Train2Game News: Nintendo 2DS

Nintendo 2DSEarlier this week Nintendo announced a new addition to it’s hand held family. The Nintendo 2DS, the child friendly alternative to the popular 3DS.

The new Nintendo 2DS system gives you all the features of the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL, minus 3D viewing and the price makes the world of Nintendo games even more accessible. The 2DS is compatible with all Nintendo 3DS and most Nintendo DS games; has wireless connectivity for multiplayer and co-op play and has access to the Nintendo eShop, with digital games, free demos, and special offers.

The 2DS has a similar design to the 3DS with the dual screens but it has no hinges. This is to help the console last in the hands of over excited children who may have trouble with the hinges of the 3DS.

It will be available in “White + Red” or “Blue + Black” from 12th October, the same day Pokémon X and Pokémon Y comes out. Nintendo of Europe doesn’t set the price of hardware in the UK, but GAME has set its price as £109.99.

Nintendo of America chief Reggie Fils-Aime said “Nintendo has one of the strongest and most diverse video game lineups in our history,

“Today we’re making those unique Nintendo experiences more accessible and affordable. However you play and whatever you play, Nintendo has you covered.”

You can view an introduction video to the 2DS below:

Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 30.08.13

unity-logoIt’s the end of the week so it’s time for the games industry news round up.

Unity Technologies unveiled new 2D tools and workflow for the Unity engine and editor to meet increased demand for features designed to address the specific challenges of creating 2D games. Now in beta, the first iteration of the 2D tools, many of which are included in the free version of Unity, will be released with the Unity 4.3 update this fall. The charge to improve workflow begins with the introduction of a dedicated scene view, which includes specialized 2D scene manipulation tools. Scene view can be toggled between the traditional view or set as the default when creating a project. Importing, manipulating, and working with 2D assets are made easier with the addition of a new sprite texture importer type, automated atlasing, and dedicated 2D renderer component. Adding 2D art to a scene is as easy as dragging a sprite from the asset library into the scene where Unity will then automatically create an object. If you are a fan of 2D games and work with Unity you now have no excuses to get a game out there!

Wizards of the Coast announced that the Magic 2014 – Duels of the Planeswalkers Expansion will release on September 18, 2013. Adding depth to the latest installment of the wildly popular Duels of the Planeswalkers franchise, the Magic 2014 Expansion will give players the opportunity to explore new planes, fight new enemies and face new challenges. Just like the full game the expansion will be available on Xbox LIVE Arcade, PC via Steam, PlayStation Network, iPad, and Android via Google Play and the Amazon App Store. The new expansions includes; five new decks, new campaign levels, five new challenges and more persona portraits.

Activision Publishing, Inc., in association with Nickelodeon and developer Red Fly Studio, announced, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – a new, team-based, third-person action-brawler debuting on the Xbox Live online entertainment network from Microsoft for Xbox 360 as a part of the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade 2013, and on Windows PC via Steam. Starring Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows puts the focus on combat, characters, and co-op. Its swift and tactile fighting system affords players dynamic choices on the battlefield, rewarding successful combo flourishes, expert counterattacks, and brutal takedowns. The Turtles’ full range of personalities are on display throughout this original story in the TMNT universe, bringing humour and attitude to the unfolding narrative and influencing each character’s unique fighting style. The game will be released on September 25.

NEXON Europe had the pleasure to announce that global pop sensation, media personality and all-round gentleman, PSY, is appearing in the enormously successful online free-to-play games MapleStory and Combat Arms. PSY took the world by storm with his hit single Gangnam Style, inspiring everyone from news readers to the UN Secretary General to join in with his unique brand of K-pop humour. Over a billion YouTube views and global chart domination is not enough for the dance phenomenon however; starting this month and following another huge hit single, Gentleman, PSY will be bringing his outrageous personality to NEXON Europe’s most popular titles.

Steve Ballmer is to retire as Microsoft CEO within the next year, the company revealed, adding credence to the rumours of a management reshuffle which accompanied Don Mattrick’s departure earlier this year. Ballmer will oversee the choice of his successor before taking retirement and remain as CEO during that process. The Microsoft board has appointed a special committee chaired by lead independent director John Thompson and including chairman of the Board Bill Gates, chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo. Microsoft has said that it will be looking both internally and externally for candidates.

Train2Game News: Virgin Media Game Space

Virgin Media Game SpaceI got the pleasure of attending the launch for the Virgin Media Gaming Space last night at Blackall studios in London.

The Virgin Media Gaming Space is a new venture to promote indie gaming in the lead up to Eurogamer, where Virgin are one of the key sponsors.

The space itself is filled with many of the new indie games to try, including Spelunky and Super Hexagon. Downstairs is an area for indie developers to drop in and work together to create games with the hardware available.

There is also going to be a number of events across the time that the space is there including Game Jams and several talks with industry professionals including Mike Bithell, the developer of Thomas Was Alone.

One of the biggest attractions that is at the Virgin Media Gaming Space is the chance to try out an Oculus Rift. I jumped at the opportunity to see what it was like myself and personally was a bit disappointed but I can certainly see the potential in it.

The game that was being used to display the Oculus Rift was Strike Force Zero. A space shooter where you are a pilot destroying all things in view.

My main problem with the Oculus Rift was with me wearing glasses the headset pressed them in to the bridge of my nose causing discomfort. I did however like the way the UI would slide in to view when you looked to the left.

Regardless of my opinions on the Oculus Rift I wouldn’t have had the chance to try it out if it wasn’t for the Virgin Media Gaming Space. I urge all who can make it to visit as it is an excellent place to meet like minded individuals and play some of the latest greatest indie games.

You can read more about the space and find out about the events taking place at http://www.vmgs.com/

You can view a gallery of my time at the event below:

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Train2Game News: A new SDK to make Unity games better on Facebook

unity-logoAt Unity’s developer conference, Unite, in Vancouver, BC, a new cross-platform SDK was launched that makes it faster and easier to integrate your Unity game with Facebook.

Facebook has a relevant and engaged audience of gamers that mobile developers can reach by publishing their games on Facebook, and the SDK makes bringing a mobile game to web as simple as writing one line of code. By filling out a few fields in the developer app and giving Facebook the URL of your game object, you can bring your mobile game to a whole new audience of avid gamers on Facebook.

As more graphics-rich web games come to Facebook.com, players want to stay immersed in the game experience while connecting with friends, and the SDK helps you do that. The developers have built native Unity dialogs for inviting friends, requests, and sharing, so people can stay in full-screen mode when they interact with social features, creating a richer, smoother web game experience for players.

Madfinger used the SDK to bring their mobile game Shadowgun:Deadzone to Facebook.com, opening up a new growth platform for the game with minimal effort. The number of active Facebook users with Unity installed more than tripled in the first half of 2013, and today more than 90 million monthly active users have Unity installed on the web.

You can get started connecting your gamers with their friends across platforms by downloading the SDK from the developer site or from the Unity Asset Store and reading the documentation.

Train2Game News: Autodesk release Maya LT for Indie developers

AutodeskAutodesk has unveiled a new tool specifically targeted at indie developers. The 3D modelling and animation toolset is designed for developers working on mobile, PC and web, and can be integrated with game engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine.

Maya LT includes a number of features such as enabling the creation of 3D assets of any size, with the ability to export FBX files containing up to 25,000 polygons per object.

The tech’s animation tools include a skeleton generation and inverse kinematics with Autodesk HumanIK, as well as viewport previews so developers can view assets as they would appear in-game. Other features also include lighting and texture baking, with developers able to use global illumination tool to create “realistic” lighting effects.

Autodesk’s latest tool will cost $795 per perpetual licence as oppose to the license for Maya which is almost $4,000. Short-term licenses are also available on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

“We see indie game developers as a key part of the industry, driving innovative new production techniques and gameplay,” said Autodesk Media & Entertainment VP Chris Bradshaw.

“The market is fiercely competitive, and Maya LT can provide indie developers and small studios with a powerful, yet simplified workflow for designing and animating remarkable 3D characters, environments and props – at a price that fits within even the most modest budget. It’s a practical solution that closely matches the needs of the mobile game development production cycle and helps developers rise above the noise and really shine.”

Train2Game News: Xbox Live using local currency

Xbox LiveThe latest Xbox 360 system update has retired Microsoft points and now all transactions on the platform will make use of local currency.

The change is effective in all regions, and brings Microsoft’s digital console platform into closer step with its direct rival by eliminating the virtual currency.

The hope for some developers is that without the need for an intermediary currency, users will be more likely to purchase digital games and goods through Xbox Live. While this is certainly a possibility, exchange rates are a new and potentially troublesome consideration for developers publishing games to multiple regions.

Users will receive the equivalent value of their Microsoft Points in local currency (80 points to the dollar) the next time they make a transaction.

Microsoft says the change hasn’t affected any other part of their online business, and has published some FAQ to help guide customers through the transition.

Train2Game News: Eurogamer after party

Eurogamer after partyUK independent gaming news, reviews and previews site, StickTwiddlers, have announced the details for this year’s StickTwiddlers Eurogamer Expo After Party to raise funds for the charity SpecialEffect.

Sponsored by NCSOFT, ArenaNet and Carbine Studios, the StickTwiddlers Eurogamer Expo 2013 After Party is set to be a celebration of the past and current generation of gaming as we head ever closer to the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, due for release later this year.

The event is taking place on Saturday 28th, September at The Pembroke where the gaming industry and public can enjoy an evening of drinks, prizes, tournaments and more with some of gaming’s most iconic characters. Music is being provided once again by the fantastic GamerDisco with other surprises to be announced on the night.

“We’re consistently blown away by the volume of requests we get around Eurogamer Expo time to throw another Eurogamer Expo after party,” says Ben Cordell, co-owner and editor of StickTwiddlers. “We’re hoping to make this year even better than the previous two as well as raising plenty of funds for our favourite charity, SpecialEffect. It’s truly going to be a night to remember for a fantastic cause.”

Entry to the event costs a mere £8 with proceeds going to SpecialEffect, a charity that helps those with disabilities enjoy gaming. Attendees will also be provided with 2 free drinks on entry as well as the opportunity to take part in the charity raffle and gaming tournaments, featuring fantastic prizes up for grabs.

Last year’s event brought Earl’s Court to a standstill as an army of zombies took to the streets before entering the party. Tickets sold out in a remarkable 6 hours and the event raised an astounding £2,100 for SpecialEffect. You can see a gallery of last year’s party on the StickTwiddlers website.

For more details on what to expect at this year’s StickTwiddlers Eurogamer Expo After Party and to purchase tickets, check out the FAQ on the StickTwiddlers website.

Train2Game News: UK Top 20 games – 27.08.13

Saints Row IVThere has been several new entrants this week with three of them taking the top three spots. Saints Row IV from Deep Silver has taken the number one spot, Ubisoft’s new Splinter Cell: Blacklist has taken second and Disney Infinity has taken the number three spot. The Bureau: XCOM declassified was also released this week and has entered the chart at number ten. A busy week for new releases!

All formats

Week ending 24 August 2013

POS.  TITLE  PUBLISHER  LAST
WEEK 
1 SAINTS ROW IV DEEP SILVER
2 TOM CLANCY’S SPLINTER CELL: BLACKLIST UBISOFT
3 DISNEY INFINITY DISNEY INFINITY
4 MINECRAFT: XBOX 360 EDITION MICROSOFT 2
5 CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS II ACTIVISION 3
6 FIFA 13 EA SPORTS 4
7 ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW LEAF NINTENDO 5
8 LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 8
9 THE LAST OF US SONY COMPUTER ENT. 6
10 THE BUREAU: XCOM DECLASSIFIED 2K GAMES
11 ASSASSIN’S CREED III XBOX 360 CLASSICS 11
12 MAX PAYNE 3 ROCKSTAR 16
13 LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 14
14 FAR CRY 3 UBISOFT 15
15 TOMB RAIDER SQUARE ENIX 9
16 SKYLANDERS GIANTS SKYLANDERS
17 GRAND THEFT AUTO IV XBOX 360 CLASSICS 10
18 PAYDAY 2 505 GAMES 1
19 THE SMURFS 2 UBISOFT 7
20 THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM – LEGENDARY BETHESDA SOFTWORKS 12
< previous week
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2013 UKIE Ltd

These charts cannot be reproduced either in print or online without obtaining permission from Ukie. If you wish to reproduce the charts in print or online, please contact david.smith@ukie.org.uk for the appropriate license.

Train2Game News: Years of board game history available with DICE+

DICE+Game Technologies Brings the Social Back to Digital Gaming with Revolutionary Board Game Controller.

Developed in Poland by Game Technologies, DICE+, the universal board game controller that brings real-world social interaction back to digital gaming, launched at Gamescom 2013. DICE+ can be purchased for £34.99 via http://dicepl.us.

The revolutionary DICE+ controller interacts with Bluetooth-enabled smart devices and combines the physical touch and feel of a game die with the potential for unlimited digital game and toy ideas. DICE+ has the power to make board games appealing to a new generation of players: “Powered board games” will enable you to get together with friends around the same device and experience a wealth of new gaming opportunities that combine the power and visual excitement of tablet gaming with the joy of playing games in a group.

From digital renditions of classic board games to new gaming experiences that leverage the built-in gyroscopic motion control, DICE+ comes with a host of free games to show off its capabilities. Also coming 2013 and early 2014 are a wide range of titles based on popular franchises, including family-friendly fare, top-quality edutainment titles and intense classics that are sure to please even the most hardened board game aficionado. Developers can also unleash their creativity with the DICE+ development kit, dreaming up new ways to utilize this versatile controller for a wide range of games.

You can learn more about Game Technologies and its exceptional new product at http://www.game-technologies.com.

Train2Game News: Train2Game radio interviews Lewis Gordon

Lewis GordonI got the pleasure of interview Train2Game student, Lewis Gordon. Lewis is one of the founding members of Merkury Games and he talks to me about how the studio started and where the ideas for the games came from.

You can listen to the interview here: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1561950-train2game-student-lewis-gordon-talks-to-t2g-radio

Or read the transcript below:

Hi I’m Lewis Gordon from Train2Game doing the Games Development course.

How you doing Lewis?

I’m not too bad, yourself?

I’m good cheers mate. So give us a bit of your background then mate, what you been doing?

I started the Train2Game course three years ago, I’ve literally just applied for my extension on the course it’s self, but I started off originally just as a gamer and I turned around and thought, “I want to make games”, didn’t know much about it, saw this course, saw I could do it around my own time and work and thought it suited me to the best of my abilities really. Once I started the course I did struggle a bit and I met a couple of people on the forums them selves, one in particular, we started to bounce ideas off of each other and get some actual games rolling. The original one we made was just between me and the programmer, it was just literally the two of us. We had no designers, no artists or anything like that, it was just a case of we thought we’d make a game and it turned out it was actually working, which was a shock!

Nice! With the games you’ve made and stuff is that with the studio you’re part of now?

That’s right yeah, both games we’ve made are or are part of studio work.

Yeah? What was the studio called, your one?

The studios called Merkury games with an M-e-r-k-u-r-y.

Any reason you decided to go with that rather than the actual spelling?

Just because, like with our games, it represents how different we want to be. So instead of going the same route and going the same words and everything like that, we will just change a slight bit to make it our own.

Fair enough! I’ve had a look at a couple of the trailers for your games, I haven’t had a chance to play them yet, and they do look quite interesting and fun. Where do the ideas come from for them?

The first one, the pirates one, that was actually an idea from my portfolio project. We had to make a design document for a game and that was the one I came up with, then me and the other programmer decided “OK, let’s try to make this game”. So we kept putting ideas together and the ideas just kept expanding and expanding. That one, its self is still a work in progress because we are thinking about adding more levels into it and bosses and things like that but the idea, like with any kind of game, come from games we have played previously but just something that we’d want to play ourselves. If we think we can enjoy it, we just want to make sure people can enjoy it as well.

Yeah fair enough! So, you develop mostly for PC don’t you?

Yeah, for ourselves, PC market is the one we are going for. Just purely because PC Gaming is more or less for the hardcore gamers. We can obviously look at mobile phones and consoles but end of the day, Consoles are becoming more and more like a PC so might as well go directly to the market that’s asking for it.

Your studio now, you said that it started off as just you and another developer, so what have you got now?

So originally it was just me and the programmer. Now, I don’t know the exact numbers, I think we’ve got about six artists, some of them are on and off – just doing work when they can, we’ve got out games designer and obviously QA involved as well. So we’ve got a good variety of people, some new, some experienced and some just looking to get involved really.

How long have you been doing the studio?

The studio started this year, so we finished the first game and thought, why don’t we try and make this in to a studio? Get some people together and make some games that would actually be appealing to people and not just us.

Yeah, is it all Train2Game members you’ve got as your team?

Near enough all of our members are Train2Game except for one which is just a person I know personally.

Nice one. So what are your plans for the future?

Plans for the future, we are hoping that we can turn this company in to something that can.. For us it’s not making a profit that drives us, it’s making them games, but if we can make anything off the work we do that’s a bonus none the less!

Perfect! Well I think that’s all we have time for today Lewis so thank you very much for your time buddy!

That’s no problem at all

I will talk to you soon

Talk soon

Bye!

Bye!