The story of Cosmic Encounter is about a flash of creative genius in the early seventies, followed by four decades of struggle to see that vision fully realised. Despite the rapturous critical acclaim Cosmic Encounter has accrued in the 39 years since its first publication, it has not been followed by commercial success. Indeed, the creators of the greatest boardgame in existence have never made a living off it. The making of Cosmic Encounter, the greatest boardgame in the galaxy
Øyvind Thorsby, creator of multiple strangely charming webcomics (previously), has recently begun his fifth series, Trixie Slaughteraxe for President (link is to the first page). Thorsby's comics bear multiple trademarks: distinctively simplistic art, strange creatures with strange adaptations to their environments, creative applications for magical and technologically advanced objects and phenomena, and, of course, complicated farcical situations often involving desperate wacky schemes. A list of his comics (including the new hosting for his first three comics) is inside. Content warning: violence, swearing and sexual themes. [more inside]
The making of X-Com, Julian Gollop's squad based tactical game. Many subsequent games have taken the XCOM name, often of dubious qaulity, to the point when an XCOM FPS almost had Gollop crowdsourcing his own remake. Fortunately Firaxis did a "very very good" job with it's XCOM: Enemy Unknown" , though Gollop would have done a few things differently. A sequel, XCOM 2, is on the way, and will show "what happens when you lose Enemy Unknown.> [more inside]
For golden centuries, the clone empresses of the Second Zenith Empire have ruled the galaxy. The source and expression of their power is the Zenith Fleet: a hundred ancient starships, the only vessels in existence capable of exceeding light speed. One of them has somehow disappeared—and you, Astronaut-Superintendent Waechter, must assemble a crew and find it.
A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
Davis and Ma wrote up a long list of one-paragraph game pitches to prototype. They would be small, manageable games that two people could complete on their own. The game they chose to go with would have to be finished within a year, because that was all they had budgeted for. Among the pitches inspired by board games, roguelikes and all the genres that excited them was a 2D, top-down management game called FTL. The Opposite of Fail - The making of FTL (Previously)
Gaming made me - RPS writer Patricia Hernandez on how Fallout 2 shaped her world view, her politics and her sexuality.
Earth, 2147. The legacy of the Metal Wars, where man fought machines—and machines won. Bio-Dreads — monstrous creations that hunt down human survivors... and digitize them!In 1987, before he created Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski was a writer for Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, a live-action sci-fi show for kids. 24 episodes were produced. Straczynski wrote or co-wrote 14 of them, including multi-episode plot arcs. A line of interactive toys brought the battle into kids’ living rooms, and Captain Power was also one of the very first shows on television to feature computer animation in every episode. But in an attempt to appeal to both children and the adults who watched with them, the campy show included some concepts and scenes critics deemed too violent for children and lasted only a single season in syndication. The full run of the show has now been uploaded to Youtube. [more inside]
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.... and mega cities and future cops and cyborgs and deathgames and time-travelling dinosaur hunters and mutant bounty hunters and....
British sf tabletop miniature wargame Warhammer 40,000 is 25 years old today, British sf anthology comic 2000AD is 35 years old tomorrow [more inside]
Why Mass Effect is the most important science fiction universe of our generation (Contains SPOILERS for Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2)
Traveller is a series of related science fiction role-playing games, the first published in 1977 by Game Designers' Workshop and subsequent editions by various companies remaining in print to this day. (previously)
The biggest literary influence on my approach to game design, however, was one of the writers I worshipped as a teenager: Alice Sheldon, aka James Tiptree, Jr. Tiptree had one particular recommendation for starting a story: “Start from the end and preferably 5,000 feet underground on a dark day and then don’t tell them.” This is precisely how we begin Half-Life. It was a deliberate antidote to the many game openings that involved pages and pages of backstory presented in scrolling text. - An interview with Marc Laidlaw, writer for the Half Life series.
Concept Art World - For example: Michael Kutsche, Marek Okoń, 25 Inspiring Examples of Spaceships and Aircraft, Star Trek XI Concept Art by Ryan Church plus lots more.
Ten years ago Valve released Half Life, to the delight of gamers, modders, critics and people who hate cut scenes. Marc Laidlaw, writer for Valve, talks about the genesis of scientist turned crowbar wielding survivor, Gordon Freeman. Somehow avoided playing it in all these years? You can buy it on Steam for less than a dollar until midnight November 21st.
Too bad the guy was only thirty eight - just two years older, he'd have been worth three times the points...
Did you grow up anticipating sports where death would be likely, if not certain? Almost certainly played by convicts, possibly with robot limbs? And which would be even more likely to have chainsaws and flamethrowers not usually found in the sports of today? Those We Left Behind’s look at Future-sports of the past, in videogames, movies and comics is for you!