Posts Tagged ‘interview’

The Flare Path: A Typical Atypical Simmer #1

The idea that simulations are consolation prizes – digital sops for people that lack the skill or dedication to make it as real pilots, race car drivers, tankies or whatever – is depressingly widespread. The linked notion that sims are something you abandon once you get your hands on the ‘real McCoy’, crops up almost as often in games criticism and forum exchanges, and annoys me just as much. While it’s certainly true that many of my brethren and sistren are aspirants who recreate in facsimiles because they can’t recreate in originals, the hobby is dotted with individuals who use and see simulations quite differently. Over the coming weeks I’d like to introduce you to some of these fascinating individuals. Read the rest of this entry »

Birthdays The Beginning; a new game from Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada

Birthdays

Birthdays The Beginning [official site] is a new project, releasing 7 March (that’s the NA release, EU will be 10 March), by Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada. It has been nagging at the edges of my gaming radar for a little while now, simply by dint of game images showing off adorable-looking dinosaurs and pictures of the game as a real-life miniature scene but it was only in the last few days that I learned what the game actually is. It’s an environment nurturing sim where you try to spawn and evolve different lifeforms in order to capture them.

Somewhere between Pokemon and Viva Pinata is how I’m thinking of it right now, partly for the gameplay elements, but also for the emotion and the aesthetic of the latter particularly. But to find out more I sat down with Wada-san (and an incredibly helpful translator) as well as tuning in to a Twitch broadcast showing off the main game loops. Read the rest of this entry »

Dishonored 2: A Closer Look At The Art Of Karnaca

Dishonored 2

With Dishonored 2‘s [official site] release hovering on the gaming horizon, I wanted to take a closer look at Arkane’s sequel and its distinctive aesthetic with art director, Sébastien Mitton. Our conversation touched on fashion influences, how you approach the art of a sequel, the role of tech advangements and why it’s important that Dishonored 2 went with Victorian city-building instead of a modern grid. As ever with these art-focused features, you can click on the images to see a larger version. Read the rest of this entry »

Football Manager’s Miles Jacobson On Leicester, Brexit And Building Better Artificial Intelligence

Just before the launch of Football Manager 2017 [official site], with the beta already released to the many people who preordered the game, I spoke to Sports Interactive director Miles Jacobson about the changes his team have made in this latest game in the series. We talked about AI improvements, Brexit, and whether Leicester winning the Premier League was a happy day or a sad day at Sports Interactive.

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Interview: Messhof On Nidhogg 2

We recently found out that the frantic and melodramatic fencing of Nidhogg would be making a return thanks to the sequel plans of developers Messhof. Nidhogg 2 [official site] is set to include new weapons, levels and a surreal new art style. We talked to co-founders Mark Essen and Kristy Norindr about what can be expected when we roll up our sleeves for the next duel.

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State of the Art: Burly Men At Sea

Burly Men At Sea [official site] sailed onto my radar at Rezzed earlier this year. Part of the Leftfield Collection, the game offered a beautifully stylised tale about three bearded brothers going off on an adventure. The reason I was particularly excited was, more than any other game, the demo I played seemed to capture the essence of children’s story books and translate that to the screen in a way that felt natural.

To find out more I spoke to one half of the development team at Brain&Brain, Brooke Condolora and asked her to share snippets from her sketchbooks and from across the game’s development.

Take a peek after the jump, and click on any of the images to see a larger version.

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League Of Legends: Riot Kades Talks Mechs Vs Minions

Earlier this week Riot announced its first foray into boardgames with Mechs vs Minions – a co-op tabletop experience set in the League of Legends [official site] universe. If you’re a boardgamer you’ll get the basic concept from “Robo Rally meets Descent” with a Legacy-esque campaign component. If you’re not, probably the easiest way to put this is that you’re working together to program little characters in mech suits so they can be victorious in their missions, although taking damage can make them go haywire (as can, for example, misreading cards and forgetting your mech will turn 90 degrees and thus you end up accidentally on the other side of the board throwing a ripsaw into thin air. FOR EXAMPLE.) It’s also heavier than most newborns, coming in at 12.8 lb on my bathroom scales.

I played snippets of the game during development (I guess kind of like videogame previews) so I was pleased to talk with Mechs Vs Minions lead Chris ‘Kades’ Cantrell to see how the idea had developed over time, how Riot had made the ridiculously huge game remotely affordable, and how RPS alumnus Quinns had managed to make more work for everyone (in a good way):

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The Flare Path: The Man Who Listens To Trains

In the light industrial districts that have sprung up around FSX, X-Plane, and DCS World, genuine craftsmen aren’t all that hard to find. The machine tools that whirr and thump and whine in the workshops of add-on makers like A2A Simulations and PMDG are operated by passionate perfectionists – driven micrometer wielders whose scrap bins brim with components that look, on first, second and third inspection, absolutely flawless. Elsewhere in Simulatia, it’s a different story. Just about the only sim that can boast a third-party add-on as lovingly fashioned as this Texan or this Fishbed, is Train Simulator. I enthused about that add-on – a delightful Class 205 DEMU – a few weeks ago, and in today’s Flare Path I talk to the outfit behind it, Armstrong Powerhouse.

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We Spoke To Developers About Steam User Reviews

Recent changes to Steam reviews, which filter out reviews from keys that weren’t purchased directly through Valve’s digital store, have caused all sorts of worry and concern. The intent is to remove false positives in the form of reviews exchanged for keys and the like, but legitimate reviews are also affected. Games that were Kickstarted no longer have their backers’ assessment contributing toward the rating Steam displays at the top of the page, and people buying through Humble Bundles or elsewhere are similarly excluded by default.

We contacted a variety of developers and publishers, including Larian, Stardock and Mode 7, to hear if they thought the move might stamp down on unfair practices, or whether it would end up hurting rather than helping.

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Interview: Endless Space 2’s Devs On Why They Traded Independence For Sega

Amplitude Studios has grown significantly since the Parisian developer, as a small team that you could count on one hand, first conceived Endless Space. Now they work out of two floors in a high-rise near the centre of the metropolis and are busy working on their fourth game, Endless Space 2. Recently, they announced a partnership with publisher Sega.

It’s an evolution and escalation that’s echoed in their games. Endless Space 2, then, is an opportunity to show everyone just how much they’ve grown, combining the ideas that birthed their first game with the lessons they’ve learned through the much lauded Endless Legend. I spoke to the company’s two founders to discuss why they’re making the game now, what the partnership with Sega means for the studio, and more.

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League Of Legends: Statikk Explains Yorick’s Rework

Yorick, perhaps League of Legends most awkward character, is almost at the end of an in-depth makeover. He’ll emerge from his champion update cocoon after a stint on the Public Beta Environment as the Shepherd of Souls to [hopefully] acclaim and popularity, much as Tai emerged from her fashion makeover at the hands of Cher and Dion in Clueless to become part of the elite high school clique. Lead Game Designer James “Statikk” Bach talked me through the gravedigger’s revamp including how he almost became evil royalty (Yorick, not Statikk)!

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Interview: Brian Fargo On Torment, Crowdfunding, The Future Of InXile And The Emotional Appeal Of RPGs

At Gamescom, after a whirlwind tour of just a few of Torment: Tides of Numenera’s [official site] many worlds, I sat down with inXile CEO Brian Fargo to talk about the past, present and future of his company, and of RPGs. As well as discussing Torment, I wanted to talk about Fargo’s career as a whole, which spans 34 years, and covers the creation of the original Wasteland and Fallout, along with many other games, as well as three enormously successful crowdfunding campaigns in recent times.

He told me that the crowdfunding of Wasteland 2 had felt like “a referendum on [his] history” and that he’d like to explore original ideas once he has rebuilt trust with new versions of Wasteland, Torment and The Bard’s Tale. Mostly, though, we talked about why making RPGs has retained its appeal over all these years, and how the business has changed since the early days of Interplay.

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League Of Legends: Meddler On The Timing Of THAT Laneswap Patch

League Of Legends‘ [official site] Lead Gameplay Designer, Andrei Meddler van Roon, was in Birmingham over the weekend as the UK’s huge LAN event, Insomnia, was also playing host to League Fest – a dedicated League Of Legends event. I couldn’t get up there but I managed to get a bit of time with Meddler on the phone and, after recommending the Sea Life Centre, we got to discussing the recent patch kerfuffle, the rhythm of game tweaks, favourite game additions and more:

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Sega On Amplitude, Strategy And Becoming A PC Giant

Even though Sega have been publishing PC strategy and simulation games for years now, I still can’t see the company logo or hear the word without thinking back to hours spent at schoolfriends’ houses, trying to work out if Sonic was too fast or I was too slow. The acquisition of Amplitude was the point that I decided that I needed to ask Sega a very simple question: “Do you want to marry PC strategy games?”

At Gamescom, I sat down with Jurgen Post, COO of Sega of Europe.

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The Bleeding Edges: The Stone Retrospective

The Bleeding Edges are a series of articles on games that blur reality and fiction.

In 1997, when the world wide web was barely spun, a game came along that was unlike anything else before it, and with few bold enough to follow it since. It was called The Stone [tribute site], and – incredibly for the time – played exclusively through a web browser. Even more peculiarly, your access to the game was made possible by purchasing a real-world black pendant, emblazoned with six symbols – a pattern of symbols only you, and one other person in the world, had. With this code, you could reach a diagram of a three-dimensional cube, each segment containing a white dot, each dot representing a puzzle.

And each puzzle opened your eyes to something you never knew before, sending you off on a journey of research. On returning to the game, I got hold of one of its original creators, Rod Bruinooge, to find out a little more, and once again sunk into its peculiar puzzling.

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Interview: Ice Pick Lodge On Pathologic HD And Preserving Madness

Last night Ice-Pick Lodge revealed a new collection of screenshots for their HD remake of the wonderful, bizarre and previously very broken Pathologic [official site]. Looking at them, I found I was bursting with questions, so I asked them. Ice-Pick’s Alexandra Golubeva replied, in splendid detail. Below you can find out how there came to be two remakes at once – a complete rebuild and reimagining of the game and an updated-but-preserved version of the original – plus what new directions this reimagining will take, and how they’re inventing brand new ways to tell those old stories. (Click on the pics to see the new screens all bigger.)

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The Flare Path: Submarine Dreams

Subsim.com proprietor Neal Stevens and myself stand on opposite sides of the great dreamer-doer divide. When I see a promising in-development sim struggling for funding or heading in a direction I don’t much like, I sigh and pen a few plaintive words for this column. Neal, on the other hand, contacts the devs, and offers to fund development of the game for a year in return for design influence. When the studio accepts his offer, he then up sticks, and moves five thousand miles to be closer to his new business partners.

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Kickstarter’s Head Of Games: “Kickstarter Fatigue Only Lasts Until Someone Sees Their Favourite Game Pop Up”

At this year’s Develop conference in Brighton, I grabbed an hour with keynote speaker Luke Crane, Head of Games at Kickstarter, to talk about the state of play of videogames on the crowdfunding platform in 2016. Discussed: what makes a good project now, the odds of making it, ‘Kickstarter fatigue’ and the question of glory days, Kickstarter’s reaction to funded projects that are not then released, the importance of community, how the press can be unhelpful and whether or not famous names are dominating the ecosystem at the expense of smaller developers.
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Interview: How The Esports Integrity Commission Hopes To Crack Down On Cheating

Organisations aiming to regulate esports seem to be sprouting on an almost daily basis. The latest of the bunch is ESIC, the Esports Integrity Commission, a not-for-profit who want to “take responsibility for disruption, prevention, investigation and prosecution of all forms of cheating,” including both match manipulating and doping. Match manipulation seems a particularly large focus and the organisation is being supported by the UK Gambling Commission among others, with the ESL and Dreamhack counted among its members.

We spoke to Ian Smith, ESIC’s ‘integrity commissioner’, via email about what prompted the move towards regulation, his own leap from cricket to esports, and how enforcement of regulations will work.

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Interview: Fireproof Games On The Room, And The Journey From Mobile To PC

With The Room Two [official site] released on PC today, we grabbed the chance to speak to developers Fireproof about how they succeeded in a tough mobile market, and then succeeded yet again when converting those games to PC.

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