1. An interesting interview about Arkham Knight's mocap process at the link below.
While we encourage you to read April's cover story on Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Knight, we also want to show off new aspects of the game with our month of exclusive video coverage for the game. While visiting Rocksteady Studios in London, the team let us film their motion-capture process and speak with lead animator Zafer Coban. Outside of the Batmobile, the team at Rocksteady is adding new moves and changing the way Batman fights for their final entry. The video also features cinematic director Paul Boulden directing the game's cinematics, including an early conversation between Oracle and Batman.
2. Naughty Dog's top programmer gave a mostly technical but very wideranging hour long presentation. Interesting bits are the 80/20 rule (the greatest gains can be produced by focusing optimization efforts on 20% of game codes) and the fact that Naughty Dog gives people a lot of responsibility but because people have a lot of responsibility, is quick to cut people who can't carry their share of the load. If you don't want to watch the full presentation at the top link, the links below talk about some aspects of it.
On the other hand the GPU takes care of the rendering and the GPGPU (general purpose GPU programming) Wavefronts, basically the physics, cloth and similar computing mentioned above.
Another very important concept is optimization, and a crucial element of it is the “80/20 rule,” meaning that your program spends 80% of its time running 20% of your code. The rest of that code is run very seldom.
So when you optimize your code, you don’t want to optimize that 80%, because you’d be wasting your time. On the other hand Naughty Dog focuses on that 20% that really matters, and that allows them to get the most bang for their buck.
Knowing the hardware is very important as well, as there are optimizations that can be adapted only to one specific piece of hardware, given a deep knowledge of its inner workings.
3. Wide ranging interview with Nate Fox (head of Sucker Punch) about Infamous. He defends the beanie and talks about why feels 30 fps is best for Infamous (talks about the tradeoff between framerate and SFX/texture quality).
4. PS4 sales are steeply declining in Japan. Part of if is undoubtedly due to to the fact Japan is portable land, but the fact SoJ didn't offer up much at launch certainly isn't helping.
Famitsu Hardware Sales:
- 3DS (Both original and LL) – 30,916
- PS4 – 30,766
- Vita – 30,709 (Both original and Vita TV)
- PS3 – 10,772
- Wii U – 8,128
- PSP – 2,989
- Wii – 133
- Xbox 360 – 206
PS4 sales have dropped considerably in Japan since last week, being cut nearly in half for both Media Create and Famitsu. We know that there’s plenty of supply in the country, so most likely it’s due to lack of software. Meanwhile, 3DS sales have stayed the same while PS Vita sales actually went up this week. Finally, Wii U sales have also stayed the same but are pretty low, also due to that same lack of software.
5. Edge is stating Sony's VR headset is in the hands of third party developers and will be unveiled next week at GDC.
6, Metal Slugesque indie game Mercenary Kings is hitting April 1st.
7. Very long but fascinating interview with Mark Cerny. Much of it isn't PS4 related.
We were looking to the future. Cerny's a technology guy, after all. I wondered what he made of controllers and their impact on design. It wasn't something he sounded like he'd focused on a whole lot. But I was curious about the idea of talking to gaming characters, of giving players more complex ways to interact with increasingly complex games. Cerny thought for a moment and then said this:
Cerny: I remember reading Brenda Laurel, [who is] brilliant, back in the 1980s, and she was dreaming of truly interactive experiences with exactly, as you're saying voice control and narrative. The narrative could be anything in relation to the user. The personal difficulty that I run into with that is... oh this is very long... I'll go through it....
There's going to be a story [in a game] and it's going to be about a flawed hero, and it's going to be about somebody who doesn't think things through or, you know, in that tough situation will panic and the like. And to the extent that we have traditional narrative forms, where there is a story that the creative director made, this kind of hero works brilliantly. Because, in the story, you see the hero and the hero's journey.
Once you say it's freeform and you're going to talk, you as the consumer need to go in there and say, 'I am a flawed hero, I'm going to panic when the going gets tough.' And it's just a very difficult—not only difficult design space but it puts expectations on the consumer by giving them that gigantic role in the narrative of the game. So I just wonder.. there is quite a lot of talk about open narrative. It seems that, for now, more constrained narrative is working very well. To make that a positive statement is really hard.
8. For what its worth, Towerfall Ascension is getting very positive reviews. The big knock against it is that the multiplayer is offline only.
TowerFall Ascension, like the finest of multiplayer games, is all about the systems. Systems that layer on top of each other; systems so sound that they make the fundamentals feel completely reliable, yet offer the kind of unpredictability that leads to moments of sheer drama. Power-ups add further spice to this already heady cocktail of carnage, letting you smash up the environment (and your enemies) with bomb arrows or pierce through the scenery with drills. You can also fiddle with a vast list of variables that completely change the rules in a match and save your your new stipulations for future tournaments. This is the type of game that elicits raucous, primal noises from all who play it. I also think it might be physically impossible to blink mid-game.
9. Super Smash Brother's director is a fan of the PS4.
“[The] PS4 is good looking, the DualShock 4 is light and using it feels good, Remote Play can reliably handle even action games, and the network functionality is well done,” he said. “The machine’s power is another attractive factor; there is no loss of detail in the image, and it looks so natural that you often forget that you’re playing a game.”
10. Guerilla is sending white Dualshocks to top KZ players. Cool looking.
11, An article about the 9,384th reboot of Sonic. I confess I didn't actually read it, but its very long, so people who are still excited about Sonic (dvader?) might want to give it a read.