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Found 134 results

  1. Next Months Game Over event is in the calendar. Please go RSVP, come hang out with us that evening at Laugh Boston, play some games and talk Extra Life Game Over Event Calendar Link 2/16
  2. Folks, Attached are the meeting minutes for out Meeting at the first week of January. Apologies for not getting it in here sooner. Guild Meeting Notes_01 05 16.zip
  3. until
    Hey Folks We got a presence at Game Over Monday evening at 7 PM. This event is open to the public and there is a lot of gaming to do. Event Page Event Starts at 7 PM but gets busy around 8 PM. Come hang out play some games and get sign ups for Extra Life
  4. First Game Over event is next Tuesday 7 PM Open to the public. Starts at & but get busy around 8 PM. Come have some drinks, hang out, play games and sign up people for extra life. Game Over @ Laugh Boston 1/19
  5. Arisia 2016 Calendar Event Folks, Our first event for 2016 is in the calendar. Please visit, and while you're there, RSVP for a shift. We need 2 people and a leader per shift, 2 shifts per day. Like last year, we are getting the space for free, but everyone working has to buy a registration. Check out the site link on the calendar for registration prices.
  6. stodd.ELBoston

    Arisia

    until
    Ok Folks, We have a presence at Arisia. We will only be operating at the Fan tables Saturday and Sunday. (10-6) Just like last year, we get the table/space for free but any one volunteering has to purchase a Arisia registration (Prices Listed Below and Link Below). We'd like to do 2 shifts per day, but know that we're asking a lot for people to pay to work a con. (The great thing about this con is that we're super casual at this con, so you won't be trapped at a table) Sat 10-2 (2 Volunteers/1 Leader) Sat 2-6 (2 Volunteers/1 Leader) Sun 10-2 (2 Volunteers/1 Leader) Sun 2-6 (2 Volunteers/1 Leader) Arisia Website Weekend Rates Price Membership Type $45.00 through 9/30 $55.00 10/1 through 12/31 $65.00 At-door only We will be switching to a new registration system in January, so we will not be selling memberships online after 12/31. Memberships will be available for purchase at the convention. The above rates are for Adult memberships and Fast Track memberships (for children between 6 and 12 years). One-Day Membership Rates - ONLY at the door Price Membership Type $20.00 Friday only $45.00 Saturday only $30.00 Sunday only $10.00 Monday only
  7. until
    Our first meeting of the year is upon us. We will be at Microsoft NERD (1 Memorial) for this meeting. Please RSVP so that I can give a list to security of attendees. Social hour starts at 6 PM, meeting kick off is at 7 PM This meeting will Launch our new leadership team: @stodd.ELBoston, @PotatoTaco, and Luis Cardona, and @Rosie_Boston taking the helm at Boston Children's. We've already got events for Jan and Feb, so plenty to talk about. Se everyone at the meeting..
  8. Folks, the link is up for the Jan meeting. Please go RSVP. 6 Pm Social Hour/7 PM Meeting Start 1 Memorial Dr Cambridge MA (Microsoft NERD) Jan Meeting Calendar Link
  9. If you’ve involved yourself in a conversation about video games within the last few years, chances are you have come across the sentiment that the game industry has begun running out of ideas. People point to the highly iterative nature of what have become the annual tentpole franchises, using the similarity of those blockbuster games and their imitators as evidence of industry-wide stagnation. However, that concept is misguided. With the transparency of modern game development, the democratization of development tools, and the digital distribution revolution, the game industry has never been a more diverse place. While many commenters rightly identify that big franchises only slightly alter their formulas for every major new release, they miss why those titles are so iterative in the first place. It is no big secret that business drives the majority of game development. Creating a triple-A blockbuster like Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed takes an astronomical amount of money. You won’t see major studios throwing away the proven blueprints for the next title for the franchise in favor of something experimental. The potential failure could risk entire companies, both publishers and developers. Moving past the reasons for high-cost, triple-A titles adhering to formula, the video game industry exists outside the realm of multi-million dollar development. Since the digital revolution made independent video game publishing online a viable option, indie developers have thrived. Combined with the release of the Source Engine, Unreal Engine 4, Unity 5, and a number of other freely available development tools, there has never been a better time for people to create their own games. In fact, I’d argue that at no other time in the short history of video games has the industry been so robust and creative. There is room in the wide spectrum of gaming for Transistor and The Stanley Parable alongside juggernauts like Halo and Skyrim. That isn’t even counting the worlds of hobby game design and experimental game development. Hundreds of fully-fleshed out games like Star Stealing Prince or Exit Fate have been created by lone developers in their spare time and released freely onto the internet. These people don’t make money off their projects or distribute their games through stores. Experimental games have also been gaining more traction in recent years as people test the limits of what games can accomplish. The upcoming M.C. Escher-inspired title Manifold Garden challenges players to interact with the concept of infinity and four-dimensional space. Willy Chyr, the game’s sole creator, originally intended for the game to function as a piece of digital installation art and was surprised when it found a home on the PlayStation 4. That Chyr’s highly experimental work became attached to a mainstream publisher is something that would have been unthinkable several years ago, but we now exist in a time when almost everything can find the right audience. There are so many games being made these days that we’ve run into entirely the opposite problem of stagnation: There are simply too many games being made. Steam, the world’s largest digital distribution platform, has two systems that expose gamers to potentially exciting projects while also gauging their interest. Those programs, Greenlight and Early Access, are flooded with more games than could be played in a lifetime. Many of those titles are blatant cash grabs or barely functional prototypes. This problem, however, is merely a symptom of the industry’s massive expansion. All of this comes down to the simple fact that the video game industry, far from becoming stuck in a quagmire of incremental iteration, has flourished incredibly. More great video games are being made now than in the history of the medium, and that’s something we should celebrate. Originally published in La Cruda
  10. If you’ve involved yourself in a conversation about video games within the last few years, chances are you have come across the sentiment that the game industry has begun running out of ideas. People point to the highly iterative nature of what have become the annual tentpole franchises, using the similarity of those blockbuster games and their imitators as evidence of industry-wide stagnation. However, that concept is misguided. With the transparency of modern game development, the democratization of development tools, and the digital distribution revolution, the game industry has never been a more diverse place. While many commenters rightly identify that big franchises only slightly alter their formulas for every major new release, they miss why those titles are so iterative in the first place. It is no big secret that business drives the majority of game development. Creating a triple-A blockbuster like Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed takes an astronomical amount of money. You won’t see major studios throwing away the proven blueprints for the next title for the franchise in favor of something experimental. The potential failure could risk entire companies, both publishers and developers. Moving past the reasons for high-cost, triple-A titles adhering to formula, the video game industry exists outside the realm of multi-million dollar development. Since the digital revolution made independent video game publishing online a viable option, indie developers have thrived. Combined with the release of the Source Engine, Unreal Engine 4, Unity 5, and a number of other freely available development tools, there has never been a better time for people to create their own games. In fact, I’d argue that at no other time in the short history of video games has the industry been so robust and creative. There is room in the wide spectrum of gaming for Transistor and The Stanley Parable alongside juggernauts like Halo and Skyrim. That isn’t even counting the worlds of hobby game design and experimental game development. Hundreds of fully-fleshed out games like Star Stealing Prince or Exit Fate have been created by lone developers in their spare time and released freely onto the internet. These people don’t make money off their projects or distribute their games through stores. Experimental games have also been gaining more traction in recent years as people test the limits of what games can accomplish. The upcoming M.C. Escher-inspired title Manifold Garden challenges players to interact with the concept of infinity and four-dimensional space. Willy Chyr, the game’s sole creator, originally intended for the game to function as a piece of digital installation art and was surprised when it found a home on the PlayStation 4. That Chyr’s highly experimental work became attached to a mainstream publisher is something that would have been unthinkable several years ago, but we now exist in a time when almost everything can find the right audience. There are so many games being made these days that we’ve run into entirely the opposite problem of stagnation: There are simply too many games being made. Steam, the world’s largest digital distribution platform, has two systems that expose gamers to potentially exciting projects while also gauging their interest. Those programs, Greenlight and Early Access, are flooded with more games than could be played in a lifetime. Many of those titles are blatant cash grabs or barely functional prototypes. This problem, however, is merely a symptom of the industry’s massive expansion. All of this comes down to the simple fact that the video game industry, far from becoming stuck in a quagmire of incremental iteration, has flourished incredibly. More great video games are being made now than in the history of the medium, and that’s something we should celebrate. Originally published in La Cruda View full article
  11. until
    Hey guildies.. Sorry for the lack of communication lately. Things have been busy with major events planning at work, so I apppologize for not having details out to you sooner. Our last meeting of the year is tonight at Microsoft NERD (1 Memorial) Kendall Sq, Cambridge. at 7 PM.Tonight is all about just gaming and having a gathering. We will update with totals but other wise this is just a social meeting. Hope you guys can make it.
  12. until
    From the Wisconsin Center site: Now touring the United States and Canada, Symphony of the Goddesses - Master Quest brings Zelda fans and symphony goers alike an entirely new, exciting multimedia experience presenting over 28 years of music from The Legend of Zelda franchise as never before. Fans will relive all of their favorite moments from a fully developed and thoughtfully structured program including memorable, beloved melodies from titles including Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening and more. Start planning your adventure today! Designed to be a journey as epic and thrilling as the Legend itself, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses presents the music of this celebrated franchise with all-new arrangements directly approved by franchise producer Eiji Aonuma and Nintendo composer and sound director Koji Kondo (Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda). Featuring a first in video game concert history, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses has been arranged and programmed with classical sensibilities in mind, organizing the music of this beloved franchise into a complete, 4 movement symphony, worthy of the Hero of Hyrule himself. What: The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses - Master Quest Where: Milwaukee Theatre, Milwaukee, WI When: Oct. 3, 2015 8:00 p.m. The Extra Life Milwaukee Madison Guild needs your help! Join us to help spread the word about Extra Life and practice valuable communication skills in an exciting fun environment! Visit the Milwaukee-Madison forum to volunteer! ALSO: Tickets are still available!
  13. The digital art dealer Cook & Becker is back again with a freshly released batch of prints for their Sega Collection. The newest prints for Sonic the Hedgehog and Virtua Fighter join assorted artwork available includes pieces based on Streets of Rage, Shenmue, Shinobi, Phantasy Star, Golden Axe, and Jet Set Radio. The new Sonic the Hedgehog print is by Paul Veer, best known for his pixel art for the indie studio Vlambeer (Super Crate Box, Ridiculous Fishing, and Nuclear Throne). Veer worked on the print with Team Sonic to come up with something representative of the blue blur. Talking about his design he said, "The Sonic franchise as a whole has always had a huge influence on my personal art style, so getting to do an official print with Sega was an honor and a dream come true. With that in mind, I wanted to do the entire series justice by including lots of characters from past and present Sonic games." Gerald Peral worked on the prints for Virtua Fighter, which come in red and blue variants. He also created the print for Golden Axe that depicts the characters in a classic, pulp style. John Sweeny's print for Shenmue 3 has been so commercially successful, with all of the revenue going toward creating the third installment in the game series, that he's being made into an in-game character. A few of those prints are still available, but will likely be sold out shortly. On top of all that, Cook & Becker have announced that they will be receiving a collection of Bloodborne and The Order: 1888 artwork in time for Halloween. No word on exactly when we might expect to see these prints, but it is possible to get early access or reserve prints by contacting the dealer via their site.
  14. The digital art dealer Cook & Becker is back again with a freshly released batch of prints for their Sega Collection. The newest prints for Sonic the Hedgehog and Virtua Fighter join assorted artwork available includes pieces based on Streets of Rage, Shenmue, Shinobi, Phantasy Star, Golden Axe, and Jet Set Radio. The new Sonic the Hedgehog print is by Paul Veer, best known for his pixel art for the indie studio Vlambeer (Super Crate Box, Ridiculous Fishing, and Nuclear Throne). Veer worked on the print with Team Sonic to come up with something representative of the blue blur. Talking about his design he said, "The Sonic franchise as a whole has always had a huge influence on my personal art style, so getting to do an official print with Sega was an honor and a dream come true. With that in mind, I wanted to do the entire series justice by including lots of characters from past and present Sonic games." Gerald Peral worked on the prints for Virtua Fighter, which come in red and blue variants. He also created the print for Golden Axe that depicts the characters in a classic, pulp style. John Sweeny's print for Shenmue 3 has been so commercially successful, with all of the revenue going toward creating the third installment in the game series, that he's being made into an in-game character. A few of those prints are still available, but will likely be sold out shortly. On top of all that, Cook & Becker have announced that they will be receiving a collection of Bloodborne and The Order: 1888 artwork in time for Halloween. No word on exactly when we might expect to see these prints, but it is possible to get early access or reserve prints by contacting the dealer via their site. View full article
  15. Please go to the Boston FIG Calendar Link and RSVP to volunteer. @Chi will be heading this one up. Boston FIG Calendar Link
  16. Hi everyone and welcome to the page for Winnipeg's Extra Life Guild! We are the Winnipeg Extra Life guild, working hard to increase registration and year over year support for Extra Life across Manitoba. We support Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, which in turn uses the proceeds we raise to help kids from across Manitoba, Eastern Saskatchewan, and Western Ontario get well. We have members from across the province, with our primary event being hosted in Winnipeg! There is something for every one in every community - so feel free to take a look around and see what's up! Your Leadership Team: @hoodedarche0 - Graeme Fortlage - President @kaptainkirk - Kirk Fierback - Vice President @Sturbinator - Scott Sturby - Secretary Feel free to message any of them for information, help, or anything you require assistance with! Come out and Join us for our Next Monthly Guild Meeting! ---> http://community.extra-life.org/calendar/event/176-extra-life-winnipeg-monthly-guild-meeting/
  17. Hello All! Kash from Extra Life Orange County and MOG Nation Gaming here! I wanted to let you know that on Saturday 8/1 my community at MOG Nation Gaming will be running a 24-hour Marathon-before-the-Marathon for Extra Life. We will be concentrating on getting as many viewers as possible to sign up for the official November event. We will be playing some of the latest games, interviewing some heavy-hitters in the Extra Life community and giving away prizes. Please join us and show some support if you have some free time. The event runs from 9AM Saturday to 9AM Sunday. Thanks and have a wonderful weekend! Good luck to all of you that have your own events this weekend!! www.MOGNation.com www.Twitch.tv/mognation Mike "Kash" Liberto Extra Life OC PresidentFounder, MOG Nation GamingNutrition & Fitness Coach at Grinds4Gamers.com
  18. until
    Local Comic Con for the western Michigan area.
  19. Sgoast

    Geek.Kon

    until
    From geekkon.net: Geek.Kon is Madison Wisconsin's very own anime convention, sci-fi convention, and gaming convention all rolled into one! As the name implies, Geek.Kon is a place to celebrate all that is geeky from strong foundations in anime, science fiction, video gaming, tabletop gaming, and costuming to up and coming fandoms like steampunk and gothic lolita. From Lord of the Rings to Doctor Who, Mario to Solid Snake, Geek.Kon covers it all. Visit the Milwaukee-Madison Extra Life guild at their booth in the vendor area! (Volunteer opportunities are still available!)
  20. Hawk announced the new PlayStation 4 skateboarding title during Sony's CES keynote speech. As exciting as that announcement might be, there are no additional details about the game, not even a title. We know it will release this year and that it will come to PlayStation 4. There was no word on whether it will be exclusive to PS4, leaving open the possibility that Tony Hawk might make its way to other systems. Heck, we don't even know if it will be a downloadable or physical release. Some speculate that Activision and Sony have cut a marketing deal reminiscent of Destiny's Sony exclusive advertising. Of course, it is a bit too soon to jump to any conclusions with the limited information available. It's enough for now to know that Tony Hawk 2015 exists.
  21. Hawk announced the new PlayStation 4 skateboarding title during Sony's CES keynote speech. As exciting as that announcement might be, there are no additional details about the game, not even a title. We know it will release this year and that it will come to PlayStation 4. There was no word on whether it will be exclusive to PS4, leaving open the possibility that Tony Hawk might make its way to other systems. Heck, we don't even know if it will be a downloadable or physical release. Some speculate that Activision and Sony have cut a marketing deal reminiscent of Destiny's Sony exclusive advertising. Of course, it is a bit too soon to jump to any conclusions with the limited information available. It's enough for now to know that Tony Hawk 2015 exists. View full article
  22. Bandai Namco has announced that a new Godzilla game will be rampaging to PS3 and PS4 next year. The new game starring the terror of Tokyo will include appearances by many of Godzilla's familiar enemies, like King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Mechagodzilla. Other than that, this game looks a bit perplexing. Apparently players will control Godzilla with the goal of trampling through cities and foes to destroy Energy Generators and collect G-Energy. All of this will be done with a "Movie-Style Camera Angle System" which sounds like something a vengeful camera god would come up with scourge the lands with confusing camera controls. Whatever the case, I do enjoy the humorous take on the game in the trailer, which might be a good indication that the game won't take itself too seriously. I'm probably in the minority of people who will definitely be looking forward to whatever weird concoction of gameplay Godzilla ends up being.
  23. Bandai Namco has announced that a new Godzilla game will be rampaging to PS3 and PS4 next year. The new game starring the terror of Tokyo will include appearances by many of Godzilla's familiar enemies, like King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Mechagodzilla. Other than that, this game looks a bit perplexing. Apparently players will control Godzilla with the goal of trampling through cities and foes to destroy Energy Generators and collect G-Energy. All of this will be done with a "Movie-Style Camera Angle System" which sounds like something a vengeful camera god would come up with scourge the lands with confusing camera controls. Whatever the case, I do enjoy the humorous take on the game in the trailer, which might be a good indication that the game won't take itself too seriously. I'm probably in the minority of people who will definitely be looking forward to whatever weird concoction of gameplay Godzilla ends up being. View full article
  24. For those that don’t know, the last few weeks have been rough in the video game industry. Developers and critics have been harassed and threatened to the point that they have had to flee their homes or leave the industry entirely. A bomb threat was called on a flight carrying the president of Sony Online Entertainment. A campaign of harassment has continued at unprecedented levels and has disturbingly seemed to target women. There hasn’t been a day that goes by in the last three weeks that I haven’t looked at my Twitter feed and seen another industry person accused of wrongdoing and sent hundreds of awful messages containing the worst examples of language, intent, and malice. There is no winning scenario against such an onslaught of hatred. Fighting it makes it worse. You can’t reason with it because it is like a hydra; even if you convince one or two people that they’re mistaken several more are ready to go for your jugular. Both the people who write about games and the people who make them, especially the people with smaller outlets or who have gone the independent route, rely heavily on social media, it is a key tool that’s necessary for doing their jobs and paying their bills, something that many in the industry struggle to do. In reaction to this ongoing behavior, a number of game critics and writers declared that the term “gamer” was dead, rotten to the core, or broken beyond repair. This had the effect of further alienating their audience. Those who had been participating in the campaigns of harassment felt justified in striking back at the industry that they felt had tried to disown them, while the majority of people who identify as gamers felt unfairly labeled as people who accept and participate in hateful behavior. There are a number of great articles on the subject that I found to be helpful when trying to make sense of this entire situation and perhaps they can be helpful to you all as well. Devin Faraci over on Badass Digest, Jim Sterling on the Escapist, and Keith Stuart at The Guardian. As for what I think about the whole affair… well, it genuinely makes me feel very sad. It seems to me that the core argument of the harassers is that the majority of games journalism and developers are corrupt and trying to in some way enrich themselves. I am in a position to know that many of the allegations of corruption aren’t correct. Sure, out there in the wide world it must happen, but most game journalists and critics get paid in beans. They do it because they love games and find them to be exceedingly interesting. Most indie devs aren’t in the business for the money, either. As anecdote to illustrate my point, a few months ago a gaming podcast I record on the side had on a member of the startup indie studio Tangentlemen as a guest. Their studio was working out of a garage and their financials were on the line. These were people that had worked at big studios and they gave up that life to work on games about which they thought were important. The people being targeted with harassment and accusations of corruption can’t afford to be corrupt because they are already paying the price of wanting to either write about games or make them without the backing of major publishers. Many of the people in this line of work could be very successful, but they choose to put their talent to work for a fraction of what they could make elsewhere because they love games. I also find it alarming that so many of the people targeted have been female indie developers. Given that the games industry is mostly populated with men, it is disturbing to see that the brunt of the harassment has been experienced by women. Not only do these targets tend to be women, but they also have tended to be indie developers who have turned to services like Patreon or Kickstarter for financial support, making them more vulnerable than people who are a part of established organizations like EA, Activision, etc. I feel like that’s more than a bit telling that our industry still has a long ways to go when it comes to how women are treated both in-game and in the real world. The entire situation isn’t right. A small portion of the gaming community has been harassing developers, critics, and journalists for weeks, which has spurred some games journalists into defensively lashing out at the entire community. Naturally, this all begins to look like something that could become an ongoing cycle of ugliness. I believe that the journalists saying that the term “gamer” is dead are wrong. The word is widely used in the community to describe someone who enjoys playing video games. It might not be the most logical word (after all, how often are people who watch movies referred to as moviers or people who enjoy books called bookers?), but it is a useful word. The English language is one that prioritizes usefulness over logic; one of the reasons why our grammar is so strange and there are so many exceptions to rules and strange pronunciations. “Gamer” will be around as long as it continues to be useful as a descriptor and a cultural identifier. However, there is a slight catch. Every word has both a denotation, which is its literal definition, and a connotation, which is the spirit of the word or the ideas and feeling that the word invokes. Denotations tend to remain somewhat static, while connotations can change rapidly over time. The term for this shift in meaning is called semantic change. There are many words that originally had positive and useful applications, but later became unacceptable. If a small segment of the gaming community continues to harass developers there is the possibility that the word “gamer” could come to have negative connotations. I think it is probably very easy to poison a word when a group of individuals associated with it are broadcasting awful things to the world in a very public manner. I am sitting here and I don’t know what to do. I get on Twitter and see people like Jenn Frank leaving the industry because their years of passionate work is being rewarded with torrents of awful comments. I’m seeing some of the most interesting game makers and writers out there leaving an industry because a small group of people has decided that they are corrupt or a jerk or are in some way a threat. It makes me mad. It makes me sad. I want to open my window and shout down the street about how unfair the situation has become. But being mad or sad or shouting or complaining will actually fix the problem. Perhaps this so called “Gamergate” is symptomatic of the growing pains that the games industry needs to go through before coming more fully into its own. I think that’s a possibility. It is also possible that this isn’t an issue that will just go away in time. I think that what I said two weeks ago still holds true: Be excellent to each other. With all your might, be excellent to each other. When you see people harassing an individual over social media, speak up for what is right. Discussion is great and criticism is encouraged, but hate speech, threats, abuse, and baseless accusations aren’t either of those things. Always remember that it is okay to disagree with someone while still showing them a modicum of respect and human decency. To anyone who might be participating in the harassment, remember that you are heaping an abuse on actual, living people. If you have a shred of empathy or good in you, please stop. After all of this, I want to talk about the things that brings game journalists, developers, critics, and gamers together: Games. While the present state of the industry and its community might appear to be foul, the prospects on the horizon fill me with hopeful anticipation. Technology that several years ago could only be dreamed of is slowly becoming a reality. Thinking of the possibilities inherent in video games and how the technology could broaden their scope reminded me this week of why I love writing about video games in the first place. I thought I’d share a few of the technologies that gave me new hope. Project Holodeck is basically a full-body virtual experience, or at least an attempt at one, aiming to have a feeling similar to the holodeck popularized by Star Trek. It consists of an Oculus Rift headset, a PlayStation Move, a Razer Hydra, and a Lenovo laptop attached to players’ backs. While the necessary equipment for Project Holodeck looks goofy on players, it is important to remember that the technology is still in its infancy. While the graphical quality of the demos that have been revealed so far is a bit underwhelming, the proof of concept is amazingly attractive. If a group of student developers could create something like that, what could an entire studio do? As rough as the tech appears and as silly as the VR equipment looks, it does actually work. That fact alone is enough to make me smile at the possibilities. Also it doesn’t hurt that their original concept video showcased Skies of Arcadia, one of my all-time favorite RPGs. Another piece of technology that has yet to be fully explored in the realm of gaming is Leap Motion. Created as a gesture-based interface for computers, the $80 sensor tracks hand movements with astounding accuracy. While the initial peripheral released last year to a somewhat lukewarm response, it was recently revealed that there are plans to use Leap Motion tech alongside Oculus Rift. Basically, it would allow the VR headset to read hand gestures and track their movement before they moved into player view, expanding peripheral vision. It could also be used to perform simple tasks like picking up objects, opening doors, etc. in a way that is much more accurate than what the Kinect or Wii were able to accomplish. Something else to think about is the Oculus Rift and other VR headsets like Sony’s Project Morpheus. Those are on their way, too! Regardless of whether you think the “gamer” is dead or still alive and kicking or if you are a journalist or just a normal person who plays games, this is exciting. It could be like the invention of talkies in film or the step into the realm of color projection. It is a big deal and it is coming no matter the outcome of our industry’s current dust-up. To me, that is something of a comfort. The idea that we could soon be fully immersed in digital spaces is insanely exciting and just thinking about the opportunities to tell narratives in that form is so dang cool. Then there are the technologies that are a bit further out there. Augmented reality games that place digital creations in the real world might seem like a fantasy, but how many of you got excited at the prospect of a Pokémon game in the real world when Google Maps did their April Fools joke this year? Can we all just take a minute to imagine how unbelievably rad that would be? I just used the word rad to describe something, which speaks to the amazing potential of AR games. Right now, AR seems to be relegated to the realm of side-show oddity or relegated to apps. The 3DS has the ability to produce AR games, but not many people seem to be in the business of making AR games. If anything, the nearly 16,000,000 views and 120,000 likes that Google’s Pokémon AR goof has received is enough to show that there is definitely an untapped interest in similar experiences. All I know is that if something like this was actually made, I would finally go outside and see that “sunlight” thing that everyone keep yammering on about. Finally, we get to one of my most anticipated pieces of technology that makes me look forward to the future of gaming. Four years ago, there was an Australian based company called Euclideon appeared. Euclideon claimed that had created a way to abandon polygons and increase visual fidelity to near infinite levels of detail without even taxing a traditional graphics card. After making the claim, the company went silent for more than a year, which caused many to shrug and assume it was some sort of scam. However, when Euclideon reemerged and broke its silence, it released a tech demo for an engine it called the Unlimited Detail engine. UD was supposedly a new way to generate visuals. Euclideon claimed that it used a search algorithm for each pixel on the screen and in this way it was able to create levels of detail so minute that individual grains of dirt could be zoomed into in real time. To give everyone a reference point, they converted the atoms of their tech demo into polygons. They claimed that every cubic meter of dirt was composed of over 15,000,000 converted polygons, which is more than the total number of polygons in any game at that time that didn’t use procedural generation. The bottom line was that Euclideon claimed that their Unlimited Detail engine could improve the graphical quality by a factor of around 100,000. Despite the tech demo, many dismissed Euclideon’s claims as impossible. Once again the company fell silent. Last year, they resurfaced again, but not in the world of gaming. It turns out that the geospatial industry makes use of large amounts of data and has trouble rendering it all quickly and efficiently. It normally takes about a half an hour for a computer with sixty gigabytes of RAM to render ten billion points of data. Euclideon’s geospatial program that makes use of their Unlimited Detail engine demonstrates the ability to render twenty billion points in 0.8 seconds. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. It can do this off of a USB 2.0 stick. It can shift into 3D. It is flippin’ incredible! You might be thinking, “that’s great, but a laser scanned map doesn’t seem much like a video game thing. Does working on a program for geospatial companies mean Euclideon has abandoned gaming forever?” That doesn’t seem to be likely. There is a video floating around the internet that was posted last year shortly before Euclideon’s geospatial program was announced when an Australian student visited Euclideon to tour their facility and interview CEO Bruce Dell. The tour shows the company working on creating animation models and game creation tools for developers. Some employees who were let go have also said that the technology does indeed work. In the interview with Dell, the CEO explains why no games have been made with their engine. It was a bad time for us for computer games. The current consoles are ending (the interview was done before the release dates and prices for the PS4 and Xbox One were announced last year), not enough time for us to make the software development kit and for companies to make games. We had a few joint projects that we just plainly had to turn down saying, “it doesn’t work for us right now to make the SDK for the existing consoles.” They’ve lasted longer than we’d thought, no one was quite sure when the next Xbox and the next PlayStation was about to come out and we’d been dragging on for two years now and we thought we really couldn’t take that risk and it is too early to prepare for the next ones, so it is a bit of a problem right now for people going into the game engine business. We decided that we will come back to games, and we are doing things regarding games here, but that’s a surprise for the future, but we decided that we should go into another industry temporarily. I know it is probably wise to take Euclideon’s claims with caution. However, I can’t help but watch the tech demos and interviews with the company that have cropped up over the years and feel myself growing more excited. Many people claim that Euclideon can’t actually make games with their engine, that interacting with the environment would be too much for any computer to process, that animating with such a system would be a nightmare, etc. Despite those logical reasons, I just can’t find it in myself to dismiss Euclideon’s claims. I’ve seen nothing that proves their claims are false, just that what they claim to have done has never been accomplished before. If their incredible assertions are real, something that is given more credence given their application of it in the geospatial industry, this will change the face of gaming technology forever. All of this is to say that, yes, the industry is in a rough patch right now and that makes it is easier to lose sight of some of the more exciting possibilities that the future has in store. We could be seeing games that run on computers with a fraction of the RAM they currently require. Heck, we could see high-end games begin played on our phones. Technology that allows us to grasp virtual objects while fully tracking our movements. Digital creations invading the physical world. These are just a few examples of the technologies on which our future games will rely. What will those games look like? What sorts of narratives will they tell? Where will they take us? How will they change the world? These are things worth anticipating. Ultimately, we all play video games because we enjoy video games. Many of us feel that they’re important to our lives. That goes for gamers, journalists, and critics. We are all in the same boat. No one in the industry deserves to be harassed out of their homes or jobs and as game critics and journalists my colleagues and I shouldn’t be painting their entire readership with the same brush as those participating in the harassment. When we attack each other, we’re drilling holes in our own boat and that doesn’t help anyone. The only way forward is by being excellent to each other, respecting one another even in disagreement, and bonding together through a mutual passion. Video game industry and community, the present might seem to be mired in muck and vitriol, but the future holds fantastic promises.
  25. For those that don’t know, the last few weeks have been rough in the video game industry. Developers and critics have been harassed and threatened to the point that they have had to flee their homes or leave the industry entirely. A bomb threat was called on a flight carrying the president of Sony Online Entertainment. A campaign of harassment has continued at unprecedented levels and has disturbingly seemed to target women. There hasn’t been a day that goes by in the last three weeks that I haven’t looked at my Twitter feed and seen another industry person accused of wrongdoing and sent hundreds of awful messages containing the worst examples of language, intent, and malice. There is no winning scenario against such an onslaught of hatred. Fighting it makes it worse. You can’t reason with it because it is like a hydra; even if you convince one or two people that they’re mistaken several more are ready to go for your jugular. Both the people who write about games and the people who make them, especially the people with smaller outlets or who have gone the independent route, rely heavily on social media, it is a key tool that’s necessary for doing their jobs and paying their bills, something that many in the industry struggle to do. In reaction to this ongoing behavior, a number of game critics and writers declared that the term “gamer” was dead, rotten to the core, or broken beyond repair. This had the effect of further alienating their audience. Those who had been participating in the campaigns of harassment felt justified in striking back at the industry that they felt had tried to disown them, while the majority of people who identify as gamers felt unfairly labeled as people who accept and participate in hateful behavior. There are a number of great articles on the subject that I found to be helpful when trying to make sense of this entire situation and perhaps they can be helpful to you all as well. Devin Faraci over on Badass Digest, Jim Sterling on the Escapist, and Keith Stuart at The Guardian. As for what I think about the whole affair… well, it genuinely makes me feel very sad. It seems to me that the core argument of the harassers is that the majority of games journalism and developers are corrupt and trying to in some way enrich themselves. I am in a position to know that many of the allegations of corruption aren’t correct. Sure, out there in the wide world it must happen, but most game journalists and critics get paid in beans. They do it because they love games and find them to be exceedingly interesting. Most indie devs aren’t in the business for the money, either. As anecdote to illustrate my point, a few months ago a gaming podcast I record on the side had on a member of the startup indie studio Tangentlemen as a guest. Their studio was working out of a garage and their financials were on the line. These were people that had worked at big studios and they gave up that life to work on games about which they thought were important. The people being targeted with harassment and accusations of corruption can’t afford to be corrupt because they are already paying the price of wanting to either write about games or make them without the backing of major publishers. Many of the people in this line of work could be very successful, but they choose to put their talent to work for a fraction of what they could make elsewhere because they love games. I also find it alarming that so many of the people targeted have been female indie developers. Given that the games industry is mostly populated with men, it is disturbing to see that the brunt of the harassment has been experienced by women. Not only do these targets tend to be women, but they also have tended to be indie developers who have turned to services like Patreon or Kickstarter for financial support, making them more vulnerable than people who are a part of established organizations like EA, Activision, etc. I feel like that’s more than a bit telling that our industry still has a long ways to go when it comes to how women are treated both in-game and in the real world. The entire situation isn’t right. A small portion of the gaming community has been harassing developers, critics, and journalists for weeks, which has spurred some games journalists into defensively lashing out at the entire community. Naturally, this all begins to look like something that could become an ongoing cycle of ugliness. I believe that the journalists saying that the term “gamer” is dead are wrong. The word is widely used in the community to describe someone who enjoys playing video games. It might not be the most logical word (after all, how often are people who watch movies referred to as moviers or people who enjoy books called bookers?), but it is a useful word. The English language is one that prioritizes usefulness over logic; one of the reasons why our grammar is so strange and there are so many exceptions to rules and strange pronunciations. “Gamer” will be around as long as it continues to be useful as a descriptor and a cultural identifier. However, there is a slight catch. Every word has both a denotation, which is its literal definition, and a connotation, which is the spirit of the word or the ideas and feeling that the word invokes. Denotations tend to remain somewhat static, while connotations can change rapidly over time. The term for this shift in meaning is called semantic change. There are many words that originally had positive and useful applications, but later became unacceptable. If a small segment of the gaming community continues to harass developers there is the possibility that the word “gamer” could come to have negative connotations. I think it is probably very easy to poison a word when a group of individuals associated with it are broadcasting awful things to the world in a very public manner. I am sitting here and I don’t know what to do. I get on Twitter and see people like Jenn Frank leaving the industry because their years of passionate work is being rewarded with torrents of awful comments. I’m seeing some of the most interesting game makers and writers out there leaving an industry because a small group of people has decided that they are corrupt or a jerk or are in some way a threat. It makes me mad. It makes me sad. I want to open my window and shout down the street about how unfair the situation has become. But being mad or sad or shouting or complaining will actually fix the problem. Perhaps this so called “Gamergate” is symptomatic of the growing pains that the games industry needs to go through before coming more fully into its own. I think that’s a possibility. It is also possible that this isn’t an issue that will just go away in time. I think that what I said two weeks ago still holds true: Be excellent to each other. With all your might, be excellent to each other. When you see people harassing an individual over social media, speak up for what is right. Discussion is great and criticism is encouraged, but hate speech, threats, abuse, and baseless accusations aren’t either of those things. Always remember that it is okay to disagree with someone while still showing them a modicum of respect and human decency. To anyone who might be participating in the harassment, remember that you are heaping an abuse on actual, living people. If you have a shred of empathy or good in you, please stop. After all of this, I want to talk about the things that brings game journalists, developers, critics, and gamers together: Games. While the present state of the industry and its community might appear to be foul, the prospects on the horizon fill me with hopeful anticipation. Technology that several years ago could only be dreamed of is slowly becoming a reality. Thinking of the possibilities inherent in video games and how the technology could broaden their scope reminded me this week of why I love writing about video games in the first place. I thought I’d share a few of the technologies that gave me new hope. Project Holodeck is basically a full-body virtual experience, or at least an attempt at one, aiming to have a feeling similar to the holodeck popularized by Star Trek. It consists of an Oculus Rift headset, a PlayStation Move, a Razer Hydra, and a Lenovo laptop attached to players’ backs. While the necessary equipment for Project Holodeck looks goofy on players, it is important to remember that the technology is still in its infancy. While the graphical quality of the demos that have been revealed so far is a bit underwhelming, the proof of concept is amazingly attractive. If a group of student developers could create something like that, what could an entire studio do? As rough as the tech appears and as silly as the VR equipment looks, it does actually work. That fact alone is enough to make me smile at the possibilities. Also it doesn’t hurt that their original concept video showcased Skies of Arcadia, one of my all-time favorite RPGs. Another piece of technology that has yet to be fully explored in the realm of gaming is Leap Motion. Created as a gesture-based interface for computers, the $80 sensor tracks hand movements with astounding accuracy. While the initial peripheral released last year to a somewhat lukewarm response, it was recently revealed that there are plans to use Leap Motion tech alongside Oculus Rift. Basically, it would allow the VR headset to read hand gestures and track their movement before they moved into player view, expanding peripheral vision. It could also be used to perform simple tasks like picking up objects, opening doors, etc. in a way that is much more accurate than what the Kinect or Wii were able to accomplish. Something else to think about is the Oculus Rift and other VR headsets like Sony’s Project Morpheus. Those are on their way, too! Regardless of whether you think the “gamer” is dead or still alive and kicking or if you are a journalist or just a normal person who plays games, this is exciting. It could be like the invention of talkies in film or the step into the realm of color projection. It is a big deal and it is coming no matter the outcome of our industry’s current dust-up. To me, that is something of a comfort. The idea that we could soon be fully immersed in digital spaces is insanely exciting and just thinking about the opportunities to tell narratives in that form is so dang cool. Then there are the technologies that are a bit further out there. Augmented reality games that place digital creations in the real world might seem like a fantasy, but how many of you got excited at the prospect of a Pokémon game in the real world when Google Maps did their April Fools joke this year? Can we all just take a minute to imagine how unbelievably rad that would be? I just used the word rad to describe something, which speaks to the amazing potential of AR games. Right now, AR seems to be relegated to the realm of side-show oddity or relegated to apps. The 3DS has the ability to produce AR games, but not many people seem to be in the business of making AR games. If anything, the nearly 16,000,000 views and 120,000 likes that Google’s Pokémon AR goof has received is enough to show that there is definitely an untapped interest in similar experiences. All I know is that if something like this was actually made, I would finally go outside and see that “sunlight” thing that everyone keep yammering on about. Finally, we get to one of my most anticipated pieces of technology that makes me look forward to the future of gaming. Four years ago, there was an Australian based company called Euclideon appeared. Euclideon claimed that had created a way to abandon polygons and increase visual fidelity to near infinite levels of detail without even taxing a traditional graphics card. After making the claim, the company went silent for more than a year, which caused many to shrug and assume it was some sort of scam. However, when Euclideon reemerged and broke its silence, it released a tech demo for an engine it called the Unlimited Detail engine. UD was supposedly a new way to generate visuals. Euclideon claimed that it used a search algorithm for each pixel on the screen and in this way it was able to create levels of detail so minute that individual grains of dirt could be zoomed into in real time. To give everyone a reference point, they converted the atoms of their tech demo into polygons. They claimed that every cubic meter of dirt was composed of over 15,000,000 converted polygons, which is more than the total number of polygons in any game at that time that didn’t use procedural generation. The bottom line was that Euclideon claimed that their Unlimited Detail engine could improve the graphical quality by a factor of around 100,000. Despite the tech demo, many dismissed Euclideon’s claims as impossible. Once again the company fell silent. Last year, they resurfaced again, but not in the world of gaming. It turns out that the geospatial industry makes use of large amounts of data and has trouble rendering it all quickly and efficiently. It normally takes about a half an hour for a computer with sixty gigabytes of RAM to render ten billion points of data. Euclideon’s geospatial program that makes use of their Unlimited Detail engine demonstrates the ability to render twenty billion points in 0.8 seconds. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. It can do this off of a USB 2.0 stick. It can shift into 3D. It is flippin’ incredible! You might be thinking, “that’s great, but a laser scanned map doesn’t seem much like a video game thing. Does working on a program for geospatial companies mean Euclideon has abandoned gaming forever?” That doesn’t seem to be likely. There is a video floating around the internet that was posted last year shortly before Euclideon’s geospatial program was announced when an Australian student visited Euclideon to tour their facility and interview CEO Bruce Dell. The tour shows the company working on creating animation models and game creation tools for developers. Some employees who were let go have also said that the technology does indeed work. In the interview with Dell, the CEO explains why no games have been made with their engine. It was a bad time for us for computer games. The current consoles are ending (the interview was done before the release dates and prices for the PS4 and Xbox One were announced last year), not enough time for us to make the software development kit and for companies to make games. We had a few joint projects that we just plainly had to turn down saying, “it doesn’t work for us right now to make the SDK for the existing consoles.” They’ve lasted longer than we’d thought, no one was quite sure when the next Xbox and the next PlayStation was about to come out and we’d been dragging on for two years now and we thought we really couldn’t take that risk and it is too early to prepare for the next ones, so it is a bit of a problem right now for people going into the game engine business. We decided that we will come back to games, and we are doing things regarding games here, but that’s a surprise for the future, but we decided that we should go into another industry temporarily. I know it is probably wise to take Euclideon’s claims with caution. However, I can’t help but watch the tech demos and interviews with the company that have cropped up over the years and feel myself growing more excited. Many people claim that Euclideon can’t actually make games with their engine, that interacting with the environment would be too much for any computer to process, that animating with such a system would be a nightmare, etc. Despite those logical reasons, I just can’t find it in myself to dismiss Euclideon’s claims. I’ve seen nothing that proves their claims are false, just that what they claim to have done has never been accomplished before. If their incredible assertions are real, something that is given more credence given their application of it in the geospatial industry, this will change the face of gaming technology forever. All of this is to say that, yes, the industry is in a rough patch right now and that makes it is easier to lose sight of some of the more exciting possibilities that the future has in store. We could be seeing games that run on computers with a fraction of the RAM they currently require. Heck, we could see high-end games begin played on our phones. Technology that allows us to grasp virtual objects while fully tracking our movements. Digital creations invading the physical world. These are just a few examples of the technologies on which our future games will rely. What will those games look like? What sorts of narratives will they tell? Where will they take us? How will they change the world? These are things worth anticipating. Ultimately, we all play video games because we enjoy video games. Many of us feel that they’re important to our lives. That goes for gamers, journalists, and critics. We are all in the same boat. No one in the industry deserves to be harassed out of their homes or jobs and as game critics and journalists my colleagues and I shouldn’t be painting their entire readership with the same brush as those participating in the harassment. When we attack each other, we’re drilling holes in our own boat and that doesn’t help anyone. The only way forward is by being excellent to each other, respecting one another even in disagreement, and bonding together through a mutual passion. Video game industry and community, the present might seem to be mired in muck and vitriol, but the future holds fantastic promises. View full article
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