Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 31.05.13

Son of NorIt’s the end of the week so it is time for the Games Industry news round up!

Son Of Nor developers stillalive studios have today released a brand new video detailing how final gameplay will look and function. stillalive studios are also thrilled to announce support for the Oculus Rift device! Gamers will be able to immerse themselves in the lore and adventure of Son of Nor deeper than ever before by using this hugely exciting virtual reality device in game. You can enjoy the final video, here:

Video Games: The Movie has passed its Kickstarter goal – with nineteen days still to run. With an impressive pitch and reams of interviews with industry luminaries already recorded, the project has passed its goal easily – with over six hundred generous backers contributing over $71,000 at the time of publishing. The funding requested originally was set to be put towards post-production costs, including editing, the film’s musical score, and costs of purchasing licensed archived video footage. With the sixty thousand dollar question answered emphatically, Mediajuice has announced stretch goals for the movie: should it reach $80k, the film will include “celebrity voiceover narration”; $100k will allow the producers to purchase rights to “popular songs”; $120k will allow a musical score by “a famous band and/or composer” to feature in the film. You can enjoy the Kickstarter promo here:

After failing to find a publisher for Whore of the Orient the team behind LA Noire have found a new studio, Intuitive Game Studios, in Australia, and hopes to stem the tide of talent exodus heading to Canada or the like. Design lead Alex Carlyle and storyboard artist Kelly Baigent are the founders but no word on what game they’ll be working on, but it will be a new IP. The kind of tech in LA Noire, and Whore of the Orient was going to take advantage of, is now well out of their reach, but it’ll be interesting to see what the guys behind it can think up.

Critically acclaimed puzzle platformer, Limbo, is being release on PS Vita next week. Playdead CEO and co-founder Dino Patti said in a post on the PS Blog: “As we approach the third anniversary of Limbo, the game is finally ready for handheld devices.” The puzzle platformer was released on Xbox Live Arcade in July 2010, and remained an exclusive on the system until it released for PS3 a year later. Playdead said in 2012 that it doesn’t expect its next game to see the light of day for “at least two years”.

Finally the tiniest teaser to set the gaming universe a buzz, at an exclusive press conference in San Francisco, Razer will unveil the bold new vision designed to transform the gaming experience, forever. You can enjoy the teaser trailer for this new vision, here:

Train2Game news: L.A. Noire development took 7 years because it was “too big” says creator Brendan McNamara

L.A. Noire Cole Phelps Train2Game blog imageTrain2Game students will know that game development can take a significant amount of time, but even in this industry, L.A. Noire’s seven year development cycle was extensive. (Though only half as long as that of Duke Nukem Forever…)

Why was this? Well, partly because of the impressive Motionscan facial animation, and also because L.A. Noire creator Brendan McNamara believes his film noire title, published by Rockstar, was “too big”

“One [thing] is the size, it’s a huge game – probably too big. The map’s massive, and so that’s probably my fault. We had to build a new process to do that” he told OPM

“We were a brand-new studio – we had brand-new tools, new technology. We have tools that allow you to build cities now, but we had to build that kind of stuff and make it work. Everything from the road network, where all the trolley cars go, all the cables connecting automatically to all of the buildings…”

McNamara revealed that at least 18 months of L.A. Noire’s development was dedicated to research.

“The tech was pretty extensive, including MotionScan. I’d say the first year and a half – [maybe] even longer – was just research.” he said

“Newspaper research, guys going over to LA and doing research on the buildings, taking photos, getting all the resources together… We were quite a small studio – 16 people or something – and we had to have all this material so we could start building stuff.” McNamara concluded

Facial animation was a huge part of L.A. Noire, however, in an interview with the Train2Game blog last November, Brink Lead Writer Ed Stern told us it isn’t something that’s needed in order to enjoy video games.

As previously reported by the Train2Game blog, L.A. Noire broke records to take No.1 in the UK charts when it was released last year.

For more on L.A. Noire, see previous posts on The Train2Game Blog.

So Train2Game, what do you make of McNamara’s comments? Is it possible for a game to be too big? What lessons do you thinkcan be learned from the development of L.A. Noire?

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

[Source: OPM]

L.A. Noire tech can ‘compete with film’ and be used outside games industry!

L.A. Noire developers Team Bondi believe their impressive facial Art & Animation techniques (Which if you haven’t seen, you can here on the Train2Game blog) can aid Game Designers in competing with Hollywood.

“The beauty of it for games specifically is it will now allow us to compete head-on with film and TV in terms of storytelling.” Team Bondi founder Brendan McNamara told BBC Newsbeat.

“If you take all the strengths of what’s great about a video game and you take all the strengths of what’s great about cinema and film you can get this amazing new product and what that means is video games become the pre-eminent entertainment form for the 21st century,” he said.

McNamara’s comments are similar those he’s previously made – as reported by the Train2Game blog – in that it’ll soon be hard to differentiate between games, films, and TV.

The L.A. Noire Director added that the MotionScan technology has even attracted interest from the industries outside of entertainment and gaming.

“We’ve had all sorts of approaches from different people wanting to use it for medicine and for security and people like law enforcement wanting it for lying simulators to show operatives how to read faces”

Back inside the industry, Valve are also ‘keeping an eye on’ the impressive Art & Animation technology.

As reported by the Train2Game blog, L.A. Noire became the fastest ever selling original IP in the UK, taking No.1 in the charts in the process.

So Train2Game, can games compete with TV when it comes to storytelling? Do any of you Game Designers have big plans? And is it positive for the industry that in-game tech is interesting those outside it?

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

[Souce: BBC Newsbeat via Develop Online]

L.A. Noire’s animation so advanced it almost came on six discs

L.A. Noire screen

Earlier this month, the Train2Game blog reported that L.A. Noire’s Art & Animation technology is so advanced, that the Xbox 360 version of the game comes on three discs. (If you’ve not seen the facial Art & Animation in action, see it elsewhere on the Train2Game blog)

Now, Team Bondi has revealed that L.A. Noire could have needed as many as six discs if not for “miraculous compression”

“We’ve always been called stupidly ambitious,” L.A. Noire Director Brendan McNamara told GameSpot . “Along with Rockstar we make very big games.”

“It took a lot of effort to get down to three discs – I think we were on four or five or six at one point – and to get it onto one Blu-ray [for the PlayStation 3 version]. We’re pretty pleased that we got it down to that in the end”

“It’s the biggest map that we’ve done and that Rockstar have done, so there’s a lot of detail in there, and also a lot of actor’s performances – 21 hours worth,” he added.”

As the Train2Game blog reported last week, McNamara believes that Game Designers are realising that video games can be about human drama. He also believes that the MotionScan Art & Animation technique will make it hard to differentiate between game, film and television in future.

Earlier this week, the Train2Game blog revealed that Valve are keeping a close eye on L.A. Noire’s Art & Animation tech.

Of course, L.A. Noire isn’t just about tech, and you can find out more about the Game Design in this Train2Game blog post.

L.A. Noire is released in the UK on Friday.

So Train2Game, is the fact the game could have been on six discs testament to how impressive it is? And will you be playing on Friday? If so, which console will you purchase L.A. Noire for?

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

[Source: GameSpot via OXM]

Valve ‘keeping an eye on’ L.A. Noire Art & Animation tech

L.A. Noire

By now, it’s likely that most Train2Game blog readers have seen the impressive facial Art & Animation techniques used in L.A. Noire.  (If not you can see it here on the Train2Game blog)

While Valve are impressed by the motion captured used in L.A. Noire,  they’re unsure if it’d work with the particular style of “reactive” Game Design they’ve used to create the likes of Half-Life 2 and Portal 2.

As reported by the Train2Game blog, the Art & Animation techniques of L.A. Noire are so advanced, the Xbox 360 version of the title comes on three discs.

“It’s impressive technically, for sure,” said 3D graphics man Jason Mitchell told Develop in an extensive feature on Valve

“And I think it’s an important inflection point in the continuum of ever-increasing fidelity in game characters… There are pros and cons to that LA Noire approach, and we’re keeping our eyes on that piece of tech, but it’s not clear how we would integrate it.”

“I guess I’m not really familiar with the performance characteristics of that technology, on the playback side. One of my first impressions was the incredible high-fidelity of it… But the system is based on a playback of a performance, which can go against how we like to think about characters interacting with our players.”

“We like our performances to be far more reactive to what the player does, and not to something pre-acted on a sound stage. It’s not completely obvious how this tech would integrate into our work.

“But since I haven’t played that game, I’m not incredibly familiar with that technology. It’s super interesting, regardless. I’m sure it’s something people will be referring to for years to come on the history of interactive facial tech.”

Train2Game students can read a hugely in-depth feature that goes behind the scenes at Valve at Develop Online.

Last week, the Train2Game blog reported that Rockstar believe the structure of L.A. Noire as a whole will be revolutionary for the games industry.

On the other hand, Quantic Dreams David Cage believes that L.A. Noire’s Art & Animation provides an ‘interesting dead end’ as reported by the Train2Game blog last month.

L.A. Noire is released here in the UK on Friday.

Where do you stand on L.A. Noire? Could it used to produce the “reactive” games Valve do? Is it the future of the industry? Or do you agree with David Cage in that it’s a dead end?

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

[Source: CVG via Develop Online]

L.A. Noire animation tech so advanced it needs 3 Xbox 360 discs

LA Noire screenshot 187 Train2Game blog image

The extremely impressive Art & Animation techniques of L.A. Noire have certainly caused excitement on the Train2Game forum.

Now Rockstar has revealed that the game is so advanced, that the Xbox 360 version needs three discs to store all of the information. Meanwhile, L.A. Noire on the PlayStation 3 requires the usual one blu-ray disc.

However, Rockstar don’t believe that is will be an issue for 360 gamers.

“To tell the story and make the game we wanted to make, we knew that it was going to take an entire single layer Blu-ray disc and three Xbox discs,”  Rockstar’s Jeronimo Barrera told Kotaku.

“Since the game is built around the concept of progressing through individual cases from desk to desk, players on Xbox will find disc-swapping is hassle-free.

“In fact, players will only need to swap discs twice at natural breaks between cases without interrupting the flow of the game.”

Anyone who needs reminding about the highly impressive facial Art & Animation in L.A. Noire can see it for themselves here on the Train2Game blog. And as also reported by the Train2Game blog, Game Developers Team Bondi claim the technology used to build L.A. Noire will soon make it difficult to differentiate between video games, films and television.

Rockstar’s Barrera also told Kotaku how L.A. Noire could have been even bigger, but some of it has been set aside for DLC.

“Throughout development, we created lots of great cases, the bulk of which were central to the main story of Cole Phelps and his rise through the ranks of the LAPD, alongside other cases that felt more like strong stand-alone episodes,” he said.

“This gave us a powerful main story, and left us with quality extra content that we wanted to put out as DLC, that would slot seamlessly into the existing game.”

L.A. Noire is set for release 20th May on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

So Train2Game, is the L.A. Noire for Xbox 360 coming on three discs an issue for you? Or is it a testament to just how impressive the game will be? And do you think it’s a good move for Game Developers to announce DLC before a game is even released?

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

[Source: Kotaku]