PlayUk is a British Council platform made to support creativity in digital arts, with a focus on strengthening the bond between art and technology. Last week Belgrade hosted some of the leading names from the British gaming industry, and 30 people from Western Balkans who visited the workshops and lectures. They had a unique opportunity to participate in interactive workshops and exchange knowledge and experience from working on past projects.
Jon McKellan used his many years of experience in the gaming industry to form No Code Studio in 2015, working on games like Alien: Isolation and Red Dead Redemption 2.
During the lecture at Nordeus Hub, he talked about developing stories and other components such as pacing, initial ideas, protagonists and motivations, primary and secondary genre as well as the whole structure of the story. Along with his team, he made the game “Observation” which makes a unique playing experience, where the player steps into the role of an AI space station system and not a part of the crew. Jon showed us how with vision and story we can make an exciting and fascinating narrative.
Jodie used to work as a technical artist in various game studios and now she is the CEO of Teazelcat Games. The process of creating and developing a game can be very complex, requiring a lot of different skills and crafts. From her experience, Jodie presented the solution how designers should think of different ways of developing certain elements in a game, which involve technical and artistic tendencies. If roles are not properly delegated there is a possibility of losing overall focus and not creating the best player experience possible.
Callum talked about specific models of financing games which most publishers use, and what they mean for a game designer looking for someone willing to publish their game. He talked about important information you need to know when signing a contract and elaborated on what the gaming industry actually looks like behind closed doors.
This lecture provided a technical aspect of the audio processing in the game Observation. Omar Khan, with over 20 years of experience in music and audio production formed the games studio No Code with his partner Jon McKellan. Omar talked about the initial platform, technical elements and overall procedure of making audio and music assets, as well as implementing them so the end product is used for making the game more atmospheric.
After researching artificial intelligence in games, Robin now works on creating interactive installations that merge art and games. In this workshop, the participants made small experimental hardware games that are powered by LED strips. For this kind of game making, using sensors, it is important to have a good knowledge of programming.
Marie is a curator who has a special place for alternative culture, and her job is researching radical ways to implement video games in places of culture. Her lecture gave us a better look into how radical thinking and doing can make video game culture a part of public spaces. Marie was also the lead curator for the V&A exhibition ‘Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt/’ and is the co-founder of Wild Rumpus.
Niamh Houston, better known as Chipzel is a chip-musician who uses the Gameboy as her primary instrument to make energetic and melodic music tracks. In this lecture, she showed how the 8bit sound can be modified and mixed to get a various amounts of sounds and music used in a lot of different industries. Her mechanics of manipulating the original 8bit sounds gave the audience a throwback into the days of retro gaming.
Alexander Leigh worked as an editor in chief and news editor for the award-winning website Gamasutra, as well as a writer for the popular mobile game Reigns: Her Majesty. Her lecture “New Media and Narrative Design” is one of the aspects in creating a game, along with the story, lore and dialog, which is probably the most important part when it comes to connecting the player and protagonist. Using popular mobile games like Love Island and Storyscape, she explains that playing these games over again may lead to new concepts and paths in the game but the story stays the same. The most important job of a narrative designer is the creative input while developing a game, but also creating a narrative bridge in between scenes.