Game Development

Final Chapter: LucasArts Employees Hold Wake

LucasArts Logo
The bar’s name says it all: The Final Final. That’s where LucasArts employees gathered Friday night to hold a wake, following the death of their game studio earlier in the week. At Final Final in San Francisco, a large gathering of LucasArts employees and former LucasArts workers shared drinks and tears, from recalling memories of creating such notable cult games like Monkey Island to mourning the loss of games whose lives were cut short, like Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First… continue…

Disney Shuts LucasArts Studio, Cuts Staff at Lucasfilm, ILM

Death Star Explosion
Updated Walt Disney took an ax to the staff at LucasArts Wednesday, closing down its game studio, halting production of Star Wars 1313 and shifting the business to a strictly licensing model. The move comes just after layoffs hit Lucasfilm Animation’s The Clone Wars and the technology department of special effects powerhouse Industrial Light & Magic. While the Lucasfilm cuts took place last week, they’re only coming to light now. A source has confirmed them to Dice News. The timing… continue…

Death to Downloads: Browser-Based Games on the Rise

War Commander
Here’s another nail in the coffin of console games. The folks at Mozilla and Will Harbin, CEO of the gaming portal Kixeye, are banking on the idea that more people are picking up hammers as they ultimately gravitate toward browser-based games rather than download versions to consoles or mobile devices. At last week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Mozilla unveiled its highly optimized version of JavaScript for 3D browser-based games. The organization wants to show game developers that the… continue…

SimCity: How Not to Launch a Game

SimCity
Unless you live in a cave, you’ve probably heard of Electronic Arts’ disastrous launch of the latest SimCity. It was designed to play for only about 20 minutes offline before closing down. Since cities are saved on servers, not locally, you don’t get to play if the server happens to be too busy for you. Tough luck. Unfortunately for EA, it underestimated the number of people who bought SimCity when the game launched. Kotaku says 700,000 cities were created in… continue…

How to Get Started as a Game Writer

Videogameretaildisplay thumbnail
In the four years since Ed Kuehnel became a full-time freelance writer for video and computer games, he’s stayed busy. The Portland, Ore., resident has clients throughout the U.S. and as far away as the Netherlands, India and South Korea. “It’s been pretty rare that I have nothing to do,” he says. But while there are increasing opportunities for gaming writers, success stories like Kuehnel’s are still relatively rare. “Breaking into the industry just as a writer is very, very… continue…

Can Atari’s Vintage Games Rescue IE?

Atari Centipede
How do you transcend a negative impression, especially when it’s deserved? Over the years Microsoft left users determined to do their Web surfing with anything but IE. In November, IE generated just 15.1 percent of browser usage, according to w3schools.com. Ten years earlier, it generated more than 83 percent. Why the plunge? By failing to innovate, Microsoft earned little for IE besides Web-wide derision. No longer willing to hold last place in the browser race, last summer the company finally… continue…

Navy SEALs Disciplined for Video Game Work

Posted In Living in Tech
EA medal of honor warfighter
Seven U.S. Navy SEALs received letters of reprimand and had their salaries reduced for two months for spending two days as paid consultants on Electronic Arts’ single shooter game Medal of Honor: Warfighter. The men were all members of the elite SEAL Team Six, and one of them was said to be on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.  Unfortunately, they broke with military policy by not following the chain of command and asking permission before agreeing to participate… continue…

Top 5 Ways to Monetize Free-to-Play Games

Money
Games industry consultant Nicholas Lovell presented 15 rules for how to monetize free-to-play games at the recent F2P Summit. Rather than get into all of them, let’s look at the five that I believe merit close analysis. As you look at these, bear in mind that it’s way easier to build rules in at the design stage than to introduce them later. Waiting usually changes the game’s dynamics and alters players’ expectations for the worse. Here are my top five of Lovell’s rules, in decreasing… continue…

What Will It Take to Make HTML5 Better for Games?

Bullet Physics Engine
The rush to kill off Adobe Flash is premature. Even Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that his company’s “biggest mistake … was betting too much on HTML5 rather than native. ” While Flash isn’t native, it’s generally faster than JavaScript. Although he was of course referring to mobile apps as native code, the principle still applies. Technically the problem is one of horsepower plus the browser getting in the way. The absolutely fastest way to move pixels around on your… continue…

Good News, Bad News for OnLive Employees

Onlive, the streaming game company, looks like it will survive in some form as it proceeds with an asset restructuring under venture capital firm Lauder Partners. While fully half of its staff will be hired back by the new venture, the other half are the big losers in the deal. Lauder Partners will operate the company under the OnLive name. Late last week, all of its employees lost their jobs as well as their stakes in the business. However, about… continue…