No Man’s Sky is potentially one of the most interesting games to be under development at the moment. Quite unlike any other, this incredible project by Hello Games presents a near infinite universe that allows you to traverse and discover new worlds, creatures, fauna and landforms, all procedurally generated.
Procedural generation means that what you see before you is not created by any artist hand, rather, all the elements that make up the worlds in No Man’s Sky are dictated and born from a set of algorithms. This system of creation is most famously used in Minecraft, but here Hello Games have stepped it up a notch. In No Man’s Sky the player is challenged with exploration of a universe that is constantly under development and incredibly vast. So vast that Sean Murray from Hello Games has stated that “if you were to visit one virtual planet every second, our own sun will have died before you’d have seen them all”. The shear scale of this project is hard to get your head around. Each planet has their own set of laws that dictate how the plants and inhabitants of that world grow, evolve, breed and survive. Erosion plays apart just as in the real world meaning that planets change and develop as time goes on. This is virtual world building on acid! The breadth of this game is so huge that to make sure things are running smoothly (as traditional game testing is impossible) virtual drone testers are sent out into the game taking screen shots of what they discover so that the creators can be sure that worlds are creating and evolving as they should. Holy heck…. it’s insane.
Not only is the generation of this amazing, the manner in which it allows players to fly down to a planet, explore the real evolving ecology and then simply take off to explore another is ground breaking. No two planets are alike meaning that your experience at each can be vastly different. So that loneliness doesn’t come into play (there were concerns that due to the scale players would never see each other) each new start begins in the same galaxy with a common goal of reaching the centre. From there, the universe is your oyster!
There is no set release date for No Man’s Sky, but be sure that when it does come, this will be one of the biggest ground breaking games to date.
I just love the look of some of the games coming out at the moment. A few weeks back I wrote about Monument Valley, shortly after I was introduced to Below, two games that utilize a flattened approach, art directed so perfectly that they become beautiful artworks in their own rights.
But Below is not only being tipped at as winner because of it’s aesthetic, it’s approach to gameplay has also got the community waiting in anticipation. Below is an adventure game enjoyed from an overhead perspective through a tilt shift lens. The hero of Below is an extremely tiny warrior who explores the depths of a remote island. The game is about discovery, discovery of the island, discovery of the warriors task and discovery of how to operate and navigate. Below doesn’t give a single prompt on your task, the direction or the purpose of your adventure which separates it drastically from many directive games on the market. This is about exploration and learning. On top of that, the game includes permanent death. Wounded by an enemy? No matter the size of the wound, you better tend to it quickly as any loss of blood will eventually lead to your death. Once this occurs (your death I mean) you can return to the island but in a reincarnate state. Your previous body is still there… somewhere on the island. Time doesn’t restart in this game, it continues with your previous body lying where you took your last breath. Any benefits you may have collected in your previous life’s journey are still with your dead body, your new one just has to find it to regain the beneficial supplies. That task may be easier said than done as you, a tiny warrior, search through this vast, changeable landscape. The premise is a strangely exciting one and hints to the unique way that Below’s gameplay has been designed.
The vastness of the island is one of my other favourite aspects of the game. A giant landscape with a tiny warrior placed inconspicuously amongst it all. The idea that the main protagonist is ant sized is just brilliant and adds to the sense of impending doom that awaits in the depths of the island.
Below has been developed by Capy Games and is one the most anticipated games of 2014. A game that punishes recklessness and positions you in rigorous combat, all while being housed in a thoughtfully designed environment. Watch the preview above (the soundtrack is great), and click here to watch an interview with Nathan Vella, President of Capy Games, on the recently released gameplay demo.
I don’t think Below’s release date has been finalised as of writing this article, but it’s due soon… so keep it on your radar!
The best way to test and explore some new technologies is through games. This time we look at Google’s Project Tango and how it’s utilized in the context of gaming.
In short, Project Tango gives mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion. Tango capable mobile devices contain customized hardware and software designed to track the full-range 3D motion of the device, while simultaneously creating a map of the environment. These special sensors process a wealth of data that updates position and orientation in real-time, creating a 3D model of the space around you.
There is plenty of ways this technology can be utilised. NASA for example is already testing it to map space stations in zero gravity conditions. But hey, how much more fun it is to use real-time sensory mapping to chase down and kill hoards of zombies?!
That’s exactly what you do with the Google Tango based game Zombie Gunship Reality. This new Android game from Limbic Software turns your Android device into a huge gunship. Moving around with the device you track down armies of zombies and basically shoot them to pieces from the air. If you check out the video above, it looks like loads of fun and you are getting a good exercise at the same time!
Google Tango is exploring new frontiers here and I am excited to see how they use the lessons they learn from gaming as they take this technology to the next level.
Do you remember the movie ‘Her’ when Joaquin Phoenix played a holographic motion-sensor operated video game with an adorably foul-mouthed snowball / alien child character? It was certainly one of the highlights in the film so I have embedded a recap of the scene (warning, explicit language — but cute).
Well, the visual artist David OReilly — who created the concept and animation for the game in the film — is releasing his first indie game called ‘Mountain’.
It is a mountain simulator built on the Unity engine. What. The. Heck. — you ask? It is actually a quite clever concept. The game starts off with a couple of intimate questions trying to dig into your psyche. Answering the questions you are eventually drawing up a mountain that is a reflection of you at that moment. Then the mountain will come to life, running in the background on your computer. Changing, evolving. You’ll see the change of weather, things grow and die as time moves ahead. You’ll witness nature expressing itself, yourself. There are no control functions in this game, but there is a rich soundscape, weather simulation and 50 hours of ‘gameplay’ that ‘has an ending’.
Intrigued? I am!! Fortunately don’t have to wait too long as ‘Mountain’ will be released on the 21st of June for around $1. It’ll run on PC, Mac and iOS.
Fire, ice, x-ray closeups of rupturing organs and breaking bones in the brand new trailer for the 10th Mortal Kombat game coming next year. This brutally cool trailer brings you Sub-Zero and Scorpion fighting to the death and I can see it causing a lot of excitement in the gaming scene. The game will be coming to the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC in 2015.
The new instalment of the iconic cross-generational title is promising a cinematic experience and an all new gameplay with an online component. Check out this beautifully rendered trailer, but be aware — it’s not for the faint-hearted.