Well, after releasing ‘In Ruins’ for free and the new trailer for Sir You Are Being Hunted getting over 100k views in a few days, things have been pretty busy for me and my big-robot colleagues. Considering I’ve been in the middle of moving and basically homeless for a month its been quite a productive time.
Now, to add to the productivity Avseq has been released on Steam today. I’m really happy that Avseq (what is in some ways quite an experimental or abstract puzzle game) has made it to such a platform. The original versions were devised as art works for installation, but the subsequent iterations with guidance from the rest of big-robot have moulded it into a fully fledged game, with progressive difficulty levels achievements and so on. Adapting it for the Steam platform (initially the old system and then the much more streamlined new steampipe system) has been really interesting in itself.

Grab it here, its pretty cheap and will help support us making the rest of the stuff we are working on at big robot.

Its been great reading through the feedback and reviews we’ve had from different versions. One of the most common misconceptions is that player think there is some sort of precomposed soundtrack that is being slowly unlocked or un-muted as you play. Instead the audio is completely dictated by the position of the atoms you detonate on the sequencer grid. Its completely generative and different each time (although within the same set of sounds per level). This means that sometimes the track you make will build a perfect 4/4 groove and on other plays will be sparse, disjointed or even dischordant. But thats part of the game system, a procedural generation of audio, produced in sync with the visual development of the playing field. Anyway heres some ace youtube player running stage 7

Avseq was installed at the Phoenix Square arts cinema in Leicester, earlier last summer (2010). While I received flattering feedback from most people who saw the installation, I was (unsuprisingly) disappointed by the reticence of most people to actively engage in a ‘computer game’ in the context of a gallery.

As to be expected, the cultural expectations engendered by galleries and ‘white cube’ spaces naturally discourages people from attempting to play with anything that might be considered an ‘art work’. For any interactive art (non digital included) this is a big problem, but with videogames there is also a generational barrier to tackle. However it was reassuring that when people did engage with the game, they generally spent much longer with it than they would with any traditional art work.

A few days ago I stumbled across a youtube video of some young fellows playing the game with decent skills and explaining the rules (which were only minimally documented on a wall panel, and not covered in the game itself) to the cameraman. Its a brilliant example of the generational differences we have in our of expectation and appreciation of videogames and digital art.

Thanks to ‘Citizens Eye’ for the video!

Just for completeness sake Im also including some of the older prototype images here too

This version was shown & played at Ultrasound in Huddersfield and at the Orange centre in Birmingham.