“When people think you’re dying, they really, really listen to you instead of just — “
“Instead of just waiting for their turn to speak.”
This scene from Fight Club encapsulates one of the driving ideas behind Pillar, a video game starring a series of characters with disparate personalities and quirks, each given mysterious puzzles to solve. Indie developer Michael Hicks is interested in how people communicate and the unique way every human perceives the world. Pillar distills these broad observations into just a few characters running around a wintry town, searching for a secret artifact. Each character is different, but their goal is the same — it’s a lot like real life. Hicks wants his game to inspire conversations; he isn’t looking to start arguments or incite rants. He’d love for people to truly connect with each other and Pillar might make that happen.
“I hope it encourages players to consider other people in real-life conversations, which we rarely do,” Hicks says. “If someone says something we don’t agree with, the knee-jerk reaction is to argue or superimpose our views. I think the world would be a better place if we tried to understand where other people are coming from and accept them for who they are.”
Pillar has roots in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, a personality test that rates people based on four dichotomies: deductive, inductive, subjective and objective. Hicks ran into the Myers-Briggs test during a psychology class and was struck by the mechanical way it approached personality traits — almost like a game would.
“Originally, I made Pillar to express how it felt to be around a girlfriend I had,” Hicks says. “It’s hard to verbalize, but she was strong at things I was weak at, and I was strong at things she was weak at.” Hicks interviewed her and discovered they had two traits in common and two opposite, just as he intuited. “Pillar isn’t a perfect reconstruction of the test, but all of the main traits are there somehow,” he says.
It started with the test, but Pillar doesn’t stop there. Hicks doesn’t see Myers-Briggs as the silver bullet of personality analysis — “It’s clearly not a science, but that doesn’t mean it has no value,” he says. Overall, Hicks has grander thoughts about relativity, morality and the rejection of subtlety in everyday communication. As he discovered with his girlfriend, opposite traits between two people can equalize both parties, but this often requires people to step outside of themselves, recognize their own shortcomings and accept the faults in others.
It’s hard to have constructive conversations when we just preach and don’t listen to the other person.
“The whole concepts of right and wrong, good and evil — I think those are horrible things to subscribe to because they separate people and cause conflict,” Hicks says. “What I think is ‘right’ is a reflection of my environment and upbringing; everyone thinks they’re right. The game explores the idea that maybe there’s a purpose for both extremes we find in life, even things that are detrimental to us. I’m not saying we should be quiet and not speak our mind, but so many do it in a toxic way. It’s hard to have constructive conversations when we just preach and don’t listen to the other person.”
Pillar launched on PlayStation 4 back in February, but Hicks wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of it. He “flubbed” the marketing, he says. For one, he didn’t receive review codes until a few days after launch. “I should’ve announced the release date a month or so ahead of time to avoid things like this,” he says.
“But I’ve been happy with the number of people playing so far,” Hicks continues. “I have a ways until I’m where I’d like to be but I can’t complain. What’s cool is there’s a steady stream of new people playing even after three months; it’s had a very grassroots way of growing so I’m thankful for that.”
We’ve seen 3D projections on basketball courts and arena floors before, but the NHL’s Tampa Lightning just took the game up a notch. Before the team’s Eastern Conference Finals game on Tuesday, it used the playing surface to project a “Bolts of Steel” (get it, lightning bolts) game simulation inspired by the Nintendo classic Blades of Steel. We surmise they opted for another name not just for copyright purposes, but because the franchise didn’t exist until 1992. While the video you’ll see after the break is a render/demo, a Deadspin reader caught the thing on tape during the pregame festivities, so you can have a look at was it was like for those in attendance. Perhaps if the Bolts advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, they’ll let a couple of fans duke it out for some nachos.
Filed under: Gaming
Via: SB Nation
Source: Tampa Bay Ligthning
If you like playing online games, then you too can help birth some (possibly sinister) software from DARPA. The US Army’s slightly insane research division launched its Verigames web portal in late 2013 with five free online games designed to crowdsource coding. How? Like a similar effort that folded AIDS proteins, the games “translate players’ actions into program annotations,” to kill numerous bugs in systems code, according to DARPA. The first experiment was a success and “produced hundreds of thousands of (code) annotations,” so the agency plans to expand the program with five new games.
They’re not exactly mindless shooters, though. You’ll be tasked to “energize mysterious patterns in a cosmic puzzle machine,” “optimize vast networks,” and “match quarks in the name of cyber-security,” to cite a few examples. If that’s your idea of a good time, you can sign up, check out the games here and fire them up in your browser. It’s all good fun in the name of science, unless you end up contributing to the rise of some pretty scary machines.
KnapNok Games gets what Richard Branson doesn’t. Of course people want to hang out in space, but they definitely don’t want to pay top dollar to do it! So rather than drop $200,000 on a Virgin Galactic reservation, why not fire up your Wii U for some Affordable Space Adventures? The game simulates the existential nightmare of getting trapped on a foreign planet as well as makes novel use of the console’s unique tablet controller. It’s win-win! Join us at 3:30PM ET today for a live tour of the game on JXE Streams.
Enjoy the streams? Follow us on Twitch.tv/Joystiq to know whenever we go live!
[We’re streaming Affordable Space Adventures through an Elgato HD via OBS at 720p.]
Been jonesing for a very high-powered, Android TV-based media hub? You now have a chance to do something about that craving, as NVIDIA has started selling its Shield set-top box in North America. Pay $199 and you’ll get the regular Shield, whose tiny 16GB of storage makes it clear that you’ll be streaming a lot of 4K Netflix videos and playing games in the cloud through NVIDIA’s GRID service. You’ll need to pony up for the $299 Shield Pro to get loads of built-in storage (500GB) for local content, although you’ll also get a copy of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel in the bargain. And don’t worry about buying content to get started — both Shields come with a $30 Google Play gift card and three months of Google Play Music, so you’ll have something to do as soon as you’ve pulled off the shrink wrap.
These days, it’s pretty hard to find anything electronic that doesn’t have access to BBC iPlayer already. Nintendo’s Wii U is one of the most notable exceptions, but if you’ve been quietly jonesing for an iPlayer client to hit the quirky console, then jones no more. With zero fanfare marking its launch, BBC iPlayer is now available to download in the Nintendo eShop. The Wii U’s GamePad is fully supported, too, so you’re not tied to the TV screen if, you know, your tablet’s run out of battery.
Remember Flappy Bird? What a hit! With just a little bit of code and some retro minimalism, an amazingly viral sensation was created and generated tons of income for its creator. Do you have a great idea that you’ve been tossing around? We’ve entered a new year and you owe it to yourself to reach your goals and bring that game to life! This Android Game Developer Bundle is the exact purchase you should make to start the year off right.
The Android Game Developer Bundle gives aspiring creators 7 quality courses on game development. Learn to build with no prior knowledge of coding required. These courses will empower you and remove the barrier between you and your creative dreams. Heck, maybe we’ll even get to review your creation here on our site! Regularly priced at $662, AndroidGuys readers get limited-time access to this bundle for only $49! We will expect a small commission when your game reaches #1 on Google Play, though.
See more at deals.androidguys.com
Unfortunately, as much as we had wanted to pit Claire Rafferty against Lionel Messi in open play, the game keeps the men’s and women’s teams segregated. Still, users can engage in online and offline tournaments, or just go for some casual head-to-head match play. Oh, and if you’re a little bit confused, running the World Cup and lending its name to this series of branded soccer game is actually what FIFA is for. The whole “getting arrested on well-overdue corruption charges” thing is actually more of a hobby.
Source: Electronic Arts
Neon green and red lights flash as Batman maneuvers the Batmobile through loop de loops in a gaudy underground racetrack. On the streets of Gotham, giant, bulbous tanks strafe around each other shooting at the speeding Bat-vehicle as it tries to escape. Onscreen, a computer-animated Alfred appears and gets snippy with master Bruce.
This is a description of the things I did in a demo of Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Knight, due out this June on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. And if any of the above sounds a whole hell of a lot like the camp film Batman & Robin, well, that’s because it’s eerily similar. If you were a fan of that Joel Schumacher-directed 1997 nipple fest or the open-world distractions of the 2011 video game Arkham City, then that gameplay might sound pretty awesome. But for a fan of Batman: Arkham Asylum like myself, however, this sample of Arkham Knight was disconcerting.
Commissioner James Gordon remains remarkably understanding of his peers.
For its new entry in the series, Arkham Knight, developer Rocksteady chose to double down on the open-world exploration of predecessor Arkham City, giving players an expanded metropolis and a souped-up Bat-vehicle to explore it with. The face-lift that open world’s received on the new PlayStation 4 hardware is truly impressive. The streets, thugs and heroes of Arkham Knight glisten with detail and reflected light. Batman’s dank, wet world is gloriously represented even if it feels like you’ve been on these streets before. In fact, if Gotham seems overwhelmingly familiar when you start playing, that’s because the city, though significantly bigger, does indeed borrow architecture from the last game.
That familiarity isn’t a bad thing, though, as continuity between Batman’s video game adventures should enhance the fantasy that you actually are the Caped Crusader. This is his city and while it should change — especially after the middle of town was converted into a freaky prison colony in the last outing — it shouldn’t be wildly different every time.
The Batmobile, which has both destructive and acrobatic panache, lends a perspective absent from the previous games. Where most of Arkham City had players using grappling hooks to swing around and glide through the city’s rooftops, Arkham Knight keeps players grounded in the Batmobile. Unfortunately, that decision to constrain Batman to the streets also seems to have opened the door to some truly Schumacherian missions (sadly devoid of sexual innuendo) for Batman to complete while joyriding.
How does the Riddler afford all these underground racetracks?
I got to indulge in three Batmobile-centric mission types in the demo: bomb disposal, Riddler racing (seriously) and a chase sequence where I tried to catch the jetpack-rocking villain Firebug. To Rocksteady’s credit, all three were pretty entertaining.
In the first mission, the Arkham Knight (as the game’s villain is called) has sprinkled bombs throughout the city that Batman must diffuse by attaching a wire to them (with the Batmobile) and uploading a virus. He then has to defend that secured bomb from neon red-tinged robot tanks while the virus uploads. The whole thing feels more like a version of Battlezone, the 1980 arcade game, if it were made by Daft Punk. The Riddler races, meanwhile, feel like Mario Kart built by an insane person and set in a city sewer system. Which is more or less precisely what’s happened here: The Riddler has you try to beat a course time while you drive up walls and make tricky jumps underground.
Are these Batmobile-specific diversions entertaining? Sure! But when you’re riding the elevator back up from the Riddler’s subterranean fun times, it’s hard not to wonder what the hell any of that has to do with being Batman. Is Rocksteady attempting to ape the goofy Batman of the ’50s comics? If that’s the case, then why is everything all neon counterpointed with shadows and grit? Why have a tank fight at all?
The tag-team fights add a welcome spin on the series’ brawling.
The Firebug chases at least feel more true to Batman’s spirit. Those missions have players driving up to a burning building and then chasing the high-tech arsonist as he tries to escape. Trying to drive around tight city corners so you can get close enough to launch yourself out of the Batmobile, tackle Firebug and beat the crap out of him feels absolutely awesome. It’s also irritatingly open-world-game-specific, though. Since it’s a type of mission, players have to chase Firebug multiple times to complete that side story.
The Riddler races feel like Mario Kart built by an insane person and set in a city sewer system.
Therein lies the greatest problem with Arkham Knight’s shift from the tightly wound exploration of the original to the now Grand Theft Auto-esque open world: The game rarely feels momentous. Every one of these missions feels like so much filler; distractions to give you something to do as you Bat around town. The Firebug mission would be so much more exciting if it was just one specific incident; one big showdown rather than a chore that needs to be repeated over and over again. Batman: Arkham Knight‘s story may deliver the big, enunciated moments I crave, but unfortunately it was off-limits in the demo.
The series’ signature chunky fighting, at least, still feels great in Arkham Knight. Characters like Nightwing can be accessed on the fly by tapping the controller’s shoulder button. (note: Nightwing takes off after the fight, though, so these team-ups are temporary.) As in Arkham City, however, the whole of Gotham’s littered with random henchmen looking for a fight. So while you’ll always have something to do, keep in mind the brawling will be revisited ad nauseam, meaning more repetition of similar goals, as well as fewer distinctive set pieces and special places to explore.
Sadly, Uma Thurman doesn’t play Poison Ivy this time out.
It bears repeating that everything I did in this demo was fun. The races, the bomb disposal: They were perfectly entertaining. The production quality’s not what eats away at Batman’s latest video game adventure. Everything in Arkham Knight feels like it’s expertly made, but also indistinct.
I’d just rather have a flawed Arkham Asylum than a high-quality open world of distractions any day of the week.
[Images credit: WBIE]
Lego’s new Amiibo-like Dimensions figures haven’t even hit stores yet, but already the company appears to be taking on another gaming phenomenon: Minecraft. The world’s biggest toy brand has begun including small flyers inside some of its sets advertising a new game called Lego Worlds, inviting players to “Explore. Discover. Create.” Sounds exactly like the premise of Mojang’s popular sandbox game, doesn’t it? Lego may have gotten a little ahead of itself as the dedicated website for Worlds has yet to go live, but something tells us we might learn more about this mysterious title when E3 comes around next month.
Filed under: Gaming
Source: Lego Worlds