Train2Game News Schafer supporting One Special Day


​Tim Schafer, critically acclaimed games designer and Founder of Double Fine Productions, has backed SpecialEffect’s tenth anniversary One Special Day fundraiser with a video call-to-action to the games industry.
Schafer, a Vice-President of the charity that helps some of the world’s most severely disabled people enjoy the fun and inclusion of video games, has urged other CEOs and decision makers in the video games industry to follow his lead and get behind the One Special Day initiative.

Leading names from the industry such as EA, SEGA, Twitch, Seriously and Humble Bundle are amongst the companies that have already backed SpecialEffect and One Special Day. Many more are expected to follow suit in the run up to the event on Friday 29th September.

SpecialEffect, widely known as the gamers’ charity, is supported by gamers and gaming communities all over the world. One Special Day is an opportunity for the industry to stand with those who play their games and build on the £100,000 raised in February by gamers in the SpecialEffect ‘GameBlast’ event.

Dr Mick Donegan, Founder and CEO of SpecialEffect said, “It is just brilliant to have the backing of Tim for One Special Day with this video message. We are hugely grateful for all the support he gives to SpecialEffect and very much hope other companies will join Tim and Double Fine in backing this crucial fundraising event.”

SpecialEffect is asking for games companies to give their revenue on specific games or in-game purchases on 29th September, provide rare/collectible items or experiences for a special eBay auction or stage a fundraising event of their own to support the charity.

Nick Streeter, SpecialEffect fundraiser leading the One Special Day initiative said, “This is an opportunity for the games industry to back their players in making games a force for good. We’ve made it easy for companies to get involved at whatever level they wish. We already have some huge companies commit to One Special Day and we warmly welcome those who follow suit and provide us with the means to reach more disabled gamers in the year to come.”

For more details on how your company can get involved in One Special Day, please contact Nick Streeter on +44 (0)1608 810055 or at nick@specialeffect.org.uk or look for the #OneSpecialDay hashtag across social media (www.onespecialday.org.uk )

https://youtu.be/TJi6FTLHACs

Train2Game News 1000+ devs sign anti abuse letter

Peace GamingSeveral developers have signed a letter in an attempt to put an end to anti social behaviour on social media in gaming communities.

EA, Ubisoft, Microsoft, Guerrilla, Epic, Crystal Dynamics, Deep Silver, Double Fine, Lionhead, Bohemia, Blizzard, Infinity Ward, TellTale, Disney, PopCap, Harmonix, Traveller’s Tales, Sony, 2K, DICE, Google, Riot and Apple – as well as dozens of independent developers – are already signed up in an attempt to make the internet a place where your views can be heard without your personal character being attacked.

“We believe that everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened. It is the diversity of our community that allows games to flourish,” the letter reads.

“If you see threats of violence or harm in comments on Steam, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook or Reddit, please take a minute to report them on the respective sites. If you see hateful, harassing speech, take a public stand against it and make the gaming community a more enjoyable space to be in.”

You can read the full letter and all who have signed it here.

Train2Game News Costume Quest 2 announced

Costume Quest 2Midnight City, indie label of Majesco Entertainment Company, will publish Double Fine Productions’ first big sequel, Costume Quest 2, coming to PC and consoles.

In Double Fine’s triumphant return to Auburn Pines, our candy-crazed crusaders Wren and Reynold must once again protect Halloween from untold horrors, and grown-ups! Your favorite trick-or-treaters will come armed with a new batch of costumes they wear to transform into giant super powered fantasy Hallowarriors. Fans of the original can look forward to a sweet upgraded battle system and a story that is unmistakably Double Fine.

“For the last couple of years,” said Tim Schafer, Creative Director of Double Fine Productions, “Whenever Halloween came around, I felt like something was missing. No matter how many pumpkins I carved, apples I bobbed, or candy I ate, it just couldn’t fill the big spooky hole inside of me. But then I realized what was missing: I needed more Costume Quest. And also, I really wanted a T-Shirt with glowing skulls on it.”

“It’s not every day that you’re able to work with talent like Double Fine,” said Casey Lynch, VP of Publishing at Midnight City. “The opportunity to partner with one of the most beloved, well-established studios in the indie scene along with one of the most brilliant teams in development represents a sea change for games publishing. We’re moving into a brand new middle that’s taking shape in the widening gap between word of mouth indie and triple A.”

Costume Quest 2 join Midnight City’s growing roster of indie titles alongside handcrafted puzzler The Bridge, the infamous madness-inducing Slender: The Arrival, and innovative minimalist e-sport VIDEOBALL.

You can enjoy the crazy announcement trailer for Costume Quest 2 below:

Train2Game News: 32 developers announced for ID@Xbox

Xbox OneMicrosoft has revealed thirty two teams have signed up for their independent publishing programme, ID@Xbox.

Head of ID@Xbox Chris Charla announced the list of thirty two developers today with studios from all over the world including big names like Double Fine and Team 17 all the way down to smaller first time studios developing for Microsoft like The Men Who Wear Many Hats and Iron Galaxy.

Microsoft claims to have shipped over 50 SDKs to independent teams working on Xbox One projects, and intends to enable retail Xbox One units to be used as a dev kit in the near future.

“Bottom line, we’ve been blown away by the interest in the ID@Xbox programme, and we can’t wait until the games start shipping so players can experience the amazing titles that the independent developers will be bringing to Xbox One,” said Charla.

Iron Galaxy’s Dave Lang, makers of Divekick, added: “All developers care about is being able to make the games they want and get them into the hands of as many people as possible. Now, thanks to ID@Xbox, Iron Galaxy can bring Divekick to a Microsoft platform for the first time. We’ve been working on Xbox One games for a while now, and because of that you can bet Divekick will take advantage of all the platform’s unique capabilities.”

Microsoft are certainly stepping in the right direction to help the little studios get their foot in the door and get their games seen by a wider audience.

If you are interested in joining the current list of developers visit http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/developers/id

Train2Game News: Double Fine Kickstarter game named

Broken AgeFor any Train2Game student who backed Double Fine, the impressively funded Kickstarter game by Double Fine now has an official title. The world also got its first look at the game.

Late last year a Kickstarter campaign by Tim Schafers company, Double Fine, brought attention to the funding service when it reached its goal of $400,000 in mere hours. The campaign went on to raise $3.3 million, astounding everyone.

The game that was funded, previously known as Double Fine Adventure, has been named as Broken Age. It is a point and click adventure which follows the stories of a young girl and boy leading parallel lives.

The game’s website explains “The girl has been chosen by her village to be sacrificed to a terrible monster, but she decides to fight back.

“Meanwhile, a boy on a spaceship is living a solitary life under the care of a motherly computer, but he wants to break free to lead adventures and do good in the world. Adventures ensue.”

The company announced the game at the PAX event in America last weekend.

New backers can still submit funds via Double Fine’s website, with $30 gaining access to the final game via Steam, a video documentary series, PC and Mac beta access and more.

You can enjoy the trailer and the first look at the game below:

Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 22.03.13

StarCraft 2 It is the end of the week so it is time for the Train2Game games industry news round up!

Today is the start of the Insomnia48 convention. Gamers are flocking to the gaming festival, for a weekend of gaming highlights including the ESET UK Masters StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm grand finals. With some of the best competitive gamers in the world vying for a share of the £10,000 prize pot, the tournament represents the pinnacle of the UK eSports scene. Jetting in from countries such as South Korea, Romania, Switzerland and Germany, the 12 gamers that have qualified over the last few weeks represent the cream of the international eSports crop and will provide some of the most exciting competitive StarCraft entertainment possible!

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment today announced a Season Pass for the upcoming DC Comics fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. The Injustice: Gods Among Us Season Pass grants purchasers access to four of the game’s upcoming downloadable characters for the price of three.

In further Injustice: Gods Among Us news, the developers are giving comic book and beat-‘em-up fans the opportunity to settle the age-old-question of “who will win?” in person at special Injustice: Gods Among Us tournaments being held in GAME stores around the UK during the month of April. The Injustice: Gods Among Us Tournament UK Final is in London and the International Final is in Paris.

Kickstarter has now had over $107 million dollars pledged to games with over $22 million of that just this year alone. Kickstarter cites the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter in February 2012 as the game project that really got everyone’s attention. While there are plenty of success stories on Kickstarter, it glosses over the fact that not all of these games are successfully produced. This proves that everyone can have trouble with developing a game, it is not an easy task and it shouldn’t be taken lightly!

Finally a different way to play some of your favourite PC games has surfaced. Peripheral company Stelulu Technologies have developed a controller that can use with your feet. The interestingly named, Stinky Board, has four buttons underneath that can be pressed when you lean your foot on them. The buttons can be mapped to any key on your keyboard and “in-game modifiers” are supported like Alt, Ctrl and Shift. That means up to 16 actions can performed and the device can automatically detect and load saved profiles. Additionally, the tension of the board can be adjusted and the board itself is made out of steel, aluminium and “heavy duty plastics” to withstand the kind of foot-related abuse you might expect when someone keeps dying over and over again in their favourite FPS.

Train2Game News: Community created games

Double Fine are asking the public for their opinions on the games of the annual Amnesia Fortnight and BioWare is asking the public where they think Mass Effect 4 should go.

This year, Double Fine has decided to change up its Amnesia Fortnight event by allowing fans to choose which ideas get made into games, live-streaming the entire development process, and then releasing those titles as a Humble Bundle.

The Amnesia Fortnight is a two-week prototyping period where Double Fine employees split into small teams to brainstorm and develop inventive new titles. Previous Amnesia Fortnight titles have included Costume Quest, Stacking, Middle Manager of Justice, and Iron Brigade.

The first step is for players to head to the Double Fine forums to discuss their favourite game ideas. Players then head to the Double Fine Humble Bundle page to vote for their favourite games.

After the first week, the four most popular ideas will be developed into prototypes. The teams have two weeks to make their games, with 2 Player Productions filming the entire development process and posting videos each day.

Double Fine founder Tim Schafer said “We do it to test out new ideas, and to test out new project leaders who feel ready to have a project of their own. Many of the games we’ve released in the last few years have come from the Amnesia Fortnight process. It’s really a great morale boost for the team, and a highly effective way to develop new game ideas”

Of course this being released through Humble Bundle means that a portion of the money made will go to the charity Child’s Play.

In addition BioWare has asked fans whether Mass Effect 4 should be a sequel to the existing trilogy or take place before the trilogy.

Mass Effect overlord Casey Hudson canvassed fans via his Twitter account, he wrote “Parsing through your thoughts on the next #ME game. Would you be more interested in a game that takes place before the trilogy, or after?”

A game set in the series past has many viable options like the war between the Rachni and the Krogans to the war between Turians and Humans following the Relay 314 Incident.

A game set later in the series’ history would have to tackle Mass Effect 3’s various ending choices, which leave the galaxy in varying states of repair.

It’s not the first time BioWare has asked fans their thoughts on the next Mass Effect game. BioWare previously questioned their fans on what they would like to see in Mass Effect 4.

BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy said earlier this month “While Mass Effect 4 will be very respectful of the heritage built over the course of the first three games, with the original trilogy now concluded and the switch over to a new engine, we are exploring new directions, both on the gameplay and story fronts,

“You can still expect the pillars the franchise is known for to be fully intact though, including diverse alien races, a huge galaxy to explore, and of course rich, cinematic storytelling.”

From stories such as these and services like Greenlight and Kickstarter it seems that the public will start taking great effect on how and what games are made. This could see an interesting wave of fan made games come soon, from AAA to Indie titles.

Train2Game News: Kickstarter rides in to the UK

The popular business model, Kickstarter is coming to the United Kingdom on October 31.

Kickstarter is the service that allows developers to show their plans and ideas to the public and, if it is liked, people can donate money to the development of the project. It lets consumers decide what gets created.

Kickstarter has announced that it will be opening to projects in the UK on October 31, 2012. Users can begin building their projects today.

The Kickstarter team said “We thought the three-week gap would give everyone plenty of time to build and tweak their projects before launching. Beginning October 31, they can launch and share their projects with the world.”

Kickstarter really flexed its muscles in February earlier this year with Tim Schafer’s Double Fine. Their latest project earned record breaking funding. It has seen many high profile developers creating new interesting projects, which some publishers may not of allowed them to do.

UK campaign amounts will be listed in pounds sterling but international parties that attribute will see their donations in the approximate equivalent of dollars.

Other localised changes see UK backers not being redirected to Amazon for payment, international shipping has been streamlined, and new options are available to campaign organisers to alter reward tiers for international backers.

Train2Game News: Mid-week Round up of game news

This will be a mid-week round up of all the biggest news in the gaming industry. Depending on the reaction it gets this may become a weekly post.

Gearbox’s Borderlands 2 comes out next week and in the lead up to that they have released the skill trees for the different classes available in the game. This is a good chance to see how the characters are going to play out through the game.

Valve has released a list of the first ten games being released through Steams Greenlight initiative. Some of the games on the list are Black Mesa the Half-Life mod and Project Zomboid. A full list of the Greenlight approved games can be found here.

The Wii U is having its release date and recommended retail price announced tomorrow. At 8am Nintendo will announce in a special webcast on the official Nintendo Direct Page. The release date is rumoured for UK release date early December with a possible price of £190.

Double Fine studios have accidentally released there first mobile title ahead of schedule. Thanks to some quick thinking from lead designer Kee Chi and the team behind the studios first mobile exclusive, the release turned into an unplanned beta.

Sony is ready to display a new virtual reality headset at the Tokyo Game Show. This follows the news of the Occulus Rift kickstarter and Valves augmented reality headset plans being released. The Sony headset will have a full 360 degree experience with head tracking and a live camera.

The last and possibly biggest bit of news is that this Friday the Train2Game world record attempt sponsored by Microsoft begins. The 48 hour event will see students creating games in the time they have using Windows 8. It is always fun and is always a great learning experience.

Train2Game News: Ron Gilbert on game design “For me, it almost always starts with the world”

Game design begins with building a world before adding characters and then a story. At least that’s the case for Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island co-creator Ron Gilbert.

“For me, it almost always starts with the world.” he told The Guardian in an interview about The Cave, the adventure game he’s developing with Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions.

“Maniac Mansion is really all about that mansion, that was the genesis of it. The Secret of Monkey Island all started for me because I loved the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney – I wanted to live in that world.”

“It’s the same thing with The Cave; it started with the setting and the characters kind of get built up from that – I think, okay, now I have the world, who would live there? Who would want to adventure in that place?” Gilbert continued, before going into a little bit about game design in adventure games.

“So the characters come about, then the story starts to form, and very quickly after that I start to figure out the major puzzle beats – because in an adventure game it’s the puzzles that drive the narrative forward.”

“ I start with that over-arching narrative then, I go, ‘okay, I need a big puzzle here, another one here, and one there’, and I start building backwards from all those big puzzles to all the little ones that lead up to them.” he added.

Ron Gilbert’s The Cave involves taking three of seven adventures into a cave, battling monsters, solving puzzles and stealing loot. It’s scheduled for release by SEGA on PC, Xbox Live and PlayStation Network early next year.

There’s more from Ron Gilbert here on The Train2Game Blog in this video where he discusses game design with Tim Schafer

What are your thoughts on game design? Does the world form the base of the games you’re building?

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