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Discover JET, an Imagine Cup Game

Hi there, I’m Sebastien hannier, project manager of Jet. As you know (if you’ve read the previous articles about it), we are making this game for the Microsoft Imagine Cup, a worldwide game creation contest. This article is here to present  this awesome game that we are making.

10505080_711027025686471_7854546669556828348_o

So jet takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Nature has reclaimed its right upon the Earth and everything is deserted and destroyed. We don’t really know how it happened but a new life form appeared right before the cataclysm. They seem to be made out of some kind of dirt, that we can also find everywhere on the ground. This dirt is the result of the pollution accumulated by humans and it turns into some kind of organic form. These entities are falling from the sky to destroy the humans left alive. These people have had to find a way to survive,so they’ve built flying cities, which are much harder to reach for their enemies. But still, it wasn’t enough to live in peace. So they’ve taken arms and that means fire, the only thing that can destroy the dirt.

The main character is a young punk rebel. He is one of the last humans, and lives in the last city on Earth. He is also the last hope for mankind because he is the only one that hasn’t lost faith in victory. So this young man has equipped himself with jet pack boots and roller gear to fight. You, as a player, will control him. Jumping from hill to hill, you will burn the dirt off the ground and kill the enemies with your jetpack equipment. You will also have to perform some crazy tricks, because if you are to save the world, you’d better do it in style.

The artistic direction is based on low-poly art. All assets and textures are made out of simple geometric forms. The main colors are very warm because we are in a desert, so yellow and orange are used here. This contrasts very much with the dirt and the enemies that are black and red.

 

So jet is meant to become an instantly funny game, with a great game feel. Thanks for reading and see you soon.
Sebastien Hannier.

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DEOS boardgame




Cover_WIP-04-13



DEOS

This article is part of a 3 fold series on the DEOS game project : early stages, production and final line.

Part 1, early stages

Hello I’m Mathieu Girard, a first year student and one of the two artists currently working on the card game DEOS. In this article I’m going to discuss mostly the early development of the game from my perspective.

 

DEOS is one of the 12 first year projects of Supinfogame promo 2019. The objective is to create a fully working boardgame or cardgame prototype in the course of the year. The project is supervised by Pascal Bernard, especially for the game designers, while graphists are mostly on their own, apart from the unfortunately rare interventions of François Cormier. The project subjects were chosen by throwing random ideas on a board. We then grouped complementary ideas into theme groups. Teams of 2 graphists and 2 game designers were then randomly assembled and randomly assigned to a theme. We luckily got Mythology, Creatures and Heroes.

Our guidelines from there on were to wait for the intensive week which would be fully dedicated to working on the game. We disobeyed of course and started talking about the general ideas of what we wanted to do. At the time we were going for something rather complicated with a lot of depth. We had a huge interactive board in mind with cards and figurines, players would build cities and temples or go on quests. It was a mess.

Thankfully came the intensive week. We decided to completely scratch our previous vision and go for something very simple and casual with cards only. Our pitch then was that each player would play as a mythological god or a pantheon of gods who battle against each other for glory. They would destroy entire planets with cataclysms to prove their might. The player with the most planets destroyed would win the game. The word that often came to mind when describing our game was “epic” (we realized later that it was attributed to heroes and not gods, but whatever). At the time we wanted to create our own world and mythology, drawing inspiration from Magic, Dota 2, Warcraft,…etc while still being original. The following images were some quick concept art that I personally had in mind previously.

Lord of Darkness LDChar_design

However, popular opinions were against a brand new world and favored known mythology, so we asked what people wanted to be able to play as in our game. We came up with a list of classical gods such as Zeus, Loki, Anubis and so on as well as Buddha as a warlord and Lovecraft’s Cthulhu. Hence our first real concept art :

Cthulhu_WIP-02-02

I spent most of the latter part of the intensive week working on this. We ended up sticking with classical mythologies so this illustration was later discarded.

At the beginning of the week when we initially pitched the game concept to the class, people were quite psyched. However by the middle of the week things started to get rough. Our problem was that we had not found a way to translate the sensation of mass destruction and thirst for power into an enjoyable game. Our prototype looked like a bad ripoff of UNO. Seeing our troubles Pascal Bernard told us to put aside what we had previously done and think it over from another perspective, which we (kind of) did and still we could not come up with a fun game that looked even remotely like what we had pitched. However the game designers had put a lot of effort into this prototype and were reluctant to discard it, so we stuck with it and tried to improve it instead of starting over.

During this time we also had to decide our roles in the team, namely the Project Manager and the Artistic Director. We didn’t really feel like we needed titles, we had gotten along well this far without any chain of command. Benjamin Leblanc filled the position of Project Manager out of necessity because he was the better fit. As for the Artistic Director, in a group with two graphists, it’s hardly useful but as it is a job I’m interested in for my career and I’m more experienced and skilled than my fellow graphist Camille Gangneux I imagined I would fill the position. However he was eager to take it on so I “let” him. This has worked rather well so far since most of the artistic decisions were made together anyway and the boring writing stuff is his problem.

By Friday we hit a big wall. The intensive week was over and we had a crappy, boring prototype. Our instructions then : send a week’s worth of intensive work to oblivion. Start again,with one week to catch up with the rest of the class with something new and exciting.

During this week the game designers tried many times to improve the game. On the graphists’ side we had to decide what each one of us would do. In order to do this we each drew in an hour a composition of an oracle/prophet which the other would colorize.

compo_prophete_CGCompo_Prophete_MG

Camille’s oracle composition on the left and mine on the right.

Below is my shading of Camille’s composition and attempt at colorization. He didn’t finish his as it was pretty obvious I would be doing that part. This is the workflow we have adopted since then, he does the composition and I take care of the rest.
Illu_prophete_MG_WIP-01Illu_prophete_MG_Color_balance_reworked_v2

The evening before the dreaded day we did a last playtest to see how the game held up. It was terrible. We were preparing to get shredded the next day. However in the morning Benjamin made last minute changes before presenting it to Pascal Bernard and it worked. I had no knowledge of this so when I crossed his path at lunch and he was encouraging and positive I thought he was being sadistically sarcastic. This prototype is the one we would work on for the rest of the project.

 

This concludes the first part of this article series. Coming next is the production and the detailed artistic direction (with prettier illustrations).

 

Mathieu GIRARD

 

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Why should you check out Final Fantasy XV

If you’ve been following the world of J-RPG for the last decade, you have surely heard of the (in) Famous Final Fantasy Versus XIII, rebranded as Final Fantasy XV 2 years ago.

(In)Famous, for its tremendously long development process, which started over a decade ago.

(In)Famous, for its radically different world compared to previous Final Fantasy installments.

(In)Famous, for its extravagant hairstyle-design of  the characters, in a typical Nomura-style fashion, its game director until 2012.

(In)Famous, for its real time action oriented gameplay, completely different from the classic turn-by turn Final Fantasies.

(In)Famous, for its cast of main characters completely made of men.

(In)Famous, for its “Road-Trip” like experience shown in the TGS 2014 trailer.

And the list goes on…

Famous, or infamous? Whatever is your answer, it is nonetheless one of the most remarkable final fantasy in recent years, which you should check out regardless. I is also Final Fantasy series’ “final” hope to regain trust of its fan base, due to the poor reception of the FF XIII trilogy. Depending on the success of this one, it may really be the “Final” Fantasy.

A short demo version Final Fantasy XV is available for those who purchased Final Fantasy Type 0 HD, a spin-off of the Final Fantasy. This one explores a new mature direction for final fantasy with a cruel fantasy world where it’s people are waged into a merciless war.

For those who just want to peek into the future game that XV would be, investing into another full- fledged title might not be worth it for just a demo. But for those who are curious, Type 0 is worth the investment on it’s own due to it’s radically different approach to the series.

The game is planned for international release in 2015 on both PS4 and Xbox One, so please look forward it!

ffxv

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Horror games : Are we going the wrong way? [Part 1]

     Hey! Yoann here. This is my first contribution to the blog, and I wanted to step back for a while and think about scary things.

Have you ever wondered why horror stuff isn’t that scary after all? I mean, I know that this question depends on who is asking for an answer. Many people will be scared with pretty much anything at all, while some others  won’t ever really feel fear. Who’s never tried to scare someone with lights turned off? Well, okay… Maybe you haven’t. But I did, and it was fun.

One evening, I had to go to check on someone in their apartment. But for some reason, he decided to trick me and scare me. So he put some weird ambient music on his laptop, turned off the lights and sat in the middle of his living room. The lights were flickering, the music was loud. But it was way too much for such a prank, and was looking like some kiddy land haunted house with people trying to grab you while riding the ghost train instead. You see? This is what is basically done in horror games nowadays. NOT scary stuff.

Spongebob_scares

From « Spongebob Squarepants » Halloween Special

No, for real! Don’t you love it when these freaking shivers run down your spine? Doesn’t it feel great when the “thing” coming for you actually gets to you, and you’re not prepared? This is what I’m talking about. Oh and, by the way, it doesn’t even have to be some inhuman creature. Imagination is pretty good at this, and probably better at it than some gory gruesome creature full of sh… Teeth.

What I’m trying to say here is that horror games desperately need something new to be horrific. Once again, these thoughts are food for thought, they are not something that is proved to be working. Yet. What if horror games weren’t meant to be games? This is going against what I just said, that it is great to feel fear. But just think about it: Once you beat a game, it is kind of boring to beat it once more. There is nothing new, and all that the “new game +” mechanic creates is just a cheap way to create the will to go for it a second/third time.

Horror games (and movies, by the way) don’t work that way. Once you’ve experienced it, another run won’t give you the same chills, and that is because you are prepared and know what will happen right behind that wall. In fact, I think that horror games should be some sort of “one try only” games. Or at least should behave differently every time you start the game.

I’ll leave you with that for the moment, and will continue this way next time. For now, try to experiment with new games, independent games (I’ll explain why later), and get some scares while you can. See you soon!

Yoann

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Hardware news : « What is coming next to make games even more immersive? »

A brief (not exhaustive) history :

Since they have been created, video games have had one objective above all others: immerse you into a different world, universe, make you feel special and powerful. To achieve such a thing, they do their best – with the work of artists and engineers combined – so that you can’t tell the difference between material reality and the universe they depict. And how do they do that?  Realistic graphics with computers and consoles that become more and more powerful; immersive gameplay with ergonomic controllers, or even motion control.

Back in the 70’s, the golden age of arcades made video games accessible. More and more people could play them. With the evolution of technology, and as the number of people working in that field was growing every day, video games were soon to explore new paths of play. In 1989, Nintendo released the Zapper, and accessory that allowed players to play games such as Duck Hunt, in which you had to shoot ducks, using the Zapper to aim at the screen.  In the 90’s, the development of 3D video games let you explore a virtual space. With those appeared steering wheels, guns, and a lot of others accessories to enhance your experience.

THE NES ZAPPER

 

In 2006, Nintendo (again), released the Nintendo Wii with motion controllers only. This system allowed players to do a wide range of things, with the same controller. A lot of accessories came out to make it even more immersive. Consoles of the 7th generation (Wii, PlayStation 3, XBOX 360) all developed new controls, like PlayStation Move or Kinect. Until then, only Nintendo had bothered to develop such immersive technology.

NINTENDO WIIMOTE

Where is technology now ?

Today, technology is at a very high level. Some games are so beautiful it is hard to tell the difference between real life and video games. High-end GPUs (Graphics Processing Unit, the computer part that generates the graphics of the game) are now more powerful than ever, and it looks like things will keep going in that direction.

Products are getting better: thinner, lighter, they’ll eventually last longer if they have a built in battery. Yet, technology is stuck. Since games are so visually appealing now, what more progress is to be made? The answer probably lies within…the accessories. Even though consoles and PC try to use as few accessories as possible nowadays, new technology could LITTERALLY bring a new dimension to gaming on the video games’ system.

THE WITCHER 3, ONE OF THE BEST LOOKING GAME TO DATE.

Virtual Reality

For the past few years, a lot of companies have been developing different technologies to improve the players’ experience. Thanks to recent progress in terms of miniaturization, for every part of a product, new devices are made possible, when they could not have existed a few years ago. Let’s take two examples : The Oculus Rift, and the Virtualizer.

THE OCULUS RIFT

First, the Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset. What it means is: when you wear it, it allows you to see a video game as if you were actually “in it”. With simple words: all you can see is the game ! So you are completely immersed in the game’s universe.  Oculus Rift is the first famous virtual reality project to be seriously developed. The project started in 2012, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website meaning that many people (called backers) can pay to help a project to develop. Several versions of the prototype have been made since 2012, and the retail version is supposed to be released later this year. A lot of other companies have announced their own VR (Virtual Reality) headset, such as Samsung, HTC, or Sony.

MORPHEUS, SONY’S VR HEADSET

The Cyberith Virtualizer is another virtual reality device, but it is not a headset. This product, which has also managed to be made thanks to Kickstarter, is a device which allows you to move freely as if you were in the game. It looks like a plastic circle on the ground, with three pods around it. The player is held by a specific system, that lets you walk, run, jump, crouch, exactly like you would normally do, but the device will translate it as an input (a message you give the computer so it does something specific, much like a command). Combined with a VRH, such as the Oculus Rift, you can really feel as if you were living the game. Almost nothing feels unnatural anymore, and you can feel like you were anywhere : battlefield/racetrack/arena/horror movie hospital, walking around, jumping and hiding.

CYBERITH’S VIRTUALIZER

Is it so great?

Even though this technology seems extremely cool and impressive, there are a few things that need to be kept in mind: First of all, these devices are still prototypes. Of course, they are to be released soon, but still, the first version might not be perfect, and research on those particular inventions will probably take a few more years for them to be absolutely intuitive. Also, both the Oculus Rift and Virtualizer, and also all the other similar technologies are very likely to be very expensive, making it even more important to think twice before you get it. And, last but not least, these systems are very big, and take a lot of room, especially the Virtualizer. So, in the end, this is probably the beginning of a new era for video games, but it will take some time for this revolution to be effective, and this possible “new era” to truly begin.

Théo Nottez.

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Whiplash

Whiplash-Movie-Poster-18-724x1024Shot in only nineteen days Whiplash (2014) is the second film by Damien Chazelle. It tells the story of Andrew (Miles Teller), a student at Manhattan Conservatory, who aspires to be the best jazz drummer ever. He wants to be the new Buddy Rich. Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), his teacher wants to push him to excellence through humiliation, insults, psychological manipulation and cymbal throwing.

The relationship that builds up between the two characters is impressive. To reach his dream of one day becoming a great jazz musician, Andrew shows selflessness and embarks on a quest towards excellence. His teacher continues to push him to his limits, sometimes ‘till breaking point.
However, the film is not based on rivalry between Andrew and his instructor, but on the inner fight between the promising drummer and himself, recalling in passing Black Swan by Darren Aronofsky on the dance world. Both films show how far passion can lead, and sometimes even to the detriment of the people involved.
The young filmmaker makes ​​a film about the virtuosity and its underworld. It’s almost a sports movie, a movie about performance, but here, perfection and victory are bitter. The end doesn’t systematically justify the means …

The staging is intelligent, particularly highlighted by the epic last scene of the movie consisting of a very fast and panoramic movement back and forth between Andrew and his teacher. This has a fascinating effect, demonstrating the degree to which the young drummer pushes his performance. When the symbiosis between the teacher and the student starts, the camera then performs loose circular movements as if it’s carried by the music.
The scenes are long, to match the image of the film, in which the main character must remain in tempo and for a long time. So we endure with him, we feel his pain and we only want one thing: that the scene ends, but no…, it continues. The spectators must bear these hard scenes. The staging comes into play to highlight those moments emphasizing the importance of details (dust particles, drops of blood dripping …).

Whiplash is a masterpiece and the duo formed by Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons creates wonders. From a relationship based on the respect of a student towards his teacher to a genuine confrontation taking all its meaning in this electrifying and breathtaking final climax. This movie leaves us with a uncomfortable feeling towards this world of passion and a head full of drum sounds!

Tristan Peschoux

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Nothingness Answers with her Cheshire glare

This is really just an experiment in free verse. I started by writing down a memory and how it made me feel.
What I got was a sort of stream of consciousness. I read out loud, cut what seemed unnecessary, decorated what was left and repeated the process a few times until I was satisfied enough.


Nothingness answers with her Cheshire glare

I stare at the ceiling and the dark. Can’t sleep, can’t calm down.

I writhe in my bedsheets, comfort escapes me at every twist.

I wander. I wade through the winding thicket. The twinkle of invisible animal eyes follows me like the ringing echo of a curse.

Riddled with questions, with bullet-holes.

How did I get here? Where am I going? How did this happen?

Everything was going so well…

I know this is a lie-it’s all a lie. One big stupid lie. But I’m still trapped, still stuck here.

I raise my head, looking for the dawn, yet,

Nothingness answers with her Cheshire glare.

When I was smaller, I was afraid of the night. I wouldn’t even admit that the darkness was black. When I shut my eyes, I said I saw blue.

When I was small and frail and scared, I had a babysitter.

She told me a story about the darkness. It was the tale of a little boy, who was also afraid. Every night he would shiver and cry in fear. Until, one night, the little boy felt the gentle touch of a hand on his shoulder. He spun round and saw a great black knight, mounted on a beautiful and giant steed. Darkness was the knight’s cape. “I will protect you” said the knight “I will watch over you”

From that night on, the little boy was no longer afraid of the dark. He would fall asleep, finally feeling secure wrapped in the cape of the great black knight.

 – Julien Fenoglio

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The 100

The 100 #1

Poster for The 100

The 100 is a post-apocalyptic show based on the book written by Kass Morgan. The series is set 97 years after a devastating nuclear war wiped out almost all life on Earth. The only known survivors now live in a single massive station named « The Ark », where about 2,400 people living under the leadership of Chancellor Jaha. In order to know if Earth is habitable again, 100 juvenile prisoners are sent down on the ground. They are meant to find refuge and supplies at the old military installation in Mount Weather. However, they have landed a far distance from it and soon face other problems. Confronting both the wonders and the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community.

The show delivers an interesting point of view about how life on Earth could suddenly end because of nuclear conflicts, and how hard life would be if it really happened. Since the Ark is a place where any crime is condemned by death, the viewer can feel the desire for independence and freedom of the 100 teenagers sent on Earth. However, every short moment of happiness delivered in the show is instantly interrupted by awful situations (no spoilers here). Down on Earth, the “survival of the fittest” couldn’t be truer, and the fact that the teenagers have to put aside their differences to work together is really fascinating, because the transition isn’t immediate, and we see how the group evolves through time.

The main characters are really charismatic, and the greatest prowess of the show is that the notion of Manichaeism is almost totally absent: we can’t determine if a character is the good or the bad guy, since survival on Earth (and on the Ark) is only a matter of unbearable dilemmas.

To summarize, The 100 is a great show if you are a fan of post-apocalyptic series. The characters are appealing and very charismatic, and that’s why the show is so emotionally exhausting, since every choice our heroes have to make will have severe consequences. The concept is awesome and the series has only lasted 2 seasons for the moment (a third season is being prepared).

Erwann DEPAEUW

The 100 #3

Main cast of the show

The 100 #2

One scene of the show

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A day in the life of a 1st year student !

A day in the life of a 1st year student !

Hello!  My name is Valentin Erbüke and I am in first year.

A lot of stuff happens in this new school of ours. Some recent events are way more important and spectacular that today’s topic, but hey, when you are only in first year, you cannot participate in all of them. I’m going to talk about something I’ve lived. A horrible, awful experience every first year has had to go through, something so horrific that it affects the person for years and years. Even the third years can bear witness and you can see their terrified and lost glances staring into space when you mention this specific subject: “Les exposés”.

I know my description is kind of exaggerated. It‘s been an experience really close to what you can see in the college or in high school. This is mainly why people tend to dislike it so much. In fact it is interesting enough for you not to fall asleep, because everyone gets to choose his own topic and so they put a lot of work in it. We had to choose a topic and develop a debate around it, and make a preview of the core of our oral in a written work. Sadly, I underestimated this part and I chose my topic in a hurry…

After this part, we had a few weeks to actually prepare the presentation in itself. The presentations were held separately on two different weeks. For two days straight we had to listen to our buddies non-stop for six hours, hearing their freaked out voice while they tried to maintain their composure for the whole twenty minutes of their lecture and feeling the intensity of the atmosphere when our jury made their criticism. Hopefully everyone chose a topic he or she liked, and the presentations were well done and enthusiastic. I’ve learnt a lot about people tastes and interest, and discovered a lot myself as well, since some spoke about topics I only knew a little about. We’ve heard about astro-physics, time-travel, Copyrights, Koreans cinema, viruses and parasites, Ireland’s mythology and beliefs, brains and robots. I myself talked about the story of television screens and how they have evolved to the current curved screens we can buy on the market. I guess everyone has discovered something he liked and ignored everything about. Overall, and mainly because everyone put a lot of work into them, we’ve been through four long and intense, but very instructive days. Now it is all over, and we are all dying to get our marks, that should not be long, but the waiting is stressful.

I witness it was a great experience, with its ups and downs, and I’m really happy not to have to go through it once again!

Now I’m finished, you can go on and read what has happened a bit earlier in the year: The Imagine Cup! (I believe someone’s been writing some stuff about it.. If not, I hope I’ve kept you entertained and that this lecture was not boring.)

 

Have a good day !

This article was realized by ERBUKE Valentin.

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They see me rolling… (Hits Playtime Game)

Bannière

“My name is Namaspamus, and I’ve lost my body ! Would you help me to look for it ?”

Namaspamus is a game that I’m currently making for the Hits Playtimes 2015 contest, an annual game-making contest for game design students.

The game is a 2D platformer in which you play Namaspamus, a head seeking its body. You need to make it roll in the levels to progress. You can also jump, but be careful : as a head, you can hurt yourself very easily ! Each impact makes you lose life, depending of the type of ground you land on.

You need to finish each level without being hurt too much, which can be very hard as you’ll have to go through dangers like enemies or bombs. Some levels will almost be puzzles in which you have to find the way to reach the end without dying.

There’s a use of physics to make interesting situations like chain reactions. It has a silly and absurd universe, and some cruel humor too : watching this poor Namaspamus getting hurt should be quite fun. The artistic style uses old paintings from the renaissance, and the tone is quite inspired from Terry Gilliam’s Flying Circus animations.

The name “Namaspamus” is based on a bad pun in french (we could translate it in “Gathernomoss” or something like that).

There are only 3 of us in the development team (the teams for the contest can have up to 6 people) with two game designer/programmers, and one game artist. The project is currently on stand-by because we have a lot of work, but don’t hesitate to support us by liking our facebook page !

https://www.facebook.com/namaspamusgame

You can also check our Devblog, even if its quite empty for the moment…

http://hitsplaytime.fr/namaspamus

You could find Namaspamus bouncing on your screen one day, so keep an eye out ! :)

Adrien Poncet