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Archive For March, 2011

Ex-PixelJunk Designer Reveals The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character

March 25, 2011 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Rhodri Broadbent, formerly a lead designer for Q-Games' PixelJunk series, posted this first trailer for the delightfully titled The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character, first project he's working on at UK-based independent developer Dakko Dakko.

From what I can see in this video, the game has you controlling a google-eyed octopus that rotates and sticks to diferent surfaces, jumping around to collect mini-octopi while avoiding projectiles thrown from green blobs, sushi chef knives, and golden maneki nekos.

The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character will release some time this spring for PSP and PS3.

[Via @brandonnn]

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of March 25

March 25, 2011 1:03 PM | Tom Curtis

In a busy week for new job postings, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles across the world and in every major discipline, including opportunities at Square Enix, High Moon Studios, Capcom, and 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:

- Square Enix: Producer (Contractor):

"Square Enix, Inc. develops, publishes, distributes and licenses Square Enix, Eidos and Taito branded entertainment content throughout the Americas as part of the Square Enix Group. The Square Enix Group operates a global network of leading development studios and boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property, including: Final Fantasy, which has sold over 97 million units worldwide; Dragon Quest, which has sold over 54 million units worldwide; Tomb Raider, which has sold over 35 million units worldwide; and the legendary Space Invaders."

- High Moon Studios: Concept Artist:

"High Moon Studios is an Activision developer located in Carlsbad, CA, a seaside city in San Diego County. We are focused on making highly successful AAA titles for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Our challenging work environment inspires creativity, innovation and teamwork. If you're ready to be challenged and be part of an amazing team, apply now!"

- Capcom: Art Director:
"Capcom Game Studio Vancouver is the newest member of the Capcom family and is a multi-project and multi-platform developer located in beautiful Vancouver, BC. Formerly known as Blue Castle Games, our studio has developed 5 games in 5 years since it opened its doors in 2005. We have 2 new AAA titles currently in development. Contact us now to see what all the excitement is about!"

Interview: Klei's Jamie Cheng On Shank's Success, Standing Out As An Indie

March 25, 2011 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Our own Brandon Sheffield sat down with Klei Entertainment's Jamie Cheng to discuss Shank's post-launch success, and how publishers tend to influence the marketing efforts of indie developers.]

The Vancouver-based Klei Entertainment made its name with downloadable titles including Eets: Chowdown and Shank, both of which taught the studio important lessons about achieving success as an indie developer.

Shank, the company's most recent title, payed homage to the classic side-scrolling beat-em-up by combining traditional arcade mechanics and fast-paced action with a bold 2D visual style.

Jamie Cheng, CEO of Klei Entertainment and executive producer on Shank, admits the game did not become a runaway hit, though the title gave the studio plenty of experience and resources to direct at its future endeavors.

After completing work on Shank, Cheng has taken a slightly more business-oriented role at Klei as the company transitions into its next big project.

Gamasutra sat down with Cheng to discuss Shank's post-launch success, how publishers influence indie marketing, the state of the downloadable market, and more.

Let's talk a bit about Shank and how it did for you guys, and how you feel about it post launch. It didn't exactly become a huge blockbuster, right?

No, Shank wasn't a huge blockbuster, but it did do well for everybody involved. You never go out expecting to make a blockbuster. I don't believe that that's something that as a developer we do. One day if we have a blockbuster, great. But we're just here to make the games.

Shank really set us up for the next thing. We're not talking about what the next thing is right now, but what I can say is for sure, it was huge learning experience, and you read all about that in the postmortem we did for Game Developer magazine.

Heihachi, M. Bison Helping Japan Through Its Troubles

March 25, 2011 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Offering moral support to its countrymen, Osaka-headquartered Capcom has posted two spirited desktop wallpapers of Street Fighter characters cheering, "Do your best, Japan!" (or something along those lines).

One of the background features the standard heroes from the fighting game series, while the other more interesting background (above) takes advantage of the upcoming Street Fighter X Tekken crossover to show Heihachi and M. Bison doing their part to bring aid to Japan.

As video game journalist Daniel Feit put it, it's great to see that M. Bison's "Psycho Power can be used for good". Other Street Fighter characters like Cammy, Juli, and Juni can also be seen helping out their boss.

Buy why would the heads of the Shadaloo Crime Syndicate and the corrupt Mishima Zaibatsu work together for an altruistic purpose? It's really not that farfetched -- there are reports of the real-world Yakuza going to great lengths to help victims of the earthquakes/tsunamis, after all.

Mr. Ninja Slicing Aliens With A Tap

March 25, 2011 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

If you've not played Ponos' tense Mr. games for iPhone/iPod Touch yet, make sure to check out these videos for Mr. Aahh and Mr. Space. The Japanese developer has just added another title to the series, too, called Mr. Ninja, which you can see a trailer for above.

The "ninja and katana action game" features one-button controls: just tap when Mr. Ninja is lined up with the enemies on-screen, and you'll jump through and slash the aliens that have invaded Karakuri Castle -- slicing the entire line of creatures creates chains/boosts your score.

The orange and black game features three different modes and Game Center support for posting your scores to a leaderboard. It's super cheap, too, at just $0.99!

[Via @mister_raroo]

Dino Run SE Out For Mac, Windows, And Linux

March 25, 2011 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Pixeljam Games, the fellows behind fine Flash titles like Pizza City and Mountain Maniac, have created a downloadable, special edition version of their most popular online game, Dino Run, with substantial updates.

Dino Run SE for Mac, Windows, and Linux features the same "prehistoric arcade" gameplay in which you "control a speedy raptor across tar pits, crumbling hillsides and meteorite showers while gobbling up anything that gets in the way for energy".

It also adds speedruns, multiplayer maps, a multiplayer server exclusively for SE players, a "Planet D" mode with "strange and challenging levels", color options for playable dinosaurs, fullscreen, and the performance advantages of a client-based game.

Each copy of Dino Run SE also comes with the full digital soundtrack composed by Mark Denardo. You can buy the game for just $3 -- Pixeljam notes that purchases will support its games in development, Gamma Bros 2 and Glorkian Warrior.

Hecker Visits UC Berkeley To Talk SpyParty, Future Of Emotion In Games

March 25, 2011 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

In a lecture attended by GSW correspondent Tom Curtis at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Information this Wednesday, industry veteran and independent developer Chris Hecker outlined the design philosophy behind his indie project SpyParty, as well as the current state of the industry as it grows to fulfill its artistic potential.

Hecker began his lecture with a demo of the work-in-progress SpyParty, a two-player game that tasks one player with infiltrating a cocktail party as a spy, while the other views the party through a sniper's scope as they try to detect the undercover player as he or she goes about various mission objectives.

He noted that unlike most modern blockbusters, which emphasize heavy gunplay and violence, SpyParty instead emphasizes a human-to-human relationship that hinges on the mere threat of violence. The deception and behavior analysis that comes before the violence becomes the primary focus of the game.

"In other games it's all about blowing things up and car chases," explained Hecker as he outlined the premise of the game. "Very rarely do you interact with someone in any meaningful way."

In order to show off SpyParty in full, Hecker called two anonymous attendees to the stage to try their hand at the title.

"This game is hard!" exclaimed one player as he struggled to identify the spy's unique tells amidst a host of AI-controlled characters. "Yeah, the game is hard," admitted Hecker, "but it's hard on a different axis than most games."

Doom Monsters Turned Into Tiny, Cute Sprites

March 24, 2011 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Animation director Caleb Hystad (Raven Tales, Scurge: Hive) has been posting a collection of pixelart pieces re-imagining the Space Marine and monsters from Doom as adorable sprites.

"John Carmack and [id Software] were a huge influence on my youth," he explains. "I spent hours making my own sprites, and digging up new .WAD files to play."

Hystad says he's created two series of prints for the first and second Doom games, and he's posted nine pieces from the first set so far (each set has 11 pieces).

I've added several of those images after the break, buy you can see the rest of Hystad's Doom art and look out for upcoming images on his 8x8 Pixel blog.

IGF Winner Max & the Magic Marker Ported To iOS

March 24, 2011 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

Press Play wants to make sure everyone gets a chance to play/buy Max & the Magic Marker, its physics-based puzzle-platormer that took home the D2D Vision Award at the Independent Games Festival last year, so it's expanded the game's support platforms to include WiiWare, Windows, Mac, WP7, and now iOS.

The iPhone and iPad versions, which add touchscreen support for drawing all sorts of objects in the game, features the same playful presmise as the previous Max & the Magic Marker releases:

"One day Max gets a mysterious marker in the mail. The first thing he draws is a monster. As soon as the pen leaves the paper, the monster comes to life and jumps into another drawing. Oh no, it must be stopped! Max draws himself onto the page and the chase begins.

You have a magic marker that enables you to draw freehand in the game – everything you draw becomes a real, interactive object within the game world. Master Max's extraordinary talent and help him overcome enemies, obstacles and puzzles!"

Max & the Magic Marker is available on the iPhone (3GS and new) and iPod Touch (third generation and newer) for $1.99, and on the iPad with HD graphics for $4.99.

This Week In Video Game Criticism: Crafting Identity And Directing Action In Virtual Worlds

March 24, 2011 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Ben Abraham, on topics including the role of architecture in games, how virtual space reflects our understanding of identity, and more.]

Sunday is for pulling oneself together and pretending to be a genuine chronicler of the latest and greatest pieces of video game writing, blogging and criticism.

It's also for celebrating the 50th birthday of the woman who mysteriously decided that giving birth to me would be something akin to a good idea. Happy birthday Mum, and sorry for being such a difficult baby.

Brendan Caldwell, writing for RPS about Garry's Mod discovers what the harsh world of online tinkering is really like. Featuring the odd stabbing, face shooting, and wetting of oneself, it's really quite a ride: 'Living and Breathing in Garry's Mod'.

Matthew Burns of Magical Wasteland writes the deadly serious, 'Why we don't have female characters.' "Women are difficult to model because they have -- they're sort of put together -- well, let me put it this way: male bone structure is mostly made up of ninety-degree angles. Right?" he writes.

Elsewhere, Jim Rossignol on his personal blog designs the ideal Williams Burroughs game, "where you battle the forces of control by distributing fucked up ideas across the city." I'd play that.

And The Border House plus Able Gamers plus Gay Gamer plus PAX East equals a nearly one hour video of the PAX East talk entitled 'One of us'. It's all about what it can be like at times for an all-too-often excluded minority within the already decidedly minority that is the life-long, serious, quote-unquote "hardcore" gamer.

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