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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 March, 2009

GameSetLinks: GDC 2009 Special - Part 1

March 28, 2009 4:00 PM | Simon Carless

[GameSetLinks is GameSetWatch's daily link round-up post, culling from hundreds of weblogs and outlets to compile the most interesting longform writing, links, and criticism on the art and culture of video games.]

Well, that ws the week that was, and I always find it's a good idea to sit down after Game Developers Conference and round up a lot of the most interesting coverage - both from mainstream and enthusiast sites - before it disappears too far back in the Google News/Blogsearch matrix.

When I finally pick up on my RSS downtime, we'll probably see a few other GDC links pop up, but mainly, in two parts, here's the interesting reporting on this week's event, from the BBC and Crispy Gamer through The Onion AV Club and beyond.

Cha cha cha:

The Independent Gaming Source - 1UP - Indie Game Special Podcast
With Scott Sharkey hosting a bunch of interesting indies, woo - they're listed in the comments.

IGN: GDC 09: Meet the Gaming Press
Brief write-up of a GDC panel that our own Brandon Sheffield was on, alongside Crecente and others - interesting to hear PR vs. media issues discussed.

GDC Videos: Indie Games, Nintendo Keynote, Zelda Trailer | Game | Life from Wired.com
Nice IGF video from Kohler and his cohorts.

Crispygamer: 'In Deep'
A blog post about what indie games means which is _really_ interestingly thought out, w/regard to IGS rant, etc.

GDC: A view from above | Gaming and Culture - CNET News
'Look closely at this 177.5 degree wide panorama image of the expo floor. Inside the 302227x8715 pixel, 263 megapixel photograph, you can see some of the forward thinking people and companies who are shaping the future of the industry. What can you find?'

AVC at GDC '09, Day Three: Shigeru Miyamoto Does It Over The Shoulder | Games | A.V. Club
The AV Club pieces on GDC are excellent.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Indie game awards showcase future
Really nice IGF piece from the Beeb - fanks!

Game Developers Conference 2009 - a set on Flickr
_All_ of Vince's pics of GDC are just amazing - check 'em all out.

GDC 2009: Fallout 3, Little Big Planet big GDCA winners, Modern Warfare 2 teased
Video of both IGF and Choice Awards in here, if you haven't seen.

Kotaku: 'Awkward Moments At GDC: Neil Young Tuck in Your Shirt'
I heard about this from Gary Whitta (also pictured!) and it sounded a bit hilarious.

GDC - The Game - Part 5, Friday: Infectious Design

March 28, 2009 8:00 AM |

[Every day during GDC, Everybody Dies creator Jim Munroe is blogging for GameSetWatch discussing the creative process for the GDC-related text adventure he'll be building for us. Here's part five, following Monday's, Tuesday's, Wednesday's and Thursday's entries.]

I heard some of the Mirror's Edge guys talk today about how they achieved the feeling of first person running.

At first, they simply attached the camera to the head of the model, but this lead to a very jerky, motion sickness inducing perspective. They eventually animated it by hand -- it was less real, but it ended up giving the effect they were looking for.

This idea of verisimilitude, or the appearance of reality, is an important part of storytelling -- you don't need to detail every pee break in a person's life to make it come alive for the reader. I'm wondering if this holds true for systems as well.

GDC: Hothead Duo Talk DeathSpank, Indie Experience, Episodic Gaming Retreat

March 28, 2009 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Still going through some of the 'best of' from the GDC write-ups as we unwind, here's one from earlier in the week which has some interesting comments on where episodic gaming is going.]

In a talk at the Independent Games Summit at GDC, Hothead's Vlad Ceraldi and Joel DeYoung (Penny Arcade Adventures) discussed episodic gaming, digital distribution, and their games in intriguing detail.

Firstly, Ceraldi discussed the history of the medium, and referenced VCRs and DVDs doing for movies as what digital distribution is currently doing for games, where access to the medium was "previously very limited".

But he quickly commented, there was some notable downside. He suggested forcefully: "The fact that we don't have a relatively uniform platform is really going to hurt our medium in the future", and went on to criticize the existing tightly-controlled console (XBLA, WiiWare, PSN)and PC (with Steam's current domination) platforms.

Particularly noted by Ceraldi, whose company has published Penny Arcade Adventures on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN - on these services, for the most part, you don't control pricing (he commented: "that's insane"), and you don't always control promotions and sales.

GDC: Keita Takahashi - The Complete GDC Lecture

March 27, 2009 12:00 PM | Simon Carless

[Our gigantic GDC 2009 coverage is still on Gamasutra, and adding things all the time, but will crosspost a couple of key highlights here - such as Brandon Sheffield's write-up of the Noby creator's super-fun talk.]

In his inimitable style, Keita Takahashi began his Game Developers Conference session by demonstrating a hand-made scarf knitted by his mother.

“It’s Boy (from Noby Noby Boy)," he explained, "but also a scarf, and here you can put your hands in. So, when you’re cold, you can use this. Even when it’s cold, you are safe.”

“Most people may not know what I tried to achieve here, or why I tried to do this,” and so he attempted to explain.

“First, I came up with my own idea, then talked to my teammates. Sometimes, they might think I’m a bit weird for making this kind of crazy game; I’m very normal. I don’t use drugs, or drink at all. Please don’t worry about me, I’m okay.”

Creating Katamari Damacy

“In [Katamari Damacy], I wanted to show an ironic point of view about the consumption-based society," he revealed. "But I wanted to make more objects -- if it were empty, I would feel empty or lonely. But when these objects are rolled up and absorbed by the Katamari, they’re gone. Then I felt empty.”

“I feel the same way about disposable society. I think I could successfully express my cynical stance toward consumption society with Katamari, but still, I felt empty when the objects were rolled up.”

GameSetPics: 2009 IGF Pavilion & IGF Awards!

March 27, 2009 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Continuing the series from the marvelous Vincent Diamante (also the soundtrack composer for Flower!) here's some more really nice pictures of IGF Pavilion and the IGF Awards - sorry if you're getting IGF overload, but hey, only once per year.]

At the Pavilion, with all kinds of people checking out the IGF finalists.

GDC - The Game - Part 4, Thursday: Systematic Socialization

March 26, 2009 4:00 PM |

[Every day during GDC, Everybody Dies creator Jim Munroe is blogging for GameSetWatch discussing the creative process for the GDC-related text adventure he'll be building for us. Here's part three, following Monday's, Tuesday's and Wednesday's entries.]

What I took away from Hideo Kojima's keynote was the following: the genius part of Metal Gear came from a technical constraint, and the flaws come from being technically unconstrained.

Originally, Metal Gear was supposed to be a combat game, but the hardware wouldn't allow for enough sprites for the bullets and enemies, so he worked around it by creating the stealth game. The oft-criticised cinematics in the game, on the other hand, were made possible by increases in disc storage space.

While I like the idea of making this GDC text game have thousands of non-player characters with individual interests, introversion/extroversion levels and social connections, I know there's a technical processing limit even for text games.

But I expect I can get a pretty interesting result even with a limited amount of non-player characters. Here's a sketch of the basic, rule-based system I'm imagining, before I layer in the colour and detail.

11th Independent Games Festival Awards Topped By Blueberry Garden

March 26, 2009 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

Erik Svedang's Blueberry Garden, a charming exploration game set in an ever-changing ecosystem, received top honors - the $30,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game - at the 2009 Independent Games Festival Awards.

The winners were announced this evening at the eleventh Annual IGF Awards ceremony, hosted by the Game Developers Conference at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

The IGF awards are often referred to as the Sundance Festival of the video game industry, and offer both global exposure and over $50,000 in cash prizes to each year's winners.

Previous breakout IGF award-winners include titles such as Braid, Audiosurf, Castle Crashers, and World Of Goo, and this year's awards saw 226 Main Competition entries from all over the world - and over 450 entries in total.

Fallout 3, LittleBigPlanet Reign Supreme At Choice Awards

March 26, 2009 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

Bethesda Softworks' epic post-apocalyptic open-world adventure, Fallout 3, received the Game of the Year Award at the 9th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, presented at a ceremony this evening the 2009 Game Developers Conference. Bethesda also received the Best Writing award for the game.

Media Molecule's imaginative user creation-centric platform game LittleBigPlanet, which was first unveiled at GDC 2007, was the recipient of the most awards of the evening, taking four awards for Best Game Design, Best Technology, Best Debut Game and Innovation Award.

Other winners at the Tim Schafer-hosted event included Ubisoft's hauntingly beautiful update of the Prince of Persia franchise, which won the prize for Best Visual Arts, and Ready at Dawn's portable action-adventure, God of War: Chains of Olympus, winner of the Best Handheld Game award. EA Redwood Shores' shocking horror title, Dead Space, won the prize for Best Audio award.

GDC - The Game - Part 3, Wednesday: Funeral Plot

March 25, 2009 4:00 PM |

[Every day during GDC, Everybody Dies creator Jim Munroe is blogging for GameSetWatch discussing the creative process for the GDC-related text adventure he'll be building for us. Here's part three, following Monday's and Tuesday's entries.]

I ran into Ernest Adams yesterday, top hat and all, on my way home from the Ten Bit party. His thoughts on interactive narrative have strongly influenced me.

I'll rant to anyone who will listen that interactive andnarrative are not this simple thing to combine -- they're not the chocolate and peanut butter that people seem to imagine. The more the player tells the story the less the author tells the story, and the inverse is true.

So I've been trying to come to terms with the idea that as a fiction novelist a lot of the tools in my toolkit aren't that useful to bring to bear on game making. I personally believe that a linear plot doesn't suit the medium.

Despite that, my recent well-received text game has a completely linear plot. While I spared Ernest the role of Father Confessor while we chatted, I have a weird feeling that this linearality is a kind of backsliding on my part. Linear plotting in games is just wrong.

GDC: Indie Games Stuff @ GDC: The MegaLinkDump

March 25, 2009 8:00 AM | Simon Carless

So, as per usual, I'm typing up things when I should be going to GDC parties, but don't worry, the horribly indie shindig in question runs til 1.30am, and I just wanted to make sure all those folks who didn't get to go to GDC could check out the coverage.

Please post in comments if you've found more write-ups of sessions, too, but here's what a quick scan produced - thanks to everyone who wrote up the IGS panels this year.

We're hoping to make a few (everything was video + slides recorded this year!) available for free on the new GDC Vault service - maybe the 2D Boy day 1 keynote and the plain insane Indie Game Maker's Rant? Maybe take a few days, though!

Anyhow, here's the marvellous coverage, please to have fun reading:

- Destructoid: GDC 09: The Indie Advantage?; GDC 09: Beyond Single Player; GDC 09: Making Web Games: The Indie Experience; GDC 09: The Indie Game Maker Rant; GDC 09: Crayon Physics Deluxe postmortem; GDC 09: The Four-Hour Game Design; GDC 09: Everything you wanted to know about going indie....

- TIGSource: IGS '09: The Four-Hour Game Design (Cactus); IGS '09: The Indie Game Maker Rant.

- GameSpot: The Art Of Promoting Indie; GDC 2009: Ranting, indie style; GDC 2009: The Art of Promoting Indie; GDC 2009: EA Play head explains indie advantage.

- Joystiq: GDC09: IGF Mobile Award winners announced; GDC09: IGF showcases 'the next great mobile game' concepts.

Offworld: Indie Games Summit: 2D Boy/Polytron's top 10 ways to market your indie game.

IGN: GDC 09: Making LOVE in Your Bedroom.

RANDOM BONUS: DoubleFine.com: 'Host Master and the Conquest of Humor' (Tim Schafer hasn't finished his Choice Awards script yet, but he HAS finished an awesome Flash game about, uhh, not having finished his Choice Awards script. Ohdear.)

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