Interesting start to the day. So I was under the assumption that I would not be at PAX on Friday due to work, and I also did not have time to plan anything. What can you do with no planning and showing up late to an event? Well this is the story of my first part of the first day at PAX East.
I arrived to see a mass of booths and people, overwhelmed at what to do first. I Got settled in the press area with my free stuff, and realized that I have nothing planned at all. I had a list of games I wanted to check out and a few friends around the area. I met up with my good friend who is not press on the base floor and we decided to walk around till we found something to do.
Within five minutes of walking I see the sign for Firefall in the distance. This game caught my attention for its art style and the look of the game play footage when I first heard of it. Later on Red 5, the company that made this game decided that when the SOPA issue came around and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) supported this topic, they would drop all support of the ESA. What this meant is that Firefall made the decision being a new game to not show anything at E3. They were going to possibly cripple coverage on the basis of their principle. I had to swing by this booth and thank them for their overwhelming support of video game rights and free speech. While talking with them I found out that even though the ESA pulled support of SOPA, Firefall would not be at E3 because of the initial support. This fact makes me want to tell everyone to support them as they stand up on their principles at all costs. I asked for a possible interview and demo to their game, and they were happy to scheduled me in.
I continued walking and saw a booth I was not expecting at all. Ever hear of the modification for original Half-Life called Natural Selection? Well the second game has its demo out. I know that if you were to buy the game, you will get access to the demo. The last time I checked up on this game, it was in the start of its production cycle. From the demo I tried at the booth, this is an amazing start to a great game now. If you do not know what Natural Selection is, it is a mixture of an RTS and an FPS. I know I might have mentioned a game called Nuclear Dawn and Savage that did the same thing at some point. Well this game nails the combination perfectly. You can pick between an alien race that mutates and is organic, or you can pick the normal marine/Terran race with guns and technology. There is a person who is a commander for either side who builds resource collectors and base defenses, and is responsible for researching better technology for the players on the FPS side. The FPS players pick what class they want to change into with a base set of resources that flow in by killing and over time. This is going to be one of those hard games to describe, so you might want to look it up and try it for yourself.
I had posted on my wall that I was at PAX and a kid that I went to school had mentioned to stop by a booth that his company had set up. I walked into the amazing FPS arena game of Nexuiz that changes game play based on power ups that you can collect. It feels like your typical arena shooter with all the amazing futuristic weapons to pick up and watch shoot amazing particle effects out. What makes this game is the power up system. You can pick them up around the level and they can make everything from free rocket packs for everyone to your guns make funny noises. When you are running around trying to kill someone and the low gravity perk gets picked up, jumping around killing people can not be more fun. I have to give them props for being a very small indie company and coming out with such an impressive looking and playing game. It is on XBOX and Steam release soon, with a price point of $10. Worth taking a look if you want to feel the old unreal tournament style game.
I was running around Solo for most of the time and decided to go find Blueonic next, while he was checking out Aliens: Colonial Marines. I saw a booth and remembered an e-mail about an MMORTS space game and I could not help but make a detour to check it out. The game I ended up seeing is Novus Aeterno by Taitale Studios, and it looked like a promising game. The idea is that you start with two planets that can not be bombarded, and build up your structures on that planet. You can then proceed off the planet and expand your empire, or at least to a limit as this game is persistent and has a command limit. It is a very interesting balance of how much can you control before you start loosing space to other people, and the command limit makes sure that one player can not overwhelm another. This game's ships function much like SOTS or homeworld capital ships, you pick your hull and choose the weapons that you want/need. Build times have still not been determined yet, along with a few other features but the team is planning on getting that down based on community input. It is great to see a game company that is willing to ask it's players for help in making an awesome game in the early stages of development. The galaxy map will consist of many solar systems and there will be a fast warp between them, so travel with not be mind numbing. The downside of this travel is that your ships will land scattered in the system, so the defending team will have time to react. The idea of multiple galaxies is on the plate and will act as servers for different continental regions. Do not fear this, you will be able to travel between them and play with your friends across the pond. The only downside to galaxy travel will be latency since the server will be further away in the real life. This game is hitting its beta stage in the next few weeks, and is targeted to be out in around six months.
So I finally caught up with Blueonic and KBD, off to help with the Jonathan Coulton interview. The interview speaks for itself, he is a normal guy who you can see yourself having a drink with. A very humble for a guy who is praised for making the amazing songs of Portal. There is not much to say that the interview does not cover, he is an invested family guy doing what he has always wanted to do in life. It always seems like the people who you might consider famous or be a little star struck meeting are always people who got the ability to do what they have always dreamed of doing.
The end of the night had a panel that I thought I must attend as a game developer and lover of the game industry. It was suppose to consist of the crew that makes the extra credits internet videos, that main point is to expand on what games can do as a medium. They bring up topics as games used for teaching, the SOPA issue, games used to help with medical issues, and expanding the medium as a whole. Sadly the only one who could make the panel was James Portnow, but he did not disappoint. He ended up bringing up a few developers and the guys from the internet video loading ready run, to answer as many questions from the audience as possible in the hour that he had. To many questions to put in here, but they were in the range of what games should I play to how to not use language in your menu systems. A very educational panel to see.
Day one is down, and I only have plans to talk to Red 5 come the last day about Firefall. I do not think I did bad for the first time at PAX.