Monday, July 28, 2008

EGT podcast

Over at the Unofficial Emergent Game Technologies Website, I've posted the first of (hopefully) many podcasts I'll be doing for EGT.

My guest (Dan Amerson, Technical Director for Gamebryo) and I shoot the breeze over Gamebryo 2.5, the recently released version of our 3D engine.

You can also subscribe to the RSS/Podcast feed here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Comic-Con 2008

Every year, Comic-Con becomes more and more the "everything" pop culture mecca.

I'm not going this year (not that last year was enough), but I will be watching for that peanut butter and chocolate mix of comic books and video games that I so desperately crave.

If I don't post Comic-Con-related shenanigans this week, be sure to check in on the convention-skewed offerings from and IGN (they'll also be at the left side of the page for a week or two).

I'm sure Microsoft will be adding their Comic-Con specific coverage and Xbox downloadable goodies shortly (starting last year, they became great givers to the comic/geek/Adam crowd).

I'll add more links as I find them.

EDIT: Added the Comic-Con page.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gamebryo / EGT updates

So what's up with Emergent Game Technologies and / or the Gamebryo game engine recently?

On the Gamebryo-powered games front (at least retail), there's Space Chimps from developer REDTRIBE and publisher Brash Entertainment, on the Wii, 360, PS2, and DS.

On the MMO front, the open beta for Magic World Online (dev Goldcool Games and publisher Ingle Games Ltd.) starts June 20.

The big PC MMO for this year, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, started its closed guild beta July 11. This is from long-time developer licensee EA Mythic, and is being published by Electronic Arts.

On the partner integration front, Allegorithmic's ProFX for Gamebryo 2.3 and 2.5 is available, as is our updated Gamebryo 2.5 integration with Audiokinetic's WWise.

Finally, there are also new case studies on the Emergent Web site, including Image Metrics (from the facial animation demo we showed at GDC this year), and Coldwood (another GDC demo with a long-time licensee, showing what seven or eight people can do to create a hot tech demo in about a month's time) -- video accessible via the pict below.

Coldwood Case Study screenshot

Right, that's good for the work side of my gaming life for now.

(EDIT: Cleaned up links -- thank, Vince, for the heads up.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

E3 2008: Day 1

I'm tired, but it's been a big day on the announcement front.

You can catch my live tweeting of the Microsoft press conference.

Biggest announcement was Final Fantasy XIII coming to Xbox 360. Other cool stuff includes a NetFlix announcement (download videos via Xbox Marketplace, for the cost of the NetFlix account), Xbox Dashboard redesign this fall (sexy 3D-ish), sequel Portal Still Alive is a 2008 exclusive to the 360, content deals with NBC / Universal, and titles Fallout 3, Fable II, RE:5, and Gears 2 all look fantastic.

Electronic Arts robbed the Activision cradle (?), snagging id Software and Rage, and introduced Nucleus, a system/service that will connect a bunch of their games (29 by end of 2009), and Rupture, an API that "allows anyone to bring data in and out of the Rupture website. The API has two major components, the Rupture Client API and the Rupture API."

Sony's and Nintendo's and pressers are on Tuesday.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

E3 Preview(ish)

E3 starts Monday, with the console pressers on Monday and Tuesday.

I'm excited to see what shakes out, but there are a number of titles and rumors that have me pumped.

On the titles front, I'm going to miss something I dig, but Borderlands (Gearbox Software) just looks fun; I'm hoping Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization continues the great stuff from Civilization: Revolution; Capcom's got me jonesing for Resident Evil 5 and Dark Void, Flock has me intrigued, and I'm hoping "New games from Capcom Interactive" include Dead Rising 2; from D3 Publisher, I think Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers looks to be the video game version of wonderfully trashy camp; Dead Space looks be a brown trousers equivent to 28 Days Later; Mirror’s Edge may improve on the Breakdown formula for "first-person thing"; Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning may be the MMO that gets me on board with the genre (and it's Gamebryo-powered); I'm hoping The Lord of the Rings: Conquest successfully merges the Tolkien IP with the Star Wars Battlefront gameplay; Left 4 Dead could be the shot in the rotting arm the zombie genre needs (like it needs anything); Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe may be a great expression of the component IPs; and SquEnix's The Last Remnant and Infinite Undiscovery look like uber-epic super-production value offerings.

As far as console rumors, I'm hoping they all do something actually phenomenal with media intersection. Brass tacks, Microsoft owns the show with Xbox Live, Sony should have exploded a long time ago (since it has the media and video content six ways to Sunday), and Nintendo could get so much more addressable market if they would get into that space (by way of focused online).

For Sony, it's probably a bit stupid of me that the most exciting thing for me would be a Twisted Metal follow up, (a la Black). Oh, and Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain looks closest to bridging the uncanny valley -- and tugging the heart strings to boot. On the hardware front, I wonder if Sony will drop the price of the PS2; seems like a win/lose, because it'll bring revenue, but feels like it'll cannibalize PS3 adoption (unless there's an equivalent PS3 drop, which I don't expect).

For Microsoft, I wonder if there'll be any motion controller announcement, to add to the news of the price drop for the Pro SKU. I'm a Halo be-otch, so Halo Wars, Peter Jackson's project, or whatever the #### Bungie is working on would be keen. Aside from that, I'd really love "Live Anywhere" to materialize (or even "Live Somewhere") -- like some big E3 presser announcement, simultaneous dashboard download and Windows Mobile update. That'd be sweet.

Nintendo? They say they haven't abandoned the "core gamer", so I hope that means some unexpected announcements from them. A Nintendo DS more akin to the Wii, or integrated with the Wii, or something, with content that matches the stereotypical gaming demographic. Franchise wise, I'm thinking Donkey Kong. What about the Wii? I'd love for Nintendo to do something disruptive -- a "Wii 1.25", or something -- with basics like DVD, a focused network initiative, etc.

So that's my quick-and-dirty preview -- more in a few hours.

Xbox 360 20Gb drops and deals

Ahead of its E3 keynote, Microsoft has made official the rumored $50 price drop for its 20Gb Xbox 360, ahead of the release of the new, replacement 60Gb version.

Not only can gamers get the 20Gb version starting today at most major retailers, some are doing shopping incentives in addition -- like Target, who's are giving $25 gift cards plus the fifty-buck price drop.

(Dunno if the new 60Gb version will be $300 or $350.)

Full Microsoft press release:
Redmond, Washington—Microsoft is giving consumers more gigabytes for their buck. The company today announced an Xbox 360® console with triple the storage space of the original console, but for the same price of $349 (U.S.) estimated retail price.

Available in retail stores in the U.S. and Canada starting in early August, the upgraded Xbox 360 will include a 60GB hard drive for storing the growing wealth of digital entertainment available for the console, including music, movies, television shows, and game content. In addition, Microsoft today dropped the price of its 20GB Xbox 360 console in the U.S. and Canada to just $299 (U.S.) (ERP) while supplies last, a savings of $50.

"We know consumers need more and more space to store the amazing digital content Xbox 360 offers, and we're giving it to them at no extra charge," said Albert Penello, Xbox director of product management at Microsoft. "No one device offers the depth and breadth of entertainment that Xbox 360 can deliver, and now you'll have three times the storage to manage all that great content."

Xbox 360 is just one of three Xbox 360 gaming and entertainment systems Microsoft offers. Microsoft's Xbox 360 Arcade, which comes with a 256MB memory unit and five Xbox LIVE Arcade games, is a value for the whole family for $279 (U.S.) (ERP), and the premium Xbox 360 Elite console is available with a 120GB hard drive for $449 (U.S.) (ERP).

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Gamebryo / EGT updates

As Product Manager for 3D engine Gamebryo, it probably makes sense for me to -- at least every once in a while -- summarize what's happening on that video game front.

Aside from our recent release (was it just over a month ago?!), we're not standing still.

Here's what's happened in just the last few days (I'm too lazy to go back through the whole month right now).

On the games front, there are a few titles with recent movement from that long list o' titles I posted for this year alone.

Notably, this week (today) sees Gamebryo-powered title Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution hit store shelves.

There's also a little Gamebryo-powered offering from Google (Lively). It's for Google to talk about, but there are number of online interviews where Google mentions the Gamebryo engine.

Emergent is also good about technology partnerships -- we understand we can't build everything, and we're sensitive to our licensees' investments in other middleware. More than just "paper partnerships", our partnerships are generally tech integrations available out-of-the-box (or via easy download) that let you leverage other top-tier games middleware in a powerful way.

Updated integrations include Audiokinetic's awesome Wwise audio pipeline offering, compatible with Gamebryo 2.5.

Then there's Aristen, a new company with a special effects sequencing tool. There launch press release was earlier than I expected, but it has a nice plug for Emergent.

Finally (at least on this) we released our first Allegorithmic ProFX integration with Gamebryo. Massive procedural textures, itty bitty compressionables. Yum.

Good stuff -- more to come shortly.

E3 links

In preparation for next week, I brought back the "E3" link on the top left side of my page, and added a few of the big dogs that come to mind -- including their scheduled press conferences.

On the console front, only Microsoft seems to have their E3 site up and discoverable, so if you know where Sony's and Nintendo's are, let me know.

Press conferences:
  • Monday (7/14) 10:30 a.m. PDT: Microsoft
  • Tuesday (7/15) 09:00 a.m. PDT: Nintendo
  • Tuesday (7/15) 11:30 a.m. PDT: Sony

Monday, July 07, 2008

Bungie Day 2008

(Forgot to post this this morning.)

It's Bungie Day 2008 ("the seventh day of the seventh month ..."), and there are some online and Xbox Live goodies for download -- with the Xbox Live goodies mostly available for today only (gamerpics and theme).

On Xbox Live Marketplace:
Get 'em while they're hot:

7.7.08 (

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Gamebryo games releasing this week

I'm away from the official list, so the only Gamebryo-powered release that comes to mind for this week is Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution.

The demo's available online, and is a solid console offering for the storied franchise.