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Archive For February, 2008

IndieGames Interview: Kloonigames' Petri Purho

February 18, 2008 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Conducted by Tim W. over at our sister blog IndieGames.com: The Weblog, here's an informal chat with Petri Purho, the developer of IGF finalist Crayon Physics Deluxe, amongst a host of other neat indie titles.]

Hi Petri, how about a little introduction for the readers before we begin with the questions?

Well, I'm Mr. Purho and I'm probably the best known for being the guy behind Crayon Physics. Also I've made couple of other lesser known and more sucky games, which I've published on my blog: Kloonigames.

Do you keep count of how many experimental games you've released so far? Any favorites besides Crayon Physics?

I think there are now 17 games (I'm not sure), and there have been a number of favorites besides Crayon Physics. I seriously like SM Word a lot, but apparently I'm the only one :) Pluto Strikes Back is probably my other favorite and Amazing Flying Brothers is quite fun also. And I really kick myself in the head every once in while for making Daydreaming in the Oval Office.

Opinion: PS3, Blu-Ray, & Sony As 'Global Infant'

February 18, 2008 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

- [In a fiery opinion piece also printed over at Gamasutra, game designer/author Ian Bogost examines NPD chart trends to suggest that Sony's lack of unified message on PS3, Blu-ray and the 'average consumer' is rendering ineffective its pitch to users.]

Sony is a global conglomerate which is significantly different from its hardware competitors in the video game industry. It makes consumer electronics ranging from telephones to computers to GPS units.

It publishes video games, movies, and music. It also maintains an army of support businesses, including banks, insurance providers, facility management companies, staffing services, and packaging providers.

The business strategy makes sense: control as much of the market for both electronics and the media we use them for. That’s why Sony purchased CBS Records and Columbia Pictures in the late 1980s; they wanted to own part of the content people played on their Walkmans and VCRs.

The problem is, Sony’s corporate subsidiaries don’t work well together, on a scale far worse than other multinational conglomerates. The company is more feudal state than networked global multinational.

Newsflash: GameSetApparel Shirts Available At GDC!

February 17, 2008 11:00 PM | Simon Carless

-I'm sure regular GameSetWach readers recall the four limited-edition GameSetApparel T-shirts we launched last month, and have insisted on making a lot of noise over in recent weeks.

Well, GameSetApparel sales have been going pretty well from our secret mothership that is mail order, but we wanted to bring the shirts 'to the people'. And we have succeeded!

Therefore, this week, all four shirts will be available for $20 per shirt at the merchandise store of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco's Moscone Center - specifically, on the second floor of Moscone West.

We have M, L, and XL versions of all the designs right now - look for them in the book store half of the set up, which is just close to the escalators at the Moscone. And please tell your friends, naturellement.

GameSetNetwork: Unto The GDC Breach, My Friends

February 17, 2008 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

- So, the engines are revving up, and GDC is just a few hours away from getting off the ground. In fact, tomorrow morning you'll see Gamasutra's special GDC coverage page quickly getting up to speed with all kinds of goodness from the various Summits on Monday and Tuesday - before blasting into high gear from Wednesday to Friday with the main session content.

In fact, we've started off with GDC Conference Director Jamil Moledina's 'best-of' session picks, including some at the end there which you might want to check out for 'surprises' and other reveals, shh.

And GameSetWatch itself will be updating throughout the week with some lighthearted posts from me (when I have time!), and hopefully some neat crossposts from guest GSW editor Andy Baio of Waxy.org.

But in the mean time, let's have a quick wander through some of the top game design and interview articles Gamasutra and sister sites posted in the run-up to the show, eh? Here goes:

- Expressing The Future: Tetsuya Mizuguchi
"Q Entertainment's Tetsuya Mizuguchi is best known for titles spanning Space Channel 5 to Lumines, and following the release of Rez HD for XBLA, Gamasutra quizzed him in-depth on the game's significance and the future of gaming."

- Stories From The Sandbox
"In this in-depth design article, veteran game designer Sorens examines the 'sandbox game' genre, advocating - with plenty of practical examples - that "designers can and should do more to exploit... player-generated stories"."

- Designing Games That Are Accessible To Everyone
"In this Gamasutra feature, AudiOdyssey co-developer Glinert explains why usability and accessibility are vital for creating tomorrow's hits, focusing on design principles for targeting and satisfying the disabled gamer."

- GamesOnDeck 'Road To IGF Mobile' Features
Ahead of Tuesday's announcement of the first-ever IGF Mobile winners, check out Mathew Kumar's final chats with some of the neat independent mobile developers making innovative, good-looking or otherwise not-boring cellphone and other mobile device games - yay.

- Persuasive Games: Videogame Vignette
"In his latest 'Persuasive Games' column on sociopolitical games, designer/author Ian Bogost analyzes the 'vignette' that is Hush, a student game which movingly chronicles the massacres of the Rwandan Civil War."

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Mag Roundup 2/16/08

February 17, 2008 8:00 AM |


Waahh! It's getting warm outside in Houston already, but not warm enough for the damn cockroaches to leave me alone! What part of "I set off a bug bomb" don't you guys understand, you spiny bastards?!!

Things are busy as always in magazine land, and so click on for all the new mags that hit shelves in the past two weeks... with some exceptions. (The new EGM's on shelves but I've been receiving it very late in the mail lately. There's also a new issue of Beckett Massive Online Gamer but I can't be bothered to go out to the car to fetch it.)

Game Programming Tests - Fight Or Flight?

February 17, 2008 12:01 AM | Simon Carless

- [In this detailed opinion piece, veteran programmer Jake Simpson explains the 'most loathed' game programmer tests often used as part of game industry interviews, outlining possible methods and his recommendations for good results on both sides.]

Programmer tests are generally one of the most loathed parts of the interview process, on both sides. But every game programmer interview should include some kind of test to make sure the applicant can walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

There are a few types of tests a programming applicant can expect to see. The first is a pre-interview test, which may be given by email and may either come before or in conjunction with a phone interview or screening.

The second is an in-house test, which is given as part of the face-to-face interview and is completed on the spot.

The last type is a take-home test that's given after the interview, which asks the candidate to complete longer assignments that are usually very closely connected to the day-to-day work the applicant can expect to see when employed, although these are more generally given to content creators (creating a level and so on) than to programmers.

Game Developer February GDC Issue Exposes Ratchet & Clank Future

February 16, 2008 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

- The February 2008 issue of Game Developer magazine, the sister print publication to Gamasutra.com and GameSetWatch.com, and the leading U.S. trade publication for the video game industry, has shipped to subscribers and is available from the Game Developer Digital service in both subscription and single-issue formats, as well as a single physical issue.

The cover feature for the issue is 'Postmortem: Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction' by John Fiorito, and it's explained of the exclusive postmortem:

"Ratchet & Clank Future was Insomniac's second PlayStation 3 game, and indeed one of the first second-generation PS3 titles period. From scope woes to preproduction pitfalls, this postmortem illuminates some of the process behind this "second party" development cycle."

GameSetLinks: The Death Of The British

February 16, 2008 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

http://www.gamesetwatch.com/rgarr.jpg A little more GameSetLink-age up your wazoo, and there's some fun stuff here - and I actually really like the fake SomethingAwful article from Hunter S. Thompson on the Spike VGAs.

Sure, nobody can really emulate the gonzo originator (even you, Rogers!), but it just shows that personal experiences need recounting more often in video game surroundings - even if they're fictional discussions of journeys through Bat Country, perhaps. Anyhow, onward:

Zen of Design»Blog Archive » Great Moments in Community Management
With a crapload of great comments adding to the three starters.

VIDEOLUDICA: Game On exhibition hits Melbourne
...with new sections on MMOs and machinima, apparently.

Sirlin.net: The Mysterious Grassroots Gamemaster
Sirlin likes him a bit more than me, but I agree with the 'come out and play' comment.

SomethingAwful: Hunter S. Thompson Files His Belated Report on the 2007 Spike Video Game Awards
This is oddly moving - via Leigh.

NCSX: Oshiri Kajiri Mushi no Rhythm Lesson DS: Kawai Ongaku Kyoushitsu Kanshuu
'In Sega's upcoming Rhythm Lesson DS, the insects serve as music teachers where rhythm exercises on virtual instruments are all that's needed to become somewhat musically inclined.'

insertcredit.com: 'Barnyard Blast out Friday'
The sardonic hand of Gamasutra's Brandon Sheffield helped out with writing on this DS oddity.

Habitat Chronicles: Chip and Randy cut loose!
Yahoo! lays off the original graphical MMO creators - who were working on something skunkwork-y. Iiinteresting.

Game-Ism: 'So What Do You Do?'
A game creator laments: 'For some reason, when I’m out in public, with the rest of the general population, I hide what I do at my job.'

From Sun Tzu to Xbox: War and Video Games: US Army Sniper School in Halo
Army sponsorship for Halo 3 tutorial videos, I think?

Cult Classics: PlayStation 2 Article // PS2 /// Eurogamer
'...recommended for adventurous souls with a taste for the eclectic.'

PC Feature: The Many Deaths of Lord British - ComputerAndVideoGames.com
Cute idea.

N+ Launch Party: Toronto Developers Gone Wild

February 16, 2008 12:00 AM |

[We sent Games On Deck editor, IGF Mobile co-ordinator and Gamasutra contributor Mathew Kumar to cover the N+ for Xbox Live Arcade 'almost launch party' in his adopted hometown of Toronto, Canadia (that's how you spell it, right?) This was the torrid but awesome result.]

N(ipples)+ Everyday Hooters

So a few weeks ago, roughly seconds after I got an invite to Metanet Software's N+ launch party at the Gladstone Hotel (which I immediately promised to go to, as I missed an earlier PR event arranged by Microsoft) I received both an IM from Simon Carless (our benevolent overlord) and an e-mail from Brandon Sheffield (Insert Credit’s not-even-vaguely benevolent overlord) asking me to go and cover it.

In what capacity, I wondered?

“I don’t know,” was the response (from one or the other) “Just write 300 words or something on it.”

So, without much of an assignment I just decided to be as sensationalistic as possible (even though GamesetWatch doesn’t pay for hits). As you’ll notice from the picture above, the N+ launch party was a night of wild debauchery! I won’t reveal the identities of the developers caught in the act of flashing us even though we asked (nay, begged) them not to, but the caption should give you some hints.

Wayforward Vs. Dirk Gently: Voldi Way Speaks!

February 15, 2008 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

- For those paying attention, a recent GameSetWatch article centered on my delighted discovery that the successful computer company in Douglas Adams' practically psychedelic book Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - was called WayForward Technologies.

This, of course, is the same name as the game developer behind Contra IV, Shantae, and a host of other neat handheld/other titles, so I mailed my contacts there and waiting for a reply from company owner Voldi Way - who has the same last name as Dirk Gently character Gordon Way, heh.

And I did indeed receive an email all about it from Voldi, and am sharing it with you:

"Good catch! Our name was, in fact, inspired by Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. it was early 1990, while i was still contemplating starting a game development company, that i happened to be reading that book.

It's been 18 years since i read it, so please forgive me if i'm remembering the details wrong, but as i recall, Mr. Way (Gordon, not Voldi) developed MIDI software for Windows and Macintosh. Well, back then, i was developing software professionally for Windows and had been playing with Macs as a hobby. On top of that, i had ambitions of becoming a rock-star (like most 19 year-olds), so i had a lot of MIDI equipment. I had even been writing my own MIDI sequencing software on the side.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Gordon Way's company did indeed release the MIDI software 'Anthem', which is, according to Wikipedia, "...designed as a spreadsheet, but also has a unique feature to convert corporate accounts into music" - though it was designed by protagonist Richard MacDuff for Gordon's company. This is still an awesome idea that somebody should do, incidentally.]

In any case, the similarities were just too astounding, so when I officially started the company on my birthday a few months later (3/1/1990), i chose the name WayForward Technologies as a tribute to Douglas Adams. at the time, i half expected to fail and have to start over as WayForward Technologies II, which would've been even more fitting [since that's what happened in the book].

In a weird way, even that turned out to be a parallel. We got bought by a book publisher in 1995, and a couple years later, they realized they were better at selling books than software, so they liquidated us and all of our assets in 1997. We managed to buy back all the equipment for pennies on the dollar, but we lost the rights to all of our IP. So in a sense, our current incarnation could be considered WayForward Technologies II, although we haven't been mentioned in the same sentence as companies such as IBM and Microsoft (or was it Lotus in the book?)

Anyway, you've inspired me to dig up my old copy of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and re-read it for old time sake. It'll be especially nostalgic since any hopes of another sequel have passed on with Douglas Adams."

Ah well - as Adams fans know, there is, at least, The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul to be read, though that can only be described as an _extremely_ tangential sequel, and as comments in the previous post noted, The Salmon Of Doubt has fragments of another Dirk Gently book in it. But it's nice to know Adams' legacy is living, namewise, in an entirely unrelated entity.

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