With the summer in full swing, our North Wales-based Core Team Members ProfessorDey and kcSeb headed out on Friday to the local Level Up Wales gaming convention, hosted at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. Here we found a wide variety of young and aspiring developers looking to show off their latest creations, with many of them being students at the University. Below is just the selection we had time to see, interview and get to grips with at the event.

Static Shell Studios

stcshll1 Square One - PC Game with Mobile Controls by Static Shell Studios
If you’ve ever tried sofa gaming, you know well the pain of everyone crowding around the fewer than required controllers, waiting their turn and battling it out for the next spot. Static Shell Studios decided to try and fix this by making use of the ultimate controller every modern gamer already has in their pockets, a smartphone. Just start the game, scan the provided QR code with any reader app and you can join the fun, an infection-style marble madness, rolling and bouncing your ball around to escape the infected. We had 5 people connecting at once, to make for some rather hectic gameplay.

We had a great time play testing with the devs and discussed the future improvements that could be made. At present it only has local play over the same Wi-Fi connection, but they are considering the feasibility of networked play. We also discussed power-ups and alternate game modes, like rotating arenas, to make the pits in the levels even more deadly, the latter being a matter of hot debate between one devious dev and their level programmer. Overall, this is a great little game that demonstrates the miriad uses of the little devices in our pockets, averting the need to spend extra for spare controllers where you don’t need to.

Find them at their Twitter page: https://twitter.com/StaticShell

Treasure Map Tales

tmt2 Bag Heads – Story Driven Gangbeasts-style brawler by Treasure Map Tales
What do you get when you take the brawler mechanics of Gangbeasts, the subtly chilling narrative of Unravel or Limbo and add a football minigame reminiscent of Rocket League? A surprisingly fun game called Bag Heads. This 4-player brawler does require controllers, unlike the previous game, which is a bit of a shame, but its controls certainly demand a certain amount of clicky feedback as you hammer and smash away at your opponents. While the story mode is still under development, we did get a preview of a cavernous, mysterious warehouse, battling across conveyors and avoiding compactors as we went until we dropped into a sewer. While short, it did a pretty solid job conveying the ambiance for the game of a dark, oppressive world surrounding our bright and colourful characters, aiming to appeal to all ages through the subtle atmosphere most kids won’t notice.
tmtp3 Bag Heads – Football Minigame Madness by Treasure Map Tales
To top off our experience, we dived into their Football mini-game, putting their mechanics to the test as we sprinted into the ball, picked up and threw around our opponents, and scoring many an own goal by standing in just the wrong place (In ProfessorDey’s case). A great little game mode with only slightly glitchy physics from a very light and speedy ball, fun for all the family. Overall we found the game easy to recommend, especially with promises from the devs to tighten up the controls even more and improve the UI in spots to make certain info easier to read. Great art style, level design and general implementation, we’re very much looking forward to its future development.

Everyone Can

everyonecan Andrew, with the Everyone Can disability gaming support charity
As a rather different experience, we also spoke to Andrew from the Everyone Can charity, which works to make gaming more accessible to those with disabilities. Based out of Manchester, they invite those with trouble gaming on regular setups to their dedicated facility with 100 inch displays, a variety of custom input devices and lots of seating for family to join their loved ones in the fun. We spoke at length about Microsoft’s new Accessibility controller, the slowly reducing costs of providing disabled persons with ways to enjoy games as readily as anyone else and the do so in comfort. Their two demonstration setups did see some use while there and it was quite the sight to see, making use of a variety of accessories. Even with Microsoft’s new controller, there’s no first party accessories and third party support has been slow. We look forward to a future where everyone can play on equal footing, but it’ll take a little motivating of manufacturers to get the needed devices out on the market at an affordable price.

 

everyonecan2 Accessiblity Accessory Demo - Everyone Can

Acer Predator Mobile Gaming Van

acervan Predator Mobile Gaming Van - Acer
Speaking of manufacturers, we got to have a good look at a fully-fledged 4-man Gaming Battlewagon from Acer. A travelling gamer’s wet dream, the van contains 4 of Acer’s top of the line gaming laptops, all hooked up to a compact battery bank that recharges through regenerative breaking from the van itself as it travels. It can last a good 4+ hours of constant 4 player gaming with only the two batteries hidden in the side wall.
acervaninside Predator Mobile Gaming Van Interior - Acer
acerbatt Predator Mobile Gaming Van Battery Bank - Acer
All Images are credit of Joshua L. Hayes and Kenneth S. Cremeans of LBRY-C – All images are hosted on Spee.ch and LBRY.Community
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