2017 DIGITAL GAME DESIGN SHOWCASE

Hello for the first time, BostonFIG Community!

Before I talk about this year’s Festival, I wanted to take a moment to say that I’m excited to step into the role of VP of Digital Curation this year. I’m glad to have been present to see the fantastic example set by Jordan, and to be part of this incredible community. I look forward to seeing all of the great work done by this community, and hope to do my best to help facilitate showcasing that work.

This year’s digital curation is embracing last year’s category system, but is shifting toward broader, more simplified categories. While last year allowed developers to submit to categories alongside other developers with similar goals, there was still some overlap between categories that made the distinctions between them unclear. This year, with the intent to be more inviting and inclusive, we are more explicitly categorizing by fewer groups, each with a distinct focus. We hope that this means developers can choose the goals and efforts they would like to be judged by while also being more certain that their category of choice is the most applicable one.

This year, we are also expanding the eligibility of games that have been previously submitted to BostonFIG. We recognize that a game submitted last year to the showcase may have since undergone a lot of change, and developers may be interested in submitting their updated game again. As a result, games that were submitted to BostonFIG in any previous year are now eligible, as long as they demonstrate that they have undergone significant changes since the last submission.

Hopefully, these changes allow for more clarity, while remaining open to creative and diverse approaches to making games.

Mary Yovina
Vice President, Digital Curation 
Boston Festival of Indie Games

Eligibility Region

  • BostonFIG is open to worldwide submissions for 2017

 

Eligibility Criteria

Since there is no perfect criteria for what an “indie” game is, we will take submissions on a case-by-case basis and work with studios to determine what games make sense from a community standpoint. 

  • Only unpublished games, or games that have been released after October 2016 can be submitted. 
  • Games should be independently produced, though publisher funding/distribution is acceptable. 
  • Games that were submitted to Boston FIG in any previous year are now eligible, but must demonstrate that they have undergone significant changes since the last submission. A brief gameplay video or screenshot(s) of the previous version must be provided for comparison.
  • Games are not produced by a major publisher-owned studio, list of publishers here. 
  • Games should include at least one finished, playable level (or have its core system in place so that curators can accurately understand your game’s ambitions, mechanics, and gameplay). 
  • Game content and other materials are owned solely by the developer/designers or legal permission obtained to use any other copyrighted material. 
  • Come ready to demo on your own hardware (or send someone who can) on September 23, 2017.

If you have any questions about the eligibility of your game, please contact [email protected].

Timeline

Developer Submission Rules

Video Entry: 

Build entry:

Please provide a playable build, on as many platforms as you are comfortable with. This build should be easily accessible, either hosted on a server (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.), or accessible via provided Steam/PSN/Xbox keys, web links, etc. We will not accept attachments via email. If you have a more complicated submission process that makes it difficult to download and install your game, or if you are using TestFlight, please contact [email protected] with your completed Eventbrite submission receipt along with any relevant information pertaining to your request. 

Category Selection: 

You must choose a category upon submitting your game. Although, in a number of instances, a game may fit more than one category, we ask that you choose to submit to the one for which you believe your game is best suited. In order to allow for greater showcase inclusion and diversity, we are only allowing a game to compete in ONE category.

If a developer has multiple games, they are welcome to submit them each under a different submission entry if they so wish, even if they are being submitted to the same category. (IE. a developer wants to submit two separate games to the showcase, both for the same category. That is okay, as long as each game has its own submission entry. A developer has one game and they want to submit that game to two categories. That is NOT allowed, and the second entry will be ignored.)

Awards: 

  • One game in each category will receive that category’s award
  • ALL games submitted to ALL categories will be eligible for ”Best in Show” and “Audience Choice Award”

Game Quality and Production:

Your game doesn’t need to be completed. Instead, it’s fully acceptable for your submission to be a fully playable demo that clearly shows a vertical slice of your intended end product. Your game NEEDS to run by following your instructions provided with entry. Curators are under no obligation to spend time troubleshooting your game.

Category Cohesion: 

The most important thing is to attempt to convey why and how your game applies to the category you submitted to, especially in your overview video. if you can’t justify how it fits, it most likely doesn’t!

Game Requirements per Platform

To submit a Windows Game: 

Your game must fall into the basic requirements of a computer running Windows 7+. If you are asking our judges to install unusual software that a game on Steam might not ask you to install, please check with the VP of Digital Curation, [email protected]

To submit an OSX Game: 

Your game must run on a machine supporting OSX. If you are asking our judges to install unusual software that a game on Steam might not ask you to install, please check with the VP of Digital Curation, [email protected]

To submit an iOS Game: 

Your iOS game must run on the most current version of iOS. As always, with iOS content, pay attention to iOS release candidates through your iOS developer program, and update your content accordingly. BostonFIG cannot and will not find older versions of iOS hardware and software to test your game on. We also cannot consider any content requiring a jailbreak. There are two manners in which BostonFIG will accept an iOS game for submission. The first is by sharing download codes for a game already on the App Store with BostonFIG. The second is through Testflight. Ultimately, it is your responsibility as a developer to provision the devices of BostonFIG judges, and distribute them copies of your game. If you have any problems, feel free to contact the VP of Digital Curation, at [email protected]

To submit an Android Game: 

Due to the fragmented nature of Android, and the wide range of devices available to our judges, it is impossible to firmly set guidelines for Android submissions. Android submissions will be taken on a per­ case basis, and BostonFIG promises you, we will make all reasonable attempts to test your game. Generally speaking, a good place to start would be the requirements for the Google Play store, available here. It’s also a good idea to ask yourself if your game runs on the more common Android devices. The more common the devices your game supports, the better our chance to test it. Codes for games available in the Google Play store are preferred, though we will accept content you ask us to sideload  if we have the hardware to run it. BostonFIG reserves the right to reject your Android submission for reasons of bugginess, incompatibility, or lack of access to supported devices. If you have any questions, feel free to contact head of Digital Curation, Mary at [email protected]

To submit a game requiring specialized hardware:

BostonFIG has assembled a specialized committee to deal with games needing unusual or new hardware, such as a game for Oculus Rift. To make sure we can accept your submission, please contact the VP of Digital Curation, [email protected]

A note about bugs and compatibility: 

Because BostonFIG is an indie game festival, we understand that many of our submissions will be from novice game developers and students. We will make all reasonable attempts to install your game, and understand that problems are inevitable in the process of judging your content. Making your content playable is the responsibility of the person submitting to BostonFIG, not the judges. In the case of such rejection, your entry fee WILL NOT BE REFUNDED. If your game is not accepted into BostonFIG, your entry fee will also not be refunded, though your fee may be deducted from the price of a sponsor table, should you choose to pursue that route. If you have any questions, feel free to contact head of Digital Curation, Mary at [email protected].

Materials Requested Upon Acceptance

Developers of accepted games will be asked upon notification of their acceptance to the showcase to provide all final information necessary for the festival. We will be asking for this information on July 16.

  • Name of your game
  • Name of the team
  • Studio logo. If you have a studio logo, please provide one. It must be a PNG with a ratio of 372 x 178 px (If you do not have a studio logo, we will provide a FIG-styled logo with your studio/team name)
  • Game logo. If you have a game logo, please provide one. If you don’t have a game logo, please inform us at this time.
  • Name of team lead who will be handling communication and check-in, and their contact information

Additional Information

The submission form will also ask for basic information, and include an area where further technical game information can be described. Submissions open March 15 and close on April 23. Fees for submissions are $60. The developers of the games that will move on to the 2nd phase will receive a notification within three weeks of the submission close date. Decisions are final.

Prizes

Prizes in the past have ranged from hardware to software licenses to cash awards from sponsors. We’ll know more about specific prizes when the awards get closer, since sponsorship for prizes has varied from year to year. In addition to expanding the great prizes, you will receive design feedback from professionals in the games industry, the chance to playtest your game with the visitors at BostonFIG and a wonderful opportunity to network with other aspiring game designers, artists, and other game aficionados.

The Showcase

During the showcase, the attendees of BostonFIG will be allowed to play the games and vote on their favorites. If your game is available for purchase you may sell your game at your booth. 

Other Information

The intellectual property rights from the games will belong to the designers, independently of their places in the competition, and will be respected. If a designer feels harmed by the Jury deliberation or play­test teams, we remind that the game’s quality remains subjective, and that the main goal of the showcase is to create buzz around the indie game scene. If there are not enough submissions for the Game Design Showcase, the staff reserves the right to cancel the 2017 showcase. The participation in the showcase requires the full acceptance of this Regulation.

Terms & Conditions

By submitting this form, you agree that responsibility of getting a playable prototype to BostonFIG is up to you, and not the judges. You agree to be responsive to email, and you agree to correct issues in a timely manner. You understand that failure to correct problems can and will lead to your game being rejected from submission. You understand that in the case of such rejection, your entry fee WILL NOT BE REFUNDED. You also understand that if your game is not accepted into BostonFIG, your entry fee will not be refunded, though your fee may be deducted from the price of a sponsorship package, should you choose to pursue that route.

 

Categories

“Compelling Game Mechanics”

Director: Jim Beals

Many times while playing games, an experience comes along that seems to iterate on a pre-existing mechanic, creating a unique experience that breathes fresh life into a game genre. Others break the mold entirely with something revolutionary, marching forward to the beat of its own drum. The Compelling Game Mechanics category for the Boston Festival of Indie Games is searching for just that: a game that redefines and revolutionizes gameplay mechanics in such a way that creates a fun player experience and leaves the player coming back for more. If you feel your game has a unique gameplay experience this category is for you!

Examples of Games:

World of Goo, Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons, Dishonored 2, The Room, Antichamber, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

 

“Innovation in Art and Narrative”

Director: Adri Mills

The category for Innovation in Art and Narrative seeks to recognize games and interactive experiences that push the boundaries of telling a story, building a world, and engaging players emotionally, through the creative use of art and narrative. We’re seeking submissions where the art, narrative, or other creative aspects of the game are integral to the experience, or are applied in a novel and interesting way. This is a category for games pushing the boundaries of art and narrative in games.

Examples of Games that would be a good fit for this category:

Inside, Emily is Away, Kentucky Route Zero, Undertale, Small Radios Big Televisions

 

“Accessibility and Inclusion”

Director: Johnny Richardson 

This category seeks games that have diversity at the center of their design philosophy. This can range anywhere from games that focus on underrepresented identities, cultures, or experiences, to games that more specifically deal with the loss of the player or player agent’s loss of mobility, cognitive, auditory, or sight faculties. We are looking for games that may simply include these elements, and/or are built around them as core mechanics.

For example, many games have a feature where impeded movement/blurred sight occurs after injury in order to invoke a penalty/disadvantage. While interesting, we are interested more in games that may drill down into that moment. For example, a game where the player must instead grapple with the sudden loss or partial loss of bodily function with little to no chance of recovery, or how the gameplay might change around this. As such, this is not a “disability simulation” or “diversity checkbox” category but rather an inspection of how game design can represent disability and/or diversity as either a subject of story and/or play.

 In addition, we are looking for games that contain modes, settings, or customizability centered around inclusion for disabled players. Examples of this include, but are not limited to:

  • Color-blind, no-fail, high-contrast modes
  • Ability for the player to fully re-map the controls, play with mouse only, play with one hand, “one-button” control
  • The speed of the game can be adjusted, allowing players with slower reaction time more space to respond to challenges/enemies/etc
  • Not only cutscenes, but also in-game/ambient action is subtitled; examples include “[door opens]” or “[man screaming]”
  • Movable/Resizable UI

Examples of Games that would be a good fit for this category:

Ds4yia, Blindside, Nevermind, Never Alone, Papers, Please, Zoombinis, Quandary, Device 6, HEARtREAD (last year’s category winner!)

 

“Multiplayer and Connected Gameplay” 

Director: Jeremiah King 

The Multiplayer and Connected Gameplay category seeks games that promote a shared experience with multiple people at its core. This includes both online and local multiplayer games. Local games include traditional turn-based play by sharing a controller and simultaneous play by having multiple people play using the same controller or multiple controllers at once. We are looking for games that are enticing to bystanders, encouraging those not playing to be a part of the experience. This can include the audience guiding the individual(s) playing, aiding the player(s) by sharing information, cheering for a close match, and anything else that can make a spectator feel invested in the game even if they aren’t the ones directly playing it. Games designed with live streaming in mind that compliment game streaming culture are highly encouraged.

Examples of Games:

Towerfall, DayZ, Rocket League, Jackbox Party Pack

 

“Student Games”

Director:  Sela Davis

The Student Games category is seeking games from student devs that utilize this opportunity as a learning developer to create something unique.

For example, this game may be an idea you have been passionate about wanting to explore for a long time, but have only now had the ability to make it. Maybe this game has been molded in interesting ways because of the strengths and interests of your team, the tools at hand, or time constraints. Maybe the subject matter is personal or of deep importance to you. Or maybe you chose to tackle something risky, strange, or unique to challenge established, entrenched perceptions of what a game is. Whatever the case may be, we want to see games that take risks, experiment, and think outside the box.

We don’t expect these games to be polished to a mirror sheen or be bug-free, and expect to give a little more leeway to games submitted to this category in that regard. Instead, we’re placing a higher importance on your creativity.

This category is only open to students, at the graduate level or below.

Examples of games: 

YOUR GAMES!

 

 

 

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