Archives: Offworld Originals


ONE MORE GO: WHY HALO MAKES ME WANT TO LAY DOWN AND DIE


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9.27.2009

Margaret Robertson

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There are those who say that when any door closes another one opens. These people have clearly never queued for the ladies toilet in St Pancras Station. Conceptually, though, they have a point. Endings are often beginnings.

The biggest ending of all, however, has long had me beat. As a wet-humanist, I have no big expectations for life after death. A bit of rotting. General blankness. The absence of everything is a prospect I’ve always found more soothing than daunting. The concept of heaven has always troubled me far more. What would it be like? What would I want it to be like?

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For a while I thought my answer to those questions was Phantasy Star Online. Perfect sunsets, nice greenery, good clothes, the company of friends. There was a timelessness on Ragol which would clearly have been compatible with eternity.

Today though, thanks to the slightly underwhelming reminders of ODST, I think I’d like to go to Silent Cartographer when I die. What could be better? It’s beautiful, for a start. The moon hanging fat in the sky, and the Halo stretching like spun silver around the horizon. Waves lap on the golden shore, shaded paths climb to airy peaks. (more…)

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HCUFS & VMACHIN: THE UNLIKELY COMBO THAT BROUGHT DOWN SCRIBBLENAUTS


9.25.2009

Brandon Boyer

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‘Brought down’s obviously an overstatement, but the Occam’s Razor trouble with creating a game in which players can do “anything” is that they’ll use that anything to skirt the obstacles you place in their way.

In Scribblenauts‘s case, it’s an innocuous pair of handcuffs and a vending machine, the former of which can be attached to the level-goal collectible Starites, stuffed wholesale into the machine, and then dragged back wholesale to wherever you stand, where it will handily dispense your win-condition free of charge.

Luckily, with no online ranking or competitive aspect to speak of, the exploit does nothing but defeat and deflate your own pleasure with the game, should you choose to use it, but it’ll be interesting to see if developer 5th Cell respond with more than a smirking shrug over the coming weeks.

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A LITTLE LOVE: QUEL SOLAAR’S IMPRESSIONIST MMO GETS TEST CLIENT, CHARACTER


9.25.2009

Brandon Boyer

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The best news I’ve heard in quite some time: Eskil Steenberg’s abstract painterly MMO Love is prepping a beta release possibly “just a matter of days” away, and has let loose a test client to gauge performance on various machines. While the client tantalizingly won’t let you connect to a server, it is the first opportunity to see the game running, finally, on your own hardware.

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At the same time, Steenberg’s just released a batch of new screenshots that show, for the first time (so far as I’ve seen), the procedurally generated characters that will populate its world. More of those below the fold. (more…)

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FORMERLY KNOWN AS: DYSON OPENS PRE-ORDERS, ASK FOR NEW NAME


9.25.2009

Brandon Boyer

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IGF grand prize nominated strategy game Dyson has just partnered with digi-distro Digital2Drive to open preorders for the game ahead of its October 20th release, and at the same time are announcing a new contest to let fans give it a new title.

The devs say the game — originally titled in tribute to “the work of theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson” — will be re-titled to whichever entry “best encompasses the mood and themes of the game,” and the winner will receive both a copy of the game and two additional Direct2Drive downloads.

See the contest page to enter, and visit the dev’s official home page for more information on the game.

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OFFWORLD GALLERY: SAY HELLO TO HELLO GAMES


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9.24.2009

Brandon Boyer

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Less than a week away from announcing their first game, a little introduction to Hello Games: you may have spotted — especially if you were on the GDC Austin show floor — Hello’s recent appearance in Edge Magazine, where they talked about their decision to leave gainful employment elsewhere to set up shop for themselves and prepare their debut PC-, 360- and PS3-bound title.

If so, you may also have spotted (though only in print) the accompanying concept sketches by Hello artist Grant Duncan, which was basically all I needed to see to realize that the team was laser-targeting my one true heart (particularly with the cube-head at top) with whatever they had in store.

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The dev team at Hello is made up of (from L to R) creative director David Ream (formerly of Kuju, where he helped expand the Geometry Wars universe with Galaxies), managing director Sean Murray (former Criterion tech lead on Burnout 3 and Black), artist Duncan (formerly artist on Sega/Sumo’s Virtua Tennis 3 and Sega Superstars Tennis), and programmer Ryan Doyle (also of Kuju, where he was lead programmer on the aforementioned Galaxies), and while none of the art sketches give too much away on the group’s debut game, it does give a distinct (and ultra-sweet) flavor of the direction they’re heading.

Below the fold then, four pages from Duncan’s sketchbook to let you get to know Hello. After you’ve taken it in, visit Hello’s website to read more (see esp.: this post, in which each of the team have been morphed into collectible diorama characters of their respective top games). (more…)

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WHY I’M GOING TO INDIECADE (AND YOU PROBABLY SHOULD, TOO): PT. 3


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9.24.2009

Brandon Boyer

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For my final entry this week on why I’ve decided to go to LA for the Oct. 1-4th Indiecade conference/festival (and why you should come, too): a quick and dirty run down of all the games that have been selected as finalists for this year’s show runs below, and continues below the fold.

All of these games will be playable every day from 10am to 7pm at three Culver City locations: Wonderful World of Art Gallery, Culver Hotel Mezzanine and Gregg Fleishman Gallery.

See my earlier entries (pt. 1 and pt. 2) for more information on the star-studded keynotes and sessions that will make up the main Indiecade conference, and see the official Indiecade site for information on attending.

On to the list:

(more…)

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HEY MONTREAL: GO SEE THE DEBUT OF POLYTRON/INFINITE AMMO’S POWER PILL SEPT. 30TH


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9.24.2009

Brandon Boyer

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As part of Montreal’s latest Pecha Kucha Night, coming Wednesday, September 30th to the SAT (1195 Saint-Laurent), Fez creators Polytron will be on hand to talk about the “highs and lows of designing a multi-touch game for fun and profit”: specifically, their long-teased Infinite Ammo collaboration Power Pill. If you go, take lots of photos and forward them kindly to brandon@offworld.com, please.

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HEY NYC: SEE NULLSLEEP, BIT SHIFTER, MINUSBABY, NO CARRIER FOR FREE TONIGHT


9.24.2009

Brandon Boyer

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Bit of late notice with this one, but there’s still time for Big Applians to make it to the No Malice Palace at 197 E 3rd St (between Ave A & B) for tonight’s late night Nullsleep, Bit Shifter, and Minusbaby show, featuring the always dependable No Carrier on (all new) visualizations. [via Zen Albatross and Minusbaby]

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BEATLES HELL: NO FUN’S QUARTER-NOTE DODGER NORWEGIAN WOOD


9.24.2009

Brandon Boyer

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The new best Beatles game that isn’t the other one: Montreal’s No Fun Games has created Norwegian Wood, the world’s first fab-four bullet-hell dodge ‘em up.

The point? Escape the synchronized notes escaping from each corner’s guitar/bass/sitar/mic as the disembodied head of John Lennon, gaining multipliers the longer you can manage to outwit the notes.

The catch? You’ll have to supply your own original MP3, for obvious reasons (and beware the internet’s false positives), but once you do, it’s a surprisingly engaging experience, complete with an online high score table (of which I’ve been completely pushed off, after pegging #18 on my first go).

Download the game for PC, Mac and Linux here.

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SQUARE PUSHER: FORMER SPORE DEV GIVES BARE MINIMUM WITH IPHONE’S MINME


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9.24.2009

Brandon Boyer

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Created as part of last month’s Experimental Gameplay Project (that would also spawn Adam Saltsman’s Canabalt), Chaim Gingold’s MinMe [App Store] adheres strictly to the Project’s “bare minimum” theme: the user has to “minimize the board,” has a bare minimum of graphics, was made in 1.5 days, and costs the App Store’s bare minimum of zero dollars.

The kicker: Gingold (best known as the original prototype developer of what would become Spore‘s Creature Creator) only had time enough to include a bare minimum 10 levels, and so it ends precisely at the point where it’s just getting good.

Consider this an open plea, then, for an expansion of at least another, say, like, 60 levels. Download the game via iTunes here.

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