Train2game GDCA Awards to honour Notch

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The 16th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA), the peer-awarded highest honors in video game development, has revealed this year’s recipients of the Pioneer and Ambassador awards.

The Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony takes place on Wednesday, March 16th at 6:30 pm at the Moscone Convention Center during the 2016 Game Developers Conference® (GDC) in San Francisco, and will be livestreamed on Twitch at http://www.twitch.tv/gdca .

The Pioneer Award, which honors breakthrough tech and game design milestones, will this year honor Markus “Notch” Persson, the famed creator of the 2011 GDCA and IGF Award-winning indie sandbox title, Minecraft. The Ambassador Award, honoring someone who is helping video games advance to a better place through advocacy or action, will be bestowed upon experimental game designer and educator Tracy Fullerton, in recognition of her work at the Game Innovation Lab, which has produced several influential independent games like fl0w and Darfur is Dying.

Pioneer Award recipient Markus “Notch” Persson is most widely known as the founder and former lead game designer at Mojang AB, the acclaimed developers behind the landmark title Minecraft, which blends exploration, survival, resource management and combat into an open-world title with literally endless content and avenues for creativity and ingenuity.  In 2011, history was made when Minecraft became the first game to win in multiple categories at both the Game Developers Choice Awards and the IGF Awards within the same year. The game and its creators  received top honors at the 2011 IGF Awards, winning both the Seumas McNally Grand Prize and Audience Award, and that same night were honored with the 2011 Choice Awards for Innovation, Best Downloadable Game and Best Debut. The title has sold a total of more than 70 million copies over console, PC, mobile and other platforms. Developer Mojang and the ownership of the Minecraft property were acquired by Microsoft in 2014 in a deal worth $2.5 billion.

As the associate professor and director of the University of Southern California (USC) Games program, Ambassador Award recipient Tracy Fullerton and her research center, the Game Innovation Lab, has played an instrumental role in the creation of influential independent games that include Cloud, fl0w, Darfur is Dying, the Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom and the Night Journey, with artist Bill Viola. At USC, Fullerton has drawn from her experience as a game designer at companies that include Microsoft, Sony, MTV and many others, to help guide aspiring developers. Her previous achievements include an Emmy nomination for interactive television, IndieCade’s “Sublime Experience,” “Impact,” and “Trailblazer” awards, Games for Change “Game Changer” award, and Time Magazine’s Best of the Web. As the author of the design textbook, “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” Fullerton’s work in and out of the classroom has established her sterling reputation as an esteemed designer and teacher in the art and craft of game development.

This year, Ashly and Anthony Burch, the sibling team behind the “Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?” video series, will return to contribute original videos to the IGF Awards ceremony. These will complement a series of new videos by Mega64, the video game sketch anarchists, who are also returning to make videos for the Game Developers Choice Awards this year.

The Game Developers Choice Awards are produced in association with the Game Developers Conference® (GDC) and will take place on Wednesday, March 16th at 6:30 pm at the San Francisco Moscone Center and is open to all GDC badge-holders.

More information about the 16th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards can be found on the official website at http://www.gamechoiceawards.com – and for information about the 2016 Game Developers Conference, please visit http://www.gdconf.com .

Train2Game News Mojang sale to Microsoft Confirmed

MojangThe rumours have been confirmed and Mojang is selling to Microsoft for $2.5 Billion. So what does this mean for Minecraft and the company?

In a blog on www.Mojang.com the deal was confirmed today with a few details about the sale and the reasons why.

The main reason Markus “Notch” Persson, the creator of Minecraft and the majority shareholder of Mojang has decided to sell is that he feels that Minecraft and Mojang have become to big on a global scale. He has attempted to make smaller games again to no avail and he feels that is because he has had to spend to much time and energy focused on the global phenomenon that is Minecraft.

There are only a handful of potential buyers with the resources to grow Minecraft and Mojang have worked closely with Microsoft since 2012. They have been impressed by their continued dedication to the game and its development.

The other versions of Minecraft will still continue to run but as for what happens with future multiplatform projects is yet to be seen. That will be down to Microsoft to decide.

The founders: Notch, Carl, and Jakob are leaving Mojang with nothing confirmed of what they are going on to do.

The main points to take from this sale is that Minecraft will continue to evolve and thrive and that small project you are working on may net you $2.5 Billion.

Train2Game News: Humble Bundle 8

Humble Bundle 8The eighth official Humble Bundle has been out for a few days and has some amazing games included.

This latest pay-what-you-want affair for charity comes with Little Inferno, the charming puzzler with a killer soundtrack; the subterranean Metroidvania adventure Capsized; the profoundly beautiful first-person stroll-’em-up Dear Esther; the minimalist narrated platformer Thomas Was Alone; and the colourful multiplayer platformer Awesomenauts.

If you pay above the average, which at the time of writing is $5.45, you also get the highly popular Hotline Miami, which Eurogamer gave a massive 10/10, and the chirpy, abstract exploration game Proteus.

Every title in the bundle is available for PC, Mac, and Linux, which several of these games are debuting on with this bundle.

Proceeds are split between the developers, Child’s Play, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the bundle organisers. As per the usual routine, you can decide which of your money goes where.

The Bundle has already made $1,295,199.86 (and rising) from 227,826 sales. It reached the $1m milestone after just 18 hours. Currently the customer that has paid the most for the bundle is Markus “Notch” Persson with a purchase price of $5,000.

You can enjoy an amusing video detailing the Humble Bundle 8 below:

To purchase the Humble Bundle 8 you can go to www.humblebundle.com

Train2Game news: Question Notch in BAFTA Games live Q&A on Thursday

Train2Game students have the chance to question Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson thanks to a live Twitter Q&A from BAFTA Games.

The Q&A with Notch takes place tomorrow, Thursday 15th March at 12:30. Train2Game students who wish to ask Minecraft creator a question can do so by Tweeting @BAFTAGames using the #NotchQA hashtag.

If you’re not on Twitter, tells us what you’d like to know, and we’ll submit the question on your behalf.

The Twitter Q&A comes ahead of Notch receiving the BAFTA Special Person Award at the GAME British Academy Video Games Awards on Friday night.

The Notch Q&A isn’t the only BAFTA event that happens tomorrow, with Dare to be Digital: Pitching a Prototype taking place in the evening.

Yesterday, The Train2Game Blog reported that Notch worries that his next game won’t be able to achieve the same impact as Minecraft.

For more Notch news, keep reading the Train2Game Blog.

So Train2Game, what would you ask Notch?

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

BAFTA’s public events and online resources bring you closer to the creative talent behind your favourite games, films, and TV shows. Find out more at www.bafta.org/newsletter,www.facebook.com/bafta or twitter.com/baftagames

Train2Game news: Notch worries his future projects could be “pointless and hollow”

Train2Game students will be aware of the huge success of Minecraft, the indie game created by Markus ‘Notch’ Persson which has now sold over 5.2 million copies.

Now Notch has stepped back from Minecraft,  the game now in the hands of Jens Bergensten,  in order to focus on other projects, but speaking to Eurogamer he revealed that whatever his next game is, he’s worried that it won’t even come close to topping his first big hit.

“It kind of feels like the level of cultural impact that Minecraft has had will be very difficult to replicate,” he said.

“It kind of feels like whatever I do next is never going to be as big. I’m kind of worried about everything feeling a bit pointless and hollow compared to the success of Minecraft.

“But I haven’t started on a large project since. Hopefully I won’t care. What I really want to do is programme. I want to be a programmer. So hopefully I can just focus on that aspect of it.” he added.

If you want to be a programmer, you can find out more about the Train2Game games developer course here. 

The Eurogamer piece also sees Notch discuss the impact the success of Minecraft has had on is life, and you can read it here.

Recently, The Train2Game Blog reported that Mojang hired developers from the Minecraft community. Meanwhile, earlier this year, Notch claimed that it’s easier to be an indie developer now than ever before.

There’s more Minecraft news here on The Train2Game Blog.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Notch’s comments? Can Mojang’s next game live up to the success of Minecraft? Do you think living up to the success of a previous title is something all game developers struggle with?

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

Train2Game news: Notch: “It’s easier to be an indie game developer these days”

Train2Game forum users are familiar with the success of Minecraft, the indie game that brought huge success for its creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson and his studio Mojang.

And while it’s unlikely that all indie titles will match the huge success of Minecraft, Notch believes it’s easier to be an indie developer now than ever before, which is potentially good news for Train2Game students!

“I think it’s easier to be an indie game developer these days because back in the day it wasn’t called being an “indie developer” but a “garage programmer.” You weren’t expected to charge for your game so you couldn’t do it. People never charged. It was just a hobby.” he told PC Gamer.

“I think it’s much easier these days, but there’s still no guarantee you’ll make a profit. If you’re doing it out of passion and just want to get some money back it’s definitely doable.” the Minecraft creator added.

Notch also discussed whether after selling almost 5 million copies of Minecraft, Mojang still count as “indie” developers.

“I don’t think [Mojang] are indie in the sense of how I used to work anymore, because we have a payroll to worry about and we need to do stuff to ensure the company lasts,” he said.

“We have other stuff which influences what we do other than trying to focus on the games. We make sure me and Jacob are only focusing on game development so the founders are still developing” Notch continued.

“But as a company, I don’t think we are indie in the sense that I used to mean it. But in the other sense of indie – as in we make games we want to play without having any external dependencies – then yeah, we’re indie.” The Minecraft creator concluded.

As previously reported by The Train2Game Blog, Notch has stepped down as lead developer of Minecraft in order to concentrate on other projects.

Keep reading The Train2Game Blog for the latest Minecraft news.

So Train2Game, do you agree that it’s easier to be an indie developer nowadays? And  what’s your definition of an “indie” studio or game?

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

[Source: PC Gamer]

Train2Game news: Minecraft’s Notch steps down, replaced by ‘mod friendly’ Jens Bergensten

Train2Game forum users have a special place for Minecraft, so many of them will be interested to hear that creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson is leaving his position as the games’ lead designer to rest and work on a new project.

Mojang developer Jens Bergensten will be taking over the position of Minecraft lead designer, Notch posted on his blog.

“As of yesterday, Jens Bergensten is the new lead developer on Minecraft. He will have the final say in all design decisions, so he will kinda sorta become my boss, I guess. I’ve promised him to not pull rank” wrote Notch, who has high praise of Bergensten, revealing a little about the game design process at Mojang.

“We’ve been working together on Minecraft for a year now, and I’m amazed at how much in synch we two are when it comes to how to design the game” he said.

“And when we don’t agree, we discuss it and something much better comes out at a result. He’s truly a great person to work with, and I feel very confident handing over the leadership of Minecraft to him.”

Notch told Gamasutra that Bergensten will mean more modding opportunities for Minecraft.

“He’s exactly what Minecraft needs right now. He’s a bit more mod friendly than I am, and we need to embrace mods more.” he said.

So Notch will still be involved with Minecraft, which finally received its full release earlier this month. It’s been downloaded over 4 million times since it was made available in its Alpha stage of development. Not bad for a completely independent studio.

For more about Minecraft, see the Train2Game blog.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Notch stepping down as lead developer of Minecraft?

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

Train2Game news: Your Minecraft creation could feature in the official Minecon trailer

Train2Game students who’ve made custom Minecraft skins could see them feature in an official trailer at Minecon, the Minecraft convention taking place in Las Vegas next month.

Indie sensation Minecraft is popular on the Train2Game forum, so there’ll no doubt be some Train2Game students who want to get involved in the contest.

To celebrate Minecon, Minecraft trailer producers, The Hat Films, are giving fans the opportunity to see their custom skins feature in the official trailer.

“We will randomly be selecting subscribers from our Youtube channel and messaging the winners for their Minecraft user names, so that we may tear the skin from your virtual blocky bodies and thrust them upon NPCs in game.” said a Walrus representing The Hat Films in their video announcement, which Train2Game students can see below.

Train2Game students could therefore potentially see their custom Minecraft skin seen at the convention which will coincide with the ‘full’ release of Mojang’s title.

Despite still being in beta, Minecraft has been purchased over three million times. For more information on the full release of Minecraft, see this post on the Train2Game blog.

The popularity of Minecraft saw developers Mojang walk away with the ‘Downloadable Game of the Year’ at the Golden Joysticks.  The success of Minecraft provides inspiration for many Train2Game students.

So Train2Game, have you produced Minecraft skins? Will you enter the contest?

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

[Source: PC Gamer]

Train2Game News, Minecraft passes 10 million registered users

The Train2Game blog has kept a close eye on the progress of indie sensation Minecraft, which as reported last month has reached over 2.5 million sales. Minecraft has long has a cult forum among Train2Game forum users.

The game has hit yet another milestone, with over 10 million people now having registered to play the free version of Minecraft. The free version doesn’t receive the regular updates the full-game does, such as the “adventure mode” as reported by the Train2Game blog.

Currently over 2.7 million people have bought the Beta version of Minecraft, with the full release coming later this year.  Imagine if the free-to-play Minecraft users all bought the full version, Notch would become even richer!

As reported by the Train2Game blog, we’ll also see an Xbox 360 version of Minecraft towards the end of this year. Minecraft is also heading to smartphones, there will be no escaping it!

Minecraft can act as a massive inspiration to Train2Game students as to how successful an indie game can now be thanks to digital distribution and word of mouth. Last week the Train2Game reported that Mojang’s next title, Scrolls, will follow the same release pattern.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the continued success of Minecraft? If you’re playing the free version, why are you sticking to it?

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

[Source: PC Gamer]

Mojang’s Scrolls to follow same release strategy as Minecraft

Regular Train2Game blog readers will be highly aware of the success of indie game Minecraft, as well as its huge following among Train2Game forum users.

Some of them have been there since they purchased Minecraft when it was in Alpha, or in its current Beta form, and Mojang have revealed that their next game, Scrolls, will follow the same pattern.

“With our new game, Scrolls, we’ll follow the same formula as Minecraft,” said Mojang’s Daniel Kaplan while speaking at GameLab in Barcelona.  “That means we’ll release the game very early, at the minimal playable state.”

That means people will pay for it, play it, and give feedback from a very early stage, in essence, almost asking like a QA Tester. Kaplan also revealed that Scrolls has a five person development team.

“That sounds like a small team, but it’s very big for us. One thing that means is we’re going to have to outsource art,” he added.

As reported by the Train2Game blog earlier this month, Minecraft for the Xbox 360 IS being developed by Dundee based 4J Studios, and Kaplan says it’ll be quite different to the PC version.

“I don’t think we can have the exact same experience because of the lack of a keyboard, so we’re going to do a complete overhaul of the user interface, and make sure it works on a 360 controller.”

Kaplan also commented on the prospect of Mojang publishing games by other indie studios, something the Train2Game blog revealed the developer was thinking of last month.

“We’re looking for people with a similar structure [to Mojang],” he said. “People who are very passionate about what they’re doing. We’re also looking for games that last longer, and treat games as a service, like Minecraft does.”

“And of course, [they need to have] passion,” he added. “A lot of people join the game industry because of passion, but you should also learn that that’s what it takes to stay there.”

That last statement could describe many Train2Game students who are very passionate about finding work in the games industry.

So Train2Game, what do you think of Scrolls release structure? Will it mirror the success of Minecraft? And will you be jumping in straight away?

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

[Source: Gamasutra]