With technology dramatically advancing each year, it was only a matter of time before the U.S. Military jumped into the "next gen" technological advance that is today's video game consoles and wireless controllers. Imagine, the military's around the world fighting each other on the battlefield using the same frantic motions as you do playing Wii Tennis. Now, I don't know if it will get that extreme but you can form a pretty interesting visual in your head where this could eventually lead. Talon Robot Operations is leading the charge to implement a Wii Remote controlled vehicle but it is a few years away from being operational. It could be here sooner than we think since the military is already using modified Xbox 360 controllers to fly UAV operations in Iraq. As the military inches closer and closer into this inevitable partnership with the game industry, career opportunities will continue to expand for not only people in the armed forces but gamers and game developers as well.
Game controllers getting droned...
Using the Wiimote makes sense...
Friday, December 26, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Gamasutra has an in-depth interview with the senior software engineer at Monolith, Matthew Rice, where they discuss the F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin game engine and AI development. It's a good read and makes me even more intrigued to play this first person shooter horror game. It looks like some of the Lith developers are referring to Left 4 Dead as the correct way to go when it comes to intelligent AI. Read on to learn more on where AI technology is heading.
"MR: I think you've seen a couple different things that have happened in this generation, and they'll continue on. In terms of smaller, tactical scale AI, you've seen mild improvements in terms of the way they plan, and the way they challenge you in combat. But even more than that, they look better while navigating, and they look better while moving through the space. Navigation has increased across the board, and the way they interact with the environment has improved across the board."
"Globally, across the entire games industry, you've seen more AI in games. Games like Assassin's Creed. We're getting to that level where you're moving through large throngs of crowds. You just didn't see that before; in previous generations, you'd step into a nightclub and it's be barren, devoid, but now you're actually seeing fully populated cityscapes."
"So there have been big improvements in AI, in general, this past generation. There's only so close that you can get before you get to the uncanny valley, in terms of games, and I think we're approaching that right now. So, there will be a big leap at some point soon, when things such as the great small-scale tactical AI that a lot of games currently have, gets integrated with the crowd AI that you're seeing. And you're also seeing other things, like people are experimenting with AI spawning, and spawning dynamically based on the player's condition and health, to try and tempo the game differently every time you play it."
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The Gamer Report is not here to spread rumors, but if I absolutely have to spread a rumor, I think this one would be it. I get excited just thinking about this being true. For those who have not played Black on the original Xbox or have never even heard of the game before, Black was the one game that was developed at the end of the original Xbox's lifespan that was the closest an FPS came to looking "next gen." I remember renting this game with my best friend and hooking it up the Xbox to a projector and we played this game straight through. We didn't want to put it down. This game was surprisingly a joy to play. There were destructible environments and it felt satisfying when shooting an enemy. The explosions were the most realistic I had seen yet and the game itself also received pretty good reviews. It is only a matter of time before they make a sequel right? I can only assume.
The developers of this game, surprisingly, is Criterion. Criterion is usually known for perfecting a car racing franchise called Burnout. Ever heard of it? Yea, a lot of people have. But not as many have heard about Black for some reason. It really flew below the radar as everyone was gearing up for the next generation of gaming. Microsoft added Black as a downloadable Xbox original title on the Xbox Live Marketplace not too long ago. Is there a reason why they chose Black instead of another FPS? Was this their plan all along, to introduce Black to new Xbox Live users in anticipation that a Black sequel would eventually be developed? This is all speculation. This is not news, I am just telling you what I am thinking. I have nothing to gain for repeating this rumor. But Criterion and EA know they have a great opportunity on their hands to expand the Black universe. Add multi-player, create better AI and make the next game longer with a better storyline and you have yourself some major competition in the Call of Duty and Halo arena. I for one, cannot validate this rumor but I will continue living my life thinking it is indeed true. I don't see how it can't be. Then again, this rumor has already been shot down by Criterion earlier this year. But then again-again, (yea I just made that up) Burnout Paradise has been released now. So what is Criterion up to, huh?
More on this rumor...
Criterion recruiting devs to work on sequel...
Black sequel coming in 2009?
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
What does your face look like while playing Call of Duty 4? Do you get in "the zone?" Do you start licking or biting your lips? Would you even realize you're doing that if you did? This video is part of "The Immersion Project," and you can read more about it on the U.K. Telegraph news site. Robbie Cooper, a British-born photojournalist based in New York, is the guy doing this open-ended project in "both worlds of science and art."
"Immersion, as Cooper calls this project, came about as the result of a previous experiment, Alter Ego. He had become interested in the virtual worlds of multiplayer online games such as Second Life and World of Warcraft. He started photographing players alongside the digital 'avatars' that represented them in those virtual worlds. He found middle-aged male academics masquerading as female dwarfs; office workers as undead warriors; disabled teenagers as fighting robots."
"In the process, he said, he found himself 'travelling around all these places in Korea and China where you have got row upon row of people sitting in internet cafes playing these games, staring at screens', and he became fascinated by their absorption in the unreal. 'You look them in the eye and they're really transported. That's what I like about having them looking directly into the camera. We're not used to seeing that look directed at us - as if someone's looking right through you."
Read more at Telegraph...
Monday, December 15, 2008
Now if we can only confirm that Alan Wake will indeed be released in 2009. I'm crossing my fingers we don't have to wait until 2010 to get our hands on this gem.
There is no specific release date announced yet but sometime in 2009 looks to be the goal.
First-Encounter-Assault-Recon- F.E.A.R. 2 starts off thirty minutes before the end of the first F.E.A.R. game. The survival horror game is back and I am ready for it! The psychic demon child named Alma, who looks very similar to the creepy looking girl in the movie "The Ring," is back as well and is close to destroying reality and replacing it with her own to get back at the people who did her wrong. You will not play as the same character as you did in the first FEAR game. You will play as Michael Beckett, a Delta Force operator. The game takes place in the same universe and has some of the same characters but the world in general will be "more open." Which is nice to hear because if I see Monolith drag me through one more cubicle infested office, I may have to take this game off my list. For those who did play the first F.E.A.R. you know what I am talking about. Lets just say I spend enough of my real life in a real cubicle. I don't need to see every floor of an office building again as that makes for some pretty repetitive gameplay. From the gameplay I have seen so far, F.E.A.R. 2 looks to have many more creepy moments to scare you and your friends lurking around every corner. This is not a kid friendly game as blood splattered walls are everywhere with possessed demons running around (Exorcist style) and are sure to leave a disturbing visual imprint in your mind. Like in the first FEAR, I hope to see the blood-filled room where the blood drips upward instead of downward. Scenes like that keep me coming back for more. Don't let me down Monolith!
F.E.A.R. 2 is scheduled to be released February 10, 2009 in the U.S. and February 13, in Europe.
Resident Evil 5 is scheduled to be released in North America on March 13, 2009. Looks like I already know what my birthday present will be! (Even if I know I am buying it for myself)
This is the one game I wanted to work on most while at school in Vancouver, BC. Developed by Radical Entertainment and just down the street from my school, I applied for an environment artist position but unfortunately, the position was not for Prototype so I was no longer interested (too picky? Yea probably.) but that's another story. This sandbox game takes place in New York City (I know, I know.. another one) but this sandbox game involves a twist. As the main character, Alex Mercer, (who has no memory of his past) has the ability to consume the bodies of characters he kills in the game which gives him access to their memories, experiences and can take their physical shape and form. A "shape-shifter." Alex will also have the power to transform into other specialized forms for special attack and defend moves. He will need these new abilities in order to find out about his past while the city grips with a paralyzing virus outbreak. As Alex Mercer, you will need discover your past and find out who or what has turned you into a genetically mutated shape-shifter.Like EA's Mirror's Edge, the movement in Prototype is inspired by Parkour. So look for the controls to be smooth and easy so you can focus more on the combat. There was a multi-player mode confirmed originally but then scrapped for some reason. Radical did however, delay the release of this game in 2008 and I can only hope that it was to lock down an in-depth multi-player experience. Because c'mon, if a new game comes out now days, why would you not implement a multi-player mode? A single player campaign is just not enough to satisfy the masses and will most likely end up being a rental if other features and modes are excluded.
Prototype is scheduled to be released sometime in June.
This is Vegas is scheduled to be released March 2, 2009.
Whhhaaa? Not Halo 3: ODST? That's right, I am more excited to see Halo Wars in 2009 than the next addition to Halo 3. I am not sorry at all about this statement. Halo 3 is the one game that can get me so emotionally and physically upset that I risk endangering myself, my loved ones and quite possibly the eardrums of unsuspecting little kids on the other end of my Xbox Live headset. Some of the words that come out of players mouths in this game (including mine) are atrocious. Some insults I never even knew existed so I am hoping someone is recording them, for history's sake.Which is why I am looking forward to a change in the way the Halo universe is presented. Ensemble Studios (who are, quite shockingly, closing it's doors after Halo Wars is released) announced to the world in it's first trailer that the Halo Wars are upon us. After viewing this trailer, the hype machine begun and fans of the Halo series were left drooling at this incredible cinematic. But what about the actual gameplay? Well, that's where I am feeling a bit skeptical. Halo Wars is a Real Time Strategy game (RTS) which takes place 20 years before Halo: Combat Evolved. I have never played an RTS game in full. I have experimented with a few but for the most part, my attention span did not cooperate. But there is still hope! Since I am an avid fan of the Halo games, which could be considered the one franchise that started my hardcore gaming addiction, I have confidence that Ensemble can add a new fan to the RTS genre if done right. Bungie Studios has had little involvement with the development process of this game so if you don't like Halo Wars, don't bother whining on the Bungie forums. In fact, don't bother doing it on the Ensemble forums either because they'll be long gone when this game gets released. I do want to see however, Ensemble Studios make a killing with this game to show Microsoft how stupid they were for closing the doors of a game studio full of fresh talent. I don't know all the details on how or why this occurred but if this is going to be Ensemble Studios last hurrah, I hope they go out with a bang!
Halo Wars is scheduled to be released on March 3, 2009. Yet another game to celebrate with during my birthday. I might as well celebrate all month long now.
Afro Samurai is scheduled to be released January 27, 2009.
Street Fighter IV is scheduled to be released February 17, 2009. Look for me to regain my manliness on or around February 18, 2009. I'll keep you posted.
When will a game developer make a vertical First Person Shooter? I am just so tired of playing horizontal FPS games. Wait, what? There is a vertical shooter being developed? Schweet! It's about time someone developed a shooter other than the repetitive and lackluster FPS games I've been playing over the years. Billed as a "shooter gone vertical," Damnation takes place in an alternate American history where the civil war has lasted several decades. You will be able to perform "daredevil acrobatics" in a conflict against an arms dealer who will do whatever it takes to dominate the world.This game originally started off as a Unreal Tournament 4 mod and won second place in Epic Games, Make something Unreal contest. Amazingly, the developers state that each level will take about 3 hours to complete. No word yet on how many levels there will be but the Damnation website shows six possible locations. The game is sure to include unique vehicles including a 4-wheeled bike which will be capable of riding up walls to kill an enemy or quite possibly, to get away from an enemy chasing your ass.Developed by Blue Omega Entertainment, Damnation uses the Unreal Engine 3 and from screens I have seen, it is very obvious. The textures and color palette used in this game is very similar to Gears of War so I assume fans of that game will make a smooth transition to the expansive environments and characters inside the world of Damnation. Look for a demo to be released in early January for the Playstation Network and Xbox Live. I know I'll be.
Damnation is scheduled to be released February 24, 2009.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Congratulations to Rockstar North! That was $100 million well spent.
BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE GAME- GTA IV
BEST SHOOTER- GEARS OF WAR 2
BEST GRAPHICS- METAL GEAR SOLID 4
BEST RPG- FALLOUT 3
BEST MUSIC GAME- ROCK BAND 2
STUDIO OF THE YEAR- MEDIA MOLECULE
BEST DRIVING GAME- BURNOUT PARADISE
BEST FIGHTING GAME- SOUL CALIBUR IV
BEST WII GAME- BOOM BLOX
BEST PC GAME- LEFT 4 DEAD
Thursday, December 11, 2008
GAME INFORMER SUBSCRIPTION - $20
With rumors on the web that Electronic Gaming Monthly might be switching to digital distribution, print magazines may be nearing their last days. Better get them while you can and subscribe to some of the best. Like Game Informer for instance. You get a full years worth of magazines shipped to your mailbox for only $20. Guys love it when a new magazine arrives in the mail. Doesn't matter what kind as long as there are pictures.
ROCKIN' GAME CHAIR - $80-$150
Trust me, $150 sounds expensive but if your gamer boyfriend doesn't already have a state of the art surround sound system hooked up to his HDTV, this game chair option is the least expensive of the two and gets the job done. Unless you don't mind spending hundreds more then by all means, go for it. I'm sure he will be happy either way. If you do though, you'll miss out on the illuminating speakers on this chair. Who doesn't like illuminating speakers? PsShh! (More variety at NextTag,com)
GAME INSPIRED T-SHIRT - $20
You can never go wrong with T-Shirts for guys. I can never have enough shirts hanging up in my closet. What I don't have that much of is game inspired shirts like this one. If you haven't checked out J!NX yet, I suggest you pay their site a visit. They have tons of game shirts to choose from, some funny, some serious, and some that make no sense whatsoever. But who cares? It's a shirt and it's only $20.
PSN OR XBL GIFT CARDS- $20
The New Xbox Experience has been released and PlayStation's Home has finally arrived to eager gamers worldwide. There has never been a better time to download games and game related content. Why not make it easier for your gamer boyfriend and get him some credit for his network account so he can spend it on awesome downloadable arcade games like Boogie Bunnies? Ok, maybe not Boogie Bunnies but you get the idea. Lots of content to buy, not enough money or points to buy it.
1600 Microsoft LIVE Points
$20 Playstation Network card
GAMEFLY SUBSCRIPTION - $22.95
See the look on this guys face when he sees games have arrived in the mail for him from GameFly? Yea, he might be getting a bit too excited there but I wouldn't know how he feels since I don't have a GameFly subscription. But I'd like one, and I assume others like me would like one too. GameFly has a couple of deals for the first month but for every month after it's $22.95. Not bad really if your gamer boyfriend is like me where he buys a game sometimes and regrets it an hour after playing it. Also the perfect gift for the hardcore gamer who beats a game in less than 24 hours and is ready to conquer the next one.
Check out my new 2009 post of Gift ideas for your gamer boyfriend!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
PORTAL MAGNETS- $13.50
I don't know about you but I get a kick out of seeing creative magnets. So much so, I collect them. Usually just when I travel. That's about the only thing I collect though so don't think I am some geek who collects coins and stamps as well. OK, now you're going to think that anyway because I said that.. *sigh* Forget it, just take a look at these magnets, I think they're pretty cool and my girlfriend does too. Your gamer girlfriend just might like these as well, especially if she is a fan of Portal.
My Gamer girlfriend's comment: Give a magnet for every achievement your gamer girl unlocks from Portal to remind her how awesome it is to have a girlfriend that is as good at gaming as you are.
PWN STAR T-SHIRT- $20
Ahem.. uhh.. it's quite obvious why this would make it on my list of gifts for your gamer girlfriend. Do I really need to say anything? It pretty much speaks for itself and it's spoken in the language of awesome.
My Gamer girlfriend's comment: J!NX makes the perfect tee for the girl that's hot and can pwn you at any game!
DS LITE CARRYING CASE- $18.50
Do you have a gamer girlfriend who takes her DS lite with her everywhere she goes? This pink DS Lite case comes with a Alice in Wonderland theme. Which makes me wonder.. did Alice in Wonderland ever become a video game? Hold on, let me check. hahaha, holy shit I just Googled it and it's already been done. It was made for the GameBoy Color back in 2000. Just when I thought I finally had thought of a game that would never be made!
My Gamer girlfriend's comment: This has to be the cutest way for your girl to carry around her DS Lite! Smile Recipe makes them in tons of fun fabrics so if this one sells out you're sure to find another one that suits your gamer girl!
SURVIVAL HORROR CAPPA CUPS - $70
Has your girlfriend played any survival horror games recently? Does she creep herself out by playing these games in the dark? It would be a lot more entertaining for you to see her play this game after a couple of cups of cappuccinos. If you've got some extra cash and a girlfriend that absolutely must get her caffeine fix on.. at least make her drink from cups that are interesting to look at.
My Gamer girlfriend's comment: These 5.5oz espresso cups by Circa Ceramics depict all the essentials of surviving a horror shooter; including a health kit, a flashlight, and a knife. Perfect for the girl who can make it through a survival horror game but can't survive with out her espresso!
FUZZY COMPANION CUBES - $29.95
Once again for The Orange Box/Portal fans, here is an awesome gift. Probably one of my favorites. But if your girlfriend is a bad driver already, you might want to think twice about these two companion cubes swinging around in the car. It may be too distracting or even illegal in some states. I'm sure she can find another place to hang them though. Just be creative!
My Gamer girlfriend's comment: What's cuter than a companion cube? Why, two companions cubes of course! The Valve store is offering these adorable plush companion cubes which are perfect to have hanging from your rear view mirror.. and yea, as long as it's legal. Otherwise, she can hang it up somewhere at her work or school.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I was able to get my hands on the Resident Evil 5 demo tonight. It just came out in Japan but I I found a way to get it here in the U.S. even though it's not available for download on the Xbox Live Marketplace yet. I couldn't help myself, I had to play it. Instead of talking about the demo though I thought I'd record part of it and share my first experience playing one of my favorite game titles. It's been many years since I screamed like a little girl when that fricken' dog flew out of the window on the first Resident Evil I played. Man that game was the shit! But I haven't played it since. I hope RE5 lives up to the great memories I have of this franchise and I got just a glimpse of the new memories I will have with RE5 with this demo. For those who haven't played it yet, you're in for a treat.
The controls might take a bit of getting used to though. The sensitivity is a bit too slow for me, even after increasing it to the fastest setting. Also, the zombies that come after you are stupidly slow. But after a bit of playing, I realized that was a good thing. There are a lot of them and it takes many shots to kill some of them. With that said, the visuals are stunning and it has plenty of action. I imagine the retail version will look better and run smoother. Even though the controls were a bit wonky and slow, it still had me at the edge of my seat with my heart racing. Which is exactly what I want in a demo. Thanks Resident Evil 5 demo, I got my exercise for the week.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
One way to help you on your journey into the game industry is to do as much research as possible. You should research game schools to see which one suits you and your talents best, research the software programs you need to learn and master, research game studios so you're prepared for a possible future job interview, research current game trends to make sure your ideas are not tired and outdated, and research developers who are already in the industry so you can get an inside look at what it takes to finally make it. There is so much information out there and it can be time consuming to find it. You and I have the most powerful tool in the world called the internet and you can search for days to find some decent information to help guide you. So I have compiled a list of articles, tips, how to's and game art tutorials that I have found useful, into one blog post to share with other game students out there. I found them helpful and I still turn to some of these links as I continue on my path in the video game industry. I'll continue to find new articles that may be of interest both you and I, and I'll post them in the months to come. For now, check out the following links, gain knowledge, gain insight, and get inspired. This is an awesome career path to be on so try and take it all in.
ASK THE EXPERTS: ARE ONLINE GAME SCHOOLS BUNK?
ASK THE EXPERTS: QA 4EVA?
ASK THE EXPERTS: THE GAME DESIGNER'S BOOKSHELF
ASK THE EXPERTS: IS IT GAME ENOUGH?
ASK THE EXPERTS: I'M ALMOST 30! ACK!
ASK THE EXPERTS: DOES MY SCHOOL SUCK?
ASK THE EXPERTS: ANIMATION SHOW REELS
ASK THE EXPERTS: BOOKS AND BLOGS FOR GAME DESIGN
HOW TO MAKE A GAME PROGRAMMING DEMO PORTFOLIO
10 TRENDS IN GAME DESIGN
FROM TEACHER TO STUDENT
THE PAYCHECK: HOW MUCH TO EXPECT AS AN ENTRY LEVEL GAME DEVELOPER
THE IDEA IS NOT THE GAME
10 MYTHS ABOUT GAME DEGREES
EFFECTIVE ART DIRECTORS: GAMING'S SOMETHING SOMETHING
WHAT'S NEW IN XNA GAME STUDIO 3.0?
CALLED BACK TO DUTY: ACTIVISION ON ITERATING ON SUCCESS
THINKING WITH PORTALS: CREATING VALVE'S NEW IP THE ART INSTITUTE OF VANCOUVER STUDENT DAY IN THE LIFE
GAME DESIGN EDUCATION WITHOUT A GAME DESIGN MAJOR?
PUT TOGETHER A COMPELLING RESUME AND DEMO
THE MEGATRENDS OF GAME DESIGN, PART 1
THE MEGATRENDS OF GAME DESIGN, PART 2
LIFE IN VEGAS: SURREAL'S ALAN PATMORE ON OPEN WORLD INNOVATION
FEWER MECHANICS, BETTER GAME
THE ART OF GAMES
NINE PATHS TO INDIE GAME GREATNESS
FROM CGSOCIETY.ORG & POLYCOUNT.COM:
TOP 10 TIPS OF TEXTURING
MAKING OF... THE DOOR TO...
HOW TO PAINT REALISTIC HAIR
HOW TO PAINT REALISTIC EYES
PORTRAIT OF A TROLL
ENVIRONMENT ARTIST: THE STORY TELLER
CHRIS HOLDEN TUTORIALS
These are just some that I found useful. There are tons more on these sites so be sure to check them all out.
Monday, December 1, 2008
No words are really needed for this. The trailer speaks for itself. This is actually happening. Though this isn't being developed by Valve, it looks like the developers creating this mod are giving Valve developer talent a run for their money. A lot of work is going into this Half-Life remake.
From MOD DB Here is a list of planned Black Mesa features:
- * Redesign and overhaul of all 18 chapters, the hazard course and deathmatch levels of the original Half-Life and Half-Life DeathMatch games.
* Models now take advantage of increased polycount limits and normal mapping technology making deadly opponents and friendly coworkers appear more real.
* A completely original soundtrack and music library bringing Half-Life's themes and feelings to life in the new sounds engine built into the Source Engine.
* Artifical Intelligence that will hunt you by sight and sound.
* Normal, bump and specular maps built into textures giving flat surfaces a new, more dynamic look.
* Co-operative mode, allowing you and your friends to play through Black Mesa together.
* The entire cast and characters that the world fell in love with more beauty than ever before, bringing truth to the saying, "if looks could kill..."
* A multiplayer mode allowing for deathmatch and team deathmatch experience with the complete Half-Life 1/Black Mesa Aresonal at your disposal.
* A priority on gameplay and immersion factors such as sounds, functionality and interaction.
* Built by developers who's passion is seen through the quality of their work.
This mod is not dead, we are still hard at work on it.
Update: Be patient if you're trying to visit BlackMesaSource.com as the buzz and the resulting traffic jam, around this remake is causing the websites server to go down.