By mid-December 2014, the newest bunch of game developers from Danish games education, DADIU, finished their graduation games.
Six graduation games were developed in total, ending the only 14-weeks long educational programme for this semester’s 116 students.
Throughout their time at the DADIU education, the aspiring game developers have learned a bit about every discipline involved with game development. “In a macro sense, DADIU teaches them communication and best practices, and lead and support them through two productions.”, primary teacher at DADIU, Thomas Howalt says to Nordic Game Bits.
This year’s six graduation games were all produced for Android in the Unity engine, with Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 tablets as the primary platform. You can download all the graduation games here, or read more about each game here.
Read more about: DADIU Students Going Free-2-Play
While the games industry is constantly changing, one thing has remained the same at DADIU, and that is the focus on challenging what Howalt refers to as “the passiveness of learning”. “We are constantly emphasizing the situation that: you are here to learn – so what have you learned? How could it be better? What will you change next time? We are challenging the passiveness of learning.”, he says.
In recent years, many DADIU games have been free-to-play and within the casual genre, and this year, it was actually a requirement for the graduation games to fall within those two categories. The requirements were set because, as Howalt explains, “DADIU is about learning how to make games. Games that are fun to play for others, the audience.”.
Just because a game is free-to-play doesn’t necessarily make it fun to play for the audience, but following the free-to-play model forces you, as a game developer, to focus on game design. If you want the audience to spend money in your free-to-play game, it has to be fun. This forced an emphasis on game play, retention, and creating value, Howalt explains.
“This mindset […] had a very interesting consequence: game design was suddenly in the center of everything. It both empowered the game designer, and opened the field for everyone. They needed a very strong game play core, short and sweet to play. Next, they needed emotionally engaging retention elements in the game – why would anyone come back?, and finally why would anyone use money on anything – unless it felt valuable?”
To see the result of the focus on free-to-play casual games, Howalt recommends you to go check out all the six graduation games on your own. “So finally: yes, I think the changes in DADIU’s conditions changed the games. They are not prettier or cooler, but if you play them, you will know what I mean. They are all fun”, Howalt says.