IGF China 2012 unveils Main Competition, Student finalists

igfchina.jpgThe Independent Games Festival China has revealed the Main Competition and Student finalists for its 2012 award ceremony, which celebrates the most creative indie games from throughout the Pan-Pacific area,

The GDC China co-located event is now in its fourth year, and this time around the finalists include indie games such as the action-platformer Dustforce, the retro-inspired puzzler Cubetractor, the mobile action game Flying Daggers, and more.

Drawing from a prize pool totaling 45,000 RMB (roughly $7,150), IGF China’s Main Competition will give away five distinguished awards, covering Excellence in Audio, Design, Technology, and Visual Arts, as well as the Best Mobile Game and Best Game awards. In addition to the prestige and prizes, winners will also receive two All-Access Passes for the upcoming GDC 2013 in San Francisco.

Alongside IGF China’s Main Competition, the ceremony will also host the Student Competition, which honors six of the top regional student games, with teams this year hailing from Mainland China, Singapore, and Taiwan.

This part of the competition includes two awards — for Best Student Game and Excellent Student Winners — and offers roughly 13,000 RMB (roughly $2,050) in cash prizes.

Winners in both competitions will be chosen by a panel of expert jurors including Kevin Li (CEO, TipCat Interactive); Monte Singman (Founder/CEO, Radiance Digital Entertainment); Xubo Yang (Director of Digital Art Lab and Assistant Professor; Shanghai Jiaotong University’s School of Software), Haipeng Yu (Producer, Tencent Shanghai), and jury chairman Simon Carless, IGF Chairman Emeritus and EVP of the GDC shows, Gamasutra, and Game Developer magazine.

This year’s awards ceremony will take place the evening of November 18, and will run alongside the rest of GDC China, which will be held November 17-19 at the Shanghai Convention Center in Shanghai, China.

Here are the finalists for this year’s IGF China.

Main Competition

Army and Strategy: The Crusades, by Pied Pipers Entertainment, South Korea [Website, Video]

Cubetractor, by Ludochip, Singapore [Website, Video]

Diggin’ Dogs, by Soap Creative, Australia [Website, Video]

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GDC China 2012 adds Bejeweled Blitz, Zombie Gunship smartphone talks

BJ.jpgThe growing session lineup for this November’s GDC China in Shanghai is quickly gaining steam, and today the show’s organizers have revealed three new talks in the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit.

This time, these new sessions include an examination of PopCap’s Bejeweled Blitz, a case study from Limbic Software on the challenges of mobile game growth, and Appy Entertainment on pivoting from ‘premium to freemium’ in the smartphone space.

As part of the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, these sessions will run alongside the rest of GDC China from November 17-19 at the Shanghai Convention Center in Shanghai, China, and will offer specialized content covering the ins and outs of mobile game development.

The full details on these new Summit sessions are as follows:

– In “Bejeweled Blitz: One Year in the Life of a Top-Grossing Mobile Game,” PopCap’s Giordano Bruno Contestabile will discuss how Bejeweled Blitz made the jump from Facebook to iOS, and became one of the platform’s most long-lasting success stories. Along the way, he’ll explain how other cross-platform social game developers can emulate that success by combining smart game design, data analysis, and more.

– Elsewhere, Limbic Software co-founder Iman Mostafavi will host “Getting out of the Garage: Managing Teams, Customer Relationships, Cloud Servers and 97 Other Things to Handle Growth.” During this session, Mostafavi will examine Limbic titles like TowerMadness, Nuts!, and Zombie Gunship, and will detail the technical and operational challenges the studio faced as its games began to grow. It’ll be a great chance to learn from Limbic’s experience and gain a better understanding of how to deal with rapid changes in scale.

– Finally, Appy Entertainment brand director Paul O’Connor (SpellCraft School of Magic, Trucks & Skulls) will present “Premium to Freemium: Pivoting Monetization Method for Best-Selling Apps,” detailing how his studio “converted two best-selling premium apps to freemium monetization and increased their audience, grew their revenue and made the games better in the process.”

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GDC China 2012 adds talks from Naughty Dog, Volition, more

SR3.jpgThe lineup for November’s GDC China in Shanghai continues to grow today, adding some of the creators of key titles like Saints Row: The Third, Uncharted 3, and more.

These three newly announced sessions — along with the rest of GDC China — will take place November 17-19 at the Shanghai International Convention Center in Shanghai, China, and will bring together the world’s leading developers to share knowledge and ideas that will benefit the Asian game industry and beyond.

The full details on GDC China’s newest sessions are as follows:

– As part of the Production track, Volition player experience researcher Jordan Lynn will examine the best practices for making satisfying games in “Playtesting and Metrics: Getting the Most Out of Your Usability Testing.” Drawing examples from games like Saints Row: The Third and Red Faction: Armageddon, Lynn will explain “how to integrate back-end telemetry into an existing playtest program,” noting how it can help developers gather valuable information and ultimately make better games.

– Over in the conference’s Game Design track, Naughty Dog senior game designer Benson Russell will host, “The Last 10, Going From Good To Awesome.” Here, Russell will examine how the acclaimed studio behind Uncharted and The Last of Us ensures its games launch as polished as possible. He’ll discuss the team’s approach to managing development schedules, the level of detail developers should shoot for, and how to make a high-quality game while still shipping on time.

– Finally, Ubisoft Shanghai’s Xu Wang will present the Game Design track lecture “From Console to Mobile: the Best Practices to Build Multi-Platform Games.” During this session, Wang will discuss how developers can use some principles from console game development to make their mobile projects go much more smoothly. Looking at everything from development pipelines, technology and communication, Wang will examine the ways in which console expertise can benefit nearly all forms of multiplatform development.

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GDC China 2012 reveals first Smartphone, Indie Summit sessions

racing.jpgIn the latest update for this November’s GDC China, event organizers have revealed the show’s first three Summit sessions, which cover how to achieve long-term success on mobile platforms, some tips for improving user acquisition, and whether indies should find a publisher or work on their own.

These sessions fall within the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit and the Independent Games Summit, which will run alongside the show’s Main Conference, and offer specialized content focused on these two very important realms of the modern video game landscape.

These Summits will take place alongside GDC China’s Main Conference on November 17-19.

The full details on these new Summit sessions are as follows:

– As part of the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, NaturalMotion Games’ Struan Robertson will discuss how his studio has maintained success on mobile devices with games like My Horse and the extremely popular CSR Racing (pictured). His talk, “Mobile Social – The Future is Quality,” will discuss how to attract a dedicated, sophisticated player base by focusing on specific gameplay mechanics and crafting a high-quality user experience.

– In that same Summit, Chartboost’s Maria Alegre will host, “User Acquisition: The Latest Trends, Tools and Best Practices.” Here, Alegre will examine a number of iOS and Abdroid games that have found their way to the top of the app charts, detailing the tools they used, how successful they were, and how the mobile user acquisition market is changing.

– Over in the Independent Games Summit, noted Chinese indie Wen Chen of Coconut Island Studio (One Tap Hero for iOS) will discuss the best way to distribute your independent game in “Self-Publishing or Find a Publisher?” Chen will compare these two very different publishing strategies, and will give indie developers a better understanding of how they can get their games into players’ hands.

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IGF China reminds on Monday entry deadline for 2012 competition

igfchina.jpgFollowing another successful event in 2011, this November’s Independent Games Festival China is beginning to take shape, and developers looking to feature their games at the event should act soon, as the call for indie game submissions ends on Monday, September 10.

IGF China — which will take place alongside GDC China in Shanghai — is accepting submissions from developers from throughout the pan-Pacific area, which includes both Asian and Australian regions. To enter, simply fill out the submissions form on the official GDC China website.

As in previous years, IGF China will be divided into three main segments: The IGF Summit, the IGF Pavilion, and the IGF Awards. The IGF Summit will feature sessions from some of the world’s top developers, while the IGF Pavilion will showcase some of the region’s best independent and student games.

The prestigious IGF Awards, meanwhile, will be split into both Main and Student competitions, and will honor the many talented developers in both China and its surrounding regions.

The 2012 IGF China Main Competition will give out awards and cash prizes in five categories, including:

– Best Game (RMB20,000 ~ $3,150 USD)
– Best Mobile Game (RMB10,000 ~ $1,570 USD)
– Excellence in Audio (RMB5,000 ~ $780 USD)
– Excellence in Technology (RMB5,000 ~ $780 USD)
– Excellence in Visual Arts (RMB5,000 ~ $780 USD)

The Student Competition, meanwhile, will offer two awards, for Best Student Game (RMB10, 000 ~ $1,570 USD, 1 Winner) and Excellent Student Winner (RMB3, 000 ~$470 USD, 2 Winners).

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GDC China debuts Valve, Bethesda level design day, first design talks

fifa.jpgWith GDC China 2012 just a few months away, the show has debuted the first sessions in its quickly expanding lineup. For this first update, show organizers have added a robust level design tutorial featuring developers from Bethesda, Valve, and The Fullbright Company, as well as game design talks from companies like EA Sports and Virtuos.

These debut sessions — along with the rest of GDC China — will take place November 17-19 at the Shanghai International Convention Center in Shanghai, China, and will bring together the world’s leading developers to share knowledge and ideas that will benefit the Asian game industry and beyond.

The full details on GDC China’s initial sessions are as follows:

– First, the show will host the in-depth “Level Design Workshop,” an interactive tutorial session examining the best practices for successful level design. During this session, Bethesda’s Joel Burgess, Valve’s Matthew Scott, and The Fullbright Company founder and Bioshock 2 designer Steve Gaynor will discuss fundamental principles such as layout, flow, pacing, and narrative, and will apply those concepts to a variety of game genres.

– In the Design Track‘s “The Business of Art Direction: 7 Critical Precepts,” EA Sports executive art director Rick Stringfellow will discuss some essential guidelines that can help developers better manage their production pipelines. He’ll examine everything from “debugging difficult digital content to establishing new visual processes,” and will give attendees the knowledge they’ll need to streamline development for all types of games, platforms, and audiences.

– Finally, Florian Dhesse of outsourcing house Virtuos will host “Improve Your Games’ Quality by Managing Your Designers,” offering tips to help Chinese studios lead and nurture their valuable game designers. Drawing from Virtuos’ own experience working in China, the senior game design manager will outline the methods and tools studios will need to improve their products and better manage their game design staff.

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IGF China seeking indie game submissions for 2012 event

gdcchina.jpgThe Independent Games Festival China – which will take place alongside this November’s GDC China in Shanghai – has opened its call for submissions and is accepting indie game entries from the pan-Pacific area from now through September 10.

Following its success from previous years, GDC China will once again host all three main elements of IGF China, including the IGF Summit, the IGF Pavilion, and the prestigious IGF Awards.

Now in its fourth year, the IGF Summit at GDC China will feature sessions from some of the world’s top developers, while the IGF Pavilion will showcase some of the region’s best independent and student games.

And of course the IGF Awards – which are split into both Main and Student competitions – will honor the many talented developers in the pan-Pacific area.

The 2012 IGF China Main Competition will give out awards and cash prizes in five categories, including:

– Best Game (RMB20,000 ~ $3,150 USD)
– Best Mobile Game (RMB10,000 ~ $1,570 USD)
– Excellence in Audio (RMB5,000 ~ $780 USD)
– Excellence in Technology (RMB5,000 ~ $780 USD)
– Excellence in Visual Arts (RMB5,000 ~ $780 USD)

The Student Competition, meanwhile, will offer two awards, for Best Student Game (RMB10, 000 ~ $1,570 USD, 1 Winner) and Excellent Student Winner (RMB3, 000 ~$470 USD, 2 Winners).

Finalists — who will receive two All Access passes to attend GDC China and the IGF awards ceremony on November 18, 2012 — will be chosen by a panel of expert jurors including Kevin Li (CEO, TipCat Interactive); Monte Singman (Founder/CEO, Radiance Digital Entertainment); Xubo Yang (Director of Digital Art Lab and Assistant Professor; Shanghai Jiaotong University’s School of Software), Haipeng Yu (Producer, Tencent Shanghai), and jury chairman Simon Carless, IGF Chairman Emeritus and EVP of the GDC shows, Gamasutra, and Game Developer magazine.

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Reminder: GDC China’s call for submissions ends Monday, June 18

gdcc.jpgThe UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizers of the industry-leading Game Developers Conference series, are reminding that the deadline to submit a presentation for this year’s GDC China is Monday, June 18.

Now in its fifth year, GDC China 2012 will take place Saturday November 17 through Monday, November 19 at the Shanghai International Convention Center in Shanghai, China, and will once again bring together the world’s leading developers to share knowledge and ideas surrounding the extremely popular Asian game industry.

Developers from all over the world are welcome to attend the upcoming event, which will address essential topics spanning outsourcing production, free-to-play business models, bringing games from the East to the West, and much more.

This year, the event’s call for submissions includes main conference tracks covering Design, Business & Marketing, Production, and Visual Arts. Organizers are looking for leading Western and Asian practitioners to propose lectures and panels with major practical takeaways for today’s video game market.

Organizers are also accepting lecture proposals for the two GDC China Summits: the Independent Games Summit and the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, both of which will focus on modern and pertinent sectors of modern game development.

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New GDC Taipei Summit to cover key trends in Asian, Western development

cousins.jpgFor the first time ever, the organizers of the Game Developers Conference have partnered with the Taipei World Trade Center and the Taiwan Industry Promotion Alliance to host the GDC Taipei Summit, a brand new Summit event covering the biggest trends in Asian and Western game development.

This two-day Summit will take place Tuesday, June 26 and Wednesday, June 27 at the Taipei International Convention Center, and will follow in the tradition of other GDC events by bringing together key regional and international developers to discuss important issues that affect the entire games business.

The Summit covers everything from console titles, social games, mobile games, online services, and more, and includes speakers from throughout Asia as well as the Western world.

Here are some of the notable speakers for the GDC Taipei Summit:

– Hosting the Summit’s keynote is Ngmoco Sweden’s Ben Cousins (pictured), who will provide an in-depth industry overview in, “The Five Big Trends in the Global Games Industry.” During this presentation, Cousins will point to the sweeping changes affecting modern game development, examining everything from new platforms, new business models, to new game genres.

With all the chaotic changes affecting today’s game industry, it can be hard to keep track of what really matters, and Cousins’ talk promises to “[cut] through the noise to give you the five most important trends that he believes will define the global games industry in the next 5-10 years.”

– Elsewhere, Media Molecule community manager James Spafford will address the essential elements of design in today’s connected online landscape. His talk, “Designing With Community In Mind: How Media Molecule Put ‘Share’ into ‘Play, Create, Share,'” will examine how the studio’s LittleBigPlanet games were influenced by the studio’s need to design for an always-connected online community.

– Haining Wang, CEO of the social games company Happy Elements, will examine the lifecycles of social games in “How to Keep Social Games Fresh on Facebook?” Using examples from Happy Elements games like My Kingdom and My Fishbowl, Wang will explain how to maintain long-term success and operate a social game on a worldwide scale.

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GDC China opens 2012 event’s call for submissions

gdcchina.jpgThe UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizers of the industry-leading Game Developers Conference series, have announced the call for submissions for this November’s GDC China in Shanghai.

Now in its fifth year, GDC China 2012 will take place Saturday November 17 through Monday, November 19 at the Shanghai International Convention Center in Shanghai, China, and will once again bring together the world’s leading developers to share knowledge and ideas surrounding the extremely popular Asian game industry.

Developers from all over the world are welcome to attend the upcoming event, which will address essential topics spanning outsourcing production, free-to-play business models, bringing games from the East to the West, and much more.

This year, the event’s call for submissions includes main conference tracks covering Design, Business & Marketing, Production, and Visual Arts. Organizers are looking for leading Western and Asian practitioners to propose lectures and panels with major practical takeaways for today’s video game market.

Organizers are also accepting lecture proposals for the two GDC China Summits: the Independent Games Summit and the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, both of which will focus on modern and pertinent sectors of modern game development.

The call for submissions for both the main conference tracks and the two GDC China Summits is now open through June 18, 2012. You can learn more about the submissions process and guidelines on the event’s official submissions page.

Keep an eye out for more updates on GDC China in the coming weeks, as its organizers will have plenty more to announce as the event takes shape. To stay abreast of all the latest news on the show, please visit the official GDC China website, or subscribe to updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS. GDC China is owned and operated by Gamasutra parent company UBM TechWeb.