March 16, 2016

Mario & Sonic Head to Rio Early with 3DS Launch on Friday

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Jason Nason

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is inching closer to release, with the game slated to be released for the Nintendo 3DS in North America this Friday! The home console version follows closer to the Olympic event itself, bowing on Nintendo’s Wii U on June 24th.

To celebrate the release of the game Nintendo released the opening movie for the game, which you can see below.

“Mario and Sonic are two of the most recognizable characters in video game history,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “Once again they join forces to let players compete in fun sporting events on a world stage.”

When the game launches for Nintendo 3DS on Friday, both Mario and Sonic amiibo figures will be compatible. In the main story on the Road to Rio, complete Mario’s story and you’ll earn a snazzy Mario Suit, or finish Sonic’s story for a flashy blue Sonic Suit. By tapping the Mario or Sonic amiibo figures to the New Nintendo 3DS system (or on a Nintendo 2DS/3DS with the NFC Reader/Writer accessory), players can boost Mario and Sonic’s outfits with that character’s power for the day.

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Oculus Shows Their Hand: Launch Title Prices

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Renee Gittins

Oculus revealed the prices of their release titles at the Oculus Game Day event. The event was held in San Francisco, just outside of the popular Game Developers Convention, dozens of games intended for launch were being shown.


There is a huge range of prices for the launch content, Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games listed as $4.99 while there are several $49.99 and $59.00 titles. Below is a list of the launch games, their “comfort” rating, and their prices:

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Parascientific Escape: Cruise in the Distant Seas | Review

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Jason Nason

Parascientific Escape: Cruise in the Distant Seas is a visual novel with exploration and puzzle solving elements.

The game follows Hitomi Akeneno, a 16 year old high school student with a little secret – she has not one, but two psychic powers. After receiving an invitation, she boards a luxury cruise ship with her friend, Chisono Shio. As soon as she enters a suite room, a loud explosion sounds … and she finds herself stuck, unable to get out. Is this an accident? Or something far more sinister? The only way to find out is to escape, with the help of her powers.

This game reminds me a lot of the Ace Atorney games, with a lot of the conversation as well as textploration of environments.

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Pre-GDC Bootcamp Prepares the Next Generation of Public Figures in Games

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Renee Gittins

This last Sunday, the Games Diversity Alliance hosted a bootcamp called “Amplifying New Voices” at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The event was hosted to help prepare diverse developers that are rising in the game industry for the challenges that await them.

Oculus was the main sponsor of the event and also provided a number of the mentors who worked with the small teams of developers. Other sponsors included Intel, who has been working extensively to promote diversity in the game industry, GDC, Funomena, and Zebra Partners. In addition to receiving one on one mentorship, networking opportunities and some nice swag, the attendees were also provided with a $1,000 travel stipend, All Access badges to GDC (which currently cost $2,099), and access to a professional photographer who was taking headshots for us to use in the future.

The following application guidelines were posted on the site for Amplifying New Voices:

We’re seeking mid-career games and VR developers who offer perspectives that are currently under-represented in the industry, especially those who are not yet an active public figure. This includes women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and anyone who is willing to share how their perspective adds to the “diversity of thought” in our community.

Specifically, the following guidelines are a good rule-of-thumb of who we are looking for:

  • 4+ years in the games, VR, and/or entertainment industries

  • 2-3+ titles/projects shipped or work-in-progress

  • A developer role, including game design, software engineering, art, animation, production, audio design, etc.

  • Represents diversity of thought in the industry

  • Fewer than 2-3 major speaking or media events

Luckily, I was accepted as one of the attendees and was able to experience the event firsthand.

Robin Hunicke

Robin Hunicke.

My mentor was Robin Hunicke, who has extensive experience in game design, production and public speaking. Her public speaking skills are highly regarded within the industry, especially by other women in the industry. She will be on stage as one of the hosts of the Game Developers Choice Awards being held tomorrow.

I was honored to have her as my mentor for the day and greatly enjoyed her supportive yet critical advice. My group itself was diverse, including men and women from various countries, backgrounds, ages and identities. Robin made sure to give us each advice tailored to who we were, both as we wanted to represent ourselves and while taking into consideration how other people will view us.


We had three breakout sessions, one of our biography, one on speaking and one on answering interview questions, and the amount of consideration that must have to go into self representation in each of those blew me away. While some of the advice felt like it should be obvious, hearing it directly and in the context of our behaviors and responses made me realize how novice I am in the skills required to present myself well.

There was no dancing around that my gender would color how I was viewed. I was informed in a very matter-of-fact manner that my personal examples would be more highly criticized, that many questions directed towards me wouldn’t be on my talk, but as my experiences or opinion as a woman, and that I would have to fight to not be dismissed because of my gender.

Before Amplifying New Voices started, I was unsure if I would get much value out of the event. It blew my expectations out of the water and I feel like I have gained invaluable knowledge and connections for the advancement of my career and image.


While I can’t provide the same tailored feedback and knowledge that I received to you readers, I would like to share my notes, in hopes that they will be of help to others:


Your biography should be short and goal-driven. Consider who you are writing the biography for and what you are trying to convey before you begin writing. When you write your biography, use empathy and don’t stylize your writing. Write all of the points you think you should cover, then work on editing and trimming it down to a few short, impactful sentences that highlight the essentials of how you want to be seen.

Several revisions on my biography resulted in the following:

Renee is a multi-disciplinary leader with expertise in software engineering and creative direction. She is the CEO of Stumbling Cat, creator of Potions: A Curious Tale. She led engineering and server development at Fixer Studios, designed and developed cognitive evaluation mini-games and health management systems for X2 Biosystems.

Renee is a passionate advocate and connector for developers and diversity in the game industry. Renee organizes game-jams, panels, job fairs and other developer events as a board member of IGDA Seattle, contributes to Broken Joysticks, and actively mentors game development students at Foundry10.

Public Speaking

Assert confidence to the audience and show that you are in command of the subject you are speaking on. Ensure that your talk has a narrative and flows across its points without any jumps. The audience should all be able to answer why your talk is important after listening to it.

Use few words on the slides themselves and use pictures and examples where possible. It is your job as a speaker to expand upon your points, not the job of your slides.

Public Relations / Interviews

Consider the image that you are trying to present and keep your image focused on those points. Feel free to even write down the points you want to stress and keep them on you to reference for the directions you should steer all questions.

While media in the medium, reports are the filters and they are looking for stories that will bring traffic their way. They look for new stories, ones that relate to current events and holidays, show conflicting views of popular held opinions, or are unusual or sensational in some manner.

Finally, the medium itself greatly varies the form of responses. For all media and interview questions, keep responses small so that they can be used for soundbites and also so that they cannot be taken out of context. When doing pure audio interviews, make sure to smile while talking, which is apparent in your voice. Similarly, in video interviews, use intentional body language to compliment your words.


Preview: Dead & Buried Multiplayer on Oculus Rift with Touch

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Renee Gittins

A few blocks away from the ongoing Game Developers Conference, Oculus hosted an exclusive preview event for their launch titles and other games coming to the Oculus Rift shortly after launch. One of the games being shown was Dead & Buried, a gunslinger game that makes use of the Oculus’ Touch controllers.

Dead & Buried is being developed internally by Oculus Studios and the noticeable intent of the game is to highlight the Touch controllers. While Oculus has previously showcased their single player mode of the game, at the event they set up four stations with Dead & Buried and placed four players together at a time in a 2v2 shootout. Of the dozens of games at the event, it was clearly the most popular to both play and watch, gathering a bemused crowd of developers and media. 


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ARK: Survival of the Fittest, New Free To Play Game, Out Now

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Ark: Survival Evolved

Quickly played action-oriented survival games appear to be all the rage lately, with some of the bigger titles like H1Z1 splitting their offerings into multiple games. It should come as no surprise then that ARK: Survival Evolved would join in on the fun.

Titled Ark: Survival of the Fittest, this new stand-alone ‘multiplayer online survival arena’ (MOSA???) allows players to literally drop into the world of ARK and rush to supply rich locations before their opponents do. Survival of the Fittest offers a number of different play-styles: there’s the traditional free-for-all battle royale and 2/4/6 player team competition. If the title of the game sounds familiar that is because we covered the massive e-sports tournament that launched last year featuring the Survival of the Fittest game mode.Read More


Crytek Announces CryEngine V Alongside New Pricing Model

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

CryEngine, the engine, and tool set that power AAA franchises like Crysis, Far Cry and others had a brand new version unveiled yesterday at the Games Developer Conference in San Francisco. Titled CryEngine V this brand new iteration of the development toolkit from Crytek focuses on making game development more accessible for AAA, developers on a budget and indies alike.

How exactly does Crytek hope to make their engine available to more developers? By shifting away from an expensive paid licensing model to a more flexible “pay what you can” model. This means that developers can gain access to the CryEngine source code, toolkit and feature set without paying any royalties to the original developers.

CryEngine V also puts an emphasized focus on emerging Virtual Reality headsets. It will support the development of games for Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, HTC VIVE and Razor’s Open Source VR Platform.

Like other leading engines CryEngine V will also support the sale of assets through an online marketplace for use in developer’s projects. This new marketplace not only gives developer’s access to thousands of community created assets but also a vast library of objects, sounds & code developed by Crytek themselves. Alongside the announcement of the new structure Crytek and Humble Bundle launched a PWYC asset bundle – so if you want to grab some resources that are engine ready, these start as low as $1!

In a press release issued by Crytek the following features were highlighted:

· C# Enabled: A new API that allows developers who know C# to start scripting in CRYENGINE V right away.
· Reworked Low Overhead Renderer: Significantly increases the performance of today’s hardware in graphically intensive applications.
· DirectX 12 support: Utilize the latest branch of DirectX to take greater control of hardware resources.
· Advanced Volumetric Cloud System: Optimized for VR to give clouds full 3D spatial rendering for higher quality with minimal performance hit.
· New particle system: Create stunning real-time fluid effects, handled almost entirely on the GPU.
· A new launcher and UI: Navigate CRYENGINE more intuitively thanks to a streamlined UI which includes realigned features and new icon groupings.
· FMOD Studio support: Allowing greater flexibility in audio middleware selection.
· CRYENGINE Answers: A dedicated channel where the CRYENGINE community can share questions and answers.

Want to see the new engine in action? CryTek released the following 2-minute trailer to show off CryEngine V.

[youtube id=”wcnrt1pX5XA”]


GDC 16: Partying With Destructoid & Homefront The Revolution

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Homefront The Revolution

Tonight in San Francisco longtime gaming website Destructoid celebrated their 10th anniversary with a downtown bash for both GDC attendees and the public. They also partnered with Deep Silver and Dambuster Studios to help promote the upcoming Homefront The Revolution. I got the chance to attend this pretty sweet party, here are my impressions.

The line to get into the party was absolutely massive, fans & conference attendees alike lined up around the block for their chance at getting into the celebration. Surprisingly things moved at a rather brisk pace and despite the line’s size I was into the event in a little under ten minutes times.

Destructoid chose an interesting venue for their 10th anniversary party – the upper floor consisted of a softly light lounge area where conference attendees and members of the Destructoid community conversed about everything from game design theory to recent political events. If I had to describe an atmosphere for the upper floor, it would have to be ‘laid back’. A much larger basement area housed a rather spacious dance club style bar that was adorned in Homefront The Revolution logos and neon signs accompanied by loud thumping live music. Quite the contrast to the upper floor!

Sadly Homefront The Revolution was not playable at the 10th anniversary party despite being heavily marketed alongside Destructoid’s big milestone. I did however, manage to snag some cool pictures from tonight’s event which you can check out after the jump.Read More


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