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The Sunday Papers

Sundays were once the day of rest, but they are now the day of leisure. Not the same thing, by my measure. But then there’s not really any time to rest, is there? Tick, tick, and all that. Let’s get on with it.

  • Igor Hardy interviews the chap behind Space Funeral, which attentive readers will recall Quintin getting excited about last year. It’s a charming chat: “I’ve never really felt the urge to make films or comics because for me there’s always a sense of those things having rules or a point or a set of guidelines behind them. I couldn’t make movies because my experience of them is so tied up with ideas of what length they should be, what they should be about, protagonists and antagonists and three-act structures and all that garbage. With games there isn’t really that feeling at all. It’s like uncharted territory in that there is still a lot of scope to just do whatever you want and not really care if it fits some preexisting criteria of what a game should be.” Or at least, that’s how we should feel about games.
  • Strongman Games’ Erlend Grefsrud has written about mechs, a topic which him to say things like this: “If you’re a developer, let your game be a symphony of implication, fiction, agency and empowerment (the gratification of successful effort, not just embodiment of a warrior or all-powerful technocrat) that is above all concerned with the honesty of the relationship between fiction and system.” It’s quite the thing.
  • The tale of The Oregon Trail: “the Oregon Trail has sold over 65 million copies worldwide, becoming the most widely distributed educational game of all time. Market research done in 2006 found that almost 45 percent of parents with young children knew Oregon Trail, despite the fact that it largely disappeared from the market in the late ’90s.”
  • The PCGA (that’s the industry body, the PC Gaming Alliance) has a new president, Matt Ployhar, and he’s been interviewed over on Bitgamer. He says this: “We’re in a marathon, not a sprint, and there are no instant fixes for some of the things we’d like to tackle next. PC gaming is an extremely dynamic ecosystem, and there’s a definite need to update the definitions of what a PC is, and who PC gamers are. We’ll be a lot more transparent moving forward. I believe we’ve been holding our cards a bit too closely, and frankly that doesn’t serve us or the ecosystem very well. It also seems to spool off into all sorts of speculation.”
  • Here’s a useful thing. The “No Added Sugar” blog has rounded up all the TED talks that are directly relevant to gaming. I suspect most Sunday Papers folks will have seen all of these, but you can always forward it on to others in attempt to look clever.
  • Worryingly slow-progressing space game/engine Infinity has apparently had a good year. I say apparently because they’ve recently blogged about their progress. It’s the first meaty update we’ve had from them in quite some time. Crucial bit: “We’ve also decided to revise our strategy. Until now, our goal was to release the first version of Infinity, not necessarily feature-complete, and to later sell engine licenses. The priorities have changed slightly. Development of Infinity has gone under a lower priority while we work to get the I-Novae Engine production ready. Overall we see this as a benefit to you, the community, as when it’s ready we would like to release a public toolset so that everyone can explore the possibilities opened up by our planetary engine and begin creating their own universes.”
  • “Penetration issue” made me guffaw, but this is actually a useful little opinion piece on the Unity engine. Which I am using for my own games, incidentally.
  • Robert Yang’s Dark Past Part 2 is here. It’s really worth reading for the considerations on level design, you’ll just have to use your mind to imagine away the fact that half the paragraphs begin “…”.
  • Popmatters’ Kris Ligman discusses the awesome One Chance.
  • Eurogamer studies the case for 3D gaming on the PC.
  • A gnashing of teeth can be heard as the console industry begins to realise that it has a piracy problem. The BBC wrote a news article about it here, which is a bit alarmist, to be honest. “Lost billions” is always hot air when there’s no sign of the billions in the first place, isn’t it?
  • A musical thing made from Fallout 3.
  • Nicholas Lovell asks “What is a social game?” And various industry types answer him.

And perhaps some music to finish? Why not. I’ve been listening to this (UPBEAT!) and this (DOWNBEAT!). Okay.

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Jim Rossignol

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