Entertainment media has constantly wrestled with the challenge of overcoming the barriers that lay between the viewer/user and presented material. Successfully transporting a person from reality into a different is typically not easy, and to do it seamlessly is even more difficult. Perhaps this is why the growing movement and push for 3D is ever more forceful. With the (not so) recent AVATAR by James Cameron, 3D has captured some support for being a viable next option in film making. And with Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit marketing itself having super 5K definition its own 3D craziness, the age of 3D may actually be in sight. Read More
Recursion is a game that was pitched for the University of Virginia’s Student Game Developers (SGD) Fall 2009 lineup by Daniel Epstein. I was intrigued by its premise, and being a first year, I was excited to get involved in any project possible. A puzzle game at heart, Recursion borrowed a mechanic used in the popular Braid: using previous iterations of your character, solve puzzles. Though, as its name implies, Recursion used recursion. There is no ability to re-control a past self, which made players more thoughtful while level exploring and puzzle solving.
It’s strange looking through this old work now. I distinctly remember having random spurts of inspiration and laziness, so the project had very sporadic progress, but fortunately, Recursion was one of the games that had the considerable headway in terms of project completion during that semester. The project spanned over two semesters, since character design and animation were the main focus of the Fall Semester. We wanted a character that was simple enough to be presented in a 16×16 pixel box, and with that limited amount of space, it’s definitely difficult to make any detail noticeable. This resulted in a simple character: Piko. With feet. I resorted to using my favorite original character as the game’s main mascot, but for some pretty obvious reasons, we had to change the character at the end of production.
Running around a grassy field, people brandish their pick axes and hack away at tree stumps, cave walls, and oinking pigs (or clucking chickens, if you prefer).
MineCraft is an open-exploration-build-anything-with-the-materials-you-have-gathered world game. The game world is essentially made up of cubical blocks arranged in a fixed grid pattern (MineCraft’s signature artistic style), that represent different materials, such as dirt, stone, various ores, water, tree trunks, etc. While the players can move freely across the world, objects and items can only be placed at fixed locations relative to the grid. The player can gather these material “blocks” and place them elsewhere, thus potentially creating various constructions. The game has no set goals, and cannot be won. Read More
A recent health fiasco invaded our house this past weekend, so I didn’t get a chance to sit down and brain dump into a blog post as I usually do on weekends. I plan on writing up a mini-update about it in the near future, but for now, I’ll offer those of you with appetites with a small poem that I dug out of an old poem anthology I compiled in 7th grade. Read More
A few weeks ago, I had an unexpected trip down memory lane as I remembered the good ol’ days where Pokémon took the world by storm.
I’ve always loved Pokémon. I wasn’t exactly a Pokémon nerd who followed each episode of the English-dubbed anime (or the original Japanese anime, for that matter) or attended local trading card game tournaments, but I had my fair share of obsessions. Like many others, I totally dug the Pokémon video game. What is so fantastic about the handheld franchise was exactly the idea of Pocket Monsters. Teenagers could explore the Pokémon regions anytime and anywhere. It was a world that felt expansive and endless (151 Pokémon felt like a lot at the time) and was accessible all at the flick of a switch. It was a game that was super easy to get into and out of, with tons of people almost mixing the two together. Read More
During their press conference at the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Sony officially revealed their next generation portable: the PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) (PCH-1000 series).
“Vita,” which means “Life” in Latin, was chosen as the most appropriate name for the new handheld from Sony. Though the “Life” may be exactly what Sony is trying to reinvigorate into their line of handheld consoles, I am surprised that a more hip and stylish name wasn’t chosen. Granted, there exist an indefinite amount of worse possibilities, but the Vita’s codename, the NGP, fundamentally felt more 21st century.
It’s common knowledge that Sony made a substantial loss on every PlayStation 3 they sold, costing the company billions. With only a mediocre range of game exclusives and competing with cheaper rival consoles from both Microsoft and Nintendo, Sony has struggled to remain competitive in the console gaming market. Sony first unveiled their new device in January, during which they explained many of the tech specs, including an ARM Cortex A9 (core) CPU, a SGX543MP4+ GPU, and a SixAxis motion-sensing system (more specs can be found at the Sony website). Marketed as a platform that possesses near PS3-level capabilities, many people were wary of how to react to yet another “powerhouse gadget” from Sony. Read More