Konsoll logoKonsoll, is the convention that rolls around in Norway once a year where developers, designers, and programmers from both indie companies and major companies such as Telltale Games, Supermassive Games, and so forth grace the world with both their presence and their knowledge to further the ideals and culture of game development. Konsoll 2018 is my first time attending this and it makes you wonder why a game critic such as myself wanted to attend.

The reason behind that is that in my reviews where I am criticizing theirs. I decided to set out on a quest to further my knowledge of game development because if I am going to harshly criticize games in how I feel about a game’s design and how it’s made; Then I should also be willing to have that same criticism returned development of my own titles.

So simply put here we are! Now being blunt I did attend a few lectures and occasionally I even popped into a few workshops here at Konsoll 2018, where a lot of the developers talked about their methodical approach to game development through critiquing their own works, and how things and done, much like how I am aggressive on the details of games in which if you are basing a game in an area of time that’s based in the bronze age, you wouldn’t expect to have laser rifles unless the story is adapting a narrative to cover that.

But where I spent most of my time by the side of the designers, and developers talking one on one, because that is what I wanted to know more about since a lot of the lectures are live-streamed and will be available to watch at a later date, and the big questions I had for them was. What are the motivations they have behind making a game, Gary Napper the designer for Alien Isolation I feel had the best response to it in saying!

Everyone on your team has a motive, if you’re an indie developer chances are some of your teams motivations are from money, and others team members it could be, to make a game and just have fun doing it. Whatever the reason, when you are making an indie game. The team’s structure is integral and knowing the motivations behind why they are making it is also crucial to the development the game.

More guest speakers at Konsoll 2018Gary’s words actually struck home, because I have a small development team, and our team is a small three-man group working on our projects if we were solely driven by the money aspect of things we wouldn’t be making any progress. I feel because we know what our chances of success are in an industry it’s expected that nine out of ten games is a complete failure. But that is not to discourage us from making games or even attempting to because everyone has a dream or a goal in mind when developing a game and ours just happens to say, hey we did this.

It’s alright to want to make money from a game you’ve worked hard on or even admit to it openly for some people. And it creates its own challenge. Konsoll 2018, however, planned to even help teach other developers including our small team with their vast array of workshops and segments about finding investment opportunities in-game development, which I found very helpful, and insightful and makes me quite happy that I am able to re-watch these segments online.

Gary Napper at Konsoll 2018Konsoll 2018 tackled a lot of key structural points in the areas of development helping young naïve developers learn important parts of the development process and catering to all key demographics by inviting special guests with years of experience to talk about details of the industry. Such as issues people have met working with VR technology led by Gary Napper and the problems it can create in the development stage of a game, and how to combat these issues or simply put Gary’s do’s and don’ts of VR development. But instead of going on a five thousand-word ramble about what he said it would probably be easier if I just linked his segment here when it becomes applicable if you’re interested in watching that.

The biggest thing I enjoyed however, besides the panel from Molly Maloney, and Eric Stirpe from the now defunct Telltale games about narrative design towards gaming and how it differs from casual writing, was the panel that Konsoll had for Felicia Prehn alongside her friend through Skype from the charitable organization Special Effect based in the UK addressing and dispelling myths about accessibility in games. Felicia Prehn, a blind developer spent a good hour going over the myths about game development and accessibility to those with physical disabilities and how developers regardless if they are indie developers or triple “A” devs. How they can approach developing a title that can adhere to people of all demographics for me struck home because I hate stating it; because I feel I use it more often than not as a crutch.Konsoll 2018 lecture

I’m autistic and I tend to also suffer from sensory overload which near the end of Konsoll actually happened to me, and I’d like to reiterate my thoughts on it here in this article as well, when I review a game and I take into account all the details of the game from the musical composition to the appeal of the visuals of its design. I am not looking at it solely as a teardown but as how each piece blends together with the senses. Because when a game blends more seamlessly, I’ll be more relaxed and at ease with the game and be more drawn into it. Where in a game where these things aren’t taken into account can help trigger my sensory overload because I am trying to process both the visuals and the auditory sensations of the game. It’s to this end when a developer includes just basic settings over the control of the audio and graphics so people such as myself can adjust the game to a setting where we are comfortable to do we feel more at ease gaming.

As a reviewer and a critic, this was something I never actively thought about until Konsoll and how developers can further their own development with just minor tweaks and options to make their product more accessible to other players such as myself, and being honest it will probably be something I approach more often as I never thought a developer would take notice of these things in such a small and insignificant way.

Konsoll 2018 special guestsBeing a part of Konsoll even as a guy doing “journalism” helped me realize new things both from a developer perspective and a critic perspective in how I should look at my approach towards how I develop my own titles from my team’s composition and even how I can make the game my friends and I are working on more accessible for those who will end up playing it.

But importantly from a critical perspective, how can I make my reviews of products more critical both for indie developers and triple-A titles from large companies such as Square-Enix, Konami, and the rest we work alongside

As a whole, I know this isn’t what our readers generally expect to hear but if you are an indie developer who reads our works or has had your titles reviewed for us before, and you happen to find yourself in the majestic mountain country of Norway, you should look into Konsoll and come meet a lot of these developers, designers, and people of various backgrounds and learn from them because the pursuit of knowledge in the games industry is a must for the continuing development of game titles and the industry and to create a game without the knowledge of those you are creating the game for not only will get you harshly criticized by myself; but I feel, as do a lot of other people in the games industry you might not make it if you are seeking to find the proverbial golden goose.

Now as a whole, I know my article doesn’t cover much in the way of knowledge passed down by great sages of game development, but luckily all of Konsoll 2018 can be found on their Facebook page has saved videos from the entire event because they were live-streaming the entire thing; so if you want to check them out and hear it directly from the speakers they brought in be sure to check them out! The pursuit of knowledge as a whole both in life and in-game development is a much-needed quality for a person’s evolution and hope this article helped in some way, and as a critic, I look forward to reviewing all the new titles that come out down the road as a result of Konsoll 2018.

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An autistic gamer with opinions on games who also enjoys making dumb videos on the internet!
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