Our Properties: Gamasutra GameCareerGuide IndieGames GameSetWatch GDC IGF Game Developer Magazine GAO

Top Posts


Recent Comments

  • cheap uggs online: I found this is an educational and funny submission, so I think it is very helpful and knowledgeable. Many thanks for the efforts you have read more
  • cheap uggs online: It may be too sophisticated and very far-reaching for me. I am expecting for your another publication, and I would like to try to obtain read more
  • cheap uggs online: I generally agree with your points. We all obtain a benefit from this excellent post. This web page is best. I have acquired lots of read more
  • Andrew A. Sailer: digital photo frames read more
  • Andrew A. Sailer: computer keyboards read more

About GameSetWatch

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.

Read More

Archive For September, 2008

Exclusive: Behind The Scenes of Metanet's N+

September 30, 2008 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

[As mentioned before, the latest issue of Game Developer has a creator-written postmortem of Metanet's N+ for Xbox Live Arcade, and here's some excerpts from Raigan and Mare's article for the mag, revealing how the team dealt with planning issues, focused on a clean and simple design, and ran into certification snags.]

The latest issue of sister publication Game Developer magazine includes a creator-written postmortem on the making of Metanet's N+, the company's Xbox Live Arcade version of its original freeware PC platformer N.

These extracts reveal how the studio of two developers (with some contracted help) faced development obstacles on a platform with tighter restrictions than those to which its members were accustomed, as well as how the nature of the remake allowed the team to focus on refinements and simplicity over unnecessary features.

Metanet co-founders Mare Sheppard and Raigan Burns crafted the postmortem, which was introduced in Game Developer as follows:

"N+ is the indie success story of the year thus far, with over 100,000 downloads on Xbox Live Arcade. Here, the developers chart their path from the original N to its high definition iteration, contending with TCR problems, networking issues, and cut features along the way."

Column: 'Homer in Silicon': The Courage to End It

September 30, 2008 8:00 AM |

['Homer in Silicon' is a biweekly GameSetWatch column by Emily Short. It looks at storytelling and narrative in games of all flavors, including the casual, indie, and obscurely hobbyist. The latest column examines a Flash-based RPG for lessons on story.]

Krinlabs' Sonny is a Flash RPG which consists of a lot of tactical battles interspersed with chances to level up. It's like Monster's Den: the Book of Dread, only with a more eclectic setting and smaller parties.

Sonny is clearly the result of a lot of love and attention. The animations are sweet and smooth. The interface is easy to use. There are some occasional spelling errors, which irk me (maybe hire a proofreader next time?), but they're relatively infrequent. There's even some decent voice acting and the beginnings of a story about illicit government experimentation gone horribly wrong.

Only the beginnings, though -- and here is where Sonny turns seriously disappointing. The first few scenes set up relationships between the characters and hint at narrative revelations to come -- but they don't. Instead of explanations and discoveries, the end of the game turns into a long, grueling, stats-oriented fight against four special boss levels. The ending of the story never arrives -- and in fact before we reach the bosses, there's a helpful note which explains that "the next part is not part of the story".

GameSetLinks: On Blizzcon, Mirror's Edge, Scrabulous

September 30, 2008 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Ah yes, time to try a more conversational style for select GameSetLinks, just because I realized that there were some things I wanted to witter on about in a little more detail - tragically for you.

This time, it'd be the Blizzcon PPV-ing, Mirror's Edge pre-prod goodness and Scrabulous history that deserve microscoping more than our more 'specialist' links, which will stay happily in GameSetLinkDump. Huzzah:

Is BlizzCon The New UFC?

This headline is only slightly sarcastic, given that, yes, BlizzCon is now pay per view on DirecTV, and you can pay $40 for 16 hours of HD coverage of the Blizzard-themed mega-event taking place in Los Angeles on October 10th-11th.

For those who don't know, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has built an empire partly out of these $40-$50 pay per view events - as revealed recently: "By 2007, UFC was, according to Forbes, generating about $250 million and about 90 percent of all mixed-martial-arts revenue [in pay per view fights]." That's some serious money, guys.

And, sure, you may not get quite that revenue out of a single event, but there's a lot of good stuff in here for World Of Warcraft (and other Blizzard game) fanboys. Let's see, you get footage of: "Main stage presentations including opening ceremony... Select panels featuring Blizzard Entertainment developers... Closing ceremony with comedian Patton Oswalt and all-Blizzard rock band Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain... Tour of Blizzard Entertainment HQ." Quite compelling, no?

Spore & Piracy: EA, ESA, Analysts Weigh In

September 29, 2008 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

[So, Leigh Alexander did a good job of sorting out this contri-Spore-cial story on big sister site Gamasutra, and myself and Chris Remo gave it a final edit for spice, thanks to Remo's Penny-Arcade editorial on a similar subject.]

Embattled over the SecuROM digital rights management controversy regarding Spore, Electronic Arts is now challenging assertions that the copy protection is resulting in sales losses.

EA recently revealed that it has sold 1 million units of Spore since launch. At the same time, TorrentFreak, a weblog dedicated to aggregating news for the BitTorrent P2P protocol, is claiming that Spore has been downloaded 500,000 times on BitTorrent alone, saying it may become "the most pirated game ever."

The editors at TorrentFreak suggest, "The idea behind DRM is that it will stop people from pirating the game, but in reality, it often has the opposite effect."

In addition, researcher Big Champagne told Forbes that while high levels of torrent activity are common for major PC releases, the fast pace at which Spore's download numbers accelerated was unusual. Big Champagne's Eric Garland said the DRM constraints "may have inadvertently spurred the pirates on."

So could the DRM have created more lost sales for Electronic Arts than it prevented? Mariam Sughayer of EA's corporate communications department says this isn't the case.

Interview: Black Rock Tricks Out, Gets Agile With Pure

September 29, 2008 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[It's not often that game critics get interested in offroad racers -- since we're all snobs, obviously -- but Black Rock's Pure is getting some notable buzz, and so Brandon Sheffield (with a write-up assist from Leigh Alexander) chatted to the UK-based former Climax-ers about development on the just-debuted game. Neat.]

The well-received offroad racer Pure is debuting this week from Disney-owned Black Rock Studios, game director Jason Avent talks to GameSetWatch about agile development and the concept of story in racing games.

Black Rock Studios has its roots in racing titles -- formerly Climax Racing, its team developed both the Moto GP and ATV Offroad Fury franchises, and was acquired by Disney in late 2006.

It's just now debuting its first Disney-published Pure for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which combines speed racing with trick racing, with game mechanics that make the two elements interdependent on each other.

Thus, Black Rock's Avent recently spoke to us about the unique challenges in developing a race title with so many elements incorporated in it -- especially for a developer with a background in slightly more realistic titles.

GameSetThoughts: Fall Of The House Of Thompson

September 29, 2008 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

It's perhaps a little surprising to see former ESA lynchpin Doug Lowenstein popping his head back into the game industry, following his escape to the just-as-tricky Private Equity Council.

Though the credit crunch must be almost as painful to Lowenstein as state legislation was in his stint forcefully leading the Entertainment Software Association, he still took time to contact Kotaku with a statement that's a reaction to Jack Thompson's permanent disbarment. The particularly salient extract from Lowenstein's open letter?

"Time and again, the game press — and mainstream press — would ask ESA to engage with, or respond to Thompson's latest excess. The media knew well that he was a charlatan who wholly lacked credibility. But hey, they said, he was news and could not be ignored. That was a cop out. It gave Thompson a platform he might not have had for as long as he did."

So really, the claim is that we -- the press -- 'made' Jack Thompson the potent force for criticism of games as a medium, and that if we just pretended he wasn't there, he would have gone away. Don't acknowledge the Boogeyman, and he loses his power.

GameSetLinkDump: September 29th, 2008

September 29, 2008 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Trying something slightly new - alternating 'linkdump' posts, which are our traditional GameSetLinks '10 of the best', with some slightly more drawn-out round-ups which have commentary on a few of the more interesting posts I've run into. Or at least, that's the idea. We'll see how it goes!

This first link dump has some fun, from XKCD's Spore riffing through a really, really odd GamePlay HD video series (incidentally, why is it that video crews (in general!) get all the preferred slots on media tours nowadays, even when they have a miniaturized audience?), and the history of Kirby.

I feel great:

xkcd - A Webcomic - Spore
Wry geek ramblings result in single-panel Spore gag.

Pro StarCraft players are insane | Remowned
With English commentary, some v.neat South Korean competitive gaming: 'As someone who hasn’t played StarCraft in years and would probably receive a negative ranking just for logging onto Battle.net, I still find these matches to be a great watch.'

UBeat -US Location Test- - bemanistyle.com
US test of the futuristic looking multi-touch (well, OK, multiple panels to touch at the same time) Elite Beat Agents-style Konami arcade game.

Teaching Game Design: 2nd Ohio Game Jam: Results
'The third team took on the issue of child labor sweatshops. In their overhead-view action game, you played a child trying to escape from a shoe factory. You could pick up various shoes lying around each level (with tradeoffs for each: boots were powerful but slow, while flip-flops could be thrown quickly and accurately but did minimal damage).' Boggle.

1UP: 'The Complete History of Kirby'
A nice historical piece: 'Kirby has inhaled, swallowed, and floated his way across every Nintendo platform in one form or another.'

UK:RESISTANCE. Not making a difference since 1996: INSIDE A NORTH KOREAN ARCADE
Apparently Russian machines and some Japanese JAMMA cabs, alternately.

GamerBlips Profile - Douglass C. Perry
Future's new Digg-ish set of sites, including GamerBlips, MMOBlips, have hired former GameTap Read, IGN editor, I see - intemeresting.

Nikki the Knife vs Nvision - GAMEPLAY HD
Wow, described to me in a PR release as Gameplay HD's 'gonzo' journalist. Judge for yourself!

MegaDriver's free 'MetalHog' album release
Yep, Sonic the Hedgehog in flailing Brazilian metal stylings. Niiice.

Braid - the final word? | Game Development | Interview by Develop
TriForce-er Byron is almost a professional troll, which is a rich British tabloid columnist tradition, incidentally. Still - fun, in a 'get off my lawn' type way!

Gamasutra Podcast Talks To Shawn Elliott On Moving From Journalism To Development

September 28, 2008 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

[We're absolutely delighted that Tom Kim is back to do more Gamasutra Podcasts. This one chats to Shawn Elliott both pre- and post-1UP departure, and is well worth checking out - watch out for more soon.]

Gamasutra is proud to present the latest Gamasutra Podcast, part of our regular GDC Radio podcasts, which include both the Tom Kim-presented Gamasutra Podcast show, alongside the best lectures, tutorials, and roundtables from this and previous years' Game Developers Conferences.

For today's podcast, we present an interview with Shawn Elliott, newly appointed associate producer at 2K Games, Boston. He was previously senior executive editor of 1UP.com's PC coverage after having served prior stints as Features and Previews editor at Games for Windows and Electronic Gaming Monthly magazines. Before retiring the show, Shawn was also a co-host of the rambling and rambunctious GfW Radio Podcast. Shawn has been a staple in games coverage since 2003 after starting out his career at EGM.

Over the years, Shawn has proven to be an observant and vocal commentator on, and participant in the video game and PC enthusiast press. He has brought his background as an English Literature major and his graduate studies in creative writing to his career.

Although to date he hasn't worked in game development, he literally made it his business to examine and reflect on the factors and mechanics that make games compelling, and to write about his experiences playing games in a manner that both served the enthusiast press. Yet, he still ventured outside of the solid practice of writing about games as consumer product.

Our interview starts with a word of explanation from Shawn about his decision to leave games journalism and enter the field of game development, including Shawn's thoughts about the applicability of his work experience, advice for aspiring game developers, and some direct answers behind his motivations to shift his career.

We discuss Shawn's opinions about the difference between writing for print versus writing for the Web. Shawn muses about the end of the print incarnation of Games for Windows Magazine. We then talk about his background, specifically his decision to pursue his given fields of study and how gaming intersected with his other interests.

Shawn further explains how his academic background informed his thought process and writing about games, including his shifts in language and attitude depending on the audience. We also discuss his approach to writing reviews -- how he tries to capture the experience of playing a game and to explain in a tangible way exactly what makes a game compelling to him -- plus the various implications of attaching scores to reviews.

We transition to Shawn's advice for aspiring game writers, both in general and specific terms. He then muses on the genres of games that appeal to him and why, including some personal anecdotes relating to his fascination.

He goes on at length about the fulfillment one feels regarding mastery and competence in games as far-ranging as the Soulcalibur series and Company of Heroes. Shawn then tries to explain the motivations behind his creative griefing, and some very general behavioral observations of online communities while playing games, comparing his virtual pranks to some of the stunts that he's pulled in reality.

We close out our conversation with some thoughts about unacknowledged gaming treasures and developer and publisher leverage in the marketplace. Because we recorded the interview before the launch of Spore, we speculate on what features of gameplay we were anticipating in that title.

You can now download the Gamasutra Podcast interview with Shawn Elliott, new associate producer at 2K Boston.

In addition, you can subscribe to the Gamasutra podcasts by clicking this link for iTunes. You can manually subscribe to our feed in your favorite RSS reader that supports enclosures by using this URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/GDCRadio.

COLUMN: 'Game Mag Weaseling': Mag Roundup 9/27/08

September 28, 2008 8:00 AM |


Well, after many years of on-and-off trying, I am finally to the point where I consider my Japanese Mega CD collection complete. I am counting a total of 117 releases. (I'm missing one or two demos, but oh well.)

Mega CD is fun because it's not that large a library to collect, it's mostly cheap, and there are more than a couple of hidden classics to be found. I'm especially proud of this because, for the most part, I did it the "hard way" -- going around shops and flea-markets in Japan when I lived there and whenever I came back for business and such. I didn't go to the auctions or to other collectors until I needed 3 or 4 titles to finish up.

Above are all the games laid out on the futon (plus a dog's leg). On the bottom-most row are the games I had the most trouble finding: Surgical Strike, Fahrenheit, Psychic Detective Series Vol. 4: Orgel, and Sing!! Sega Game Music. (The first two are really the only Mega-CD games that go for serious premium prices in Japan.)

Exciting? Ohhhhh yes it is! But not half as exciting as all the new magazines on the stands I have to cover this installment. Onward!

GameSetNetwork: Best Of The Week

September 28, 2008 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Hey presto, there's been some pretty neat stuff posted thus far this week on big sister site Gamasutra and elsewhere on our Think Services sites/blogs - particularly featuring education site Game Career Guide this time round.

Some of the highlights? An uber-detailed Street Fighter IV interview featuring producer Yoshi Ono, a fascinating postmortem of Schizoid for XBLA from co-creator Jamie Fristrom, game industry salary basics from GCG.com, the top U.S. console bestsellers thus far this year, with analysis, and lots more.

Here we go:

Saving Street Fighter: Yoshi Ono on Building Street Fighter IV
"Gamasutra quizzes Street Fighter IV supremo Yoshi Ono on the details behind the fighting game's return -- from 'hardcore vs. casual' to animation skipping, complex tactics and beyond."

Making Your Game Tools Fast And Efficient
"In this technical article, Cinemaware and EA veteran Khawaja looks at the UI and flow for game tools, suggesting practical tips to make your own internal tools and scripts easier to succeed with."

Postmortem: Torpex Games' Schizoid
"In an exclusive Gamasutra postmortem, Torpex Games co-founder Fristrom (Spider-Man 2) presents a fascinating post-release analysis of the XNA-utilizing Xbox Live Arcade co-op title."

2008's Top-Selling Games So Far: How They Stack Up
"With access to exclusive NPD data, Gamasutra runs down the Top 5 best-selling games in the U.S. for each console thus far in 2008, analyzing the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii software winners."

Preparing for WAR: Mark Jacobs on Launching Warhammer Online
"Warhammer Online is perhaps the most-anticipated MMO debut since World Of Warcraft, and Gamasutra catches up with Mythic GM Mark Jacobs, post-launch, to reveal initial results, comments on the competition, and more."

Paycheck: How Much to Expect as an Entry-Level Game Developer
"What will be the figure on your first game development job paycheck? GameCareerGuide, in conjunction with Game Developer magazine, is pleased to present you with a list of average salaries for entry-level and lesser experienced game developers. And, we've rounded up the average salaries from the previous two surveys as well to give you a closer and more comparative look at how developers have fared in recent years."

Results from the Game Design Challenge: Marketing Bullets
"In a recent Game Design Challenge you were asked to come up with three bullet points to list on the back of a war game. The game had all the generic makings of a typical World War II shooter game, and it was up to you to convince consumers that somehow this title was better than its competitors. How do you do that?"

Click Here for All Archives

twitter RSS

Our Sites

game career guide Gamasutra Indie Games