Archive for April, 2011

Get prototype cozy

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

We decided to spend the night playing the pilot episode of the series because we’ve been at it something fierce the past few weeks. A dizzying fireworks spectacular relinquishing little yet going big. I’m tired.

Trip Harrison and the Cosmic Crusade

Trip Harrison for president.

GDC 2011 – The Year of the Indie

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Banner of GDC 2011

This post is a bit overdue since Jeff and I attended GDC 2011 last month in March but I thought I’d take the time from our busy schedule to share my thoughts and impression of this year’s conference. GDC was a great success for us on many levels including networking, learning, and getting a handle on what’s going on in the games industry so it was a very worthwhile trip.

GDC – Then and Now

The last time I’d been to GDC was probably in the late 90′s when I was working in the mainstream games industry so I wasn’t sure what to expect this time around. Would it be more of the same or had it totally changed? I guess the answer is a little of both. The format was the same, tons of content and not enough time to attend everything, and just as exhausting every day with lots to do both during and after the main conference hours.

One thing of note is the addition of on-demand viewing of sessions via the GDC Vault so you can go back and watch any sessions you couldn’t squeeze into your packed schedule. The last time I was there we all got a huge tome of a book with conference notes from all the sessions; I’m glad we’re not killing trees like that anymore. :)

Indie Games Summit

GDC IGDA Business Cards Artwork

IGDA art piece made out of indie business cards

We started the week by attending the Indie Games Summit on Monday and Tuesday before the main show floor opened. This consisted of various sessions all focused around independent game development and I have to say this was definitely time well spent.

We got a chance to hear from and in most cases meet many developers including Team Meat, 2D Boy, Playdead, Supergiant Games, Chris Hecker, Pocketwatch Games, Wolfire, and many more. The talks themselves were filled with shared experiences detailing struggles and success of various projects that were both equally inspiring. The big takeaway from the sessions was that this is indeed the best time to be an independent game developer. There is so much opportunity to innovate by prototyping and iterating quickly, lots of choice with regards to platforms for distribution, and an audience of gamers who is increasingly becoming familiar with and becoming fans of indie games. Altogether we are a part of a very vibrant and exciting scene, a movement that is growing very quickly.

The Showroom Floor

Once the main show floor opened on Wednesday I took some time in between sessions to look around but nothing really struck out as impressive. It seemed much smaller than I remember. Most of the big companies were represented but my impression was they were there more in a recruiting capacity rather than to show off anything groundbreaking. So other than Nintendo showing the 3DS there didn’t seem to be much buzz. Maybe they’ve all shifted their focus to E3 for that sort of thing?


Indie Games Festival booth during the show

What was nice to see was the Independent Games booth was the place where most people were gathered around and really the center of excitement on the show floor. I got a chance to try out Bastion which was great and one of the games I’m really looking forward to getting. Another one that was gathering quite a large crowd and attention was Nidhogg which I didn’t even get a chance to play as there was such a line but it was actually very fun to watch and looks to have nailed the gameplay. We also got a chance to meet Markus Persson (aka Notch), the developer of Minecraft which was very nice.

The Awards

The last part of the conference for us was attending the awards ceremonies for both independent and mainstream games. I won’t go into detail here as there are plenty of sites covering this but the quick version is that Minecraft won by a landslide picking up various awards both indie and mainstream which was very exciting. The other game that won the night was Red Dead Redemption which won numerous awards including game of the year.

Overall it was an amazing trip that inspired us and validated our excitement about the opportunity of developing games independently. If you’ve never gone to a GDC I’d highly recommend it, it’s worth saving up for the expense. We are glad to have connected with other passionate developers who are contributing to this vibrant community and we’re just thrilled to be a part of it. Please feel free to share your thoughts on GDC 2011. Now back to prototyping. :)

April 1st, 4038
by Dorthy Dabbledots

Bertal Einthorne

Happy Bertal Einthorne Day! As always, I will spend the day on the Ematica campus. I have been asked to judge the annual Wormhole Competition, which I feel quite honored to have been chosen. What dear Headmaster Higginsworth would say now! In celebration of the discovery of how to harness Phantom Energy, which theoretically allows us to build transverseable wormholes, Ematica has a wonderful carnival and competition for the Bertal Einthorne Cup. Bertal Einthorne, of course, is who, through a harrowing journey of failed experiments and theories, was able to finally contain Phantom Energy and use it to travel successfully through a wormhole.

I remember having the best model with dimensional hold, which used radiating Phantom Energy and winning the coveted Einthorne Cup during my days at Ematica. I was quite proud of my accomplishment until recently when I happened to see a first year student in the competition. Trip Harrison’s model had dimensional hold that used minimal Phantom Energy and also had dual portals to the future and the past. A complex idea and a risky attempt which paid off for Mr. Harrison who won first place and whose model still hangs in the Ematica Hall of Scientific Excellence.

Risk, a beautifully complex idea and fearlessness are what Bertal Einthorne Day is all about. Its namesake risked everything for us to be able to travel through time and space. Time and space such unnecessarily over complicated ideas for humans in the 22nd century. Perchance if their ideas were not so intertwined with arbitrary notions of mythology, traveling through wormholes would have occurred much sooner, but I suppose hindsight is ten-ten. Or is that ancient saying twenty-fifteen. I forget. (Oh how I love ancient metaphors!) Nevertheless, Einthorne was able to weed through it all and able to focus on what was then theoretical physics.

Although Einthorne’s personal history is incomplete in the ancient book of record, we do have countless lab books containing work far beyond his time. What’s more, Torres, his trusty science assistant was as mysterious as Life’s Origin.  He  was not willing to disclose much about himself or his mentor and has since disappeared from existence. I have asked several prominent professors at Ematica of Torres and Einthorne’s history to which I get blank stares and incomplete responses. I suppose their lives are as elusive as their discoveries. But I have always wondered where (some may say when) they are from and how their origin contributed to Einthorne’s discovery.

What we do know is that the planet known as Earth had devolved into a farming society after mass war and famine and they longed to leave the planet they had destroyed for one that more resembled their beloved Earth. According to legend, in the year 2472, Bertal Einthorne happened to be conducting a few experiments on the planet Earth with a simple drink; I believe it was called champagne. In playing with the cork, a light bulb went off (two ancient metaphors in one article; how I do enjoy myself).  He realized two things:

2. If space-time contains a compact region Ω, and if the topology of Ω is of the form Ω ~ R x Σ, where Σ is a three-manifold of nontrivial topology, whose boundary has topology of the form dΣ ~ S², and if furthermore the hypersurfaces Σ are all space like, then the region Ω contains a quasipermanent intra-universe wormhole.

Kindergarten physics you say… YES! Now, of course, any 5 year old can tell you those two facts, but the real genius was in third discovery.

3.  The grandfather paradox may not exist because of the seemingly indeterminable particles at the Universe’s End.

True, the location and origin of the Universe’s End is unknown and its exact details are only known to a few but the existence of transversable wormholes are all the proof we need. Many a great archaeophysicists have spent a lifetime looking for the Universe’s End.  Even I tried for a few years but it was too elusive. I leave that hunt for the young and foolish.

Myths ruminate stating that beings from the future visited our forefathers with the knowledge we possess and helped them discover what was necessary for deep space travel and wormhole technology. Ancient books do allude to this possibility but is that not just another paradox which stumped those in the 23rd century?

No matter how Bertal Einthorne attained his knowledge or how we did, it is an absolutely astounding discovery, worthy of a celebration! It is truly amazing what the human mind is capable of understanding and creating, if only we remember that our capacity to meet challenges is limitless.

As always and until next time, remember to “stay hungry, stay foolish.”