Game Jam #7

Sunday evening our 7th in-house Game Jam ended and what can I say? It was loud, creative, exhausting and a great deal of fun – all at once!

On Friday evening the 140 participants from all over Germany arrived at the InnoGames office. One group after the other entered the elevator to go to our top floor, where they would spend the next two days. After they set up their equipment in our large social area, organizer Niklas Grebe welcomed the participants and announced the theme, which turned out to be a Walt Disney quote: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible”.

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Some participants arrived as teams while others formed theirs at the venue. Then the brainstorming progress began – in some cases that lasted up to seven hours, meaning that only 41 hours were left for producing. Artists designed the look of the game, whereas developers started coding. Music was recorded and some even did voice over for their games. The rooms were buzzing with creativity. As you can imagine sleep was a scarce good that weekend. To keep awake, some attendants even started singing! Of course they were fueled with lots of delivery food, caffeine and as well as fruit and snacks.

coding

On Saturday, the air was abuzz with concentration – typing noises, game tunes and the scratching of pens on graphics tablets could be heard everywhere. Here and there, working prototypes could already be spotted. Anticipation rose with every passing hour. By Sunday, you could tell that most participants hadn’t had a lot of sleep. Enthusiasm had to make way for a general exhaustion. Some teams were already finished with producing their games and played at the kicker table or caught up on sleep, while others were still trying to fix some bugs within the last minutes. At 2pm, the time limit was over – no more changes could be done. The teams uploaded their games to the website and packed their belongings. At the same time the organizing team was eager to clear the space so that everything was ready for the upcoming game presentations.

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Finally the outcome of the game jam could be viewed by everyone an hour later. With 26 teams in total, the presentation process took quite a while. Luckily the judges took notes on the games, and had already played some of them, to facilitate the process of choosing the winners. The bronze medal was handed over to the team ³Henergy, that designed a skydiving game called Boris Treegardener as a nod to to Felix Baumgartner – although in this game the player starts even higher – on the edges of outer space. Tomee and Nbz designed the game “The belt”, which was awarded with the second place. The player has to avoid running into asteroids, which becomes as good as impossible later in the game.

Hacktopus

Hacktopus clearly made an impression on attendants and judges alike, for which it won the gold medal. The synopsis of the game is as follows: Octomom has a disease, but the family can’t afford health insurance. Octokid decides to take action and sneaks in to the laboratory where the medicine is produced. Now the players must hack the computer which keeps the medicine safely locked. While the players types commands it is also necessary to hit the scientists with the tentacles as they are trying to get rid of you. Peppered with lots of pop cultural references, the game did not only touch the hearts of the participants, but also earned lots of laughter. Team Effin’ Awesome is clearly happy with the outcome of the game as they did not only program the game, but also the engine running it during the game jam weekend. All games that were produced at the game jam can be found here.

The next InnoGames game jam will actually be part of the global game jam and takes place from the 23rd until 25th of January. You can find more information here.

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The Future is Pink: InnoGames Hosts First Art Exhibit

Let’s face it, art is one of the aspects that first draws us to a game. Whether it is through the style, color, technique or movement, graphics play an important role in immersing the player in the game. We are aware of this at InnoGames and because we value our artists we wanted to give them an opportunity to shine. Even though their skills are displayed every day within our games, players are often so immersed in the game that the art becomes a channel for the experience not an experience itself. This is why we will open our doors for the first ever “The Art of InnoGames” exhibition on November 29. Guests can expect in a plethora of activities from workshops to creative battles.

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InnoGames Rewards Creative Talent with Scholarship

As you might already know, the gaming industry is fueled by creative young individuals. Without them, the games we love would not be able to exist or continue to prosper. Due to this, InnoGames and other companies eagerly recruit and scout these talents even if they are not always easy to find.

That’s where supporting a talent from the start comes in. What better way to get capable individuals than by backing up their studies? If we believe in someone from the very beginning, when they are just developing their skills, we give them the message that their skills are worthwhile for us and the community as a whole. This is why we sponsor 19-year-old Tabea Koch with a scholarship towards her education. All in all, her scholarship is worth 15.000 € and is meant to support her studies in Games Graphics at the School4Games.

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Recipient Tabea Koch

It is important for skillful individuals like Tabea, to have the proper mentors, teachers and tools to properly harness their craft. The School4Games is the perfect place for this as they offer programs in game engineering, game development and game graphics. The Berlin based private school specializes in preparing students for a career in the browser and mobile game industry.

The school will teach Tabea different art techniques during the two year program that will build upon her existing talent. Tabea has a natural eye for detail which she proved during her scholarship application. During the application, she redesigned an old RPG from the 1990s and transfered it into a modern game. Head of Art, Alexander Raphelt chose Tabea out of all applicants because she paid attention to every part of the test. “Some people just focused on one graphic style, but Tabea put an equal importance to every part of the test and proved her talent”, he said.

This natural talent will be supplemented by various soft and hard skills that the program will teach her. Yet her growth is also planned outsidethe school since she will intern at InnoGames for three months to expand her experience. After her graduation, Tabea will have a chance to prove her talents in User Interface here at InnoGames. “If I could choose a game that I could work on it would be Tribal Wars 2 because I like the medieval theme and the strategy”, says the passionate hobby-gamer.

We wish Tabea the best of luck in Berlin and look forward to see her at our InnoGames office.

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Webmontag: the Outcome

For some people, the excitement and expectation of an event is what builds up and supports their assessment after it occurs. Although it seems far-fetched, memories are greatly influenced by our thoughts and perceptions afterwards. When we hosted Webmontag last weekend we didn’t know how people would react to our presentations nor what they expected from the experience. Despite it being our first time hosting an event of this kind, it was quite rewarding to see the turn out and the reactions from the crowd.

Compared to our past events, our guests weren’t necessarily part of the gaming industry. This little fact could be interpreted by some as negative but for us it fueled our desire to share our story and present our work to them. It meant that the attendees could learn about the design process and get to hear about some of the projects InnoHub members are working on. Pablo Heimplatz captured the essence of the event through the following pictures:

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Witty gamescom Competition Winners Visit InnoGames

What would gamescom be without its competitions, events and giveaways? It’s obvious that Europe’s largest interactive games tradeshow draws crowds of people for many reasons – with giveaways and prizes being one driving force. Therefore, we set out to engage our guests in other ways from our gamejam. As a parallel event, we ran a competition that challenged our visitors’ minds, informed them and rewarded them heavily. Read more →

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InnoGames Hosts Hamburg Webmontag

An important characteristic that defines a responsible and young company is their possession of a helpful mindset. These companies understand and are willing to help other startups and individuals in the field. Contrary to past opinions, most growing companies want to help each other out; they don’t believe in the idea of “paying it forward”. This is something that resonates with us as a company and fortunately we aren’t the only ones. There are many organizations that support this ideology by providing information and seminars on different fields for those that are interested. This is why we are hosting the upcoming Webmontag Hamburg.

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Expanding our Horizons: InnoGames Announces New Development Studio

Hendrik_KlindworthOver the past year we have switched our focus from browser-only games to cross platform titles.  We’ve worked hard to try to implement this new approach to all our games and have been pleased by the positive reception of this move. People are hungrier than ever to have access to their account from any location and on any device. Adding to this hunger is the fact that people are more mobile than ever and have an increased amount of gadgets. We knew that we needed to do something new in order to fulfill our player’s demands based on these trends. Read more →

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If Artists took on Unicorns

From September 17 to 21 our Art Department had the pleasure of attending a fantastic event: the “Trojan Horse was a Unicorn” – Convention.
For all those who are puzzled by the admittedly oblique name: the convention is a meeting place for artists from all over the world to gather, share knowledge and latest techniques,
network and so on. It’s a way for the art sector to keep up on the cutting edge trends and news in games.1962319_364491883706469_9016404492423417686_o

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Looking Into Maps, by Nurdogan Erdem

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The technique of generating maps out of repeating tiles is a fundamental and basic technique still used in the development of videogames. The technique, also known as tile-based maps, established itself during a time where main memory was scarce but it is still popular today. Whether it is through retro games like Super Mario, or applications such as Google Maps, the operation remains the same. Larger maps are built from individual graphic tiles with a Tile-based Map. The individual tiles define the graphic levels in games like Super Mario for example, where the character can prance around. The simplest type of map is the orthogonal map in which you look at the scene from above or from the side. Slightly more intricate maps are isometric and hexagonal ones. The last two are only one screen large and are easier to implement. Since maps are bigger and therefore need to be moved, scrolling needs to be done, where you move the map in one or more directions. Read more →

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