A fantastic collection of run-cycles and more in this retro piece that recalls many a childhood adventure, going some way to justify all those years of lateral movement with the singular goal of finishing. More than mere nostalgia, it’s a powerful reminder to never give up despite repeated set-backs.
Archives For Game General
I’ve added a collection of animation/physics-related papers to the Academic Papers section of the links page, courtesy of my esteemed colleague Simon Clavet. I don’t pretend to understand the half of it, but you may wish to share it with the programmer in your life because if you’re not already incorporating procedural physics into your animation system designs, you really should be…
Gotta love French Trio We Are ENFANT TERRIBLE’s video for their song Snap Dragon. Sounding a lot like my current obsession, Crystal Castles, the visuals are an obvious homage to Double Dragon, and I can make out sounds from Streets of Rage 2, Streetfighter 2 and the classic Konami startup screen.
I love isometric 3D in games, so alongside the awesome EDGE I have a new love on iPhone in Eboy FixPix. I’ve been a fan of his for some years now but have found a new level of appreciation for the work when viewed in pseudo 3D by tilting the device to achieve the parallax effect and sync up the image correctly.
This is a good time to share a trick I found online, enabling one to dive into the assets of many app-store games to get an idea of how they were created. Simply copy the app file (work with a copy so as to retain the original file, which you’ll find in your My Documents…\iTunes\Mobile Applications folder) and rename it from .ipa to .zip – from here it’s possible to explore the contents and view the available movies, images and animation frames with WinZip or similar.
It should be noted that some apps are better than others, (depending on how well-organised the developer is and, as far as I can tell, the bit-depth of the .png files), but there are some gems to be discovered.
Even this long after my 4-year tenure at art college, the word “installation” still makes me want to vomit. However, these fantastic images by Esther Stocker caught my eye because of their resemblence to the many test maps we’ll create in the course of trying out various gameplay features in game development.
It looks like the iPhone is now officially a gaming machine, with the release of Rolando – the first game to be neither an overly-sensitive console knock-off or one of the throngs of amateur offerings.
As much as I appreciate their balls though, I’m still unsure as to whether or not the development team can or should be sued for COMPLETELY AND SHAMELESSLY ripping off both the gameplay and visual style of Loco Roco. At least they improved upon their source material, and the Mr Scruff soundtrack doesn’t hurt either.
In the combined absence of a working XBOX360 and an unreasonably harsh flu knocking me on my ass for a whole week, I’ve been going Old Skool lately with some PS2 and Wii action. Thankfully, I simultaneously ran out of contact lenses so the games didn’t look as bad as they could have so an admitted graphics-whore such as myself was able to muscle through God of War for the first time, Shadow of The Colossus again (that never gets old, or ugly for that fact) and now Mario Kart on the Wii.
Now, Nintendo is second only to EA for peddling the same franchises year on year with only minor tweaks and updates, and Mario Kart Wii is no exception – but once again, (and I’ve been playing this same game since high school), it’s an absolute blast – especially in team mode (co-op). What impressed me most though, and therefore resulting in this post, was the online experience – my first with Nintendo.
Being used to XBOX Live’s often unsavoury company of middle-American cowboy attitudes further shielded by online anonymity, as well as the downright embarrassing experience of being a grown man playing with children, it was refreshing to simply play a game against complete strangers that could not be interacted with in the slightest outside of the actions presented in gameplay – ie. throwing shells etc. I used to hate the idea of Friend Codes, (Nintendo’s enforcement of only being able to choose online opponents you already know in real life), but when I come to think of it, I rarely play against folks outside private matches on Live due to the aforementioned issues.
Every race, I am shown the geographic loaction of each participant on a spinning globe, (and the matches are truly international based on when you jump online), with only their smiling avatar and name to distinguish them. No headsets. No trash-talking. No ChildKilla69 or Assr8p firing bigoted insults with every other headshot- just a clean, simple race to the finish with friendly folks sporting names like Bill, Jake, Canadagirl and WingMario. I fantasize that, unlike the petty XBOX crowd, I was playing against similar young professionals as myself. Doctors and lawyers, designers and architects all kicking back in their loft appartments after a hard day’s work – donning the Nintendo avatars of which we all share a particular nostalgia, or their own personalised yet similarly cute Miis.
Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
Perhaps the best advert for any product ever. Note the convincing stunt-work from poor bastard Vega…
The latest edition of HDRI Magazine has a front-page article on an interview with Shareef Shanawany, Visual Effects Lead on Mass Effect. There are some details on the post-processes that really defined the look of the game, as well as the fantastic work employed for the biotics using the crust system.
I’ve always thought Mass retained something of the same look as all the other games rendered in the Unreal 3 Engine, but perhaps we did manage to put our own stamp on it with little tricks like the grain filter and custom depth-of-field, (the DOF in the image above was Unreal 3′s default at the time). And if I wouldn’t love to make a game locked at 24fps with motion blur.
As far as I’m aware, this is the first time they’ve run a cover story on videogame VFX, which is usually the territory of film and television only. Definitely a great step forward and some great recognition for the excellent work done by Shareef and the rest of the VFX team, even if they did kill the framerate throughout (and to a degree, post) production ;-)