Another month has come and gone, which means it’s time for a quick Vespers update.
Nope, it’s not finished yet.
Was September a good month? In general, I’d say it was pretty good. On the one hand, another student animator has left the project, which means we’re down to three. At least I’m assuming he’s left the project — like so many that came before him, he’s just no longer responding to e-mails. It’s not too troublesome since he never really got off the blocks with this project, but still…is it just animators, or are other people like this as well? In the face of overcommitment or disinterest, is it everybody’s instinct to lie low and hope nobody notices? Or just animators?
On the other [More...] Read the rest
I caught this one from GameSetWatch, through Unseen64.net. A website by ATMachine that showcases a pretty impressive amount of info on some of the old LucasArts and Sierra adventure games, much of which was probably unseen. Not sure why or how it came to attention at this point in time, considering the site appears to have been around for a few years, but I’m glad it did since I hadn’t noticed it before.
There’s a wealth of cool stuff there. Development and design images from games, early (WIP) screenshots, alternate art and GUI interfaces that were never used, comparisons of the same games on different platforms, comparisons of demos and full releases, and other oddities. Some of the games featured include LucasArts’ Monkey [More...] Read the rest
As I mentioned last time, there were some really intriguing presentations on the third day of the conference. One in particular was a technology demonstration given by representatives of two companies, Emotiv Systems and 3DV Systems, which are developing innovative ways for players to interface with computers or other entertainment devices.
Randy Breen from Emotiv Systems demonstrated what he called their “Brain-Computer Interface”, a device that fits on the head and is based on EEG machines. It basically translates brain waves into actions after a period of training. It’s compact (I didn’t even notice him wearing it during his talk), lightweight, and wireless, and includes a gyro to detect head movements. It can also detect facial expressions (blinking, smiling, eyebrow movement) and can essentially monitor [More...] Read the rest
The last day of AGDC was an excellent day, with two talks in particular that led to a good deal of spirited, academic discussion about storytelling and a third lecture that demonstrated some very slick next-gen controllers that could have a significant impact in the future on game design and interface.
The first talk of the day was given by Andrew Stern, he of Façade fame, although he did not focus specifically on the accomplishments of that project. Instead, his talk, provocatively titled “Linearity is Hell: Achieving Truly Dynamic Stories in Games,” explored the possibility of truly dynamic storytelling in games and how a system like that might be designed. Stern did acknowledge that this was more of a theoretical talk and that he [More...] Read the rest
The second day of AGDC was pretty fun, although perhaps not quite as informative as the first day. For me, the day started off with a lecture by Andrew Walsh on the topic of “On-Demand Storytelling” as it applied to Prince of Persia, subtitled “The Death of Linearity.” It seems that non-linear storytelling is all the rage these days, with all sorts of mechanisms for implementing it, some of which sound very creative. I have no idea if they work, though — or, if they do, how effective the resulting story is.
One thing that was clear from Walsh’s talk is that he falls on the side of those who support and promote the use of cutscenes, when used properly. I’m a cutscene fan [More...] Read the rest