Archive for January, 2011

Edge of Twilight

Posted in Video Games with tags on January 21, 2011 by halbard100

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5SateAymKo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TshLCovKbOE

Edge of Twilight. Quite honestly the “Someone Special” trailer, the first one, is probably one of my favorite, if not the favorite, of all video game trailers I’ve seen. There’s a weight and mood to it that just captured me and drew me in.

I saw the Somebody Special trailer I guess a year and a half ago when Kotaku first put it up and was immediately hooked. Even after watching some behind the scenes stuff about the trailer and accepting that the score and narration probably are no where in the game, I’m still invested in wanting to get the chance to play the game. Frankly, I have a bit of a weakness for steampunk and the cello, especially when its a little moodier and heavy, and I rarely find them in games these days. That aside, even the gameplay itself looks interesting. I love the idea of duality within a game’s narrative that is truly manifested in the gameplay itself and done in such a stark way that is really not seen much right now. There is potential here. Its not just the music, but visuals and presentation make the sense of desperation palpable. I really, really want this game. I want to play it; badly.

The trailers came out a while ago. I had seen somewhere that the developing studio Fuzzyeyes had closed their doors, but that they were only taking a break until October 2010. At this point, any information on the game has all but dried up. If it exists in some form still, it is deeply under wraps. I’ve never officially heard a cancellation or that the studio is actually closed, so I don’t know what the current situation is. Fuzzyeye’s website merely has a message of the “New Fuzzyeyes coming soon” so I don’t know what has become of the title despite the suggestion of the intertubes that the game is gone.

This was spurred by a recent Kotaku article about Midway’s canceled game ‘Hero’ coming back from the dead as two new games. So, despite what might happen, there is always the possibility of a game rising from the ashes. On the hopeful end, should the game just be in quiet development, I am spreading the word on this little known game from a new studio. Give it some love.

Additional tracks and trailer music for the game can be found at http://www.gameaudioaustralia.com/portfolio.html under ‘Edge of Twilight’

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Looking forward to 2011

Posted in Video Games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2011 by halbard100

L.A. Noir

I’ve really become a big Rockstar fan as of late. Honestly, I was never quite the age to get into the GTA series, and when I finally was, I was without the current console. But its hard to deny how great Red Dead Redemption is, just as a whole package. L.A. Noir is looking to one up RDR with brilliant graphics and an incredible new system with all the facial capturing.

Marvel vs Capcom 3

Fighting games are best when played with friends, and what’s a better way to get some frustration out than beating on each other? Combine that with iconic characters across the two companies like Wolverine, Dante, Deadpool, and Zero, and a crazy fighting engine, what more could you want?

The Last Guardian

Shadow of the Colossus is probably my favorite game of all time and I flat out can’t wait for The Last Guardian. I can’t even fathom what it will be able to bring to out do Colossus, but there’s no way I will be disappointed.

Deus Ex 3

Right on the coat tails of my love of Shadow of the Colossus is the original Deus Ex. I’m not a huge FPS fan, but I love cyberpunk something fierce, and the whole multiple choice approach to gameplay that the Deus Ex franchise has become known for, nearly equally so. The game is looking gorgeous, too.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

First for, I’m a SW nut, and the original Star Wars MMO Star Wars Galaxies, which I still play, is a game I owe a lot to especially in propelling me into game design and programming. The prospect of a new SW MMO is something I just can’t ignore regardless of who is making it, but right now BioWare can do no wrong and TOR is looking very, very right.

Little Big Planet 2
I really don’t know what to say about LBP2. LBP was awesome, fun, creative, and quite frankly didn’t even need a sequel. But then the guys and Media Molecule go and cram more features in and make level builder something that is unmatched in customization and flat out usability. LBP2 is far, far from a cash in sequel and looks to be pushing the limits of what a game can be used for. Its not a game, its a platform for games.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

While I’m not a huge FPS fan, 3rd PS is a different is a different story. Just from what was shown at E3, it looks like a ton of fun. Destructible cover, stealth and optical camouflage make for an exciting combination of elements in the game. I can’t wait.

This is just a short list of my immediate favorites for 2011, as the year goes on who knows what will catch my eye, but these are some that I’ve gotta make sure I have preordered before its too late. What are you looking forward to?

A Philosophy of Design — The Platform

Posted in A Philosophy of Design, Video Games with tags , , , , on January 10, 2011 by halbard100

I’m a gamer first and a programmer-designer second, as much as I like making something, playing it is really first and foremost in my mind. My drive is not so much in “hey I want to make this game”, its “why can’t I play this already!”. Its the total package though, the action of playing the game, what I get out of it, story, sound, the whole kit, but one of the biggest concerns for me is in using what a platform has to the advantage in the game. I’m a bit of a Sony fanboy, I’ll admit it, I went out and preordered the PSP and I still have that 1000 (loaded with BlazBlue and Monster Hunter Freedom 2 I might add) but for years, a consumer argument against the device that as lingered is the need for a second analog stick. To me, its not so much that the device needs it, but rather that the games designed for it need the second stick. Now this isn’t supposed to be what device is best, yadda yadda, I’m merely putting out an example, and Nintendo has done very well with the DS and having games designed around the strengths and functions of that system, which is one reason I’m not as frothing at the mouth about the 3DS as some of my friends are, simply because I want to see where the 3DS can come into play to make something that can only exist on the 3DS, not simply another whistle.

I bring this up because a friend and I were discussing designing games for the iPhone. His original idea was something like FPS, but it sounded like there would be a huge amount of buttons and UI controls for playing the game. For me, a truly successfully designed iPhone game is one that takes the limits and the perks of the system into consideration: the touch screen, the gyroscope, the one handed ease of use, the mobility, etc. I think “What can I do with one finger? One hand? One motion?” This isn’t meant to be limiting but rather to look to the strengths of a system. There’s a lot you can do with one finger; you’ve just got to figure out what they are.

2011 glasses don’t work out as well as 2010 (year in review and look to the future: Indy and Download Only)

Posted in Video Games with tags , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by halbard100

This has been a really gem of a year for gaming despite some hiccups here and there, but one of the big things is how the landscape of the industry is changing. While downloadable games aren’t anything new per-say especially with the size of DLC, stand alone games have become much more prevalent this year. We saw the release the of amazing puzzle platformer Limbo, the hardcore Super Meat Boy, and even the legendary studio Double Fine coming out with Costume Quest. Really incredible download only games have been on the rise as of late, and these don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the predominantly indy movement bringing these out. I think we’re hitting a renaissance of sorts with the download distribution model in regards to game development. Back in the day (really before my time), a lot of the big guys got their start programming at home; I think Bungie’s first studio was one of their mom’s basement. Instead of the internet then, the game was sold on a floppy in a zip-lock bag at a local game store. Game development is going back into the home now after years of big industry, triple-A, huge budget, production. Without the over heads and over bearing of huge production costs, designers can just go and scratch their creative itches without having to worry about whether or not they can get funding or if the game has to be market-appealing. Coupling that with all the new free to use game dev tools like Game Maker, Unity and the UDK is allowing more people who didn’t have the means previously to make games and get them out to a mass audience. Thanks to the intertubes, this isn’t really new news, Kongregate and Newgrounds have been around for years, but we’re starting to see more and more wide spread attention in both size and scale. Anyone can make a game now and try to get what they see in their heads onto a screen and find an outlet for other people to play it and be able to make some money off it.

The VGAs (not sure if I love ’em or hate ’em… love NPH) had a best downloadable game award this year; though it wasn’t televised Costume Quest won that one, and shows like X-Play are reviewing them right up there with disc games we shell out 40-70 bucks for every day. This group of games don’t need to be legitimized by mass media in the least, they legitimize themselves by how great they are and how much the labor of love of them shows through. But things have gone far beyond viral. Take Minecraft for example, it’s popularity exploded over night and to high acclaim, too. Its no longer the already initiated taking notice, its everyone. Thanks to distributors like STEAM, the games get exposed to players who aren’t looking for them and endeavors like the Humble Indy Bundle make the games even more noticed and for a good cause.

The market and environment is changing, expanding, and its happening quickly; five years ago I don’t think anyone really expected things to evolve this way. What does this mean for the games industry? While Double Fine is about as indy as a big studio can probably get, I think we’ll see more and more big name studios trying out the whole downloadable game thing like Double Fine has. Do I think this will be healthy for the current groups that are part of this space now? I’m not sure. Creativity shines through in this market. Games that are quirky, crazy and mesmerizing and more of all fun find a warm reception here. It makes it so you can just say “Hey this sounds like a cool idea,” do it, and see what everyone else thinks. Do I think we’re on the track to a pure download or indy run environment. No, not even kind of. There will always be a need for the big studios and, as Tim Shaffer put it, the “tainted teat” of the publisher. You can’t have games like Batman Arkham Asylum or Red Dead Redemption without all that. You need all that money. But, the downloadable game is on the rise. Costume Quest in only the first of, to my understanding, possibly 4 download only games that the crew at Double Fine have come up with and Stacking is next coming up sometime soon. Who knows what other gems will pop up like Limbo and Super Meat Boy, but I’d put money that the year won’t end with us not seeing one. 2011 could shape up to be another big year for this indy sector or download games in general, but that’s also part of the fun of it: I don’t know. You don’t get the huge advertisement pushes, and it makes finding the games even more fun and rewarding. The future is looking like an exciting time to be a designer and gamer. Bring it on 2011.