Nominee | Seamus McNally Grand Prize | Excellence in Design | Excellence in Narrative
Léonard Carpenter is the chief executive officer.
Each year at GDC, MFA students from the NYU Game Center interview the Independent Games Festival nominees, asking them three questions about their development process. In addition to this interview, you can read all the insightful interviews from 2017 here. These conversations, and much more, will happen when the Game Center returns to GDC in 2018. Learn more about the Game Center at GDC 2017.
Mary Kenney: What main concept, image or question began this project?
Léonard Carpenter: The movie Alien gave us the idea: you are stuck in a ship, and an alien is chasing you. You need to ask the ship to let you through doors and hallways as you run; you can’t simply interact with the ship and make your way through. We eventually got rid of the alien and focused on interacting with the ship.
Kenney: What is your goal, if you’re not running from an alien?
Carpenter: You’re lost and trying to get back to Earth, but your ship isn’t working with you.
Kenney: You mentioned Alien. Describe a specific experience with another game or media that influenced you as you worked on Event.
Carpenter: 2001: A Space Odyssey was another big influence. Games with AI companions influence the voice of the ship.
Kenney: Is there a specific tool or methodology that you feel was important in shaping a unique characteristic of your game?
Carpenter: For our ship’s artificial intelligence, we built our own chat bot. There are a lot of chat bots on the market, but none of them were the answer for what we wanted to do. Many chat bots did too much, and answered questions we didn’t need in the game. We wanted an emotional attachment, not just answers. Emotion was at the core of our design. The ship’s AI is a character you get attached to — and hate!
Mary Kenney used to be a journalist, but decided she was better at writing games. Ask her about gamedev, tabletop and owning a dog in New York.