Hell, any day can be round-up day. Rather than Kieron's regular Sunday collection of notable word-sciences though, instead this is a one-off, rather more hotchpotch grab-bag of happy happenstances that have caught my eye today, as I fight the urge to pretend this has any relevancy whatsoever to Space Week.
First up, we've got the announcement of Tom Clancy's HAWX, which totally sounds like a group of male strippers, but is actually an aerial combat thingum set in the GRAW universe. Which, for all the oppressively heavy branding, is actually kinda appealing - we don't get too many dogfighters these days, so it's nice to see a new big-money attempt at making one for a broad audience.
Here's a CGI trailer, which doesn't tell us much other than a) it'll have planes in and b) it'll probably feature a lot of grey, but it gives some sense of the tone HAWX (I still can't type that without giggling) is going for:
"Tom Clancy’s HAWX marks the next evolution of high altitude warfare in the Tom Clancy video game universe,” newspoke John Parkes, EMEA Marketing Director at Ubisoft. “We are thrilled to take to the skies and provide a new environment along with an extension of a familiar storyline from our other successful Tom Clancy franchises such as Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter.” "Synergy, thinking outside the box, blue-sky thinking, monetize, next-generation, game 3.0", he possibly added.
- Today also saw the commencement ('commencement' is an incredibly dull word, isn't it? I apologise for using it) of the latest Make Something Unreal contest. Epic's regular community outreach program now offers an eye-watering $1m prizepot for super-awesome Unreal engine 3 mods. There's a whole clutch of categories, ranging from the relatively achievable Best UT3 Mutator all the way up to Best Non-FPS Game Mod, and everything in between, plus there's an educational category. With UT3 reportedly not thus far proving the smash hit UT2003/4 was, this could be a more sedate contest, or it could be instrumental in persuading modders at large to pick up a copy of the game.
"To all you aspiring game developers out there – this is your chance to get in the big leagues. We have categories for all kinds of creatively talented people including programmers, artists, 3D modelers, designers and even aspiring film directors," says Epic's Mark Rein. So there.
- As a semi-relevant adjunct to Kieron's essential Making of System Shock 2 humdinger, here's Ken Levine giving VE3D a little extra commentary on his (in)famous "If you want people to follow your plot, it has to be really f****** stupid" GDC talk:
"...In BioShock all the other storytelling devices kick in: the diaries, the public service announcements, the posters, the thousands of little scenes in the world of Rapture that tell the story of what happened there. But I like to assume there’s going to be some part of the audience that doesn’t care about that, and those people can opt out of it. But for the people who do care, they can choose to opt in and get a fairly complex story (and a VERY complex story relative to other console first person shooters).
..Shock 2 sold 200k units. Deus Ex maybe sold a couple hundred thousand more than that...The broad shooter audience is just not that accustomed to complicated story. However, I think BioShock (and other games this year such as Portal) demonstrates that audience is ready for more.
- Finally, playtime:
The Roslin Station is a short fan-made Lost game/short story/virtual tour hybrid that doesn't mean much to me, as I decided I had better things to point my eyeballs at back during the second season, but I'm hearing some rumbling that it's a whole lot better-realised than Via Domus, the official Jack'n'Kate 'em up.
- And, as this is Space Week, here's Play This Thing shining a light on Space Barnacle, a tricky-but-pretty lo-fi platformer made for TIGSource's B-game contest. Video of it below, while here its creator offers a sort of making of piece in response to hilarious criticisms that it's too polished for a B-game.