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Listen to indie devs share their secrets at EGX Rezzed

EGX Rezzed is filled with indie games, which means it’s also filled with indie game developers. It’d be foolish of us not to trap some of those developers onstage and make them share their secrets. That’s what Rezzed Sessions are all about: giving you a peek at how games are made and how you might do it yourself, from the graft of starting a studio to tips on better level design, and from the psychology of game addiction to how the designer’s of Heaven’s Vault created their own lost language. The talks run across all three days of EGX Rezzed 2019 – which is April 4th-6th at the Tobacco Dock in London – and you can find the full schedule below.

All the talks will be livestreamed on the EGX Twitch channel and archived afterwards on the EGX YouTube channel. But you should come anyway, because science says knowledge is airborne and you absorb it fastest through your nostrils. Tickets are on sale now.

Here’s the Rezzed Sessions schedule:

Thursday 4th April

12.30pm-1.15pm: Your studio is a waste of space – How your studio can thrive using distributed Development, the upsides and downsides of running a remote Studio in 2019. This talk is aimed at studios or teams thinking of running some development remotely or fully committing to the process, and shares the unique insight of a studio that has successfully transitioned from bricks and mortar into the cloud. From BAFTA winning Roll7 Director Simon Bennett (OlliOlli / NOT A HERO / Laser League).

1.30pm-2.15pm: RPS Presents: The psychology of game addiction – Whether it’s stories about game violence, or their potential addictive nature, we regularly see articles in the news claiming that video games are bad for us. But what does the scientific research actually have to say about these issues? And what about the positive side to playing video games? Dr Pete Etchells, a lecturer in psychology at Bath Spa University and author of Lost in a Good Game: Why We Play Video Games And What They Can Do For Us, joins us for a discussion of the topic.

2.30pm-3.15pm: How to start an indie company and not starve – This talk will cover the nuts and bolts of starting your own company, from picking your business model to finding work, and will explain how to prepare for the bad times, navigate arguments with co-founders, and avoid exploitation by clients. Adam co-founded indie studio BetaJester Ltd four years ago and has been through every trial and tribulation so you don’t have to!

3.30pm-4.15pm: Why I hate corridors: tips on better level design – In this presentation Mark Drew from CMD:Studio travels through the far reaches of the galaxy investigating the bad architectural decisions that science fiction ship boulders have taken and looks back into how games can implement better level design tips to make the places between places (aka corridors and hallways) present themselves as a more natural space to the player and remove the cognitive dissonance found in many games.

4.30pm-5.15pm: The RPS Podcast Live! – If we at the RPS Electronic Wireless show love one thing, it’s drama and PC games and icons. We hired a professional troupe of actors to come and perform some of the best and most famous scenes from games for us all, but they couldn’t make it, so we’re going to do it ourselves. We might need some help, to be honest, so all the better if you come along to watch.

Friday 5th April

11.30am-12.15pm: How to get into games journalism – Eurogamer editor Oli Welsh hosts a panel offering advice on how to break into a career in games journalism: where the opportunities are, what editors are looking for, what to specialise in, how to pitch and more. There’ll also be an introduction to Eurogamer’s summer internship scheme as it opens applications for 2019. Oli will be joined by Eurogamer deputy editor Wesley Yin-Poole, 2018 intern and now full-time Eurogamer reporter Emma Kent, and experienced UK games journalist Andy Robinson, who’s returning to journalism after some years on the other side of the fence in development and PR and can tell us how the other half live.

12.30pm-1.15pm: Overtaking nostalgia to create the fantasy of Knights & Bikes – Foam Sword’s upcoming title Knights And Bikes is a game which uses 1980s pop-culture nostalgia as a starting-point, but then goes on a more unusual journey through the rugged Cornish countryside and then deeper into Arthurian legend. Creative director Rex Crowle shares the development of the game’s tone, setting and art style, the influences behind it and tips picked up from previous projects like LittleBigPlanet and leading the development of Tearaway at Media Molecule.

2.30pm-3.15pm: RPS Presents: Making games with stories at their heart – Chris Gardiner, Narrative Director for Failbetter Games (Fallen London, Sunless Sea, Sunless Skies) will discuss the craft of game writing through the lens of Failbetter’s latest game, Sunless Skies. Learn about developing deep, mysterious worlds, the benefits of including strong representation, and how Failbetter introduce narrative into traditionally mechanical systems. Useful to any aspiring game writers, this is an exceptional opportunity to learn about making games with stories at their heart.

3.30pm-4.15pm: Telling stories through voice acting – A group of voice actors discuss how to build believable, sympathetic characters with script, direction and of course voice acting! Chaired by developer and voice director Dave Gilbert, with voice actors Amelia Tyler, Samantha Beart, and Sally Beaumont.

4.30pm-5.15pm: Lessons learned from running a games studio – In this panel moderated by Chella Ramanan (Journalist), Alexander Sliwinski (Bithell Games), Pavle Mihajlovic (Flavourworks), Jennifer Schneidereit (Nyamyam Games) and Jodie Azhar (Teazelcat Games) will discuss various ways of running a game studio and the lessons they’ve learned starting and running studios in the UK. Topics we will cover range from incorporating, UK and EU grants, investment schemes, hiring in the UK, utilising the video games tax credit, pitching to investors and publishers, negotiating publishing deals, and every single thing we learned or wish we’d known. Attendants should leave with an understanding of all the nuts and bolts of starting a studio in the UK.

Saturday 6th April

12.30pm-1.15pm: How to survive as a games artist – Amanda Blatch, senior artist at DR Studios, and freelance artist Loukia Kyriakidou discuss the paths they took into the industry and lay out the different options available to young artists. They’ll cover portfolio basics, including the differences between building a portfolio for studio and freelance work, as well as other practical tips on how to turn game art into a viable career.

1.30pm-2.15pm: When knowing too much is a problem – The more games you make, the more experienced you become – but experience can get in the way, as Unavowed and Black Legacy developer Dave Gilbert discovered. His instinct would tell him something was cool, his experience would tell him it wouldn’t work, and frustration would ensue. Getting instinct and experience to work in harmony together is a huge challenge, and in this talk Dave will share stories and tips about how to do it and why it’s important.

2.30pm-3.15pm: Designing a lost language for Heaven’s Vault – The new game from 80 Days creators inkle, Heaven’s Vault, is an archaeological adventure with an entire hieroglyphic language to decipher, where every puzzle has a narrative reason to exist and every solution has a meaning. Narrative Director Jon Ingold will present an honest tour of the two-year design process of the mechanic, from laughable prototypes, up impossible learning curves, to hot non-linear video-game linguistics. Ooh la la.

3.30pm-4.15pm: Warhammer: Chaosbane – Fight evil in the Old World – Prepare yourself for an exciting visit into the depths of the Old World, as Bigben and Eko Software provide a gameplay demo of Warhammer: Chaosbane – the first hack and slash to take place in the Warhammer Fantasy Battles world. Jean-Georges Levieux (Game Director) and Chris Mihalyfi (Community Manager) will demo the game and answer audience questions, as they show you what to expect when Warhammer: Chaosbane is released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on June 4th.

4.30pm-5.15pm: Designing sex in games – If video games are such a big important mature art medium of the 21st century, then why do so few games attempt to address vital human experiences like intimacy or sex? In this talk, indie developer and professor Robert Yang will address some common design problems revolving around sexuality in games, and go over some basic ground rules / how to avoid common pitfalls in simulating intimacy. (Content warning: this talk will feature overtly sexualized imagery and some mild nudity, but nothing very explicit or uncensored, parental discretion is advised.)

Elsewhere at EGX Rezzed we’re holding a party, called the RPS Mixer; curating a room of strange games powered by custom controllers; hosting more chats about games on the Developer Session stage; and livestreaming the best games from the showfloor via the RPS Sessions. Frankly it’s a wonder we’ve got time to even make the website anymore.

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