This morning we welcomed Futurlab to take over our Twitter account and answer questions from people, including ourselves here at Plusnet, on our feed wanting to know about games, the industry and challenges for the future. Joining us from Futurlab was Kirsty Rigden, Operations Director. Kirsty joined Futurlab in 2010 as a Producer/Designer when, at that time, the number of staff employed by the company numbered just three! The company has now grown to ten and their award-winning game Velocity has a metacritic score of 87. Their second game Velocity 2X will be available for PS4. On a personal note, Kirsty states: “When I was around 16 and having to start to make life choices, I decided that whatever job I had I wanted it to be something that I was completely passionate about, and for me this was games.“Even though I was rubbish at maths, I worked hard and went on to study Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science at Edinburgh Uni as I knew that this would help me get a career in games.“After university I got a job as a games tester, testing Java mobile games. I worked hard, was diligent and made it clear that I wanted to become a game designer, so when one of the designers left they offered me the job of Junior Designer. Since then I’ve worked as a game designer for a number of studios, including Relentless Software and EA.” Here is a full re-run over the questions put to Kirsty and the answers she gave in our inaugural Twitter Takeover: @Plusnet asked…. What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the games industry?
Get a job as a games tester. It gives you a real understanding into how games are made and which role in the industry would suit you. You also get to pick the brains of those with lots of experience.
I can't distill it down to 1 - there are so many. Pikmin 3, de Blob, Lego Batman 2, LA Noire - I could go on
@leviaxxan asked.…What do you think is the most important part of a game, the gameplay, story or graphics?
Gameplay without a doubt. That's what distinguishes games from other mediums. But I'm a designer so I would say that.
@Plusnet asked…. How difficult is it to come up with new game ideas that no one has done before?
Everything in art is inspired by something else. The trick is to not worry about doing something completely new. Just concentrate on creating something really fun and really solid. Some of the best games are new takes on old games. Velocity is clearly inspired by the retro space shooters but we added a new twist with the ability to teleport. We didn’t add this purely because it was new but because it was a fun mechanic to use.
@leviaxxanasked… What do you think is going to be the next innovation in gaming?
Wow, difficult to tell. Oculus Rift is certainly very exciting and will certainly bring a whole new perspective to gaming.
@nelsonjd76 asked…. Which of the next generation consoles are you more excited to create and develop for?
I love PlayStation. They are always open to new ideas. For example, you wouldn’t have seen Journey on any other platform. We are currently developing our new game Velocity 2X for PS4.
@nelsonjd76 asked…. When do they think true convergence will happen so it doesn't matter about PC or console type but everyone plays together?
Honestly, I’m not too sure that will happen in the future. I can’t see the console manufacturers working together like that – it doesn’t make sense for their business. Though there is already some convergence within each company. For example, you will be able to play on your PS Vita against your friend on PS4 at the same time - it’s called Cross Play.
@Plusnet asked…. We liked your recent blog post re: female leads. Who’s your favourite?
I’m not always aware of the gender of my character when playing a game I’m usually too busy having fun, so this is a difficult one. 2 that stick in my mind for different reasons are Aeris from Final Fantasy VII and Laverne from Day of the Tentacle – she was insane!
@Plusnet asked…. Velocity is an award-winning game but in hindsight is there anything that you would change to make it even better?
We would have liked to have bosses but simply ran out of time. We also would have liked more environments and more visual effects. The great thing about working on a sequel is that we can now put all these things in!
@BlasphemousFish asked…. Is free-to-play with in-game micro transactions the future? The subscription model seems to have fallen out of fashion
It is ‘a’ future. I believe that lots of different business models can co-exist. I think F2P is very on trend at the moment but, like with all these things, the bubble will burst. There will continue to be a place for it within a particular market.
@nelsonjd76 asked….What games did both gaming companies not make but wish they had? Commercially as well as critically.
Everyone here @FuturLab would answer that differently. For example, I know James (owner) would have loved to have been responsible for Wipeout and Street Fighter. Personally, I would have loved to have made de Blob – it’s such a clever concept and one of my all-time favourite games. But I feel (hope) I could have made it even better by ironing out some of the kinks in the level design and camera.
@MRFITFCTiger asked ….What is or was the biggest challenge for gaming companies now/in the past?
I think the biggest challenge is cost. Games are becoming more and more expensive to make due to all the (awesome) new technology but the price of games to the consumer is staying the same. We need to be more inventive in what constitutes a good and successful game as we’re hitting a barrier tech-wise. That’s where indies come in.
@bobpullen asked…. What do you think is the most influential video game of the last decade?
Different games influence in different ways. Grand Theft Auto has certainly defined the open-world genre. Quake really started the First Person Shooter movement, while Journey has broadened the spectrum of gaming in general.
@stewartgilray asked.... What single thing captures your imagintion when creating games?
Finding the toy of the game. Forget about any visuals, any concept, any story. What’s the fundamental fun thing to play with and then how do we expand on that? The toy of the game is core to the overall experience. For example, boosting and teleporting in Velocity or jumping on an enemies head in Mario.
We would like to thank everyone at Futurlab and Kirsty in particular for taking the time out to spend an hour with us today and we wish them all the very best with the release of Velocity 2X.