Like our own world, believable virtual worlds consist of millions of seemingly insignificant details. Get it right and players will call it home.
Many of us spend our free time inhabiting other worlds. We escape to outer space or fantasy realms and marvel at these constructed realities and their combat-capable natives suspiciously willing to sleep with our digital selves. We immerse ourselves in these seductive landscapes and compelling vistas and only rarely stop and appreciate the fact that these worlds were purposely built for our enjoyment by people with pencils and machines.
Now that we know all the technical details of the next generation consoles, it’s time to talk about a more important issue: gameplay.
I died. Again.
It was my own fault – I chose to ignore the obvious signs. Just before I had entered the cavern, there was this red glowing message on the floor in front of me. “Beware of the trap ahead”, it read. I didn’t see one. What I did see however, was a ghost. A milky white, translucent warrior. Walking away from me before, suddenly, his body was jerked violently to the side, crumbling to the ground.
After having been a source of constant worry for two years, Ridiculous Fishing has become a source for joy for two-man formation Vlambeer. The tormented duo seems to have finally overcome the trauma and is looking forward to the coming release of the iOS game.
Anyone entering Vlambeer’s little office these days will encounter a happy and clearly inspired Jan Willem Nijman. Ridiculous Fishing is nearing completion and the 22-year old designer is eager to discuss the games progress.
“There’s so much new stuff in there, the game is so much more substantial. You can keep playing for hours. You unlock new areas by catching new species of fish, and some of those fish only come out at night. No, really. You’ll have to play at night to catch them.”
Anna Sort is a nurse, a (pro) gamer, a former Blizzard employee and a visionary. And she believes that games are the answer to healthcare’s most itching problems.
The first time Anna Sort from Barcelona, took a controller in her hands she was a baby. “I was three, playing video games with my brother”, she recalls. Her brother grew up to become a programmer; she went on to become a certified nurse. But Anna’s passion for gaming has not waned over the years, and while pursuing a career in healthcare, she landed a job at Blizzard Entertainment, working there as a nurse with and for gamers. Her experience at Blizzard, as well as her continuous involvement with MMOs like World of Warcraft and League of Legends (as a player, guild member and participant in a pro-gamer team) has led her to realize that games may well be the solution for the crises that plague the healthcare industry. Coming to Amsterdam for the 2nd Games for Health Europe conference next week, she will unveil her plan in front of a crowd of both game industry and medical professionals.
Halo 4 is the first new installment in what will become the second Halo trilogy by 343 Industries. The studio was founded in 2007 to oversee everything Halo, but beside some work on map packs and the HD overhaul on the original Combat Evolved, Halo 4 is the first completely new title 343i has worked on. The studio consists of over 250 people, including some ex Bungie and ex Ensemble Studios employees. With a new beginning the development team has gone all out on the personal story of Master Chief and specifically his relationship to Cortana. Check out this 10 minute mini documentary about the story, mocap and voice acting (after the click). The game will be out november 6th.
With the release date of october 30th approaching, Ubisoft releases a series of six videos that show a glimpse behind the scenes of the development of Assassin’s Creed III. A marketing thingy? Sure. Hyperbole voice over? Yep. But interesting nonetheless. Check it out.
Writer Dennis Scimeca argues that the problem of equitable representation of women in video games is just the tip of the iceberg.
In social justice circles a 101-level conversation is the kind of conversation one has with a person who debates the existence of prejudice or inequality. The 101-level conversation is often exhausting because to a social justice activist the problems being addressed are painfully obvious. I feel much the same way on the issue of the portrayal of women in video games. The fact that it’s a problem is self-evident to me. Never mind referring to the established and deep body of critical work on the subject, we need look no further than the video games in my own collection.
At one point during development the character of thatgamecompany’s Journey looked like a… chicken? Yes, it did, according to Creative Director Jenova Chen. Control asked him about the ins and outs of Journey’s character design.
Why did Journey have faceless, non-speaking characters?
“We want the character to be an avatar which means it reflects the player’s true nature. Therefore, it should not have any personality or any feature that misleads other player’s perception on who might be controlling the avatar. No age, gender, racial definition. It can be anyone from anywhere on earth.”
Too many game developers settle in the current conventions of games. At GDC 2012, Nathan Vella made a beautiful distinction between games that are conventional in their experience (mechanics, visual style and stories we are familiar with) — and the ‘other’ games. He claimed it is often more difficult to sell a game that is more conventional, as you compete with 95 percent of the market, than it is to sell an unconventional game, competing with ‘only’ 5 percent. A truth I had been waiting for: I wanted to change the world with games never seen before.