Thursday, November 30, 2006

How's life as a game tester?

I love my job, I really do, but alot of people don't really understand what it's like working as Quality Assurance/Game Tester. I don't find myself in the same situation as these people, but they sure put some perspective on what the job really is about.

A Bug's Life
Quality Assurance at Sony


Yes, it's the occasional poser time! This time I'm displaying my new fashionable haircut down in Patriks office. The reason for using his office instead of mine, is simple because he got the nicest swag around. Unfortunately, I took up almost all the frame (me time!) so all the cool stuff is left out of the shot, and left is just some games and a few katanas. Good news is that I resisted the temptation to add a lens flare to that blade. Phew!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Day I Walked Out On the PS3

I couldn't help but to like the cynical undertones of this editorial over at 2old2play, so I thougth I should share it.

The Day I Walked Out On the PS3

Monday, November 27, 2006

The world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 mins

This is how the world is coming to an end...

And here I thougth Santa Claus died of old age...

So what happens when you give away your address to people of the internet? She told me that she would only send me a christmas calender... you know, one of those with 24 openings, that got small pieces of chocolates behind each. Well, reality wasn't quite what I could've imagined...

Judging by the sheer size of each of those "24" chocolate pieces, I think she actually bougth a different kind of chocolate bar for each day. Also, since the carton wasn't filled to the top, she decided to put in various german groceries and snacks aswell, for good measure. I was rather speechless for several minutes, and actually still quite so.

When I told her that I usually cheat and open several at once, I think she intended this as somekind of precaution against that. This time, I won't be able open more than one at the time.

Without a doubt, I won't have to starve this winter... nor for the months to come. I might die of gluttony, but that's a risk I'll have to take. And here I thougth Santa Claus died of old age... seems like he had someone to replace him before his passing away.

Thanks Perdita! <3

Thursday, November 23, 2006

DICE Frostbite Engine

Yesterday, DICE demonstrated their new engine dubbed Frostbite at the SIGRAD'06 conference in Skövde. Apperantly, it will feature huge outdoor areas, with alot of focus on destructable environments like houses and deformable terrain.

They also briefly showed their new editor which is rumored to have similarities with those of Unreal Engine 3. Maybe EA is planning to use the engine for their other games aswell, or maybe even license it to other companies like the one by Epic?

Why do I have a hunch that the "deformable terrain" will be something like a height map alteration, and thus, you won't be able to actually dig tunnels beneath the ground?

Dices nya motor Frostbite demonstrerad

How to use emulation on Nintendo Wii

How to do it documentation

The Legend of Zelda Retrospective

Download all as one burnable DVD torrent (3gb)
The Legend of Zelda - Full Retrospective DVD

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

PLAY! A Video Game Symphony 2007

Play! will return once again to play here in Sweden. The date is settled for Saturday, 2nd of June 2007, at 15:00 and 19:30. The price is estimated to be around 390-485 SEK, and tickets will be able for pre-ordering, starting from the 27th of November, 11:00 o'clock, this year. Kungliga Filharmonikerna, Stockholms Konserthus.

They'll make orchestrad versions of Final Fantasy VI, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and The Darkness, aswell for classics such as Super Mario, Zelda and Commodore 64 music.

PLAY! A Video Game Symphony tillbaka 2007

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Gears of War Review

Graphics: 9/10
The first thing you'll notice about Gears of Wars, is the amazing graphics. The impressive light blooms, HDR, depth-of-field, motion blur, and alot of other awsome post-processing effects.

One of them that makes the game really stand out, is the color correction used for various areas, allowing to color entire scenes with a unified color range. A setting sunset really blends the environment in a soft orange-pink color scheme, aswell as walking around in a greenhouse will have a overall green vegetation look to it. In other words, the game will be colored differently throughout the game. But unlike what many critics says, it's not all good.

There's almost none dynamic lights, and almost all the shadows have been pre-rendered and are static. Like your own shadow doesn't react at all to light sources. Just try walking around a light source and you'll notice that the shadow doesn't change its direction relative to the light, but instead always point at the same direction. This is extremely subtle, and insignificant compared to how well the game looks anyway.

The blood spurts in the game is horrible to the extent that they're laughable. When shooting things, they'll register your hit by spurting some blood that's highlighted with a thick pink outline. Not just pink, but extremely pink. Also, the spurts doesn't create any blood decals to anything, so they won't stick to the surroundings. Most often enemies will just fall to the ground, without a single drop of blood around it, but if you're lucky, you might get a small pool of blood around him. The blood pool is static aswell, and doesn't make you leave any blood footprints after stepping in it (I miss Duke Nukem).

Speaking about gore, the thing that is worth mentioning is the chainsaw manevour. You'll walk up close to an enemy, and then use your weapons attached saw, and just saw right through the body of your enemy, while blood (good looking blood, not the fugly pink stuff) is splashing onto the camera (like it would be an actual camera), leaving the enemy in pieces on the ground. You're able to shoot apart limbs, and it's really satisfying to one shot a enemy in the head so it rips off and gushes blood.

There's one thing in the game that makes everything look very granular. This is caused by the detail textures being active even while you're standing a bit away from the texture, instead of only being active while the player is upclose or zoomed in.

The particle effects are looking awsome. Rain, explosions and dust flying over the ground, everything fits well together. Decals on the other hand, doesn't look good at all, if there is any. You can throw a grenade and it will make an awsome explosion, but leave no trace behind, as if nothing ever happened. Bullet decals are just black plumps stuck to a wall.

The framerate is stable throughout the entire game, except during the cutscenes (where they actually turn on a few more effects), but that doesn't matter since it won't affect the gameplay.

Gameplay: 6/10
Let's go onto the most important aspect of a game, the gameplay itself. You'll play as a steroid pumped, grumpy old mercenary by the name Marcus Fenix. The game starts in a dark and claustrophobic cell, but you won't stay there for long, since a companion will quickly release you from your prison. From there and on, you'll always have a comrade with you throughout the game. It's normally controlled by a AI, but a second player can join in seamlessly at anytime.

Together, you'll provide cover fire for each other, or occupy a enemy while your friend will try to flank them. If one of you would die, he would just drop to his knees on the ground, loop a tinitus sound, until you come and pat his back and he'll be up again with full health. If both of you would die, or one anyone of you get gibbed, you'll have to restart from the latest checkpoint.

The checkpoints throughout the game are both stupid and annoying as hell. Instead of saving after performing some time-consuming and mundane task, like twisting a valve, it always saves right before you do it, so you'll have to redo it everytime you die. This apply to cutscenes aswell. If you die, you'll have to watch the cutscene once again. Even though it's possible to skip some of them, it's still annoying having to skip a cutscene everytime you die.

Unlike Half-Life, cutscenes are ingame cinematics that removes the control from the players. This is a design choice and adds to the overall cinematic feel of the game, but I still get annoyed when I'm not fully controlling my character.

I mentioned twisting valves earlier. This is one of the really few things, other than taking cover and fire, that you'll be able to do. Marcus Fenix allows himself to push buttons, control turrets, kick doors, blow up gasoline tanks (by shooting at them of course), and twist valves. Oh, and you get to control a really boring car once aswell. That's it!

The gameplay easily become repetitive, and if you're not into the whole take cover and shoot at things, you'll have no place here, since the story will hardly involve anyone.

There's not alot of weapons in the game, but two of them are real badasses. One of them being your mounted chainsaw, turning foes into mincemeat, and the other one is the Hammer of Dawn, which is orbital laser that will evaporate almost everything in it's proximity. It works like, you point at a coordinate for it to target, and then a huge laser beam comes down from the sky that you're then able to direct with the targeting device. Awesomeness!

Additionally, there's grenades, a grenade launcher, a shotgun, explosive crossbow, sniper rifle, two different handpistols and two variations of automatics. You may only carry grenades, two main weapons, and one handgun at all times.

Level design: 7/10
Although visually astonishing, the levels are relative simple, and feels mostly like running through several different kinds of corridors. Covers are spread throughout the levels, represented by broken cars, broken structures, furniture or concrete blocks laying around.

There are almost no physic objects, and almost nothing reacts to your gun shots other than creating that black plump decal, so you'll find yourself in a extremely static environment. But when you encounter the Berzerker, who runs through pillars, doors and even walls, you'll atleast get the feeling of a bit more dynamic environment, even if everything is predefined and very specific.

At a few points in the game, you'll get the choose which path you wish to take. It actually pause the game, brings down a menu and asks you if you wish to go either left or right, literally. The choices are always either "left" or "right".

The paths won't divide much anyhow, and will most often intersect in one way or another, or just go plain next to each other, and always connect at their ends. You won't have to worry on missing anything by choosing one path over the other. Other than that, they often present you the ability to flank your enemies, but most often that's the only way to progress anyhow.

This is a pretty mindless shooter, but it still presents you with a few "puzzles". Turn the valve, or press the button to open up a path ahead. Or at one segment of the game, you'll have to avoid the shadows, and you have to progress by lighting up the area by shooting at conveniently placed gasoline tanks. This is pretty much how deep it gets, and it almost makes the "find yellow keycard to open yellow door" feel a bit more of a intellectual challenge.

The levels will take you through environments like wartorn cities (with the essence of Save Private Ryan), ruined buildings, broken down highway, closed-off factory, greenhouse, underground caverns, and finally onto a train ride, which is the best and the last level of the game.

Enemies: 8/10
You'll mostly find yourself fighting against one kind of grunts and somekind of ceiling climbing dogs. Then there's these bigger grunts called Boomers, which are slower, have more hitpoints and wields grenade launchers. Even later into the game, you'll face a few Theron Guards, which are like quicker grunts with better weapons.

These are the main enemies, and then there's some half-bosses and bosses aswell. One of the first half-bosses are the giant Seeders, who launch flying biological drones at you. The second one, and the best enemy in the game, is the deaf Berzerker, who will run through almost anything while trying to get you. And lastly we have the grunts flying on Reevers, who're like huge, armor-plated, flying bugs, with saddles.

Then we have a giant spider, as seen from the Mad World-trailer, and of course the badass last boss himself. He's pretty tough when trying to take him down with just your AI companion, but with a real friend, he'll go down before he gets enough chance to make any resistance.

Enemy AI's are average, but they often try to take shelter behind things, and occasionally fire at you from their covers, although they're often too dumb to realize that their covers have been compromised. So it's mostly a mixture of charge straigth at the enemy, and the take cover behind everything.

Controls: 8/10
Unlike what what many critics have said, the control works pretty swell. One button to aim, one to shoot. Press A to take cover, and press A again to change cover or jump over the cover you're crouching behind. Hold A to run like a bull, and just tap A to make a roll dodge. B is for melee attacks, and you need to hold B and press fire to use the chainsaw. To interact with buttons, turrets and valves, just tap X. To zoom, just push down the right analogue stick.

The right shoulder button reloads (the game automaticly reloads when out-of-ammo aswell), and during reloading you can time it and press it again, for a quicker reload and damage boost. If you fail, you'll fumble during reloading which takes a longer time. Use the digital directional pad to equip one out of four weapons (grenades, two main weapons, one handgun). Simple as that.

Sound: 8/10
Pretty stale and clichéish dialogue. Cinematical orchestral music. Worst credit music ever. Boomers are a bit weirdly mixed, and is often heard as standing next to you, even if you're far away from them, aswell at they got a tendency to stroll around and say "BOOM". Most enemies sound alike, which might be good for consistency.

Overall the game is looking astonishing, but beneath the surface, it's really stale, static and uninvolving. There's not much motivation to carry you through the levels, other than to get to see another cinematic, or to shoot some more grunts.

The environments seems generally fake, with their lack of physics, and lack of remaining traces from battle. Enemies will eventually disappear, and seldom leave a blood pool behind. If you break some furniture, you'll get some weird particle effect that will fade out in thin air. There's almost no decals from battles, and there's like no window that breaks, or paintings that fall down.

Physic in the game lacks weigth, and you can go and push around Berzerkers and grunts alike, as if they would be almost weigthless. Paper-physics, that don't push the player, only the player pushing them. The same goes for when riding the car, and you'll just run straigth through every obstacle, since they don't slow you down anything at all anyhow.

You're unable to jump in the game, and every edge, and even corridors are blocked off by invisible walls. As mentioned above, the environment lacks reaction to your consequences, and stuff don't react to being shot at, like bullet just goes straigth through water without causing any ripples, splashes or anything.

This game is designed for HDTV, and if you don't own a HDTV, you're screwed. I can only imagine how disorted everything would look like on a normal TV. You would be unable to read the subtitles and tutorials, since the text is even smaller than that of Dead Rising.

The story of the game is abit uninformative, and boils down to you fighting the "aliens" (Locust), sort of. It lack emphasis and you never get emotionally attached to any of the characters.

To start a new game, you must select a profile, and each profile gets one save each. There's only autosave functions in the game, and if someone decided to start a new game with your profile, all progress would be lost.

Even though you're able to seamlessly turn a single player game into a cooperative game, the same thing can't be said about trying to return to single player mode. If one of the players logout, the game will immediately quit to menu.

In multiplayer, there's not much variations, and is mostly 4 vs 4 kind of battles. Other than that, it works pretty well, and you don't have to wait for too long between rounds. But the game lacks a anti-AFK system, in case some player would just go away, and leave himself connected.

There's not much depth to the game at all, and I wouldn't really call "flanking" a tactic, since most often it's forced. You take cover, shoot at enemies, walk around enemies and then shoot them some more. Since you can't jump, the levels lacks a dimension, and feels mostly like corridors. Just keep on walking forward.

The game is very cinematic, with alot of cinematic cutscenes, cinematic music, and cinematic camera movements. It really preform well to get a feeling of overwhelming, and with the graphical effects, it's easily to become astonished. But yet again, that doesn't mean it's fun to play, and I sincerely hope that I don't have to play it through ever again.

It's definetly worth buying because of the feeling alone, but the game is generally overrated and even if it might be next-gen graphics, it got the previous-gen gameplay...

Gears of War: 8/10 (7.6/10)

F.E.A.R. Review

Gears of War completed!

Finally completed. It took a bit longer than expected. Each profile only gets one saved game each, and it resets everytime someone choose to start a new game. Imagine how often someone decide to start a new game, out of a company with 55 employees with a brand new hyped game like this. But yeah, now it's finally done, clocking in around 4 hours (skipping almost all cut-scenes and rushing through the levels).

Estimated playthrough should be around 6-8 hours for a experienced player, playing it through for their first time. Coming up next, Gears of War review. Overrated or a 10/10?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gears of War review will have to wait...

Apperantly, there were no saved game left from last night... but I stll got the Achievement unlocked, "Completed Act 4" ;)

San Francisco, here I come!

If I'm lucky, (ohh soo lucky) I'll be able to attend to Game Developers Conference '07, without having to pillage China's gold resources afterall. Apperantly, you can register as a Conference Associate and recieve a full Giga Pass while not on duty. As a Conference Associate, you'll stand and guard entrances, fill conference bags with goodies, and stuff like that.

Let's hope I've been nice enough to karma, so karma will be nice enough to me.

Conference Associates Registration
Game Developers Conferance 2007

Gears of War, overrated or 10/10?

I finally got the chance to play Gears of War for my first time today, and I played it through all the way until the last encounter, which I'll spare until tomorrow. So the question is, did it became overrated, or is it really a 10/10? I'll try to post about my final verdict tomorrow.

Now I'll have to take a short nap until I start work in approximately 4 hours.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Identities of the Industry

Shigeru Miyamoto - Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda

"I don't plan to create any shockwaves - I'm just always thinking about making perfect gameplay."

"If it turns out that Mario doesn't really fit into the type of game I want, I wouldn't mind using Zelda as the basis of the new game."

"A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever."

Hideo Kojima - Zone of the Enders, Metal Gear Solid

"It started raining this afternoon. I arrived at my office slightly after. On rainy days, Roppongi Hills fascinates me – it looks so different than it does on normal days."

"My biggest influence would be Mr. Miyamoto."

"I’d like to run away from MGS 4 creation and create something for the Wii but unfortunately, I don’t have anything that I can announce at the moment."

"Well, I say this every time but this is going to be my last Metal Gear... so you could say that the hidden theme here is that I want Snake to die so that I can move on"

Peter Molyneux - Populous, Black & White, Fable

"I honestly don't see the point in making a game that you don't honestly believe has a chance of being the greatest game of all time."

"I always think misquotes are partly my fault as well for not being clear about things."

"I’ll be absolutely honest with you, sometimes in the past I’ve actually changed little bits of the game to match the misquote, however insane that sounds."

Cliff "CliffyB" Bleszinski - Jazz Jackrabbit,
Unreal, Gears of War

"We have a partner that truly gets what we're trying to do and supports it tenfold. A partner that understands that you're not just launching a toy, you're launching a fucking universe, a potential phenomenon."

John Romero - Doom, Quake, Daikatana

"I completely love playing and designing games and always will. I am so into games that I listen to game music all day. That may sound strange, but you can guarantee I'm a hardcore gamer and would never let you down by designing a crappy title."

"If you walk into CompUSA or Babbage's and see the vast array of game titles on the shelf, chances are that 95% of those titles are not worth playing."

John Carmack - Doom, Quake, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

“It's nice to have a game that sells a million copies.”

“Note to self: Pasty-skinned programmers ought not stand in the Mojave desert for multiple hours.”

“Rocket science has been mythologized all out of proportion to its true difficulty.

“Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important.”

The speed of light sucks. "

I recognize that I possess a very special intellect, but at the same time, I recognize that I'm lacking in a lot of areas. But being well-rounded is greatly overrated.

Ken Levine - System Shock 2, Bioshock

"It's pretty ambitious, what we're trying to do... is to redefine what it means to be a first person shooter. Our goal, is to put a stake in the heart of all those clichés you've been playing for years in first person shooters. The linear orders, the very static environments, and the cookie-cutter AI's."

Richard "Lord British" Garriott - Ultima, Tabula Rasa

"You're going out in a field and farming/grinding on the same monsters that respawn in the same area again, and when you're farming, you're just standing in front of each other seeing who does the most damage over time, if you've heard that phrase at all. Most games now even provide you the calculated damage over time, which is horrible. It's indicative of the fact that the whole point in this game is just to raise that one number, and then you go close your eyes and mash the buttons some more."

Will Wright - SimCity, The Sims, Spore

"It's gotten to the point now where I surf the fan sites everyday and download cool things the fans have created, which is really ironic in a way!"

"Players like to know that they've discovered things that even the designers didn't know were in the game."

"His name is Moe, he doesn't want to do the missions, he's kind of a slacker, alright. His rides his bike all day, and learns new little bike tricks on his little bike."

"I never go and tell somebody about the story in a cutscene I saw in the game. But I always tell people about the weird crazy thing I did that was really unique to me."

"The player stories will always be more powerful than scripted stories we try to tell the players."

"Yes... well, I used to have a pilot's license."

Sid Meier - Pirates, Railroad Tycoon, Civilization

"It was still a time when a couple guys in a basement could duplicate their own disks, put them in plastic baggies with a four-page photocopied manual, and actually sell a product like that. It was a great learning experience. I think a lot of what makes me kind of able to keep doing games is the fact that I was there at the beginning and that I don't have to play catch-up all the time."

Warren Spector - System Shock, Thief, Deus Ex

"If all we do with the power of next gen hardware is increase our poly counts we’re doomed. We have to use that power to create new gameplay experiences - up the simulation level… find new ways to exploit physics… create more interactive worlds than we could dream of before… create virtual actors that can do more than run and shoot."

"The key for me is not to preplan every step of the player's experience. Putting players on rails, even if it does result in an emotionally compelling experience, seems like kind of a waste of time. To my mind, if we CAN offer players a choice, if we can let players make a decision, we should always do so. And then we have an obligation to show players the consequences of their choices and decisions. The game should unfold differently depending on how you play, how you solve problems."

Tim Schafer - Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts

"Anyway, to answer your question, to get into the games industry, break into the Sony party at E3, walk around saying "Online multiplayer is the future," and if nobody has hired you by 11:00 pm, sleep with the first person you hear speaking either Japanese or French. Worked for me!"

"If you hear one kid say, "I wish I had more guns," then all of a sudden all kids want to use guns. These kids aren't game designers. I'm not saying their opinions don't matter. I'm saying the obligation of game designers is to come up with something that's challenging and entertaining. They shouldn't just get a list of impressions from a focus group and go with that."

Dr. Greg Zeschuk — Baldur's Gate,
Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect

“I think a scenario where we're all using virtual controllers without physical representation will be quite likely. These controllers might use either magnetic fields or optical systems like those used in current motion capture set-ups. ...One other option is direct input into the nervous system of the player (i.e. a spinal input port at the back of one's neck), but this still seems rather far-fetched...and scary.”

“Great video games don't roll off the assembly line—they are an art form, as lovingly crafted as a film, musical score, or novel. That means taking the time to nurture top talent, then letting that talent work its magic. Fans are the real winners in this deal, because we will now have the resources and creative discretion to make the right decisions for our products. This is truly a new way of doing business.”

David Perry - Smash T.V., Disney's Aladdin,
Cool Spot, Earthworm Jim, MDK

"I'm just one of these people that want to fire up a game and have fun. If I'm required to know the back history of 5 clans, or watch 20 minutes of cinematics, or read a website before I can have fun, it just bugs me."

"I can promise you the next game I make will be completely different again, and I'll be challenged all over again. That's what keeps me enjoying this industry so much, even 20+ years later."

"Some of the hardcore Gamers often believe that in game advertising is evil, that's because we mention the "advertising" word, we must suck. Maybe we do suck, but the funny thing is that I agree, advertising (in general) does suck today!"

American McGee - American McGee's Alice, Oz, Grimm

"If I had not met Carmack I would not be where I am today, it is that simple."

"I think video games are in a trap of ever increasing graphic "quality" driven by marketing departments and hardware manufacturers. But graphic quality does nothing for game play, story, or for immersion for that matter."

Bill Roper - Warcraft, Diablo, Hellgate: London

"Just like randomization, we're applying the concept of rarity to everything we can in the game. That means we will have normal items, rare items, epic items, legendary items and so forth. We also love collectability, so things like item sets and unique items fall into that category. We apply all of these elements to weapons, armor, mods, and any other types of items we create."

"There still has to be a mechanism in place to drive you through hundreds of hours of gameplay. If you end up finishing that at some point, and you're not leveling any more, something has to take the place of that, that is as interesting and compelling, or at the very least, time consuming, as sitting there and leveling up. "

"Creating an original IP is the dream of every developer, and is something that publishers look for with a team whom they can feel secure."

Michel Ancel - Rayman, Beyond Good & Evil,
Peter Jackson's King Kong

"We would be glad to see future titles, especially first-person shooters, removing the HUD. We think it is better if the player has to think a bit, use his observational skills and experience things by himself than if he is just told everything and given orders all the time. More freedom, more immersion, more realism... yes, we really hope this approach will become a standard in future games."

"I don't understand how it's possible to use the same old character for 20 years. I think that people are always changing, and I was not comfortable in doing another Rayman. I had so many ideas for another world, and other types of stories, so..."

Fumito Ueda - Ico, Shadow of the Colossus

"In the beginning, I didn't have a complete picture of the storyline. But I did know what I wanted the game design to be."

"I don't really like to read manuals, or to manage parameters. If you start to to make games, first you must make games that you want to play."

"I like to leave that to the player's imagination! For us, it's much more fun to listen to what the players have to say, telling us what it meant to them..."

"In order to make the reality of the world feel right, there are two things I dislike: one is invisible collisions, for example there's nothing there, but you can't go forward; there are some games that have this. Another is the character who repeats the same phrases. For example when you go to hear his story, he gives you a hint, but each time he gives you the same hint, which makes the character not seem alive."

Kenji Kaido - Ico, Shadow of the Colossus

"I'd like to make a game that I'd want to play."

"I want to create a game that takes full advantage of the format it's on. If we made a PS3 or PSP game, we want it to take special advantage of the abilities of that format."

"Maybe it was something I saw before, in a film, in a cartoon. Maybe it was something I read in a book or something I played when I was little - that sort of mixture might be the inspiration."

Keiji Inafune - Mega Man, Dead Rising, Lost Planet

"I can have tons of different ideas. I can say I want to make different kinds of cakes, different soufflés, whatever. If they don't give me the pans, the pots, the knives the forks to make it, then I can't make it."

"The game market is a tricky business, that's for sure."

"Lost Planet uses a famous Korean actor. That is the latest trend in Japan, so hopefully that will give it some appeal in the Japanese territory. Japanese people like gigantic robot mechs, so it's got that in it as well."

Hironobu Sakaguchi - Final Fantasy,
Chrono Trigger, Kingdom Hearts II

"In essence, it's not all about strategy but about powering up, as you move through the game the character grows."

"So, Kiyoshi Shigematsu is a very famous writer in Japan, and writes short stories that have special human touch elements in them. And those are the things we haven't seen in games, and those elements haven't really fit into games, but I wanted to put that kind of element into the storyline."

"The reason I've used Kiyoshi Shigematsu as part of this project because we don't see enough emotion in videogames yet. Whether to do with family, or some other emotional elements - something that bring tears to your eyes. The main element in these games is often fighting or whatever, but I want these emotional elements. I think the main character, who has been living for a thousand years and can't die - he has a thousand years of memories, and that creates a lot of emotional moments."

Roberta Williams - Mystery House,
King's Quest, Phantasmagoria

"I prefer being thought of as a computer game designer rather than a woman computer game designer; I don’t put myself into gender mode when designing a game."

"Competition is better for the consumer, and, ironically, it’s better for all of us in the computer industry as it challenges us to be better and do better work. Those of us who are up to the challenge will yet remain, and those who are not will find themselves doing something else...and that is how it should be."

"I have decided at this point in my career to take some time off and think about the future and to take a 'breather' after having worked very hard in the computer game industry for almost 20 years. Next year, I may 'come back' - although, I need to think of something cool to do!"

Raph Koster - Ultima Online,
Star Wars Galaxies, EverQuest II

"I do all this writing to clarify things for myself, I put it out there afterwards, figuring maybe it'll help other folks, but the initial drive comes ... because I am banging my head against a design problem. So, the theory is a tool. You write it down so you don't forget it - it's like having a toolbox full of screwdrivers, wrenches and whatever."

"I think the biggest lesson I learned, and I’ve said this before, was about listening to the players, and about how much they know about the game that you don’t, and about how easy it is for you to get caught in an Ivory Tower and not understand the player experience."

"But most video game developers take a (usually mediocre) story and put little game obstacles all through it. It's as if we are requiring the player to solve a crossword puzzle in order to turn the page to get more of the novel."

Jade Raymond - The Sims Online, Assassin's Creed

"One thing about building an engine from the ground up is that you can do things in a smarter way than before."

"Ubisoft asked us to redefine the action genre for the next-generation of consoles and the only way to achieve such an ambitious goal is to put together the right team: People who have proven that they can work together to deliver a hit as well as experts with diverse backgrounds."

"We're aiming to create a world in which the player can interact with everything and where there is no suspension of disbelief because for example some doors can be opened but other can not."