Escape Studios add recruitment to their services

27 03 2007

London-based training studio Escape has widened its recruitment services to all those looking for work in the games and visual arts fields. Until today, Escape’s recruitment service was open to those that studied at the company’s arts facility in London’s West End.

The BBC, Sumo Digital, the Mill and MPC (The Moving Picture Company) have already signed up to use the company for its recruitment of art-focused staff.

Paul Wilkes, Escape’s recruitment manager, commented: “We are thrilled to finally extend our service to those who may not have been through Escape’s doors. It reflects our commitment to providing a high standard to our clients and we look forward to welcoming new recruits to the Escape Studios community.”





Sony Ps3 Sales break new records

27 03 2007

ChartTrack has confirmed to Gamesindustry.biz that PS3 shifted 165,000 units in its first two days on sale, beating Wii’s 105,000 units and Xbox 360’s 70,000. There are issues with the semantics of terms like ‘shipped’ and ‘sold’, and the Gamesindustry article uses the latter.

Of course, direct comparisons are troublesome here as both Nintendo and Microsoft experienced chronic stock difficulties with their British next-gen launches – Sony, however, flooded us with 220,000 machines. More telling perhaps is the latest software sales Top 40, released by ChartTrack – from Gamasutra:

“According to software chart data, the PS3 release has also pushed a number of launch titles into the UK’s top 10 best sellers. Resistance: Fall of Man took the top slot in ChartTrack’s top 40, with Motorstorm Evolution coming behind at number two, and Virtua Tennis 3 at number four.

Formula One Championship Edition, Ridge Racer 7, Virtua Fighter 5, and Genji: Days of the Blade also debuted on the top 40 chart at numbers seven, 11, 14 and 16, respectively.”





Lego Red Nose Day

22 03 2007

Via Wonderland comes news of the finest easter egg I’ve ever seen: Red Nose Day was built into Lego Star Wars 2.

LSW Red Nose

Donations earn players a code that unlocks red noses 🙂

(P.S. Toby did this 😉 )





Designers SUCK

21 03 2007

First this is not a ‘games’ post it is a ‘life’ post.

Bruce Nussbaum was a pioneer in championing design and innovation at Business Week US and is perhaps associated to a large degree with innovation being annoted as ‘the new black’. This is probably one of the best essays on the current state of design that I’ve seen this year.

In a great retrospective and recent blog post he challenges designers much as Clement Mok did years ago in his seminal piece on What the future requires of the design profession.

“There has clearly been a steady decline in the design profession for over 30 years, and the source of that decline is the profession’s intractable stasis.

We are unchanged professionals in a changing professional climate, clutching at old idols, while failing to create new offerings, failing to reinvent and reinvigorate the practice when needed, failing to inculcate a professional culture that is accessible and fair.”

Enjoy. I have copied the article from Bruce’s blog, and the images are from the excellent Logic + Emotion blog

Read the rest of this entry »





Uncanny

8 03 2007

I’m seeing the uncanny valley everywhere right now. It’s something I wrote about in the context of visual aesthetics 18 months ago, but since then I’ve realised it has a much wider scope. Watch the beginning of this video (Ignore the Havok physics title, it’s Euphoria by NaturalMotion):

A self-righting Indy with gripping hands impresses me… but it doesn’t fool me.

Similarly, Image Metrics have been showing some astounding work recently. Looking at the CGI head on the latest Develop cover, I am once more impressed, but once again not fooled. There are all sorts of subtle mismatches in texture and light that add up to it not quite being human.

Likewise, when set against speech bubbles, the body language of these avatars in PSHome is reminiscent of stereotypical cult members.

Everything that might be wrong with a digital representation of a human is also potentially wrong with a digital representation of anything else. The difference is in us: a significant amount of the human brain is specialised for evaluating human appearance and behaviour.

As Scott McCloud pointed out in Understanding Comics, we can infer a face from a circle, two dots and a line. Put a circle with a big dot in it inside any random shape, and it will suddenly tend to resolve into a face. We can recognise faces made of less than 100 pixels.

We intrinsically have higher standards in evaluating humans as real compared to, say, rocks and trees. If we weren’t human, the level NaturalMotion and Image Metrics are at might fool us. We are though, and it doesn’t, even as it makes us go “oooh”.

It will all get better of course. Simulating one component of the unconscious at a time, we’re building more realistic AI. At some point though, they will stop looking like good AI and begin to look like bad actors.

(Hello, I am TK422, otherwise known as David Hayward. I’m going to be posting here alongside Toby. There may be some crossover between this and my own blog, Functional Autonomy, but overall I’ll be putting different content up on each).





GDC07:2007 Game Developers Choice Awards Topped By Gears of War

8 03 2007

2007 Game Developers Choice Awards Topped By Gears of War Epic Games and Microsoft Game Studios’ Xbox 360 shooter Gears of War won Best Game at the Game Developers Choice Awards, hosted by the Game Developers Conference (GDC) at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. The title also picked up awards for Visual Arts and Technology.

The Game Developers Awards are the only peer-based, open nomination awards program in the industry. GDC Executive Director Jamil Moledina commented of the awards ceremony that it is “like no other”, adding that “by celebrating our visionaries by name, we give the audience and the public at large a chance to give credit where credit is due”. Nominations are open to all members of the International Game Developers Association, with the finalists chosen by the Choice Awards Advisory Board, before winners are finally voted on by IDGA members.

Read the rest of this entry »





GDC07: Sony outlines new online vision

8 03 2007


Phil Harrison’s GDC keynote explains plans for new PS3 Home online community network.
In his GDC keynote Sony Worldwide Studios president Phil Harrison has told the development community that software driven by user-communities, such as as its new virtual world Home, will “empower the next decade of growth in our industry all around the world”.

Sony will actively back this strategy with a number of its own applications. The primary one is Home, a free avatar-based 3D world that lets users congregate, meet friends, ‘own’ a private apartment and visit virtual shop-fronts.

Developed by London Studio, Home is a best of breed take on avatar-based environments like Second Life, but uses the PS3’s capabilities to deliver a world that fills the gap between the interface on the PlayStation XMB dashboard and games themselves.


Users can customise their avatar’s appearance, clothes and accessories – in time players will be able to pay for, or unlock via game achievements, the latter. The same goes for each user’s own virtual private apartment, which players can invite friends to, fill with furniture and even stream music and video from their Hard Drive to.

A ‘Hall of Fame’ also takes pride of place in the Home world – this lets users display new 3D trophies that are unlocked through in-game milestones in PS3 games.

Read the rest of this entry »