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Submitted by souri on Fri, 13/05/11 - 2:36 PM Permalink

the Guardian has reviewed L.A Noire, and they've given it 5 stars - the review got pulled down however due to a review embargo for L.A Noire until Monday...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2011/may/13/la-noire-gam…

The Official Xbox 360 magazine (UK) give it a 10/10, a source has 'claimed'

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/988983-la-noire/59107303

** ok, it seems that was fake...

"We haven't reviewed LA Noire yet - that score going around is a weird and very badly written hoax."

There's a 15 minute poor quality L.A Noire gameplay video file floating around..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P53cUVvd8yk

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/05/11 - 11:14 AM Permalink

It took 7 years to make because Sony bailed out after blowing 20M$ and three years on demos and prototypes with nothing to show. The engine was a nightmare to work with and missions called for gameplay that was unattainable within the capabilities of the engine (stealth, standoffs, etc.)

Brendan thinks he's Guy Ritchie circa Snatch but he's got no idea what's going on and neither do his underlings. Amazingly talented development team (art and animation reflects this) who struggled under extreme mismanagement and ambiguity. Here's a hint for next time: If you're going to make massive changes on a whim, have a bible/wiki/documentation to update rather than sending out an email and hoping for the best. Team Bondi had no documentation to refer to and the project was made on whims, hearsay and guesses. That's why it took 7 years. And why it's not fun to play.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/05/11 - 4:20 PM Permalink

Can't comment on the communication, but it's getting absolutely stellar reviews, so it can't be that bad to play...

1up.com have conducted a highly interesting interview with Team Bondi founder, Brendan McNamara, with questions touching on the long development time of L.A Noire, why it changed hands from Sony to Rockstar, and Rockstar's involvement in its development.

So why did it take a whopping seven years to complete L.A Noire when it was initially predicted to only take three? McNamara puts it down to a number of things, but it's mostly due to the team underestimating the huge job they had at hand. From 1up...

(McNamara) Obviously, having a brand new team, with brand new technology, and a brand new type of game, and some technology that had never been seen before was a pretty big undertaking. So yeah, we massively underestimated it. But also we started with one line of code; now we've got eight million. That's what you need to run this type of game.

What's not often officially talked about is why L.A Noire made the switch initially as a Sony funded title over to a Rockstar Games release. McNamara explains that a change in Sony management meant that the continued development of L.A Noire was on shaky grounds, so he consulted with long-time friend and co-founder / president of Rockstar Games, Sam Houser, for Rockstar Games to take on the role as the new publisher. Sony, McNamara indicates, were nice enough to hand it over...

(McNamara) Sam Houser -- who runs Rockstar -- and I go back a long way. We were both in it when Sam was an A&R [Artist & Repertoire] guy at BMG Records, and they started the BMG Interactive division, which was trying to do some games and that kind of stuff...

I knew him when he was in BMG Music, and I went over as kind of a freelance artist working on different things. We went back a long way, and we used to get together and talk about games over these marathon Chinese meals.

It looks like Rockstar gave Team Bondi the additional resources and extra time to polish and refine the title, providing some developers from Rockstar North to assist in animation, cleaning up motion capture data, and tweaking various gameplay aspects. Finally, McNamara reveals that Team Bondi are finished and done with L.A Noire apart from some loose ends such as the Japanese translated version of the game and possible DLC add ons. Most of the team are on holidays while McNamara is kicking around some ideas for the next project.

For the entire interview piece with Brendan McNamara, head on over to 1up.com!

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 10/05/11 - 5:46 PM Permalink

I don't really think it's a badge of honour to leak information about a game like it's portrayed in this article. The fact remains sensitive information being leaked has lead to studios losing contracts and finally closing down. Publishers can also sue you if they can find the source was linked from the development team. Thankfully LA-Noire will see the light of day and no damage was done when the info was leaked.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/05/11 - 8:56 AM Permalink

Most recent example would be Transmission Games: certain confidential details were leaked to Kotaku, the studio lost a project as a result, and closed shortly afterwards. Now, let's not get bogged down in the details of why the leak wasn't the only cause of the studios collapse (it wasn't) - the point is it was still a tremendously damaging blow to the studio.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/05/11 - 4:27 PM Permalink

What's the big deal about Surfer Girl anyway? People are leaking stuff all the time. I guess the difference is she didn't bother keeping inside the game development community and just put it out everywhere for all the world to see... which is no different to what 90% of the news stories on any games site is on any given day. Is it just that she has a handle that makes people picture some blond bombshell in a bikini who might be working in games development?

Let's cast our minds back to the year 2007 when an anonymous blogger called Surfer Girl came out of nowhere and made an enormous splash by claiming to have insider knowledge on games that were secretly in development. And in 2007, there was no other game more secret that Team Bondi's L.A Noire. Even though it had been in development for two to three years prior, neither Team Bondi nor its founder, Brendan McNamara, had yet conducted interviews or released any press information regarding L.A Noire, and so the only information available on the game at the time was no more than just the description of "a detective thriller set in the 40's". When Surfer Girl made his/her exposé on L.A Noire, it caused a sensation as it gave us all a glimpse of the scale that Team Bondi was going for. We're going to go through each rumour that Surfer Girl made to see what proved to be true as Rockstar and Team Bondi open the information floodgames on L.A Noire while they prepare to release their long awaited game next week... Here was Surfer Girls' 2007 rumour list on L.A Noire...
* The game will be a free-roaming title with a historically-accurate recreation of Los Angeles in 1947. * Team Bondi has even hired a costume designer to research the clothing of the era so the game's attire can be accurate. * Aside from main story, side missions will be based on actual cases pulled straight of the newspapers of 1947. * A US Marine plays a big role in the story. * Not so exclusive...but LA Noire definitely ain't coming to Xbox 360, the size of the game is an obstacle to this.
Ok, let's start..

Rumour 1

The game will be a free-roaming title with a historically-accurate recreation of Los Angeles in 1947.
Verdict: True While this rumour is definitely true, we're at a fairly dubious start for Surfer Girl's exposé as this really was a no-brainer. Before Team Bondi there was Team Soho. Under the direction of Brendan McNamara, the London based studio produced the 4 million unit selling open world game, The Getaway, for the Playstation 2. For The Getaway, Team Soho re-created extensive areas of London, so it wasn't a stretch to come to the conclusion that McNamara and the few from Team Soho who had formed Team Bondi would do another open world game for their next project. Surfer Girl was right, however. L.A Noire is a historically-accurate recreation of a 1947 Los Angeles. How accurate? The L.A Times describes the effort that Team Bondi made to digitally recreate L.A from that period by stitching maps from the 30's and overlaying them with topigraphical elevation level information from data obtained from historical libraries. Needless to say, it's got a few architects and historians fairly excited.

Rumour 2

Team Bondi has even hired a costume designer to research the clothing of the era so the game's attire can be accurate.
Verdict: True Team Bondi made quite an exhaustive effort on the costume designs for L.A Noire, hiring professional film and TV costume designer, Wendy Cork, to work on clothing. From Rockstar's page on the costumes of L.A Noire...
The principal costumes by Ms. Cork and her team were scanned by Team Bondi in full body 3D scanners, giving them incredibly high resolution models to simulate the texture and fabric in detail. While some costumes were able to be sourced locally in Sydney (including some wardrobe previously used in Peter Jackson's "King Kong" remake), the bulk were sourced in L.A.
Wendy Cork was nominated for an AFI award in 2010 for Best Costume Design for the World War 1 film, Beneath Hill 60. Her excellent work can be seen in this trailer below...

Rumour 3

Aside from main story, side missions will be based on actual cases pulled straight of the newspapers of 1947.
Verdict: True From Rockstar's page on the real crime stories of 1947 Los Angeles that inspired L.A. Noire cases...
In L.A. Noire, virtually all of the cases you’ll play are inspired in some part by real life incidents that happened in and around Los Angeles circa that crime-plagued era of 1947. Team Bondi meticulously researched stacks of original articles reported in the newspapers of the day to cull authentic elements of real life crimes that would inspire the in-game cases.

Rumour 4

A US Marine plays a big role in the story.
Verdict: True Some clever sleuthing by L.A Noire fans on the the main character, Cole Phelps, reveals that the main character does indeed have a history as a former U.S Marine. From the fan created L.A Noire wiki...
Cole Phelps is a central character and the main protagonist of L.A. Noire. Phelps is a former member of the Marine Corps, who later returned from the war as a hero, joining the Los Angeles Police Department soon after, he quickly rose through the ranks and became a Detective.

Rumour 5

Not so exclusive...but LA Noire definitely ain't coming to Xbox 360, the size of the game is an obstacle to this.
Verdict: True Yes, this was in fact absolutely true. In 2007. Initially, L.A Noire was to be a PlayStation 3 exclusive, and the MotionScan technology was one of the main reasons why it was never going to make an appearance on the Xbox 360. The amount of facial data scanned for the 400+ characters in-game meant that the Xbox 360 and the capacity of its standard dual-layer DVD was clearly not up to scratch. The fact that L.A Noire was to be published by Sony was the other main reason it wasn't coming to Microsoft's console. When Rockstar came onboard as the new publisher, this all changed, however. Rockstar are no stranger to multi-platform development, and they've dealt with capacity issues before with their enormously successful game, Grand Theft Auto IV. Here's Dan Houser, co-founder of Rockstar Games, lamenting on the disk capacity issues of the Xbox 360 to 1up...
(Dan Houser) One of the problems with the 360, and it affects games like Grand Theft Auto if you think about how much content we put in the actual machine, is the fact that they don't have a significantly larger storage medium than the previous systems. It's a slightly bigger DVD disc.
As the publisher of L.A Noire and with the experience of multi-platform development, it's no surprise that Rockstar Games wanted it to arrive on the Xbox 360. And with a whole lot of work, it is indeed coming out for both the Playstation3 and Xbox 360. But what about the capacity issues raised earlier? Kotaku recently revealed that Team Bondi have managed to squeeze L.A Noire will on three discs for the Xbox version, and it was engineered in a way to keep disc swapping to an absolute minimum.
(McNamara) Since the game is built around the concept of progressing through individual cases from desk to desk, players on Xbox will find disc-swapping is hassle-free. In fact, players will only need to swap discs twice at natural breaks between cases without interrupting the flow of the game.
Overall Verdict: SPOT ON So, what's the verdict on the rumours? Well, we can unequivocally say that Surfer Girl was right on the money about L.A Noire on every point. Keeping in mind that none of the information and insights on L.A Noire published by Rockstar was available until fairly recently, some four years after Surfer Girl's blog post, the exposé by Surfer Girl was huge. Great job, whoever you are! :)
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Hideo Kojima, VP of Konami Digital Entertainment, is eagerly awaiting the release for Team Bondi's detective thriller, L.A Noire. In fact, he has such high expectations for it that he's described it as the ONLY game he is looking forward to, and he's willing to wait out the extra two months after the initial May release for the Japanese translated version.

So why is the developer behind the extremely successful series of Metal Gear Solid games so eager for L.A Noire? From his tweets, he believes it may change the future of adventure gaming. From playstationlifestyle.net..

It seems that “L.A. NOIR” will be released in Japan on 7th July(the Star Festival). It is the most and the only game that I am looking forward to playing. English version will be released in May. I cannot wait, but as it is the detective game, I should wait for the Japanese version. This game may change the future of “adventure game.” I’ve got a big expectation!

Kojima's incredible anticipation for L.A Noire could be equally matched by a group of architects and historians who are thrilled by all the reports about Team Bondi putting an extraordinary amount of research into their game, creating a "time machine" for a 1940's era Los Angeles. From the Los Angeles Times...

"Everyone's talking about it. I know architects and historians dying to get their hands on it," says Kim Cooper, a student of Los Angeles history and, with her husband Richard Schave, the proprietor of Esotouric, which offers noir-themed bus tours of Los Angeles and was asked by Rockstar to conduct a special tour for people brought in to Los Angeles to try out the game before its release.

Team Bondi production designer, Simon Wood, was at hand for the L.A Times article to describe some of the research that Team Bondi conducted for the game, including sourcing detailed maps and roughly 180,000 photos from collections of that era, examining and photographing hundreds of period props, and making equally exhaustive efforts for the right clothing, hats, and suits for the characters in-game.

L.A Noire is arriving on the 17th of May for North America, and the 20th of May for Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, for Playstation3 and Xbox360.

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Submitted by Michael D (not verified) on Thu, 21/04/11 - 7:03 PM Permalink

There is no free version of Monster Dash so not sure where they got the #143 -> #4 free charts data from. Phil also isn't the head of Halfbrick, he is the Marketing Manager. Shainiel is still the CEO.

The 267 -> 84 is accurate for paid where we kept it at the 84-120 range for about two weeks before changing our news feed to promote something else. OpenFeint didn't technically promote it... we just made use of their technology to do our own cross promotion.

Oh and this isn't a new feature... we were using it back in December 2010 and even spoke about it at GCAP :)

Submitted by souri on Thu, 21/04/11 - 7:16 PM Permalink

Thanks for the corrections, Michael. What about the line about Fruit Ninja "selling its game to 23 million players" - I'm guessing that's incorrect too? Or is that total downloads?

Submitted by Michael D (not verified) on Thu, 21/04/11 - 8:59 PM Permalink

That's correct as they are including both the paid and free iOS versions in the total. The paid iPhone version alone is now well over 7 million. Awesome to see it still performing so well since it's release.... 1 year ago today actually.... HAPY BIRTHDAY FRUIT NINJA! ;)

All eyes are on Halfbrick Studios and the success of their early adoption of a new cross-promotion feature offered by social gaming network, OpenFeint. In what will surely become the latest of many strategies for game app developers to get more consumer eyes on their releases, OpenFeint's Developer Announcements feature allows developers to promote their other titles to gamers whilst in-game. With a simple tap of a promo, gamers are able to immediately install and play the new game.

Halfbrick Studios is the perfect candidate to take advantage of Developer Announcements, having sold well over 6 million copies of their fruit slicing hit, Fruit Ninja. By promoting their endless runner title, Monster Dash, to the huge number of playing Fruit Ninja fans, the Brisbane studio has seen a sharp rise in Monster Dash sales. From Venturebeat.com...

After OpenFeint did the cross promotion, Monster Dash's downloads spiked 123 percent in two days, said Phil Larsen, head of Brisbane, Australia-based Halfbrick. The game also jumped from No. 143 on the Apple App Store to No. 4 in free apps. In paid apps, the game moved from No. 267 to No. 84.

As games developers find crowded app marketplaces increasingly challenging for their titles to get noticed, Developer Announcements from OpenFeint could prove to be an important cog-wheel of a developer's marketing strategy...

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfpkmybUx_A

We are Raptus Games, a new independent studio based in Melbourne. We would like to show the teaser trailer for our up coming western shooter DRAW.

Inspired by classic spaghetti western films DRAW is a on rails shooter with bright colourful visuals and great style! Use classic weapons from the frontier days and take out the bandits raising hell in town!

Be sure to "like" us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter and also check out our website http://www.raptusgames.com/.

Enjoy.
The Team at Raptus Games.

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Flick Buddies by Brisbane indie developer, Bane Games, is now available in a lite version so you can try out the physics based arena game for free on your iOS device! Flick Buddies Lite contains 18 complete levels as well as all the environments, game modes, and characters from the complete version. Avoid spikes, gravity wells or even the dreaded Vortex of Death as you flick your team past the opposition and into the awaiting goal. Join with the 100,000+ existing Flick Buddies fans in frantic finger flicking fun; in solo play or with friends all on the one device. Now, there's absolutely no excuse for not trying it out. Grab it from the iTunes link below!! iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/app/flick-buddies-lite/id425294724?mt=8 Website: http://www.flickbuddies.com
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Heavy Rain, a 2010 Playstation 3 exclusive gritty film noir adventure game which relied heavily on quicktime events, was promoted as pushing the boundaries for virtual actors in video games. Heavy Rain boasted a high level of performance realism, with full motion body capture, facial capture, as well as the likeness of the actor performing those actions, far beyond what had been previously accomplished in games. Those boundaries are set to be surpassed with the upcoming release of Team Bondi's detective thriller, L.A Noire.

In an interview with Computer and Video Games, Quantic Dream's founder CEO and creator of Heavy Rain, David Cage, had some interesting words to say about L.A Noire and the technology behind it, describing some of the main limits of MotionScan, the facial scanning tech developed in Sydney by Team Bondi sister company, Depth Analysis. From the interview...

(Cage) "What to say about L.A Noire? I think it's an interesting solution to a problem for now. But it's also an interesting dead end. That's exactly what I feel. Their technique is incredibly expensive and they will never be able to shoot body and face at the same time...

...they can't have real time lighting. Their technique means they can't have lighting the way I think we should do it. Basically, they take pictures; they take scans several times per frame. They also have limitations on the shaders they use, they can't re-target the eyes because they eyes are captured."

Not to be outdone by MotionScan tech, Cage reveals that Quantic Dream's own capture solution shoots both the actor's body and face at the same time and has plenty of room to improve. It's capable of reaching the photo-realistic level of capture performance of 2009 movie blockbuster, Avatar, within four or five years, he explains.

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Submitted by NathanRunge on Sun, 06/03/11 - 10:44 PM Permalink

Look, I like Halfbrick. They've done some good stuff and they have comfortable couches. Even still, I am distinctly unimpressed. It seems they're intent on flogging this dead, one-trick pony of the Canabalt clone.

While I found Monster Dash a little unoriginal, at least they brought their unique style and added a little to the genre, which is more than some others. This, however, is a clearly derivative and exploitative game which allows for some asset and concept re-use and minimal investment in design. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised, but the hands-on certainly hasn't given me much hope.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 07/03/11 - 5:57 PM Permalink

Nathan,

Just so you are aware, some senior guys at studios who do hiring have been commenting lately to me that because of the comments on the forums they'd be hesitant to hire you.

For some reason a lot of your comments come off as quite negative. Also there is the fact that some experienced guys comments and you tend to attempt to override their opinion without much experience to back it up.

I happened to defend you a while back and I ended up getting about 5 guys who are commercial games developers commenting I shouldn't be doing so.

Submitted by NathanRunge on Mon, 07/03/11 - 7:11 PM Permalink

Good day Anonymous,

Thank you, firstly, for being forthcoming and honest, it's refreshing. I am aware that my personality can be, shall we say, polarising.

Regarding my comments - many of them are quite negative. Usually this negativity is directed at trends or broader topics than a specific games, but nonetheless there is a lot in the Australian industry that deserves some negativity.

Nonetheless, I have never directed my negativity at an individual and have refrained from commenting with particular disdain on any one company. I am aware that people may be offended by this, but the men and women of the industry are professionals, or should be, and do not need to be spoon-fed niceties. If they object to my comments, they may feel free to criticise them similarly, but commonly I am only told I "can not" or "should not" say things, never a convincing case for my being wrong.

Developers in Australia are, regrettably, far too afraid to be critical of the work or processes undertaken locally. The industry is a very small community and offending the wrong people can be a poor career move. Personally, I feel the industry has suffered sufficiently at the hands of sychophants and nepotism and, on a personal note, I would rather be remembered as someone who had the courage and presence of mind to see and discuss the problems, than to simply pat everyone on the back. While I have no illusions as to my resulting popularity, I have received more than one job offer with my comments here referenced as a drawing factor, so there are pluses too.

Nathan

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/03/11 - 9:41 AM Permalink

I am a different annon.

No one says that you cannot say things.

However, it is simply not in your best interests to present yourself as being a polarising individual. Put simply, no games dev team wants such a figure. You give the appearance of an individual who would, if given the opportunity, enter a position and proceed to 'do your own thing', rather than open yourself up to learn whatever the studio wants to teach you. You appear to come packaged with an ego unsupported by a track record, and appear unashamed to polarise people. Games devs get burned by these types all the time.

I don’t know you. You might just be an open, honest guy trying to do right in this world. But that’s irrelevant. Your appearance is negative.

Back on track, I thought this game looked pretty good, I hope it does well. Halfbrick certainly seem to know what they are doing.

Submitted by NathanRunge on Tue, 08/03/11 - 7:19 PM Permalink

Firstly, thank you for your feedback, both. That said, I hope you will not take it personally that I see no need to change. The industry has long asked for passion, and that is what I display here. Passion is not unabashed support for all things 'game', passion is a desire for the medium to grow and flourish.

I understand my criticisms may at times concern those in the industry, but they are never personal. My criticisms address the industry itself, and a business which cannot accept criticism from within will whither and die. If we don't look at how we can improve, mediocrity will reign and, in an industry based upon novelty, this is a death sentence. My ability to assess and analyse the processes within the industry is a strength, for which I have no regret or shame, demonstrated by the name above my words.

Tsumea is a forum in which the industry can interact and reflect. It is a site on which ideas may be exchanged and discussed. My strength of conviction and opinions expressed here do not reflect on an inability to work within a team environment. On the contrary, every team requires the ability to critique itself dispassionately and impersonally. To write me off on this basis would be quite wrong, as I work well in a team and enjoy doing so.

Finally, to those that would state that I have no credentials on which to criticise the industry I say simply: "How IS the industry fairing?"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/03/11 - 3:53 AM Permalink

The "Passion" that people seek in employees is somebody driven to work on games, to the point that they attack their work with a ferocious desire to excel and prove their worth.

These individuals usually also have made a significant portfolio of high quality work in their own time, such is their desire to work on games.

Being able to objectively critique the work of other from a distance is also a valuable skill, but posting largely negative feedback on the Tsumea board is unlikely to result in developers taking note of the remarks, except perhaps to categorise the poster as an attention seeking douche bag.

A well written email to the developer is much more likely to achieve the desired goal.

Some people forget that not every game needs to break new ground or change peoples lives, there is no shame in taking a well proven genre or mechanic and attempt a fresh style or more highly polished take on it.

Submitted by NathanRunge on Wed, 09/03/11 - 11:49 AM Permalink

I couldn't have said it better myself other anonymous - That is NOT passion, that is simply desperation for a job. Passion entails strong ideas and emotional attachment, not simply a desire to work there. Passion is evident in trying to improve, defending and otherwise supporting the medium, something that I find disturbingly absent in our industry-community.

Once our industry begins being criticised from "a distance" we have already failed. As an industry we need to accept criticism from within and seek constantly to improve ourselves. Rarely have I ever posted "feedback" on Tsumea. In this instance, which is the only time that comes to memory, I have. More commonly I address the problems we experience industry-wide and advocate actions, or at least thought, toward fixing these issues. If you, in your insecurity, wish to deem me an attention-seeking "douche bag", that's your perogative, but please excuse me when I don't take it seriously.

I see no purpose in writing emails to developers as I rarely address individuals, organisations or products. Certainly, I could have written this one opinion to Halfbrick, but felt no need to. It was simply my initial impression, expressed where it could be discussed. Instead I have been assaulted by a wave of defensiveness and hostility. I don't expect Halfbrick to break barriers every time they make a game, but that's no what this is. My opinion was that they brought a "fresh style" and "polish" to the "genre" in Monster Dash. This simply doesn't seem up to Halfbrick's normal standards, and I am concerned that it will negatively impact their image with consumers.

Submitted by NathanRunge on Wed, 09/03/11 - 12:17 PM Permalink

Good day additional Anonymous,

As you might be aware, starting a studio is quite an undertaking. There's a lot to organise, and measures to take in order to maximise the chances of success. I have no interest in rushing into the process in order to satisfy the apparent requirements for expressing an opinion on tsumea. Furthermore, the link to my "studio" from my tsumea portfolio is old and will in fact lead to an "account suspended" page.

That said, there is a new address that will take you to the generic domain hosting placeholder. The reason there is not currently a website at this location is that, only a week ago, the contract with a local artist and designer for corporate identity materials was finalised. These materials will need to be supplied to my web developer in the near future and I expect shortly you may all marvel at the website. Of course, as I have said, the studio is new and won't have any completed titles, so I expect it means little to you.

As for what I have personally completed - there are numerous titles, none of which I find particularly important to this discussion. Nonetheless, if you want examples of my "awesome talent" feel free to email me a request.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/03/11 - 3:18 PM Permalink

What is your problem?
You, like many others on this page have done nothing but give shit and barely have any of you actually addressed what i consider to be the main point of the original comment.
Someone said to me after posting my F**K Australian Games “Care to justify your opinion? I assume you would since you cared enough to write that.” And I did, because I do and so should you all.
What has happened here is a lot of what i consider to be Fierce brown nosing, self-serving and spiteful commentary from people who whine about “proven track record” as its some barrier of entry to intelligent thought, Stop falling back on to that without telling us yours if you think it’s so important. I know that at least one of you here is an employee of HalfBrick and you, of all people should instead of getting defensive and angry that someone has concerns about your latest product and instead start acting like a professional and maybe (if you are able to) address the real question as to the strategy of making another game so soon that closely resembles it predecessor.
Is that not the real question here?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/03/11 - 4:15 AM Permalink

Well you might call it desperation for a job, I rather think its the mark of people who would rather "do" than "say" and who reaslise that actions speak louder than words. In my games industry career all of the most inspiring and talented people have shared these traits.

As a designer, I do read feedback, comments and criticism on my work from fan forums and also industry portals. Occasionally you will find a gem of a comment from there but mostly it tend to be a bunch of people posting deliberately inflammatory statements in an attempt to extend their e-peen.

On the occasions I do get email feedback from fans (or via facebook/twitter from my peers) it tends to be much more constructive, thought provoking and thus useful. I think you are way off the mark if you think a well written email to a developer will be ignored, I always make an effort to reply but even when I don't I always read and consider the feedback.

In my opinion your current trend of posting is unlikely to achieve your stated goals. To me at least you come across as a know-it-all who isn't prepared to listen to the opinions/advice of others. That may well not be the case, but as somebody who only knows you through your comments on this site, its the opinion I have formed.

I do however wish you all the best with your start-up studio, and for your games industry career in general.

Submitted by NathanRunge on Thu, 10/03/11 - 10:43 AM Permalink

Hello Anonymous,

I have written elsewhere in this thread that I am no longer going to continue the argument, so the majority of your post will be left unaddressed. Nonetheless, there is a small section which I believe relates to the intended topic of this page that it is worth answering. I wished to stress that I never implied that an email to a developer would be ignored, only that in the majority of cases it wasn't the appropriate course of action. This is the only time in recent memory that my comments apply solely to one developer and, in this case, they are simply an initial impression, not a detailed analysis or suggestions for improvement. Certainly I could do these things and email them to Halfbrick, but that was not my intention nor the result of my comments.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/03/11 - 11:17 AM Permalink

The mobile sector of the industry (the sector in which Halfbrick operate) is actually doing pretty well.

Even if it weren't, that wouldn't magically give you credibility. You get credibility from a proven track record, not from the failures of those you're criticizing.

Submitted by NathanRunge on Wed, 09/03/11 - 11:35 AM Permalink

On that point I feel that you are wrong. Statements on a public dicussion forum should be assessed on the basis of their merits, not on your personal opinion or professional credentials of the poster. Additionally, so far in this thread I have the greatest credentials, by your reasoning, to make any sort of statement as I am the only poster with any form of identity.

Regarding Halfbrick, I have consistently used Halfbrick as an example of how things should be done. Regularly have I referenced them for this purpose and I have never criticised them wholely. In this case I criticsed a single preview of a single prospective product.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/03/11 - 12:05 PM Permalink

Mate, there's no rules as to how statements on a public forum should be assessed. People will assess your statements in whatever way they please. Like it or not, your credentials greatly affect how your opinions are received.

Submitted by NathanRunge on Wed, 09/03/11 - 12:25 PM Permalink

Credentials will and should be taken into consideration. That is, however, different from dismissing statements without considering their validity. If thi was the modus operandi for the whole forum, very little would be said or heard as most people post anonymously, therefore negating any credentials.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/03/11 - 1:09 PM Permalink

Great! I'm glad we've reached consensus on the point that your track record really does matter.

I just hope that you are aware that harsh criticisms from an inexperienced outsider appear ignorant and even arrogant. If you're square with that, well, so am I :)

Submitted by NathanRunge on Wed, 09/03/11 - 1:18 PM Permalink

The distinguishing factor is whether you view me as an outsider, I suppose. You can view me as a contemporary professional and seek to discuss things in a reasonable manner, or you can view me as an outsider, in which case I represent a member of your primary market and perhaps you should take that into consideration at least on the subject of how a game is perceived.

Additionally, very rarely has anyone provided any sort of argument for my being wrong on any subject which I have posted. The industry does not have the "track record" to so easily dismiss advice about their business practices, for example.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/03/11 - 2:20 PM Permalink

You're missing the point entirely. You're not wrong! Nobody said you're wrong.

We're saying you're *extremely negative*. This negativity, combined with your lack of experience, make you look ignorant, arrogant and downright unpleasant.

Take your original comment as an example. It's scathing. You're pinging the game on its originality, when it clearly isn't trying to be original. You're technically correct, but taking an extremely negative stance on the issue. I really don't think Halfbrick were trying to smash the mold with this one. Helen Keller could tell that originality is not the goal of this game. It looks more like they're just trying to maximize the profitability of one of their IPs. I think that's a good move that makes good business sense. Way to go brickers.

Submitted by NathanRunge on Wed, 09/03/11 - 3:19 PM Permalink

I can see we are unlikely to reach a point of agreement on whether being right perhaps negates "ignorant", if not arrogant and unpleasant. As such, there's not much point in us furthering this particular vein of discussion, as there's enough nastiness and frustration here as it is.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/03/11 - 2:36 PM Permalink

This is where you are wrong, the industry here does has had a good track record until recently due to economic circumstances.

The fact is games development is about as high risk an investment as you can get. Which is why its common for publishers to sign a bunch of games knowing in advance they will probably cancel some of them before they are complete. They make up the losses on the cut games by the ones that do succeed. Its like investing large amounts in shares, you don't put all of the money into one single company and hope for the best, you spread around that risk.

Its unfortunate that since the GFC publishers have had to cut back on funding, as well we're in a situation where the exchange rate is so out of balance that we now find it extremely difficult to compete with developers overseas that can do the same amount of work for a whole lot less. So we have less money coming in and what money we do get doesn't go as far. And its not just the games industry, there are a lot of export and tourism companies that are suffering the same fate. There is nothing wrong with their business its just the way it is, its not fair but tough luck because thats life.

You may like to accuse the publisher / developer funding model as being broken or whatever but its just the way the industry has always worked when it comes to big budget games. Being able to self fund and self publish your own games might be the holy grail of game development but thats usually only possible with either smaller games or strong financial backing. With such a high risk return its going to be make or break for a company to invest millions of dollars into a game that may not make back the initial investment. Usually a better way to go about it is to have a variety of paid as well as self funded work, that way if a project fails your whole company doesn't go under and you can still put together your dream game.

You seem to have an attitude that you will develop some really amazing games in the future and will not possibly fail. So everyone else should listen because something you might do in the future is not a failure and that they have failed before. You have exactly the same chance of failure as the rest of us if not more due to lack of experience.

People get better at things through practice, experience and taking advice from people who have been successful beforehand. I'm not about to go and hassle Leyton Hewitt for not taking my tennis tips because I don't have a track record and that he lost his last game which means he has a higher failure rate.

Of course you're just going to accuse my post as nepotism or whatever and keep criticizing the industry because you say its constructive but there is a level of criticism where its just someone trying to point out a flaw for the sake of making it look like they know better.

Submitted by NathanRunge on Wed, 09/03/11 - 3:13 PM Permalink

It seems that everone within the industry, or at least on tsumea, has some unspoken agreement that failure should be blamed upon external factors, and external factors alone. No-one here is going to dispute the riskiness of Game Development, and that is exactly the point. From day 1 all manager should be aware of the risk, and need to plan accordingly. Halfbrick did a good job of this, utilising the contract development model, but not relying on it solely. As such, when it dried up they continued to be successful, even more so in-fact.

The GFC had an impact, to be sure, but can we really sit here and blame our problems solely upon the economy? Did the economy cost EA the Batman license? Did the economy spend inordinate amounts of money on Blade Kitten, not to mention the Star Wars situation? Our dollar is about on parity with the US dollar and, to simplify, our studios should be able to produce similar results as the US. There are difficulties, but it is OUR job to deal with those, not ignore them and complain when we fail.

In the future I might produce some great games, I might not. In the mean-time, I'm intent on planning as well as is possible in order to improve my chances of success. If a first-year marketing student has an idea on how to improve that situation, I'll judge it on its merits. My ego is not so great that I feel threatened by the comments of someone who doesn't write my cheques.

Over time people get better at things, to be sure. Practice is good, but it does not make perfect. There are many, many talented developers in Australia, but development has rarely been our shortcoming. Business management and education are my gripes of choice, and we don't seem to be moving forward in leaps and bounds. Your post is not nepotism, in fact that makes no sense really. Perhaps, however, you need to consider why it is always the external that is to blame, and self-analysis the enemy.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/03/11 - 3:51 PM Permalink

Having the dollar at parity does NOT mean we can produce similar results as in the US. You've just shown how little you know about the exchange rates and purchasing power parity.

Submitted by NathanRunge on Wed, 09/03/11 - 4:15 PM Permalink

As you may note, should you spend some time reading what I actually wrote, I noted that I was simplifying dramatically. On a very low-level basis, my statement will hold true. You are applying a number of higher-level assumptions that will, in most cases, apply.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/03/11 - 5:08 PM Permalink

How much time I spent reading what you wrote is irrelevant. You just said that with the exchange rate at parity we should be able to produce similar work as in the US. I disagreed with this statement because of the current exchange rate in-balance. I was not applying any assumptions whatsoever, I was simply stating what is known as a fact. The PM was talking about this exact same issue recently before her trip to the US, our currency is causing major problems for a lot of industries here. Maybe you'd like to also say she is making some high level assumptions but of course on a low level basis she is somehow wrong and the currency is not a problem at all.

Halfbrick Studios is bringing out a new title for Apple iOS devices called Machinegun Jetpack. It stars the familiar Barry Steakfries character who appears in their previous iOS games, Monster Dash, as well as Age of Zombies. The gameplay shares some familiarity to Monstar Dash in that it is also a runner game, so expect to be making your way through an endless, randomly generated level and avoiding all the enemies and trappings that come at you. The big difference to Monstar Dash, however, is that you won't be spending most of your time running and hopping your way through. As the title suggests, you can gear up to keep yourself vertical with a jetpack or an anti-gravity suit. Coins can be collected to upgrade your gear or for use in the slot machine at the end of the game which provides a chance to win an opportunity to continue on or receive rewards for the next game. Toucharcade were given a preview of Machinegun Jetpack at the Game Developers Conference at San Francisco this week which you can see below. Machinegun Jetpack is expected for a release in roughly three months time for the price of 99c...
News

During a meeting at the Games Developer Conference with Destructoid this week, Brisbane-based Halfbrick Studios has disclosed that they are bringing their 6+ million iOS selling game, Fruit Ninja, to the social gaming platform giant, Facebook. From Destructoid...

Called Fruit Ninja Frenzy, the game will utilize the same addictive swipe gameplay mechanics with some twists, including power-ups. Expect full leaderboard support, which means countless hours spent competing against Facebook friends, including that one kid who sat next to you in 7th grade history that haven't seen in over 15 years.

Making the most of your I.P should be the aim of many independent developers, and we've seen local developers like Firemint monetising the most of their game titles by porting it to as many platforms as possible, but we can only imagine the enormous potential of bringing Fruit Ninja to a huge social gaming platform like Facebook. Excellent move, Halfbrick!

Company
News

Any new game announcement from Firemint is always anticipated, given the high standard of quality titles from the Melbourne games studio and for the fact that they've only released two titles for the iOS devices so far since the launch of their original 2009 hit title, Flight Control. Firemint certainly haven't been sitting on their laurels, however, as they've been preoccupied since with the big productions and highly acclaimed titles of Real Racing and Real Racing 2, as well as the many platform ports and updates of Flight Control.

Firemint CEO, Rob Murray, disclosed late last year that the studio was always prototyping new ideas but discarded many because they did not reach a certain level of innovation or freshness that the studio has come to expect. He explained that Firemint would be ready to announce any new game "when we have gotten it to the stage where it is close to finished and we are really loving it".

It seems that time has come as Firemint have been busy showcasing a preview of their new casual iOS title at the Game Developers Conference this week. The new game, titled Agent Squeek, has you you playing a mouse that has to collect cheese that has been strategically placed in the level. Once retrieved, you'll need to find an escape route to a mouse hole. You'll be doing this by drawing your path in the familiar way to directing your plane in Flight Control.

As to be expected, there are enemies to avoid, powerups to collect, and many achievements to be had. From the many previews that Agent Squeek has had, it's expected to include increasingly challenging levels, huge boss battles, and the final product will be of a level of polish you'd expect from Firemint.

From the hands-on preview by Slidetoplay.com...

The developers promise many hours of content, with tons of levels set in a variety of environments, plus a lot of replayability. Like in Angry Birds (and many other casual games), when you complete each level, you're awarded up to three stars for your performance.

No exact release date has been given so far for the release date for Agent Squeek nor has any screenshots or footage been released so far, but we should be seeing it sometime in 2011.

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