jam are done.

The jam

Alright, so after we went down there on Tuesday we were immediately roped into a visit to a local hub for game developers; a co-working space similar to the Swiss Game Hub in Zürich. Following that brief visit we had to get ready for the jam, which was taking place at the Poznan International Fair. The jam was themed around sustainability, as that's something the Swiss embassy in Poland was trying to promote, and the event was happening largely to celebrate their 100 year anniversary.


Tim and I joined the good fellows Wojciech, Nicolo, and Shanti from Blindflug to form our jam team and got to work throwing around ideas. We did that for a good while, and ultimately settled on the idea of a sort of physics based Tetris where blocks would represent different technologies. Settled on an initial idea, we all went to sleep to start into the first proper jam day well refreshed.


The initial prototype of physics based blocks came around quite quickly, with Wojciech and Nicolo implementing things in Unity. We then pivoted the design to a thing where you could drag the piece and rotate it around with the mouse, and switched the Tetris blocks to general shapes. The idea being to have a balance where tech that was unsustainable would be easier to build a tower with, and sustainable tech would be harder to build with. We kept running into design issues that we didn't know how to resolve though, so at the end of the day Shanti was appointed lead and got to call the shots.


She and a few others hung around until late night that day and worked on the design as well as some of the graphical assets. Meanwhile Tim and I went for an early night again – I didn't want to sacrifice my sleep schedule for a jam, and I'd probably just wake up too tired on the next day anyway.


On the final day things really started to come together – being mainly responsible for art along with Shanti, I worked on a lot of assets and made some fun game over animations, too. In the end we had a very close shave though as we finished the final build of the game just minutes before the presentation for the jury was supposed to start.


The jury presentation was unfortunately riddled with technical issues – the HDMI cable couldn't sustain a stable connection and most laptops didn't work with it, which caused a lot of delays. Still, it was a lot of fun to see all of the games presented, and I was absolutely sure that the collaborative game about undersea divers was going to win. Ultimately though, and much to my surprise, our game Eco Tower was chosen!

I didn't really need any compensation for the jam, as making the game itself was rewarding enough on its own – seriously, I had a great time and wanted to say thanks a lot to Wojciech, Nicolo, and Shanti (hi, if you're reading this!) Regardless though they awarded us with a snazzy badge, a Swiss army knife, as well as a Tissot watch (one of the sponsors). Everyone participating also got some other Tissot goodies as well as a Logitech mouse.

All in all, it was a great time, and I hope to meet the Blindflug folks for a jam again some day!

You can play the game on itch, here: https://shinmera.itch.io/eco-tower
Let me know if you manage to get the good ending!

The conference

And right on the day after came the GIC! We got up early enough and first had some trouble finding our way to the venue. Poznan International Fair is huge, and we had to wander around for a while before we found the correct instructions on how to get in.


The Swiss Games booth area was actually the largest booth area of the GIC floor, though both GIC and the associated Poznan Game Arena event were apparently only about half the usual size this year, due to Covid reservations. In any case, we got our game set up, with the fancy poster you can see in the back already provided for us.

We had quite a few people visit us over the three days and had them play the game, too. Particularly notable for me was one kid that kept coming back to play more (and to get more of our Toblerone as well), as well as the guy that kept playing until he got gold ranking on all the time trials.


On Sunday I also had my talk on using Lisp for gamedev. You can watch the talk here on the Twitch VOD: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1184588826 starts at 3:14:10. The talks will be uploaded to Youtube at a later date, and I'll make sure to post it in another update whenever it gets there.


Overall I really enjoyed our time at the jam and the GIC, and it was great meeting fellow Swiss devs, most of them for the first time! A huge thanks and my warmest regards to all of them, and I hope to see them again soon! I also hope to "tour" with the Pro Helvetia crew again, so my thanks also to Oliver and Sanjna, and to Arthur for getting us all through this week!

Other news

Another big piece of news is that we were accepted for the Digital Dragons Accelerator programme! This means that I'll have to establish a company in Poland, and we'll be partnered with a publisher who'll work with us to advance our marketing and community building in the coming year. We'll also receive funding to do so, which is super exciting!

I'll be sure to update you on what's going on with that as things progress. For now though, Tim and I need to get back home first...