Polish Conference On
Computer Games Development
Gdańsk 6 - 8 SEPTEMBER 2013

WGK 2013 I Create Games - conference summary

It's been a while since WGK 2013 ended. This year's conference managed to break the records of attendance and - as we think - overall quality. We strongly hope that you agree. Thank you for your attendance, now we'd like to invite you to read the conference's summary. Other updates are coming soon, including photos and materials from the lectures.

Friday

The official opening started in Friday, soon after scheduled 01.00 PM. The main organizer, Karol Gasinski,  welcomed the audience gathered in the auditorium at the new building of  Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics  (Gdansk University of Technology). Considering the foreign guests, he spoke in English, talking about conference's evolution and the idea behind this year's edition, which was  integration of European game developers. Then spoke (also in English):  the dean o the Faculty -  prof. Krzysztof Goczyla, prof. Ewa Grabska from Jagiellonian University and vice-president of Gdansk Andrzej Bojanowski.

The lecture session was opened by dr Malte Behrman, General Secretary of European Game Developer Federation (EGDF). Referring to the conference's idea he presented arguments, followed by appropriate data, that the key for European games industry to evolve is a cooperation between the countries and supporting emerging markets such as Poland.

Later three lectures in total took place in two auditoriums. The subjects included: Marmalade platform, an innovative animation system by Krzysztof Kluczek and archiving game developers' work. The last speech was given by Polish veteran game developer - Maciej Miasik.

Meanwhile, about 3:00 PM, in the building's main hall preparations of the expo area were finished. It hadn't started along with the rest because of the other conference, which finished before WGK. However when the first booths were opened in Friday the area started to take shape.

The first day of the conference was closed by  the discussion panel with the delegation of German game development industry. The guests discussed similarities and differences between game development in Poland and Germany as well as possibilities of cooperation of the countries. A few hours later there was a less formal day's finale - an integration party  at VNS restaurant in Gdansk.

Saturday

Comparing to rather quiet Friday, Saturday was filled with attractions. From 9.20 three lectures and concept art workshops started simultaneously. One of the most interesting was a speech given in English by Ryszard Chojnowski, about the basics of localizing games. Ryszard's company has a long history great Polish versions of the games (including award-winning  Diablo III localization). 

Saturday was also the they when expo area really took off. Artifex Mundi and Nawia Games had their booths  and Developers Showcase contestants shown their projects. In the center of the hall, at Gamers Area, classic titles sponsored by  GOG.com were available to play.

At 10.40 the Lecture Of The Day was given by Carsten van Husen,  CEO of Gameforge 4D,which specializes in online games. In a bright, humorous way he summarized his knowledge about the most important game markets in the Europe, of course not forgetting Poland. Afterwards, during three sessions, the speeches were given by Games Academy of Berlin representative, 11 bit studios game designer, Soldat author, Gizarma project creators and Jacek Lebiedz, PhD of Gdansk University of Technology.

After dinner break the culmination of the expo area occurred. Most of all:  presentations of the indie developers taking part in Developers Showcase. The projects were of impressive diversity - commercial and amateur, of varied genres and at different stages of production. Additionally a Worms tournament was organized, sponsored by GOG.com

At 03:20 PM experienced Polish developers sat at the table:  Grzegorz Miechowski ( 11 bit studios ), Artur Maksara ( Flying Wild Hog ), Maciej Miasik ( one2tribe ) and Jacek Brzezinski ( T echland ), accompanied by the moderator Piotr Gnyp ( Blomedia.pl/Gadżetomania.pl ). They discussed crunch in Polish Game Dev - meaning intense phases of development, usually filled with overtime. The discussants agreed with regret that crunch is hard to avoid, however it has better and worse sites. In their opinion things improved in the last few years, including rewarding the overtime. The best way to minimize the crunch seems to be better planning and avoiding repeating mistakes.

During the last lecture session a special interest was gathered by the presentation of Tomasz Gop and Michal Kuk from CI Games, even though it was delayed by technical problems. The topic was designing powerful enemies - the bosses - basing on the example of company's upcoming games: Alien Rage and Lords of the Fallen. The presentation was finished with each speaker playing his colleague's boss fragment. It's worth mentioning, that it was one of the first presentations of the gameplay from Lords of the Fallen in the world.

In the evening the award ceremony of Developers Showcase took place. The winning project's score clearly exceeded its competitors. It was SUPERHOT- a shooter, where time moves only when you move. The voters were charmed by the innovative gameplay full of tactical nuances and psychedelic atmosphere. Soon after the conference the project gained international fame. The second prize went to Darken Age - an epic adventure prepared as a browser game and the third to Duma Szlachecka - a strategy game taking place in past Poland. 

Sunday

Sunday was also full of interesting things on the schedule. At the morning started workshops about Unity ins and outs that took a few hours, simultaneously Games Bonanza contest participants were creating their 8 hours games.

A huge audience was attracted by the lecture of CD Projeckt RED employees, co-creating Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, which started at 10.40. In a highly technical, well prepared speech  Balázs Török and Krzysztof Krzyścin presented (in English) some of the groundbreaking technology allowing to build vast, impressive worlds, which we'll be able to explore in their upcoming games.

At 12.00AM spoke Grazyna Domanska representing the Swedish studio of Ubisoft, working at an upcoming online game The Division. In a light and sympathetic manner Grazyna told about the basics of games' monetization, focusing on the modern ways of earning from online games.

Among the other lectures was the one by Amazon and CI Games. In the latter  Bogdan Oprescu and Kacper Michalski spoke about co-developing a game by the studios scattered in different parts of the world, which again fitted into conference's main thought.

In the last series of the lectures we could hear a representative of Sii company, speaking about procedural animations, Playsof t(Gdansk) employee, who told about optimizing games made with UDK/Unreal Engine 3 and Iwona Grabska-Gradzinska of Jagiellonian University.

The conference was ended with a particularly joyful event, which were  crazy presentations of Game Bonanza results . The topic was  Spaghetti and the winning group shown a game about Super Mariusz fighting with a pasta monster. In the Best Paper competition the first award went to the authors of article " Generation of two-dimensional diverse terrain maps on example of Gizarma strategy game"

After the conference

The organizers would like to thank the sponsors, patrons, volunteers and most of all - the speakers and attendants, for helping Gdansk become the European capital of game development for three days. Of course there were mistakes made, but we've already started to gather the feedback that will let us avoid them in the future. We hope that we could make another step next year.

Appendix: Companies at WGK

Companies, which officially took part in WGK (as sponsors, partners or speakers)

  • 11 bit studios 
  • Albion Localizations 
  • Amazon Web Services 
  • Artifex Mundi 
  • BlackMoon Design 
  • CD Projekt RED
  • Flying Wild Hog
  • Fuero Games
  • Gameforge
  • GameGenetics
  • GOG.com
  • Marmalade
  • Nawia Games
  • Nitreal Games
  • one2tribe
  • Pfeffermind Games
  • Playsoft
  • Sii
  • Techland
  • Transhuman Design
  • Two Bulls
  • Ubisoft Massive
  • Vivid Games
  • Wargaming.net  

Appendix: WGK in numbers

  • 440 registered attendants  from all over Poland and other countries, including   Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Luxembourg and Sweden. 
  • 31 speeches given (about a half in English), 2 discussion panels, 2 workshop sessions and 4 competitions 
  • 9 indie project shown at Developers Showcase, 5 games created within 8 hours at Games Bonanza
  • 13 articles printed in conference book.