After watching all this E3 stuff I got to go to a gaming event myself the Wales Game Development Show, which might not have all the glitz and the glamour of such a show as E3.
That is in some way a good thing, but I will tell you a bit about the event first. The WGDS has been running since 2012 in Cardiff and is showcase for the vibrant and ever-growing games industry in Wales.
With exhibitors, workshops, master classes and discussions with leading industry guest speakers, along with the BAFTA Cymru Games Awards.
Before going to WGDS the only other gaming event I been to, apart from a few tournaments in local independent game shops was EGX 2014, which was great but due to size of it, I never got the opportunity to play all the games, see a talk or watch the cosplay show. However, at WGDS I did and got to talk to people passionate about making games, be it for a smartphone or a PS4.
My day started heading to the venue at Cardiff City Hall where inside across various rooms was multitude of things going on. The first thing I checked out was the Geek Party, which had various retro consoles set-up for people to play.
Then it was onto the main hall where all the exhibitors were. I went straight to a game I was familiar with, Wales Interactive’s Soul Axiom, which did recently get a demo on the Wii U as part of E3. This is an atmospheric puzzle adventure game where you use different powers to solve them, like using one that lets you pause and rewind like moving some stairs in a lighthouse then pausing them in place to reach the top.
I also had a go on their other game which was up for the BAFTA for Game of the Year, Infinity Runner, which is out on most formats but I played the game using the VR headset Oculus Rift. It took me a minute or two to adjust to the headset but once I had it was rather fun. It’s a runner type game where your character runs forward and you have to dodge stuff, fight enemies and move around the world. On the Rift this is done by using the left analogue stick to move left to right, the bumpers to jump or slide and the face buttons of an Xbox One Controller when prompted during a QTE fight against the enemy. The VR part came when having to go around the corner, in that if you wanted to go left, you had to look left.
Infinity Runner wasn’t the only VR thing at WGDS as there was also NEILSON 360 VR PROJECT from Atticus Digital Ltd, which got the Technical Achievement Commendation BAFTA. This showed the aspects from gaming that VR can bring and up until now my few goes with VR have all been gaming related. The Project showed two things; one being snowboarding, which puts you in the body of a snowboarder going down a mountain, whilst you have the headset on you can look around to see other snowboarders going down the mountain. I thought this very cool and I could see it be used for said snowboarder to look and learn the course before going down there in real life.
There was of the course the normal cosplayers and even a mascot, in the name of Pooka from a new game from Oyster World for iPads, that at the show lets you create your own Pooka where my ended up having an elephant trunk on its head. I did try their other game, a hidden object point and click adventure called Frankenstein, which had a lovely art style.
I played a few other games over the course of the day such as Orc Slayer, the black and white Gothic style Adam and the fun but frustrating platformer Theo & Lizzy. However my favourite of the show had to be Friendship Club, a bullet hell party game which is normally not my thing due to it being a party type game. However, at the show having four Xbox 360 controllers made it really fun. In this shooter you played as one of four characters with the premise of shooting the other three but with various game styles like one bullet, super speed and it was great fun.
That’s enough on the games, as there was more than that there. I am not a game developer, but if you were there were various things going on, like how to create your own game in two hours in Unity workshop, talks about funding your first, second and third Indie Games, along with business development assistance.
I did attend two of the talks, the first being building a LEGO hero and game mechanics by Ralph Ferneyhough, who worked on 17 LEGO games whilst part of Traveller’s Tales. I found the talk a little overwhelming, as I am not a game developer, but it was fascinating to find about a day in the life of someone who has worked on AAA games.
There were various smaller presentations as well throughout the day for people to catch.
One of the main things during the day was the BAFTA Cymru Games Awards, which had a few commendations to give out. Thud Media took home two of them but not the Game of the Year, which went to Skyfish Studios Ltd with A Mechanical Story.
The day ended at Cardiff City Hall with a Keynote from Katherine Bidwell, founder of State of Play Games, who developed the BAFTA winning Lumino City and she talked about the process of making such a unique title, which involved the creation of a miniature city out of paper and cardboard, including working lights and electric motors.
I enjoyed my time at the event and hope to gweld chi y flwyddyn nesaf.