International Hobo is proud to announce that its founder and chief consultant, Chris Bateman, has become the first game writer to have an article in the Writers & Artists' Yearbook, the essential guide to the craft and business of writing. He joins other luminary writers such as JK Rowling and Neil Gaiman in writing an article for the new 2020 edition of the guide. Chris' piece is entitled "Writing for videogames: a guide for the curious" (p400), and provides a helpful introduction to the strange and wonderful world of writing for games, ideally suited to help a writer from another medium who is thinking about games as a space to branch out into.
International Hobo has a busy year ahead! You can catch us at the following events this Spring and Summer:
Conference: GDC 2019
Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd March
Moscone Centre, San Francisco
We are meeting with publishers at GDC this year to discuss two of our game projects being made by our new ihobo games development studio in Manchester UK. Our meeting schedule is now full, but use the contact link if you'd like us to send you a copy of the pitch deck for review.
Talk: "The Virtues of Cyborg Players"
Monday 25th March, Evening
LCAD, Laguna Beach
International Hobo's founder, Chris Bateman, is giving a talk at Laguna College of Art and Design on cyberethics, and the important role that videogame players have had - and will have - in shaping our moral relationship with digital technology over the next few decades. Free admission.
Conference: Develop 2019
Tuesday 9th to Thursday 11th July
Brighton Metropole Hotel, Brighton
We are once again at Develop this year. Chris is talking (see below), and the team will be meeting with publishers, developers, and potential clients to discuss our award-winning design and narrative services, promoting game projects under development, and looking for new business opportunities with interested parties.
Talk:"The Narrative Design Survival Guide"
Brighton Metropole Hotel, Brighton
Don't miss this 'survival guide' for the challenges of narrative design in videogames, from the people who first coined the term! Hot from our acclaimed talk at Develop 18, our founder, Chris Bateman returns to Brighton to give another barnstorming Develop talk, guaranteed to make you think about games and stories in fresh and thought-provoking ways.
Conference: Gamescom 2019
Tuesday 20th to Saturday 24th August
Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany
Once again at Gamescom to meet with publishers and potential clients. Both Chris and our hard-working producer Patrick will be available for meetings. We will have new games in development to offer to publishing partners, and we are always happy to talk about our award-winning devleopment services in game design and narrative.
Please use the Contact link in the sidebar if you want to get in touch about any of these events! See you there!
After months of hard work from the team, we are now ready to show our new sandbox RPG and adventure game Silk to the world – and to ask for your help in finishing it. We’re excited to announce that on Thursday 28th February, at 7 am GMT, the Silk Kickstarter commences!
This project started out as a tribute to Mike Singleton’s classic game The Lords of Midnight, and the game uses a rendering engine with the same ‘landscaping’ algorithm as Mike’s groundbreaking strategy-adventure. Also like its inspiration, Silk offers many ways to play – as an exploration adventure, a caravan trading sim, or a siege battle game. Another key influence is King of Dragon Pass, specifically the Clan ring, which inspired the Advisor system that forms the centre of the wilderness adventures of Silk.
We are asking for all friends of International Hobo to help us promote the Kickstarter and the game. It’s vital that we hit the ground running on Thursday, as early momentum is the key to success in every crowdfunding campaign. Please retweet and share everything you see about Silk over the next week – and especially on Thursday.
If you want to back us, take advantage of Early Bird offers and get first pick of one of the special rewards on offer, please do so as soon as you can on Thursday. Day One is going to be our most important day – thank you all in advance for all your support!
Check the list below to find the launch time for your part of the world:
- 7 am Thursday 28th February for the United Kingdom
- 8 am Thursday for Europe
- 11 am Thursday for Dubai
- 1 pm Thursday for Mumbai
- 3 pm Thursday for Hong Kong
- 4 pm Thursday for Kyoto
- 6 pm Thursday for Melbourne
- 2 am Thursday for Philadelphia, PA (EST)
- 1 am Thursday for Nashville, TN (CST)
- Midnight Thursday for Billings, MT (MST)
- 11 pm Wednesday 27th February for Laguna Beach, CA (PST)
This week, Firesprite’s Playstation VR game The Persistence was released – and to great reviews! It was International Hobo’s pleasure to work on the narrative design, script, and voice recording sessions of the game. This was a significant challenge since the roguelike, procedural elements disrupted conventional storytelling and required careful construction to ensure the story did not get in the way of the game. We also worked closely with Firesprite to tweak the world building in subtle ways that will be invisible to players but which significantly improved the final experience. Firesprite gave us a lot more rope than we expected, and allowed us to create a truly unique story mounted as a two-hander theatrical play set against numbingly recurrent death. If you’re a PSVR player, check it out!
At this year’s E3 in Los Angeles, one of International Hobo’s RPG projects received two Best of E3 nominations, one from RPG Fan and one from WorthPlaying. The game, Shadows: Awakening – the latest instalment in the cult Heretic Kingdoms franchise that began in 2004 – is developed by long-time ihobo client Games Farm. Featuring an original narrative design and script by International Hobo’s founder, Chris Bateman, the game features characters voiced by Tom Baker, Sally Knyvette, Robert Ashby, Joanna Wake, Ramon Tikaram, Marc Silk and many other talented actors and actresses.
Due for release later this year by publisher Kalypso, Shadows: Awakening is an action RPG set in a dark sword and sorcery world. The player controls a Devourer, a kind of demon that can swallow the souls of the dead and manifest them as puppets. But who is really pulling the strings? Find out later this year!
How would you know if you were a good cyborg? My latest philosophy book explores this and other problems of contemporary cyberethics. From arcade machines to MUDs to World of Warcraft to Pokémon Go, encounter our strange relationship with games and technology from an entirely new angle. The Virtuous Cyborg is out now from Eyewear Publishing.
Go to cyborg.ihobo.com or click the book in the sidebar to learn more!
International Hobo’s founder Chris Bateman is at Develop Brighton this year with a talk entitled What Players Want: Understanding Player Diversity. This session is a culmination of more than a decade of work in player satisfaction modelling (not to mention game design experience from fifty published games), and presents a new way of understanding the psychology of videogames in terms of Player Motives. As well as helping clarify effective videogame design, the model can help studios make tough commercial decisions about which audiences they can or should be pursuing with a specific design concept.
How often do you go out without your smartphone? What’s the longest you’ve gone without the internet?
Whether you’ve noticed it or not, we have become cyborgs – human-machine hybrids. Whether it’s Facebook selling our personal data to be ‘weaponised’ by Cambridge Analytica, or Google suggesting answers to questions like “are women evil?” to people who asked for no such thing, our lives are affected by the machines we are living with. Cybernetic networks are all around us – and thinking about ‘neutral tools’ is no longer helpful. You’re already a cyborg… join us to help find out what would make a good cyborg!
Thursday 10th May 2018, 6:30 pm to 9 pm
Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, 2-4 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NU - order your free tickets here!
- 6:30 pm Are You A Good Cyborg?
Game designer and philosopher Chris Bateman takes us on a journey through the strange world we now live in, asking what the good life might look like for us cyborgs.
- 7:30 pm Cyborg Living Panel
Lively debate about our relationship with technology, the internet, robots, and machines.
What does the Wikipedia know, and how can it know it? More to the point, how can anyone using an anonymously edited source, the contents of which change on a daily basis, know that what they are reading constitutes knowledge? In this provocative challenge to contemporary concepts of objectivity, four figures of knowledge – the Wikipedia, scientific experiments, anonymous peer review, and school education – are investigated in order to question the way we understand the world around us.
Rather than support the classical view of an objective world 'out there' that our beliefs must accord with in order to count as knowledge, Wikipedia Knows Nothing argues that all facts are the residue of skilled activities and that knowledge is better understood as a practice. Furthermore, rather than a single 'real world', the many worlds that we each live within form a multiverse about which our subjective knowledge-practices give us broader understandings than the objective knowledge produced by experimental apparatus.
The merit of the sciences doesn't lie in their possessing the only path to truth, but in their capacity to develop knowledge-practices that can resist objections across all worlds. This leads to an urgent need to recognise the role of practices in creating and maintaining knowledge, and the different ways that truth can be stitched together into distinct but non-contradictory patchworks of 'real worlds'. When we do, we must question any claim that knowledge can come from anonymous individuals exercising an unchecked power to silence others – whether this happens on the internet in wikis, or in professional academic discourse.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.
Cross-posted from ETC Press.
Two of the keynote speakers at this year’s SBGames conference in Teresina, Brazil, are International Hobo’s own Ernest Adams and Chris Bateman. Ernest, who was part of the award-winning games consultancy for more than a decade, received his doctorate in 2013 at the same time Chris was earning his as a PhD by Publication. Both have worked on numerous commercial videogames, as well as having published extensively on games in academic publications and elsewhere. The event in Brazil marks the first time that Chris and Ernest have been on the same speaking bill since their joint presentation at GDC Europe in 2004. They both look forward to meeting the delegates at SBGames this November!