The summer's over and a new batch of bright-eyed students head off for university to get themselves an education, learn to drink copious amounts of beer and acquire a newfound appreciation of mum's home cooking. Nestled among the history, English and business studies students lurks a new breed of academic – the videogames undergraduate. It's been a long time coming, but it looks like academia is finally opening the door to videogames. Over the past few years, courses designed to train a wealth of industry savvy graduates have been cropping up like mushrooms. From Tyne Tees down to the south … Continue reading Games Invade Ivory Tower
You remember back when Jaws came out to theatres? Looking back the shark was not all that scary, but the music sure was. In the world of movies, music has always been an important component to any screen gem. In the early days computer games tried to keep up, but anemic soundcards made the going difficult. Today however, a game without a rich, dynamic soundtrack is a sitting duck for a bad review. One of the best current soundtracks is Icewind Dale II. A mix of Nordic and medieval instruments, the music ebbs and flows and keeps the player excited … Continue reading Tuning in, dropping out
They say if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. We guess the same can be said about building a better mousepad. Everglide, quite by accident, began life in 1997 as a way to improve the overall game experience indirectly by making the existing mice more functional. This was done by creating a better surface for the mouse to rest on and glide across. Over the years Everglide has grown to include illumination devices, PC carrying cases and a host of other products aimed at the PC game player. As the company grew, … Continue reading At Everglide’s Pad
We've all heard of the Miyamotos and Kojimas of this world, but when it comes to the music for games, it's blank faces all round. Imagine Final Fantasy without the plaintive keyboard theme or Silent Hill if the guys at Hanna Barbera had handled the score – scary. So I think it's about time we talked about the people that enhance the drama and atmosphere of our gaming experiences. I had the opportunity to interview Richard Jacques (that's Jakes, so no crappy French accents), the man behind the critically acclaimed music of Headhunter. Richard is a freelance composer of videogame … Continue reading Hitting the right notes
If you are a new development house working in the game industry, you can expect that your first game, no matter how great, probably won’t equal a lot of financial rewards. The fact is that development companies often play second fiddle to the large publishers. And although most publishers are fair in their dealings with developers, we have heard many horror stories where developers end up with nothing for their efforts, even when their product turns out to be a popular one. And the fact is that even if a development company signs a great deal with a publisher, the … Continue reading A Publishing Alternative"
Game programming for children has been around for years. But these days, much of the software billed as "edutainment" falls much more into the entertainment than the educational realm. That is not the case with ToonTalk, a program that really breaks the mold in children’s software. In fact, ToonTalk teaches children how to program, so one day they can make their own games. And I think most parents will agree that learning how to program a computer is a worthwhile use their child’s free time. It surly beats watching television. We had an animated discussion with ToonTalk creator Ken Kahn … Continue reading Talking Toons and Teaching
Once I heard about the release of a game based on the movie From Dusk Till Dawn, I couldn’t wait, so I fired some questions in the direction of writer Hubert Chardot. He is the Creative Director of the French-based developer Gamesquad, but you will know him best for creating the seminal survival horror series Alone in the Dark in the early 1990s. More recently, Chardot was consultant and script doctor on Infogrames’ Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare. That title enjoys continued success. And last year he wrote Devil Inside for Cryo. So what makes this master of … Continue reading Master of the Macabre Hubert Chardot
A talk with the new leader of the AIAS. As most of you may know the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences has, for about half a decade, been promoting this industry by recognizing each year's greatest achievements in it. Each year, AIAS (sometimes referred to as ‘The Academy' within our industry) has given awards to people who have not only made great advances in technology, but have contributed to the computer game industry in many other ways. Now the Academy has a change in Presidency, for I believe the first time in its history. What changes will this new … Continue reading My Days at the Academy
Scandinavian innovators change the face of wireless gaming. What do you think of when you think of Finland? Well, if you're anything like me, you think of Laplanders, those really big reindeer, probably a lot of snow, and the only country in Europe to pay back the United States its Lend-Lease from WWII. Pioneering advances in wireless communication and gaming would be pretty far down on the list. Well, surprise! At E3 I had the pleasure of running into the Finnish co-op booth (not quite literally, though), and finding a company called G-Cluster there. G-Cluster has developed a service that … Continue reading Here's the Finnish Line
For CycleFX, combining exercise with gaming is like coasting down a hill. Last year at E3, I had the distinct pleasure of finding a booth run by a company called CycleFX and meeting its president Neil Nusbaum. He showed me an excercise bike interface that was designed to feed data into a PC where some analysis software would take it and tell you how you did. I said right then and there, "Neil, you have to adapt this interface to racing games." This year at E3, I was very pleased to see that he had taken my words to heart, … Continue reading Fitness for Gamers?!!