Posts Tagged ‘interview’

State of the Art: The Long Dark’s aurora

The Long Dark

The coloured lights flaring across the night sky in the frozen Canadian wilderness were one of the most anticipated elements of Hinterland’s survival game, The Long Dark [official site]. Since the Kickstarter we’ve known they would do more than brighten the night, playing a key part in the game’s episodic story mode, but now they’re in the game I find myself braving the uptick in danger they bring or setting aside a necessary survival task to stand outside and stare up at the skies in delight. So how did the design of the aurora develop. how did the team balance beauty and hostility and DID YOU KNOW that the Aurora Borealis makes a noise in real life that Hinterland incorporated into the game?? Here’s creative director Raphael van Lierop to explain more in our latest State of the Art feature! Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Tower Of Time developers talk ambition, player feedback, and the ancient real-time wars

Tower Of Time [official site] was a tremendous surprise – an early access RPG, from first-time developers, with a unique real-time combat system. That’s all three strikes, surely? Except no, it’s really fantastic. Having finished the first floor of the tower, what’s available for now, I wanted to find out more about how an unknown team from Poland were so audacious as to try (so successfully) at such a project. So I spoke to Krzysztof Monkiewicz, the project’s lead, to find out how they got started, and where they’re going next. Read the rest of this entry »

State of the Art: The slimes of Slime Rancher

Phosphor slimes

I’ve spent a looooooot of time with my slimes in Slime Rancher [official site] and watching them bounce and coo as they wiggle free of my corrals and wobble off like determined balloon-toddlers has been a delight. But how does one convert a ball into a creature with such a strong sense of spirit? How do you keep their little slime modifications from becoming a confusing mulch of wings and ears? What happened to the meteor slime? How does Gremlins figure in the design of Slime Rancher’s monsters? And will anyone listen to me when I tell them puddle slimes are actually cuter than tabby slimes???

Let’s do a slime art and design interview with game designer/Monomi Park studio co-founder Nick Popovich and find out… Read the rest of this entry »

How Spirit hopes to bring humanity to AI

Spirit AI

Sitting in a Bath tearoom having just wiped the lemon curd from my fingers I was tasked with interrogating a robot about a murder. The interrogation scene was the GDC demo for Spirit AI [official site] – middleware geared around bringing more expressive characters to gaming as well as building safer and more inclusive online environments. Both hinge around the same set of technologies. They each look at language to understand interactions but one uses that understanding to build meaningful encounters with AI characters and the other uses it to keep an eye on how players are behaving towards one another.

I was sitting with Mitu Khandaker, creative director at Spirit AI. You might remember her work as the developer, The Tiniest Shark, on the game Redshirt or, if you’re in academia, she’s an assistant arts professor at NYU Game Center and holds a PhD in games and the aesthetics of interactivity. She was watching me play through the demo, using natural language to try to figure out how a man called Martin died and whether the robot is culpable. The demo was by Bossa Studios, makers of Surgeon Simulator, and it gave me a limited amount of time to chat with the robot – me typing and the robot speaking into the tearoom with a female voice in a Scottish accent – before asking for my verdict on her guilt. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Uppercut Games on the journey from BioShock to City Of Brass

With the announcement of City Of Brass [official site] today, I was intrigued to learn what this group of Irrational veterans – key players on so many well-loved games like SWAT 4, Tribes: Vengeance, Freedom Force and of course, BioShock – had planned for their first-person Arabian Nights-themed roguelite. I got in touch with team lead Ed Orman to find out more about how Uppercut Games formed, and how their experience on so many big games plays a part in creating something quite so different. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: The Electronic Wireless Show talks Gamelab, the airships of Worlds Adrift, and horror of Get Even

Bring out your ears, it’s the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. Adam has returned from Gamelab in Barcelona and is ready to tell us all the hot goss about Arkane’s president leaving the studio (there’s not much) but also all the gamescience he acquired from RiME developer Raúl Rubio and Cyberpunk 2020 creator Mike Pondsmith. In the mean time, Brendan has been falling off airships and getting into disagreements with cloud hobos in floating island MMO Worlds Adrift, and Pip has been too busy to play things. The world is an accursed slum of injustice.

But there’s more! We also have a tougher-than-normal edition of our patch notes quiz, Patch Adam, and take some questions from readers. Listen now, your attention is our sustenance. Feed us. Feed us.

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds interview: New modes, modding plans, and his meteoric rise

Since release in March, battle-royale-’em-up PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds [official site] has sold 4 million copies, and at the time of writing it’s the third most played game on Steam in terms of concurrent users. That’s not bad given that its creator, Brendan ‘PlayerUnknown’ Greene, has never made a game before, only got involved in modding a few years ago, and doesn’t really consider himself a gamer.

At this year’s EGX Rezzed in April, I spoke to Greene about his rapid journey through the industry, his plans for new modes in Battlegrounds, how he feels about competition with H1Z1, and his hope of giving back to the community that helped him by turning the game into a modding platform. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: The Electronic Wireless Show talks Caveblazers, The Witcher 3, and Orcs Must Die

Jingle jingle, it’s the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. This week we discuss the ongoing Steam summer sale and bare our respective piles of shame. Editor-at-arms Graham also joins us to talk about spelunking roguelike Caveblazers, while Pip takes on the free-to-play Orcs Must Die! Unchained and Brendan marches on with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

But wait! There’s also an interview with the creators of “roguevania” Dead Cells, and we take some questions from listeners too. But most importantly, we introduce some extra jingles from our music man, Jack. Come and listen, educate yourself.

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State of the Art: The monsters of Prey

Prey's Typhon

I’m only a little way into Prey [official site] at the moment but one of the most interesting aspects for me is the monster design. I love pausing the trailers to peer more closely at their glitchy, weird forms without worrying about being killed. The monsters in question are these hostile lifeforms which all come under the bracket of “Typhon” but there are different species of Typhon within that.

The differing shapes, sizes and movements make it easy to distinguish one species from another. There are the scuttling spidery, crabby Mimics, the tentacled, floating Telepaths, the humanoid Phantoms… But there’s a common visual thread – all of them are these glitchy, threatening oilslicks whose forms never quite settle. Even when dead their surfaces ripple and shimmer. Emmanuel Petit (lead visual designer) and Jason Timmons (lead visual effects artist) offered their expertise so we could unpack the design of these writhing oddities. Read on to find out why the idea of colour palettes makes the team laugh and how they repurposed foliage tools for monster silhouettes! Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Schafer tells the story of Amnesia Fortnight

“I started feeling a little bogged down by the scope of [Brutal Legend],” says Tim Schafer, founder of Double Fine. “It was really huge and I felt like the team had been doing it for a long time and had a long way to go yet. I felt like they needed a break.”

That break was Amnesia Fortnight, a two week game jam during which anyone at the developer can pitch an idea and, if it’s selected, lead a team to turn it from concept to working prototype. Now in its tenth year, I spoke to Schafer about the jam’s benefits, pitfalls and how it’s changed over the years. Read the rest of this entry »

Phoenix Point is now crowdfunding: we spoke to Julian Gollop about standing out in a post-XCOM world

The original X-COM (UFO: Enemy Unknown), Julian Gollop tells me, “succeeded in spite of itself”. I asked him how he felt about the game now, twenty three years after its initial release, and particularly about the way it’s often placed on a pedestal. He didn’t expect it to be a success and certainly didn’t think he’d be making a game heavily based on its legacy almost a quarter of a century later.

Yet here we are. The crowdfunding campaign for Phoenix Point [official site], a sci-fi horror strategy game about an alien onslaught, has just begun. Gollop is back where many people feel he belongs, and this time round he seems extremely confident in his game’s design.

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State of the Art: Guild Wars 2’s art passes from father to son

Horia Dociu various concept art for Guild Wars 2

Recently I had the chance to talk to ArenaNet (and thus Guild Wars 2) art director Horia Dociu about his work at the studio. One of the interesting things about his promotion to the role is that he succeeds his father, Daniel. As a result there’s a lot in our Q&A which is actually just a touching account of a partnership/mentor/mentee relationship across two generations of a family which was nice to read. I particularly love the point about making sure people have a place where it’s safe to try and to fail. Beyond that we talked via the email questions and answers about the art of the game which has been the most personally satisfying for Dociu The Younger, how to keep an art style from looking dated in a living game and the relationship of concept art to in-game assets… Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: A Typical Atypical Simmer #3

Jeremy Louden’s first passengers were reluctant ones. As an eleven-year-old he’d make his younger brother and sister sit behind him while he piloted his MS Flight Simulator 4.0 Learjet 25 from Chicago to San Francisco in real time. Today, flying MD-88/90s for Delta Air Lines, he no longer has to arrange chairs prior to a flight and very seldom arrives at a destination only to discover his passengers have vanished en-route. Read the rest of this entry »

We talk to Big Robot’s Jim Rossignol about The Signal From Tölva

He’s a difficult man to pin down, but we managed to secure a world exclusive interview with the project lead behind The Signal From Tölva [official site], one Jim Rossignol. After months of negotiations he agreed to speak to us, divulging thoughts and feelings about the game that will most likely kill him and all involved. Now, some people are going to say that there’s a conflict of interests here, what with Rossignol coincidentally being a director and co-founder of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, which is an outrageous accusation that impugns our integrity, wholly accurately. Read the rest of this entry »

State of the Art: The art of creating Subnautica’s flora

If you’ve spoken to me for more than five minutes, chances are I’ve mentioned Subnautica [official site]. It’s an open world survival game set largely underwater on an alien planet. You explore biomes, collect resources and, as updates to the early access project add more content, start to piece together the story of the planet. I played huge amounts of the game before more significant story elements were added and my big project was my volcano lair’s garden. I collected all the weird and wonderful plants I could and cultivated them in little plant beds outside my underwater home. That’s why, when I had a chance to speak with art director Cory Strader, I immediately wanted to talk about the game’s flora.

Read on to find out how The Abyss, microscopy and a real fish with a transparent head and a visible brain all played their part! P.S. You can click on images to see larger version of the concept artwork or, if they’re game screenshots, to just see them in isolation. Read the rest of this entry »

The Electronic Wireless Show – IGF Special #1: Sci-fi

It’s time to use to our radio voice. The RPS Electronic Wireless Show has historically been our not-very-regular podcast where we gather to tell each other how wrong we are about videogames. But this month it has mutated into something different. In the lead-up to this year’s Independent Games Festival, we interviewed a whole bunch of developers, all of whom have been nominated for some kind of award this year. We’ll be talking to them about sex, politics, and other things we’ve never understood.

In part one, we’re talking science fiction with the makers of Duskers, Quadrilateral Cowboy and Event[0]. Click onward to listen here, or find it on Soundcloud directly.
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White Wolf and the World of Darkness revival: “Asking ‘when will you rage?’ has never been more relevant”

Last week, I sat down with Martin Ericsson, lead storyteller at White Wolf, publishers of the World of Darkness RPG systems and interwoven storylines. It’s a strange and exciting time for the company, who are about to step back into the spotlight after a decade-plus drought of digital games since 2004’s much-loved Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. For much of that time Ericsson and colleagues were locked into a licensing deal with CCP, working on the ill-fated and never released World of Darkness MMORPG, but now they’re ready to begin a new generation of stories.

We talked about the recently announced Werewolf: The Apocalypse game and how its werewolves act as nature’s remedy to mankind’s ills, as well as that MMO and the broader shape of White Wolf’s future. Along the way we discussed punching Nazis, why now is the perfect time to get angry, and how World of Darkness is about the here and now as much as its own mythology. This isn’t just one game, it’s the rebirth of a world.

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Interview: Windows 10’s new Game Mode explained

Just last week (and yet somehow an eternity ago, in terms of world events), Microsoft announced that they’d soon be adding something called ‘Game Mode’ to Windows 10 with the aim of improving games’ performance, but gave away few details about what this might involve. Are we talking real framerate gains, suppressing potentially bothersome background tasks or just freeing up a wee bit of RAM?

With the first iteration of Game Mode due to arrive as part of Windows 10’s optional early Insider builds due today, I had a chat with Kevin Gammill, Partner Group Program Manager, Xbox Platform, spokesperson for the group building Game Mode, to find out what this thing actually does, which games it will support and what kind of control users will have over it. Read the rest of this entry »

Smite Rivals: how the god-themed card game works

Smite: Rivals

Smite Rivals [official site] is the latest game from Hi-Rez Studios. It’s being championed at the Hi-Rez Expo which is the company’s annual esports-and-miscellaneous celebration of its games and community. People in baby pink, Rivals-branded tshirts wait by kiosks as curious attendees come over to play.

The game itself looks very familiar if you’ve ever played the mobile game, Clash Royale. It’s a lane-pushing card game so you create a deck of eight cards to represent particular actions or units which will be available to you over the course of a few minutes and play those cards onto the three lanes of the arena as a pared-down real time strategy affair. The rate at which you can play cards is controlled by their mana cost which you pay from the mana bar on the left hand side which fills over time.

In terms of the game board, it’s actually pretty similar to Smite’s main competitive mode. There are three lanes in which you can spawn the units, each guarded by a phoenix. The ultimate objective – the titan – sits behind the phoenixes. You win by destroying more of these structures than your opponent. If you topple their titan that’s an insta-win, otherwise the score is tallied once the time runs out.

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The Flare Path: A Typical Atypical Simmer #2

The man currently sipping a Koskenkorva and consulting his cue cards in the U/S Williams X-Jet The Flare Path uses as a dais is Ilja ‘Zipuli’ Varha. Our second ‘atypical simmer‘, Ilja has very kindly agreed to talk about his journey from juvenile M1 Tank Platoon fan to 33-year-old brigade simulator officer in the Finnish Defence Forces. Whether your polygonal battle wagon of preference is a Steel Beasts Leo, a Steel Fury T-34 or a World of Tanks Tiger, the following paragraphs should prove interesting.

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