Articles Tagged with: game development
Bedtime Digital games: amazing office with amazing minds

Bedtime Digital Games are one of the most known and respected game developers in Denmark. Their student project grew into well-known game Back to Bed 3 years ago, was translated into 9 languages, was top downloaded game amongst different platforms and has unique art style reminiscent of paintings of Dali.

Now the studio is at the stage of finalizing production on their game Figment – a beautiful surrealistic experience with music and game sounds that are an essential part of the gameplay. Visitors of Game Scope Expo 2017 will be able to experience it themselves before the game goes out on Steam and other platforms.

To accommodate all staff Bedtime Digital Games switched locations a few times in the last few years, though all offices were located in Aalborg.

Bedtime Digital Games gave a fair share of interviews and got asked all sorts of questions so instead of asking more questions we decided on an office tour and just to have a chit chat with lovely Emelie Mavel and later on Jonas Byrresen.

Right now they are located in one of the old houses at Ved Stranden where they are renting a quite charming loft space. To get there you will have to take stairs up and that is a quite a workout already. At the entrance to the office, before opening the door, there are a lot of shoes and coat stand for visitors and members of the studio which already gave an impression like we were entering flat rather than the office. Inside we were greeted by producer of Bedtime Digital Games Emilie and she showed us around.

The office is right under the roof and has two levels of open working space. Later on, we were told that currently there are two teams working on two projects, one of which is Figment and another one will be announced quite soon. Each team occupies their own level and then if a person is transferred to another team, they move to the level their team is on. Entrance is located on the second level and right next to it is small and cozy meeting room where Bedtime Digital Games has meetings with visitors. Behind the open working space, there is a small project meeting room with the impressive white board covered in colorful sticky notes that seem to be easiest and most useful way of buzzing ideas and plans.

Stairs to the first level have some Back to Bed artwork on the walls, as a reminder of the first successful project. Figment level has more people than the other projects and people are working hard on polishing the game. At this point, the game is at bug tracking and fixing stage, so everyone is focused and very busy. Some desks on both floors are empty, but not as much as you would expect during Danish vacation season. No one is held there against their will, studio members are very against people overworking themselves because that not only negatively influences studio culture, but in the end, there is very little gain from it.

Here is where we met lead Game Designer & Co-Founder Jonas Byrrensen who joined us on our little office tour and was a very engaging in conversation. While having a nice chit chat we were shown a big blue sofa with consoles where on Fridays studio members play games not only for entertainment but also for research purposes. It does look like once a game developer – always a game developer.

Another notable part of this level is the dining area which is a big long table for all members to sit together at and enjoy a meal. A little fireplace close to has trophies and awards for Figment and Back to Bed on it. There is no wall of fame or place dedicated to trophies. Some awards are on the fireplace mentioned before, some on the window behind Jonas desk.

I couldn’t help but still ask Jonas few questions by the end of the visit before letting him and Emilie get back to work on their projects.

Do you have design manual or document for your games with unique style?

Jonas: We have a game design manual. But it is not as extended as it could be, I have all games details and development details in my head, so it is easy for me from the get go to give the reasoning behind some decisions or tell why a thing was done in that particular way. New interns and people who join project later seem to pick up the overall game direction by themselves. We are going to make extended design manual, it just seems there no need for it now.

A studio like yours are invited to different conventions, why did you decide to go to the yet not so well known Game Scope last year?

Jonas: I really like the idea of the convention that is about gaming culture in general. We already have big conventions like E3 that are about games only. Actually, me and Thomas ( editor’s note: Thomas Lykke Larsen – Game Scope project manager ) were the ones who came up with Game Scope festival idea. When he decided to go with this idea to Business Aalborg he invited me to the meeting as a game developer who would be pretty much interested in a festival like Game Scope.

You’ve been at different conventions around the world and I bet you answered this question many times, but let me ask again. What advice do you give to young game devs?

Jonas: Don’t work too much on your project. I mean Back to Bed was our student project. I would go back to change a lot of things and rework it. Situations like these are tricky, you can end up working on your game so long that instead of improving it, you are going to make something that is completely different from what you intended in the beginning.

I better let you back to work work. Thank you for your time, Emilie and Jonas!

We spent some time taking photos and talking a bit more before leaving, which was quite hard since the place and people were very hyggelige and seeing their work was quite mesmerizing.

Figment is going to be available at Game Scope 2017 expo grounds, the development team will be busy improving the game before release on Steam and Nintendo Switch, but they will find a time to attend our festival, which we do appreciate a lot!

Photos made by Ervins Trans

Text and interview by Valerija Trane

2nd studio: behind the scenes of KnightOut

2nd Studio is the Danish game development studio consisting of two core members: Nikki Starostka and  Dennis Jensen. They have worked on feature films as well as mass market games, crafted innovative visual experiences for games and films for clients like Disney, Logic Artists, Kiloo etc. At the moment they are crowdfunding their latest project KnightOut.

Will get you on the edge of the couch as you battle your best friend. How will you bring your soon to be ex friend to his knees? Use your strategic overview as you build your castle which defines half of the battlefield, a good defense is all you need, or master the sword and take him out in close combat.

We went to visit 2nd studio in the house to many Danish game startups Arsenalet, where we were welcomed by Nikki who was very kind and found a time to answer our questions.

Can you introduce yourself, and tell us about your role in the company?

I am the Creative Director and co-owner, so I have to wear a lot of hats and manage the company together with Dennis, but I try to focus most of my work on the creative vision of our projects.

So you are the guy who decides on the art direction of the game?

Yes, I come up with some ideas or suggestions about how something should look, not only art style, but also story wise. Actually, the roles  are really vague because we can overlap in many places. Dennis, for example, got the same education as me, so he knows how to make graphics and does it sometimes.

Where did you meet each other?

We met some time ago in Odense, Fyn. We only took the first part of our education, and after haven’t seen each other again for a couple of years, and then we met up here at The Animation Workshop and ended up in the same class!

Why you called your company “2nd Studio”?

There are lots of answers on that one. First of all – it sort of looks cool. Second – when we were discussing and defining all what company should stand for we visited a lot of workshops and courses. At one of them there was a talk with an artist, who was talking about the first Zelda game, and how upon completion of the game, you can do certain things to get to this whole other world, called “the 2nd quest”. It spoke to me and Dennis and we implemented that into our name. Also the N and D in “2nd ”  stand for Nikki and Dennis.

How do you feel about all the support you’ve got? Did you expect people to help you reach the goal and even go beyond?

We’ve put the goal pretty low at that point because we were a long way in already and would be able to finish the game. We’ve made it with the intention that we should have a certain chance to reach it. It was expected to reach it, but we were surprised it happened that early.

Did you have any sort of art inspiration during the development of the KnighOut?

It was very spontaneous, the whole process, actually. But I’ve had a lot of video games, a lot of fantasy games, so of course, it got inspired by them, unconsciously. In terms of an official main inspiration – there was none.

Can you say your love for LEGO inspired the way game looks?

Yes, not so much in the visuals, but more in the gameplay.

How you came up with the idea to develop for Nintendo Switch?

We had the concept, that it should be very simple, it should not be too crowded on the screen, as well, when you are playing together, you don’t have to have the split screen or anything. It made sense to put it on the SWITCH, and we could keep the specific ideas or ideals of the game.

Why did you decide to go for crowdfunding in general?

Actually we weren’t considering crowdfunding. After our last campaign with Jazon and the Dead concluded, we thought ” the next thing we are making, we are not going to depend on funding “. The whole idea was that it should be something that we can make ourselves, without being dependant on anything from the outside. But then, we’ve made a prototype,polished it, and made an update on our previous campaign, so people could sign up for the newsletter and so on… And the guys from FIG, the crowdfunding platform contacted us and said asked if we would like to put KnightOut on the platform.

So you were actually contacted by the crowdfunding platform?

Yes, they were the ones, they came out with this idea of having us on their platform again! And that made us think this might just speed up the whole process, otherwise we would have to make a lot of small jobs to get the money, and this way – we could just complete it faster!

I can see you have a lot of Star Wars things here, but who is your favorite, the most liked character?

Aaaahh. I Think… I think… Maybe… yes, it probably carried along from when I was the little child, but since back then I was always thinking that Yoda was really cool.

Do you have a lightsaber?

No, but I was actually looking into buying one, but I haven’t had the money to do it because I want a really nice one, the one you can actually practice with. There is a site, ultra sabers, where they make really cool ones, with the sound effects as well, but you also can clash on them without breaking them.

Can you give an advice, for new developers, or for people who want to start developing games?

Keep it simple! It is better to do something simple, and you can always build on top of that.

Thanks for all the answers!
KnighOut crowdfunding campaign is up until 28th of July 2017. Please consider to support them!
Support

Text and interview by Valerija Trane

Photos made by Ervins Trans

Pictures and illustrations taken from KnightOut Fig campaign

Spearhead Nordic: invisible part of the expo

Spearhead Nordic is an active participant on the Danish game development scene and aims to help creators to showcase their products. They will be present at Game Scope 2017 Expo, but instead of having a booth, they will scouting the expo floor. We let them take over our blog this week, let’s see what they have in store for us! 

Hi, and thank you for dropping by! We are Spearhead Nordic, the home of the very best Scandinavia has to offer when it comes to animation, games and entertainment.

We are digital platform designed to grant Nordic developers a bigger international reach and audience. We do this by functioning as a news portal, social media network, a professional network and much more. We are not even 1 year old yet, but our digital influence seems to be already reaching far and wide, especially in the Nordic countries. And, we are not slowing down any time soon.

So, some quick practical notes. Do you have a cool project you would like us to pay attention to? Well, send it our way and let us add it to our Nordic Highlights!

Do you want to meet and greet with other Nordic developers online? Then join our Discord Network!

And lastly, we also offer extensive marketing and promotion services, allowing developers to focus on what they do best. If that sounds interesting to you, then should just keep scrolling. No matter what, you should keep scrolling, as we have left a parting gift by the end of all our ramblings.

What should you know about our Spearhead Nordic services?

Well, we pride ourselves on the use of authentic marketing.If you are only going online to spam your content without regard for other people, you sadly won’t garner nearly the amount of success you could obtain under more professional standard.

We here at Spearhead Nordic believe in the use of authentic marketing and that is what we will be practicing. Engagement is built on emotion. Building a brand is, in other words, the skill of building real long-lasting relationships between you and your audience.

A sin many other professional advertising companies commits is that they forget to act human. In their quest to prove they are best at everything, they fail to understand the basic human need to be understood and related to. How can you relate to anyone if you are walking around with your head in the clouds? Your audience is pressing “Come down here and connect with us on a personal level!” That is what we do at Spearhead Nordic, and the results so far have been great.

So, if you are looking for:
– A creative partner in crime.
– Someone you can collaborate with, eye-to-eye.
– A person to take care of your marketing/promotion.
– Someone to help you build a community/fanbase.
– Improved international reach and influence marketing.
– Someone to carry your project to new heights.

Then do not hesitate, contact us today! Alternatively, visit our website for all the tasty details.

And before we part ways, here is a little gift. The gift of knowledge!

Spearhead Nordic has at this point produced a series of articles called “Create a strong promotion platform.” So, if you want to improve the marketing potential of your current creative production, maybe before heading to Game Scope, you should give them a read. The content of these articles will make you a marketing master in no time!

Here, let me give you the links!

We can´t wait to meet you all at Game Scope, especially seeing how we had such a blast last year! All the love from

Rasmus F. Jensen
Founder of Spearhead Nordic.
Mind Bulb: using Game Scope as testing playground

It’s been almost 10 years now since ‘Flights of Fancington’, the all-time best soap opera show, went off the air and yet to this day the war still rages on amongst the fanbase over the most important question of the century: Which character was the fanciest?  

Mind Bulb continue to work on their game SOPARA. In this game, you get to play as the elite of Fancy Town and fight your friends in the style of the grandest of soap operas. We sat down for a cup of coffee and a small interview with creators of the game Anders L. Christensen and Mads Reedtz.

Before we start on asking about SOAPRA, I want to ask you, how you met each other?

Mads: We met each other quite a few years ago in high school.
Anders: We had similar friends and as they started to move away to different places for studies and schools. Mads and I were only one left in Aalborg.

Quite expected question for people like you, but what was the first tabletop you fell in love with?

Mads: For me, that game would always be Munchkin.
Anders: * very conflicted what to choose* Munchkin is sorta to go answer, but I will simply choose other game, just because. That game for me would be Pandemic. It’s wonderfully designed and I can create a big list of great things in this game.

Why did you decide to create a tabletop game in the first place?

Anders: Because we are too incompetent to make a video game *chuckles*.
Mads: Well it was an old dream of mine since I was a kid to design computer games, but as I grew older I realized that is not going to be my niche. But I had a very mechanically geared mind to create games rules and concepts, so tabletop came out as a natural choice.

So Ander’s story comes from being incompetent and Mads from wanting to make games as a kid?

Anders: No! For me it comes a bit from an academic place, I learned to make games and got accepted for the semester in DADIU ( The National Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment ). What really fascinated me about tabletop games that mechanics tell the story.

You came up with this really interesting concept of the tabletop SOAPRA. Was it a result of trying to make different board games or it was a solid idea from day one?

Mads: SOAPRA was born on my internship at Dragon’s Lair. It is a great place to get inspired, board games everywhere and a lot of nerd gear. I thought I want to make a game where you play another player as much as you play the game. I couldn’t tell why it had to be set up in soap opera, but Looking back it seems like an obvious choice. What frame of reference will people in the 20th century have where you always to be mean to each other and lie to each other.

How you introduced an idea to Anders?


Anders: I am not sure if it was same day or a day after
Mads: As a Mind Bulb Games, before we even had this name, we developed quite a few games and had roleplaying game in the works. Since all projects looked big and ambitious, we decided to go with something of smaller scale and chose to work on SOAPRA. It has a target audience and development process seemed to be faster than it actually came out to be later.

What came first: SOAPRA or Mind Bulb (studio name)?

Anders, Mads : Mind Bulb!

Why you chose British family instead of going with stereotypical Spanish/ Italian family from soap operas?

Mads: I honestly think it’s my fault. When I think of excessive wealth, I don’t think about someone smart like Bill Gates, I think of some old pompous British family. And in my head it just seemed to fit the idea more.

What can you say about Game Scope experience last year?

Anders: We didn’t expect people to receive our game so well and all Game Scope staff was really nice and accommodating, the crew just did it’s best. It was overwhelming since we had first play test of updated edition 2 days prior Game Scope. The experience was phenomenal. Even though we presented a prototype, no one looked down at us. And we got a lot of feedback which will go on the edition you available to test out at the Game Scope Expo 2017.

Are you going to prepare in advance this year?

Mads, Anders: Definitely! We want to have play test a month before the event. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for that.

Thank you for your answers!

Be sure to follow Mind Bulb’s game SOAPRA  Facebook page to receive updates about the game’s development.

Photos made by Ervins Trans

Text and interview by Valerija Trane