Train2Game blog interview with industry veteran Jason Falcus

Iguana Entertainment  is an independent Game Developer formed in 2009 by industry veterans Darren and Jason Falcus.The company puts heavy focus on mobile gaming, with Train2Game student  Lauren Black  helping in their development on a work placement.”

In an interview with the Train2Game blog, Iguana Entertainment Development Director Jason Falcus discussed his experiencein the industry, the future of mobile development and provides some advice for Train2Game students. Read it below.

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog or on the Train2Game forum.

Robin Channon gives his thoughts on his Train2Game placement at DR Studios

 Train2Game Game Design student Robin Channon spent 6 weeks on a work placement at DR Studios. Before he left, Train2Game Radio caught up with him to find how he found the placement and whichskills learned through Train2Game he’s used at DR Studios. The interview is available to listen to at www.audioboo.fm/train2game while the full transcript is below

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game Radio Speaks to Train2Game Game Developer Sam Welsh

Sam Welsh is studying to become a Game Developer with Train2Game. Train2Game Radio caught upwith Sam to find out why he chose to study with Train2Game, how he’s finding the course and theweekly videos he produces for fellow Train2Game students. Read the interview below or listen at www.audioboo.fm/train2game

Splash Damage: MMO shooters are the future

Brink

Adding MMO elements to First Person Shooters is the future of the genre. That’s according to CEO of Brink developer Splash Damage Paul Wedgwood.

As the Train2Game blog has previously reported, the Game Developers believe Brink will ‘end the genre as we know it’

And when asked by CVG what would be the X-Factor for shooters in future Wedgewood replied:

“That’s really easy. I just want a really good massively multiplayer shooter, thanks. I’m desperate for it. Why isn’t there? I just can’t stand the fact that there isn’t one yet. I’d do it but 140 staff? Managing 140 people? It’s just so hard.”

“You know, for a long time it hasn’t been technically feasible because you need super low latency connections for good shooter combat and that’s generally incompatible with 1000 people being on a server at the same time”

“I think there’s definitely going to be some cool stuff that comes around,” he added “But I think the massively multiplayer shooter, one where we’re all engaged in the same continuous environment is the thing that’s going to truly impress me next.”

As Train2Game students will know, MMOs themselves are big business with World of Warcraft having over 12 million subscribers.  Star Wars: The Old Republic developers Bioware have claimed WoW is the ‘touchstone’ for MMO design, as reported by the Train2Game blog.

So Train2Game, can the MMO framework be transferred to the FPS? Would you be interested? And what are your thoughts on the upcoming Brink from Splash Damage?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: CVG]

Dragons Den: The Official Game launched on iPhone and iPad

Train2Game course providers DR Studios, in conjunction with Sony Pictures Television’s formats arm, 2waytraffic, have launched the first ever mobile game to be based on hit reality TV show Dragons’ Den.

Designed for Apple devices, the Dragons’ Den game will launch internationally via the Apple App Store on April 21 2011, priced at $1.99/€1.99/£1.79 for iPhone and iPod Touch, and $2.99/€2.99/£2.79 for iPad.

The Dragons’ Den game will offer budding business minds the chance to experience what it’s like to be a Dragon by watching virtual pitches for real life inventions and working out the goldmines from the flops. The game also replicates the rivalry of the show as players compete against virtual Dragons for their chance to sign the next big deal.

Stephan Zingg, VP of Interactive and Consumer Products at 2waytraffic, said: “We are very proud to release the first mobile product based on this high profile show. Developing new ways for audiences to interact with their favourite television series is crucial to brand building and this game replicates the Dragons’ Den experience perfectly.”

Clive Robert, Managing Director of DR Studios, added:  “We’ve always been huge fans of the show, so the opportunity to create an official Dragons’ Den game was something we just had to do, we’re really looking forward to the launch of the game as we’ve created some really neat features but have stayed faithful to what Dragons’ Den is all about: entrepreneurialism at its very best.”

Dragon’s Den is a television brand distributed globally by 2waytraffic on behalf of Japanese creator NTV. More than 30 international versions of the television series have now been produced including in the UK, Canada, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland and the US, where ABC has just launched its second season (known locally as Shark Tank). The format features entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas in order to secure investment finance from a panel of venture capitalists.

Other product lines developed by 2waytraffic for the Dragons’ Den format include books and board games.

Bioware explain Game Design ‘Flashpoints’ of Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic Train2Game blog image

Here’s one for the Train2Game Game Design students; Bioware associate producer Cory Butler recently spoke about the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic, explaining now the narrative of the MMO moves forward through what are called Flashpoints.

“Flashpoints in Star Wars: The Old Republic are action-packed, story-driven adventures that put a group of players up against difficult foes in sticky situations” Butler told Star Wars website Darth Hater.

“Every Flashpoint begins with an exciting story and contains difficult decisions which have meaningful impact on the challenges you’ll face, the enemies you’ll fight, and the outcome of the flashpoints.”

In other comments that Train2Game QA Testers may find interesting, the producer spoke about how character creation and in-game difficulty of Star Wars: The Old Republic had been altered by community feedback. Butler also mentioned how those interested in testing the came can do so.

“Those interested in testing The Old Republic need to be a registered member of the Star Wars: The Old Republic community. Once signed up at www.starwarstheoldrepublic.com, they simply need to check the box indicating that they are interested in becoming a tester and follow the instructions provided”

So if any Train2Game students – those on the QA Tester course in particular –now is your chance to try and get involved.

Star Wars: The Old Republic developers Bioware have previously stated that World of Warcraft is the ‘touchstone’ for all MMOs. You can read the full comments here on the Train2Game blog.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the ‘Flashpoint’ method of driving narrative? Is a story an important factor for an MMO? And how much impact do you think community testing can have?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: VG247]

Ivor Novello ‘Best Original Video Game Score’ nominees revealed

As Train2Game students will no doubt be aware, in the musical score can be an important factor in determining the feel of a game.  Now three games which are highly regarded for their in-game music have been nominated for Best Original Video Game Score at the 56th Ivor Novello Awards.

The three titles are Enslaved: Odyssey to the West from Ninja Theory, Shogun 2: Total War from The Creative Assembly and James Bond 007: Blood Stone published by Activision.

Blood Stone was also nominated for Best Original Music at last months Video Game BAFTAs, but lost out on the award to Heavy Rain.

Last years Ivor Novello Awards were the first to include an award for Best Original Video Game Score with Killzone 2 taking the prize.

Those interested in the creation of video game music should have a look at this Train2Game blog post which takes an in-depth look at the making of Red Dead Redemption’s musical score.

So Train2Game, which game do you believe deserves to win the Ivor Novello for Best Original Video Game Score? How important is music in games? And which in-game score is your favourite?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: The Ivors]

Improved characters and environments ‘key’ step for next gen games say Epic

Samaritan

Train2Game students may remember Epic’s impressive Unreal ‘Samaritan’ tech demo posted last month, and now the studio say that increasingly lifelike characters are what’s needed to further progress of games.

That’s according to Epic’s CEO and technical director Tim Sweeney, who was speaking to Game Informer about the Samaritan demo.

“I’m most excited about the ability for more realistic characters and movie-quality environments to enhance the player’s emotional attachment to the game world. In the beginning, games only delivered fun, engaging challenges – Donkey Kong’s graphics were sufficient for that. Doom was, to me, the first game with sufficient realism to deliver a genuinely scary experience,” he said

Game Designers are those responsible for creating realistic characters, while Artist & Animators produce the environments.

And despite the realistic graphics of current games, the Epic CEO says more work needs to be done “Game Developers have much further to go in delivering truly dramatic interpersonal experiences,” he said.

“Alyx in Half-Life 2 offered a glimpse into this possibility; I think increasingly lifelike characters are key to further progress.”

Epic Co-founder and Vice President Mark Rein also spoke about the Samaritan demo last month, and you can read the comments here on the Train2Game blog.

So Train2Game, do games need improved characters to advance? What is it about Half-Life 2’s Alyx Vance that makes her so believable? And what other characters do you think are the most life like?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: CVG]

Train2Game blog interview with Dragons’ Den: The Official Game Lead Designer Mete Djemal (Part 2 of 2)

Dragons' Den: The Official Game

Dragons’ Den: The Official Game from DR Studios – under license from 2waytraffic, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company, for iPhone and iPad is released in the near future. In the run up to its release, The Train2Game blog caught up with Lead Designer Mete Djemal to discuss features of Dragons’ Den: The Official Game, and give us an insight into the Game Development process behind the title.  

Below is the second part of a two part interview.  While part one is in this previous post on the Train2Game blog.

How pleased are you with what Dragons’ Den: The Official Game has to offer?

Overall I think we’ve actually delivered quite a good experience with Dragons’ Den: The Official Game.  We’ve got really good 3D graphics, the official music from the television programme, it’s very atmospheric and has got a very similar pace to the show in the way that the entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to the Dragons then you decide whether or not you want to invest.  To help with this you get a brief description of the invention giving you an idea of what it is and then it goes round each Dragon who decides whether they want to invest.  In Dragons’ Den: The Official Game we’ve created a nice investment system where you can control both the stake and the amount of money want to invest.

We also added a timer into the actual investment, so rather than it being open and allowing the player as much time as they want to decide, they’ve got a limited amount of time in which to decide whether or not they want to invest or not which keeps Dragons’ Den: The Official Game very interesting!

The Dragons’ Den: The Official Game  scoring system which adds all scores to a worldwide leaderboard listing the top Dragons – the millionaires – so each time you make money it’s added to your accumulated Dragons’ Den: The Official Game d all-time score.

How have you tried to capture the true feel of the show?

In the dialogue we’ve actually managed to retain the humour and feel of the TV show. All of the Dragons have different personalities, you’ve got some who are really aggressive, and like to criticise the inventors if they think the idea is rubbish! So we’ve kept that in Dragons’ Den: The Official Game with each Dragon having their own personality and biography for the player to read – when you select your Dragon you can choose on the personality type. In Dragons’ Den: The Official Game we’ve kept the humour in too.  Of course, the catchphrases of the TV show are “I’m in” and “I’m out” so we’ve retained those and other prominent phrases in there.

Dragons’ Den: The Official Game  faithfully captures the look and feel of the TV show, as a player it puts you in the seat of an actual Dragon.

You’ll recognise them as you play Dragons’ Den: The Official Game, and within the dialogue you can say ‘Hey, that’s like that particular Dragon from the TV show ’ or ‘That’s a particular dragon viewers like’

Tell us about the inventions

The fun for the player is wanting to see what inventions are coming up next and it’s the guess work. Sometimes in Dragons’ Den: The Official Game and invention will sound like a really wacky idea and the player things ‘Actually, that could work’ so you’ll invest, get an outcome at the end and actually see what the real inventions actually were in a sort of historical factor.  We reveal at the end of the game the true name of the invention and how well it did in the grand scheme of things, so in Dragons’ Den: The Official Game you get to see whether it was a successful invention or not. So there’s aspect of the game as well, actually wanting to see what happened to the inventions.

What were the biggest challenges in development?

A big issue with The Dragons’ Den: The Official Game is that as licensed game, the challenge is trying to keep it faithful to the actual content of the license and I think we’ve managed to do that; we’ve got the look and feel down really well, while the Dragons’ aren’t the ones from the TV show you still believe in these characters, that these people would actually be Dragons.

And finally, what are the main selling points of Dragons’ Den: The Official Game?

We’re very proud of the high quality graphics and audio within Dragons’ Den: The Official Game. When you see it you’ll think ‘This is Dragons’ Den’ as it feels like you’re actually playing the TV show. We’ve got full 3D characters, 120 unique inventions. Dragons’ Den: The Official Game has a realistic finance model, the social aspect of the game – being able to play with up to five people – it’s almost got a board game element to it.

For Dragons’ Den Fans, people who are fans of the show will really like Dragons’ Den: The Official Game. Even non-fans will get something out of it as a good, interactive experience. It’s really suited to the iPhone as a game you can play in bite size chunks and with scores being constantly updated you’re able to compete with other players around the world to try and become the top Dragon.

Dragons’ Den: The Official Game is a DR Studios/2Way Traffic production and is released for the iPhone and iPad in the very near future. For more information visit www.dragonsdengame.co.uk 

Train2Game blog interview with Dragons’ Den: The Official Game Lead Designer Mete Djemal (Part 1 of 2)

Dragons’ Den: The Official Game from DR Studios – under license from 2waytraffic, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company, for iPhone and iPad is released just days away on Thursday 21st April. In the run up to its release, The Train2Game blog caught up with Lead Designer Mete Djemal to discuss features of Dragons’ Den: The Official Game, and give us an insight into the Game Development process behind the title.  Below is part one of a two part interview.

Can you begin by telling us some basic information about the Dragons Den: The Official Game project and the challenges behind its production?

With Dragons Den: The Official Video Game, DR Studios were given the opportunity to take the Dragons’ Den License and create a video game. I think the main challenge was how we’d make a game out of a TV show that offered little in the way of an interactive experience on the face of it. But as we looked into it we actually thought it was a pretty good concept because you could actually play as a Dragon and be an investor; make money, lose money so it has that strategy element to it.

The first challenge developing Dragons Den: The Official Video Game was to create a realistic looking environment and the Dragons. We weren’t allowed to use the real likenesses of the Dragons so we had to create characters and we wanted the player to feel as if they were actually in the Den, so we studied a lot of footage of Dragons’ Den. The final result of Dragons Den: The Official Video Game was the creation of a full 3D Den. At first, it was going to be a 2D environment, with static characters and no 3D models, but after looking at it we decided we want to make the most real looking experience so we decided to go full 3D models and it really came from there.

What were the initial concepts behind Dragons Den: The Official Game and how did they develop during the course of the development?

The initial concept of Dragons Den: The Official Game was to create a game in which you play as a Dragon. As with the TV show, you’re presented with various inventions and crazy business ideas, and as a Dragon you choose to invest your money in some of these ideas.  We also decided it’d be better to use real world inventions rather than make believe ones so it’d keep Dragons Den: The Official Game more in fitting with the actual TV show and realistic.

So, one of the biggest challenges during the development of the game was to find enough real world inventions which required a lot of background research. We looked at all sorts of things with some of the inventions being over 100 years old before deciding on the best ones to include in Dragons Den: The Official Game.  We then had to write concepts and short descriptions of the inventions. The idea being we wanted to keep these vague, we didn’t want the player to know what the inventions actually were as that’d make the game too easy.

We therefore had to present these inventions in a way that kept the concept real so you could believe in the invention then at the same time keep it quite vague in terms of what it actually was. For example, the names of the inventions; we had to rename all of the inventions to keep it realistic but not give away the actual real concept, the real name of the actual invention. Dragons Den: The Official Game contains 120 inventions – more than originally planned.

Another challenge in the development of Dragons Den: The Official Game was designing the interactive experience in a way which it was fun for the user and made them want to come back and keep playing.  We went through various designs before deciding on the idea in which you as a player had a certain amount of money to invest in inventions and ideas.  The original idea was for the Dragons Den: The Official Game player to have an unlimited amount of money, but we wanted  a bit of jeopardy in there, so we decided to limit the amount of money the player would have so they’d have to think about which investments you want to invest in without blowing their money away on an invention that could be a complete disaster.

Dragons’ Den: The Official Game has a multiplayer mode, can you explain how that works?

When it comes to the social side, the multiplayer side, we felt that Dragons Den: The Official Game would be even more fun to play as a multiplayer game. As we have five Dragons in the game – like in the actual TV show – it can support up to five players in a turn based game. How this works is that each player takes it in turns to invest or not invest in an invention. The idea is that the players hide from the other players whether or not they’ve invested to keep other players guessing.

In Dragons Den: The Official Game – as in the TV show – you can also share the investment. So we decided that as a player, even in single player mode, if you don’t want to invest the full amount you can actually go in with another Dragon and invest a smaller percentage of the money.

Part 2 of the interview will be published later this week.

Dragons’ Den: The Official Game is a DR Studios/2Way Traffic production and is released for the iPhone and iPad on Thursday 21st April. For more information visit www.dragonsdengame.co.uk