ACEE 2005 Report

Late I know but I was hopping the ACEE organizers would give some more information I missed (which they didn’t). so anyways here it is.

There I was waking up at 9am Saturday morning and during Ester vacations, anyone could see this had to be something important for me to do this :D.

So I toke my breakfast and toke of, this time alone (dam you cebola) but at least I was driving the family car so the trip was a short and comfortable one. When I arrive there I could see this year’s ACEE (Image) was going to be very different, there were man in suits all over the place with name tags and two ladies (that’s right ladies, this time they showed up) were putting up a big ACEE sign on the wall.

I was a bit early but still, I head straight inside, as soon has I enter I greeted familiar faces from last year and continued my way to the exhibits. This year’s games were not that many so I decided to write about them all:

  • Pac-Man Arena by Nuno Subtil, also made an appearance since last year, I didn’t noticed any changes since then, so I just moved along.
  • Ladrão dos Esgotos (Thief of the sewer) by (Can’t remember the names) it was a Pac-man style game with a odd theme, I still can’t figure out what a thief would want to go down a sewer for, but of course to each is one, the game was really retro with old NES style graphics but considering the authors were still in the 11º grade it wasn’t that bad :).
  • Frog game by Ricardo Santos was a bloody weird game if I can even call it that, I really couldn’t figure it out (and I wasn’t alone in this). The flash game consisted in a frog that would began a quest and you could control if he was walking or standing still, every time I stopped the frogs eye would pop out and drop into the floor, I figured out that you could click stuff but all I could do was pick up a violin and open door to odd characters that told me to only return if I could help… I just considered this one too “innovating” and “artistic” for me and moved on…
  • Mine Sweper style game by (also can’t remember the name), pretty much seemed to be like the mine sweeper that comes with windows, never been a fan so moving along…
  • Reaktor by José Miguel Salles Dias, Tiago Rodrigues e Rui Pires, o yeah baby multiplayer rocks, the game itself was quite basic, there were no animations to the player actions, the bullets appeared in front of the characters, but dam it worked, and it was all made from scratch by the authors making it dam good all things considered.
  • VIGDP01 by Filipe Amim and Jaerden Sousa, this one brought me old memory’s from galaga and space invaders, the game play was pretty much the same but with “better” graphics, probably to good since sometimes it was hard to see what was going on, in any case it was a nice game 🙂
  • Enemy Territory AI mod by some French/Swiss Clan (I think) and dam those BOTs were tough bastards, they supposedly were at a mid level setting but still head shots were common, I only tried them in defense and noticed some flaws mostly how they would allow me to build stuff unharmed as long as I was behind cover or how they wouldn’t even try to destroy the tank, still their sharp shooting more them compensated for that.
  • Tranceball by Paulo Faria, one of my favorite games from last year’s edition, this time the sound bug was gone and I actually managed to complete some levels :), this was a still a beta version but I didn’t found anything wrong with it so I think that it really will be released next month as Paulo Faria claimed, a game worth waiting for.
  • M.I. – New Dawn by Helder Pinto’s Team, all that was available was a video but dam it look good, if the mod lives up to the images it’s gona be one hell of a ride :p.

Also as usual there were lectures (surprise, surprise :p), after the almost boring official opening the first off in the list were Bitbang (Telmo Menezes e Tiago Batista) who spoke of the well know problem of AI (or lack of it) offering a possible solution by using evolutionary intelligence, a dam good discussion, so good that I had to shower the lecturers with questions after the presentation during the “oh so nice” Coffee breaks (we even had cakes an drinks on the house, the luxury of it all :D).

Alaney Dória, was also present as before this time talking on the progress of the IGDA chapter Lisbon, they are planning a new website and more collaboration with the gamedev-pt community, which can only be a Good thing.

After the delicious lunch of BBQ chicken at my house, I returned for Clemens Pecinovsky lecture on professional game developing and current trends, (even if nobody mentioned it a bit of googling seemed to indicate he was working in RockStar Vienna) he gave us a good look at how game studios work these days and some advice to the hopefully future game developers in the audience.

Óscar Mealha also had an interesting lecture about Transdiscipliner education, even if it was not game specific it was of interest since as a person studding to become a game developer often thinks it should focus on OpenGL Programming, Modeling and stuff forgetting other areas that are also important like Team Work strategies, having a good writing, etc…

Finally we add one of the coolest presentations, the Demo scene, we got to see the tools used to make to make those “little” pieces of art, and yes it’s all pure Assembly code all the way, from the music to the textures, everything in the demo is generate from a bit of assembly code, I was blown away…

And that was the end of that, the jury decided and handed out the awards. Honorable mentions were given to Ladrão dos Esgotos, M.I. – New Dawn mod and the Enemy Territory AI mod. 3º place was given to the Reaktor FPS, 2º to the VIGDP1 and finally 1º place was given to Paulo Faria (it would be very hard not to considering the quality of TranceBalls).

Concluding, one thing that should be noted this year was the maturing of ACEE 2005 into a “real” event, the organization increased from 3 to 27 persons most of them wearing full suits during the even (pour guys I feel your pain :(), the presence of international speakers, reporters and even the offer of magazines and complimentary snacks and drinks, it all made me fell confident that ACEE is here to stay, I can only imagine that it will grown in the next few years and hopefully attract more people expectedly Portuguese amateur game developers, I know they’re out there (I know a few) but some are still working on their games wile others fell they got nothing to show (even when they do)… I expect them to make an appearance in next years ACEE, till then.

Note: Images generously made available by Nuno Subtil from his New Dawn ACEE Photo Galery, thanks dude ;).