Train2Game news: Your chance to join Paradox Interactive’s Magna Mundi beta

Train2Game students have the opportunity to beta test Magna Mundi, the upcoming PC grand strategy title from Paradox Interative and Universo Virtual.

Those Train2Game students interesting in joining the limited closed beta have until 12th December to register their details on the Paradox Interactive beta sign up page. You’ll also need to be a registered member of the Paradox forum.  Those chosen to be a part of the Magna Mundi beta will be notified by email on 16th December.

Magna Mundi gives you the chance to control one of 400 nations across a period of over 300 years, from the fall of Constantinople through to the American Civil War and beyond. The latest grand strategy title from Paradox Interactive is scheduled for release next year. Watch the Magna Mundi trailer below.

Beta testing is an excellent way for Train2Game students, especially those on the Games QA Tester course to practice their bug hunting skills. Not only that, but in an interview with the Train2Game blog, Trion Worlds Senior QA Tester Karl Tars said that beta testing is potentially a way to get into the industry.

For more on the significance of beta testing to the game development process, see the Train2Game blog.

So Train2Game, are you a fan of Paradox Interactive’s strategy titles? Will you attempt to get involved with the Magna Mundi beta test?

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

Train2Game news: “If you care about games you’re going to want a Vita” say Sony

PlayStation VitaTrain2Game students may already be very interested in the PlayStation Vita, thanks to a development kit that brings handheld and smartphone development together, but anyone who cares about games will want to buy one.

That’s according to Sony Worldwide Studios European senior VP Michael Denny, who was speaking to VideoGamer.

“Our mission, our vision, is that we now have a portable gaming system that is going to be massively appealing to gamers – initially core gamers, but then a wider sense of gamers going forward,” he said, adding that so long as Sony provide a good line up of title’s people will want to buy the PlayStation Vita.

“We have to concentrate on our plans and make sure we supply the right games, the right experience, the right software, and the right social connectivity for the platform. I believe if you care about games you’re going to want a Vita.”

Denny admitted that the PlayStation Vita enters into a competitive market against the Nintendo 3DS and smartphones

We have to acknowledge that we’re coming into a very competitive landscape in the portable, mobile gaming market,” said the Sony VP.

“But I think the main thing for us is that we are a true next-gen platform. We are going to truly differentiate ourselves from the competition, so people who do care about the gaming – who want a deeper, richer, more immersive experience with their gaming – are going to absolutely love this device.

He added that the PlayStation Vita has been built to give creative game developers plenty of opportunity to flex their muscles. The Train2Game blog has previously reported that Sony has already lent Vita development kits to indie studios.

“It’s been built from the ground up with creative games developers in mind as well, to give a hardware feature set that we think is unrivalled. With the launch line-up that we have as well, we feel it will be compelling to gamers everywhere.” said Denny.

Sony officially revealed the PlayStation Vita at E3 earlier this year, it’s scheduled for a UK release in February next year.

So Train2Game, do you want to buy a PlayStation Vita? Do you think it’ll be a success? And are you encouraged that Sony want developers to be creative?

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

[Source: VideoGamer]

Train2Game news: Mode 7 Games on Steam, indie development and free-to-play

Frozen Synapse by Mode 7 Games is published through SteamTrain2Game students should find this Gamesbrief guest post by Frozen Synapse developer Mode 7 Games very interesting.

The bulk of the post sees developer Paul Taylor take a look back at how both business and design influenced the design and marketing of their turn based tactical title.

As previously reported by the Train2Game blog, Mode 7 Games have argued that getting onto Steam is essential for an indie PC game developer. Taylor reiterates that this was vital to the success of Frozen Synapse.

“Steam’s position in terms of digital distribution right now is well documented; having seen the results, there is no doubt in my mind that aiming to create a game which would stand up against other titles on there was the right thing for us to do in this instance.” he said in the Gamesbrief post.

Taylor also suggests that release timing was an element in the success of Frozen Synapse, with Mode 7 Games releasing it in a quiet time for PC releases. His advice to indie developers is to avoid releasing titles during busy periods, such as the run up to Christmas.

“The end of May turned out to be a fairly quiet time and a good time to launch for us: I’d just suggest that indie devs focus on avoiding busy periods (e.g. Christmas and late June to early August) when they’re shaping up for launch.” wrote Taylor.

The Frozen Synapse developer also discusses the growth of Free-to-play, but insists that the ‘pay-once’ model was right for their game.

“Pay-once is the most maligned business model out there right now:I would suggest that even the most hardcore entrenched old-school developers have been won round by the raw data that free-to-play games have generated, so pay-once is in decline.” said Taylor.

“I’m yet to hear a sane scheme for an F2P Frozen Synapse – I don’t think that a free-to-play game along similar lines would be impossible; however I have not heard any viable suggestions for how we could have done it with this game, the game we cared so much about making.” he added.

The Gamesbrief post certainly makes interesting reading for Train2Game students and it can be read here.

Gamesbrief examines the business of games, and Train2Game students can watch an insightful interview with website founder Nicholas Lovell here on the Train2Game blog.

Lovell also spoke in-depth to the Train2Game blog last year, providing useful advice about indie and social game development.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Mode 7’s post-mortem of Frozen Synapse? Will you take the advice on board?

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

[Source: Gamesbrief]

Train2Game news: CS:GO beta begins tomorrow

Train2Game students who were lucky enough to pick up keys at The Eurogamer Expo can get involved with the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta from tomorrow.

As reported by the Train2Game blog, Valve’s beta test was supposed to start in October before being delayed after feedback from professional players. However, those with keys will be able to begin beta testing from tomorrow, with Dust and Dust 2 the first maps available to play.

Valve plan to expand the CS:GO beta as it goes on, with the idea that it’ll eventually become the full-game. In an interview with the Train2Game blog at the Eurogamer Expo, Valve’s Chet Faliszek said that beta testing is an important part of the game development process for CS:GO, and ultimately it’s player feedback that’ll drive the eventual full release date.

It’s really important to us because we’re going to let that drive the release date,” said Faliszek on beta testing.

“Because we’re really looking to get the feedback from the community over the changes we’ve made. We’ve brought over some stuff that was good from Counter-Strike: Source and we’ve brought over some stuff that was good from 1.6, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the communities react.”

Beta testing is good way for Train2Game students to test their bug finding skills, and according to Trion Worlds Senior QA Tester Karl Tars in an interview with the Train2Game blog, it’s also a potential way to get a foot in the door of the games industry.

There’s a lot more about beta testing and its importance to game development, here on the Train2Game blog.

So Train2Game, are you going to be involved with the CS:GO beta test? What will you be looking for?

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

Train2Game student blog post from Daniel Parkes: ‘Back on Track’

Train2Game student Daniel Parkes has posted an update on his blog, detailing his latest progress on the Train2Game QA Tester course.

In his latest blog post, Daniel writes about coming back strongly from a minor setback to his course progress to score 90% in his most recent TMA. Daniel also adds that Train2Game is fast becoming very important to him.

“This is my chance and gateway to have a better life, and I’ve found this course with Train2Game is quickly becoming one of the biggest things in my life and it gives me a positive kick.” he said.

Read Daniel’s full post, Back on Track, on his blog.

For more information about Daniel Parkes, check out previous posts on the Train2Game blog. His blog has even served as an inspiration to others!

More information about Train2Game is available at www.train2game.com

Train2Game news: Square on Final Fantasy VII remake – it’d take too long to develop

Train2Game forum users regularly post in the ‘If you could remake any game…’ thread, sharing which classic titles they’d like to see remade.  Final Fantasy VII is a title that keeps popping up in the discussion, and there are many out there who wish to see the classic PlayStation RPG remade.

Square have never really given a definitive answer fan requests for Final Fantasy VII to be remade, but in an interview with OXM, Final Fantasy XIII producer Yoshinori Kitase said remaking the older titles in the series would take too long and cost too much. Meanwhile, Kitase also states that making Final Fantasy XIII-2 in a relatively short space of time is possible because its technology is so similar to Final Fantasy XIII.

“In the transition between XIII to XIII-2, it was quite easy because obviously we kept all the data and the engine – we had just finished using them so it was almost like they hadn’t gone cold. The technology was already warm and ready to use, so it was quite good.” Kitase told OXM.

Also within the team, we still had a feel for the game, it was still new to us, still lingering with us, so we were ready to move on to the sequel.” he added

Kitase says that it’d be a challenge to work on a past Final Fantasy title not only because it’d need a huge graphic overhaul, but also because the game worlds were bigger.

“But if we were to take one of the past Final Fantasy titles and make a sequel to it, I think that would be a lot more challenging because when they were on PlayStation and PlayStation 2 their actual game volume was a lot bigger, kind of.” said the Final Fantasy XIII producer.

“Graphically they weren’t as advanced as they are now, but there were lots of towns and worlds and cities and whatever.” he continued.

“So if we were to recreate the same kind of game – sequel or not – with the same volume, but give it a much higher level of graphical quality, it would us take three times, four times, even ten times longer to make such a game. So making a sequel for an old game would be a lot more challenging.” Kitase concluded.

As previously reported by the Train2Game blog, Final Fantasy XIII-2 was announced earlier this year and marks only the send direct sequel in the series. It’s scheduled for release on 3rd February 2012.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Kitase’s comments about not being able to remake older Final Fantasy titles? Does the acknowledgement that older game worlds were bigger suggest style over substance with current gen Final Fantasy titles?

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

[Source: OXM]

Train2Game news: Fighting games haven’t changed much – Dead or Alive dev

Train2Game students are slightly spoiled when it comes to fighting games right now. Street Fighter is going strong, Tekken is still very popular and these two franchises are even coming together with Street Fighter X Tekken set for release in 2012.

And while fighting games may be booming, Team Ninja’s Yosuke Hayashi, believes that the game design of fighters hasn’t changed much. Hayashi is currently leading development of Dead or Alive 5. Dead or Alive Dimensions for the 3DS was released earlier this year.

“To be completely honest, after Dead or Alive 4 we weren’t sure what the future was going to be.”

We were trying to think of something new, but we weren’t getting any ideas of what to do for 5,” Hayashi told Siliconera.

“Then we saw Street Fighter IV and the fighting genre come back because in a large part of Capcom and what they were doing. For all of the fighting games that came out we looked at them, but there was something wrong”

They looked great with updated graphics and had online gameplay, but the gameplay itself hasn’t changed. It’s still the gameplay we’ve had for years.” he said, adding that Team Ninja want to change the fighting genre.

Hayashi describes Dead or Alive 5 as ‘Fighting Entertainment”

“We’re looking for simple, but deep fighting entertainment. We’re not looking to be a technical hardcore fighter. We want a game that a lot of people can have fun with, but people who want that depth can find it.” he said.

As reported by the Train2Game blog, Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada believes that simple game design helps encourage people to try out the series.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Hayashi’s comments? Do fighting games need to evolve, or can they survive without changing?

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

[Source: Siliconera]

Train2Game news: Creative Industries Minister – UK needs to invest in game development

The UK should invest in game development talent and make changes to the teaching of ICT and computer science in schools.

That’s according to Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey, as part of the government’s response to the Livingstone-Hope report about encouraging the next generation of game developers.

As reported by the Train2Game blog, the Livingstone-Hope report was launched in February this year.

“The economic and cultural value of the UK’s video games and VFX sectors is clear and the long-term potential of their global markets present a great opportunity for UK-based businesses,” said Mr. Vaizey.

“It is an industry that has real potential to create the high quality jobs of the future that will be so important as we recover from the recession.

“We need to invest in talent that will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of games creativity.”

Today’s government report addresses the concerns of Livingstone-Hope and can be seen in full here. It recognises a number of highly talented UK developers including Media Molecule and Rocksteady.

So Train2Game, what do you make of Vaizey’s comments? Do you believe the government report will eventually aid in the games industry?

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

[Source: Develop]

Train2Game news: Scribblenauts dev on what makes an indie studio indie

Some Train2Game students have already founded their own independent game studios, but what exactly does it mean to be an indie developer? For Jeremiah Slaczk, Creative Director of Scribblenauts developer 5th Cell, it’s to be part of a small team and making the games you want to.

“For me “indies” are usually small teams making quirky stuff born out of the love of making games, so getting bought isn’t part of their plan.” he told Game Informer.

“For us independence means we get to wake up every morning and do what we love and without anyone else dictating to us how to run our studio or how to make our games their way. The reason we can do this is because we were able to start from nothing and work on smaller projects to build our company and retain control.” said Slaczk.

The 5th Cell Creative Director also told Game Informer that for an independent studio to be successful, they not only need to be exciting, but also need good funding to be completed properly.

“My big buzz word lately is “compelling”. You need to create something compelling for people to take interest in it, for people to want it over something else.” Slaczk said.

“That means it should be an idea people are excited by when they see it, so it’s got to be a good idea and it needs the financial backing to be executed well. If you look at the top studios in the world, they are typically very well-funded.” he added.

5th Cell recently released an iPad version of Scribblenauts, and are currently developing Hybrid, a third person shooter scheduled for release through Xbox Live Arcade in 2012. The full Game Informer interview with Creative Director Jeremiah Slaczk is interesting reading for Train2Game students.

So Train2Game, what do you make of Slaczk’s definition of an independent game developer? And what do you think makes an indie studio an indie studio?

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

[Source: Game Informer]

Train2Game news: UK Charts – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 stays top

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 stays No.1 for the third consecutive week, holding onto the position it’s claimed since it launched three weeks ago.

It’s an achievement which betters previous game in the series, Call of Duty: Black Ops, which  as reported by the this time last year, lost top spot to Gran Turismo 5. Another No.1 for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 means Assassin’s Creed: Revelations stays at No.2 in its second week on sale.

Saints Row: The Third and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim switch positions and sit at No.3 and No.4 respectively, while FIFA 12 remains at No.5.

WWE ’12 enters the charts at No.6 in its first week on sale. The Train2Game blog interviewed Lead Designer Brian Williams about the main changes for WWE’12 over its predecessors earlier this year. WWE ’12 sits one spot ahead of another new title, Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call, with the Nintendo DS title debuting at No.7.

Just Dance 3 moves up two to No.8, former chart topper Battlefield 3 drops to No.9, while Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS drops to No.10 in its second week on sale.

In both games second week on sale, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword drops from No.7 down to No.19, while Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary goes from No.6 to No.21. Train2Game students can see an interview with Halo: Anniversary developers 343 here on the Train2Game blog.

Zumba Fitness 2, Rayman Origins are among a number of new releases that failed to make the top 40. Lord of the Rings: War in the North only manages No.38 in its first week.

The UKIE Gfk Chart-Track All Formats Top 10 for the week ending 26th November 2011 is therefore as follows:

1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Activision)
2. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (Ubisoft)
3. Saints Row: The Third (THQ)
4. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda)
5. FIFA 12 (EA)
6. WWE ’12 (THQ)
7. Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call (Nintendo)
8. Just Dance (Ubisoft)
9. Battlefield 3 (EA)
10. Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo)

Releases this week include Mario Kart 7 and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations for PC.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Modern Warfare 3 staying No.1? And why do you believe the likes of Lord of the Rings, Rayman Origins and Zumba Fitness 2 have sold rather poorly in their first week?

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