Justin Ma Talks FTL

I backed FTL when it was on Kickstarter, and have had trouble putting it down since it became available as a Beta to the project backers. I had the chance to talk to one of the two develoeprs – Justin Ma – just before its mega-successful release on Steam.

My ship is in flames, most of the crew is dead, my engines are destroyed and I’m locked in combat with a powerful alien vessel. The final crewmembers frantically try to coax enough life from the engines to enable me to jump out of the system, but the fires consume the remaining oxygen, and they die still at their stations. My once noble craft becomes just another lifeless, damaged ship, drifting through space.

Read more at Player Attack

Starcraft 2 Blizzard World Championships

I’ve been a huge fan of Starcraft II’s eSports scene since its release in 2010. I missed out on a ticket to the Australian Championships, but with Tastosis in attendance, I just had to go. Thankfully, PlayerAttack helped out with a press pass, and in return, I wrote about my experiences:

Upon arriving at the StarCraft II Blizzard World Championships, it didn’t take me long to figure out that this was the real deal, finally in Australia. On stage were the commentators: Taylor “PainUser” Parsons and one half of the Casting Archon – Nick “Tasteless” Plott. In one of the player booths was a legend of the Brood War scene making one last hurrah – Peter “Legionnaire” Neate. And on screen was that most unwanted feature of tournament play in the StarCraft II era, the ‘Waiting for Players’ display.

Read more at Player Attack:

Taking Criticism

At last month’s Sydney IGDA Chapter meetup – “Bits & Pieces” – I gave a talk on the topic ‘Taking Criticism’, relating to my experiences at Team Bondi working on L.A. Noire. I spoke about how it helped me learn my craft as a Designer, how it helped us better understand the game, and how it became a tool for us to bring the development team closer together.

Thanks go to Rhys Votano of Upstair Studios who filmed the evening. More of his work can be found here.

Travels in Journey and Dear Esther

This article started life as a review of Dear Esther. I had played it as a mod in 2009, and then rediscovered it upon its release earlier this year. I completed a fairly average review and was editing it, when, unbidden, every sentence I read invited a comparison with another game I’d just finished. Another game that focused on similar ideas, a similar subject, but that was still as unique. I had just finished Journey, and it seemed that reviewing Dear Esther without acknowledging these comparisons would do neither game justice.

Much has already been written about both games, and both have captured the imaginations of the community. Dear Esther has won a slew of awards, and by this time next year, Journey will no doubt have done the same. But too many of the pieces written refuse to judge the games as, well, games.

Read more at Player Attack.

March Crowdfunding Spotlight

It’s now a bit over a month since my first foray into the world of crowdfunding. Double Fine Adventure finished with over $3 million pledged, and already big names are coming out of the woodwork looking for similar success. Wasteland 2 is currently at over $1.5 million (plus an interesting “Kick it Forward” strategy), and Big Finish Games has started a pre-Kickstarter publicity campaign for a new Tex Murphy game.

With the new spotlight on crowdfunding, it’s important to note that Kickstarter isn’t the only crowdfunding website out there, either, even though it does have the most active community (thanks in part to all that publicity).

There’s also Pozible, an Australian site built along the same lines as Kickstarter; IndieGoGo, that offers a style of funding where the project gets to keep what is pledged, even if it doesn’t reach its original target; RocketHub, who are trying to gamify the crowdfunding experience, and many more.

Read more at Player Attack.