Startups and video game developers find a home in Bologna

Startups and video game developers find a home in Bologna

Bologna - The video game segment was one of the few to grow significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic and in 2021 the turnover in Italy increased by 2.9% compared to the previous year, settling on a total of 2.24 billion euros (data from Iidea, a trade association of the video game industry). In this colossal and constantly growing market, with almost all the proposals coming from abroad, Italy tries to carve out a place in the sun and focuses on young talents with initiatives such as the videogame startup accelerator Bologna Game Farm, which has selected four independent video game projects to accompany them in their search for a publisher.

An abandoned and regenerated public space, the Greenhouses of the Giardini Margherita in the center of Bologna host Bologna Game Farm, a startup accelerator in a videogame environment for experimentation of a pilot path for the development of videogame prototypes. The initiative promoted by the Emilia Romagna Region together with the city of Bologna with the coordination of IncrediBol! (Creative innovation of Bologna) and Art-ER (Emilia Romagna Territory Research Attractiveness) and in collaboration with Iidea.

There were eleven applications to participate in the Bologna Game Farm call, which provides a non-repayable loan of 30 thousand euros (70% immediately and without guarantees, the rest at the end of the year) and the possibility of being supported by mentors already established in the sector, to transform a raw and embryonic project into a mature product ready to seek a publication on the market. The four works chosen are heterogeneous: three come from companies and one from a freelancer, and were immediately subjected to a process that first analyzed the market and then reworked the prototype on the basis of the data collected, organizing the available budget, filling any gaps on the graphic side, putting the authors in contact with the professionals scattered in the region and incorporating additional people into the teams. The goal is to arrive in July with a product ready to be placed on the market by meeting the various publishers and participating in sector events (such as the Gamescom in Cologne), presenting the so-called vertical slice, that is a part of a complete and demonstrative game to be submitted. to any interested parties to invest in the publication.

The video games chosen for the 2022 call:

Basket Party Project Flagship Gladiators Wheels Spanky's battle swing Basket Party Basket Party

The hybrid mobile multiplayer sports combat game by Orbital Games caters to gamers aged seven and over with a cartoon vibe and vibrant sounds. In the drawers of the house with various settings there are miniature characters / puppets that compete in 3 vs 3 basketball games with multiple balls. There is a wide choice of human characters, robots and aliens with unique abilities divided by classes starting from the basketball roles: each player will control one and will be automatically inserted by the match-making system in an online match that is as balanced as possible. It was interesting to find out how the team behind the game of IT engineers specializing in cloud infrastructure presented a prototype that was already playable online at the bidding, while later worked heavily on graphics and design thanks to mentorship.

Project Flagship Project Flagship

Magari's three-dimensional puzzle game features an evocative storyline set in a 1984 dystopian future with the struggle between the government, which controls the people through a sophisticated video surveillance and social scoring system, and the rebels, who seek to sabotage this network. The players enter medias res in history by following the raids of the Regime's last hope, a veteran who seeks to subvert the revolt that is about to win. An unexpected point of view, which however soon changes since the journey of this anti-hero also concerns the questioning of his own ideals. The work on this project has literally changed the plot with all new dynamics and with the use of the Unreal Engine 5 graphics engine thanks to a license made available to the teams by Epic Games; the other partner is Acer who supplied a laptop and three high performance desktop computers.

Gladiators Wheels Gladiators Wheels

Dreambits Studio presented a car racing game with the focus shifted to combat more than on the position in the ranking, with the use of weapons and physical clashes, arcade and instinctive driving style and a medium-sized-lpunk type setting. Made with Unity, the team has allocated a large chunk of the budget on visual rendering with battle arenas that have been redesigned for more dynamic and engaging battles, providing just the right space for speed and duels.

Spanky's battle swing Spanky's battle swing

Singular 3D musical platform game created by Green Flamingo with Unity and inspired by the music and settings of the 30s of the 20th century: each character and object within the game moves to the rhythm, the protagonist is a small bat halfway between Batman and Mickey Mouse, which moves through colorful and large city settings, collecting items and then accessing restricted areas trying to defeat the various bos s. A lot of work has been done on the game design compared to the prototype and on the fundamental musical part, thanks also to the collaboration of three musicians from the Bologna Conservatory.

Bologna Game Farm's commitment will continue next year with a subsequent call for proposals which will give new opportunities, trying to give a propulsion to a sector that still sees Italy behind many European countries and for this reason draws attention to starting from the bottom, from young creative teams, working on the foundations and refining the entrepreneurial approach . As told by the leaders of the initiative, making a video game is not just a question of passion, which certainly must always be present, but it is above all a job that requires the right preparation and dedication in every phase. In addition to bringing the four projects to events and meetings with publishers, meetings are also planned in universities, to tell students how becoming a developer can become a career prospect with great prospects.

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