Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

1Oct/13Off

Expo Man 2013

Here is my final visit to Eurogamer Expo, full of video interviews and brief impressions. And personal slurs.

Games featured

Special thanks to Tap-Repeatedly for paying for all my drinks and meals.

1Mar/13Off

The High Five, Part 2

This is the concluding part of my IndieCade East diary. The first part was posted last week.

the-press-is-your-friend

You wouldn’t have easily picked him out of a crowd, no GTA-style floaty arrow over his head indicating him to be the creative genius you are looking for. But poor old Brendon Chung, stood beside a PC running Thirty Flights of Loving, was always trapped in conversation. I wanted to talk to him but as soon as one person finished speaking to him, another would jump in. And another. And another… until eventually he’d flee the room under the guise, I imagine, of a reasonable excuse. He had to attend one of the presentations. He had to do a thing. Perhaps he had to weep silently in the toilets.

Oh that was a running joke, by the way. In America, the word is “restroom” and Joel keeps saying “toilet” and boy does he sound dirty and not in a good way. I hope you all had a good laugh at my expense. As I wept silently in the restroom.    

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22Feb/13Off

The IndieCade East 2013 Podcast

davidson-chung

Okay half-hour podcast time! At IndieCade East, I talked to Davey Wreden (The Stanley Parable), Brendon Chung (Blendo Games), Richard Hofmeier (Cart Life), Rob Davies (International Racing Squirrels) and Rusty Moyher (Bloop).

Contents

01:00 "Now we're getting deep! This is how I want to start the interview!"

05:10 "It kind of bothers me when people say that Stanley Parable is very blunt, is not particularly subtle."

11:20 "What if we try to integrate these film conventions into the actual world? Into the actual moment-to-moment gameplay?"

14:30 "I'm a humble servant of the public, what can I say?"

17:20 "I don't know if I should put it on Steam."

23:00 "They'd spent years earning the right to prove to publishers that they could make the games... and then their friends just went and made the games."

25:40 "In order to understand the game, you have to play the game."

Download the podcast MP3 or play it right here in your browser:

References

  • Music: Matson Jones "Exes and Ohs"
  • Three members of Matson Jones went on to form the group Land Lines

20Feb/13Off

The High Five, Part 1

press-badge

At New York's Museum of the Moving Image, the first thing Eric Brasure and I ran into was BaraBariBall projected onto a screen. The first day of IndieCade East was short, merely taking up a Friday evening, so there weren't that many people milling around. An IndieCade volunteer pressured us into taking the controls and she ran through the instructions.

I didn't remember anything she said as I was confused that the controller in my hands was not what I recalled from my previous experience at the Eurogamer Expo. Hmm, a Sony Playstation controller. I was also double-thrown that we were in a 2v2 team game which is twice as many players as last time.

I spent a few minutes faking the activity of knowing what I was doing. This was vital as what I was actually doing was trying to figure out which of the four characters I had control of. After a few games, my team beat Eric's and I high fived a stranger. But I wasn't here to high five a stranger. I had told everybody I had flown to IndieCade East to high five Richard Hofmeier, the developer of Cart Life, for making it into the IGF nominations.

Eric and I put our controllers down for someone else to take up the find-your-character challenge then turned to face someone that Eric, at first, thought was a security guard. Sassy black jacket, crisp white shirt, black tie, all topped off with a pair of dark, intense eyes.

Hello, Richard Hofmeier.    

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4Oct/12Off

Ideas Are So Fragile: Introversion Software

Okay, so I omitted an interview with Introversion Software from the Eurogamer Expo podcast because it was much longer than I was expecting - a good half hour - and it was such a great interview I wanted to give it a separate post.

Chris Delay and Mark Morris wanted to talk to me about Prison Architect but I wanted to talk about babies and Darwinia. We came to an understanding.

Download the podcast MP3 (70MB) or play it right here in your browser:

Contents

  • Reactions to Prison Architect
  • Picking up a normal job to support game development can create security that is poisonous to a risk-taking mentality - but is there also risk in success?
  • The duality of Subversion and Prison Architect
  • On the art style of Prison Architect
  • Rezzed: PC indies get respect
  • "Introversion arrogance back on top form."
  • Is the mysterious project Chronometer dead? Channel 4 as a public funding body.
  • "Ideas are so fragile in their earlier stages."
  • Indies are typically bad at work/life balance - what happens when you have a baby?
  • If you could have your time again, would you make a true Darwinia sequel instead of Multiwinia?
  • The biggest laugh: "I got us into a bad position... but Chris made it worse."
  • "Mark, you save the company today and I save the company tomorrow."

References

Here is Introversion's Rezzed talk where they discuss how Prison Architect emerged from Subversion.

2Oct/12Off

Expo Man 2012

Last week I attended Eurogamer Expo 2012. This week I hand in my podcast report which contains top secret interviews with Alan Hazelden, half of The Cat That Got The Milk team, an Arcane Kid, George Buckenham, Rami Ismail, David Hayward, Jesper Rudberg, Anders Pistol and Sam Read. I also faked interviews with Rob Fearon and Ed Key. Gregg B of Tap-Repeatedly makes a guest appearance.

Download the podcast MP3 (70MB) or play it right here in your browser:

Further details for each game can be found below.

Sokobond

Sokobond is a puzzle game where the player must compose molecules from atoms within a confined space. Developed by Alan Hazelden (@draknek) and Harry Lee (@leehsl). Watch video to see game in action.

Referenced in the podcast:

Dirac

Dirac is, well, I'm not sure yet. Stay tuned. Some sort of slow exploration game with striking visuals. Jon Mann (of The Cat that Got the Milk) told me he finished it and thought it was brilliant. Developed by @orihaus. Watch game teaser video to see more.

Coverage:

Tower of the Gorillion

Tower of the Gorillion is a retro-themed platformer which superposes two levels together and playable characters in each must work together to progress. Developed by Steven Circuiton (@circuiton) and Colin Majoram (@colinmajoram).

You can play the game in your browser at Circuiton World Design.

Where is my Heart?

Where is my Heart? is a puzzle-platformer developed by Die Gute Fabrik (@gutefabrik). Now coming to PC, it was first released last year for PSP.

Watch trailer to see game in action.

The Button Affair

The Button Affair is the second game from the quartet that developed The Cat That Got The Milk (RPS coverage). It offers a similar fusion of reflex gameplay with a unique theme. Ollie Clarke (@ollieclarke) and Helana Santos (@helana_s) speak on the podcast.

Referenced in the podcast:

Don't Starve

Don't Starve is a survival sandbox game set in a wilderness, developed by Klei Entertainment (@klei). Klei Entertainment is known for Shank and Mark of the Ninja.

Zineth

Zineth is a free-roaming game that evokes Jet Set Radio, a student game developed by a team called Arcane Kids (@arcanekids).

Coverage:

A Bastard

A Bastard is a competitive game for two players who share a keyboard, developed by George Buckenham (@v21). A version older than the Expo build can be played in your browser.

Referenced in the podcast:

Luftrausers

Luftrausers is a 2D aerial combat game by Vlambeer (@vlambeer) to be released through Devolver Digital. A teaser trailer is available on YouTube.

Links of interest:

Kairo

Kairo is an exploration game with puzzles by Richard Perrin (@perrinashcroft).

Coverage:

IsoChronous

Isochronous is a competitive two-player game with a time twist, developed by team-iso (@team_iso). A prototype gameplay trailer is available.

Coverage:

Prison Architect

Prison Architect is a prison sim by Introversion Software (@ivsoftware). Paid alpha access is now available.

Coverage:

DRM (Death Ray Manta)

Death Ray Manta is an arena shooter from Rob Fearon (@retroremakes), designed to make players happy. Gameplay trailer available on YouTube.

Coverage:

Proteus

Proteus is an exploration game based on a procedurally-generated island by Ed Key (@edclef) and David Kanaga (@dkanaga). Official beta trailer available on YouTube.

Coverage:

Sentinel

Sentinel is a tower defence game by Matthew Brown.

Gear Up

Gear Up is a futuristic tank deathmatch developed by Doctor Entertainment (@deagames).

Referenced in the podcast:

David Hayward

David Hayward (@nachimir) is one of the curators of the Indie Games Arcade and manages the section when the Expo is running. He also runs the game design event Bit of Alright.

Dream

Dream is an exploration game by HyperSloth Games (@HyperSlothGames) that evokes Dear Esther and Myst. Trailer can be viewed on Steam Greenlight page. The project has already been greenlit.

Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami is a top-down shooter laced with ultra-violence, developed by Dennaton Games (Jonatan "Cactus" Söderström and Dennis Wedin). It will be published through Devolver Digital. Watch video to see game in action.

Footnotes

21Sep/12Off

Attending Eurogamer Expo 2012

[electron dance logos]

Right, I'm attending Eurogamer Expo for the third year in a row.

I'm wondering whether to make this my final Expo. September is a crazy month and I'd like to attend something like Bit of Alright or Rezzed next year, try something else. Vanilla is not the only flavour of ice-cream.

Whatever. I'll be there on Friday and Saturday, and this time actually attending as press.

9Jan/12Off

Neptune’s Pride Private Match Available

This most weird and strange Neptune's Pride game - which involved a peace pact and a frantic hunt for a galactic terrorist who was trying to wake a sleeping god - is now over. You can read all about it in an article called The Remnant where Electron Dance and Jonas Kyratzes created a trophy for the victor. Interviews with some of the empires also posted.

History

In the comments on Survivorship Bias, Electron Dance reader Todd has advertised a private Neptune's Pride game for any readers willing to join in. Players will start with Level 2 speed and scanning research is expensive.

The game URL is http://neptunespride.appspot.com/detail?game=32236516 and the secret word is ‘aspire’.

I can absolutely 100% cast-iron guarantee that I will not be taking part. As if that was in any doubt...

Update 09 Jan: Five out of nine slots taken!

Update 11 Jan: All slots filled and the game begins!

RoboCaptain, LiberalEurope, Captain Wells, CitiesInDust, Sargent Hatred, Leo2k5, Sirron, Grand Space Lord Al and Blueshift2k5... good hunting.

Update 14 Jan: There's a galactic peace treaty! With signatures!

Update 06 Feb: Game over! Shaun writes up his experiences on Arcadian Rhythms. And Liberal Europe is doing it too.

The only winning move is not to play

Filed under: Events 65 Comments
6Dec/11Off

Seeing Games

[canary wharf]

No one is ever going to write a passionate ode to Canary Wharf, a corporate zone that celebrates the impact of grey lines and characterless office blocks. It's a difficult place to make a connection with, the poster child for skyline autism. I have never worked in Canary Wharf and have never wanted to. Yet still a rebellious glimmer of emotion shines through as I glance at the cluster of skyscrapers through the window, across the water. The fog has lifted today.

It’s the second day of Code-Ken 2011, a conference for software developers. Typically, developer conferences are about learning something new to help with the day job, but that kind of model is akin to personalised Google search: you're never confronted with ideas outside of your immediate interest. But Code-Ken 2011 is the reincarnation of a failed conference, StackOverflow DevDays 2011, whose aim was to broaden its audience's horizons and not give them more of the same.

We don't need coffee this morning, because the first presentation of the day is fascinating. Tom Wright, from the Human-Centred Technology (HCT) Group at the University of Sussex, is talking about his research into sensory substitution. This is the science of replacing a lost sense with another, related to - although distinct from - sensory augmentation. We’re not quite discussing Deus Ex: Human Revolution here.

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Filed under: Events, Longform 6 Comments
8Nov/11Off

IGDA Writers Panel: Players Versus Characters, 2

This is the second half of an article on the IGDA Writers Panel held at BAFTA, London, on October 26. The first half was published last week.

Last year’s panel was held in a lecture theatre at South Bank University which was spacious and desk-enabled. At BAFTA, the audience were not as lucky. Dinky chairs jammed us into snuggling distances with our neighbours and I had to be careful not to poke out someone's eye with the careless flick of a pen. The panellists got to wave their arms about and express themselves with gusto, but I didn’t have enough room to swing a gnat.

But every crowd has a silver lining – at least I got a free drink.

Just The Player?

The third act of the discussion addressed whether it was just the player alone that defined character. Could genre come into it? Or even the controllers?

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