Melbourne International Games Week has come and gone. After taking a week off to rest and recover, I’m finally ready to reflect. My recap is going to be a bit different this year. Instead of going over exactly what I did and whom I met, I want to talk about the lessons I learnt during Games Week, and what it meant to find me.
I love dating sims. I love otome games. They explore the nuances of relationships through video games in engaging ways. That’s why, when I discovered Astoria: Fate’s Kiss, I knew I had to write something about it.
This brief post just touches on why I believe the game works so well. I’ve tried not to spoil the game as much as possible so that you all have the opportunity to experience it for yourselves if you so wish to (and I highly recommend that you do!).
When I was a child, we lived in a house that had an alcove on the second floor. It was right next to the stairs and just in front of the corridor that led to my bedroom and my parents bedroom. That little alcove was my everything. It was my ‘secret base’, where my brother and I would pretend to be spies. It was my 'school', where I'd pretend to teach my brother but just end up bossing him around. But mostly, it was a home for my Barbie dolls. I have vivid memories of arranging my Barbies (6 adults, 2 children) with their various furniture, clothes and accessories. On the other side of the staircase was the supermarket, while the corridor was Barbie's workplace. That alcove became anything and everything. It was my little heaven, until my dad would step on one of barbie's shoes and yell at me... that sometimes broke the illusion.
The year of 2015 was the year of tests. It tested my patience, my intelligence and ultimately, almost broke me. However it was also a year of unyielding hard work with amazing results. As I look back on 2015, I'm astounded at what I managed to achieve and feel really good about moving into 2016.
First and foremost I completed my Honours in Games Design, and managed to graduate with First Class Honours. Never in all my dreams did I think that this was something I would achieve. Me, the girl who always felt her friends were smarter. Me, the girl who used to cry about her ‘bad’ results. Me, the girl who was teased for being slow because her medication used to slow her down. It just goes to show, as clichéd as this may sound, you really can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. While I came close to giving up, I'm pleased, proud and so grateful to all of those who supported and encouraged me to continue.
Secondly, 2015 was the first year I felt I was actually active in the Melbourne games community. I took part in the Global Game Jam, attended as many IGDAM events as possible, volunteered for Freeplay and Unite, and enjoyed the crazy ride that was Melbourne games week. Through this I managed to make some amazing new friends and maintain and develop some older friendships! I feel truly honoured that I have such an amazing group of people that I can call friends.
Of course with the good comes the bad. I don't think I've ever had a year where I've doubted myself so much. I doubted my career, my appearance and my choices. Doubt is something that will always follow me and that's fine. Because I'll keep moving past it, and in turn keep growing. And that excites me! I want to keep growing as a person. To push past my doubt is a great aim of mine for 2016, and I hope to get closer to achieving it.
And finally, to the games that I enjoyed the most this year. I'm a creature of habit, and tend to play what I know. However, this year I finally branched out and actually played my first Bioware game! Call me a convert because I am hooked! I'll not bore you with my endless fangirling of Dragon Age Inquisition (*cough* Cullen *cough*), but it has truly influenced how I think about games. I also played Undertale, 999 and countless visual novels and otome games, which I shall write about soon enough. While it was a slow year for new games for me, I hope to play catch up next year.
Overall, the turbulent experience of 2015 was a pretty great one. Thanks to my family and friends who continue to support me and are always encouraging me to be even better. I love you all! Here's to a happy new year and an amazing 2016!
Right after the high of GCAP, I attended PAX Australia, in all of its glory. The three days, spanning from October 30th to November 1st were epic, intense and tiring. However, it was the perfect end to the first official Melbourne Games Week.
Melbourne International Games Week wrapped up on November 1st. After a whole week of conferences, exhibitions and lots of alcohol, it's fair to say that I'm exhausted. However, thinking back on the various events, I don't think I've ever left something as inspired as games week made me. I was privileged to meet game developers who were passionate about their craft, and intent on doing right by the player. I thought I'd share my experiences of the week, starting with Game Connect Asia Pacific otherwise known as GCAP.
Reshmi is the player character in the current game I'm working on. Smart, sassy and kind, she doesn't take any crap from anyone. Instead she works to find the killer diligently and efficiently, by methodologically searching for evidence and questioning potential suspects.
After deciding what made Reshmi, well, Reshmi, I had to academically justify why I had made those descisions.
I'm really bad at naming things. Like hopelessly bad. I get scared. What if I commit to a name that ultimately doesn't suit my creation? Terrifying thoughts, right? But I digress.
My honours project still doesn't have a name. But what it does have is a one sentence and one paragraph summary. This is a tip that I picked up from my undergrad days. When first starting a project we were asked to write a sentence and a paragraph that would summarise our entire project. While it was hard as balls to do, it really helped with understanding and expressing the core of the project. It's a great tool to use for pitching your game to new people. So I present my one sentence and one paragraph for my game.
After her client dies, Reshmi takes it upon herself to solve his unjustly death.
After receiving a mysterious manuscript from a client, Reshmi goes to visit the author, Victor Thatch, in his house, only to find him dead. Thatch’s last draft details a murder that is uncannily similar to his own. Could he have foretold his own untimely death? With the draft as a guide, Reshmi uses her personality to reveal the murderer and bring them to justice.
What tips do you guys use when first starting a project?
I felt it was time to actually utilise this blog for something professional. Be warned, I have been known to start something and then never actually follow through (I'm looking at you high school diary!) but hopefully this won't end that way.
I plan to post various game development tidbits plus any game academic writings that I feel are suitable. In the coming days I hope to introduce you all to my honours topic and project. After that I'll keep update with various progress screenshots and whatever else comes to mind.
Here's to the exciting start!