What a stellar month for game development in Saskatchewan! I’m blown away by all the news this month, all that time at home has clearly been paying off for a lot of our projects! We’ve got MULTIPLE Launches, multiple mainstream media hits, multiple government initiatives, and more. Outstanding work everybody! Be sure to fill in this month’s 5 Questions survey – it’s key to our planning for 2021! We need to hear from you! https://forms.gle/4QPofsAXPSPJ5qXd8
Just released to the Steam store, The Legion of Maelstrom is a JRPG heavily influenced by the masterpiece Startropics for the NES. Andrew did an amazing job with the game offering a lot of unique twists on the inspiration with a lot to check out. If I haven’t convinced you, just try and say no to the banger of a trailer. Fantastic job Andrew! Grab a copy here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1478180/The_Legion_of_Maelstrom/
As part of The Game Crafter’s Solo Duo Challenge, local developer Gui de Souza Rocha launched Card Tactics, a pocket-sized tactical combat solo card game taking place in a gritty fantasy setting. In the first round of the contest Card Tactics came in fourth in the popular vote, becoming a Semi-Finalist! The contest is still in progress, so wish Gui luck on the remaining rounds! Gui has launched Card Tactics for sale through The Game Crafter, so you can order your copy here: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/card-tactics You can check out the full game website, including the AMAZING trailer here: https://www.cardtactics.com/
As well Gui got some media coverage including a piece on Global Morning (https://www.facebook.com/GlobalReginaNews/videos/960635344477336/), and a feature on CTV Saskatoon’s Game Time segment by Matt Young (https://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/gametime-sask-card-game-designer-draws-inspiration-from-dark-souls-1.5445331).
3. Game Announced!
Warfront, a tabletop classical strategy game, was just announced by Belt Fed Games, also as a part of The Game Crafter’s Solo Duo Challenge. Designed by a Sask-born current member of the military it provides a clever large scale war game covering production, innovation and invasion. While it isn’t available for sale just yet, you can check out the game’s page and trailer here: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/warfront
Cheekynauts are absolutely nailing it, first they now have a Steam page for Moonshell Island, a must wishlist for anyone with a soul (https://store.steampowered.com/app/1629660/Moonshell_Island/). The charming and beautiful action RPG is not only now got a store page, but will be featured in the next Wholesome Direct showcase, the showcase reel for an online game festival highlighting lighthearted indie games. The event runs on June 12th at 1pm EST (11am Sask) on the GuerillaCollective twitch channel (https://www.twitch.tv/guerrillacollective), be sure to tune in to see some amazing indie games, and cheer on our local champion!
But that’s not all.
Cheekynauts CEO Sam Ramsey was also part of the new Asesprite 1.3 trailer as a featured artist! Asesprite is the world’s leading pixel art software and being chosen to highlight the software’s newest features is a huge recognition of an artist’s talent. Well earned and great job Sam! Check out the trailer here (https://community.aseprite.org/t/aseprite-v1-3-beta1/9222). If you’re into pixel art, be sure to check out Asesprite!
5. Media Hit
Sleepy Dragon Games had a feature in CTV Saskatoon’s Game Time segment for their in-development game River Runner (https://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/gametime-sask-indie-developer-hopes-to-make-a-splash-1.5424823). Still in development you can help playtest this river canoeing themed mobile endless runner – details are in the #qa-testing channel in the SaskGameDev discord!
54e Dev Studios’ Oneshot Golf just celebrated its 3 millionth putt played in the game! It’s been on a rocket ride lately thanks to a viral Tiktok video, perhaps not quite the way they were planning on it, they were always planning a smash hit, I’m just not sure they were expecting that smash hit! They also were featured on the A Couple of Putts PuttCast, a mini-golf podcast. It’s well worth checking out even if you hate golf, it’s a far funnier podcast than you might imagine, with some pretty amusing stories. They even did a little recap at the end about the viral video. Trust me it’s really good stuff: https://acoupleofputts.com/puttcast/
Lux Primora, the first game announced from Alphabet Soup Games, has gotten its first playtest demo. You can join their discord server (https://discord.gg/MKAxaMYtgf) to check out their spiritual successor to the much beloved Golden Sun JRPGs. You can check out their itch.io webpage here: https://alphabetsoupgames.itch.io/lux-primora.
8. Game Jams
Ludum Dare 48 wrapped up, the online 48 hour game jam is the world’s largest, and always has someone participating. It’s a great opportunity for folks to jam out some new projects to pad their portfolios, explore ideas, practice skills or learn new ones. We know of two Sask contenders you can check out, congrats to Nyk and Yeomsley for powering through with their solo projects:
In addition to Ludum Dare 48, the Genre Mash Jam just finished up, it had participants making a game from two genres of game that aren’t normally mixed. GammaFoxTBG submitted Tune Town, a mash-up of rhythm game meets endless runner. You can check it out here: https://gammafoxtbg.itch.io/tune-town
Donovan Jonk, of Megahammer Studios, was interviewed by AKA, a newsletter-based games/art interview production. You can learn more about this musical wizard here: https://digest.aka.games/issues/meet-donovan-jonk-one-half-of-the-game-audio-duo-megahammer-studios-591641
10. Summer Camps
Massive Learning is running Summer Camps for would-be Game devs. Youth aged 12-16 can enroll for weeklong half day camps that focus on different skills – game dev for programming, game design, and some new camps will be announced shortly. If you know youth in Saskatchewan interested in video games, give them a great start by getting them into these industry expert-led camps that go way beyond the usual student-led camps. For more info: https://massivecorp.ca/massive-learning/massive-learning-summer-camps/
“The Department of Canadian Heritage is inviting all artists and content creators to participate in the Canadian Artists and Content Creators Economic Survey. The purpose of this survey is to help create an updated portrait of the artistic and creative community in Canada. This data gathering is important to help ensure policies and programs continue to be responsive to the sector’s reality.” There’s a call from a number of organizations to call for a UBI (Universal Basic Income) on the text response box in the survey. A UBI could provide stability to individuals to pursue creative pursuits and importantly provide stability in an age of increased gig work and precarious employment. To fill in the survey go here: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/canadian-artists-content-creators.html
12. Explainer Video
The video game industry in Saskatchewan desperately needs better governmental support to help it spin up, but it can be confusing knowing what agencies would even be involved. To help inform the community I did a series of explainer videos that explore the Saskatchewan Creative Tech Ecosystem. They list out the different government agencies, explain their mandates, talk about the current problems, and offer some solutions to move things forward. You can check out the videos here:
13. SaskInteractive Town Hall
In response to the Town Hall that SaskInteractive held on April 29th, I’ve produced a series of explainer/rebuttal/critique videos. They go through the entire 2 hour town hall, stopping to provide critique, explanation, and references to each of the questions raised during the Town Hall. As the community was muted by SaskInteractive I couldn’t provide much clarification during the event, but this way everyone can listen in, even if they missed the event. I also provide the text chat in real time for the event which sadly was not recorded by SaskInteractive, even though it was the only means of engagement for the community during the event. You can check out the series here: https://saskgamedev.com/articles/saskinteractive-april-29-2021-town-hall-response-videos/
14. Government Engagement
Creative Saskatchewan is the agency responsible for funding programs to support all of the creative industries in Saskatchewan, including game development. The previous program to support game development, the Digital Games & E-Learning Equity Fund, was a tragic misstep and dangerously ill-suited support, see https://leaderpost.com/news/saskatchewan/deal-maker-or-breaker-sask-game-developers-give-new-equity-fund-mixed-reviews for some background on it. Thankfully there’s been a lot of changeover at Creative Saskatchewan and they are looking at revamping their programming for the sector. I had the chance to talk at length with the Program Manager over there recently. We had a very productive talk, while nothing is set in stone at this point, they were very receptive to feedback. I talked at length about the needs of the community and the need for small scale supports for startups, for supporting talent development, and the need for a trickle up approach. We’re thrilled that they have become a far more open and interested organization under new leadership (after being stonewalled trying to provide input previously), and very hopeful we can get a new program for next year which could be a tremendous help to so many of our devs.
The SaskGameDev website keeps growing, we’ve added a section for Careers. We aren’t doing a direct job listing site, since let’s face it in Sask it’d be a little sparse, but we are supporting job hunting. We’ve got a helpful list of sites for remote jobs in games, in tech and in general. Plus we’ve got some career advice sites listed, as well as a handy reference of the major game development conferences you might want to keep track of for news and opportunities. At the very top we mention services SaskGameDev can provide to help you on your career path, whether through employment or entrepreneurship including resume and portfolio reviews, mock interviews, media training, mentorship, and more! Take a look at the website, and let us know how we can help you! www.saskgamedev.com
16. 5 Questions
We really want to hear from EVERYBODY this time. We need to know what people are thinking and feeling about the return to in-person events. We’re not rushing into anything, but we want to know what people’s thoughts are so we can plan accordingly. We’ve also got questions about other exciting opportunities you’ll want to get involved with! Only takes a minute to fill in: https://forms.gle/4QPofsAXPSPJ5qXd8
17. 1 Thing
Here’s one thing you can do this month to help gamedev in Saskatchewan:
Buy these games: Early sales really help folks out, so get these two Saskatchewan releases while they’re hot off the press! The more any of us succeed the more all of us can succeed – teamwork is our best weapon to fight the algorithms!
The Legion of Maelstrom – Retro JRPG on Steam – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1478180/The_Legion_of_Maelstrom/
Card Tactics – Physical RPG-inspired Tactical Card Game – https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/card-tactics
18 Next Meeting
As usual our next meetup is on the first Monday of the month, Monday June 7th at 7pm in the #Community-Meetings channel of the SaskGameDev Discord. If you’re not a member yet, sign up here: REDACTED – Join the SaskGameDev Newsletter to get the link!
So there we go, I’m not sure we’ve had a more action packed newsletter! Great job everybody! It’s so good seeing not just game releases, but such top quality games, you both really nailed it with those projects! 2021 is gonna be an amazing year for game development in Saskatchewan. We’ve got so many amazing people and projects and things are really moving forward, there’s tons yet to look forward to. As always, reach out and let us know how you’re doing, if you’ve got anything you want to share, or if there’s anything we can do to help!