Festival of Art and Independent Games in Cieszyn 2018

The 3rd edition of the LAG Festival took place June 12-13, 2018.The participants were students from three universities – the Silesian University, the University of Ostrava and the University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava, as well as experts from the gaming industry and professors and artists from Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.

LAG FESTIVAL is the fruit of long-term cooperation between artists from the above-mentioned academic centers whose common goal is to demonstrate the potential of artistic studies and to develop artistic courses in the fields of new media art, new technologies and especially game design. Conferences, GAME JAM game design workshops and numerous meetings, guest lectures, LAG ARENA contests and LAG MUSIC concerts have been held as part of the LAG Festival project since 2015.

In 2018, students from Cieszyn, Ostrava and Trnava for the third time took part in the international 5-day workshops on game design which were organized under the LAG Festival of Art and Independent Games in Trnava (Slovakia) in May. During the workshops, the students worked in randomly selected teams of 10 and their task was to create one playable level of a game. We all know that games are complex, interdisciplinary projects. The 5-day workshops give students a chance to check what they learned during their one-year course. They also learn how to cooperate in a team – and that’s a priceless experience.(…) It has to be said that the games get better and better every year – says professor Małgorzata Łuszczak, the Artistic Director of the Festival and Dean of the Art Faculty at the University of Silesia.

The two days of the Festival in Cieszyn summed up the whole year’s work in the LAG FESTIVAL of ART and INDEPENDENT GAMES project. As every year, the festival began with the international LAG EDU conference titled “Art and Technology”. Creators and experts involved in the creation of games come from distant locations to meet at the LAG EDU conferences. The aim of the conferences is to exchange experience in the field of game development processes and technological advances and to establish contacts with game experts and designers from various parts of the world. Every year the keynote speakers include academics, artists, designers and representatives of the gaming industry from all over the world. The guests of this year’s LAG EDU conference were:

  • Professor Kunio KONDO (Tokyo University of Technology, School of Media Science) with a lecture on: Digital Character Making based on DREAM process”
  • Professor Kazuo SASAKI (Tokyo University of Technology) presented a lecture on ”Time Travelers inside Japanese Game and Animation”
  • Victor Van Schagen (Coal Power Games, Germany), creator of independent games
  • Valentin Wirth (Hangar 13, Czech Republic)
  • Rafał Polito (Techland, Poland)
  • Błażej Zając (IMGN.PRO, Poland)

The subject of the presentations concerned not only the creative aspects of games, but also other issues related to the gaming industry, marketing and game management as the final stage of creative work. The conference was accompanied by workshops and consultations for students. All participants could also take part in presentations given by students of the Game and Virtual Space Design Course of the Faculty of Art at the University of Silesia in Cieszyn. The International LAG Games Poster Exhibition and the Augmented Reality art exhibition prepared especially for the LAG EDU conference were also very popular.

Coverage from the first day of the Festival:

The second day of the Festival took place on the Market Square in Cieszyn and there were presentations of independent games and game projects – from projects made by students of schools and universities to those made by professionals. The presentation of games began with handing out the award for the best independent game in terms of artistic value/quality. The 2018 award went to the game titled SYMMETRY by Sleepless Clinic game studio from Bielsko-Biała. The award was presented by Mayor of Cieszyn, Ryszard Macura and the Dean of the Faculty of Art of the University of Silesia, professor Małgorzata Łuszczak. There were also auto-presentations by companies from the gaming industry including: Hangar 13, Techland, Carbon Studio, IMGN.PRO, Farm 51 and Sleepless Clinic.

Coverage from the second day of the Festival:

Next, students from Cieszyn, Trnava and Ostrava presented games that were created in May during GAME JAM 2018. The games were judged by experts invited to the LAG EDU conference from Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and by artists and representatives of the partner universities of the LAG project: dr hab. Marek Sybińsky (Ostrava) and Michal Kabat (Trnava). The winning project was created by the “orange” team and it was titled “Unreal sailboat derby”.

Other projects:

Team Purple:

Team White:

Team Gray:

Team Blue:

Team Black:

Team Red:

Team Pink:

The three winning projects of the LAG ARENA ”Design a Game“ contest addressed to high school students from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were also presented to the wide audience. Young people and their schools could enjoy this multi-stage competition, which was conducted online this year. From among 50 entries submitted, the international jury chose 3 projects:

The first place was taken by the game entitled ”Flavo“ by Martyna Luranc:

The second place was taken by Małgorzata Mieszczak’s ”String“:

The third place went to ”The Future Heart Project” by Maciej Borys:

All laureates received commemorative diplomas and prizes.

As part of LAG MUSIC there were performances by groups of students of the Institute of Music of the University of Silesia: Kuba Chojnacki with band and the Company of Crisis playing music from games and films. This year’s festival was also attended by high school students. We hosted high school students not only from Cieszyn but also from Bielsko-Biała, Katowice, Sosnowiec and Tarnowskie Góry. Thanks to the courtesy of the town authorities who made the Town Hall building available to us, all interested parties could take part in the ”Free gaming zone“. There was also an event for those who like to play more traditional games – board games. It was held at Ul Kultury at Srebrna 1, and was conducted by board game enthusiasts from the “Krogulec” fantasy club. An unquestionable bonus of this year’s festival was the wonderful atmosphere of the meetings and the opportunity to establish artistic and business contacts for all those interested in games – from the youngest through students to industry professionals.

The “Festival of Art and Independent Games“ project is co-financed from the European Union’s Creative Europe program. The Town of Cieszyn is a supporting and content-oriented partner.