PAX AUS 2015 day three saw the sun back out. Melbourne weather, you fickle hearted trickster, you.
We took it pretty easy today, had a late breakfast and rolled up to the Convention Center around midday. Ten steps inside the door I stopped to take a snap of a trio of cool looking Zelda Cosplayers. There is so much cosplay around the place over the weekend I don’t make a specific point of trying to get photos – there are people who come to the con with all their photo gear specifically for that which is great – but I try to grab a couple of snaps here and there.
We went straight to the indy pavilion (‘PAX Rising’) today to have a proper look around and chat to a few people. The area was still quite busy but nowhere near as packed as Saturday, so I’d definitely recommend visiting the indy pavilion and the exhibition hall in general on one of the quieter days if you get the chance.
It looks like a lot more work has happened on Super Mega Mega since I wrote about it last year. I’ll be following up with the dev on whether they’re planning to put out a DK2 demo anytime soon. I also noticed as a general trend the Oculus Rift making more of an appearance this year with a significant upturn in the number of indy games featuring Rift support. One example was Marble Mountain, which had two demos running, one on Oculus and one on regular screen. It’s good to see examples of VR being used as an enhancement option while leaving the game still fully playable without the extra hardware.
I also took a quick look at Hacknet which was very popular both days I went past. My day job is in infosec, and I’m interested to see the reported ‘realism’ of the hacking portrayed in the game. I watched it for a few minutes and saw plenty of references to actual services (SSH, SMTP) which sounds promising. The idea of a game which can teach people the fundamentals of computer security testing is quite intriging – much of the professional development of a pentester is halfway to being gameified already, and one of the ideas I had already thought would be cool would be a realistic hacking-based RPG sim.
I had a crack at Depth on the way past and chatted to one of the Devs. This was fun in a bit of an uncomfortable way, with your character as an aggressive shark attacking divers. You can also be a diver and defend yourself against the sharks, so theres a good bit of potential for multiplayer antics there.
I didn’t play it myself, but I want to make special mention of Mushroom 11 – which looks seriously intriguing, with the aim apparently to guide a mutating blob of… gas? through various obstacles. How you get a boss fight out of this mechanic I couldn’t imagine until witnessing it, but they exist.
Last thing before leaving the pavilion, I stopped and chatted to the guys from Terran Studios and had a go of their mobile game Tiny Titans. They sound like an motivated group – running a Melbourne game studio while working full time jobs, and in particular providing intern spots for game dev students.
Next we caught the next Khoo and A session in the main theater. Hearing anecdotes from the PA insiders is one of the draws of PAX for me, and this session didn’t disappoint. I forget if it was this or the earlier Q&A but particular mention was made of the PA Stripsearch series (and if a season 2 would be produced), which I really must check out.
Afterwards with the sunset of PAX approaching we decided to take it easy, chilled outside the main theater and had lunch. The line for the omegathon started forming fairly early, and with about half an hour to go we jumped on the end and ended up with a decent seat towards the middle, about halfway up. The theater always seems to fill right up for the finale and this was no exception, with the balconies packed. Tycho and Kris did the big reveal of the final game… Dr Mario and Tetris! I didn’t remember this combo on the SNES, with the original gameboy being more my Tetris platform, but it was good. Katy and I were pretty excited about this as we have both spent many many hours playing versus tetris on the old school gameboy, and this made us want to crank it up again.
It ended up being quite an epic battle. With a best-of-three win condition, round 3 started with one point each. The writing seemed to be on the wall for Kramburger shortly into round 3, with Mitherin racing ahead into the Dr Mario stage with a comfortable lead, but it all turned into fail when Mitheren somehow managed to fumble things up and reset his level, giving Kramburger a vital chance to make up the gap and putting him back in front. After some frenetic virus bashing, Mitheren wasn’t able to recover in time and Kramburger took out the title! Both players were in good spirits despite the high tension of a trip to a US PAX at stake. As per the tradition, Mitheren will be back as runner up challenger next year.
This brought PAX AUS 2015 to an end – see you all next year!