Edinburgh Interactive Festival 08 – Sunday


The 10.30 AM kick-off revealed a real treasure-box of treats in store for visitors at the 2008 Edinburgh Interactive Festival.   Looking round the ‘welcome foyer’ and further into the main lobby we could see many stands of gaming consoles,  developer tables, and small presentations that would capture the attention of both children and adults alike.   Amid the promotional displays bounced the eager and impatient, everyone excited and enthralled at the delights within.  And yes, the Ready-Up staff were bouncing as well as the rest of them!

I’m a bit of a veteran when it comes to conventions and conferences, but all have been through a work capacity and have been very formal and heavy going.  This was a dream for me, and I was like a big kid in the ultimate toy store.   If Carlsberg made conferences, then it would probably be the best… ah you know the rest.   Just as good was the opportunity to meet the other Ready-up’ers for the first time off-line.   I’d met Kirsten on Xbox Live earlier in the year during a sponsored event, but finally meeting her I found myself being cautious at laying the hero-worship on too thick.   Thankfully the professional gamer and journalist has a very down-to-earth friendly nature, and is used to fan-boys saying “Wow, I know you! You’re that girl from…!”, etc.  I was very at home with my new friends and was welcomed into the team. My special thanks to Dan, Kirsten, Martin, Simes, John, and Scott for their camaraderie and hard work.

Unfortunately, most of the real meat of the 3 day conference was to take place over Monday and Tuesday, so I was having to miss out on the really good stuff.  That being said, after getting the Ready-Up stand set up and our base of operations alive and kicking, we were able to get mixing with people and see what was on offer.  Many heavy-weights from the gaming industry were there in force, and by far the biggest presence was Nintendo with its Wii-Fit ‘Feel Great Britain Tour’ and the Nintendo-DS ‘Cooking Guide’, which was a spectacular demonstration of live cookery by a top chef that captivated many people by the smell alone.  The aroma of garlic and chilli prawns was mouth-watering!

Other big names we spoke to included Codemasters, Creative Assembly, Datascope, Edge magazine and Channel 4 to name a few, and it was very interesting to mix with such big industry names, and discuss what Ready-Up is all about.  Throughout the day, our team would be hard at work setting up interviews and taking part in demonstrations.  Some of what we had access to wasn’t even at release stage and was effectively a preview of some great games in development.  The Playstation 3 stand dominated the centre of the main room with a bank of high screens and a clever game that let you create your own cute monster character and platform world in which you solve puzzles and drool at the power of the 3-D engine.  This also allowed you to take a picture of yourself via a camera and make your head (for example) into a physical landscape feature to jump around and climb up, just like in a Mario-land scene.  This was all created and controlled by an avatar sprite with an interactive lasso, that captures menu objects from a changing side-bar and drags them into the game environment. In the hands of the PS3 demonstrator, this looked like a powerful tool that had endless possibilities as we saw later in a co-op game with characters riding a giant skate-board.

“Dare to be Digital” had sponsored what was probably the most inspirational presentation of the day – the student game developers competition, which had its own room downstairs and was like walking into something from Halo.  It was big, it was dark, and the lighting was very ‘spacey’ with large screen displays from University teams demonstrating their projects.  Basically in just eleven weeks they have to plan, design, code, develop, test, and present (at EIF’08) their creations, essentially giving up their souls for the chance to win their game being turned into a proper product.  The quality of work was amazing, and each game had its own unique features that caught your eye and locked you there.  Despite the definite platform influence, some very special games of note were ‘Novum Londinium’, ‘VegeMe’, ‘Captain Cannonball in Attack of the Space Pirates’, ‘Smile’, and my personal favourite – ‘Origamee’ from Abertay University.  What instantly won this game for me was the very clever use of Anime-styled avatars, artwork and rendering that would give any Sega game a run for its money.  Very cleverly, your character is able to morph into different folded paper animal and bird shapes to move throughout the world, avoiding pitfalls as you go.  It was great fun with a fresh take on a popular theme, and I could see its appeal to both young and older audiences immediately. Well done to everyone for their hard work!

It was inevitable that this being my first Ready-Up event, ‘something’ was going to happen to me as a baptism of fire.  So when Kirsten announced that I’d be doing a video shoot demonstration on the Wii-Fit, I started to panic.  Despite my martial arts background, ‘Wii-ain’t-as-fit’ as I’d like to be, and this sounded like a recipe for disaster in which I envisioned breaking a fit-board or straining something vital.  Thankfully I wasn’t alone and Martin was roped in as well.  Little did I know that Martin was actually a household champion of Wii-Fit challenges, so pitting us against each other was slightly in his favour.  The yoga tree-stretch was first and I actually thought I had a very well developed sense of balance.  Either I was wrong or the Wii calibration was off, but for the sake of argument let’s say I wobbled too much.  Martin stood there like the mighty-oak he is, and I just scraped through by a few points.  The next excercise was very hard – pointing, stretching and swinging the legs back alternately, but of course Martin had this mastered and won hands (or rather feet) down!

I’ve just bought a Wii console and Wii-fit (which is like gold-dust just now), so I’ll be training hard to be prepared for the next Ready-Up event.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself at today’s session and if this is anything to go by, I’ll be hungry for the next one.



, ,




12 responses to “Edinburgh Interactive Festival 08 – Sunday”

  1. Tony avatar

    The PS3 game with the cute monster (sackboy) you’re talking about is LittleBigPlanet, my second most anticipated game of 2008 (after GTA IV).

    I absolutely can’t wait until October for it.

    Did you get to play it?

  2. Shaz avatar

    You guys know about the pre-order goodness with Little Big Planet? You can get a sack boy Kratos (God of War) or sack girl Nariko (Heavenly Sword)!

    [url=http://uk.gamespot.com/pages/forums/show_msgs.php?topic_id=26535195]Pictures here[/url]

  3. Shaz avatar

    Fantastic stuff! Wish I was at the paaarrr-taay!

    Did you guys know about the pre-order goodness of L.B.P? You can get sack boy Kratos (God of War) or sack girl Nariko (Heavenly Sword)!

    Click here

  4. Tony avatar

    Forget the Kratos sackboy, first thing I’m doing is putting a copy of the Ready Up logo onto a USB stick, and giving my sackboy his very own RU t-shirt…

  5. Zanveth avatar

    Ahhh LBP, the game that’s going to make me buy a PS3!

    Great write up by the way.

  6. Martin avatar

    Chris, you have done the day justice, it was great fun, oops, work! Little big planet has seriously made me consider a PS3, it was that good! Jings if I’d known I was up against a martial artist I would have let you won!!
    It was great to meet the others too and I sense a comedy double act in the Martin and Chris show for some time,
    “can I give you my entry?”
    Nice one mate! oops, that was me!!

  7. Chris avatar

    lol thanks for all the comments folks! It was a fantastic day and an honour to be involved.
    Tony – thanks for reminding me about the name of the game “Little Big Planet”. It was on the tip of my tongue the whole time I was typing, but just couldnt get it out 🙂

    Strangely enough, this is the one game that may make me break the ‘Xbox code of honour’ as well. It was an amazing game and a joy to watch.

    Martin – I had such a great time and I totally agree, I think there needs to be a Matin/Chris double-act!! Glad Im not the only mad one here 😉 Looking forward to seeing the completed video of us abusing the Wii-Fit lol

  8. Emily avatar

    Okay, this is totally irrelevent but I Think Kirsten looks adorable in that group photo! It makes me want to pat her on the head or something.

  9. Paige avatar

    The EIF was a great event to be involved in, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    LBP is a definite buy for me now and hopefully will bring some life to my PS3 again in my eyes.

    I think I spent the majority of the event laughing at the stuff the team said. And also how persistent the waitresses seemed to be on offering Kirsten wine… haha

  10. Michael avatar

    Why are all those people looking at, hmm, “How to cook for beginners”? Look at the chef! Jeez! Um, anyway…

    I like that T-shirt draped over the table! And is LBP really a game? Either way, it’d be one of the things that’d tempt me into getting a PS3.

  11. Chris avatar

    Paige – glad you enjoyed yourself as much as I did. Was sorry to have missed you, but work called again on Monday.
    Michael – this is unlike any game Ive played before, it’s like a massive level editor but from what we saw it still comes with standard game features, it’s just very tailorable.

  12. Kate Davies avatar
    Kate Davies

    This site really rocks! you have really got a good thing going here. Drop me an email if you fancy doing an interview soon (you could just fill a 150 sec slot and tell people about who you are and what you do), I don’t know if you’d be willing to travel but maybe we could arrange an online conversation if not. I’ll be in touch again once I’ve had a word with my producer.
    Kate xx

Leave a Reply