2D Side-Scrolling Final Fantasy: Re-Imagined Kicks Ass!

Final Fantasy VII is one of the most iconic and engrossing games I’ve ever played. It was and still is the hallmark of a truly great RPG. Of course, we’ve got the official Final Fantasy VII remake coming in the not too distant future, but how about we take a different fork in the road and reimagine the game as a 2D action packed side-scroller? I can’t say that thought ever occurred to me, but I’m very glad it did for someone, as this prototype game is freaking epic.

“We thought about how we can incorporate some of the FFVII game play elements, such as Materia and summoning of Guardian Force into a Hack and Slash genre. The result is what you can see above.”

The graphics look stunning and the developer has done a great job of making every character and enemy instantly recognizable from the original. Of course, this game is unlikely to ever be complete, as Square Enix would shoot it down in next to no time, but for a fan-made project, this is sure to get them some positive attention if they’re eager to demonstrate their skills.

The video is cool and I certainly can’t hear that music without being hit with a wall of excitement and nostalgia. Don’t worry, if you think this is one of those things you’ll never get to play, you’re wrong. Head on over to their site right now and try it out for yourself!

NVIDIA Shows New DirectX 12 Graphics on GTX 980Ti

NVIDIA is really looking forward to bring consumers the best graphics solution in the latest Windows 10 and DirectX 12. According to 4Gamer, the latest Mech Ti video emphasises what the company has in store for its GM200 core in the GTX 980 Ti.

The demo brings new insights on NVIDIA’s Ray Traced Shadows, Sparse Smoke and Screen Space Refections technology, which looks to be very promising. The Ray Traced Shadows looks to deliver extremely sharp shadows, which compensate in performance by blurring the shadow edges a bit, depending on the ray distance. This looks to be heading to a more realistic shadow representation.

The Sparse Smoke technique adds some long anticipated fluid physics calculations as we can clearly see in the demo. This means that the smoke can now easily interact with objects passing through it and also do some lighting calculations to render its density properly. When it comes to processing power, the Volume Tiled Resources now helps take some load off the CPU by skipping a couple of frames and rendering everything based on importance rather than have everything calculated at once.

Lastly, the Screen Space Reflections might not be anything new to DirectX 12. Still, the technique brings a way for reflective surfaces to capture objects from their surroundings through rays and display them in a 2D manner on the actual surface. This reminds us of how Crytek came up with the Realtime Local Reflections way of displaying reflections, which took a similar approach to what NVIDIA wants to show us here.

Thank you 4Gamer for providing us with this information

Drones Are Now Able to Learn Flight Paths and Fly on Their Own

Researcher José Martínez Carranza from the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics in Mexico developed a new way for drones to operate on their own and use much cheaper tech to navigate, like accelerometers, gyroscopes and camcorders.

This was made possible with an algorithm that drops GPS support in favour of visual feedback. The drones can view the terrain similar to how we see it on Google Maps and orient themselves using the above mentioned technology. If you’ve played games that have unmanned aerial vehicles which you can send by clicking on a map, then you know how this drone can operate in real-life too.

Of course there are more factors to take into account other than the 2D spatial positioning. This is where the accelerometers and gyroscopes come in, helping the drone to properly position itself into the right direction and readjust in case of harsh wind conditions or other external factors that might affect the drone’s orientation. However, the project is still at its early stages, so don’t expect the drones to do loops or move like jet fighters.

Martínez said that he wants to add support for wearable devices for people to control the drones and aid in a variety of situations where drones are most suitable, such as surveillance, exploration of properties and other areas.

Thank you Phys.org for providing us with this information

New Game Coming To Sega Dreamcast Next Week

NG:DEV.TEAM, a German based games developer, have announced today that their latest title, NEO XYX, will be heading to the much loved and certainly not forgotten Sega Dreamcast. That’s right, despite the many years of service the Dreamcast has seen, and not forgetting the few extra generations of console gaming we’ve had since it was released, the Dreamcast still has a loyal fan base and an active community of development. Games may not be flying off the production line, but for owners of the console we think one or two games a year is a lot better than no games!

The latest entry to the console is NEO XYX, a Toaplan style 2D arcade shooter, something that the Dreamcast has long proven to be ideal for. The game was originally developed for the NEO·GEO but it will officially re-release in its new format next week on February 17th. for Sega Dreamcast will be released on 17th February.

NEO XYX features six stages of excellent 2D arcade game play with over 40 unique enemy types and huge fully animated pixel art bosses. If you want to know more you can check out the official release trailer below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4OGpcCsOD0[/youtube]

Key Features

  • 6 arcade style designed stages
  • Beautiful Toaplan style / Japanese 90tis arcade styled pixel art
  • 40+ fully animated pixel art enemies
  • 11+ huge fully animated pixel art boss enemies
  • 60 fps
  • Medal collecting score system
  • Dynamic difficulty rank system which kicks in for experienced players

Accessories (Dreamcast)

  • VMU
  • VGA
  • Original pad
  • Arcade stick

The game will also be available in three editions, all of which are available at the developers online store.

  • Collector Edition [CE] (limited to 300 units worldwide) – Beautiful DVD slipcase with LE and RE. A T-shirt, two postcards and 4 stickers
  • Limited Edition [LE] (limited to 1000 units worldwide) – Game + Soundtrack OST CD
  • Regular Edition [RE]

Thank you NEO XYX for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of NEO XYX.

Windforge Kickstarter Approaches Final Descent

Custom-built, destructible airships? Check. Flying sky whales with mineable innards? Check. Procedural Steampunk landscape floating at 40,000 feet? Check. Funding to make it all happen? …we will know 72 hours from now!
Snowed In Studios has three days left to fund Windforge, their first original title. After contributing to the development of such titles as The Sims 3 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a successful launch would mean the freedom to continuously devote resources to their own original content rather than fulfilling the dreams of others.

For those who have yet to hear of Windforge or its Kickstarter, the game is a 2D sandbox side-scroller set on the airborne world of Cordeus. Players use airships to hop around from island to floating island and city to floating city, searching for an ancient energy source to free society from its dependence on the world’s dwindling supply of Sky Whale oil.

The road to the Kickstarter’s goal of $50,000 has been paved with challenges. After an initial spike of pledges when the campaign began, funding stalled around $15,000 for a solid two weeks. but last Thursday saw the start of a massive increase in pledges that hasn’t stopped rolling since. Each day has seen several thousand dollars added to the campaign as backers raise their pledges while more and more backers are pledging for the first time. While the campaign just has three days left, sitting at $32,246 of $50,000 the Windforge campaign still has a strong shot at success.

“We have seen so much positive feedback, and our backers have been enormously generous so far,” said President and Co-Founder Jean-Sylvain Sormany. “We’re not quite at the finish line, but if this sudden explosion in generosity continues we may have a chance yet.” Sormany has no doubts that a fully-funded final product would not leave backers disappointed.

In Windforge, airships are not bought, traded or earned. They’re built from the ground up, piece-by-piece, with resources mined from the fully-destructible world. Windforge’s construction system lets the player build anything from small flying dinghies to giant aerial fortresses. As the game’s lead designer Evan Hahn says, “It’s no longer about the ground beneath your feet, but the air under your props.”

If that doesn’t sound like a SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY concept, I don’t know what does!

This brings building block games like Terraria and Minecraft to a whole new altitude, where players build unique vehicles not possible before, with a fully-fleshed storyline missing from similar titles. If successfully backed, Snowed In Studios plans to release Windforge in March 2014. Backers pledging $25 or more will have pre-release access in early December 2013 in time for Christmas.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/WLP5TxPWeME[/youtube]

Thank you Kickstarter for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Kickstarter.

Rush Bros PC Review

I love a good indie game, there is something refreshing about a game that costs just a few pounds, but still packs a fair few hours of original entertainment, it reminds me of my youth and being able to visit the arcades for a few games on weird and wonderful titles that didn’t always make it to home consoles.

Rush Bros offers up an interesting take on the 2D racing genre, mixing together elements of many other popular titles that have hit upon similar gameplay elements, but none of them have had the same components in this combination before.

The game mixes fast paced side scrolling racing action, mixed up to the beat of the games own playlist, which is comprised of heavily electronic sounds, beats and rhythms, very dancy, very funky and just enough “cool”. However, you can browse your own computer for your own music collection, which after 20 minutes of sampling the games offerings, I did. The game music is good, but it’s not my style, but I quickly crafted a playlist of frantic heavy metal and a little old school drum and bass for good measure.

You play as a DJ, or one of two DJ’s in a head to head mix up battle. The objective is as simple as an A to B race, but with ever more complex obstacles in your path for you to navigate with ninja like reflexes by wall jumping and sliding your way around akin to a 2D parkour gameplay style.

The general navigation, obstacles and dangers of the game give me a nice reminder of games like Super Meat Boy and I would be surprised to find that this game wasn’t at least a little bit influenced by the meaty puzzler in some form or another. This is no bad thing of course and while Rush Bros is typically faster paced and ever moving throughout larger levels, the puzzle element isn’t lost as you hunt for colour coded keys to unlock routes and scramble to reach vital power ups such as double jump and speed boosts.

There are over 40 unique levels in Rush Bros all with a mixture of brightly colours, crazy themes and soundscapes that offer up a real visual treat. The game at times looks like a high end flash game but there are plenty of clean edges and some smooth animation to keep things flowing nicely and the game is far from hard on the eyes.

The game world reacts to your music and bass lines and sounds can cause traps to trigger, lights to flash and more, this helps the music feel connected to the game and this made me think of music based racer Audacity, although the two games have little resemblance beyond that.

Co-op is always a welcome feature in my opinion and Rush Bros gets extra points for having same screen vs races as well as online cross platform competition races between PC and Mac gamers. Giving us yet another excuse to argue and battle it out over who is best.

The gameplay doesn’t bare the best longevity though and things do feel a little tiring or repetitive after an hour or so, but the game does serve well as something to play on a coffee break or to just get away from work for 20 minutes as the core gameplay is a lot of fun, especially when you’ve got your own favourite tunes blasting through it.

You can beef things up by turning on “Fast Forward” mode to really test your metal or even just see how long you can last in survival mode, they’re nothing fancy in terms of extras but it does extend the gameplay and the value of the title a little, which is no bad thing.

Rush Bros is currently sitting on Steams Greenlight list for just £6.99 and that’s a tidy little bargain for a fun little game like this. If you’re looking for something a little different and need a break from hard-core shooters and actions games, then this is the perfect lunch time racing title and another welcome addition to the world of indie gaming.