Game Developers Conference 2018 highlights

With the usual gathering of programmers, artists, producers, game designers along with other professionals, another exciting Game Developers Conference has happened this year (2018, march); an event that featured over 500 lectures, panels, tutorials, the GDC expo and round-table discussions about all kinds of subjects regarding the game industry, and besides all that, let’s not forget about the Independent Games Festival and also the Game Developers Choice Awards, both featured annually in this event. It is really an experience that no one interested in entering the gaming industry should lose, but, of course, you can still be well informed of some of the interesting things shown in the event, just keep reading!

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Virtual Reality more accessible to the public

Let’s talk about some of the highlights of this year’s GDC, starting out with the new VR gadget, the Oculus Go, showcased in this year’s event and tried out by many developers, the Oculus Go is the first fully standalone version; one that surprisingly, you don’t need to connect to a phone or a computer to have fun with, also, it’s way more accessible than the Oculus Rift in more than one way: it doesn’t affect your wallet as much.

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According to developers who tested this new VR set out in the event, the Oculus Go works very well, and it might be the new “accessible entry point that virtual reality needs.” Let’s find out when it launches later this year.

Game Developers Choice Awards

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The GDC Awards recognizes and celebrates outstanding games for their creativity, well programmed and executed ideas, art and music. Annually, this event awards the best game of the year, and this year, this game was Nintendo’s ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’. The game was also celebrated in other categories, such as: Best audio and best design.

The game’s story follows the well known character, Link, who awakens from a hundred-year slumber to a mysterious voice and now is free to explore an open world and save the kingdom of Hyrule from destruction. Of course, other games were also celebrated.

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Designed, developed, and illustrated by Jason Roberts, this game won Best mobile game and Innovation Award, with its simple, yet satisfyingly complex puzzles. This game might be a new way to see the puzzle genre, and it definitely attracted more people to it. According to IGN: “Every puzzle fan should have Gorogoa on their radar.”

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This immersive atmospheric game won the category of Best Narrative. It tells weird tales of the Finch family. You play as a woman who is exploring their giant house and learning more about her past as part of the family and herself.

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This run and gun focused on boss battle game won Best Visual Art; and it’s clear why. The game shows characters who move, talk and act like an Disney old cartoon. The whole game is colorful and cute, despite being considered one of the hardest games to beat.

So, what else did you like in this edition of the Game Developers Conference?

Anúncios

Meus jogos favoritos para PICO-8

PICO-8 é uma máquina virtual criada pela Lexaloffle Games, projetada para ser um console de videogames “de faz de conta”. O console virtual permite que programadores desenvolvam jogos e animações em linguagem Lua, e tem as seguintes características de “hardware”: display de 128×128 pixels em 16 cores, cartuchos de 32k, som de 4 canais e controles com D-pad + 3 botões (Z, X e start). As restrições de “hardware”, somadas à simplicidade de programar os jogos, fizeram dele um sucesso na Fantasy Console Game Jam. Para desenvolvedores indie e que curtem gráficos retrô, mas querem evitar a dificuldade de programar para consoles antigos como NES e Mega Drive, o PICO-8 é uma boa pedida. Outra vantagem é que é muito fácil compartilhar o seu jogo e ele pode ser jogado diretamente do navegador mesmo por quem não tem o software para desenvolver no PICO-8.

Apesar de ter menos de 5 anos de existência, o console virtual da Lexaloffle tem uma biblioteca considerável para explorar devido ao seu sucesso na Fantasy Console Game Jam. No artigo de hoje compartilharei os meus jogos favoritos para esta plataforma, agrupados por gênero. Só incluí na minha lista jogos originais, ou seja, nada de demakes, remakes, tributos, paródias, etc. Vocês verão que os jogos de tiro em primeira pessoa, RPGs e de plataforma brilham pela ausência na lista. Os FPS e RPG são escassos na plataforma, e os poucos que existem são demakes ou tributos. Jogos de plataforma há muitos, mas a maioria deles peca pela falta de originalidade, controles imprecisos ou dificuldade frustrante.

O artigo é jogável. Clique nas imagens dos jogos para abri-los numa nova aba e jogar diretamente do navegador!

PUZZLE / CASUAL

Colored Answers
Desenvolvedor: ElGregos

Este jogo exige raciocínio e timing. Seu objetivo é levar umas minhoquinhas coloridas do seu ponto de partida até o buraco, simplesmente redefinindo o caminho que elas devem fazer. Cada nível tem uma meta de cores a serem preenchidas, representadas pelos frascos de tinta na parte inferior da tela. Nos níveis mais avançados, você precisará combinar as minhoquinhas no meio do caminho para gerar as combinações de cores necessárias.

colored-answers

 


Hook, Line and Thinker
Desenvolvedor: Rythm Lynx

Dê um peixe a um homem e você o alimentará por um dia. Ensine um homem a pescar e você o alimentará pelo resto da vida. Neste quebra-cabeças você terá de ajudar o nosso protagonista pescador a voltar para casa com o peixe de cada dia resolvendo o mistério de cada nível. Mas cuidado: sua linha tem uma extensão limitada e você precisa calcular bem a ordem de cada movimento para passar de nível. No total são 10 níveis de dificuldade variada.

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Combo Pool
Desenvolvedor: NuSan

Este jogo absolutamente viciante é o meu segundo favorito. Penso nele como uma mistura de bilhar com match-3. O objetivo é fazer com que bolas de cores iguais toquem umas às outras, combinando-as em uma nova bola de cor diferente. O jogo vai ficando progressivamente mais difícil quanto maior é a variedade de cores na mesa. Você pode jogar no modo arcade, com tempo, ou no modo infinito para matar o tempo.

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BRIGA DE RUA

The Lair
Desenvolvedor: Jakub Wasilewski

Um jogo “beat ‘em up” com temática gótica e belos gráficos. Confesso que nunca fui bom para jogos desse gênero, mas esse aqui mesmo com a dificuldade no fácil não consegui ir muito longe. Os dois botões comandam o ataque e a defesa, respectivamente. Uma vez que você bloqueia um ataque com o escudo, sua guarda ficará aberta e você terá de atacar ou esperar para levantar o escudo novamente. Mantenha o botão de ataque pressionado para carregar a espada e desferir um golpe mais poderoso. Não consegui passar do primeiro chefe. Espero que você tenha mais sorte e habilidade do que eu!

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AVENTURA

Dank Tomb
Desenvolvedor: Jakub Wasilewski

Este é um dos jogos que explora ao máximo as capacidades do console virtual. Seu sistema de iluminação faz uso de praticamente toda a CPU do PICO-8, e a mecânica não desaponta: o resultado final é um jogo de aventura, exploração e mistério onde o jogo entre luz e escuridão desempenha um papel fundamental, aumentando o suspense. Descubra os mistérios desta cripta explorando com sua lanterna, desbloqueando portas, ativando plataformas flutuantes e evitando armadilhas mortais.

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Hydra
Desenvolvedor: Alien Bug

Hydra tem duas características marcantes: dificuldade e fator replay. Nele você poderá explorar masmorras geradas proceduralmente de modo aleatório, de forma que duas partidas desse jogo nunca serão iguais. As masmorras, obviamente, estão repletas de monstros cujo objetivo é não deixar você encontrar o tesouro. Os gráficos são bastante impressionantes levando em consideração as limitações da plataforma, também.

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Legends of Pizza Night
Desenvolvedor: Jason Payne

O bairro foi invadido por bolas de queijo, geleias de molho e tomates voadores assassinos, e você é o entregador de pizza. Sua missão: entregar a pizza a qualquer custo. Felizmente, sua caixa de pizzas também funciona como arma e você pode usar ela para esmagar alguns inimigos. Mas usá-la requer astúcia, pois você precisa manejá-la em corredores estreitos e saber o momento e caminho correto a percorrer.

legends of pizza night


We Missed You!
Desenvolvedor: RHY3756547

Neste jogo você trabalha em uma empresa de correios e entregas. Seu trabalho é entregar e recolher envelopes e pacotes de casa em casa dirigindo a sua van. Mas isso não será fácil, pois você tem somente cinco minutos para fazer todas as dez entregas! O jogo tem gráficos bem acabados, com uma câmera aérea que lembra um pouco os GTAs antigos, e é bastante divertido.

we missed you


ESTRATÉGIA / SIMULADORES

Island Gods
Desenvolvedor: JO-əl

Meu preferido entre todos. Gastei muitas horas jogando esse joguinho de estratégia, que apesar de ter gráficos bastante simples é absolutamente viciante. Nele, você deverá controlar uma das três nações insulares disponíveis (deus azul, deus vermelho e deus verde) e levá-la à vitória, que acontece quando você elimina completamente as duas nações rivais ou domina 65% ou mais dos recursos do mapa.

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Picopolis
Desenvolvedor: Jeb

Meu terceiro favorito, o simulador de administração e planejamento urbano do PICO-8 tem gráficos simples e bonitos, e jogabilidade viciante também. Popule a região com zonas residenciais, comerciais e industriais, divirta seus habitantes com monumentos e atrações turísticas, controle as estatísticas de desemprego, poluição e criminalidade investindo em educação, saúde, zonas verdes e segurança. O futuro de Picópolis depende de você, prefeito!

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SHMUPS (“NAVINHA”)

Zepton
Desenvolvedor: Rez

Este é um dos jogos que leva as capacidades gráficas do PICO-8 ao limite. Considerando que os “cartuchos virtuais” são limitados a 32 KB, este jogo está para o PICO-8 como o Star Fox está para o SNES em termos de visual. Só por este fato ele já é um dos meus favoritos, mas a jogabilidade dele também é bastante divertida e explora muito bem o 3D. Sua nave tem duas armas principais: o canhão automático e os mísseis. Para acertar os inimigos, é necessário primeiro focá-los na mira até que o indicador fique vermelho. É bem difícil de acertar com um número de inimigos sempre crescente. Além disso, a nave conta com um laser que é disparado usando os dois botões ao mesmo tempo. O laser consome energia, portanto use com cuidado.

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Hyperspace
Desenvolvedor: J-Fry

Apesar de não ter uma jogabilidade tão impressionante quanto Zepton, os gráficos de Hyperspace são muito bons para a plataforma e o jogo em si também é bem divertido. Os controles se sentem um pouco mais “pesados”, dando um certo realismo e dificuldade à experiência de pilotar a nave. Neste aqui só há uma arma, mas ela também dispara em modo automático contra detritos espaciais e naves inimigas, então você vai usar o botão dela para girar a nave rapidamente, evadindo os disparos inimigos.

hyperspace


E você, já jogou na plataforma PICO-8? Comente seus jogos favoritos nos comentários!

Not all “games” are games

By definition an electronic game is an interactive software where:

  1. Your decisions change the inner state of the software in a meaningful, preferably irrevocable way. Think something along the lines of moving a piece in a chessboard: you just can’t go back to the initial setting because your opponent won’t let you.
  2. You can lose. Every game has an end. You can win big, win small, win different, but there must always be the possibility to lose. This is part of the thrill of playing, be it against a human opponent, an AI opponent or simple immovable obstacles.

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Source: minecraft.net

Graphical interfaces, storytelling, score keeping, character building, lore and music are all beautiful additions but they don’t make your digital interactive media a game. Ergo, not everything that’s sold as a game is actually a game (e.g.: interactive novels). Some features can actually render a game into a non-game, such as the ability to save/load at any point, which makes the player’s decision irrelevant to the game state because he or she can try endlessly until reaching the “optimal decision”. But it’s up to the player to do that or not. If you could avoid having a predefined optimal route and go with a couple of different end scenarios, all the better.

So, as you can see, the term “game” is used very loosely nowadays, which is wrong because it paints an inaccurate picture of the whole industry of digital interactive media out there. There is nothing wrong with developing an interactive novel, a simulator, a pixel art map editor, etc.

Global Game Jam highlights

For what is now 10 years, an annual event called Global Game Jam (GGJ) has been happening, and as the name implies, it’s been happening all around the globe. Global Game Jam 2018 took place from the 26th to the 28th of January in 109 different countries; including, of course, Brazil and other countries from Latin America. With more than 42.000 people participating at this year’s “jam”, this was “the biggest Game Jam ever”.

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If you don’t know what the GGJ is all about or how it works, it’s an event with sites at different states and cities of various countries, where the “jammers”, who are developers, students, designers, musicians or simply people interested in learning and challenging themselves, gather in groups, to program – or better said: to put a game together, in 48 hours. What they don’t tell you until you get there is the theme of the game; each year has its own theme, and this year’s theme was: “Transmission”, a multifaceted theme that can be interpreted in many ways, and so it was; with more than 8.000 games on many different platforms, spanning desktop PCs, mobile, virtual reality, eye-tracking, cardboard for tabletop games and much more.

In this article, we are going to talk about the amazing games developed at this year’s GGJ by Brazilians, Australians and Latin Americans (more specifically Colombians).

Before we start, it is important to note that it can be said that all games developed at the Global Game Jam are indie, since the games are developed using the same free software (Unity) in small groups (the biggest group had 19 participants). It is also worth remembering that some of which today are super famous indie games were created at a GGJ. A few great examples: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime and Surgeon Simulator. So, it is possible to learn more about developing indie games at this event, as well as appreciating this growing market and the hard work put into every project – because being an indie developer is challenging, and not always rewarding. That’s why we are going to talk about some projects that deserve special attention.

As we already know, many awesome games were created at this year’s GGJ, but for today, let’s talk about two games per country.

Brazil Game Jam

It is no secret that every Brazilian game displayed at the GGJ official website is not only creative, but also very well presented; you can tell they are made with passion and care. Brazilians are known to be great indie game developers. Since the game market is still growing at this tropical land, small groups of developers are common; that’s why all of Brazilians games have such high quality: only real passionate programmers program!

At this year’s “jam”, 510 games were developed by Brazilians; the greatest number between the three countries we are discussing in this article.

Music Paper

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Music Paper was created by programmers at the Brazil Game Jam site called Manaus (Ocean). With the “Transmission” theme being very clear and well put in this game, you play as a passionate musician who, after putting his feelings into writing a sheet song, throws it out the window so it would reach anyone who gets it. The gyroscope and swipe are the main controls of the game, and the main objective is to reach musical rings, making the before grayish and sad scenario again colorful with the power of music. Music Paper is available for Android, iPad and iPhone and was developed by Flameseed Game Studio.

Love Link

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Developed at the Indie Warehouse site in Brasília (DF), their game criticizes people who care too much about their phones and too little about real social interaction, displaying them as zombies with phones in their hands. Love Link is available for MS Windows.

Australia Game Jam

Australian programmers developed 251 games at this year’s Global Game Jam, and prepare to laugh, because Australians have shown that they have a great sense of humor, since most of their games are centered on a funny or unexpected story, for example, these two games bellow:

Robo Love Triangle

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Made by only three participants from Melbourne, this is a two-player (PvP) platformer with a cute design, a funny story and a simple objective. You have to compete against the other player at collecting alien letters to then send them to the Robotta – a cute robot. The one who sends the most letters will win her heart; and the game! Robo Love Triangle is available for MS Windows.

SasWatch

SasWatch.jpgDeveloped at the AIE Canberra site, in this game you play as a little girl who wants to prove to her family, her town and the whole world that the Sasquatch really exists. In order to prove that the Sasquatch is real, you have to set up sensor trackers around the forest and also get video footage as proof. This super fun game is available for MS Windows.

Colombia Game Jam

Colombia had a small but strong “collection” of games this year, with 52 games spanning various themes and styles.

Eclipse

Eclipse.jpgDeveloped by a large group of nine people at the Global Game Jam Medellin site, this game draws attention by its beautiful and colorful scenario, creative story and well thought gameplay and controls. You play switching between two characters; Magnus, the sun automaton, and Muuya, the moon automaton. They must cooperate to meet each other while living in parallel worlds. Eclipse is available for MS Windows.

Global Sick Jam

Global-Sick-Jam.pngWith a lot of humor involved, this game was also developed by a group from the Global Game Jam Medellin, drawing attention not only for being funny, but also for being very well programmed and designed. This game takes place at the real Global Game Jam site at UPB Medellin. Your objective is simple: get every other team sick, so your team will be the only one to submit a game in the end. This game is available for MS Windows.

As you can tell by now, the Global Game Jam is a great event for people who are interested in entering the indie game market. All games made there (from the first event in 2009 to the latest this year) are available at their official website here. Let’s all be inspired by these passionate programmers and enjoy their awesome projects! And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next year’s GGJ.

The Story of Tetris

Two days ago, the YouTube channel Gaming Historian published a masterpiece documentary on one of the greatest games ever released: Tetris (Electronika 60, Alexey Pajitnov & Vadim Gerasimov, 1984).

The documentary covers the humble origins of this addictive game in the Soviet Academy of Sciences, its difficult break into the West and quick rise in popularity in the late 80s and early 90s. The video is around 1 hour long, but it is worth every single minute.


Watch it on YouTube:

NESmaker will allow you to create your own NES games

 

If you are a hardcore retro gamer, you’ve probably played NES a lot. Now, what if you could create your own games for this classic platform? Well, thanks to Austin McKinley and Joeseph Granato now you can!

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NESmaker is a software that allows you to create your very own NES game using your own graphic assets and, better yet, store it into an actual, playable cartridge! Wanna learn more about this amazing project? Check NESmaker page on Kickstarter:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1316851183/nesmaker-make-nes-games-no-coding-required

A New Year in Indie Gaming

Every year is different in the gaming market; since the first game ever programmed, each year or decade has its favorites or more popular games – in all categories, including indie games, the ones that we are going to talk about here – and of course, in 2017 it’s still the same way. Today, we are going to talk about the best indie games – or the most popular ones – from Brazil, Latin America and the World.

Foxhole

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First game on the list of best indie games of 2017 (players choice), according to the 2017 Indie of the Year awards from IndieDB. Foxhole is an MMO (massive multiplayer online) real time strategy game developed and distributed by Clapfoot. It’s a game where you work with many other players to shape the outcome of a persistent online war. Every player contributes with building, combat, strategy and much more.

Foxhole is available at Steam for US$ 13,99 and at HumbleBundle for $19.99.

Distortions

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Chosen best Brazilian indie game at 2017’s Big Festival (Brazil’s Independent Games Festival), according to IGN. This game is still being developed by a Brazilian company from São Paulo called Among Giants. The game is described in their official website as a “musical psychodrama” with various genres in one game, where you play as a young woman on her journey of self knowledge, exploring an open world full of memories, wonders and puzzles to be solved. The unique aspect of the game is that the only “weapon” in the game are the songs played by a violin, an instrument found by the young woman, wich will help her in her path in many different moments and ways.

The game will be available soon for PC at Steam and Windows Store for pre-order in February, 8 and for regular purchase at February, 15.

The Deadly Tower of Monsters

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Chosen best Latin American indie game at 2017’s Big Festival, according to IGN. This game was developed by “Ace Team” from Chile, the same developers behind “Rock of Ages”. The game is a science fiction, action packed adventure, with lots of good humor. The game is set in a giant tower where the player fights against various monsters in order to save the world from a tyrannical emperor.

The game is available for PS4 and PC at Steam for US$ 3.74, HumbleBundle for $14.99 USD, and Playstation Store for $14.99 USD.

Now, what to expect of 2018? There is one way to know! Check out some of the gaming events that are going to happen this year, in Brazil, Latin America and around the World.

Brazil Gaming Congress

The Brazil Gaming Congress is an event focused on the discussion of important aspects for those who wanting to enter the gaming market. Latin America is growing in the gaming industry and Brazil is up front with great projects; there has never been a greater need for information and discussion on subjects like the processes, taxation, regulations and such regarding the gaming market; and BGC 2018 will be a great opportunity to learn about them and also to meet people interesting people in this growing Latin American gaming market.

The Brazil Gaming Congress will take place in April 22-24 in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, click here to visit its official website.

Game Developers Conference 2018

Known as the biggest event for game developers of America, this international event provides the opportunity for gaming industry professionals to interact, expand their network and promote their products. It’s also perfect for developers to find publishing, distribution partners, service providers and so on. Publishers and distributors can find new games and look for projects with potential, as well as service providers and international partners. Service Providers, on the other hand, can find publishers, distributors and developers looking for services.

It’s also worth noticing that Brazil is going to play a huge role in this event; Abragames (Brazilian Association of Digital Game Developers) is going to be there with 80 entrepreneurs from 26 brazilian companies. Check Abragames’s calendar here.

This event will happen in March 19-23 in San Francisco, USA. For more information, click here to visit its official website.