Tag Archives: arizona gaming news

Steampunk goes western in Age of Grit

“Firefly” meets steampunk – and Final Fantasy meets the Wild West  – in a local developer’s turn-based RPG seeking funding online.

Arizona-based indie studio iqSoup has launched a Kickstarter campaign for western steampunk RPG Age of Grit. Andy Morrison, president of iqSoup, hopes to raise $12,000 by Sept. 25 to support the development of the PC strategy game – specifically, to hire artists, a composer and more programmers.

Age of Grit follows the adventures of the captain and crew of a steam-powered airship as it explores a western world in search of whatever jobs will pay the bills – transporting passengers or cargo, bounty hunting, working as guns-for-hire, engaging in piracy and more.

Morrison said he drew inspiration from Age of Grit from multiple sources, including Firefly, Final Fantasy, steampunk and the Wild West.

Andy Morrison

“There’s so much potential that has never been realized,” Morrison said. “What I like about ‘Firefly’ isn’t so much the setting… but the adventures they have.”

Unlike Firefly, Age of Grit will take place on one planet, on a single continent, because Morrison feels futuristic games set in outer space have been “kind of overdone.”

Instead, the game will focus on smaller scale adventures that highlight character interaction.

“When it’s on a more epic scale, a lot of that stuff can get pushed to the side,” Morrison said.

Combat in Age of Grit takes place between airships, is turn-based and revolves around a steam power mechanic. Airships generate a set amount of steam power each turn that can be used to power weapons, engines and other systems – but not all of them at once.

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Arizona game devs design indie esports title

A team of Arizona game developers is hoping to bring esports back to its roots with an indie title aimed at local tournaments and modding communities.

The game is RMF, a movement-based 3D arena title for PC developed in the Unreal Engine and aiming for a fall release. Project manager Austin Shamp said it plays similar to a competitive game of tag.

“The players will be playing high-stakes tag, where one player will be chasing everybody else,” he said.

RMF‘s main game mode has no weapons, which Shamp said emphasizes precision in movement. While team game modes are planned, the primary game type is free-for-all.

“Focusing on movement makes it a lot easier to balance,” Shamp said.

Shamp is working on the game with Alex Reiss – Shamp designs the levels while Reiss handles the programming. The team is looking for at least one artist to handle textures, models and animations, as the game is still using default Unreal assets.

RMF is still in development, Shamp said, and the movement mechanics are taking the most time to perfect. Because there is such an emphasis on movement as a “strong base mechanic.”

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How virtual reality can avoid becoming a 3D fad

In 2009, “Avatar” blew past previous box office records with its special effects and widespread 3D release. After years as a novelty, James Cameron had everyone believing realistic 3D was the next form of immersive storytelling.

But Cameron’s world of 3D never became a reality; 3D movies and television are rapidly declining in popularity.

Meanwhile, a similar craze has taken over in the video game industry: virtual reality. Oculus VR, Sony’s Project Morpheus, Samsung’s Gear VR and Google Cardboard are already vying for dominance in the new medium.

But it’s still unclear if virtual reality will have any real staying power. Will it learn from its predecessor’s mistakes, or is it just another 3D fad?

Avatar

The 3D problem

While some were hailing 3D as the next big thing in cinema, moviegoers think otherwise. According to Deadline, movies released in 3D are earning less and less each year from 3D showings, with 2014 expected to have the lowest percentage yet.

And 2014 also has the lowest number of 3D releases in recent years: 28, down from 34 in 2013 and a peak of 29 in 2011. Hollywood seems to recognize 3D films are failing and it’s adjusting accordingly.

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Phoenix Makes Games Jam tests skills of Arizona developers

Game developers from across Arizona participated July 18-20 in Game CoLab‘s Phoenix Makes Games Jam, a 48-hour challenge to create a video game.

Four teams built games for the event based around a dinosaur theme and presented them July 20 at Arizona State University in Tempe.

“We wanted to bring people together and show them what we could do,” Game CoLab co-founder Ben Reichert said. “I wanted to do something that kind of symbolized Arizona because we do have some archaeological things here.”

Game CoLab has hosted game jams in the past with the most recent being the Phoenix Global Game Jam.

“With the global game jam we didn’t have any prizes and I’m really excited we had some prizes this time,” Reichert said.

A panel of judges chose the winners based on theme, programming quality, art style and gameplay features.

Event sponsors included the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Ascendum, Arizona State University, The University of Advancing Technology, Unity, Cartel, Cosplay Fan Gear and “Indie Game: the Movie.”

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The winning team behind Dinosaur Story.

First place and the prize of a permanent Unity Pro license went to Dinosaur Story, a dinosaur exploration simulator that challenges the player with surviving in a 3-D world. The player dinosaur must prey on weaker dinosaurs while evading larger ones that can kill it, team member Tyler Knecht said.

“It’s a battle between surviving hunger and not being eaten,” Knecht said. “Eventually plants won’t suffice and you need to become a predator to survive.”

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Endgame to host ‘beta test’ gaming party July 12

Endgame Bar is looking for more beta testers to attend a daylong gaming party this month.

Endgame will be open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, July 12, at the Brickyard, 699 S. Mill Ave. Suite 201 – a location Endgame’s project founder Ryan Scott plans to make permanent this fall.

A $5 cover charge gets you access to all of the bar’s video games, a slice of pizza and entry to the Super Smash Bros. Melee tournaments at noon and 5 p.m. (a new addition to this month’s event)

Although the campaign failed, anyone who pledged at least $10 to Endgame’s Kickstarter will get into this and all future “beta test” events for free.

You can bring your own games, food and drinks but no alcohol. Parking is free on the weekends at the garage on Fifth Street and Forest (across from the light rail).

RSVP for the event on Endgame’s Facebook page.

Gaming bar launches Kickstarter, eyes Tempe location

A video game bar has its eyes on a space on Mill Avenue in Tempe – but it’s dangerous to go alone.

Endgame Bar has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money and support for its bid to move into the 7,000 square foot space at 699 S. Mill Ave., owned by Arizona State University, by the fall

Ryan Scott is the project founder and a former ASU student. He said in a interview with Arizona Gamer that he has plans for Endgame to provide console-based entertainment in a gamer-friendly bar atmosphere.

He’s joined in the project by Nikki DelRosso, the lead designer and website manager, and Mike Goosens, the project’s marketing coordinator and head bartender.

Scott said in an interview with Arizona Gamer that there are two main goals for the Kickstarter campaign: to raise additional funds to pay for a liquor license, which costs around $70,000 in Arizona, and to demonstrate to ASU that there is interest in such a venue.

“We wanted to be able to use the Kickstarter to show the people that have doubts that this is something that people actually want,” Scott said.

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Cox: Gigabit internet coming to Arizona, eventually

Google’s threat to bring faster internet to Arizona is working…. sort of.

Cox Communications announced today plans to introduce gigabit Internet speeds in Phoenix starting this year. That’s great news for local gamers as gigabit internet is as much as 100 times faster than the average broadband speed.

Don’t get too excited though – the company will begin only with select residential projects and neighborhoods, so chances are you’ll have to wait until 2016 when Cox begins its “market-wide” deployment.

Cox also announced today it will double the speeds of its most popular tiers of internet service, with the Internet Preferred package going from 25 mbps to 50 mbps and the Internet Premier package jumping from 50 mbps to 100.

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Arizona developers present games for Education Hackathon

Above: Justin McCandless explains his game, Mathpx, to Education Hackathon judge Mario Vassaux.

Local developers demonstrated the educational potential of games May 16 at a Game CoLab Education Hackathon pitch event.

The hackathon began April 22 and asked participants to create an educational game over the course of about three weeks and then present it to a panel of judges.

Four judges evaluated the eight games on four factors: fun, creativity, marketability and assessment. The winning game would be fun, feature original design, have a marketable concept and be able to measure a student’s progress and achievement.

Game CoLab partnered with Pearson to host the event and provided $600 in prizes divided among the top three finishers, with $300, $200 and $100 going to first, second and third place, respectively.

Justin McCandless won first place for his game, Mathpx, a learning game built in HTML5 that teaches students addition and subtraction through number visualization. A traditional math problem appears at the top of the screen while pixel balls are shown on the lower half, allowing students to manipulate problems and picture the math as they go.

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Puzzle platformer TesserAct heads to Steam

Portal was about using physics to your advantage. TesserAct, a puzzle platformer from Phoenix-based Propelled Bird Software, lets you bend it to your will, lead developer Clay Walters said in an interview with Arizona Gamer.

TesserAct was greenlit last month and Walters expects the game to hit Steam this summer. The developers also recently received backing on Indiegogo to pay for licensing fees.

The game is set in a “universe based on scientific theory,” Walters said. It follows Sam, a student who is inexplicably teleported to an abandoned moon base in another dimension.

She stumbles upon the Catalyst, a tool that can manipulate the laws of physics, and sets out to find a way back home.

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Game CoLab announces incubator program

Local gaming co-working organization Game CoLab has announced plans for a gaming entrepreneurship program funded by two sizable grants.

Co-founder Ben Reichert announced the Game CoLab Incubator Program on Tuesday. It’s funded by a $33,798 grant from the city of Phoenix.

The program will assist local game developers with innovative and disruptive ideas, according to Game CoLab’s website. Its goal is to create three new jobs in within three years.

Game CoLab is accepting applications for membership in the program. Four teams of developers will be selected and receive a monthly stipend of $300 as well as free workspace, classes, mentorship and networking.

There will be two four-month sessions beginning in June and October with space for two teams each. Some of the classes will be open to members of the Game CoLab for a to-be-determined fee.