Articles Tagged with: game scope 2016
Plai, a new kind of Steam

Plai is an innovative new PC game platform, aimed at those who value their time and money when it comes to buying PC games.

The system is based on the “rent-to-own” idea and will offer you the possibility to avoid paying for games you rarely play or outright never see again after buying them. With the Plai platform you pay by the hour while playing, until you reach the retail price. At that point the game has been paid off.

The project is ambitious and enters a market with few but strong competitors, such as Steam, GoG and Origin, but the team is positive that industry is ready for a change for the better. Still in development, Plai participated at Game Scope 2016 as exhibitors all four days and got good feedback from our visitors, other exhibitors and the investors. We are now looking forward to welcoming Plai to Game Scope 2017 and prepared an interview with them for Expo visitors and developers.

We had  Plai office visit together with PR crew volunteers to have a nice cup of coffee and talk a bit. 

Plai illustration

Tell us about yourself!

Frank: My name is Frank, and I am the CEO at Plai. I mainly play the business role, as I have lots of experience in entrepreneurship. I have been gaming for several years.

Tobias: My name is Tobias, and I have the CTO role in the company, which means I am the tech lead and also the person responsible for product development.

Peter: I am Peter, and my daily routine here is being a software developer. I am maintaining the product with Tobias, crunching code and being awesome.

Why did you decide to start Plai. You said you were frustrated with current situation with games?

Frank: Since I am older than these guys, I used to play totally different games than they do now. I didn’t play games for some years because I spent my time working and raising up my kids. They are a bit older now though, which means I have some spare time to get back to gaming.

For someone like me, there are clear issues with the gaming industry today, and that’s what we’re attempting to fix with Plai. I either had to spend my limited time reading reviews about a game, or take a gamble and buy a game without knowing if it was anything for me.

Tobias: There are so many games now. It can be difficult to navigate the marketplace and discover games that you’ll enjoy, if you don’t put in the time. Being able to spread out your gaming budget and try games for yourself without putting down lots money gives you more flexibility while still supporting all the game developers that provide you entertainment.

Peter: My angle on this is – I am a hardcore gamer. I have lot of games, but I hardly ever play like 90% of them. I don’t play these games, but I paid the full price for them. And it is frustrating, when you go and realize how much money you have thrown out.

What is the difference between Plai and Steam?

Tobias: Steam is a huge entity, and many see it as synonymous with PC gaming, us included. All of us at Plai have Steam accounts, and have had for a long time. Plai is our way of offering an alternative to what Steam does, for people who prefer to consume their games in another way than what the mainstream platforms offer.

Frank: The spirit of Plai is flexibility and simplicity. You can go directly into the shop, find the game you want, start playing it, and only pay for the time you have played. When you have played enough to reach the retail price of the game, you have paid it off. You can then play it freely, as you’re used to with other platforms.

Is it both benefitial to customers and the developers, that people just don’t refund them on instant?

Tobias: Refunds are obviously an essential part of taking care of your customers. We feel, however, that Pay-as-you-Play is a much more sustainable way of doing “try-before-you-buy” than doing full refunds. The game developers will get paid, and you didn’t spend all your money on a game that wasn’t your cup of tea.

When we attended E3 in Los Angeles this year, we had the opportunity to talk to lots of publishers and game developers who were on board with Pay-as-you-Play. They’ll be able to expose their games to a whole new group of gamers who would love to play them, but aren’t willing to buy them at retail price.

We were following your journey to E3. What was your general impression of E3?

Peter: It was huge for us to go to E3. We talked to lots of people, and were amazed at the size and spectacle of the show. Although the “old timers” told us that compared to previous years, this show wasn’t that big. But for us it was.

I can magine the lines to try out the games and products…

Frank: Yes, we would have loved to try some of the games, but we had meetings, so we weren’t prepared to spend 3 hours in the queue to play for 20 minutes. Also, this was the first year when the show was totally open to the public, so the lines were even longer than previous years.

Have you got any interesting deals or insights on E3?

Frank: We went there with no expectations. We had some meetings with publishers, and they were actually pretty excited about Plai. We got some pretty neat deals with some medium to large sized publishers. Nothing is signed yet, but they were all happy to do business with us. We were really surprised at how little effort it took to get the publishers on board.

Have you met some people who are there purely for business, that don’t make games, but just sell them?

Peter: All the people we met at E3 are very passionate about gaming, and that’s what makes this industry so awesome! We didn’t meet anybody that didn’t seem interested in gaming and only interested in doing business.

You were at Game Scope last year, was it to try out the waters?

Peter: We went there with a proof-of-concept version of the platform, so we could ask people for feedback, and gauge the interest level. We got a lot of valuable honest feedback. We learned a lot about who would benefit from using Plai, and how we can make improve their gaming experience.

Are you excited to visit GameScope once again?

Frank: Of course we are excited to go to Game Scope again! It was the first event we ever attended with Plai, and from what I can see, you have expanded the show a lot! We are looking forward to meeting people from the Danish gaming industry.

One of PR Crew volunteers, Pavel, had very good questions to Plai so we decided to include them in this post.

I am one of the guys whose budget is usually somewhere around 0. So imagine I am playing a game, and I defeated a difficult boss, and my credit on Plai reached 0, and my last save was half an hour ago. What happens?

Tobias: You keep going. Right now we are experimenting with different approaches, but at the moment, your credit balance will just go negative, and then you will have to top it up.

Peter: If your credit goes negative, you’ll have to top it up to start the game again once you close it, but we never take control away from the player.

What stops me from having the PC just being on all the time?

Peter: Your balance will keep going negative. As it is now, when you sign up, you pair your account with your credit card, same as if you would pay your phone bill.

How is it pricing model is going to be? Some games take long time to finish, but they aren’t more enjoyable than other – shorter games?

Peter: For now, it is up to the publishers and developers to decide what the hourly rate for each game should be, but the more information we get about how people use the system, the better guidelines we can set, and help developers decide an optimal price point.

So for now you are letting the free market to decide?

Tobias: For now – yes. We want game prices that are good for both consumers and the publishers alike.

Thank you for your answers! Be sure to check out Plai booth at Game Scope 2017!

Photos made by Ervins Trans

Intro text and questions prepared for interview by Gergana Dimitrova

Interviewer Valerija Trane

Illustration by Slavomir Baca

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

Dice ‘n Drinks: Not your regular café

When we say we love games, we mean all of them. And what better way to celebrate them, than having our own Tabletop Cafe Zone at Game Scope, where you can enjoy board games at your leisure, while sipping on a cup of coffee! And guess who is joining us for a second year in a row? That’s right, the Dice ‘n Drinks board game café will be participating at Game Scope 2017!

Dice ‘n Drinks is Aalborg’s hottest geeky café! With more than 500 free-to-play games and dedicated volunteers to help you choose a game and explain the rules, you can spend a whole day in their hygge two-story setting in the very center of the city. They can offer you not only a wide variety of tabletop games – from chess and trivia games, to very advanced games, such as Twilight Imperium, but you can also check their wide variety of delicious coffee, tea, cacao and of course, munchies like nachos and popcorn. Don’t forget to try their local beer from the Thisted Bryghus brewery or the æblemost from Frugthaven in Skørping. The cafe also has a small collaboration sustainability project with 1000fryd ( local social event center and concert venue) – Take a plant – where visitors of cafe are encouraged to take with them free plant in pot.

Last year at Game Scope, Dice ‘n Drinks offered our visitors a retreat on the 2nd floor, with tons of games, drinks and hygge.

 

We met with the founder of café, Thor Rasmussen, and asked him few questions about Dice ‘n Dinks,  tabletop games in general and Game Scope

How did you come up with the tabletop café idea?

It has been in my mind for a long time. I have children and I didn’t want to go back looking for a teaching job after paternity leave, so we started this café.

Is there any story behind the name of the café? Usually tabletop café have the word “tabletop” or “brætspil” in them?

No, we were just wondering what types of names would work and suit the place. I liked the rhythm, plus the abbreviation of D’n’D ( Dungeons & Dragons ). I actually didn’t realize the abbreviation till a couple of weeks after I came up with the name.

Do you have any favorite tabletop game?

There are a lot, depending on my mood, but I always return to Pandemic and other co-op games. Worker placement games like Lords of Waterdeep rank very high as well.

Is there any game, maybe your first one, that sparked the love towards tabletop games?

Yeah, that would be Dominion, a deck building game.

Is there a big difference in hosting a tabletop session in the cafe and at events like Game Scope?

We divided it last year, I was managing café mostly, but my clear impression was you have to be much more spot on, because people didn’t come for us, they came for computer games. And if they came to us, they wanted to know what type of things we had and what it was, so we had only one minute to pitch and get the idea to get them focused.

Did you like the exhibitors at Game Scope?

Yeah, just like all of the stands at Game Scope last year, you have to be very precise. I remember seeing five or six very exciting stands and then I went past very fast. So it would be same about us.

You were a part of Game Scope last year and are participating this year too. Is there any game you wouldn’t take with you?

I would turn difficult and heavy games way down. The important thing for Game Scope is to be able to play a fast paced game, just take a break from computer games and see there is also this type of games. For that, you need a fast paced game, such as Love Letter, Spyfall, Codenames, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic or Catan. I would only bring the heavier stuff if we are planning an event, but we do plan to bring one of the newest popular games –  Deception.

What type of people stopped by at the tabletop cafe last year?

Those were primarily students. We also had some families stopping by.

Last question. Your cafe name is Dice’n’Drinks. Do you have a drink of choice for tabletop sessions?

I prefer beer, but if it should be anything else that good glass of whiskey or rum.

Thank you for your time and answers!

You are welcome.

 

We can’t wait to see what Dice ‘n Drinks are bringing with them this year. We do know that there would be more than 200 games for you to check out at Game Scope!

If you are new to tabletop games, check out some of Dice ‘n Drinks’ summer events, such as their beer tasting event with Real Drinks at 19.30 on 27th June 2017. You can sign up for it here. The café organizes Warewolf sessions every second week and the team is starting preparations for their summer 2017 board game party! Follow their facebook page for more details on the upcoming events!

Photos made by Ervins Trans

Interview by Valerija Trane

Pixel Art workshop is back!

We love games and we certainly do love pixel art games! There is something very charming and nostalgic about this type of art and the stable number of popular pixel art games on the market is speaking for itself. Cheap, easy to learn and popular as an art style, pixel art has always been one of our top choices for a workshop at Game Scope!

Pixel Hunt 2016

Led by Ivan Nikolov – a PhD in vision and graphics from Aalborg University – the workshop last year was a huge success among everyone, who wanted to learn something new and put their hands on actually making sprites for their future games. With more than 30 participants, the Pixel Art workshop was one of the most popular Game Scope 2016 activities and attracted both new and experienced visitors, because you can learn where to start from on the spot, without the need to spend time at home, trying to figure out some complicated software or drawing technique.

Those who attended the three-hour workshop last year had the chance to learn a bit about the history of pixel art, its development and basic work techniques, such as resizing and formatting. After the basics, the participants had to make characters and weapons of their own design, some of which you would be able to see on the pixel art workshop facebook group.

At Game Scope we believe that teaching practical skills is very important for the development of new talents. This is why, due to your popular requests, the Pixel Art workshop will be returning in 2017 too!

Pixel Art 2017

BIGGER, BETTER and more EXCITING, the Pixel Art workshop of 2017 will focus a lot more on gaining hands-on experience and practicing your design skills. As an expert in graphics and with vast knowledge on game design, Ivan has always been passionate about pixel art, as a suitable means to create a professional game. This year he would love to teach you more about how to work hard towards creating your game with low budget and little to no drawing skills. At Game Scope 2017’s Pixel Art workshop, you can learn how to make your game’s characters, monsters and weapons from scratch! This time we give you the freedom to choose your favorite pixel art program to work with. If you are wondering which program to use or want to learn something new, check out our suggestions of popular pixel art programs!

The workshop is suitable for both new and participants already familiar with it, as it will cover both the basics and new theories.

Come join the Pixel (art) Side! We don’t really have cookies, but we can teach you how to draw them!

Sign up for a free cookie-drawing lesson here! And remember, the number of participants is limited, so join as soon as possible!

 

Written by Gergana Dimitrova 

Pixel art illustrations by Ivan Nikolov