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  EA Grabs Your ‘Spore Creature Creator’ IP  
 
 
Posted 2008-06-28 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Talk about harshing my buzz. Electronic Arts is going to let us design creatures with its long-awaited Spore game and stand-alone Creature Creator, but in using the game and creator, we agree to hand over all rights in our creations to the megalithic publisher, including the right to "further modify" the creations. So much for using Spore as a sketchpad for creature concepts.

In my legally-ignorant view, EA should have no IP rights in how I assemble the building blocks it supplies. That's like LEGO claiming ownership over everything we build, or Adobe claiming ownership over images run through Photoshop. The way I see it, creature designers are creating new IP with a tool set they paid for--why should we give EA our work, except for the exclusive purpose of sharing with other creature creators in the way the game was designed?

Continue reading: EA Grabs Your ‘Spore Creature Creator’ IP
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Silent Hill 5’:  Now With Jiggle-Physics  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-06 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
‘Silent Hill 5’:  Now With Jiggle-Physics
I've been a fan of survival horror game series Silent Hill since the first installment in the series, not so much due to the game play, but because of its inspirational creative elements. The visuals and soundscapes featured in the series are haunting, distinctive, and memorable.

One of the most recognizable monster-types in the game series is a sort of "zombie nurse," a faceless female creature dressed in medical garb which shivers and shimmies through darkened hospitals, looking for a handful of your flesh. When the Silent Hill movie came out last year, I was disappointed that the zombie nurses seemed to be re-imagined as slightly more sexualized monsters. Basically they became less "zombie" and more "sexy nurse." A pity, since the original creature designs seemed to be far more ghastly (and far more scary) than the ones shown in the film.

Sadly, the upcoming Silent Hill 5 seems to turned the zombie Sex-O-Meter up to eleven, turning an exquisite walking corpse into Nurse McBoobs, complete with a nipple-exposing wardrobe-malfunction. Jeux France has the full-sized pics. If the game features jiggle-physics, I'm going postal.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Humungo-Megalithic Games Company Formed  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-03 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
All the cool nerds are talking about it: Vivendi (publisher, World of Warcraft) and Activision (Pitfall!, Guitar Hero) spent a steamy weekend entwining their glistening tentacles together so elaborately that neither megacorporation could be distinguished from the other. The unholy spawn of this union is to be named Activision Blizzard, a rampaging humungo-megalith The Guardian says will be "the world's largest computer games company" with an annual income of $3.8 billion and an insatiable appetite for fresh babies.

I'm not sure how the merger will produce better games, lower retail prices, or more choice for gamers--but then, there's a lot about the games industry I can't even begin to understand. All I know is that if I was formerly an employee of Vivendi or Activision, I might be concerned for the safety of my job (or even my entire department) next year. Time to trim some excess tentacles.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Monsterpocalypse’: The Miniature Giant Monster Game  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Back in high-school my friends and I developed a tabletop miniature game involving B-movie style giant monsters. We unimaginatively dubbed it The Monster Game and tinkered feverishly with its mechanics (and creating variants such as Monsterball) for at least a couple years. That's why the 14 year-old in me is giddy as a schoolboy at the news that Monsterpocalypse, a collectible miniatures game involving giant monsters, is planned for release next year by Privateer Press. Obviously there are going to be plenty of crazy-looking, pre-painted miniatures involved (something like 80 in the initial set), but I'm particularly excited at the prospect of miniature destructible buildings. Me smash! Rarrrr!

I'm rather out of the loop in terms of CMGs (collectible miniatures games), but the three things that strike me most about the genre are:
1) Isn't mass-producing these things an incredible waste of precious oil resources?
2) I pity the poor bastards who have to paint those things for my gaming pleasure. Sweatshops, I'm sure.
3) Proprietary, stats-locked systems like HeroClix cramp my style. If I can't tinker with it, I ain't buying it.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Atlantis To Rise in ‘Puzzle Pirates’ Ocean  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-09 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Puzzle Pirates, a cute casual-game world where puzzle-based play rules the high seas, will soon see Alantean sea monsters crest the surface of its turbulent oceans. According to an official announcement, the first outposts of Atlantis will offer new races, challenges and rewards to veteran players of the game, which was originally launched in 2003.
"So now, beyond mere pillaging, your new mission is to explore these strange new waters, encounter new civilizations and sack them for all they're worth, discover new life and avoid being eaten by it, and battle your way to wealth and glory. For there are riches in abundance hidden by the deep, and the Atlanteans have had a thousand years to find them and shape them to their will. Good luck, my pirates.... here be monsters."
The expansion to Puzzle Pirates will be tested privately before being let loose on the open waters. No exact launch date was mentioned, but I'll be checking back next month for some of that monstery goodness.
 
     
 
   
 
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  The Monsters of Facebook  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-27 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The Monsters of Facebook
Over 2 million Zombies are shambling around Facebook. Although the Zombies! game is the most popular on Facebook, growth has slowed a bit from about 60,000 players daily to about 50,000 users daily. Probably because Zombies are no longer only monster in town. The makers of the popular bite-a-friend game also offer a Vampires and WereWolves version, with over 900,000 players and over 5,500 users respectively. Unfortunately, there's currently no way to get these classic monster groups to fight without switching to the Vampires vs. Werewolves game, which boasts over 330,000 players.
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-07-26  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-26 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Zombies Infect Facebook  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-13 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Zombies Infect Facebook
Armies of bloodthirsty zombies are infecting Facebook. The Zombies Facebook game, made possible because the platform was recently opened to outside developers, has become Facebook's most popular, with over 1.3M users infected at the time of this writing. I've been following the Zombies invasion for just over a week, finding that its user-base has grown at a steady rate of around 65,000 users daily, or about 45 users per minute. I'm a bit surprised the population hasn't increased exponentially, but then I'm a lousy number-cruncher and statistician.

Zombies is, by design, a viral game. One's first introduction to it is usually through a "Zombies Invitation" sent from a friend, so there is social pressure to participate right from the outset. Invitations may be ignored, or one can "Start Biting Chumps!" with a few mouse-clicks. The objective is to build up zombie points and zombie status by biting friends, but I personally won't try it out, so don't bother biting me. From what I gather, it's possible to establish an entire zombie army. Zombies has been so successful that its creators have added a Vampires game along similar lines. About 300,000 users have been vampirized.

Continue reading: Zombies Infect Facebook
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-07-06  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-06 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Zombies Invade ‘The Lounge’  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-06 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Zombies Invade ‘The Lounge’
Image credit: The Lounge.
Zombies will invade the Miami server of The Music Lounge microworld next Friday the 13th, bringing "Rock, Paper, Scissors" style game play with them. A post on the official Lounge message boards describes the zombie game in detail--I hope its easier to play than the instructions suggest. The goal is to rack up as many points as possible by the end of the day by infecting both other players and computer-controlled characters.

Ironically, the Lounge was built using the Torque Game Engine (reference), but was launched as a social, rather than game world. One of the first things I did with the Lounge's client software is change the avatars into zombies. Maybe my avatar was more infectious than I thought...
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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