Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Nominated for two Pocket Gamer awards!

Very exciting news! I'm up for two awards in the Pocket Gamer Awards 2014. I've been nominated for Best Developer, and Slamjet Stadium is up for Best Sports/Driving Game.

Anyone can vote for their favourite on the PocketGamer site, via this link, so if you think I'm worthy of the title then please do give me your vote - I'd really appreciate it!



Saturday, 1 February 2014

Tap Happy Sabotage takes first prize at Pocket Gamer's Very Big Indie Pitch

On 20th January I took Tap Happy Sabotage! to the Pocket Gamer Connects conference in London, to demo live on the expo floor. The game proved very popular, with players getting very competitive very quickly, and as many as six players playing at any one time.

I also entered the game into Pocket Gamer's Very Big Indie Pitch competition where the game was selected as a finalist, to be shown live on stage in front of all the delegates at the conference. After a successful live demo the game was awarded joint-first prize alongside fellow finalists Wild Dawn and Photo Dash.

Tap Happy Sabotage! demoed live on stage at the Very Big Indie Pitch finals

The game's also been covered by the Guardian's Keith Stuart, who played the game live at the event:
There is a lot of pushing – and, actually, what you'd usually describe as cheating if it wasn't for the fact that Aitcheson has gleefully built every heinous activity possible into the design plan. Later, he entered the game into the event's Indie Pitch contest, which saw an array of small developers showing their new wares to a selection of journalists and veteran developers. He came joint first. People just like fighting over games. 
Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/gamesblog/2014/jan/24/tap-happy-sabotage-four-screens-one-game

Tap Happy Sabotage! also picked up enthusiastic previews from Pocket Gamer and Pocket Gamer France.

Right now I'm putting the final touches on the game ready for release in the coming months. That includes keyboard support for the Windows 8 release, and a really cool networking feature for smaller screens - as described in the Guardian article - that I hope to be able to show footage of very soon!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Introducing Tap Happy Sabotage!

Anyone who was at my talk at GDC Europe this year may remember my closing remarks about the growth of touchscreen technology. That is, the physical growth as much as the commercial growth.

Touchscreen PCs as large as 27 inches are now available and they'd make an incredible environment for shared-screen multiplayer...

Well, now I've gone and made one.


It's called Tap Happy Sabotage! and it supports up to 52 players on one touch screen.

The game was designed for Intel's App Innovation Contest 2013, where it was selected as a finalist. Intel sent me the hardware (a Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27) to built it on, and I submitted it to the judges last week!

So what is Tap Happy Sabotage?


Tap Happy Sabotage! is all about getting physical, getting in each other's way, cheating and playing dirty. Every player has a target card to find, and also has a "sabotage" card which, when touched, will lose them every point they've earned.

Cards move around the screen in all kinds of patterns, so it's about spotting and grabbing your cards before anyone else can, and sabotaging your friends while they're in the lead.


There's all kinds of mix-ups and variations to keep you on your toes.

You may need to grab three of your cards at once (one tester managed to win this round by using two hands and his nose)


You may need to protect your card from an angry enemy bouncing across the screen (I got my revenge by pushing him into the path of the bad guy)


You might even have to dance around like a monkey and vote for who was the most entertaining (and there's nothing to stop you voting for yourself)


The whole game's designed to be the most awesome and unforgettable party experience I can conjure up. It supports as many players as you can fit around it, so it should be perfect for any time you have friends, family, or open-minded strangers around.


I'm planning to take the game, on the full-sized hardware, to as many events as possible, and am also planning a more widespread release for owners of giant touchscreens everywhere. More details on that to follow!


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Speaking at GDC Europe 20th August

I'll be speaking at this month's upcoming GDC Europe conference in Cologne, as part of the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, on the subject of Getting Physical with Tablet Multiplayer.

The talk takes place at 10:05am on Tuesday 20th August.

My talk takes a look at the exciting play opportunities created by sharing one tablet between multiple players. Taking lessons from games inclduing Fingle, Chicanery and O - as well as my own Slamjet Stadium and Greedy Bankers - it explores the way the physical surroundings and human body become part of the playspace, and how encouraging physical interaction between players creates a memorable, even intimate, social experience. It also asks how this heavily social kind of play could see itself spread in the future, both as touchscreen technology evolves, and as a way of deepening social engagement in communities.

More information is on the GDC Europe talk listing.

Let me know if you're there - I'd love to see you come along!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Speaking at Develop Conference 9th July 2013

I'll be giving a talk at this year's Develop Conference in Brighton. The talk will be on the design and potential of shared-tablet multiplayer gaming, and takes place at 10:15am on Tuesday 9th July as part of the Evolve track. If you're along for the conference I'd be delighted to see you there and I hope you enjoy hearing my perspective on this exciting area of game design!

If you think that shared-screen multiplayer is a thing of the past, think again. Creative use of tablet technology - a large interactive canvas with room for multiple players - allows designers to invent new forms of shared play, which players are embracing.

Indie developer Alistair Aitcheson takes an in-depth look at how shared-device multiplayer is being transformed on tablet. He looks at the design opportunities of using players as physical obstacles, the play possibilities when the device is no longer the referee, and how games culture is once again embracing truly social face-to-face gaming.

The Evolve track is the section of the Develop conference dedicated to cutting-edge technology, design and business models. An exciting opportunity to show shared-tablet multiplayer as an exciting and socially relevant area for gaming!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Guardian Gamesblog: How iPads are revolutionising social games

The Guardian Gamesblog put up an article in the last week following my talk from GameHorizon 2013. Pretty exciting to shared-device play is pushed further into the spotlight.

The article picks up on a lot of the philosophy that's propelled my recent work, especially with Slamjet Stadium. Physically getting in each other's way creates memorable social experiences, and it's okay for a game to be "unfair" when you're trying to create laughter rather than simply test player skill.

The article is here, and I hope you enjoy giving it a read!

"Rule-breaking is creative," Alistair Aitcheson says in his presentation to the audience at GameHorizon. "Laughter trumps fairness." It's this theory of schadenfreude he has come to the conference to discuss: how pitting us against each other can strengthen friendships, and bring players of games closer.
... 
Aitcheson wanted to encourage people to play together again. He emphasised physical multiplayer – sharing a tablet screen. Physical disconnection, he said, was OK for matching people together in skill-based games such as Street Fighter IV, however the social aspect is really important. Touchscreens are big interactive canvases; they offer us a bright, enjoyable future in terms of being together, being... well, social.
Read the full article on Guardian.co.uk


Sunday, 12 May 2013

Re-imagining Multiplayer: Talk from GameHorizon 2013

This is the talk I gave at GameHorizon 2013 this week. I got a lot of enthusiastic comments back about it, which was great to hear! In it I talk about shared-tablet multiplayer, using Greedy Bankers vs The World and Slamjet Stadium as examples of the motivations and design challenges behind this exciting genre of gaming.



I had a fantastic time at GameHorizon, and met some fantastic people there. I was particularly inspired by two digital artists who spoke at the event. Alex May gave a presentation about his work with robots and A.I., while Ernest Edmond spoke about interactive art in social spaces. Both are fascinating insights into the ways interactive technology is used beyond the game world, and the processes share so much similarity with experimental game design.

A full playlist of the talks from the GameHorizon 2013 can be found here.

Friday, 3 May 2013

New Interviews: Developing Slamjet Stadium

Well, it's been an exciting week at Aitcheson towers. I've been preparing my talk for next week's GameHorizon Conference, and I woke up this morning to discover that Slamjet Stadium is in the App Store's Tabletop Games feature in the UK App Store.

I also had two interviews I did recently published online. They were really fun to do so I hope you enjoy reading them!

Thunderbolt interviewed me about the design behind Slamjet Stadium, and why genres and trends from the past - including local multiplayer - are seeing so much new innovation from the indie sphere.
Read the interview here

I also spoke to HeyUGuys Gaming about my history as a game developer, my inspirations and motivations.
Read the interview here

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Speaking at GameHorizon 2013

Exciting news! I've been asked to speak at GameHorizon in Newcastle, a major UK games conference. The talk I'll be giving is titled Re-Imagining Multiplayer for Tablet.


I'll be having a look at how physical multiplayer creates exciting new experiences, and the unique opportunities provided by tablet interfaces. I'll explore the reasons why physically interacting over a shared tablet has the power to build friendships and encourage creative thinking. Then I'll be going through the design lessons I've learned from making Slamjet Stadium and Greedy Bankers vs The World.

As followers of my blog will know, shared-tablet multiplayer is something I find really inspiring as a developer, so I can't wait to get on stage and give this new approach to play a platform!

More information about GameHorizon can be found on the GameHorizon website.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Slamjet Stadium Lite Version Arrives Tomorrow!

UPDATE: Slamjet Free is now available! You can download it from this link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/slamjet-free/id626161502?ls=1&mt=8

Like any good developer, once the game's out that doesn't mean I've finished with it! Recently I've been working on Slamjet Free, a trial version of Slamjet Stadium to allow people to try out the game for free before buying the fully-featured complete version.

Slamjet Free contains two teams from the full game - Jetpack City and the Space Hogs - and one arena to play in multiplayer. By upgrading to the full version you can access the single player mode, the full roster of characters and all the arenas.

Slamjet Stadium's continuing to capture people's interest, which is great! Padvance recently selected it as one of their Top 5 Same-Room Multiplayer Games for iPad, and also gave it a perfect score in their review.

Slamjet Free will hit the App Store worldwide on Thursday 18th April 2013, and will be available from this link