The massively multiplayer game EVE Online is a siren song for sci-fi fans looking to lose themselves in a starfaring society. Those who grew up on Star Trek, Star Wars and the Wing Commander games can’t help but feel the pull of the 10-year-old game and community.
That decade, however, can act as a barrier. The EVE Universe is complex. Thick novels that detail the thousands of years of history. Massive factions made out of real players who have competed with each other for a decade. Layers of lore–that’s the gaming term for backstory–which is as daunting to some as the elaboarate continuties of comic books and Doctor Who are to others.
At least that’s how I feel about EVE.
[Read up on the transmedia strategy the game's makers are using to combat this after the jump.]
Zeb L. West is a video game developer in Austin, Texas. West begin his game career at the Mac publisher Aspyr before joining BioWare, creators of Star Wars: The Old Republic. After losing his job in a post-release round of layoffs the actor turned game dev decided to put a stake in the ground and go indie.
Against my will, at a complete surprise, it made me relive something that I had spent most of my teenage years forcing out of my head; the smell of the shed, the way the air was so cold, and the way my throat burned for hours after the attack as I sat in the street afraid to move—afraid for my life.
Be warned: this is some very personal, very graphic writing. Not for the faint of heart or those still traumatized by their own scars.
This entry in the Independent Games Festival’s 2013 student competition has been making my, uh, downtime pass by like a fresh breeze. Knights of Pen & Paper is a turn based, pixel art styled simulation of playing a pen and paper roleplaying game. The action revolves around a gaming table, complete with a dungeon master and snacks you can buy, through in game rewards or microtransactions. The work of students from the University of Brazil, this Unity engine based game is as accomplished as some of my favorite mobile titles. –Noah Nelson
Farewell, Fung Wah: A Musical Memorial for an Affordable Bus (Article)
All you needed to get from Boston to NY was $15, 4-6 hours, and a small sense of adventure. But what riders called tolerable, safety inspectors called illegal and recently shut the company down. Every Fung Wah rider has their survivor story; my bus got so overheated that my metal armrest burned to the touch. Before rider complaints turned to rider mutiny, the sleepy-looking driver pulled over on highway shoulder, walked to the back of the bus and punched out the emergency hatch. But that’s nothing compared to the highlight reel on the wikipedia page, Fung Wah safety.
I think it’s important to note the majority of stories end with “no injuries reported.” Like a lot of fun things, Fung Wah was cheap, reckless, and mostly nobody got hurt. Here’s another rider’s ode to the beloved, lost bus line. –Ike Sriskandarajah
We told you about the GameStick before, a crowdfunded rival to the much buzzed about Ouya console. Both are aiming to get Android gaming into a console format and start a brand new front in the gaming war for the the living room.
The devlopement kit model, which they’ve dubbed the DEV unit, is in production and promises to ship “later this month”. PlayJam, company behind GameStick promises some big announcements at the Game Developers Conference next week in San Francisco. In a Kickstarter update yesterday they claimed “over 500 developers have, or are in the process of signing up” to become part of their development program. They’ve also hinted that major retailers are interested in the system.
We know that BestBuy has already picked up the Ouya for distribution, does the box store giant see a growth market here?
Big feature at Eurogamer about the business ties between game publishers and gun makers like Barrett, maker of the M82 sniper rifle.
Today licensed weapons are commonplace in video games, but the deals between game makers and gun-manufacturer are shrouded. Not one of the publishers contacted for this article was willing to discuss the practice. (EA: “I’m afraid we can’t progress this.” Activision: “Not something we can assist with at present… My hands are tied.” Codemasters: “We’re focused on our racing titles these days.” Crytek: “We can’t help you with that request.” Sega: “[This] doesn’t sit comfortably.” Sony: “I can’t help with this I’m afraid.”)
However, the gun makers are more forthcoming. “[It's] absolutely the same as with cars in games,” says Barrett’s Vaughn. “We must be paid a royalty fee – either a one-time payment or a percentage of sales, all negotiable. Typically, a licensee pays between 5 per cent to 10 per cent retail price for the agreement. But we could negotiate on that.”
There’s some deep, dark ironies at work here. The NRA likes to put the blame for violence on video games, which are contributing to the creation of a new generation of gun collectors– the backbone of the NRA.
Gas Powered Games (Supreme Commander 2, Dungeon Siege Universe) founder has laid the company on the line with a Kickstarter campaign, and in this emotional update video explains why laying off part of his staff was something he needed to do. Watch the video, it’s NOT what you’d expect. (Some context for you.) (more…)
Two weeks ago I was jazzed about making predictions for 2013. Now, with less than 12 hours to go, I’m a but less enthused. What was looking like a strong end to a rough but decent year has turned into full on “wheels have fallen off the bus” moment.
Yet the point of predictions– and resolutions if you look at them the right way– are to invest a little hope into the world. An exercise, if you will, in exerting our wits and will on the oh-so-mercurial future.
So here are five predictions, serious– or at least as serious as prognostications about the creative economy can get–and silly alike for the year we call Twenty Thirteen.
While we’re off stuffing our mask-holes with cakes and pies we’re still committed to bringing you a little something extra every day. Later in the week we’ll be getting around to some predictions for 2013, but right now we’re going to spin out a little “Best of Turnstyle”. Our theme for the day: gaming.
We’ve assembled some of our favorite stories from the past year from the realm of games: