A video review of the recently released PC Space Sandbox game, VoidExpanse. Yes, it’s spelled as one word.
Atlus’ Persona series, and Persona 4 Golden in particular, can be a difficult act to follow, with the game’s phenomenal presentation, engaging dialogue, pristine visuals, and diverse score, but one studio from New Jersey is stepping up to the plate to take a swing at it.
Your view of the world comes from that of Alex Eggleston, an unemployed recent college grad, who stumbles across the answers to the mysterious death of a stranger, while perusing 90s era message board.
For a game which was only 42 days into production, it looked fantastic. Elements of battle scenes were clearly missing, but the open world segments contained enough detail that I believed it to be a finished product.
I hope you didn’t have any plans for January, because Penny Arcade announced that they will be adding another annual PAX event, in San Antonio. Gamers will have the opportunity to play some of the industry’s most exciting games from January 23rd – 25th, starting next year, at the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center.
Why San Antonio, and not Austin, where game development studios seem to be sprouting up on a monthly basis? The world may never know. This marks the fourth annual PAX event; the other three occur in Seattle, WA, Boston, MA, and Melbourne Australia, which held its inaugural meeting just last year.
News broke during the early morning hours (well, early for PAX goers, anyway), on Saturday morning, PAX co-founders Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik took the stage for their “Make-A-Strip” panel, where a to-capacity crowd watched as the comic creators illustrated a comic. Additionally, Robert Khoo of Penny Arcade added in a press release,”Since its launch in 2004, PAX events have doubled in size almost every year, and our Seattle and Boston events represent the two largest gaming festivals in North America.”
Game development programs are forever facing a changing landscape. Traditionally, students are provided the tools to prepare them for the AAA industry, but where do they go when they want to learn about game development as a creative form? Music and creative writing have had programs for decades, but games are still struggling to catch on in this regard.
On Tuesday March 18th, at room 3020 in the West Hall, a panel of game development professionals offered their view on how students can gain an appreciation for how critical thinking an analysis can be implemented into the current educational curriculum. Hosted by Brendan Keogh, a PhD Candidate at RMIT University in Australia, his first question to the panelists was “What is critical thinking?”
Mattie Brice, an established game critic, particularly around the topics of diversity issues and narrative, described it as “An awareness that another perspective beside your own exists.” She continued with “Your perspective may give an incomplete amount of information. Other perspectives can help complete this.”
An emotional Alexander Bruce took the stage on Tuesday morning at GDC 2014, to speak during his panel titled ANTICHAMBER: An overnight success, seven years in the making. Bruce had given a similar speech in years prior, but following the release of his recent success, Antichamber, it was interesting to see how his perception of work had changed over the last year.
Bruce opened with the question “What makes me different?” Drawn on his power point presentation were words such as ideas, experience, awards, press, and connections, and in the middle lay the word luck. “Luck is something I don’t control, so I factor it out of all of my business decisions,” Bruce proclaimed.
He continued with a synopsis on how he got involved in the games industry, starting with his education at University in his home of Melbourne Australia in 2005. “I wasn’t the best at ‘X’, but I soon realized that I was very good at being different. So I turned that into a strategic decision.” It was at that point when Bruce realized that he would need to stand out at University to get into the industry, and then necessary to stand out at University to get hired overseas.
Academia and game development are at an interesting crossroads. A new trend is emerging, with prominent industry figures making the switch to academia. While formal education programs for game development were nearly non-existent in decades past, they now exist in hundreds of schools across the country today.
Four such luminaries took to the stage on Monday at GDC to discuss the trials and tribulations of their experiences with making the career move, in a room filled with educators and industry hopefuls. When pegged with the question of why he chose to leave his role as Lead Game Designer Naughty Dog, Richard Lemarchand claimed “I’ve always wanted to get back into a higher education program after making games, so I started volunteering at USC, and got involved with IndieCade in 2009. Soon after, a friend got in touch with me and sad that a role at USC was available, so I jumped at it.”
Brenda Romero, one of the most prominent women in the gaming industry for her leadership previous roles in the IGDA, 30+ years of development experience, and a chair on the IGDA Board of Directors, felt “I was at a transition point, saw an ad for a game designer to teach, and accepted the job. Once I got there, working with the students made it irresistible.”
Vlambeer has been a bit of an anomaly in the independent gaming scene for the last several years. Run by the affable Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman out of the Netherlands, the two have consistently pushed out hit after hit for the last three years, and finally spill the beans about how they do so.
In an overwhelmingly large room filled with nearly 600 individuals, the two studio heads bounced their sentences off from one another in a charismatic fashion which instantly won over the audience. The first key to the duo’s success is the prototyping phase, in which they quickly build a game in YoYo’s Gamemaker framework to determine whether or not it is fun.
Their upcoming title, Nuclear Throne, (formerly Wasteland Kings) was conceived during a game jam which they live streamed in early 2013. Noticing the instant feedback and attention it was receiving during that process, they soon decided to make the live streaming a frequent event. So frequent in fact, that it is now occurs twice each week, in four hour sprints.
This is the 2nd Dreamcast shmup I’ve received for review in the last 30 days. Who says the Dreamcast is dead? If the box art doesn’t raise a sense of nostalgia from within your soul, then nothing will.
I would have sworn that this 2D shooter was produced by a Japanese team in the 90s, but the mailing address on the package label told me otherwise. Truth be told, the masterminds behind this 90s arcade inspired shmup are two German brothers, Timm René Hellwig, who have been running NG:Dev since 2001. This is their 5th title, and most of which have been released for the Dreamcast or Neo Geo at this point. I’ve always been interested in what inspires developers to build games on older hardware, especially at a time when platforms with large, established user bases are prevalent.