I’ve decided to create Something for the weekend as a new regular segment for the site, containing a sample of my personal favourite content from around the web this week.
The first of these weekly updates contains content from the past couple of weeks, as I’ve experimented with the format a little (and it took me longer than I had expected). Let me know your thoughts – anything you’d like to see more/less of.
Big Boss looks amazing on PS4
Probably no surprise that I’ve been playing Metal Gear Sold V (PS4) the past few weeks. I’m about 25% of the way through the game, and I’ve got mixed feelings about it so far. Whilst it’s no doubt a incredible piece of work, I personally feel as though there has been a disconnect since Metal Gear Solid 4. I couldn’t really get into the mission based gameplay in Peace Walker, because of the way it interrupts the flow of the game so regularly, and it’s similar in MGSV.
The Chicken Pain
Yesterday I found this amazing parody called, The Chicken Pain. It’s a two-player arcade battle played on the same keyboard. It’s a silly, fun little time-waster, but it has a really nice feel to it. It’s simple to play and the low-poly style is adorable. It really works with the simple mother base environment. Even more impressively, this game was made within 7 days!
I played through a few hours of One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 (PS4). Unsurprisingly, it’s great fun and makes use of the PS4s ability to spawn many more on-screen characters than the PS3. It’s absolute carnage! Hoping to get back into this once I’ve battled my way through MGSV. Using the same game engine as Dynasty Warriors, the game features the colourful pirates from Oda’s manga and takes itself a lot less seriously than the Dynasty Warriors series.
I grabbed Super Time Force Ultra whilst it’s on the PSN Plus monthly freebie list. It’s a lot of fun actually, though somewhat chaotic at times. The art style is very nicely pixelated and there’s a lot of meme-based humour and internet tropes scattered through the game. The basic gameplay reminds me a little of Metal Slug, but the time manipulation element makes it really unique.
I also picked up Gunpoint (PC). It’s a fun strategy title, where you play as a private detective who becomes embroiled in a murder involving a large corporation. Full of witty dialogue, upgradable tech and plenty of hacking, it’s a great game at an affordable price.
What have you been playing this week?
From around the web..
This week there’s been a lot of news about the Voice Actors Union voting on strike action against the games industry (Polygon, gamesindustry.biz, Forbes, BBC News). There are a lot of varied opinions, and I have mixed feelings about the situation also. I feel that everyone in the creative industry deserves fair compensation for the work they do, and I’ll be keeping a close eye on the outcome of this situation. The topic has also been trending on Twitter, under the hashtag #PerformanceMatters – with voice talent and industry professionals weighing in.
The Long Shadow of Super Mario Bros. takes a look at how the series has evolved over the last 30 years – that’s right, 30 years. Mario, and the technology that first delivered him to my television screen is a couple of years older than me, so it was really interesting to read about the limitations developers had on the original Nintendo Famicom/NES cartridges.
The Art Direction of Bungie’s Destiny revisits a talk by Joe Staten and Christopher Barrett at GDC 2013 (Youtube). Featuring some gorgeous concept work and matte paintings, along with a demonstration Bungie’s Grognok World Building software, it really gives the impression that Bungie are still working to deliver the massively immersive environment that was promised years ago.
Pokémon GO could be the Pokémon game I’ve dreamt of since I was a kid. I don’t want to say too much more, as not a lot has been announced, but I’ll be keeping an eye on this with high expectations.
Whilst I’ve barely scratched the surface of the Shin Megami Tensei series, Persona 5 [Japanese] looks like it’ll be a lot of fun. The character designs are really outlandish, and the animation style is as cool as ever. Previous titles in the Persona series have mixed RPG style gameplay with an interactive story and 2D animation for great effect. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this.
The Art of Journey looks at the wonderful concepts behind the game.
The visual style of thatgamecompany’s Journey is dominated by gentle slopes, clean lines and flowing capes. The story of how the game’s art design coalesced, however, is peppered with rocky starts, bumps and sharp turns.
At GDC 2013, Journey art director Matt Nava presented the artwork he created during development and showcased how the characters, creatures, and architecture of the game evolved over time.
It was an interesting talk, in part because Nava summarizes creative processes, inspirations, challenges, and constraints that were encountered while formulating the visual aesthetic of what would become an award-winning game that was lauded for its art style.
This is really a great video. Matt Nava (Twitter) shares his process with aspiring artists, offering unconventional insight, including that he painted much of the environmental concept art for the game on his Nintendo DS. The talk is very inspiring, and it should definitely be on your watch list if you’re a fan of Journey.
Twitter – Follow Friday!
Miguelito has entertained me for a while now, with ridiculous gifs from his upcoming indie title, The Legend of ChickenSword. It’s been a lot of fun watching his game develop.
Javed is the creator of the Dear Sega video I posted a few months back. I’ve been watching him since then, hoping to gain new insight. His animation/video style has a very clean and modern style. Whilst his releases are infrequent, Javed often links to other interesting musicians and artists. He’s worth a follow.
The Sick Kids Save Point is a charity organisation run by gamers. Based primarily in Edinburgh, they run a 24 hour gaming marathon each year, along with smaller events with all proceeds going to the Edinburgh Sick Kids Friends Foundation (Twitter) – which looks after kids and young people whilst they’re in hospital. A very worthy cause, run by some seriously awesome people. Please donate via their Just Giving page if you can. This year’s marathon will run between the 9th-11th October, so keep an eye on their Twitter feed for streaming links closer to the time.
GAME IS A FOUR LETTER WORD is a relatively new podcast, which attempts to make gaming accessible to a wider audience. Modelled on the format of This American Life (also a great podcast), each episode centres on a theme and features soundbites and interviews containing a wealth of information. It reminds me a little of A Life Well Wasted, which was a great podcast, but had a total of 7 episodes in 4 years – the last of which was released in 2013.
Polygon’s Minimap has kept me thoroughly up to date on the daily gaming news, which was indispensable last week, with highlights and coverage leading up to the Tokyo Game Show. I really enjoy the pacing of the show, and the short but regular podcast is packed with useful information. You can also follow the show’s host, Dave Tach, on Twitter for updates.
This week I managed to pick up an Introduction to lighting fundamentals in Unity 5 over at Udemy. It’s a nice easy intro for anyone looking to get into using the package. When you start rendering 3D scenes for a game or animation, the lighting is incredibly important in directing the visual tone. It’s definitely worth picking up the basics.
I’ve also been watching the Math for Game Developers series by Jorge Rodriguez on Youtube. In high school, math was never able to hold my attention, but it’s a fairly fundamental skill when it comes to any kind of programming language. By applying lessons to interesting subject matters, such as Pacman, Rodriguez was able to hold my attention by adding context to mathematics in a way that makes it interesting to learn. Along with teaching the basic formulas and practices, he also shows how to apply what you learn in C++, which is a commonly used language in game development.