Something for the weekend #025

Something for the weekend #025 – A collection of my favourite video game and pop culture related news, videos and content from around the web this week.

Welcome to my weekly review, in a section I like to call Something for the weekend.

This week seemed to fly past at breakneck speed! Beside squeezing in a few hours playing Dark Souls 3 and Life is Strange this week, I managed to see the latest Marvel release, Captain America: Civil War.

As an avid reader of Marvel comics, I really enjoyed the Civil War comic arc. I’ve been looking forward to the cinematic adaptation since the rumours surrounding its production first started circulating.

Photo of Chris Evans as Captain America in Captain America: Civil War.
Captain America: Civil War. Why can’t politics be this fun in real life?

I wasn’t disappointed, and I don’t want to write too much (or even post a trailer) for fear of giving too much away. It is the culmination of everything that has happened so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And although it has a fairly conclusive ending, the appearance of some new characters undoubtedly creates anticipation for their own spin-off features.

Gaming news

Persona 5 live broadcast; release date announced

In a live stream held by Atlas on Thursday, it was announced that the latest title in the Persona series would be released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 on 15th September, 2016.

A new trailer was also released detailing new characters.

Among other things, the special edition will come with exclusive DLC, which includes school outfits from Persona 3 and 4.

Since the announcement there has been a lot of buzz around the web about the game. Kill Screen have published an article quoting series director, Katsura Hashino, on life, Japanese culture and the unconscious, in which he addresses real life current social issues present in the game.

There has also been a lot of excitement about the UI (User Interface) present in the gameplay trailers.

Naturally, the Persona 5 website is pretty incredible too. I’m seriously looking forward to playing this game when it makes it to the UK!

Almost twice as many UK games now supported by Games Tax Relief

It was announced by UK trade body TIGA, that 75 games received interim certification or full certification in Q1 2016 – which is an increase from the 43 titles which received certification for the same period last year.

UKIE (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment) produced a document detailing UK Games Tax Relief back in March 2014[1]UKIE: Need to know – UK Games Tax Relief (03/2014), which you should have a read of if you are (or thinking about) producing games commercially.

Tiga have also recently published their Manifesto for the Scottish Video Games Industry 2016[2]Tiga: Manifesto for the Scottish Video Games Industry 2016, detailing their desire for more government support in this sector.

Read the article at Gamasutra

From around the web

A quick video history of the Dark Souls franchise and Hidetaka Miyazaki’s work

Given my recent dive into the Souls series, and my admiration for Miyazaki-san’s work at FromSoftware, it was interesting to discover a little more about his history in the games industry.

Read the article at Gamasutra

Traditional artists try Virtual Reality art for the first time

In a year which Virtual Reality is increasingly becoming familiar to the general public, it’s interesting to see how people will integrate the emerging medium into their own workflow.

In this case, artists put down their traditional tools for the sleek HTC Vive; swapping tangible for virtual works of art. The results are pretty incredible.

Read the article at Kill Screen

Great Cascade addresses the problems plaguing open-world games

Screen from Steam Greenlight title, Great Cascade.
Screen from Great Cascade.

Caty McCarthy (@yumecaty) looks at Steam Greenlight title, Great Cascade and how it approaches the open world genre.

Though in the early stages of development, the game uses randomisation to ensure the player always has a fresh experience.

Read the article at Kill Screen

Consequences in games

This brief article comes from Lewis Pulsipher (@lewpuls), professor and author on the subject of game design. In it, he discusses constraints and feedback that affect player decisions.

Read the article at Gamasutra

Tutorials

Defining the look of the water in Unity

Geometric objects floating in simulated water.
Creating buoyancy effects in Unity

Whilst this isn’t explicitly a tutorial, this article from Pajama Llama looks at different approaches to create interesting water effects for floating objects.

Read the article at the Pajama Llama blog

Using a puzzle dependency graph to test your game’s design

What on earth is a Puzzle Dependency Graph though?

…an analytical technique which can be used to gain insights into the size, structure and complexity of a game. It helps visualize non-linear branching in the puzzle structure which can be key for tuning difficulty and pacing. It is of use in games with interrelated puzzles where solving one puzzle gets you something you need to solve other puzzles.

Originally a presentation by Joshua Weinberg at GDC 2016, this illustrated adaptation includes details of the graph’s history and how to create your own in a way that benefits your game’s design.

Read the article at Gamasutra

Level Art: Creating Materials for AAA-games

Vincent Dérozier, level artist at Ubisoft Quebec, shares his process in creating materials for games.

From traditional sketches to digital workflow, he details a step-by-step guide to recreate some interesting texture effects in Substance Designer.

You can see more of Vincent’s work on his ArtStation portfolio.

Read the article at 80 Level

Making meetings quick and effective

In any industry, meetings can quickly overwhelm you. They kill productivity and eat your valuable time. Sadly, it’s unlikely we’ll see the end of them any time soon, but there are ways to limit the impact on more important work.

From personal experience, the advice in this article is golden. You can drastically reduce time spent in meetings – and the requirement for follow-up meetings with better communication, as outlined here.

Read the article at Gamasutra

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