gdc-2011 posts

Minecraft mod project turns into controversy over designer rules

A Minecraft mod that won a game design challenge at GDC 2011 earlier this month is now the center of a controversy surrounding one of the people who got his hands on it and now seems to be changing the rules that the game's original developer made for it. The mod in question is called Chain World. Designed by Jason Rohrer the mod was designed to be given and played by one person at a time.

Gamasutra reports that the Minecraft mod resides in a USB flash drive. A player installs the Minecraft world on a PC, then is supposed to play the game until his or her character dies. The world has to be saved and a copy is then put on the USB drive to then be given to another person.

The USB drive was given to an audience member at GDC 2011. However that audience member, Jia Ji, decided instead of playing the game he would auction off the USB drive via eBay to benefit a charity. The auction agreement also requires that after the winning player gets the drive and finishes playing the mod he or she must give it to famed alternate reality game designer Jane McGonigal.

Gamasutra reports that move has been the source of complaints with many game developers saying that Jia Ji's auction does not fit with what Rohrer had in mind when he created Chain World. Even Rohrer himself states on his Twitter page that " ... Whoever wins Chain World auction should NOT mail USB stick" to McGonigal.

Orion Prelude GDC 2011 trailer shows some more T-Rex action

You may remember that Spiral Game Studios successful raised money to help the small indie development team attend GDC 2011 last week and show off its upcoming sci-fi shooter Orion Prelude to game publishers. This week the game's official web site posted up a new trailer that showed off a small portion of what was displayed at GDC; naming a huge T-Rex trying its best to smash and eat the player character.

According to the site's update, "We had some incredible meetings with some incredible people. They really gave us some great feedback and information that have assisted in some restructuring happening now." Spiral Game Studios will also be attending PAX East 2011 this weekend and will show off a "slightly updated" version of Orion Prelude.

Unreal Engine 3 GDC 2011 tech video shows off pretty graphics

unreal engine 3
After seeing the screenshots for Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 tech demo made for GDC 2011, we couldn't wait to see the whole thing. Thankfully we now have the video made from the live tech demo for all to see, showing off how a certain Samaritan helps someone out in a near future version of Washington DC.

Keep in mind that the trailer, which you can check out after the jump, was not a pre-rendered CGI clip made in a server farm but ran in real time on a real PC (although a very powerful one) at Epic Games' booth during GDC 2011. The clip was cool enough that we are hoping that the Samaritan is the basis for an actual game and not just a tech demo.

GDC 2011 claims record attendance of 19,000

gdc 2011The annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco has always been the first big game event of the industry, at least in terms of new game announcements. Today the organizers of GDC announced that last week's 2011 edition had "record" attendance numbers with 19,000 game industry officials.

While there were a number of cool lectures and panels at GDC 2011 much of the show's highlights actually took place outside San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center as game publishers showed off a ton of upcoming game titles to the press including Battlefield 3. Next year's GDC event will take place from March 5-9, 2012.

Maniac Mansion remake would be "neat", says co-creator Ron Gilbert

manic mansionThe co-creator of the very first LucasArts adventure game, Maniac Mansion, would like to see the publisher do a remake much like it did recently with the two Monkey Island special editions. Eurogamer reports that speaking at GDC 2011 Ron Gilbert states, "I think that would be really neat."

If he were to be in charge of such a remake, Gilbert has though about "fixing" what he feels were flaws in the original 1987 game. However he added, "Isn't that a little bit like George Lucas going back and fixing all those problems with Star Wars? Maybe the game really needs to be what it is back then."

The original game, released back in 1987 for the Commordore 64 PC, has the gamer controlling a teenager that is trying to rescue his girlfriend from a mad scientist inside a dark mansion. The game was the precursor to all of the great LucasArts adventure games that followed. Gilbert himself is currently working with another former LucasArts adventure game designer, Tim Schafer, on an unannounced game at Double Fine.

GDC 2011: StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm due out in "next six months to a year"

StarCraft II players have been waiting patiently for developer Blizzard to give out more info on StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the Zerg themed second game in the planned trilogy of titles for the sci-fi RTS sequel. At GDC 2011, during a panel on the future of the strategy genre, GameSpot reports that Blizzard's Dustin Browder gave a little more info on when Heart of the Swarm might be coming out.

Browder stated that he expects Heart of the Swarm to be released in the "next six months to a year." That would suggest that the game could in fact be out by the end of 2011. It's perhaps more likely, however, that the second StarCraft II game will be released in 2012.

GDC 2011: Will Wright making new games

will wrightThe man who created Sim City, The Sims and Spore says he's back making new games but is keeping specific details to himself, at least for now. Eurogamer reports that Will Wright, speaking at GDC 2011 this past week, did say that the games he is working on won't be shrink wrapped in a box.

Wright states that the unannounced game projects he is working on will be " ... a little more diffuse" using both mobile and web platforms. He also hints that the games he is making will be more than just to entertain people, saying, "I'm really interested right now in games that get people more engaged in the world around them rather than distract them from it." Wright's most recent project is the TV series Bar Karma which features audience participation in creating the show's storylines.

Bungie: That whole GDC "massively multiplayer action game" deal was a joke

bungie mmo
Bungie is trying to cover up something that was reportedly said during a GDC 2011 presentation this week. You may remember that some web sites who attended a panel hosted by Bungie's David Aldridge reported that he said that Bungie was working on a "massively multiplayer action game" but that it would not be "WoW in Space."

Well, now Bungie seems to be doing some damage control, stating that in rehearsing his GDC 2011 presentation "... Aldridge was convinced that everybody got the joke. It was all in the delivery, he assured us, and he was certain it was clear that he was playfully riffing off of the recent rumors." Bungie even managed to throw in a joke comparing him to Charlie Sheen (our second mention of him today).

It's important to note that Bungie didn't actually deny that the team is working on a massively multiplayer action game, but for the moment officially we are now back to square one on figuring out what the development studio is reall working on.

GDC 2011: StarCraft II's design influenced by e-sports

starcraft ii
As most of you may know, the original StarCraft became a massive hit with pro gamers worldwide, especially in South Korea. However the sci-fi RTS game from Blizzard wasn't designed with e-sports in mind. That wasn't the case for the sequel StarCraft II, according to what Blizzard's Dustin Browder told a panel at GDC 2011 today.

According to Gamasutra's coverage of the panel, Browder said that the team looked at other RTS games such as Supreme Commander and Dawn of War. They discovered that for StarCraft II, less could in fact be more. The team wanted multiplayer matches to be fun to watch and as a result they kept the number of units down to just 45 rather than flood the game with different units.

The e-sport mandate also appled to the game's rules (keep it simple but make it hard to master) and even in the art where they strived to make each unit look different from each other. While the e-sports theme was hard to put into StarCraft II Browder states, "This is a way for players to experience the game in ways we've never had before."

Unreal Engine 3 GDC 2011 ShakyCam demo footage pops up

unreal engine 3
Looks like someone who wasn't supposed to bring a camera to Epic Games' demo room at GDC 2011 did anyway and films the Unreal Engine 3 tech demo. The result is a blurry ShakyCam video showing off the live tech demo that was shown to the press earlier this week.

Keep in mind that the video was filming a real live in-engine demo and that the visual effects and other improvements needed a powerful PC running three Nvidia graphics cards in SLI in order to have a descent framerate. If you want to see a much more in focus and higher resolution movie you might want to wait until the official Unreal Engne 3 trailer is issued from Epic sometime next week. You can check out the ShakyCam YouTube version right now after the jump:


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