Train2Game news: Sir Paul McCartney writing music for a video game

Train2Game students may be interested to hear that The Beatles Sir Paul McCartney is currently composing music for an as of yet unannounced video game.

“It’s a fascinating market. A new computer game sells so much better than a new CD these days. Young people will hear my music for the first time in a game.” McCartney is quoted as saying by The Daily Express.

Of course, this won’t be Sir Paul’s first foray into video games, having helped EA with releasing The Beatles Rock Band in 2009.

As Train2Game students will be aware, a good musical score can really add something to a video game, and isn’t something that should be treated lightly during game development.

And as reported by The Train2Game Blog last year, 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 saw their in-game compositions nominated for the prestigious Ivor Novello Award.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Sir Paul McCartney composing music for a video game? And which games do you think have great musical scores?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Develop]

Train2Game news: Wii U hardware “constantly changing” say Team Ninja

Wii U controllerTrain2Game students haven’t heard much about Nintendo’s Wii U since it was revealed at E3 last year, but one developer has broken the industry silence and discussed the upcoming console.

Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive developers Team Ninja have spoken about the Wii U, and say it’s “very easy” to develop for, despite the constantly changing hardware.

“Nintendo asked us what we would want from the hardware. And when we gave them our feedback, we could see that they really listened and made changes. The hardware is currently changing constantly.” Ninja’s Yasuda Fumihiko told Gamefront.

He described the Nintendo Wii U’s touch screen control pad to their handheld console, the Nintendo DS.

“The control via a touch screen is like the Nintendo DS, we worked on the NDS with Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword, and we would like to take some elements from it and install them in the U Wii version of Ninja Gaiden 3.” said Fumihiko.

The Train2Game Blog has previously reported that Nintendo believe the Wii U’s audience will be different to that of the current Wii console.

Wired Productions Senior Producer Kevin Leathers discussed the Nintendo Wii U in an interview with The Train2Game Blog towards the end of last year.

There’s no specific release date for the Nintendo Wii U as of yet, but reports suggest it’ll be here before the end of 2012.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Team Ninja’s comments about the Wii U? Is the fact it’s apparently easy to develop for something that’s encouraging for you?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: GoNintendo]

Train2Game news: EverQuest goes free-to-play 13 years after launch

Train2Game students have seen plenty of posts about MMOs going free-to-play, and the original Everquest is adopting that model almost 13 years after its 1997 launch.

Players will be able to use the free-to-play model, a ‘Silver’ model acquired for a one off payment of $5, and a ‘Gold’ model that continues with the $15 a month subscriptions.

“We’re excited to be expanding the EverQuest experience by making the game more accessible to every type of player so that you can choose to play the game in a way that suits you best.” said Everquest producer Thom Terrazas

“Anyone who wishes to start, return or continue to play one of the “Best Games of All-Time” can simply download and play EverQuest on their terms – think of it as Free to Play, Your Way.”

“Recurring subscriptions, non-recurring subscriptions, Silver or Free memberships, item unlockers, and more. The game will now be setup to be flexible so that *you* can decide how much to pay, based on how much fun you’re having.” he added.

EverQuest will go free-to-play for the first time since its 1997 launch in March.

For more information about EverQuest going free-to-play, see the full statement from Producer Thom Terrazas.

EverQuest II made the switch to free-to-play towards the end of last year, a move that saw a 300% jump in new player registrations.

Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online, DC Universe Online and Star Trek Online are among a number of previously subscription based titles that have made a leap to free-to-play.

For the latest news about industry trends, including free-to-play, keep reading The Train2Game Blog.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on EverQuest going free-to-play? Have you played it in the time since its 1997 launch?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game students win accolades at Scottish Game Jam 2012

Train2Game students were among the winners at The Scottish Game Jam last weekend. The Scottish Game Jam is part of Global Game Jam 2012, the world’s largest game jam event which took place across the world last weekend.

And as revealed by Train2Game’s Dave Sharp on the Train2Game forum, Train2Game Art & Animation students Fiona Stewart and Corinna Bruce were winners of the Best Art Award at the Scottish Game Jam.

The Train2Game Blog spoke to Scottish Game Jam organiser Romana Khan last year, ahead of the first Train2Game Game Jam. The second Train2Game Game Jam, in association with Epic Games, took place in November.

Train2Game Blog readers may recall that Train2Game Art & Animation student Fiona Stewart is on a work placement at Radiation Burn, and recently spoke in depth to RTI FM about her experiences with Train2Game.

Train2Game Art & Animation student Robert Ramsey also took part in the Scottish Game Jam, he’s previously given a huge interview to The Train2Game Blog about his experiences of the course.

The Train2Game Blog would like to congratulate all Train2Game students who took part in the Scottish Game Jam on their efforts.  Keep an eye on The Train2Game Forum, for posts from Fiona, Corinna, and Robert about how they found the event.

Of course, you can leave your comments and congratulations here on the Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.


Train2Game industry experience diaries from Train2Game placement student Tim Woods

Train2Game student Tim Woods has been on a Train2Game work placement.  In his latest industry experience diaries, he details what he’s been up to while working in a game development studio.

Read what Tim has to say about his Train2Game work placement  here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game Scribd page.

Tim’s previous Train2Game industry experience diaries are here on The Train2Game Blog.

As usual, leave your comments here, or on The Train2Game Forum.

Train2Game news: UK Charts – Revelations aplenty as FIFA 12 continues dominance

Train2Game students see FIFA 12 once again claim top spot in of the UK charts, marking the EA Sports title’s sixth consecutive No.1 and eighth overall.

As previously reported by The Train2Game Blog, FIFA 12 was the UK’s third biggest ever video game launch when it was released last year.

The rest of the top five sees regular titles shifting places with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 up two to No.2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Just Dance 3 down one spot each to No. 3 and No.4 respectively, while EA’s Battlefield 3 is a non-mover at No.5.

Capcom’s Resident Evil: Revelations for the Nintendo 3DS is a new entry at No.6, and the first new release of 2012 to make it into the top 40. Resident Evil: Revelations success makes it the seventh largest launch of the Nintendo 3DS so far.

Both Zumba Fitness titles slip with Zumba Fitness down one to No.7, while Zumba Fitness 2 drops two to No.10. Between them sit Saints Row: The Third at No.8, and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations re-enters the top ten to take No.9.

RAGE and Rayman Origins both slip out the top ten to No.11 and No.12 respectively. However, Train2Game students can still read an interview with RAGE Creative Director Tim Willits here on the Train2Game Blog.

The UKIE Gfk Chart-Track All Formats Top 10 for the week ending 28th January 2012 is therefore as follows:

1. FIFA 12 (EA)
2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Activision)
3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda)
4. Just Dance 3 (Ubisoft)
5. Battlefield 3 (EA)
6. Resident Evil: Revelations (Capcom)
7. Zumba Fitness (505 Games)
8. Saints Row The Third (THQ)
9. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (Ubisoft)
10. Zumba Fitness 2 (505 Games)

The first week of February marks the first week of the year for big new releases, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Soulcalibur V and Metal Gear Solid HD Collection all hitting the shelves this week.

So Train2Game, what do you make of FIFA 12’s continued dominance of the UK Charts? Will one of this week’s new releases become the new No.1 next week? And are you looking forward to any of them?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on The Train2Game forum.

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

Train2Game industry experience diary from Kimberley Caseres

Train2Game Game Designer Kimberley Caseres is on a Train2Game work placement at Wired Productions. In her new industry experience diaries, Kimberley details what she’s been up at the Watford based game development studio responsible for the We Sing series.

Read what Kimberley has to say about her Train2Game work placement  here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game Scribd page.

You can Kimberley’s video diaries about the Train2Game course right here. Alternatively, you can find out more about Wired Productions in The Train2Game Blog interview with Senior Producer Kevin Leathers.

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game UFC Undisputed 3 interview with THQ Senior Game Designer Wes Bunn – Part 2

Train2Game recently sat down for a chat with THQ’s UFC Undisputed 3 Senior Game Designer Wes Bunn at a preview event in London. In an in depth interview with The Train2Game Blog, Bunn discussed developing UFC Undisputed 3, Game DesignQA Testing, getting into the industry and more.

In part two of our interview, the THQ Senior Game Designer discusses getting into the games industry and the importance of QA Testing in game development.   Read it right here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game Scribd page. As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Read part one of our interview with THQ Senior Game Designer Wes Bunn here.

How did you get started in the games industry?

I actually got started as a QA Tester back in 2000. It’s funny how this industry works because it’s really small. I started at a Crave Entertainment, who had the UFC license way back in 2000, I tested UFC Tap Out 1 and 2 back on the original Xbox. That’s how I got started and that’s how I got introduced to UFC.

So how important is testing to the game development process?

I think testing is huge. Back when I started there wasn’t these education programmes where you could go to the different schools and learn about game design, which is cool now, but back then they didn’t have that. But I think in QA Testing you get to see the whole development process, so you get to see iterative builds come in and see the changes, learn the debugging process; that’s a huge part of making sure the game comes out polished, that there’s no imbalanced things in the game, that there’s no exploits, so testing is a huge process, not just with our game but any game.

How did you work your way up from being a QA Tester to being a Senior Game Designer now?

As a QA Tester you get the opportunity to suggest things, that’s basically how I got started when I was working on the original UFC was suggesting ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we do this, and this is how I think this should work.’ I went to different studios but eventually became a Lead QA tester and was mentoring other QA Testers, then I got into working into production. From production I found out I didn’t really like the production aspect of it, I liked the creative aspects, so from production I got into some junior design work at a Sony studio. I’ve been designing ever since.

For those who might not know, what are the differences between game production and game design?

The production aspect deals more with scheduling, making sure everything comes in on time, making sure that if you’re working with a licensed product, especially, you deal specifically with the licensor. Production also deals with managing the QA Testing process, the development process, dealing with the licensor and marketing as well. Designer focuses on the creative aspects of the game, the game content. That’s where I prefer to be.

So how big is the game design team for UFC Undisputed 3?

It’s pretty big! The situation that we’re in is kind of unique. We’re a co-development team, so we have a group of game designers at the THQ offices and then we have a group of game designers at Yuke’s office in Japan and we co-develop UFC Undisputed 3 together. Most of the design concepts are generated by the THQ team, implementation is done by Yuke’s then the balance and tuning is done by THQ. But there’s a lot of back and forth with Yuke’s, they’ve been great to work with and have offered up some suggestions and have been willing to accept suggestions and things we come up with.

With Yuke’s being based in Japan and THQ in the USA, how do you go about collaborating with them?

It’s been really challenging, we’ve done a lot of teleconferences with them, but we’ve made a lot trips out there. Last year alone we made ten trips to Japan, so I’ve racked up the frequent flyer miles! There are a lot of TV conferences in addition to meetings on site.

Back to getting into the industry, what advice would you give to those aspiring to work in it?

Probably the biggest thing to do, the best thing, is play a lot of games. Not just the mainstream games, the blockbuster games, play a lot of indie games and expand your pallet so you can touch every area. As far as getting into the industry is concerned, you break in through focus group tests. Usually a company will bring people in to test their game and give feedback on what they think of the game. We do focus tests for our products, there’s usually an opportunity there if they like your suggestions enough to bring you on as a QA Tester or something. Now they have the schools you can go to that’s an avenue as well, I have some friends who are enrolled in schools now, but back when I was around they didn’t have that!

And would community created content, such as that of UFC Undisputed 3, be something an aspiring game developer could show to potential employers?

That’s true actually, especially for an artist, creating stuff with user generated content and saying ‘this is what I made’ will help with a CV as well. I think publishers and developers are looking at that stuff.

Thanks for your time Wes.

UFC Undisputed 3 is released on 17th February 2012 for Xbox 360 and PS3.

Part 1 of The Train2Game Blog interview with THQ Senior Game Designer Wes Bunn is here. 

For more about UFC Undisputed 3, and some great advice about getting into the industry, see The Train2Game Blog interview with UFC Undisputed 3 Neven Dravinski  from last year’s Gamescom.


Train2Game news: Valve announces Steam mobile beta release for iOS and Android

Train2Game students will soon be able to use Steam via mobile phones, Valve has announced.

The Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress and Left 4 Dead developer also announced that a closed beta will be available for iOS and Android devices.

The Steam mobile app will allow you to chat with Steam friends, browse community groups and user profiles, view screenshots and of course, will let you keep up to date with the latest Steam sales.

“The Steam app comes from many direct requests from our customers,” said Valve co-founder and President Gabe Newell, who as recently reported by The Train2Game Blog, offered some excellent advice to aspiring game developers.

“Seeing which of your friends are online and playing a game, sending quick messages, looking at screenshots for an upcoming game, or catching a sale – these are all features customers have requested.” he continued, before adding that mobile is having a huge impact on the games industry.

“Mobile is changing way people interact, play games and consume media, and the Steam app is part of our commitment to meet customer demands and expand the service functionality of Steam to make it richer and more accessible for everyone.” said Newell.

Train2Game students who wish to take part in the Steam mobile beta, should download the app for free from then use it to log into their Steam account.

Keep up to date with the latest news from Valve, here on The Train2Game Blog.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Steam going mobile? Will use the Steam via your smartphone?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game industry experience diary from Game Designer Jonny Robinson

Train2Game Game Designer Jonny Robinson has been on a Train2Game work placement at DR Studios. In his latest industry experience diaries, he details what he’s been up at the Milton Keynes based game development studio.

He also reveals a little about Commando Kiwi, his team for the Train2Game & Epic Games Make Something Unreal Live contest later this year at The Gadget Show Live.

Read what Jonny has to say about his Train2Game work placement  here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game Scribd page.

You can read his previous industry experience diaries from Jonny here on The Train2Game Blog.

As usual, leave your comments here, or on the Train2Game forum.