"Last April, I began working on a game. In October, I released it. This is the story of Eldritch." David Pitman tells the story of developing and selling the roguelike/FPS Eldritch, described as equal parts Lovecraft and Minecraft. Includes lots of lovely sales figures.
Time-sink alert: The Cutting Room Floor is a site dedicated to unearthing and researching unused and cut content from video games. From debug menus, to unused music, graphics, enemies, or levels, many games have content never meant to be seen by anybody but the developers — or even meant for everybody, but cut due to time/budget constraints.
Untold Riches: An Analysis Of Portal’s Level Design, from RPS, who have been looking at level design in their Level With Me series of interviews. Meanwhile Valve will be announcing something Monday morning - probably not Half Life 3.
EA is setting it's hopes for the future on Plant's Vs Zombies 2's "freemium" model, hoping they've done it "the PopCap way". Here's how to play it without paying to win.
Alternate Reality Game puzzle design - Adam Foster of Valve talks about the design of the Portal 2 ARG, (previously) and do's and don'ts for future ARGs.
Realm of Chaos 80s - an 80s Games Workshop blog.
There’s an old dream in game design. It drives the design of games like SimCity, Dwarf Fortress, Tropico, The Sims, and Prison Architect. I like to call it the Simulation Dream. - Bioshock Infinite designer Tynan Sylvester on games, complexity, stories and simulation.
Microsoft has unveiled their new console, and it wants to dominate your living room. How Xbox One plans to fight Sony, Steam, and everything else.
What does the crowdfunding landscape look like for game developers one year after Kickstarter exploded onto the scene?
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)
Both characters remained fully clothed and there were no genital shots. But this was still the most explicit sexual content Wildenborg had seen in a video game. “It was at this point I decided to release the patch to the public,” he says. “I tossed the name 'Hot Coffee' on the file, based on the fact that the girlfriends would ask CJ in for some 'coffee' as a euphemism for sex. Hot Coffee was the first modification for San Andreas.” - The history of Grand Theft Auto's infamous "Hot Coffee" mod.
Gaming made me - RPS writer Patricia Hernandez on how Fallout 2 shaped her world view, her politics and her sexuality.
Gambling For Kids: A How To Guide - a discussion of claw games, Panini sticker books, and in-app purchases in free-to-play games for kids.
I’m about to tell you a story about videogames, kitchens, and internet forums that has a happy ending. Stop laughing, I’m serious. - A woman gamer declares Gaslamp Games's Dungeons of Dredmor forums awesome.
Fans of flora versus undead violence rejoice! Plants versus Zombies 2 has been announced for Spring 2013. However all is not well at PopCap games, with a recent layoff of 50 employees, or 10% of its staff, citing the increased popularity of Free-to-play, social and mobile games. Somewhat stickily amongst those reported laid off was Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan.
Sony is closing its Liverpool Studio, previously known as Psygnosis, developer of the WipeEout and Lemmings games (DHTML version, previously). The studio created games for 28 years, first gaining attention in the Amiga era for it's high production values and stunning box art (more, more ).
Both inside and outside the walls of Facebook, the story of social games has become one of dead geese and golden eggs, flatlined growth, formulaic games and shady practises. Many warned that the sector was slowing down, but sometimes giants need to fall. It needs to get bad enough before people start to really consider what's next... So what comes next?
Having previously been disappointed by the information available on the topic, this is my attempt at categorizing different ways to implement 2D platform games, list their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss some implementation details.
There’s no nice way to say this, but it needs to be said: video games, with very few exceptions, are dumb. And they’re not just dumb in the gleeful, winking way that a big Hollywood movie is dumb; they’re dumb in the puerile, excruciatingly serious way that a grown man in latex elf ears reciting an epic poem about Gandalf is dumb. Aside from a handful of truly smart games, tentpole titles like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Call of Duty: Black Ops tend to be so silly and so poorly written that they make Michael Bay movies look like the Godfather series. Taylor Clark's Atlantic profile of Braid creator Jonathan Blow has prompted some strong reactions. Are videogames dumb? Is hard to make them not dumb? Are most things dumb anyway?
The ZX Spectrum's chief designers reunited 30 years on, discussing what became 80s Britain's most popular home computer and gaming platform, despite stiff competition from the technically superior Commodore 64.
No GLaDOS. No Chell. No portals. Set in the 1980s. Competitive multiplayer. Multiple endings. The Portal 2 That Could Have Been.
Zero Punctuation reviews Battlefield 3 (video), possibly the most reviled game ever to earn itself 93% on Metacritic. Remember to press X to not die (TV tropes).
Disappointed by the new, real time FPS direction of X-COM? Tired of waiting for Xenonauts? If you want your Laser Squad style squad based tactical action right now why not try Xenosquad?
"The days when you could buy a videogame one day and get an expansion a year later are, sadly, lost in time. Instead, it seems there's a constant bombardment of DLC and microtransaction items all vying for our credit card numbers. They're in everything, from MMORPGs through to singleplayer shooters, and it's only getting worse as time goes on." - An investigation into microtransactions and gaming.
Start with the over-sized armor and bodybuilder physiques of the marines. When you aim a gun in Space Marine, the target reticle is huge, just like the target reticle in Gears of War. The guns are huge and they feature a chainsaw blade that can be used to slice enemies in half, execution style, similar to the “chainsaw bayonet” of the Gears soldiers... The blood spatters are also quite similar. The guns shoot in a similar fashion and the Space Marines wield a big giant hammer that resembles the blasting hammers not from Gears of War but from Microsoft’s other sci-fi franchise, Halo... The bad guys are the green Ork enemies from the Warhammer world, and they bear no resemblance to the enemies in Gears of War, except that they make loud grunts. Of course, their very name does bear resemblance to the “orcs” in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, but we’ll ignore that for now. Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat, on how Warhammer 40K: Space Marine is a big rip off of Gears of War. That would be Warhammer 40k, the first rulebook for which was released in 1987, and Gears of War, the relentlessly brown X-Box game released in 2006 to an emo-tastic advertising campaign. Oops. Dean has since backed down and said that he was only talking about gameplay aspects (he wasn't) that are similar (not particularly). Previously he was forced to retract a bad review of Mass Effect when it emerged that he had no idea how to play it. Should videogame journalists be expected to vaguely know what they are talking about, or are we just petty and vindictive for expecting that? (via)
Meatcraft - Real World Minecraft
How Rogue Ended Up On The Sofa - a look at the descendants of the classic game, including MeFi's own 100 Rogues.
Bullestorm is a rather silly FPS from People Can Fly, focusing irreverance, violence, points for ridiculous achievments and fun fun. It's marketing campaign has included the meta-game "Duty Calls", which savagly skewers it's equally violent but far more self-serious competition such as Call of Duty: Black Ops. Naturally, Fox news has freaked out and started a campaign against it, including a claim that it will cause rape. Rock, Paper Shotgun responds. FOX responds to the response. RPS responds to the response to the response, with a summary of the debacle so far.
Don't Make Me Steal - a Digital Media Consumption Manifesto.
This week the BBC broadcast a Panorama special (UK only link, YouTube links here and here) on what it presented as the alarming rise of game addiction. Thoughtful responses from Rock, Paper, Shotgun and EDGE, both of whom point out a number of problems with it.
An Illustrated History of Games Workshop and Fighting Fantasy - Jackson and Livingstone - audio, sans illustrations. The story of how Steve Jackson (not that Steve Jackson) and Ian Livingstone kickstarted tabletop roleplaying in the UK and founded a gaming behemoth that is very different today.
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