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Thomas Was Alone

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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Thomas Was Alone updated with free Benjamin’s Flight episode">TWA







At this point, we should all be used to Steam's auto-updating. Even so, it can be a little unsettling when it happens to a game about emerging autonomous AI. Quadrilateral platformer Thomas Was Alone has received just such an update, supposedly adding Benjamin's Flight a free chapter of levels originally exclusive to the game's Playstation release. At least, that's what creator Mike Bithell claims it adds. My advice? Keep an eye out for rogue squares.



"Benjamin's Flight takes place before the events of Thomas Was Alone," Bithell writes in a press release, "and tells the story of the first AI to discover something very dangerous: Hope. Armed with a new jetpack ability, he'll go hunting for the strange glowing light he's long admired from afar."



With the update, Steam owners get a new set of jetpack-designed levels, new songs, and a new narration about Benjamin and his high-flying dreams. It's a nice bonus for owners of the game assuming it doesn't unleash sentient and somewhat charming artificial intelligence.



Mike Bithell is currently working on stealth game Volume. For more on that, check out Chris's preview.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Volume voice actors announced, retells the legend of Robin Hood">volume







A recent trailer for Volume has revealed that author, actor, and Thomas Was Alone narrator Danny Wallace will lend his voice to the game’s companion AI. YouTuber Charlie McDonnell will play the role of Robin Hood. Yes, that Robin Hood.



Volume will be a retelling of Robin Hood set in the near future. According to Eurogamer, Robert Locksley (better known as Robin Hood) finds a volume, a simulation tool that’s used to train a military coup’s forces. Locksley then uses the volume’s AI to “broadcast simulations of robbery against England's wealthiest, becoming the world's first crime let's player.”



I encourage anyone who hasn’t heard of Volume to check out designer Mike Bithell’s video demonstration, which should give you a better idea of what Volume actually is.



Volume’s set to come out sometime in 2014 on the PlayStation 4 with PC and Mac versions a month later.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Volume is a stealth game from the creator of Thomas Was Alone">Volume thumb







The freshly announced Volume is being made by Mike Bithell, creator of the quadrilateral platformer Thomas Was Alone. Which means I'm fighting the urge point at one of the abstract red cuboids emerging from the ground and going "lol, Thomas in 3D!" I'll continue to struggle against that base temptation, because Volume looks to be an intriguing stealth distract-'em-up with an emphasis on making noise.



To the Youtubatrons!







Some brief story info has been posted to the Volume website.



" Does not kill. That would be far too easy. Instead, he commits his crimes through stealth. He sneaks, he distracts, he avoids. He is never seen, and seldom heard. As he grows in popularity and notoriety, so will his inventory. Blackjacks, bugles, thunderclaps and veils are just some of the tools at 's disposal."



The game's site notes that Volume will release with "hundreds of challenging and exciting environments," but goes on to promise that every area can be remixed and expanded. "The community are free to take the game in any direction they want, even releasing their own takes on the core levels. This is a game which will evolve, warp and grow as players make their mark on 's legend."



A livestream of the game is planned tonight at 9pm BST, over on Bithell's Twitch channel. Alternatively, you can see a ten minute demonstration below.







Volume is set to release in 2014. No platforms have been announced.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Humble Indie Bundle 8 discounts Hotline Miami, Awesomenauts, Dear Esther, and more">humblebundle8







Summer has always been a bit of a lull when it comes to video game releases. It’s the time of year where we hear more about the upcoming fall releases rather than actually, you know, playing games. Luckily, we have the Humble Indie Bundle 8 to keep boredom, UV rays, and those treacherous, shark-filled oceans at bay.



The Humble Indie Bundle traditionally features recent indie darlings for the low, low price of “whatever the hell you want”, and this year is no exception. No matter what you pay, you’ll get access to Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized, Thomas Was Alone, Dear Esther and their soundtracks (and Steam keys if throw in a dollar or more). Linux users should be happy to know that the Linux versions of these games are also debuting with the bundle.



Forking over more than the average purchase price (a modest $5.72 as of this writing) will net you Hotline Miami and Proteus plus its soundtrack. Yes, you might be saving up for the pricey GTX 780 that your annoying friend already has, but maybe you could skip eating today?



Like always, you can choose where your money goes, rationing out which developers and charities get your hard-earned bitcoins. You have a full two weeks to decide who gets what while stocking up on harpoons for the inevitable shark invasion.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to What does Nintendo’s claiming of Let’s Play videos mean for us PC gamers?">Thomas Was Alone







By now you may've heard the ruckus emanating from the console community. Zack Scott, prominent YouTube personality and uploader of Let's Play videos, revealed that Nintendo had "claimed ownership" of his Nintendo gameplay demonstrations—meaning, basically, that ad revenue from the videos would go to Nintendo rather than Scott himself. It wasn't an isolated incident; numerous other YouTubers found their videos had also been claimed by the heavyweight publisher.



Nintendo's started a possible movement among publishers; Markus "Notch" Persson of Minecraft fame has revealed that he, too, was approached by YouTube and offered a cut of all Minecraft videos' revenue.



"It was tempting," said Persson on Twitter. "We almost did it."



Had the Minecraft team gone through with the deal, what then? Well, not only would the income of Let's Play YouTubers be threatened, but there's an argument for the exposure that indie developers would lose as well if major YouTubers closed up shop.



Mike Bithell, developer of Thomas Was Alone, says that it was a Total Biscuit video that propelled his game to success.



" Thomas sold eight times more units than on launch day," he recounts frankly in a piece for Develop Online. "I was outselling Assassin's Creed 3 on Steam."



"Thomas Was Alone would not have been a hit without YouTube. Without the frequent infringement of my copyright, the astonishingly aggressive use of my intellectual property and oftentimes presumptuous use of work comprising years of my life, I wouldn't be sat right now, at home, taking a break from my work as a full time indie developer."



So it's not just about massive publishers who can probably live without the money earned by YouTubers—in the end, widespread adoption of YouTube claiming could hurt smaller developers as well. Let's Play videos often help us decide whether to buy a game or not, and they can introduce us to wonderful smaller projects and mods as well.



Zack Scott's suspended his playthroughs of Nintendo games, and many other YouTubers are following suit. In the meantime, indie developers continue to lobby for the positive effects that Let's Plays have on their success. One thing's for sure: game publishers can try as they like to take away our gameplay videos, but they'll never take away our enjoyment of cats with pineapples.
PC Gamer - PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to PC Gamer UK Podcast: Episode 86 – High Profile Jetpack Failure">podcast_86_bithell







Chris, Marsh and very special guest Mike Bithell, creator of the BAFTA award-winning Thomas Was Alone, discuss Sim City, Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army, Tomb Raider, the Arma 3 alpha, the morality of Kickstarter and why triangles should just go home.



Also featuring the industrial nightmare of Novathurstengrad, vague caveat-laden descriptions of Mike's next game and an analogy that we might not simply be advanced enough as a species to successfully assemble.



You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or download the MP3 directly. Follow PC Gamer UK on Twitter to be informed when we're putting the call out for questions. Alternatively, follow us as individuals:



Mike - @mikebithell

Marsh - @marshdavies

Chris - @cthursten



Show notes



Our review of Sim City.

Our review of Tomb Raider.

Somewhere you can buy Thomas Was Alone.

Our Let's Reboot series about classic games reimagined for today.

Just because we can build something doesn't mean we should use it in an extended metaphor.

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The Walking Dead and Far Cry 3 score big at BAFTA Video Game Award nominations">Far Cry 3 Vaas thumb







BAFTA have released the nomination shortlist for the upcoming 2013 round of their Video Game awards. PS3 exclusive Journey tops the nomination leaderboard - it's up for eight categories. But Telltale's The Walking Dead and Ubisoft's Far Cry 3 aren't far behind, receiving nods in seven and six categories respectively. There's also strong indie recognition. Dear Esther is nominated for five awards, Thomas Was Alone for three, and both Proteus and Super Hexagon both receive a mention.



The ceremony takes place on March 5th, and will streamed live on Twitch.tv. Tune in to find out if we live in a world where CoDBlOps2 can be given an award for "Game Innovation".



Full list below:



Action

Borderlands 2

Development Team

Gearbox/2K Games

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Development Team

Treyarch/Activision

Far Cry 3

Dan Hay, Patrick Plourde, Patrik Methe

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Halo 4

Development Team

343 Industries/Microsoft Studios

Hitman: Absolution

Development Team

Io – Interactive/Square-Enix

Mass Effect 3

Development Team

BioWare/EA



Artistic Achievement

Borderlands 2

Development Team

Gearbox/2K Games

Dear Esther

Robert Briscoe

Thechineseroom/thechineseroom

Far Cry 3

Jean Alexis Doyan, Genseki Tanaka, Vincent Jean

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Halo 4

Development Team

343 Industries/Microsoft Studios

Journey

Development Team

That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

The Room

Mark Hamilton, Rob Dodd, Barry Meade

Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games



Audio Achievement

Assassin's Creed III

Mathieu Jeanson

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Beat Sneak Bandit

Simon Flesser, Magnus "Gordon" Gardebäck,

Simogo/Simogo

Dear Esther

Jessica Curry

Thechineseroom/thechineseroom

Far Cry 3

Dan Hay, Tony Gronick, Brian Tyler

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Halo 4

Development Team

343 Industries/Microsoft Studios

Journey

Development Team

That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe



Best Game

Dishonoured

Development Team

Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Far Cry 3

Dan Hay, Patrick Plourde, Patrik Methè

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

FIFA 13

David Rutter, Nick Channon, Aaron McHardy

EA Canada/EA

Journey

Development Team

That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Mass Effect 3

Casey Hudson

BioWare/EA

The Walking Dead

Development Team

Telltale Games/Telltale



British Game

Dear Esther

Daniel Pinchbeck, Robert Briscoe, Jessica Curry

Thechineseroom/thechineseroom

Forza Horizon

Development Team

Playground Games/Turn 10 Studios/Microsoft Studios

LEGO: The Lord of the Rings

Development Team

TT Games/Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment

Need for Speed Most Wanted

Development Team

Criterion Games/EA

The Room

Mark Hamilton, Rob Dodd, Barry Meade

Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games

Super Hexagon

Terry Cavanagh, Niamh Houston, Jenn Frank

Terry Cavanagh/Terry Cavanagh



Debut Game

Deadlight

Raul Rubio, Luz Sancho, Oscar Cuesta

Tequila Works/Microsoft Studios

Dear Esther

DanielPinchbeck, Robert Briscoe, Jessica Curry

Thechineseroom/thechineseroom

Forza Horizon

Development Team

Playground Games/Turn 10 Studios/Microsoft Studios

Proteus

Ed Key, David Kanaga

Twisted Tree Games/Twisted Tree Games

The Room

Mark Hamilton, Rob Dodd, Barry Meade

Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games

The Unfinished Swan

Ian Dallas, Nathan Gary

Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe



Game Design

Borderlands 2

Development Team

Gearbox/2K Games

Dishonored

Development Team

Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Far Cry 3

Patrick Methè, Jamie Keen

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Journey

Development Team

That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

The Walking Dead

Development Team

Telltale Games/Telltale

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Development Team

Firaxis/2K Games



Family

Clay Jam

Chris Roem Iain Gilfeather, Michael Movel

Fat Pebble/Zynga

Just Dance 4

Alkis Argyriadis, Matthew Tomkinson, Veronique Halbrey

Ubisoft Paris/Ubisoft

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

Jon Burton, Jonathan Smith, John Hodskinson

TT Games/Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment

LEGO the Lord of the Rings

Development Team

TT Games/Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment

Minecraft: XBOX 360 Edition

Development Team

Mojang/4J Studios/Microsoft Studios Xbox LIVE Arcade

Skylanders Giants

Paul Reiche, Fred Ford, Scott Krager

Toys For Bob/Activision



Game Innovation

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Development Team

Treyarch/Activision

Fez

Development Team

Polytron Corporation/Microsoft Studios Xbox LIVE Arcade

Journey

Development Team

That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Kinect Sesame Street TV

Development Team

Soho Productions/Microsoft Studios

The Unfinished Swan

Ian Dallas, Nathan Gary

Development Team

Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Wonderbook: Books of Spells

Development Team

London Studio/ Sony Computer Entertainment Europe



Mobile & Handheld

Incoboto

Dene Carter

Fluttermind/Fluttermind

LittleBigPlanet (Vita)

Tom O'Connor, Mattias Nygren, Lee Hutchinson

Tarsier Studios/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

New Star Soccer

Simon Read

New Star Games/New Star Games

The Room

Mark Hamilton, Rob Dodd, Barry Meade

Fireproof Games/Fireproof Games

Super Monsters Ate My Condo

Development Team

Adult Swim Games/Adult Swim Games

The Walking Dead

Development Team

Telltale Games/Telltale



Online - Browser

Amateur Surgeon Hospital

Development Team

Mediatonic/Adult Swim Games

Dick and Dom's HOOPLA!

Adam Clay

Team Cooper/CBBC

Merlin: The Game

Development Team

Bossa Studios/Bossa Studios

Runescape

Development Team

Jagex/Jagex

The Settlers Online

Christopher Schmitz, Guido Schmidt, Rainer Reber

Blue Byte Software/Ubisoft

SongPop

Olivier Michon, Thibaut Crenn, Daouna Jeong

FreshPlanet/FreshPlanet



Online - Multiplayer

Assassin's Creed III

Damien Kieken, Mathieu Granjon, Yann Le Guyader

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Borderlands 2

DevelopmentTeam

Gearbox/2K Games

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Development Team

Treyarch/Activision

Halo 4

Development Team

343 Industries/Microsoft Studios

Journey

Development Team

That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Need For Speed Most Wanted

Development Team

Criterion Games/EA



Original Music

Assassin's Creed III

Lorne Balfe

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Diablo III

Development Team

Blizzard Entertainment/ Blizzard Entertainment

Journey

Austin Wintory

That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Thomas Was Alone

David Housden

Mike Bithell/Mike Bithell

The Unfinished Swan

Joel Corlitz, Ian Dallas, Peter Scaturro

Giant Sparrow/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

The Walking Dead

Development Team

Telltale Games/Telltale



Performer

Adrian Hough (Haytham) - Assassin's Creed III

Danny Wallace (The Narrator) - Thomas Was Alone

Dave Fennoy (Lee Everett) - The Walking Dead

Melissa Hutchinson (Clementine) - The Walking Dead

Nigel Carrington (The Narrator) - Dear Esther

Nolan North (Nathan Drake) - Uncharted: Golden Abyss



Sports/Fitness

FIFA 13

David Rutter, Nick Channon, Aaron McHardy

EA Canada/EA

F1 2012

Development Team

Codemasters Birmingham/Codemasters Racing

Forza Horizon

Development Team

Playground Games/Turn10 Studios/Microsoft Studios

New Star Soccer

Simon Read

New Star Games/New Star Games

Nike+ Kinect Training

Development Team

Sumo Digital Ltd/Microsoft Studios

Trials Evolution

Development Team

Antti llvessup, Kim Lahti

RedLynx/Microsoft Studios



Story

Dishonoured

Development Team

Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Far Cry 3

Jeffrey Yohalem, Lucien Soulban, Jeffrey Yohalem

Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

Journey

Development Team

That Game Company/Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Mass Effect 3

Mac Walters

BioWare/EA

Thomas was Alone

Mike Bithell

Mike Bithell/Mike Bithell

The Walking Dead

Development Team

Telltale Games/Telltale



Strategy

Dark Souls: Prepare To Die

Development Team

From Software/Namco Bandai Games

Diablo III

Development Team

Blizzard Entertainment/Blizzard Entertainment

Football Manager 2013

Development Team

Sports Interactive/SEGA

Great Big War Game

David Moss, Steve Venezia, Paul Johnson

Rubicon Development/Rubican Development

Total War Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai

Development Team

The Creative Assembly/SEGA

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Development Team

Firaxis/2K Games



BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in association with Dare to Be Digital

Pixel Story

Martin Cosens, Thomas McParland, Ashley Hayes, Benhamin Rushton, Luke Harrison

(Loan Wolf Games)

Project Thanatos

Hugh Laird, Andrew Coles, Thomas Laird, Alexandra Shapland, Thomas Kemp

(Raptor Games)

Starcrossed

Kimi Sulopuisto, Vili Viitaniemi, Minttu Meriläinen, Petri Liuska, Andrew MacLean

(Kind of a Big Deal)



Given that they've been recognising games for a few years now, shouldn't BAFTA update their acronym to reflect the fact? BAFTGA, maybe? BAGFTA? Perhaps not.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Watch the Minecon 2012 indie lectures: Introversion, C418, Mode 7 and more">minecon indie talks







Minecon wasn’t only about Minecraft. Mojang were good enough to invite along the bright lights of the indie dev scene to give a series of inspiring, funny lectures, describing how they got into the business and what they’ve learnt along the way.



Taking to the stage in chronological order: Hello Games, purveyors of deceptively chirpy stunt-biking game Joe Danger; C418, Minecraft’s maestro of electronica; Introversion, creators of Uplink, Darwinia and the tremendously tempting crowdfunded clink-sim, Prison Architect; Suspicious Developments, aka Tom Francis, aka maker of Gunpoint, aka PC Gamer writer, aka man sitting two metres two my right as I type this and looking rather dashing too, I might add; Mike Bithell, the dev behind clever platformer Thomas Was Alone; and Mode 7, creators of simultaneous turnbased-tactics masterpiece Frozen Synapse.



Hit the jump for the videos of each talk, and watch out for our PCG-helmed indie dev round-table which we'll publish in the next few days.



Hello Games / Grant Duncan



Hello Games' supremely talented artist, Grant Duncan, takes the mic to talk about conjuring Pixar-like delight from pixels and polygons in Joe Danger (and also to tease Hello Games’ next aesthetically divergent title, quite possibly coming to PC, currently going under the codename of Project Skyscraper).



C418 / Daniel Rosenfeld



The effervescent Daniel Rosenfeld, also known as C418, talks about the production of Minecraft’s electronica score, game music in general, his album, and the soundtrack for the upcoming Minecraft documentary (teaser clip within) - all in some impressive technical detail. A must for electronica nerds and aspiring musicians.



Introversion / Mark Morris & Chris Delay



British indie-dev double-act, Mark Morris and Chris Delay discuss the long and bumpy road they’ve taken, from early hits Uplink and Darwinia, to the calamitous production of Multiwinia and the aborted Subversion. But - spoilers! - it has a happy ending with the hugely successful crowdfunding of clink-building sim Prison Architect.



Suspicious Developments / Tom Francis



PCGamer’s very own tame indie developer, Tom Francis, discusses how being mean to games professionally has helped shape his development practices on Gunpoint, and how becoming a developer has changed his perception of the games he writes about.



Mike Bithell



The supremely affable creator of Thomas Was Alone discusses its origins as a rough-hewn Flash experiment and how the curiously emotive reaction to it - which saw players ascribe human thoughts to its simple cuboid avatars - snowballed into a project capable of attracting accolades and high-profile voice-actors.



Mode 7 / Paul Taylor



Paul Taylor, the co-director of Mode 7, who heroically multitasks as a musician and creator of hilariously terrible PowerPoint slides, tracks the company’s evolution, from its early swordfighting game Determinance, to the terrific tactical tour-de-force which is Frozen Synapse.
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