Gaming Features

Former Epic Games Design Director Cliff Bleszinski gave a keynote presentation at the 2013 East Coast Game Conference (ECGC) Wednesday, April 24th. His keynote speech reached twenty years into the game designer's past, explored the once-emergent shareware distribution model, and then bridged those experiences with the future of gaming and its charted trajectory.


Bleszinski's keynote spanned topics across the gaming world, including commentary on the "millennial" generation—a term that the twenty-year veteran hates—the enablement and rise of indie gaming, and brief commentary on software piracy. The central message to the speech seemed to encourage a coming-together of the industry's seemingly-severed AAA and indie market segments. We've embedded a video of the entire ECGC 2013 keynote with Cliff Bleszinski, found below, but have also gone through and extracted some noteworthy statements.

After spending an hour with GRID 2's devs on a live stream (VOD online) yesterday, we have some new information pertaining to the upcoming racing game's multiplayer game modes, social features, "RaceNet," and gameplay interactions. We previously got a hands-on with the game at PAX East, discussed briefly in our "PAXCast" video cast.

grid-2-sliderAlong with the below screenshots, this was grabbed from the livestream, so the quality is down slightly due to streaming limitations.

GRID 2 is the long-awaited sequel to the original GRID, released back in 2008, a game that bridged the gap between driver simulation and arcade racing. GRID 1's cockpit mode (sadly absent in the sequel), semi-realistic car damage (destroyed clutch, burnt-out tires, smashed body), and fantastic graphics made it one of the best racing games produced in the past few years -- and personally, I still play it.

In this episode of Saturday Heat Signature (the 12th installment!), we take a gander at the upcoming Kickstarter project by Pathea Games: Planet Explorers.


The game focuses on survival and colonization, with the core concept being that you (a survivor of a crashed colony spaceship) must scrounge-up resources, establish a base camp, and assemble other survivors in effort to make your place on this new world. Planet Explorers has a massive scope, and for purposes of simplifying things (perhaps a bit too much), it can almost be thought of as an amalgamation of Spore and Minecraft: The game has fairly freeform customization in terms of vehicles, structures, weapons, and is also voxel-based (non-cuboid, for once), allowing full point-to-point destruction or manipulation of terrain.

Everything's described pretty thoroughly in our Planet Explorers gameplay preview & overview video, found below:

It's tough to follow-up our booming Star Citizen coverage, but if any game's got the grit to do it, it's Castle Story. Between our friends over at Sauropod and friends at Cloud Imperium Games, our coverage of successfully-crowdsourced games at PAX East feels pretty filled-out. Besides, our Castle Story FAQ was a big hit, so it made good sense to revisit the game and check up on its progression.


For the unfamiliar, Castle Story is the up-and-coming freeform city-builder / RTS hybrid that accumulated nearly one million dollars via Kickstarter. We first covered the game almost exactly one year ago, and while things have certainly changed, the general concept remains the same -- go check that link if you're not yet sold on how the game works. This post will focus more on delivering new information to existing backers / fans of the upcoming RTS.

This article and the video interview aim to detail Sauropod's improvements to Castle Story over the last few months, their UI overhaul, future plans, and the sheer amount of work involved with living up to sudden success.

We'll start with the videos:

In suit of our technological analysis of Star Citizen's high-end hardware utilization, we regrouped with Chris Roberts at PAX East 2013 to briefly discuss overall progression, PvP, the node-based networking framework, and more.


Roberts made an appearance in the final hours of the show and participated in a panel discussing crowd-sourced obstacles and benefits, titled "Going Back To The Future - Calling All Mechwarriors, Tribes and Star Citizens." After meeting up near the somewhat internet-famous Firefall and LoL statues (seen here), we journeyed up to the panel area to talk some Star Citizen; it quickly became evident that Roberts is a marked man in the games industry, with several excited fans greeting and thanking him for his efforts to revitalize the Space Sim genre. He's ambitious and dedicated, but every conversation sort of resonated a "no, thank you for supporting us" humble tone.

You'll find our video interview with Chris Roberts below, a recording of the panel, and discussion on Star Citizen's future.

I’ll be attending PAX East (this weekend!) for the third consecutive year, but this is the first time I won’t be going as an exhibitor. Certainly this PAX will be much different than what I’ve experienced in my previous position—but is that a good thing? Let’s find out in my insider’s take on the highs and hells of convention/trade-show exhibiting.

pax-east-12panthClick for full image. PAX East 2012 panorama.

Being an exhibitor in the PC hardware industry is like starting college.

MMORPGs: Plunging into a world wrought with thousands of heroic warriors, each challenging god-incarnates, courageously marauding across war-ravaged country-sides, donning immaculate armor, and -- who are we kidding? They're killing a pseudo-arbitrary count of orcs; waiting until level 15 to wear the red gloves; and they're delivering letters from one lifeless NPC to another, whose pointlessness is superseded only by that of the courier of said letters. This is what the industry's definition of an MMORPG has become, and part of that is the burgeoning of the market post-EverQuest and post-WoW; comparable to reality TV shows, everyone wants their own money-making machine of questionable quality.

There are dozens of MMOs that violate core game design principles in favor of monetization—especially prevalent in the emerging Chinese MMO market—and quality gameplay is particularly hard to find when faced with the overwhelming amount of MMOs out there.

Neverwinter hopes to be one of those quality MMOs -- one of the visceral, lively, immersive, and purely fun games that breaks the mold and brings immersing adventure to countless gamers.


The question is whether or not it succeeds.

Today brings the return of our popular Heat Signature video series, which has brought games like Cube World and Castle Story to the forefront of our coverage; this series looks at up-and-coming games that we find particularly worthy of attention and would like to share with all of our readers.


For this episode—officially episode 11—we look at Artizens (Kickstarter here), a creative-driven, four-player co-op action/RPG that allows players to fully customize their characters -- all the way down to uploading drawings of weapons and armor. With no class restrictions or setting restrictions in place, the game hopes to really appeal to the stat-tweaking mentality of gamers with its modular design for weapon and armor upgrades; the devs even mention in their Kickstarter video that they draw inspiration from the likes of tabletop RPGs and Magic: The Gathering, which should tell you more about their goal of limitless customization than this entire post.

The video below offers an overview of the features in Artizens, some of our thoughts/first impressions, and a visual demonstration of the item customization.

When left uncorrupted by the technologically-crippling nature of consoles, PC gaming's propensity for visual and mechanical immersion provides an unrivaled entertainment medium for gamers. Even the cheapest, most stripped-down budget gaming PC has technology that far-and-away surpasses the capabilities of the current-gen consoles. Transistor count alone is indicative of the vast leaps made in the last 7 years: the Xbox 360's original Xenon CPU architecture (168mm^2) uses 65nm manufacturing process and sits on 165 million transistors, where a current-gen, 22nm 3570k offers 1.4 billion transistors on a 113mm^2 chip. Smaller, lower TDP, and more processing power.


Everything We Know About Cube World So Far

By Published November 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm

It's been a while since we last posted a major story about Cube World, the Zelda- and Diablo-inspired voxel action-RPG, but the time is right: Wollay is hopeful for a 2012 or early 2013 launch, and as such, has released numerous updates on the state of the game. This video-centric post will cover all of the major improvements to Cube World since our last video, including some of the easily-missed tweets by the game's programmer, Wollay.


As a primer for those who are unfamiliar with how voxels work, check out our voxels vs. vertices in games article.

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