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Vulkan will not hit end of year release according to Khronos update

vulkan_api_update_outlines_2016_release

The Vulkan Working Group recently #announced that the open-standard #OpenGL #successor will not hit the end of year release. Vulkan, which arose from AMD’s defunct Mantle API, was expected to roll out before the end of 2015.

Rather than explaining the details, here is the full update from the Vulkan homepage.

“We have some good news and some bad news.  The year-end target release date for Vulkan will not be met.  However, we are in the home stretch and the release of Vulkan 1.0 is imminent!

Here is a more detailed update…

The Vulkan specification is complete and undergoing legal review and final polishing. The Vulkan conformance tests are being finalized and multiple member companies are preparing drivers for release. Implementation feedback is the vital final stage of making any Khronos specification ready for primetime, and the Vulkan 1.0 specification will be published when the first conformant implementations are confirmed.

Work is also progressing to complete Vulkan SDKs for Windows, Android and Linux. Google has upgraded to Promoter membership and is now on the Khronos Board to help steer Vulkan strategy for Android and the wider industry.

There is considerable energy driving the work to bring you Vulkan. We are planning Vulkan sessions and demos at key industry events throughout the year. We are excited about the emerging Vulkan ecosystem that will create new business opportunities for the graphics and compute industry.

Vulkan will set the foundation for graphics and compute APIs for years to come and so Khronos is taking the time needed to do this right – and the Vulkan 1.0 release is near!”

While this is obviously a disappointment, it is not entirely. The delayed release shows development is close to, if not already finished and testing has to comply with individual companies respective drivers. A big deal for Linux and SteamOS and the negate reports regarding frame rate after launch.
This support is also a given for Nvidia but the more serious contender AMD, has struggled with graphics support to the point where an open-source driver initiative is being put into place.

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Fez studio Polytron is back with Polytron Partners

Everyone’s favorite (or least favorite) indie rabble-rouser#PhilFish is apparently not quite done with the gaming industry from which he so publicly cut ties last year after a Twitter argument with a journalist led him to cancel #development on Fez 2. He’s now back in the fold with some newfound enthusiasm to announce Polytron Partners, a “sort of micro non-publisher” that will work with other indie developers to help bring their games to market.

The new venture’s first project is a partnership with Finji Games to help release Fernando Ramallo and David Kanaga’s Panoramical, a “digital anthology of musical landscapes” that has been making the rounds at festivals. It’s an intriguing description that brings to mind 2013 indie darling Proteus and the more recent FRACT OSC.

Finji will be providing day-to-day logistical support, while Polytron takes the lead on coordinating the home stretch of promoting the game, allowing the developers to just focus on completing the game itself.Fish stresses that what they are doing is a partnership and not publishing, “because what does that even mean in 2014, really?” The wide range of easily-accessible distribution channels available now makes it possible for savvy independent game designers to eschew traditional publishers entirely (especially when there’s platform flexibility), but navigating the Internet wilderness of self-publishing still requires a degree of know-how that can be intimidating to first-timers.

Polygon Partners aims to help close that knowledge gap by sharing its experience, resources, and established clout with smaller developers that want to work outside of the brick-and-mortar-rooted world of traditional publishers. This is a new model of peer-to-peer game development that is truly native to the Internet.

Fish became notorious in the gaming community as one of the main subjects of Indie Game: The Movie, which documented the stormy latter days of development for his magnum opus platform puzzler, Fez. Four years of delays after its head-turning debut at the 2008 Independent Games Festival built up a fever pitch of anticipation over the beautiful little game, which was fueled by Fish’s tendency for public drama.

Fez might have just been written off as overhyped vaporware, but when it finally did come out the game garnered near-universal praise as an instant classic. Unfortunately, though, a triumphant release to XBLA was hardly an end to the game’s tortured saga, first followed by a spat with Microsoft over the large fees attached to providing critical bug fixes (a policy that was later overturned) and then the aforementioned announcement and near-immediate cancellation of a sequel over a Twitter argument, leading to Fish’s stated decision to leave games entirely.

The fallout left Fish with nothing nice to say about the industry, but time and Fez’s continued success on five more platforms seems to have softened him somewhat. Fish acknowledged in the Polytron Partners announcement that Fez’s success was only made possible by the passion and generosity of many people, and he sees this new venture as an opportunity to pay that goodwill forward. This is exciting news for fans of independent games, as more production models means a more inclusive industry, and thus a wider range of interesting new ideas reaching broad audiences.

Panoramical is set to release in early 2015 for PC and Mac. With a promoter as vocal as Phil Fish, we can no doubt expect to hear plenty about the game in the lead-up to exploring its “synaesthetic alien vistas like an ambient disco-god controlling your own tiny universe.”

Reblogged from: digitaltrends.com

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Devolver Digital holding true to indies and keeping a distance from the industry

Hours before #E3, Mike Wilsons on his back in a dirty downtown Los Angeles parking lot trying to blow up a promotional Devolver Digital balloon the size of a small building.

Someone needed to inflate the thing so that people attending E3 at the convention center across the street would know that this Hooter’s parking lot full of Airstream trailers is part of the game industry, and when it was nearly done #Vlambeer frontman Rami Ismael pointed his phone’s camera at the red-faced Wilson and asked, “so, tell me what you do again?”

Wilson helps run things at Devolver Digital, the independent publishing label he co-founded almost five years ago after his previous publishing venture Gamecock went under. In that time Devolver has brought games like Hotline Miami, Luftrausers and Broforce to market with a business strategy that seems to be as simple as reaching out to promising independent developers around the world and figuring out how to help them sell their games.

The strategy appears to be working; Wilson claims that every Devolver game has been profitable (“13 and 0!” he crows), and this week Sony announced plans to expand its partnership with Devolver so that six of the publisher’s upcoming games would debut on the PlayStation The deal itself isn’t remarkable, but you would not know that from the way Sony executive Adam Boyes talked up the partnership during the company’s E3 press conference. The Devolver Digital sizzle reel that followed wasn’t quite as dramatic as Sony’s indie-centric stage show at last year’s conference, but it did paint Devolver as a rising power in the game industry — an image the company’s leadership seems keen to avoid.

“It feels like the industry finally came around to us”

“We have no aspiration to grow into some giant company,” says Wilson. It might be the L.A. summer heat, but he seems a bit uncomfortable about the way Microsoft and Sony are making a show of embracing indie development. “It feels like the industry finally came around to us; what we were doing already works really and supports the indie movement.”

Of course, at this point the “indie movement” is growing so quickly that many feel it’s about to implode. In the months leading up to E3 developers where noted to have complex, legitimate concerns about the growing problem of discover-ability and player fatigue as small-scale games flood the digital market; when we share those concerns about an “indie bubble” with Wilson, he seems unconcerned and makes a point of looking at the bright side.

“It’s not a fucking ‘indie bubble;’ it’s just a new wave of creators,” he says. We talk a bit about how independent development can serve as a much-needed channel for new talent to get noticed and enter the industry, and he points out that the notion is hardly novel. “When I was at id, Doom was made by six guys in six months,” says Wilson. “Now it’s being made by 400 people. I want no part of that.”

Trouble is, neither do most of the developers under his aegis. Many of them are young, between 18 and 25 years old, and none of them seem to have given much thought to doing anything in the industry but independent development. Joining or founding a large-scale AAA game studio seems like a foreign concept to them, which might prove problematic for the industry in the years to come.

In fact, the handful of developers spoken to in the Devolver lot all said the same thing about their goals for the future: stay alive, stay small, stay indie to retain creative freedom, and try to have a good time along the way.

These are, coincidentally or not, the same values that Wilson espouses when I ask him about Devolver’s plans for the future.

“For us, success is, ‘oh shit, we get to keep doing this!’” says Wilson. “We have no aspirations to grow, and no aspirations to ever sell this company. This is what we want to do — we’re hanging out with our buddies, doing something really cool. It feels like a family business.”

The developers camped out in Devolver’s parking lot seem to agree. During the day they’re swapping stories with each other, getting concentrated bursts of press attention and player feedback from the steady stream of E3 attendees who come through to play their games. At night, they retire to a huge house Devolver has rented near the convention center, where they bunk in and talk games, throw parties (“we’ve got a great barbeque,” says Wilson) and generally catch up on what everyone has been up to back home.

“It’s kinda like a summer camp, or a retreat,” says Wilson. The kind of thing a family would do.

Reblogged from: gamasutra.com

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League of Geeks video game start-up appeals to community for Armello funding

League of Geeks video game start-up appeals to community for Armello funding

League of Geek’s Armello is now close to being fully playable. 

It can take a lot of hard, thankless work to bring a #dream project into reality, but the inherent challenges in video game #development can add a further layer of difficulty.

Take Melbourne studio League of Geeks. Formed by a small group of video game professionals in 2011, they began work on their #debut project without any kind of capital or investment. In order to keep the rent paid and food on the table, each of the four core team members worked day jobs in the industry while putting in unpaid overtime at night and on weekends.

Indie video game designers success and sales pitch

Chaos Industries CEO Humberto Cervera, center, explaining a game at the conference

They do it in their hotel rooms or in front of everyone across a cavernous convention hall.

They even try it on street corners.

In almost every spot imaginable last week at the Game Developers Conference, indie designers touted their latest creations in the hope of becoming the next Minecraft or #GoneHome.

The biggest challenge facing the growing number of independent video-game creators — those who self-publish their quirky titles — isn’t making, distributing or even funding their creative visions.

It’s persuading people to buy the games.

“There’s just something about human interaction,” said Chris McQuinn, a designer at Toronto-based indie developer DrinkBox Studios. “The ultimate goal is to meet someone who might champion your game — a fan who will go off and tell their friends about it. There’s no more powerful message about a game than when it comes from a fan.”

McQuinn attributed much of the success of the company’s Guacamelee! to the gamers the studio befriended at various gatherings, including the fan-focused Penny Arcade Expo. It is one of several grass-roots tactics that indie game makers are employing to stir up hype.

The majority of developers at the conference, the largest annual gathering of the industry in the United States outside the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, classify themselves as indie.

Advancements such as crowdfunding, easier-to-use development tools and digital distribution services have made way for a swarm of indie creators crafting content mostly for personal computers and mobile devices.

For every hit, though, dozens of other games get no buzz.

Despite the rise of self-publishing, most indies lack the marketing budgets and promotional prowess that big-time publishers such as Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard use to hype expensive-to-produce titles such as Titanfall and Call of Duty.

Instead, indies typically rely on word-of-mouth to persuade gamers to click “Download.”

During the past five years, it has worked in many cases — and the industry has taken notice.

“Making sure that a game can get discovered is the new challenge in game development,” said Chris Charla, director at [email protected], a program that Microsoft recently launched to attract developers to independently publish games for its Xbox One console. “We’ve already solved a lot of problems in terms of creating games and distributing games.”

After making it easier to fashion games for their latest hardware, the industry’s three major console makers — Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo — reached out to indie developers at this year’s conference with dedicated talks and events.

The message is clear: They don’t want indies only on PCs and smartphones.

“One of the things we’re really proud of at Xbox One is that all of the games are sold in the same marketplace,” Charla said. “Any of the games in this room are going to be in the same place as Titanfall on the Xbox games store. We’ve also got things like Upload Studio and Twitch streaming, which are really viral ways of discovering games.”

Ultimately, an indie’s success comes down to the same query vexing all forms of entertainment: Is it any good?

Reblogged from: dispatch.com

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