I’m off to Progress Bar tomorrow in Brighton and I’m really looking forward to it. As well as a chance to catch up with and meet interesting people it’s two days of talks and demos about GAMESTUFF – with an arcade of experimental games to explore, VR demos, talks and workshops. I’m really looking forward to hearing Jessica Curry (The Chinese Room) talk about writing music for games on Thursday evening. I am also excited by the Friday workshops and have signed up for a morning with Werkflow making clay sculptures to digitise into Unreal and then an afternoon on writing for games with Tim Clague. I’m sure that all the talks and demos will give me a huge boost into getting back into my own game which has pretty much stalled at the moment due to lack of funds and because I spend most of my time working on unrelated day-job or developing other things (GrrrlGames, WTHub). Some input into my writing is probably one of the key things that I need.
My introduction to writing for games was the Arvon course (unfortunately they no longer run it) that spawned Lux & The Shadowmaker so I know how good for me it is to engage with writing workshops where small exercises are set that can develop into huge ideas. Writing is possibly the bit I like most about games – I especially enjoy creating the Storyworld that the gameplay sits in, defining what characters (and players) can and can’t do, who they are, what the social rules are within that storyworld etc. Our ideas and opinions are formed by where we are brought up and what influences our ideas on how people should behave, especially when we label them as one thing or another, male or female, old or young, etc. In my Dungeonmaster days back in the 1980s I controlled what got unleashed on unsuspecting explorers. In games I have even more control over players and want to experiment more with how to make games that are fun but might be quietly subverting assumptions about what is nature and what is culture, what is fixed and what is mutable. But nicely.