Friday, July 29, 2022

Gamescom Asia Returns With A Physical Entertainment Zone From 20 To 22 October 2022


Exciting times are ahead for gamers as Gamescom Asia will return to Red Dot Island from 20 to 22 October 2022 at Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre! The city-state opened up for fully Covid-19 vaccinated visitors since early this year, which sets the stage for Gamescom Asia to host a larger physical Trade Zone, Conference, plus a physical Entertainment Zone for the first time. Last year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the convention was a hybrid experience with the Trade Zone and Entertainment Zone held virtually. Attendees were able to watch livestreams and on-demand videos to keep up with what was announced during the convention.

We are delighted to have the commitment of global leading video game players for the event. This is testament to the increasing interest in the games market in Southeast Asia as well as in gamescom asia. With just three months before the event, the team is working hard to develop an exceptional experience for all trade visitors and the public alike. We are expecting many more companies to join us over the coming weeks in this widely anticipated event,” said Mathias Kuepper, Managing Director of Koelnmesse Singapore, the organiser of gamescom asia.

Trade attendees and gaming enthusiasts can look forward to a list of big brand names making their presence at this year's convention, . Just announced a few days ago are Gamedriver, TikTok, Microsoft Xbox, Potato Play, Nuvei, and Xsolla as the show's sponsors. Also coming onboard for the event this year are PlayStation, 9GAG, Lai Games, Brace Yourself Games and Hooded Horse. All in all, over 100 exhibitors from the Asia Pacific region and beyond are expected to be participating at Gamescom Asia.

The in-person Trade Conference and Exhibition will feature over 80 industry experts, who will be sharing about gaming industry trends and various facets of the scene. The speakers include:

* Peter Vesterbacka, Finnish mobile game developer and former MightyEagle of Rovio Entertainment Corporation (Finland), the creator of Angry Birds;
* Sarah Delahanty, Cinematic Director, Blizzard Entertainment (USA), on the cinematic storytelling process in games;
* Tim Fields, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Digital Gaming, Wizards of the Coast (Canada) on the future of game development;
* Simon Alty, Vice President & Managing Director Asia Pacific, Bethesda/ ZeniMax (Australia) on AAA game publishing;
* Hans Jagnow, Vice President Operations, ESL Pro League (Germany) on Esports Trends;
* Brigitta Rena Estidianti, Co-founder & Art Director, Mojiken Studio (Indonesia) on weaving Southeast Asian cultures into games;
* Vanessa Lorena Tate, Studio Director & Head of Eternal Games, King (UK), publishers of Candy Crush and discussing live ops strategies;
* Jad Boniface, Head of Community Expansion, Roblox (USA) on becoming architects of the metaverse.

More conference speakers are listed at this link.

The Trade Zone will even consist of a Developer-Publisher-Investor Speed Dating event during the show dates! Trade visitors will be able to have a preview of the Entertainment Zone before the show opens to the public. Registration is now open for Trade Conference and Trade Visitors.

Red Dot Diva is looking forward to the Entertainment Zone, where she will be able to check will be booths showing off their current and upcoming games, take part in interactive elements, and grab opportunities to try out demo games. Exciting esports tournaments will also be held in this zone. Oh, and not forgetting the colourful cosplayers who will add extra buzz to the general atmosphere. It has been so long since she has attended a physical convention!

For overseas fans or for local fans who still prefer to away from physical crowds, you can still be part of the event too. Gamescom Asia will continue to host the pre and post event online shows PRIMETIME and STUDIO that will include exclusive content for the global audience.

If you have not attended a gaming convention before, check out the highlights of last year's Gamescom Asia well-attended hybrid event. This year's show is expected to attract over 15,000 people.



As the weeks roll by towards October, look out for ticketing news and more exciting announcements at Gamescom Asia's website.




Monday, July 18, 2022

House Of The Dragon Swoops Into SDCC With Interactive Experience, Panel And Launch Of New Niantic Game App


For those who have not gotten enough of Westeros, and still feeling unsatisfied about the finale of HBO original series' GAME OF THRONES, keep your hearts burning for a little while longer. HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, the prequel of the award-winning historical drama, will premiere 22 August on HBO GO, same time as the U.S. telecast.

Based on George R.R. Martin’s “Fire & Blood”, the ten-episode series is set 200 years before the events of GAME OF THRONES, and spills the fiery-fueled tea of the story of House Targaryen, their dragons, and their liaisons with the other Houses. The series stars Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Sonoya Mizuno, and Rhys Ifans, as well as additional cast members including Milly Alcock, Bethany Antonia, Phoebe Campbell, Emily Carey, Harry Collett, Ryan Corr, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jefferson Hall, David Horovitch, Wil Johnson, John Macmillan, Graham McTavish, Ewan Mitchell, Theo Nate, Matthew Needham, Bill Paterson, Phia Saban, Gavin Spokes and Savannah Steyn.

Leading up to the debut of the new series, HBO Max is set to offer fans an immersive experience called “House of the Dragon: The Dragon’s Den" during San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) from July 21 (Thursday) to July 24 (Sunday). Get ready to be transported to Westeros, where you will be guided through a ceremonial dragon hatching experience as a member of House Targaryen.

As you walk through King’s Landing during the time of Targaryen rule, you will interact with the people as well as take in the sights and sounds of the bustling city. You will then get to select your own dragon egg, and go through a test to demonstrate that you are worthy to bond with a dragon, as you get ushered by a designated Dragonkeeper through seven sensory and interactive phases. The experience will culminate in the Throne Room, where, for the first time, fans will be able to admire and also, sit on the glorious Targaryen-era Iron Throne for a photo opportunity.

Before the exit the reign of “Fire & Blood”, each person will be able to hatch their personalized, virtual dragon egg in a new augmented reality app, called House of the Dragon: DracARys, enabling them to “raise” their dragon at home. The app, which is powered by Niantic Inc. and produced by The Mill, will be available for download in the Apple and Google Play app stores starting July 20 for participants of the interactive event at SDCC.

If you are not able to attend SDCC this year (like Red Dot Diva, so sad!), don't worry. The game app will be rolled out globally for fans with full functionality starting July 25. Remember the date! That is when you can start raising your own brood of dragons!

In addition to the interactive area, there will be a HOUSE OF THE DRAGON panel moderated by podcast host Jason Concepcion in the famed Hall H, that includes George R.R. Martin himself and co-creator/ co-showrunner/ executive producer/ writer Ryan Condal, co-showrunner/ executive producer/ director Miguel Sapochnik, Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankel, Graham McTavish, Milly Alcock, and Emily Carey.

GET TO KNOW THE CHARACTERS

In preparation for your impending journey into the HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, here is a run down of some of the characters of the new series.

HOUSE TARGARYEN

King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) is a good and decent man who has been chosen by the lordsto succeed the Old King, Jaehaerys Targaryen. His name may sound familiar to you, but no, he is not the same vile Viserys of the original series. This King Viserys is actually the great (x7) grandfather of the Daenerys aka Mother Of Dragons whom we know. However, in the world of Westeros, kindness and warmth are qualities that may not be so favourable when you are in power.

Viserys' first-born child is Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy), who is also a dragonrider. However, as she is born a woman, not everyone supports her claim to the throne. Many of the lords would prefer that Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), her uncle and younger brother to King Viserys be heir to the throne. Daemon is a reknown warrior and dragonrider, but he is also unpredictable. In the books, he married Rhaenyra as his third wife, and you can probably guess what kind of power struggles is going to happen regarding the Iron Throne.


HOUSE HIGHTOWER

House Hightower is one of oldest and influential noble houses in the Reach. Their homeland is called Oldtown, an ancient part of Westeros, where The Citadel, headquarters of the Order of Maesters, is located. You might remember that in the original series, The Citadel is the place where Sam Tarley stayed to garner as much archival information as he could to help save the realm.

In HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, The Hand of the King, is the loyal and scholarly Ser Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans). He is aware that Prince Daemon is a threat to the King, and the two men will become bitter political rivals.

His daughter Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) is not only known for her beauty and grace, she is also politically astute. She later marries the King and becomes his second wife, and will be vying for her son Aegon for his claim to the throne.


HOUSE VELARYON

The main players from the ancient and powerful House of Velaryon are Lord Corlys Velaryon (Steve Toussaint) aka “The Sea Snake” and his wife, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best). “The Sea Snake” is a reknowned seafarer and adventurer, and his ambition has build his House's riches to be even more than the Lannisters. The Velaryons also claim to own the largest navy in the world.

Rhaenys is also a dragonrider and is known as "The Queen Who Never Was". As in the case of Princess Rhaenyra, she was also passed over as heir to the throne when the realm favored her cousin Viserys, just because he is a male.

OTHER NOTABLE CHARACTERS

Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno), is a dancing girl with no royal lineage. Despite coming to Westeros with nothing, she rose in power to become Prince Daemon Targaryen's paramour, and an adept master of whisperers. In other words, she was a spymaster for the Lord of the Seven Kingdoms.

Of Dornish decent, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel) is the common-born son of the steward to the Lord of Blackhaven. An exceptionally skilled warrior and swordsman, he is the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and personal protector of Rhaenyra. However, due to his political allegiance to Rhaenyra's step brother Aegon as heir to the throne, their relationship turned for the worse.


Who is your favourite character, and which house would you support to sit on the Iron Throne? Red Dot Diva cannot wait to dive deep into all the retro-Westeros political games and machinations in the upcoming HOUSE OF THE DRAGON. Not only is the Game Of Thrones highly entertaining, it is also an interesting study into modern day power games, leadership and global politics.

Want to have a better idea who you might be rooting for? Check out the trailer below:






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Stream or download HOUSE OF THE DRAGON from August 22 on HBO GO. The previous three seasons of Westworld are also available on HBO GO. Subscribe to HBO GO online at https://www.hbogoasia.sg/ or the mobile app via the App Store or Play Store for as low as S$9.99/month. Or access HBO GO via StarHub, Singtel and meWatch. HBO GO is also available on Android TV, Apple TV, LG TV and Samsung Smart TV - and comes with AirPlay and Google Cast functionality.

Photo credits: Ollie Upton/ HBO





Friday, July 8, 2022

The Comic Embassy - An Interview With Inimitable Local Artist Foo Swee Chin


The pop-up artist commnunal space at Tekka Place called The Comic Embassy, is featuring two artist ambassadors for the month of July. Veteran local freelance artist Foo Swee Chin, more affectionately known as FSc, is one of the artist ambassadors. The other is local illustrator and comic book creator Alan Bay.

FSc has been creating comic books cartoons, games, manga, tattoos and web journals since the early 2000s. Her various works have been published in Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and the US. She is well known for her NIGHTMARES AND FAIRYTALES comic book series (2002 to 2005) published by Slave Labor Graphics (SLG), in collaboration with writer Serena Valentino. She gained a large following in Japan when she managed to publish her work there. One of them is NIHON LAH (2012 to 2015), an online travel blog comic. Her other works include psychological-supernatural tales like muZz (SLG) and MINCE (Neko Press). FSc's historical action comic PARAMESWARA AND TEMASEK: THE SACKING OF SINGAPORE, was also featured during the Singapore Bicentennial celebration.

There is no easy way to describe FSc's unique yet recognisable art style. Her mix of the morose, almost Tim Burton-esque sentiments and fluid, imaginative visuals, are as enigmatic as FSc herself. Curious to find out what makes her tick, Red Dot Diva asked her some nosy questions:

Red Dot Diva (RDD): How did you get started drawing for comics?
Foo Swee Chin (FSc): I am mostly a self taught artist. I started submitting comics in my teens, and they were published in student newspapers. Later on, I went to Temasek Poly and studied in a course called “Visual Communication”, which by the way, doesn’t exist anymore! It was mostly a graphic design course with sessions on photography, videography, etc. I did not stop making comics. Along the way it took me to America, Taiwan and Japan.
RDD: And what a journey it has been!

RDD: When it comes to drawing art, what are your favourite mediums?
FSc: I think... I prefer the traditional - paper and pencil or pen.

RDD: I find your art so unique - it's both whimsical and gothic. I sense that they are also very spiritual, with a deep connection to nature and hints of the supernatural. Are your creations influenced by the unseen and the unexplained?
FSc: Thank you. I am interested in mythologies, shamanism, animism, folklore, ufology, quantum theories etc. I like nature, trees, animals, minerals. I enjoy walks in the mountains, or places that are quiet and green. My first friend was a huge tree in our (primary) school field. I am also a practising energetic healer (Reiki), thanks to my cats. To me, my cats are my closest teachers and most treasured family members.

RDD: Have you ever felt the need to escape your surroundings to get inspired to draw what you love?
FSc: Crowded places often give me bad headaches. Singapore is also getting very noisy everywhere, I find that hard to cope... Reading, drawing, walking somewhere quiet, listening to music, daydreaming are a few of my ways to tune out of our reality and harsh situations. Through teaching and speaking at panels and events, I learned to manage and tune in more into this reality when needed. *laughs* It was hard! It taught me how to listen and communicate with people.

Before Covid, when it was financially possible, I'd travel out of the country to escape the concrete, glass, noise and people. When I have free time, I meditate to rejuvenate mentally, physically. To breathe.

RDD: I can totally empathise and understand this. The need to see a large expanse of nature and space as far as the eye can see, calls out to me on many occasions too.

RDD: Does Singapore offer you anything in terms of the mystical or fantastical when coming up with your concept art? Or do you have to look far beyond our shores?
FSc: Yes, we are a multicultural society. I think it is the foundation that sowed the seed of interest in various cultures. I draw inspiration from different things. I like stories by Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman... Zoning out... music... Singapore used to have many lovely big old trees. When I travel, I like to visit old shrines, castles... old places, or nature and mountains.

RDD: Where would you live, if you could only be an artist in one city in the entire world? And why?
FSc: I don't know about cities... Somewhere with fewer people, quiet and a lot of nature would be nice. I really like this small town in Japan, Nara, because of the mountain. Singen, a town in Germany, is very lovely too. The chimes of evening church bells were very surreal and calming. Both are near nature, walkable and peaceful. Being able to hear the sand and small rocks crunch under my feet as I walk brings me joy. It is humbling.

RDD: As a veteran artist who has worked for decades in various projects including Japanese manga, games and graphic novels, what is one important thing that you have learned over time?
FSc: I learned to let go. And that is the hardest thing to do.
RDD: I ruminated on what you said for awhile. I think that is a profound lesson for all of us.

RDD: I have found many women creators tend to let their art do the talking rather than actively promote themselves. The world has gotten more competitive, and a lot noisier, especially with social media. So, what are the ways women creators can get their art seen, and their voices heard?
FSc: I am afraid I am one of those artists who are lacking in the self-promotion section. Confidence and self management are vital. Our society is an extroverted one, so I guess socializing is a good way to get yourself seen and heard. That said, I don’t think I am not the best person advice on this matter. I am trying to adapt too.

RDD: I notice on your website that you craft collectibles and items as well. What is your favourite crafting project?
FSc: I used to. I don't know if I have a favourite project. They are all fun - to discover and create something, to make something work, to understand how something works.

RDD: I see that you are a cat mom, and naturally, cats feature quite a lot in your art too. What do you think --- Should cats rule the world??
FSc: Heehee why not. It already happened in many stories. There are an infinite number of dimensions and realities, why not.

RDD: What can we expect from your participation at The Comic Embassy? Will there be new art prints or published works we can look forward to?
FSc: I hope I will be able to make some new prints. Most of my published works can be found and read online. I am afraid I don't have any stock of my own books. I have a character drawing workshop on the 17th and 30th of July. There is also an art demo with Alan on the 16th.

Several of FSc's otherworldly artwork are on display at The Comic Embassy. Red Dot Diva urges that you should admire her art in person for a more visceral visual experience. There will also be many opportunities for you to meet FSc as well as Alan Bay at the communal space. If you are an artist or creator, don’t miss the two workshops that FSc will be conducting, namely Intuitive Character Design on 17 July and 30 July!

THE COMIC EMBASSY COMMUNITY DAY
Where: #B1-01/02 at Tekka Place, 2 Serangoon Road, Singapore 218227
Date: 16 July 2022, Saturday
Time: 3 PM
Admission is FREE


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RELATED THE COMIC EMBASSY ARTICLES

Art Is Community - The Comic Embassy Opens At Tekka Place - 11 June 2022

The Comic Embassy - An Interview With Local Sketch Artist Collin Yap

The Comic Embassy - An Interview With Multi-faceted Freelance Artist James Leong

The Comic Embassy - An Interview With Versatile Comic Book Creator Alan Bay




Monday, July 4, 2022

The Comic Embassy - An Interview With Versatile Comic Book Creator Alan Bay


The Comic Embassy, a pop-up artist commnunal space at Tekka Place, is currently in its second month of operation. Every month from June 2022, two artist ambassadors will be in the spotlight, providing ample opportunities for people to meet them, and get to know more about their creative works. In June, the artist ambassadors were Collin Yap and James Leong. This month, local artists Alan Bay and Foo Swee Chin will step into the spotlight.

Alan Bay is a prolific illustrator and comic book creator who is known for his artwork in several high profile projects, including games like Assassin's Creeds: Brotherhood and TMNT, and the comic book “ONCE UPON A SINGAPORE... TRADERS, which was nominated for Singapore Book Publishers Association's Book of the Year 2019.

Red Dot Diva last met Alan Bay when he was busy promoting local fantasy comic book “SACRED GUARDIANS”, published by Asiapac Books. She managed to catch up with Alan for this interview as he prepares for his appearances at the Comic Embassy:

Red Dot Diva (RDD): Hi Alan, how have you been, and what have you been up to since we last met?
Alan: Hi Diva! I have been working on commissioned projects like “GUSS' GUTSY ADVENTURES”, “TREASURE SEEKERS” series and a little side project that I have always wanted to do! I am also working on a new book with Tina Sim, author of “ONCE UPON A SINGAPORE... TRADERS”. Oh, and I recovered from dengue fever back in May, and got bitten by a dog recently. But I am still alive, and drawing! XD
RDD: Oh gosh. I’m glad you are OK now.

RDD: You have been busy doing more comics with Kanme Studios. How did you meet the other creators from there?
Alan: I got to know Siam and Garwin from Kanme Studios from Reddit’s 'ComicBookCollabs' forum a few years ago. It is a place where creators post for hire, collaborations, and self-promo. They are in the US, and both are of Asian descent. They have a love of Asian history and culture, hence one of the stories is about a boy who has been living in the US and returning to Japan to learn about his family history.
RDD: That comic is BOOM SHAKA, isn’t it? I thought it had an interesting premise and story. I enjoyed reading it.
Alan: Yes. It is not too crazy at all to say I play a significant role in Singapore's efforts to harmonize regional cooperation between US and our region, by forming a solid basis for amicable relations between the two countries.
RDD: Wow. Haha.Vote for Alan the politician-artist!

RDD: I see you are also starting a fantasy comic anthology entitled MIGHT, MAGIC and MONSTER-IN-LAWS. What is the process of creating this anthology like, and what we can look out for from the various pitches that you selected?
Alan: It was a daring thing to try, considering my experiences with editing and crowdfunding. It is a great responsibility as the creators commit their trust, effort, and time into it, and I must make sure I try my best to make it a success.

I have had creators asking me if they will be paid, what is the page rate, and it would be horrible if they are not paid, etc. As this is my first call for a submission project, I am not able to promise an amount, but I did state that 90% of the successful budget minus the production cost will be given to the creators.

Reviewing the pitches was definitely fun but it was also a difficult task! Originally, I estimated to receive around 10-20 submissions, and so I thought it will be a quick process. In the end, over 50 submissions were received and I managed to select 18 stories. Most of the stories have some level of humour, although they are not necessarily a comedy story. I would say, the anthology will be a great read for young adults as well as adults.

RDD: Will this book be crowdfunded? And which crowdfunding platform have you had most success with?
Alan: Yes, I am planning to crowdfund this project in December, probably on Kickstarter, since I had some experiences with other creators. The projects that I was involved in or collaborated on Kickstarter include board games with Capital Gains Studio, and a comic collaboration with Chiral Comics. This will be my first solo kickstarter project. Hopefully, there will be a second one as I am working on a mini comic book now!!
RDD: You have been very busy indeed! I really admire your positive outlook and how much initiative you are taking with your creative projects.

RDD: In your opinion, what are the 3 essential qualities a good comic book artist should have?
Alan: These probably apply more for artists that work with others, but generally should apply for everyone too.
(1) Good work ethics. Never over-promise, communicate well, able to follow schedules (or at least know how long you take to finish your own art)
(2) Constantly learning. Able to take constructive feedbacks and criticism, ask when you are unsure.
(3) Self-care. Creating comic is a tedious task, spending 10 to 15 hours a day sitting and drawing is dangerous to your health. Learn to balance work and rest.

RDD: You have done several comic book projects in your career so far. Which has given you the most fun?
Alan: I am grateful that I have been really lucky with my comic projects. I got the chance to work on 'Traders' with Tina Sim, after getting to know her when we both attended a comic workshop by Gwee Li Sui. Tina has great interest with Singapore's history, which inspired her to create and write 'Traders'. I had a lot more creativity freedom with “SACRED GUARDIANS”, as the story was more fantasy-based. It also helped me get through the first year of Covid as I spent 6-8 months locked at home drawing it!

My recent projects are more for younger audiences, like “GUSS' GUTSY ADVENTURES”, which is about good bacteria in your body, which is both fun and informative ( and I learnt so much about our body's organs!)

RDD: This sounds like a local version of the anime Cells At Work, but.. bacteria. Haha. I can’t wait to check out this book.

RDD: What does your dream artist studio look like?
Alan: A room full of automatic robots that I can control with my thoughts. Haha! Currently I am still working in my bedroom, which I hope to improve/ change by next year. I like a studio that is bright and with plants and fish tanks, a full shelf and wall with books, a big table that serves as a dining and meeting place, a pantry full of treats, and of cause, a safe full of money and gold.

RDD: What do you hope to achieve from being one of the artist ambassadors of the Comic Embassy? What can we expect from your participation at the communal space?
Alan: I hope I will get to interact with more local comic readers and creators. Last month, I got to meet Collin Yap, and hang out with long-time-no-see gansta boss James Leong. Even though I have stacks of work and deadlines piling up, I will definitely be there on the 9th, 16th and 23rd of July. Also, 16th July is the official Community Day so, come hang out with me and other artists!

Yes, everyone - do make your way down to The Comic Embassy to meet Alan Bay and Foo Swee Chin this month. (Check out July’s schedule below.) The space is a very cozy place, with shelves of locally published comic books and exclusive merchandise by local artists available for purchase! If you are not participating in any ticketed workshops, admission to the area is FREE!

THE COMIC EMBASSY COMMUNITY DAY
Where: #B1-01/02 at Tekka Place, 2 Serangoon Road, Singapore 218227
Date: 16 July 2022, Saturday
Time: 3 PM
Admission is FREE


------------------------

RELATED THE COMIC EMBASSY ARTICLES

Art Is Community - The Comic Embassy Opens At Tekka Place - 11 June 2022

The Comic Embassy - An Interview With Local Sketch Artist Collin Yap

The Comic Embassy - An Interview With Multi-faceted Freelance Artist James Leong