After a number of panels featuring discussion between independent puppetmasters and members of different design companies, 42 Entertainment‘s Jim Stewartson (Chief Technology Officer), Elan Lee (Co-Founder, Vice President of Experience Design), Sean Stewart (Co-Founder, Creative Director), Steve Peters (Game Designer) and Michael Borys (Visual Design Director) sat down for a roundtable discussion, moderated by Kristen Rutherford, about how their team works together.
Stewart began the roundtable with a discussion of a chemistry puzzle in the Beast that was intended to look “cool and spooky” but be relatively easy to solve, and 42’s subsequent efforts to reproduce that effect in their other games. One of these attempts was Flea++, the “programming” language used in I Love Bees. In a similar vein, players would “teach” the character of the Sleeping Princess to speak as she cobbled together words and phrases from their emails and replied to them. Stewart’s favorite draft reply was “I want a cupcake.” Lee told him they couldn’t use it because it was too ambiguous — it could be a call to action for the players. According to Stewart, one of Lee’s main roles within the company is removing ambiguity from what the players see (Stewart’s summary: the creative process at 42 consists mainly of Lee saying, “That’s really good but can we have another draft?”).
A reminder to all interested parties that the post-game Puppetmaster chat for Last Call Poker is happening tonight at 7:00 pm PST. As we announced last week, the chat will be happening in the #lastcall chat room on the Chat-Solutions network.
On April 26th, the International Game Developers Association will present “THINKING OUTSIDE THE (x)BOX (or “HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE BEES”) at 7:00 PM at the Metreon’s Action Theater in San Francisco (101 4th Street @ Mission).
Featured speakers will be Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart and Jim Stewartson of 4orty2wo Entertainment, the team behind the Alternate Reality Game “I Love Bees.”
4orty2wo’s Alternate Reality Game became a phenomenon last year, sending thousands of players running to payphones around the world. The innovative Halo 2 prequel involving a seemingly innocent website of a Napa Valley beekeeper and a shipwrecked AI from the future received a Game Developers Choice Award for Innovation, was featured at GDC’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop, and became the latest and most successful example of the nascent Alternate Reality Games (ARG) genre.
But what place do ARGs have in the world (and future) of video games? What is their relation to one another? Are there lessons to be learned from ARG production that can impact the way video games are made?
Join Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, and Jim Stewartson of 4orty2wo Entertainment as they examine I Love Bees to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of ARGs, their intersection with traditional video games, and the future of this exciting new form of digital play.