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GameObserver Blog

This site has turned to s&%t

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I'm trying to find the PSP section, to see which were the last PSP games to come out. Can't. There is no PSP section. I check out a user's profile page so see what kind of person/gamer they are, what kind of blogs they write, what kind of reviews they make. Can't. Info is nowhere to be found. I can track every pointless ACHIEVEMENT they've made, but god forbid I see what kind of ACTUAL POSTS they make! Checking out a game's page. There's so much filler there you can't figure out what belongs to the game and what is just metacrawler bait. Granted, what I'm looking for might be there, somewhere, under the pile of crap littering every page, but what's the point having any feature when it's hidden under a heap of garbage?! It reminds me of a garage that has been accumulating junk for decades, so when you are looking for something you know is there, you can't find it, making it pointless to even have it because it will never serve its function. I found the PSP page after 40 minutes of searching! This site has turned into a sea of links! WFT?!

GS, you guys make reviews. You critique other people's work, yet your very own creation has become a convoluted mess strictly designed to generate hits using every "trick" in the book. You are self-serving. You don't exist for gamers; you exist for your self! If your site was a game it would get a 3 on 10. I think this is the last of me you'll see here. I might drop by every now and then to see how corporate sites are ruining the internet but you won't see me contributing; you'll only get my occasional hit when google points me out of desperation to one of your crawler traps. I might just very well redesign my site and get back in the "game", so to speak, just to show what good game sites should look like. Jebus, I never imagined surfing a site could be so painful...

Good Night!

Game Over!

- GameObserver

Interview with Makers of Transformers 2 Game

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Licensed film games are the black sheep of the industry. Everybody loves to harp on them, reproaching them of every ill currently afflicting video games. Granted, some accusations are warranted; publishers usually bank on those titles making a profit off impulsive buyers and unsuspecting relatives who don't play games but buy them for loved ones who do. Such games are but mere shells of the movies they are supposed to represent. But occasionally a project is taken seriously and actually offers something fresh. Such is the case with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, a game that surprised many with its decent playability.

GameObserver.com recently had a chance to ask Luxoflux's Joby Otero (Chief Creative Officer) and Chris Tremmel (Creative Director) about what went into developing their recent title, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

GameObserver: Luxoflux has a recent history of making movie-based games, with Shrek 2, Kung Fu Panda and now Transformers 2 under its belt. But the company originally found its claim to fame with Vigilante 8 for the PS1 and the True Crime series. What lead your company to take the big plunge into movie tie-ins?

Luxoflux: When we started making Shrek 2 we were nervous. We loved the first movie, but the game (by another developer) didn't review well. We were scared of putting our lives into something that might be greeted with enormous skepticism. But the world of Shrek was very much in-sync with our team's personality and DreamWorks was open to what we wanted to try.

We were happy with how the game turned out and the audience enjoyed it. We learned that we could have just as much fun with a license as we had on original IP. We also saw how starting with a well-defined world in some ways allowed us to focus more on interaction and get more game in less time. Since then, we've continued to look for licenses (not necessarily movie-based) that we have a passion for, that fit our personality and that we can define or re-define as a game.

GameObserver: How is making movie-based games different from making standalone titles?

Luxoflux: One thing we've found with movie games is the importance of interfacing with the film team to uncover some of the more memorable aspects of the movie. Usually it comes down to 4 or 5 big scenes. Once we know those, we structure our game to synchronize with the movie at those points, but we plan a story and gameplay that expands to show things that may not be in the movie. If you were doing a non-movie game, you might still plan the player experience around 4 or 5 big turning points, but you might not structure development the same way. For a film game, you're not likely to see what those 4 or 5 moments will look like until at least ½-way through the film's development. So you wouldn't start building the corresponding levels until ½-way through the game's development. This approach has interesting side-effects. For example, on Kung Fu Panda, the film team knew what would be the biggest action scenes early on, but they hadn't yet planned the details. Early in their development, they focus on the emotional scenes. Meanwhile, we focused on action -- figuring out fighting moves and other core mechanics. Since much of that was done by the time the film team started detailing their action scenes we could see how it had influenced them to a degree.

GameObserver: How do you cope with the inevitable shortage of time required to develop a movie-based video game? Do you make compromises, and if so, what kind did you make while developing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen?

Luxoflux: You definitely have to be realistic about how much time you have and realize that it could change without notice. When we started prototyping Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen we thought the film would come out in summer 2010, but that changed along the way to summer '09. This could have been absolutely devastating. But, having worked with movie studios before, we knew to plan carefully and be clear about what things are essential to the game. By defining the core game early on we knew we could scope to the time available and still have something that feels complete. It pretty much came down to our transformation system, multiplayer and a big list of playable Transformers.

GameObserver: Even big development studios have had some less than stellar results making movie tie-in projects, while your company has had relative success. What do you think are the pitfalls of making such titles and what is the secret of your success?

Luxoflux: Whether it's an original IP or a license, we feel that the best chance of success is a matter of assembling a great group of veteran talent, finding what the team loves and making sure it's a natural fit for good gameplay. When you look around the office and see people's work stations decorated with Transformers and Kung Fu figurines -- you know you're onto something. ;)

GameObserver: How does Luxoflux cooperate with movie studios while making such games? Do you get any material, like the screenplay, before the film comes out?

Luxoflux: It definitely varies from game to game. On Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, however, we spend a decent amount of time at Bay Films reading the script whenever there was an update. We also met with Michael Bay, and Ian Bryce early on to make sure we were on the same page. Also, we had access to many aspects of the film like character designs, 3D models, concept art, etc., which is always cool!

For the rest of the interview, click here.

GameObserver interview with Love designer

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Lover interview banner

Love is a persistent online first-person shooter that will let players build structures, permanently manipulate the environment and share resources all in real-time. Action will be similar to a real-time strategy game as seen through the eyes of a grunt. Love is completely being designed by one single person, Mr. Eskil Steenberg, and GameObserver had a chance to interview him.

In the interview, Eskil talks about how all MMOs offer an egocentric experience where character growth is the most important aspect, and how he intends to change that. He also explains how mainstream MMOs have too many players, which basically trivializes accomplishments that have an impact on the entire server. "If you imagine Civilization where you invent your stuff or build new stuff, imagine playing one of those characters on the ground doing that. And being able to do something minute in your world and see that impact in the major world," Eskil explains when asked what his game will be like.

"I want to scare people in a direction that is different from this sort of me-centric c.l.a.s.s. of games. It feels that pretty much all games are going into that Diablo direction of collecting and building up my characters, and it's all sort of very egocentric about creating your own powerful character," he clarifies when asked how his game will be different from other MMOs. "I think people should care about the environment because if they care about the environment - if they built something cool - other players will see that as well. To me the environment and making things that other players can experience is a lot more interesting than the idea of having something that is just fun for you as a single player."

The game is well into development and its designer has already posted some incredible gameplay demos. Levels, for instance, are all procedurally generated. The game also offers open-source tools, like UV editing, not a small feat considering the whole thing was designed by one man, code, engine, tools, art, networking, everything.

Link to full interview

GameObserver interview with Bethesda Softworks

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Bethesda Interview

With Bethesda Softworks consistently releasing blockbuster games and expansions in the last few years, one thing has remained a constant: the Gamebryo engine. Love it or hate it, it has been the foundation of what fans of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout 3 have come to love.

GameObserver.com has had a chance to ask Ashley Cheng, production director at the studio, a few questions about the engine and how it affected the development of their recent smash-hit, Fallout 3.


GameObserver: Tell us a bit about yourself? What projects have you taken part in so far at Bethesda?

Ashley Cheng: My name is Ashley Cheng and I'm the production director of the studio. I started back in 2001 and have worked on Morrowind, Oblivion and most recently Fallout 3. I am responsible for the overall schedule, making sure everyone is completing their work to a high quality and overseeing test cycles. I'm also responsible for voice recording and casting, localization and our relationships with outside entities like Microsoft and Sony.


GameObserver: After Oblivion, what made you guys decide to reuse the Gamebryo engine for Fallout 3?

Ashley Cheng: Gamebryo allowed us to get up and running very quickly with Morrowind. Since then, we've taken this core technology and added new features on top of it. We've actually had the guys at Gamebryo come to us, and ask if we would be interested in a particular shader or feature, only to turn them down and say, sorry, but we've already written our own version. With each new project, we scope how much time we have and decide which systems to upgrade. A major reason many projects are delayed or never ship is because the developers decide to start from scratch. Games these days cost way too much for that kind of reboot. For most programmers, it's easier to write new code than to read old code -- it takes a lot of discipline to selectively upgrade parts of your technology and to maintain others.


GameObserver: How does the Gamebryo engine differ from other engines, like Unreal, given the types of games you tend to make?

Ashley Cheng: We've been building on top of Gamebryo for the past 8 years. There is no replacement for the learning and iteration that goes into building technology for that long. An engine is simply a tool. Anybody can use a paint brush and paper - it's how you use it to create your art. It is the same with game engines.

We are very particular with our needs and they are mostly related to our editor. Our editor is powerful, allowing our content folks to quickly create quests, conversations, cities, dungeons, landscape, etc... you name it -- we do it faster than anybody else in the industry. No one can match us when it comes to vast, open-ended beautiful worlds full of NPCs, quests and dialogue.


For the rest of the interview, click here.

Game Observer is looking for talented Video Game Writers

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GameObserver.com has reached a point where it needs talented Video Game Reviewers and Writers. This might be a chance of a lifetime for anybody wanting to gain experience and get their foot in the door in one of the most exciting industries in the world. If you think you have what it takes, read on.

We are looking for articulate and observant individuals who are passionate about the gaming industry. The positions are NON-PAYING and the selected individuals would have to procure their own games, without compensation. But if you are an avid gamer who spends countless hours and money playing video games, becoming a video game reviewer will be a great opportunity to convert all that effort into something that might open up opportunities in the future.

GameObserver.com is a happening place that takes its trade seriously. We are here to stay and grow. Get your foot in the door now while the door is still wide open, because it is closing fast!

If you readily play games on the PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, PC, DS, Wii, or even older platforms like the GBA, GameCube or Xbox, and know how to write well, get in touch. Please send us a CV and/or a sample text (to give us an idea of what you are capable of) at the following email address:

Staff [at] gameobserver [dot] com

To get an idea of what we will expect from your work check out some of our Editor reviews here.

If accepted, you will be part of the team; you will be an Editor.


What we are looking for:

  • Someone who knows how to write well;
  • Can express his or her thoughts in writing in a clear and concise manner;
  • Has a passion for video games;
  • Plays games on the PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, PC, DS, Wii, GBA, GameCube or Xbox;
  • Knows the video game industry;
  • Is willing to work for free.


No prior experience required (though it never hurts to have some) and no real deadlines. Work from home and get experience and exposure doing what you would normally do in your free time!

The Video Game Reviewer and Writer position "might" eventually turn into a paying job and more opportunities, but for now we are merely looking for volunteers. Working for a game site like GameObserver.com always looks great on a CV and can give up-and-coming writers the exposure and experience needed to spearhead their career. Don't hesitate; professions always start somewhere.

For more information, visit: http://www.gameobserver.com/ (in case you missed all the gratuitous links in the article).


Regards,

GO Staff