Portal 2 has seen wave after wave of trending topics, silly contests, and teaser releases for the last few months; it's a huge release for Valve, and the echoes of smashed robots rings true from advertisements at all hours of the night. They know it's a good title, too. If our interview with Valve's Erik Wolpaw revealed anything, it was that the guys behind Portal 2 embrace the chaotic nature of the game, specifically with some of the confirmed mechanics (gels for the win!), and they're not afraid to boast about its unique gameplay.

In spirit of Portal 2's impending release date, our friend and master musician Steve Metcalf has composed a tribute to the original Portal theme; it should get you in the mood. Check it out. It's insanely good.

"Would Minecraft with Samaritan graphics be better? I think so." -Tony Tamasi, SVP Content & Technology at nVidia.

A bold statement to make at the East Coast Game Conference (ECGC), but it does stir thought: as we approach evermore realistic visuals, when do we start hitting that wall of no-return? According to Tamasi, nVidia has real-time ray tracing, procedurally generated smoke, and video cards capable thereof on the horizon within the next five years. The technological advancements yield promising results for video game nerds everywhere (barring, perhaps, some competitive gamers -- as noted below), and some of the upcoming video card releases will be a dozen times more powerful than existing tech.

By using the lyrics of Iron Maiden's "Dance of Death," we help guide you through the process of creating a bard character that is horrified of dancing. The bard that doesn't dance -- how did that happen, anyway? Read on to find out.

Fans of our level design series probably recall the first of the From Lyrics to Levels column (where we taught you how to create a steampunk level by listening to the lyrics of a song); this is the same concept, but instead uses song lyrics to create and embellish a living character in a typical fantasy setting. We will use the lyrics to build on a personality, profession, character interactions, and essential background for use in a fantasy game -- this column can be used for tabletop games, writing, or video games with equal success. It's all about how you want to interpret the music!

GN's Game Character Design Template

By Published April 06, 2011 at 1:04 pm

In preparation for our next installment in the From Lyrics to Levels series, I've put together a character design template with the fundamentals for any fantasy setting (though the template can be adopted for use elsewhere). The character design template gives you a format to address quintessential points for any character you're designing -- the idea is to help streamline the character design and development process so that nothing is forgotten.

Green Man Gaming is a UK based independent digital retailer for PC Games. Using globally unique proprietary technology, Green Man Gaming offer consumers the ability to trade-in digitally downloaded games for new purchases and publishers the ability to generate ongoing revenue from their intellectual property.

As part of their continued evolution and growth, online digital retailer Green Man Gaming has just announced the launch of their new, second generation website and desktop application ‘Capsule’.

 

The Best of April Fools' Gaming Gags - 2011

By Published April 01, 2011 at 3:03 pm

The ingenuity of April Fools' enablers has increased with each year -- it has rapidly become an internet tradition, but more importantly, it's become a gaming tradition. We've picked out the most entertaining, most devious April Fools' gags of the year: Guild Wars 2's commando class, Blizzard's StarCraft Motion, and Duke Nukem's excrement challenges.

Yeah, you read that right. Continue on for the best videos and websites of April Fools' 2011!

Making Your Own Fun: The Meta Game

By Published March 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Games. Ever since the dawn of time people have played games, sometimes as a form of competition, sometimes as a display of dominance, or sometimes just to simply pass the time. What happens if you don't enjoy the game you're playing, though? Do you continue anyway, hoping that something will "just click?"

Maybe you should stop playing altogether and find something else to do?

DotA

Or... you could be cool. You could just stick two fingers up to the authorities, tell them you're not glued to the predetermined ruleset of their game, and that you're going to make your own game from within the overarching constraints of theirs. That's how we got Rugby League, that's how we got Pool, it's even, to use a more modern analogy, how we got Counter-Strike (Half Life Mod), Team Fortress (Quake Mod), Defense of the Ancients (Warcraft III / StarCraft Mod), and many others.

So where's the fun in that?

Triangle IGDA Chapter Receives A Reboot

By Published March 29, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Venturing once again into the dark, dungeon-like halls of the Joystick Labs building in Durham, NC, I descended the stairs into a hallway lit primarily by the dim screens of laptops and monitors; in these halls stood some fifty-odd game developers and enthusiasts, each showcasing his or her respective work. This is where greatness comes to fruition. There was also free food.

NVIDIA 3D Vision Impressions and Future-Sight

By Published March 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Three towering monitors flanked left, right, and center as I took my place in the throne of NVIDIA's suite in Boston; a keyboard and mouse gleamed in the light shed by the Acer Surround 3D-compatible monitors, clearly awaiting the divine touch of an experienced gamer. In the center of it all rested a pair of sleek, dark active shutter glasses -- this must be what King Arthur felt like when drawing Excalibur from the stone.

It was definitely an impressive future-sight into the world of NVIDIA; added together, I must have had around eighty inches of monitors within two feet of my face. Put it this way: I can now say that I have played games (specifically, Bulletstorm) at a full 5760x1080 resolution in 3D. Within a second of Michael McSorley, Product Marketing Manager at NVIDIA, telling me how to modify the depth level of the display, I had extruded weapons slightly out of the screen and added a feeling of realism to my scope. Just imagine what Battlefield 3 (preview here) will look like in 3D... not to mention Skyrim.

SEGA Spiral Knights Beta Access Giveaway!

By Published March 25, 2011 at 11:38 am

The rattle and hum of clockwork machinery as cogs clumsily clash against gears has long been a part of gaming culture; sometimes classified as Steampunk (given the right backgrounds) and other times simply as 'clockwork,' these games have been a big part of our coverage lately. Now's your chance to test our game and level design theories about the clockwork framework, so to speak.

It's been too long since our last giveaway, and thanks to the guys over at Three Rings and SEGA, we have 500 preview copies of the new action-adventure, retro-inspired Spiral Knights MMO to give out! There's a lot more info below, but if you want to grab an account before reading the rest, go for it! That link will take you to the Spiral Knights beta sign-up, no codes involved.

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