søndag 24. november 2013

Journeycon, day 2 and 3! :D

Saturday was The Big Day - the official start of Journeycon!
We got up somewhat early, took advantage of the hotel breakfast and then got ready to go.
After picking up Marte and Bård (a friend of Marielle's) at the train station and buying something to eat and drink, we walked over to the building that houses a lot of shit - including the bus terminal and the venue for the con.

Poster on the door, yay!

We walked to the other end of the building and saw a gathering crowd - and promptly jumped in there so we could get in early and get good seats. After taking pictures, of course. We also met another friend of Marte/Marielle/Bård/Rikke; the other Marte! I don't have any pictures of her, sorry. xD


After being greeted by Eivind at the door, we got in line and Rakel checked us off her list. Rikke greeted us at another door, giving us a copy of the program and our wristbands. Hi, Rikke! (Marte and I stalked Rikke while in line:)

We got good seats. Had we been there a bit earlier, we'd have gotten better seats, but they were good nonetheless. We had a great view of the screens.

It wasn't too crowded when we arrived, I took some pics of the auditorium pretty soon after we sat down;

Martin's friend, who took lots of pictures. I decided to take one of him as retribution.

So, people were slowly trickling in, and the convention started behind schedule. I think the opening words started somewhere around 12:30 instead, or maybe even later - I can't remember the exact time.
John Walker from Rock Paper Shotgun had gotten the job as master of ceremonies, so he kicked us off. Rakel had some practical information, and then;

And then; three Norwegian men rubbing their hands together.

An advanced introduction to Dreamfall Chapters. I will go through the schedule step by step in this blog post, but I won't be saying too much about what was said and shown, for obvious reasons.

They talked a bit about the game, we got to see the trailer again, and they showed us the gameplay they presented at Rezzed in June. Then Christer Sveen, the art director, got on "stage" and talked about Europolis and a little bit about his vision for it. He talked really quietly, so everybody was straining to hear him xD
After that, we had our first break, which meant people started streaming down towards Ragnar to get him to sign stuff:

Yes, this pic was taken in the second break. I was lazy.

Every break we had, people flocked around Ragnar, Dag and Martin, if not to get stuff signed, then to have a chat. People had brought their limited editions of Dreamfall, some went more old school:

I'm sorry I took your picture without asking, but that's the original and that's cool. I lost my original :(

After the first break, the schedule said "Friar's Keep: Developer Playthrough". That's the vertical slice, and I will say that it looked beautiful, the gameplay looks to be great, and we had a lot of fun watching it. I really can't wait for you all to see it as well!
Then followed another break, and we continued with The Musical Landscapes of Dreamfall Chapters. The composer for DFC was announced, we got to hear some music that will be in the game, and the composer also told us a bit about finding sounds where you wouldn't normally look for them (at least I wouldn't). Next up on the schedule:

An AA meeting.
From the left: Audun, Ragnar, Rakel, Martin, Dag, Christer, Simon and Rikke.

Of course, a Q&A will yield plenty of inside jokes. I'll let you into one of them (I tweeted about it).
One of the questions was from Mikhail/Koveras, and he started off with saying that when he'd finished playing TLJ, he was sad. When he finished Dreamfall, he was depressed. Cue laughter, of course. I can't remember what exactly his question was (sorry!), but it was something about whether the writers think about what they do with the players when they write the stories. This escalated, of course, into writers being surgeons of the soul, slashing away at their fans. Ragnar decided that he'll refer to himself as a Surgeon of the Soul from now on.
There were a lot of questions, and the answers were often quite long. Eventually, John Walker had to call it, or we'd end up sitting there the rest of the day, probably! The questions were really good, though, I sat there thinking "How the hell do people come up with this? I just .. I just play the games, and that's that, and here these people have these deep, deep thoughts and questions about the games, and they're right, these are things I should be asking, too." - so kudos to the people with questions, you're awesome!
Bonus pictures from the Q&A:

Santa's little helpers: Eivind, Morgan, Morten and.. picture-taking guy who's a friend of Martin.

John Walker!

Rakel was wearing a T-shirt that I think many of you will recognize.
Another break, and then it was time for the Norwegian Games Showcase. Unfortunately, Krillbite Studio couldn't make it to talk about Among the Sleep (something I think Ragnar was pretty sad about, he was very supportive of their Kickstarter). Blink Studios were there, as they have their offices right next to RTG, and Siggy talked about their game, SKAR: The Hammer Returns, which seems good. It's not really my type of game (a singleplayer fantasy RPG dungeon crawler, according to their website), but they're releasing it on several platforms, which is great.

Then Rock Pocket Games had a presentation, where Ivan came kinda unprepared because of a last-minute cancellation by some other employee (I think she'd gotten sick), but he still delivered. The audience ooh-ed at times, which is always a great thing! I took some pictures of the concept art he showed us, but until I know whether or not that was an exclusive thing, I'm not going to post them. Sorry! I can tell you that he talked a bit in general about Rock Pocket Games and their games, what they do and about them winning the Norwegian championships (or whatever I should call it) in Gameplay. He showed us some videos, and their games seem really, really great! The games he talked about/showed us were Oliver & Spike: Dimension Jumpers, Shiftlings, and last but not least: Gametracer, which Ragnar tweeted about during Spillexpo recently. His daughter apparently loved it, and judging by the amount of people who downloaded it (it's free!) in the next break, she's not alone! You should check it out - Gametracer is available on App Store and Google Play.

After the break, it was time for the live Let's Play! of The Longest Journey. It featured Ragnar having technical difficulties ("Martin, why does it do that? Help me, it's a PC, I don't do PCs!"), Martin being the best tech support there ever was (*opens task manager, closes the process, starts game anew*) and a revelation: Ragnar Tørnquist has never played TLJ from start to finish. Never. And he hadn't played it for a while, obviously, because the audience had to tell him what to do. xD
We didn't have time to play through very much of it, but he and John Walker talked a lot about the game and "way back when", and it was really interesting, and you have to wait until the video from the convention is public to know what was said. Sorry. To lighten things up, here's a slide Ragnar made. ("I made a slide.")

After that, it was time for the closing statements - except for the fact that Ragnar had another slide. The Longest Journey Home. Yeah, I know, we all clapped our hands off. But basically, he didn't really say anything that hasn't been said before - they really, really want to make it because April's story between TLJ and DF needs to be told, and they definitely will make it. 
Then, the closing statements and tons of applause and we went off to our hotel room with Marte and Tina to freshen up and then get something to eat before going to the afterparty at Betong. "Something to eat" ended up being subs from Subway that we just brought with us. We weren't really that hungry xD
We got there right after 7 PM, while Dag and Rakel were hanging up posters to show people where to go. Not too many others had shown up yet.

It filled up soon enough, though, and our table was the coolest in the history of cool tables.

We had John Walker at our table. Just sayin'.
We ended up just putting several small tables together, and in the end we were a ton of people. Three whole quiz teams, actually (6 people per team)! It was a lot of fun.
Dag was the Quiz Master (he deserves capitalized letters, he's the Boss after all), and it was hard. Really hard. Our team (Marte, Marte, Brita, Roy Martin, Tina and I) didn't really bring our A game, so we thought we'd just wing it and have fun instead of aiming high. Apparently, that's the way to go, because we ended up in 5th place! The winning team was also from our table, so y'know, coolest table ever. The winners got a printed piece of concept art by Christer each, a Journeycon poster, and a piece of original concept art by Rikke, which is really, really cool. I'm not sure what exactly the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place winners got, but at least everyone walked away with printed concept art by Christer, there were more posters handed out, and some (used) crew tees with "Journeycon 2013" and the poster art on them. We won just a printed piece of concept art by Christer, but seeing as we didn't really think we'd get anything, we were ecstatic! Roy Martin was really happy about getting a Zoë picture he'd been drooling over since forever, and I chose this:

Since Christer was at the afterparty, he suddenly had a big job of signing all the concept art prints, plus limited edition boxes and mostly everything people could get their hands on xD So I have a signed piece of concept art. I love it. It's also in my backer level, so.. I'll get another one later! Yay for that, dudes.

Here are some bonus pics of people and more people and stuff 'n' things.

From the left: khh, Swedish guy I didn't catch the name of, Morgan, Morten, Marielle and Bård.

khh, you're a ghost, according to my camera.

The Bitch Tits tee that Tina made herself, and that Christer wanted as well. xD

After the awards ceremony, some people left, many remained, and most of them got on the dance floor (mostly because Martin made them do it). Fun was had by all, and people mingled and chatted with each other as if they'd done it forever.

People dancing, someone had stolen Martin's beanie, and at our table; Olli and Roy Martin.
Also, you know what? I'm a sneaky fuck. I wanted original Rikke art as well. I mentioned to Tina that I planned on asking her, which Tina then did for me the next time she saw Rikke xD The result:

This was drawn in like 3-5 minutes, on the back of the schedule I'd brought with me for this exact purpose. I just told Rikke to draw whatever she felt like, and I got this, and I love it, and I thanked her probably ten times. Thanks, Rikke! :3

Somehow, the clock suddenly had sped up and turned 2:30 AM, and then all of a sudden the staff was booting us out and the party was over. Well, not for those who chose to go to the nachspiel with twins Eivind and Asbjørn, but Marielle and I were kinda tired and decided we'd just go back to the hotel. So we said our goodbyes, hugged Martin, Dag and Ragnar, hugged other people, patted Martin on the head just to be sure we'd said goodbye, and then started walking. And walking. And walking. And you know how it is when you've been drinking alcohol, you really need to pee. We were almost dying by the time we finally reached our hotel, somewhere around 4 AM. We were also seriously tired, and after me discovering a tiny amount of Pepsi Max I'd left in the room's minibar earlier that day (celebration!) we went to bed.

Day 3:
Today we got up kinda early but not really at 9:40 AM, freshened up a bit and went down to eat another delicious hotel breakfast (dat bacon!). I wanted to join the cannonstroking excursion at 11 AM, so we hurried up, packed our stuff and got ready. Marielle decided to just go home, and I walked off alone to get to Akershus fortress, where the cannonstroking was born. I had to call Tina to get some directions, and after a lot of confusion I finally found Tina xD

Confession: I didn't get any pics of me stroking a cannon. I'm sorry. But I did snap a picture of the cannons.

Stroke the cannon, stroke the cannon.

I don't know what happened to the one in the back, but just look at the one in the front, it's so shiny and nice. I bet it gets stroked on a regular basis.

We hung out for a little bit (Tina, Morgan, Guran and unnamed guy from New York - I'm sorry, I suck at names D:), then Guran left, and after a while so did the rest of us. We left the guy from NY at the train station, I joined Tina and Morgan at Burger King to watch them eat while I waited for my bus, and then I sadly had to go home, because all good things come to an end.

Oh, you know that poster in the first pic of this post? I stole adopted it on my way to the bus. Mine! :D

I'm super excited about this weekend, I've had tons of fun, and I seriously can't wait for the next meetup in Oslo - or next year's Journeycon! I'm pretty sure Journeycon 2014 will be legendary, and I'll see you all there.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, new friends, acquaintances, fellow fans and backers, and of course Red Thread Games for making this weekend happen. It was really great, and I'm going to live on these memories for a long time. Tomorrow I'm looking for frames for my new artwork.

lørdag 23. november 2013

Journeycon, day 1! :D

Okay! So, I said I would be blogging about Journeycon. To be honest, when we (Marielle/cowbell and I) got home from the meetup at Babylon last night, we were both pretty beat and ended up just watching TV for a little while before going to bed. So instead of blogging then, I'm doing it now!

I arrived in Oslo at 2 PM yesterday, checked into the hotel and sat down in my room to relax a bit after the bus trip and take a picture of the view from the room.

An hour later, I went to meet Tina at Peppes (chain of pizza restaurants). We ate awesome pizza, then Marielle and Nadia/nakri joined us. Nadia is too busy to attend Journeycon, so she just wanted to say hi. Hi!

After stopping by the hotel room with Marielle's stuff and taking another pic of the view (it was dark, I had to!), we wandered off to Bar Babylon and sat down. We were the first ones there, but our first attendee joined us just moments later, and after that people just started flowing in. I'm sorry I can't remember all the names, I'm terrible with names, you're officially warned! xD But the ones I do remember the names of will be mentioned! First a pic of the wall decor at Babylon, because it's pretty cool.

Okay, so people started showing up, and I definitely had no idea who most of them were, to be honest, haha. And yes, in the very beginning it was pretty awkward, but then people started talking and laughing and having a good time, and I think it's awesome that the thing that brought this crowd together is a series of video games. It's so cool!
Unfortunately, I'm crap at remembering to take pictures. Seriously. My camera was on the table most of the evening, but I forgot to take pics after a while (because hey, I was busy talking and listening to all the conversations!). So these following pictures are thanks to Marielle, who decided to borrow my camera to test it out with the "low light" setting. This was pretty early, so not many people had shown up yet:

 This is me, looking like a retard because I'm seriously NOT photogenic in any way.
 British people to the left (sorry, didn't catch your names!), and then a girl I think introduced herself as Ingrid.
The face to the right is Brita (I'm pretty sure, at least), and the arm.. I don't know xD
Brita in the back, then a Swedish guy I didn't catch the name of, and .. another guy I don't remember the name of. Sorry!
Tina with her (very soft sweater) back to the camera, Olli and a British guy from Moscow whose name I (surprise!) didn't catch.

This is just a few of the MANY people who decided to show up, I can get more pics later I guess. Anyway, after a while we had filled all the chairs around these three tables, and then Dag showed up with a couple of friends. They ended up sitting at another table though, but Dag came to say hi and took a picture of us, which he tweeted. Other RTG people who showed up: Rikke the Artist, Morgan the No-longer-an-Art-Intern, Morten the Intern, Eivind the Animator, Quintin the.. Programmer? Aw shucks, let's not pretend my memory works. Later on, Martin showed up as well. Yay to you all! :D

Sorry that I don't remember the names of the fans who joined us, I truly am bad with names (especially when a few beers are involved).. but you're welcome to leave your names here if you read this!
As the night went on, there were so many of us that some had to stand - no chairs left! I really had a good time, and I think that most of the people who showed up did. Thanks, guys! :D
Marielle and I decided to go home kinda early, I think it was around 10:30 PM, because we were kinda tired and wanted to get a good night's sleep so we could party all night long tonight instead. We wandered home, stopped by Burger King for cheap, dry burgers (don't know if they were worth the money, to be honest :s) and then we're back to the start of this blog post.

I've been writing this while Marielle's been getting ready, and now it's my turn. Breakfast time!
And in just two hours and fifteen minutes, the doors will open and THE CON WILL BE ON! :D