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RockPaperShotgun

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Original author: 
John Walker

An undoubted highlight of GDC every year is the Experimental Gameplay Workshop. Despite having that complete nonsense word in the title, it’s a chance for some of the most innovative and esoteric gaming ideas to be shared with one of the week’s biggest audiences, whether in development, released, or some impossible state in between. Some of the highlights are below.

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Original author: 
Alec Meer

I say ‘vs’, but the reality of this meeting between the 20th and 21st century masters of X-COM is that they repeatedly seem on the verge of embracing each other, rather than trading blows in a bitter row about time units and action cameras. Rev3Games arranged for original X-COM co-creator Julian Gollop to meet Jake Solomon, the lead dev on Firaxis’ XCOM remake, the result being this rather delightful recording of their seventeen-minute exchange.
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STARING EYES!
Faces are everywhere in games. NVIDIA noticed this and has been on a 20-year odyssey to make faces more facey and less unfacey (while making boobs less booby, if you’ll remember the elf-lady Dawn). Every few years they push out more facey and less unfacey face tech and make it gurn for our fetishistic graphicsface pleasure. Last night at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference, NVIDIA founder Jen-Hsun Huang showed off Face Works, the latest iteration. Want to see how less unfacey games faces can be?

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 The Pink Floyd Frontier
There’s this… game? I don’t know how to describe it now, with my heart in my mouth. I am chewing my own heart. Space Engine probably isn’t a game. It’s… It’s a universe simulator. It’s galaxies and galaxies in a tiny zip file. And the most amazing thing is we live in it. And that it is so very beautiful.
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Police Car Blood Tornado Explosion Man might not be the most popular superhero out there, but he gets the job done.

In a good and just world, all promising games would get Kickstarted, and everyone would live happily ever after. Also, clothes would always feel fresh out of the laundry and chocolate would be the cure for war. Unfortunately, however, our world is not just, and calling it “good” is probably a bit of a stretch. That depressing tangent brings us to Project Awakened. It failed to pass muster on Kickstarter, in spite of promising our neither good nor just world, er, the world. But sometimes, the best ideas only spring to mind when backs are pressed firmly against the wall, and Phosphor’s certainly hatched an intriguing one. In short, it plans to gauge interest in a second crowdfunding effort, but this time it’ll run its own site and – here’s the Kickstarter-stomping kicker – declare backers “partial owners” of the property.

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Button it

Take the opening credits from Mad Men, add a dash of James Bond, sprinkle with generous helpings of Canabalt and serve. The Button Affair is an excellent auto-runner steeped in style and variety, far too good to be free and yet it is (presumably due to its short length). You should most certainly go and play it, discover that you enjoy it greatly, and then give a donation to its chosen charity, Special Effect.
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In the grand scheme of MOBAs, Ironclad’s Sins of a Dark Age is quite the bold thing. AI directors, random rule-rewriting quests, and other RPG-influenced, flow-shattering shenanigans? This certainly isn’t DOTA 2.5 or Assortment of Apologues, and it’s not trying to be. But at one point, it was doing its damndest to be so much more. Unfortunately, the RTS-style base-building and commanding didn’t pan out, and Ironclad scratched them almost entirely. But according to studio director and co-owner Blair Fraser, his MOBA’s retching rejection of all things RTS is indicative of much larger problems for both genres. One, he argues, is on its death bed, and the other could be following suit if it doesn’t start blazing new trails.

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That man is jumping.
The mixing of 2D and 3D in game world is no longer a new idea, but Perspective – a game from game-development education crucible DigiPen – certainly has a special take on it, as you can see in the video below. It’s remarkably clever. Not just in the idea itself – in which a 2D character navigates a 3D world, and the camera control of the FPSing player alters the 2D space that character has to navigate by shifting perspective – but in the construction of the puzzles which make use of that concept. I am not sure why I am bothering to try and explain it, really, other than to emphasize that you should take a look, and then do that raised eyebrow thing you do when someone has been impressively clever.
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I'm waiting for a puzzle game driven by grammar.

Since we last caught up with it, the extraordinary-looking (and sounding) Fract OSC has released a bundle of new screenshots, and they’re a bit pretty. Described as Myst meets Rez meets Tron, a first-person puzzle adventure in an abstract world, designed around electronic music. The game, they say, is inspired by synthesisers, in a world that “literally runs on sound”. Previous footage has been remarkably interesting, but arguably not that pretty. However, that’s beginning to change, thanks to some new atmospheric art, and some extremely effective lighting. Take a look.

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EVE Online! Since the servers first rumbled to life nine years ago the deeply political, single-shard MMO has been a source of endless fascination for RPS, on a par with helicopters. How do they stay in the air?

But what’s happening in EVE? Last we heard, some of its most famous chaps were grumbling or rioting, followed by something that continues to feel like a controlled peace. We needed an update, and so it was that CCP sent over a crate containing Senior Producer Jon Lander, Lead Game Designer Kristoffer Touborg and Community Developer Sveinn Kjarval. Together, we would get to the truth.
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