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11:30 AM on 03.27.2014

World of Tanks in 2014: Mobile MMO, new PC engine, console updates coming

I met with Wargaming boss Victor Kislyi last week in a dark, quiet, private meeting room on the GDC expo floor on an early morning following what was probably the biggest party of the week. The chief executive looked surprisi...

Dale North

10:00 AM on 03.23.2014

Sup Holmes finishes off with Conker's Chris Seavor

Oh my god, it's the last Sup Holmes on Dtoid! Ahhh! What does that even mean? We'll find out soon enough, as the Sup Holmes year 3 Kickstarter is set to go live any second now. In the meantime, why not tune in to the show tod...

Jonathan Holmes



What do indie developers think about the ID@Xbox program? photo
What do indie developers think about the ID@Xbox program?
by Brett Makedonski

There's no two ways about it -- Microsoft had a terrible reputation with independent developers during the last console generation. Not that indie's games didn't sell well on the platform, because many of them certainly did. However, the culture and attitude at Xbox was one that didn't mesh with a lot of small teams and many of them documented their experiences in a negative light.

That's not a good position for Microsoft to be in. With the audience for independent games growing at a tremendous rate, the "triple A" development process makes less and less sense from a business standpoint. After all, an indie game needs to move far fewer units to be considered a "success." Nothing needs to sell at an astronomically high rate to be worthwhile.

Microsoft's attempt at repairing this somewhat burned bridge within the indie community was to launch the ID@Xbox -- a program designed to be more accommodating to independent developers and make it as painless and attractive as possible to publish on the Xbox platform. Microsoft held an event at GDC to showcase 25 studios' games that are part of ID@Xbox and we got a chance to talk to some developers about their feelings about the program thus far.

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Capy Games' Nathan Vella talks Super Time Force, Below, and the IGF Awards photo
Capy Games' Nathan Vella talks Super Time Force, Below, and the IGF Awards
by Max Scoville

Literally the first thing I did at GDC this year was sit down with Capy Games president Nathan Vella and talk about their upcoming games Super Time Force and Below, as well as his hosting duties at this year's IGF awards.

Also, a woman in the background knocked over a lamp and broke it, which I thought was pretty funny.

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12:00 PM on 03.09.2014

Sup Holmes points and clicks with Jane Jensen

Today on Sup Holmes we welcome Jane Jensen to the program. Jane has been working on games that put story and characterization at the forefront since the 1980's, working on established series like Police Quest and King's Quest...

Jonathan Holmes



Mods, hate, and community with Chucklefish's Molly Carrol photo
Mods, hate, and community with Chucklefish's Molly Carrol
by Jonathan Holmes

Two week's ago on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes), we welcomed Molly Carroll to the program. Molly used to be a big part of the Dtoid Forums community before moving on to become community manager at Chucklefish (Starbound). We talked about how Molly got into the game industry, the role that she plays in the development of Starbound, how to develop and maintain a passionate and creative community around your game, the stuff that happened when the Mighty Number 9 community manager was announced, her pending move to England, and a lot more.

Outside of her work at Chucklefish, Molly's been working on smaller games with a development collective called Owl Cave. With games like Richard and Alice and Starbound already under her belt, it's pretty clear that Molly's going to have a long and fruitful career in the game's industry. I'm glad I got to know her now before she ends up sheltered away from shows like Sup Holmes by some big publisher. It's going to be fun to see what she does next. 

Thanks again to Molly for appearing on the show, and tune in to Sup Holmes live at 1pm PST/4pm EST today when we welcome legendary adventure game developer Jane Jensen (King's Quest VI, Moebius, Gabriel Knight) to the program. It's going to be one for the books. 

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Fear, Disney, positivity, Zynga and more with Erin Reynolds photo
Fear, Disney, positivity, Zynga and more with Erin Reynolds
by Jonathan Holmes

Last Sunday on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we welcomed Erin Reynolds of Flying Mollusk to the program. We talked about so many things, like the influence Ecco the Dolphin and Gremlins had on her formative years, why she got into game development, that jerk from Fox News (my words, not hers), her work at Disney and Zynga, her thoughtful-but-dead baby drawings, the Michelle Obama awarded student game Trainer, depicting mental illness in games, the idea of "positive games," and of course, Nevermind -- the biofeedback-integrated horror game she's been working on for the past few years. 

Nevermind is designed to make you feel uncomfortable, but the real goal of the game is to help players learn to be aware of their own anxiety and learn how to manage it. You play the role of a new kind of mental health counselor who enters the subconscious minds of their clients, in an effort to help them work out repressed memories of trauma. It's your job to stay calm in the midst of a world teeming with surreal threats. If you can't do it, how can you expect your client to? 

That's just the tip of the iceberg on what Nevermind has to offer. Check it out on Kickstarter here, and back it while you still have the chance. Erin tells me that even if they don't make their funding goal, that backing still helps them immensely, as the closer they get to their goal, the better they'll look to potential publishers. Backing any amount will help them to make their game, regardless of how much funding they get in the end. 

With so much to talk about, I failed to ask Erin an incredibly obvious question. What are the fears that she's had to overcome in her life, and how might they relate to Nevermind? Erin was kind enough to fit that question in after the show was over. You can find her answer below. 

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2:30 PM on 03.02.2014

Sup Holmes gets post traumatic with Erin Reynolds

Today on Sup Holmes we welcome Erin Reynolds of Flying Mollusk to the program. Erin's been in the game industry for over ten years, having worked on a variety of games for big publishers, including working as senior game desi...

Jonathan Holmes

4:15 PM on 02.24.2014

Austin Wintory: Everyone has the potential to make music

We managed to catch up to composer Austin Wintory (Journey, The Banner Saga, Monaco) following his D.I.C.E. Summit talk on how technology has changed music making, and how this impacts videogame scores. As a fellow musician a...

Dale North

2:15 PM on 02.24.2014

Journey was composed on a $50 crappy Casio keyboard

We recently had a chance to chat with Journey and The Banner Saga composer Austin Wintory, and as a fellow musician I took the opportunity to talk shop. Curious about which tools he uses to create music with, I asked abo...

Dale North

3:00 PM on 02.22.2014

Double Fine has enough funds for Broken Age Act II

I think the question that most people asked themselves when they finished Broken Age Act I was "Okay, so when am I going to get to play Act II?" The more pressing concern was "Will there be an Act II?" but thankfully Double F...

Alasdair Duncan



Media Molecule on the challenges of making Tearaway photo
Media Molecule on the challenges of making Tearaway
by Dale North

Earlier this month, I caught up with Media Molecule's Rex Crowle, lead creator on one of my favorite games of last year, Tearaway. My main goal was simple: to thank him for such a fantastic Vita game. But we ended up chatting about Tearaway's reception, as well as some of the challenges that Media Molecule had to work through to bring us the final release.

I also repeatedly told him that they should make another Tearaway game.

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The anatomy of Evolve - interview photo
The anatomy of Evolve - interview
by Bill Zoeker

Our own gentle giant, Max Scoville, had a chat recently with Denby Grace of 2K Games about their upcoming title, Evolve. In case you missed it, Evolve is being developed by Turtle Rock Studios, the minds behind the Left 4 Dead series. Max got the scoop on some of the finer points of gameplay in this "4v1" clash of predator and prey.

After sifting through the game footage for this video, I'm thoroughly intrigued by the unusual concepts presented in Evolve. Knowing this game comes from the people who crafted the remarkable AI in L4D, I'm rather excited at the idea of a new multiplayer game I can just play by myself when my friends aren't around. *cough*Payday 2*cough*

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Free games, AOL discs and the afterlife with Ackk Studios photo
Free games, AOL discs and the afterlife with Ackk Studios
by Jonathan Holmes

A week and a half ago on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes), we welcomed Brian and Andrew Allanson of Ackk Studios to the program. We talked about their breakout success Two Brothers, their start in making their own games (and Pokemon toys) before they were old enough to drive, the differences and similarities between using writing, coding, music, and visual art to convey ideas, and a lot more. 

I was taken aback by how creating games seems to be something that's hardwired into the Allanson brothers's DNA, though the idea that their games have the potential to be widely accepted and appreciated is still so new to them. They've made a lot of games over the years, some of which they would only consider releasing under assumed names, as they never intended for anyone outside of their small circle to ever experience them.

Their excitement to finally share their games with the world at large seems to be taking precedent over their interest in getting big money, as their next game will be a free title for phones that will take a very different approach to life and death than Two Brothers. After that, it's the release of Project Y2K, a game where you use excess AOL start up discs (or their non-lawsuit friendly parody equivalents) to battle opponents, among other things. It's definitely one to look forward to. 

Thanks again to Brian and Andrew for being on the show. We're taking a break from live recording this weekend as Sinistar (our intrepid production manager and engineer) is moving to a new galaxy. Stay tuned for the rerun of our most recent episode with Jake Elliot (Kentucky Route Zero) and come on back on February 16th when we welcome Mike Kasprzak to the program.

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How Paradox Interactive found success in a niche market photo
How Paradox Interactive found success in a niche market
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Paradox Interactive is best known for their hardcore grand strategy titles on the PC market. Makers of such hits as Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, Magicka, and many more games, the Sweden-based company celebrated 10 years of independence since splitting off from Paradox Entertainment last month in Miami, Florida. 

Made up of seven people in 2004, Paradox now has 120 people working across four different studios, with an additional 150 other people on contract making games externally. The company has blossomed, with continued revenue growth year after year, yet with all that success Paradox has managed to keep their indie spirit and continues to put their fans first when developing games.

I sat down with Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester at their recent annual showcase to see how Paradox has found success in such a niche market, and where he sees the gaming industry heading towards.

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Paradox on how to do free-to-play the right way photo
Paradox on how to do free-to-play the right way
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Magicka: Wizard Wars is Paradox Interactive's take on the MOBA genre. While most companies have had trouble getting a foothold in the market thanks to how dominating League of Legends and Dota 2 are, Wizard Wars looks to have a better chance establishing itself with how it's offering more bite-sized MOBA battles.

"It looks like we're jumping on the MOBA bandwagon as the same time as everyone else, which I see how it looks from the outside, CEO of Paradox Interactive, Fredrik Wester, told me at their annual showcase last month. "We discussed though building a bigger PvP version of Magicka because so many people were asking for it. Magicka is basically built for PvP, especially if you have friendly fire. I think that is one of the key selling points for us. You can't just go in like you do in League of Legends, I play a lot of League of Legends, and you go in there with everything that you have, and you don't have to care about your teammates.

"Magicka you have to watch your teammates. If your teammate is low on health you can't just throw a fireball in his general direction because you're going to kill him. We are also focusing more on 10- to 20-minute matches. I never play classic League of Legends no more because some games can take an hour. I don't want to spend that in one competitive game. Even ARAM, which is their short game mode, takes 25 to 30 minutes to complete, if it's not like a total steamroll."

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