Relevant video game people on Twitter

Twitter video games

#videogames

The team behind Kotaku has put together a list of “the video game people you should be following on Twitter”. Unlike many other similar lists, this time the chosen accounts are divided into 8 categories, and each one includes a short description:

  1. Indie Game People (like Terry Cavanagh, “The guy behind Super Hexagon and other wonderful distractions”).
  2. Triple-A development people (like Vince Zampella, “Leading the charge on Titanfall and answering a lot of player questions directly on Twitter”).
  3. The Suits (like Shuhei Yoshida, “The head of Sony’s gaming division has a surprisingly open and engaging Twitter presence”).
  4. Art (like sparth, “Fine art from the Halo series’ art director”).
  5. Jokes (like Peter Molydeux, “An excellent parody of noted game developer and idea-haver Peter Molyneux”).
  6. Official Feeds (like PlayStation, “Official updates from Sony and links to updates to their excellent official blog”).
  7. Critics and journalists (like Leigh Alexander, “Never boring, tweets about games, the games industry, and increasingly, Netrunner”).
  8. Kotaku staffers (like Stephen Totilo, “Likes wrestling and comics”).

It’s an important first step to gather all the relevant video game people on Twitter. As the list is an ongoing effort, some key players are still missing (like the almighty Tim Schafer), but they acknowledge that asking for the community’s help.

Find the full list here. If you think someone important isn’t there, let them know in a comment!

A quick guide through microtransactions and free-to-play

Although microtransactions and free-to-play look like the flavor of the month, they have been part of the industry for years, garnering enthusiasts and critics alike. Part of the prejudice around this type of monetization comes from many poor implementations and a lot of excessive use.

Microtransactions

However, when the free-to-play approach is well crafted and an inherent part of a game, it can be successful not only for the companies, but also for the players, reaching a broader audience and catering the experience to different needs.

Given that now even Nintendo is experimenting with free-to-play, I thought it was a good moment to bring the Extra Credits team to give a quick guide through the art of microtransactions.

Hearthstone (2014)

Hearthstone (2014)

In this 9-minute video they cover why you should allow non-paying players to earn hard currency, and at the same time, why you should never sell power, but convenience. There other practical tips as well:

  • Make the game more enjoyable.
  • Make paying more palatable.
  • Make the whole experience feel cohesive.
  • Never split your community.
  • Market test your prices.

In summary, always keep your monetization model in mind when building your game.

Here’s the video:

Pick the perfect game for you

Flowcharts can be really useful for learning more about yourself and even finding your perfect match.

Last month I brought you a funny matrix that included almost every role you can have in the industry. Now it’s turn for taking care of the other side of the desk: the gamers.

This new flowchart will help you to pick the perfect game, depending on what you want/need right now. It was created by the team behind the Silver Oak Casino, but don’t let that fool you: here you’ll find from classic games like Tetris to modern masterpieces like Uncharted 2, including my beloved Day of the Tentacle.

Day of the Tentacle (1993)

Day of the Tentacle (1993)

Don’t trust me? Check these examples. It always start with a key question:

Do you want to avoid using much of your brain?

  • If you want to use your brain, have unreal reflexes, aren’t on drugs but want to feel as if you were… go play Geometry Wars 2.
  • If you don’t want to use your brain too much, don’t need maximum creativity, want to solve some puzzles, don’t feel the need for a storyline and are an Edward Gorey fan… go play Limbo.

Yes, it can get scarily accurate.

Find the perfect video game for you

Source: Silver Oak Casino

Meet your dream job!

As part of its New Year, New Job 2014 special, gaming magazine Develop has been publishing a series of interviews with industry professionals to explain their jobs and challenges. During January, every working day brought a new interview with a member of a prominent studio.

Sully Mike Monsters Inc. Job

The result of that effort is a great piece of work that covers all development areas, even including some managerial roles. In an attempt to preserve and share that research, I decided to put together all the interviews and organize them in departments.

It’s not only a good chance to take a look at your dream job, but also to learn from other perspectives as well.

Mario dream job

Enjoy!

Art

Game Design

Production

Programming

Others

Steam Dev Days talks are now online

Steam Dev Days

Remember the Steam Dev Days, the event held by Steam and aimed strictly to developers? Among other things, it was used for announcing changes to the upcoming exclusive hardware and for showing Steam’s global reach.

The only way to have the first-hand experience with Steam’s secrets was to be invited to their Seattle HQ. Luckily for the rest of us, now all the talks are available through a massive YouTube playlist.

Here’s Gabe Newell’s opening speech:

Source: Joystiq

Call of Duty will have three-year dev cycles

Activision, Call of Duty

Call of Duty, arguably the most popular first-person shooter franchise (my respects to Counter Strike), has been releasing a game per year since 2005’s Call of Duty 2, alternating among its main labels: “regular” (focused on WWII), Modern Warfare (with current/modern conflicts and technology), Black Ops and Ghosts, the latest addition. The studios Treyarch and Infinity Ward have been responsible for most of the installments.

For supporting its aggressive yearly plan, Activision (the behemoth behind Call of Duty) decided that a two-year development cycle was necessary, leaving little room for creative exploration. No deadline could be missed (ever!).

Although the move has proved to be extremely successful in terms of sales (2012’s Black Ops II earned $500 million in one day), the games’ quality was affected, especially the single-player experience. Actually, it’s interesting to see the disparity between the reviews gave by publishers and the ones gave by users. In other words, lately each new game started to feel like a minor tweak to the previous installment.

Modern Warfare 2 (2009)

Modern Warfare 2 (2009)

Hoping to change the turn of the tides (and to keep its spot as the FPS king), Activision now has decided to change its release strategy a bit, investing more on each title. Therefore, from now on the franchise will switch to a three-year development cycle, giving one more year to each game.

In order to keep the lucrative annual-release business alive, Sledgehammer Games has joined the party to develop a new Call of Duty entry, which will be launched this year. It isn’t its first time with the brand, though, as it had worked on Modern Warfare 3 (2011).

All of us here at Sledgehammer Games have a shared vision to create the best work of our lives. The next Call of Duty represents a new era for this amazing franchise, and we look forward to sharing what we have been working on.

Call of Duty Ghosts (2013)

Call of Duty Ghosts (2013)

This means that there will be 3 ongoing labels being developed at the same time: Modern Warfare (by Sledgehammer Games), Black Ops (by Treyarch) and Ghosts (by Infinity Ward). According to Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg, this means “more time to focus on DLC and micro-DLC,” and “more time to polish”.

Although having annual releases has been good for some series (FIFA, Assassin’s Creed), many times it feels too forced, with only minor improvements over the mechanics (besides new content). That’s why Activision’s new move (keeping the yearly strategy but investing more on each game) sounds like a good decision to me, for the company and the players.

Sources: Develop Online, Gamasutra

Sonic is back!… with long legs and a scarf

Remember Sonic?

Of course you do! Born in 1991 as Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s Mario, Sonic quickly became a system seller and one of the most iconic video games characters. As a matter of fact, he was one of the first members of the Walk of Game, alongside Mario and Link.

Sonic's 1991 version

Original Sonic

Since Sega abandoned the hardware business, its mascot jumped to other platforms, increasing its fame (even if the last games were poorly received). Ironically, in May 2013 Sega announced a partnership with Nintendo, so the next 3 Sonic games will be developed exclusively for the 3DS and Wii U, being Sonic Lost World the first. Following that deal with Nintendo, Sega has been busy doing a total makeover on its flagship character, and the result is Sonic Boom.

Sonic BOOM!

Sonic's 2014 redesign

Sonic’s 2014 redesign

In a clear move to change the franchise’s appeal to Western audiences, Sonic Boom will be developed by American studios: Los Angeles-based studio Big Red Button for Wii U and San Francisco-based studio Sanzaru Games for 3DS. Both of them will be focused on combat and exploration, but with slightly different content (mostly environments and enemies).

“One last thing”

But don’t be confused. If Sega hosted a press event in New York wasn’t just for announcing a new installment in the decades-old franchise. No, Sonic Boom is a whole new universe for the blue hedgehog, comprising 2 games (3DS and Wii U), a toy line and an animated Cartoon Network TV series (with 52 11-minute episodes). The Sonic Boom characters will exist in parallel with the original ones without replacing them.

The business reason behind the “cross-media” launch is to cover as many obvious, and follows the same strategy a lot of other properties have had: to cover , being The Simpsons a clear example (even South Park is investing heavily on its long-awaited The Stick of Truth).

The artistic redesign, in turn, seems to focus on each character’s skillset: Sonic’s legs (because he runs), Knuckles’ upper body (because ha can throw a punch), Tails’ wrench (because his tails are evident) and Amy’s hammer (because… well, I guess she’ll use it). The blue hedgehog’s new scarf is a different case, and it may have to do with Uncharted Nathan Drake’s influence.

Fast feedback

Of course, this deep makeover didn’t go unnoticed for fans and the Internet community in general. Some elements like Sonic’s scarf, bandages and long legs (along with Knuckles’ new passion for the gym)  have become the center of many jokes. Here are some of them:

Sonic loves bandages

Sonic loves bandages

What do you think of Sonic’s new look?

Sources: IGNKotaku