It’s no surprise that it’s hard being a game developer, especially if you try to go for it full-time. It’s a labour of love, but the devs here in Perth are crazy enough to go for it, even if it means tinned tomatoes for dinner. Playup Perth was established to help out these local devs in connecting with the public, and with the latest Playup, we’ve finally made a connection to the political players too. It was a special night filled with heaps of games, so for everyone who coudln’t make it, here’s a quick rundown of the evening.
It all started off with a quick discussion from local devs about what they’d like to see from the local industry. Scott Ludlam was present to make sure he got a clear picture of what could be done for these guys, and, you know, to play some games. There were some great points made from all round, but there was one clear message behind them all: Perth is a pretty rad place to be. Everyone said only positive things about the community here, and it really is remarkable when you consider how isolated we are from one another.
The main hurdle mentioned by the speakers wasn’t to do with making games, but it was having the capacity to make them that was the issue. Financial limitations and a lack of dedicated office space (like Spacecubed) means producing high quality games is difficult without resorting to Kickstarter or moving to Melbourne. There are very talented people here in Perth, but they don’t have anywhere to flourish, and that’s a problem. It’s difficult for game devs to make the changes they’d like to see without support from somewhere else, but once it gets off and running, it’s a different story.
What was ultimately desired was to put Perth on the map as a hub for sustainable game development. Simply being given money is one thing, but being able to take that money and turn it into an ongoing source of income is quite another. Scott Ludlam briefly reminded us all there’s also more to all this than just making money. Games are a new art form, and while we haven’t seen much to suggest that from the medium yet, the early days of film were just as questionable. After some great discussion, we were all ready to get playing, and we did just that!
The last time I had my hands on Bramblelash was a few Playups ago, and a lot has changed since then. The core mechanic of having a line of bramble join two players is still intact, but now there’s stuff like terrain and different game modes in the mix. The PVP mode involves some hilarious backstabbing, and the co-op adventure mode is looking like it’ll be a great romp with a few friends on the couch. Apparently it’s on Steam Greenlight, but without a single player mode (which seems impossible), it seems like a strange choice to release it there. Still, it’s grown into a solid game thus far, and hopefully it will only become more polished moving forward!
No matter how many times I try out Valiant, I’m always impressed at how satisfying the game feels. There’s something about riding a horse in VR and slamming your lance into some other sucker that’s so damn pleasing. The last few times I’ve tried indulging in VR, that horrible motion sickness hit after a few minutes, but the guys have been hard at work to fix it for Valiant. I can safely say that this time round was the best yet, thanks to the addition of a fixed helmet on the screen, so I could joust dudes down for hours if I had to. There were also new weapons and AI this time around, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else the guys put in there for next time!
There’s nothing like a platformer with a quirk, and D3bug seems to have caught onto that. It’s a typical platformer, but you can morph the stage with a variety of “hacks”, like making a platform acquire it’s own gravity. If I was a kid, I would be freaking out that I could change the world to suit my needs, which probably sounds a little psychopathic, but it’s a really interesting idea to explore. This was just the first public showing of the game, so the demo was extremely short, but I’m really excited to see where Stirfire takes it!
Worlds Fastest Pizza
Picture the most outrageous pizza delivery you’d ever have to do. Multiply that by a thousand, then shove a flying shark in there, and you get a sense of what World’s Fastest Pizza is all about. It’s a bit like if GTA was a game about delivering pizza while ingesting as much meth as possible, all while making sure you don’t get fired. Or die. Needless to say, it bewildered me in all the right ways, and while it was more zaney rollercoaster than full game, it kept me coming back again and again.
If you’ve been to almost any gaming event around Perth, chances are Wes Lamont’s Cogz has made an appearance. After a successful kickstarter and a heap of playtesting, Cogz is available to the public in both human and ludicrous sizes. I’ve only seen the ludicrous size from afar, and I’ve always thought that a lot of work went into those wooden pieces. Turns out they’re cardboard, so it’s just like playing the small version (which was already pretty fun) but on a ridiculous scale. There’s not much to say about Cogz other than that it’s good to go, and if a competitive multi-player puzzle game sounds interesting, I’d recommend checking it out.
Unfortunately, because there were so many games, I couldn’t get around to trying them all out. Thankfully, Bernadette over at Gamecloud took up the reigns and covered the other games (including Star Hammer, One Night Only and Blitz Bandits), which you can read over here!
It was a very special night for everyone involved, and a great evening for all the local devs to connect with someone from the political sphere. This is what Playup Perth is all about, after all, and seeing Scott Ludlam take in all the potential on display makes me optimistic about the changes we can make for the local scene to grow. Hopefully, we can bring in more high-profile guests for future Playups, but only time will tell.