Gaming Features

Three One Zero revealed new gameplay for its first-person space survival title Adr1ft at PAX East. I played through this never-before-seen demo, detailing my impressions of the game’s presentation, mechanics, and overall immersion.

Adr1ft puts players in the first-person perspective of an astronaut who wakes up following the destruction of her space station and the death of her crew. The game uses simple mechanics but challenges the player to wisely conserve oxygen and repair the astronaut’s suit to upgrade their health throughout the playthrough. Adr1ft debuts on PC this September and features Oculus Rift support, ranking it among the slew of impending “First-Person Experience” titles now trending.

For some background, I spent 8 years selling and playing board, miniature, and card games. That’s a whole lot of shuffling, rolling, measuring, and reading small text. So, upon meeting Colm Larkin of Gambrinous at GDC 2015, I was taken-in by the hand-drawn art-style of Guild of Dungeoneering. Its cartoonish style brought to my mind imagery of the popular Munchkins game, a tongue-in-cheek jab at D&D -- not far from Guild of Dungeoneering.

We first discovered Castle Story in March of 2012, during an explosive period of indie game development and crowd-funding. 2012 was a somewhat magical year in this regard: Star Citizen began its initial push, Cube World gained traction, and Castle Story – an RTS/builder hybrid made by new graduates – raked-in three-quarters of a million dollars.

Richard Garriott is one of the industry's most experienced designers, and that's doubly so for RPGS, a genre he's managed to remain in for nearly the entirety of his career. Having started the Ultima series after inspiration from tabletop D&D games, Garriott is now focusing on Shroud of the Avatar under Kickstarted developer Portalarium. The team, which is independently publishing, has managed to sustain 24/7 uptime since November. That's an impressive feat.

The variety of games at PAX East’s Indie Megabooth supporting local multiplayer or cooperative gameplay always impresses. Not only is Kitfox Games’ action-RPG Moon Hunters a cooperative title for up to four players, but it also offers a unique setting far from generic fantasy or generic sci-fi.

We always manage to include the site's technology-driven coverage spectrum in conversations with Star Citizen visionary Chris Roberts. This has been true since the very beginning of our Star Citizen coverage, which heavily [focused on the technology] of the colossal space sim. Our hardware content greatly benefits from these conversations with game systems engineers, too: Such discussions lend a basic understanding of engine architecture, assisting in the development of GPU, I/O, and CPU test methodology as it pertains to real-world gaming use cases.

In this case, the CIG CEO joined us for an extensive discussion on Star Citizen's great engineering challenges, to include the recently-discussed zone system and instancing mechanics.

Trion’s voxel MMO Trove has been on our radar since last year’s Game Developers Conference, largely because of its vibrant presentation inside a cooperatively-driven game. For followers of our Cube World coverage, this would be the most comparable title. Our very own Keegan Gallick and I caught up with Project Lead Andrew Krausnick to learn about some of the newest features and what to expect in the months leading up to Trove’s late 2015 release.

The rush to play Overwatch began early – promptly at 9AM, Eastern, today at PAX East. Blizzard’s first publicly playable demonstration of its team shooter pitted rows of faced-off gamers against one another, resulting in 6v6 cross-aisle combat.

Multiplayer titles have become so complex and content-packed that gamers can no longer expect a perfect multiplayer without intensive user testing, alphas & betas, patches, and downloadable content. Perhaps that’s one reason why many multiplayer-only titles have gone free-to-play: they’re always a work in progress, no matter how enjoyable they are at a given point. British studio Edge Case Games is coming off its space combat game, Strike Suit Zero, and is now venturing into 5v5 multiplayer with Fractured Space. Players take control of one of several ship classes and work together to secure resources and ultimately destroy the opponents’ base.

The indie side of the games industry is generally filled with a predictable gamut of stories: Failure, success, and horror of acquisitions that leave a once-rising company gutted. Once a game has been picked up by a larger publisher – whether or not that publisher makes good on changes and promises – it's rare that we ever hear of the developer being “indie” again. In the case of Desert Owl Games' Pox Nora, a title acquired by SOE in 2009, the game's creator was able to reacquire his title when it was under threat of being killed by SOE.

Pox Nora's story is an interesting one that grants insight to the industry's growth during an earlier time. The game shipped in 2006, but had been in development since roughly 2004, meaning it lived through the initial hesitance of digital distribution, the abuse of the free-to-play market, and the maturation of that market.

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