Author Archive

State of the Art: How Isaac Cohen uses shimmering virtual cloth to explore emotions

L U N E

Over the last few months I’ve had a slow back-and-forth with Isaac Cohen – a game creator whose work caught my eye at GDC because it’s got this wonderful experimental attitude to spaces and play. He also has these gorgeous textures and iridescent effects I haven’t seen elsewhere. I wrote about my own experience of specific games Cohen made like Blarp and Warka Flarka Flim Flam, but with this I wanted to explore what he was creating from the designer’s point of view.

Our emails ended up being quite long so I’m going to pluck out pieces which were of particular interest as we chatted – we started with the shimmering fabric effect that recurs across many of the games! Read the rest of this entry »

Figment imagines its way onto PC today

Figment

When you see games partway through the development process they can get frozen in your memory at that point. I saw Figment [official site] a long while ago in a hotel courtyard at GDC and I remember loving its art style but being unsure how the game itself would pan out. I’d catch it out of the corner of my eye at shows – this year’s Rezzed for example – but always managed to hit a busy time and so couldn’t get a hands-on. Fast-forward to today when the game is a) launching on PC and b) playable at EGX and I get to compare my snapshot with Brendy’s and they’ve managed to tangle together!

“If you do a newsie about Figment coming out today you can say I played some at EGX and it is like Pip dreaming of an bird dreaming of a newt dreaming about playing Bastion. A bit slow maybe. But then you never can move fast in a dream.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Plunkbat: An Alice and Pip chat

playerunknowns-battlegrounds-1

After what feels like YEARS of making excuses, Pip is finally ready to try Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds [official site] with Alice. She knows that there are “bants” and she knows that there’s a “plane” but everything else is veiled in mystery. Alice, meanwhile, has consumed more chicken dinners than you’ve had… hot meals? Everything will be fine…

Pip: ALICE!

Alice: Pip, are you ready to drop spicy, hold Devil Walker, hug the circle, hit Good Houses, and take off your shoes?

Pip: Well, my intro to this piece was going to be that I’d decided to learn a language you understand: Plunkbat. But it seems that I do not know what you are talking about. Are we still talking about Plunkbat? Read the rest of this entry »

Pipwick Papers: Pip’s last Supporter Post

The Pipwick Papers

As a final supporter post for RPS before I depart, I found myself going back through the archive of stuff I’ve written for this site. At first I was seeking inspiration, going back through old posts in case there was something I wanted to follow up on. But then I started finding things I’d forgotten writing – the conversations with interesting people who make games, the minutes dedicated to atrocious Photoshopping for news articles, the games I’d said I was looking forward to when I started and which still haven’t come out three years later so they’ve become comfy, mythical future companions… and the many conversations with ALL of my talented colleagues, but PARTICULARLY the partnership with Alice.

I’ve collated some of my favourites – favourite people, favourite stories, favourite memories – below the jump – it’s a lovely feeling that there are so many :) Read the rest of this entry »

Team Deathmatch comes to LawBreakers

Lawbreakers - Namsan

Gravity-bothering FPS, LawBreakers [official site] has launched a “significant” patch, boosting player lifespans, dunking in a new map – Namsan – and bundling in a bunch of new features. There’s also a new game mode in the form of Skirmish – Team Deathmatch. I’ll get into a bit more detail on these bits after the jump but basically it’s the start of the developers at Boss Key experimenting with ways to bolster the game’s appeal and build its audience. Read the rest of this entry »

Terroir winemaking game exits early access cellar

Terroir

Low-poly winemaking tycoon game, Terroir [official site], is out today. It caught my attention because it reminded me I’d always meant to try Viticulture – a worker-placement board game themed around cultivating a vineyard in Tuscany. Terroir seems to have a more modern setting, what with a plane and electric lighting appearing in the trailer but I have a fondness for hyper-specific management scenarios hence being intrigued by both this and Viticulture! Read the rest of this entry »

Breeding ground: Niche offers turn-based genetic survival

Niche

Remember Niche [official site]? I told you about it a while back – it’s a genetics-focused survival game where you forage and hunt and breed and explore little hex tile islands. The idea is to keep you little tribe of creatures alive and one of the keys to doing so is to try and breed particular desirable characteristics for how you want to play or deal with threats.

It was a successfully funded Kickstarter when I wrote about it last but today it’s evolving from early access to a fully-fledged game. Read the rest of this entry »

Cabin – a cool tiny project that will make your eyeballs ill

Cabin

On an afternoon trawl of cool free projects I came across Cabin [Itch.io link]- a “fleeting experimental game about spending time in a cabin” in which you can “relax”, “drink a beer”, “stare at the moon” and “paint the sky”. I’ll admit that it was the latter which was of most interest as I can do the other three IRL once the sun sets. Read the rest of this entry »

No Man’s Sky adds new default ship controls for PC

No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky [official site] patch 1.37 has added a new (but toggle-able so therefore optional) ship control scheme for mouse and keyboard.

Hello Games say: “This option can be toggled, and changes ship controls to be cursor based, meaning you’ll be able to direct your ship easily using your mouse”. Pip says: “I just booted up the game and hopped in my ship, immediately becoming distracted by the new interface which is less ace piloting and more kind of like pulling a ball through the air using an elastic band?”

It might take some getting used to is what I’m saying. Read the rest of this entry »

Clickuorice Allsorts: Cute Subnautica Lego pitches

Subnautica Lego idea

A reader sent me some links to really well-done Subnautica Lego pitches on the Lego Ideas forum so I wanted to share them! Here’s Survivors of the Degasi and Exploring the Safe Shallows. The Lego Ideas forum lets people pitch ideas for sets that they want Lego to convert into real products. You need 10,000 supporters for a set to qualify for review and these are nowhere near. They’re also based on a third-party IP – from the T&Cs I don’t think it immediately precludes a set from eligibility but it would complicate matters. ANYWAY! I just really liked how well the projects seemed to get the sense of Subnautica (look at the peeper fish!) PLUS because the submissions can use only existing Lego pieces you could build them/bits of them anyway. The shallows terrain segment gave me some ideas for building my own reef – not Subnautica-themed – using my young relatives’ Lego collection!

Statespace: the neuroscientists who want to improve your gaming skills

Aim Lab

With the proliferation of esports and the potentially huge sums of money involved if you make it to the top tier in some games it’s not surprising that there are so many third-parties carving out a niche by offering to help improve your performance. One which caught my eye recently was Statespace [official site] which is being set up by Wayne Mackey and Jay Fuller. The pair have left their academic research positions at New York University to focus on this neuroscience-based tool for developing the skills associated with competitive gaming.

The software and the first product, Aim Lab, is only just launching into beta and this is hardly the first email I’ve had about a project aiming to help aspiring pro players improve their gaming BUT I had so many questions when faced with the idea of what Fuller suggested – “you could think of it like the NFL Combine or perhaps FitBit for gaming” – that I couldn’t resist finding out a bit more: Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Rogue Islands

Rogue Islands

Roguelikes and roguelikelikes are not my thing. I get bored, I get frustrated, I absolutely hate the idea of starting all over again when I’ve finally had a good run and it goes sour, I hate Spelunky’s bats, I hate FTL’s fights and I would happily push Don’t Starve’s bees into a volcano. However, after making a video of the game last week, I have spent 15 entirely voluntary hours of my weekend in Rogue Islands [official site], a roguelikelike where you roam across a set of Minecrafty-looking procedural island levels deactivating demon portals and walloping hell bats. Here’s why:

Read the rest of this entry »

Battleborn: No more content after Fall Update

Battleborn

Gearbox’s FPS/hobby-grade coop campaign/genre blended, multi-mode competitive e-sports/meta-growth, choice + epic Battleborn heroes game, Battleborn [official site], is being put out to pasture. By that I mean that the shooter has no more planned content on the horizon and creative director, Randy Varnell, is moving to another project but the servers are staying up for the time being. Read the rest of this entry »

Rogue Islands video: Playing an early island

Rogue Islands

I popped into Rogue Islands [official site] to take a look around the fantasy action-FPS thinking “this isn’t my thing at all but the monsters look really cute”. It’s nearly four hours later and I had forgotten I had started this news story at all, so that felt like a nice surprise! I’ve made a video of the super early stage so you can get a feel for the game, but it’s a Minecrafty-looking world with a sort of roguelikelike mage gnome adventure sitting on top.

Here’s the start of one of my playthroughs! Read the rest of this entry »

Hollow Knight will welcome (???) the Grimm Troupe as free DLC this Hallowe’en

Hollow Knight Grimm Troupe

Hot on the heels of the Hidden Dreams free DLC, the Hollow Knight [official site] devs have announced the second in their trio of free-of-charge content packs for the gorgeous, insecty Metroidvania. This one is called The Grimm Troupe and will hit PC at Hallowe’entide, so the end of October. There’s a super cute movie poster-type promo image which I’ll pop after the jump along with the trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

Rust introduces sitting down and frozen lakes

Rust sitting down

Rust [official site] now has the ability to let players sit in chairs. I feel like, despite my own lack of Rust experience, sitting in chairs is not a core part of the Rust survival game experience. I was kind of hoping that the game was taking an unexpected detour into the ancient sport of trying out furniture while a sales assistant hovers nearby but apparently it’s part of a mounting system intended to help with vehicles and their attendant need for seated interactions. I preferred my idea. Read the rest of this entry »

Swim Out is a gorgeous, stylish pool puzzler

Swim Out

As autumn chill sets in I’m really enjoying the sun-bleached holiday pool theme of movement puzzler, Swim Out [official site]! It’s absolutely delightful and puts me in mind of the 1920s, all stylish swim caps and geometry and a south-of-France holiday vibe. I dived in to see if the puzzling side held up and so far so good!

Read the rest of this entry »

Subnautica introduces cute companion Cuddle Fish

Subnautica Cuddle Fish

Hello! It’s your unofficial underwater correspondent, Pip! I’m here to discuss the latest dance music fish trailer and update info for Subnautica [official site]. There’s a thing called a Cuddle Fish and you can feed it snacks!

Also, do you have any idea how many notification systems I have for news about this game? And if any of them fail I have also apparently trained friends to alert me to news as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Fugl: A flappy first play of the early access bird ’em up

Fugl

I’ve been keeping an eye on Fugl [official site] for a while now – it’s a beautiful swoopy bird game/experience set in a voxel world. The emphasis is on relaxation and the feeling of flying, but there’s also exploration and a metamorphosis mechanic where you fly or land near things to take on their appearance.

It’s just moved to early access while the team continue working on the game so I’ve finally had a chance to try it out! There are some bits which are rough round the edges – I’d assume because early access – but I’ve still had a good old flap, so I figured I’d show you my swoopings in a video. I’ve also made sure to cut off before later biomes in case anyone feels that’s spoilery… Read the rest of this entry »

Clickuorice Allsorts: Overwatch and in-game toxicity

I want to flag up a video with Overwatch [official site] game director Jeff Kaplan talking about the rise in in-game toxicity. Tackling bad behaviour is interesting, but this video is the first time I can remember someone in a high profile game with toxic behaviour issues spelling out the community members’ own responsibility. He also points out that time spent firefighting is time not spent on other features. “Sure we can try to build game systems to encourage [positivity] more, and we will,” says Kaplan. “But we need the community to own up to their part in the accountability that they have for really creating a great game space.”

Further curious and cool snippets about games can be found via the Clickuorice Allsorts tag page!