Archive for Game Jam

TwitchCon: I Thought I Knew Twitch, But I Didn’t

Hey everyone,

I hope you’re all doing well. For my part, I feel lovely! After spending 5 days in the beautiful and sunny San Diego, it is hard not to.

I wanted to write my recap on TwitchCon as soon as possible, while my memories of the event were still fresh in mind. There are many things to discuss when it comes to TwitchCon, but what I want to talk about is how clueless I really was about Twitch and its community in general. Don’t get me wrong, I am a user of Twitch and have been for a few years. Like you guys, I watch my favorite video game events, e-Sports competitions and my favorite streamers. I’d dare say I’m well familiar with Twitch, even. The truth is that after attending my first edition of TwitchCon, I came to the conclusion that I thought I knew and understood Twitch, but in fact I absolutely didn’t.

Welcome to TwitchCon, where memes and dreams come to life.

Welcome to TwitchCon, where memes and dreams come to life.

TwitchCon won’t be completely packed. Wrong.

Look, I’ve been to several PAX and other big video game conventions in my life. And I’m not saying there were more people at TwitchCon than at PAX East. In fact, I don’t know the official numbers and they are unimportant for the matter at hand. At a convention like PAX, you can expect a huge audience to show up because this is an event that celebrates the entire video game industry. From the indies to the AAA’s, from the publishers to the streamers, everyone attends PAX. But for TwitchCon? Twitch is just a community (albeit the largest one) inside video games. It is a fraction of the industry, or so I thought. Boy, was I wrong. This event was quite eye-opening for me, I was surprised by the sheer number of people attending. Twitch is part of gaming now and it is here to stay. Every gamer nowadays is familiar with Twitch, no matter the type of game he plays or the platform he uses. And that’s a good thing.

The San Diego Convention Center, home of TwitchCon 2016, was at full capacity.

The San Diego Convention Center, home of TwitchCon 2016, was at full capacity.

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The Kappa Theater, one of the many showrooms at TwitchCon 2016.

Twitch is just a by-product of gaming. Wrong.

I always thought Twitch was just a by-product of gaming. I initially put it on the same level as voice-chat programs, some sort of secondary tool for gamers. Boy, was I wrong. The truth is, Twitch brings gaming to another level. Really, the longer Twitch stays around, the better it is for gaming. It makes the experience both for the viewer and the streamer better. It was a big factor in making video games mainstream. Streamers can now easily showcase their skills and personality to a large audience and viewers have an easy way to watch content online.

Of course, I’m not saying Twitch is perfect. We’ve all heard about the horror stories; the bullying, the police raids, etc. But these examples are a water drop in the sea of interactions on Twitch, which for the most part, are positives for everyone involved.

Despite the overused memes, Twitch chat is a powerful tool that makes watching or playing games more interesting.

Despite the overused memes, Twitch chat is a powerful tool that makes watching or playing games more interesting.

 

Twitch is also so prominent among the community that game developers have started to integrate Twitch features in their games. Shardbound and Streamline are two examples of games that are made with a stream-first mentality. There are several ways to include the viewers in a game, these are called Stream First tenets by Twitch:

  • Game UI: Display a user interface that is comprehensible to viewers, not just players.
  • Inclusion: Include the audience in the streamer gaming experience.
  • Recognition: Recognize the audience for their involvement in the game.
  • Community Achievements: Give the entire channel community a chance to make progress.
  • Audience Feedback: Allow the audience to influence the gameplay.
  • Motivation: Reward the audience for their contributions.
  • Community Co-op: Ensure that everyone in the community feels included.
  • Twitch Plays: Allow the audience to play the game directly using Twitch chat or other controllers.

As you can see, a game experience can change drastically with Twitch. The viewer is now involved in the process, he can participate and engage with his favorite streamer. And this brings me to my last eye-opening realization.

Twitch is just about video games. Wrong.

I thought for the longest time that Twitch was just about watching people play games. Boy, was I wrong. Twitch is beyond the scope of gaming. It’s much more than that. First and foremost, it is about social interactions. It’s a mean for people to connect with others. I realized this when I walked in the lobby hall the first day. Seeing people that had never met at all (in real life or online) hug each other and start talking like good friends was a bit of a shock. People connected so easily with each other, all they needed was an interaction about their favorite streamer or their favorite content to watch.

I was also surprised by the amount of love the popular streamers received. I attended some of these ”Meet and Greet” reunions and some streamers were receiving cookies, t-shirts and all kind of crazy stuff from their most faithful fans. And thinking about it, why would they not? If you watch someone every evening, he is part of your life even though you have never met him in the flesh.

I also found out that there is a big audience on Twitch that is not watching game-related content at all. Some people have a cooking channel or a painting channel. You can watch pretty much anything on Twitch, it is quickly replacing television.

The bottom line is that the viewers on Twitch watch for different reasons: some are seeking attention (donation message and shoutouts), some are looking to interact and chill with others (Twitch chat), some are simply enjoying watching their favorite games or e-Sports competitions and some are watching pro players to improve their own play. And that’s the beauty of Twitch, everyone is benefiting from it. Each and every streamer has his own channel’s theme and way of streaming, and the same can be said for viewers and their watching habits.

 

MANvsGAME, a popular streamer, has built his channel around struggling and beating every video game he can get his hands on.

MANvsGAME, a popular streamer, has built his channel around struggling and beating every video game he can get his hands on.

Some streamers, like FuturemanGaming, have a very recognizable element to stand out from the crowd.

Some streamers, like FuturemanGaming, have a very recognizable element to stand out from the crowd.

Twitch brings a very diverse crowd, even the UFC champion Demetrious Johnson can be seen streaming regularly.

Twitch brings together a very diverse crowd. Even the UFC champion Demetrious Johnson can be seen streaming regularly.

 

To conclude, I really enjoyed my time at TwitchCon 2016 and as a game developer, I truly understood what this platform was all about.

That’s it for now, stay tuned as we will have a big announcement about Light Fall in a week or two.

Cheers!

-BEN

Stunfest 2016: Mat’s thoughts and recap

Hello everyone. This devlog post is not written by your usual suspect Ben, but by myself, Mat.

I decided to write a quick recollection of my thoughts and a short recap of my experience at the Stunfest 2016, that took place last week in Rennes, France.

My journey or how to introduce oneself to a new country

Last week, I attended the 2016 edition of Stunfest in Rennes, France, leaving my proud Bishop compatriots behind. My first mission was simple: to make new friends to replace them of course! It was the first time we presented Light Fall in Europe, and man, what a first time. I was travelling with Louis Leclerc from Pixel Quebec so at least I was in good company!

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The first dive
To start things in full force, I had to give a lecture on the first day in front of hundreds of game developers. The topic was on independent game development but also on our own experience at Bishop Games and how things are in Quebec, Canada. Obviously, the best way to grab everyone’s attention is to start strong. What else than a broken Powerpoint to do so? It was a stressful first minute but overall it went quite well. It allowed me to introduce myself to all the other exhibitors out there and break the ice in a funny way. At least people remembered me easily as ”the guy who fails at Powerpoint”!

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The leap of faith
The start of the exhibition! Ah, the Stunfest… a retro-arcade-indie game festival who brings forward everything we love in the video game culture. An outstanding and unique event! Armed with my laptop and a boatload of business cards, I was ready to showcase Light Fall to the European public: French, Swiss, Belgian and many more were at the rendez-vous. Three days of exhibition starting from 10 AM to 3 AM… Wait what?! Yeah, you read that right, it isn’t a typo. As a wise sage once said: sleep is for the weak…

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Seducing the French people
Quite the task, but I had some help. A rumor went by that some stranger from over the sea, living in the cold North of Canada, was in town. My French accent from Quebec, which is nothing like the one in France, was enough proof. People came by just to hear me speak sometimes…
Moreover, the Stunfest and the other indies in general were extremely generous. Light Fall received a lot of exposure: trailer showcase on the ‘Grande Place’ in front of thousands of people, public speed runs, a full-page in the event’s promotional pamphlet, etc. I was lucky enough to meet the gamers, the media and the press, as well as lots of speed runners during the days I spent there.

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France: the home of Speed run
What attracted that many speed runners to my booth: my Quebec accent or the Speed run mode of Light Fall? Alas, we will never know! One thing is certain though, the French speed runners absolutely loved their experience with the game. RealMyop, Speed them All and many others will keep an eye out for the game and are eager to share their feedback if needed. Good news for everyone, right?!

My pilgrimage: success or failure?
Only time will tell, but the reactions from the public and the press was honestly outstanding. I didn’t expect this at all, I’m usually not the guy who handles the press so I was going in blind. Overall, the event organizers and the indies were all extremely welcoming and helped me survive this gruesome exhibition schedule! Shout-out to the people of EpicBob, Eode Group, RuffleRim, Wako Factory and all the speedrunners! A very bright and amazing indie community resides over there.

As of right now, I can definitely say: Mission accomplished and until next time Stunfest!

Light Fall: A long overdue update!

Hey folks! We hope you guys are doing well. The time has come for an update on the game and our activities. We know it’s been a while and we’re sorry about that… We had several things going on behind the scenes, things that we couldn’t talk about just yet.

Catapulte 2016

If you’ve checked our social media feeds recently, you may have seen several posts about us winning some sort of contest. Light Fall has indeed won the Catapulte program. It is a program to help the growth and development of a video game studio and its project. Basically, it is to catapult us right into the industry… The pun isn’t mine! In total, 16 studios from the province of Quebec applied, with quite a few big names in there too. Projects were evaluated on the following criteria: original and innovative content for the game, the team itself and a well defined distribution plan.

Light Fall won, and as such we were awarded 50 000$, a mentorship program and one year of free hosting at the brand new Le Camp’s workspace. Le Camp, an incubator issued from Quebec International, was one of the organizers.

The studio with all the sponsors, the organizers and the judges.

The studio with all the sponsors, the organizers and the judges.

Obviously, we are very happy about this surprising turn of events. The most important thing for us is having the confirmation from people in the industry that Light Fall is an amazing game. We had a good idea about its potential with Kickstarter, when YOU GUYS believed in us. Having a second positive opinion is just the cherry on top! We worked a lot on our application, and we also had to prepare a pitch for the game when we were announced as one of the five finalists. We never enjoy putting the game on the backseat, but for this one occasion the gamble paid out.

Applying to the CMF

In the past month, we have also worked on another business-related project. As of yesterday, we have officially applied to the Canadian Media Fund (CMF) for a production demand for Light Fall. The CMF is a well known organization in Canada that supports the video game and movie industry. We will have our answer probably during the summer, but being accepted by the CMF would be absolutely huge for us and for Light Fall.

The CMF can finance up to 75% of a video game project. That would allow us to make Light Fall exactly the way we want it to be and also get paid for it. We have already started to incorporate stretch goals from the Kickstarter into the development, some that we didn’t even reach with the campaign. The Speed run mode is one example. The consoles port is another. Light Fall has so much potential, we’d rather take our time and make sure it’s incredible than rush a poor man’s version of the game.

And the game…?

I can already hear your worries about the progression of the game with all that business stuff in the past months. Fear not! We have also spent considerable time working on our little baby. We always pride ourselves on making the universe of Light Fall immersive. We want you guys to be excited to dive into the strange world of Numbra. As such, we went back to the earlier levels of the game (Act1 : The Lunar Plain) and added some cool features to make the world much more alive.

Here’s a YouTube video of a few changes we’ve made, mainly when the player discovers the Shadow Core and the divinities in the second level.

We’ve also started to work on the third region of the game: the Vipera’s Forest. Here’s a little art test Math did and we think we will go in this direction. Hope you enjoy!!

So that’s it for now. Once again, thank you all so much for the support and sorry if we haven’t been very active in the past few months. We are still working hard on the game, we promise ;)

Cheers!
-BEN