I spoke to several of the two dozen or so people who worked on the original Age of Empires about how it was made. I asked them to reflect on the series' triumphs, successes, failures, and legacy. This is a compressed retelling of their many stories, focusing on the early days—the building of the foundations that are so central to both the Age story and each of the Age games—but spanning the full breadth of the series' life.
Every aspect of the original Core Design Tomb Raider series (and by extension the franchise's success post-Core) comes back to the grid that lies beneath it — the majority of the puzzles; the platforming; the cavernous chambers and ruins and outdoor areas that provide a sense of isolation, of solitude and discovery; and Lara Croft's iconic acrobatic movement style.
And yet it never would have happened if not for one pragmatic choice made by a programmer early in the game's development.
This is the st...
On the Nascondino World Championship, a yearly hide and seek tournament that attracts teams from all around the globe. I talked to Alan Jones, the co-captain of the Australian team, the Nascondingos, and Giorgio Moratti, one of the organisers of the competition, about how it works, what it's like, why it exists, and where it's headed next.
Sometimes game development goes wrong. It happens — technical problems emerge, designs can sound better on paper, early decisions can cause difficulties later on. It's just a reality of the craft that you will have failures and mistakes during development.
But what if you refuse to accept that a feature or project needs to be dropped or changed?
At the dawn of emulation and the World Wide Web, a group of fans discovered the Nintendo and Super Nintendo games that never made it over from Japan. One of them decided to hack into a few of these and translate them, unofficially, with help from some friends -- starting with Final Fantasy II for the NES.
This is the story of illustrator Mark Ferrari, whose artwork was so good it forced Lucasfilm Games to figure out how to make a graphics technique called dithering compress to fit on floppy disks — in the process winning awards and triggering the use of dither in the wider games industry — and who pioneered the use of two background illustration tricks that gave the illusion of animation. He became world-renowned for his colour cycling and palette shifting techniques, which could be used to ma...
Virtual reality has had a shaky 18 months. After years of hype about the world-changing potential of its second coming (following a dud first wave in the 1990s), its poster child headset the Oculus Rift launched to a lukewarm reception. Other high-profile headsets — Rift's high-end PC rival, the HTC Vive; Sony's PlayStation VR; and Samsung and Google's mobile rivals, Gear VR and Daydream, respectively — have sold better, but still consumer takeup remains modest.
Sony reported in June that Pla...
[audio piece] In the early days of the iPhone App Store, game developers found themselves locked in a race to a $0.99 price point that none of them wanted to become standard. This is the story of how that happened, and how it affected mobile games going forward.