Winter Play 2017 was a special night for indie developers to showcase their work prior to next weeks Game Developers Conference 2017. The event was organized by Playcrafting SFO and Chase Kiefiuk was the MC for the night.
50 games were available for attendees to play while the systems ranged from PC to mobile device and VR. This was also an opportunity for students to gain some insight from the developers. The significance of the work and effort made by these developers could only best be summarized by Andrew Davis (a developer and guest) as,
Everyone’s game here is important because of the time and effort they spent as this is what they do.
Playing the games is fun but the best way to get a better insight was to talk with each developer at the event.
A common story among the developers is that the game started as a student project but it evolved into a passion project that could set the foundation for their future. Many have graduated but a few were still working on their degree and continuing the project. At the same time, there was also a good number of industry veterans and designers with a solid background.
Jack Chu from the Academy of Arts has demonstrating his 2D platform adventure, Pao Pao Pug. Players take on the role of a pug who must overcome challenges and obstacles with the power of farting. Three people have been working on this project and the game has already passed Steam Greenlight.
Joseph Bennett traveled from New Zealand to show his game, Interdimensional Llama, at Winter Play and GDC. In the demo presented, players must solve the puzzles by controlling how they view the environment.
Among the industry veterans who were present at the event was Nicole Lazzaro, known for her work on the Myst series and establishing the 4 Keys to Fun in game development. She was promoting her upcoming VR title Follow The White Rabbit, an exploration game inspired by Alice in Wonderland and her travels as a child.
Sorob Raissi has a rich background developing military simulations before creating Space Jammers. This top down shooter has players blast their way through levels as an alien cat pirate. The game can support 1-4 player co-op and is currently on Steam Early Access with a target release date of March.
Not all the titles were still in development or in the beta stage, a few of them had already been released. The most notable example was Kevin Wong and his award winning title, Chambara. The game is a stealth-deathwatch experience in which the levels and characters are designed with only two colors. The game is already available for the PS4 but his team is currently working to port it to the PC.
Another example was Brian Cronin, Christian Strohm, John Treviranus, and Kevin Holmes who were there to promote Calam-A-City, a project that was developed for the 2017 Global Game Jam. Developed in 48 hours, this rogue city-builder has players prepare and face a wave of disasters.
The 2017 Game Developers Conference may start next week but Winter Play 2017 gave these indie developers the chance to demonstrate their passion project to their audience and to tell their story. Playcrafting SFO plans to host a Spring, Summer and Fall event, we will keep everyone updated about that.
Correction: An earlier version of this article failed to mention Brian Cronin among the team who developed Calam-A-City.