Humans at Play:
Creators and Users
An Intercultura Consult project, realized with the support of the National "Culture" Fund, Bulgaria, with support from representatives of the business, educational and cultural sectors.
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The public presentation of analysis based on key data from the research, including also a discussion on necessary skills and knowledge regarding the game industry of Bulgaria and a dedicated fair showcasing games, serious games and VR products serving educational and cultural heritage goals, took place in October 2023. It was hosted by the National Academy of Film and Theatre of Bulgaria and attracted the attention of the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Innovation and Growth, Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Education as well as Higher Education Institutions, Museums and other cultural institutions as well as the general public.
The project Humans at Play: Creators and Users focused on the video game industry as a creative industry with significant economic potential in Bulgaria.
● Video games, as an intersection between technology and arts, present an opportunity for conveying cultural values to the general public.
● The industry also provides a professional development path for creative practitioners and software engineers alike, as well as for many other professionals.
● Analyzing the gaming industry ecosystem is vital for channeling national and EU support as well as a stimulus for Bulgaria’s imminent development of a representative association to the likes of those existing in all its neighboring countries.
THREE DIMENSIONAL RESEARCH OF THE INDUSTRY
In 2023 we surveyed the general public, the video game professionals, and the culture and creative professionals in three distinct surveys. Big thanks go out to the over 1200 people who participated in the surveys!
The research provides evidence of:
● High Interest in professional development in the sector;
● The skills deemed necessary in this industry;
● Levels of use of technology in the culture and arts sectors;
● Key motivating and demotivating factors for professionals in the field;
● Popular demand for different types of games and other trends.
HUMANS AT PLAY IN VELIKO TARNOVO AND VRATSA
Veliko Tarnovo, discussion on the attitudes towards video games
Vratsa, teenagers developing their ideas for video games
In May and June 2023, we presented contemporary Bulgarian products and practices related to video games and new technologies to a wide audience. BM Vision and Knigini association shared VR cultural and tourist experiences. Covem 23 and Black Sea Games presented to interested youngsters what it's like to be a 3D artist at a game development studio. Children and youth had the opportunity to experiment by building Lego robots with Technokrati, and creating their idea for a video game.
The hosts of the events were "TaM", Veliko Tarnovo, and Youth Center - Vratsa.
The event in Veliko Tarnovo was supported through the "Culture" program by the administrative program "Calendar of Cultural Events" of the Municipality of Veliko Tarnovo, included in the "Calendar of Cultural Events 2023"
HUMANS AT PLAY: GOALS AND PROCESS
Video games and aspects of them are often applied for "gamification" in other spheres, the technologies they use have a high potential for application in the work of various cultural operators. On the other hand, they also demonstrate the applicability of creative processes and products in other sectors. These factors make the field significant and warrant the exploration of its potential on a large scale.
"Humans at Play" brings to the fore the potential for integrating elements and processes from digital interactive technologies into creative processes from other fields.
The partners represent the gaming industry ecosystem as this group includes representatives of the business, education and event organizers from the gaming industry.
Technocrats is an organization that creates educational programs in the field of: robotics, programming and green energy. The organization partners with schools and educational institutions to more effectively teach in the classroom and implement technology for a working and inspiring educational environment.
"Computer Games" is a masters’ degree program at the National Academy of Arts that aims to train specialists developing 2D and 3D art content for AAA /tripleplay/ computer games. The department aims to bring students’ education as close as possible to the conditions in which they will continue to work and create after graduation.
TaM is a place for culture and social initiatives in Veliko Tarnovo. Launched in 2012, the space became an attractive stage for contemporary art and culture. TaM regularly presents upcoming and established artists from all over the world. The program includes activities promoting participation in urban social processes. The events are suitable for English-speaking audiences, too.
BM Vision’s work is driven by its passion for new technologies and love for culture, heritage and art. In recent years, the company has focused on presenting the riches of Bulgaria through virtual and augmented reality. The company's VR presentations have received a number of awards within national and international competitions in the field of culture and business.
The city festival Sofia Game Night is dedicated to games in all their diversity and explores different aspects of them: from educational, economic and social, to the pure joy of the game. Within the framework of the festival, game creators, creative professionals, enthusiasts, organizations, institutions and entrepreneurs in the field of games provide participants in 9 Bulgarian cities with the opportunity to experience the incredible diversity of the world of games.
Sofia Game Jam enables game designers, programmers, sound engineers, graphic designers or gaming enthusiasts to meet and create games. Sofia Game Jam provides spaces where video game developers and those interested in the game creation process can experiment with new platforms and ideas.
Plovdiv Game Jam offers a platform to all game lovers who wish to create their game prototype. The event is part of the Global Game Jam, a three-day international event in which participants, organized into teams, create an initial working version of a game on a given theme. The game development marathon, which annually unites hundreds of cities around the world, has been held in Plovdiv since 2014.
TDB Play is a company with expertise in video games, eSports and geek culture. Notable projects in Bulgaria include the #goodgame movement and the Gaming Marathon Bulgaria, as an agency the company works with clients such as Riot Games, Facebook, and ESL, among others.
Black Sea Games is an independent computer game development studio based in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was founded in November 2016 by industry veterans. The studio's goals are to create games for hardcore gamers with an emphasis on logical thinking and the freedom for players to also create and share their own "stories".
Incineration Productions is one of the fastest growing and progressive studios for game development and immersive experiences in Bulgaria. The company is primarily focused on creating their own video games, including virtual reality ones. In addition to this, the studio creates extremely high added value, by providing outsourcing for international clients in the realm of Virtual reality, Augmented reality, Crypto, Retail, TELCO and the Metaverse.
Creative Assembly Sofia is among the fastest growing computer game development studios in Bulgaria after its acquisition by Creative Assembly in March 2017. Currently, the studio has over 140 employees covering all disciplines in game development, namely: programmers, QA, artists, concept artists, animators, game designers, etc.
Covem 23 works in the field of computer games with outsourcing of 3D models, digital illustrations and game development. It was founded by two artists who have experience working for major companies and titles over the years.