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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 June, 2010

Korean Air Planes To Fly With Wings Of Liberty

June 24, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Playing off its Wings of Liberty subtitle for StarCraft II, Blizzard Entertainment Korea unveiled a co-marketing plan with Korean Air that will see two of its planes decorated with the image of Jim Raynor, the Terran hero featured in the upcoming real-time strategy game.

The two planes, both Boeing 747s, will fly domestic routes in Koreas and international routes in the U.S./Europe for six months, starting today. The airline also plans to have four limousine buses also wrapped with Starcraft II character artwork in service during the period.

"We’re pleased to be partnering with Korean Air, Korea's leading airline, on this campaign," says Blizzard COO Paul Sams. "As we approach the global launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, this promotion represents a unique, large-scale opportunity to introduce the characters and style of the StarCraft universe to gamers throughout the world."

At the same press event where it revealed the painted planes, Blizzard also announced a deal with local fast food chain Lotteria to feature StarCraft-themed menu items like "Grilled Marauder Tenderloin", "Psi-storm Dried Zergling", and "Blizzard Snow For Good Game"!

GDC Europe Adds Alan Wake, Shelley, Red Steel 2 Lectures

June 24, 2010 9:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Here's some more announcements about our colleagues' GDC Europe's line-up this year, with a v.impressive cross-section of the continent's big developers turning up for the August event in Cologne - looking forward to attending, myself.]

Organizers have debuted the latest round of GDC Europe talks, with Remedy on Alan Wake's art direction, design wisdom from Age Of Empires co-creator Bruce Shelley, and a motion control-centric postmortem of Red Steel 2.

The lectures are newly announced for the 2010 Game Developers Conference Europe event, which takes place from August 16th-18th, and is -- for the second year -- located in Cologne, Germany. It takes place alongside the leading European consumer/trade GamesCom event, making the duo a must-attend for European and international game creators.

Some of the notable new speakers for the conference (which is created by the UBM Techweb Game Network, as is this website) include the following:

- A lecture called 'Alan Wake: Light and Dark' has Remedy art director Saku Lehtinen discussing the multiple graphical techniques and work behind the Xbox 360 game's acclaimed atmosphere. As he notes: "How did the game's basic dualities of light vs. dark, sanity vs. insanity and real vs. supernatural echo in the design and visuals in order to support the story and create a memorable experience?"

- In 'Chilling Tales from Red Steel 2: How Motion Control Will/Won't Change The Future', Ubisoft creative director Jason VandenBerghe explains: "Red Steel 2 broke the mold, and proved that motion controls aren't just for the casual crowd... But sales were sluggish, and the team was confronted with extensive challenges in making real gameplay work with an entirely new input method." This honest lecture will explain what went right -- and wrong -- during the game's creation.

- Ensemble Studios (Age Of Empires) co-founder and design veteran Bruce Shelley is making a special appearance at GDC Europe to present 'Five Rules for Draft One of Your Game Design', and he'll share "five guidelines for the challenge of producing a complete first draft game design proposal, a road map to help designers focus their thoughts and get momentum on the process of 'getting it down.'"

New ALWW Episode Covers Big Ideas, Huge Genitals

June 24, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

A Life Well Wasted, Robert Ashley's brilliant, This American Life-styled gaming podcast, returned last night with a new episode after a seven-month absence. This new episode's topic: Big Ideas. Before you download the show and give it a listen, though, keep in mind that this latest program contains some mature topics:

"[Here], Robert Ashley edits listener-submitted game ideas into one big, crazy game, talks to the guy who owns the rights to Tetris about his plans to save the world, gets a lecture on the future of games from a New York University professor, and meets a struggling game blogger who happens to possess freakishly enormous genitalia."

As with previous episodes, Ashley teamed up with talented illustrator Olly Moss to create a beautiful poster, which you can see in full after the break. Unfortunately, the limited run of 200 12x18-inch, screen-printed copies is already sold out!

Making Of Hydorah

June 24, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Spanish indie developer Locomalito has posted a "Making Of" document chronicling his work on Hydorah, his recently released 16-bit-style shoot'em up that's received a lot of praise from the indie community in the past several weeks.

The behind-the-scenes look offers a lot of insight on Locomalito's design and development process during the two and a half years he worked on the game, sharing his sketches, tools, and goals for Hydorah:

"I wanted it to have the intensity of 80s games and the dark and colorful ambiance of 70s movies, where space-age adventures had also some magical features like gods, demons, heroes ... with little explanations and many things left to the imagination.

It also should be challenging, and require some pretty evasive movements, counter attacks, with power limitations and decisive selections. So I started planning a huge game, with lots of levels and enemies, different ways to reach the end, secrets, unlockable weapons, two endings ... something that can be called a space adventure, more than a shooting game."

The 20-page "Making Of" report also examines the creation of the game's cover art and soundtrack, with composer Gryzor87 sharing photos of his studio and the homemade Flemish Virginal/Muselaar (pictured) he used to record several songs for Hydorah.

You can download the "Making Of" and Hydorah for free at Locomalito's site.

What Metal Gear Solid 2 Teaches Us About The Information Age

June 24, 2010 12:00 AM |

MGS2-art.jpg [Continuing a series of articles on Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear game franchise, timed with the release of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, writer Zoran Iovanovici examines second reboot title Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty, looking at its "rampant focus on memetics and information control" to examine its message.]

In our previous analysis of the Metal Gear Solid series we looked at how series creator Hideo Kojima used the first installment to examine the double-edge nature of the scientific and technological advancements of gene therapy and nuclear energy.

The second installment, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, turns its attention toward digital communication and computer technologies, namely the Internet and the flow of information. In an era defined by the rapid transmission of information; the game addresses the impact that control of these advancements can have in an information age where societies are increasingly reliant on digital storage and communication.

With internet freedom and censorship being hotly contested topics, MGS2 doesn’t pull any punches in its exploration of the nature of modern digital communication and its control by government and private organizations. While the first installment saw nuclear weaponry as a means to bringing the nations of the world to their knees, MGS2 looks at how control and access to information is becoming the most important tool for global domination.

The Red Star Releases On iPhone

June 23, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

The Red Star, XS Games' PS2 and PSP brawler/shoot'em up based on the sci-fi/fantasy graphic novel of the same name, is now available on the iPhone/iPod Touch's App store for $4.99 -- you can also download a free lite version to try it out.

In case you're not familiar with the game/comic book's alternate universe setting, here's a quick primer:

"The Red Star takes place in a war-torn, technologically advanced land known as the United Republics of the Red Star (URRS), a place reminiscent of Soviet era Russia.

In this world, the URRS maintains control over their people through forceful use of their technologically advanced army, an army made even more powerful by the use of sorcerers, soldiers trained to wage war through the use of mystical powers.

However, the URRS’s power is not confined merely to military strength. The nation holds a dark secret about how it actually maintains its might, that when revealed by The Red Star’s main characters leaves them no choice but to fight the URRS head on."

I'm not sure how great the touchscreen controls could be for a brawler/shoot'em up like Red Star (the screen looks a bit crowded with all those UI elements), but it's interesting to see a game that was once left for dead seeing a resurgence on portable platforms.

Cthulhu Saves the World: Next RPG From Breath Of Death Dev

June 23, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

This news was kind of lost during last week's rush of E3 news and media, but Zeboyd Games, the developer behind Xbox Live Indie Games gem Breath of Death VII: The Beginning, announced its next RPG coming to the Xbox 360 download service: Cthulhu Saves the World.

Scheduled to release in August 2010, the game looks to deliver "an epic journey of redemption and insanity", combining 8/16-bit style graphics with modern gameplay design. It features a 6-10 hour main quest, post-game modes (Score Attack, Highlander), a combo system, random encounter limits, unite techniques, branching level ups, and more.

Cthulhu Saves the World also allows you to cast magic and use skills that inflict insanity on your enemies, which makes them more dangerous but more vulnerable. The RPG is designed to be accessible, too, with the ability to save anywhere and collect 1UPs that let you retry failed battles.

As for playable characters, there are seven: "Umi the beautiful heroine with an unhealthy obsession with the ocean, Sharpe the sentient floating sword, October the cute necromancer, Paws the alien cat, Dacre a senile old man, Ember the dark dragon, and of course, Cthulhu from the classic horror of H.P. Lovecraft!"

You can tell Cthulhu Saves the World is something special just from the boxart alone:

2010 GDC China Debuts Social, Mobile, Indie Summits, Calls For Papers

June 23, 2010 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Although it may be all the way out in December, we're making noise about this year's GDC China right now, and Asian GSW readers may want to note the Indie Summit and IGF China competition happening again - call for papers now, more info soon.]

Organizers of Game Developers Conference China 2010 have announced main Online Game Business and Outsourcing tracks, plus Social and Mobile Summits and the Indie Game Summit/Fest, simultaneously calling for submissions for the December Shanghai event.

The call for submissions to present lectures, panels, and tutorials at the event is open now through Wednesday, July 21, 2010, and UBM TechWeb's third Chinese conference aims to provide a forum for local and international developers to explore business opportunities, expand their reach to a unique market, and discover the ongoing trends emerging within the region.

The two GDC China main conference tracks will focus both on global game development and outsourcing, as well as on the business and development of online games.

In addition, the conference will feature three dedicated summits, each providing a laser focus on some of the industry's top trends: the Mobile Games Summit, the Independent Games Summit, and the new Social Games Summit.

Playpower NYU Workshop This Weekend

June 23, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

If you don't already have plans to spend your Saturday at Intel/Vice's The Creators Project event, you might want to consider attending NYU's two-day game design workshop hosted by PlayPower, the online community devoted to creating open-source learning games for children in the developing world.

The event looks to introduce 8-bit game design to local artists and game designers, teaching them how to make sprites/graphics in YY-CHR, create music in Famitracker, and code in Assembly. Playpower's Derek Lomas and Kishan Patel, 8-bit artist Don "No Carrier" Miller, and NYU professor Chris Hoadley will lead the workshop.

Along with discussing Playpower's objectives and demonstrating how you can make games for the project, the workshop will feature a "Content Challenge" on the second day. You can see the full schedule for the event, which kicks off this Friday morning, as well as information on attending the workshop, on Playpower's technical discussion page.

Information Overload Makes The Internet Your Enemy

June 23, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Forumwarz creator Robin "Evil Trout" Ward has unleashed another intriguing game that plays on the overwhelming amount of content published on the internet with each passing minute. Information Overload actually pulls words from dozes of feed around the internet (popular blogs, Google News, Twitter) to create its enemies.

In this freeware retro-style shoot'em up, waves of headlines attack your space-faring block creature. You can collect different power-ups to more efficiently blast the text -- which are extremely helpful for when you run into the "black words" bug like I did, making it near impossible to see where a wave of text is coming from.

Anyway, it's a fun way to pass 10 minutes of your morning while catching up on some news!

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