Browsable Games

16 01 2009

zork

I read on Gamasutra today that the classic, harsh text adventure Zork is returning as a browser based MMO. Similar things have already bee attempted, such as the bot running classic text adventures at the Idle Thumbs Forums, and they’re a good place to go if you want a quick look at just how obtuse and punitive these games could be.

Not only does this seem utterly bizarre, but they’ll probably have to dumb it down to make it acceptable to a modern audience.

Everything seems to be heading to the browser right now. I was shown a demo of the hugely impressive Unity engine at an academic conference last summer, developers like FlashBang have been consistently knocking out interesting games with it, and the company is attracting talent.

iD currently have Quake Live in beta, and it’s basically Quake 3 running in a browser. There have been similar demos out for a while, for instance an only occasionally up demo of a simple Unreal Tournament level running in shockwave was doing the rounds a few years ago.

Some of the first FPS games to lead into professional gaming leagues, that required a pretty hefty gaming rig a decade ago, are now simple enough to pipe through a browser. This is going to be an incredible new thread by which to acclimatise people to gaming, as well as encourage invention. How long before games like Katamari Damacy and De Blob appear online first?

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Monumental Games Funded with £300K

24 09 2008

East Midlnads based Monumental Games have won £300,000 of funding from the Technology Strategy Board, they announced yesterday.

It makes a lot of sense, as networked technology is looking like one of the safest bets in games at the moment.

I do wonder if Rocco wrote this or it was written for him, as press release quotes often are:

Project Chairman Rocco Loscalzo (CTO of Monumental) praised the approach of the Technology Strategy Board. “This is the first year that the Technology Strategy Board has invited applications from the Creative Industries, and it is encouraging to see recognition for the contribution made by such industries to the UK economy. This award for Collaborative Research and Development has enabled us to kick-start a commercially viable but inherently high-risk project, and we can’t wait to get going with our partners.”

Either way, it’s fairly progressive for a games company to class themselves under “creative industries”; most stay pretty aloof from the label because they see it as only applying to small, local artisanal businesses.

(CC image of monumental forehead by Salemek)





Unreal Engine for Non-Games Applications

15 02 2008

Dallas Cowboys

Via Develop comes news of the Unreal Engine being licensed to create walkthroughs of stadiums. The link to Mark Rein’s February piece for Develop quotes them:

“It renders 30 frames per second instead of one per hour – that’s 3,000 times faster than traditional animation methods. This makes it a first (and only) in the architectural industry.”

(The image above shows a non-realtime, non-UEngine render of the new Dallas Cowboys stadium).

Epic, as well as a startup or two, really started pushing this stuff around 2002/2003. I’ve seen architecture students dismiss earlier versions of the engine as completely impractical for anything related to professional architecture, but realtime rendering, interactivity and smoother integration with third paty 3D packages was bound to push engines in this direction. It’s going to be an interesting transition to watch.





Crysis London

23 01 2008

Crysis/UCL

Digital Urban, at University College London, have been busy building a virtual London in the Crysis Engine. This impressive video shows St. Pauls and the Tate Modern:

Here’s the impressive part, from the comments over at Rock Paper Shotgun:

The movie is only a work in progress – as the blog states, although we feel crysis is impressive in the level of detail that can be achieved in only two days and thats including working out how to use it.

We will have a tutorial online sometime next week, fingers crossed…. its all about outreach and sharing the techniques.

Our London model goes out to the M25 covering 3 million buildings for those interested

It’s like a scaled up version of people using Quake or Unreal Tournament to make their schools and offices…





Neon

19 06 2007

Codemasters have taken a very determined approach to next gen development, starting with the PS3 because it was the most challenging, and from there developing an engine to roll out across all their studios. From Develop:

Next-gen games development has, as we all know, placed huge demands on not only the industry’s talent base, but also its technology base as well, demanding more staff to deal with more complicated software – all in order to make better games.

In seeing this hairpin-like crunch approaching on the road ahead, Codemasters’ internal team recently came up with it’s answer to the next-gen rush: Neon.

You may remember reading about Neon last year, when Develop exclusively revealed its existence (and you can read our original report here), but a quick recap: using PS3 as a starting point, Neon is a next-gen engine that is supporting every facet of Codemasters’ internal development going forward.