HSK at PAX Aus, 2014, day 1

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What a first day!

My first stop was at the booth for Evolve, which is an asymmetrical FPS that pits four ‘hunter’ players against a single ‘monster’ player. Each hunter chooses their class, either assault, support, trapper, and medic, which is what I played. The medic in Evolve is quite an interesting class. As well as it’s medigun, which lets you heal from afar, she also has a pair of sniper rifles, one that marks and slows the enemy and one that creates weakpoints for your team to exploit.

We ended up losing our round, mainly due to the fact that we didn’t find the big beast until it had already grown in power from fighting the lesser monsters wandering around the map. I did my best, switching between the medigun to heal my teammates and popping off the occasional shot with my sniper rifles. In the end I was the last one left and found myself backed into a corner. The beast player had chosen an excellent spot to fight us, a cavern that forced us to move in close and deal with his lethal close-ranged attacks.

Not long after that I headed down to the tabletop area and got to meet Ben, creator of Syrinscape. If you play or run tabletop RPGs this is an awesome tool for enhancing the atmosphere at your table. The Syrinscape Player allows a GM to set up sound banks complete with background noise and musical score or choose from a range of default options. It does however take some getting used to and I still find that I’ve often changed scene at the table but forgotten to change the sound bank.

I’m running the player on my Surface Pro which has some interface issues. But isn’t that small fault worth it if you can press a button and hear the Wilhelm scream anytime you want? Besides, Ben tells me he has some fixes and improvements in stall for the next update.

Towards the end of the day I went along to the Bioware panel on Storytelling. It was a strange group of panelists, the creative director and veteran designer make sense, but one of the scripters and a guy in charge of providing the team with hardware? I suppose the panel just ended up having a different focus to what I was expecting.

Nevertheless, they talked quite a bit about Dragon Age: Inquisition, which I was VERY happy about. During the Q&A section at the end of the panel someone asked about favourite parties in regards to their random banter. Anyone familiar with Bioware games will know these, little comments or conversations between your followers as you move through the world. Funnily enough the four panelists unanimously named Bull as their favourite banter-maker, especially when paired with Sera or Cassandra. Tomorrow I’ll even have the chance to actually play Inquisition for a bit! So, more on that game tomorrow night.

Plenty of photos taken too, but I’ll do a big post of them when all this has blown over. Text impressions will have to do for now. See you at the show tomorrow.

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