2011 Origins Award Winners
At the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio, the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design has announced the winners of the 37th Annual Origins Awards. The winners were chosen by attendees at the Origins show from a list of nominees selected by hobby game retailers attending the GAMA Trade Show in March from a short list in each category prepared by a jury of hobby game professionals and knowledgeable enthusiasts.
The winners of the 37th Annual Origins Awards are:
Best Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft designed by Bill Slavicsek, Rob Heinsoo, Peter Lee, and Mike Mearls, and published by Wizards of the Coast.
Best Traditional Card Game: Back to the Future: The Card Game designed by Andrew Looney with art by Derek Ring. Published by Looney Labs.
Best Roleplaying Game: Dresden Files RPG designed by Leonard Balsera, Jim Butcher, Genevieve Cogman, Robert Donoghue, Fred Hicks, Kenneth Hite, Ryan Macklin, Chad Underkoffler, and Clark Valentine–published by Evil Hat Productions.
Best Roleplaying Game Supplement: Dresden Files: Our World (Dresden Files RPG) designed by Leonard Balsera, Jim Butcher, Genevieve Cogman, Robert Donoghue, Fred Hicks, Kenneth Hite, Ryan Macklin, Chad Underkoffler, and Clark Valentine, and published by Evil Hat Productions.
Best Miniatures Rules: DC HeroClix Blackest Night Starter Set published by WizKids/NECA and designed by Eric Engelhard, Jake Theis, Norman Barth, and Drew Nolosco.
Best Gaming Publication: Shadowrun: Spells and Chrome edited by John Helfers and published by Catalyst Game Labs.
Best Hobby Game Accessory: Cthulhu Dice Bag, designed by Alex Fernandez and produced by Steve Jackson Games.
Best Play by Mail or Play By Email Game: The One Ring (A Legends Module).
The third entry in BioWare’s Mass Effect series already has two games’ worth of ideas and innovations to fall back on, but that’s not enough for the studio. To make sure Mass Effect 3 is even better than its predecessors, sound designer Robert Blake reveals that BioWare has been sharing ideas and assets with Battlefield 3 developer DICE.
“We’ve been chatting to the guys over at DICE who did the Battlefield and the Medal of Honor stuff and we’ve been doing a lot of knowledge sharing and asset sharing with those guys,” he said in an interview with gaming news site CVG.
“We’re taking on board some of their environmental changes that they’ve done really well. The new [Mass Effect 3] Assault Rifle has different layers that change depending on what type of environment you’re in, for example. There are lots of interactions between sounds – you can hear the different decay as shots echo off walls.”
Blake says that one of the things he liked about DICE’s work is the studio’s focus on environmental interactions. “When you go into different areas things change quite drastically,” he said. “They also have a sophisticated ducking system – when you fire your gun it will lower the volume of other people’s guns.”
Speaking to CVG, BioWare gameplay designers Christina Norman and Corey Gaspur detailed some of the changes that have been made to the Mass Effect combat formula for Mass Effect 3. According to Norman, BioWare wanted to shift the focus of combat, making it more about positioning than simply shooting and using abilities.
To help complement this idea, enemies were designed with better AI to work as a coordinated force, with certain units designed for specific roles. Norman likened the concept to a chessboard, where each piece can work together, but different pieces will interact with one another in different ways. All of these factors, according to Norman, lead to a more challenging game. “It’s not just that the game is harder on Insanity,” said Norman, “it’s that this creature actually behaves differently on higher difficulty levels.”
Most of the basics of the game engine is in place, so it’s time to flesh this game out into something more gamey. More content, more exploration, more things to do, and interesting combat! Once this update is out, there will only some tweaks, optimizations and code cleanups left to the core game before we can call it a full release.
We’ve got a list of some 40+ things we want to add to the game, some small, some big. Some huge. We’ve finished a fair number of the items, but there’s still a significant amount of work left. While I can’t reveal the date yet for various reasons, we do have a release date for the Adventure Update in mind, and we’re hoping we’ll be able to hit it.
Here are a few of the things we’ve revealed so far:
- NPC villages
- Randomly generated dungeons
- New biome code
- Fully working Creative Mode (and individual admins can enter Creative Mode on a Survival Mode server if they choose)
- Critical hits
- More farming options
PlayStation 4 Production To Start This Year – RUMOR!
Sony will reportedly begin production of the PlayStation 4 by the end of this year according to a report by DigiTimes, a Taiwanese daily newspaper for semiconductor, electronics, computer, and communications industries. This fits well with an earlier report stating that the PS4 was in active R&D according to a statement by Masaru Kato, Sony’s Chief Financial Officer.
The report states that Sony will ask its Taiwan-based partners will begin production of the PS4, sporting Kinect-like body movement-based control system, at the end of 2011, so that it is ready for a 2012 launch. Foxconn and Pegatron Technology (an ASUS subsidiary), who undertake the assembling of the PS3, will assume the same responsibility for the PS4 as well.
Sony plans to ship 20 million units of the upcoming console next year, also as claimed by the report. Being a rumour, you are advised to take this with a pinch of salt.
Japan Expo 2011 Final Fantasy XIII-2 Lightning vs Bahamut Gameplay
An off-screen gameplay clip of Lightning in a battle against Bahamut.
Without a doubt, if it wasn’t for the internet, YouTube, and general streaming capabilities, the video game community would not be where it’s at today. And well, the same could be said about today’s issues with copyright infringements regarding movies, music and television. In a desperate attempt to truly outlaw the latter, the United States Senate has begun considering Bill S.978. Whoever does their proof-reading evidently is ignorant about today’s tech culture, nor do they understand that they’re brewing a disastrous storm.
S.978 was entered into the Senate on May 12, 2011, and has recently been placed in the initial phases of its evaluation. As mentioned, this bill details the legal repercussions that would ensue from the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material via internet. However, there’s a big problem. As detailed in the bill:
“the offense consists of 10 or more public performances by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copyrighted works”
Because of the vague use of “public performances by electronic means”, this has unwittingly placed video games in the danger zone. Meaning, if you recorded yourself playing a video game and then uploaded it onto YouTube, you could be punished. Should you insist to post said video, without getting penalized, you would have to contact the publisher of the game to obtain permission, plus, you would need to employ the services of a lawyer. With the amount of work and money involved, this would promptly destroy whatever motivation you had in doing something so simple.
Microsoft is merging its Games for Windows Marketplace with its Xbox.com site, a move that will allow gamers to buy and download any title at a single site.
Touting the merger on its Games for Windows Marketplace site, Microsoft said that “now you can get all of your gaming needs in one place. It’s convenient, it’s concentrated, and it’s a whole lot of great games.”
Offering games designed for Windows, the Games for Windows Marketplace went through a revamp last year in an attempt by Microsoft to make the online store more robust and user friendly. Xbox.com is set up as a hub to let Xbox users access their accounts, modify their profiles, connect with friends, and download games directly to their consoles via Xbox Live. The site also went through its own refresh last year.