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GameSetWatch.com is the alt.video game weblog and sister site of Gamasutra.com. It is dedicated to collecting curious links and media for offbeat and oft-ignored games from consoles old and new, as well as from the digital download, iOS, and indie spaces.

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Archive For November, 2008

GameSetLinkDump: The Quantum Of Plot Intensity

November 20, 2008 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Continuing the tutoring of the GameSetLinkDump, this time we're headed by the Montreal Mirror covering the GAMMA 3D competition - which is awesome from the 'indie folks getting noticed' angle, even if I forgot my 3D glasses today.

Also hanging out in here - Ste Pickford on the Bond approach to plotting, a Georgia Tech project about how video games can be used in journalism, how people coded games in 1991, the IFComp results, and quite a few more besides.

Link tast ick:

Montreal Mirror - 'Indie gaming on the rise'
'The future may belong to indie games, but for now GAMMA 3D will serve to introduce gamers and non-gamers alike to interactive entertainment that really doesn’t bear any resemblance to the Halos and Grand Theft Autos of the world.'

Cowboy Programming » My coding practices in 1991
'I wrote this in 1991, when I was writing Amiga and Atari ST games for Ocean Software in Manchester, UK. I think at the time I was working on Parasol Stars. It’s an interesting look at a simpler time in games programming.'

Media Coverage: The Case For Games Journalism - Video Game Features, PC Game Features
Missed Gus Mastrapa's hearty bravo for game writing: 'When I browse my RSS reader everyday, I'm consistently impressed by the quality and originality of the reporting being done by the video game press.'

TwitterCrit » PixelVixen707
Really interesting analysis of how games are discussed from the, uhh, fictional ARG character. (Yes, it's odd.)

Ste Pickford's Blog - 'Don't Start With Story'
A fine point, even for demos: 'If we're going to copy movies, then at least copy the right ones. Bond movies tend to start with a massive, stupid action sequence (almost like the end of a previous story), before settling down for the new story to begin.' This (Bond story structure!) coincidentally just got covered on Gamasutra.

VGPC.com Blog: 30 Rare & Expensive Gamecube Games
Prices are a little inflated here (highest ever new price is cited), but it's interesting to note the mix of uncommon but boring titles and actually interesting rarities.

Georgia Tech Journalism & Games Project
'This research project, made possible by funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, seeks to understand the ways videogames can be used in the field of journalism, providing examples, theoretical approaches, speculative ideas, and practical advice about the past, present, and future of games and journalism.' Bogost-impelled, v.cool.

Dollarshort: The Definition of a Slow News Day
Not strictly game-related, but the same tabloid-related problems occurs. Also, it's depressing cos they are all great headlines. all hail the tabloid apocalypse!

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/VG Chartz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Some interesting chatter in here: 'We don't base arguments for keeping articles on the accuracy of the subject—we base it (in part) on it the sources available.'

Results of the 14th annual Interactive Fiction Competition
Hurray, IFComp winners again!

2009 GDC Canada Announces Dates, Calls For Submissions

November 19, 2008 8:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Not content with running GDC in San Francisco and our regular Austin GDC jaunt next year, my lovely colleagues here are expanding with GDC Canada, and for any Canucks or Pacific Northwesterners interested, here's the call for submissions.]

Think Services, co-organizer of the Game Developers Conference Canada has announced that next year's inaugural expo will run from May 12 - 13, 2009 at the Vancouver Convention and Exposition Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The organizers have also opened the call for proposals on lectures, roundtables, and panel sessions, and will accept submissions through midnight, Friday, November 28, 2008.

GDC Canada, which has an extensive local advisory board including representation from BioWare, EA Black Box, Threewave, Radical, Next Level Games and more, will emphasize the challenges and opportunities of creating games with long production cycles, large development teams, and multi-platform releases.

The event's tracks are structured according to production stages of game development, so submissions should address the most pressing game development challenges that fall under the following development stages: concept/preproduction, production, finalling, and post-launch.

Building on the success of the Vancouver International Game Summit, GDC Canada, which is co-organized by Reboot Communications and Think Services, will feature global perspectives on cross-discipline and cross-platform content, with an eye to serving the increasingly significant Canadian games business sector.

The conference will take place during Vancouver Digital Week, organized by local government entity New Media BC, billed as "...an immersive week of innovative programming and partnership opportunities for the digital media industry that features top minds from around the globe."

To learn more about the submission guidelines and conference tracks, please visit the official site for 2009 GDC Canada.

MIGS: Far Cry 2's Guay On The Importance Of Procedural Content

November 19, 2008 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Here's another MIGS highlight originally debuting on Gamasutra, with Chris Remo documenting some really interesting discussion of procedural content creation from one of the Ubisoft Montreal folks behind Far Cry 2, which is rapidly wandering into 'underappreciated' territory for me - or possibly just 'too clever for its own good', if you're being cynical.]

During the Montreal International Game Summit, Far Cry 2 technical director Dominic Guay painted procedural content generation as an increasingly important game development technique, not just to control costs as games get bigger and bigger, but also to retain the crucial ability to make changes throughout the production process.

"This talk is not about Far Cry 2 the game," began Guay, who populated his talk with development examples from Far Cry 2's creation rather than descriptions of the end-user goals of the game's features.

Guay defined "procedural data generation" as "techniques and algorithms of runtime or highly automated offline data generation," but noted the term refers not just the algorithms and code that comprise systems, but also the surrounding tools that enable designers to make use of them.

GamerBytes Special: Inside XNA Community Games, Part 2

November 19, 2008 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

bei.jpg[Sister console download site GamerBytes (psst, RSS it!) is continuing to very efficiently preview the XNA Community Games, following Part 1 and here's Ryan Langley with a look at another set of the indie/hobbyist titles launching with NXE in the next few hours.]

Today we bring you the second set of XNA Community Games that are gearing up for tomorrow's release of the New Xbox Experience.

There's 10 more games to look through here . It appears that over 30 games will be available on Community Games at NXE launch now - so think of these posts as a helpful shopping guide when searching through every single Community Game available.

The next update will include not only the final selection of XNA Community Games, but GamerBytes' top games that you should really consider buying. It's going to be a very big market - get ready to swim through it all.

MIGS: Spector Calls For 'Pioneer Spirit,' 'Renaissance' In Tough Times

November 19, 2008 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

[We have a couple of people in situ at the Montreal Game Summit this week, and kicking things off, Mathew Kumar sat in on Warren Spector's opening keynote - some interesting, and happily somewhat optimistic things being said here.]

As the opening keynote for the fifth Montreal International Game Summit, celebrated game designer Warren Spector (Deus Ex) had to live up to his own legacy.

Origin and Looking Glass veteran Spector, whose Junction Point development studio is now owned by Disney, recalled a pessimistic talk he gave at the summit in 2005, "Gaming in the Margins," where he discussed industry challenges, from new hardware to increased media scrutiny -- and turned out to be "pretty much wrong about everything."

"The positives are all still positive and the negatives aren’t so bad," said Spector at the keynote. "Maybe it was because I was an independent developer struggling to survive, while now I'm in a corporation [Disney] which smooths things out -- or maybe I was just plain wrong."

Yet he admitted that thanks to the current economic downturn, "things have changed."

"Lots of companies are in trouble, and many of my friends have been laid off," Spector revealed. "So it in bad taste to be happy about how the industry is doing?"

But, he suggests: "I am still optimistic in the way I wasn't three years ago and haven't been in a really long time. We are still in a sort of renaissance, and we really can be the medium of the 21st century."

GameSetLinkDump: Claymation Rules The Waves

November 19, 2008 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Well, another GameSetLinkDump, and I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that there are too many links in the world. But hey, I'm having fun distilling them, and throwing them in your direction - especially if they involve Claymation, something that games do all too seldom.

Also hanging out in here - weird Space Invaders insanity, the return of the delightful Boyer in conjunction with those wacky Boing Boing folks, discussions on good E rated games getting ignored, GameRanger vs. Dungeon Keeper 2, and lots more.

Woo hah:

Boing Boing Offworld launches! - Boing Boing
Hurray, my buddy and former colleague Brandon Boyer springs into eclectogame action to launch Boing Boing's new game blog, with launch ad support from Intel - should be neat, eclectic stuff.

State of the Shoot ‘Em Up | Edge Online
Good piece on shmups from the print version of Edge.

ARGNet: An Interview with JC Hutchins: Personal Effects
More from PixelVixen707's daddy.

The Brainy Gamer: The big ignore
'Let's say you're interested in finding a good E-rated game (evaluated by the ESRB as appropriate for "Everyone")' Good points on the _good_ family games sometimes getting ignored.

Cletus Clay official dev blog
Oo, claymation game return of alert - sister site IndieGames has more.

Between Video Game Download - Jason Rohrer Games' New Between - Esquire
On Esquire.com? Intemeresting - see Bogost's analysis on Gamasutra for more details.

Nintendo > Science « Vancouver Game Design
'There are so many benefits to playing games already that it confuses me as to why Nintendo feels they need to lie in order to attract new gamers.' Wuhwoh!

GDN: GameRanger Helps you Scout out Competition
Yes, player matching for Dungeon Keeper 2, modernized for your pleasure! Very odd, cool - via AHandy.

Kotaku: 'Feature: Composing The Soundtrack To Blizzard's World'
Wow, sumptuous Blizzard soundtrack insanity, neat.

YouTube - Space Invaders Anime Music Video
Crazy 30th anniversary insanity - via Brandonn.

In-Depth: Montreal Game Biz Sees Salary-Fixing Collusion?

November 18, 2008 8:00 PM | Simon Carless

[We don't tend to crosspost most industry-related stories from Gamasutra, but in this case, Leigh Alexander has uncovered something pretty concerning and biz-relevant -- alleged wage-fixing in the closely knit Montreal game development community -- and so, since I know a lot of developers read GSW...]

Industry sources often claim that certain kinds of "truces" between game studios are fairly commonplace.

For example, competitors might occasionally agree not to hire one another’s talent for the duration of a given project, to help each other retain staff when all hands are needed on deck.

But a correspondence obtained by Gamasutra suggests that some Montreal-based companies may be attempting to collude on salary caps, under the auspices of benefiting the economics of the industry in a given region – and at the expense of competitive wages for development staff.

According to a scan of an internal email that we translated from French, human resources director Flavie Tremblay -- when employed by Eidos in June 2007 -- reached out to fellow Montreal publisher Ubisoft to propose just such a collaboration.

"As you know, there are more and more important players in the Montreal industry, and the well of our resources is limited," wrote Tremblay, herself a former Ubisoft employee, to Francis Baillet, as she welcomed him to the role of human resources vice president at Ubisoft.

"I sincerely believe that a collaboration would eventually allow us to better provide for our needs in forming a workforce, and avoid a bid for higher wages which would only benefit the employee, and which would end up harming the industry in the long term," Tremblay’s message continued.

GamerBytes Special: Inside XNA Community Games, Part 1

November 18, 2008 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

bei.jpg[Over at our sister console digital download site GamerBytes, Ryan Langley is taking an early look at the Xbox Live Community Games scheduled for launch in a couple of days time, and I'm really intrigued already - here's his roundup of the first ten or so.]

In just two days, the "New Xbox Experience" will be downloaded by millions of Xbox 360 users, and with that comes the XNA Community Games section, showcasing indie and hobbyist titles which will cost 200-800 points ($2.50-$10) to download.

Those who have been lucky enough to get into the NXE preview have been able to check out the current crop of XNA titles, with new games popping up everyday. For the few days left before it's released we'll be looking at each title that pops up, and and give you a little overview of each from the trial.

Today we look at ten titles to show up on the service - each of which has a timed, free demo. Some are good, some are bad, but it's all a part of seeing what can be done with just a couple of guys (or gals) in a short amount of time.

In some case, it seems like the creators got quickly bored with the project and released it anyway, but most of the initial XNA Community Games titles are interesting, and show what kinds of games can be made with XNA and the Xbox 360.

Opinion: Fallout 3 - Escape From Vault 101

November 18, 2008 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

[In this in-depth analysis, commentator Duncan Fyfe looks closely at Bethesda's Fallout 3 to discuss why it's "distinctly unlike those "choose fate, save world" games", but is oddly affecting nonetheless.]

Bethesda were part of the story. Fallout 3 previews, between explaining VATS and the Megaton dilemma, made sure to note the long-standing concerns over whether Bethesda could pull this off.

Bethesda had inserted themselves into the history of someone else's series: Fallout, ardently mythologized as a classic, although its commercial cachet had declined. After Bethesda cultivated their house franchise into a well-received cross-platform hit with Oblivion, they suddenly had everything to prove.

Their motivations find parallel in the story Fallout 3 tells about the player character's father, James. One day and without any specific impetus, James abruptly leaves home and the security it provides. He risks everything on resurrecting a certain project commonly thought to be untenable after some recent failures.

Why'd he leave, and why did Bethesda decide to do this? Fortunately they did, because at worst, Fallout 3 would have been an undetermined game; a cautious compromise between the varying design sensibilities of Bethesda and Black Isle and a half-hearted and restrained remake of the original Fallout.

That's not Fallout 3. Here's why it mattered to the post-apocalyptic, profanity-laden, morally vague wasteland that Bethesda make it this time.

GameSetLinkDump: The Shadows Of Your Smile

November 18, 2008 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Delighted to return with a few more GameSetLinks, and there's quite a few fun things in here, with the (pictured) Linger In Shadows PS3 demo educational post somewhat to the fore, hurray.

Also in here - ruminations on the Mother 3 translation, Atari's wacky cool The Chase: Felix Meets Felicity, a disturbing UK Resistance fantasy, a new Mega64 video, and quite a few other things besides.

An amazing race:

Crummy: 'One Bad Mother'
Also see this initial post: overall: 'There's a tendentious video-game logic that says that bad things are caused by people who are evil, and that the evil people do the bidding of a boss, and that if you kill the boss you've solved the problem... if there's one video game that could take a more realistic approach, it would be a Mother game.'

BitFellas: Linger in Shadows PS3
A good guide to the PS3 interactive demo, with links to the demogroups greeted in it in hidden parts.

MTV Multiplayer » ‘Shaun White’ Launch Party - Our Guest Blogger Weighs In
'I’m glad I stayed outside though because I scored an interview with Tila Tequila, Bam Margera, Jesse from “The Bachelor” and many more!' 'Normal' MTV meets MTV Multiplayer, pain ensues.

Nov. 13, 1983: Teen Sets 'Asteroids' Record in 3-Day Marathon
'1983: Fifteen-year-old Scott Safran of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, sets the world record score in the arcade game Asteroids — the longest-standing videogame high score in history.' Neat mini-Kohler piece.

YouTube - Mega64: "SYTEFREEK"
Never non-awesome: 'A video to promote the new Mega64.com.'

UK:RESISTANCE. Not making a difference since 1996: PARTNER REQUIRED FOR ANONYMOUS SUPER MARIO BROS. HOTEL ROOM ANAL SEX FANTASY
Absolutely NSFW, absolutely ridiculous.

A love story between a blogger and a game concept - Tiny Cartridge
On Atari’s The Chase: Felix Meets Felicity - looks v.interesting.

Lost Levels | Technology | guardian.co.uk
Nice music video: 'UK group Lost Levels are hugely influenced by videogame music, and indeed, videogames in general, ploughing an intriguing furrow between indie pop and the US blipcore scene. '

Sore Thumbs: 'A Letter To My Former Co-Workers'
Still annoying, at least to me.

OneSwitch.org.uk blog: Creature Discomforts
The Aardman folks make designs for disability awareness games.

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