The GDC Europe will be held in conjunction with gamescom, the leading European consumer show, creating a full week of activity and opportunity for the games industry. This confluence of industry professionals allows GDC Europe to address the development community at a central location in the heart of Europe, and command the critical mass of the European games sector. The event is the essential platform for learning, inspiration and networking for the creators of computer, console, handheld, mobile, social, and online games in Europe.
Find out more and register online on the official website.
Editors of the Youth Time magazine attended the event previous year. We published the report about it in one of the YT magazine’s print editions. Check it out.
Gamer equates to developer
Advances in computer technology and the development of fast operating systems, special game consoles and high-quality graphics have made it possible for the most fantastic dreams and projects to materialize. Most modern games are not just the means of infusing some excitement into the gamer’s leisure time, but are also a vehicle for getting an aesthetic pleasure. Fantasy worlds, majestic scenery, a high-tech presentation of magic flora and fauna can stir the imagination even of those people who don’t reckon themselves among the army of gamers.
It is significant that nowadays the usual combat-themed games are being replaced by intellectual conceptions and projects that demand specific knowledge, both logical and mathematical, from their users. This includes simulators of social models and even games designed to deal with gender stereotypes. We have chosen to highlight some of the most interesting designers’ approaches from the special presentation of innovative European games at the GDC.
This action game is based on the story of a blind 10-year-old girl called Rae. During her search for a missing pet – a cat named Nani – she finds herself outside of her familiar environment. In spite of her fears, Rae embarks on a journey to find her only friend. In the course of her quest, the player, along with Rae, discovers an invisible world that is full of life and events waiting to unfold. It is a realistic simulator for those people who want to experience the world through a blind person’s eyes.
This is yet another game where you can discover a world created by the designers. What really sets this game apart form the others is an unusual animation that a lot of people would rightfully describe as unreal and magical. Authors of this brilliant gaming project tried to create a world of tiny glowing particles. Therefore, the player, obviously, would be more interested in roaming and exploring this world rather than conquering it. You could turn into a swarm of luminous particles by assuming the shape of surrounding objects, illuminating the hidden landscapes and discovering the mysterious shadow fragments. This gives gamer another chance to look at an outside world that has been transformed by millions of shimmering lights.
This is a game for mobile phones, the concept of which is to make two users move in sync, thereby activating their collective reflexes. Two people can move their phones in the air and the gyroscope (a device that can respond to the body’s orientation angles) reacts instantly by emitting interesting and unusual cosmic melodies.
This is a game that captivates the imagination with its elegant design and conception –
an atmospheric puzzle that animates the usual system of data, statistics and tedious figures and has an independent intellect. The designers believe that infographics, which have become popular in the past few years, are a kind of art. The peculiarity of this game is that it enables the user to visualize the data and to make it the subject of a serious game.
This game was created on the basis of personalities in women’s magazines, movie characters, and the general perception of females in the Western world. The profile of a modern woman contains information about her family, career, experience, gender and so on. Nevertheless, the authors of this game believe that the aforementioned check-list items cannot fully describe the depth and complexity of her life. Perfect woman uses these stereotypes as building blocks so that players can create their own image of an ideal woman. The game consists of several levels; each of them represents a different stage in the life of a woman. “It is not always possible to be perfect at every stage of life” – says Lea Shonfelder, the ideological inspirer of this project. She told us about her project in detail.
The video game against stereotypes
She is a cook, a career woman, a lover, a teacher, a sister, and a mother. Is it hard to be a perfect woman? Lea Schonfelder, an animator and game developer from Ludwigsburg (Germany) provides an opportunity to all players to figure it out for themselves.
“My game is about perfectionism and about how society forces us to play a certain role. At the beginning a player must do his best to be as perfect as humanly possible, but in the course of the game he will come to understand that it is not an easy task since he will die before attaining perfection”
“Most games are puzzles, or they are combat-themed, and action-packed. Each designer wants to be successful, and people adore such genres, they are familiar with these games and purchase them more often. I can understand the developers because they have to pay their employees, and it is hard for them to come up with new ideas. Nevertheless, there is a certain progress. For instance, educational elements can be found in such games as Minecraft. Similar projects are being created by independent developers and students who are willing to try something new”
Oink is a free application, specially designed for the whole family, that provides a means of monitoring the expenditures of each of its members. Joe Peden, general manager of the company involved in the development of the project described how the app called Oink “Virtual Piggy” can instill financial responsibility in children. It is not a secret that among other long-standing problems of many families is the uncontrolled expenditure of parents’ money by teenagers who buy new games on the Internet and don’t keep track of their purchases.
“Our system allows you to transfer up to 60 pounds per month to the child’s account. Afterwards, the youngster can make purchases online, under the supervision of parents, and avoid paying for additional applications. It protects kids from harmful programs and information and ensures that they make a quality purchase. Besides, the child understands that these 60 pounds are quite real and, therefore, he will spend it on something really useful and desirable”
From a school teacher to a game developer
Yoeri Staal is the Dutch developer of indie games (independent computer games that are created without significant external financial support – author’s notes) and the founder of StaalMedia agency. During GDC he conducted a separate lecture on a topic that is quite unusual for such event. He told the audience about his experience working as a school teacher. For several years, Yoeri taught informatics, and he managed to understand what kind of information modern teenagers would be willing to accept and in what form.
“Nowadays, the concept of educational games is unclear. The biggest problem of gamificatio is that people are willing to introduce games everywhere, but actually there is no point in eliminating regular school work, because if it turns into a game, the children will give it up. Nowadays, it is the main threat to children, when the grownups are trying to turn everything around them into games to make schoolwork more fun. At some point, children will need to do something serious, but they will back down because it is not fun. They will perceive real life as a game, an amusement, but life is not always fun and frolic”.
Photos: YT; GDC Europe