First edition of the SGDA Producer Workshop at Zurich Game Show

Supported by Pro Helvetia, the SGDA has launched its first «Producer Workshop». It is part of the partnership between the two institutions within the #SwissGames initiative and both organisations see the knowledge exchange on game production practices as a key factor in the further professionalisation of the industry.

Goals of the workshops include to present and to learn from case studies of produced games and best practices involved to get games to market, discussions based on the participant’s projects and experience as well as strengthening connections to foster knowhow exchange in and after the workshop. The event is an open format that welcomes all game creators.

The first edition of the Producer Workshop took place at Zurich Game Show on Friday, September 13 2019 from 12:00 to 16:00 with the following three case studies:

  • Andreas Halter from Gbanga elaborated on the concrete production steps taken in the creation of Voltron: Cubes of Olkarion, an international co-production with Los Angeles-based Universal Studios. Key processes were shown, including the agile approach and sprints, retro meetings and daily stand-ups which are important so that all team members are equipped with the current state of the game. Additional to processes, tools were explained like PERT diagrams, JIRA ticketing, Git for version control, wireframes and storyboards and the importance of playtesting, collaborative online Game Design Documents and paper prototypes to define the game design and identify challenges and potentials early and easily.
  • Nija Nikolic from dreipol games explained the story of the company’s strategy to find a key area in Serious Game productions based on a competitive market analysis of the Swiss games industry. Nija explained how they identified Serious Games for children as an opportunity. Dreipol put their results into action and created Toddo Land and got visibility in the competitions Best of Swiss Apps and the SGDA Swiss Game Awards. Based on this, agency Hinderling Volkart became aware which led to the production of school children’s game to learn how to navigate traffic on their way to school. Key processes were shown, like playtesting with children to understand if tasks are understood and a learning effect becomes visible. Production processes like budgeting, offering and planning were shown based on the Max der Dachs use case.
  • Rafael Morgan from N-Dream, the creators of the Airconsole platform showed insights into the production from a platform holder’s perspective. AirConsole is an open platform on which any developer can publish. AirConsole hosts a yearly game competition and is present on industry events where game ideas and prototypes can be pitched to for game production financing. The company has funds available to order productions from game studios world-wide including Switzerland. For this, AirConsole has formalised the production pipeline of games in an internal planning system that allows a partnership with the game studios involved. This enables a joint overview of production steps (Game Design Document, prototype, vertical slice, final build, etc.) and secures a step-by-step process to bring games to market on the AirConsole platform.

The highly insightful information given in the uses cases and the inspired discussions and Q&A that were sparked after the presentation, underlined the importance of game production processes and tools to get games done and bring them to market. The SGDA thanks all speakers, the participants for their questions and contributions and Pro Helvetia to make the event possible as well as Zurich Game Show for the panel room at Messe Zürich!

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