We knew July was going to be a busy month with two weeks filled with teaching kids how to create video games. Man what a rush! Those kids were so creative and smart! We were also featured on Fox News, which can be viewed here, http://www.kvrr.com/news/local-news/kids-and-teens-design-games-at-msum/34302440. It was a great load of fun working with those kids. While we were sad to see it end, we were also happy to be done. It was a lot of work, and will be looking forward to doing it again next year. A following note, the course instructor, Dave Binkard, loved the class so much that he is starting his own company that will teach more kids how to make video games. Check out his Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1963536759/pods-game-design.
During the last two weeks of CFK, we also had numerous events going on. The Fargo Game Makers were involved with a tech meet up event called Tech Tailgating. There are several meet ups in the FM area, and this was a great way to get to know the other meet ups going on. We were able to talk to a lot of folks about what we were doing, as well as spread word of upcoming events that were happening. Plus, the Fargo Brewing Company, which hosted the event, gave out beer to the local meet ups for raffle drawings! Emergin Prairie had a great article about it as well: https://www.emergingprairie.com/tech-tailgate-gets-9-local-meet-ups-one-bumpin-party/
Fargo’s very popular street fair also happened during this time, and to help the Prairie Den get rolling, more than ten developers got together for a 24 hour game jam. Much like a 48 hour film festival, these guys divided into three teams and worked on three very different games. One team worked on a virtual graphic novel featuring a compelling moral story of forcing the end of the universe to try and create a new “big bang.” The second group worked on creating a 3D version of a popular game called Agar. And, lastly the third team worked on remaking an Atari classic, Warlords. It was a lot of fun, and we were super tired afterwards, but very glad we did it. Also, our mission a success, we were able to advertise the Prairie Den space to the public during that time. The event was sponsored by the Economic Development Corporation, Prairie Den itself, and also Botlink! Thank you so much for your help!
We also had a great Fargo Game Makers meet up where Dave was able to talk about PODS Game Design, and another local Fargo Game Maker, Dennis Frohlich, was able to show off a neat little dice game he calls, “Shields.” If you are interested in checking that out, be sure to go to his page for the rules: http://dpadblog.com/shields-the-dice-game/
Next up, we had our Gamer’s Unite meet up, sponsored by 702 Communications, where we were able to showcase our current build of Cursed Gold, and were able to see people playing our game. This was one of our first public beta tests, so it was really great to see people playing our game, and they love the story and journey the development has taken thus far. We also were able to show off the game from our 24 hour game jam, and got a lot of laughs from the 4 player multi-player all on one keyboard. You can follow them on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/702Communications?fref=ts
As if this post wasn’t long enough, we then had a blast at the MSUM Planetarium playing Artemis on the dome! So cool to see the huge crowd of 50+ people that showed up to that. 702 Communications sponsored that event as well, and provided some door prizes for the event along with some planetarium related prizes. It was a great turn out and got to see some experience and some new to the game play it on the big screens. Six stations with six projectors all synced up for a lot of fun! Stay tuned for new events on the MSUM Planetarium Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/msumplanetarium?fref=ts
Finally, lastly, we had our 1 Million Cups today where Dave Binkard was able to present his PODS Game Design business idea. Essentially doing what we did with the College for Kids stuff, and turning it into a year round classroom setting where kids can continue to learn how to make games with different platforms. 1 Million Cups has been a huge asset for any startups in the FM area, big or small, and have welcomed game devs with open arms! They meet every Wednesday at 9:15am at the Stage by Island Park. Come check them out!
Like I said, July was FULL. What I didn’t mention was that I finished 2 classes including finals surrounding the 24 hour game jam. It wasn’t pretty but the courses were passed and that is all that matters. As we get back into gear, we have one announcement regarding the Cursed Gold project. With the budget being passed July 1st for North Dakota, it affected startups that were looking forward to the grant program. For companies like Wicked Soul Studios, we were relying on that financing to push us through the Kickstarter. The budge being passed changed the grant program, in a good way, but also in a negative way.
The good news is that there is more overall money available, but there is a lot of work that goes into accessing it. Working with a new group that is now in charge of the program, we have to take time to establish the relationship and get the process re-rolling again. The first steps of the program also give less funding to start with. So all in all it slows us down tremendously. We are still pushing forward to finish our feature completed level for our Kickstarter. It is just going to take a bit longer.
Thank you all for your support thus far. We look forward to seeing your reactions to our future updates as we near our Kickstarter launch.