Posts Tagged ‘Steve Gaynor’

Gone Vroom is Gone Home but you are a car for some reason

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There’s not much of a need to add to this news hit. Today, on the ole Itch.io site, I stumbled upon yet another great Ludum Dare 41 entry. If you remember, 41’s theme is two game genres that should not be compatible. Jon Remedios took this to one of its most bizarre conclusions: that the walking simulator genre requires a good driving simulator that is not, itself, a driving simulator but rather a walking simulator where you are a car. If you think it sounds like that might not work, well, you’d be right. Especially if that car if forced to experience life trapped within the walls of the rural Oregon home of the Greenbriar family. That’s right. It’s Gone Home but you’re a car. You’re a car in the Gone Home house. Welcome to Gone Vroom.

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Final episode of Steve Gaynor’s Tone Control podcast released

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Way, way back at the beginning of Kickstarter, I threw some money at a new podcast called Idle Thumbs. I didn’t know this would lead to Steve Gaynor going on to become One Of Those Big Game Names, but it didn’t matter because it seemed like a really cool concept made by cool people. Idle Thumbs became a podcast network and now, after two excellent seasons, Gaynor’s show Tone Control has come to an end. The final episode is excellent, but all of the episodes are worth remembering and revisiting, as the lessons and stories of game developers talking about game design are fascinating and oddly timeless.

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Derek Yu says a tiny bit about Spelunky 2

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I have a terrible memory, which is sometimes an asset. It means that every now and then I get to experience a jolt of joy when I remember that Spelunky 2 is a thing – a thing that I’ve little doubt will take over my life in the same way that both the original freeware and the remaster did. If you somehow haven’t played Spelunky, you should know that it’s a 2D platformer that sits atop the throne of systems-driven roguelikes, capable of spinning story after story from parts that click together in masterful ways. You should also know that I envy you deeply, because I’d give up a lot to play Spelunky for the first time again.

Except I just remembered, I sort of can! Spelunky 2 was announced at last year’s Paris Games Week, with a trailer that gave away very little. So little, in fact, that any murmurings from lead developer Derek Yu on the subject count as news in my book. He recently murmured all over the Tone Control podcast with Fullbright’s Steve Gaynor, and said a little about how becoming a father has shaped development. Read the rest of this entry »

Floating simulator Tacoma adds developer commentary

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Well, this is quite embarrassing. I still haven’t played Tacoma, but I have a good reason: I was quite positive that Steve Gaynor of Fullbright was pranking me. I bought the game for Xbox One and, at release, that version of the game simply did not work. I took to Twitter, where several days later, Gaynor informed me that the best work-around for getting the game to launch involved me deleting all of my Xbox 360 save games on my Xbox One. It’s the kind of solution that I’m sure worked but also sounded like telling your buddy to stick his iPhone in the microwave if it got wet. The game is long since patched but I never went back because, well, I still think Gaynor was somehow pranking me. Anyhow, his voice has now been added to the game I haven’t played, and it is time Steve and I made our peace — in space.

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How Tacoma tells a non-linear story with ghosts

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This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Tacoma [official site].

Fullbright is running out of things to steal from the Shock series. “Like, we made a game that is basically about audio diaries for Gone Home, and now we’ve made a game that’s basically about the ghost sequences in System Shock 2 and BioShock with Tacoma,” co-founder Steve Gaynor tells me. “We’re running out of things to rip! What are we doing next?”

He’s laughing about it, but it’s only half true, since Tacoma is really about taking audio diaries and making them into a game. You don’t find and passively listen to them, you’re an active observer of augmented reality recordings of the crew members of a now-deserted space station. The distinction makes a huge difference, and had a profound effect on the way Tacoma’s story was written, because it posed complex puzzles of fitting dialogue and direction into both space and time. All because in Tacoma you can:

THE MECHANIC: Pause, fast-forward and rewind ghosts Read the rest of this entry »

Looking Glass / Irrational Does System Shock 2 Live

Even a few years ago, the idea of getting to watch assorted Looking Glass and Irrational alumni play and talk through revered sci-fi immersive sim System Shock 2 sounded like an absurd fantasy. Twitch and Twitter, whatever else they might be throwing at the world, have broken down so many barriers. For instance: two of hours of System Shock 2, with live commentary provided by the likes of BioShock’s Ken Levine, Gone Home’s Steve Gaynor and Ultima Underworld’s Paul Neurath (not to mention all the other landmark games those guys worked on).
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Level With Me: Play Cohort 2 Now

Level With Me was a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they designed part of a small first person game. You can now download and play the final resulting game!…
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Level With Me, Steve Gaynor

Level With Me is a series of interviews with game developers about their games, work process, and design philosophy. At the end of each interview, they design part of a small first person game. You can play this game at the very end of the series.

Six years ago, Steve Gaynor started as a level designer at Timegate Studios on the F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate expansion pack. Then at 2K Marin he worked on BioShock 2 and lead designed Minerva’s Den, one of the few respectable DLCs ever made. After a stint at Irrational Games to help with BioShock Infinite, he went indie with some former teammates to form The Fullbright Company. They all made a lovely thing called Gone Home that has won oodles of awards and emotional acclaim.
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Steve Gaynor On The Weirdness Of Gone Home


There’s a weird tension to Gone Home. On the one hand it should be the most normal thing in the world: an American household. On the other, well, it’s unusual for games to try and tell stories about everyday lives. But that’s precisely what it does, and that’s just part of what makes it so beautifully weird.

I met Fullbright’s project lead, Steve Gaynor, and talked about that. This is how we got on.
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Will We Ever Get To Play “One City Block”?


Following on from my article on the importance of keeping our eye on the future, I’ve started writing what will no doubt be an irregular column on the future of games. I wanted to start with looking at the future of some aspects of game design, and particularly – in the context of the previous column – looking at the kinds of things that have been hoped for or predicted in the past, and have not yet come to be.

Let’s start with Warren Spector’s “One City Block RPG” idea. What is it, and will we ever see it? Fullbright’s Steve Gaynor and a number of devs from Arkane contribute to the discussion that follows, and try to explain the persistent appeal of the One City Block idea as an ideal in game design.
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Fullbright On The Games Gone Home Is And Isn’t Like

Last week, I ran the first half of my recent chat with Steve Gaynor, formerly of Irrational and 2K Marin, and now of indie studio The Fullbright Company – who are working on mysterious, ambitious, suburban-set non-combat first-person game Gone Home. Being as I am an investigative journalist par excellence, I decided that it would be appropriate to spend the second half of the interview forgoing questioning entirely in favour of simply shouting the names of other games at him. Games like Myst, Amnesia, Jurassic Park: Trespasser, Journey and Dear Esther. Rather than hanging up in disgust, he offered fascinating, thoughtful replies on the limits of interactivity in games and the sort of scale Gone Home is intended to operate on.
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Ain’t No Mystery: Fullbright Talks Gone Home

Gone Home is to be the first game from The Fullbright Company, a new indie studio whose formerly mainstream members were previously the prime creators of the excellent BioShock 2 add-on Minerva’s Den, as well as working on assorted other 2K projects. I had a chat with Mr Fullbright himself, Steve Gaynor, about their highly intriguing but equally mysterious non-combat first-person game. Why ditch the guns? Why leave cushty industry jobs to do this? How abstract will it be? How much can the physics be abused? I also made some sweeping generalisations about Columbo.
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Gone Home: Fullbright Shine A Light On Their 1st Game

somebody needs to buy a couple of 100W lightbulbs. 'Fullbright' my arse.

Last week brought very exciting news: I bought a new clock for my wall. Also, that the core team behind the rather good Minerva’s Den add-on for BioShock 2 had gone their own way, founding indie dev The Fullbright Company with the full and noble intention of making a non-violent first-person game as their first project. Today brings yet more exciting news: I’ve just picked up some Euros for my holiday in Greece next week. Also, that the Fullbright Company have just announced and detailed said non-violent first-person game.

It’s called Gone Home, and it’s all about “exploring a modern, residential locale, and discovering the story of what happened there by investigating a deeply interactive gameworld.” It looks and sounds at least 9 intruigings about of a possible 10, even if it yet remains largely as mysterious as a cat’s inner thought processes.
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Minerva’s Decree: Lo, The Fullbright Company Is Formed

So the first game will be about a sentient light bulb?

Just a quick one as a) I don’t have much information for you as yet and b) I managed to hit my head on my own desk really hard earlier and need a lie down, but I thought perhaps some of you would be interested to hear news on The Fullbright Company, aka what the lead designer of the excellent Minerva’s Den add-on for BioShock 2 did next.

After working on assorted BioShocks at 2K Marin and then Irrational, Steve ‘Fullbright’ Gaynor got back together with fellow ex-Marin types and Minerva collaborators Johnnemann Nordhagen and Karla Zimonja, and they’ve set up this new indie studio based out of Portland, Oregon. “We missed working on a small team, on a small project, focused on telling a personal story in a player-driven way. We wanted to do that again. It was fun last time.”
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TechnoShock – BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den

I never thought I’d hear myself say “one of the things I’m most anticipating for the next couple of months is some DLC,” but one of the things I’m most anticipating for the next couple of months is some DLC. Specifically, Minerva’s Den for Bioshock 2. BS2 is, all told, a better game than BS1 for my money, just hampered hugely by over-familiarity and trying to insert an epic new tale into an already-finished story. Steve Gaynor’s upcoming singleplayer vignette sounds like it may well be that much distanced from Rapture’s meta-narrative – both because BS2’s story is now done, and because the announcement of Bioshock Infinite suggests no more Rapture. I’m hoping for a short, self-contained and perhaps more satisfying story that doesn’t resolve itself with another Little Sister-based deus ex machina.

The bad, bad, oh-for-god’s-sakes-you-prats news is that, while console-toy owners can download Minerva’s Den today, it’s coming to PC-land at “a later date.” Let’s hope that’s not a coded dismissal. So let’s make this thread a clarion call from people who are interested in playing this: a message that proves a PC version is a necessity. Trailer below – suggesting homicidal AI has returned to a ‘Shock game…

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Emergent Gameplay: Deus Ex Made Me Part 1

My inspiration for an image totally failed me here.

It’s been a decade since Deus Ex. A realisation struck me: the industry will now be peppered with people whose formative experiences were with Deus Ex. For them it was, in one way or another, inspirational. I decided to hunt down a few and talk to them, about what Deus Ex said to them, how it shaped them, what it taught them and how they bring it into what they make today. By which I mean, drop ’em a line and say “Deus Ex, eh? Thoughts?”. First up are 2k Marin Designer Steve Gaynor (Bioshock 2) and Ninja Theory Senior Technical Designer Rob Hale (Enslaved: Odyssey To The West)…
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The Cultural Significance Of Video Games

Level designer and blogger Steve Gaynor has made a superbly inflammatory statement on his site, Fullbright, that “videogames will never become a significant form of cultural discourse“. He goes on to say, “I’ll bet you that fifty years from now they’ll be just as mature and well-respected as comic books are today.” (Those chomping at the bit at this remark will be relieved to learn it’s addressed below).

kultcher, innit?

There has been an interesting reaction from other gaming writers. Newsweek’s excellent games reporter, N’Gai Croal, has been inspired to write a series of essays, reflecting on Gaynor’s post, and that of another response by The Plush Apocalypse’s Borut Pfeifer.

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