Sunday Links #2

Welcome to another installment of the Sunday Links. This time with a bit more explanation and personal opinion for each of the different links:

Video: Van Gogh – Starry Night, interactive art

A wonderful example of what people can do with technology – as far as I know it was done with Kinect. For some reason it also reminds me a lot of flOwer. Even though it’s not a game I could easily imagine games with a similar painterly artstyle using lots of particles.

Link: EU-wide ban on game tax breaks
A new article on the end of tax breaks for game development companies in Europe. Something that could have a potentially negative effect on game development in Europe. I find this an odd thing to do considering the boom on the social and mobile space, the jobs and money associated with that but I’m guessing it must make sense to someone

Picture: The visual evolution of game franchises

A funny little picture that shows how graphics have changed.

Video: Crash Course – World History

A well done and entertaining video series on the history of the world. Since it’s essential for Game Designers to know as much different things as possible this can’t hurt. Also considering the popularity of greek and roman mythology as influences and setting for video games has made those pretty boring to me. Learning about different early civilizations and their beliefs might bring some fresh ideas.

Interactive: Unmanned from Molleindustria
An odd game that puts the player in the shoes of an US drone pilot. Worth spending some minutes with. The artstyle is very reminicent of games such as Another World and the “internal monologue” system is a nice touch. I enjoyed it and I think it does a pretty good job at shedding some light on the issue of remote controlled warfare without feeling overly heavy handed.

Link: Xenonauts Game Project
This obviously X-COM inspired indie game is looking for funding in a method not unlike the Interstellar Marines project does or the Iron Sky movie did: Presales from fans. In the days of Kickstarter and changing funding models for creative endeavors this is another project I can only hope succeeds to open up and broaden new avenues of game development funding. Also the project looks pretty cool!

Link: Gameplay and story are like music and lyrics
A personal article from Kotaku on the never ending discussion between games and narrative. The writer Kirk Hamilton likens gameplay to the music and story to the lyrics. His theory is that music can be good music with or without lyrics but that both together can create experiences that would otherwise not be possible. I know it’s an old discussion that a lot of people are already sick of (me included) but I have to say I did really like his metaphor.

Picture: Rise of the Planet of the Apps
An infographic on the changes and developments on the App space. Not only some nice information but also very well done in a sci-fi movie kind of way.

Link: Doodle Defense, a whiteboard tower defense
Again an interesting application of technology, this time for an actual game. Some interesting ideas there even though it’s far from being a commercial product.

Video: Everything is a Remix, part 4

The Everything is a Remix video series has concluded with the fourth and final video. If you haven’t seen the series I urge you to watch it immediately. In it the filmmaker Kirby Ferguson talks about the creative process and how it’s actually not a radical reinvention but the remixing of divergent cultural ideas and concepts in an attempt to create something new. He has a lot of movie examples but I do believe many of his concepts hold true for video games as well. And not only is it interesting it’s also damn well made with countless examples from a variety of media.

Link: Environmental Archetypes
Game Designer Graham Jans posted a neat little article on his blog in which he briefly talks about different environmental archetypes as inspiration for level design. There’s not a lot of text and meat to this article but the ideas have sparked some thoughts in the back of my brain on things to think and talk about.

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