Berlin Games Week: Two Awards, Two Talks and an AMAZING Indie Festival

It is one of the most important highlights of the German games industry: Berlin Games Week. The various events taking place in several locations across the vibrant city, such as Quo Vadis Game Developers Conference, Making Games Festival and A MAZE Festival, attracted more than 15,000 visitors this year.

We spent last week talking about, playing and celebrating games in Berlin. Not only did we win our very first award for Orwell, but also met inspiring new people, had interesting conversations, talked about our own experiences and then won our very second award for Orwell! Here comes a brief summary and a few pictures for you to see what we have been up to over the course of the week.

 

Quo Vadis Conference

Daniel and Mel gave a long talk about founding Osmotic, developing Orwell and everything else.

Photo credits: Uwe Voelkner / FOX.

 

German Computer Games Awards

On Wednesday, 26 April, the German Computer Games Awards were given to the best Games in the German industry. We were very honored and happy to receive the award for “Best Serious Game” for Orwell, which won the trophy besides the really cool looking “Debugger 3.16: Hack’n’Run” by Spiderwork Games, a game that teaches object-oriented programming.

Thank you so much for this!

BERLIN, GERMANY – APRIL 26: during the German Computer Games Award 2017 (Deutscher Computerspielpreis 2017) at WECC on April 26, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Franziska Krug/Getty Images for Quinke Networks).

 

A MAZE. Festival

Orwell was not only in the indie exhibition, but also nominated for the A MAZE. Award. After Mel gave another talk, this time about how we created emotionally impactful moments in Orwell, we were finally told that we had won our very second award for Orwell!

 

Orwell at the A MAZE exhibition. Photo credit: Mel.

Mel talked about how we managed to make players feel like assholes. Photo credit: Jana Reinhardt (Rat King Entertainment).

We could not believe we had won the coolest Indie Game Award ever! Photo credit: Micha.

Meet the Orwell Team: Philipp Swoboda

Continuing our series “Meet the Orwell Team”, we would like to introduce a very charming person to you today.

Please meet: Philipp Swoboda

Here is a short interview so that you can find out more about him and his work:

What are your favorite games?

Games with a strong and emotional narrative, like The Last Of Us or Beyond Two Souls. I’m also a big fan of games with beautiful artwork, like Botanicula, Limbo or Samorost.

What kind of work did you contribute to Orwell?

I worked on the sound design, so basically all sound effects you hear while you’re interacting with Orwell and stalking other people’s lives. Apart from the electronic sounds of the interface in the game itself, I also designed all the sound effects in the cinematic intro scene and the effects you can hear accompanying the events towards the end of the game, where … well, I better not hint at, spoilers here 🙂 I had a lot of fun with the mixture of working on synthetic sounds and recording natural sounds needed for Orwell. Designing bleeps and Interface sounds one day and recording crows and angry, yelling people the other day made for a nice variation!


Excerpt from the sound design for Orwell by Philipp Swoboda.

What other projects are you currently working on?

I have just started working on producing sounds for a documentary, which will be completed soon. Working on Orwell has been a really great experience for me, so I’m definitely looking forward to working on more projects in the game industry.

Find out more about Philipp here:

https://www.facebook.com/PhilippSwoboda9

Meet the Orwell Team: Clemens Kügler

Continuing our series “Meet the Orwell Team”, we will introduce a very special person to you today.

Please meet: Clemens Kügler

image_clemens

Here is a short interview so that you can find out more about him and his work:

What are your favorite games?

Ah yes, that question. Let´s see: the first game I played on my C64 was “Street Surfer”. I still remember the pretty cool music and the sound of drinking an in-game soda. It holds a sentimental place in my heart, but I liked “River Raid”, “The Last Ninja”, “Pirates” or “Mafia” much better. None of my friends owned an early console, so I skipped that chapter until PlayStation (the “Burnout” series, “SSX3”, “Tekken”). Later on the Mac it was tough, since only few games were released for this system (“Heroes of Might & Magic 3”, “Alpha Centauri”, “Baldurs Gate 2”, “Warcraft”), but it got better with the years (“Limbo”, “The Binding of Isaac”, “Travian”). More recently, I turned to mobile games and like “Tiny Thief” or “Trials Frontier”.

In general, I like turn based games and roguelikes, games that have a high replay value and the challenge of figuring out the perfect strategy. There are a lot of great and classic games I have never played … most of them probably. And more and more are released every day with less and less spare hours at hand. Hard times.

What kind of work did you contribute to Orwell?

My task was to design the interface from a prototype state to its final form. The general appearance had to be practical and functional, similar to an operating system, yet entertaining.

At the beginning, quite some time was spent discussing the general layout, possible moods and tool functions. Still, throughout the development, the interface had to adapt constantly in order to match needs for changes in tool behavior or function. Here are some examples of alternative design directions that did not make it for various reasons.

The problem child of the project was the commenting and guiding feature “Symes” – where to place him so that he does not interfere with the flow of the gameplay on the one hand and would not be overlooked on the other. The version that made it into the game is a compromise between these two aspects. He still is a bit of a bugger.

entwurf01new
Clemens designed the user interface for Orwell.

entwurf02new

entwurf03new

entwurf04new

What other projects are you currently working on?

I have been a professional graphic designer for about 13 years. For the last few years I have been working part time for motorsport-clients, mostly from the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), designing everything from autograph cards to 40-foot-trailers. During the rest of the time in the last few months, I worked on Orwell. Apart from that, I have to write my master thesis in game design – a running gag. As a side project, a friend of mine and I are developing a small one-button-game for mobile that is in its prototype state and I also try to keep my drawing skills up.

Can you tell us more about awesome projects you have worked on in the past?

Graphic designwise I did a whole lot of projects for Audi Motorsports and Volkswagen Motorsports for all kinds of racing series including the Formula 1, WRC, LMS, VLN, DTM, Rally Dakar. That includes interactive e-magazines, apps, print magazines, tickets, posters, websites, business reports, corporate designs, books, illustrations … you name it.

Gamewise that would be “Scherbenwerk – Bruchteil einer Ewigkeit” (Shardworks – Fraction of an Eternity). Our student team of five spent 1.5 years developing this 3D adventure game around the main character of Kester Featherstone who accidentally ends up switching between two states of existence, being able to manipulate the very layout of the city he lives in and dealing with strange lifeforms while trying to get everything back to normal. It is fairly complicated.

“Scherbenwerk” won four awards including the Deutscher Computerspielpreis (German Computer Game Award) in the category Best Newcomer Concept. My task was concept art, 2D and 3D game art, interface design and graphic design. You can check it out here (German only): https://scherbenwerk.wordpress.com

 

Find out more about Clemens here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clemens.kuegler

Xing: https://www.xing.com/profile/Clemens_Kuegler

Meet the Orwell Team: Mathias Fischer

One week after having released the last episode of Orwell “Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree”, we are beyond happy that the complete game is finally out. The player feedback so far has been amazing and we are overjoyed about how many kind words, story analyses, soundtrack praises and inspirational quotes we have received so far.

Since all of this is not only thanks to our amazingly supportive players, but also to our wonderful team, we would like to continue our small series “Meet the Orwell Team”.

Please meet: Mathias Fischer

image_mathias

Here is a short interview so that you can find out more about him and his work:

What are your favorite games?

I have a slight obsession with the game Xenogears, over-analyzing it for almost 10 years, although it’s probably not as deep as I’m making it out to be. But still, a far beyond average Japanese RPG. Also, I’m heavily involved in old-school western RPGs like the Icewind Dale series and detective point-and-click, such as Gabriel Knight and Broken Sword. When it comes to outstanding experiences that do not fall into the former categories, then I can only think of „Disaster: Day of Crisis“, by far the most consequent game ever created, a mix of a disaster-movie adaptation, the Rock, wii motion controls, every gameplay mechanic you can ever think of and giant hamburgers as medipacks. It plays exactly as this sounds like and I would recommend enjoying it with alcohol on the side and a wii-zapper.

Regarding everything else, I could prepare a 3-days-straight lecture of how superior and experimental the gameboy color and the bulk of its games exactly is or that Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag is the most fun you can ever have in your life ever..:)

What kind of work did you contribute to Orwell?

I conceptualized the intro cinematic together with Daniel, Mel and Michael, which developed into creating concepts and storyboards. The following tasks were building and implementing the scene within Unreal 4, animating Characters (2D and 3D) and camera-direction / cutting within Unreal-Matinee.

 

gif_2

Mathias did the artwork and animation for the cinematic opening scene at the beginning of Orwell.

orwell-opening-concept

Concept Artwork of the Freedom Plaza – An important reoccurring location.

gif_3

What other projects are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m working as a freelance artist in Stockholm, Sweden for various companies.

Can you tell us more about awesome projects you have worked on in the past?
I spent almost half a decade as an artist with Daedalic Entertainment, helping to bring awesome point-and-click adventure games on their way. Games like „The Night of the Rabbit“ and upcoming superstars like „The Devil’s Men“ and „State of Mind“..:)

All Orwell episodes are out now!

Investigators,

You need to return to service one last time, to complete the game with Episode Five “Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree”! If you already own the game your Steam client should update the game automatically. If it doesn’t, check the game’s properties whether auto-updates are enabled.

day5_teaserimage_fin

This episode will offer some answers. And a question.

 
BUY THE GAME ON HUMBLE STORE: https://www.humblebundle.com/store/orwell

We’re incredibly happy to have the game completed with this episode. The first chapter of Osmotic Studios is concluded. What a wild, wild ride it has been to this point. Thanks to everyone who has been on our side during this long time of development.

Cheers
The Osmotic Studios Team

Orwell Episode 4 released!

Investigators,

You need to return to service! You may now play Episode Four of Orwell, titled “Memory Hole”! If you already own the game your Steam client should update the game automatically. If it doesn’t, check the game’s properties whether auto-updates are enabled.

day4_teaserimage

After the harsh outcome of last time, “Memory Hole” will let you dig deeper into the backgrounds of Thought’s members whilst they begin to make plans of their own.

 
BUY THE GAME ON HUMBLE STORE: https://www.humblebundle.com/store/orwell

Have fun!

Cheers
The Osmotic Studios Team

Orwell Episode 3 now released!

Investigators,

The time has come to return to your job! The third episode of Orwell – “Unperson” – is now available! If you already own the game your Steam client should update the game automatically. If it doesn’t, check the game’s properties whether auto-updates are enabled.

day3_teaserimage_klein

Episode Three follows the revelations about Goldfels, Juliet and Harrison, but the focus of the investigation shifts to a new suspect. With pressure mounting on the player and their handler, Symes, the stakes have never been higher.

Have fun!

Cheers
The Osmotic Studios Team

Orwell Episode 2 out now!

Today we release the second episode of Orwell – “A Place where there is No Darkness”. This also marks the official release!

day2_teaserimage_klein

If you played through the demo, your save game will carry over, and you will be able to continue right whener you left off.

Of course you can still continue to play the demo of Episode One before buying the game.

BUY THE GAME ON STEAM: http://store.steampowered.com/app/491950/
BUY THE GAME ON HUMBLE STORE:
https://www.humblebundle.com/store/orwell

We hope you (continue to) enjoy the game!

Cheers
Your Osmotic Team

Orwell Episode 1 out now for FREE

The moment has come. The first episode of our game Orwell has just been released as a demo on Steam and Humble Store! Every week we will launch another episode up to the final chapter that is Episode Five.

Get the FREE demo of Episode 1:

Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/491950
Humble: https://www.humblebundle.com/store/orwell

day1_teaserimage_fin

If you liked the first episode you can preorder the full game on Steam right away so you can continue right away at the time the next episode releases. Your savegames will be preserved.

Here are the dates on which the next episodes will be launched:

  • Oct 20: Episode One – The Clocks were Striking Thirteen
  • Oct 27: Episode Two – A Place where there is No Darkness
  • Nov 03: Episode Three – Unperson
  • Nov 10: Episode Four – Memory Hole
  • Nov 17: Episode Five – Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree

We hope you enjoy Orwell, and thanks for staying with us through crazy times!

Your Osmotic Team

Meet the Orwell Team: Hannes Flor

While we are getting closer and closer to releasing Orwell, we would like to introduce some of the amazing people who worked with us on our first commercial project.

Please meet: Hannes Flor

image_hannes

Here is a short interview so that you can find out more about him and his work:

What are your favorite games?
Well well well, where to start! I do have a soft spot for adventure games, so Telltale, Wadjet Eye, and Lucas Arts (of course) are responsible for a lot of them. Monkey Island 1-3, Indy 4, Grim Fandango, Primordia, the Blackwell Series, The Walking Dead, and The Wolf Among Us are all up there (though Myst, King’s Quest 6, and Beneath a Steel Sky shan’t be forgotten either.)

Then there’s a number of titles I can’t neatly store under an umbrella, like Vampire: The Masquerade, Arcanum, Gothic, GTA Vice City, Hotline Miami, LA Noire, Call of Juarez, Trackmania Sunrise, Hexcells, and 1000 Amps. And of course Prince of Persia (2008) is just goddamn perfection.

But my absolute favorite, the ones I could talk your ear off about their amazingness for weeks on end, is the Mass Effect series. I just love Mass Effect. Love them. All of them. Best games ever made. Ever. (God, do I love them.)

What kind of work did you contribute to Orwell?
I did the compositing on the intro cutscene, and I have yet to figure out a simple way to explain what that means exactly. But I basically took a video capture of the intro and placed all the 2D animations of people, birds, etc. over it in a way that makes it look like they’re actually in the scene, walking down the street and stuff. The “Orwell View,” where the citizens’ faces are tracked and matched against police records, was also one of my tasks.

screenshot_intro_1

Hannes did the compositing work on the intro scene for Orwell.

What other projects are you currently working on?
I just started working on a small point-and-click adventure called AURORA. It’s a minimalistic scifi adventure about drive and obsession and its cost. I’m just about to finish up all the boring technical stuff, which means I soon get to start actually designing and scripting it.

I’m also involved in another project my company, Hypnotic Owl, is working on: a neat little math game about dividing numbers into their prime divisors. We call it Prime Division. But we’re still working up to an official announcement, so I shan’t say too much.

Can you tell us more about awesome projects you have worked on in the past?
I was Lead Compositor on Daedalic’s A New Beginning, which I think miiiiight have something to do with me getting this job, seeing as I met Daniel there and all that. I’m also very fond of The Wizard, a dungeon puzzler about Kevin, the most handsome wizard in the whole country, who gets his gorgeous face stolen and has no choice but to chase the wretched thief through the mazes beneath the wizard academy to get it back.

But the one I’m most proud of is called The Day the Laughter Stopped, a serious interactive fiction game about consent and choice. It’s somewhat difficult to talk about because it’s very easily spoiled, but if you have a few minutes and aren’t deterred by the trigger warning, I’d love for you to check it out.

 

Find out more about Hannes here:
Website: www.hypnoticowl.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/elCrabman