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Monday, February 26, 2007

Phosphor, the web browser FPS

Phosphor is a first-person shooter created with Macromedia Director. The Shockwave Player allows the game to run within a web browser on Windows and Mac OS computers. Both single player (with AI-controlled bots) and multiplayer (using peer-to-peer Internet or LAN connections) game modes are supported. Our goal is to create a gaming experience similar to classic FPS games like Unreal Tournament and Quake 3, but with the accessibility of a webgame.
Phosphor - Rasterwerks

Thursday, February 22, 2007

About ZootFly

Who is ZootFly?
Members of ZootFly were involved in development of 18 games for various studios and publishers, 15 of which were published. These games are: Casanova, Axel Impact, Faust: the Game of Souls, Hannibal, Hardbear and Cybee, Hitchcock: the Final Cut, Jerusalem, Legend, Louvre, Mistmare, Pilgrim, Pompeii, Ring II, The Great Exodus, The Ring of the Nibelungen, The Secret of Alamut, Gunman Chronicles, Bomberman, Hollow, Panzer Elite Action, PEA - Dunes of War and First Battalion.
ZootFly is a Slovenian game developer / outsourcer with around thirty employees, who recently got some coverage caused by some well-made Ghostbusters ingame videos, that were released on YouTube. Unfortunately, they were forced to pull the game pretty quickly, since Sony Pictures (who owns the trademark) didn't find it as amusing.



It's likely though that this was simply a stunt, to get some attention for their other game in development, that also happens to take place in New York... or, well, somekind of parallel shadow world of New York.
What is TimeO?
Zed Condor, an urban explorer and Violet Munro, an investigative reporter get trapped deep in the shadow world of a parallel New York. The city itself is a giant war machine threatening to wipe out our world. They have three days to stop it.

TimeO is a daring and upbeat action adventure about two diehard New York City urban explorers. They discover an entrance to a parallel world in which an army of enslaved people is building replicas of cities in order to launch a Trojan horse invasion on Earth and other worlds.


TimeO is based on their inhouse developed engine, named Xubl. Apperantly, its features and performance are supposed to compete with upcoming high-end engines as CryEngine2 and Unreal Engine 3. That's quite the boast, and we'll see if it holds any grounds when it's actually released.

What is Xubl?
Xubl is a complete state-of-the-art game engine, designed for the first and third person action adventures. The features and performance are equal or better to those of upcoming high-end engines. Xubl supports such features as HDR, PRT, parallax mapping, steep parallax mapping, normal mapping, dynamic portals, occluders, volumetric fog, extreme poly count, full dynamics including vehicle and rag doll physics, complex animations, procedural particle system, powerful sound support, superb AI and much more.

Xubl' internal architecture is based on an abstract engine designed as a Maya plug-in. With such open architecture, anyone can create and add a new component such as renderer, input system, sound system, effects, image file format, visibility, codecs or any other abstract engine component.

Seamless integration with Alias Maya makes Xubl a tool that slashes production time considerably. Designing levels is extremely easy: everything can be done in Maya; from modeling, mapping and animating, to positioning of sound sources, particles, events, triggers, scripting and NPCs. Events can later be visually scripted with the innovative Visual Script feature.

Soon, Xubl will be freely downloadable for non-commercial use. In conjunction with Maya Personal Learning Edition, Xubl will be the mod community's dream come true.
ZootFly

Perspective of a stepmother

"All Nathan Moore says he wanted to do was smoke pot and get drunk with his friends. Killing Rex Baum was never part of the plan that day in 2004. "It all started off as a game," Moore said. The 15-year-old and his friends were taunting the homeless man -- throwing sticks and leaves -- after having a couple of beers with him."

"Ihrcke smeared his own feces on Baum's face before cutting him with a knife "to see if he was alive," Moore said. After destroying Baum's camp, the boys left the homeless man -- head wedged in his own grill -- under a piece of plastic where they hoped the "animals would eat" him. Then, Moore says, they took off to grab a bite at McDonald's."

"They bragged about it around town. Police picked them up and they described what happened. Ihrcke told police that killing "the bum" reminded him of playing a violent video game, a police report shows."
-Ashley Fantz, CNN

"It is the job of a parent to teach their children certain rules. Obviously the rules themselves and the emphasis each family places on them will vary, but there are certain universal constants that these parents obviously failed to pass on."

"What kind of crazy fuck takes poop from his butt and rubs it on someone? I’ll tell you right now I’ve never seen that in Grand Theft Auto. These kids were twelve kinds of nuts and that’s a fact. Their parents either made them nuts or weren’t paying attention while they went nuts on their own."
-Gabe, Penny Arcade

It happens to be that one of the "parents" of this violent and disturbed kid, actually is a avid reader of Penny Arcade and decided to send them a response. It's a tragic story, but I think it's good for once to get the perspective from someone that actually knows how things was, and not all twisted trying to be sensational. I recommend you to read it through (full link at the bottom of the post).

"The boy’s father and I have been together for almost seven years, and I had what I guess could be called a “stepmother” relationship with the kid. To say that living with this kid was hell would be a complete understatement."

"He was constantly in trouble in school, with the cops, with us, with his mother, and with anyone else who was an authority figure. Not a week went by that the school or the cops wouldn’t call us for something. His attitude was basically “fuck you, I don’t have to listen to you” said with a shrug.

We tried absolutely everything we could think of to get him to behave like a normal human being… we tried groundings, negative reinforcement / punishment, positive reinforcement, counseling, and anything and everything the counselors suggested. We tried to get him interested and involved in extracurricular activities, like hockey, drama, music, art, anything, but he got himself kicked out of every group he was in with his “make me” attitude.

When we would ground him, we took away everything. No TV, no computer, no phone, no leaving the house, no snacks or junk food…. Everything. When he was grounded, he was only allowed to sit in his room and read or draw. He was actually a pretty good artist, and we tried to encourage him to spend his time working with his talent. He would just sit there and take it… the groundings had absolutely no affect on him at all. Most of the time, he didn’t even remember why he was being grounded.

At the end of it, we would ask him if it was worth it to have everything taken away in exchange for what he did… he usually just shrugged. He could be grounded for weeks, or a month at a time, and then the very next day would do something to get back in trouble again."
-Anonymous stepmother, Penny Arcade

CNN - Teen 'sport killings' of homeless on the rise
Penny Arcade - Here we go again
Penny Arcade - A rare opportunity

CryEngine2 - Tech Demos



CryEngine2 Screenshots
GameTrailers - Crysis
Download CryEngine2 Hillside Mansion Tech Demo (mov)
Download CryEngine2 Tramway Tech Demo (mov)

Top 20 (Free) Adventure Games

Independent Gaming - Top 20 Adventure Games

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Some thoughts about MegaTexture technology

"I must admit that the concept sounds very promising when you first hear about it. It seems like the way to go for future generations. You no longer have to see the same pattern repeating over and over again.

But think of the artist! Do you really expect someone to uniquely draw such a huge texture? And if he does where is he going to do so? In photoshop? Well try opening a 32,768 x 32,768 image in photoshop and think again."
-Harry Kalogirou, February 9, 2007
MegaTexture Hype

Games are art, even Doom!

Damiano Colacito, "Face of Doom"

The occasional poser time!

It's a blog about myself (and whatever may interest me as of the moment), so I think I'm supposed to post a decent picture of myself once in a while.

Why I'm supposed to do that? I don't really know yet, but if I start doing it too much, promise to tell me. Don't want to seem all self-obsessed now do I?

The Tuesday's Floorball Incident

If I hung some boxing gloves over my shoulder,
no one would ever ask me any questions ;)

Sega released a new Crush trailer

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Jade Empire: Special Edition gets Steamed

For those of you who never got the chance to play Jade Empire on the original Xbox, there's a new chance for you coming up the 2nd of March, when the game is released for PC via Steam. It got a average rating of 89% on GameRankings, so it's no denying that the game certainly is supposed to be good.

Steam - Jade Empire: Special Edition
GameRankings - Jade Empire

How to fix your Razer DeathAdder

Table of Content
  • How to get the DeathAdder working without reading this guide
  • How to install the 1.10 firmware
  • DeathAdder and Windows Vista
  • How to test for positive/negative acceleration
  • Lift-off distance
  • How to solve the problem with the bottom of the mouse scraping on the pad
  • How to solve the squeaky mouse wheel problem
  • Pressing the mousewheel button during games causes cursor jumps
  • Delay when pressing the mouse buttons until the action occurs
  • My DeathAdder lights went out and wont come back
  • Is the DeathAdder worth buying over the MSIE 3.0
ESReality - DeathAdder Guide
ESReality - Benchmarking Mice

Friday, February 16, 2007

Player punishment can be very rewarding!

I was ranting some today about how it would be neat to have something special happened whenever your avatar dies in a game, instead of the usual generic death animation or switch to ragdoll that's soo common these days.

So instead of just your dead body, sloppily falling to the ground, a script would be activated to make something more interesting and worthwile happen. It could be something as small as enemy soldiers peeing/kicking/laughing at your corpse, or it could be something bigger, like the monster that just slained you, would grab your body in one hand and start chewing on it.

Another fun thing would be to do it as the mini-game Porrasturvat (Stair Dismount), that rewards points to the player, depending on how much damage and broken bones the ragdoll recieves when shoved down the stairs. You'll even hear the painful grunts and bones breaking, each time the body collides with the staircase. A schadenfreudian enjoyment to say the least.

Well, the point being, there's soo many ways to make the players death more interesting, and hence, it would be a reward in itself by simply dying... just to see what would happen.

Everyone focuses on how to make sure the player will be able to complete the game without any major difficulty, while I'll say, let's make sure he dies plenty on the way.

I also read a good article on Gamasutra today. Although different, it's relevant to what I'm trying to say, that player punishment is a vital part of the enjoyment. It takes up a few good examples of how to embed defeat and failure as part of the gameplay.

I'll try to end this post now before it gets too long, but it's important to keep in mind that there would be no sense of success if it's not possible to fail. Rewarding players excessively and going easy on them whenever they loose, will make them spoiled and there would be no gain to return to the game once all rewards have been reaped.

Oh, and one more thing; I don't completely agree with the article since it suggest a very linear gameplay with only one possible outcome, while I'm more in favour for several possible outcomes.

Losing For the Win: Defeat and Failure in Gaming

CryEngine2 Screenshots

CryEngine2 - Gallery

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Digital Molecular Matter & Euphoria Demos

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Technology
Pixelux Entertainment - Digital Molecular Matter
NaturalMotion - Euphoria

IIPA doesn't really like Sweden

IIPA (International Intellectual Property Alliance) which is solely consistent entirely out of American media associations, such as MPA (Motion Picture Association of America) and the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), and they don't think too highly about Sweden.

Here's some excerpts from their latest report:
"IIPA specially mentions Sweden due to widespread internet piracy (downloading and filesharing) and difficulties in achieving effective enforcement against criminal copyright infringement. The situation is further complicated by society’s high acceptance of filesharing which is echoed in the media and from the general public."

"Sweden also is the host country to ThePirateBay.org, the world’s largest BitTorrent tracker and one of Sweden’s largest web sites."

"MPA reports that, according to two market research studies, there are approximately 12-15 million movies illegally downloaded every year in Sweden."

"A new political party, Piratpartiet (the Pirate Party) gathered sufficient support to be on the September 2006 ballot. In the fall of 2006, Swedish politicians from the ruling party and main opposition party openly supported the idea of a compulsory license to address unauthorized internet file sharing.

This is a political response to the backlash against the recent raids of the PirateBay BitTorrent tracker site in Sweden. No concrete legislative proposals have been advanced to date. The copyright industries are deeply concerned about the potential of any compulsory license initiative, and are monitoring the situation closely."
IIPA - Special Mention Sweden (pdf)
IIPA - 2007 Special 301 Report

Reactable

"The reactable is a multi-user electro-acoustic music instrument with a tabletop tangible user interface. Several simultaneous performers share complete control over the instrument by moving physical artefacts on the table surface and constructing different audio topologies in a kind of tangible modular synthesizer or graspable flow-controlled programming language."
Reactable

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

This isn't really news, but still

"The big news in this week's Famitsu comes not from the editors of the magazine, but from Sony's ad agency. Sony has taken up a two page spread in the magazine for a job listing. So what's the big deal? The listing just happens to be for the production team that made Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Oh, and it also mentions that the team is working on a new project for the PlayStation 3.

The main fields of interest in the ad are programmers and engineers. Sony wants people who are familiar with physical simulations, shader programming, algorithms, networking technology, and general game programming."
IGN: Team Ico Seeks PS3 Developers
Official Recruitment Advertise

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Duck against incoming forehands

So now we've played Wii for 6 hours straight, were I had a shower inbetween (because of some intense boxing), consumed a energy drink per hour, and the result is a numb arm. The perfect way to spend your weekends ;)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Nintendo DS is a child molester

"And remember Marissa chatting with her friend in the other car? That means a molester, driving along, could see your child in the backseat, and start sending messages."
Yes, he would be driving around, checking other cars for potential targets, spot the innocent child in the backseat (which of course must be chatting with her friend in another card using Pictochat) and instantly take his eyes of the road, take out his Nintendo DS (because he obviously must have one, ready in his pocket), boot it up with Pictochat, hold it, and start writing at the same time as he's driving, pursuing your car. That COULD happened. Will someone please think of the children?

So what can we conclude from this? That child molesters got superior eye-sight and spotting ability, aswell as they got great multi tasking skills and is masters of probability...

Nintendo Hand-Held Child Molester Target
Playstation Pornable from HELL

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Time to reevaluate Super Columbine?

"Right off the bat, Ledonne tries to put his critics off guard by delivering precisely the opposite of what you'd expect. Nobody will be able to use Super Columbine to live out explicit fantasies of gore or train themselves to shoot up a high school."

"And this, really, is what makes Super Columbine so artistically interesting: It uses the language of games as a way to think about the massacre. Ledonne, like all creators of "serious games," uses gameplay as a rhetorical technique."
"But whatever Ledonne's purpose in creating SCMRPG, the negative mainstream publicity surrounding the controversial game is not good for the video game industry. Game publishers ought to be proactively making it clear that Super Columbine Massacre isn't a product of their tribe."

You can say what you want about this game, but one thing is for certain, and that's the game is causing a stir. I stand from the viewpoint that games should be treated with the same artistic and expressive respect, as that of paintings, films and litterature.

For me, this whole things is quite ridiculous. There were never any moral panic over movies such as "Bang, Bang, You're Dead", so why get upset over a pile of pixels trying to express reasoning to what happened from a different viewpoint?

I think this game is very important, even though it might not be attractive other than mere retro-fascination, and that the gameplay could be dubbed mediocre as best. No, the reason why I find this game important is because it isn't trying to be financially successful, nor considered to be entertainment, it's just trying to make a point.

Bang, Bang, You're Dead
Super Columbine Massacre RPG!

France defines games as artistic culture

In November of last year, GamePolitics covered French minister of culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres’ push to have video games treated the same as movies, and thus be eligible for “cultural” tax credits.

Now, Reuters is reporting that the French Parliament has approved the plan, which provides tax credits of up to 20% of production costs (max 3 million euros), provided the game includes a “cultural dimension:”

"It recognizes the cultural character of the video game, which involves several branches of artistic talent: writers, directors, graphic artists, musical and sound creators."

The European Commission had previously warned Mr. Donnedieu de Vabres that such a tax credit might constitute a subsidy, potentially in violation of EU policy. The Commission has now launched a formal investigation.
-Colin “Jabrwock” McInnes, GamePolitics, February 7th, 2007

France Approves Video Game Tax Credit

Pirates of the Burning Sea


I haven't written much about this game yet, but the concept for it is simply genius (as genius as a wild wild west game where you can play poker ingame), and I'm actually starting to really looking forward to this.

The Slightly Less Thirsty Man!

It's gone more than an hour now, and I couldn't take it anymore. It was calling out for me. I had to. I craved for Mountain Dew. But what would happen from taking a sip of this devil brew?

The sweet taste of citrus, pouring down through my mouth... changed something inside me... it started a biological reaction that turned me into... into.... THE SLIGHTLY LESS THIRSTY MAN!

Yes, the slightly less thirsty man, with the power of withstanding dehydration up to 5 minutes later than the average man!

Do you remember your first Mountain Dew?

Troy Hurtubise - "The Trojan" on eBay


In early 2007, Hurtubise made public his new protective suit which was designed to be worn by soldiers. Calling it the "Trojan", Hurtubise describes it as the "first ballistic, full exoskeleton body suit of armour." Weighing in at 50 lbs, he claims that the suit can withstand bullets from high powered weapons (including an elephant gun). The suit has many features including a solar powered air system, recording device, compartments for emergency morphine and salt, and a knife and gun holster. He estimates that the cost of each suit to be roughly $2,000 if mass produced.
eBay - "The Trojan"

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Great Games Experiment

"Great games deserve to be played, regardless of budget or bureaucracy." That particular thought seems to be at the core of the Great Games Experiment, an online community that revolves, or rather, obsessively spins around, our favorite industry and pastime. The urge to call it the "game developer's MySpace" is definitely present, but doing so wouldn't really do the site justice. For one thing, it's shockingly devoid of awful MIDI tunes and pasty individuals who desperately want to cut themselves.

The website's creator, GarageGames, envisions a networked utopia of game players and game developers discussing and contributing to various projects. Anyone with an interest in games can join and post reviews or commentary, even based upon the works-in-progress of game developers. Independent studios should be able to keep the community updated on their projects, incorporate external suggestions and, once their games are complete, have access to an informed audience.

The Great Games Experiment is currently running a series of contests to encourage gamers to join and try out the site's beta features -- the final version launches this March. If you're interested in a more open form of game distribution and development, be sure to give it a bash.

Update: Joystiq readers can use the referral code "joystiqgge" to obtain a Beta account. Thanks Eric!
-Posted Feb 7th 2007 8:30AM by Ludwig Kietzmann

Do you remember your first Mountain Dew?

Yes, this is a Mountain Dew. I've never tasted one before in my whole life, and I've heard lots of good things about it! Like "They taste good", "I wouldn't mind drinking one" and "The taste is ok".

All this hype... I don't know if I can stand it. I guess I'll save it for later until I feel ready for it...

Where do the ducks go in the winter?

"I was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over. I wondered if some guy came in a truck and took them away to a zoo or something."

Oh no, they figured out I'm a pirate!

Hello,

We have recieved a report about downloading/distributing of copyright-protected material through xxx.xxx.xxx.xx according following.

Filename: Heroes.S01E00.WS.DVDSCR.XviD.avi
Time: 4 Feb 2007 20:09:10 GMT
URL: http://tpb.tracker.prq.to:80/announce

Your user.id xxxxXXXX is shown to have been logged on with the ip number xxx.xxx.xxx.xx at this point of time.

UpUnet-S accounts/connected computer may obviously not be used for spreading of copyright-protected material.
Oh really? :)

Funny how they only mentioned the fake episode, and not the following 14 real episodes that I downloaded around the same time. But wait, that's not all!

If you follow the link below, you can stream the entire episodes up to episode 6, from NBC's own site. I guess I'm a terrorist that downloaded a fake tv-episode that I just as easily could watch online... my bad!

NBC - Rewind - Full Episodes - Heroes

I haven't forgotten how it was like to cook

Simple, yet so tasty :)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Penumbra: Overture coming to Gamers Gate

"Here at Frictional Games we are very happy that Penumbra: Overture will be available for download on Gamers Gate. Having used the Gamers Gate software ourselves in the past, we know how well it works and what an excellent choice it is for digital downloads. If getting games as digital downloads is your thing, get your account now and be ready for Penumbra: Overture in March 2007!"
-Jens, Frictional Games, 2007-02-02

Gamers Gate is Paradox Interactives digital distrubtion service, where the game will be available for download by the end of March, for the low price of 19 euro. Until then, enjoy this batch of previews!





flOw - Playstation 3 Debut Trailer

Thursday, February 01, 2007

God of War 2

First Wii Modchip Review

First Ever Wii Modchip REVIEW - CycloWiz for Wii!!!
Nintendo Wii modchip soon available?

Game Developers Evening #2

Ben Cousins -
Low Level Game Design: the Foundation of Great Gameplay

This was a summarize of four articles he's made in the past, and all of them can be found at his website. There were only two bits from his speech that I found of interest. One of them was how to analyze other games to find the 'sweet spot' for certain things, such as the average jumping time for a third-person platform game.

The other one was about a technique using a stopwatch, for balancing competitive level design, that David 'DaveJ' Johnston used for creating his maps (de_dust, de_dust2 among others). He wanted certain choke points where both teams would inevitably meet up if they ran at the same speed. Using a stopwatch, he made sure it would take the same amount of time for each team to reach certain positions of the map, balancing it so each team wouldn't have a advantage over the other.

Low-Level Game Design, Atoms, Measurement and Hierarchies. (presented at GDCE 2005)
Measurement Techniques for Game Designers (at Gamasutra.com)
Elementary game design (published in the October 2004 issue of Develop magazine)
Page1, Page2, Page3, Page4
Mind your language - Unlocking the secret formula of game design (published in the August 2002 issue of Develop Magazine)
Cover, Page1, Page2, Page3


Alex Peters - Postmortem: Battlefield 2142
This was a really boring postmortem which didn't soo much take up the problems during development, but rather talk about how good DICE's company structure is, and how they're making steps towards improving it even more. What they said were mostly that they decided to play safe, and didn't want to have to patch the game at day one, which they still had to do since "Titan Mode" was broken when the players exceeded 24 or something.

Also, it seems the decision to implement ingame advertisement came very late in the production, and hence they had to put a paper in the box about it, since it was too late to write about it on the box or something. Of course, alot of buyers became suprised by the paper, and alot of rumors started to flood the intratubes about wether it was spyware or not.


Conclusion
That was about it. Alot of people and two speeches. Also, they gave out Cola on a bottle for free, so alot of people placed the bottles on the floor after they've finished them, and you could occasionally hear people knocking them over on the stone floor, interrupting the speakers. All in all, I thought it was worth the trip, but I got disappointed since they didn't mention anything about their next project as SGA had promoted they would.

Game Developers Evening #2