Train2Game News HELP Real War is Not a Game

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Games are officially the new rock and roll as, two decades on from the iconic HELP album, game developers from across the globe are to pool their talents to create HELP: Real War is Not a Game, a unique compilation to raise funds for War Child
 
It was 20 years ago today… that Oasis, Blur, The Stone Roses, Paul Weller, Paul McCartney and many more got together to create HELP, the first in a series of award-winning albums, which raised more than £1.5m to fund War Child’s activities to protect children in the war-torn Balkans.

Now, two decades on, a star-studded line-up of game developers have announced their intention to follow in those musicians’ footsteps by uniting in a unique ‘studio game jam’ designed to help fund War Child’s ongoing activities in conflict-affected countries.

A traditional game jam is a gathering of game developers for the planning, design and creation of one or more games within a fixed time span. Game jams usually take place in a single location and last for a fixed period… normally between 24 and 72 hours. The HELP game jam will largely stick to those principles, but instead of having a fixed home it will take place in a variety of locations across the world and the teams involved will be allowed a total of six days to bring their creation from concept to completion, based on a brief provided by War Child.

The result of all of this international collaboration will be brought together as HELP: Real War is Not a Game, a compilation of games which will be made available to the general public to buy as a digital download early next year.
 
Studios which have already committed to participating include 343 Industries, A Brave Plan, Bossa Studios, Carbon Games, Creative Assembly, Curve Digital, Hardlight, Hinterland, Spilt Milk Studios, Sports Interactive, Team 17 and Torn Banner (who, between them, have sold well in excess of 100m games), with more announcements expected in the coming weeks. Major technology providers including Unreal, Gamemaker and Unity are also backing the project by providing their tools to the teams on a ‘no cost and royalty free’ basis.
 
“War Child’s work is amazing. It revolves around a simple premise… no child has started a war, so no child should be affected by one,” says Miles Jacobson, Studio Director at Sports Interactive and founder of the global games jam committee. “Whether it’s rehabilitating ex child soldiers in Democratic Republic of Congo, creating child helplines in Afghanistan, providing safe spaces for Syrian refugee children, or the work in so many other countries – wherever they are they make the world a better place for children forced to live with war. For so many studios to have got involved in this project at such an early stage is really humbling. I hope many more join the cause and get involved in something that will be fun, rewarding and make a huge difference in children’s lives across the world.”
 
“We’re incredibly excited about the launch of HELP: Real War is Not a Game. It’s been amazing to be part of this initiative which is set to raise vital funds for children whose lives have been torn apart by war,” says Rob Williams, Chief Executive Officer of War Child UK. “In the 20 years since the music industry came together to create the HELP album, we’ve seen new records for the numbers of children affected by conflict. Today, the gaming industry is changing the game, with exactly the kind of creative and collective response required to help War Child change more lives.”

The War Child games committee is Alex Chapman (Sheridans), Ciarán Brennan (Sports Interactive), Elisabeth Little (War Child), Imre Jelle (Bossa), John Clark (SEGA), Miles Jacobson (Sports Interactive), Rupert Loman (Gamer Network) and Stuart Saw (Twitch).

HELP: Real War is Not a Game will be released through Steam and other digital download platforms in late March 2016. For further information, keep an eye on http://www.warchild.org.uk/helpgame and War Child’s UK’s twitter, or email helpgame@warchild.org.uk .

War Child’s HELP campaign is seeking large-scale public support in the form of an online petition. For more information on the HELP campaign go to www.warchild.org.uk/help .

Train2Game News Halo 5 Multiplayer Beta

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343 has announced new details for the Halo 5: Guardians beta, which will launch in December.

The beta will contain three modes, 11 weapons, seven maps and seven armour sets. The focus is apparently on classic 4v4 arena gameplay, and the maps are thus tailored for smallscale infantry combat rather than epic battles. All players will have the same loadouts to begin with.

You’ll be able to carry over certain content from the beta to the final game.

Additionally, the beta will receive dedicated coverage on the newly announced Halo Channel, a dashboard hub for Halo multiplayer, TV programming and community features.

You can enjoy the trailer below

Train2Game News: Halo: Spartan Assault coming to mobile

Halo Spartan AssaultA new Halo game is being added to the franchise, this time for the mobile market. The game will be released in July.

Halo: Spartan Assault is a top-down shooter built for mobiles and tablets, with the iconic sights and sounds you would expect from a Halo title.

Spartan Assault however is only available for Windows Phone 8 and tablets such as the Surface. Dan Ayoub, the executive producer for publishing at 343, explains that the purpose here is to drive interest in these Microsoft platforms, which is pretty honest and straightforward of him.

Whether or not it’ll make you buy one of those cool Nokia phones, Spartan Assault is nevertheless a high quality experience when it rolls under your thumbs. Though it plays like it was born in the 16-bit era of top-down shooters, the presentation is excellent.

Ayoub said that his team’s main goal was to, as he puts it, “un-tether Halo”.

“We had to let it be something that you can take with you wherever you go. But we also had to make the right Halo game, we couldn’t just copy and paste the experience onto mobiles and tablets.

“We also wanted to change the dialogue about what’s possible on mobiles. A lot of people have preconceptions about what a mobile game is. They think it’s not going to look great and it’s not going to sound great. We wanted to crush those perceptions.”

The biggest achievement is the controls. Those familiar with using virtual analogues on touch-screens will notice how, due to the lack of resistance, thumbs will naturally glide away from the analogues. Spartan Assault, however, features virtual sticks that follow your thumbs, meaning that control remains on the tip of your fingers.

It’s not perfect but it’s as close as any mobile developer has come.

Other elements are more traditional. Set within a narrative that bridges the gap between Halo 3 and 4, in Spartan Assault players will command an UNSC Infinity Spartan who is limited to two weapons, an assortment of grenades and a trusty melee attack. Enemies come in waves and shields need to be recharged before the next burst of action.

Other parts are entirely new. There will be microtransactions for certain upgrades and new weapons. The game saves to the cloud, meaning you can start on mobile and continue on tablet or desktop.

The game’s 25 levels will take about several hours to get though, and certain milestones will unlock Achievements on Halo 4. This being a mobile game, post-release content is already planned, with weekly challenges in place and content add-ons penciled in.

Series custodian 343 Industries has partnered with Netherlands studio Vanguard Games to build this, which in itself is interesting as that studio was co-founded by Martin de Ronde – the man who helped establish Killzone outfit Guerrilla.

“We are a team of console developers learning a new space, so we had to unlearn things really quickly,” says Ayoub.

While it’s been a challenge for those console developers to un-think their approach to a project, what they have brought to the mobile games space is encouraging. This is an attractive, light-weight version of Halo for both commuters and hardcore fans of the series.

You can enjoy the trailer for the game below

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 06.12.12

The Train2Game team has searched around and found some of the exciting news from this week.

343 Industries, who recently released Halo 4, have said that they are in early stages of developing a new Halo. Frank O’Connor, the franchise development director for Halo, said that “a lot of people at 343 are already prototyping ideas and software and art for future Halo products”. Many within the 343 Industries studio are still working on post launch content for Halo 4.

Sega has revealed a new partnership with Games Workshop which will see Total War developer Creative Assembly making multiple titles set in the Warhammer fantasy universe. Creative Assembly studio director Tim Heaton said: “With this year being our 25th anniversary, it seems fitting for us to embark on such a dream project with such a well-established partner. The incredibly rich and detailed Warhammer world is something we grew up with, and has left an indelible imprint on us as both designers and gamers.”

Sony Pictures Consumer Products has teamed up with Capcom-owned developer Beeline Interactive to produce an Android and iOS Ghostbusters game, targeting an ‘early 2013’ release. The new Ghostbusters will be a ‘freemium’ title based on the popular eighties movies. The players will play the role of “a fledgling Ghostbuster. Who ya gunna call?

UK celebrity, chat show host and film critic Jonathan Ross has opened a new game development studio named Hotsauce Interactive, based in Candem, North London. The outfit is part of Ross’ TV production company Hotsauce, and has already released its debut game, Cacha Cacha Aliens for iOS. It is understood that Hotsauce Interactive is staffed by a number of experienced developers and the studio may look into releasing games on hand-held and console in the future.

Customers of Valve’s Steam digital distribution service can now play their PC games on a TV. The much anticipated Big Picture mode has been in beta for some time, but has only now seen public release. Big Picture is designed to be compatible with gamepads, but also supports the use of a Mouse and Keyboard. To celebrate, Valve has placed over thirty “controller-friendly” games on sale.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 made $1 billion a day quicker than Modern Warfare 3, Activision has announced. That’s $1 billion in worldwide retail sales in 15 days since launch, based on Chart-Track and internal figures. Modern Warfare 3 took 16 days to cross the $1 billion mark. For comparison, James Cameron’s Avatar made $1 billion in 17 days. Since launch, more than 150 million hours have been logged online playing the game on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.

Kickstarter’s United Kingdom operation has reached £2,069,164 in pledges since its launch late in October. 45,799 backers contributed to the £2 million, with 30 projects having successfully ended their funding drive out of 407 launched. Of those backers, 39 percent came from the UK.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 14.11.12

Cliff Bleszinski, better known as CliffyB, has received a mysterious package in a hotel room he is currently staying at. The package contained a phone with a Ubisoft background and one phone number in it. CliffyB told his twitter fans that he would ring the number saying “I do have a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me an asset for people like you.”

What started off as a breeding ground for indie titles now seems to be the only form of submission to the digital distribution service, Steam. This is a bold move by Valve as it means not only the bedroom developers but also the big hitters will have to submit their game to Greenlight.

Halo 4 earned $220 million on the day it launched. This isn’t quite as much as Halo 3 or reach but it is still an impressive figure. Microsoft reckons its juggernaut franchise is on track to hit its $300 million global sales target within its first week, thrusting lifetime sales for the Halo franchise passed the $3.38 billion mark.

Of course the other big release lately is Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2. The game is Amazon’s most preordered game ever beating last year’s Modern Warfare 3. Amazon said it “shattered” the previous record. The company wouldn’t reveal any further details on the launch or preorders of Black Ops 2.

Valve president Gabe Newell has has revealed Valve is working on a next generation successor to the Source Engine. Newell also confirmed the Source 2 engine would be completely new, instead of just another update for nearly ten year-old tech. Source made its debut in Counter-Strike: Source and Half-Life 2 in 2004.

Mass Effect 4 will run on DICE’s Frostbite engine, the latest version of which was used in Battlefield 3. There also seems to be a lot of interest in being able to play as different alien races, similar to the style of Dragon Age:Origins.

Train2Game News: UK Top 20 – 12.11.12

Halo 4 has shot straight to number one which I think most people expected. The other new entries this week are New Super Mario Bros 2 in at a slightly disappointing eighteen and it is followed up by Forza Motorsport 4 at nineteen.

Week ending 10 November 2012

POS.  TITLE  PUBLISHER  LAST
WEEK 
1   HALO 4 MICROSOFT
2 ASSASSIN’S CREED III UBISOFT 1
3 FIFA 13 EA SPORTS 2
4 NEED FOR SPEED MOST WANTED EA GAMES 5
5 FOOTBALL MANAGER 2013 SEGA 4
6 SKYLANDERS GIANTS SKYLANDERS 8
7 WWE ’13 THQ 3
8 BORDERLANDS 2 2K GAMES 19
9 –  JUST DANCE 4 UBISOFT 9
10 MEDAL OF HONOR: WARFIGHTER EA GAMES 6
11 FORZA HORIZON MICROSOFT 7
12 –  MOSHI MONSTERS: MOSHLINGS THEME PARK MIND CANDY 12
13 –  RESIDENT EVIL 6 CAPCOM 13
14 DISHONORED BETHESDA SOFTWORKS 10
15 THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM BETHESDA SOFTWORKS 16
16 PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE MIRACLE MASK NINTENDO 11
17 –  F1 2012 CODEMASTERS 17
18   NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. 2 NINTENDO
19   FORZA MOTORSPORT 4 MICROSOFT
20 –  LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 20

 

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2012 UKIE Ltd

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up

Five months since its release, Minecraft on the Xbox 360 is still selling 27,000 units daily. That’s an estimated 4 million copies sold, further solidifying the games legacy.

Valve’s Steam distribution service now sells software as well as games. The software is for games development. The products currently available on the store are ArtRage Studio Pro, CameraBag 2, GameMaker: Studio, 3D-Coat, 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 11 and of course, Source Film-maker.

Halo 4 won’t be getting Kinect controls, says 343 Industries’ Frank O’Connor. His opinion is that while the motion sensor has its uses when it comes to the UI, controlling a core game is not what it’s for. Kinect will be used for Halo Waypoint however, which can be launched from in the game.

Reportedly, Arkane studios’ Dishonored will take over twenty hours to complete playing stealthily with killing no one. A brutal play through, killing anyone in your path, will take between 12 to 14 hours but that’s without exploring every nook and cranny, and knowing the solution to everything beforehand. It should take more thorough or inexperienced players longer than that.

PlayStation Europe is offering a month long internship to who ever can make the best game on LittleBigPlanet for the PS Vita. The best submission, as voted by a PlayStation judging panel, will be rewarded with a month-long internship at Swedish studio Tarsier. Games will be judged on gameplay, originality, and commercial appeal. The winner will eventually help work on official DLC for the game. To register an interest, go here.

A new mod has been developed for Crysis. The mod, StarCry, sees many different hit sci-fi shows making their way into the new user made campaign for the game. Franchises such as Stargate SG1 and Star Wars are featured in the mod.

Chasing Aurora developer, Martin Pichlmair, says that Nintendo is working hard to make the Wii U eShop friendly and open for independent developers. This opens up a whole new market with a new innovative console to work with.

World of Tanks official site, Wargaming.net, say that registration numbers have passed the 40 million mark. Players have been pouring into servers to check out the big 8.0 update, which overhauled WoT’s visuals and added proper physics. World of Tanks is one of the biggest free to play games in the world.

Cliff Bleszinski has announced he is leaving Epic. After two decades with the company he is moving on to expand his career. Whilst with the company he was responsible for games such as Jazzy Jackrabbit and the highly acclaimed Gears Of War series.

Bad Piggies, the Angry Birds spin-off from Rovio, shot to the top spot on the US iTunes App Store within three hours of launch. The firm said the game was the fastest chart-topper in the company’s history. The game is the third from the Finnish studio this year to hit the top spot within it’s first day of release. The other titles were Amazing Alex and of course, Angry Birds Space.

Train2Game News: Microsoft have announced their Eurogamer line up

Microsoft have announced their line up for Eurogamer. They will demonstrate the games they have been working on through out the year.

The games that Microsoft have announced are Halo 4 Infinity multiplayer, Forza Horizon, Fable: The Journey, Gears of War: Judgment and Dance Central 3. Xbox LIVE Arcade and entertainment will all be available for visitors to sample on the show floor.

In addition, Gears of War: Judgment is playable for the first time in the UK, with the new multiplayer mode OverRun available for fans to try.

Franchise development director Frank O’Connor from 343 Industries will open the dev sessions at midday on Thursday 27th September with a presentation of Halo 4. At 4pm on Friday 28th September Ralph Fulton from Playground Games will introduce Forza Horizon to attendees.

Eurogamer Managing Director Rupert Loman said “Microsoft Studios’ line-up for the Eurogamer Expo is one of the strongest offerings from any publisher.

“We’re thrilled to offer so many heavyweight titles for gamers to play before release.”

In addition a Halo 4 partnership with Mountain Dew Energy will also come to life with the Mountain Dew Crew fuelling gamers and keeping energy levels up across the four days.

Train2Game will also have their yearly stand at Eurogamer. You will be able to talk to tutors and ask any questions you may have.

 

Train2Game News: Mid-week Round up

Train2Game student Fiona Stewart has been featured in The Sun. She talks about how she moved from traditional art to digital art and how it has affected her life. The Sun also featured an article about Daniel Gent, a disabled student of Train2Game who uses a voice activated computer.

Microsoft are bringing Atari’s extensive back catalogue to tablets and browsers. The new portal is called Atari Arcade and it’s opening with eight titles: Asteroids, Combat, Centipede, Lunar Lander, Missile Command, Pong, Super Breakout and Yar’s Revenge. The rest of the games are set to be released over the next few months.

343 Industries and Microsoft are releasing eight different pre-order incentives for Halo 4. Depending on where you order the game from you get a different in game item. The in game items include: Different Armour sets, Avatar Items and multi-player Emblems.

Humble Bundle Six has been released. The Humble Bundles are great for picking up some of the top indie games whilst helping charity at the same time. You pay what you want for the bundle but need to pay a minimum amount to get the game Dustforce. Other games included are: Rochard, Shatter, S.P.A.Z, Torchlight and Vessel.

Sony are releasing two new thinner PlayStation 3s. These new consoles are 25% slimmer than the current models and one boasts a 500GB hard drive the other is a 12GB flash memory model but a 250GB hard drive will be available.

Sony are also launching PlayStation Mobile in October. It is a new store for games to be released for mobile devices. An SDK for the store will be released in November opening up a new market for games developers.

Nintendo has come to an agreement with Unity. Developers can use the engine to create games for the Wii U. Unity users will have to pay for a license to develop for the Wii U, just like with the other platforms.

EA will support the very first GaymerCon. The convention is for the LGBT community to come together through their love of gaming. Their website says its purpose is to educate and inform “the gaming community of the presence of sexuality in our digital lives and promoting acceptance and social change through gaming.”

Finally a big congratulations to the winning team at the weekends world record winning Game Jam. RetroMetro won with their game, Royal Rush. I hope you enjoy your prizes and I hope everyone who attended the Game Jam had an excellent time!