A few big things are happening, two of which you’ll want to act on right away! SaskInteractive is finally doing some outreach to the community, so it’s your chance to shake things up and hopefully get the government more in line with what we need. I’ve felt like 2021 is the year we’re going to see sea change in the situation in Saskatchewan for gamedevs, and this is certainly one of many good signs recently. Like I said though, some of these opportunities are pretty short notice, so let’s get to it!
1. SaskInteractive Town Hall –
For the first time Saskinteractive is directly engaging members of the tech sector for feedback this Thursday (April 29th) at 7pm. In their own words:
“SaskInteractive is proud to host its first-ever Town Hall!
We welcome tech industry contacts and SaskInteractive members to participate, discuss or just listen to important conversations surrounding Saskatchewan’s tech sector.
Engage with us as we tackle real, open conversations about the digital landscape in Saskatchewan, the impact of Coivd-19 on our membership base, and the funding initiatives and opportunities available.”
Saskatchewan has an amazing tech sector and several grant funding resources readily available. These funds and grants are key to the growth of the tech ecosystem in the province.
Engage with us and our members in conversation around how the available funding initiatives are creating opportunities for success in Saskatchewan.”
As the government funded organization responsible for supporting the game development industry, this is a critical opportunity to let them hear your concerns and criticisms. As you know one of the things I try to do for this community is to speak up for those who don’t feel comfortable for personal or professional reasons. I have been happy to do this, but it has also come to my attention that there is a belief that my criticisms may not accurately represent the broader community because they don’t hear the same concerns from others. If we want to see change in this province we have to get our government organizations better aligned with our interests and opportunities. Your participation to speak up and criticize the failures in the status quo could be a major help in realigning policies and actions to get people the help they need and deserve. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking up publicly there is also an anonymous survey that you can also give feedback through. As always you can reach out to me to discuss anything.
Please take the time to give this organization the feedback it so desperately needs.
Register for the event here:
Fill in their survey here:
2. Summer Camps
Massive Corporation has launched a new division, Massive Learning, focused on educational products and services. The first offerings are virtual summer camps teaching game dev skills to youth aged 12-16. The camps are designed for intermediate to advanced learners, rather than the common introductory camps, and offer participants the opportunity to work with game dev professionals and learn core skills in various disciplines. Two 10+-year veterans of industry have set aside two months just to train and inspire kids, so hopefully this can help give a big boost to some youths this summer. Pass this along to any parents or educators you know with tech savvy students, so they can make the most of the opportunity. To learn more check out: https://massivecorp.ca/massive-learning/massive-learning-summer-camps/
3. Game Announcement
Annie and the Shadow Palace announced on Steam! Shark Pillow have confirmed Annie and the Shadow Palace, a game first prototyped at the 2021 Global Game Jam Regina event is in production. It’s great to see this fantastic game jam game getting some follow up, it was a great concept, and it’ll be great to see it polished and expanded. Be sure to wishlist it on Steam to follow its development:
4. Game Announcement
Card Tactics is a new RPG-inspired solo-play tactical combat card game from Gui de Souza Rocha. You can check out the website here: https://www.cardtactics.com/ and follow it on Twitter here: https://www.twitter.com/cardtactics/. He’s offered playtesting trials on the SGD discord if people want to get a sneak peak. Plans are to make a 2 player PVP version too. Great example of card AI design and lots of interesting but quick mechanics.
5. Media Hit
Groove Gunner’s Nomination for Best VR/AR Game at this year’s Canadian Game Awards got more press coverage just before the big event. Sadly they didn’t overtake the smash hit Star Wars Squadrons, but the nomination alone is an amazing feat. Amazing to see a small Regina indie studio manage to take on a juggernaut like the Star Wars franchise. Bitcutter is a real inspiration for the whole game dev scene in Sask. You can check out the clip here: https://www.facebook.com/GlobalReginaNews/videos/269765388150098/
6. Media Hit
54e Dev Studios got national news coverage for Oneshot golf. Tim Borgares got interviewed by Ben Mulroney and it was a great interview. I was honestly surprised how well thought out the questions were, Ben might just be a secret techie with his questions about growth and operational concerns. It’s rare to see questions like these in a media interview. Great job on the interview, and mad props for the well deserved national media coverage!
Check it out here: https://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/new-game-lets-users-remotely-control-robots-to-play-mini-golf-1.5374759
7. Media Hit
Closer to home Saskatoon’s Ranchers of Kyvos got featured on another Game Time piece by Matt Young on CTV. If you haven’t checked out Ranchers of Kyvos yet, you definitely need to. It’s a cute ranching sim with RPG elements. It’s still in the works, but check out the great dev logs and video clips they’ve been putting out, this game’s looking great!
8. Media Hit
Justin Bender of Bitwad Entertainment got featured on the Collecting Tales podcast. It’s mostly focused on music, but great to hear some insights on the industry, get to know about Justin’s music career side of life, and a little bit about Xero Hour.
You can give it a listen here: https://collectingpod.com/2021/04/07/episode-014-from-pa-to-eternity-w-justin-bender/
9. Earth Day
Cheekynauts celebrated Earth Day by launching a cooperative tree planting campaign. They’ve gotten over 1000 trees planted already! It’s a cheap and easy way to make a difference. Check out the campaign here: https://ecologi.com/cheekynautsentertainmentltd
10. Video Series
The Regina District Industry Education Council (RDIEC) have done a series of interviews with personalities in the Sask tech scene. They were focused to help high school students better understand the tech sector for career paths, but they’re a great insight into some of our local companies and people. Two game companies got featured Melcher Studios and 54e Dev Studios. You can check out the videos here:
Series playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTdWr6HvUWSZaEc1HWj50N-r8TWmRslcv
Melcher Studios: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-FJCaLqCzA&list=PLTdWr6HvUWSZaEc1HWj50N-r8TWmRslcv&index=2
54e Dev Studios: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpVx8xwgWOo&list=PLTdWr6HvUWSZaEc1HWj50N-r8TWmRslcv&index=8
11. Kickstarter Success
Local author (and writer for hire for any gamedev folks that are looking) Edward Willett’s Shapers of Worlds: Volume II kickstarter project successfully funded. Ed runs a podcast about science fiction and fantasy writing and worldbuilding, and the project builds off of that with an anthology from established authors he’s had on the podcast. If you want to see a ridiculous list of awards, check out the author bios for the project. Great to see a local project with such illustrious contributors, and you’ll notice tv, film, and gamedev project credits in those bios too.
You can check out the now-funded project here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/edwardwillett/shapers-of-worlds-volume-ii
12. Netflix Launch
Arlo the Alligator Boy has released on Netflix. It’s an animated kids musical adventure movie focusing on a voyage of self discovery of an alligator boy and his crew of lovable misfit friends. Regina comic-artist Dakota McFazdean did storyboarding for the movie. Dakota has been a long time hidden gem of Regina’s creative scene, and it’s great to see them finding industry success. Hopefully this is just the start of an awesome filmography!
13. Ludum Dare
The Ludum Dare 48 online game jam is just finishing up, there’s a number of local devs submitting games. If you’ve submitted, please post your game on the Discord #showcase channel, or tweet it and tag @saskgamedev so we can spread the word. Either way, once the games are posted, be sure to check them out and vote on them!
14. 5 Questions
In lieu of our normal micro survey, please fill in the SaskInteractive survey and give them your honest feedback. This is really the first time the community have had the opportunity to give the organization some real honest feedback. It’s long overdue. They have told me the survey is anonymous, so you don’t have to hold back, it’s important they hear more than just my voice even if it’s the same message. It may only be available for a few days, so it’s critical you act now and get your voice heard:
15. One Thing
One thing you can do this month to help grow the gamedev scene in Saskatchewan is attend the SaskInteractive Town Hall. Make your voice heard. Register here:
16. Next Meeting
We’ve got our next SaskGameDev virtual meeting on Monday May 3rd at 7pm in the #Community-Meeting channel in the Discord. If you haven’t joined yet, you can join here: <REDACTED – sign up for the SaskGameDev newsletter to get the link>
Great to see so much media coverage happening, always good to see folks getting a chance to shine and some recognition of all the growth and hard work our gamedevs are doing. Let’s keep up the fight, we’re doing great and the best is yet to come. Feel free to reach out to me if you’ve got any questions, concerns, or any projects or news you’d like to share!