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Archive For April, 2010

NES Carts For Neil Baldwin's Native Music Tracker

April 30, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Though many of years have passed since Eurocom founder and director Neil Baldwin composed the soundtracks to NES games like Magician and Hero Quest, he hasn't given up on creating music with the 8-bit hardware! In the past five months, he's worked on a project called NTRQ, which he says is "the world’s first native NES music tracker"!

By "native", he means that NTRQ "runs on an NES using battery-backed RAM to store your NTRQ song data." I don't really understand all the numbers and slots that make up the Song Editor, but you can watch a video of NTRQ from a January build after the break. Baldwin also created a site for the software, where you will find tips, a support forum, and notes on the application's continued development.

While the NTRQ ROM is available to download for free -- runs in an emulator or original hardware via flashcart -- Mute City is also selling NTRQ NES carts (with the developer's permission) for $40. For each purchase, $5 of that amount will go to Cancer Research UK. Baldwin, whose mother has battled cancer for the past three years, asks that musicians who download NTRQ make a donation to Cancer Research UK, too.

NIS's Summer Girlfriend: 30 Seconds Of Video

April 30, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Nippon Ichi Software's Second Novel: Summer Girlfriend 15 Minutes of Memory uses a common video game trope -- characters stricken with amnesia -- but its prelude and story are certainly unconventional: one of the game's stars, Ayano, jumps off her school's rooftop. As you can already tell, despite the title, this is nothing like Konami's dating sim LovePlus+!

Ayano survives her fall but can only recall the last fifteen minutes of the events leading up to her jump. The protagonist of this PSP game, a boy named Naoya, also attempted suicide before Ayano but doesn't remember anything. The game takes place five years after those events, as Naoyo meets Ayano and tries to learn more about what happened.

It's a really intriguing set up (in my opinion), and the game has players switching between past and present events to recover their memories. Nippon Ichi plans to release Summer Girlfriend 15 Minutes of Memory in Japan this May. Because it's a visual novel, I doubt it will see a North American release, but maybe someone will take pity on us and post impressions/screenshots from the import.

[Via Siliconera]

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of April 30

April 30, 2010 12:00 PM | Eric Caoili

In an exciting week for new job postings, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles across the world and in every major discipline, including opportunities at Bethesda, Playfish, and many more.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across its network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Activision: Motion Capture Pipeline Supervisor
"Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of video games. Our company has created, licensed and acquired a group of highly recognizable brands that it markets to a growing variety of consumer demographics. We are seeking individuals who will participate and contribute to our growth, and who will enjoy our fun, dynamic and highly focused business environment. We are seeking an experienced Motion Capture Pipeline Supervisor to join our team at our studio in Playa Del Rey, CA."

Hansoft: User Interface Engineer
"We are looking for someone that takes pride in great user interface programming. You will be a member of a talented development team working on our non-compromising designs for interface, database technology and other unique Hansoft components. As user interface engineer you will maintain and develop the user interface of the client of the Hansoft solution."

GDC Europe Debuts Keynote From BigPoint CEO Hubertz

April 30, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Here's the first content announcement from our German colleagues who run GDC Europe, and it's the rather successful BigPoint, who have a Battlestar Galactica MMO and a host of already-successful browser games - will be interesting to hear their recipe for the win.]

GDC Europe organizers have announced the first keynote for the August event in Cologne, with Heiko Hubertz, CEO of dominant German online game firm BigPoint discussing elements likely to include the company's NBC backing, the Battlestar Galactica MMO, and pointers for business success.

BigPoint, which was founded in 2002, now employs 340 employees in Hamburg, Germany. Its runaway financial success in the browser game marketplace led to NBC taking a 35% stake in the firm in 2008.

As a result, the company recently opened a U.S. office, announcing a major partnership with engine firm Unity and an MMO based on NBC Universal's Battlestar Galactica property along the way.

Company founder Hubertz is likely to discuss the firm's history, trends in the industry, and tips to succeed in the competitive online game business as a major keynote for GDC Europe, which is ramping up announcements for its second event.

The conference, taking place Monday through Wednesday August 16-18, 2010 at the Cologne Congress Center East in Cologne, Germany, will once again run alongside the major GamesCom event to present the leading game industry event for developers, consumers, publishers and trade professionals.

By once again pairing GDC Europe with GamesCom, Europe's leading consumer and industry show, the conference can offer content to address the development community at a central location in the heart of Europe and command the critical mass of the European games sector. In 2009, its first year, GDC Europe saw more than 1,500 participants, including 130 international speakers, 40 exhibitors and 240 media representatives.

For more information on GDC Europe, including location and how to purchase passes -- for which registration is now open -- interested parties can visit the official Game Developers Conference Europe website.

Playing With Pixelart: eBoy FixPix for iPhone

April 30, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Acclaimed pixelart group eBoy (Kai Vermehr, Steffen Sauerteig and Svend Smital), who we've featured a number of times here for its amazing and intricate isometric scenes, has a puzzle game featuring its work and coming to the iPhone (it would look wicked on the iPad, too) courtesy of a collaboration with developer Delicious Toys.

In eBoy FixPix, layers of the group's artwork are misaligned, and you'll need to tilt the iPhone to get the correct perspective and shift the slices into their proper place. There's a neat 3D/motion-tracking effect when you tilt the system, allowing you to see parts of the composition that you likely wouldn't even know about in the finished piece.

There's no word yet on when eBoy FixPix will hit the App Store, but CreativeApplications.Net previewed the game and says it has "about 100 different motives," as well as Facebook and Twitter integrations. In the meantime, you can see more of the group's pixelart work on their blog.

A New Kind Of Guitar Controller

April 30, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

For his senior project at University of Florida, computer engineering undergraduate Mike Davenport created an instrument that's part arcade stick, part guitar. Instead of strings, the instrument features six buttons; it also uses a thumb slider joystick to adjust the pitch and "LFO Rate."

Davenport says he took inspiration for the project from arcade fighting games in which you can press two buttons (or a button and a direction) to perform a different move than you would pushing a single button. With his instrument, you can tap two buttons to play different "combos" (editable three-note chords, arpeggios).

He's also built in save banks, wave selection, and more into the instrument. You can read more technical details about the arcade guitar at Davenport's site. I've included a video after the break of him jamming with the device, too:

MGS: Peace Walker's Animated Guides For Heart Massages, Love Boxes

April 30, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

With Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker's release in Japan this week, Konami has uploaded a series of humorous animated guides that help introduce the game to beginners by relating common features to real life situations.

In the above clip for example, viewers learn that "a heart massage is effective against a friend who's had his heart broken." Here, Tom and Dick vow to confess their love to their girlfriends but are rejected. Dick gives Tom a heart massage to revive him, and Tom says, "I was saved because of you." Dick responds, "I'm your friend, aren't I?"

In the other video I've embedded, Jeff helps his friend, Jane, get over her fears of passing a sleeping dog by teaching her the Snake Formation (automatically following a friend) and how to sneak by in a Love Pack Box with two people. "I'm not scared if I'm with you! And friendship level goes up too!?"

You can see more of the Peace Walker videos and explanations at Andriasang.com. I give the entire set of clips a score of 40 out of 40!

COLUMN: Battle Klaxon: Way of the Samurai 3's Execution of All Things

April 30, 2010 12:00 AM |

['Battle Klaxon' is a monthly GameSetWatch-exclusive column where traveling games journalist Quintin Smith fights to win a bit of glory for the beautiful, brave but overlooked games that people are missing in their lives. This month: scrappy vagabond simulator Way of the Samurai 3.]

'MISSION FAILED.'

Okay, now hang on--

'YOU LOSE.'

But I--

'GAME OVER.'

Is it?

'YES.'

Alright. Have you ever played any of the Way of the Samurai games?

'...NO.'

They're fascinating. I mean, they're also really bad, just unforgivably amateurish, but people should still be paying attention to what they try and do with narrative.

You spend these games wandering between various roads, villages, towns and castles, killing anybody, working for anybody, failing, ignoring or abandoning any mission, betraying anyone you like, and the game never stops you or tells you what to do. Not to be confused with other "free-form" games like GTA or Fable which in truth offer aimless freedom on the side like a bar might offer peanuts, Way of the Samurai titles are games about being free. There is no story except how you choose to spend your violent life, and I think that's really interesting.

'MMM-HMM.'

I'm serious! Not even the sprawling Morrowinds and Risens of the world shot for the degree of nonlinearity you see in Way of the Samurai. Listen to me!

Preorders Open For Triumvir's Super Street Fighter Collection

April 29, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Online apparel shop Triumvir has opened preorders for its Super Street Fighter X collection, a new line of t-shirts complementing this week's release of Super Street Fighter IV for consoles. Unlike Triumvir's Psycho Brigade collection, which featured subtle nods and icons to M. Bison's Shadaloo crime syndicate, this line prominently features concept art from the series.

The black and white artwork comes from Kinu Nishimura and CRMK, and was originally created many years ago for the oft-forgotten 3DO version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo. "Trust me when I first pitched this idea to Capcom they almost had no recollection of this artwork, but I was able to hunt this down," explains Triumvir's Brandon Cheng.

He adds, "The main concept was to resurrect these magnificent sketches that have almost been forgotten and reintroduce them to the Street Fighter community. We simply wanted to add the color concept into the sketches by using a water-colored technique onto the graphics. These sketches took days, hours, and minutes for [us] to trace and apply the colors."

I've included shots of my favorite shirts below, but you can see the entire Super Street Fighter X collection and put in a preorder (first 100 orders over $50 receive a limited Shadaloo Boxing Glove keychain) at Triumvir's online shop.

SOE, Rockin' Android Bringing Doujin Shmups To PSN

April 29, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Rockin' Android, the indie publisher dedicated to localizations for obscure PC doujin shoot'em-ups, announced a partnership with Sony Online Entertainment to release three titles on the PlayStation Network next month.

Regular readers will remember that Rockin' Android revealed this deal late last year, but this formal announcement specifies the planned PSN games slated to receive an HD edition, PSN Trophies support, and remote play capabilities: Gundemonium Recollection, GundeadliGne, and Hitogata Happa.

All three of the "bullet hell" titles are part of Platine Dispositif's Gundemonium Collection, which will also see a PC release in the U.S. (includes a DVD-Rom edition and a digital download version) on May 18th. You can watch player-uploaded gameplay videos for Gundemonium Recollection, GundeadliGne, and Hitogata Happa after the break.

"Our collaboration with game development powerhouse Sony Online Entertainment creates an incredibly unprecedented opportunity to expose many of Japan’s top indie video games to the worldwide online gaming community," says Rockin’ Android President Enrique Galvez. "This is truly an exciting time for both companies, the Japanese indie game industry and gaming consumers."

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