PAX 2012 Gallery

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“As an industry, we have been undersold this event”- Hideo Kojima

To be honest, I almost didn’t make it this year. There were projects that need finishing at a job that gave me real money. My 3-day badge would have made triple the purchase price on eBay. My wife wasn’t going with me, because there was no way I was going to make her stand in line like that while she was 6 months pregnant. Still, had been a long, hard, and almost getaway free summer, and my friends had a hotel room for me to crash in, so off I went.

PAX is the biggest convention Seattle has ever seen, and it is the ultimate test of fandom resolve. Pre-release Triple-A games are everywhere but you could stand in line up to six hours to try them out. Every venue, restaurant, and parking line looks like the crowd bulldozer scene from Soylent Green. After having to park 6 stories in the air, I was done. The only panel I went to was the Extra Credits community event (Which was a blast!), and I only lined up for about 4 demos. It turns out that this is the way to go at a place like PAX. It’s PAX, people! There is always something new to see and do. Even if you’re stuck in a corner people-watching, it’s still a better show than what you can see at home. There’s always a Cosplay group, some free swag, or even invitations to special developer parties just floating around the convention hall. Go with the flow, and you shall find what you seek. You can see more pics of the convention after the jump.

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Rockstar Vancouver, The Development Team Behind Max Payne 3, Closes Down | RipTen Videogame Blog

Max payne 3Hot on the heels of Radical Entertainment’s closure, Rockstar Vancouver has now closed its doors and will be moving any and all operations to Toronto. The 35-person studio started life as Barking Dog Studios. They were responsible for such classics as Global Operations and Homeworld: Cataclysm (When are we seeing an HD version of that game? Honestly.) Their last game, Max Payne 3, sold over 3 million copies in its first week, but even that was not enough to keep the studio’s doors open. Vancouver needs to drop the AAA branch plant mentality pretty damn quick. We’re running out of studios to close and game designers to lay off.

Source: RipTen Videogame Blog

Valve Introduces Steam Greenlight

Greenligh SOON

So many video game projects are started through Crowdsourcing. Kickstarter and IndieGogo have been a godsend to many (increasingly numerous) unemployed game creators.  Unfortunately, not much oversight exists for these websites, and there is little to stop fund recipients from pocketing the donations and walking away.

So Valve says to itself, we’ve got money, the games will be released through OUR platform, why don’t we let our community choose which games get released? This August, Valve will be releasing Steam Greenlight, a platform where game developers can submit their concepts and have them voted on by the Steam community. The winning projects will be distributed on the Steam Store, at which time the burgeoning community that the developers have built will buy the game with real shiny money! It’s democratic, it’s meritocratic, and it’s free for gamers!

 

Source: Steam Community

Matt Toner to seek NDP Nomination after Radical Entertainment’s collapse

Tonerlogo

The closure of Radical Entertainment was a shock to many, but for Matt Toner, it was the last straw. Matt will be seeking the New Democrat Party MLA nomination for Vancouver False Creek in the next provincial election to see if he can reverse the tide of companies fleeing Van City.

“Specifically, I would like the government of British Columbia to outline the actions they took—or didnʼt take—in the run-up to the de facto shutdown of Radical Entertainment,” Toner says. “The question is simple: have they been good stewards of the innovation industry here in Vancouver or not? If they didnʼt have so much as a cup of coffee with Activision executives in the past year, then that is a failure.”

Matt has has a lot of experience with tech and new media companies. His latest venture, Zeroes to Heroes Media, is involved in everything from comic books to location-based video games. The riding is currently held by Mary McNeil, a BC Liberal. If Toner gets the nomination, he could be BC’s first pure nerd candidate.

If you want to see the tech sector get better treatment from the BC government, head on over to http://can-we-do-it.com/ and sign up!

 

Source: Techvibes.com

Paul McCartney Writing Music for Bungie


In a move expected by absolutely no one, Paul McCartney has started making music for the former Halo developer Bungie. Sir Paul probably isn’t there because of his love of video games. He is a Beatle, after all. He still explains the situation to the German gaming site Zeit online in handy google translated english:

A new computer game is selling these days so much better than a new CD. And you reach a different audience. Probably in this way many young people for the first time my music will be heard in a video game. 

As for the project Paul will be working on, signs point to Destiny, a series of Massively Multiplayer Sci-fi Fantasy shooters. Details are scant, but we all know if Paul McCartney and Bungie are involved, only good can come ot it.

Source: Examiner.com

Concept Art from Half-Life 2: Ep. 3 Stirs the Rumour Mill

 

After years of speculation and frustration, Valvetime.net uncovered a cache of concept art from Half-life 2: ep. 3 and posted the whole shebang on their facebook page! The images feature Alyx Vance’s winter wardrobe, new Combine buildings, and a possible HD return to the border world of Xen from the first Half-life. The images are around four years old, and it’s probably no accident that they’ve surfaced only now. What could Valve be up to?

Source: Gamespot

Source Film Maker Beta Now Available from Valve

Over the past little while, Valve Software has been releasing very charming and disturbing series of “Meet the Team” videos from the hit free-to-play shooter Team Fortress 2. They’ve produced the shorts using a super secret form of middleware called the Source Film Maker, and now they’re releasing Beta Keys to see what the community can come up with. So far, they’ve turned this:

http://youtu.be/jHgZh4GV9G0

Into this:

http://youtu.be/iz_dj4u6pGA

and this:

http://youtu.be/RHeipUKdRWE

You can sign up for a beta key of your very own at the Source Filmmaker website.

RainGeek Rant: Thoughts on Radical’s Closure

As many of you know, Radical Entertainment, one of Vancouver’s oldest video game companies, laid off 89 staff at the behest of their publisher, Activision Blizzard. Being laid off sucks in the first place, it only gets worse when you’re in a large game company. All the intellectual property involved makes the affair a SNAFU of lawyers, exit interviews, and paperwork. 20 years in the industry apparently doesn’t mean much when you’re trying to pretty up your numbers for the next quarterly shareholder’s report.

The end of Radical is not a comment on the company itself. The staff is hard working, and their games have garnered a loyal fan following. This is a symptom of a greater trend in the Video Games industry: The death of the AAA-video game business model.

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are all bleeding money. It’s not just because of the economy. Video games are ubiquitous now, and innovations in digital distribution and Free-to-play are just multiplying consumer options. This is not to say that there won’t be a market for AAA games, but many larger publishers won’t survive. They’ve coasted for too long on the notion that video games are a novelty, and many of these games hold to the leadership style of “shut the hell up, you’re working in video games, now give me another 70-hour week”.

The only video game I hear 12-year-olds playing these days is Minecraft. Mojang is an example of a company doing it right. They have a great relationship with their customers and employees, they love the art of making video games, and they aren’t beholden to retailers or Wall Street. Video games are going to become a lower percentage industry. The variety of free tools and middleware out there are just going to explode the competition. Thankfully, the companies left standing are going to be part of gamer culture, and not just looking to profit off it.

Valve Software Hires an Economist-in-residence

Gabe Newell is trying to find a way to create a burgeoning economy between the free-to-play games in Valve’s library, such as Team Fortress 2 and DOTA 2. To that end, Valve has hired internationally renowned economist Yanis Varoufakis to:

…forge narratives and empirical knowledge that (a) transcend the border separating the ‘real’ from the digital economies, and (b) bring together lessons from the political economy of our gamers’ economies and from studying Valve’s very special (and fascinating) internal management structure.

Whatever that means. Varoufakis expects to publish his findings, providing new insight in how free-to-play works (or should work). Hats for everyone!

Source: Boing Boing

Sandra Rivas Toons it Up With Portal

What would happen if you gave a Portal Gun to a classic cartoon character? When not animating for Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi, Sandra Rivas has created these awesome sketches of Portal characters as Saturday Morning Cartoons. Check out the rest of the sketches here.

Source: io9