Writing and Design

Steve Ince, freelance writer and game designer, posts thoughts and comments on these two meaningful aspects of his life.

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Name: Steve Ince

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Top Ten Games I Worked On

I was sorely tempted to add Beneath a Steel Sky to my list of Top Ten games in the previous post, but I think that would be bad form because I worked on it. Although I didn’t do any of the writing and design, I still think it’s not something I should put on a list like that. So here is my top ten list from the games I've worked on.

  • Beneath a Steel Sky
  • So Blonde
  • Broken Sword – The Sleeping Dragon
  • Broken Sword – The Shadow of the Templars
  • In Cold Blood
  • Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso
  • Gold and Glory: The Road to El Dorado
  • Rhianna Ford and the Da Vinci Letter
  • Wanted: A Wild Western Adventure
  • Call of Cthulhu: Destiny’s End

Again, the order is not a concrete one.
I put the last one on the list because it was turning into one of the best games I ever worked on and was eighty percent complete when it was cancelled. Perhaps one day I’ll post some of my favourite scenes.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

See me on Adventure-Treff

The guys at Adventure-Treff posted a compilation video message for the festive season and I contributed to it with a few words. You can view the video here. Much of the compilation I didn't understand because those parts were in German, but mine and a couple of other parts are in English. I laughed most when I saw the list of credits and thanks come up at the end.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

A few GamesCom thoughts...

I'm still feeling a little tired from the trip and I've been back for two days! The years are taking their toll. :(

GamesCom was huge! The fact that it was so much larger than last year's GC in Leipzig shows that it needed to move and is also a source of encouragement that the industry is in a strong enough position to sustain something of this size. If we weren't in the middle of a global financial crisis would it have been even bigger?

In some ways I wish it wasn't bigger and that the event was still in Leipzig. There, the event felt like the whole city was a part of the show and in Cologne it didn't seem to register beyond the exhibition centre itself. The size also gave it a slightly impersonal touch. I didn't bump into the same friendly faces anywhere near as often as the last two years.

In a business sense, it must be a lot better if there are more exhibitors in the business halls (which must have been 2-3 times larger than Leipzig overall). But what that actually taught me was that it was more difficult to get appointments at the show and I should have organised far more meetings in advance. Some people seemed to have so many meetings booked that they were in danger of becoming unravelled.

Because I write mostly adventures, it was a little disconcerting to see that the profile of adventures seemed much lower than the previous two years. Which seems a little crazy when adventures haven't had such a good profile for years, thanks to recent Monkey Island releases, amongst others. Although I demonstrated the Wii version of So Blonde a few times, it wasn't nearly as often as I was expecting. A number of people from the adventure site press told me that they had some real trouble getting to see presentations of games they knew were at the show, which is very puzzling indeed.

There were lots of great games in other genres, of course, and many of them were really exciting. I managed to get a play on Brutal Legend, but it was in some kind of boss battle and being unfamiliar with the controls I couldn't work out what to do. I was hoping to get a look at the Star Wars Old Republic game, but they didn't really seem to have much on show in spite of a huge public stand with lots of computers. There was a pretty healthy presence of casual games, particularly on the consoles, which helped give a good balance to the show.

I met a number of people for the first time, which was a real buzz. The first of these was Josh Winiberg who did the music for Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso and is destined to go far with his talent. The second was Noel Bruton of Arberth Studios but we only managed a couple of hurried meetings because of other appointments. The third guy I met for the first time was Dan Connors, who is doing wonderful things with all his team at Telltale Games. I've been impressed with Telltale's episodic approach to adventures for some time, so it was good to meet Dan at last and have a chat.

I also met up with lots of people I already knew, such as the Wizarbox people and Mark and Rachel from Outsource Media. I also met up with and had dinner with Claas, Dominic and Jan from Daedalic who were great and gave me a German version of The Whispered World, which has been receiving great reviews. I hope the English version is as well received.

And, of course, no event like this would be complete without meeting up with the people of the gaming press, especially those from sites that concentrate on adventure games and I want to thank them all for their time an interest in what I do. I would particularly like to thank everyone from Adventure-Treff who invited me along to their community party and where I was able to meet Dan.

And if I missed anyone out who I should mention - sorry. Catch you next year.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Voice recording

I just got back from the voice recording we did for the Wii version of So Blonde. I was working with DTP (the publisher) and the talented guys at Outsource Media, who organised a great cast again and ran a great series of recording sessions that couldn't have gone any smoother if we'd wanted. If you want to see a really good voice recording system in operation you should get in contact with OM and tell Mark I sent you.

Everyone concerned was very complimentary about the script, which is always very flattering to hear, but the script would have been nothing without the talented cast who really brought the words to life. Bernie from DTP took some pictures and said it was okay to post a few of them here.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Another excellent review of So Blonde

The website, Adventure Classic Gaming, has just published a new review of So Blonde, which gives it a score of four stars (out of five).

"Playing So Blonde brings back memories of why I love adventure games so much."

"Steve Ince, the writer, has penned a great and humorous story for the game. "

Sometimes, working from home can be very hard. Contact with other people in the games industry tends to mostly be through e-mail or by phone and it's easy to lose sight of why I'm bashing away at the keyboard every day. Then I read another wonderfully complimentary review and I'm reminded of why I enjoy writing and designing games.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

So Blonde review at Just Adventure +

(I know, I know, it's been ages since I posted...)

Over at Just Adventure + they've just published a very good review of So Blonde. Greg Collins, who wrote the review, gave it a score of A- and said some very nice things along the way. Again, another guy who really understood what we were trying to do with the game. Thanks Greg.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Interview on a Spanish site

I did an interview with the Spanish adventure site Aventura y CIA back in 2007 and they've been holding back on it until the game's release over there. We recently revisited the interview, tidied up a few things and added more detail. It's ended up being quite lengthy, particularly as I like to ramble at times. I hope you enjoy reading it.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Writers' Guild Awards

Tomorrow night is the awards ceremony for the Writers' Guild Awards. For those of you who'd like to see me win the Best Game Script category for my work on So Blonde, please wish me luck, keep your fingers crossed and sacrifice a goat in the hope that it will influence the outcome in some way.

And while you're doing so, see what you can do about keeping the snowy weather at bay, too.


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Sunday, November 16, 2008

So Blonde Review - 4 stars

The gaming site, Adventure Gamers, has just published their review of So Blonde in which they awarded it 4 stars (out of 5, in case you were wondering).

"Top-notch writing; compelling story with some meaningful undertones; well-rounded, likeable characters; spectacular graphics; excellent voice acting; rich environments to explore."

Thank you Andrea for a great review.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Blimey, Another Interview

Those awfully nice people over at Adventure Gamers have been kind enough to publish another interview with me on the subject of the game, So Blonde. This time they also took the opportunity to include Jerome Britneff-Bondy from the fabulous Wizarbox team and the resultant piece feels quite substantial. Do be a good sport and check it out, will you?

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

New Interview, New Site Design

I've just done a new interview with the GameBoomers site, which has just been posted.

Also, I've been re-designing the Juniper Games website and have posted up the new pages this afternoon. I felt that the previous design was a little too busy and wanted something that was simpler but that still had a colourful feel.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

So Blonde Review - 8/10

Team Teabag is a blog I've not seen before, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that they'd reviewed So Blonde and given it 8/10. So a big thanks to Tigervamp, the author of the piece.

"it’s nice to see that there are some people out there who still care a great deal about the genre."


Saturday, October 25, 2008

So Blonde review at EGC Games

Those very nice people at EGC Games have just published a review of So Blonde and given it a score of 84%. Why not pop over there and read their words of wisdom.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Spanish So Blonde Intro

In case you missed the posting by Lint in the comments for the Adventure Corner interview, the Spanish version of the So Blonde intro has just been posted on YouTube.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

An Interview on Adventure Corner

It feels like the season of interviews again. :)

Adventure Corner have published an interview that I did for them a few weeks ago. You can also read a version that's been translated into German if you so wish.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Interview at Adventure Classic Gaming

The good people over at Adventure Classic Gaming have just posted an interview they conducted with me.

One thing I like about doing interviews is the way they make me think about the things I'm doing and my approach to game writing and design. All creative people should regularly question and confront their work - it's the only way to push yourself and refine what you do.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Award nomination

Although it was announced on Saturday, I've only just discovered the news that I've been nominated for an award. At the Writers Guild of Great Britain Awards, no less. The nomination is in the following category:

Best Videogame Script

Rhianna Pratchett - Overlord
Tom Jubert - Penumbra Black Plague
Rhianna Pratchett, Tameem Antoniades and Andy Serkis - Heavenly Sword
Steve Ince - So Blonde

I wonder if I should dig out my penguin suit...

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

So Blonde press release

The following press release has just gone out for the UK release of So Blonde.


Thursday 18th September/... Eidos Interactive, creator of some of the world’s leading video game properties, has today announced So Blonde, an exciting new point and click adventure, will be released in the UK on 26th September 2008.

Set on a tropical island, So Blonde is the perfect adventure game for point and click adventure lovers! The star of the game is a young, pretty 17 year-old pampered American debutante who has wealthy parents and very little to worry about in her life.

While on a luxurious cruise ship with her parents on their way across the Atlantic, a giant storm suddenly materialises from out of the blue. The ship gets into trouble and consequently Sunny passes out.

Waking up on a glorious white sandy beach, Sunny finds herself alone, hair out of place and no mobile phone reception or any contact with the outside world. If that isn’t bad enough, the whole escapade has transported her back in time several centuries and Sunny now finds herself in an age of pirates and buccaneers.

Accompany Sunny on this fun-filled point and click adventure, meet wacky creatures and take on outrageous challenges. Help Sunny escape the cursed island – without getting a single hair out of place!

So Blonde will be available on PC from 26th September 2008.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Leipzig Fun

I just got back from Leipzig and while I'm waiting for millions of e-mails to download I thought I'd post some thoughts and comments about the show and some of the goings on. Firstly, the main reason I was there in the first place:

So Blonde - Nintendo Version
In a very well-attended press conference, DTP announced, along with showing Venetica and Divinity 2, a new So Blonde game.

What we're doing for this game, which is for the Nintendo Wii and DS, is to create something that we believe encapsulates a very unique approach.

We didn't want to do a straight port of the PC version, so we started with the original premise, and created a "What if..." game by posing the question, "What if Sunny had first landed on the dark side of the island and befriended One-eye?"

This gives us the opportunity to explore the ideas, themes and characters a new way as the story of Sunny's time on the island is seen from a different perspective.

Because the story unfolds differently to the PC version, the story and dialoge have been re-written and the gameplay re-designed. We introduce totally new characters - one of whom is player controlled for part of the game - and new locations. Some characters and locations that were in the PC game will not appear in this version because the new story takes a different path. Some of the locations are common to both games, but a number of them have been re-drawn to fit the Nintendo systems, such is the care and attention being lavished on this new game.

So, what we have is a new game that's not a sequel. Each game (PC and Nintendo versions) is a stand-alone game, but those players who play both games will be rewarded with a richer feeling for the characters, story and the history of the island.

For me, it was a fantastic opportunity to work on something with a very original twist and do so with characters I know and love so well. In many respects it was more enjoyable than the first time around because I could explore new aspects of the characters' relationships.

Venetica and Divinity 2
As I already meantioned above, DTP were showing both of these games at Leipzig and I was very impressed by each of them. Although they are RPGs, the art style and approach to gameplay give them a very different feel to one another. I think they're both going to be games to watch out for.

The Public Halls
I had a tour of the public halls to see what was being shown and was almost swamped by the throngs of enthusiastic gamers. I know that some people dislike the noise and the crowds, but I find it's quite like when I used to go to the fair when I was a child. I also think it's great that we have events that allow us to keep players excited about forthcoming games.

I was very impressed with the range and quality of so many of the games themselves, but two games in particular stood out for me - Lego Batman and Little Big Planet.

Lego Batman builds on the success of the previous fanchise games they've done, but from what I've seen it could prove to be even more fun than ever.

Little Big Planet (which had posters on billboards throughout the city of Leipzig) just oozes quality. I watched people playing all kinds of gameplay bits and pieces on a variety of televisions of different sizes and it really is worthy of the attention its been getting. The only question that remains - Is it good enough to make it worth buying a PS3 for?

Beer and Food
It was great!

As well as the work that gets done during the day, a convention like Leipzig is a great opportunity to meet up with existing development friends and make new ones. And the great thing about development friends is that they are both supportive of you and your dreams, but also make you question your creative goals - in a good way, of course.

And Leipzig is such a great melting pot of people from across the globe, where you get to experience different perspectives because of cultural variations. But underlying that, the one thing that strikes me is that in spite of cultural and gameplay development differences, you meet so many friendly people it's a pleasure to spend time with.

I also discovered something really cool - I can re-use a lot of my old jokes. The ones that my sons get sick of hearing, for instance. Though I was actually surprised that the following got a hearty laugh:

"What's brown and sticky?"
"A stick."

I'd like to thank all those people who where good enough to spend some time watching me demonstrate an early version of the new So Blonde game and those who took the time to interview me. Without the great work that the gaming press does (amateur or professional) we'd never be able to put over our new projects as well as we do. I'm glad, too that you're able to put up with my ramblings and jokes about stalking. Some of those guys were so busy we saw each other everywhere.

Other Work
I took advantage of my time at Leipzig to talk to a number of people about project ideas and potential work in a variety of guises. All the meetings were very positive, but I obviously can't go into detail. As soon as I have more information I can share I'll be sure to post something here. Just keep your fingers crossed for me.

You know, I'm going to miss Leipzig next year...

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another good So Blonde review

I've just read a pretty cool review of So Blonde. It's always so encouraging to read positive reviews.

"Overall So Blonde is a very good and enjoyable game that will remind old timers of the great Lucas Art games of the 90s like Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island and Full Throttle. For the young’uns it is a great opportunity to get a feel of what great adventure games are."

Thank you, nostalgeek.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How Rude

I received my first piece of hate mail today and actually find it quite funny. The following is the entirety of the message:

"your game sucks, go **** a goat and don't make video-game stories ever again! Bad bad bad bad bad writer!"

Obviously, I edited the line to take out the expletive, but I'm sure that if you so wish you'll work it out.

The subject heading says "So Blonde", so I'm guessing that the writer was referring to this game. I just can't understand why, even if they hated it they would be bothered to find out my e-mail address just to send me a vitriolic missive.

It's nice to know I instill such passion in my fans. :)

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Another great review score for So Blonde

The French site, Tom's Games, reviewed So Blonde and gave it 17/20, which is absolutely brilliant.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

So Blonde Interview

Here is a link to one of the interviews I did while I was in Paris.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hello from Paris

I'm in Paris doing some promotional work for So Blonde. The original intention was to combine this with a short holiday with June, but she had a fall before we came away and wasn't up to the trip. So I find myself alone in my hotet room with some time to spare so I thought I would post another entry in the old blog.

I'm actually staying in a hotel called Le Chat Noir, which I booked online and thought was a cool sounding place and has connections to the Montmartre area of Paris. Only, when I got here I found that it was situated on the same street as all peep shows and other red-light district kind of places. Still, the hotel is pretty good and it's not very far from Montmartre.

Last night I met up with Stefano Collavini, the artist who's currently doing the art for the Mr. Smoozles comic strip. We spent the evening in a small cafe and had a great meal and lots of interesting conversation. Stefano wants to get into designing and developing his own games, so it's probably only a matter of time before we start seeing something from him and his team.

Today's interviews went very well and no one fell asleep through boredom. :) One of the things I like most about doing interviews is the way that thinking up answers to the questions helps to crystalise my thoughts on game development. It's kind of like the idea that there are times you can learn more from teaching others than you can from being taught.

Which reminds me that I was again asked by a university in the Netherlands if I would join their teaching staff. I remember that last time I was asked I very nearly considered doing so but now I'm doing so many different things that I couldn't possibly take on a teaching post without all of that exciting stuff being left behind. I'd like to teach in some small way, but taking up a post at a university is not the way to gor me right now.

Now I need to go and find something to eat. I'm suddenly surprisingly hungry...

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Great review score for So Blonde

There are times when I'll be glad when the current project I'm working on comes to an end. I'm putting in so many hours that I'm no updating here as often as I'd like. Anyway, on with the reason for this post...

I can't add a link this time because the review is in a print magazine and I can't quote from it as it's in French, but the score given to the review was 8/10, which is a great score from a general magazine, particularly as it appeared in one of France's top print gaming mags, Joystick.


Monday, March 31, 2008

Audio Interview

I recently recorded an audio interview for DTP about the So Blonde game. They placed a video "background" behind it and have released. You can download it from Gamershell, here, should you wish to do so.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

More So Blonde reviews

Two more reviews of the German version of the game:

The first one is on the site Gamona. 80% - what an excellent score. :)

The second one is on the site Golem.de. No score on this one, though.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Another So Blonde Review

This review awarded the game 75%, which is pretty good. Again, the review is in German.


So Blonde - 81% review score!

Adventure-Treff has put up a review of So Blonde and given the game 81%! How cool is that?! :)

Although the review is in German and my little german is very rusty, the score speaks volumes to me. Colour me very pleased indeed.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

So Blonde is out - in Germany

The game was released in Germany last week and I was sent a copy, which I took a picture of.

They even put my name on the cover - how cool is that?! :)


Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Interview

The site, Gry 02, has published a new interview they did with me about the game So Blonde. It's in both Polish and English on the same page.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

So Blonde - instructional video

Over at the German adventure site, Adventure-Treff, there is a new video about how to play the game, So Blonde. Although the voice-over is in German, they've used an English version of the game so I think you'll be able to get the drift of what's happening. :)


Friday, November 30, 2007

Play All

This piece over at the Develop site got my interest. Not only is it an excellent idea, but my friends over at Wizarbox are heavily involved, which is great news for them. Clearly, So Blonde is going to be part of a path to even greater things to come.

Well done, guys.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Adventure Developers Online Conference at Adventure Europe

Over at the Adventure Europe site, they are once again hosting and online conference where they pull together a number of developers and publishers to answer questions during allocated slots over the three days it takes place. More details can be found here.

I'm actually going to be doing two sessions.
The first one will cover So Blonde and takes place on Thursday 29th November between 5pm and 7pm UK time.
The second one will be a general one for myself, my projects and Juniper Games and takes place on Friday 30th November between 7pm and 9pm UK time.

I hope that everyone can make it along and join in the fun.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hear My Dulcet Tones...

Well, listen to my weird voice, anyway. :)

Although GC in Leipzig was two months ago, the guys over at Adventure-Treff have finally posted a video interview that they conducted with me. I've done a lot of e-mail and MSN messenger interviews and with that format I always have a chance to think about my answers, so I'm pretty pleased that in this video I didn't make too much of a fool of myself. Mind you, I had done about fifteen interviews already by the time these guys got to me.

It's very strange watching and listening to myself in this way. It feels like it's another person doing the interview as my voice sounds so different in my head.

Thanks to everyone at Adventure-Treff.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

So Blonde Official Website

The official website for So Blonde, has gone live. For those of you who cannot read German, or who prefer to read in English, click on the US/British flag just above Sunny's head on the right hand side.

Plenty to see here, don't move along.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

More Leipzig Photos

Here are some more general photos, but there's one of me and "Sunny", too.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Leipzig Photos

Marek, over at Adventure Gamers, has a photo-article up on the AG site. The pictures are pretty cool and I like Marek's comment about my pockets - where would an adventure developer be without George Stobbart Pockets?

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Leipzig Games Convention

It's been a few days since I returned from the convention, so I thought it was high time I wrote down a few thoughts before what's left of my cell-depleted brain decides to lose them altogether.

The first thing that struck me was the size. The convention centre was HUGE. I'd been told how big it was and I'd even seen pictures before hand, but nothing prepared me for exactly how big it really was. Did I mention that it was massive? It took me ten minutes to walk between the DTP booth in the business hall to the Anaconda stand in hall 2. I thought about venturing into the other halls but couldn't find an expedition team willing to travel so far.

The only down side about promoting So Blonde was that I didn't have enough time in my schedule to look round all the public halls. I only explored hall 2 because DTP had their Anaconda booth in there and I had half an hour between presentations. But if that hall was anything to go by it's not surprising that 185,000 visitors attended the show. There were demonstrations, trailers, promotions, audience participation, multiplayer games, free gifts, signings, booth babes, game demos and lots and lots of noise. I don't know how the people do it who are based in there all day every day of the show.

Speaking of booth babes, I must be one of the few people who was asked by one of them to have her picture taken with me. I think she must have been a game fan, too. :)

Anaconda also hired an actress/model who looked the spitting image of Sunny, the main character from So Blonde, so there were a number of pictures taken of the two of us together. As soon as I get hold of copies I'll be sure to post them here. It occurred to me that from now on I should design all my games with sexy young female leads.

I spent much of my time in the business hall doing interviews or demonstrations of the game and the response was very good. I'd like to thank everyone who I met for their patience and enthusiasm.

Hal Barwood and Noah Falstein were also at the booth promoting their game, Mata Hari. For those who don't know, Hal and Noah both worked on some classic LucasArts adventures, among others and it was a real pleasure to meet them for the first time. Very friendly guys, too. In fact, all the other developers were extremely friendly and I got a real buzz from being around so many wonderfully creative people.

A real high point for me was meeting Martin Ganteföhr for the first time. We've corresponded through e-mail and chat, but never actually managed to be in the same place at the same time as each other. Martin is doing some wonderful things with his new game, Overclocked, and I can't wait to play this game for myself. Martin is very tall - so tall that I'm surprised he doesn't need an oxygen tank to deal with the thin atmosphere up there. I think that the rest of us ended up with cricks in our necks after talking with him, particularly Laura MacDonald, who must have been about the shortest in our group and who suffered bravely through the whole show with a broken foot.

Because the day was so full of appointments, I crammed a lot of socialising into two very late evenings filled with food and beer. Talking games and joking and slowly getting drunk has never been so enjoyable.

Prior to our press conference on Thursday I was more than a little nervous, but as it started I got into a calm zone, which quite surprised me. When it came to my turn to present So Blonde I quickly got into my stride and the ten minutes were up in what seemed more like thirty seconds. Everyone seemed pleased with the way it went, which was backed up by the fact that the press audience laughed at a number of places in the game. Where they were meant to, I might add.

Hal and Noah are doing some interesting things with their game, using an icon system for their conversations. Although Revolution used something similar, starting with Broken Sword, Hal and Noah have added some nice refinements that will make the conversational gameplay much richer. It's certainly an approach that I'll be bearing in mind for future projects.

I nearly met Bill Tiller, but our schedules clashed.

I'm pretty sure I saw Tim Schafer, but I wasn't sure enough to say hello.

The strangest question I was asked in an interview was, "What would you do with ten million dollars?" After giving a flippant answer, I then had to think about it for a few moments. Part of my answer was that I'd have to think long and hard, but that I'd love to do a proper romatic comedy - something that's the gaming equivalent of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" or "Love Actually" or "About a Boy". Though I doubt it would cost ten million, so I guess I'd rather do five two million dollar games.

Perhaps the oddest moment was when I was standing at check-in at Leipzig airport to come home again. the guy who came to stand behind me started chatting away and we were soon in a deep discussion about game development, which takes some doing at 4am after about three hours sleep. It turns out that he's Chris Taylor, the guy behind the Dungeon Siege games and who has a new game coming out, Space Siege. We discussed the idea that games should be treated much more as interactive entertainment and the days of aiming games at the hardcore gamer are drawing to a close. That's not to say the hardcore gamer should be discarded in any way - that's what difficulty levels are for - but that games should be accessible to a wide audience while still delivering interesting and fun gameplay. Although we're (currently) working in different genres, I could see a lot of parallels in our approaches to game development.

Although GC is over, some of us are already thinking about next year and what we can plan socially...

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stuff is happening all the time...!!

And no one told me!

Again, I'm sorry for not posting very much just lately, but my life feels full. But I'm going to take a little time to chill, listen to some music (Wishbone Ash at the moment) and write a few words.

I'm currently working on a project that I can't mention just at the moment, but it's one I'm sure at least some of you will find interesting. I'm sure something will be announced soon.

The English voices have been recorded for So Blonde: Forgotten Island and I'm so pleased with the quality. Thanks to wonderful voice direction from Martin T Sherman, the actors really delivered some wonderful performances. Our villain's voice is one of the best I've heard in a game.

I've mentioned before that I've been asked to give a talk about plotting to the York Writers group (which people are welcome to come to if they wish - it's in September; final date to follow later). Well, the more I think and research the idea, the more I think that there's quite a lot of scope for a long essay or a short book
It feels like there is a lot or grey-ness surrounding the subject as people have very different ideas about the role of story and plot, how they link together, the connection between outlining and plot and how plotting can be used as a means to an end in itself, particularly in games.
Games, it seems to me, often have very strong plots and weak stories. I think that because we're used to developing strong game logic, this helps game creators develop strong plots, too. Or, at least, very sound plots. I think that there are plotting lessons we can take from games and use them to apply to stories in other media.
While I'm still in the early stages of this - and the talk will be a useful test of some of them - I'm quite hopeful that it could be a useful exercise.

GC in Leipzig draws ever closer. I'm sure that it will be pretty tiring and very crammed with lots of meetings, interviews and such, but I'm looking forward to meeting up with some people I haven't seen in ages and some I will be meeting for the first time. If you're going, be sure to stop by the DTP booth (wherever that is) and say hello if I'm available.

Jason is moving to Wales at the weekend and Shaun has got promotion in his job.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another New Interview

Sorry for not posting here for some time. I'm very busy at the moment and fitting everything in has been quite the juggling process.

However, I did find the time to fit in an interview for Delter Adventures, a Swedish gaming site.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

New Interview

Seems I've changed in the process, too.

Punta&Clicca have posted an interview with me, but the photo they've put at the top is not one of me. How strange...

The interview has been translated into Italian.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Back from Germany

Got back from the trip absolutely shattered at 3am today. It wouldn't have been so bad if the plane hadn't been delayed and the train was off because of the flooding. the train company put on a bus from Manchester to York, but it took an absolute age to go through a number of towns picking up and dropping off.

The trip itself was great and Claas (the PR manager from DTP) and I met up with some really friendly people to show them an early version of So Blonde. They were even good enough to laugh at some of my jokes. :)

Mostly we showed the game to print magazines, but we also met up with two of the guys from the German adventure site, Adventure-Treff - Marco and Basti. It was a great evening; thanks for being so friendly, guys. They've already posted a piece over at the site, which includes a picture of Claas and I enjoying the Bavarian hospitality. The glazed eyes are because I was tired, honest...

The journalists from the print magazines were also very enthusiastic, which was a real pleasure. One of the magazines, Play Vanilla, is probably one of the coolest magazines that I've seen for a long time, even though I don't speak German. It's a gaming magazine that's aimed at female gamers and has the style of a top women's lifestyle/fashion magazine. Whoever had this cool idea should be making the magazine in other languages, too.

Although the trip was pretty short, we managed to fit in a lot of meetings and hopefully did the game a lot of good. I'm hoping to return to Germany in August for the GC in Leipzig. Maybe see you there?


Friday, June 22, 2007

Trips to Germany

I've got a brief trip to Germany next week to talk to some of the big print magazines about So Blonde. I'm really looking forward to it as I'm as pleased with the game as Pooh is with a hunny jar.

There's also a very good chance that I'll be going to Leipzig in August for the GC taking place there, so if any of you are also going, maybe we'll get an opportunity to bump into one another. I'll let you know more as my plans firm up.