Press Releases Feed

International Hobo Double Bill at Brazil's SBGames

SBGames-logo-2015Two 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!

Bolton Lecturer Starts Teaching... in California

The following Press Release has just been issued by University of Bolton, where I currently teach.

lcad_logoThis week, University of Bolton Senior Lecturer in Game Design Dr. Chris Bateman starts teaching... 5,285 miles away in Laguna Beach, California.

‘Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) first asked me to teach Game Narrative for them back in June last year,’ Chris explains, ‘but I had to decline because of my commitments at Bolton. But after thinking about it, I realised that with the high tech resources at both our campuses it might be possible to teach my class over the internet.’ That is what has happened. Using D2L’s elearning platform Brightspace, Chris will be able to teach his class on the other side of the world this Autumn.

‘I teach a world-class introduction to game narrative theory and practice in the BSc Game Design at Bolton,’ Chris adds, ‘and at LCAD I get to teach the subject as a Visiting Professor on a Master of Fine Art degree – which given the years I’ve spent defending the value of games as an artistic medium is a genuine honour.’ The class at LCAD is a modified version of a module Chris has taught at Bolton for many years, which in turn is based upon workshops he and a colleague used to run for both the BBC and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe when he was working as a full time consultant. The Bachelor's version of the workshops will also be used by Uppsala University, the oldest university in Sweden, for an Interactive Storytelling class commencing in January 2016.

Chris notes that his co-workers are amused that he’s working in Bolton and e-commuting to California: ‘They think I should have gone to California and e-commuted to Bolton instead! But I’m happy with how this worked out, and it’s a great partnership between two exceptional academic institutions.’

Sandy Appleöff, the Founder and Chair of the Art of Game Design MFA at LCAD, says that they particularly wanted Chris to teach the class for them. ‘We’d asked a number of professionals in the games industry to suggest someone to teach game narrative at LCAD, and Chris’ name kept coming up. It was a shame when he initially declined, but a great pleasure when he found away to make it happen anyway. Chris is globally recognised as an expert in game narrative, and is exactly the kind of professional we seek out to teach here at LCAD.’

Chris has enjoyed a highly successful career in game development, working on over forty five games including classic titles such as Discworld Noir and Ghost Master, as well as major global franchises such as Cartoon Network: FusionFall and Motorstorm: Apocalypse. He even self-funded an ‘artgame’ called Play with Fire that was featured in a travelling exhibition. Chris’ talents and work also go well beyond game development, stretching into groundbreaking academic research that combines game studies, neurobiology and philosophy. His work on the foundations to game aesthetics, published as the book Imaginary Games, is part of a long-term project combining philosophy and scientific research to help understand play and games. In 2013, he became the first person in the world to receive a doctorate in the aesthetics of games and play, via a PhD by Publication drawing from his existing work.

University of Bolton offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Game Design, Games Art and Game Programming, and Chris teaches on all the games degrees in various capacities, although Game Design is the BSc course that studies Game Narrative under Chris tutorship. The University was one of the first in the UK to offer degrees in game development, and its graduates have gone on to work at major developers such as Rockstar North (based in Dundee), creator of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and TT Games (based in Knutsford), who are responsible for the LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Batman, and LEGO Jurassic World franchises. A team of game students from Bolton recently won two major prizes in this year’s Dare to Be Digital competition.

Laguna College of Art and Design is a world-renowned fine arts university located on the spectacular California coast line. It offers both Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) and Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) degree courses. LCAD is considered one of the best colleges in the United States for traditional and graphic arts, specifically digital game art, with graduating students quickly being snapped up by top gaming companies including Walt Disney Animation, Microsoft, EA, and Activision.

The Player Experience Conference

GamersPleased to announce that I’m part of the team behind a new conference provisionally entitled The Player Experience: The Emotions and Worlds of Digital Games, due to launch in the Summer of 2016. An inter-disciplinary event, we are intending to sit at the intersection between Game Studies and Cyberpsychology, but will accept submissions from philosophy, narratology, neurobiology, or any other field with connections to the subject. We also welcome delegates from the games industry who’d like to give a presentation, or who’d just like to attend.

The theme for the first conference in the series is Avatars: Presence and Immersion, looking at the representation of identity in and around the fictional worlds of games, and how these lead to presence (high fidelity of experience) and immersion (deep engagement) within those imagined worlds.

The conference will be hosted at the University of Bolton in Greater Manchester UK, and we expect the Call for Participation to begin in February 2015 and close around 30 May 2015. The conference organisers are myself, Dr. Angela Tinwell, and Dr. Julie Prescott. At the moment, we are asking for Expressions of Interest consisting of an email stating that you would like to take part and your academic field and institution, or your company.

Please email px [at] ihobo [dot] com - or click this Email Robot – to let us know this event interests you. Hope to hear from you soon!

ihobo will return in January 2015.

International Hobo's Chris Bateman joins University of Bolton

After 12 years heading up the creative consultancy brand International Hobo (ihobo), and running one of its constituent consultancies from both the UK and the US, Chris Bateman is stepping down from his role as ‘Creative Overlord’ to accept a position as Consulting Researcher at University of Bolton. The move does not affect International Hobo’s consultancies, which will continue to provide expert services in game design, narrative and player satisfaction, and Chris is still available for consultancy work himself.

Chris explains his move as “a natural next step for me”. Since publishing the paper “The Neurobiology of Play” (with Dr. Lennart Nacke) in 2010, Bateman has been gradually moving closer to his research interests in player satisfaction, game design and philosophy. His work on foundations to game aesthetics, published as the Zero Games book Imaginary Games, is the start of a long-term project combining philosophical theories of representation with empirical and practical studies of how and why people play games. His work in the emerging field of game aesthetics (which includes ongoing empirical investigation into the biology of play) finally convinced him to partner with a university with the necessary resources take his research to the next level. He states: “Bolton is delighted to have me as a researcher, a lecturer and as a consultant – and they have actively encouraged me to continue the kind of consultancy work I’ve been doing for the last decade,” adding “I’m sure I can do great things with the talent and resources University of Bolton has at its disposal.”

Relations with universities are nothing new for the International Hobo consultancies. Ernest Adams of ihobo’s Designers Notebook (specialising in game design consultation) has enjoyed close links with the University of Gotland in Sweden for many years, as well as serving as a Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor for the University of Ulster, and teaching at dozens of other institutions. Similarly, Wendy Despain of ihobo’s Quantum Content (which provides game writing services) has been teaching a new generation of game writers at Full Sail, in Florida, while Richard Boon of ihobo’s Story Guy (providing narrative design and scriptwriting consultation) has been lecturing on digital and transmedia narrative for various institutions based in the United Kingdom, including the BBC.

For over a decade, companies under the International Hobo brand have delivered award winning consultancy in game design, concept design, dialogue scripting and narrative support, as well as offering cutting-edge player satisfaction services. It has worked on nearly forty videogames since being established in 1999, including million-selling S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl and Bratz: Rock Angelz titles, cult classics Ghost Master and Discworld Noir, and recent AAA titles such as Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall and MotorStorm Apocalypse.

BrainHex Succeeds Beyond Expectations

BrainHexInternational Hobo is pleased to announce the phenomenal success of their BrainHex player satisfaction model, which launched in August 2009 and received more responses in its first week than in the entire lifespan of its predecessor, DGD2. To date, the test has been taken by over 60,000 respondents, and the data is currently being analysed by the University of Saskatchewan. Multiple academic papers will be published later this year announcing the key findings of this research into how and why people play games.

Although data analysis has already begun, International Hobo will leave the BrainHex site up and running indefinitely, so that gamers can continue to take the test for their own enlightenment and amusement. It is possible that responses being collected now will still be used in future analyses.

We wish to thank everyone involved in the BrainHex project, especially Neil Bundy for his work on the test's backend code, Corvus Elrod for his work on the logos, Lennart Nacke and Regan Mandryk for their work on the statistical analysis, the countless people who helped publicise the test, and lastly the tens of thousands of players who provided the data. Thank you all!

Beyond Game Design Announced

BeyondGameDesignSA_CvrMock3 It is with great pleasure that International Hobo announces the imminent publication of Beyond Game Design: Nine Steps Toward Creating Better Videogames, with Charles River Media (an imprint of Course Technology). The new multi-author book features chapters by Richard Bartle, Chris Bateman, Noah Falstein, Michelle Hinn, Katherine Isbister, Nicole Lazzaro, Sheri Graner Ray and Joseph Saulter, and is edited by International Hobo’s Chris Bateman.

Beyond Game Design is a master class in videogame design, marketing and theory, and essential reading for anyone working (or hoping to work) in the games industry. The book deals with the entire spectrum of issues relating to how and why players enjoy the games they choose, the different ways of modelling play, and the many distinctions in the audience that make the creation of videogames such a challenging and rewarding experience.

The book has two key themes: understanding the psychology of play and including a wider audience, both of which combine towards the goal of teaching how to make superior games for everyone to play. The first part of the book shows how understanding the psychology of videogames can help make better games, covering Bartle Types, the Four Fun Keys and Roger Caillois’ patterns of play, as well as looking at social play. Combining psychological research and observation with helpful and pragmatic advice, the reader is taken on a journey that shows them how to understand players, and how this knowledge can guide game design.

The second part of the book shows the many different players who are often not considered when making games, and the practical ways to include these often untapped audiences. Issues of cultural diversity, accessibility and gender are all covered by the leading experts on these subjects. By including these wider audiences into the market for videogames, we can learn how to truly make games for everyone.

An essential read for any game designer, marketer, producer or anyone interested in what makes videogames such a vital medium, the book will be available from 16 March 2009, and can be pre-ordered from Amazon, Charles River Media, and all good book stores.

'Game Writing' Reprinted Again

The hugely popular reference book Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames has sold out once again, and is being reprinted for a third time. The book was edited by International Hobo's Chris Bateman, and features chapters by three of the company's agents (Ernest Adams, Chris Bateman & Richard Boon) as well as several of the company's external pool.

Wendy Despain, another International Hobo agent, and member of the executive panel of the IGDA's Game Writers Special Interest Group which connects the authors of the book remarked: "This is the first book that really focuses on the fundamentals of game writing, and is indispensable for any game writer trying to improve their craft."

You can learn more about the book from the original press release.

Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames is available from Amazon and all good bookstores.

Ultimate Game Player Survey

International Hobo Ltd is pleased to announce it's new study into patterns in the game playing audience. Following the success of the company's seminal DGD1 model, the subject of the acclaimed book 21st Century Game Design, we are now conducting a new survey in more detail than the original, from which we will develop a new DGD2 model of the gaming audience.

To take part in the survey, click here, or upon the Survey link in the site menu. As an added incentive, you could win the game of your choice (terms and conditions apply) just for taking part!

We encourage everyone to pass the relevant link onto anyone who might be interested. Thanks for your support!

Arcade Moon announced

An exclusive new brand for Nintendo Wii and PC arcade games

Košice, Slovak Republic (July 3rd, 2007) – 3D People, an Arcade Moonindependent game development and publishing company, is proud to present Arcade Moon – its exclusive new brand for arcade titles. Arcade Moon will deliver high quality titles for the Wii and PC platforms with a focus on the casual audience and easy-to-learn gameplay.

The first title developed by Arcade Moon is Attack on Pearl Harbor, the highly anticipated World War II air combat arcade game, recently released around the globe. The four-mission demo of Attack on Pearl Harbor has already received more than 100,000 downloads within just two weeks of release, and this figure is based on just one of the several sites featuring the demo.

Further titles from Arcade Moon will be announced shortly.

For more information please contact

About 3D People

3D People is an independent game development company headquartered in Košice, Slovak Republic. 3D People is licensed developer for Nintendo Wii and titles developed by 3D People are released through all territories. 3D People‘s titles include Kult: Heretic Kingdoms, Air Conflicts and Attack on Pearl Harbor. Multiple titles are currently under development by 3D People’s internal and external development teams.

3D People has been a client of International Hobo Ltd since 2004

Quantum Content joins International Hobo Family

Quantum ContentInternational Hobo is proud to announce the addition of a new member of their game design and dialogue scripting "family". Quantum Content, owned and operated by veteran of TV and Alternative Reality Gaming, Wendy Despain, is the fourth company to join the maverick consortium, which has continued to grow from strength to strength since its formation in 1999. The other three organisations are the core company, International Hobo Ltd (UK), Ernest Adams' Designer's Notebook, and Sanjit Daniel's Fantasy Labs developer, based in Mumbai, India, who developed the inventive platform-puzzle game Play with Fire.

"We have been working with Wendy for some time," comments International Hobo founder and Managing Director Chris Bateman, "and it is a great pleasure to bring her under the brand umbrella, so to speak. We like to see our framework as a unique opportunity for talented individuals working in the creative medium of games to gain the strengths and advantages of a larger organisation while maintaining a high degree of autonomy."

Wendy had this to say about becoming a member of International Hobo: "I'm excited to be joining such a respected group of game developers. I've admired their work, and I'm glad I can bring some additional writing and design skills to the table. I look forward to pushing the boundaries of interactive entertainment with this experienced and distinguished group in the future".

Quantum Content supplies scriptwriting, producing and consulting services to major media companies in the US. It was established in 2003 and has contributed to interactive projects for television, books and videogames.