Posts Tagged ‘gdc’

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 in a rented loft near the heart of GDC in San Francisco and I thought then – and maintain now – that it was the best pure action game I saw at the show.

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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 a game designer and storyteller.

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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 which is aiming to recreate experiences aboard the International Space Station, which sits in low Earth orbit and acts as a research laboratory. The developers are working in collaboration with NASA to shape the experience.

I am flagging up the fact I was unfazed by being thrown off into space in case anyone from NASA is reading this and wants to recruit me as a cool astronaut space reporter, but while I still have a terrestrial job I should probably tell you about Earthlight and the conversation I had with its creative lead, Emre Deniz.

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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.

And yet, the game that convinced me of the immersive qualities of the Vive’s roomscale and touch technology dropped me into a pub, in front of a pool table. Pool Nation, in replicating an experience that I’m familiar with, came closest to fooling my senses completely.

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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 the genre. This is a claustrophobic open world and the game in question is an intelligent and bold exploration of the core concepts found in System Shock and Bioshock. Hell, if this were carrying the title System Shock 3, I’d be delighted.

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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. As Pip and I sat in the waiting area on the final day of the show, the ‘Demos Full’ sign out front had two stickynotes attached: “No, really.” “Really, really, really.”

We were there to see The Lab, which I understood to be a Portal-themed collection of minigames (I suspect you’ll be reading about a lot of minigames in these early stages of VR). They turned out to be four small demos that took us back to the world of Portal and explored the possibilities of the Vive’s virtual spaces and impressive motion controls.

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Her Story Wins Big At IGF Awards

The 18th Annual Independent Games Festival Awards have just wrapped up, with the 16th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards to follow shortly. I was at the ceremony, which took place in a preposterously large ballroom within the conference centre in San Francisco. You can find a full list of the winners, nominees and my thoughts on the outcome below.

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Watch This, Please: GDC’s #1ReasonToBe Panel

Here at RPS, we are not shy about our support for gender equality in the gaming industry, both in terms of the representation in the games we play and at the various companies that make them. It’s a tremendously important matter from just about every standpoint imaginable, from so-called “practicality” (read: business) to common human decency. Nothing, however, beats a firsthand account of the problem at hand – not even a cheeky gallery of StarCraft II’s most cheek-ridden bits. And so, I highly, highly, highly recommend GDC’s absolutely excellent #1ReasonToBe panel. You can now view the entire thing online for free, and even in itsy bitsy box-shaped form, it’s a truly moving, important thing. The experiences Brenda Romero, Robin Hunicke, Leigh Alexander, and co outline – alienation, sadness, rage, doubt, loneliness, discomfort, fear – are why equality matters, and their continued love of gaming becomes all the more powerful in light of that. This is, in my opinion, required viewing. I very much hope you’ll agree.

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IGF Winners: The Habitual Voyeur Of What Is Known As…

….Cart Life, which scooped up an an impressive triple-whammy of Nuovo Award, Excellence in Narrative and the coveted Seamus McNally Grand Prize at last night’s Independent Games Festival 2013 awards. The warmest of all congratulations to Richard Hofmeier, whose affecting, brave game is well overdue for this kind of attention.
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IGF Awards Change Rules, Still Ignore Writing

Scenes at the IGF offices earlier today.

2012’s IGF Awards caused not a small amount of consternation behind the scenes. A good deal of this was bad sportsmanship, with developers claiming it was rigged against them in various ways that it absolutely was not. But other issues like games that had already won being re-entered did become a more serious issue. However, even before this year’s awards, IGF bossman Brandon Boyer has said that this shall no longer be allowed, with any finalists disqualified for another go. And he scraps the mobile category. And yet, even now, still bloody well ignores writing.

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Not Forgotten: Bioware On Baldur’s Gate

Hello! I’m currently out at GDC Europe, skipping around businessy talks to cover for my day job, but I ended up sat in on BIoware’s laidback and fascinating retrospective on the making of their breakthrough game, Baldur’s Gate. It’s a landmark title, and fascinatingly critical to what modern RPGs and MMOs are, but one we’ve surprisingly not talked about much on RPS. Thanks to my magic (and now rather broken) hands of transcripting +1, let’s change that…
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Spectators To Spectate Spector’s Speculation

Don’t tell anyone, but the real reason I wrote this story was purely so I could use that headline.

Yes, King Of Immersive Sims Warren Spector is to hold a keynote speech at GDC later this month. I’ll be in the crowd, which’ll be exciting. Maybe not as exciting as when I had a wee next to him at E3 once, though. Obviously Warren has broken our fragile little hearts and gone on to make some Mickey Mouse platformer for the Wii, but the theme of his speech is something we’re all likely to thrill to/howl at.
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John Carmack Gets Life

A Lifetime Achievement award, that is! Just my little joke there. Sorry. You hate me now, don’t you? It’s late and the punning part of my brain has been asleep for hours.

Yes, the idmeister general is be honored with said accolade at the upcoming Game Developers Choice Awards (I swear that should have an apostrophe somewhere), for his “his contributions to the art and science of games”. Which is a rather lovely way of putting it, to my mind. He follows in the gong-grabbing footprints of Will Wright, Sid Meier and that Mario bloke, and can bask in the warm glow of knowing a panel of his esteemed peers – from the likes of Bioware, DICE and Popcap – nominated him for it. Well done, big John. Now go and make sure Rage is brilliant, please.

Details of the award and a spot of Carmackian backstory below…
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IGF Student Showcase Winners Announced

Always reminds me of a young Chris Morris.

The 190 student entries to the IGF awards have been whittled down to the finalists. Or the “winners” as the IGF rather sweetly calls them, before later telling all but one of them that in fact they weren’t quite as winnery as the one that gets the IGF Student Showcase Award. The list and links are below. Congrats to all.

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New Game Journalism: GDC The Text Adventure

I do like that pixel art.

This is really neat. Picked up from Indie Games. They had Jim Munroe go to GDC with a press-pass and write up his experiences in the form of a text adventure. It’s actually more of a text-based game than a text adventure (i.e. you shouldn’t be having any problems with the parser as long as you REMEMBER the instructions at the start), and actually somewhat splendid. You can play it online in Java here, for the java-hating here and for those who use an IF interpreter, its actual code is here. And some more explanation follows…
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OnLive: The End Of Games Platforms?


At the last GDC the industry big brains were sat around telling us how games would one day be remotely rendered on big computing clusters and then streamed to our TVs. The big unveil at this year’s GDC has proved them to be correct. Maybe. OnLive is a service on which you use superfast broadband (1.5mbps minimum) to play games on a remote server. You just plug it in to any “entry level” PC or Mac, or hook it up to your TV, and play. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the latest 3D card: because the remote server does the rendering and streams the result to you. That’s the theory anyway, and it’s a theory a bunch of big name publishers have signed up to. Watch the OnLive spokesman Steve Perlman make his big claims after the jump.

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Barnett On: Why I Don’t Go To GDC

I don't go as I can't afford it.

A few months ago Mythic’s Creative Director Paul Barnett and myself went into a London bar, set a tape rolling and got mildly smashed. Only now do I dare return to these hours of tape to transcribe a series of topic-by-topic interviews. We pick up where we left off last time, with Paul about to explain why he went to Futurism-festival LIFT rather than this industry’s mecca, the Game Developer’s Conference. And it’s much more fun than him hating San Francisco.
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Battlefield Heroes: The First Look

Proper screenshots beyond the jump.
Could this be the future of PC gaming? Battlefield Heroes has the potential to be one of the most important games the PC has ever seen. Free to play, funded by advertising, super-accessible, playable on a low-spec PC, and still attempting to capture some of what makes a classic PC title so entertaining to play: it’s one of the smartest things EA/DICE have ever done. And it’s funny, too.

Past the jump: my impressions from the GDC demo, the trailer, and the some screenshots.
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GDC ’08 Brain Dump, Part Two


To Part One.

All award ceremonies, apart from those occasional horror sessions that are conducted completely in earnest, have something of a raised eyebrow about them. This was never truer than in the case of the Independent Game Festival Awards and the Game Choice Awards that followed. The IGF awards managed to take the piss out the pretensions of indie gamers, attack the credibility of their sponsors, and still leave room for a dig at the big mainstream publishers. It was exactly right. The Game Choice presentation that followed basically validated what everyone had said about Portal being awesome, and gave Bioshock a pat on the back too, presumably because Erik Wolpaw couldn’t be made to collect all the awards without suffering heart failure.
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Prototype: The GDC Presentation


One of the most impressive sessions I was able to attend at GDC was the discussion of Open Worlds in the context of the development of Prototype, as hosted by Tim Bennison and Eric Holmes of Radical Entertainment. Much of the presentation was focused around the nature of developing open world environments and the way in which systems interconnect to provide options for players within those kinds of game worlds. Interesting stuff, if spider-diagrams of game systems and possible player actions are the kind of thing that draw you in.

The showpiece of the session, however, and the reason many of us were there, was to watch Holmes play through a large slice of the game. And, well, I think my interest in this game has now been validated.
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