Here’s a game that I keep meaning to write about (for one reason or another I always forget to). It’s called Zombies, RUN! and it’s now available for iOS on the App store for $7.99. The game is an audio adventure made for runners.
You tie your shoes, put on your headphones, take your first steps outside. You’ve barely covered 100 yards when you hear them. They must be close. You can hear every guttural breath, every rattling groan - they’re everywhere. Zombies. There’s only one thing you can do: Run!
You are put in the role of a runner gathering supplies to help rebuild your base after the zombie apocalypse. You gather food, weapons, medicine, and more while out on your run that you can use to level up and reinforce your home base. There’s also a mystery to uncover— Where did the zombies come from? What are the survivors planning?
This game is an awesome motivator to get out there and run. I’ve definitely found how I’m going to be training for this year’s HvZ, haha.
You may want to watch this video before you read this letter.
I would like to preface this with the fact that I have sunk over 100 hours into the previous two installments in the Mass Effect series and I am a huge fan of your work across all your series.
What you have done, or more likely what EA has forced you to do, with the From Ashes DLC is appalling. Cutting content out of the game that is complete on launch day and giving it only to those who pay 80 flipping dollars. I can barley afford to pay the $60 for buying on launch day, which I do because I consider myself a loyal costumer to those who create great games.
The content of this DLC is VERY important to the lore and story of the series and the game is incomplete if it missing. Therefore, I am choosing not to buy your game new, maybe at all. I know for sure that I will not buy it in any way that gives money to people who blatantly milk their costumers for content that should have come with the product in the first place.
In this pretty balanced piece, the author examines and debunks one of the arguments against videogames as art, that of authorial control - the idea that games can’t be experienced exactly as an artist intends. Definitely worth a read.
There’s been a lot of internet-news out lately about industry rock star Tim Schafer (creator of Psychonauts) and his indie studio Double Fine. First, there was the fantastic Twitter-exchange between Tim and Notch about a possible Psychonauts 2, in which Tim lamented his lack of funding for the project and Notch flat out replied:
Then, only fourteen hours ago, Tim announced that Double Fine would be using KickStarter in order to fully fund a new project— a point-and-click adventure game. In an effort to revive a genre and cut the strings attached with getting funding from a publisher and/or other big investors, Double Fine has done something never seen before. They have looked directly to their fan base and asked for support.
Publishers tell us that adventure games are dead. Our fans tell us they aren’t. (doublefine.com)
Clearly they aren’t dead. In fact, they are so much not dead that it only took 12 hours to meet the 400k goal. As of this moment they are about to hit $700,000 and the number is still rising. Rapidly. Since they have 33 days left to raise money, there’s a really good chance that they’ll hit a million dollars. Probably more.
This is something completely unprecedented in the industry. Much like Notch’s Minecraft phenomenon, Double Fine’s success in this endeavor is going to change the face of the industry. It’s incredible. Independent developers can look to Double Fine as a source of inspiration and optimism, as they prove that you can get the funding you need. Big time.
I think this is going to change the way people look at publishers, and there is going to be a strong trend towards platforms like KickStarter as developers look to taking their games back into their own hands. This could work wonders for the industry at this point, since it’s no secret that the AAA world is rapidly sliding downwards into what could be another crash. But with the indie scene only getting stronger, the industry itself is about to see a huge shift— most likely in the developer’s favor. It’s an exciting time to be in games right now. I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Long live the indies: taking a risk, taking charge, and changing the game.
Now that I’m caught up on sleep and on a (relatively) normal schedule again, I definitely want to recap how Game Jam turned out. Game Jam turned out absolutely fantastic.
Like I said before, production went super smoothly. Our team worked exceptionally well together and in the end everyone agreed that no project has ever gone smoother. On top of that, we accomplished almost all of our goals for this project. I’d say that was a miracle for a 48-hour session.
I ended up with a quarter’s worth of experience in UDK. Our lead programmer was a grad student who knows UDK like the back of his hand. He not only wrote the code to turn the standard FPS nature of UDK into a properly working sidescroller, but he also taught me enough to hold my own with the engine. I laid out more of the game than I thought I’d ever be able to, which freed him up to work on more complicated stuff. Unfortunately he couldn’t stay until the end, as he had to fly out to San Francisco to interview with Zynga. Here’s hoping you get the job, Mike!
In the end, our game stood up really well against the other groups at SCAD. Even though Game Jam wasn’t a competition, our professors decided to make it a competition amongst ourselves for a little bit of extra incentive. Professor Mamais bought a huge trophy to award to the best game at the end of the 48 hours after we had presented our projects. Professor Mamais, Professor Cookson, and the head of our department decided on the winner. And…
We won! Getting that trophy (lovingly dubbed the EgoStroker 9000) was the icing on the cake for this year’s Game Jam. And even though it’s over, we’re all definitely considering continuing to work on Break, so who knows? Maybe something even more awesome will come from it.
Overall this year’s Game Jam gave me invaluable experience in game design and really helped me figure out what I want to do with my career. Right now, it’s a really tough tie between Environment Artist and Game or Level Design. As much as modeling is lots of fun, getting a level to work in the engine was immensely satisfying. It felt really good, so I know now that I really want to explore level design a lot more before I make a solid decision.
After learning so much more this year, I can’t wait for next year’s Game Jam! Bring it, Global Game Jam 2013!