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Creating Video Games, from Luge to 3-D June 9, 2008

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Videogame creation is serious work at NC State. Starting with raw ideas, pitches and pizza, computer science and industrial design students work collaboratively to develop computer games with compelling art and visuals, paired with sound game play mechanics and technical wizardry.

The results of this semester-long collaboration were be on display at the fifth annual Game Development Showcase featuring presentations by each of the four game development teams composed of students from computer science’s advanced game development course taught by R. Michael Young, and industrial design’s 3D game development studio led by Tim Buie. Teams gave hands-on demos of their games and answered questions about the games’ design and technologies.

Four games made it from pitch to project:

• Beating Heart Studio’s Deliver Us From Evil
• Catlyst Studio’s Compound Reaction
• Meltdown Studio’s Meltdown: Xtreme Luge
Unus Studio’s Enyara

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Red Storm Rising March 10, 2008

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Red Storm RisingRed Storm Is on the Prowl for New Gaming Talent 

Red Storm Entertainment, one of the larger game development studios in the Triangle, wants a few good men and women for its growing army of developers..  Elizabeth Loverso, director of product development at Ubisoft/Red Storm Entertainment, took the Morrisville-based studio’s search to the recent Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. In an exclusive interview, Loverso discussed Red Storm’s search, the role GDC plays in the studio’s strategy, and the continuing growth of the gaming industry in the Research Triangle area.

However, Loverso wouldn’t discuss Red Storm’s current game project. The company, which was launched by Tom Clancy in 1996, released last November “America’s Army: True Soldiers.” In a Q&A, Loverso, who is a graduate of Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. and has been ranked as one of the most 100 influential women in the gaming industry, did discuss a variety of topics.  Read More…

[via WRAL.com]

HASTAC Digital Media + Learning Awards February 21, 2008

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HASTAC17 INNOVATIVE PROJECTS TO SHARE $2 MILLION

A mixed reality game for high school students in Los Angeles and Cairo to learn about the real-time impact of air pollution in their neighborhoods. A web application that aggregates news and nonprofit needs, where every news story is linked to real-world actions that users can take. A mobile musical laboratory that allows students to explore new ways of making music with laptops and local area networks.

These are three of the 17 projects that will receive up to $238,000 in funding as part of the first ever Digital Media and Learning Competition funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and administered by HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory). Selected from a pool of 1010 applications, the winning projects are expected to produce promising innovations in the use of digital media for formal and informal learning. For details, go to http://www.dmlcompetition.net/

levelHead: augmented reality game November 6, 2007

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levelHead GameNew Zealand digital artist Julian Oliver is working on a cool game that blends the electronic universe with the real world. His work-in-progress game called levelHead uses a series of cubes placed on a table top. Digital cameras and custom software sense the movements of the cubes and superimpose digital images of a tiny little 3-dimensional gameplay universe.

As you tilt each cube, the player climbs through the environment, moving in concert with the angles of the physical cube. The objective of the game is to move the cubes to help guide the digital player to the exit of each cube’s virtual environment. Some of the doorways lead to another cube, while other are dead ends that make you start all over. The whole interaction looks like a Michel Gondry video or Cube World Digital Stick People on steroids.

Oliver developed the game to run under Debian or Ubuntu Linux, and plans on releasing it as an open source project soon.

[ via Technabob.com ]

Lecture | Art of Machinima, The Garage Innovators November 6, 2006

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Hal Meeks makes a great comparison to the early innovators working out of their garage (Apple, HP, Disney, et. al.) to the new animators creating content from non-traditional applications. He may not know that he’s really hinting at is basic “Long Tail” economics theory but I won’t go on about that soap box… (read the book).

So where are we now? Animation/video that is found online can be prolific and viral… A great example is that we have StrongBad coming to market. (more…)

Dare To Be Digital 2006 Competition Winners Announced August 30, 2006

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Dare2bDigitalDare To Be Digital 2006 Competition Winners Announced
Organizers of the UK-based game development competition, Dare to be Digital, have announced the contest’s winners in each of its three main categories.

Dare to be Digital is an internationally renowned computer games design competition for students. Students form teams of five and compete over 10 weeks to produce a fully functioning game prototype.
The contest, hosted by Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland, pitted student game designers from around the world against each other with a short deadline and industry advisors in order to produce the best game prototype over the course of the summer vacation.

Check out the competition across the pond.

American McGee Starts New Studio August 9, 2006

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American McGee (McGee’s Alice) is building a new develoment team in Shanghai! The first title will be an episodic game set in a dark, fairy tale universe. Illustrator Ken Wong is already working on concept work.

McGee / Wong

They can’t say much about it now, but are putting the word out that they are searching for team members. If you’re an experienced programmer, artist, level designer, writer, musician, producer, or other game related craftsman, and want to help build the best independant development studio in China, then head over to American McGee! Looking forward to seeing what comes out of this endeavor… hopefully something as dark as McGee’s Alice! and as unique as The Dark Eye.

Second Life February 3, 2006

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We’re talking about using this feature to do an online component to a virtual museum. It will be interesting to see how it might be incorporated into an existing website that runs alongside the museum daily operations. Physical spaces translating into virtual space with rotating exhibits and unique items that could be developed and traded/sold. I’ve only used it myself during spare times but the feel and interface is very easy and development/design friendly.

on another note:

Linden Lab Offers Second Life Fellowship
Linden Lab, the developers of nonviolent MMO world Second Life, have announced the beginning of a fellowship program in which innovative developers from the Second Life community can win a $4,000 grant “to explore the potential of Second Life as a creative medium.”

The fellowship is open to undergraduate or graduate students in visual or performing arts, with a focus in digital media. Applications for the fellowship are available at the Second Life website. Applications are due March 15, 2006, and the fellowship winner must be completed within one semester using the Second Life tools.

http://secondlife.com/community/education.php

War Craft. June 14, 2005

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It’s official…
2 million people have way too much time on their hands.
“Officials from developer Blizzard Entertainment have announced that massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of WarCraft has surpassed two million paying subscribers worldwide.”
Read more here… zug, zug.

Castle Danger May 31, 2005

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Castle Danger

Summer at our house means board games… once America’s pastime, the board game genre has easily been brushed aside facing fierce competition from whiz-bang online games and various other assorted media that vie for your attention.

There is nothing like the sit down, beer & pretzels, meet and greet atmosphere that board games generate. It’s one thing to tear down an opponent in a free for all, first person shooter – it’s another to submit to your Napoleon complex and crush an opponent’s opposing forces face to face with others watching. Not to forget the pleasure one gets at playing slum-lord and forcing other people to pony up this months allowance.

Castle Danger introduces a mixture of Chess, Stratego and old fashioned brute-force to a 2-player, turn-based strategy game. Each turn, a player gets to add another piece to his or her side of the board, move pieces, and shoot cannonballs at the opponent. First to blow up the king wins.

I modified the game board(available for download) and made it into a tri-fold board with landscape imagery from composite artwork and satellite images of Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. I also rebuilt the game pieces from scratch using an old wooden chess set and then hand-crafted, model figurines from Super Sculpey to expand the original game play. We found the smaller board to limit gameplay (although this might have been an original intention) and we liked the idea of adding some other components like a bombadier (limit 2, max move 4 – including detonation) and a trebuchet (limit 2, max move 1, destroys target behind the intitial target wall/piece) into the mix. Matt also includes some other variant rules on his website submitted by users/gamers… Anyways, it’s a fun game with that we’ve rebuilt using “house rules” – build your own or buy one from Matt at his website.