Monday, October 29, 2007

Vancouver Bound

I'm heading to Vancouver this week as part of the official Ubisoft 'TooMuchImagination' campaign. During the week I'll be talking at a few schools outlining the production process at Ubisoft and answering students' questions on the gaming industry and the game development process.

Anyone live in Vancouver?

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Friday, October 19, 2007

ActionPants Games

So for the last year or so I've been hearing more and more about a Vancouver based developed named ActionPants. I don't know anyone who works there, nor do I have any idea of what sort of games they're working on, but they have an employment perk I haven't seen before so I thought I'd blog about.

If you visit their website and click on the 'Art Portal' link you are brought to a page talking about their 'External Art Space'. From their photos and descriptions this appears to be a multi-disciplinary studio space for many forms of non-digital artwork (painting, sculpting, wood working, etc) open to any ActionPants employee looking to keep their creative juices flowing even while away from the computer.

I think this is an amazing idea not only for employee retention (creative hooks like this certainly help a studio stand out in the mind if its employees as unique) but also as a vehicle to promote ideas that could end up benefitting the quality of the games. I think of it as being in a similar vein to Google's "20% time" perk. I can certainly see employees exploring through clay character designs they've had in their mind for ages and using such a work to help convince others of the appeal. If nothing else a deeper (physical) mastery of 3d space and physical form can never hurt...

If you are in Vancouver and know more about ActionPants, and in particular this studio space and how it is percieved by the employees, I'd love to hear about it!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007


So today Capcom announced Street Fighter 4.

I'm sure there is some interesting analysis to be made about why now is the right time for a true sequel in the SF brand (rather then a Hyper-Turbo-Ultimate-Remix-Puzzle-HD-Redux) but I'd rather just sit in awe at this teaser trailer.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Portal Flash Game

Update 2: The link to the original makers of the Portal game isn't working -- no idea how long this has been the case. I suggest using the following link (confirmed working) if you're looking for this excellent game.

Update: Not that I necessarily mind, but a huge proportion of the traffic I've been recieving in recent weeks comes from people googling for 'Portal Flash Game' and ending up on this blog entry (for some reason I'm on the first page of Google's search results for this search string eventhough not a single page links to my actual blog entry, from what I can tell). For those of you visiting for the first time as a result of this Portal post, I'd certainly be happy if you poked around a little to see some of the other things I've talked about in the last year.

A colleague just directed me towards this excellent flash title seeking to port the 'Portal' game experience to a casual flash title.

The Portal concept, for those of you not familiar, is another excellent 'radical innovation' from our friends at Digipen and is amazingly sticky. The second you see it in action lightbulbs go off and the possibilities start to explode in your imagination.

Orange Box can't arrive soon enough for me.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007


First quick point -- the 'FPP' in France last week went very well. For those of you waiting for more news on what I've been working on the fact that we passed this extremely important milestone means I'll probably be able to start talking about the game as early as the winter or early spring. After two years I'm anxious to break the silence. ;)

And now for something completely different...

Early this week my wife and I went to see "Across The Universe" (trailer) and really liked it. It was her choice (they always are -- *sigh*) but, being a huge Beatles fan, I was happy to go. It is a musical, a love story, and hardly anything explodes or catches on fire, but it was the most interesting use of music in a movie I've ever seen. If you've ever listened closely to the lyrics in a song (or a group of songs by a single artist) and tried to create a story in your head of what sort of characters could tie it all together, you'll like what they do in this movie.

Secondly though (and perhaps a little more accessible) is the incredible trailer for 'Jumper'. I'd never heard of the book but from what I can tell its about a guy (or guys) who learn they have Nightcrawler-esque teleportation powers. Obviously the lure of using these powers for selfish gain is hard to ignore. Looks great.

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