Total Monkery returns! It’s good to be home. Our Travelodge? Not the best…
TM have brought shame upon our good names by being total failures at partying, I must say. We left the TIGA After Party before it had really begun and went to bed, and left Bath for home comforts before the Edge Quiz had even started. I did get a bit involved in the daytime fun, namely Joust and the paragliding sim, which apparently I was playing (atrociously) when there was a camera trained upon it. Erk.
Talks I enjoyed:
Undoubtedly the Dear Esther keynote on Thursday was the highlight for me; don’t think there was anyone in the room who didn’t do a little internal cheer when we got to the Steam sales figures. Though it’s obviously dangerous to be comforted or excited by the Dear Esther story – for every success story there are probably a hundred invisible failures – you can’t help feeling just a little bit less afraid to try.
Aside from that, I enjoyed the panel on Accessibility. I’m not unaware of Accessibility in other areas, but I’d never really thought about it for games. I’m massively annoyed that I didn’t write down the websites with the guidelines on…
Then on Friday, I LOVED The Neverending Story panel, though that’s not a surprise. My first love was fiction, I read and read and read, and then when I was fourteen I wrote some spectacularly bad Mary-Sue fanfiction and got hooked. After that I wrote and wrote and wrote and read about writing and wrote about writing and then I read some more, and it was only that damned interfering Real Life that stopped me. So I love writing, and I really love writers. Could’ve listened for hours.
I liked hearing about a lot of the design stuff that came up throughout the whole conference, such as the idea of ‘gunfeel’ in the Edge panel… great word. Some great stuff in Creating Games with Character, too; Total Monkery as a whole got our pens and iPads out to write down the workflow advice. We’re still figuring out how to work and what each of us needs and wants and all that complicated new business stuff, but we’ve had plenty to think about this weekend and I think Monday will be a busy one.
Oh, and the Cultural Exchange talk was cool. Weirdly enough, it occurred to me in that talk that nearly all my favourite games are Japanese… although I’ve never consciously sought Japanese games out. Not sure of the significance of this. Will was wondering, however… since there are most definitely gamers out there who will seek out games specifically because they are Japanese… what’s it like for Japan? How big is the niche of Japanese people with an obsession with the West? Anyone know?
And of course, I can’t go without mentioning Oscar Clark’s talk, entitled Finding Love in the Zombie (Freemium) Apocalypse, which has given us much food for thought.
We’re all various degrees of Not Very Happy about freemium, on my part because I can’t think of a freemium model game where the freemium element didn’t on some level annoy me… but it does have some selling points. The biggest one being that persuading people they should pay money for our game may well be hard going – no-one knows yet how damn awesome we are and how much we’d like to pay our rent, please. But also, Iliara has a LOT of features at this point. More than we know what to do with. I’m pretty sure that there’s some sort of freemium model for Iliara that doesn’t give us the willies… we just need to think of it.
So this will be the primary topic of our Monday afternoon meeting, which will be interesting as my mouth will be numb from having teeth out. Watch this space for what we conclude!