EGX Rezzed

So I was at EGX Rezzed this afternoon — I didn’t have enough time in the schedule to see the whole conference, but I did get to check out a few things and to be on a panel myself.

Our panel: Chris Gardiner of Failbetter Games, Jon Ingold of inkle, and I talked with John Walker from Rock Paper Shotgun about narrative in games. It tended to focus (given our background) about what can be learned from interactive fiction, though we also talked about some other questions. Jon talked a bit about the highly experimental new school IF period I just recently wrote about in my history coverage, and we all talked about the challenge of surfacing ideas from indie/IF gaming into commercial games. As with any casual panel, I immediately afterward thought of loads of other things I would have liked to say, or wished I’d said better, but so it goes. The video from that is online.

Lottie Bevan and Liam McDonald from Failbetter also gave a talk on Sunless Sea, including a detailed preview of Zubmariner, which is even darker and scarier than the original Sunless. Several of the Q&A questions are basically “uh… you’re making it even darker???” I’ve mentioned this once or twice before, but what I love about writing for the Fallen-London-verse is that it provides an outrageous fantasy-horror shell within which I can safely encase real-life things I find deeply upsetting. So, perversely, I find this land of tentacles and heartmetal comforting rather than the reverse. Mostly. Most of the time.

And then yesterday there was a talk on the art of Firewatch, with artist Olly Moss and animator James Benson. Around 29:30, they start talking about how Twine played into prototyping for the project.

(Each of these videos is ca. 35 minutes of content, with some wait time at the beginning while they were waiting for the stream to kick off.)

I also got a chance to play the demo of Shadowhand, a casual solitaire game with a backing story that builds on the concept of Regency Solitaire (though it concerns other characters, including a highwaywoman). I liked Regency Solitaire for its inventive riffing on the familiar mechanics: it made me actually enjoy playing solitaire again, which was unexpected. Shadowhand takes that even further, introducing a duel mechanic in which you are recharging your weapon through card combos. Your AI opponent charges their weapon by taking cards and building combos off the same spread, so that introduces some new tactical considerations about which cards you want to leave available for them when your turn ends.

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