Murmel’s Blog – Berlin GamesWeek Edition

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A Maze.

Hi friends!

It’s Murmel with my report of last week’s Berlin GamesWeek. As the name suggests, it is a whole week with events for games. My personal schedule consisted of: Quo Vadis, A Maze. and a so-called matchmaking dinner. But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

In the beginning there was Jack…eheheh, sorry.

My GamesWeek actually started on Wednesday, since I had to attend some courses at uni at the start of the week. I boarded a train to Berlin on the evening of Tuesday, to get a good night’s sleep at Tobi’s, who was my host for the week. First off, big thanks to Tobi and his wife Bao, who were awesome hosts (including a really scary late-night prank from Bao on Friday – not cool!). Since Christian was in Berlin as well, I had the honor of sharing a room with him for two nights, which always brings up the infamous Niemand-Murmel-Dilemma™ of me snoring and him listening to music on his headphones to get some quiet, which in turn will wake me up. A vicious cycle ensues…looking forward to Gamescom 😀

Wednesday was a really early start at Quo Vadis, because we had scored a pretty last minute showcase booth with Amazon. Our good friends at Threaks had connected us with them and we ported About Love, Hate and the other ones to the Kindle Fire tablet, a few days before the event to be eligible for showing our game. Carlos, our contact there, was really cool, and we have to thank Amazon for the opportunity. There were talks all day long and I managed to catch an interactive story by Falko Löffler, where the audience was playing a writer’s first day at a games company by making choices throughout the story and the plot branching out at each decision point. A neat idea and you can play it online on Twine via his homepage. The rest of the day I was standing (or sitting) around at our booth, talking to people about our games and soothing my rumbling stomach, for I had not eaten anything since breakfast, to be prepared for the matchmaking dinner in the evening.

The matchmaking dinner was an event, where people (most of them in fancy suits and dresses) were invited to by the organizers of GamesWeek for networking purposes. As it is a recurring theme with me (so Wolf from Threaks keeps reminding me) I was invited there by pure luck (e.g. Poznan 2014). Well I guess, we have a project funded by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, and they are sponsors of GamesWeek as well, so that ought to be the connection here. As I said (and I refrained from taking selfies and photos there, because I don’t want this blog to be a freaking Instagram account with #deliciousfood and so on), the dinner was very fancy and the food was awesome. The theme is, you get matched with people who could be of interest to you and vice versa. I was seated with a few professors and Deadalic CEO Carsten Fichtelmann, but since I could only stay at the table for one course, to be moved to the next table for the next one, I mostly talked to Thomas, a professor at Berlin’s HTW university and the topic were the German Games Awards, because he was a judge on this year’s jury. Not much to report, sorry. The next table was weird, since some of the people had already found someone to talk to, before I arrived and I ended up spending most of my time talking to Alon, a music composer and producer of game soundtracks, from Israel. He’s a cool guy and after some talk about gaming events in general, like GDC and such, we went on to walk to A Maze. together, to get to the opening night party.

There we somehow lost each other pretty quickly, and I met Flo and Vincent (former Black Pant and comic artist who studied in Kassel), and my old friend Lucas, who lives close to Urban Spree, where A Maze. takes place (we’ve known each other since our youth, and it is always fun to meet him). We went on drinking some beers and looking at games, I said hi to some indie friends I met there, including my arch nemesis. The day had been a long one, so around 1 am we left. Disclaimer: I am getting old, and my party potential after conference days is pretty low, so this year I have no crazy, drunk stories. At home, Tobi and Christian were still having a beer in the kitchen and I sat down to tell them about my day. That night a mysterious Mr. Niemand was seen leaving the room where we slept in, to find shelter in the corridor. His sacrifice will be remembered.

Thursday started with booth duty at Quo Vadis and I gave a video interview for Amazon’s developer blog, which should go online there some time soon. I actually wanted to attend a talk by Bernd Diemer. He is related to Stamm and I only know from social media. He seems to like our content and I thought, this should be a good opportunity to say hi. Sadly his talk was replaced and he did not attend – or I did not spot him –  so I did not get a chance to meet him. He draws some cool post-it comics, and also works on some small indie production called Dead Island 2, never heard of that. I really don’t know what the whole zombie thing is about. 2D platfromers are the new hype! Maybe add a fancy color-switch-mechanic? 😉

Well, I had to make due with Wolf’s talk on success and how to measure it (emotionally vs. monetary) and with his great wardrobe choice. You can find his slick shirt and all the other photos I took in the gallery, at the end of the post. I moved on to A Maze. for the Indie Arena Meetup, which is a real life meeting for all the devs on that forum. The most interesting topic for me was Gamescom 2015, since there seem to be some changes regarding indies and booths and I am not 100% sure what information is public already, so I will not go into detail at this point. Politics schmolitics. Sufice it to say, we hope to be at Gamescom this year. After a few beers and looking at some more games in the showcase, I headed home to meet up with Tobi for a few more beers and for something really cool. Work! Actually, it was really cool.

Tobi has taken the last weeks to overhaul the script for On Rusty Trails. New game mechanics and levels with different stages like the new boss fights, made it necessary to rework the script to better fit what is happening in the game. So, when I arrived home, he was already sitting there, waiting with the new script and let me proofread it. First time since I joined the Pants that I had the opportunity to work with real inside-the -game content, since I came on mid-production and these things usually don’t fall into my area of work. This had me really stoked and although I was a little tired, we went out to a pub nearby, had two beers and went over the script. I only managed to read it once for spelling, since at that point I almost fell asleep, but I think he will work on the content a little more and I can read the finished thing again soon. Off to bed we went.

Friday was my leisure day. No more mandatory meetings/booths etc. We had a late breakfast and I made my way to A Maze. There I teamed up with Rico and also Daniel (creator of Symmetrain) and David (his new partner for his new game) to see some talks, meet a few people and hang out in the sun. The most important, cutest and adorable thing I took away from the talks was THIS. Needless to saz, I have been addictively collecting cats over the last week. The talks were about curating games for events, making a game in seven days (and not finishing but taking months more to make it big), and an interesting one by Hotline Miami (2) creator Dennis Wedin, about sequels and the creative process behind them. A topic that sometimes comes up with fans, who ask if and when we will release Tiny & Big 2. Since I brought it up again now, I have to state thate we currently have no plans to release a sequel, sorry guys. The day went by and I went over to the games area and took some pictures for the blog and after a few hyper talks (5 minutes each), I called up Stamm. The gang and Stamm plus Julia met up at Burgermeister for some chili cheese fries and burgers and we set at the Spree, enjoying the mild evening temperatures. When it slowly became darker, we headed over to Stamm’s, not far away, and had some more beers and talked about random stuff and listened to the mother flippin’ Flight Of The Conchords soundtrack. We found out that Daniel and David had booked the exact same train back to Kassel on Saturday, which was a nice coincidence and made the ride less boring. Some time after 1 am, I headed home for the night.

Saturday was my travel day. I visited family in Berlin, after saying goodbye to Bao and Tobi, and boarded the train to Kassel, where Daniel and David arrived one minute before the train left. Close call, but it made for some last minute excitement.

That’s it, guys. GamesWeek report finished. Now, of course, you can have a look at some pictures I took, and get excited for the next development update, following soon. Until next time!

So long,

Murmel

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