Little girls will save the industry!

Capucine looks like a very promising game. Some students at Supinfogame, France, have created a PC demo for a game ultimately intended for Wii. I have no idea if there’s any plans to actually commercialize it. But it’s heart warming to see that there are at least some young designers who are not stuck in the battle/race/action cliché.

Capucine demo screenshot

Sure, it looks rather nasty (the graphics and animations could use a woman’s hand! 😉 ) and the music is cheesy. But their hearts and minds are in the right place!

Capucine is based on four fundamental principles:

  • Give life rather than take it.
  • A unique gameplay element: the beam of light.
  • Build your own path.
  • The player creates his own enemies.

Sounds like a game you know? 😉

I like the simple game mechanic of an all powerful beam of light coming from the protagonist’s hand. The creators realize that it is more fun to do things in a game than to not do them, which is what most game designers seem to think these days with their “challenging obstacles” leading to having to do the same stupid thing over and over again. Don’t get me started…

It strikes me that what this industry needs is a combination of fresh minds and experience. But the people with experience are stuck in the 8-bit era and the fresh ideas come from newcomers. How many more decades to go until we have a 80-year old game designer who started gaming on Playstation 2?…

Blender3D returns to Realtime!

Blender3D and CrystalSpace are sponsoring Apricot: the Open Game project. Building on the experiences they had with Project Orange which yielded the Open Movie, Elephant’s Dream. They hope to make a full “industry qualtiy” game using Blender’s game engine and give the results, source code, assets and all, away to the community for purposes of education and inspiration. This is good news given that the software grew by leaps and bounds and copious bugfixes during the Project Orange phase!

Some of their goals:

* Targets
— Validation: create full functional game prototype, industry quality
— CS engine: HDR lighting, game logic modules
— Blender: animation prototyping, pipeline improvements (option: using Verse?)
— Realize in Open Source, deliver in Open Content (CC?)
— Education. (Training/workshops, presentations, documentation, DVD)

* Core Team
— five to seven people (they get fee + travel + housing)
— 2 CS developers, 1 Blender developer
— 1 content related developer (AI, logic, …)
— 2 artists / game designers
— plenty of online support from CS/Blender developer and artist communities
— external support for music, voices, audio edit

Their schedule of 6-8 months looks a bit optimistic in my view, unless what they plan to make is another car racing game… (*shiver* :p)

We made several projects with the Blender game engine back in the day. Both of these projects are from around 2000. (Back then they used to work online too, via the now defunct Blender3d browser plug-in.)
My favorite was Guernica which used the game engine to parse data on a network packets or parsed text from a webpage to generate a distopian world.

Then there’s also The Kiss which is a 3d scan of Michael and I… yes, kissing. But we used the Blender game engine to create a way to explore the space inside the model.

We love the idea of Blender with the integrated game engine and it’s seriously about time it was updated to work as well as the rest of the wonderful (and free) Blender3d package. There isn’t anything else like it out there, where you can model, texture, animate, and build an interactive realtime standalone application in one place. Sadly the game engine has become the, forgotten step-child of the rendering and movie-making portions of the software. And more sadly, there probably won’t be anything else made with such a unified schema. The idea of not having to export/import and code in separate apps seems so futuristic!

Let’s wish them luck on the modernization of the Blender Game Engine! Better yet, cotribute or contribute!

Eye candy.

Magnetosphere is a plug-in visualizer for iTunes. It’s pretty wonderful actually. i would even call it mesmerizing. You can get it for free at barbarian software

On flight404, Robert Hogin’s blog, he talks about the mechanics, inspirations and shows some more wicked imagery.

He tells me that this is what a mode in verison 2.0 of the plug-in will look like.
Well, we all hope so :)

Ico – speedrun – 1:45:25

by Kevin Juang (2006)
[kml_flashembed movie=”” height=”300″ width=”375″ /]
[kml_flashembed movie=”” height=”300″ width=”375″ /]

generally speaking, i don’t like speedruns
because they skip the cut scenes
which are sometimes the best part of a game
the parts that give all the action meaning.

but in this case
its amusing to see such a mellow game
played in such a goal oriented
relentless way.

and its always nice
to watch someone play ICO.

Katamari Damacy wallpapers GET!

So, I was wondering if anyone had collected all those wonderful desktop wallpapers made by the Katamari Damacy team. The official website is gone now and I, unfortunately, lost them in the great computer switch of 2007 *ahem*
It seems one obviously cooler than thou Flickr person is posting them online again!
Get them here.

(link got via Wonderland where Alice doesn’t know what a treasure she’s found.)

Snake vs. Zombie

Would love to know more about what happened at this event. More photos, quotes… video! would be nice.

Snake vs. Zombie – 1up article

On Saturday, gamers were treated to an entire event hosted by Grasshopper Manufacture titled Snake vs Zombie Vol. 2, featuring a series of talk shows between famous game creators and musical performances from artists such as Norihiko Hibino (Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops) and Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill). Metal Gear Solid director Hideo Kojima, Lumines producer Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Shadow of the Colossus director Fumito Ueda, and Resident Evil 4 director Shinji Mikami took part in the presentations.



There is a great feature about concept design house Massive Black, and their Insomania workshop over on CGTalk. What they do for the community of visual artists is wonderful so, check it out here!

Gameworld virtual exhibition

Since Laboral hardly has a website for the current Gameworld exhibition in Gijon, I figured it would be nice for all of us who can’t go to Spain, to at least see some pictures of the games features in the “Current and Experimental” category of the show.
Since we’ve been debating art and games lately, this selection by respected curators Carl Goodman and Daphne Dragona, seems pertinent.

Flow (Jenova Chen, Kellee Santiago – Thatgamecompany)

We Love Katamari (Keita Takahashi – Namco)

Braid (Jonathan Blow et al – Number None)

Domestic (Mary Flanagan)

The Endless Forest
The Endless Forest (Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn – Tale of Tales)

Façade (Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern – Procedural Arts)

Super Columbine Massacre RPG!
Super Columbine Massacre RPG! (Danny Ledone)

2nd Person Shooter
2nd Person Shooter (Julian Oliver)

Airport Security
The Arcade Wire (Ian Bogost, Gonzalo Frasca – Persuasive Games)

Border Games
Border Games (El Fiambrera Obrera)

Furminator (Fur)

Darkgame (Eddo Stern)

Emotive Actors
Once More With Feeling (Ken Perlin – NYU MRL)

Invaders (Douglas Edric Stanley)

axbx (Brent Gustafson)

TFT Tennis
TFT Tennis (Dirk Eijbouts)

Pongmechanik (Niklas Roy)

AR Tennis
AR Tennis (Hitlab New Zealand)

Movie Sandbox – Animachine (Friedrich Kirschner)

Some more links via Abstract Machine