It’s the ReginaGameDev (ed: now SaskGameDev!) Year in Review!
Last year’s review was pretty impressive, and here’s the line I ended it with “Happy New Year and wait til you see all we accomplish in 2020!!!”. Well year over, let’s see how we did…
2020 certainly wasn’t the year people were hoping for, but the good news is, there’s still lots to celebrate. The community continues to grow, and the fruits of our labour are starting to ripen. A big congratulations to everyone that has kept plugging away on things, have shared and connected with others (remotely), and kept the momentum going. Despite almost an entire year without in person events we still had a lot going on, so here’s a month-by-month recap of the year’s activities and accomplishments and at the bottom we’ve got a list of achievements from this year.
• We started the year off with a bang with Canadian Game Devs Most Anticipated Game of 2020 award/contest. They highlighted about 30 games announced from Canadian studios (both domestic and foreign-owned) from solo indie devs to AAA studios and allowed people from anywhere in the world to vote for their favourites. Amazingly Regina took not only the top spot, but even the runner-up position! Big congrats to BitCutter Studio’s VR game Groove Gunner for taking the top spot, and to Massive Corporation’s Queen City Chaos for taking the 2nd spot. Beating out big name studios and projects like Ubisoft and Boyfriend Dungeon was a huge achievement and helped firmly put Saskatchewan on the map in the Canadian Game Dev community. It’s no small feat, and a lot comes from building a great community here and having the support of our members to help our indies shine and compete on the global stage. You can listen to the podcast of the announcement here: https://canadiangamedevs.com/podcast/episode-126-2019-wrap-up-goty-and-most-anticipated-games-of-2020
• We had in-person meetups in both Saskatoon and Regina. It was great to meet the Saskatoon community, to get hands on with some demos, and meet some folks face-to-face. Thanks to Dragons Den for providing space for the game dev community to meet up!
• Thanks to Nyk (@NykolaR) for running a Intro to Godot workshop for us at the Bothwell Library. It was nice to get hands on with this game engine. We’ve really seen the interest and activity in Godot increase a lot this year, and evangelists like Nyk are definitely a big part of that. It’s great to have members share their experience and expertise to help lift everyone else up.
• The monthly Regina meetup directly followed this and was a great time at Bonzinni’s. Had too many appetizers, a great turn out and some tabletop playtests with Quinn and the Dastardly Fun crew.
• Prairie Game Expo ran its annual Winter event on the 19th. We had members of both Regina Game Forge and Regina Game Dev there showing off their games as well as playtesting others. They normally run events three times a year, but of course this was the only opportunity this year. Laura of Wily Steed Entertainment got to playtest her TTRPG/Card game mashup Deck of Many Dungeons.
• ReginaGameDev member Deimors launched a early concept demo of an asteroid mining game Stella Meto they’re developing. Interesting destructable objects and space physics abound. Check it out here: https://null-theorem.itch.io/stella-meto
• SpekWork, the game art collective that Cat and Jon of the Mackenzie Art Gallery head, released Tower Fantasy – a unique retro-themed procedural generation-based shooter. You can check it out here: https://spekwork.itch.io/tower-fantasy
• On the 21st the RPL theatre was host to another Game and Watch event – this time featuring Justin of Bitwad Entertainmant and his (then in development) mobile game Xero Hour! Its great to have partners like the RPL and Dunlop Art Gallery helping showcase talent here and providing great facilities to put on such cool events. Nothing like getting to see your game on a 20′ screen!
• We had an AMAZING article in the Leader Post. Local reporter (and gamer) Mark Melnychuk did a piece showing off our community by highlighting three local developers – Sam Ramsey of Cheekynauts, Justin Bender of Bitwad Entertainment, and solodev Nyk Reed. It was a huge article with great pics and was such a great way to celebrate some of our local gamedev champions. I don’t think I could have asked for a better piece, and couldn’t be more proud of these three or more proud to call these three friends. Check out the article here: https://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/digital-dreams-meet-reginas-independent-video-game-developers
• Of course the big event was once again the Global Game Jam. We held a local event in Regina at the Innovation Place Rotunda. Three days of gamedev, camaraderie and fun! We had over 100 participants over the three days making it the largest jam/hackathon in the province, and one of the largest in the prairie provinces. We had a breathtaking 24 games made in 48 hours! This year we expanded to include physical and tabletop games so we had 3 boardgame submissions and perhaps the first Escape Room ever made at the Global Game Jam (they never did get back to me on that – sorry Dunc). We celebrated that it was the fifth year Regina had a Global Game Jam thanks to Johannes Moersch who started the event and led it as lead organizer for those five years. Of course as usual all the games are available to download, play and even look at the source code, you can check them out here: https://globalgamejamregina.ca/Games
The Carillon, the U of R student newspaper did an article about the Global Game Jam event, you can read it here: http://www.carillonregina.com/developers-reach-high-score-at-global-game-jam-regina/
• The other big news was it was at the Global Game Jam where I announced the winner of the Massive Sacks of Cash Grant for 2020. For those that didn’t hear Massive Corporation launched a grant to provide $500 every month for 1 year to a game developer in Saskatchewan, no strings attached. They could spend the money however they need, no repayment necessary, no loss of control, no loss of ownership, it’s their money to do what they need to succeed. http://massivecorp.ca/massive-sacks-of-cash/
The grant had 36 applicants, more than Creative Sask’s Equity Fund and the Canadian Media Fund put together and doubled. If that isn’t a clear sign about how to structure grants to help Saskatchewan, I don’t know what is. We need low level grassroots support to develop the industry from scratch. We don’t need big wheeling and dealing moves made for big business. We aren’t there yet. We need to support indie devs putting out simple first projects to get experience and build a base from which we can build an industry. It was incredibly hard choosing a winner. One of the other design principles for the grant was not defining what a winner would look like. There’s too little known about our fledgling industry to know what opportunities exist within it, or what good the grant could do. We left it as open as possible so that we could find as many opportunities as possible to best understand the situation the industry is in.
The winner was Sam Ramsey of Cheekynauts. Sam has incredible talent and amazing creative vision. Her twitter feed is a constant stream of amazing work. Her project Moonshell Island looks (and plays for those of you lucky enough to be Patreon backers with access to the demo) amazing. Sam is an inspiration and a future star game developer. While some may see this as the grant backing the front runner, or most polished game, that may or may not be true among the submissions. Importantly it may or may not be true next time. Other finalists were very different candidates, some had no prototype to offer but were still among the top candidates. It really was a shame that I could only afford to provide one grant. If I had the funding I would have gladly given grants to many of the candidates and know it would have done tremendous things for them and the Saskatchewan industry as a whole. It’s amazing to think in the scale of government funding it would only cost $216,000 to have granted everyone that applied that level of funding, little more than what Creative Sask is willing to spend on two of its equity investments.
The grant got a few pieces of media coverage you can check out here:
• We started off the month with the Saskatoon Game Designers in person meeting on the 3rd. Again Dragons Den provided space for the community.
• Cat and Jon arranged for a showing at the Mackenzie Art Gallery of games developed at the Global Game Jam in January. It was a great event, with lots of turnout, we had many of the teams from the jam come out to showcase their games. Thanks to Cat and Jon for being such great additions to the gamedev scene here in Regina and for being so helpful with all the digital art programming they do for the Mackenzie. They have some fantastic facilities over there that hopefully we’ll get to put to use again someday soon!
• I had the opportunity to head up to Prince Albert for a weekend of workshops. Working with INDIGital and North Central Hacker Dojo I held a workshop on Narrative Design with Twine. It was great getting involved and to both share with folks in Prince Albert and encourage more Indigenous developers. Always great working with Rene and Natalie, really hoping to get up to PA and do more workshops once that’s a possibility again. While there we also held a meetup up there, didn’t get a lot of folks out, but hopefully we can grow the network and build up the scene in PA.
• Just after the jaunt to PA I also got to do more rural outreach by doing coding workshops for schools in Nokomis and North Battleford. It’s always great to connect with our rural and remote communities to ensure youth in those communities also get opportunities to get started in tech and gamedev. If you know any teachers that would like a coding workshop, just put them in touch.
• We had the monthly Regina meetup at The Owl at the University of Regina. Had a good turn out despite the winter weather.
• I ran a number of Astro Pi workshops in schools, a program run by the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency. I taught about 100 students some basic python so they could write a simple program that would run on Raspberry Pi microcomputers on the International Space Station.
• Michael Long of Foolish Mortals ran a career panel for the Computer Science department at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon entitled “First Year to First Career” to highlight the educational and career paths for people interested in video games.
• We started off the month again with Michael Long leading another in-person meetup in Saskatoon held at the Dragon’s Den game shop. I missed out but was up in Saskatoon the week after and got to connect with Night Owl Games for some mutual playtesting of Queen City Chaos and IsoPutt.
• Back in Regina I held a meetup for a team of devs to work on marketing art and assets. Thanks to Cat and Jon for hosting us at the Mackenzie Art Gallery’s digital media lab.
• Then the plot twist happened.
The lockdowns cancelled a whole slate of things, we were going to have a Regina meetup but it got cancelled, I had to cancel a trip to Saskatoon, which meant cancelling a meetup at Bartari, which we were going to have the CBC doing interviews of local game developers at. The Juno awards show was also cancelled which included the Cuphead soundtrack remaster winning an award, which Emma Kramer-Rodger got to do an interview with them for. There was sadly a big reduction in the number of workshops, camps, talks, and media pieces as well as a real lack of recruiting this year because of it.
• We switched over to online meetups due to lockdown, holding separate ones for Saskatoon at the beginning of the month and one for Regina mid month. Not as nice, and definitely lacking nachos, but good to still connect with people.
• Emma Kramer-Rodger, Gallagher Laird and Kenton de Jong paired up together to make a video game for the Dunlop Art Gallery called “You Got Mail”. While it had been planned for a gallery showing which had to be cancelled, they still released it digitally as a browser game so everyone can check it out at: https://yougotmail.ca/?fbclid=IwAR3bksv5PxHNnveGTl8jVuGegfPRUq_Cc4Y0lP2nYJap-NKyDSLbLjJE6pU
• The Toronto-based XP Game Developers Summit went digital this year. We had two Saskatchewan games showcase there: Bitwad Entertainment’s Xero Hour and Massive Corporation’s Queen City Chaos. You can see the game showcase here: https://xpsummit.ca/games/
• 9Ball games launched some products on the Unreal store to assist folks with animation warping and inverse kinematics. You can check them out here: https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/product/b3e4c900d5824edd9c7905895027e4d9
• Massive Corporation’s Queen City Chaos got its first trailer. The game is a retro NES brawler adventure game releasing on Steam (https://store.steampowered.com/app/1075580/Queen_City_Chaos/), you can check out the trailer here: https://youtu.be/LJvtu6Wyq2s
• Xero Hour released another trailer featuring a special announcement about the soundtrack – they’d have a guest track from the band Ultimate Demise. You can check out the video, including its cool comparison of the original song and the 8bit remaster used for the game here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKxH_6jdwt0
• Night Owl Games announced their first game – IsoPutt. A soothing minimalist 3D golf game. You can stay up-to-date on its website here: https://nightowl.games/isoputt/. They’re doing an amazing job with the game and they’ve been a big boon to our Godot channel on the ReginaGameDev discord with great code examples and advice.
• Foolish Mortals launched Radio General, a WW2 strategy game that uses voice recognition controls. They got featured on the front page of Steam and did a great launch day stream to show off the game. Their launch got coverage by CBC Radio, you can listen to the piece here: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-88-saskatoon-morning/clip/15769907-video-game-creator-uses-archival-ww2
• We had online meetups for both Regina and Saskatoon. It was good to commiserate with folks with everything else cancelled, we at least could still connect and share as a community.
• The biggest disappointment of the year was Sask Expo Regina, originally scheduled for May 4th and 5th was of course indefinitely postponed due to Covid. We had some BIG plans and worked with the organizers on doing something really spectacularly cool, and forked out the big bucks to make it happen, so this was a pretty big bummer. The plans are still good to go when we get the all clear to hold big public events though, so hopefully someday we’ll still make it all happen. It’s gonna be great! They did at least get to do some online promotion for some of the folks that would have attended.
• The media coverage of Foolish Mortals Radio General launch continued with a piece on CTV news and an article in the Leader Post and Star Phoenix as well as CKOM radio. You can check them out here:
• Bitwad Entertainment launched its first official trailer for Xero Hour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQJvrp_BX4s He did some later recuts and the game got some new art before launch. So looking back you can see some of the development process from this first early peek of the game.
• With voting on submissions over Megahammer Studios got 36th out of 3576 games submitted to the Ludum Dare 46 game jam in the Audio category for their work on the game “The Flame”. You can check out the game here: https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/46/the-flame
• Boreal Tenebrae – Act 1: I Stand Before You, A Form Undone was launched by Regina-born Daniel Beaulieu, featuring music by Ryan Hill (aka Guidewire). You can check it out on itch.io here: https://boreal-tenebrae.itch.io/boreal-tales or on Steam here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1311740/Boreal_Tales/
• Taylor from BitCutter Studios did a series of tutorial videos on Unity and Substance Designer:
• Melcher Studio’s Sharknado VR game, made for the Comcast-owned Sharknado franchise and published by AutumnVR, launched on the PlayStation store. If Brandins Buttons isn’t quite scratching your need to shotgun blast sharks flying at you in 3D, you can check it out at: https://store.playstation.com/en-ca/product/UP5253-CUSA14037_00-001SVREOTSREL001
• We had online meetups for Regina and Saskatoon again this month.
• A fun story about Regina’s tech (and gamedev) history somehow picked up again after a Reddit post. David Plummer, a developer extraordinaire at Microsoft was born and raised in Regina. He made a post where he revealed some tips and history behind creating Task Manager for Windows. The post blew up on Reddit with over 12K upvotes, and got a Leader Post article: https://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/the-man-who-created-windows-task-manger-is-canadian-and-hes-from-regina/wcm/881bda4e-f804-4431-a82a-affb10bfb431/. Fun fact was he was the keynote speaker for the University of Regina’s Computer Science departments 50th anniversary, which was celebrated in 2018. I actually got to not just hear his talk but talk with him privately afterwards. His talk was fantastic and revealed that his path into Computer Science involved a first foray into game development. He was likely Regina’s first professional game developer, with an office in the Warehouse District, though his games were published through an Ontario company.
• Boreal Tenebrae got coverage from PC Gamer which is a huge press win for any indie dev. Check out the article here: https://www.pcgamer.com/boreal-tales-is-a-ps1-style-horror-game-about-a-small-town-plagued-by-static/
• Studio Nevermore’s Oh Jeez Oh No My Rabbits Are Gone and Boreal Tenebrae both were in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle featured 1741 items from 1391 indie developers for a minimum donation of $5. It was purchased by over 800K people and raised $8.1million which was given to the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund.
• We had online meetups for Regina and Saskatoon again this month.
• Foolish Mortals released an early demo of Kaiju Wars, their giant monster battling retro strategy war game. They’ve got a great trailer for the game as well as the demo available for direct download on the website: http://www.foolish-mortals.net/kaijuwars. Get in early and give them some feedback to help make this another great strategy release from Foolish Mortals, it’s looking sweet!
• Nyk as usual joined in another game jam and created Overrun – an action puzzle game inspired by infection perhaps? It was his submission to the GMTK Game Jam 2020. To check it out go to: https://nykolar.itch.io/overrun
• We had online meetups for Regina and Saskatoon again this month.
• BitCutter Studio’s had some great media – they released a new trailer for Groove Gunner: https://youtu.be/TNsEiz3rRU4, and had a really positive youtuber review of their first game Balloonatics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGUWTu6nPiU&app=desktop
• SaskInteractive held their AGM. Unfortunately their financials weren’t available at the time so the board and stakeholders had no information about the state of SaskInteractive’s funding, expenses, income, or balance sheet. There were four board vacancies this year, and five candidates for the positions. Two ReginaGameDev members ran and were elected to the board – Johannes Moersch, whom many of you will know for his effort starting the Global Game Jam in Regina and acting as lead organizer for it for the past five years, and Kenton de Jong, whom many of you will know from his travel blog, historical tours, and for releasing the Regina Cemetery Tours video game (https://reginacemeterytours.ca/). Hopefully with these two onboard we can get SaskInteractive turned around and making some positive moves for game development in Saskatchewan.
• The podcast Canadian History Ehx did an interview with Michael Long of Foolish Mortals discussing Foolish Mortal’s game Radio General and its portrayal of Canada’s role in WW2. You can check it out here: https://canadaehx.com/2020/08/24/an-interview-with-michael-long/
• We switched up the format for our online meetups this month. No longer geographically aligned, we held two meetups on different weeks and days of the month for any members to join in this month.
• The Recording Arts Institute of Saskatoon (RAIS) announced the launch of their Game Art & Design course. In development for over two years unfortunately the program appears to be very badly designed and offers more harm than good to potential students and our provincial industry. While titled Game Art & Design the programs syllabus wanders aimlessly between art and programming and offers virtually no actual design training, providing a mishmash of skills with so little time and effort given to any one that no meaningful skills could be developed in any area that would provide a hireable or gig-employment-capable level of skill. These kinds of programs are unfortunately very common, cramming as many buzzwords and program names into their syllabus to impress people, but offer little more than crushing student debt to enrollees. At $18K for the one year course I can’t recommend this program for anyone, and hope everyone in the community considering it to not enroll. Anyone interested in learning more about skill development and training for game development is encouraged to reach out and contact me to discuss options or review potential courses.
• The Legion of Maelstrom a retro RPG from Andrew Riche got its first trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah-f1PI02I4. Gives some great Startropics vibes but switches up the action combat system for a turn-based RPG battle system.
• BitCutter’s Groove Gunner VR rhythm game was streamed as a part of the Beast in the East (BITE) online event. As a part of the rhythm game stream one of their dedicated GG discord members Lirodon represented and helped show off this great game to the wider rhythm game community. Great to see support like this of Sask games and to see it get to reach a broader audience to find the success it deserves.
• Bitwad Entertainment’s Xero Hour got a new music crossover video. Showcasing the great soundtrack it showed the comparison between the original Third Ion metal tracks and the 8-bit adaptations that musician/music producer turned gamedev Justin Bender created for the game. A great video showing how 8bit as a medium works and an interesting comparison of hifi and lofi takes on the same song. Check it out here: https://youtu.be/1m0R-FPq-qc
• Again we held two online meetups for members for members across the province to come together.
• Foolish Mortal’s Radio General got nominated for an Indiecade award. The annual conference and awards show is one of the biggest indie game development events in the world. Not a lot of strategy games make it on the Indiecade nominees lists, so great to see them recognize the game for its breakthrough controls and dedication to history.
• SaskInteractive started a series of webinars about game development featuring Jason Della Rocca (former Executive Director of the IGDA), Joe Gill (a Saskatoon lawyer), and Chris Zukowski (a US freelance marketer and gamedev). While I think a few could have been a little better aimed to the Sask gamedev scene (and its realities), it’s nice to see some positive momentum at SI and some actual programming for the gamedev industry. Unfortunately they’re still taking an exclusionary approach to programs and hostage-taking meaningful help behind must have memberships, we’ve got the recordings of all the sessions and the password they used to try denying you this government-funded (and also commercially sponsored?) programming meant to help the entire industry with. So check out the videos here, the password is “levelup”:
Funding Fundamentals – https://vimeo.com/477768956
Intellectual Property Law – https://vimeo.com/480467777
Pitch To Publishers – https://vimeo.com/482798952
Impress with Marketing – https://vimeo.com/485605040
Discoverability by Design – https://vimeo.com/488246791
• The kickstarter for post-production on the independent Canadian film “Plains” starring our very own Jon Carroll and Cat Bluemke (the Mackenzie Art Gallery‘s Digital Coordinators) was successful. Despite being called Plains, it was actually filmed in the Maritimes while Jon and Cat lived there. The feature length film is now in the final stages of production and we’re looking forward to its release sometime in 2021!
• Following their beta test earlier in the year, BitCutter Studios released Groove Gunner on Steam as Early Access. Now any Steam user can dive in and try out the game, and the team can get valuable feedback for that final polish and balance stage. Their launch got coverage from Leader Post reporter Mark Melnychuk: https://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/reginans-release-new-virtual-reality-video-game-groove-gunner. You can get the game on Steam here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/976930/Groove_Gunner/
• ReginaGameDev member PuttPutt did some Unreal and Gamedev tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7WX7Y37jM4n9id8f25sZGg
• Again we held two online meetups for members for members across the province to come together.
• Saskatoon developer Dragonfly Studios announced their TPS Horror game Beyond the Oaks and released a trailer for it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BZInsPQVv8
They’ll be doing a kickstarter for the game to help fund development: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/beyondtheoaks/beyond-the-oaks-the-official-game
• HackRegina ran a Battlesnake competition with funding from both Innovation Sask and SaskInteractive. It’s a gamedev challenge to build an AI controlled snake and compete against other team’s AI controlled snakes. It’s great to see folks recognize the importance and power of building our tech sector through gamedev activities. It’s great to see an event can get funding from both organizations, not exclusively one or the other, and that both organizations will sponsor gamedev related events. Hopefully this is a sign that both organizations are able and willing to fund gamedev events and recognize its value.
• Cheekynaut’s stellar Moonshell Island released a Patreon backer-only early demo Cheekynauts has gotten a huge following for Moonshell island on social media with its amazing pixel graphics and charming characters and storyline. It’s great to get hands on with the game, nice solid gameplay, outstanding graphics, and a great introduction to the storyline. If you’re interested in taking a look, consider backing the Cheekynauts team so they can help build up this great game, they really do lots for their backers: https://www.patreon.com/cheekynauts
• I ran another business startup workshop. If you’re interested in starting your own gamedev business, or you have questions about it, just reach out to me. I’ll be happy to talk with anybody interested, we can talk about what the right path for you might be, if you need a business, how a team might operate, etc. If you have questions, just reach out sometime!
• Foolish Mortals dropped some new promotional media for their new game Kaiju Wars. They did a live action teaser: https://youtu.be/a3Muy9UgVRY as well as a new trailer: https://youtu.be/XB18zM0e41o. The new game is looking great, and its great to see some interesting new marketing experiments.
• ReginaGameDev member InaneFool as a part of his Software Engineering degree did a capstone project called Obfuscape!! A rapid reaction puzzle game. It’s a great solo gamedev project and a great concept. It’s available on itch.io if you want to check it out: https://inanefool.itch.io/obfuscape
• With the holidays we slowed things down and just did one virtual meetup for everybody this month.
• Massive Corporation launched Brandins Buttons an abstract logic puzzle game on Steam, publishing the design for ReginaGameDev member Brandin Titanich. You can check out the game on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1480970/Brandins_Buttons/ or check the trailer and tutorial videos on the company youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX0LgvP8JBhyAHAIj6fWH1w
• Bitwad Entertainment launched Xero Hour, a free-to-play retro endless runner / platformer for Android and iOS. Thanks to strong and quick community support, it trended all the way to being the #2 Adventure Game in the Canadian Google Play store!!! This is the power we have when we work together and support our local games! It’s also gotten some press around the world through the metal music community thanks to Justin’s long and illustrious career as a musician with the bands Into Eternity and Third Ion. If you haven’t already you can download the game here:
and check out some promotion he got here:
• Foolish Mortals Kaiju Wars was a finalist in the latest round of the #Pitchyagame Awards! The awards are a competition started by indie developers to help people refine their pitching technique and are based on tweets devs send tagged with the #Pitchyagame hashtag. His tweet that got the nomination is here: https://twitter.com/Foolish_M_Games/status/1331207185834110976 and their mention on the awards show on Twitch can be found here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830136609?t=00h26m22s
• Gigco, a political art game about the Gig economy from Spekwork (once again Cat & Jon you may know from the Mackenzie Art Gallery) got a web version release. Now you can play it in your browser here: https://spekwork.itch.io/gigco-escape-the-gig-economy-coop-mode
• I held a holiday break Gamemaker: Studio 2 development workshop to show off the basics of the engine and some personal gamedev tips and tricks. Unfortunately without a free version its a little hard to do public workshops for Gamemaker anymore, but if you’re interested and have the software, just let me know and I’ll be happy to arrange something.
• Massive Corporation announced their next game: Cheese Runner – an early retro cyberpunk trading game for Steam. This one goes way back with early 80s text-based gameplay and ASCII graphics. It’s a dark humour take on a cyberpunk dystopia where cheese has been outlawed, so you have to evade the police as you run illicit dairy products to satisfy the yearning masses. Check out the website here: https://massivecorp.ca/cheese-runner/
• And lastly we ended the year on a high note with a bunch of nominations of Sask-made games in the Canadian Game Devs awards! As you may remember last year’s competition saw BitCutter Studios’ Groove Gunner take 1st place in Most Anticipated Game of the Year, and Massive Corporation’s Queen City Chaos take 2nd place in Most Anticipated Game of the Year. Will Sask be able to podium again? Since it’s all voted on by the public – It’s up to you! Be sure to vote for your Sask favourites here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe-jzU68afbZ8rppjYwqbGGXt-AJPasehDP5HJUWCkddpiAtw/viewform
In the Game Of The Year (GOTY) Category we have the following Sask indie games nominated:
Boreal Tenebrae Act I: “I Stand Before You, A Form Undone” (by Snot Bubbles Productions in Vancouver – by a former Reginan)
Groove Gunner (by BitCutter Studios in Regina)
Radio General (by Foolish Mortals in Saskatoon,)
Xero Hour (by Bitwad Entertainment in Moose Jaw)
In the Most Anticipated Game category we have the following Sask indie games nominated:
Isoputt (by Night Owl Games in Saskatoon)
Kaiju Wars (by Foolish Mortals in Saskatoon)
Moonshell Island (by Cheekynauts in Regina)
So with the year now at an end we’ve got some statistics of our achievements:
Who We Are
• 337 members (from Swift Current to Yorkton, Moose Jaw to Prince Albert)
• 254 discord members
• Helped 4 new game companies incorporate: Bitwad Entertainment, Wily Steed Entertainment, Cheekynauts, and Night Owl Games.
• 29 events held
• 2 in-person events in Prince Albert
• 3 in-person events in Saskatoon
• 7 in-person events in Regina
• 17 online events
• 1200+ kids, including 500+ kids in Saskatoon
• workshops in Nipawin, Prince Albert, Shellbrook, North Battleford, Saskatoon and Regina
• 200+ kids about AI, AI ethics and got hands-on with AI training
• 100s of teachers in Ontario to adapt to new primary school coding curriculum
• 200+ teachers to teach coding, including training for the Northern Lights School District
• 10 developers how/why to incorporate a business
• 2 National awards won (Groove Gunner and Queen City Chaos)
• 1 International nomination (Radio General – Indiecade)
• 14 press hits
• 5 Convention/Conference game showings
• 3 Steam front page hits
• 1 Mobile Top 5 Trending App
• 3 Ongoing Mentorships
• 4 Member Surveys
• 5 Workshops/Seminars
• 30 Sask programs run on the International Space Station
• 4 commercial games launched
• 3 commercial asset packs launched
• 6 commercial games announced
• 9 demos and non-commercial games released
• 26 game jam games made
•1 Game Development Grant Program funded and run (the largest in the prairie provinces!)
•ReginaGameDev Funding Received: $0
Thanks to everyone that made this possible, despite everything, it was an amazing year of growth and achievement for gamedev in Saskatchewan. Since you’re probably tired of reading by this point we’ll push our Hopes for 2021 article to the beginning of February to give us all a breather.
Happy New Year and wait til you see all we accomplish in 2021!!!
@ReginaGameDev / CEO Massive Corporation Game Studios