Slam Bolt Scrappers PSN Post Mortem

The last Boston Post Mortem was presented by, Eitan Glinert of Firehose Games.

The talk was a post mortem into their PSN released game, Slam Bolt Scrappers, which pre-release had received very favourable news from Pax East etc, but since release has not been getting the same kind of reviews. They cover the highs, lows and the bittersweets of the development and cover the lack of online multiplayer which was one of the biggest detractors in the reviews for the game.

This presentation was filmed by Firehose.

Legal Basics for Game Companies

>A free half day conference in Waltham MA, hosted by Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, P.C. on the 5th of May 2011.

The iternary of the event is as follows:

Game Law Basics Sessions:

  • VC & Angel Financing – 1:00 – 2:00 pm
  • Strategic Partnering – 2:00 – 3:00 pm
  • IP Protection – 3:00 – 4:00 pm
  • Formation – 3:00 – 4:00 pm
  • Mergers & Acquisitions – 4:00 – 5:00 pm
  • Employment – 4:00 – 5:00 pm
More info on this great event for people thinking of starting up a studio, or who have started up can be found here.

Stuff from 3D Stimulus

>So this is really a highlight of some of the info as there are videos of some of the talks to come later.

Okay, so most probably couldn’t care, but asking to help folks at the local New England resellers out, they’re looking to get 200 people signed up for the 20th April event. GET.

If they do, they’ll get some money to put towards local events, and they’ve helped put on a lot of cool events for artists in the Boston area, so if you’re in the area or just want to help out, register through them and it’ll be much appreciated.

The webinar is mostly a bunch of presentations about vfx, one is from the effects on Black Swan and another movie and one is a game I think.

If anyone is interested, give Heidi a shout –

She needs your name, email and either an address or your company name and she’ll automatically opt you out of receiving any Autodesk newsletter spam, unless you actually want it.

Other bits and pieces, Motion Builder or the Entertainment Suite of products, if you buy through GET, you’ll get a free Kinect and set up with hacked software to have your own motion capture device out of it. if you want to check out the software that was demo’ed as a mocap software that plugged right into Motion Builder.

A nice free shader for people to use in their work was 3Point Shader Lite found here.

3D Stimulus Day

>GET are hosting another 3D Stimulus Day event – 9th April

A recap about the event, which is an awesome free art and networking event –

Location: Mt. Ida, Newton, MA

Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Presentations this year include:

  • Chad Moore of Turbine and Rigging Dojo, with Job Hunting Tips for 3D Artists
  • Alex Schwartz and Yilmaz Kiymaz of Owlchemy Labs, presenting Mixing 2D and 3D in Unity
  • A panel-discussion with various tech artists from local game companies, mediated by Chad Moore
    • Ryan Griffin, Senior Character TD, Turbine
    • Elliott Mitchell, Vermont Digital Arts
    • Brandon Bateman, Senior Tech Artist, Turbine
    • Farley Chery, Instructor, ITT Institute and Bunker Hill Community College
    • Justin Woodard, Technical Artist, Turbine
  • Willem Van Der Schyf, Tencent Boston, presenting his Workflow for Character Creation using Max & ZBrush
  • Afternoon networking session upstairs with demos from local individuals and companies including Brass Monkey, Vermont Digital Arts, Owlchemy Labs, 3d Camera Technology, Mocap with Kinect and Motion Builder and lots more!!!
Adding to this, The Boston Post Mortem are having a meet up on the 13th April and will be talking about Game Law Hot Topics.

This should be a great, interesting meet up too.

PAX East – Party


10th March 7-10pm at the MS NERD Centre –
For anyone in the area and especially those going to PAX East, it’s a great party event to network with people.
It’s a freebie event, get in touch for the discount code, it’s there to keep those not in the industry off with the entry cost.
Pass it on to your friends. That’s a link to some info of the party last year!

Boston Post Mortem – HTML5 and Akihabara

>So the last Boston Post Mortem meet up event took place at the UK Trade and Investment office as part of the consulate.

The speakers for the event were Darren Torpey and Darius Kazemi, who discussed HTML5 game development, focusing on the open-source Akihabara framework but also covering other available HTML5 game engines and general advances in HTML5/Javascript.

Akihabara is a 2D (bitmap graphics) game engine based on the canvas tag, part of HTML5, a great platform for quick product prototyping, with very little knowledge of coding or web work to get simple stuff together and working.

Some information about the engine with tutorials can be found here.

Fantastic documentation about the engine can be found here.

The Boston Game James website has a copy of the presentation which includes a great list of links to the various demos and other engines, which you can find here.

Boston August Event Line up

>Starting out with the Boston Post Mortem – 10th Aug, 7-10pm at the usual venue, the Skellig in Waltham.

The speaker this month, Terrence Masson, who will be giving a SIGGRAPH roundup.

Boston Game Jam
– 21-22 Aug at the MIT site in Cambridge MA.

The theme for this event is about “Immigration” It should be a fun and light hearted event and a chance to mingle with other devs in the area.

Boston Game Loop – 28th Aug 9am start with conferences kicking off at 11am till the end of the day, held at the MS NERD building in Cambridge, MA $40 donation.

Scott of MacGuffin Games has more info here.

Boston Unity Group – BUG – 31st Aug 7-pm at the MS NERD Centre, Cambridge MA.

This is a great event and networking opportunity for game devs and for anyone who uses or is interesting in using and learning more about Unity. The prior event, which was the first, had people from many different backgrounds using the game engine for none game uses, so was very interesting to see people show off their projects.

Boston Post Mortem – Indies Will Shoot You in the Knees

>The last Boston Post Mortem meet up was recorded by, Darren Torpey.

Information about the talk can be found here. The discussion panel was talking about indie game development, a repeat subject from the PAX East discussion, but an awesome talk by 3 Boston indie studios on the subject.

The youtube video is in six parts –

Link to the Youtube page with info is here.

Boston Unity Group – First Meet up

>Boston Unity Group – BUG

This is a new meet up group organised for the Boston indie dev scene, though anyone who is interested in, or has used Unity were more than welcome to the event.

The group met up in Northeastern University for the first time, a good venue, organised my Elliott Mitchell and Alex Schwartz.

Kicking off the event, Tom Higgins, community manager at Unity Technologies, spoke about Unity, the company, the product and what will come in the future as well as understanding how to get the best out of it with various pricings and features. The afternoon session held an all-day workshop dubbed ‘Unity Day’. This was a series of tutorials on Unity.

Below is, in three parts, a video of the talk given by Tom Higgins.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

The next of these bi-monthly Boston Unity Group (game developer meetup) meets will be August 31 @ the Mircosoft N.E.R.D. center in Cambridge, MA. 7 p.m.

Sony Playstation – Move

>This is just a little summary of information gained at the last Boston Post Mortem, held 20th May.

So what makes this a good thing to develop on? Hard question to answer with out seeing any killer apps for it, though the tech demo was pretty interesting and does show some potential for tools creation and as a editor for current games.

What Sony are doing to help developers is providing the Live Motion 2, the motion library for free to all licensed Sony devs and they are trying to make a push for people to use this by offering various bundle deals, most including the Eye Toy camera which is need to get this working, which is a good thing as they have only something like 10M Eye Toys out there at the moment.

What doesn’t help, certainly devs going for the casual sports and pub type games, there won’t be any controller add ons, such that you get with the Wii controller with all those baseball bats, golf clubs etc. This I think is a bit of a short fall as it breaks the illusion of being part of the event, sure this thing is accurate but there is a much larger level of disconnect from the game because of that.

A concern for who will use this is another big issue. For a party accessory, unlike the Wii, this becomes very expensive, having the PS3, the camera, the Move and the navigator, not a cheap toy to bring to a party. Also you need a certain level of light for this to work, and it needs to be consistent light for it to work at its best, so that could rule out anywhere with strobed party lights. A nice tough though, the controller can phase out colours which are similar to the background and lighting so that they won’t create problems with the controller and if two or more controllers are using similar colours, it can auto change the colours for you to make game play smoother and easier.

You can have up to four Move controllers on any one system which is good, but there was no mention if that included the navigator controller or not and they would take up a joypad spot, so limiting how much of a mix and match you can have.

Allowing older games to function with these, should be easy apparently, though this is a little more in the programmer sphere than I understand, it did sound relatively simple because the units used very little system resources with a 13m/s latency per SPU for each controller. I think I got that right.

What was very nice, the face detection, this could add quite a bit of fun to game design because it could track relative age, eye movement, head movement, if you had glasses and whether you were smiling or not. It could also consider your height, if you were sitting or standing. This was a nice mechanic for game show puzzle type games because it could indicate various facial factors.

Gestures, which was also quite nice, but very glitchy. It allowed you to create a rough skeleton of your height and build, so you could control yourself and using the buttons on the controller to add fine hand control, something they pointed out that Natal didn’t have. It was nice to see, but it didn’t work that great though.

Big issue was the line of sight, the light on the Move controller had to see the camera and getting in the way either because you were moving around, someone passing through, or you swinging the controller back behind for something like a baseball swing broke the controller, left you hanging in the air as it were. It was quite quick to pick you back up, but it still broke the illusion.