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Archive For January, 2011

Sound Current: '2 Player Productions on Giving Form to the Chip Music Documentary'

January 25, 2011 12:00 PM | jeriaska

[In his latest 'Sound Current' interview dealing with aspects of the video game music-related scene, Jeriaska talks to the documentary filmmakers at 2 Player Productions on their chipmusic-related release Reformat The Planet, as well as their more recent work documenting behind the scenes development on games like Uncharted 3 and Minecraft.]

The documentary filmmakers at 2 Player Productions have been capturing New York's vibrant chiptune scene through digital video since the 2006 Blip Festival. Following the release of their full-length feature Reformat the Planet, they began branching out to explore a number of other realms of video game culture.

Their visually compelling, musically rich video projects have explored the PAX concerts, game development at Naughty Dog and Sucker Punch, as well as the inner workings of the Penny Arcade office for PATV. Their next documentary, currently in production, will examine the making of the Swedish indie phenomenon Minecraft.

Previously we have heard from videographers Paul Levering and Paul Owens on their documentation of the Blip Festival concerts and Penny Arcade Expos. With the release of Reformat the Planet on DVD, we caught up with team members Asif Siddiky and Gabe Liberti to hear how the motivations of 2 Player Productions have developed over time.

Hell for Hire Exhibit Turns JFK, 9-11 Into Game Paintings

January 25, 2011 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

You might have seen some of Anthony Michael Sneed's paintings before, which transforms adult/controversial themes into game covers modeled after the NES' black box series. New York City gallery Artjail now has a "Hell for Hire" exhibit featuring Sneed's work, and The New Pop produced this neat video from the show's opening two weeks ago.

The short clip features an interview with the artist as well as close-ups for some of his provocative -- some might even find them offensive -- pieces, like JFK: The Game ("Mind blowing fun!"), KKKocaine, and his 9-11 painting/animation depicting the World Trade Center's Twin Towers under attack in Punch-Out!!'s skyline.

"When you put that 8-bit filter on something so horrific, it almost dulls the whole event," explains Sneed. "I mean, it's almost like looking at it through a child's eyes. You know, like what does a child think when they see that?Do they see it as horrific? Do they understand? Can they decipher what's going on?"

Unfortunately, you'll only be able to see the "Hell for Hire" exhibit by appointment at Artjail for the next month. You can check out the game paintings and his other artwork online, though, at Sneed's site.

[Via Albotas]

Minecraft Documentary Captures Mojang's Formation

January 25, 2011 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Yesterday I featured 2 Player Production's upcoming documentary about Mojang, developer of sandbox building game and indie hit Minecraft, but the video crew has revealed more about the project -- it will not only provide a behind-the-scenes look at the Stockholm studio but also follow its very first days of conception.

"The content we have now takes place during the first week of the studio's formation, which is something rarely captured on film, and we're grateful to Mojang for giving us permission to be there," says 2PP, which has previously created short videos for only established developers like Sucker Punch and Naughty Dog.

After Minecraft picked up hundreds of thousands of dollars from pre-ordering the title, its creator Markus "Notch" Persson used that money to set up Mojan with other programmers, a site developer, a "business guy", and pixel artist Junkboy. He's since added another programmer and a managing director to the team.

2PP, "The story of Mojang studios has only just begun, and there are still aspects of the studio that could be explored." The group is in the post-production stage with the documentary and will release the film next month. It hopes to return to Stockholm and shoot more footage of Mojang if the 20-minute documentary is well received.

Artemis Spaceship Bridge Sim Updated With Online Play, Ship Editor

January 25, 2011 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Developer Thom Robert has released a 1.3 update for Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator, his multiplayer PC game that has several users acting out the parts of Star Trek-esque bridge crew, each performing different functions on their futuristic space ship (e.g. Communication, Weapon Control) and working together to fight other alien crafts.

While the game was previously a LAN-only affair, this update now offers "full online play". It also adds the ship editor tool (allowing modders to create new enemy vessels), new artwork, new ships, a new user interface, asteroid fields, the ability to have six different crews working together or against each other, and more.

Robert has decreased the price for a bridget license to $40 (valid for five computers), but you can still get the full game for free by downloading the demo and recording yourself playing Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator with at least two other friends, then uploading that video to Youtube (like the group above did!). 

Game Time With Mister Raroo: Five Reasons I Cannot Kinect

January 25, 2011 12:00 AM | Mister Raroo

Game Time With Mister Raroo logo[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo is a fan of Microsoft's Xbox 360 peripheral Kinect, but there are five main reasons he's not able to get the most out of his new toy. It's not easy playing Kinect when you don't have a massive living room, share a home with kids and pets, and worry about how silly you look to others!]

I Want to Kinect!

Though I had originally planted my feet firmly in the Kinect Haters camp, these days those same feet are happily dancing around in front of my television set. I received a new Xbox 360 bundled with Kinect this past Christmas, and I was pleasantly surprised by just how awesome Kinect turned out to be. It’s a really nifty peripheral!

With notable games like Steel Battalion and Child of Eden on the horizon, I’m truthfully excited about what the future has in store for Kinect. And, in the meantime, I’m unexpectedly having a great time with the Kinect games I’ve played. Well, most of the time, anyway. Though Kinect can be a heck of a lot of fun, there are a number of issues that prevent me from fully experiencing all it has to offer.

I have identified five main factors that stand in the way of my ability to properly enjoy Kinect. A couple of these issues are unavoidable, while the others are the result of personal circumstances in my home. No matter the reason, however, it bothers me that I’m not able to get the most out of playing Kinect. But that doesn’t stop me from trying all the same!

Dear Mr. UFO: Kosmo Spin Music Video

January 24, 2011 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Indie developer Simogo recently posted this adorable music video for "Dear Mr. UFO", a very catchy song written by Jonathan "wearethemassacre" Eng and inspired by the Swedish studio's iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad game Kosmo Spin

As you can figure out from the lovely tune, the goal of Kosmo Spin is to defend your planet against an alien out to abduct all your breakfast foods. Hence the chorus: "Dear Mr. UFO, you're hungry yes we know, but lease know that we must keep our breakfast."

In the game, you run around the planet bouncing back balls thrown by the alien -- it's a simple but fun experience that you can see demonstrated in the last third of the clip. It's a pretty neat idea to have a music video that also works as a trailer!

You can download an MP3 and cover art for wearethemassacre's "Dear Mr. UFO" on Simogo's site.

[Via Nobuooo]

Mamoru-kun Is Widescreen On The PS3

January 24, 2011 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

I love non-traditional shoot'em ups that use people on the ground instead of jets/spacecraft (more in the vein of Pocky & Rocky than Total Carnage), so I am pumped about this arcade-to-PS3 port for G. Rev/Gulti's Mamoru-kun wa Norowarete Shimatta, or Mamoru-Kun Is Cursed.

An Xbox Live version of the anime-style shmup was released two years ago, but this PS3 disc version, subtitled Meikai Katsugeki Wide Version, is shown with a widescreen view, as the XBL and Arcade releases had a narrow vertical presentation with borders on the side.

It also has a "Meikai Katsugeki" mode (loose translation: "Hades Street Riot"), two characters that were released as DLC for box Live, and downloadable costumes (shown toward the end of the video; first-print copies will include codes to download them from the PS Store). 

Publisher Cyberfront will release Mamoru-kun wa Norowarete Shimatta:Meikai Katsugeki Wide Version in Japan on March 2011. No one's said anything yet about a North American release, but it's likely you'll be able to import and play this on your North American system.

[Via Siliconera]

The 'GDC 25' Chronicles: An Audio Avalanche

January 24, 2011 12:00 PM | Jason Scott

gdctapes.jpg[Continuing his 'GDC 25' archival research ahead of the 25th Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this February/March, official GDC historian Jason Scott unearths and digitizes late '90s audio talks on the Chinese game market, adapting games, game engineering discipline and making casual games.]

There's quite a huge amount of historical Game Developers Conference audio and videotapes in my to-do pile, so it's been a case of knocking through them as fast as possible, to turn them from decaying analog recordings into longer-lifed digital ones. A few dozen are finished, with dozens more waiting.

When you have a historical archive of a bunch of presentations from such a fast-moving field as game development, it might seem to be a matter of dismissing these historical items as "out of date" and then waiting for the latest and greatest.

But there's something to be said for listening to well-assembled, clear sessions on aspects of game-making that still hold true. Here's a few issues that have been around for some time, and continue to be relevant.

In one notable audio talk we've digitized onto GDC Vault, William Dalton lays out a CGDC 1998 wake-up call that the development environment of games need to bring in the same qualities that software has had for years in other industries.

Entitled 'Bringing Engineering Discipline to Entertainment Development', and now available on GDC Vault, he describes what happens when these time-tested best practices are laid in front of the then-still-young computer game development culture. Listening to it, it might be interesting to compare to your own group's practices and see how many points you have already internalized, and how many have been cast aside.

Elsewhere, noted puzzle designer Scott Kim's 1997 CGDC talk now available on GDC Vault in audio, 'Games for the Rest of Us' has a really amazing delivery style. As he steps through the current state of the game-creation industry and the type of games that are appealing to a mass-market, he drops asides and wry observations that keep his audience engaged and chortling throughout.

Ghost Trick's iOS Update Adds Native iPad Support, New Minigames

January 24, 2011 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Though Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, the critically acclaimed adventure game from the creator of the Ace Attorney series Shu Takumi, just came out for the Nintendo DS in North America a few weeks ago, it's already enjoying an episodic iOS port in Japan.

At a Capcom event this morning, the company announced that it's releasing an update early next month that introduces native support for the iPad (providing the highest resolution version available for the game's impressive 2D graphics and animations) and new minigames.

From what I can see in these photos captured by Inside Games, the minigames include those sliding puzzles, as well as some sort of Omikuji ("random fortunes written on strips of paper at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples) feature themed around Ghost Trick's cute Pomeranian dog Missile.

The main story mode of Ghost Trick has you taking on the role of a spirit trying to find out how he was murdered and possessing nearby objects to save others from death. There's still no word on when the iOS version will be localized for the West, but the DS edition sans-minigames is out now!

New Snapshot Clip Demonstrates Creative Lighting Feature

January 24, 2011 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Selected as a finalist in the 2009 Independent Games Festival's "Excellence in Design" award for its fascinating use of in-game photographs to transport objects and solve puzzles, Snapshot has a few more tricks to show off before it launches for PC/Windows (release date still not announced).

In this new gameplay video, you can see a new feature developer Retro Affect's added to the game: the ability to cut and paste light sources (e.g. bright orbs, firefly-like specks) by taking photos of them, then use those light sources to help you navigate dark stages. 

Oh, and you get to preview Snapshot's awesome music composed by Wil Whitlark in the clip. You can check out more of the game at Retro Affect's development blog.

[Via IndieGames.com]

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