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2009 April | PencilGym.com

Archive for April, 2009

Wow… the classics live on. Still can’t beat the simplistic designs of the good ol’ games.. like Donkey Kong & Arcade fighting games.

It wasn’t too long ago Street Fighter IV made it’s come back on the modern home consoles, bringing back many good memories to the fans (comments/writeups are all over google). Now there’s Donkey Kong coming for the Wii, and Marvel Vs Capcom 2, another great great classic arcade game. MVC2 will be out for Xbox and the PS3, and will feature online multiplayer just like Street Fighter IV did.

Lode Runner is kicking back into the scene as well! (seems to be Xbox-Only..ew) I remember playing that game when i was in the 4th grade… oh geez. This new modern Lode Runner is all up to speed with modern 3d visuals now (byebye sprites!), and from what i see in the videos, additional gameplay twists.. i guess it’s an attempt to keep it fresh.. but i’m so excited to see these classics still live on in us, and enough for some to bring them back for us :D

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haha.

i was doing a little research on the Torque game engine, and i stumbled(again..i love stumbling!) on this really great write up about starting a MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game. It’s not as easy as just “getting a team” and “producing the game”! There’s sooo much more to the ‘behind the scenes’ of running a successful MMO. But, is the effort and hard work worth it? In my perspective, heck yes. $$

For those interested in starting your own MMO in the near future (or working for)…i recommend reading this writeup :D

GarageGames Torque Community: Starting a MMO

Learn learn learn, soak it all up like a sponge!

After reading that, and was reflecting and digesting the information, i’m actually proud to say i do, in some sense, already have the experience of running an MMO (is it “a MMO” or “an MMO”? lol)….having hosted, maintaining, troubleshooting, upgrading, and running my own game servers for Counter-Strike back in 2003-2006. Not to mention also having run forums & managing the forums for those game communities. So this beats having no clue about “the business”, and it’s a great starter boost for me :D wee!

———sidenote for today————

omgosh i got an email from an olldd friend. He’s started his own studio with his girlfriend (jeff has a girl haha!) and is going to be developing a new MMO, and he requested me to be Assistant Producer/Manager! He said he tracked me down via Google and found this site, and he claims that i have potential to fit the role he envisions, based on all the writeups i’ve done on my site (haha) and his past experience working along side me. I previously worked with him to develop a modification (Game Mod for Counter-Strike, back in 2002ish), and consequently helped manage that small community, providing technical support, game support, game server adminstration work, etc. He says the position unfortunately, has to be full time, and it’s in So-Cal…so i had to unwillingly turn it down for now. :(

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Demigod finally released, for the PC, last week. Developed by the same people that brought us Supreme Commander, Gas Powered Games, and i guess published, by Stardock (same people that created WindowsBlinds? o-o).

Word about the game been around for over 2 years now, and this was one I had my hopes for. The creature designs and visuals are simply captivating. The towering oversized Rook character is so iconic for this game, i simply love it.

I’ve managed a demo version of the game, it’s really quite cool…but, like other ‘pro’ review sites have said, this game has something lacking that does not justify it to be a commercial title, found on the store shelves. The art and environments and presentation is spot on beautiful. The audio just amplifies the experience so much more. But as i’ve said in my other posts, good art does not make good games.

If you’ve played or heard of the superbly popular “Defence of the Ancients” (DoTA) from Warcraft III, then you pretty much already have the full concept of Demigod. In this game, you pick a demigod character, and you duke it out with other demigods in a Capture The Flag or Destroy your opponent’s HeadQuarters (Citadel). Your character levels up like a standard RPG format, increasing it’s stats and unlocking new skills at each level. The maximum level your demigod gets is to 20, and along with that a whole shelf of items you can purchase to further enhance your character for that battle. And on top of having your character’s growth, your HQ also gains experience points that the Team, can use to gain enhancements for the entire team’s strength/performance..like a giant blanket.

This game has been flooded with comments like “Dota rip-off” etc…and i agree. It’s pretty much a spruced up version of DoTA. My opinion is that the developers of Demigod saw the market potential for a game like Dota, and hence decided to create their version of Dota to make a buck of it. Not sure if that’s true, but it’s just too similar to Dota to think otherwise.

Demigod is alright…just not worthy enough to justify the pricetag put on it. If you do get your hands on it, it will nevertheless be addicting the moment you sit down and start a battle. The action and adrenaline flows instantly..and remains or maybe grows, even more as the battle goes on.

Great game concept & design (though it’s not very original), feels nicely balanced and polished. Visuals and art design is oh so stunning, audio is mesmerizing. I’d still say go check this title out.

Enjoy this video of it!

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stumbled upon yet another really inspiring article.

Desktop Tower of Money

Flash game Desktop Tower Defence(DTD), now averages millions of visitors a month. The flash game itself is nothing over-the-top fancy, rich visuals, that require intensive hours of hard work to develop or produce. All you need is a good game concept, that’s simple, elegant, and, most importantly, addictive and easy to catch on to. Oh, and even better, make it the most easily accessible as you can.

This single game alone, DTD, brings in, quote “4 figures” a month, for just being a website. The revenue comes from Advertisement campaigns on the site, and being such a popular website that gets 20 million visitors a month, it’s not hard to see where all the Ad money comes from.

This is so motivating for me, personally. I’ve gone through the full process of creating a Flash-based game from scratch already, and it’s playable on this site too. Yea, my creation’s amatuer, and really not that great..just .. a start.

But, i do already posses the skills and fundamental knowledge of Actionscript(Flash) that i will need the next round to create another game. A plus for me. :D

After reading that article (which, is now 2 years old, so who knows just how much BIGGER the revenue has gotten by now), i am now further motivated to sit my ass down, and polish up my Flash skills and create another game.

There’s thousaaands of flash-based game websites and thousands of other flash games, and not every one is successful overnight. This is just the way of the Gaming field. You try, fail, and improve. Just remember to be humble, and listen to any critiques or feedback you get about your project..it’s the best & fastest way to grow.

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wowwww

sooo freaking outta control. what the heck is this thingy of a thing? o-o

its.. a mouse, costs over 400bucks USD for it…

its called a SpacePilot Pro, and it certainly looks like something created in space for space.

the SpacePilot Pro is designed and aimed at the CAD professionals, 3D modeling and animation artists.
it even features its very own LCD screen, customizable to your very needs.

wack.

Read full article: SpacePilot Pro

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Check out this custom Unreal tool (or Maya?), that the team working on Project Offset has for building their environments.

Why can’t texturing in Maya (or 3DS Max) be this way ? Paint direct on our models…shadows, cracks, bumps, layered.. gosh..directly onto our model, in real time. Be gone, UVing! ;x

Watch the vid! (..and drool)

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this is another game that examplifies just how much room there is left, to innovate the way we play our games today.

Here’s Fez, a very very simple looking game, that’s not key on “epic visuals” like Gears of War and Crysis, but still, very epic in it’s presentation and design. Fez combines the very classic days of gaming, side-scroll platforming, like Super Mario World, with a modern “3d game” system. At first it might take a while to get a hang of “seeing” into the game world, being such a rare and, new, way of playing a game. But after getting into the mechanics, this game brings out so much creativity in the design, its not easy to mock up a side-scroller that has to work when viewed from a different perspective. Gah i’m terrible at explaining it, but once you seeeee this, you’re gonna be Wowed yourself.

I love games like these, bringing new fresh concepts to our gaming world…a good break from just another ‘blockbuster epic game’…games like World of Goo, PixelJunk Eden, Mirror’s Edge..etc..it’s not always about a super high-res high-quality artful game. Good art/visuals don’t make good games, just the same as being good at a tool does not make you a good artist.

Enjoy this video of Fez!

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Stumbled upon another article while researching lol…here’s more proof to why the Gaming industry is so captivating and amazing to get into.

For many ‘normal people’, stop bluffing yourself to think of stereotypes the moment you here “Games” or “Gaming”. You’re losing out on one of the strongest Industries in the world, and we’re still growing. For me, and the ones doing business in this industry, it’s all about the revenue & profits, while at the same time enjoying our work in this ‘fun & colorful’ industry. You don’t have to be a “gamer” to work in this industry. There’s so many aspects to this field, that so many of us won’t think of right off the top of our heads. You could be a lawyer and still be heavily involved in this industry, or a Marketing/PR manager, or even a musician.

Read this next article, it’s really worth your time.
The Green Sheet: September 22, 2008

Reportedly, Nexon America rakes in $1.6 million a month on microtransactions. Its game cards in Target Corp. stores are said to be behind only Apple Inc.’s iTunes cards in popularity.

Take note the date of this article, 2008. Global economic crisis? 1million a month?

The article references a few other successful MMO companies, and as usual, uses WoW (World of Warcraft) as one of it’s main references. Yes yes, it’s not easy, to simply start your own MMO, and hope it will achieve this kind of success. It’s a big big big picture to setting up an MMO, not to even talk about running and maintaining it after launching the game. But is it worth that hardship in the early days? heck yes.

Again, not every MMO (there’s over a thousand or moreeee MMOs worldwide, some quiet ones included, just do your research you will be surprised) is going to be making this same amount of giant revenues, some even completely shutdown after a short period of time. But it does not mean ‘dont try’…if there’s a will, there is a way.

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GDC: 2009 (Game Developers Conference) had news about a new CryEngine development… CryEngine 3. Sounds like an upgrade to the already beyond-kickass CryEngine 2.. but is it really?

From what I collect after watching the interview with Cevat, I don’t think this is any upgrade. At least not this soon. CryEngine 3 is pretty much, CryEngine 2, but developed for the console market. While the console market/developers now are going “omg”, “wooo” “wow incredible”…we PC goers have already, seen all this “futuristic engine” can deliver. Welllll, maybe it’s nice that finally, consoles are catching up to PC, and now, all this PC action can be viewed on the big TV screens instead of puny LCD monitors

Cevat did mention that there’s ongoing research development for the PC engine, so thaaaat’s the one to take interest in and keep eyes peeled for..perhaps Cryengine 4?

Here’s the interview for those interested:
and here’s my old post showcasing Crysis, a game built on CryEngine 2: Sam’s Crysis: Warhead writeup

Part 1:

Part 2:

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