LevelUP TO Preview - Neon Ascension

I recently spoke to a group of University of Toronto students who will be participating in LevelUP TO next week.  Jeffrey Deng and his team have created Neon Ascension, an endless climber multiplayer game, where players survive by rearranging blocks to help themselves, or affect their opponents.  Here's what the group (Team One) had to say about their game:

TGD: Tell me a little bit about yourselves.  How long have you been gamers?  How long have you been developing games?

Team One:  We are a team made of seven people. Matt Crans and Sam Rasmussen from OCAD are the artists of the team. Grace Zhu, Catherine Wang, Philip Bilodeau, Daniel Son, and Jeffrey Deng from UofT are the developers of the team.

For most of us we were gamers at a young age since we were a generation that had a lot of exposure to computers. Games allowed us to connect and make new friends who shared the same interests and even allowed us to connect with people who were across the world. All of us at some point found ourselves looking for a new games to play and this led to our creativity. Some of us have been making games since high school, and have attended multiple game jams up to this point. We’ve also have team members that have never made a game before, and this would be their first.

TGD:  It is wonderful how games allow people to connect from all over the world.  It's one of the beautiful things about video gaming.  Tell me about your game for LevelUP.

Team One:  Neon Ascension is a competitive endless climber where two players compete for survival on a wall of infinite height. The game is fast-paced, action-packed, and features retro-futuristic design in dazzling neon colors. Players stay alive by rearranging adjacent blocks on the wall, giving them plenty of opportunity to save themselves or sabotage their opponents.

TGD: Where did you get your inspiration for this game?

Team One:  We were really inspired by a 2011 game called Catherine where a single player manipulated blocks on a wall to climb it, and we decided to take that and make it into a competitive, multiplayer experience.

TGD: What are you most excited to show off about this game at LevelUP?

Team One:  We are most excited to show the crowd at LevelUP the results of our hard work throughout the past 4 months. We feel that from a visual and technical aspect we have created a standout game that we are proud to showcase at LevelUp, and that is exciting to play and watch.

A big thank you to Team One for taking time for this interview and providing videos of gameplay.  Don't forget, LevelUP TO will be taking place on April 5, 2017 at the Design Exchange on 234 Bay St.

Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime Free For PlayStation Plus Users In April

In February, Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime was free for Xbox One owners. In March, Severed was free for PlayStation Plus users on Vita. Now, three months in a row with something Toronto related, Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime is free for PlayStation Plus users for the month of April.

Starting April 4th, all PlayStation Plus members can download the coop space shooter for free on PS4.

St. Catharines Developer 'Rocketship Park' Is Born

Friend of the site Jim Squires, and indie developer (and Toronto Blue Jay fan) Shane McCafferty announced this morning the creation of their new studio: Rocketship Parkl  According to the press release (which you can see below), Rocketship Park will focus on creating emotional experiences "that best reflect the team's unique design philosophy."

The studio's first title, Block Droppin', will be a puzzle game about "discovery, assembly, and organization" and be released on iPhone and iPad. For more, make sure to follow them on Twitter, FaceBook, and Instagram!

Press Release follows:

St. Catharines, Canada – 29 March 2017 – After several years of successful collaborations in different mediums, games industry veterans Shane McCafferty and Jim Squires today revealed the launch of Rocketship Park, a new games development studio based in the heart of Niagara. Shane and Jim bring with them a combined 20 years of experience in the industry. Shane has previously led development on a variety of hit games including Starseed: Origin, Crobble, and Word Forward, accruing more than six million downloads across a number of projects. Jim brings a wealth of experience from his work as a consultant, journalist, public relations specialist and entrepreneur.


Rocketship Park is just one of a growing number of game development studios in the Niagara Region, joining the ranks of Phantom Compass, PixelNAUTS, Creative Bytes and Falling Squirrel as a games company that calls St. Catharines home. “Being so close to Toronto, it’s all too easy to feel like we’re in the shadow of greater things,” says co-founder Jim Squires. “But that’s nonsense. While we’re proud to be a part of Toronto’s extended gaming family, the St. Catharines / Niagara area is booming with great talent and we’re honored to stand alongside them.”


Prior to the formation of Rocketship Park, Jim and Shane have collaborated on a number of projects including the Apple-featured 2016 word game AlphaPit and the weekly mobile gaming podcast The Elephant & The Irishman. The pair first met in 2015 at Cowork Niagara, a local coworking space that served as an accidental incubator for the company, taking Shane and Jim from freelancers to founders.


Rocketship Park will be focused on the creation of emotive experiences that best reflect the team’s unique design philosophy. “When you’re creating a game, you’re also creating an emotion within the player,” says Shane. “All too often, that emotion is either an afterthought or abandoned completely in the design process. At Rocketship Park our process starts with the feeling we want to create, and that feeling informs every decision we make.”


The studio will be revealing details about their first release, Block Droppin’, in the coming weeks, and has a number of other projects in development. Block Droppin’ will be a frenzied puzzle game about discovery, assembly, and organization for the iPhone and iPad. To learn more about Rocketship Park and to stay apprised of their activities, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and sign up for their newsletter at rocketshippark.com.




About Rocketship Park:

Rocketship Park is a digital design studio focused on creating unique, emotive games that eschew derivative design. Founded in early 2017 by industry veterans Shane McCafferty and Jim Squires, Rocketship Park has several projects currently in development and are actively seeking the right partners to help bring these experiences to market.

Happy 2nd Birthday TorontoGameDevs.com

Two years ago today the dream was born. What started as a Twitter, then became a tumblr, was then transformed into the website you see today (with most things remaining the same).

Just want to thank everyone for their constant support. We have big things planned for the future. Subscribe on Youtube, follow on Instagram, and consider becoming a Patreon - good times ahead.