Feb 28, 2013
Cartoonist Stephen Lester is "currently on a mission to fill his home with vintage video games and video game memorabilia". Part of that involves his guest bathroom, which is becoming a themed shrine to Valve's Portal series.
Sit back and watch two decades of video game graphics flash before your eyes. YouTube user drloser333 has uploaded a video from French site NoFrag that unfurls the graphics of more than a dozen first-person shooters, from 1992's Wolfenstein 3 to 2011's Battlefield 3.
Did the FPS get better-looking? They have at least become way more realistic, But maybe you're more of a fan of older, more abstract styles?
Graphic evolution of First Person Shooters: 1992-2012 [YouTube, uploaded by drloser333; more details (in French) at NoFrag.com]
Feb 25, 2013
There's no company quite like Valve. Super successful and with an organisation some would call crazy, there's also no company quite as interesting. So hearing about how Valve hires, and fires people, is far more educational than it would be for just about any other video game company.
Writing on Gamasutra, the company's economist Yanis Varoufakis has lifted the lid on some of the company's employment policies, which should be useful for anyone hoping to one day work there (and find out what the hell is going on with Half-Life 3).
When it comes to hiring, they don't usually have interviews. They identify needs/vacancies, form teams, come to a consensus on the best available people out there then go head-hunting.
As for firing—which took place recently, and had people wondering—seems it mostly takes place not with under-performing employees, but those who may not fit with the company's famous "boss free" structure.
I'm finding it increasingly difficult to get excited about DOTA 2, since my dalliances with League of Legends ended in me promptly uninstalling League of Legends, but I still check the game's blog every single day. Why? Because there's always the chance Valve will release more character art of the game's heroes, which are some of the best of their kind in the business.
We've looked at DOTA 2's art before, but if you can believe it the last time we did so was back in November 2011. Time for an update.
To see the larger pics in all their glory (or, if they're big enough, so you can save them as wallpaper), right-click on them below and select "open in new tab".
Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you're in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you'd like to share, drop us a line!
Portal may not seem like the most romantic game ever, seeing as how it's populated with a bunch of robots and only a single human character. But even all these years later, people still haven't gotten over protagonist Chell and her doomed relationship with the heart-decorated Companion Cube.
The folks at Random Encounters Entertainment (not to be confused with Jason's weekly JRPG column) have put together this heartwarming duet between Chell and her cube. They seem so happy! Ah, but happiness is fleeting.
The DS still is home to a robust homebrew scene, as we see here in this Portal port that modder Smealum has been working on for about the past six months. "Still nowhere near playable," he writes under the latest video, but it's brought along Portal staples like turrets, cubes, switches and energy balls.
"This is still extremely early footage so please don't be too harsh," smealum writes. "Lots of debug features are present, including the ability to fly, see portals through walls and move cubes from a distance. Also, keep in mind this was shot in an emulator which provides good but still less than perfect rendering. As such, be aware that most (not all, but still) of the graphical glitches you can see in this video don't happen on hardware (mostly the portal transition is a lot nicer on an actual DS)."
Feb 6, 2013
That's OK! Perfectly understandable. He's a talented guy, and the prospect of seeing Gordon Freeman on the silver screen is enough to get most people smiling.
But reading the news, I couldn't help but feel that Abrams and Newell had shown their hands too early. And in doing so, they're setting up a whole lot of people for a whole lot of heartache.
If you actually look at what Abrams and Newell said, it's a relationship at the earliest, most tentative stages. A game idea they'd like to work on, a pair of movie projects that Abrams is "going to be bringing on a writer" for. That's it. No contracts, no titles, no press releases.
As we've outlined before, the chances of a project advancing from this early stage to the silver screen are remote. At best. Hell, even most movies that get directors and writers officially attached, and studio backing, fail to materialise.
And that's before you even take into account how busy Abrams is going to be over the next decade doing, oh, Star Wars and Star Trek.
That's Hollywood for you. Budget realities and schedule conflict are bad news for the majority of aspiring projects. But it's also how the video game business works. There are way more games that are killed off in their early stages than ever reach the market. We see, on an almost monthly basis, how games with large staffs, completed assets and trailers are canned; if you could see the bodies of the number of projects terminated while still on the drawing board, it would make you weep.
So Abrams and Valve boss Gabe Newell coming out and "announcing" both projects so early is an odd move. Maybe they're trying to drum up interest/support amongst fans. Maybe they're trying to show movie studios there's a market here. Whatever the reason, the mere fact they spoke about them (and yes, I know Abrams dropped caveats like "it's as real as anything in Hollywood ever gets") is setting a lot of people up for disappointment if, as the laws of probability would have it, either one or both projects fails to ever materialise.
Who knows, though. In the year 2027, as we mourn the death of home consoles and play games in our flying cars, we may also look back on how awesome JJ Abrams' Half Portal Trek Wars was on the St3ambox, and only regret slightly how much money we spent on the 4K 3D home version of the Half-Life movie trilogy.
If after all this salt you still want to dream about that future, go ahead. I just don't see it happening.
Sorry if you see this as pissing on your parade. I'm not trying to hurt you in the short-term. I'm just trying to help your poor heart out in the long-term! It's hard enough waiting for Half-Life 3 as it is. Adding more Valve projects to the watchlist might just be too much to bear.
Feb 6, 2013
Mad scientists and evil masterminds are classic villain archetypes, and defeating them is always nerve-wracking. Instead of facing you, they'd rather hide in the shadows and rely on their minions. And when it does come to combat, they usually love to show off their deadliest creations.
We gathered some well-known crazies; a mustache or a white coat seems to be a must-have.
Dr. Eggman (Sonic The Hedgehog series)
source: Sonic Generations
Dr. Wallace Breen (Half-Life 2)
source: Half-Life Wiki
Professor Hojo (Final Fantasy VII)
Dr. FunFrock (Little Big Adventure 1-2 / Relentless)
source: The LBA Relentless Movie Project
Dr. Wily (Mega Man series)
Don Paolo (Professor Layton series)
The Elite Of Rapture Society (BioShock)
source: BioShock Wiki
Albert Wesker (Resident Evil series)
source: Resident Evil Wiki
Professor Monkey-For-A-Head (Earthworm Jim)
source: tuwoa's LP
Make sure to submit below the craziest evil scientists you know with visual support.
You might remember "Enter The Freeman," a very cool short Half-Life film we featured a few months ago.
The fan-film's creators are crowd-funding $75,000 to turn it into a whole series, which may or may not be welcome news to Valve, considering that CEO Gabe Newell just announced he'd like to make movies with director J.J. Abrams based on Half-Life and Portal.
Still, it sounds cool, and you can read and see more about "The Freeman Chronicles"—which they're hoping will be seven episodes of around six minutes each—on their Indiegogo page.
Appearing with the director J.J. Abrams at D.I.C.E. Summit today, Valve's Gabe Newell said the company would "find out if there's a way we can work with you on a Portal and Half-Life movie."
Polygon reports that things may be a little further along than that. Speaking after the panel, Abrams told Polygon "We are really talking to Valve, we are going to be bringing on a writer, we have a lot of very interesting ideas."
However, "it's as real as as anything in Hollywood ever gets," he added. Which means it could be a sure thing, or could amount to nothing, or could take forever to bring to life. Like, well, Half-Life 3.