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Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 50% on FTL: Faster Than Light!

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May 30, 2013
Product Update - Valve
Change Log v. 1.03.3

Tuning:

-You can now retrieve crew from a room when teleporting even if they are shooting at a door or walking, limit of 4 per teleport
-If you're carrying the Crystal alien from the stasis pod, the Rock Homeworld map will start with the appropriate quest marker to for the beacon that leads to the Crystal sector
-The Crystal Lockdown bomb is now available as a drop (from enemies or in Stores) in Rock sectors
-Shield Skill will level up when the shields absorb a hit, not when they recharge. This prevents turning the shields on/off to level up.

Major Bugs:

-Fixed: Bug that would sometimes cause an enemy ship not to get hit by asteroids in an asteroid field
-Fixed: Bug gave double rewards after victory when player teleporter was broken and crew 'used the shuttle'
-Jumping will now immediately provide invulnerability to solar flares, incoming boarding drones, and beams
-Can no longer open the ship upgrades screen in hostile situations using the hot key
-If the boss is destroyed, at that point game over will be blocked and your victory is assured even if your ship is exploding.
-Blast Door health will properly regenerate on safe (no current boarders) jumps
-Boarding Drones will no longer be hit by projectiles after they've successfully landed
-Boarding Drones will no longer be destroyed upon Boss Ship Super Shield regeneration
-Waiting in a nebula will no longer remove the sensor dampening effect
-Fixed: Sometimes enemy boarders wouldn't pursue any targets and just stand around.

Minor Bugs:

-Drones should no longer fly "into" the shields and fire past them.
-Dying crewmembers will stay dead if you Save & Quit + Continue. They will also remain unselectable and unmovable as soon as dying animation starts.
-Will no longer open the store / allow repair in the rare situation that you have 0 hull and should be dead
-Credits + Victory screen won't close if you accidentally tap a key - only escape will close it
-Missiles/lasers/asteroids/etc. will no longer collide with bombs since they are technically 'interior' objects
-The event where your crewmember goes crazy will have the correct race/name after going crazy
-You won't be able to waste your money choosing pointless repair choices at the repair station event
-Beam Weapons can now correctly cause breaches, but that will not come standard to current weapons to preserve balance so it's just for modders.
-Interior console glow fixed to display correct colors for crew levels
-Combat/Defense drones will properly trigger blue event options
-Drone / missile counts can no longer go negative
-Modding to have more than 4 shield bars will no longer make asteroids ridiculously terrifying
-Crew will no longer continue repairing a breach if the room is on fire, the fire will take the correct priority (as the animation shows)
-More grammar/typo fixes and minor animation/image polish
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

….Cart Life, which scooped up an an impressive triple-whammy of Nuovo Award, Excellence in Narrative and the coveted Seamus McNally Grand Prize at last night’s Independent Games Festival 2013 awards. The warmest of all congratulations to Richard Hofmeier, whose affecting, brave game is well overdue for this kind of attention. (more…)

PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to GDC 2013: IGF and GDC Award winners revealed">Cart Life







This year's GDC has been the source of many interesting industry tidbits. But forget them for now, because it also hosted two award shows last night. Shiny, slightly crass and easily digestible in a handy list format - we've got all the winners from the Independent Games Festival Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards right here. Did Hotline Miami's masked protagonist beat the living snot out of the FTL crew for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize? Did Incredipede's creepy-crawly monstrosities scare away the other Visual Art nominees? Did any game not called Journey win a GDC Award? Read on to find out.



We'll start with the IGF Awards, primarily because its the one that wasn't dominated by a PS3-exclusive game about plodding through a desert.



Independent Games Festival Awards



Seumas McNally Grand Prize



Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games)

FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)

Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)





Excellence in Visual Art



Incredipede (Northway Games and Thomas Shahan)

Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

Guacalamelee! (Drinkbox Studios)

Loves in a Dangerous Spacetime (Asteroid Base)

Year Walk (Simogo)





Excellence in Narrative



Thirty Flights of Loving (Blendo Games)

Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

Dys4ia (Auntie Pixelante)

Gone Home (The Fullbright Company)





Technical Excellence



StarForge (CodeHatch)

Perspective (DigiPen Widdershins)

Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)

Intrusion 2 (Aleksey Abramenko)

LiquidSketch (Tobias Neukom)





Excellence In Design



Samurai Gunn (Beau Blyth)

FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

Starseed Pilgrim (Droqen & Ryan Roth)

Super Hexagon (Terry Cavanagh)

Super Space (David Scamehorn and Alexander Baard/DigiPen)





Excellence In Audio



Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

Bad Hotel (Lucky Frame)

140 (Jeppe Carlsen)

Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games)

Pixeljunk 4AM (Q-Games)





Best Student Game



ATUM (NHTV IGAD)

Back to Bed (Danish Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment)

Blackwell's Asylum (Danish Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment)

Farsh (NHTV IGAD)

Knights of Pen & Paper (IESB - Instituto de Ensino Superior de Brasilia & UnB - Universidade de Brasilia)

the mindfulxp volume (Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center)

Pulse (Vancouver Film School)

Zineth (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)





Nuovo Award



Cart Life (Richard Hofmeier)

Spaceteam (Henry Smith)

Dys4ia (Auntie Pixelante)

Bientot l'ete (Tale of Tales)

7 Grand Steps (Mousechief)

MirrorMoon (SantaRagione + BloodyMonkey)

VESPER.5 (Michael Brough)

Little Inferno (Tomorrow Corporation)





Audience Award

FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)



Thoughts? Firstly, congratulations to Zineth, deserved winner of Best Student Game. It's great, and you should play it. More obviously, well done to Richard Hofmeier for the runaway success of Cart Life. I'm sure many will be surprised by just how well it's done, especially among such a strong list of contenders for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. If you're currently thinking "Cart What now?" let Christopher Livingston's Sim-plicity column on the game fill you in.



Elsewhere in the list, I'm surprised to see Little Inferno getting a Technical Excellence award (it had nice fire, I guess), unsurprised to see FTL nab the Audience Award, and marginally disappointed to see Hotline Miami go back to its DeLorean with nothing. Although, hey, it's still got a chance at a Games Developer Choice Award! Haha, no, just kidding. Journey won everything.



Game Developers Choice Awards



Game of the Year



Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)





Innovation Award



Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

The Unfinished Swan (Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment)

ZombiU (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft)





Best Audio



Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games/Devolver Digital)

Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)





Best Debut



Humble Hearts (Dust: An Elysian Tail)

Polytron Corporation (Fez)

Giant Sparrow (The Unfinished Swan)

Subset Games (FTL: Faster Than Light)

Fireproof Games (The Room )





Best Downloadable Game



The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)

Trials: Evolution (RedLynx/Microsoft Studios)

Mark Of The Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)





Best Game Design



Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

Mark Of The Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)





Best Handheld/Mobile Game



Gravity Rush (SCE Japan Studio/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Hero Academy (Robot Entertainment)

Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)

The Room (Fireproof Games)

Kid Icarus: Uprising (Sora/Nintendo)





Best Narrative



Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Entertainment/2K Games)

Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)

Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Virtue's Last Reward (Chunsoft/Aksys Games)





Best Technology



Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

PlanetSide 2 (Sony Online Entertainment)

Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)

Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Treyarch/Activision)

Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)





Best Visual Arts



Borderlands 2 (Gearbox Software/2K Games)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)





Ambassador Award

Chris Melissinos, curator of The Smithsonian's The Art of Video Games exhibit



Pioneer Award

Spacewar creator Steve Russell



Audience Award

Dishonored



Lifetime Achievement Award

BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk



Conclusion: award show judges really love Journey.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to GDC 2013: Your guide to the IGF grand finalists">igf noms







The IGF winners will be announced on Wednesday alongside the GDC awards in San Francisco. The Independent Games Festival has turned out another strong field of nominees, some of which you can play entirely for free right now. Here's your guide to the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the IGF awards 2013, with interviews and details on the five finalists, Cart Life, FTL, Little Inferno, Hotline Miami and Kentucky Route Zero.



Click on the links below to go straight to your game of choice:





FTL

Little Inferno

Hotline Miami

Kentucky Route Zero





And let's start with Cart life.



Cart Life





Creator Richard Hofmeier describes the scrolling, grey world of Cart Life as a "retail simulator," but that's a bit of an undersell. It celebrates the mundane and touching aspects of everyday life, at work and beyond. You can choose from a pair of characters, including a single mom working in a coffee store and a Ukrainian immigrant trying to keep his newspaper stand afloat (you can pay $5 to play as a third character, Vinny the bagel guy). Melanie must look after her daughter and earn $1000 to fight her side in a custody hearing. Andrus must take care of his cat, Mr Glembovski, and fend off a racking smoker's cough.



Cart Life is about the struggle of day to day existence in an unglamourous monochrome cityscape, rendered in excellent pixel art. On the business side, you're choosing products, balancing stock and selling as much as you can against the clock. Outside of work, you're trying to balance what little time you have between eating, sleeping, drinking and socialising.



You can play for free by downloading the .exe file from the Cart Life site. For more on Cart Life, Chris Livingston documented his experiences as part of our Sim-plicity series. Read all about it here. Cart Life is in the running for the Nuovo award, the Excellence in Narrative Design award and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the IGF.



I sent over a few questions to Cart Life creator Richard Hofmeier to find out which indie gems he'd like to see do well at the competition. "I'd enjoy seeing IGF give their highest endorsement to Porpentine's Howling Dogs, which is a dour enchantment in that holy dread kind of way, but, because it's text-based and rarely classified with other videogames, it's largely unplayed by people interested in good games." You can play through Howling Dogs on Porpentine's site for free.







"Now, it's important to note that Howling Dogs wasn't submitted to the IGF (and where the hell is Dwarf Fortress, anyway?). So Thirty Flights of Loving would be a great winner, too, but I'd really like The Stanley Parable in such a position, because it secretly remarks on the fact of videogames, themselves. If IGF wanted to be The Oscars, Stanley would make a suitable "best picture", which often confess something useful of their medium. Then again, both Dear Esther and Fez (which do this exact thing extremely well) were released this year, but aren't candidates on account of having been candidates previously... All right, okay - I'd pick Emily Short's Bee. Yes yes yes yes." Here's Emily Short's Bee.



Why is the IGF important? "I'm not fond of this question's presumption that your interview subject feels this way," Richard responded, "It's important because sponsors and GDC attendees have elevated the means by which it's carried out, and an elevated assessment of small videogames seems comprehensive, conclusive and respectable-- but I guess that'd be "How is the IGF important?". Either way, IGF will get some excellent games into the lives of people who, otherwise, wouldn't have found them. That's useful, and it makes the world a better place in a small way."



"But, when you presume its importance, I just think about how much money it must take to put together, and how it wouldn't exist without the games themselves. Wouldn't you say that the IGF is less important than the games it declares? Of course IGF nominees and winners will sell higher numbers for having been recognized, but I think the premise of determining merit is much more interesting and, you know, important."







How could the IGF formula be improved? "Mostly, I just want to see the submission process deteriorate entirely, over time. It seems like there are better judges every year, so I'm increasingly inclined to trust their own choices, from all they've seen in a year instead of limiting candidacy to a submission pool. Like the MacArthur Fellowship Grant or Nobel Prize nomination process. Easy for me to say, right? You set me up with that last question, you bastards, didn't you? Anyway, the distinction of "indie" games vs "regular" games will become obsolete and they'll have to come up with something else for the "I" to stand for."



An IGF nomination won't drag a paparazzi horde to one's door, but has life changed for Cart Life's creator since nomination? "I'm getting more freelance illustration and design work this year than last, so I'm able to keep up this fantasy lifestyle of the bathrobe and coffee cup."



He adds: "The best part of making games, though, is the shared premise which allows me to start conversations and sometimes even befriend the people I most admire. At Indiecade, I kissed several of my heroes, I spent a few hours with two vibrant luminaries in an emergency room, I spilled whiskey on my idols. Almost like having coworkers, only without the building resentment."







FTL: Faster Than Light





FTL was the first Kickstarter-funded game to see release, which has set the bar nice and high for all those to follow. At PC Gamer,w e've been lucky enough to have access to a few pre-Kickstarter prototype builds. Long before release, this roguelike space exploration sim showed promise. You control the crew of a small, upgrade-able ship as they flee from a pursuing army across randomised sectors of space. As you jump from star to star, you encounter moral dilemmas, pirates, attack drones aliens and intergalactic superstores. You must improve your ship with new weapons, drone bays and teleporters and nurture a competent crew to put out fires and stave off attackers.



It's good. In fact, we gave it our short form game of the year award this year, and gave it a score of 89 in our FTL review. Check out Tom F's description of an FTL encounter for an idea of how tense FTL's ship vs. ship showdowns can get.



So how do the developers feel about the IGF nod? "It feels pretty great," says designer Justin Ma. "We went from having Honorable Mentions in Design and the Grand Prize last year to being officially nominated this year. It's validating to find out we improved on last year's prototype."







IGF mentions have proved helpful when the team started promoting the polished version of FTL late last year. "Last year's Honorable Mentions certainly changed our situation," says Justin. "It was a ton of publicity and helped launch our Kickstarter which started around the time of GDC 2012.



As for other contenders, Justin mentions that he'd like to see Mark of the Ninja getting some future recognition, fellow designer Matthew Davis would pick Super Hexagon. "I haven't tried all of the games so I cannot fully comment" adds Justin, "but I just played through Ep. 1 of Kentucky Route Zero and I was blown away by the art and atmosphere. It felt like a spiritual successor to Out of This World (Another World)."



Subset are currently working on finishing up backers' Kickstarter rewards. "The next big project is still up in the air," they say.



Why is the IGF important? "The IGF is one of the most influential events that celebrate independent gaming partially because of its connection with GDC. They are able to get a large assortment of judges with specific knowledge about their category from all over the game development world. This not only means it is prestigious but it also helps promote independent game development by putting it in the spotlight."







Little Inferno





2D Boy co-founder Kyle Gabler is certainly no stranger to IGF success. World of Goo scooped IGF gongs for design innovation and technical excellence in 2008. Now he's teamed up with software developer Allan Blomquist and Henry Hatsworth creator Kyle Gray to make Little Inferno. It's is up for the Nuovo, Technical Excellence and Grand Prize awards in this year's competition.



Little Inferno invites you to burn all of your toys in a huge fireplace. Once you run out of stuff to torch, you can order more flame-fodder from a catalog using the currency you've earned burning things. For some, it's a sly comment on time-sink social games, for others, it's a hypnotic way to wile away a few hours immolating innocent possessions. It's as dark and charming as it is divisive.



Kyle Gabler is chuffed to be nominated. "The mighty orange orbits are mesmerizing, and we're surprised to be included" he says, "but we're also well aware Little Inferno is a controversial experience up against some insanely beloved and beautiful indie games."



But which ones would he like to see win? "A few years ago, World of Goo totally lost the grand prize to Petri Purho's Crayon Physics (that jerk!!). He's a fellow who we'd known for a long time as someone who consistently submitted memorable and creative games to the Experimental Gameplay Project competitions. This year, we once again hope to lose to another friend of EGP: Kentucky Route Zero or Hotline Miami."







Kyle Gray says "I'd love to see Incredipede win Best Visuals. Colin and Thomas took a risk pushing Incredipede's artstyle in the direction of wood carvings, and it would be great to see that pay off." (you can read about Tom's experiences with Incredipede here, and learn more about its globetrotting creator in our Incredipede interview.)



Gray reckons that the IGF is useful for generating the sort of exposure that big developers pay PR departments manufacture. "Because indie studios are so small, we often don't have the resources to promote their games properly. IGF does a great job of pushing these games into the spotlight, and can really help indie devs find their audience."



Gabler, meanwhile, has some suggestions for how to improve the event. "The IGF is modeled after real award shows like the Academy Awards with all the lights and glamour and thumping music and scary disembodied voices announcing categories and nominees - but indie game developers like us would probably be just as happy, and possibly more comfortable, having a barbecue in (IGF/GDC/Gamasutra overseer) Simon Carless's backyard."



I've no idea how big Simon's backyard is, but the steak point is hard to argue. Things are going "great!" for the Little Inferno team, according to Gray. "Except my family still thinks I sit in front of the TV all day with a controller glued to my hand, making a game where you shoot people in the face. One day we'll reach a state where people know what an indie developer is, but we're not there yet."







Hotline Miami





Dennaton's frenzied murder death kill rampage sim bludgeoned its way into our hearts last October. The top down perspective does little to distance players from the lurid and sudden torrent of violence that pours out of the monitor every time you kick in the front door of a new level, but none of it would be quite the same without the soundtrack (hear it here). Crazed bouts of electronica bring a psychotic sheen to every improvised killing spree. Grab the knife. Stab the dog. Throw the knife. Grab the gun. Kill the man. Kick the door. You're on a dance floor. Kill them all!



Hotline Miami's strange delirium is so infectious that IGF nomination seemed assured. Our pick for the best music in a game last year is in the running for an audio excellence award, and it's battling for the top spot in the Seumas McNally Grand Prize category too.



Dennaton's production habits may be partly responsible for Hotline Miami's sense of pent-up, frenetic energy. Jonatan "Cactus" Söderström is used to turning games around in less than a day. "I usually stop when it gets hard to push the idea further or doesn’t feel like it’s worth it to keep pushing," he told us in an interview in PCG247. "Some game concepts work a lot better if you keep them small and concentrated and would just get repetitive if you try to make something bigger from them."







The concept of Hotline Miami has been around for a while, however. "My original idea, when I made the first prototype called Super Carnage, was just to make the goriest game I possibly could, with as many weapons as possible. I was only 18 at the time so it was a pretty silly and incomplete idea," he said.



"Then I remade it about a year later, this was after playing some of Ikiki’s games and I really wanted to capture that feeling of always being outnumbered and having to master the controls and plan your actions to beat a level. I had to quit though, because I couldn’t solve the pathfinding I needed for the AI. Then last winter I realised I was now able to do the whole thing without any technical problems, so I showed the old prototype to Dennis (Wedin, Dennaton's artist). He liked it a lot and started doing graphics for it before I knew it."



It turned out pretty well. In fact, we liked it so much it secured a score of 86 in our Hotline Miami review. If you've played through it five times already and need another fix, cool your jets. Dennaton are preparing a sequel. More "sweet tunes" are planned.







Kentucky Route Zero





This dark and enigmatic adventure game is described by its creators as a "magical realist adventure game about a secret highway." The tale is set to unfold across five parts over the next year or so, but part one has already done enough to catch the eye of the IGF judges. Kentucky Route Zero is more about atmosphere and exploration than complex puzzle solving. The beautifully restrained, moody artwork evokes a sense of quiet unrest quite marvelously. "It’s a game about hard times, and people trying to connect with each other," the developers told us earlier this year. "It’s also about the culture of Kentucky."



It's made by two chaps - Jake Elliot and Tamas Kemenczy - who, when merged, form a single indie devzord entity known as Cardboard Computer. As well as Kentucky Route Zero, they released Limits and Demonstrations - an examination of the work of installation artist Lula Chamberlain - for free last month. That offers a short shot of the quiet, introspective pacing that makes Kentucky Route Zero such a hypnotic experience.







A modest Kickstarter campaign gave the team the capital they needed to license the game engine, but the benefits of Kickstarter extended beyond monetary gain.



"As a solution to our financial roadblocks in getting the game made, it worked very well, but the continuing support from folks who backed the Kickstarter drive has ended up being the most valuable part of the experience for us. Some of them helped beta test the game, or just provided feedback and encouragement as we updated them on our progress."



"We never seemed to run afoul of supporters’ expectations," they added, "even when the release of the game was delayed, we just communicated frankly about it with our supporters, and they were all very understanding in their responses to us.



Part One of Kentucky Route Zero was released in January this year. We gave it a score of 84 in our Kentucky Route Zero review. You can find out more and buy the game on the Kentucky Route Zero site.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Steam Indie Spring Sale springs up, discounts loads of indie games in lieu of Easter eggs">steam indie spring sale







To coincide with IGF, PAX, GDC, OMG and WTF, Steam have slung up one of their impromptu sales, discounting tons of indie games to ensure that our libraries continue to heave under the sheer weight of unplayed games. How nice of them. I hope you've hidden your wallet after last time, because there are some cracking deals to be had, including Super Hexagon, Binding of Isaac and Terraria for silly money.



There's no countdown, so I'm assuming the many games on sale are going to stay the same price until the sale ends on March 29th (the 'Featured' games will likely rotate day by day, without offering any additional savings). There's a lot of games going cheap - more than is evident from the main page - so be sure to poke around for the ones you're interested in. Here are few of the better offers:



FTL - £3.49 (50% off)

Hotline Miami - £3.49 (50% off)

To The Moon - £2.79 (60% off)

Amnesia: The Dark Descent - £3.24 (75% off)

Miasmata - £5.99 (50% off)

Lone Survivor - £3.39 (50% off)

The Blackwell Bundle - £3.74 (75% off)

Retro City Rampage - £3.99 (67% off)

Ultratron, which came out like yesterday - £3.49 (50% off)

Euro Truck Simulator 2 - £12.49 (50% off)

Feb 12, 2013
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Not pictured: everything on fire, everyone dead

Things that would happen in the best of all possible worlds:

- Cats would empty their own litter trays- Israel and Palestine would mutually agree “screw it, let’s have a fancy dress party instead”- People would read the article before commenting- McVities would bring back Marmite-flavoured Mini Cheddars- LEGO approves and manufactures this proposed FTL building set (more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Dishonored and The Walking Dead score high in Game Developers Choice Award nominations">The Walking Dead thumb







The Game Developers Choice Awards are the other side of a coin that also contains the IGFs. Sure, indies are allowed into this GDC organised awards show, but they have to promise to be on their best behaviour. And wash behind their ears.



The nominations for this year's award - chosen by a panel of game developers - have been announced, with The Walking Dead and Dishonored scoring plenty of nods. Not the most, though - that honour goes to Journey, which is apparently a PS3 game about collecting scarves. Or something.



Dishonored picked up four nominations, including Game of the Year, Best Game Design, Best Narrative and Best Visual Arts. The Walking Dead also received nominations for Game of the Year and Best Narrative, as well as a chance to nab Best Downloadable Game. Wait, aren't all games downloadable?



Other PC relevant nominations include Game of the Year nods for Mass Effect 3 and XCOM, a well deserved Best Audio mention for Hotline Miami, and a Best Technology listing for Planetside 2. FTL also did well, being nominated for the Innovation Award, along with a shot at Best Debut for its developer, Subset Games.



Here's the full list:



Game of the Year

Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)



Innovation Award



Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

FTL: Faster Than Light (Subset Games)

The Unfinished Swan (Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment)

ZombiU (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft)





Best Audio



Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Hotline Miami (Dennaton Games/Devolver Digital)

Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)





Best Debut



Humble Hearts (Dust: An Elysian Tail)

Polytron Corporation (Fez)

Giant Sparrow (The Unfinished Swan)

Subset Games (FTL: Faster Than Light)

Fireproof Games (The Room )









Best Downloadable Game



The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)

Trials: Evolution (RedLynx/Microsoft Studios)

Mark Of The Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)









Best Game Design



Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

Mark Of The Ninja (Klei Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

Spelunky (Derek Yu/Andy Hull)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games/2K Games)





Best Handheld/Mobile Game



Gravity Rush (SCE Japan Studio/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Hero Academy (Robot Entertainment)

Sound Shapes (Queasy Games/Sony Computer Entertainment)

The Room (Fireproof Games)

Kid Icarus: Uprising (Sora/Nintendo)





Best Narrative



Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Entertainment/2K Games)

Mass Effect 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)

Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Virtue's Last Reward (Chunsoft/Aksys Games)





Best Technology



Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

PlanetSide 2 (Sony Online Entertainment)

Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)

Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Treyarch/Activision)

Assassin's Creed III (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)





Best Visual Arts



Borderlands 2 (Gearbox Software/2K Games)

Journey (Thatgamecompany/Sony Computer Entertainment)

Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Dishonored (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

Halo 4 (343 Industries/Microsoft Studios)





The winners will be announced at GDC on March 27. Can you think of anything that's been unfairly missed out?
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to FTL designer wary of another Kickstarter pitch: “It just adds a whole new layer of stress”">FTL







Indie space roguelike FTL warped into our top pick for 2012's Short-form Game of the Year and tickled our auditory sensors with wonderful space pew-pew music. Its Kickstarter campaign boasted $200,542 in donations over the $10,000 goal. But given a chance to do it again, FTL designer Justin Ma wouldn't be as keen to include crowdfunding. Speaking to Polygon, Ma said the constant exposure of a publicly tracked project would weigh down the two-man team and add a "whole new layer of stress."



"I feel like I wouldn't be able to work as freely or with such agility as we were with FTL," Ma said. "We prefer to work from within a cave until we have something we feel is worth showing. I'm not sure how some developers are able to publicly show their progress at every stage of development; it just adds a whole new layer of stress."



Ma's thoughts show the other side of the coin on the level of outreach expected by developers when carting their concepts through Kickstarter. Double Fine's Tim Schafer stated people felt crowdfunding made him "unafraid of being open" to sharing as much updates and unfinished media as possible. But as Ma explained, that option could also turn into a burden and constrain developers on a tight schedule.



"Unlike some projects that could simply hire more people, we did not have the option to increase our scope greatly since we also committed ourselves to a deadline only a few months away,” Ma said. “We tried to walk the thin line between using the extra funds to increase the quality of the final product while trying not to delay the release too long. In the end, I think we were reasonably successful."
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (David Valjalo)

Music man David Valjalo follows-up his exploration of the big-budget orchestral soundtracks in the mainstream games industry with a look at the other end of the scale – the super-low-budget, ultra-catchy, sometimes kitschy scores of indie darlings. He rounds up the men behind Hotline Miami, Sweden-based Dennis Wedin and Jonatan Soderstrom, two of the soundtrack artists they hand-picked, US artists M.O.O.N. and Scattle, and FTL composer Ben Prunty, to get the scoop on making music for small games and, quite often, small change.>

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