week 4 semester 2

oh dear, my update schedule has fallen by the wayside somewhat. to be fair I don’t have a huge amount to show, that makes it okay somehow in my internal logic. i`ve a few links to document and some environments made to show off so let’s get started.

Theres a very attractive iPhone game in the works called the Other Brothers. which features the artwork of a noteworthy pixel artist called Bjorn Hurri. not ran into his name or researched him during my study, but I can tell his art is something special from the website and the animated previews.

we need more parody videogames. national lampoon should get into the industry.

the character design is definitely something to behold. I love the exaggerated proportions and features. it collides really well with the low resolution style. also, the entire game is developed by just three guys. I have a feeling that may be another factor for the choice of visuals.

next up is a video of a student project not entirely unsimilar to my own.

looks like an open world/rpg version of superbrothers:S&S

the video is of a proposed game concept (which wont actually be made) in an attempt to showcase the artists visual panache I assume. and there’s also a few high-resolution effects hidden in there. (blurs, fades and lighting effects and even some fancy 3D scaling)

it`s a very full featured trailer, I especially like the iPad showcase at the end. that and the soundtrack itself is one big easter egg.

over at gamasutra, there`s a user published blog detailing the neo-retroism movement, which is the resurgence of retro styled titles with modern sensibilities. I`d been at a loss for the correct term of my area of research, but i think this nails it. the article itself is full of quotes which are similar to what i`ve said myself time and time again in this blog and in my literature review and project proposals. here are a few gems.

With blockbuster games like Call of Duty and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception captivating audiences, it can be puzzling to discern why the Neo-Retroist school is booming—but there are many reasons for this. There is a certain nostalgia factor inherent for those who play these games, often harkening back to their childhoods, but this is perhaps the lazy way to look at it. Games from the Classical period were much more about achievement game play, while I would consider our current generation of games to have much more focus on the experiential.

this is true I would agree. for the sheer fact, that a retro styled game wouldn’t be worth making unless there was some sort of modern gimmick or enhancement. therefore forcing the retroism movement to be experimental out of necessity. which is in no means a bad thing, we`ve seen a lot of fantastic titles out of this combination.

and of course, having an experimental focus doesn’t mean the product in question can’t have a high standard of quality.

There is of course the “neo” in Neo-Retroism, however, and that comes in the form of attaching modern gaming sensibilities to classical forms, such as a much more intricate story in the case of Braid, which plays a lot like a Mario title.

and as I just mentioned, braid is great game. doesn’t have the visual style pertaining to my research but it`s still a good example.

In addition, the technological and economic components of Neo-Retroism cannot be ignored; Xbox Live Arcade, the Playstation Network, and PC Gaming, makes it easy to proliferate small, independent titles that often sell for less than a full-fledged release. This low barrier of entry has a lot to do with Neo-Retroist success

and digital distribution is only going to grow as hardware becomes increasingly irrelevant due to cloud gaming. it`s hard to predict where retro titles could end up since (eventually) any game could be played on any device with a high-speed internet connection (eventually) but they will surely find a place. neo retro titles flourish on digital distribution alongside high spec HD titles, so maybe that`s the answer right there.

the `top sellers` list is near constantly populated with indie games alongside triple titles. steam looks set to be the most comfortable platform for the transition to cloud gaming.

Budget and technological limitations also apply in some cases; often these independent studios comprise only a few people and lack the means to create a game that could be called mainstream. This makes the retro approach look rather attractive fiscally and pragmatically, and perhaps even artistically. Limits tend to spark more creativity than they mute, in good cases.

there it is again, “limitations breed creativity” possibly my most used quote in favour of the style. and of course, the lower costs of development ensure the style can exist despite the ups and downs the industry may be suffering, or the hardware transitions. and again about the experimental angle, smaller studios can obviously try more wild ideas without any middlemen or parent corporations looking over their shoulders. which in itself fundamentally ties the neo-retroism movement to the indie development scene. i wonder if that will ever change in the future. perhaps big companies will jump on the retro bandwagon once they realise there’s money to be made there. sega and capcom have already done so to some extent with sonic and megaman.

so yeah, pretty amazing article. and even the comments debate a few interesting points. but mainly just the use of the term `neo-retroism` being incorrect because it carries the same flaws as the term `post-modernism` in that it becomes irrelevant once it`s respective era has passed. but that’s just literature hyperbole and not what i`m interested in.

okay, that was a rather obtrusive block of text, time for some visual stimulation.

these are some 8-bit animations created by Balázs Kalocsai. the blend of modern touches is really quite striking. there some very powerful lighting effects like blooms and lens flares. distance of field blurring, and even some rudimentary 3D for the environments. and some catchy chiptune renditions of the franchise themes.

check out his channel for 8 bit renditions of batman, red dead and max payne

I don’t know how these would translate in playability terms, but I would really love to see a real game use this kind of style. (the pseudo 3D and hi res effects. not the flashes of commodore gameplay seen in some of the trailers, that`s not innovative enough 🙂 despite its kitsch look)

time for another video. this time, retro game culture finds it`s way into a music video once more. Nero`s “me and you” is a love letter to Sega and arcades of the 90`s.

as for the song itself, seems a bit out-of-place. there’s no chiptune effects of any sort. even if the video is a gimmick, it`s still cool.

interestingly, the two games seen are modded versions of streets of rage and outrun. also, love that fourth wall breaking bit at the end.

i`m still a bit confused as to the relevance however, it`s just a really boring dance/club song and the video seems like an attention grab. the band was fairly low key untill this. it`s interesting that retro games can have a wide appeal in other media, signs good things for the future of the style.

okay, now onto my own stuff. im working with a coder to create a little demo of the tixel game (as practise for the patriot piece for objective 4) and i`ve created an actual, coder friendly spritesheet.

this is what a real spritesheet looks like. the purple one from previously was really haphazard and clumsily put together.

and I also got some additional music tracks from my sound guy. intro and score screen tunes, I re-uploaded the tixel video to include them.

turns out youtube doesn’t have an audio replacement function on it`s videos. sucks.

anyway enough about tixel, i`ve done a lot more rooms for bit cops since last time.

room 2.i may get rid of the graffiti wall

this is the second room. that metal pusher at the bottom is a hazard, and the table above can be flipped to make cover.

this is room 2.5

a player needs to go into the back layer to examine the gun rack for a `forensice bonus` while the other player covers him from bad guys.


the players will take shelter from enemy fire behind the green cargo container, then push it right to squash some baddies and provide a better angle for cover.

room 4

just like room 2.5, the bottom player provides cover so they can get a forensic bonus (the blood) then the top player will open the ladder hatch.

room 5

this is actually an extremely long hallway that’s going to be littered with boxes and bad guys. both players will jump on the fork lift and plow through, then park it on the switch to open the way forward.

and that’s all thus far. one of my tutors has got us filling in weekly goal sheets which need signed by our tutors. my goals for next week are to get all the environments done, continue to blog and do a draft of my dissertation introduction.


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