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Todd Howard Talks Skyrim

By Dan Sarto | Monday, November 21, 2011 at 5:38pm

Bethesda Softworks showcased the much-anticipated Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim at Gamescom 2011 this summer in Cologne, Germany, allowing fans to check out the successor to the award-winning blockbuster hit Oblivion. Bethesda Game Studios has been hard at work on this new role-playing game (RPG), developing a brand-new game engine -- the Creation Engine -- for the open-world experience.

Blogs

Liquid Magic: Exocortex Technology, Part 1

By Dan Sarto | Monday, November 14, 2011 at 3:18pm

Longtime fans of the Harry Potter film franchise are familiar with the series’ ample visual effects (VFX). Among the many emotive sequences in the Harry Potter film franchise is the memory pool sequence created by Gradient Effects. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at how Gradient Effects and Exocortex Technologies worked together to pull off this visually stunning special effect.

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Back to the Front: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3

By Dan Sarto | Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 9:39am

Call of Duty is much more than a video game; it’s a cultural phenomenon. Nowhere was that more evident than at Raleigh Studios in Playa Vista, Calif., where Activision threw a shindig unlike anything ever done in the game industry. For three days in early September, Call of Duty invaded the 12-acre compound Howard Hughes created, the Spruce Goose. Unlike the world’s largest plane, which failed miserably in flight, Call of Duty has soared to new heights with each successive game.

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Looking Inside the NYU Game Center

By Dan Sarto | Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 9:32am

As more and more schools around the globe offer game-design degrees, wannabe game makers have a variety of programs to choose from. Many schools offer vocational programs, but nowadays the academic and creative aspects of game design are also coming into play. Here, we take a look at the Game Center at New York University, one of the newest game design programs that take the latter approach.

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Thought Leaders: Kyle Orland

By Dan Sarto | Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 4:22am

Innovation takes many forms within the gaming space, often beginning with insight and inspiration from a single person, be they a game developer, an engineer, a sociologist or anything else within the industry. That’s why we’re tracking down these thought leaders to give you a sneak peek of the digital arts future through their eyes. In this installment, we sit down with Kyle Orland, a games journalist who writes for Gamasutra. Orland gives his thoughts on the impact journalism will have on the future of gaming and the relationship between the two.

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Gaming in Transition and Revolution, Part 3

By Dan Sarto | Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 11:12am

I cannot emphasize the importance of the globalization trend enough. By percentage of market share, as other geographies begin to mature and disposable income rates increase abroad, the U.S. and other traditional gaming geos become smaller as an overall percentage of market share. Most of the industrialized nations’ markets have already been saturated with game systems. Makes sense, but why should we care? There are several reasons why the entire gaming ecosystem should pay heed: source of revenue, more choices, fierce competition, and innovation and growth shifts.

Blogs

The Development of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

By Dan Sarto | Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 11:51am

With over 11 million subscribers worldwide, Blizzard Entertainment keeps online gamers coming back for more World of Warcraft (WoW) by consistently adding to the virtual world of Azeroth. Cataclysm is the most ambitious expansion to date for the massively multiplayer online (MMO) fantasy role-playing game. While most of the attention has been focused on the new 3D facelift that the game has undergone, Cataclysm is pushing the linear aspect of interactive entertainment forward with its Hollywood-inspired, in-game cinematics.

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Gaming in Transition and Revolution, Part 2

By Dan Sarto | Friday, October 7, 2011 at 9:26am

In my last blog, I talked about some of the biggest factors impacting the gaming ecosystems today. In part one, I discussed the impacts of mobile form factors; this time, I’ll discuss the biggest implications occurring in the formats and business models. So, in no particular order, here are some of the biggest format and business-model evolutions I see taking place in the video game industry.

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Gaming in Transition and Revolution: Part 1

By Dan Sarto | Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 11:35am

Here’s how I view and summarize the biggest macro-shifts impacting the games industries. There are four big standouts for me: mobile, format and business model evolutions, globalization, and innovation game-changers. We’ll start with the largest macro-shifts occurring on devices, and in subsequent blogs I’ll cover the rest of the list.

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India’s Growing Visual Effects Industry

By Dan Sarto | Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 4:22pm

Can you name the country that leads the world in movie ticket sales and the number of films produced? Hint: It’s not the United States. According to online sources, that country is India. Thanks to the huge demand for entertainment, India has become a hotbed for computer graphics and animation. The country offers talented technicians, competitive pricing and finished work of the highest quality, all on blockbuster titles you’re sure to recognize.

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Economic Climate Still Bumpy for Game Studios

By Dan Sarto | Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 8:39am

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been cleaning out my contacts database. This is something I’ve been dreading for a long time, since the database currently has something like 16,000 contacts in it. That’s right: 16,000. Well, after three solid days of cross-checking to see who was where and what the status of the company was, my ISV contacts tab alone went from nearly 13,500 contacts down to a little over 10,000. I’m guessing only a third of my entire database still contains what I’d call “active” contacts. So what happened?

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What’s in the Future for Slates, Tablets and iPads?

By Dan Sarto | Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 11:48am

I’ve been following slates, tablets and similar PC form factors for quite a while now. They’ve actually been around for a very long time when one comes to think of it -- at least a decade from what I can tell. There’s a ton of hype around them all of a sudden, since Apple released the iPad over a year ago. So where will they go next? Will consoles try to jump on the bandwagon? Will slates and tablets be able to displace laptops? What about netbooks?

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A Gamer's Education

By Dan Sarto | Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 1:59pm

As video games become more and more popular, educational programs for aspiring game designers are cropping up across the country. And once a student has decided to get a gaming education, nothing beats the hands-on development experience with some of the best tech tools out there. Here are some of the most popular software kits for students, plus what to look for when choosing a tool so you can get a head start in your gaming studies.

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Could PC Gaming Be Critical to Our Nation’s Future? Part 2

By Dan Sarto | Monday, August 15, 2011 at 5:59pm

One of the top three Chinese game ISVs (independent software vendors) proposed opening a branch of this university in their country. While this is probably a good idea on the surface, I do wonder what the long-term cause and effect is. Eight of the top 10 companies shipping PC games in the world have already shifted to China or South Korea.

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Creating the Baseball Simulation in MLB 2K11: Part 1

By Dan Sarto | Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 8:37am

There were over 2,000 games in the 2010 major league baseball season, and the creators of MLB 2K11 looked at video from almost every one of them while preparing the 2011 version of the baseball simulation game, according to game designer Sean Bailey. “These videos are the same broadcasts that fans at home watch,” says Bailey, a developer with 2K Sports. Bailey shares insights into the painstaking process of getting the simulations right, including bringing top baseball talent like the Philadelphia Phillie's star pitcher Roy Halladay into the studio.

Blogs

Could PC Gaming Be Critical to Our Nation’s Future? Part 1

By Dan Sarto | Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 2:06pm

It’s in the nation’s best interest to have a bright gaming future. Sound like a pretty bold declaration? Well, there are several things that have occurred over the past few years that have led up to my position that I’d like to share. You can then draw your own conclusions.

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Hear That Knocking Sound? It’s PC Gaming!

By Dan Sarto | Wednesday, June 22, 2011 at 11:26am

Do you know what the opportunities are in PC gaming? They’re probably better than you think. The PC gaming market is much bigger than consoles, both in installed base and in money made. Knowing things like how many gaming PCs are out there, how much revenue PC games generate, what the most popular gaming styles are, etc., is critical to deciding what kind of game to build, how to generate revenue from it and how to distribute it.

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Saving the Universe, One LEGO Brick at a Time

By Dan Sarto | Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 2:48am

NetDevil, based in Louisville, Colo., is one of those fairy-tale software developer stories: guys who love games start company in basement; work hard; move upstairs to spare bedroom; attempt to save the universe. That would be LEGO Universe, the online game the company recently released in collaboration with the LEGO Group of Billund, Denmark, and NetDevil’s parent company, Gazillion Entertainment.

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