The national competition "Awarding of computer games in Germany" in 2018, in which there is a place for indie

This article is about the fact that even now (in 2018) a small indie team of three developers can create a game that will win a prize of 40,000 euros (~ 2,800,000 rubles) within the national state support for domestic game developers [ 1 ]. The total prize fund of this competition for all nominations was 560,000 euros. And it has existed in Germany for 10 years, since 2009.

Tinytouchtales in German Games Award 2018

Tinytouchtales awarding the German Games Award 2018 [ 2 ]

0. Objectives of the article

  • Satisfy curiosity - who gets these prizes? How big should they have a team, and how ambitious should a project be?
  • Get an idea of ​​how the development of the gaming industry, applied (including at the state level) in countries occupying a prominent position in the industry.
  • So, looking at these amounts in the competition, it would be more reasonable to speak about the seriousness of this not always serious occupation.
  • And even, perhaps, we will also have something similar official with a reliable, trusted system of selection and refereeing. After all, we periodically adopt Western traditions.

Here I will analyze the sources of this money, as well as consider, for which such money is given out. And to whom.

Here, by the way, many beloved Piranha Bytes was lit up ...

1. Where does the money come from?

The prize of the German Computer Game Award (GCGA) was not always that big. In 2009 it was a modest 150.000 euros and only by 2018 it grew to 560.000 euros [ 3 ]. In rough terms, it is 39.200.000 rubles. The money comes from the industry "Association of the German Games Industry" in conjunction with the "Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure." That is, the money comes from business and from the state.

In fact, 140.000 euros from the news company Computec Media Group, which spends this money on media promotion of the winners of some nominations, also go to this amount. However, the organization is modestly silent about this bonus and in all press releases the figure is 560,000, not 700,000 [ 1 ].

2. What is the official purpose of the organizers?

The goal of the German Computer Game Award is to promote Germany as a business place in the development of digital games and interactive entertainment software. In particular, the focus is on innovative, culturally and pedagogically valuable games in order to create an incentive for the development of high-quality, attractive computer games in Germany and thereby increase the diversity of such games in Germany.

3. Who can apply?

Only games that were developed by at least 80% in Germany can participate in the competition. There are nominations for different gaming platforms (PC, browser, mobile), international and local, in support of schoolchildren and students. Games must be published in the last calendar year or must be published before June 30 in the year of the award. It is allowed to submit even concepts, prototypes and demo versions of games if they are published [ 4 ].

4. Awards and nominations

The award ceremony took place on April 10, 2018 in Munich [ 1 ]. This event was very poorly covered outside of Germany, and even the English-speaking Wikipedia knows much less about its competition than its German neighbor.
In addition to a brief presentation of games, he also added brief information about developers [ 3 ].

1) The best German game ( 110.000 euros + 60.000 media bonus)
Witch It [ 5 ]

(Developer: Barrel Roll Games, Hamburg).

In short - this is multiplayer hide and seek. The final publication is scheduled for the end of 2018.

Barrel Roll Games is a young company (since 2017), consisting of only 5 people [ 6]. True, their game is being developed with the publisher Daedalic Entertainment, so this is no longer an indie with a small letter (but it depends a lot on taste).

2) The best children's game ( 75 000 euros + 40 000 media bonus)
Monkey Swag [ 7 ]

(Developer: Tiny Crocodile Studios / kunst-stoff, Berlin.

Monkey Swag is a children's game with a solution to puzzles, mostly geometric.
Debut project It was developed by another young company (since 2017), whose composition is about 5 people, and there was a producer: United Soft Media. [ 7 ].

I was able to contact one of the studio owners: Johanna Janiszewski (CEO and Creative Director). She may be able to come in here and answer some community questions in the comments, if any.

To my questions about how many competitors they had, how many participants there were, and whether there were any bureaucratic difficulties, Johanna answered:
We had two more competitors on the best kid's game. I don’t have any insights into the nomination process as well. It was quite easy to register, it was a trailer and a playable version of course. He was cool, we got cool, we got nominated, oh my gosh, we won! Tell them. There was lots of answering emails, interviews and paperwork afterwards. Tv news here in germany.

Translation answer
У нас было еще два конкурента на Лучшую детскую игру. У меня нет никакого представления о процессе выдвижения кандидатур. Регистрация была довольно простой, мы должны были отправить краткий обзор игры, трейлер и рабочую версию игры, конечно. Так что для меня это было так: хорошо, мы записались на участие, эй, круто, мы были номинированы, давайте отправимся на само мероприятие, о, черт возьми, мы победили! Мы должны со всеми созвониться и рассказать им. После этого было много емэйлов, интервью и бумажной работы. Мы даже попали в одну, две телевизионные новостные передачи в Германии.

3) The best youth game ( 75 000 euro + 40 000 media bonus)
Witch It [ 5 ]
This is the second nomination of the game.

4) The best serious game ( 40 000 euros)
Vocabicar [ 8 ]

(Developer: Quantumfrog, Oldenburg).

This is a children's game for learning English.

The developer company is no longer a novice with 7 years of experience and a team of 17 people [ 9 ].

5) The best mobile game ( 40 000 euros)
Card Thief [ 10 ]

(Developer: Arnold Rowers / Tinytouchtales, Berlin).

This is a logical "card" game for mobile devices. Very stylish graphics and animations. It was because of her and it was decided to make this review.

In general, this game was developed by 3 people, as the authors themselves write about on their website of the studio Tinytouchtales. Their game also won in the nomination "Best Game Design" in the competition German Developer Awards 2017 [ 2 ]. Here's what the developers write about the jury of the contest in their blog:
It is a mix of people who have been a cardinality.

Жюри в «Конкурсе немецких разработчиков» — это смесь из профессионалов, любителей и людей (в основном политиков), которые никогда не играют в игры, так что победить с игрой Card Thief было для нас особенно тяжело.

By the way, a special thank you to Arnold, who provided me, at the request, with links to publications in German, since in English, the event was covered very poorly (I could not find the details).

6) The best design of the game ( 40 000 euros)
TownsmenVR [ 11 ]

(Developer: Handy Games, Giebelstadt) [ 12 ]
TownsmenVR is a god simulator for the creation and development of your city with a view from a VR eye and the management of a punishing hand. They also have Townsmen without VR, which is similar to the usual construction of the city with pauses for actions. That is, a standard, solidly made day-pumping pump from users who have sat down, mostly on mobile devices. I perceived as a greatly improved "farm". As far as they are alike, I don’t know, maybe someone will clarify this question in the comments.

Handy Games - An experienced developer of a very large number of games, mostly mobile, but there are also PC games with VR. The team consists of approximately 50 people.

7) Best innovations ( 40,000 euros)
HUXLEY [ 13 ]

(Developer: Exit Adventures, Berlin) [ 13 ]
HUXLEY is a virtual multiplayer quest room with a common task “Find a way out”.
The developers are a young team of 15 people ( judging by the photos they have posted, they work in an office decorated for an abandoned storage room ).

8) The best production ( 40 000 euros)
The Long Journey Home [ 14 ]

(Developer: Daedalic Entertainment, Düsseldorf) [ 15 ]
The Long Journey Home - in the procedurally generated world, a team of travelers lost in space is looking for a way home, solving in passing the quests of meeting aliens.
Daedalic is a fairly well-known publisher / developer, with a lot of work since 2007 with 80 employees. In their piggy bank as publishers there are still relatively well-known games: Machinarium; Tales of Monkey Island; Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun; Witch It (the one that won all here). As developers: The Pillars of the Earth; State of Mind.

So, if you look, many of the winning games in this competition are closely tied to this publisher. It looks like they know exactly what is needed for victories in such an event, and it is these competencies that the average developer wants from his publisher.

9) The best international game (no money was given here)
Assassin's Creed Origins [ 16 ]

(Developer: Ubisoft).

Well, about this giant in the field of game development so everyone knows. The competition was held thanks to a large branch in Germany, although it is considered a French company.

10) The best international gaming world (there was no money here)
Horizon Zero Dawn [ 17 ]

(Developer: Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Germany) [ 17 ].

Horizon Zero Dawn is an open-world action RPG where cyborgs (robots) have long been overrun. However, the main heroine of all the dangers are not terrible, because she has her faithful bow and arrows.

The company has been operating since 2000 and employs about 270 people. Now working under the wing of Sony Computer Entertainment.

eleven)The best international multiplayer game (no money was given here)
Witch It [ 5 ]
And this is the 3rd nomination for the same game.

12) Award of young talents for the concept (foundation of 50,000 euros)
12.1) Ernas Unheil (1st place and 35,000 euros) [ 18 ]

Eileen Auerbach, Jessica Bodamer, Lisa Forsch, Olga Trinova, Talea Sikmann / HTW Berlin
Ernas Unheil This is an interactive book that, in addition to the standard decision tree for this genre, uses an accelerometer in Android devices ( and, it seems, additionally requires a physical book). The game was developed as part of a student project by a group of 4 students and 2 curators.

12.2) Sunset Devils (2nd place and 15,000 euros) [ 19 ]

Andreas Illenser / Karl Hofer School, Karlsruhe

Sunset Devils is a school project of one author. The style of the game is pixel art in the spaghetti western genre [ 20 ]. Judging by the screenshots - shooter / walker, and judging by the speed of development and the periodic redrawing of already drawn models - long-term construction since 2012 with a significant risk of an eternal alpha version or even a concept. Although the project can and will be completed after graduation by the author of the school, as he plans.

13) Reward of young talent for the prototype (fund 50 000euros)
13.1) Fading Skies (1st place and 35,000 euros) [ 21 ]

Marc Fleps / HAW Hamburg

Fading Skies is a 3D platform game from a developer solo. The main focus of the game is on large-scale landscapes and migratory adventures. Promised yet thoughtful interactive script.

13.2) Realm of the Machines (2nd place and 15 000 euro) [ 22 ]

Julian Ludwig Sebastian YaNTK, Stefan Held, Vanush Nurbahsh Alina von Petersdorf, Sharon Schwab, Maximilian Mishalok David Ernst, Pascal Marshar / Mediadesign University Munich
Realm of the Machines - 2D puzzle, where the main hero-robot is required to bring mechanisms back to life by attaching gears and conveyor belts to them.

This is a study project for the 6th semester at the University of Media Design [ 22 ].

14) Audience Award (no money was given here)
ELEX [ 23 ]

(Developer: Piranha Bytes , Essen).

ELEX is Gothic / Risen in post-apocalypse. Piranhas, as always, have created a hand-crafted world.

Piranhas is a very experienced (and many loved) company that has been operating since 1997. The company staff is 30 people.

Jennifer Pankratz from Piranha Bytes responded to my request for additional information and dropped the link to the video of the event, where they thanked the audience for voting:

Video by Piranha Bytes

By the way, in past years the following games won in this nomination [ 3 ]:
- 2017, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine
- 2016, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- 2015, Dark Souls II

15) Special jury prize (here no money was given)
Friendly Fire [ 24 ]

This is a project related to charity gaming streams on YouTube (and other sites). [ 24 ]

5. Conclusion

This is how annual game developers in Germany are awarded. Participants receive official recognition, media attention (albeit more often of a national character). Students get good bonuses on their resume. Small developers a chance to earn extra money and light up. The industry at the expense of this PR will receive more new blood. It seems to everyone from this good.
I invited some game authors to the discussion of the article, and some expressed a desire to talk a bit. Perhaps someone still gets to the comments and we can get a little more “insider” information.

Maybe in your countries, too, there are similar contests at the national level. It would be very interesting to learn about the conditions of their implementation, allocated budgets and information support.

PS I must say that because of the difficulties of translating from German to the article, an error crept in. Johanna in the comments to the article helped to identify it. Additional financial prizes in fact were not prizes and did not use "for advertising in the media." These were Medienboard funds, which are targeted funding / grants for the implementation of a specific future project that has a stated value (in education, for example) and quality. That is, as a result of these bonuses, the winners will have to present the realized game.

Sources of literature
1. Пресс-релиз German Games Award 2018 на их официальном сайте.
2. Tinytouchtales о своей победе в German Games Award 2018.
3. Об этом конкурсе в немецкой Википедии.
4. Правила проведения German Games Award в формате ЧаВо.
5. Witch It на Стиме (победители в трех номинациях).
6. Barrel Roll Games — разработчик Witch It.
7. Monkey Swag от Tiny Crocodile Studios.
8. Vocabicar — игра для изучения английского языка для детей.
9. Компания-разработчик Quantumfrog.
10. Card Thief — лучшая мобильная игра от Tinytouchtales.
11. TownsmenVR — Лучший дизайн игры от Handy Games.
12. Handy Games, победитель с TownsmenVR.
13. HUXLEY (Лучшие инновации) от Exit Adventures (EXIT VR).
14. The Long Journey Home — Лучшая постановка.
15. Daedalic Entertainment — самый плодовитый издатель и разработчик в этом конкурсе.
16. Assassin's Creed Origins — Лучшая международная игра, на сайте Ubisoft.
17. Horizon Zero Dawn — Лучший международный игровой мир от Guerrilla Games.
18. Ernas Unheil — Награда молодых талантов за концепцию.
19. Sunset Devils — Награда молодых талантов за концепцию.
20. Интервью с автором Sunset Devils Андреасом Илленсером.
21. Fading Skies — Награда молодого таланта за прототип.
22. Realm of the Machines — Награда молодого таланта за прототип.
23. ELEX от Пираний — Приз зрительских симпатий.
24. Friendly Fire — благотворительные стримы — Специальный приз жюри.

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