I luckily had a look at EA Visceral's new game Dante's Inferno yesterday. I must say from what I got to see (It was a demo that had been played a fair bit into it) I was fairly impressed.
Ok so Dante's Inferno is on an interesting subject, as the nine circles of hell aren't explored a large amount in most games. To be honest I haven't looked a large amount into the development of the game so far. The subject matter interested me, but that just meant I may pick it up on release.
Now I don't know how well they're integrating the divine comedy into their game, all I can imagine is it won't be following it word for word, as adaptations will never be 100% on an original product.
It was a fairly nice hack n' slash that was quite dull in colour, but I suppose hell would be. I look forward to playing it in a quiet room (was very loud in the area, but I could tell the soundtrack had some quality from what I could hear).
I look forward to picking it up on the 12th of February.
I thought I'd make a little quick post which is a start to a few new entries I've got lined up.
But since my last post (the first part that this post is relating to), I recieved an extension on my contract. As previously I was working till September, now it's till the summer (for those that were un-aware of this)
I'm still loving working at EA, and the food is awesome, favourite so far has to be creamy cheesy leek on a jacket potato, that and mint hot chocolate in the mornings .
Everything is going well there, can't wait for Flips to be released on December 4th. Looking forward to seeing the reception it gets.
I'm very happy to say that a series of DS titles I have worked on at EA were announced yesterday on a host of websites.
My favourite quote I have noticed popping up has been:
"I'm over the moon to see my stories and characters brought to life on the Nintendo DS with EA's new FLIPS range," said Eoin Colfer, author of the award-winning Artemis Fowl series. "Everyone knows that reading improves literacy skills. I have two children who are DS fanatics and cannot wait for the FLIPS to arrive, so EA might finally get them reading my books!"
I love hearing this from Eoin, I very much enjoyed working with Eoin Colfer's books, and can't wait to see the seventh installment of Artemis Fowl whenever it gets written.
I also can't help but recommend Artemis Fowl, it's a very interesting set of books, even if it is aimed at ages 9+.
(Eoin Colfer has also recently written a new Hitchhikers book which is due out very soon and is called 'And Another Thing'. He's also signing copies of the book on Wednesday the 14th October in Forbidden Planet this week, I'd love to go myself but sadly I wouldn't be able to get there in time)
If you are a fan of reading I recommend you check them out when they are released on the 4th of Decemeber.
The Flips titles available are:
Too Ghoul For School
Enid Blyton Faraway Tree Stories
I really enjoyed working on these titles and I hope people enjoy reading them.
Ok well I thought I'd update any people who happen to read my blog in case they didn't know.
But I have a job now! At EA of all places, which is so amazing, I never thought my first job would be somewhere so well known.
So obviously moving to Aldershot instead of staying in Newport or going back home, was the best idea ever.
My role is Design Editor which to be truthful has kind of been made up for the titles we're working on. But I don't mind, it's a Designer role, just catered slightly to what needs doing.
I started in the second from last week of July, although sadly as I'm employed as a contractor I'll only be there till the end of September, but you never know what may happen .
Jenova Chen co-founder of thatgamecompany, best known for Flow and Flower attended Develop and had one of the first talks of the Wednesday. I did actually miss the first five or so minutes of his talk, but from what I walked in on I was entranced straight away. When people discuss entertainment and our opinions we use feelings to express our thoughts. In order to consider games as a form of entertainment people must talk about them in the same way as film. Although when receiving this feedback on a video game it is usually based on technical aspects of the game, feelings don't even usually come into the equation.
Most people will usually think something such as combining genres to make hybrids will make a game innovative, make them stand out above the rest, where as this is not usually the case. Jenova hopes in the future to see a much wider mix of feelings integrated into games, as these types of feelings and emotions haven’t really been addressed as much as they could have. It's hard to find a game that will encourage the player to become emotionally attached to the characters, story or game while having a suitable gameplay experience.
Jenova recommended reading The Visual Story written by Bruce Block, from reading his work he then applied it to games by creating a visual bucket that combines graphics, story, sound and gameplay. Jenova feels in order to have an overall satisfying experience from a game, the levels in the bucket need to be fairly even, and not be missing out too much on some of the factors. As most games will usually focus on one key element such as graphics or gameplay, which will then make a game less attractive.
For example Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Shadow of the Colossus and Bioshock are games that Jenova feels portray a certain quality of life, as many games do not and just exist for a play experience. He does also recommend however playing Passage by Jason Rohrer, which attempts to portray certain feelings.
A lot of what he spoke of in relation to creating Flower can be downloaded off the Playstation Network in the form of a development diary, but there were a few points that I had not heard before, for example before Flower was designed Jenova wished to create a game based around nature, in order to do this he wanted to know what the most popular thoughts were when talking on nature. Through searching on flickr for nature and flowers were the third highest tag at the time, leading him to choose them.
With Flower he wished to create a peaceful harmony inside the game, this is why he had decided against enemies or a chance of death. He feels that NiGHTS was close to creating this experience, but wasn’t quite there. With the flying element it accomplishes this feeling, but from having a small limit on time and enemies that attack you, it destroys this harmony which you gain from flying around. Flower went through many different iterations when deciding on the gameplay, from playing as the Sun and making flowers grow, to throwing seeds in the ground and making them grow up from the soil. There were a lot of silly versions of Flower which they had considered, and I must say I'm very happy they kept with the core concept that Flower can now be seen with.
Currently working on an unannounced title he commented on the fact that, from creating games that work with feelings it means that the game is all about the experience. In order to create the exact experience required, the technology needed will have to be as new as possible as creating feelings for a player is not an easy task, which can then of course make it harder when developing the game using new tools all the time.
Recently on the Women in Games (WiG) blog, Emma Westecott wrote up a post about needing a student blogger for two events, I'd say I jumped at the chance of it, although I had forgotten until last minute before the deadline to actually send my email I had composed. All because I'd been super busy with moving house the same weekend.
So I rushed to McDonalds to use their free Wi-Fi (pretty much the only place in Aldershot with free Wi-Fi), as I'm currently without the internet.
A couple of days later I heard back from Emma telling me I'd been chosen, which I'm ecstatic and completely blown away by, I never would have thought I would be picked for it, but then I don't really know how many people tried to get the little job.
Either way it now means that I get to go to Develop and DiGRA, which I am very happy about, as I originally intended on buying myself a ticket for Develop, and without much money at the moment it may have made living a problem and DiGRA I could have only afforded once I had a job.
So keep an eye on the WiG blog as hopefully there shall be some posts up by me soon.
Huge thanks though to everyone that had to do with me being picked as well.
So it’s finally come to the end of my three years at University and I happily have come out with a nice first like I posted about before. Now my life begins, I’ve moved to Aldershot, Hampshire, as opposed to going back to Chelmsford, Essex, as I felt I would be less productive if I lived at home.
So why Aldershot I hear you ask?
Well it’s not as expensive as Guildford, Surrey (a key place in the games industry, plus close to London and home) but it’s just down the road, and close to London, along with everywhere else that Guildford is close to, just add or subtract around 20-30 minutes on top of travel time when going in certain directions.
I will honestly miss Newport, but there was no real reason to stay in Wales, so I had to leave. Unpacking is almost complete give it another day maybe to get everything nice and neat and tidy. I also need to finish work on Void, send out more CVs and get my business cards designed, coloured and printed all before Develop, which should be interesting.
Well it's finally happened, three years have passed and I have now finished University, (I don't actually get my official degree until September though).
I passed with a first which I am extremely happy about, I guess my hard work paid off in the end, I wish I has pushed myself a little harder at times, but I now know how well I can work thanks to Void.
Void is getting close to completetion which is great, got a couple more games lined up to be doing once Void is out the way. Which will be done alongside applying to games industry jobs.
I shall post up my CV on here soon, and it'll be on my website too.
Other than that congratulations to everyone in my year of Computer Games Design for their grades, and everyone else at Newport, I'm sure I'm really going to miss Newport, made a lot of friends here.
Onwards to Aldershot.