Behind High Five and Under Gamescom

Hey - long time no read! We're sorry for the lack of updates. (I bet you heard that sentence before.)

After months of finalizing and polishing Behind Stars and Under Hills' prototype, we pitched the project to several publishers. Afterwards we put the game on a temporary hiatus, so we can pursue other projects for now. Behind Stars is still highly active in the back of our brains though - more about that in later posts! Meanwhile, a few atmospheric screenshots from the current state of the game prototype:

To earn some money we currently design and implement a mobile game for local animation studio MotionWorks - it's pretty cool to collaborate with creatives working a few streets away for a change! Unfortunately we can't tell too much about the project yet, but the setting will be the Bronze Age, and the game itself is embedded in an interactive app about the Nebra sky disk. It is co-funded by the Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung and the Investitionsbank Sachsen-Anhalt.

In April we visited the Reboot 2018 in Croatia, together with our good friend Björn. The Reboot itself was a very cool 3-day event within a luxurious hotel lobby with lots of games, food and talks! But we were also mesmerized by the beauty of Croatia and Dubrovnik, and the bombed hotels along the coast line...

A short time ago the summer semester of our former art school ended, which always concludes with the annual summer fest together with an exhibition of all the students' works. As our office is part of the incubator Designhaus which is directly tied to the university and thus does an Open Day during the exhibition weekend, we were obliged (and happy!) to also show stuff we made. We decided that Behind Stars and Under Hills would not work for the audience of people mostly interested in the finer arts (and their young kids), so instead we created a small game specifically for the Open Day.

We also were adamant that everybody would be able to play the game. But from former experiences we knew that some visitors even have reservations against using a mouse or keyboard. This is why we got a Makey Makey and made a game you would play with high fives only: High Five Romance Race! Later on we also presented the game at the Talk&Play in Berlin. We can say without shame that this simple endless runner is one of our most popular products now. ;)

Of course we will visit the gamescom this year again - we won't showcase anything this time, which is actually a good thing because it gives us more leisure to have a look at all the great games presented at the Indie Arena Booth. Just today their line-up was revealed, so have a look!

INDIE ARENA BOOTH trailer 2018

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Are you going too? Tell us via Twitter - or even better, join us on our new Discord server and talk directly to us! :)

bpb game jam 2018: Hugs & Kisses

Just like in 2016, we were invited to a local game jam in Remscheid, Germany, hosted by the bpb (the German Federal Center for Political Education) to make a political statements through game concepts and prototypes. As such, the theme was a bit different than the usual jams: "Discimination, ostracism, radicalization".

Our own entry is a bit more game-y then we would have wanted; but after not being able to find a more meaningful idea (and message) for nearly half a day, we went with one of the earliest concepts we had. So we created a 2-player co-op game about cats and dogs, and about working together to keep all the citizens happy. We called it Hugs & Kisses.

The world map is divided in three zones. The dogs' zone (blue), the cats' zone (red) and the neutral zone between them. In the dog country are mostly dogs and only a few cats, and vice-versa. The neutral zone has both species equally. The gameplay is simple (and inspired by Overcooked): you have to feed the cats and dogs in your country, otherwise they get unhappy. So if there's a cat in cat land craving for fish, the cat player goes to the fish spawning point and carries the fish to the hungry cat.

Only when there is a cat in dog land asking for fish it gets interesting, because a player cannot enter the other player's zone, so they have to work together and trade the fishes and bones with each other by throwing them around.

bpb game jam 2018 - Hugs & Kisses

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And sometimes, a community member gets sad and needs to be hugged. <3

In any case, should the needs of a citizen get ignored for too long, they become mad - i.e. they explode and take parts of the level geometry with them. Discrimination has a fatal impact in this case indeed.

You can try our little jam game on itch.io (Windows only). It's best played with two gamepads, but keyboard is fine too. Be aware that it really is a prototype, so there is no real lose or win condition. But see if you can beat the game without anybody blowing up!

By the way, if you are interested in the development of games, you might want to read a short article about Hugs & Kisses on my own blog - it mostly describes the process of creating the level for the game.

Of course it was also very nice to meet many teams from all over Germany and Austria at the jam, seeing their games come to existence during the three days, and of course having a good time together. If you want to find out more about them and their games (and speak a bit of German), click your way through the bpb game jam wiki and have a look at their projects!

Podcast – Bury Me My Love – Dein Sonntag

Aktuell sind gleich zwei Spiele erschienen, die sich mit der Fluchtgeschichte zweier Menschen aus Syrien auseinander setzen. Zum einen das Messenger-Spiel "Bury Me My Love" als auch "Path Out" im JRPG-Stil von Causa Creations. Was die Spiele so besonders macht, wie realistisch sie sind und ob die Abstraktion nicht vielleicht die realen Fluchterlebnisse verharmlosen, erzählt Jana im Podcast.

(Die Sendung lief ursprünglich auf Deutschlandfunk Nova als Teil von Dein Sonntag.)