Posts Tagged ‘GDC’

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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Dave Jones Discusses APB

When you find out Dave Jones is making a game, there are three steps one must take:

1) Sit up.

2) Read everything.

3) Want.

Yo homes.

This is the guy who has brought us Lemmings, Grand Theft Auto and Crackdown. You know, that’s all. And now he’s turning his studio, Realtime Worlds, to the MMO. APB. And why should you be interested?

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Dave Perry’s Luminary Lunch

They probably had more than sandwiches.

One of the more interesting sessions at this year’s GDC was entirely off-campus. Dave Perry invited a load of chums to lunch, with a select press audience. Present were people like Raph Koster, Peter Molyneux, EA’s Neil Young, Chris Taylor, Dave Perry and some bloke from Sony. And then they all had a good chin-wag. Annoyingly, Rossignol was present – as he’s never going to shut up about it – and has written up the session for Videogaming247. In it, he says things like…

This led Phil Harrison to point out that games are taking too long to make. “The speed of iteration has to change,” said the Sony giant. Koster argued that games were shamed by the web, whose speed of iteration of web-sites was lightening fast. “Flickr patches every half hour!” he exclaimed.

I suspect more from the session will emerge over the coming weeks, but in the mean time, Next Gen have some quotes over here.

Far Cry 2: Death To The Trees

[EDIT: Now with Mystbusters-stolen investigative journalism]

I’m so pleased Far Cry 2 looks amazing. There was an obvious fear (pun so intended) that after Crytek made their own sort-of-sequel without Ubisoft, that the publisher’s sequel would be a, “Yeah! Well we’ll make our own game too then!” revenge release, probably consisting of a side-scrolling platformer with bullet time. But instead, they seem to be making the most realistic foliage simulator of all time. Have a look:


Merci beaucoup Gametrailers.

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Keeping Up With Ken Levine

Sometimes, we like to race. Today, John won, throwing up his thoughts on Ken Levine’s recent post-mortem natterings about Bioshock’s narrative before I could lay my oafish mitts to a keyboard.

After literally seconds of consideration, I’ve decided to do so anyway, as a) John’s kindly gotten the hard labour of summary and quotation out of the way for me and b) I’ve got some slightly different feelings about what Levine’s said/is maybe trying to say/perhaps failed to say. This isn’t at all a rebuttal to John’s piece, though there are inescapable elements of point-counterpoint.

Apologies, by the way, if we’ve gone a little September 2007 today: Bioshock’s one of those games that never quite goes away.
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I Can’t Keep Up With Ken Levine

The man confuses me. It comes down to this.

Mr Levine

When Ken Levine was interviewed by Kotaku’s Brian Crecente earlier this month, he explained to the site’s editor,

“I underestimated, way underestimated, the impact the story was going to have on people. I didn’t realize it would change people’s perspective on what to expect from gameplay. I didn’t think they became that invested in what was going on. You have this great mystery of your own identity and once it is solved the story is over. I think it was a miscalculation on my part.”

So why did Levine announce in his GDC speech,

“The bad news for storytellers is that nobody cares about your stupid story.”

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Instant Action: Hey, Nice Tribes Clone

What do you mean, am I colourblind?
2008 is going to be the year when decent 3D action games are integrated directly into the web. That’s the message from GarageGames Instant Action service. (Confirmed by that whole Quake Live thing too, eh?)

In a low key demonstration of their web-based gaming hub on the GDC expo floor, Tim Aste, the lead designer director of Tribes-like jetpack shooter Fallen Empire: Legions, revealed some compelling aspirations for the web service. Aste explained, as two impressively acrobatic jetpack combatants engaged in rocket-battles on screens either side of him, that their fast-paced 3D shooter operates entirely within a web browser, and as such can be updated instantly and dynamically, as well as downloaded and played on any PC with a 3D card and a broadband connection. System specs, said Aste, would be suitably low, and the price for play just a few dollars. Tribes for lunch? I think so.
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Game Developers’ Choice Awards Announced

There's a reason why Alec does most of the Photoshop. It's this.

Well, it’s a morning of awards. Walker’s already dealt with the IGF , but the Developers’ Choice Awards are also interesting. It’s the award ceremony where, as the name may suggest, the winners are chosen by their peers. This abstractly leads to a slightly different picture of the industry than most awards. Abstractly, anyway. In terms of nominations, Portal and Bioshock had five a piece, with Call of Duty 4 lagging slight below with four.

So, who won? Opening the red envelope…
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IGF Winners Announced

The results are in, with the winners announced for the 2008 IGF Awards.

Stolen banners are our stock in trade.

The standard of entries this year was just stunning, and when we’ve tried to pick out our favourite of the top prize entries, it’s been impossible. For us it came down to three. Audiosurf has taken over our lunchtimes (and mornings and afternoons and evenings) this week, and is obviously a triumphant achievement. Crayon Physics Deluxe is so charming and serene, while letting you feel like a wizard as your drawings come to life. And World of Goo evoked memories in us of the first time we played Lemmings (a high compliment indeed). Winners lie beyond.

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For The Love

Love lifts us where we belong.
Occasionally encounters with human intelligence can be entirely bewildering. Suddenly you’re faced with the fact that other minds move in the same world and speak the same language, and yet have thoughts and intellectual processes going on that are entirely alien – and superior – to your own. That’s certainly how it feels to be shown the work of Eskil Steenberg, while sat at a spare table in a GDC conference hall. Steenberg’s temperamental laptop might not have wanted to help out, but what we saw flickering on that screen was astonishing and somewhat unsettling.
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Life On Mars? Yes. Albeit Blue.

Men are from Mars.

While we bitterly watch Jim have adventures at GDC via the medium of excitable text-messages, the rest of RPS sit forlornly and watch the news feeds. We need a holiday. Which is one reason why this caught our eye – Avatar Reality are showing off their Crysis-engine powered Blue Mars over there. It’s set in 2177 on a terraformed Mars… and, no, come back. This isn’t an UnRed Faction Mars-based FPS. It’s actually an online environment ala Second Life where developers can build casual games to amuse everyone else, with Crysis’s fancy aesthetics on tap. Unlike Second Life, this is more about actual developers making stuff, but… well, we’ll see, eh? They’re suggesting a Public Beta before the end of 2008. And until then, some fancy screenshots.
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Status Update: Jim at GDC

So yeah I’m at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and hanging about talking to game people in overcrowded bars. It’s a fun time, with a few moments of genuine delight at the bright shiny world of gaming that lies ahead of us, and a few moments of numbing jetlag or vertiginous horror at our absurdly debauched modernity.

The really astounding thing about this event is that it makes it quite clear just how many really bright people there are who basically just want to enjoy their lives by spending them making games. Bright people should really be using their giant brains to fix the sky or create cures for hiccups, but I’m nevertheless chuffed that some of them are putting their energies directly into the thing that I care most about: defeating boredom (or Ennui Lite, as I’m rebranding it for 2008). I’ll blog about one of these people a bit later. He’s someone you’ve never heard of, and who blew my mind with a laptop and a half hour conversation.


The Intel guy said logos are expensive, but we prove otherwise

But anyway, let’s talk about The Personal Computer Gaming Alliance. Or how Intel and their gigantic computer chums want to save our platform.
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