Uplink - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Synonymous Bosch)

This is the hAcKeR collective {{Synonymous Bosch}}. We have taken control of this aRt1cLe. Three years ago it was written by the untalented and scurrilous journalist Brendan Caldwell, a man lacking in both knowledge and substance. But we have gained access in order to correct his egregious errors. It s a hack of a hack! Ha ha ha. We had our best joke cell work on that for three nights. Please laugh. Our detractors may say Mr Caldwell got it mostly right, and that may be the case, yes. But the order is aLL Wr0nG. And he has neglected to update it with a recent hit. We cannot let this stand. Here is an updated list which, actually, looking at it now, is still mostly Mr Caldwell s words and I guess they re okay. Sorry we said those nasty things. We are {{Synonymous Bosch}}. We sometimes forgive. We often forget.

(more…)

Quadrilateral Cowboy - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Stealthy sci-fi shooter Skin Deep, latest from Blendo Games (Quadrilateral Cowboy, Flotilla, etc) cites the greatest Christmas movie ever – Die Hard – and Far Cry 2 as equal inspirations. As the resident barefoot badass aboard a spacecraft crawling with murderous pirates, it’s up to the player to clear out the bad guys, ideally while not being vented into space, bleeding out or otherwise dying horribly. The game was just announced with no release date yet, but below you’ll find a debut trailer featuring acrobatic sharpshooting and a dedicated ‘cough blood’ button.

(more…)

Quadrilateral Cowboy - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alex Wiltshire)

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the difficult journeys they underwent to make the best bits of their games. This time, Quadrilateral Cowboy [official site].

Quadrilateral Cowboy is a firstperson puzzle game about a group of hacker friends who stage heists across a set of increasingly challenging missions. Together they tell a surprising and affecting story of professionalism, friendship and rising threat through Blendo Games distinctive tight cutting between interactive scenes, flipping the action from a hoverbike chase to the gang s return to their hideout. It s clever, pacy, and rich in detail and nuance. Pretty much, in other words, what you d expect from Blendo Games.

But it s not what Blendo Games – which is to say, Brendon Chung – expected to make. Quadrilateral Cowboy s entire structure and form is completely different to what he originally envisaged. The way in which his game changed over the course of its development is a model for how a game is shaped by the realities of production, and how ideas can be far too big for their own good. (more…)

Uplink - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

As anyone who watches their feeds knows, we live in a constantly evolving cyberpunk dystopia. They’re connecting toilets to the internet, for heavens sake. If this Gibsonist world is just too REAL for you, we have put together the ten best videogames about hacking, programming and computing so you can escape into meta-dystopia. Which I’m sure is a much better place.

(more…)

Far Cry® 2: Fortune's Edition

It’s when you notice the little details in games that they really come alive. Those little things that hint at some sort of existence outside your control or awareness. They could be art props made to suggest who lived in the spaces you’re romping through, or little room layout details that show how the world works, but some of the touches that bring games to life the most come through animation.

This is a celebration of incidental animations that don't help you win or make you lose or do much of anything important. They just happen, and you probably don’t even notice them, or think about how much work they actually took. There’s a madness to incidental animation, that so much effort has been lavished into producing something so ancillary, something which many players might never come across. But it can make the difference between a game feeling right and feeling that little bit off. It’s about conjuring that suspension of disbelief. It’s where the magic is.

This selection of great incidental animation can’t hope to be exhaustive, since it’s simply compiled from the games I’ve played, and even within that paltry selection it’s only the things I’ve noticed, remembered and captured (with some pointers from some friends). But hopefully it’ll give you a new appreciation of the little things.

Assassin's Creed: Origins: Wet Bayek

Props to that special moment when a game nonchalantly plays out a very human response to something you’ve put your character through. Bayek doesn’t complain at you getting soggy, but his little hand and foot shakes give a sense of the person under all the stabbing. 

Rise of the Tomb Raider: Wringing out the ponytail 

Relatedly, Lara’s attention to her hair after coming out of water is a reminder of the tricky nature of dealing with long locks in extreme conditions. It’s just one of the many little animation details in Rise of the Tomb Raider, but several friends pointed towards it as their favourite and heck, they’re right.

Prey: Q-Beam wobble

Who was it at Arkane Studios who realised, "The Q-Beam absolutely has to comprise three objects which wobble as you move"? They are a genius. Weapons in games rarely passively react as you move around, and OK, that’s maybe because it’s a little distracting, but here in the Q-Beam, it’s wonderful. 

Overwatch: Junkrat's grenade launcher

Another delightfully ramshackle weapon is Junkrat’s Frag Launcher. The way all its jiggling bits and pieces move as you walk do a great job of communicating Junkrat’s pegleg limp, and the way the flap on the end of the barrel flips as you fall really gets a sense of momentum across. You can almost imagine how his insane launcher actually works.

Titanfall 2: Alternator

Still on guns (because games are basically guns, right), I just love all the unnecessary (i.e. necessary) movement in Titanfall 2’s otherwise fairly straight Alternator submachine gun. Little bits flick back and forth as you fire, simply to express and celebrate its name. The Alternator was designed by Respawn animator Ranon Sarono, who’s a master of the gun animation form. His showreels and game gun jokes on his YouTube channel are recommended viewing.

Far Cry 2: jammed shotgun

Technically, Far Cry 2’s gun-jamming animations don’t fit our criteria for incidental animation because they directly affect the game, but they’re just so expressive. The sheer annoyance of the player character, as demoed here by Tigerfield, is just wonderful, and completely matches your own reaction to finding your gun suddenly refusing to work.

Far Cry 2: Hand

Far Cry 2’s filled with incidental animation. The way the player character’s hand interacts with the world around you set new standards.

But here’s the real incidental animation gold in Far Cry 2: the fingers change position to turn the watch’s bezel one way or the other. I’m sure Ubisoft Montreal could have designed it more efficiently, and I’m so pleased they didn’t.

Head over to page two for more wonderful incidental animations, including indie Quadrilateral Cowboy, Dishonored 2 and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.

Metal Gear Solid 5: iDroid 

Look in the background, and you’ll see Snake’s thumb mirroring your control of the iDroid menu on a little side-mounted joystick. Utterly pointless. 

Quadrilateral Cowboy: Bathroom 

Blendo Games’ Brendan Chung is something of a connoisseur of incidental animation, so I asked him to pick out what he’s most proud of from his own games. He chose the bathroom in QuadCow’s Valencia Villa. "The bathroom is way too detailed and interactive considering it has no gameplay impact and is not part of the critical path," he says. Every cabinet opens, every component works. "The excess I'm most happy with is how both the shower and sink, after you turn their water off, continue drip-dropping for a few seconds before completely stopping. I am secretly hoping this becomes industry standard."

Who fancies starting a campaign? 

Prey: Boiling curry 

Or maybe it’s a stew. Either way, this combination of a lovely shiny shader effect and a very simple undulating mesh brings a pot eternally cooking in Talos-I’s kitchen to life, if you should ever notice it. Chances are, you won’t. 

Dishonored 2: Audiograph 

Even more Arkane, here’s Dishonored 2’s wonderfully characterful audiotape player. Watching the handle wind around and its punchcard jigger in and out makes having to stay nearby to hear the tape almost bearable. 

Destiny 2: Sweeping bot 

This bot, found in a dead end in the depths of Destiny 2’s social area (if you put the time into exploring it), is a callback to a sweeping robot which featured in the first Destiny’s Tower social space. We can all cherish its heartbreaking dedication to a thankless task—perhaps it’s a reference to all the effort that went into animating it?

Little Nightmares

If you take a moment to watch them from safety, you’ll see one of Little Nightmares’ awful chefs perform a little under-face scratch which is just fantastic.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus: Reactor

Most incidental animation is small, but it doesn’t need to be. A way into his new adventure, B.J. Blazkowicz enters a vast hall that houses a reactor at its far end. The hall’s monumental machinations serve absolutely no function, the flying saucer-looking thing having no discernible purpose, and yet there it all is, but you were too busy shooting Nazis to see it.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus: Digital readout 

Still on Wolf 2, someone Machine Games went to the effort of making actual digital readouts on the assorted Nazi control boards that you probably never spent any time looking at, ensuring they count meaninglessly up as far as the digits allow. This is perfection, and an exemplar of the form. 

So here’s to the most lavish of incidental animation. Let it only become more so.

Oct 26, 2017
Quadrilateral Cowboy - BlendoGames
Fixes:
  • Ramen bowl: fixed bug where switching weapons causes crash.
  • Vendor room: locked a door that was accidentally left unlocked.
  • Airship: fixed a bad fall trigger.
  • Zooming: fixed bug where using the deck while zoomed-in caused a problem.
  • Dev commentary: fixed some typos.
Thirty Flights of Loving - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

gravity-bone

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

Super-cool micro-Hitman, getting on for a decade old but feeling as fresh as ever.

My memories of Gravity Bone [official site] turned out to have been a little scrubbed by those of its successor, the more stylish, showy and cut-up Thirty Flights Of Living. I’d forgotten that, unlike 30 Flights, Bone is a fairly involved affair – jumping puzzles and death-traps and target-hunting. It’s all very active – you are the agent, not a mere witness to events. (more…)

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Last night's GDC Awards 2017 saw Blizzard's multiplayer shooter Overwatch clinch top prize, however it was nice to see a number of indie games feature as finalists. The Independent Games Festival Awards focuses on smaller games—in both team size and budget—and also took place in San Francisco yesterday evening. 

Blendo Games' Quadrilateral Cowboy came out on top to clinch the Seumas McNally Grand Prize—fending off competition from Inside, Stardew Valley, Event[0], Hyper Light Drifter and Overcooked—and also won the ceremony's Excellence in Design category. 

The lovely Ladykiller in a Bind scooped Excellence in Narrative on the night, and Heart Machine's pixel perfect Hyper Light Drifter netted Excellence in Visual Art and the Audience Award. 

The full list of IGF 2017 winners is as follows:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

  • Inside (Playdead)
  • Stardew Valley (ConcernedApe)
  • Quadrilateral Cowboy (Blendo Games)—WINNER
  • Event[0] (Ocelot Society)
  • Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine)
  • Overcooked (Ghost Town Games)

Best Audio

  • The Flame in the Flood (The Molasses Flood)
  • GoNNER (Art in Heart)—WINNER
  • Virginia (Variable State)
  • Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine)
  • Everything (David OReilly)
  • Inside (Playdead)

Excellence in Design

  • Imbroglio (Michael Brough)
  • Ultimate Chicken Horse (Clever Endeavour Games)
  • Duskers (Misfits Attic)
  • Overcooked (Ghost Town Games)
  • Event[0] (Ocelot Society)
  • Quadrilateral Cowboy (Blendo Games)—WINNER

Excellence in Narrative

  • Ladykiller in a Bind (Love Conquers All Games)—WINNER
  • 1979 Revolution: Black Friday (iNK Stories)
  • Virginia (Variable State)
  • Orwell (Osmotic Studios)
  • Event[0] (Ocelot Society)
  • One Night Stand (Kinmoku)

Excellence in Visual Art

  • The Flame in the Flood (The Molasses Flood)
  • Inside (Playdead)
  • Virginia (Variable State)
  • Old Man’s Journey (Broken Rules)
  • Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine)—WINNER
  • She Remembered Caterpillars (Jumpsuit Entertainment)

Nuovo Award

  • Islands: Non-Places (Carlburton LLC)
  • Close (Tobias Zarges and Moritz Eberl)
  • Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor (Sundae Month)
  • Oiκοςpiel, Book I (David Kanaga)—WINNER
  • Everything (David OReilly)
  • Virginia (Variable State)
  • Mu Cartographer (Titouan Millet)
  • Lieve Oma (Florian Veltman)

Best Student Game

  • Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor (Sundae Month)
  • Lily, Colors of Santa Luz (Lily, Colors of Santa Luz Team)
  • Un Pas Fragile (PAF team)—WINNER
  • FAR: Lone Sails (Mr. Whale’s Game Service/Mixtvision)
  • Frog Climbers (TeamCrew)
  • Bamboo Heart (Sokpop Collective)

Alt.Ctrl.GDC Award

  • Fear Sphere

Audience Award

  • Hyper Light Drifter

Catch up with our GDC 2017 coverage by following this link.  

Quadrilateral Cowboy - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

It’s time to use to our radio voice. The RPS Electronic Wireless Show has historically been our not-very-regular podcast where we gather to tell each other how wrong we are about videogames. But this month it has mutated into something different. In the lead-up to this year’s Independent Games Festival, we interviewed a whole bunch of developers, all of whom have been nominated for some kind of award this year. We’ll be talking to them about sex, politics, and other things we’ve never understood.

In part one, we’re talking science fiction with the makers of Duskers, Quadrilateral Cowboy and Event[0]. Click onward to listen here, or find it on Soundcloud directly. … [visit site to read more]

Portal 2 - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

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