Playing With Art

Analyzing the artistic merits of video games

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Change is Good

Posted by Nick Dinicola on May 8, 2009

I won’t be posting as many full blog posts here anymore, but only because I’ll be writing a weekly post for the PopMatters game blog “Moving Pixels.” There will be a weekly post here linking to PopMatters, and those posts will always consist of a serious analysis of a game, gaming culture, or gaming trends. This blog will still be reserved for my immediate impressions of whatever game I’m playing on this blog.

My inaugural post on Moving Pixels is about Morality and Karma Systems in Fallout 3 and GTA IV. I’ll also be contributing regular reviews for PopMatters, so there will be more posts here linking to them as well.

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GDC Links

Posted by Nick Dinicola on March 27, 2009

I love GDC. It’s not like other trade shows whose popularity hinges on big announcements of new games. GDC is all about the developers, thus the name I suppose. There were some really great talks this year, offering some interesting insight into the nuts and bolts of game development. Here’s a list of some that I particularly liked.

There was an interesting one by David Smith, technical director at Media Molecule, about the physics in LittleBigPlanet.

IGN has two articles about Valve: One about the rigorious playtesting of Valve games, and the other about the co-op in Left 4 Dead.

Kojima gave an interesting talk about “making the impossible possible” during the development of each Metal Gear game.

Keita Takahashi, the creator of Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy, talked about making Noby Noby Boy, its inspirations, and games in general.

Gamasutra has a writeup on The Experimental Gameplay Sessions, including a description of each game from its developer. Some of these just sound awesome.

Gamasutra also has a good summary of a panel with Will Wright, Peter Molyneux, Bing Gordon, and Lorne Lanning on Games and Social Change.

A great look at music in games from Hitoshi Sakimoto, the man behind the music from Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story. I really like his comparison of  music and noise: “Music is pleasant to people…but noise is usually unpleasant. At what point does that noise become music? You have to create a melody from all this sound.”

There was a panel with Goichi Suda (Suda 51), Fumito Ueda, and Emil Pagliarulo, the men behind No More Heros, Shadow of the Colossus, and Fallout 3 respectively. They talked about eastern and western game design.

And of course, perhaps the biggest thing announced at GDC, OnLive. On one hand it sounds like it could be an incredible service if it works right, but that’s a big “if,” and I’m personaly uneasy about the idea that I won’t actually own any game I buy from their service. So if they go under, my game collection is gone.

Also, Giant Bomb’s Bombcast from GDC is one of the best podcasts I’ve heard. It’s filled with thought-provoking and insightful commentary by a horde of developers. And that’s just the Day 1 podcast. Anyone interested in game development should give these a listen.

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