First meetup of the 2011-12 season was held að the usual hangout, the sports bar Hvíta Perlan, on 1st of September. Well attended meetup with the topic of introducing the IGI Game Creator contest that officially started the same day.
This contest is in cooperation with University of Iceland and Reykjavík University.
Game Creator is a competition for the best computer game, starting with brainstorming good ideas and, by the end of the competition, delivering a functional prototype. Don’t be alarmed if you are new to all of this – you will get help! And not just any help, experienced industry experts from Iceland’s lead gaming companies will be at your service. This Icelandic Gaming Industry competition was first held in 2010 under the name of IGI Awards with very good success.
To introduce the competition Jóhannes Sigurðsson of Gogogic went through some slides and answered questions.
During the informal discussions at the end, the discussion turned to hackathons, where participants get something like 24 to 48 hours to deliver a game. One person in the audience, Eiríkur Heiðar, pointed out that he and his team, Aranja, participated in Node.js Knockout, a 48-hour hackathon that took place in August. They delivered a game called Outburst. Needless to say, he and the team were pulled to the stage to do a demo. The team of four, Eiríkur Heiðar, Ari Þór, Sveinn and Ægir, made this multiplayer game where players guard some sheeps from killer robots.
The second IGI Meetup this season was Thursday 25th of November. The event was held at sports bar Hvita Perlan, which former fame seemed distant and replaced by enthusiastic crowed of gamers (or at least partly).
The agenda had three talks, one from IGI and two from member startups. It may have not been intentional but there was a very important theme running through the evening. Mainly that the there is a lot of sharing of ideas and support within the gaming industry, not only for startups, but for anyone that wants the be part of the community.
First talk was by Ben Cockerill who was filling in for Eyjólfur Guðmundsson (Eyjó) member of IGI board and economist at CCP games (@ccpgames). Although he claimed otherwise, Eyjó was quite vocal at the sideline providing additional info to Ben’s talk. Ben had an interesting status report of the first year of the IGI. Formed just over a year ago, the list of accomplishments was impressive: IGI meetups, IGI Awards, Nordic Game and the IGI annual conference. Not so visual is IGI’s participation in the Association of Industry and speaking out for the gaming industry.
Deepa Iyengar of Mindgames (@MindGames) was next. She gave a passionate yet humorous talk about how to build a startup company. One of her key points was not to be afraid to share. Tell people about your ideas and your dreams. Don’t be afraid that they will steal it. People are too busy with their own ideas anyways. This was an interesting story about the fragility of small companies and how the passion for building something can be powerful. Mindgame’s latest game, Tug of Mind is an iPhone game where you try to calm your opponent down using your brainwaves. The game will be released late 2010.
Elli and Svenni of Fancy Pants Global (@FancyHQ) gave the last talk this evening. They told there story of how a group of guys got together and decided to create a game studio and “have a blast” while doing so. Among the stories was how the name of the company came about, apparently Elli mishearing something that came out as nonsense Fancy Pants Global. And the name stuck. Another interesting tale was how surprised they were by the way the IGI crowd welcomed them to the community on their first visit to an IGI meetup. This lead to joining IGI and participating the in Nordic Game. Not bad for a group of guys having a blast. Among FPG’s project is a game for Maximus Musicus, a musical concept that introduces the symphony to young audiences. Their latest game is Resolver, a very handy iPhone app that will help you make decisions. I just downloaded this game and it has already been useful.
(The picture above was taken on an iPhone 4. And now it’s official: it’s not so much the camera)
Saturday 29th of May, the Icelandic Gaming Industry (IGI) and Reykjavik University (RU) hosted a half day conference and awards ceremony. The purpose was to introduce a cooperation agreement between IGI and the university. The awards ceremony was the first annual IGI Awards.
With the agreement, IGI and RU team up to bring together the industry and the academia. The university has built up world-class research labs in computer science. One example is CADIA, the center for analysis and design of intelligent agents. This research is very applicable for games.
IGI Awards was established last fall and several workshops took place over the winter months to assist potential game developers. Elven entries were submitted to the competition with some 30 people participating. The winner was a game called Path to Ares. This is a single player game and a tactical role playing adventure with a twist of horror and mystery as you battle against hopeless odds, in a world that grows increasingly more dark and eerie with each step.
Another game was given special extra awards, Fly on the Wall. In this game, the player – as a fly – must try to survive in an environment with a man that does not like flies. So the fly must try to bring viruses to the man to kill him before he kills the fly.
Finally, the awards committee gave special inspiration awards to three games. Preschool for developing games for small children, Music Missile, an iPhone game where music and games are used in an innovative ways, and The Adventure of the Blue Pigeon simply for a fun game with good humor.
Videos from the event (in Icelandic) are here: IGI Awards