So I was invited to attend the Games Convention Asia and get to N-Gage with the inspiring people behind the gaming industry. OK. I will let the professional journalists to cover the media buzz and future road-maps. What I wish to share with you here is a more personal coverage of their passion and my hands-on experience with the upcoming Nokia N-Gage games ONE and Spore.
Last week, I did a coverage of the PC version of Spore. It is a great game, no doubt. And I heard that this smash hit may be ported to other gaming platforms. Here I am, this very evening, playing Spore Origins with a Nokia phone. Too bad, I failed to distract the Nokia girl (more like the other way round) and my evil plan of sneaking out with one of their phones didn’t turn out as planned. Nevertheless, I tried out the game briefly and it was cute, simple, yet fun. Very much like the 1st phase of the PC version. N-Gage has retained the customization features too (middle picture above). The only thing missing is that in the PC version, you perform a “mating call” in order to level up. I almost wanted to turn to this lovely Nokia girl besides me and asked how do I …
So I was introduced to Ralph Lämmche, the Senior Games Producer from Helsinki. Ralph is such a fun guy, full of passion, and when he was demonstrating ONE (an upcoming fighting game), he was so much animated. Ralph showed us the special 3D moves created using the motion capture technique, the customization available, how the world ranking works, and the technical challenges of implementing a game using a phone – all from the perspective of a game developer. I asked how long it typically takes to develop a game and he said 18 months; I asked how long it took to capture the motion and he said a week; I asked what the budget was to develop ONE and he said … OK, I am not sure if that is a public information so …
I met Dan Scott too. Dan is best known as the producer and creative director for Snakes, an updated version of the classic Nokia game and he overseas a portfolio of the N-Gage games. Dan flew in from Canada and he does have this look of immense intelligence. I asked how he creates games (because I did too as a hobby when I was young) and he took me on a journey of how ideas can strike us from anywhere, how he always have the audience in mind, the iterations of development and he may end up with something completely different from what was being conceptualized – for good reasons.
I asked if it is now easier or tougher for the new generation of game designers and developers (due to the leap of technology). He said in a way it is easier because of the training available. But in a way harder as in the old days, people from different disciplines could enter the industry, so long as you are good. Truly inspiring. I asked what are his all time favorite games. He took a moment and replied Dungeon & Dragon games (old school, me too!) as well as the classic first person shooters such as Half Life and Doom (OK, I suck at those). Which game does he look forward to the most? Starcraft II. Me too!
Check this out. Dan always finishes a computer game (and he studied Robotics). Gosh!
A lovely evening, certainly an eye opener for an avid gamer of decades years. I hope you enjoy reading this and if you have a chance, do check out these upcoming N-Gage titles.