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GDC 2016

3 years ago

Feature: Onwards and upwards

Virtual Reality Summit: Gloves On With The Climb

There's always gonna be another mountain I'm always gonna wanna make it move Always gonna be an uphill battle Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose Ain't about how fast I get there Ain't about what's waiting on the other side It's the climb – Miley Cyrus, 2009 One of the most promising VR experiences I had at GDC came courtesy of Crytek's rock climbing Oculus…

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Feature: How to build an island

The Great Outdoors: The Witness

While attending GDC I was thinking a lot about how "outdoors" works in videogames and speaking to artists and designers about how they had approached those environments. I was relatively early on in my experience of The Witness [official site] but I was intrigued by how many biomes were crammed onto a small island space without it ever feeling overcrowded. With that in mind I…

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Feature: Animal Harm

Redwall Meets Revolution: Tooth And Tail

Tooth and Tail [official site] is to Command and Conquer what Monaco was to an actual bank heist. If you took an RTS and threw it into a pot then burned off all the fat, you'd be left with something that looked a little like the latest from Andy Schatz and his team at Pocketwatch Games. But would you lose some of the flavour as…

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Feature: Oh my God, it's a mirage

Mirage: Arcane Warfare Devs On Magic – “We Want It To Feel Like You’re Throwing Bricks At People’s Heads”

While over at GDC a preview opportunity for Mirage: Arcane Warfare [official site] gave me a chance to check out Chivalry's spiritual successor while ALSO enjoying respite from the Californian warmth (I'm ginger and pale and British – we wilt). The game offers up a very different colour palette and setting than Chivalry's keep-n-countryside but once Torn Banner's president, Steven Piggott, and senior brand manager,…

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Feature: LOSING YOUR HEAD

Hands On: Gonner Is A Superb, Stylish Action Game

They had to drag me away from Gonner [official site] in the end. Well, truth be told, they were far too polite to drag me away but they came close to turning out the lights. 'They' are two members of Art in Heart, creators of the game, and half of Raw Fury, a new publisher made up of industry veterans. I was playing the game…

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Feature: Fairytales of New York

Wadjet Eye Interview: Urban Fantasy Adventure Unavowed Returns To World Of Blackwell Series

Part RPG, part adventure game, Unavowed is the next project from Wadjet Eye Games founder Dave Gilbert and even though it features entirely new characters, it takes place in the same world as the wonderful Blackwell series. I met with Gilbert at GDC and he explained the game's origins and intricacies, as well as talking about his love of urban fantasy, and his development as…

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Feature: Sitting in a tin can

Earthlight: How Devs Are Working With NASA To Create A Virtual International Space Station

As I try to detach a pipe on the virtual International Space Station, which I've been scrambling across, I'm suddenly thrown backwards into space. I don't flinch but apparently most people who play the Earthlight [official site] demo do – it then makes sense to me why one of the team had offered to take pictures of me playing. Earthlight is a virtual reality experience…

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Feature: Virtual Bar

Pool Nation Is The Perfect VR Litmus Test

I've deflected blaster shots using a lightsaber, standing in the shadow of the Millennium Falcon, fought off shambling horrors in the ruins of a city at night, and constructed fantastic contraptions, suspended on a grassy plain in a bright and breezy abstract world. No attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion yet, but VR has taken me to some wild and wonderful places.…

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Feature: Shockingly good

System Shock Meets Open World Survival: P.A.M.E.L.A.

P.A.M.E.L.A. [official site] was one of the most exciting games I saw at GDC last week. I watched around twenty minutes of live play, showing off the construction of a safe haven as night fell on the beautifully rendered sci-fi city in which the game's particular brand of survival horror takes place. It's an open world game, but it isn't quite like anything else in…

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Feature: What its like to be a VR Jedi.

Hands On With Star Wars VR: Trials On Tatooine

I'm standing in a shadow cast by the Millennium Falcon, which just parked up next to me. I can't hop on board but when a ramp unfolds to let an R2 unit trundle onto the small patch of Tatooine that is my home for the duration of this brief demo, I can hear Chewbacca roaring supportively somewhere inside. Han Solo is there as well, providing…

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Feature: Through the Aperture

Hands On: The Lab, Valve’s Portal-Themed VR Games

Our Vive hands-on experience with The Lab took place in Valve's GDC booth. Actually, 'booth' isn't the right word at all. Valve had transformed a large chunk of the Moscone North hall into a suite of sleek, white virtual reality chambers. The setting itself is a statement of intent, clean and minimalist in comparison to the usual attention-grabbing showfloor stalls, and quietly but efficiently guarded.…

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Feature: Onwards and upwards

Everest VR Puts You On Top Of The Mountain

While lurking in the upstairs lobby of one of the enormous Moscone buildings I managed to get some time with Everest VR [official site], a virtual reality project which aims to recreate the experience of ascending Everest. I try not to go into virtual reality with particular expectations but I'll admit that Everest VR was the experience where I was most expecting to feel disorientated.…

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Feature: Jane Ng on creating the Wyoming Wilderness

The Great Outdoors: Firewatch

While preparing for this year's Game Developers Conference I decided I wanted to learn more about how "outside" works in videogames. By that I mean I wanted to find out how different studios create a sense of space or place that's natural or expansive. Firewatch is not an open world game, but is has these beautiful, expansive vistas, gorgeous trees and a very definite sense…

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Feature: More than a throwback

Why Adventure Games Don’t Have To Suck: Ron Gilbert Talks Thimbleweed Park

Yesterday, I spent forty five minutes with influential adventure game designer of yore Ron Gilbert. We played a portion of his point and click revival Thimbleweed Park and discussed adventure game design in depth. Many of my questions were inspired by Gilbert’s 1989 statement of intent, Why Adventure Games Suck. As Thimbleweed Park looks back to that time, it seemed appropriate to ask what has…

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