Train2Game News: GameCityNights coming to a place near you

The GameCityNights festival is going nationwide. The event annually held in Nottingham it is now hitting the road.

The festival celebrates everything from the game world with previous keynote speakers from Crytek UK, Harmonix music systems and Sony London Studio.

This years event is sponsored by Edge Magazine, SimCity, Maxis, EA and more. Previous years the festival has had no financial support so to get such big names is a big step forward.

“After three years of Nights gigs in Nottingham and loads of brilliant guests and audience members, it seemed like a good time to share the love,” says Iain Simons, director of GameCity. “The one thing we love more than doing GameCityNights events is driving – so this really is the ideal combination for us”

More details of the event are soon to come – it’s guaranteed to feature many playable games, intimate talks and panels with industry icons. There’s also the GameCity Arcade: a free space for indie devs to put their games. All the games will also feature on Edge’s website.

“So if you’ve got something to say or a game to show, get in touch,” says Simons.

If you have been working on a game lately and are looking for a place to show it and get feedback from the public, this is a good time.

Dates and locations are below:

November 13: National Media Museum, Bradford
November 20: BFI Southbank, London
November 21: Dublin Science Gallery, Dublin

January 24: Antenna, Nottingham
January 29: Arnolfini, Bristol
January 31: Junction, Cambridge

February 5: MAC, Birmingham
February 22: Animated Exeter Festival
February 23: GEEK2013, Margate
February 25: Carriageworks, Leeds
February 26: FACT, Liverpool

For more details on the event go to nights.gamecity.org

Train2Game News: LittleBigPlanet and Driver: San Francisco writer to talk games writing at GameCityNights

Train2Game students can get an expert insight into games writing from LittleBigPlanet and Driver: San Francisco writer Dean Wilkinson when he appears at GameCityNights later this month.

GameCityNights are monthly events which take place in Nottingham that explore video games and the culture around them.

Not only does Wilkinson have plenty of experience in video games writing, he’s also written comedy for TV, radio and books.

“This is the first writing-focused gig we’ve staged at GameCityNights, so it’s a privilege and an honour o be welcoming one of the best in the business along” said GameCity Director Iain Simons.

Bennett Foddy, creator of QWOP, GIRP and Pole Riders and Ed Key, creator of Proteus, will also appear at the event sharing their inspirations and aspirations over Skype.

GameCityNights Episode 5 takes place in Nottingham on Thursday 31st May from 6pm. Tickets cost £5 in advance, and can be booked at http://nights.gamecity.org

Previous speakers at GameCityNights include Dear Esther creator Dan Pinchbeck. There’s more information here on The Train2Game Blog.

Will you be going to GameCityNights later this month? What would you be most interested in finding out?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: “Presentational quality can be an integral part of gameplay” says Dear Esther creator

Train2Game Blog readers may recall the success of immersive indie title Dear Esther, and its creator Dan Pinchbeck has been discussing the importance of “presentational quality” in making a game a good experience.

He believes that’s just as important as other elements such as gameplay mechanics.

“Presentational quality really only came into play recently, not that presentational quality has been missing in games, but the discussion about how presentational quality can be an integral part of gameplay.” Pinchbeck told Gamasutra.

“Games like Assassin’s Creed or Skyrim or S.T.A.L.K.E.R., for example, they work not just for their mechanics, they work because they present these incredible worlds.” said Thechineseroom founder.

He added that if game developers put time and effort into making a game world believable, then players will become more engaged as they’re “more likely to buy into this world that’s being presented.”

Pinchbeck’s experimental; story driven indie title Dear Esther reached 50,000 sales in its first week on sale. As previously reported by The Train2Game Blog, it started life as a Half-Life 2 mod. Thechineseroom’s current project is a sequel to Frictional Games’ Amnesia: The Dark Descent, titled Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.

Train2Game students in the Nottingham area have the chance to see Pinchbeck give a talk about Amesia, storytelling, modding and more when he appears at GameCityNights on Wednesday. There’s more information about it right here on The Train2Game Blog.

What are your thoughts on Pinchbecks comments on “presentational quality.” How important is a game’s world in immersing you in that title?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: Dear Esther creator to speaking at GameCityNights this month

Train2Game students based near Nottingham can an insight into the development of Dear Esther, as creator Dan Pinchbeck is set to offer a behind the scenes look at his work at GameCityNights later this month.

As recently reported by The Train2Game Blog, experimental indie title Dear Esther sold 50,000 copies through Steam in its first week on sale. It started out life as a mod for Half-Life 2.

Thechineseroom founder will cover of areas, including storytelling in games and turning a mod into a full-release, which will surely be useful for Train2Game students who can get to the GameCityNights event.

“I’ll cover the studio’s humble beginnings as a mod team working as part of a research project based at the University of Portsmouth and the philosophy behind the studio’s work, and how this led to this year’s cult indie hit, Dear Esther.” said Pinchbeck.

“I’m also excited to introduce the studio’s two current projects: Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, an open-world purestory game that takes Dear Esther’s explorations of storytelling and gameplay to a new level; and the recently announced Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, a sequel to Frictional Games’ indie horror classic.”

“Along the way, I’ll take in the relationship between academia and the games industry; managing an indie start-up; how to turn an experimental mod into a successful commercial release; and the central design principles of thechineseroom.

“Expect fear, despair, guilt, loss, death, emptiness and some insight into how you can make games fun even without the gameplay.”  he concluded.

The GameCityNights event takes place in Nottingham at 18:00 on 29th March. For more information, and to buy a £4 ticket, visit GameCityNights website.

There’s more about Dear Esther here on The Train2Game Blog.

So Train2Game, will you be attending GameCityNights? And what are your thoughts on Dear Esther?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game students can hear indies speak at GameCityNights

Train2Game students in Nottinghamshire have a great opportunity to find out how an indie studio works for themselves at GameCityNights later this month.

In their latest monthly event, GameCityNights will feature all three former Bizarre Creations developers of indie studio Hogrocket as they discuss their debut game Tiny Wings, their move away from Triple-A and life as an indie.

Of course, those who can’t make it to Nottingham can always read the Train2Game blog interview with Hogrocket co-founder Ben Ward in which similar subjects are covered.

“We’ve always loved the GameCity Festival and admired the hard-working folks behind it, so it’ll be great to take the stage once again in Nottingham” said Hogrocket’s Pete Collier.

“This time we’ll be sharing the experience of starting a brand new games studio, including all the ups and downs that go with it! We’ll also let you play Hogrocket’s first gaming creation: Tiny Invaders. See you there!”

The GameCityNights event will also be showcasing a number of indie games, which will no doubt be of interest to Train2Game students.

GameCityNights Season 2, Episode 7 takes place on Thursday 29th September from 6pm in central Nottignham. For more information, and for ticket prices, see the GameCityNights website.

So Train2Game, if you’re in the Nottingam area, will you be going? Do you see it as something useful to you?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.