GDC 2009

GDC 2009: Game Design Challenge With Kelly, Haro, And Meretsky

Each year, GDC challenges select game designers to create a game based on a difficult theme -- whether it's creating a game that could win a Nobel Peace Prize or be inspired by an Emily Dickinson poem. This year, contestants Sulka Haro (lead creative on Habbo Hotel), previous winner Steve Meretzky (notably of Infocom) and duo Heather Kelley and Erin Robinson were asked to design a game based on their own experiences with sex, hence the apt “My First Time." Notably absent from the panel was Kim Swift, creator of Portal, who was apparently asked not to participate thanks to the um, controversial nature of the topic. What the topic inspired, however, isn’t so much controversial, as humorous, voyeuristic and slightly self-deprecating.

As a last minute replacement for Swift, Heather Kelley and Erin Robinson paired up and created their game in under 36 hours rather than the several weeks allotted to everyone else. What they came up with is a WarioWare-esque minigame foray into the intricacies and awkwardness of that special night including shaving legs, choosing the right LP (you know, old school iTunes), unbuckling the belt and counting all the Terry Pratchett books on the shelf (a more humorous take on counting ceiling tiles, amirite, ladies?). Your score (oh, the puns just flew around in this session) is based on how high you can get your humiliation meter without actually reaching the point of abject failure.

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GDC 2009: 'Warhammer Online's' Paul Barnett Talks Creative Direction In Games

When a GDC session kicks off with the speaker announcing, "I don’t like GDC" and expressing his frustration at being contractually obligated even to do the session along with a PowerPoint slide of a gun to his head, you know it’s bound to be good. Similar to the living embodiment of a schizophrenic brain to the point where my notes read something like "Beatles, Lester Bangs, optical illusions, E.T.," creative director on Warhammer, Paul Barnett presented a delightfully scattered, but incredibly inspiring rant on creative direction in games which I will now try (and most likely, fail) to bring justice to in print.

Where do Creem, the Smiths and Joy Division fit into creative game design? Well, he makes a good point that from discs and CDs and now downloadable content, music and video games have shared many platforms for dispersion to the masses. But better than that, he points out that "things are new and exciting when you discover them." When England was in a golden age of depressing music, Paul discovered his own golden age with the Commodore 64 and computer games. "Your history is only of interest to you" Paul says, "but your culture defines you and England was fueled by a lack of resources." From the popularity of pirating and sharing games in grade school, Barnett says he played about 7,600 games at a young age. That’s a lot of games, but I’ll believe him because he kept a list. He then blames consoles and the love of hardware (it’s true!) for the demise of that golden age and the death of accessibility to designing your own game, something that Wii Ware, XNA and Flash games have now made possible again sparking a second Golden Age of games.

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Heard of a lil' company called BioWare by any chance? Hear something about a new fantasy RPG coming down the pipe, did you? Dragon Age: Origins ring a bell?

Take an extended look at BioWare's "spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate" with brand new footage and screens as they welcome you into a new week BioWare style.

Dragon Age: Origins hits the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in the second half of 2009.

Dragon Age: Origins Gameplay Footage

Dragon Age: Origins GDC 09 Gameplay Footage »

Raymond caught up with Tommy Tallarico, who is a busy man as of late. His touring show, Video Games Live, has been expanding over the years and he just received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) at GDC 2009.

He'll also talk about his career including working with industry legends like Shigeru Miyamoto and getting game music into the Grammy's.


GDC 09: Video Games Live's Tommy Tallarico »


Although the Xbox 360 version of Huxley was recently put on hold, the PC version of the Korean MMOFPS from NHN Games is looking good. It should, though, as it sports Epic's Unreal Engine 3.0.

If you're curious about the game or just want to see what it's looking like at this point in development, don't miss this walkthrough video from GDC 2009.

The walkthrough will give you a look at a city, PvE combat, and PvP combat.

GDC 09: Huxley Walkthrough (Off-Screen) »



Raymond Padilla got to sit down with Epic VP Mark Rein at GDC 2009 to learn all about the new features in Unreal Engine 3.0. Epic spends GDC pitching their engine to developers and publishers and Mark gives highly technical answers to Raymond's questions about the new features.

Primarily, they are:

  • Unreal LightMask - An enhanced lighting engine.
  • Unreal MCP - A "master control program" that allows developers to overlay data on the game world.
  • Content Browser - A new way to look at assets like models, textures, and more using innovations borrowed from services like Flickr.

If you have any interest in game development, you should definitely check out this video!

GDC 09: Epic's Mark Rein on Unreal Engine 3.0 »

GDC 2009: Nintendo To Show DSi And Wii SDHC Card Connectivity At E3 2009?

Wii owners around the world were thrilled with the announcement that the console now supports SDHC cards up to 32GB. While most gamers were thinking about all the Virtual Console titles they can fit on new cards, few were thinking that Nintendo had plans larger than simply offering its customers superior storage options (which is, decidedly, a good thing). It looks like connectivity 2.0 is on the way. Word on the street (meaning I literally received this information on the street while walking around GDC 2009) is that Nintendo will go large with Wii and DSi connectivity via SD cards at E3 2009.

This could mean that games can be started on a Wii and continued on a DSi when the player is away from home. The progress made on the road will be reflected when the gamer next plays the game on a Wii. That sounds pretty awesome (and practical) to me. You get the benefits of big-screen gaming and the convenience of portability all in one title.

Of course gamers with a PlayStation Portable and component cables can already do this, but PSP games are not specifically designed to exploit the advantages of television gaming. From what I understand, there will be titles that take advantage of the unique capabilities of DSi and Wii, respectively. The possibilities are certainly interesting, but I want to see a fun implementation of this (should it be true) before I get too excited.

Anyway, do you have any nifty ideas for DSi/Wii connectivity through SD cards? What would you like to see or do in a game that can be played off of a card on both systems?

When the news of the OnLive gaming service broke on Monday evening because someone doesn't know what an embargo is, it caused quite a buzz at GDC 2009. For about 24 hours, "What do you think of OnLive?" was the first question most people asked me at the show. Not too long after that, it seemed like everyone forgot about it. Hell, some people were even making jokes about it on Friday: "Oh, you have an hour between meetings? Go play some OnLive!" While I hope that the service does well, I still don't buy all the flowery articles I've read on OnLive. I'm not saying it's Phantom 2.0, but I see some hurdles -- some major, some minor -- in the service's way. Here's the rundown.

1) Internet Service Providers (ISPs): This is the biggest issue I see with OnLive. A few North American ISPs are already using bandwidth caps, bandwidth throttling, and bandwidth shaping. Several others are experimenting with these "features", with plans to roll out limits in the near future. I don't care how revolutionary OnLive's compression scheme is -- delivering 720p graphics requires a lot of bandwidth. For many customers, this would either limit their OnLive play time or make it very expensive.

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GDC 2009: Sneak Peak At 'Terminator Salvation: The Videogame'

Note: It's impossible for me to focus on Terminator Salvation: The Videogame for more than two minutes without thinking of Christian Bale's awesome freak-out. Moving on, I checked out a fairly complete Xbox 360 version of the game at GDC 2009. A prequel to the Terminator Salvation movie, the game takes place two years before the film. Most of the world has been wiped out by Skynet, leaving a smattering of humans to fight for their lives. The good news is that Skynet has taken some damage as well and has to rebuild itself. John Connor is not yet the leader of the human resistance. In fact, he's pretty close to losing all faith and abandoning the cause. The game's plot reveals how Connor's steely resolve formed.

Let's get the Hollywood stuff out of the way. Sadly, Christian Bale is not in the game nor is there a video-game version of his infamous screaming session (that would have been a brilliant unlockable feature!). Common and Moon Bloodgood voice their characters from the movie. Rose McGowan plays a character that was made for the game, but does not appear in the movie (could her death play a part in Connor's development? Drama!). The game's plot was written by Secret Agent in conjunction the film's team and the developers at GRIN.

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GDC 2009: Prank Of The Show


Posted March 27, 2009 - By r_pad

The excellent people at 1Up invited me to their offices last night for an epic podcast party. Some time around midnight, someone thought it would be a good idea to put the giant Fallout 3 statue in the elevator. I'm not saying I had anything to do with it. I'm not saying that I helped organize the deed. I'm not saying that I ran interference so that the company's editorial director couldn't see what was going on. I'm just saying...it was pretty funny. Check it out!

Fallout 3 Elevator Prank at the 1Up Office »

Tags: GDC 2009, Videos

GDC 2009: First Look 'Batman: Arkham Asylum'

Even though Batman is currently dead in the DC Universe (because people really stay dead in comics *snicker*), Warner Bros. and Eidos are marching along with Batman: Arkham Asylum. While most Batman games ended up being disappointments, there's a lot to look forward to in Arkham Asylum. You have the best-looking video-game rendition of Batman ever (courtesy of Unreal Engine 3), an original story by Paul Dini (best known for his work on the animated series), and awesome voice actors (Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy FTW!). At GDC 2009, I caught a glimpse of The Dark Knight's next video-game adventure and was excited by what I saw.

For those not familiar with Arkham Asylum, it's the institute where Batman's villains are carted off to after he has foiled their plans (and beaten the crap out of them). It also features some disturbingly poor security (I'm pretty sure breakouts are a weekly thing). The Joker has busted out and taken control of Arkham and it's up to Batman to set things right. Trapped in the asylum, Batman has to make his way through countless minions, some of Gotham City's heavy hitters, and The Joker himself -- all over the course of one night. Since the game is an overnight affair, Batman starts off a spiffy cloak and cowl, but as the game goes on his costume becomes tattered, his eyes become red, and stubble appears on his face. In a way, this game is like a season of 24 with each chapter being an episode.

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GDC 2009: Hideo Kojima Talks 'Metal Gear Solid Touch' and E3 at Apple Store

Closing out his first appearance at the 2009 Game Developers Conference, legendary game designer Hideo Kojima gave a near-secret talk to a limited number of fans and press at the flagship Apple Store in San Francisco. The topic? Metal Gear Solid Touch and his plans for the future.

Billy and I were on hand to listen to Mr. Kojima and snag some limited edition iPod Touch and iPhone cases with MGS4 artwork. When asked about the cryptic Raiden image from his keynote address, Kojima reiterated that he will be announcing his next project at this year's E3.

Raiden is next Metal Gear?!

As for Metal Gear Solid Touch, he revealed that the game was originally put together by an external team with Kojima Productions acting as an overseer. The game was much different and included both stealth and shooting gallery gameplay as well as an original "story." This story was based around the infiltration of an unnamed military installation in an unnamed country. Kojima and his studio felt that the project was "crappy" and scrapped the build. They internalized the project and developed what would eventually be released as MGSTouch.

Keep reading for more on Metal Gear Solid Touch and more pictures!

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GDC 09: Satoru Iwata Nintendo Keynote Intro »

Now that GDC 2009 has closed its doors, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on some of the show's big events. Let's start with Nintendo's performance. Satoru Iwata's keynote speech was well received by enthusiast gamers. News that the Nintendo Wii now supports SDHC cards up to 32GB, a new Zelda game is on the way, and the DSi will have unique titles was fantastic for gamers. Unfortunately, GDC stands for Game Developers Conference. While some parts of Iwata's keynote was very appealing to a certain section of the game community, I found other parts of it sorely lacking.

First, let's talk about what Iwata did right. The push for Wii Ware games was great for the GDC crowd. Small, downloadable games are getting more and more popular. Titles like Braid and Castle Crashers are great examples of games that can be made for (relatively) little money while still raking in sales and critical acclaim. Wii Ware offers developers, both small and large, an opportunity to reach a massive audience with a small financial risk. Considering the economy's current state, I expect numerous developers to give Wii Ware a shot. It's a low-risk/high-reward scenario.

In terms of reaching out to the development community, the rest of the keynote was a disappointment.

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Radical Entertainment's upcoming sandbox-style action game Prototype is set for release in June on Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and I think you will agree, it looks remarkable.

If you need more convincing, check out the below video where Radical enumerates the top ten reasons you should buy Prototype.

Prototype Top 10 Reasons To Buy It Trailer »

Lee Hammock, lead game designer for Fallen Earth sat down with X-Play's Adam Sessler at GDC '09 to give everyone a preview of what the game is all about.

Fallen Earth utilizes a unique first-person shooter based combat system that allows you to attack in 1st or 3rd person but the amount of damage caused is based on an RPG-like determination system. Couple that with an extensive crafting system for building weapons and items and you might just have yourself a nifty little MMO experience.

Fallen Earth is a self-published, post-apocalyptic MMO for your PC system and is set to be released in late Q2, which translates to June, 2009.

GDC 09: A First Look at Fallen Earth »

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