Posts tagged video games
Posts tagged video games
"Level Up" is Stacy Eduarte’s second-year film in the UCLA Animation Workshop:
I wanted to have a bit of silly fun this school year and make a little parody on older videogames I grew up with. Coincidentally, some time later that fall after I started working on the storyboard, Disney released information about their upcoming film “Wreck-It Ralph”.
I don’t have any commentary on this beyond that pixels are neato.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is one of the launch titles for the PlayStation 4. I’m not really super interested in the game, but Richard Leadbetter wrote a pretty cool look into the audio and visual technologies of the game for Eurogamer. The piece is a little fluffy, with a lot of oohing and ahhing about what Guerrilla Games has done, but if you can look past that there’s actually a lot of pretty technical details about visual rendering, audio reflections, and other neat things.
"Everywhere in the game you have materials - walls, rocks, different things - that for geometry purposes are tagged with what material they are," says lead sound designer, Lewis James. "Now in the real world, when you fire a gun, the sound is just a byproduct of what what’s happening inside the gun. That’s the only part of the actual event that games tend to care about normally - the sound of the shot.
"But there’s all sorts of things happening - a pressure wave that comes out of the gun interacts with the surfaces it touches when it has sufficient force. So that’s what we do. It’s a system called MADDER - Material Dependent Early Reflections. We bounce the shockwaves of the gun off every surface in the game, all the time. That defines the sound. The point is that there should be no illusion that it’s reverb - because it isn’t. It’s real-time reflections based on geometry."
Darius Kazemi has put together a couple of interactive web demonstrations of how the random level generation in Derek Yu’s Spelunky works. There are two parts currently up, and he says there’s going to be at least a third but it’s not complete yet. What’s there now is a pretty cool look into procedural level generation.
Chrome is the only browser the demonstrations will work in; if you use something else, you’ll be able to view the page text but not be able to play with the sample. Colin says the pages also crash the Chrome beta, so watch out for that if you’re on the Chrome beta channel.
2012-01-25_00008 on Flickr.
Batman: Arkham City
Lots of photography here lately. Today’s shot is actually from a video game; it’s part of Iain Andrew’s project Steam Postcards. The last update was from March so it may be defunct, but I only found out about it now.
We’re making video games really, really pretty these days.
Great piece by Ian Williams for Jacobin magazine on labor exploitation in the video game industry:
Here, then, is how the entire clanking machine of the video game industry works, from student to worker. More people are trying to get into the industry than there are positions available. With traditional universities and community colleges only recently beginning to offer serious, robust programs in interactive media, anything to get a leg up is tried. For-profits prey on this ruthlessly and without oversight.
Management is only too happy to keep this revolving door of for-profit graduates and dreamers going. It depresses wages, giving breathing room for the beancounters who are, almost without exception, allowing management compensation, marketing costs, and non-worker compensation costs generally to skyrocket. It forces employees to give in to management demands because there is always, no matter what position you hold, someone who is enough of a dreamer, with enough passion, to do it cheaper.
There isn’t much in the way of labor statistics available for the industry, but Williams quotes some info we do have from a survey from 2012 and the numbers are not good.
Some of the problems Williams identifies aren’t unique to the game industry, but inherited from the overall software development industry. His very first suggestion in his proposed solution is that game development staff should unionize, because there’s no strong organization for the industry — the same is true for software houses as a whole.
Check out the astoundingly inappropriate background music accompanying the description of the film starting at 1:15. I need to find a way to make that the soundtrack to my entire life.
Also check out Bob Hoskins’s amazing description of his career at 1:50. Also how, at the very end, more than a minute of the documentary is spent just showing a Bob Hoskins dance scene in full. It’s all pretty incredible.
Evan Amos is the guy who took all those photographs of video game consoles on Wikipedia:
At first I took photos of food items, candy bars and electronics, but I began narrowing my focus on video game systems. I started making lists of every console ever released. Before the video game crash of 1983, there were numerous systems, many now barely remembered, with little information available. Message boards and fansites had few details, with the same poor, low-resolution pictures. I realized that relatively recent history was being lost to time, all because the internet did not have good information and media about these game systems.
It makes complete sense in retrospect that the photos were taken by an editor, but until reading this, the possibility never crossed my mind. I think I just assumed that they were press kit photos.
He has a Kickstarter for documenting consoles that wraps up in two hours from when this post is scheduled to post.
New Yorker profile by Simon Parkin of Tomohiro Nishikado, the man who created the hardware, software, graphics, and sound of the arcade classic Space Invaders:
Nishikado grew up near the neon glow of Osaka, but he describes his immediate childhood environment as “slow-paced.” He spent his free time playing Shogi, a Japanese variation of chess, fishing, and conducting explosive science experiments. “Often, I’d invite my friends over to my house to show off new experiments,” he said. “On more than one occasion, I caused a chlorine gas leak, and the neighbors complained.”
That seems like a very reasonable thing to complain about.
It’s a good profile. There’s a lot of info about the game’s development and the immediate reaction in Japan and abroad.
From an Associated Press report on how the hole in the ozone layer over the South Pole has shrunk slightly since last year:
NASA chief atmospheric scientist Paul A. Newman says the main reason for this year’s result is local weather. The upper air has been almost 2 degrees warmer than normal in the globe’s southernmost region. That has led to fewer polar stratospheric clouds. These clouds are where chlorine and bromine, which come from man-made products, nibble away at ozone.
"It’s just like watching the Pac-Man eating cookies, where cookies are ozone. The chlorine atoms are the Pac-Man," Newman said.
I’m sure this is 100% exactly how atmospheric gasses work. Waka waka waka waka waka waka waka waka waka waka waka
Jennifer Schuessler on The New York Times's ArtsBeat blog:
… material unearthed in [Timothy] Leary’s archive at the New York Public Library may earn him respect as an early adventurer in another arena: video games.
Last week, at a reception celebrating the opening of the archive to researchers, the library displayed a monitor showing a continual loop of samples from the dozen or so games Leary developed in the 1980s, alongside cases containing paper documents relating to his famous LSD experiments. The games were recovered from the roughly 375 computer disks included in the Leary archive, and will be viewable — and in some cases, playable — on a specially equipped computer in the library’s rare books and manuscripts division.
Pretty cool. I honestly don’t know much about Leary beyond an outline, so I had no idea he was involved in games in any way. One of them was even commercially published in 1985, Mind Mirror by Electronic Arts.