The AAA titles are continuing to look for ways to make the player feel that they have an effect on the game world. We have seen the continued success of games that feature choice, as well as multiple endings. The only issue is that many games still contiue to tell the story through in-game movies, to help move along the narrative, as well as captivate the player. Most players do not like the feeling of losing control. They hold a controller for a reason. With Bastion, it is not the cutscenes or trailers that are capturing people’s attention, it’s the narration. This isn’t just some voice walking your through a tutorial. The dynamic narration in Bastion is telling the story that you are creating. The narration in this game is designed to react tho the actions of the player, and tell the story the player is creating. Having only seen a demo at PAX, I cannot say how well this is implemented throughout, but the experience certainly stuck with me.
I reached out to Greg Kasavin, Creative Director at SuperGiant Games to delve a little deeper into the concept of dynamic narration; from how it came to be, to how it’s turning out.
The following article is based around an email interview conducted by our team with Naked Sky’s CTO Joshua Glazer. Naked Sky is also known for their previous XBLA title RoboBlitz, which was released back in November 2006z.
Microbot is a twin stick shooter that lets the player battle malicious viruses and diseases as a microscopic nanotech robot injected into someone’s bloodstream. As players travel travel through veins, bones, lungs and other organs, they can collected data fragments that allows them to customize their microbot with powerful weapons, defensive systems, movement parts, and special abilities. What got yours truly’s blood pumping about this title, is the planned cooperative drop-in/drop-out mode.
Gameinformer has a wonderful interview in their December Issue with 5th Cell Co-Founder Jeremiah Slaczka. Unfortunately, he was largely mum on details about their new game, Hybrid. For the uninitiated, Hybrid will be a high-res shooter that utilizes the source engine (check out the Hybrid teaser trailer here).
The following article is based around an email interview conducted by our team with Jake Kazdal, CEO of Haunted Temple Studios. For the uninitiated, Haunted Temple Studios is currently developing Skulls of the Shogun for Xbox Live Arcade for Spring 2011 release.
Skulls of the Shogun is a turn based strategy title. Players take on the role of a Samurai General who was betrayed by one of his closest allies and slain in the moment of his greatest victory. Awakened in the afterlife, he finds the same opponent has betrayed him again in death. As a result, he begins a rampage trashing the laws of the Samurai afterlife as he seeks revenge.
The founders of Vector Unit are no strangers to game development. After working for several years at bigger companies, Ralf Knoesel and Matt Small decided it was time to form their own company with the goal of making “big games in small packages”. Games that felt like full retail experiences but were meant for downloadable services like Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.
With their first title, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, that goal was achieved. With a small team of about 8 people and some art outsourcing, Vector Unit managed to create the sequel fans had been dreaming of for 10 years. This is an interview with Matt Small, co-founder and creative director at Vector Unit. He shares his views on the franchise, the upcoming DLC pack and the future.
Eric Chahi sat down with Joystiq to give an inside peek into the collaborative effort required to produce non-mainstream games like his upcoming XBLA title, From Dust…
The following article is based around an email interview conducted by our team with Jamie Cheng, CEO of Klei Entertainment. For the uninitiated, Klei Entertainment is currently developing Shank for Xbox Live Arcade for summer release.
Redefining digitally distributed games
About five years ago, a young video game developer with some big ideas on how small game companies should work walked away from a position with an established developer in the hopes of completely redefining how digitally distributed games were made. Jamie Cheng sold his shares of THQ and went out on a limb to accomplish his dreams. This is where the story of Klei Entertainment begins.
The following article is based around an email interview conducted by our team with Rob Hewson from Dark Energy Digital. For the uninitiated, Dark Energy Digital is currently developing Hydrophobia based around the HydroEngine.
Many games begin with a dream; Hydrophobia began with a PHD.
To follow the beginning of Hydrophobia’s creations one must start with Huw Lloyd, R&D of Dark Energy Digital. Described as brilliant by colleagues, Huw sought to put his PHD in Astrophysics to use, attempting to succeed where other had constantly failed: creating lifelike water in a video game.
Water presents some unique difficulties to developers. Both simultaneously clear and reflective in nature, the appearance itself is hard match. But even if one could nail what it looks like, water isn’t solid object; it’s a liquid. It takes an entirely different branch of physics to properly represent movement.
And that’s where the HydroEngine comes into the story. Dr. Huw Lloyd and Dark Energy over a three year period of development created an engine they feel can accurate model water and other flowing objects for the first time. This entirely dynamic process allows for different effects each time based on the situation. The engine also interfaces with solid body engines, such as Havok, allowing for lifelike, floating debris.
This interview was conducted at the Casual Connect 2010 conference in Hamburg. It was used for a short article that created a lot of buzz about Microsoft turning down the chance to publish Machinarium on Xbox Live Arcade by Microsoft. Although our focus is Xbox Live Arcade related content, our editorial staff agreed that the following is an exception due to the recent circumstances.
Jakub Dvorksy, currently the lead designer at the Czech indie studio Amanita Design, is the original founder of the studio and brought together the team of creatives and artists that have been responsible for the highly acclaimed point and click adventure Machinarium. We recently had the pleasure of talking to this self-taught leader and look back at the history of the little studio in the Czech Republic.