Page 2 of 2

November, Post-mortem

In November, Josh Raab stayed with us to work on the Studio Wumpus real-time digital board game, Sumer. In short, a real time platformer digital board game. The game play can be partially compared to the board game, Lords of Waterdeep where players work on gathering resources and constructing buildings to further aid them in their quest.

CUQL1_TUsAALO-9.jpg:large

The gods have given you life, and so you shall serve them! Command workers to grow barley, herd goats, and brew beer, then sacrifice it all to gain the favor of the gods and be crowned the first King or Queen!

But Sumer is a bit more than that. The fact that it is a real time video game makes things quite interesting as suddenly you will have to consider the fact that you are racing other players for resources. But I guess I’ll just let the following video describe the gameplay rather than text.

Before Josh’s residency we did a little interview to hear about his expectations. Afterwards we decided to see how his expectations stood up against reality, after a month on the farm.

Before your stay, we asked you how you thought Kollafoss would differ from your usual place of residence. Now, after the residency, how did it actually differ?

I thought I would be socially isolated and spending time walking around in nature. In fact, I didn’t feel isolated at all – I could chat with people online whenever I wanted, and Jóhannes and his girlfriend Adda were great company (as were their super sweet cats!) I also didn’t go outside very much, partly because the weather wasn’t too amenable to that. On the other hand, I was correct in predicting I wouldn’t have any social obligations and could spend my time however I chose. That was quite a nice change after the exhausting pace of life in New York, and it let me (for example) finally start catching up on my backlog of video games.

What was the most interesting element of your stay?

It was interesting to see how my lifestyle would change when I had practically no guidelines. I started sleeping very late (no surprise) and trying to maintain a more or less regular schedule of 7-8 hours of work followed by a few hours of relaxation. I split my leisure time between playing games and working on my side project. It was great having enough spare time to do both of those things!

What was the hardest thing about this experience?

Being apart from my girlfriend was tough, of course. We did video chat sometimes, but it’s different from seeing her every day and being in the same place. I also missed playing Smash Bros with my friends and competing in tournaments, though Jóhannes was nice enough to set up an N64 emulator on his Ouya. I don’t think I had realized how big a part of my life Smash had become.

We thank Josh Raab for a great time, and we are looking forward to the official release of Sumer!

November’s resident, Josh Raab

Josh RaabIn the month of November we will be welcoming our first resident, Brooklyn based game designer Josh Raab. We decided to ask him couple of questions to get to know him better.

1. Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?

I’m Josh Raab, a game designer and developer from New York. I grew up in the suburbs of NYC and currently live in Brooklyn. I studied ancient history as an undergrad, and recently finished my MFA in Game Design from the NYU Game Center. Over the past couple years I’ve also co-founded two small indie game companies, Studio Mercato and Studio Wumpus.

2. How did you hear about Kollafoss Gamedev Residency?

I heard about it through my friend, classmate, and colleague Sigursteinn Gunnarsson. He posted it on the NYU Game Center Facebook group and I was intrigued.

3. Why did you decide to go on this adventure?

I’ve been wanting to leave New York for a while, for a long list of reasons. It’s dirty, smelly, loud, and overcrowded, and there are tons of distractions – I think it’s bad for creative work. A farm in the middle of nowhere in Iceland, on the other hand, sounds like a great place to focus and get inspired. In particular it’ll be nice being able to walk around in nature again. I miss that from when I was growing up.

4. How do you think Kollafoss will differ from your usual place of residence?

It’s just about as different from New York City as it could be! Going from overcrowdedness to complete isolation, from total urbanization to extreme rurality. On a personal level, I’ll go from having a ton of social obligations to none at all. It’s going to be quite a change of pace.

5. Do you have any specific projects in mind you will be working on during your stay? Or are you planning to improvise?

Yes, I’ll be working on Sumer, my masters thesis which I’ve continued to work on as part of Studio Wumpus. It’s a real-time digital board game where players platform around a ziggurat and compete to perform ritual sacrifices to the Sumerian gods. I might also work on a small side project or two.

6. What do you think will be the most interesting element of this trip?

It’ll be interesting to see the effects of the lack of social interaction. Of course, I’ll be talking to people on the internet, but it might be hard not being physically with people, especially my girlfriend. We’re planning to play online games like Minecraft together though so we can at least interact that way.

7. What do you think will be the hardest thing about this experience?

Other than the social isolation, the weather will be rough – I am not a cold weather person! That said, I like working at night, so the lack of sunlight might actually end up being a good thing.

8. Anything else you want to add?

I’ve heard so much about how beautiful Iceland is, and all the Icelanders I’ve met have been such friendly, funny, amazing people – I can’t wait to visit for the first time! Also, I’m hoping to be able to stay in Reykjavík for a month after I finish the residency, so I can see how I like a more normal Iceland living experience 🙂

Looking forward to meeting you!

Come join us in isolation!

It has finally become reality. We have officially opened the doors to Kollafoss Gamedev Residency!

In 2014 we hosted the first ever Isolation Game Jam with game developers coming in from all over world. Programmers, visual artists, sound and designers travelled a great distance over the atlantic ocean to this secluded farm in a dead end valley far away from civilization just to make games. They loved it so much that some of them even returned the year after. In 2015 we got so many signups to the Isolation Game Jam that it could had filled a waiting list for the next 3-5 years. So we realized that we had to adjust the format a little bit.

img_20150601_040414

So we created the Kollafoss Gamedev Residency. You see, me and Arnfríður Hanna Hreinsdóttir have a huge farm for ourselves with 3 extra bedrooms sitting empty and enough land space to host a dozen music festivals at the same time.  So we thought, why not invite more game developers (and those interested in game development) to live here for a short periods to enjoy the serenity of the area.

Interested? Read more, check out the practical information page, or just apply right away.

Looking forward to seeing you.

Jóhannes Gunnar Þorsteinsson of Kollafoss Gamedev Residency