SGDA Swiss Game Awards: Five finalists are running for the 4th edition of the industry prize for innovative Swiss games.
For the 4th edition of the SGDA Swiss Game Awards the jury has nominated five finalists. Once again this year, they show the impressive variety of Swiss craftsmanship. They incourage to think about one’s own actions, show immersive VR experiences, keep the brain cells on their toes with puzzles, and let the players have fun in singleplayer or in multiplayer matches. They all show different facets of a lively and future-oriented Swiss game industry.
On Friday, January 27th 2017, the Swiss industry prize will be conferred during the «Ludicious» festival and the «Ludicious & SGDA Swiss Game Awards Night» in the old casern in Zurich. In addition to the jury prize the audience will be invited to pick the winner of the Audience Choice Awards.
The nominated games:
- Airheart – Blindflug Studios, Zurich
- Oniland – Funny Little Things, Geneva
- Schlicht – Team Schlicht, Zurich
- Splash Blast Panic – Team KwaKwa, Lausanne
- Watcher – Kinwatchers, Zurich
- Adam Moravanszky (Jury President), Director of GameWorks Engineering (Nvidia)
- Mikhail Chatillon, Developer Evangelist (Microsoft)
- Angela Blank, PR Manager (ToLL/Sony PlayStation Switzerland)
- Ettore Trento, PR Consultant (Nintendo Switzerland)
- Filippo Zanoli, Journalist (20minuti)
The second edition of the SGDA Junior Game Awards is right around the corner. In cooperation with the gameZfestival the Swiss Game Developers Association SGDA calls all children, adolescents and young adults who craft, invent and design their own games. Whether it’s a puzzle or action game, created for the Matura degree or a school project, games of all types are welcome to be submit to the Junior Swiss Game Award.
The second Junior Swiss Game Award will be given away on November 6, 16:30 at the gameZfestival in Zurich and honours digital games, which were created by the youngest talents in the Swiss game development scene. The best game receives 500 Swiss Francs. The submission deadline is Monday, October 31 2016.
The Junior Swiss Game Award is the first award for Swiss computer games that have been developed by young game designers. The event is the young talent edition of the annual industry prize Swiss Game Award.
Since July, Luca Cannellotto is acting as the General Secretary of the SGDA. He is responsible for communication and media relations, and is at your disposal for any questions you might have. Luca is a gaming native and devoted to games with heart and soul. He has studied history in Zurich and has published a book about the cultural history of digital games. Moreover, for the last ten years he has been the editor of a blog revolving around gaming culture.
The Swiss Game Developers Association is proud to announce that from today, we accept applications for the newly set up SGDA Atelier. The Atelier is first and foremost a place where likeminded game creators share experience and exchange knowhow. A limited number of creators can become part of the Atelier programme with the goal to support game projects with strong potential.
What you get:
- A convenient location at the heart of vibrant Zurich West with other game creators in close vicinity.
- A desk where you can work at during business hours with Internet connection and power.
- Access to the General Secretary and members of the SGDA board which are there to answer any questions or redirect you to the right person in the game industry.
- Being at the source of a network: the Atelier’s goal is to bring together game designers, developers, sound designers, animators, etc.
- Access to a meeting room on hourly basis
- Upon request, together with other atelier participants, you can get sessions with a fresh input from different people (SGDA members, industry partners, etc.) to progress your project, discuss goals, get feedback, etc.
All this for only CHF 140.- per month (excl. MwSt.) if you are a member of the SGDA, and CHF 180.- per month for non members
Games as a versatile medium entertain us as much as they can contribute to scientific research as Serious Games. We had the great opportunity to talk about «Gaming for Science» with Dr. James Wootton, SGDA member and maker of the tricky puzzle game Decodoku, which aims at helping science to build a quantum computer by analyzing the player’s strategies. If you fancy getting into quantum computing theory, check out the Decodoku Blog for some accessible and insightful information.
SGDA: Hi James, you’re one of the latest members to register with the SGDA, which is interesting, because you don’t have a classic game developer’s background. Can you tell our members a bit about you? Who is James Wootton, and what does he do for a living?
James: The short answer is that I am a scientist (a physicist to be specific) working at the University of Basel and funded by the NCCR QSIT (which means that it is money from the government going towards quantum things).
I am also British and married with two kids, and like Star Trek.
My main work is studying quantum error correction. This is a thing we’d have in a quantum computer to find clues about when and where errors happen. Taking those clues and figuring out what to do with them is what we call a decoding algorithm. Much of what I do is designing decoding algorithms. Then I write programs to simulate quantum error correction getting bombarded by errors, and test out my decoding.
This is exactly what happens in my games. The main differences is that the games are prettier, and the player does the decoding manually. So they get to design decoding algorithms as they play. For a longer answer, I recorded a video.
SGDA: That’s quite a gap you need to overcome, most people playing your game Decodoku probably don’t know much about quantum physics.
James: I’ll take this opportunity to plug other people’s games too! There are a few of us doing quantum games this year: from mods of Minecraft to trailers with Hollywood stars! Here‘s a list.
So I’m not the first one to do a quantum to game conversion. There are some examples to follow. But actually I’ve taken a different path. My game doesn’t try to teach you any quantum mechanics. Instead it takes a hard problem from quantum research that we need to solve, and distills it down to the core puzzle. Then I present this puzzle without any quantumness. So the examples I followed most of all where similar puzzle games, like Threes, 2048 and (of course) Sudoku.
SGDA: How did the idea come up?
James: There is a person at ETH Zurich whose job is to find out when QSIT researchers have invented something cool, and help them develop that. So she’ll go around asking the experimentalists if they’ve invented anything. One day she asked me. But I’m a theorist. My job is to prepare the way for experimentalists to make a quantum computer in a few decades time. The idea of me making a product now that could be taken to market seemed crazy! But I thought about it, and Decodoku was born.
SGDA: how exactly can the players contribute to your scientific researches?
James: They just need to play the game, think about their strategy, and tell us about it. Imagine a Let’s Play of 2048. Basically doing that, but with Decodoku, would help science. But you don’t need to put yourself on YouTube. We also have a survey based on Decodoku puzzles. This has a few problems that our current methods are especially bad at. So knowing people’s thoughts on how they solved them will help improve methods. I should add that our current high scorer is a great example of how to contribute. See here on our subreddit. On my YouTube channel there are some Let’s Plays of other quantum games. That’s also where our high scorer’s video is posted.
SGDA: Did Decodoku already yield tangible results? Are we one step closer to see quantum computers on store shelves?
James: I am not yet at the stage of truly analyzing results, but there are good things so far. Our high scorer is the prime example. He has a high score that’s around four times my own. He gets over 800 without too much trouble, whereas I struggle to get over 200! He has provided us a good explanation of his method, and even recorded the game where he got his high score for us to analyze. I told my fellow scientists about his achievements at a conference. They were very impressed, and one was especially excited about how he was beating the odds and doing better than we thought possible, and was thinking about how to incorporate it into research.
But even if we are one step closer, there are many steps to go.
And we still have plans for Decodoku: the high scorers by the end of the year will get prizes. We don’t know exactly what the prizes will be yet. But they will be good. Also, a competition with a two player version will most likely happen in January as part of an annual outreach event by the department of physics in Basel.
SGDA: Dear James, thanks a lot for your time, and welcome to the SGDA family! We are looking forward to see more of your research in the near future.
Exhibit your game at E-Games: Suisse Toy / SwitzerLAN 2016 in Bern! The event will once again combine the best of many worlds: Swiss games and international games to play with, astonishing cosplay, and a gigantic LAN party with 1’000 participants. The SGDA will also be present, therefore we are looking for exhibitors who want to show their games in our reserved area! Register now, as the space is limited.
Image credit: SwitzerLAN
Feist by SGDA member Bits & Beasts will soon be published on PlayStation 4. Thanks to the cooperation between Sony PlayStation Switzerland and the SGDA, a development version of the game was shown during the Open Air Gampel from August 18th-21st, where players could take an exclusive look at the game running on Sony’s latest console. With Dreii already released and Feist to be published in the next months, there will soon be two Swiss games from SGDA members available on PlayStation 4, which is a great achievement!
Don’t forget to get ready for Numerik Games in Yverdon-les-Bains from September 2nd-4th. It’s a great event in a nice little town. You just can’t miss it!
SGDA Members will have the opportunity to get a special discount of 50% on tickets! Just present yourself at the reception of Maison d’Ailleurs (not the official ticket office). Company members are asked to present their business card.
Cosmic Hare by SGDA member Simon Broggi from studio Insert Coin has been released for iOS and Android. The puzzle game is a brain teaser which is simple in principle, but can get difficult in practice. Players need to eliminate all hares in each level by hopping over them with the first hare they start with. In later levels three dimensional playing fields make the hunt harder, while there are also enemies that need to be avoided. Cosmic Hare is suited for players of all ages and is a fun diversion which also tickles the brain cells.