Electron Dance
1Oct/13Off

Expo Man 2013

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

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

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  1. I’m glad you’ll be writing about Myriad. Normally, abstract shooters and the like aren’t especially appealing to me, but that one looks extra-interesting. Cloudbuilt also looks quite neat- it would be nice to have rocket parkour in something that’s not Titanfall.

    I’m on the fence about Skipping Stones, but it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would demo well anyways. I’m sure walking for just a minute in Dear Esther during an expo would’ve come off the same way.

    Warlord seems about right for you.

  2. I’ve got to say, Tomb of Rooms looked really cool to me. The idea is made even sweeter with the co-op element. Definitely something I’ll be keeping an eye on!

    Shiftlings too was quite a novel little platform puzzler that was surprisingly open to single-player despite it looking like a co-op game.

    Mirrormoon I avoided in the same way as Proteus and Kairo as they were games I’d surely play outside the expo. Erlend Grefsrud had some interesting things to say about distribution and funding of his game too.

    And to say how tipsy I was when you pointed the camera at Steerpike and I, I’m surprised how… composed I look. A great night!

  3. Oh and that She & Him song is fantastic.

  4. AJ and I both enjoyed Tomb of Rooms, even if he did shoot me in the face. He liked Myriad as well; I didn’t get a chance at that one.

    Enjoyed the video interviews with the various devs. Impressed you got this out so quickly too – our podcast audio is still waiting to be edited. But I have been ill so, er, maybe Friday!

    Rezzed next year, then?

  5. @BeamSplashX: I told Erlend that I’m still not entirely sure what I’m going to write about Myriad but I *want* to write about it.

    I felt Cloudbuilt was still a little loose – and it had an unfinished, quite awful grey tutorial level which was difficult to negotiate. However, Steerpike had a go and breezed through it, the bastard. The second clip that plays on top of Anders speaking is actually Anders playing, and getting the top rank for one of the later levels. The bastard.

    I still don’t know anything about Titanfall, but everybody I spoke to were impressed. And their hair had gone white.

    I think it still possible to enjoy Skipping Stones; I found a way to just let go from the expo surroundings and let the game sink in. You have to approach it differently. Unfortunately, it’s sub-Dear Esther level of interactivity probably hurt it at the Expo, but thems the breaks of the Expo deadline I guess.

    @Gregg: I definitely got into Tomb of Rooms but there was something a bit… spacious and empty about it. Co-op on the same screen was strange. There was only one pair of headphones but it’d be weird to have two – because both players need to interact. There were these stick creatures which made no noise and I thought that it was placeholder audio (i.e. nothing) but talking to the team, that was actually deliberate. I see why, but they made no noise in any situation – dying, falling over, attacking – which added to the “incomplete” feeling of the game.

    I must admit I get nervous when I see bright colours and such cartoony polish as in games like Shiftlings, Car Tank and Teslagrad. It reminds me of mobile fodder where the polish looks so… generic. But, really, this is judging a book by its cover (looks too good, can’t be good). I should’ve jumped on it when I arrived. Ah, well.

    Mirrormoon EP is strange.

    I think Erlend’s wobbly-audio section is probably the most interesting bit in the video (aside from being called a warlord). He was one of a few that liked to wave his arms around when carrying my voice recorder taser – and I couldn’t fall back on the camcorder audio because I’d forgotten to hit record! I was so angry at myself. Grrr, me.

    That She & Him was on the possible playlist for That Other Special Video, but I realised there weren’t any scenes it would fit. So it jumped ship.

    @Shaun: Myriad definitely takes a few passes to get the hang of. The first build I got didn’t even tell you “use right mouse button to move things” which meant I was just shooting all the time! I’m weighing up whether to spoil the mechanics in the eventual essay, but most of the joy is not in figuring out the mechanics but figuring out what to do with them.

    Getting the video out so quickly took its toll after so much debauchery over the weekend. I took Monday off work because I assumed I would be tired but I am suffering from a dreadful cold right now. I think this is the smoothest video I’ve produced but the audio lets me down. If I ever do this again, I need proper equipment – a proper handheld mic or, at least, a couple of lapel mics. But I don’t want to be one of those tripod-carrying guys which will make my time at an expo or similar pretty miserable.

    The problem is whether it’s worth going to all that trouble to upgrade. Half the internet is producing Eurogamer Expo footage and it’s a difficult sell, which is one of the reasons why I’m not going next year. It’s like a full weekend of work – playing games for the education, turning that education into interview questions, taking video, having more honest conversations off-camera and trying to take something away from all those.

    The other option is to just go for the experience and not specifically for the site but I feel like that’s such a waste.

    I expect the views to get up around 100 but then plateau.

    So will I go to Rezzed? I don’t know. I need to spend a little more time networking and meeting developers, so maybe it will be better. On the other hand, there’s still the problem of turning attendance into articles. I tried something different with IndieCade East but that really didn’t work out (I didn’t *really* like the finished article and the audience wasn’t crazy about.)

  6. “Co-op on the same screen was strange.”

    Such a PC gamer.

    A cold, eh? That’s what knocked me down – only back at work today. I started feeling ropey on Friday at the expo, and it hit me full force on Saturday. Fortunately AJ had lent me The Last of Us, so I at least had something new and exciting to sink into.

    Video equipment… yeah, it’d be a pain. That sort of stuff isn’t cheap, and lugging anything remotely bulky around an expo is a nightmare. I had enough “fun” with just my small rucksack, especially in the indie corridor.

    I had hoped to do a couple of interviews on the Sunday, but never made it back up. I also lost my iPod there. No idea how I managed that, but it’s a bummer. Arcadian Rhythms can no longer review iOS titles in any capacity!

    AJ, Potter and I all agreed that we preferred Rezzed (oh, this was our first EGX) because, well, it was smaller and there weren’t those huge queues for everything. We didn’t bother with any of the “big” stands for that reason.

    We did get to meet Tap Repeatedly, which was grand, even if it took me half an hour to connect “Matt” and “Steerpike” mentally.

  7. I know, Shaun, am I not the veritable epic-tome of a PC gamer? It’s just so unusual to see split-screen action on a PC. I’ve not played The Last of Us, because I’m a PC gamer, but the word on the street is that it’s RUBBISH.

    Sorry to hear about your iPod. On trips like these when I’m juggling equipment I spend a lot of time having anxiety attacks, thinking I’m going to lose all my stuff. Even better, my rucksack zip broke and kept opening up of its own accord throughout Saturday.

    I had dinner with Steerpike on Sunday and we commiserated over the troubles of keeping small websites alive and shared a few stories from our actual working lives. We were hanging out at game journo drinks organised by Joe Martin but as we weren’t actually talking to anyone else I thought we might as well go out and get some fine food. It was great to meet Steerpike at last and I was sad that we might not meet in person again for a loooong time.

    I might be persuaded to go to Rezzed but only if Tap-Repeatedly pays my drinks and meals again.

  8. We had to pay for Joel’s food because he slipped away BEFORE THE BILL ARRIVED. If you go for a meal with Joel, watch out; it’s a trap. However, Steerpike bought us way too many drinks to say he flew all the way over. I’d like to go to a Rezzed though, sounds much more up my street.

  9. @Gregg: So less warlord, more Admiral Ackbar then?

    A Rezzed get together sounds marvellous. Who knows, with enough advance warning I may even be able to tempt Dylan out for the trip. I’ll just have to leave a breadcrumb trail of copies of Shadow Hearts and jokes about Skyrim.

    @HM: The word on the street is RIGHT. No, wait, that’s Uncharted. I was very pleasantly surprised by The Last of Us. I have some preeetty major issues with the story it tells and the denouement in particular, and some of the game’s mechanics were frustrating, but all told it’s a strong story in a pretty solid game, which is exactly what BioShock Infinite failed to do. Alas that dedicated PC gamers will never encounter it.

    The iPod was a shame but not a devastating loss; it was a second-hand 3rd-gen iPod that I used almost every day for two years so I got my money’s worth. The loss of game saves and the fact I’ve no longer got anything to listen to podcasts on is the biggest blow.

    In the end I didn’t actually manage to hang with the TR chaps too much as the pub we were in was pretty crowded, plus we went outside to smoke and record a podcast like the cool kids. I think we did manage to convert a few more suckers gentlemen of fine taste to EDF, though.

  10. Sorry I’m so late to this party – that cold is officially a pandemic, since I carried it home with me. THAT’S RIGHT, I am Gwyneth Paltrow in Contagion. I hope you guys are feeling better!

    Great video, HM! How you turn those out so fast is beyond me. It was a wonderful visit and amazing to meet everyone in person. Finding a nice peaceful place for a group to socialize is hard at events like that, I wish I’d been able to hang out more with everyone. But we managed pretty well all the same!

    Drinks and meals are always going to be on Tap-Repeatedly when Tap-Repeatedly is being generously hosted, shown around, and not abandoned (except once on account of the Oculus Rift). Eh who am I kidding, come over here for a visit and Tap-Repeatedly will probably still buy meals and drinks. It’s what we do.

    I’m so glad my performance in Cloudbuilt came off as skilled. I was sitting there the whole time thinking “shit… shit… you suck… Harbour Master is judging you and he’s like a warlord… why do you suck so much…”

    Meanwhile, HM and I are the best Tomb of Rooms team EVER. Floor Three, fools! ONE TWO THREE! Beat that!

  11. We’ll have to see about Rezzed. All I know is that after my trip to IndieCade East, New Yorkers now regularly burn effigies of me to ward off evil. Not sure if I’m allowed back in the country.

    Steerpike, you’re welcome to the UK any time, provided you’re paying for the drinks and food. That’s pretty much an essential requirement for the visa to go through, you know.

    I don’t know if you saw the tweets over in the Twitter panel there, but I got outed at work this week. Electron Dance is no longer a sneaky, secret side project.

  12. Just want to chime in that it made me laugh at you feeling uncomfortable with split screen co-op.

  13. I’m not sure uncomfortable was the word I’d use but it definitely felt unusual to see split-screen on a PC. Am I going mad? Are there lots of split-screen games on the PC? Obviously more common with the couch-based console games.


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