At GDC, Arti Gupta chatted with Blizzard Entertainment’s Frank Pearce about the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm, as well as integrating mobile phone applications to support the experience of their core games and developing for fans new and old alike.
The perennial goal of creative professionals working on animation and special effects for motion pictures and television -- as well as computer-aided design (CAD) professionals -- is to deliver top-notch work on time and under budget. While production times might be expected to decrease in direct proportion to available processing power, the ambitions of creative professionals are outpacing Moore’s law. Evermore complex rendering algorithms deliver increasing levels of visual subtlety and devour advances in processing power as quickly as they become available.
In a nutshell, it seems that the players, the games, the business models, the game delivery mechanisms, the platforms, the market size and the way players interact with games have all changed. And through it all, the PC -- the most open and innovative of all the gaming platforms -- is experiencing a renaissance.
Recently, I was featured in a prominent publication in an article about PC gaming. What I’m reminded of is how easy it is to be taken out of context. The article was well-written and I stand by most of what I’m quoted as saying. A few things, however, were lost in translation. It’s easy to forget that the people listening to me may not also share my viewpoints, convictions, experiences or vantage point, and therefore, it’s all too easy to be misinterpreted.
Today, the online landscape is profoundly richer, deeper and more readily available to digital media artists. Internet access is more affordable, and software applications create new tools for communication, collaboration and play. Here, we explore the ways in which Internet communities are born and thrive -- from competitions that build knowledge and skills to creative projects that push digital media production in new directions.
New processors and advanced graphics are always a hit at the Game Developers Conference, but digital audio companies like Cakewalk, Dolby, and DTS also have a presence. With new PC games starting to take advantage of Dolby 7.1 surround sound -- and DTS’ unveiling of 11.1 surround sound with DTS Neo:X technology at the Consumer Electronics Show 2011 -- sound is playing a more important role in today’s video game landscape.
DC Universe Online, which launched in January for the PC and PS3, presented some unique development challenges. MMOs are notoriously difficult to create, but Sony Online Entertainment and Everquest veteran Chris Cao rose to the challenge. The game director of DC Universe Online talked to us about the game’s launch and what’s next.
When it comes to video games, Valve Software was one of the early game studios to emphasize the importance of interactive narrative in shooters like Half-Life. Storytelling remains an integral part of all of Valve’s games. And Erik Wolpaw is one of the top writers at the Seattle game studio. Gabe Newell hired Wolpaw at Valve, where he’s worked on the story and dialogue for games like Portal 1, Left 4 Dead and now Portal 2. Wolpaw talks about the creation of Valve’s much-anticipated Portal 2, which ships in April, in this exclusive interview.
Rift, the new PC MMO, launched on March 1 in the United States and days later in Europe and Australia. The game debuts on a crest of positive buzz garnered through a slew of well-received beta events. But launching a successful online game is as much about follow-through as it is about first impressions. Trion Worlds design producer Hal Hanlin talks about his company’s philosophies on keeping customers happy, leveraging technologies and, of course, making great games.
Of course, when it comes to video games, communication technology doesn’t play as large of a role as the fun factor of weapons and gadgets. To combine a true military feel with a great game, the Future Soldier development team in Paris had to blend real-world tactics with near-future technology, and then factor in fun and engaging gameplay to deliver the experience Ghost Recon fans expect.
In Football Manager 2011, players manage their favorite team from some 50 global leagues, buy and sell players and interact with the press and plan tactics - all with the ultimate goal of topping the league and filling the boardroom trophy cabinet at the end of the season. The game’s 3D match engine lets players watch every bout in real time, taking the game far beyond its previous 2D top-down presentation toward something ever closer to the real thing.
William M. "Trip" Hawkins III - founder of Electronic Arts and father of the 3DO console - needs no introduction to serious gamers. But three decades after writing the blueprint for the PC and video game business, his latest creation - social games start-up Digital Chocolate - is rewriting the rules again.
With the advent of multiprocessor computers, game programming has become a lot more complicated. Given a 3 GHz quad core and a fast video card, Ghostbusters will be able to keep all four cores 100-percent utilized in heavy action. During the development of that game, which is based upon the movie franchise, we were able to accomplish this feat.
Garrett Romaine recently caught up with Jun Takeuchi (and his interpreter) of Japanese gaming company Capcom to discuss his start in gaming and his thoughts on the industry’s future.
Interactive entertainment’s answer to art-house films is indie game development. Titles like Minecraft, Recettear and World of Goo have captured a legion of forward-thinking fans’ and bedroom coders’ imaginations alike. But despite consistently raising the bar for innovation and creativity, life left of the keyboard isn’t all fun and games. Dave Gilbert, founder of indie adventure-game studio Wadjet Eye Games (The Blackwell Legacy , Puzzle Bots ), explains the indie life to Scott Steinberg.
Rally driving is dominated by one thing: four tires. Every spectacular corner, power slide, or windshield-cracking collision is determined by the complex interactions between those spinning pieces of tread and the unpredictability of an unmade road surface. Small wonder that even after 10 years of the multi-million-selling Colin McRae Rally games -- or DiRT, as the games are known in North America -- U.K. developer and publisher Codemasters still maintains a laser-like focus on simulating that pedal-to-the-metal, rubber-on-the-gravel reality.
Kevin Dill is the latest developer in a series of interviews I’ve done with the authors of Game Programming Gems, 8th edition. He wrote a chapter on patterned approaches to modular artificial intelligence (AI) games. These are some excerpts from our interview.
Whether you’re developing a new game or have an existing game that you want to port to the netbook platform, it’s important to know how to optimize it. The netbook market is growing steadily and creating new opportunities for game developers on this mobile platform. The best way to show you how to optimize your game for netbooks is to describe what we did when creating a demo for Fireflies. It’s a great example of the easy optimizations and quick performance gains you can achieve when developing games for this fast-growing market.
Veering away from painstaking authenticity and turning back to the white-knuckle arcade races which initially defined it, high-stakes driving game Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit appears to be cruising in the fast lane toward success. You can credit not only an impressive sensation of speed, but also the introduction of savvier computer-controlled opponents and a suite of new social networking elements that enhance online play. Producer Hamish Young drove by to tell us how publisher Electronic Arts is steering the storied franchise back on course.
I recently caught up with two of the key visionaries behind Need for Speed World. Dave Wall, a 15-year veteran of the gaming industry, is the rendering and systems lead on the Need for Speed franchise. Eneko Bilbao, Black Box’s technical director, has worked on Need for Speed for two years. Together, Wall and Bilbao provide a convincing case for using Agile development, in-game analytics and performance-analyzing tools for creating a rolling-thunder rollout of new game features and optimized game performance.
What is the state of my beloved first-person shooter game today? I’ve played Crysis and Quake 4, and even tried some of these games on an Xbox 360, including Halo 1-3 and Gears of War. However, they still just don’t hold that magic for me like they used to.
Mark Randel, President and CTO of Terminal Reality, developer of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, shares insights on the long and difficult road getting the game to market.
Generations of children have grown up playing with the Danish LEGO toy bricks. Over the past decade, while those original toys still flourish, kids and kids-at-heart have transitioned to LEGO videogames from developer Traveller’s Tales(TT Games) and the LEGO Company. Now, the developer behind all of these blockbuster hits has returned with LEGO Star Wars: The Clone Wars, featuring a brand-new game engine that brings the latest technology to PC gamers.
SEGA’s video-game production output for 2010 was winning, to say the least. It included the latest titles in some long-running popular franchises, such as Napoleon: Total War, Sonic Free Riders and Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. I talked to Chris Southall, technical director at SEGA, about how Formula 1 and other racing games started his engine and got him interested in game development. He also tells us how the latest technology helps speed the workflow and bring games to life faster and better than it did when he entered the business in 1995.