Meta 2 Development Kit Revealed

The Meta is known for being the forefront of augmented reality. Much like virtual reality, Augmented reality is based on the user seeing virtual objects but instead of it being on an isolated screen, augmented reality lets you bring virtual objects to life. That dream of an Iron Man experience is one step closer thanks to the Meta 2 Development Kit.

The new development kit contains all you need to start programming your augmented reality programs. Included with the Meta 2 headset you will get the source development kit (SDK) and the Meta operating environment while the Meta headset itself contains some impressive specs.

The resolution the “screens” displayed at is 2560×1440, being captured through a 720p camera that will give you a whole new level of detail in your interactions and visual manifestations of your dreams.

Four speakers and a 6-axis measurement unit mean that your whole experience will respond with the sensors to track your hands, giving you everything you need to see, hear and interact with your minority report like Minority Report like wall of screens.

At $949 the Meta 2 Kit is not for those who are looking for a quick thrill, but for those who are interested in the experience and developing for augmented reality, the product ships in the third quarter of this year.

Cloud Imperium Games Developer Recreates Fallout Vault in CryEngine

Robert Stephens of Cloud Imperium Games fame, has been working on his own little Fallout project, recreating the games iconic vault door in the graphics powerhouse that is CryEngine.

Obviously this isn’t going to be a full game, far from it, especially given the issues with licencing and copyright. However, it’s great to see and imagine what parts of a fallout game would like if the focus was set on graphics and let’s be honest, CryEngine is one of the most visually capable engines around, so it’s a great match for this little project.

“As a huge fallout fan I wanted to create my own homage to the game series by recreating the iconic vault entrance. I wanted to create an interior that looked functional and well used, with the intention of eventually animating many of the assets (including the door mechanism) to tell the story of the vault in more detail. One of the biggest challenges with this project was to put my own spin on the design of the interior while still maintaining the iconic fallout style, this was important to me as I didn’t just want to recreate the vault entrance exactly as seen in the games.”

Robert created the map using Substance Painter for all the baking and texturing, then CryEngine to render the screenshots.

Indie Dev Will no Longer Offer Free Press Copies

Paul Stephen-Davis, the CEO of Retro Army Limited, has announced the company will no longer provide review codes to press outlets. This decision comes after a wave of scammers and key resellers exploited the developer and pretended to be a legitimate website. Indie developers struggle to deal with the PR side given their limited budget and the line between press and consumer has become quite vague in recent years. Now, each developer has to judge if a Twitch streamer, YouTuber or print press are eligible for press copy and the numbers of requests have risen exponentially.

As a result, I greatly sympathize with his position and feel too many “press” are being allowed access to pre-release games. Currently, many reviews come from individuals with another job who don’t invest their full-time into this career path. I believe, press keys should only be provided to “professional” reviewers who do this as their sole means of a living. The developer argues:

“Personally I think it’s unfair to players that buy the game when others(reviewers) are getting it for free.”

“Our main policy is to protect and take care of our players first.”

This is where I disagree with the comments made, and in quite a strong fashion. While being a member of the full-time professional press is possible, it’s very unlikely in 2015. Most reviewers are unpaid, on a pitiful wage or rely on Patreon funding. It’s absurd to ask reviewers to fund their the cost of reviews considering they are usually giving their time and expertise for free. Most job listings for a gaming website describe a review position as voluntary and argue compensation is provided through game codes and access to press events.

Consumers might be irked that the press receive games for free, but the reality is they are on a much higher wage than 99.9% of the gaming press. Writing is a 7-day a week, demanding job without 9-5 office hours. Unfortunately, the reputation of gaming journalists is atrocious and some of the perceptions are valid. Members of the press can lash out on social media or have potentially biased relationships without disclosing any information prior to publishing.

To reiterate, I understand how frustrating this must be for indies, but they must realize how difficult it is to forge a career in the gaming media. Ironically, low-medium tier press have virtually no money and work on a smaller budget than a tiny studio. In an ideal world, I would like the most talented and insightful journalists to be paid a good, living wage. However, with reducing ad-revenue, community media and Adblock, it seems this could be a dying art-form.

Do you think games critics should receive titles for free?

Super Trench Attack 2 is currently available from Steam for £4.99 and is a survival turn-based squad game set in a fictional world war setting.

Here’s Why We Won’t See DirectX 12 in Action This Year

Thinking of upgrading your graphics card for the new Windows 10 and DirectX 12? Well, I think you should wait a bit longer. While everyone is hyped to see what devs can do with the latest DirectX version, we are forgetting the most important thing, which is the platform.

What this means is that DirectX 12 is locked to Windows 10 exclusively, which limits the platform and titles released for it. I mean sure, I am a PC gamer myself, but don’t expect everyone to switch to a PC or Xbox One just because there’s a new version of DirectX rolling out. Statistics also proved that most gamers are happy with their PlayStation 4 right now, so devs don’t really have a reason to switch their development and focus on DirectX 12, at least not until next year.

Also, another thing to take into account is that most people haven’t even upgraded to DirectX 12 compatible hardware, meaning that it will take some time until we see a lot of consumers ready for DirectX 12 games. But let’s see why it will take time to switch from the current version of DirectX to the new one, because I know most of you are wondering why it will take this long and maybe even argue that DirectX 11 was adopted faster.

When taking a look at DirectX 11, the main reason it was adopted so fast by consumers as well as developers is the next-gen platforms and native development tools. DirectX 11 got released in the same year as the Xbox One and PS4, while we also had Epic and other developers release Unreal Engine 4 with native DirectX 11 support. This meant that the tools and hardware have been out there for everyone, from big to small, to use and explore the new tech.

In contrast, DirectX 12 currently looks like the old DirectX 10. We see a new thing added, but there’s hardly enough support for it both for development as well as hardware to run it. This is why DirectX 10 failed to deliver such a hype in the gaming industry and why developers focused more on DirectX 9 back in the day. However, we won’t see the same fate bestowed on DirectX 12 as we saw for DirectX 10, but we will see the same slow movement towards the new tech.

Thank you GamingBolt for providing us with this information

Will Daniel Radcliffe Star in Grand Theft Auto Developer Special?

There are reports surfacing that Daniel Radcliffe is in negotiations to play the lead role for the upcoming drama about Grand Theft Auto developer, Rockstar. The new 90-min drama is about the creation of the legendary and persistently controversial Grand Theft Auto, as well as other Rockstar titles such as Manhunt and Bully, although if I’m honest, I figured the show would actually feature the real-world developers, not the guy who played Harry Potter.

There’s no doubt that GTA is a hot topic and it’s had quite a bit of history in the game development community since the game first launched on the PlayStation 1. It’s been the focus of numerous controversies from public shootings, blamed for children committing violent acts, court battles with celebrities for using their likeness, using their songs out of licence and a whole host of things, so perhaps this could be an interesting insight into what things have been like behind the scenes.

Image courtesy of Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

Autodesk Game Development Suite Gets More Tools for Devs to Play With

Autodesk has apparently launched its new 3D animation and modelling software for professional indie game developers, the Autodesk Maya LT 2016. This comes as a result of the company previewing their new Stingray Game Engine at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Stingray was build using Bitsquid technology and received an amazing demo at GDC, demonstrating a lot of features that lend it more power and give creators access to mode flexible tools.

“Bitsquid has been a part of the Autodesk family since the acquisition last summer and both teams have been hard at work to update, improve and add features to the engine,” said Martin Wahlund, CEO, Fatshark. “We are excited to announce that we are actually using the new Stingray engine to build our upcoming ‘Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide game.'”

The major highlights of Autodesk’s new software are:

  • Simultaneous Platform Deployment:
    • A live link between Stingray and multiple target devices allows game designers to evaluate their game simultaneously on multiple platforms
  • Integrated Workflow:
    • A more efficient pipeline to export 3D content
  • Modern Data-Driven Architecture and Powerful Rendering Capabilities:
    • A data-driven core architecture makes it easier for a user to change the look of a game without having to rewrite and re-compile the engine

Ubisoft Far Cry 4 Dev Claims Resolution Doesn’t Matter

Please allow me to use a popular meme – “Ubisoft pls”. Unfortunately for the large name game creator they seriously can’t catch a break as of recent – but it’s thanks to their own actions and words.

We’ve already reported that some Ubisoft developers think 60FPS “looks weird”, further claiming 30 FPS is more than sufficient for gaming, they’ve also claimed that Microsoft are pushing them to limit PC gaming to 30 FPS to mirror the efforts on consoles due to limitations. They’ve also been reported asking PC users who wish to run their new Assassins Creed game to require a minimum GTX 680 or equivalent. As the famous quote goes – “but wait, there’s more!”.

Hot off the press, Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4 Creative Director Alex Hutchinson has been asked in an interview about the resolution in their latest game release by Total Xbox – his answer includes the quote “it’s certainly not something I care about in a game”, more of his answer reads:

“It feels weird to me that people are cool about playing a sort of retro pixel game, and yet the resolution somehow matters. It’s like: is it fun, is it interesting, is it new, is it fresh, are there interesting questions. With the 4K TVs and things – somebody was telling me that with a 4K TV, to even see it, your living room has to be big enough to sit like 12 feet from the screen. I don’t know the exact numbers, but it starts to get a little crazy. I’m just in it for the experience, I’ll play a SNES game if it’s cool”

We’re not sure if you’ve played games at 480, 720 and 1080p resolution, but there’s certainly a different look in graphical quality and ease of game play when comparing the lower to the higher end of settings. Furthering on Hutchinsons’s SNES comment – a quick Google Search brings up the massive resolution offering of 256 x 224. We invite you to start producing games for this console if you’re that way inclined.

Another worrying factor about the comment above is the seeming lack of knowledge when it comes to the latest technology advancements. You can see Hutchinson’s quote clearly reading that to see a 4K TV “somebody was telling me that with a 4k TV… your living room has to be big enough to sit like 12 feet away from the screen” – does the creative director of one of the worlds biggest gaming companies really have that little of a grasp on how this technology works? We obviously don’t expect them to spend hours every night researching, but he desperately needs to hire himself a coffee-delivering intern to help keep him updated on the latest.

Ubisoft have proven themselves to be rather out of touch with both PC and Console markets as of late – they’ve made some amazing games in the past and here we are seriously hoping they can pull something through to get back to their best.

Do you care about these graphical limitations and lower resolution outputs? Or is this something that you think people are up in arms about just for the sake of being mad? We’re interested to hear your thoughts.

Image courtesy of 8-Bit Chimp

Unreal Engine 4 Marketplace Launched to Compete with Unity

Unreal Engine 4 looks set to compete with Unity by launching its own marketplace, this will offer an easily accessible built-in resource to their engine, allowing people to browse free content that was created by the developers at Epic. The store is open for early submissions of community created content, this includes both free and paid commercial content such as samples, textures, prefabs, tutorials and more.

Those interested in submitting their work for consideration should follow these three steps.]

In a few weeks time the first bits of content will be made available to the community, which the developers at Unreal say “he result should be a robust mix of readily-usable asset packs containing models and materials; sample scenes; sounds; and other useful components.”

It’s still early days, so there is obviously a lot of work to be done before the store is up to a good standard and it will take time to grow a good level of content, but for developers who use UE4, this is a great addition to an already very powerful development tool.

Thank you UE for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of UE.

Ex-Infinity Ward Devs Form VR-Focused ‘Reload Studios’

Infinity Ward is no stranger to their staff breaking off and forming new studios, first we had Respawn Entertainment, now we have Reload Studios. Reload Studios is an LA based developer, formed by James Chung and Taehoon Oh.

With a 12-strong team at Reload, the developer is working with a focus on virtual reality technology for mobile, home and console platforms. What exactly that means remains to be seen, but one can only assume they’ll be tinkering with devices such as the Oculus Rift, Morpheus and some of the Android based headsets.

“When I first saw what the latest round of VR devices could do, I realized these were not just peripherals but brand new platforms that could transform the way we experience, interact with and create media. It was the perfect time to follow my passion and bring together the most talented people I know under one roof to form a development culture that promotes creativity and collaboration” said Chung in a recent press release.

Pete Blumel, Former Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Series Producer, Hougant Chen from Infinity Ward and Nik Ranieri, an ex Disney Animator join James and Taehoon, so there is certainly some talent kicking around their office and personally, I can’t wait to see VR-enabled FPS they’re said to be working on.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TweakTown.

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.

Alienware Announces Steam Machine Release Date And “Some” Specs

Alienware has announced that their Steam Machines will be available only from September 2014 at Valve’s Steam Dev Days conference in Seattle. In addition to the release date, we get more insight on what specs we are looking to find under the hood.

Alienware’s Steam Machine is Intel and NVIDIA based, with a Haswell-generation processor. Although Alienware did not get into more details about the Intel and NVIDIA chips, other companies were more opened about their specs. For example Origin and their dual-Titan Steam Machine had revealed that it will operate on up to two GeForce GTX Titan GPUs, while having 14 Terra-bytes of hard drive space available. Therefore, Alienware’s Steam Machine should be in the same performance spec as well.

Also, September is known as the start of the newer tech release every year, from consoles, to games and other components and gadgets. It also gives Alienware and others a nine month deadline to get all the bugs out and prepare it for consumers, and then try to perfect it for the upcoming Christmas sales and game releases. In addition to that, Valve needs to get things right from the very start with the Steam Machine releases or else users will just ignore them and stick to the normal Xbox and Playstation consoles, having the Steam Machines trend burn out in an instant.

Having spec details scarce, the price cannot be known as well. That depends on the actual Steam Machine configuration and brand (of course). What we do know is that given the current information, they will not come cheap at all.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of PC World

Ukie Urges Government To Push Games Production Tax Credits Through

UK games and interactive entertainment trade body calls for final push to get games production tax credits in place. Responding to today’s autumn statement by Chancellor George Osborne, Ukie CEO Dr Jo Twist welcomed plans to cap any increase in business rates and to abolish national insurance contributions for young people. Noting the boost to film tax relief that was announced, Dr Twist called on the government to continue doing everything possible to push through the introduction of games production tax credits, as announced in the 2012 Budget.

“Anything this government can do to keep business costs down and help companies of all sizes flourish is positive, so it was good to hear today that any rise in business rates will be capped, that small businesses will be able to pay rates monthly, and that national insurance contributions will be abolished for under-21s. Combined with support from the Skills Investment Fund Trainee Finder Scheme, this should make it a great deal for games companies bringing talented young people into the industry.

“However the announcement of an extra boost to film tax relief reminds us that the most important thing the government can do for the games and interactive entertainment industry right now is give the final push to the games production tax credits through the European Commission, and get this vital support for the UK development sector in place at last. We have been working closely with the teams in the Treasury, HMRC and DCMS, and know they are doing all they can to convince the European Commission of the strength of our case. Today’s statement is a reminder of the need to see this through and get these long-awaited tax credits out to developers.”

Dr Twist added: “It was also heartening to hear a renewed commitment to STEM skills, but we will continue to push for the inclusion of art and STEAM through the work of the Next Gen Skills campaign”.

The Chancellor also committed to helping more UK companies do business overseas and increase exports. Ukie has been at Game Connection Paris this week running the UK Industry Stand at the business event. More than 30 British businesses of all sizes have been exhibiting in the UK area and Ukie, as the UKTI official TAP grant partner, has saved them over £34k attending and exhibiting. Ukie will also be running the UK Industry stand at GDC in San Francisco.

The games industry has fallen some tough times over the last few years here in the UK and many developers have either moved outside of the UK or simply shutdown. These new incentives could help change that and bring more developers back into the UK in the future.

Thank you Ukie for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Ukie.

Kyttaro Announce New Indie Dev Grant Initiative And Latest “Bundle In A Box”

This week, Kyttaro Games have announce another new Indie Dev Grant initiative along with their latest thematic indie bundle. Their new initiative is set to help one more indie developer or team achieve their creative goals and all of the submitted projects reach a wider audience.

Having already supported such amazing indie projects as Maia, Under the Ocean, Whispering Willows, River City Ransom: Underground, Courier of the Crypts and 99 Spirits and having helped bring more exposure to as many excellent indie games as they could, Kyttaro Games and Bundle In A Box are ready to once again accept your Indie Dev Grant submissions!

On top of that, the team have just announced their “The Indie Strategy Bundle” that will be going live shortly, with an impressive selection of indie strategy and tactical games.

“The Indie Dev Grant, that popular feature of Bundle In A Box we are most proud of, is a grant designed to help indie game developers actually create the games they’ve always wanted to. For every 100 bundles sold $15 will be added to the grant. One indie developer (be it a group or an individual) voted by the esteemed fans of Bundle in a Box will get the whole amount after the bundle ends.”

No strings will be attached by either Bundle in a Box or Kyttaro Games. The grant can be used in any way the developer that earns it sees fit and will in no way be obliged to co-operate with Kyttaro Games or Bundle in a Box.

Developers that have already taken part in one of our bundles or are willing to do so in the future are also eligible for the grant. Actually, absolutely anyone is free to enter; yes, even people trying to buy some time in order to create their next freeware gem. If you want to be part of it, you just have to make sure you are indie and submitting a game.

Thank you Kyttaro for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Kyttaro.

Markerless Motion Capture System OpenStage 2.3 Released

Organic Motion has just announced the availability of OpenStage 2.3, which claims to make it faster and easier than ever for animators to capture and manipulate motion data. Building on the efficiency of OpenStage 2 markerless motion capture technology, the new release enables new ways for animators to work with and customize the motion data. After all, real-world finished animation doesn’t end with motion capture, it is manipulated and brought to life by talented animators who go beyond the literal performance to find the best gesture, pose or exaggerated action in order to get across the right effect for the character and story.

Working in close collaboration with professional animation video game developer clients, Organic Motion developed OpenStage 2.3 to be the first and only motion capture solution that allows animators to import not only motion capture data, but also virtual cameras and matching reference videos into Autodesk MotionBuilder, Maya and 3D Studio MAX. With reference videos setup as image planes, the mocap skeleton can be easily viewed from multiple angles and lined up with the actor’s performance. This makes it quick and easy for directors to pick takes, and for animators to layer on custom animation, all in less time and with less effort than ever before.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/HucVdfMXo-k[/youtube]

Animation Director Brent George recently incorporated the new OpenStage capabilities into his workflow for in-game animation on a major AAA game title at Warner Brothers Games Montreal. In addition to improving overall animation quality, Brent also cited a significant increase in animation output. “I saw an increase in animation output by at least 3-4 times. A final animation that would typically take 3-4 days was taking only 1 day utilizing OpenStage 2.”

Games development costs are on the rise again with the introduction of next-gen consoles, anything that can speed up the process is a big way for studios to save money and cut down development time. Personally I can’t wait to see what the AAA game is from Warner Brothers that has been using this tech.

Thank you Organic Motion for providing us with this information.

Image coutesy of Organic Motion.

New Dev Diary Video For Saints Row IV Released

Today Deep Silver and Volition release the second of the Developer Diaries for Saints Row IV!

This week’s exclusive “behind the scenes” video will center on the story and the endless possibilities inside the game. Jim Boone, Senior Producer, Steve Jaros, Creative Director and Chris Claflin, Lighting Lead, from Volition and two actors Terry Crews (voice of Ben King) and Troy Baker (default player voice) share their thoughts on how the virtual world of Steelport allowed them to cross even more boundaries than before.

Saints Row IV launches August 20th, 2013 across North and Latin America and August 23rd worldwide.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/y_l4X4YK3-g[/youtube]

Thank you Saints Row for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Saints Row Facebook.

Sony Online Entertainment Wikia Community Get Access To Launch Plans For MMO Everquest Next

Wikia, the home for social fandom and the ultimate source for powerful and relevant pop culture, entertainment and gaming expertise, announced today the official launch of The Lab, a multifaceted program that drops the super-fan into the heart of early development efforts for major upcoming titles. Wikia debuted The Lab in conjunction with Sony Online Entertainment’s (SOE) announcement of the new game EverQuest Next while at SOE Live, the ultimate gathering for the SOE community to celebrate their favorite free-to-play SOE games. The annual event took place in Las Vegas last weekend, August 1-4, 2013.

To help build fan engagement and awareness for the title, Wikia introduced the EverQuest Next Official Community at SOE Live where members recieved exclusive content and access including, early release images, chats with EverQuest Next game developers, frequently updated blogs from the community managers and much more.

“Industry leaders are coming to Wikia because they now recognize the collaborative power of our super-fans,” Jennifer Betka, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Wikia said. “Our Wikia Stars are among the foremost experts in movies, TV, gaming and fan culture. They are uniquely positioned to help studios and publishers create next generation content and gameplay.”

“At SOE, we’re always looking for ways to empower our players and deliver new opportunities that allow them to engage with our games and each other in a meaningful way,” said Laura Naviaux, Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Marketing, Sony Online Entertainment. “As the first game company to partner with Wikia to create a Wikia Official Community, we believe in supporting player communities and see community collaboration as a key pillar in how we’re moving forward as a company. Wikia joined us at this year’s SOE Live event with the debut of The Lab so our players were the first to learn how to best take advantage of the Wikia platform and player community.”

The Lab will serve as the starting place for long lead activations and custom co-development programs and will kick off with members from Wikia’s Stars program. Established in 2012, Wikia Stars are a select group of individuals from around the world who are being acknowledged for their exceptional leadership and influence within their individual communities. Demand for the program is strong; by the end of the year Wikia anticipates involvement from over 100 fan leaders with profound skills in various areas such as content creation, social media, community administration, design, code and overall ingenuity.

They will lend their expertise to brands on an array of projects, from the early development stages to the actual product launch. Stars in The Lab will create the foundation for other fans to engage in future phases. In order to do so, Stars will receive access to exclusive assets, information and talent provided by the partnering group. At the outset, the program will focus on Wikia’s avid gaming community, but will eventually extend to its rapidly growing entertainment and lifestyle communities.

During SOE Live, Wikia Stars Daniel Salciccioli (Call of Duty wikia) and Kenneth Cummings (Brutal Legend wikia) were on hand as resident video game super fans in The Lab to share tips and techniques for using Wikia and its publishing tools to establish the ultimate EverQuest Next fan resource. The Lab encouraged real time authoring and structuring of content, complementary community integration, as well as design and promotion of news and gameplay experiences that took place at SOE Live.

Wikia fans are increasingly embracing multimedia assets to chronicle the topics they know and love. Wikia offers audiences across all ages, genders, geographies and interests over 30 million pages of content, 14 million photos, and 5,000 hours of premium video content. Over the past year, Wikia’s collection of entertainment sites has seen a 50 percent growth with 33 million unique global visitors, while Wikia’s collection of video game communities continues to represent the biggest video game fan voice on the Web. Wikia lifestyle communities have grown to 10 million unique visitors within the last year.

“Become The Galaxy” In Arcane Logic’s Hadron’s Forge For PC

Start-up games developer Arcane Logic has announced the development of their PC launch-title Hadron’s Forge. Blending real-world actual science with an immersive procedurally generated sandbox environment featuring mining, building, and almost endless space exploration, Hadron’s Forge offers to gamers a chapter-based single-player adventure and multiplayer experience in which participants have the opportunity to explore an entire star system at their leisure! Virtually everything in the game, including the terrain itself, is customizable by players. Fill a periodic table inventory as you mine ore and refine it down to its base elements! Forge parts and items from pure metals, alloys, carbon composites, advanced nanostructures and even paradoxium, the rarest material in the universe. Build bases on asteroids, moons or planets using truss, plates and utilities. You can even customize your very own interplanetary space ship!

‘Arcane Logic’, a Washington-based startup games developer spearheaded by Michael Beerman and John Savage, a duo of former aerospace engineers, are on a mission of their own; their objective is to complete the development of this highly unique, incredibly realistic, and open-ended universe. Created using a proprietary game engine developed from the ground up, ‘Hadron’s Forge’ is scheduled to include several unique modes of play, including ‘Story-’, ‘Survival-’, ‘Sandbox-’ and several Multiplayer-Modes.

In the games primary ‘Story-Mode’, you take on the role of Hadron, an aspiring young “tele-op” with a mysterious past, and an unquenchable desire to uncover the secrets hidden among the planets and asteroids of Epsilon Eridani. In this campaign-like experience, players complete segments of a larger adventure beginning with a prelude and continuing through multiple chapters. You are tasked with mining, construction, trade, exploration and espionage missions as you progress through the story line. You will also encounter many challenging construction, circuit and terrain puzzles on your journeys across the star system, which you must solve in order to uncover the secrets of ancient Eridanian technology.

‘Survival-Mode’ is an experience in which players hone their skills in short-duration scenarios that happen outside of the main ‘Story-Mode’ campaign. For instance, players may find themselves trapped in a Mining Pod on an asteroid or planet surface and they must use their skills to gather resources and fabricate power supplies to maintain life-support and escape! And finally, in ‘Sandbox-Mode’, players are invited to exploit their creativity; build asteroid bases, star ships and planetary colonies in a peaceful setting with a near limitless inventory. However, you will need to earn achievements in ‘Story-Mode’ and ‘Survival-Mode’ to unlock starting maps, materials, items and structures that then become available in ‘Sandbox-Mode’. This mode also allows players to build unique challenging puzzle rooms that you can share with your friends.

Several multi-player modes are planned as well, including ‘Cooperative’ and ‘Competitive’ modes. ‘Cooperative Mode’ allow players to work together on a Sandbox or Survival map. Head-to-head (PvP) ‘Competitive Mode’ challenges may be peaceful, such as a race to gather enough resources to fulfill a trade contract, or destructive, such as a pitted battle on an asteroid to take out the other guys Mining Pod. Additional information on multi-player modes will be announced soon.

Journalists interested in further information, additional assets or developer interviews are welcome to contact worldwide PR-Manager Hans Olsen by sending an email to hans@indiedeveloperconsulting.com. Members of the press are likewise encouraged to visit the following Hotlinks for recent updates:

Thank you Arcanelogic for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Hadron Forge.

 

 

GDC Next Reveals Double Fine, Riot Notables On Board For November Event

As Game Developers Conference Next session selections are prepared, event organizers have revealed the industry notables curating content – alongside GDC staff – for the future-facing conference. GDC Next is the spiritual successor to GDC Online – the new event aims to highlight the future of video games and will take place alongside the App Developers Conference on November 5th-7th, 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

GDC Next will offer six tracks that will cover new and rapidly expanding areas in video games. Event organizers have chosen 19 members for the Advisory Board with expertise in these evolving fields, including many of the key advisors from GDC Online.

The first lectures from the show, announced last month, include Google on the first year of its Play service, thatgamecompany on its design philosophy and future, Disney on theme park design lessons for game developers, and Adam Orth on reforming toxic online behavior.

New to the board for GDC Next is Double Fine brand manager Greg Rice. He will bring a keen eye to the Next Generation Game Platforms track, which includes those open to crowd-funded games, something the producer of the $3.3 million Kickstarter-funded Double Fine Adventure game (now called Broken Age) knows all about.

Returning, albeit in a new role, Kixeye executive producer Caryl Shaw brings her mobile game expertise to assist in planning for GDC Next tracks such as Smartphone & Tablet Games. Her previous experience also saw her as executive producer at mobile industry giant Ngmoco, working on games including We Rule, We City, and Godfinger.

Joining Shaw on the Smartphone & Tablet Games track will be Robot Invader CEO Chris Pruett, who at GDC 2013 sought to dispel iOS and Android rumors, diving into his development and release data from Rise of the Blobs and Wind-Up Knight. Pruett is an Android team alum, having worked on games at Google in the U.S. and Japan.

Elsewhere, Chris Enock is the VP of Central Publishing for League of Legends developer Riot Games, and Enock’s background will assist in shaping the Free to Play & New Business Models and The Future of Gaming GDC Next tracks.

Joe McDonagh is a partner and designer at Blue Manchu Games (Card Hunter). He previously worked on 2K’s BioShock series and served as creative director at LucasArts (Star Wars, Indiana Jones brands). His diverse, creative background will help form memorable content for GDC Next tracks including Independent Games.

These four board members are joined by a host of others, including BattleCry’s Rich Vogel, industry veteran Raph Koster, SomaSim’s Robert Zubek, Kabam’s Valerie Massey, The Workshop’s Laralyn McWilliams, Nexon’s Min Kim, and a number of other notables.

Registration is now open for GDC Next and the co-located ADC. The first 500 attendees who sign up can save over 30% on ADC, GDC Next, or a combined VIP Pass.

GDC Next organizers will begin regularly announcing its sessions soon. For all the latest news on GDC Next, subscribe for updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.

Thank you GDCN for providing us with this information.

GDC Europe Adds Wii U, Hitman: Absolution, DeNA Talks To An Already Packed Schedule

As Thursday’s early registration deadline looms, new GDC Europe talks include Hitman: Absolution’s AI/animation; Scattered Entertainment’s Senta Jakobsen (The Drowning) on distributed work environments; and Nintendo on using Unity, HTML, and JavaScript on the Wii U.

The event itself will take place Monday through Wednesday, August 19th-21st at the Cologne Congress-Centrum Ost in Cologne, Germany – just ahead of (and co-located with) the massive 275,000 person Gamescom event, with all GDC Europe passes also guaranteeing entrance to Gamescom.

In the first of Nintendo of Europe’s (NOE) two vendor-presented sessions, ‘Nintendo Wii U Application Development with HTML and JavaScript,’ NOE’s own Svyetoslav Pidgornyy and Martin Buchholz “will introduce a new way of rapidly developing Wii U applications that takes full advantage of unique Wii U features while reducing development times significantly.”

The second vendor session, ‘Unity, Wii U and You,’ will feature NOE senior software engineer James Steele and Unity core team developer Wayne Johnson, presenting “everything from technical advantages of using Unity to develop your Wii U titles, to the process of getting your title published on the Wii U.”

Elsewhere, in ‘Creating the AI for the Living, Breathing World of Hitman: Absolution,’ IO Interactive senior AI programmer Mika Vehkala will discuss how the Danish firm created believable AI that adapts to the player’s different actions in a game that is equal parts action and stealth. Accompanying IO’s rationale behind design choices, Vehkala will provide “detailed information about the implementation of the multiple software layers driving NPC animation and AI.”

Lastly, in ‘Reflections on a Distributed and Manager-Less Work Environment’ Senta Jakobsen, senior development director from Swedish studio Scattered Entertainment (a DeNA company), will follow up her GDC 2012 talk ‘Changing How Games are Made – Building and Working in a Distributed Team,’ covered by Gamasutra. She will review how the first year of distributed and manager-less work has progressed, sharing what has worked and what has not.

The vast majority of the talks for GDC Europe have now been revealed on the event’s live schedule builder, with over 75 lectures already available to view, and the official event schedule arriving in the near future.

Early bird registration for GDC Europe 2013 lasts only until this Thursday, July 18th, with discounts up to 20% off admission. Group admission discounts are also available. For all the latest news on GDC Europe, subscribe for updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.

Thank you GDC for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of GDC.

Unity Technologies Collaborates With Qualcomm

Unity Technologies announced today that Unity Technologies will be optimizing its multi-platform engine in the coming months in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies. These modifications will help improve the performance of Unity-authored games and applications running on mobile devices powered by a wide variety of Qualcomm Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm Technologies. As a result, developers will have a unique opportunity to create and deploy dynamic gaming experiences with high-end visuals on various Snapdragon processor-based devices. As part of this collaboration, Unity Technologies also will be making available enhanced and optimized mobile games for certain Snapdragon processor-based devices. Snapdragon users can look forward to new, Unity-based games later this year.

To date, Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, with integrated Adreno GPUs, can be found in more than 770 commercially available or announced products, with another 450 product designs in the pipeline. Available in a range of features and configurations, Qualcomm Snapdragon processors enable great gaming experiences across a large spectrum of devices, from entry-level smartphones to high-end smartphones and tablets. As a result, this collaboration will help empower Unity Technologies’ global community of more than 1.5 million registered developers to create better mobile gaming experiences with advanced graphics for many Snapdragon-based Android and Windows devices across the world.

“Qualcomm Technologies is passionate about mobile gaming, so we’re very excited to be working with an industry leader in game engine and tool technologies such as Unity Technologies,” said Raj Talluri, senior vice-president of product management at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “This collaboration will allow the two companies to optimize the strength of Unity’s powerful rendering engine with the integrated OpenGL ES 3.0 compliant Adreno GPUs and high performance multi-core CPUs of the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. As a result, this will help bring exceptional gaming experiences to consumers.”

“As an industry leader in mobile gaming, Unity Technologies is constantly looking to improve the quality and robustness of its multi-platform engine and development tools for Unity’s developer community,” said David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies. “We’re excited to work with an innovative global mobile technology provider such as Qualcomm Technologies and support their incredible Snapdragon processors, which are at the heart of many Android and Windows mobile devices across the globe.”