Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Holidays!

What better way to celebrate the season than with oversized pixels?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A (Growing) List of Recent FPEs


FPE = first-person explorer = A 3d game with a first-person perspective and  emphasis on exploration. Mechanics and goals are either downplayed or absent, and special attention is given to aesthetic and mood.

Dead Esther - The Chinese Room - Dan Pinchbeck - dearesther.com
Korsakovia - The Chinese Room - Dan Pinchbeck - www.thechineseroom.co.uk/korsakovia.html
Elevator: Source - Pixeltail Games - pixeltailgames.com/elevator
Stanley Parable HD - Galactic Cafe - Davey Wreden - www.galactic-cafe.com
Radiator Series -Radiator - Robert Yang - radiator.debacle.us
Trip -Team Cosmonaut -Axel Shokk - teamkosmonaut.com/trip/buy/
Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving - Blendo Games - Brandon Cheung - blendogames.com
Antichamber (previously Hazard: The Journey of Life) - Alexander Bruce - www.antichamber-game.com
Fract OSC - Phosfiend Systems -Richard E Flanagan - fractgame.com
Kairo - Locked Door Puzzle - Richard Perrin - kairo.lockeddoorpuzzle.com
Miasmata - IonFx - Joe and Bob Johnson - ionfx.com/product_pc_Miasmata.php
Amnesia: The Dark Descent - Frictional Games - amnesiagame.com
Slender: The Eight Pages and Slender: The Arrival - Parsec Productions/Blue Isle -  Mark Hadley  - www.parsecproductions.net/slender/
Gone Home - The Fullbright Company - thefullbrightcompany.com/gonehome
Animal Memory - Gausswerks - Jack Monahan - http://forums.gausswerks.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=302
Dinner Date - Stout Games -Jeroen D. Stout - stoutgames.com/
Hubris and Four Keys - Andrew Yoder - mclogenog.wordpress.com
Proteus - Ed Key - visitproteus.com
The Witness - Jonathan Blow - the-witness.net
Flower - Thatgamecompany - thatgamecompany.com/games/flower
Judith - Steven Lavelle and Terry Cavanaugh - distractionware.com/blog/2009/04/judith/
Radio Silence - Terry Cavanaugh - distractionware.com/blog/2010/04/radio-silence/
Cradle - Flying Cafe for Semianimals - flying-cafe.com


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

On UDK and Reveal


Mike did a nice post on his blog on why custom engines are always better (in theory) than pre-built ones, using our game Reveal as an example. 


He alludes one of my bigger frustrations with UDK, that straying at all from a tool's intended purpose usually results in as much or more work than not using the tool altogether. When  I wrote Reveal, I thought I was being clever by designing it's features around the things UDK was supposedly good at: cloth physics (for wallpaper and magazines), rigid body physics (destructible boards), and dynamic lights (the swinging light bulb). In the end, all of these things required a good deal of custom scripting from Mike, and even then plenty of compromises were still necessary (I had forgotten the wallpaper was originally supposed to be seamless. The strips turned out to be a fine substitute, but their rubbery movement and the way they pop off the wall is still weird). I had designed a game I thought I could make 95% of on my own, using the tools UDK already had, but in the end I was totally reliant on Mike to get my game up and running. Consider it a warning, I guess, before jumping into UDK as a non-programmer thinking you can make anything beyond a deathmatch-style FPS. It's possible, certainly, but working against the grain of the engine isn't a pleasant experience, and not how I as an artist/designer want to spend my time.