English feature

Apr 01 13:25

"Seeking the dangerous sublime": An interview with Richard Whitelock on "Into This Wylde Abyss"

1511 Into This Wylde Abyss is a work in progress described by its creator Richard Whitelock as "a short game about struggling to survive on a freezing island and what happens in your final hours, inspired by the dangerous sublime, Paradise Lost and AdamAtomic’s Capsule". Despite the very sparse information available on the game, I was at once fascinated by its visual style and the use of in-game photography.
I asked its creator Richard Whitelock a few questions on the game, photography and his inspirations.
Mär 24 09:22

WORD/PLAY: From Shooter to (Interactive) Novel – An Interview with Misery Dev. Ltd.


In our ongoing series WORD/PLAY we look at the fusing of literature and games. The link to the the written word is almost as old as the videogame itself, and recent developments both on the side of literature and the videogame have shown that the relationship between the two media is as vital and strong as ever.

Imagine that you were part of an international team of enthusiasts who have just finished the acclaimed overhaul of a notoriously complex and beautiful First Person-Shooter... were would you go from there? For Misery Dev. Ltd., they behind the MISERY mod for S.T.AL.K.E.R., the unlikely answer was: you try your hands on an interactive novel. The developers do not think of this move as a departure from their true and tested strengths, though: No matter the format, The Seed, which is currently looking for money on Kickstarter, is set in a post-apocalyptic landscape, with a focus on atmosphere and complex, dynamic systems. We talked with Nicolai Aarøe (creative director) and Damjan Cvetkov-Dimitrov (game developer) about this unusual project.

Mär 11 17:04

Style is King Footnotes #6: Monochroma

In continuation of my piece on visual innovators in games, I was drawn to the black and white beauty of Monochroma. I asked one of its creators, Burak Tezateser of Turkish developer Nowhere Studios, a few questions about the game.
A short description of Monochroma could be "Limbo meets Ico", but Monochroma's style emphasizes different aspects and uses 3D in a 2D-setting. In your own words: What makes your games' visual style unique? 
We created a dystopian world and a visual style reflecting that oppression and hypocrisy. We wanted the game to look dark and restless. Yet we used red expressively to create a striking contrast, something that doesn't really fit to the environment to tell the player subtly something is wrong. The player suddenly thinks, then maybe the whole black and white thing is wrong.
Mär 03 03:48

It's the last day of an era! - On the closing of "1000 Heroz"


1000 days is a long time. Dictatorships can be overthrown to form a fertile ground for democracies, helpless babies become jolly children and the world of videogames spawns hundreds of new titles. Games that can keep players' attention for longer than a few months are rare and have to be updated with new content regularly to keep players interested. This usually happens with AAA titles only, with the likes of StarCraft or World of Tanks where large development teams are at work to foster the virtual environment for many years.

Feb 10 15:57

Style is King footnotes #5: Limasse Five's NaissanceE


In continuation of my piece on visual innovators in games, I couldn't help but admire the sheer beauty and originality of the up and coming NaissanceE, due to be released later this week. I asked its creator Mavros Sedeño a few questions about his stylish, nearly monochromatic first-person puzzler. 

In your own words: What makes NaissanceE's visual style unique?

NaissanceE uses simple texture-less shapes combined in such a way that leads to rich and complex environments. This paradoxical association creates an unusual visual style helping to give this world its particular mood. In addition, the almost colour-less ambiance re-enforces the feeling of desolation and abandonment the player experiences when exploring the endless gigantic structures of NaissanceE. 
Feb 08 13:44

"The Process"-Footnotes: An interview with Michael Cook


All good things have come to an end. (Unless they are procedurally generated, I guess.) Recently Rainer tried to introduce the readers of Der Standard to the wonders of procedural generation with this article, but I had already plunged the further depths of this topic in last year's article for German games publication GameStar. During my extensive research, I conducted a series of in-depth interviews with a few notable game designers on procedural generation in games today. This is the fifth and final of a series of diminuitively nicknamed "footnotes", and we saved the maddest madness for the end: Michael Cook designed "Angelina", an artificial intelligence which can design games.

Hint: Not only is this interview, as Cook himself mentioned, "incredibly thorough". It also starts withough much exposition. If you want to get a general idea of what Cook and Angelina do, you might first want to read the articles by Lewis Denby or Joe Martin which deal with the more basic aspects of the project. If you're feeling more adventurous, however, you can dive right in -- I promise there are no random monsters and no permadeath lying in wait.

While I have a basic understanding of what your ANGELINA is about, do you maybe have a short standard description of the project and your role in it?

ANGELINA is a PhD project investigating ways that software can autonomously build videogames that are fun, innovative and meaningful. I’m the sole contributor to the project’s code, although I’ve been fortunate enough to have excellent supervision and guidance from Simon Colton and some really informative analysis and experimental design help from Jeremy Gow. Jeremy and I work in Simon Colton’s Computational Creativity Group.

Feb 03 18:06

Static Electricity: On Photography in Videogames


The following guest article by Lana Polansky - a Montreal-based game critic, crafter, writer and professional scowler - first appeared on her own blog. She was kind enough to allow me to republish this excellent and thoughtful article here as part of VGT's series on in-game photography, Screenshot Deluxe - be sure to check out Eron Rauch's great article on the topic as well as my essay here.

You can find more of Lana Polansky's work at sufficientlyhuman. com and follow her on Twitter. Thanks, Lana!

Killing Floor is one of the most unforgivably ugly games I have ever played. The FPS is about balls-to-the-wall grit and brutality. Best played as a co-op game, Killing Floor is not made for the patient sniper: enemy chokepoints are everywhere, writhing with ghouls and zombies, attacking you and your squad as mercilessly as the map architecture affronts the senses. Everything is overlayed with a grainy filter; set pieces are broken, abandoned and often aflame. Every nook and cranny screams violence, dereliction, and mortal peril.