Humanity - a game in progress where mobs of people fall and are crushed

This is like the game Lemmings, only with people. They get crushed by huge blocks, fall into holes, get chopped up by propellers, and killed by other people with guns. The game is being developed by Tokyo-based Tha, Ltd.

[via Clive Thomspo] Read the rest

Wolfenstein: 30+ years of killing Nazis

I killed them on the Apple ][. I stopped them in 3D. Now we have Nazis in America, both in real life and the latest installment of Wolfenstein. BJ Blazkowicz makes it clear, Nazis gonna die. Read the rest

The Comic Book Story of Video Games goes deep

The Comic Book Story of Video Games: The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming Revolution, by Jonathan Hennessey (author), and Jack McGowan (illustrator) is an entertaining full-color book about the roots of video games. It starts with the discovery of electricity and the birth of electronic digital computers in in World War II and ends with augmented reality games like Pokemon Go. In between we learn about the origins of Pong, Doom, Nintendo, Sega, and more. I feel like I learned as much as I ever want to know about video game history in one pleasant afternoon. This would make an excellent gift for kids who want to learn about the pioneers of video games.

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Destiny 2 "Beta" begins on PS4 and Xbox One

As of today both Xbox One and PS4 players can preview Bungie's sequel to Destiny, the MMOFPS successor to Halo.

Wonderful weapons, colorful armor, and well-balanced skills make Destiny PvP the best since the early Halo games. The PvE raids, puzzles and bosses are similarly challenging and fun to play with friends. The story? Bungie's miserable story telling coasts along behind remarkable controls, level design, and gameplay. Unlike Halo, Destiny's story is a confused and boring wonder.

Destiny 2 looks like a new engine, levels, and a lot of new weapons and skills. Evolutionary not revolutionary, I'm sure it'll remain a battle ground for wizened old Atari 2600 owners vs high-pitched pre-teens with excellent reflexes.

I bet the Gjallarhorn will be back. I miss the days of Thorn's supremacy.

You can pre-order through your platform to get into the Beta. It'll also open up next week to the general public. Read the rest

The story behind the sounds of Pong, Pac-Man, and Doom

Four video game audio designers explore the psychoacoustics of vintage video games, from the accelerating heartbeat of Space Invaders to the dramatic woosh of Myst's linking books. From Wired:

With only a few channels of audio to play with, early videogame designers had to get very creative if they wanted their sounds to stand out. Pong, created in 1972, took a single tone and made it iconic, while Donkey Kong utilized the limited sounds of a Game Boy to trigger a range of cues and emotions.

As the games got more complex, so did the audio, and the theories behind it. A loop, or short, repeated section of audio, acts as a recurring cue. Dissonant sounds communicate failure, while consonant ones—think of the sympathetic vibrations of Super Mario Bros.—encourage players to continue. The tones can even mimic human sounds—a modulating synthesizer approximates laughter, like the “wawawawawa” in Duck Hunt.

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Listen to some amazing high school kids perform excerpts from the Guild Wars 2 soundtrack

It's no secret for anyone who knows me that I happen to be a long-time MMORPG player, but no game has grabbed my attention as completely as Guild Wars 2 has, due in no small part to the beautiful visuals and the incredible soundtrack. I'm a huge fan of video game music, having been to my share of Zelda and Final Fantasy concerts when they've been in the area.

Today, the ArenaNet folks have shared this amazing performance of excerpts from their Heart of Thorns expansion, performed by the Evergreen Philharmonic, in Issaquah, WA.

What makes this performance extra special is the composition of the orchestra itself: It's composed primarily of high-school students from the Issaquah area.

The Evergreen Philharmonic has been active since 1988 and has been an audition-only orchestra since 1991. Evergreen Philharmonic functions as an honors youth orchestra within the Issaquah School District, and has students from all three Issaquah High Schools. Evergreen has performed in a variety of venues, such as the Washington State Ferries, the University of Washington, the University of British Columbia, Disneyland, and the University of Southern California. The orchestra has also travelled to perform in Paris, London, Quebec and Boston. In May of 2011 Evergreen Philharmonic played at Carnegie Hall, New York.

Read more about the Orchestra, this performance, or Heart of Thorns. Long live high school music programs! Read the rest

How the inventor of Mario designs a game

Shigeru Miyamoto is the creator of Donkey Kong, Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, F-Zero, Pikmin, and Wii. In this video, he explains the elements necessary in a good video game. Read the rest

How Shigero Miyamoto, legendary creator of Zelda and Mario Bros., designs a game

"I think that it was in my generation that people who made video games really became designers rather than technologists," Shigero Miyamoto says.

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Original development art from The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda turned 30 this year and in celebration, Nintendo posted development artwork from the game hand-drawn by legendary designers Takashi Tezuka and Shigeru Miyamoto! More at Nintendo.co.uk.

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The food in "Final Fantasy XV" looks amazing

Whitney Reynolds of Eater interviewed the director of FinalFantasy XV to find out why the food in the game looks so mouth-wateringly delicious.

"Recipes were just one element of the camping scenes, but the catalyst for our obsession was the high quality of the food graphics that the camp team was able to create in the pre-production phase," [Final Fantasy XV director Hajime] Tabata says. "In Japan, we have a term called 'meshi-tero' (an abbreviation of the Japanese-English combo phrase 'Meshi (food) Terror' and similar to the English term 'food porn'), but that pretty much summed it up. We have to create truly delicious-looking food scenes similar to those that appear in movies and anime."

One of the Prince's guards, Ignis, also serves as the chef of your party, and he can learn 103 different recipes to cook up for his friends at the camp site. He can be inspired by everything from finding a new kind of mushroom in the woods to taking down a giant frog that has an interesting cut of meat to reading a bit of poem on a sign. Even more dishes can be consumed at restaurants in other countries and cities that the party visits on their voyage. Eat an expensive seafood risotto at a bistro and it will fill Ignis with the inspiration to create a homemade version, with fish you catch yourself and ingredients you forage. Every dish is painstakingly, realistically rendered, and you, the poor player, only get to look, not taste.

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The story of the world's worst videogame

For better or worse, video game designer/programmer Howard Scott Warshaw is perhaps best known for the Atari 2600 game "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982). That game is considered by many to be the worst video game in history and blamed for driving the video game industry crash of 1983. (To be fair, it wasn't entirely Warshaw's fault. He was also the talented developer behind the classic Yars' Revenge and other fine titles.) Above is the Big Story of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Warshaw, now a psychotherapist in Silicon Valley.

And in case you missed it, the film Atari: Game Over is a wonderful documentary about E.T. and the mass burial of unsold copies of the game.

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The launch trailer for 'Titanfall 2: Become One' looks amazing

Just a pilot and his pal, a deadly Titan.

I'm looking forward to Titanfall 2 as a welcome break from Destiny. It launches on October 28th. Read the rest

Why video game eyes are creepy

When it comes to the uncanny valley of video game characters, the eyes have it. Even as digital characters become increasingly (hyper)realistic, the eyes lag behind. At FastCo Design, Mark Wilson looks at the technological and perceptual challenges of designing eyes with personality:

The initial problem with rendering eyes is simply that of light and structure. While the eye looks simple to, um, the naked eye, when you actually examine its structures, you realize it’s actually a mostly clear object. All of these clear layers manipulate light differently, and in reaction to one another, through a spherical structure (but notably, not a perfect sphere!). On top is the cornea. It’s not just a transparent lens. It’s a transparent lens that bulges out from the eyeball. It might reflect light like a mirror, or refract light, warping it like a water droplet on a windshield. Indeed, every structure you see within someone’s eye—like the colorful iris—has been distorted by their cornea.

"The transitions of each of these things, from one to the next, needs to be handled properly," says (Brian Karis, senior graphics programmer at Epic Games). "How light interacts with all those things has to be handled."

The white of the eye is particularly tricky. Known as the sclera, it’s actually the layer that wraps around most of your eye like an orange skin. Light "scatters" from the sclera through the clear gel that comprises most your eye—which is the same phenomenon that gives a glass of milk its particular glow.

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Stop-motion master PES recreates classic video game death sequences

The wonderful stop-motion filmmaker PES is back, this time with five retro arcade game death sequences. Read the rest

Watch a brief history of video game controllers

"A Brief History of Video Game Controllers," starting with Tennis for Two (1958). My favorite is the pioneering Nintendo Power Glove (1989). (Super Deluxe)

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Stunning cyberpunky short film shows off Unity engine

This absolutely gorgeous under-six-minutes short film, called Adam, was rendered by the Unity team, in real-time, to show off the capabilities of the current Unity game engine. Here's what Unity Technologies has to say about the film.

The Unity Demo Team built Adam with beta versions of Unity 5.4 and our upcoming cinematic sequencer tool.

Adam also utilizes an experimental implementation of real-time area lights and makes extensive use of high fidelity physics simulation tool CaronteFX, which you can get from the Unity Asset Store right now.

To make Adam, the Demo Team developed custom tools and features on top of Unity including volumetric fog, a transparency shader and motion blur to cover specific production needs. We’ll make these freely available soon!

Adam runs at 1440p on a GeForce GTX980. Attendees at Unite Europe were able to play with it in real time, and we’ll make a playable available soon so everyone can check it out.

Open it to full-screen, HD, for maximum impact. It is quite impressive. Read the rest

Pong beautifully remade as a physical, analog arcade game

The Pong Project brings one of the first arcade video games back into the physical world through ingenious DIY engineering.

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