Mass Effect: Andromeda [YouTube] The journey to Andromeda begins now. Navigate the uncharted reaches of the Andromeda Galaxy to unravel its mysteries, discover vivid alien worlds, and lead the charge to find a new home among the stars. How far will you go to become humanity’s hero? [more inside]
“If there’s a bathroom, there should be a toilet. And if there’s a toilet, it should flush. It’s these little pieces of seemingly pointless interactivity that maintain the illusion of being inside a functional other place, not just a place-shaped box.” - What virtual toilets can teach us about the art of game design
The most ridiculous patch notes from 10 years of Dwarf Fortress. Here's how DF plays these days with some addons.
"my friends want not to be repulsed, to recognize their own tastes, and to find depth." In a reflection/manifesto Brie Code explores non-game-playing audiences and how to design games for them. [more inside]
There are no straight women in RimWorld, as in, there are no women only attracted to men. Instead, every single non-gay woman in the game has some chance of being attracted to another woman. As for the men, it works a little differently. - RockPaperShotgun takes a look at the code for RimWorld and how it defines gender roles.
Epitaph, a game about the Fermi Paradox -- Given the likelihood of other forms of life, why don't we find them? Part of the September 2016 Fermi Paradox Jam, Epitaph lets you act as a guiding hand for burgeoning civilizations discovered. The rarity of a planet's survival to the technological level needed for interstellar communication becomes apparent. Over time, failed civilizations fade away... [more inside]
After being used to describe boring games (and remaining as a controversial term), the walking simulator is finally getting its due. Recently there have been many great free examples of pure, procedurally-generated walking simulators: no puzzles, no goals, no crafting, no enemies... just walking in a space that was created just for your game. Bernband gives you the feeling of walking through a bustling alien city/mall/something and observing its inhabitants. The ominous TRIHAYWBFRFYH lets you wander around a setting as the apocalypse begins. Secret Habitat creates an island full of art galleries. Sanctuary features a strange, creepy walk among mysterious obelisks. Sacremento is a stunning walk through a watercolor world. If you like realistic walks, Outerra is an amazing engine producing procedurally-generated landscapes using Google Earth data that lets you wander anywhere on the planet, zooming out from a blade of grass to outer space, at which point you probably want to shift to the equally amazing Space Engine to explore other worlds. [all games downloadable, most for Windows and Mac]
Roly poly Tibetan monks having roly poly fun (FB link) doing handstands badly over barrels. [more inside]
You have been invited to visit a haunted mansion owned by a ghost named Spooky. Can you survive all 1,000 rooms of jump scares? Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion is a free (Steam and Indie DB) 2.5D FPS puzzle survival horror game. Despite its cute exterior, there's more to Spooky's house than meets the eye. [more inside]
Google researcher Elie Bursztein leads their anti-abuse research team. He sometimes posts articles of extreme interest to game players and computer security people. Such as using machine learning to predict Hearthstone decks: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3. His list of publications leads to a wealth of interesting information, for people of various technical inclinations! [more inside]
It’s kind of an old southern version of hide and seek. One of our favorite old fashioned kids games was a game we played at night. It was one of our “scary” old fashioned outdoor games, called “ain’t no boogers out tonight.” Never heard of it, huh? It’s kind of an old southern version of hide and seek. One person is the “booger” (monster, villain). The booger hides, and the rest of the kids try to find him. They travel around in the dark in a gang, chanting, “Ain’t no boogers out tonight; Granpa shot ‘em all last night.” Once the booger is discovered, he tries to catch as many kids as he can before they can return safely to base.
After endless speculation and at the tail end of a console that was largely a commercial flop, Nintendo has unveiled the Nintendo Switch. [more inside]
Then you might like Cribbage With Grandpas.
- You play cribbage,
- You play against the computer,
- The computer is your Grandpa,
- You get to create your Grandpa.
What is a chess game stripped of openings and normal patterns of play? It's Really Bad Chess, an iOS game by designer Zach Gage that randomizes the placement and quantity of pieces in each game. "[T]here's no concept of 'beginner’s luck' in chess because there's no luck in chess!" said Gage. "I wondered what would happen if I just struck down that balance in the stupidest way possible." [more inside]
At the end of the process I ended up with a stack of 3.5” floppies, so I bought an external floppy drive to see if there was anything on them worth saving. Mostly they held back-ups of old manuscripts and story fragments from before I joined Valve, but on one disk I found several documents from the summer of 1998, late in Half-Life 1’s development, when I’d been working on the game for a year. - Novelist Marc Laidlaw unearths his notes from his time at the Lambda Complex, including an extensive piece on writing Half Life and afterthoughts on having shipped it.
Capsule Silence XXIV is a first person sci-fi action game for Mac and PC featuring music by chiptune band Anamanaguchi. After a dispute with developer NHX, the band leaked an early development build of the game on Twitter. And if you're up for a short, quirky exploration game, you should pretend that everything I just said is true, go to the band's website, click "PLAY CAPSULE SILENCE XXIV," download the game and give it a try. Otherwise, read on ... [more inside]
In honor of the 30th anniversary of Konami's iconic horror series Castlevania, USGamer has put together a retrospective of the series' history and influence and the AV Club has picked it's favorite songs from the soundtrack (YouTube link). If you want a trip down memory lane, VG Junk has a loving review of the first game, Dracula X, and a collection of Symphony of the Night ephemera. Or refresh yourself on what made the series so mechanically great with Tim Rogers essay In Praise of Sticky Friction.
Reigns (for iOS, Android, and Steam): Called "Tinder for ruling a kingdom", make decisions as a king by swiping left or swiping right, while being careful to keep the church, the people, the army, and the treasury from getting either too weak or too powerful. You'll also romance courtesans, get lost in dungeons, die (often), and, if you're lucky, figure out why your family has been cursed by the devil.
Video games, of course, are lousy with taverns, and in taverns you will invariably encounter bards. Some are kind of lousy, some are really quite good, some won't stop singing about you, and a few might even be trying to kill you. If there's no bard around, you can make some music yourself! Grab a guitar (or a lute I guess) and a few of your friends. Sure, a few murder ballads might be nice while you drain a pint, but don't forget you can also sing while you work!
taro4012 makes Stepmania/DDR games that really push the limits of the rhythm-game genre. The UK Sight Reading Tournament series (the latest being Version 8) incorporates mini games and an overarching plot, while HBT experiments with the step-game hardware, such as pressure-sensitive game pads. A major highlight of taro4012's work is adapting Undertale to the Stepmania format - which for spoiler reasons and due to the lack of an established playlist will be placed [more inside]
Now is a great time to get into 2D fighting games, with major recent releases like Street Fighter V and The King of Fighters XIV. It's not immediately obvious that, at their heart, they're about controlling space, so it's easy for beginners to not even understand even the basic gameplan. This series of tutorial videos for Street Fighter will teach you the fundamentals of how the genre works. Feeling a little more ambitious? Want something a little faster, looser, and more exciting than Street Fighter? Why not check out DandyJ's Beginner's Incomplete Guide to KOF (and part 2) and learn the fundamentals of King of Fighters, a series that, by the video's own admission, you probably aren't familiar with if you're from an English-speaking country.
The State of PC Piracy in 2016 [PC Gamer] “Piracy seems like it should be so simple, right? Stealing games is wrong. The end. But piracy is one of the most charged, complex, and divisive debates in gaming. Follow a piracy discussion long enough and it will spiral through issues as complicated as international economic policy, the concept of 'ownership' for digital property, game preservation, and the principle of the PC as an unrestricted technology platform. Piracy in 2016, the age of digital distribution, indie gaming, and Steam’s dominance, is a different animal from the PC piracy of 1990 or 2000 or 2010. Unlicensed software distribution is just as illegal as it was when Don’t Copy That Floppy was a meaningful anti-piracy strategy, but our own understanding of the crime and its motivations haven’t kept pace with technology.” [more inside]
Jimmy Maher of The Digital Antiquarian tells the story of Sierra Entertainment's gamble on the MS-DOS/IMB platform shaped PC gaming as we know it: from creating the first game with a cinematic score (and later helping to make the Sound Blaster a standard feature of home PCs); to pioneering the genre of adventure games with rich storytelling; to a female-friendly marketing and design strategy that was decades ahead of its time.
Looking to buy Boardwalk and Park Place? How about Torrance, California's Mulligan Family Fun and Golf Practice Center or the dental offices of Gary D. Weber in Sterling, Colorado? If you've spent time in the board game section of your local thrift store, you might be familiar with Wheeler Dealer, a Monopoly-like board game designed by a Michigan production company and localized for over 1,200 cities and towns across North America (long before localized editions of Monopoly existed). Marketed to rotary clubs, chambers of commerce, and other civic organizations as a fundraiser that would boost civic pride while supporting local business, the game board featured small ads, complete with businesses' phone numbers, on each space. But did the idea pan out? A resident of Brookfield, IL isn't so sure. [more inside]
You are a stick figure. In 3D. On squares. Don't fall down.
You’ve always wanted to be a chess master! But you aren’t one! Are you! Now you can at least look like one! Pretend you’re playing chess! Make moves! Act like you feel things! Smirk! Frown! Weep! Chess!
On December 8, 2013, a tiny video game studio called Hello Games announced No Man’s Sky [previously], a first-person space adventure game of exploration, combat, trade, and survival, whose environments would be entirely procedurally generated and functionally infinite. The game was released today on PS4; it is promised to be available for Windows PC on Friday. [more inside]
It's been a month since Pokemon GO was first unleashed in a few countries. Now with most of the world going outside, the servers somewhat stable, yet tracking eliminated and a bug that make the game harder, how's your Pokedex coming along?
John Tromp is a computer scientist whose interests include mazes (playable: 1, 2), chess problems, Go (previously), graphical representations of combinatory logic, Connect-4, code obfuscation, darts, pop music, and much, much more.
Brand New Subway is a browser game that lets you build the New York City subway system, either starting from scratch or working from an existing model (including a few past and future plans). Predictably, this leads to all sorts of idiosyncratic designs which score poorly on the game's metrics for ridership and cost, but do much better on metrics such as Number of Figure 8s Through Hoboken. [more inside]
Nintendo has shocked the gaming community by announcing the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition, a "new" version of its legendary NES hardware which will cost $59.99 in the US. It connects to your TV via HDMI and comes with that classic NES pad, which can also be used with your Wii or Wii U. [more inside]
Even Doing Academic Research On Video Games Puts Me At Risk: On managing personal information in a risky field.
Users come in all shapes and sizes; some tall, some short, some seated. Since the user interacts in a room-scale VR space with a realistic approximation of their body, the physical dimensions of both the space and the user matter. Depending on the design of the space and the dimensions/limitations of that user, they may not be able to interact with the space in an ideal fashion, if at all.
Accessibility in VR: Head Height, first in a continuing series of articles.
Accessibility in VR: Head Height, first in a continuing series of articles.
"Autism is seen like some sort of mental superpower where we can see math in the air. In my experience, this isn’t really the case." - Dispelling some myths about the autistic wunderkind programmer. Also: Why you might not want to get TOO excited about autism employment initiatives. Autism FAQ
Charge your phone battery. Head for your nearest church and pray that the servers stay up. Just try not to get run over. Pokémon Go has been released (previously).
If you have a small kid they have probably spent countless hours with characters such as Barbie, Dora the Explorer and Frozen's Elsa. Now you can scar them for life and instill some valuable life lessons about personal hygiene and healthcare in general with gross and weird video games such as Dora dentist day, Dora hair care, Elsa Arm Surgery, Barbie Sore Throat, Nail Surgery And Foot Spa 2, Sole Surgery, Jimmy At The Doctor, Barbie Shave, Cinderella Pumpkin Accident, Hello Kitty Care, Justin Bieber At The Doctor, Pregnant Ariel Injured, Dentist Fear, Ladybug Skin Doctor, Elsa Brain Doctor.
Overwatch, Blizzard's new game, incorporates a 'play of the game' highlight after each match. How does it work, and what gets picked?
IF Only by Emily Short [prev.] highlights the new trend in Interactive Fiction (or Text Adventures, if you were born before 1990) for games that use parsers but also manage to be reasonable simple to play by providing limited options in clever ways. Among the highlights she points out are Kerkerkruip which is a rogue-like interactive fiction game, Treasures of a Slaver's Kingdom a "faux-retro adaptation of a nonexistent 1979 text adventure" where you play as a dumb barbarian, and Midnight. Swordfight. in which the story takes the form of a stage play. If you want to get more into the weeds, Short also suggests this interesting article on narrow parsers with many more examples.
In this day where closing studios is the established and accepted norm, we want to do our part to combat the norm. "We want to challenge how success is measured and point out that money shouldn’t be the only applied metric. In an industry that is smack full of impostor syndrome, depression, anxiety, and other things that are sometimes associated with the emotional work that goes into creativity, it is also important to think about how we measure success and failure. Of course money is important, as an enabler, but sometimes you need help creating something that doesn’t only serve commercial value, but an artistic need. Not acknowledging that is to miss the point of making games." [more inside]
Overwatch goes online May 24, 8AM KST. Releasing its first brand-new universe in almost two decades, Blizzard is launching a new game today. Borrowing and polishing gameplay and design elements from classic team shooters such as Team Fortress and Titanfall, Overwatch is one of the most eagerly anticipated games of 2016. [more inside]
(Content warning for pretty much the whole post: Body horror, bright flashes, and disturbing imagery abound.) Kitty Horrorshow (Itch, Twitter) is an independent game developer making fascinating, horrifying things. Minimalist horror games that go bold directions and are deeply uncomfortable experiences. Her biggest game by far, though, is ANATOMY, a game in which you explore a dark house, seeking out cassette tapes and studying the "physiology of domestic architecture". [more inside]
If you can't make it to the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines (previously, previouslier), don't fret, you can experience it in the comfort of your own browser! [more inside]
I know that you've gotten bored of roguelikes because they're so easy to wrap your head around and master, so here's one that takes place in hyperbolic space
"Although it will seem remedial to mention this, all Breakout-style games have at least three things in common – each contains paddles, balls, and target objects for the balls to hit." -- Lego Bricktopia level designer, Mark Nelson, shares his vast of knowledge of Breakout-style games (previously 1, 2) in Breaking Down Breakout: System And Level Design For Breakout-style Games. [more inside]
One of the most infamously bad NES licensed games ever released, Friday the 13th is known for its obtuseness and difficulty. Still, there's many who see an interesting design buried beneath Pack-In Software's incompetence, even inspiring an action figure based on its odd Jason Voorhees sprite, and it's for those people that YouTube filmmakers TripleZeroFilms created a 50-page, full-color, illustrated strategy guide (with its own trailer video!) for this unpolished gem in the extremely rough. [more inside]