Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

13Nov/1811

The Monte Carlo Player

This is the fifteeneth part of The Ouroboros Sequence, a series on puzzle games.

Monte Carlo simulation is a statistical technique where we let a computer rip through hundreds or thousands of randomized experiments, revealing a rich timescape of alternate futures from which we can make deductions. It’s a way of breaking an impasse of uncertainty in a problem. For example, we can use Monte Carlo methods to determine the fair price for a complex financial option whose payoff depends on the future movements of a stock.

And it struck me, as I was making random stabs at a level in Stephen’s Sausage Roll (Increpare Games, 2016), that puzzle enthusiasts engage in a similar exercise.

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12Nov/182

Transmission: The Light Keeps Us Safe & More

90 minutes. Seven games.

Stream this week - Monday 12 November, and will begin at 9:30PM UK, 10:30PM Central Europe, 4:30PM EST. My Twitch channel can be found at twitch.tv/electrondance.

I will discuss the following titles:

Previous Transmissions are available on the dedicated E/TX YouTube channel.

Update 15 November! Here's the archived stream:

8Nov/188

Tears for John Marston

On the suggestion of Andy Durdin, I'm reposting this essay from last week's newsletter onto the site. We've already had a little chat about it on the newsletter discussion page.

Did Rockstar impose 100-hour weeks on its employees or not? I don’t know, especially since Rockstar told its staff to fill the airwaves with happy stories of their Utopian Workscape. On their own time, I assume. I'm pretty sure they won't have enough free time to read Jason Schreier’s 10,000-word Kotaku investigation which alleges Rockstar employees were certainly put through serious crunch.

But whether Rockstar whips employees into 100-hour weeks or not is besides the point. We already know long hours are endemic to the AAA industry. Crunch and burnout are staples of a career in big box games. We’ve been told the tales about Telltale, EA, Team Bondi... but has any of this naming and shaming made any difference? My dismissal of the latest AAA death march team story might be mistaken for apathy. It is not.

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Filed under: Longform 8 Comments
4Nov/187

Discussion: Tears for John Marston

From this month's newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

Crunch and burnout are staples of a career in big box games. Telltale, EA, Team Bondi... studios have been named and shamed before. Has it made any difference to the wider industry picture? My dismissal of the latest AAA death march team story might be mistaken for apathy. It’s not.

Dear subscribers, if you feel like chatting about anything at all from the newsletter, please speak your mind in the comments here.

22Oct/180

Side by Side: Witchball

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is final episode of the fourth series.

Here it is, our top pick of the entire series. A game that is complex, tense. It looks and sounds unearthly. Lap your opponent. Catch the ball. Spike the ball. Win the race.

Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly are pleased to present the amazing Witchball (Steam, itch.io) from Stephen Lawrence Clark.

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to our channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

8Oct/180

Side by Side: Chronobot

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the fourth series, episode 10 of 11.

Chronobot is a game prototype that was abandoned years ago, so we don't expect to ever see a full release. Still, the prototype is definitely worth a spin. Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly send in the robots, wind back time, send in the robots, wind back time, send in the robots... and it's never clear who is going to win the battle until the final moments!

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to our channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

1Oct/188

Discussion: The Not-Door Door

From this month's newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

I wrote about a similar issue in Mafia quite a few years ago when I had to trawl across an area to find an unassuming switch, the FPS equivalent of a point-and-click pixel hunt. Today, developers make totes sure this is painfully obvious using verbal direction, NPC demonstration, visual contrast and - my absolute favourite, readers - augmented reality markers.

Dear subscribers, if you feel like chatting about anything at all from the newsletter, please speak your mind in the comments here.

28Sep/186

Beautiful


This is the second part of the Subnautica Season. The first part, The Glory of the Infinite Sea, was about Subnautica enabling accidental discovery.

Spoiler warning! This essay contains spoilers for important discoveries and events in the middle of the game.

I had started to receive radio transmissions.

Subnautica’s radio smears on a little extra story but its primary role is a gentle goad to get players out and about, directing them to other Aurora escape pods which made planetfall. Some transmissions come bundled with a location that can be tracked on the HUD but when I received one with a vague “oh it’s over here roughly” I wasn’t sure, in the wide open sea, whether I would find it. This was Subnautica resisting the siren call of a GTA-style open world; let’s see how the player copes without throbbing, bobbing arrows.

I took a stab. The instructions were expressed relative to the shattered hull of the Aurora and I swam out to what felt roughly the right spot... but I found nothing. I kept swimming away from the Aurora in a straight line, thinking perhaps I wasn't far enough out.

This was before I even had a seaglide which makes travel a lot more snappy and I was swimming without any form of support... but the sea bed began to recede. The deep dark unknown sent a tingle down my spine, like it always did. I gritted my teeth. I knew in my heart that I must have missed the escape pod but I kept going out of some madness. How big was the sea? How far could I go? When would danger visit me? Another part of my brain, however, was screaming at me: Stop! These seas are not meant for you yet! Turn back!

And then something happened which changed everything.

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24Sep/189

Side by Side: Birdsketball

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the fourth series, episode 9 of 11.

We reckon this is probably the most entertaining game of the series for spectators - and probably our second favourite game of the entire series, our favourite being rolled out in the final episode. Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly shoot some hoops, score some goals and flap those little wings in Birdsketball from Waynetron.

Very reminiscent of Pong, Birdsketball is crisp and handles wonderfully. Oh my God. So. Much. Fun. You have got to watch this.

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to our channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

18Sep/180

Side by Side: Nuclear Reaction

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the fourth series, episode 8 of 11.

It's a one-button game! Well, technically it's a one-button-per-player game. Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly try to achieve victory in nuclear war by any means necessary in the ridiculously amusing Nuclear Reaction from Sven Ahlgrimm.

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to our channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.