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  1. Many of us have felt the games industry shifting over the past few years. For example, you have probably noticed the huge increase in smartphone and tablet games, as well as other "casual" titles. Indie games also appear more relevantly on many digital distribution channels when they would have been much harder to discover years ago. These experiences pretty much match up with what developers are actually doing. The Game Developers Conference (GDC) surveyed last year's attendees about their development habits. GDC have shared their results which reveal a handful of definite trends. First, there is the result nearly half of developers (51%) who were surveyed identify themselves as indie. In case you're worrying that some EA representative tagged themselves "indie" to fit in, 46% of respondents also said their teams were comprised over 10 or less people. That definitely seems to fit the bill of an indie developer. Of these developers, they were pretty evenly split between releasing games on 360 and PS3 (14% and 13% respectively). However, the Wii U has not yet gained favor with them as only 6.4% expect to make their next game for the system. However, the Wii U is doing better than both Vita and 3DS where 4.2% and 2.8% responded yes to having their next game created for those devices. 55% of developers surveyed are making their next games for the smartphone market. After this, PC stands out with 49% expressing interest in it for next games. Overall, it's pretty easy to see that development treads are heading toward the most indie-friendly gaming spaces. While Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all are becoming more open to these groups, it seems developers themselves are not as interested.
  2. If you've been keeping track of the world of gaming, you probably remember a Nintendo Direct broadcast the company gave us not too long ago known as Wii U Direct, which featured Nintendo's own Satoru Iwata and Eiji Aonuma as they bombarded us all with announcements for games, whether their own or other developers' Wii U exclusives. However, there are some games the Big N isn't telling us about. Not only that, but these unannounced games may very well see a release before the year is up. While discussing the amount of time it would take for Nintendo to release its big guns for the Wii U, Iwata said, "I believe that we will be able to launch new software within this year that we have not yet announced at this point." In regards to their already-announced games, Iwata promised that the wait period for those releases will be "not excessively long." "Wii U has a lot of attractive features, but it requires a certain amount of time for people to understand them," said Shigeru Miyamoto while discussing how difficult it is for Wii U to communicate its value easily and directly. "We would have liked to create new entertainment that instantly communicated its value to the public, but we could not. However, I am confident that we did manage to develop software that, once people have played it, does communicate its value very well." Furthermore, Nintendo is currently in the process of recruiting people to help build its current development teams in order to maintain its development schedules. "While it will take more time to give shape to our new propositions that take advantage of being able to use two screens," Miyamoto said, "we have various ideas already. In terms of our research and development resources, as we need more staff in response to the high performance of this hardware, we are working to recruit more people, including people from outside the company." What do you think about Nintendo releasing Wii U games this year that we don't even know about yet? Source: IGN
  3. Marcus Estrada

    Deus Ex Writer Produces Game-Making Tool

    Is the name Sheldon J. Pacotti familiar to you? He was the lead writer for the monumental PC game Deus Ex, which released back in 2000. What has he been doing since then? Well, he currently is a professor at the University of Texas and has developed a teaching tool for his students. However, you don't have to be enrolled in one of his classes to get your hands on it. The program, titled Game Blocks, and is available freely online. The program can be grabbed here and is a tool which may interest first time developers. As the name implies, it is geared as a program which gives you the building blocks to creating your first non-linear narratives. This means that creators are able to make branching paths in story or play. The engine also allows for some simple physics and platforming. All of it is meant to be easy enough to use so that everyone can give it a shot. Those familiar with freeware game creation tools may at first think this is a different program. Game Blocks is built off of Build Your Own Blocks. BYOB then is itself an offshoot of Scratch. Either way, if you're interested in testing out Pacotti's version, then check out his series of videos about the program .
  4. Things are heating up for Nintendo as they've just announced a newly formed partnership with Unity technologies today. The new license agreement will see a version of the Unity engine that supports Wii U, and will allow Nintendo to distribute Unity to its first party developers as well as third parties. An Wii U add-on will also be available to current users of the Unity engine, meaning that some 1.2 million registered users (including large publishers, indie studios, students, and hobbyists) will potentially be able to bring their titles to Wii U. Unity CEO David Helgason commented on the new partnership, saying: “The rapid growth of incredible games coming from the experienced and talented developers in our community makes Unity the new development platform of choice for AAA console developers. Nintendo“s unfettered access to Unity will produce a wealth of insanely good games from knowledgeable Nintendo developers and the Wii U deployment add-on will create an amazing opportunity for our massive community of developers to showcase their incredible creativity on one of the most anticipated and innovative gaming platforms to date.” For those who don't know, Unity is an engine that is fully scalable, offering the ability to produce anything from browser games to AAA console games. Games such as Escape Plan, Wasteland 2, and Limbo developer Playdead's next game all use the engine. The Wii U development add-on for Unity engine will become available in 2013, so expect to see a lot more Wii U games using it next year and in 2014.
  5. Think about some of the most highly anticipated games from the last few years. The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Half Life 3, and Duke Nukem Forever. What obvious thing do they all have in common? If you said 'long development times' then congratulations, because you were finally right about something! The games listed above are each going on their sixth and seventh years in development. Not nearly as long as Duke Nukem Forever's development time of twelve years, but enough to where it is starting to get ridiculous, and sadly, this is only the beginning. When the next generation of consoles come out and games become even more detailed, more and more AAA titles could end up taking just as long. --------------------- Obviously this won't be a problem for the average game being released, but when it comes to AAA games, nothing will end up being 'average' about their developments. High caliber games are already extremely expensive to produce, but with the future looking more and more likely to contain ballooning production times, those numbers could begin to soar way past what is necessary. Pictured: Apparently not enough What happens when a game becomes too expensive? It fails, no matter what. Dead space 3 is shaping up to be one of next year's bigger releases, but EA seems to think the only way the game can survive is if it pulls in over five million sales. A number the series has never even come close to. What happens when every high budget game requires millions of sales to keep the company alive? I'll give you a hint - the company dies in almost every case. Look at Radical Entertainment, the company behind Prototype 2. The game had plenty of steam behind it when it released, and it did sell the most copies out of any game in April, but the company was still closed down due to a lack of sales. --------------------- And then there's Duke Nukem Forever. After twelve years of development, the game nearly killed 3D Realms due to the cost. But the hype for DNF was through the roof. Nearly every gamer knew about the legendary game, and everyone wanted to try it. When it finally did release, it was critically panned by everyone. Even people that didn't play it. How could that be? Is he cracking his knuckles or praying? The reason is simple. The game had been hyped up for so long, that there was absolutely no way it could have lived up to everyone's expectations. When something takes twelve years to make, people expect it to absolutely change the face of gaming. Of course, Duke Nukem Forever didn't do that, and it never could have. For that fact alone it was considered one of the worst games of the year. Sure it was bad, but the sting of twelve years made it so much worse. However, it doesn't always end badly. --------------------- You may not be aware of this, but Team Fortress 2 was in development for nearly a decade before it released. And when it finally did hit store shelves, it became one of Valve's most popular games. Even today the game is bringing in huge profits for the company despite becoming free to play forever. A fact that totally contradicts what I've been talking about this whole time. But! Team Fortress 2 was just an online shooter. There wasn't any worries about dealing with the stories or fleshing out the characters because there weren't any. They got the gameplay down right and made the game look great, that was all they needed. The Meet The videos on the other hand show just how crazy wait-times can make people. Another fun fact: Team Fortress 2 went through about a million graphical changes After all these years, Valve just recently released the highly anticipated 'Meet The Pyro' video (the last class video to be revealed). Every TF2 player was waiting for this video to release and they were expecting all of the Pyro's secrets to be revealed. Instead we got two minutes of the Pyro hopping around a field blowing bubbles. Not everyone was happy about that. They waited all this time for answers and they didn't get any. Arguments erupted over the video. People loved it, hated it, felt depressed, or were just happy it was out. It was just a video that caused all of this! Imagine what will happen if Half Life 3 doesn't answer all of the fan's questions! It'll be a day that will go down in infamy, that's for sure. ------------------------ What do you think about all of these inflated development times? Could it really become as destructive to the gaming industry as I seem to think? Why not share your thoughts and opinions below? As always, thanks for reading.
  6. barrel

    Untitled 01 66 001

    From the album: Atelier Meruru Review

    Rufus making redevelopment plans.

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