2015-05-28

Local game development


It's easier than ever to make video games. Thanks to the Internet and the democratization of game creation tools, a wider variety of games are being made by a wider variety of people, including people from around home.

To keep track of what's happening in my neck of the woods, I'm working on a list of game-related projects from the Maritimes. This list is obviously incomplete, and is limited to what I've heard of and what I find particularly interesting, i.e. hobbyist projects and anything that reflects local culture.

Here's what I've found so far. If you have suggestions for this page, don't hesitate to leave a comment or contact me!

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PEOPLE MAKING GAMES:


Don Levandier created an RPG about the Atlantic Canadian rock/metal music scene. The singer and guitarist of The Motorleague, a band from Moncton, made Atlantic Canada: The RPG in his spare time. The band used the game for one of their music videos. I thought the game was awesome and wrote an article about it.

Evan Olthafer is re-creating my hometown's railroads in a train simulation video game. When he's done, we'll be able to see the familiar Clare tracks running with trains as they once were. It's a great way to experience the past thanks to modern technology. Cool project Evan, keep it up! Click here to see a preview of Evan's project. Do you recognize the Maxwellton crossing? (Update: I just stumbled upon another Nova Scotia train video game project thanks to a comment on Evan's video)

James O'Halloran started an indie studio in Charlottetown, PEI. Mighty Pebble Games' first project, Miner Meltdown, is currently on Steam Greenlight. If you've got a Steam account, go vote! For more information, read an interview I did with James.

Josh Robertson made an RPG game about a chicken crossing the mythical Road. It's a lot of fun! Download it for free today.


K. M. Cooper hosts an indie game blog and is working on a Twine game. Check out thisindiegameblog for insightful articles about indie games, including amazing write-ups on Gone Home and Depression Quest. Kate is also working on a Twine project with local artist Lis Plante. Visit Kate’s website or professional Facebook page for more information.

Rainier Robichaud makes video games. Originally from Pubnico, N.S., Rainier graduated from the Interactive & Motion Graphics - Game Design program at NSCC Truro in 2014. He was sponsored to participate in the 2014 Brains Eden game jam in Cambridge, England. You can play his games here.

Sam Froux made a short text adventure in Unity. Features: it's short, and it's written in Chiac. Click here to play Prison.

Tyler Matchett makes video games. Tyler's education includes Computer Science at the University of New Brunswick. He is now based out of Halifax, Nova-Scotia. Visit his web site to play some of his games!

For my own work, check the list of my games to find stories that take place in Moncton and Edmundston (New Brunswick) and Clare (Nova Scotia).

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PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT GAMES:


Daniel Ouellet uses video games in the classroom. He produces gameplay videos in French on YouTube, in part to show his students that you can create content in French too. One of his missions is to explore the potential of video games as a teaching tool. He also held a KSP competition for his students. I wish we had stuff like that in high school. (UPDATE: he now makes games too!)

Gérard Connolly hosts a French radio show about video games. Follow Le Glitch on Facebook and tune in to CKUM on Tuesday nights to listen in.

Léo Melanson runs a video game review podcast called Level Up. You can read the text versions of his podcasts on the Level Up blog, where he has published over 180 articles since 2009.

There are also YouTubers and streamers creating gaming content in the Maritimes, like the mighty LRS. He recently started making video reviews, and I hope he continues. 

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EVENTS, SCHOOLS, GROUPS:


Jalloo is an animation and games industry event held annually in Miramichi. This year's schedule shows two days of talks, showcases, and networking followed by a 24-hour game jam. I was glad to see that some past game jam projects are archived online here.

There are post-secondary programs related to video games in the Maritimes. The University of New Brunswick offers many games-related classes in its Media Arts & Cultures program, including courses on actual game design. UNB also holds great day-long workshops on game design. And as I found out while interviewing James O'Halloran, there are video game-related courses at the University of Prince Edward Island.

In terms of game art, the Electronic Game – 3D Graphics program at NBCC Miramichi has been discontinued, but they still offer their Animation and Graphics program. I recently discovered that NSCC Truro offers a game dev program. There are also 2D and 3D art programs at the Centre for Arts and Technology in Halifax. I’m sure there are more out there, so let me know of any I missed and I'll update this page.

The owners of Cold Furnace Studios, a new game dev studio in Fredericton, have started monthly Fredericton game dev meetups. These have been very fun, and are a great way to meet people in the field.

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