Posts Tagged ‘GDC 2015’

GDC Vault Opens: Hundreds Of Talks To Watch For Free

Every year the Game Developers Conference hosts hundreds of fascinating talks across all aspects of game design, technology, and gaming, but most people will never see them. It’s all the way over in San Francisco and tickets cost a bomb, for starters. Thankfully, they record them all, each year set a fair chunk free for everyone to see.

This year’s GDC Vault has opened up with hundreds of free sessions, and we’ve got a few recommendations for you, covering topics from Loom to lessons learned in failure.

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Wot I Imagine GDC Is Like

I’ve never been to GDC, essentially because doing so has never been comfortably compatible with my home life. Every year I feel bluer and bluer about this, which is partly because every year seems to involve everyone who did go declaring it to be the best one ever, and partly because it’s grown into this impossibly fabulous thing in my mind.
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Multiple Endings vs. Split Ends: The Value Of New Tech

But what of the beard?

I’ve seen Adam Jensen from Deus Ex 4* and his hair is lustrous.

I like to make the time at every GDC to attend one talk I almost certainly won’t understand, because it’s useful to remind ourselves every now and then of the absurd technology that underpins the games we play. This year I picked Augmented Hair In Deus Ex Universe Projects, because not only does it fit this mission, but I thought I might get lucky and hear a few hints about Deus Ex 4.

Instead I left the talk with a question: does anyone really care this much about hair?

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Interview: David Braben On Fan Anger And Expectations

Actual size.

Elite: Dangerous [official site] is that rare thing: a Kickstarter-funded game that came out when its developers said that it would. Less rare is the response it inspired when it turned out that the planned offline mode had been scrapped, leaving a game that required an internet connection and backers struggling to receive refunds.

Despite this, the game has considerable merits. I spoke to David Braben at GDC 2015 about whether player’s anger is fair, whether the tone of responses has changed over the course of his career, and whether Elite is designed for those who play for five hours or a thousand.

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Phonopath Sounds (And Is) Extraordinary

My final pick from this year’s crop of GDC Experimental Gameplay Workshop appearances is the extraordinary Phonopath [official site].

Free, available now, and unlike anything else you’ve ever played, it’s a game about solving puzzles using audio files. Puzzles that induced gasps of admiration from the audience. And I suspect will from you too.

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SineRider Wants You To Love Maths, And Scares Me

Another highlight of this year’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop was SineRider, a free game, available right now. A game I’m simply never going to be able to play. There’s a reason I got an E for my A Level maths. That reason could quite neatly be summed up as “functions”. SineRider, as the name implies, is what happens when a maths grad gets inspired by LineRider. And graphic calculators.

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Hands On: Megaton Rainfall

Blowing shit up is a lot of fun. It’s an enormous amount of fun, in fact, which makes it strange that it’s so rarely offered in gaming. Destructible environments must be a royal pain in the arse for so many not to include them, meaning we need to hark back to the Red Faction series to remember the last time it was properly enjoyable. Step forward Megaton Rainfall [official site], which offers literally worlds filled with cities to damage. All in the name of thwarting an alien attack, obviously. I’ve had a play, and can confirm it’s looking like something pretty special.

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How Thumper Made A Lot Of People Very Uncomfortable

A few games stood out at this year’s GDC Experimental Gameplay Workshop, and I’ll be highlighting them in some individual posts. First dibs must go to the opening game, one of the most peculiar experiences I can remember, Thumper [official site].

Despite appearing like a thinned down Audiosurf, Thumper… well, it was something else.

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Watch Diablo 3’s Josh Mosqueira Explain How They Fixed It

Pictures: Mosqueira ascending to the role of lead designer.

The official launch of Diablo 3 [official site], uhhhh, it could have been better, yeah? Game Director Josh Mosqueira, who joined the team as the console lead in 2012, did a talk at GDC yesterday about how things were internally at this time and going forward into developing the expansion, Reaper of Souls. Check it out below, along with the latest details on the upcoming patch.

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Rat-Attack-Tack In Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide

Gillen on the right there.

While I’ve always felt a keener tie to its spacebound, power-armoured cousin, as a British Man I am unable to deny the pull of Warhammer. Vermintide [official site] is the latest in an increasingly (troublingly?) long list of tie-in games to the tabletop fantasy universe. A sort’ve Left 5 Skaven, you and some co-op buddies take the role of the last defenders of Ubersreik, a city invaded and occupied by the ratkin hordes during one of the setting’s many apocalypses. GDC trailer showing the first glimpses of actual rat-biffing below.

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Ex-Telltale Thriller OXENFREE Announced

No! Not the... SPOOKY TRIANGLES

A group of ex-Telltale and Disney developers have come together to form Night School Studio. Their first title, OXENFREE [official site], is an adventure game about a group of teenagers who accidentally get into some spooky goings on while spending the night on a deserted island. The main character is Alex, who has brought her new stepbrother Jonas along for the ride. Announced at GDC 2015, check out the trailer and some more details below.

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Hopi-less: How Kachina Became Donut County

Two years ago, GDC 2013’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop featured a game that had the crowd cheering and applauding in delight. It was Ben Esposito (The Unfinished Swan) with Kachina. This year’s GDC revived an old favourite of the show, the Failure Workshop. This was a chance for developers to share the stories of their disasters, and the good or bad that came from them. And during it, Esposito generously and honestly told an engrossing and humbling tale of how Kachina became Donut County [official site], and the hard cultural lessons he learned along the way.

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Let’s Make Music Together: Cadence

We last mentioned Cadence [Kickstarter page] back in March last year, a music puzzler where connecting nodes allows pulses of tune to create looping patterns. I met up with developer Peter Cardwell-Gardner at GDC this year, to learn how the project is expanding its ambitions, and has launched a Kickstarter to help it get there.

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Unity 5 Is Out Now, Has Free No-Royalty “Personal Edition”

I’m at a Unity [official site] special event at GDC and I’ve had a donut for breakfast. Take everything I’m writing below with a pinch of the sugar rushing through my veins, but Unity have just announced that Unity 5 is available to download now and that there’s a free, no-royalty Personal Edition for use by small companies.

There’s a livestream of the event and more details below.

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23 Observations On 17 Minutes Of Firewatch

'Control, I need to report a giant orange circle taking up space in the sky'

I haven’t been entirely sure what to make of Firewatch [official site], the upcoming great outdoors adventure/exploration title from a mini-supergroup of ex-Double Fine/ Telltale/ Lucasarts/ Klei/ Lionhead devs, because I wasn’t entirely sure what it was. Having just watched a quarter of an hour of it, I still don’t entirely know what it’s going to become, but I really, really like it. It seems to have this laid-back pace and tone and tons of slow-burn character-building while still being very, well, gamey. I really hope that pace and tone can be maintained throughout. Also it looks like somewhere I’d really love to go and live in for a while.

The footage and my own assorted as-they-happened thoughts, including observations on underwear, caves and wedding rings, are below.
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