Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Tap Happy Sabotage comes to Berlin and Cologne

I'm just a couple of days away from jetting off to Germany and I'll be taking Tap Happy Sabotage with me. If you're in Berlin on Saturday or Cologne next week then please do come and join in the local multiplayer calamity!

On Saturday 9th August I'll be at JOIN - Local Multiplayer Summit in Berlin. 

As well as demoing Tap Happy Sabotage on the big touchscreen I'll be doing a Q&A session with Adriaan de Jongh from GameOven - developers of local multiplayer titles Friendstrap, Bounden, and one of my all-time favourites: Fingle.

From Monday 11th - Wednesday 13th August I'll be at GDC Europe in Cologne

In fact, just today I received word from Microsoft that Tap Happy Sabotage will be on their stand. Can't wait to see it up and running at the conference!

From Wednesday 13th - Friday 15th August I'll be at Gamescom in Cologne. 

I'm exhibiting Tap Happy Sabotage as part of the Unity booth. If you're at the show please do swing by Hall 04.1 Booth B030 to play the game!

It should be an incredible trip!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Tap Happy Sabotage is launched!


Good news everybody! Tap Happy Sabotage is now available from the Windows Store for Windows 8 devices. Please do download from here and join in the fun!

Tap Happy Sabotage is completely free, without ads or in-app purchases, so there's no excuses not to play it!

I took the game to Radius Festival in London on Friday, where it went down really well. You can see it being given a full work-out by Vlambeer's Rami Ismail and One Life Left's Ann Scantlebury at http://www.twitch.tv/radiusfestival/b/540285765?t=123m40s (I'm on at 2:03:40)

And of course, there's a new trailer up here, with some of the footage from this year's GameCamp and Indie Games Collective.


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Tap Happy Sabotage on an 88-inch touchscreen

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Microsoft headquarters in Reading, UK, to demo Tap Happy Sabotage to their staff. They had the game pre-installed on their 88-inch Perceptive Pixel Display.

Needless to say, it was an incredible experience. The display is very responsive, and the nature of the game meant we were reaching all over the screen to grab our cards.



I shot some video so you can get a feel for how it plays out!



Many thanks to the team at Microsoft for inviting me over, and for hosting a very successful demo session!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Speaking at Develop Conference 8th July 2014

Hi everyone! I'll be speaking again at this year's Develop Conference in Brighton, as part of the Evolve track. So if you're there, please do come along - my talk is at 12:15 on Tuesday 8th July and is all about building games for big touchscreens. Games, that is, like my very own Tap Happy Sabotage (which is, by the way, coming to Windows 8 on June 19th). Details of the talk are below:


Thinking Bigger: Developing for Large-Scale Touchscreens

Touch has been the defining interface of recent years, and the latest influx of large-scale PC touch screens is the start of a brave new world for games and physical play. Designer Alistair Aitcheson is known for his heavily physical tablet games and the creator of "Tap Happy Sabotage", a game built for up to 52 players on a single 27-inch touch screen.

In this talk he demonstrates why this sea change is not to be overlooked, and how developers can make the most of this exciting technological shift. He explores the play possibilities that set big screens apart from tablets or phones, and draws on personal experience to show the design strategies that make a touch game great at scale.

He also investigates how games for these interfaces fit into our current app marketplaces, what existing tablet games need to do to adapt to this new interface, and the potential for this technology to drive innovative installation-based game projects.


Develop Conference has always been a favourite of mine, and I'm really excited to be back speaking about a subject which I am incredibly passionate about!


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