Train2Game news: Bioware on the importance of playtesting during game development

Train2Game students will be aware testing a game is an extremely important part of game development. But according to Bioware, it isn’t something that should be left to the QA Testers or Beta testers alone, rather the game developers should be constantly involved in the process too.

That’s according to Star Wars: The Old Republic project lead James Ohlen who was speaking to Gamasutra.

“The thing about it is, it’s important to get people to test your game, but the beta tests are more for finding out if your technology’s going to stand up, and finding some small tweaks and changes.” he said when asked about playtesting.

“But all the big changes that we’ve been making were planned from way before, because we’ve been playing the game ourselves. If we didn’t figure this stuff out, we’d be terrible game designers. So, internally we figured out a lot of the problems early on.

However, Ohlen pointed out that Beta testers still have a role to play in game development.

“But at the same time, it’s good for fans to feel like they’re having an impact, and sometimes they do”

“Sometimes they do point out information that is a little bit surprising, but nothing hugely surprising. There’s been surprises on the project, but mostly they’ve come from us playtesting this stuff.” the Star Wars: The Old Republic project lead concluded.

For a more in depth look behind the scenes of Star Wars: The Old Republic, check out the Train2Game interview with Associate Lead Designer Emmanuel Lusinchi.

Star Wars: The Old Republic will be released in Europe on 22nd December 2011.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on testing games? Do you agree that it’s an important part of a game developers job, no matter what role they have in the industry?

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

[Source: Gamasutra]

Train2Game news: Gears of War 3 is No.1

Train2Game forum users, at least a significant proportion of them, were very excited about the release of Gears of War 3 and it seems that excitement was replicated throughout the country.

Gears of War 3 is the new UK No.1, becoming the fastest selling new game of the year in the process and Britain’s 12th biggest game launch of all time.

F1 2011 from Codemasters is another new entry at No.2, and Train2Game students can get an insight behind the scenes of its development in our in depth interview with Chief Game Designer Steve Hood.

The new entries push previous chart topper Dead Island down to No.3, while Zumba Fitness jumps up two places to No.4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution remains at No.5 for the third consecutive week.

Driver: San Francisco slips to No.6, with Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine and Resistence 3 dropping five spots each to No.7 and No.8 respectively.  LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and Rugby World Cup 2011 complete the top ten.

The UKIE Gfk Chart-Track All Formats Top 10 for the week ending 24th September 2011 is therefore as follows:

1. Gears of War 3 (Microsoft)
2. F1 2011 (Codemasters)
3. Dead Island (Deep Silver)
4. Zumba Fitness (505 Games)
5. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Square Enix)
6. Driver: San Francisco (Ubisoft)
7. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (THQ)
8. Resistance 3 (Sony)
9. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean (Disney)
10. Rugby World Cup 2011 (505 Games)

New titles for release this week include FIFA 12.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Gears of War 3 topping the charts? Will it be the same again next week, or will FIFA 12 take the top of the table?

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

[Source: UKIE Games Charts©, compiled by GfK Chart-Track]

Train2Game student thoughts on Homefront 2 being developed by Crytek

Train2Game students have reacted to the news that Crytek are working on a Homefront sequel scheduled for release in 2014, and there are some interesting comments among them.

“Not bad, I liked the story of Homefront and to be honest I never played the multiplayer” said Alex Norton on the Train2Game Facebook page “But it was enjoyable, plus it’s always a good thing to hear that games are being delayed generally they get better (e.g. Mass Effect 3)”

Train2Game student Shaun also believes the lengthy development time will ultimately be a positive thing for Homefront 2.

“GOOD! I think games are rushed to much to cope with demand! 3 to 4 years, I reckon.”

However, Train2Game student Michael Caine thinks a 2014 release could be risky, given that the next generation of consoles is predicted to hit the market around then.

“Isn’t 2014 pushing it for the new instalment if predictions are right for a 2014 next gen?” he said on the Train2Game Facebook page “Kinect should be used along with control if the predictions fail but last gen can still survive years through a new gen so it could be a 50/50 gamble. I guess we’ll have to see.”

There are also those who are less enthusiastic about the news that Crytek will be taking control of the Homefront brand.

“I’d stay away if I were Crytek…..Homefront isnt worth the effort as it hardly set the world on fire. Make a new IP.” said Train2Game student Kev Curtis.

Meanwhile, on the Train2Game forum, Train2Game student Craig Moore doesn’t sound keen on more Homefront.

“I thought Homefront was a gigantic flop ?! Why the hell are they keeping this IP alive?” he asked.

These are just a few of Train2Game students thoughts on the prospect of a new Homefront title by Crytek, but what is your opinion?

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

Train2Game news: More to come from current gen consoles says Gears of War 3 designer

Train2Game students may be eagerly any announcements on the next generation of consoles, but there’s plenty of life in what we already have yet.

That’s according to Epic Games Design Director and the man behind Gears of War 3, Cliff Bleszinski.

“I think if we bring out any more products on the 360 depending on life cycle, we’ll be able to squeeze more water from that stone,” he told The Telegraph.

“That said, I still think there is a huge amount of room for improvement in graphics. We want to get to Avatar-quality and real time and beyond. I think we can absolutely get there, hopefully in the next generation if everybody ponies up and does good hardware.”

And Bleszinski hinted that there are already new consoles in the works, but refused to be drawn on anything. “I could tell you, but I’d violate an NDA.” he said.

Nothing is official, but as the Train2Game blog reported earlier this year, Microsoft were looking for designers to work on the next Xbox console.  Meanwhile, Sony claim they’re in no rush to develop the successor to the PlayStation 3.

There’s no indication of any release dates for the next generation of consoles, but some Train2Game students have speculated that the 2014 release scheduled of the newly announced Homefront 2 sequel could point to it being one of the first next-gen titles.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Cliff Blesinski’s remarks?  How much room for improvement do you think the current generation of consoles has? And when do you think we’ll see new systems released?

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

[Source: The Telegraph]

Train2Game news: Battlefield 3 open beta begins this month

Train2Game students will no doubt find Beta testing certain games fun, but they’ll also be aware that it’s an important stage of game development.

It’s therefore possible that many Train2Game students are excited that the Battlefield 3 beta will be available later this month on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Those in the PC beta will need to use EA’s Origin digital distribution system.

Those who’ve pre-ordered Battlefield 3 on Origin or bought the Medal of Honor limited edition will gain access to the beta from September 27th. The Battlefield 3 beta will open up to everyone else from 29th September  through to 10th October

The official Battlefield 3 website prominently states that the beta is “Your chance to give feedback.” Train2Game students, especially those on the Games QA Tester course, will know that feedback is an integral part of game development.

Train2Game students who get involved in the Battlefield 3 beta will be set on the Parised ‘Operation Metro’ map while the game mode available is rush.

EA believe that Battlefield is ‘superior’ to Call of Duty, as reported by the Train2Game blog earlier this year.

So Train2Game, will you get involved with the Battlefield 3 Beta? Do you believe it could even help your ability to be an eagle eyed game developer?

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

Train2Game news: Homefront sequel in development at Crytek UK

Train2Game students may be surprised to hear this, but not only is Homefront getting a sequel, it’s being developed by Crytek.

As reported by ther Train2Game blog, the THQ published Homefront topped the charts back in March despite lucklustre reviews from critics. It stayed there for a week before being dislodged by Crysis 2…from Crytek.

The yet to be named sequel will be produced using Crytek’s impressive CryEngine 3, and according to Develop, it’ll be developed by the studios UK based arm in Nottingham.

“Selecting Crytek to take Homefront forward underscores our strategy of working with the industry’s best talent,” said THQ EVP Danny Bilson

“Homefront’s unique setting and storyline captivated gamers the world over. With Crytek’s industry leading technology and legendary experience in the FPS genre, we’re supremely confident that the next Homefront will deliver that AAA-quality experience that players demand.” he concluded.

“We see Homefront as a really strong universe that has a lot of potential and that has been expertly created and marketed by THQ,” added CEO and President of Crytek Cevat Yerli

“We believe that bringing our level of quality, creativity and production values to the next Homefront title, creates an opportunity for both THQ and Crytek to deliver a truly blockbuster game”

“It’s really important to us that THQ has the faith in giving us a lot of creative freedom over one of its most important properties to allow us to bring the Homefront world to life in a new and innovative way.” he said

The newly announced Homefront title is scheduled for release in 2014 on ‘console and PC platforms’ The non-specific naming of any particular consoles could raise eyebrows amongst Train2Game students, could we be looking at a next-gen title already?

Are you excited by the announcment? Can Crytek make Homefront into an outstanding game? And what are your thoughts on the 2014 release schedule?

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

Train2Game student insight behind the scenes of Borderland 2’s art direction

Train2Game forum users, at least a significant number of them loved Borderlands. Train2Game Art & Animation students enjoyed its cell shaded art style in particular.

Now, with sequel confirmed last month, Borderlands 2 Art Director Jeramy Cooke has been discussing… art direction with Gamasutra. In particular, he’s keen to point out that Borderlands 2 will not only be a lot more colourful, but how the art style will be an integral part of the game.

“I wanted it to have a richer, larger world” said Cooke. “I felt like we were stuck in the desert a lot, and it got monotonous. It felt like you were seeing the same enemies too often. I mean, that’s my personal experience. And we really wanted to just widen that and give you this sense of a huge space, which is why you can see the other maps from the maps you’re in.

The Borderlands 2 Art Director then described how if the player could see something in the distance, they should be able to travel across the map and see it up close.

“You look over there, and you see this dam off in the distance, and you know “Oh, that’s where I was,” and vice-versa when you’re on top of the dam and you look down into zone 1 and see all of the ice spread out. It’s about that sort of large-scale, large-scope experience” Cooke said.

It’s a view echoed by Far Cry 3 Narrative Director Jason Vandenberghe in last month’s interview with the Train2Game blog.

“Borderlands is not a rail shooter, it’s not a corridor shooter” the Borderlands 2 Art Director continued.

“We want you to explore and have fun and go where you want and do what you want. The world’s job is to be enticing, to convince you to go out there and find cool stuff, to dig around in the corner and find cool loot or a miniboss you didn’t know who was there or whatever.”

So Train2Game, how important do you believe art style can be in making a game fun to play? What are your thoughts on Borderlands 2? Can it improve on the original?

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

[Source: Gamasutra]

Train2Game students get option to use Epic’s UDK on Mac OS

Train2Game students will be able to use Epic’s Unreal Development Kit on the Mac OS.

The new, completely free update, allows modders to use UDK to create game builds that can be released on both Apple and Windows systems. The latest update also includes support for Apple’s ios platform for smartphones and will be available this month.

According to Epic, using UDK for Mac is “virtually identical” to the Windows system. “Every UDK game’s potential user base has increased dramatically yet again.” the engine provider added.

However, those with ideas of only using UDK for Mac will be disappointed, the platform is only available to those who also have a Windows system.

As reported by the Train2Game blog earlier this year, Epic’s free UDK has been downloaded over 800,000 times and provides excellent game building and modding opportunities.

Of course, Train2Game students will have the opportunity to test their skills with UDK at the Train2Game and Epic Game Jam from 4th-6th November. To find out more visit the official Train2Game and Epic Game Jam website.

What are your thoughts on Epic’s UDK coming to Apple? Have you used the UDK? If so, how have you found it?

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

[Source: Train2Game]

Train2Game news: Single player and MMO game design will converge says id Software Creative Director Tim Willits


Train2Game Game Designers will build games in which MMO elements form part of the single player narrative.

At least that’ll be the case if the predictions of id Software’s Creative Director Tim Willits come true. In an interview with MCV, he discussed the future of narrative in games and believes social aspects will become an integral part.

“Storytelling is key in open world games, and then just the sheer variety of things you can do.” He told the industry publication.

“We have games like Skyrim, where there’s just SO much you can do: you can develop your character the way you want, you can develop the game the way you want and play it the way you want, and that’s a great trend I hope will continue to grow”

“But it’s the social aspect of games which is hugely important” Willits stated.

“In the future, I believe we will have many more games where the choices that you make in your single player game will affect games that other people play. Yes, we have massively multiplayer games now, but they’re so connected and tied-in and you’ll have a much more social component to many bigger games.”

And when asked if single player and multiplayer MMOs could converge over time, the RAGE Creative Director said he believed they would.”

“Yes. Just think of Fallout” he said. “If you went off to do something and you’re playing through and you made one faction more powerful.”

“Maybe, when your buddy gets there that faction still is. That’d just be cool! If things that you did in your game affected the universe, where you’re not necessarily directly competing, but different people’s outcomes are affected by what you do.”

The Train2Game blog was fortunate enough to speak to Tim Willits at Gamescom last month, and in an in-depth interview he discussed how id Software developed the different aspects of RAGE.

Willits also revealed that he believes modding is an excellent way for Train2Game students to get into the games industry. Train2Game students would therefore be wise to get their hands on the RAGE SDK which as reported by the Train2Game blog will be available following the games release!

Do you agree with Willits? Will single player games include MMO elements? Is it something that you’d like to see? And how will it impact on game design?

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

[Source: MCV]

Train2Game news: Sims Social has ‘redefined’ social games say EA


Train2Game students will be aware that social gaming has changed the industry and indeed, potentially allows them new ways to get into the business of building games.

Indeed, as the Train2Game blog reported last week, social developer Playfish believe that there hasn’t been a better time for smaller developers to be successful.

Social gaming is still growing and Playfish believe that the fact EA have brought big names like The Sims to Facebook has already fundamentally changed the sector after becoming the No.2 game on the social media platform.

“In bringing one of EA’s most popular game franchises to Facebook, Playfish and The Sims team have redefined the meaning of social in video games,” Playfish founder Kristian Segerstrale told MCV. Playfish are owned by EA.

“By combining Playfish’s expertise and passion for social play with the deep creative heritage of The Sims franchise and the insights of its creators, we feel we’ve brought something very special to life – and tens of millions of players around the world have responded with extraordinary enthusiasm over the last few weeks. “

“We’re looking forward to working with players to evolve the game and its features in new and exciting ways in the coming months and beyond.” Segerstrale added.

EA has previously brought a number of high profile names to the social media scene, including the likes of FIFA and Dragon Age.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on bringing established franchises to Facebook? Has it already fundamentally changed social media gaming? Could it encourage casual gamers to pick up more ‘hardcore’ titles?

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

[Source: MCV]