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20. February 2013

 

So, Sony are holding an announcement for the PlayStation 4 tonight in New York.

 

The following details have emerged so far, I will update as I have more.

 

PlayStation 4 is based on “supercharged” X86 architecture.

Will have a PC GPU

Will have 8GB of RAM

The controller is the one to the right that was leaked earlier in the week, the center portion is a touchpad.

Instant suspend/resume of in game um… games.

Remote playing of other peoples games… ( odd one this one ).  You can remotely take control of a friends game to show them how to do something.

Autodownload and backload downloads.  Goal is to have game downloaded before you purchase it… sounds like a massive bandwidth waste, especially for those of us on capped internet services.

“Share” button added to the controller, for making videos of gameplay and presumably, to facilitate the remote helping described above.

Developer Note: Spectating tools being made available to developers to enable spectating and interaction between friends, example given was “allowing friends to share a potion”

PS VITA becoming much more important. Remote play built in to PS4, allowing you to remotely play on your PS Vita.  Goal is to make EVERY title playable on the PS Vita.  Playstation Vita just got a huge boost in capability!

“every game in the PlayStation store will be playable instantly, free.” – not really sure what this means in execution.

Play while downloading support available to developers.

Integration with phones, mobile devices and Vita.  Details super vague.

 

New Killzone game shown, redefines meh for me.  Movements made me really want to hurl and watching NPCs move was… underwhelming. Sharing at the end was a nice touch though.

 

DriveClub next.  Looks like a new Test Drive Unlimited… online team based racer.  I LOVED TDU, so I’m stoked.

 

New Infamous game, PS exclusive.

 

PlayStation score indie darlings Jonathon Blow’s next game The Witness, at least initially.   Nice to see the initial indie focus.

 

Move controller back, Media Molecule demonstrated using Move controller as a 3D sculpting tool, like zBrush in 3D.  Can we all say gimmick?  People have been trying to hawk 3D sculpting tools for decades in the CAD world, they don’t work.

 

Capcom demo new engine and new IP. Square rehash existing engine demonstration.

 

Development environment “excellent, powerful and easy to use” – Square CTO

 

New Final Fantasy title… I think… um… 

 

LOL, Bungie title on PS4… Destiny.  Hey Microsoft, you screwed up.  Then again, is anyone shocked, that’s kinda what Microsoft Games does now.

News


4. February 2013

 

This press release caught my eye and could be of interest to many of you, especially if you are looking for money or perhaps more importantly, exposure.

Kongregate, a leading online game platform, today announced the Kongregate Mobile Developers program, a $10 million fund to help independent game developers succeed in the free-to-play mobile arena. Backed by parent company GameStop, the world’s largest retailer of video games, Kongregate will offer distribution, financial assistance, consulting services and marketing support to help developers be successful in the highly competitive mobile arena.

“Developers are increasingly finding it harder to get their games discovered through the different app stores”

To support the newly created development fund, Kongregate has hired former Zynga general manager, Panayoti (Pany) Haritatos, as vice president of its new mobile division. Haritatos, who brings more than 8 years of web and mobile gaming experience to Kongregate, will lead Kongregate’s in-house game development as well as oversee the company’s mobile games unit.

[snip]

As to what the program actually does:

The Kongregate Mobile Developers program offers game creators three areas of assistance:

Financial assistance to complete your game

Qualified games that are already in development can earn cash advances to cover final build and integration expenses.

Expertise to make your game even better

Kongregate pioneered one of the first cross-game virtual currencies on the web, and has years of monetization experience that can be applied to mobile games. Kongregate will provide free consultation with game developers to ensure the best possible performance. Kongregate will also offer creative services, quality assurance, gameplay testing and competitive research to maximize game performance at launch.

Promotion to share your game with the world

Games can receive promotion across Kongregate, the newly updated GameStop iOS and Android apps and GameStop online destinations including website features, email and social media outreach that collectively reach more than 50 million hard-core gamers. Selected titles have the potential to reach millions more gamers with exposure in GameStop’s 6,600 retail stores worldwide. Kongregate will also manage paid advertising campaigns for games across third party networks, execute PR and game reviews and work with app stores to get games featured on behalf of the developer.

 

If you are interested, check out or apply at http://developers.kongregate.com/mobile.

 

Could be an interesting opportunity, especially given the promotional muscle that can be brought to bear.  As to what Kongregate’s stake is, I have no idea as of yet.  I’ve never dealt in the free web game space, but I do know a few developers who are making pretty good money, so there is certainly something there… beyond of course, the 10 million dollars.

News


10. December 2012

 

I don’t throw around words like ‘Nanny State’ often or lightly, but when it comes to epically stupid “think of the children” laws effecting video games I take notice.  This one is a whopper though.  When I think Nanny State… there are a few countries and companies I think of, Germany and Nintendo nearly topping both of those lists ( well.. and Australia…  they’ve mastered the art of stupid law making in the name of protecting children ).  When Germany and Nintendo combine, the results are some epic stupidity.

 

As of right now you can’t buy games online in Europe that have a PEGI 18 rating, unless it’s after 11PM and before 3AM.  So, if you want to buy Assassin's Creed or ZombieU online and aren’t a night owl, you can’t.

 

Here is a quote from Nintendo in response to Eurogamer:

“At Nintendo we always aim to provide a safe gaming experience for fans of all ages and ensure that we comply with applicable legal age restriction requirements across Europe,” a Nintendo spokesperson told Eurogamer.

“Legal age restriction requirements vary across a number of European countries. Since Nintendo of Europe is based in Germany, Nintendo eShop is complying with German youth protection regulation which therefore applies to all our European markets. Under German law, content rated 18+ must be made available only at night.

“Therefore the accessibility of 18+ content in Nintendo eShop is limited to [USK: 22:00 UTC until 4:00 UTC] [PEGI: 23:00 UTC until 3:00 UTC].”

 

So, Germany has a downright stupid child protection law on the books, and Nintendo Europe’s offices are based out of Germany, so they are applying the law TO ALL OF EUROPE.

 

So, Germany get’s the stupid prize for enacting a law that makes not a lick of sense.  It’s modeled in the mode of television restrictions where adult content can’t be played until a certain time window, which itself is completely ignorant of 10 years of progress in digital distribution rendering the entire concept archaic and mostly pointless.  Not to mention the fact… what are the demographic that are up between 11 and 3?  Outside the university crowd…  that’s basically insomniacs, people working nights and….  well, students under the age of 18!  Buying *ANY* content on the app store already requires users submit their age, making the entire scheme redundant anyways.  All you are doing is annoying your users.

 

Nintendo obviously takes their share of the blame here.  They have a history of stupidity when it comes to online, "protecting” users behind those god awful friend codes being the most glaring example.  This just seems to be another example of them being pretty out of touch with online reality.  Now it may be a legal requirement due to their office location, but this doesn’t absolve them of responsibility.  First off, basing your European operations out of the most legally anti-video game country in Europe is a downright stupid decision to start with.  The fact they can’t seem to work their way around a problem that EVERY other online retailer solved years ago… well, that’s 100% on Nintendo.  It would take their lawyers about 20 minutes to spin the eStore European division off as a subsidiary and open an unmanned office in a more legally friendly country.  Instead they took the lazy and downright stupid approach of applying this bad restriction to all of their customers.

 

I imagine in time common sense will prevail… at least, I certainly hope it does.

 

This post isn’t as off topic as it might seem.  These kind of legal hassles, especially as it applies to digital distribution, should be of concern to all indie game developers.  When or if you register your company, you should be exceptionally mindful of your host countries laws and how they can impact your legal rights and liabilities.

Totally Off Topic News


4. December 2012

 

OK, I will start off by saying “cloud” is one of those massively abused terms and beyond Adobe wanting to catch some buzzword hype, this suite has very little to nothing to do with the cloud.  Do you consider 7zip a cloud based solution because you download it from the internet?  Didn’t think so…  Anyways, let me continue pet peeve aside.

 

So, what exactly have they released?  Well, we have:

 

Adobe Scout

 

Adobe Scout

Adobe Scout is a Flash based profiler.  In pure, unadultarated marketing speak, it is:

Adobe Scout is the next-generation profiling tool for Adobe Flash Player and AIR. It revolutionizes ActionScript development by showing you what's going on inside your content, in mouth-watering detail. Scout is simple and intuitive to use, freeing your mind to create sleek and immersive games! Try it today, for FREE!

So, yeah, it’s a profiler for ActionScript applications..

 

Plus it is free, which is of course nice.

 

 

 

 

Adobe Gaming SDK

 

Let’s starting with the marketing description:

The Adobe Gaming SDK provides the essential building blocks you need to create and monetize incredible ActionScript 3 games across devices, available in a single package from the Adobe Creative Cloud

In reality its the Adobe AIR SDK with a few open source frameworks ( Starling, Feathers, Away3D ) bundled in, plus a few iOS plus a native 3D file format and documentation. 

 

Flash C++ Compiler

 

Again, starting with the marketing speak:

Combine the power, familiarity, and high-performance of C/C++ with the unparalleled reach of the web.

With the Flash C++ Compiler (FlasCC) you can bring your native C/C++ from consoles and PCs to over a billion people on the web—across browsers, with no additional install.

Stunning native games, welcome to the stunning reach of the web.

This of course isn’t a new product, it used to be a product named Alchemy, but it is a new release.  Essentially it is a C++ to FlashVM compiler.  Think Google NaCL, just targeting the Flash player instead of Chrome.  If your game is written in C++, or if C++ is your weapon of choice, it is worth checking out.  The Flash VM may be a dying platform, but its a dying platform with one hell of an install base!

 

 

So what the hell does this have to do with the cloud?

 

Nothing, not a damned thing.  Well, that’s not completely true.  If you sign up ( free tier ) you can get 2GB of web based file storage and 1 private PhoneGap builds.  They are also bundling all of the above with their “cloud” based subscription offerings, but considering every single thing I just mentioned is free, that seems fairly pointless.  For an idea of what you get and what you have to pay for:

 

image

 

So, if you are interested in Flash based game development, be sure to check it out.

News


29. November 2012

 

Alright, in the what not to do with DRM category, this one rates right up there with the Sony rootkit fiasco.  The popular game development program GameMaker by Yoyo Games recently released a DRM update, that resulted in this happening to some paying users assets:

 

(Image source reddit user passa91)

 

Oh and for the record, those changes are permanent… it isn’t some overlay they’ve done, GameMaker actually physically altered the source images.  The story was originally broken on ArsTechnica and is currently being discussed on reddit.

 

Also from the comments on reddit ( completely unconfirmed by the way ) is this scary comment:

Also this admission from developer Mike on the forum:

For those who CAN afford it, but find it just as easy to copy it. Well, rest assured, we know the games which get made, and if something does well.... I'm sure we'll be in touch.

In other words, all games compiled with GM Studio report back to YoYo HQ. Not cool, at all.

 

You know what, I’m all for protecting your product, but that combined with this horrible screw up, let’s just say Yoyo really ought to rethink their strategy on DRM!

 

Where you effected?  Does this misstep discourage you from ever using GameMaker in the future?  At the very least has this taught you a lesson in backups and version control?

News


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