Archive for the ‘Games Industry’ Category

Apr 01

Amazon’s latest game controller for an Android device

Amazon is one of the biggest players in the field of online marketplaces, but it seems that this title is not enough. Rumors on the Internet say that Amazon is currently looking to make its entrance into the field of gaming, as some leaked photos show a prototype of what seems to be an Amazon-branded game controller.Despite the fact that there are no official statements regarding this product so far, closely inspecting the leaked photos allows us to make a pretty clear idea of what to expect from the upcoming Amazon game controller.

Design

At a first glance, the Amazon controller looks like a blend between multiple controllers already in existence. In terms of design, the Amazon controller is fairly similar to a renowned Android game controller, the MOGA Pro, which seems to be inspired by the Xbox controllers in term of button layout. However, there is one noticeable difference between the Xbox controllers, the MOGA Pro and Amazon controllers – the last ones are bulkier in aspect and come with a few extra buttons. It is exactly those extra buttons that give us some valuable hints on what the Amazon controller will be capable of.

Features

So the Amazon controller has the classical 4-way directional key, the ABXY action buttons and two analog sticks – nothing impressive so far; until you notice the additional buttons, that is.

In the center of the controller you will see three buttons which should be quite familiar if you’ve ever used a smartphone: back, home and menu. This is the first and most obvious indicator that Amazon’s game controller will have something to do with Android, as these buttons are the same buttons you normally find on pretty much any android-powered device out there, and while the first tendency is to conclude that the Amazon controller will be just another game controller for Android smartphones and tablets, there are a few additional buttons that contradict this theory.

Located on the bottom edge of the controller, the 3 playback controls are easily accessible and will allow you to quickly control the media that will be playing, which will most probably be streamed from the Amazons Instant Video service. This pretty much rules out the hypothesis that the Amazon game controller will be just a simple Android controller, and makes it more probable that it will be connected to something else, which will also be running Android.

Another button that might confirm the fact that the Amazon game controller is not just a simple controller is the Amazon GameCircle button, located right under the three Android-specific controls. Present as an in-game feature so far, the Amazon GameCircle now gets its own physical button, thus providing easier access to saved games, leaderboards achievements in a vast majority of games from the Amazon Appstore.

Conclusion

So, let’s draw a line and sum it all up: we have a controller with all the classical buttons found on console controllers, with a few extras, which indicate that it will also have multimedia capabilities and will be somehow connected to Android. There are quite a few rumors and theories floating around, the most commons being that Amazon is also secretly working on a standalone gaming console or, most probably, that it will incorporate its features into the new set-top box that will be released in the near future.

While in the lack of any official information both theories are just as plausible, the latter one seems a bit more probable. Still, at this point it is all just hypothesis and speculation, so all it is left is to wait for the release of the said set-top box and see which theory is confirmed. Stay tuned!

tomb-raider

Jan 10

How 2013 was a pretty good year for video gaming women

Now that 2013 is finally over, it’s time to analyze a particular trend we’ve seen a lot in the last 12 months. Believe it or not, last year was pretty great for women in video games. They had leading roles and they managed to make their presence felt without looking too provocative. Don’t get this the wrong way; men are still ruling the industry, but to some extent it’s great that some developers paid more attention to a woman’s role as well in a video game.

Tom Raider was successful because it was led by a female

That’s right! Tom Raider might have had great mechanics, design, and visuals, but we have to admit that it attained success because it was operated by a female character-player. It was definitely a refreshing move and it brought an air of freshness to the whole gaming experience. Previous versions of the game were additionally based on a female character – namely Lara Croft – but this time the makers really managed to focus on other characteristics too, not just on the sexuality of the character-player.

Although the young Lara Croft we’re used to is definitely an appealing virtual female, her looks and general appearance haven’t overshadowed the most important aspects of the video game. She’s not getting any special treatments in the game and she’s not afraid to get stabbed or shot just to attain her goals.

Game developers have finally realized that female characters in video games can be sexy without looking too provocative. That’s exactly what the makers of Tom Raider did; they created a good-looking Lara Croft whose one tough character, but she doesn’t have to look too naked just to draw some attention.

“The Last of Us” “BioShock Infinite” and “Beyond”

We’ve grouped “The Last of Us” with “BioShock Infinite” because they use women the same way into the game. Some have catalogued these two as the best of 2013, and to some extent that’s true. Both Elizabeth and Ellie have a special connection to the male character as they’re successfully waiting to be rescued.

“BioShock Infinite” and “The Last of Us” are being led by male character-players and the way women are integrated into the gameplay converts them into assets and not liabilities males have to constantly keep safe. In BioShock, Elizabeth is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, so you don’t have to worry that her life is constantly in danger. As a matter of fact, at some point she will help you take down the bad guys.

In The Last of Us, you’ll be surprised to see how tough Ellie can be. She’s directly involved in the combat and she’s capable of taking down the bad guys by herself, without additional help. In spite of the fact that the women in these two games have to be rescued, they’re well-rounded characters able to fight back.

Beyond is a game you either hate or love. It is one of the most disruptive video games of the year that focuses its gameplay on a woman, played by real-life actress Ellen Page. Story-driven by an extremely intriguing plot, beyond centers on Jodie Holmes, and it’s up to you to decide if she lives or dies.

Some other notable games centered on the presence of female characters were Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag and Call of Duty: Ghosts. Their role was not that notable, but at least they were present and they didn’t have a provocative purpose in the games, which was surprisingly interesting. At last game developers have started to use female characters for different purposes in video games, and from what we’ve seen so far 2013 was definitely a great year for women in the virtual environment.

next-gen-consoles

Jan 06

New Year, New Console

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year (or are just not interested in console gaming) then you’re probably aware of the ongoing console war between Xbox and PlayStation, with the  release of the Xbox One and PS4 going head to head in the run up to Christmas!  But if you’ve only recently purchased a PS3 or have spent all your hard-earned cash on console games, you might not be able to afford the latest next-gen console for yourself or your kids for Christmas.

Trade it in

Just as you can buy pre-owned consoles and games, you can also trade in or sell your games and consoles, which will give your cash flow a boost and let you buy the newest games or even invest in a new Xbox One or PS4.  There are a number of ways to trade in or sell your gaming kit – here are some of the most popular:

Online – auction sites and other websites where you can trade in your games and consoles for cash are a great place to start On the high street – shops such as Game will give you cash or points for pre-owned games or you can swap them for money off new titles Classified ads – probably the most time consuming way to sell your games or consoles, but if you have a stash and time to spare, you could write a classified ad in your local paper or online to sell your items

 

The Latest Technology

Technology is evolving at a pace that’s often hard to keep up with – after all, that’s how the manufacturers make their money! Whilst you don’t have to keep pace with changing technology, when it comes to games consoles, you’ll quickly find your old games are obsolete, particularly if you spend a lot of time playing online with friends.  Buying a new, next-gen console for the New Year is a great way to ensure you don’t get left out when it comes to gaming online.  There are sure to be games lying around that you don’t play anymore, and you can make extra money by selling these to fund the purchase of a new console (or accessories, if you already have a console).

Demanding Time

It seems that kids today always want the latest and greatest toys, and many mums and dads struggle to keep up with demand – particularly at Christmas.  There are always new gadgets and toys around that seem to cost the earth, but there’s no point in worrying how you’re going to afford to buy the kids a new gaming console when you could raise some extra money by selling things you no longer use!  You’re not just limited to selling games online – you can also sell DVDs, CDs and books on many sites such as MusicMagpie and this is a great way to raise some extra cash to buy them what they really want this Christmas.

Next-gen Consoles

Whether to opt for an Xbox One or a PS4 is a personal decision – some people like both, whilst others are loyal to one camp rather than another.  Many feel that the PS4 console is more attractive than the rather bulky Xbox One, but again it’s a personal choice – in the run-up to Christmas, it looks like the PS4 has become the UK’s fastest selling console, with 250,000 sold in just 48 hours!  But quite often the decision will come down to which games are available that you want to play. Some games will be an Xbox One or PS4 exclusive, whilst others will be available on both consoles, so it’s important to look at games releases before purchasing your new console.

Purchase Pre-owned

Whilst there won’t be many next-gen consoles available pre-owned at the moment, this could change after Christmas, when many people will sell unwanted gifts online.  So it could be a good idea to wait until the New Year if you’re purchasing a console for yourself.  This way you could pick up a pre-owned console at a discounted price and some pre-owned games too, making substantial savings.  It’s important to always read the listing properly when purchasing pre-owned games or consoles, so you know exactly what condition the item is in before you buy.  Many pre-owned consoles from major retailers will come with a 6 month warranty (some even boast a 1 year warranty), so it’s really not that much different to buying new!

So give yourself or the kids something to look forward to in the New Year with the latest games consoles – whether you buy pre-owned or sell existing consoles and games to raise money for your purchase, you can look forward to many hours of entertainment and some of the hottest new releases around in 2014!

game-development-guide

Oct 30

Ultimate Online Guide to Video Game Design [Infographic]

The path to video game developer success is long and fraught with danger. It might be easy to have and idea but how do you take make that idea a reality. More than that, how do you make game design and development your life?

Developing video games requires knowledge of many different disciplines. Whilst you might be able to outsource certain aspects of the game build, such as game asset design and music composition, your first few games will require you to envisage, creatively direct, project manage and deliver all by yourself. Sadly, game creation is more than just having a game idea, coding the mechanics and then slapping on some lovely graphics… The modern day indie developer needs to manage the marketing and patiently test the final creation in order to secure some commercial success.

Outside of the game design and development process you may want to think about joining a game development team or established studio in order to gain valuable experience in the industry.

With SO many questions floating around, including those questions that you don’t know to ask yet, wouldn’t it be nice if some kind person or website put together a handy list of resources in an easy to read infographic that would act as an ultimate guide to lead you through the ferocious land of game development…

Thanks to the helpful people over at ‘Online Game Design Schools’ you now have such a document.

Behold, Click here to read The Ultimate Online Guide to Video Game Design

 

 

Related articles Game Design Question: Are You Really Making a Game? Indie Developer Interview: Beansprites | Games for Toddlers Job Description of game designer, technical designer, art designer,level designer and sound designer Google’s game chief has your guide to designing for Google Glass Job description for a game designer

Sep 10

Celebrate International Video Games Day by Remembering the Industry’s Most Damaging Failures!

This September 12th, gaming blogs from around the world will be celebrating another excellent year of gaming, speculating what joys the coming year (and generation) may hold and reminiscing on some of the industry’s finest hours. Because of this over-saturation of good news, we have decided to provide a bit of balance on this otherwise cheerful day by reminding you all of some of the gaming industry’s most embarrassing failures.

We aren’t talking just bad games either here folks. We are talking full scale security failures. Failures which burden gamers of both the casual and hardcore variety with at best a mild inconvenience and at worst the risk of losing their hard earned cash or even harder earned identity to black hat hackers. From Sony’s enormous PSN data security scandal to Square Enix’s tiny one, here we explore what happened, why it happened and what impact it had on gamers.

Square Enix: Job Application Leaks

In 2011, a subsidiary of Square Enix called Eidos had the servers of its Dues Ex: Human Revolution website hacked. The culprit managed to extract 25,000 E-mail addresses which were likely sold onto e-mail spammers. This isn’t a particularly damaging leak by itself, as no password or financial information was leaked. The real damage was done to those who were looking for employment at the studio, 350 of whom had their CV stolen from the database. This is, obviously, much more serious as job hunters regularly include details of their home addresses, their current employer and other sensitive information as part of their CV which leaves them wide open to identity theft.

Sony Playstation: The “Working Within a Week” Fiasco

At some point between April 17th and April 19th the Sony Playstation Network suffered a security breach which would eventually unfold to be one of the largest data scandals of all time. The account details of over 77 million people were accessed and unceremoniously stolen form Sony’s servers. These details included email addresses, passwords, physical addresses and, most shockingly, credit card details.

The repercussions of this were costly for Sony, who had to take insurance policies out on behalf of all 77 million users and pay fines totalling almost 400,000 dollars. The online gaming service was also offline for 24 days, much more than their seven day estimate, incurring costs of $171 million.

Ubisoft: Multiple attacks

In July this year a Ubisoft website was hacked and user account information stolen from the servers. In an unfortunate bit of PR for Ubisoft, one of their most anticipated upcoming releases focuses on hacking as a major theme in both the plot and gameplay. The games title is Watchdogs, and on the development team there even sits a former executive from Kaspersky Lab making for some unfortunate juxtaposition that the media simply couldn’t resist. Combine this with another security breach attributed to Ubisoft’s U-Play software, which allowed cyber-criminals to install software directly into gamers computers. It paints a picture of Ubisoft as a company that are far more interested in making games about cyber-security than actually ensuring that their users are secure.

Riot Games: League of Legends Database Compromised.

Players of online e-sport League of Legends had an unwelcome surprise last month when usernames and passwords for the games entire North American player base were illegally extracted from Riot servers. Riot are also currently investigating the possibility that 120,000 transaction records could have been lifted from their database as well, potentially containing hashed credit card data. This overshadows the recent good news the company passed on to its fans when the US visa bureau granted the games top level players professional athlete visas, officially recognising the game as a professional sport.

Bethesda Game Studios: Hackers Added Insult to Injury

Bethesda studios, creators of series like Fallout and Skyrim, suffered an embarrassing data breach after their site and forum users information was compromised by hacking group ‘LulzSec’. Once Bethesda announced the leak, Lulzsec responded by issuing a statement of their own saying: “Bethesda, we broke into your site over two months ago. We’ve had all of your Brink (another Bethesda game) users for weeks. Please fix your junk, thanks!” The hacking group also demanded that they feature their signature top hat logo in one of their upcoming games, threatening that if they did not comply then they would leak their user database. The whole affair was pretty humiliating for a developer held in such high esteem by the gaming community. Lulzsec have since disbanded.

Related articles Watch the Sony Gamestop Expo 2013 conference here Sony demos new Killzone, Driveclub, InFAMOUS for PS4 Bethesda: Nintendo has to ‘do what Sony and Microsoft’ have been doing for us Ubisoft Leak Shows Off Assassin’s Creed: Pirates, Liberation HD And Other Games The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot Introduces a New Hero: The Runaway
gaming-buzz

Jul 17

How To Create Buzz In The Gaming Community

Let’s say that you are creating a game and you want to build anticipation among the gaming hordes. Furthermore, let’s say you’re not one of the giants, and thus your resources are limited. Regardless, you and your partners have designed this awesome game for the iPhone, and you want to generate excitement about it, which in turn will morph into paying customers, thereby allowing you to continue in your dream job of designing games. How do you go about achieving this dream?

All You Need Is Blog

First and foremost, creating a blog, especially one told from the point of view of the designer, is essential, as in mandatory. Not only does it get your company/product name out there, it gives people a chance to take a peek behind the curtain, and get excited about what they see. If you do in fact create a blog from the perspective of the game designer, people can follow along and see the progress, and anticipation builds as the release date gets nearer. If you can fit in a few sneak previews, screen shots, advance details, then so much the better.

Hooray! A company I never heard of is coming out with a game I know nothing about!

Let’s Be Social

Put together a Facebook page dedicated to the game. This is even easier to do than a blog, and considering the strong gamer community on Facebook, you have an instant audience. Don’t forget Twitter, either. When it comes to financial outlay and time, it doesn’t get any easier than social media.

Conventional Thinking

Okay, now we’re getting into a pricier realm here, but as the old adage goes, you have to spend money in order to make money. If you have an advertising budget set aside, then it’s time to start dipping into it. The thing is to not wait until after the game is released; you need to generate advance buzz. Naturally, in order to do so, you must already have a good idea what the game is about and how it’ll turn out. And you don’t even really have to go all out; get some cheap t-shirts printed up, or colorful information handouts, something that stands a good chance of sticking in gamers’ memories. Booth babes may be out of the question, but hey, there’s always a booth sock puppet. When you stop and think about it that would be pretty memorable, right?

Get a Trailer

No, not one of those that are pulled by your car. Movies generate excitement and interest by showing trailers before the main feature. You know, right before they warn you about smoking, using cell phones during the movie, and where the exits are located. It’s the same with the world of gaming. Put together a good trailer, or even multiple trailers, to show players what all the fuss is about. This idea fits neatly with the idea of blogs, since that’s where the trailers would ultimately reside. See? These things are interrelated.

I’ll Alert The Media

It may seem obvious, but let’s be complete here. Fire off e-mails to periodicals, websites, trade journals, any media source that fits the gaming nice you’re going after, and introduce yourself. If you’re not a known quantity, forget targeting the mainstream media, and focus instead on the smaller outlets that specialize. And while you’re at it, generate some good word of mouth by notifying gaming bloggers. Try to cultivate a rapport with them, and let them help spread the word. But again, make sure that the blogs cover the type of game you’re developing. A blog dedicated to paper and dice gaming will be a bad choice to market your new iPhone game that features steel cage death matches between pieces of sentient produce.

Recruit An Army of Dark Minions

If you find yourself in the position of having both an awesome new game release and a shoestring budget, consider gathering together a dedicated group of gamers that you’ve given a preview of your game and they happen to love it. This loyal army may get paid in merchandise, free copies of your game, or any other benefits you can think of, and in return they spread the word on websites, forums, at conventions, whatever. They are your evangelists. Remember that the most effective, the most trusted advertising is word of mouth!

Final Thoughts

There are so many independent developers out there that it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. You need to stand out, build a rep, and give the people a killer product.

 

Photo Credit: Photos.com

 

iPhone Gaming

Mar 21

How iPhone rules the mobile gaming world

Everyone has an idea in mind of the key features and functionalities that they desire in their phones. For iPhone consumers, one of the top key features them our driven to be games. With a higher interest in games, iPhone is crowned “mobile device king” by an end of the year study this past year. Data driven from users of popular platforms such as Androids, iPhones, and Blackberries, iPhone conquered far above its opponents when it came to devoted gamers. This provides interesting feedback about iPhone consumers.

It’s All in the Numbers

iPhone gamers come from a wide spectrum of interests and tend to be very loyal to their playing time. It is recorded that iPhone gamers play their games of choice typically 743.1 minutes on a monthly basis. This number far exceeds the Android gamers who clocked in at 484 minutes on a monthly basis. So iPhone attracts their consumers to their games and then captivates them into playing on a more regular basis than any other mobile device platform.

And the numbers are just rising! With more mobile consumers turning towards smartphones, gaming popularity is just increasing among Americans. In a couple of years, estimation 2016, more than half of mobile consumers are going to be dubbed iPhone gamers.

The most striking data derived from the increase popularity of iPhone gaming is that it has been determined that iPhone game features are used significantly more than any other feature on the iPhone. Popular features such as texting, social networking, and even the basic phone call, all fall short of the minutes used by iPhone games and their devote gamers.

iPhone even Appeals to Game Developers

It is true that the market of Android is open source; however, top notch game developers prefer developing their product on iOS versus Androids. Think of the iPhone as a “playing field.” Most extremely popular and successful games that people of all interests flock to be probably introduced on the iPhone first. After the game proves in its success, it may then be converted and developed into an Android game. So die hard mobile gamers, who typically want “it” first, tend to migrate to the iPhone knowing they can get the latest and greatest from top game developers first.

Game developers have even been stumped into thinking that with the high success of their product on iPhone it would do just as well or better on the Android. However, in some cases this is proven false. This all relates deeply on that iPhone gamers are more devoted to their favorite games and out play an Android gamer any day. I phone devices themselves are much more advanced devices than that of most android driven devices. Apple has created the iPhone in such a way that it utilizes each aspect of the device and typically out performs the Android. What this means is that for the most part iPhone game developers can experience their game on a better platform and device to get the full experience of their game.

In conclusion the iPhone is the best testing and developing platform for mobile games. Expect big things from our iPhone game developers and even bigger things from our iPhone developers themselves. This is not a hard thing to imagine considering the iPhone consumer expects big things so under delivering is not an option.

In the near future we should expect machines that are faster smaller and capable of allowing the gamer to experience a much more lifelike streamlined gaming experience than ever before. iPhone developers know that game developers and consumers are counting on them so look out and expect the unexpected.

 

Related articles Here’s why the iPhone 5 is the best gaming phone Fund this: An iPhone game controller that’s also a case New Accessory Turns an iPhone into a Satellite Phone iPhones in Disguise ! Infinity Blade II: the best thing to happen to iPad/iPhone games?
Jobs in the Video Game Industry

Mar 21

Who gets jobs in video games?

This is an interesting question. The obvious answer is the best programmers or the most talented artists. This isn’t the whole story though. Yes, if someone graduates top of the class at a well respected university, with a first class degree and stunning demo’s the likelihood is that they will have a good chance of making the grade. This background isn’t an absolute guarantee of a job, though. In the same way I’ve seen people with far less impressive academics and less developed demo’s get ahead in the job market. The fact is that in a competitive market it is not just about what you are selling, but how you are selling it that is important. What I want to do here is to get people thinking a little more strategically about what it takes to get a job in such a competitive industry.

Think sniper rifle not machine gun.

Remember that sending a CV to a company should only come after careful consideration and research. You only have a limited supply of ammunition – one shot with each potential employer, so when it comes to actually firing off an application you mindset needs to be that of an elite sniper rather than a machine gun wielding loon!

Get your equipment ready – Think about your brand and how to maximise the impact of the skills and experience you do have. Getting together a basic CV, LinkedIn profile, website and social media presence is vital.  Remember – you don’t need to spend too much time on the CV at this stage as each time you make an approach to a developer you will be tailoring it to suit them.

Identify your targets – You need to work out who you are going to approach. To do this you need a good idea about the size of the games market and the number of  potential companies that fit with what you want to do (whether this is companies in a certain location or companies that work on a certain type of game. For this task a spreadsheet is your friend…

Know their movements – At the very least you want to know where the developer is located and what type of games they have worked on. This should give you the ability to judge whether you are going to go after them in the first round of approaches or bide your time until the second or third wave of attacks. For the companies you are actually going to approach first you need to know as much as possible about them. Look to identify basic details such as date they were formed, released games, announced projects in development, publishers they have relationships with, team size, key contacts, current vacancies, hidden potential vacancies and one or two other key bits of information…

Make sure your sights are set – The key to successful approaches is to lay the groundwork well and avoid sending a speculative CV out cold. Approaches that are targeted to the right person and that are well thought out and informed are far more likely to be reviewed positively than a generic approach to a “jobs@” email address. To do this we must start building bridges via networking before a CV is even sent.

Wait for the right moment – All companies have periods in the development cycle when they are more open to hiring different types of person. If they are in crunch time before a milestone there is a chance they may look to hire a very experienced contractor who can hit the ground running and add value to the team straight away. They are unlikely to have the time to bed in a fresh graduate at this point no matter how good an approach you make. Look for the signs that let you know they may be ready to bite.

Fire – Only once you’re confident that everything is right, take the shot.

Forget? – No. OK – maybe the sniper analogy is getting a bit forced now. Apologies! OK sometimes you will make the headshot – a meeting request comes back and you start preparations for the interview. More often than not you’ll need to do some effective following up to make sure things are progressing how you want them to.

Hopefully this article will help you start thinking about planning an effective strategy for getting your first job in games. For a much more comprehensive guide to breaking into the industry check out www.howtogetajobingames.com

Use the discount code debug10 for 10% off the cover price.

 

Related articles 10 benefits of_a_linked_in_profile 6 Things You’ll Need to Start Working From Home Looking for a Job is Like Business Development! How Complete Is Your LinkedIn Profile? Job Tips: What To Leave Off Your LinkedIn Profile