Another month of great news for the gamedev scene in Sask. I was expecting a quiet month with folks on summer break, but there’s still plenty going on. Lots of achievements and mentions, plus Loot Fox has got the first in-person event happening in the province since COVID.
SaskInteractive is holding its Annual General Meeting on Monday, August 16th, 2021 from 12pm – 1pm. SaskInteractive is the government funded body to support game development and interactive digital media in Saskatchewan. While it hasn’t had much of a positive role in the industry so far, there is some hope it’s getting some positive change. If you want to have your voice heard, this is one of the few opportunities the organization gives to be heard by the wider community. If you sign up for membership in the organization (free) you can vote at the AGM to elect board members or pass/fail other motions at the AGM. You can sign up for membership here: https://saskinteractive.com/plans/free-accounts/ and you can register for the AGM here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/2021-annual-general-meeting-tickets-164539095865 Sadly they’re ignoring their public mandate and have listed the event as members-only denying public oversight of a publicly-funded organization betraying both standard practice for the nonprofit sector to allow observes for transparency and accountability. Also sadly the meeting has been called during work hours disrespecting people’s existing commitments and further punishing and denying people involvement. If you think issues like these need to be spoken up about, if you can show up, please speak out for those that cannot. It’s a disgrace for any publicly-funded organization to conduct itself like this, but it’s doing it while claiming to be acting on behalf of our industry. We need to speak out to represent ourselves.
Lux Primora will be launching it’s kickstarter on Tuesday August 3rd so be sure to have your credit cards ready! “Lux Primora is our love letter to Golden Sun, and we’re extremely excited that we can launch during it’s 20th anniversary month.” While Lux Primora has a world-wide team it is based in Saskatoon. It’s great to see a great project like this, but even better building those worldwide connections to help connect us with talent, support and opportunity beyond our borders. The game is a narrative-driven 3D JRPG with elemental puzzles. It’s got a great kickstarter planned, but if you need an extra sneak peek you can check out their itch.io page (https://alphabetsoupgames.itch.io/lux-primora) or join their discord: https://discord.gg/MKAxaMYtgf
Sign up and get updates about the kickstarter here: https://kickstarter.com/projects/luxprimora/lux-primora/
Lux Primora has also been catching eyes around the world. Here’s two media features for the upcoming game. Game Cuddle gave it a mention on a list of upcoming kickstarter game projects: https://gamecuddle.com/11-eye-catching-indie-games-coming-to-kickstarter/ as well Distant Arcade gave it a nice little write up (https://distantarcade.co.uk/lux-primora-upcoming-jrpg/) after hearing about it on the Golden Sun reddit channel (https://www.reddit.com/r/GoldenSun/comments/k8ucjb/golden_sun_spiritual_successors/).
Boreal Tenebrae a narrative retro-style horror-adventure game released last year has signed up with Poland’s Red Deer Games for release on the Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series S|X. The game was nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Narrative at the Canadian Game Awards 2021. The game was developed by Reginan expat Daniel Beaulieu with the soundtrack made by Ryan Hill. You can read the official announcement here: https://www.reddeergames.com/stranger-things-meets-twin-peaks-in-boreal-tenebrae-an-amazing-retro-style-adventure-game-with-horror-elements-will-launch-on-consoles-later-this-year/
The Timelost team are looking for new team members (especially Unity programmers). Timelost is a Final Fantasy Tactics-inspired tactical RPG. They’re looking to finish up a prototype to launch a kickstarter with. If you’d like to know more you can join the Timelost discord to check out the GDD, world lore, teaser images and talk with the team: https://discord.gg/D9AXFm33jT
Card Tactics, a tactical tabletop card game release recently by Gui De Souza Roche has just released a new version of their still-in-development player-vs-player Arena rules for the game. If you enjoy competitive card games you can sign up to playtest the new system and help them balance things for this follow-up expansion release for the game. For more information about Card Tactics you can check out their website: https://www.cardtactics.com/. You can check out this and other playtest opportunities on the SaskGameDev playtest listings here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ibRsg58MiZfNCrIdbpi2DKVF2KOI1G0PG21aFgLtRsY/edit?usp=sharing
If you know any youth ages 15-17 that are interested in narrative design and writing, the Saskatchewan History & Folklore Society are running Youth Storytelling Workshops throughout August on Tuesday and Thursday Nights. For more details or to register check out the website: http://shfs.usask.ca/YSW2021
The Legion of Maelstrom was featured on CTV Saskatoon’s GAMETIME segment. The classic 8bit RPG actually switches up the formula a lot with unique mechanics. You can check out the segment here:
Local vocalist, voice actor, and musician Tara St. Michel has launched an official merch shop. You can grab clothes, accessories, stickers and wall art at the shop. Bonus points, Google even spells her name right now! Check it out here: https://tarastmichel.com/store/
Bitwad Entertainment’s Xero Hour is still getting traction with a review by Android Gaming Fox. They had a lot of positives to say about the game, of course including big praise for the soundtrack, and an interesting review format. They also mentioned they do occasionally do reviews from developers requests, so might be someone other devs want to keep an eye on to get some more coverage. You can check out the review here: https://androidgamingfox.com/xero-hour-review/
We’ve had a ton of folks joining after our call for playtesters for the community. If you’ve got a game that needs playtesting, be sure to add it to our live document for playtesting opportunities: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ibRsg58MiZfNCrIdbpi2DKVF2KOI1G0PG21aFgLtRsY/edit#gid=0. If you’re looking to do some playtesting check out that link to find out about games currently available for playtesting and how to sign up!
Kenton DeJong was on the Bring Out Your Geeks podcast run by the Creative City Centre, an arts organization in downtown Regina. The hour and a half podcast covers the gamut of Kenton’s creative endeavours from the Regina Cemetery Tours game (recently updated! check it out at: https://reginacemeterytours.ca/) to travel blogging and drone piloting. Check out the podcast here: https://creativecitycentre.ca/programs/boyg/
Oh Jeez Oh No My Rabbits Are Gone by Studio Nevermore has pushed out a big update for the game including more accessibility options and achievements. While they are working on a great new game called Downpurr, they still give a lot of support to OJONMRAG continuing to polish and expand it. You can check out the devlog about the update here: https://studionevermore.itch.io/oh-jeez-oh-no-my-rabbits-are-gone/devlog/273037/version-1312-achievements-accessibility-and-more.
The Legion of Maelstrom from Andrew Riche got a glowing review on gamegrin.com. The retro 8bit RPG takes a lot of twists with the standard RPG formula to provide a very unique experience and the reviews are definitely taking notice. The review gives a good overview of some of the unexpected twists to the mechanics that the game takes. “This game feels like an RPG from an alternate reality, it’s a must-play game that needs to be experienced!” you can read the review here: https://www.gamegrin.com/reviews/the-legion-of-maelstrom-review/ and you can get the game here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1478180/The_Legion_of_Maelstrom/
The SaskGameDev community was featured on CTV Saskatoon’s GAMETIME segment. While we’ve been pushing to get everybody’s great projects and achievements on the segment throughout the year, it was time to do some promotion for the community. The segment highlights the need for playtesters for the community to help developers polish their games and helped get the word out that the community is for supporters as well as developers (though QA/playtesting is part of development!). Response has been great, about 40 people signed up the week after the piece ran! So be sure to let us know about any projects you want playtested! You can check out the segment here (although the correct video isn’t displaying right now): https://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/gametime-sask-game-developers-seek-testers-to-help-make-the-best-games-we-can-1.5517758
Radio General has been once again nominated for an international award! This time it’s for the Gee Awards, named after Dr. James Gee a leading educational researcher, author and professor, the awards are focused on highlighting the educational potential of video games. Radio general is nominated in the Middle School category, as well as in the running for People’s Choice. You can learn more about the awards here: https://www.geeawards.com/ and you can vote for Radio General for the people’s choice award here: https://forms.gle/dHsaejkBZDBRweVo7
The University of Saskatchewan, working with CAMH and Memotext have launched Be SaskWell a text-based mental health and wellness support. You sign up for the service and do an enrollment survey, then they pair you up with digital tools to try out for personal support as well as receive wellness tips along with feedback opportunities. To learn more about the system check out the website here: https://besaskwell.memotext.com/
Moonshell Island was just featured in a Game Informer article “The Coolest Upcoming Zelda-Likes to Keep an Eye On”. This is a huge win getting listed on a major game media site like Game Informer. Cheekynauts Entertainments Action RPG is listed alongside upcoming stars like Hazelnut Bastille, Garden Story and Tunic. You can check out the article here: https://www.gameinformer.com/2021/07/18/the-coolest-upcoming-zelda-likes-to-keep-an-eye-on
Oneshot Golf continues to drive towards the green. They just had their 10 millionth putt made in the game! Having only launched earlier this year, its an amazing trajectory of success and paints a very bright future for 54e Dev Studios. Here’s the tweet that announced the achievement: https://twitter.com/OneShotGolf/status/1419706758063222786?s=20
Loot Fox Games in Saskatoon is holding the first in-person meet-up since COVID. They are running a playtesting drop-in event with contests to get four of their games in front of people for some live feedback:
225 Saskatchewan Cres W, Saskatoon
It is our pleasure to announce a LOCAL playtest with games that are either nearing completion or projects that we are currently working on. We will also be hosting a small tournament with a 25$ Tim Hortons gift card as an award.
The 4 games we will be running were all made in-house by us:
– Cloud Surfers (Infinite Runner)
– Greedy Greens Siege (Veggie Siege Warfare)
– Evo: Unleashed (Top-down action RPG)
– Cabbage Ravage (Reverse Tower Defense)
We will have devices that will be ready to play though, bringing an Android device is highly encouraged especially tablets if available. Snack and Beverages will be provided. We also highly encourage remote playtesting so if you are interested in trying our games and providing any feedback or feature requests from the comfort of your own home send us a message and we can get you the game for your Android devices!
TOURNAMENT DETAILS :
– Greedy Greens Endless Mode
– Longest standing time played will be victorious
– Time must be recorded by Loot Fox Staff
COVID DETAILS :
– Hand sanitizer will be provided
– Masks non-mandatory but optional
– Sanitizing phones between testers.
August 8th @ 4PM CST
We’ve just launched a productivity hangout channel on the discord. If you’re looking to work but need that bit of social reinforcement, come drop by the channel. In the vein of study-with-me videos/streams, it’s there for people to just chill and focus on their projects, get productive, but get that social reinforcement to keep focused, but also remember to take breaks, and just remember you’re not alone. If you’re not on the discord already you can sign up here: [REDACTED – Sign up for our newsletter to get an invite to the Discord!]
Here’s this month’s five questions. Filling these in really helps us stay aware of the thoughts, needs, and composition of our membership so we can better serve you! This month we’ve got questions all over the place: https://forms.gle/3Z2HC5wKGioN6dTm6
-How often do you support crowdfunding campaigns?
-What’s your favourite gaming platform to play?
-Whats the biggest question you have about your current project?
-How much benefit have you gained from using libraries, templates or other code borrowing?
-Has COVID changed your gamedev plans?
Here’s one thing you can do right now to help the game development industry and community in Saskatchewan: Support Lux Primora’s Kickstarter campaign: https://kickstarter.com/projects/luxprimora/lux-primora/. The first three days of a campaign are the most important to having it get critical mass for SEO promotion and getting Kickstarter to support and promote a campaign, so let’s get ready to jump on ASAP when it goes live on Tuesday August 3rd. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed.
We’ve got our next virtual meetup as always on the first Monday of the month – Monday August 2nd at 7pm in the #Community_Meetings channel in the Discord. If you’re not on the discord yet you can join here: [REDACTED – Sign up for our newsletter to get an invite to the Discord!]
That’s it for this month. Thanks for all the hard work everybody! Hope you’re getting out and enjoying summer!