Games industry festival returns to Bath later this year.
The secret of why 1994’s UFO: Enemy Unknown (released as X-COM: UFO Defense in the US) is so good, and why still it has so much to teach other games, is that it lets you play it your own way.
Now, criminally, many readers won’t have played the Gollop brothers’ classic game, or even the excellent remake that came out last month. So for those, here’s X-COM 101.
Eric Chahi’s most recognisable game is a distinctly linear experience – Another World, the classic 1991 “cinematic platformer” offers a couple of very short branches, but ultimately funnels you down one path. It’s punishingly difficult, too. His most recent game, however, and the one I want to talk about, is the exact opposite of that.
It seems to me that gunfeel is an important science for videogames. This is not because guns are fundamental in any way to our medium – although I think you’ll agree they are quite popular – but because guns in videogames represent a quantum of interaction. A single click. In fact, this piece might have been entitled ‘clickfeel’ but, I think, it’s with guns that the aesthetic of this interaction is thought about most frequently and most keenly.
Delivering the keynote address at ExPlay 2012 in Bath today, environmental artist Robert Briscoe talked attendees through the evolutionary process Dear Esther went through from its original state as a Half-Life 2 mod to full-blown standalone release – and how he turned down a job offer from Valve to make it happen.
“Plan ahead,” he warned attendees. “Take whatever estimate you have in your head, then double it. Then add an extra six months for good measure. It will never go as planned.”
The ExPlay festival in Bath this morning played host to a panel that explored the role videogames can play in science and society, looking specifically at how gameplay – whether full game mechanics or simply gamification – can help players learn about, and understand, difficult or obscure topics. A spoonful of sugar, as it were.
Speaking at the ExPlay Festival in Bath today, Alex Trowers, designer at CSR Racing developer Boss Alien, said he believed too few modern games offered enough challenge, and that designers shouldn’t be afraid to make players’ experiences more difficult.
Hide&Seek co-founder Alex Fleetwood and Dear Esther artist Robert Briscoe are to keynote the ExPlay games festival. The event, which represents independent game development and design across the south west of England, will takes place in Bath at the Assembly Rooms from October 31 to November 2.
Organisers of the ExPlay festival have announced plans for a two-day game jam in Bristol and London, in association with the Wellcome Trust.The game jam, during which teams and individuals alike will have 24 hours to develop a game to a theme set by biomedical scientists from the Wellcome Trust. Set for October 5 and 6, the London event will take place at the Science Museum, with the Bristol jam at Pervasive Media Studios. The two locations will be linked by a live audiovisual feed.
Organisers of the ExPlay festival have revealed the first details ahead of this year's event, which takes place in Bath. Edge is the exclusive media partner for the festival's second year following its move from Plymouth.The programme, to be revealed in the months to come, will feature industry talks, games, parties and competitions.Also planned is ExPlay Boot Camp, a bespoke training programme that promises to help start-ups and small studios go from concept to commercially viable game in just six months.