Master of The Free World Productions | Jumpcut Entertainment Network

Modder Builds Incredibly Small Super Nintendo Emulator

Most console redesigns make the system smaller, since people love marveling at how technology can fit inside smaller and smaller shells. Well, modder Hugo Doris (also known as lyberty5, or Rated-E Mods) has created one of the smallest console redesigns you're likely to ever see.

The mod consists of a Raspberry pi Zero and USB hub encased in plastic, which holds all of the necessary parts for the Super Nintendo emulator to work. After all the soldering is done, the plastic case is then covered in clay, which is molded and painted to replicate the look of a Super Famicom (the Japanese version of the Super Nintendo).

The four-minute video (found below) shows that the case is about the size of two AA batteries put together, making it ultra-portable and perfect for any party with a TV and USB Super Nintendo controllers.

[Source: liberty5 on Youtube via Gizmodo]

 

Our Take
With the right equipment, you could turn this thing into a keychain, as long as you brought the necessary cables and controllers with you. How cool would that be? 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Fixing No Man’s Sky – 10 Small Changes With Big Benefits

When it first released, No Man’s Sky ignited a firestorm of discussion and criticism due to the gulf between what players were expecting from the title and what Hello Games delivered. Regardless of your feelings on that subject, most of us can agree that No Man’s Sky isn’t perfect, which means it has room to improve.

Comprehensive redesigns and overhauls would be required to transform the game into the experience that some envisioned. However, even without making such large-scale alterations, Hello Games could make a variety of minor changes that would make the crafting, exploration, and combat easier to enjoy. These 10 suggestions are all about removing the frustrations in the current version of No Man’s Sky, not completely redefining its identity.

1. True photo mode
Not every planet in No Man’s Sky is gorgeous, but sometimes you touch down on a picturesque landscape with vibrant colors, varied terrain, and another planet majestically rising over the horizon. People can already pass around screenshots like this, but location markers and HUD elements tend to clutter up the view, and you can’t tweak your angles for the perfect shot. Finding strange and beautiful places is a major draw of the game, and a full-fledged photo mode would provide more control over the images and let players share the full glory of their discoveries.

2. Control mapping
The PC version allows players this option, but PS4 players are stuck with a weird placement of the scan/sprint commands on the left/right thumbsticks (which would be great to reverse). We still don’t understand why this isn’t a standard option with every game released. The global PS4 options allow you to swap those two, but that means they’re swapped for every game – not just No Man’s Sky.

3. One-press menus
Making players hold down a button to confirm actions can prevent disasters, like choosing unintended interaction options with aliens. However, for players who want to live dangerously (and get through things faster), the option to turn on one-press selection would make menu navigation smoother.

4. Easy travel to prior worlds
For most of No Man’s Sky, you’re focusing on moving forward. But what if you want to go back? Maybe you remember a trade depot that had a sweet price on Emeril, or maybe you just want another look at a weird species of alien you discovered. Unfortunately, unless you were thinking ahead (or are willing to sift through a bunch of stars), getting back to a system you’ve left is a huge pain. In the galaxy map, why can’t you see the path you’ve traveled in addition to the path ahead of you? In addition to being convenient, it would also give you the satisfaction of seeing how far you’ve come.

5. Manual marker placement
Let’s say you’ve found a giant pile of gold to mine, but your inventory is full. If you leave the area to sell off items and make space, finding that spot again is difficult – especially if you go off-planet. If the game allowed you to drop custom markers yourself, you could return to previous points of interest that you want to explore further. If nothing else, it would make the locations feel less disposable, because you wouldn’t be forced to leave them behind and never visit again. Dropping markers is something that the GPS capabilities of modern phones can do, so space-people in the distant future should probably have this figured out.

6. Inventory conveniences
Managing your stock of resources with limited space is one of the core mechanics of No Man’s Sky, like it or not. However, this system could use some serious refinement. For one thing, the option to mark certain items as “junk” would be nice, because then you could batch-sell them easily. On the flip side of that, an inventory lock would also be great, securing specific items in place so they can’t be accidentally sold, discarded, or dismantled. However, the biggest change needed on this front is a special compartment for Atlas Stones. These are critical items for players pursuing the story, but the further you get, the more inventory space is required for them. Players shouldn’t be punished for wanting to see the story; just make a special Atlas-Stone-only compartment so conventional inventory slots aren’t eaten up by these important objects.

7. Icon toggle
If you’re exploring a planet thoroughly, you probably have a wide array of icons showing up across the landscape. From outposts to beacons to shelters, it would be nice if you didn’t have to see every possible destination at once. If you’re on an optimization kick and only want to check out drop pods and crashed ships, you should be able to show only those icons and hide the others – especially the ones that are on entirely different planets in the system!

8. Flying freedom
It sure would be cool if you could fly right up to mountains or skim your ship just above the surface of a toxic ocean. Unfortunately, you’re locked to a particular height when flying, and can’t see the world up close unless you land, which makes everything feel distant. Mods for the PC version have removed this restriction, but PS4 players are stuck with a weird sense of auto-piloting that impedes the ability to fully enjoy flying over, around, and through strange and wondrous landscapes.

9. More efficient launch thrusters
The planets in No Man’s Sky are huge, so flying from one point to another in your ship is the only way to cover the distance in a reasonable amount of time. However, every time you take off, it eats up 25 percent of your launch thrusters. That means a full tank only lets you visit four locations, so you have to keep a steady supply of plutonium just to keep yourself airborne. It feels like trying to take a cross-country road trip in a car with a gas tank that only has the capacity to hold one gallon, since you always need to stop and take care of the fuel situation. That requirement doesn’t need to be removed entirely, but getting more exploration out of a single tank would just make the game more fun and less of a hassle.

10. Build a custom ship
Early in the game, finding a better starship is satisfying, especially when it looks cool. However, after trading up several times, frustration starts to set in. Once your ship is already pretty good, finding the right combination of form and function is increasingly rare. At that phase in the game, just give players the option to custom-order a ship. Not only would it provide a neat sense of ownership and be a good late-game reward, but it would also save players from having to settle for a high-functioning vehicle with a lame design. Ships with maximum inventory capacity already cost dozens of millions of units; if it’s the last ship you’re going to buy, why shouldn’t it look the way you want it to?

What minor changes to No Man's Sky do you think would have the largest impact? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Fixing No Man’s Sky – 10 Small Changes With Big Benefits

When it first released, No Man’s Sky ignited a firestorm of discussion and criticism due to the gulf between what players were expecting from the title and what Hello Games delivered. Regardless of your feelings on that subject, most of us can agree that No Man’s Sky isn’t perfect, which means it has room to improve.

Comprehensive redesigns and overhauls would be required to transform the game into the experience that some envisioned. However, even without making such large-scale alterations, Hello Games could make a variety of minor changes that would make the crafting, exploration, and combat easier to enjoy. These 10 suggestions are all about removing the frustrations in the current version of No Man’s Sky, not completely redefining its identity.

1. True photo mode
Not every planet in No Man’s Sky is gorgeous, but sometimes you touch down on a picturesque landscape with vibrant colors, varied terrain, and another planet majestically rising over the horizon. People can already pass around screenshots like this, but location markers and HUD elements tend to clutter up the view, and you can’t tweak your angles for the perfect shot. Finding strange and beautiful places is a major draw of the game, and a full-fledged photo mode would provide more control over the images and let players share the full glory of their discoveries.

2. Control mapping
The PC version allows players this option, but PS4 players are stuck with a weird placement of the scan/sprint commands on the left/right thumbsticks (which would be great to reverse). We still don’t understand why this isn’t a standard option with every game released. The global PS4 options allow you to swap those two, but that means they’re swapped for every game – not just No Man’s Sky.

3. One-press menus
Making players hold down a button to confirm actions can prevent disasters, like choosing unintended interaction options with aliens. However, for players who want to live dangerously (and get through things faster), the option to turn on one-press selection would make menu navigation smoother.

4. Easy travel to prior worlds
For most of No Man’s Sky, you’re focusing on moving forward. But what if you want to go back? Maybe you remember a trade depot that had a sweet price on Emeril, or maybe you just want another look at a weird species of alien you discovered. Unfortunately, unless you were thinking ahead (or are willing to sift through a bunch of stars), getting back to a system you’ve left is a huge pain. In the galaxy map, why can’t you see the path you’ve traveled in addition to the path ahead of you? In addition to being convenient, it would also give you the satisfaction of seeing how far you’ve come.

5. Manual marker placement
Let’s say you’ve found a giant pile of gold to mine, but your inventory is full. If you leave the area to sell off items and make space, finding that spot again is difficult – especially if you go off-planet. If the game allowed you to drop custom markers yourself, you could return to previous points of interest that you want to explore further. If nothing else, it would make the locations feel less disposable, because you wouldn’t be forced to leave them behind and never visit again. Dropping markers is something that the GPS capabilities of modern phones can do, so space-people in the distant future should probably have this figured out.

6. Inventory conveniences
Managing your stock of resources with limited space is one of the core mechanics of No Man’s Sky, like it or not. However, this system could use some serious refinement. For one thing, the option to mark certain items as “junk” would be nice, because then you could batch-sell them easily. On the flip side of that, an inventory lock would also be great, securing specific items in place so they can’t be accidentally sold, discarded, or dismantled. However, the biggest change needed on this front is a special compartment for Atlas Stones. These are critical items for players pursuing the story, but the further you get, the more inventory space is required for them. Players shouldn’t be punished for wanting to see the story; just make a special Atlas-Stone-only compartment so conventional inventory slots aren’t eaten up by these important objects.

7. Icon toggle
If you’re exploring a planet thoroughly, you probably have a wide array of icons showing up across the landscape. From outposts to beacons to shelters, it would be nice if you didn’t have to see every possible destination at once. If you’re on an optimization kick and only want to check out drop pods and crashed ships, you should be able to show only those icons and hide the others – especially the ones that are on entirely different planets in the system!

8. Flying freedom
It sure would be cool if you could fly right up to mountains or skim your ship just above the surface of a toxic ocean. Unfortunately, you’re locked to a particular height when flying, and can’t see the world up close unless you land, which makes everything feel distant. Mods for the PC version have removed this restriction, but PS4 players are stuck with a weird sense of auto-piloting that impedes the ability to fully enjoy flying over, around, and through strange and wondrous landscapes.

9. More efficient launch thrusters
The planets in No Man’s Sky are huge, so flying from one point to another in your ship is the only way to cover the distance in a reasonable amount of time. However, every time you take off, it eats up 25 percent of your launch thrusters. That means a full tank only lets you visit four locations, so you have to keep a steady supply of plutonium just to keep yourself airborne. It feels like trying to take a cross-country road trip in a car with a gas tank that only has the capacity to hold one gallon, since you always need to stop and take care of the fuel situation. That requirement doesn’t need to be removed entirely, but getting more exploration out of a single tank would just make the game more fun and less of a hassle.

10. Build a custom ship
Early in the game, finding a better starship is satisfying, especially when it looks cool. However, after trading up several times, frustration starts to set in. Once your ship is already pretty good, finding the right combination of form and function is increasingly rare. At that phase in the game, just give players the option to custom-order a ship. Not only would it provide a neat sense of ownership and be a good late-game reward, but it would also save players from having to settle for a high-functioning vehicle with a lame design. Ships with maximum inventory capacity already cost dozens of millions of units; if it’s the last ship you’re going to buy, why shouldn’t it look the way you want it to?

What minor changes to No Man's Sky do you think would have the largest impact? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Pokémon Go Gets Another Small Update

Pokémon Go got a fairly substantial update two days ago, and now a second, smaller update is available.

It brings the game up to version 1.3.1 and only offers stability improvements, but no text fixes. The update is available now on iPhone, but does not yet appear to be available on Android.

[Source: iTunes]


Our Take
My favorite patch notes are the ones that detail what hasn't been changed or updated.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Pokémon Go Gets Another Small Update

Pokémon Go got a fairly substantial update two days ago, and now a second, smaller update is available.

It brings the game up to version 1.3.1 and only offers stability improvements, but no text fixes. The update is available now on iPhone, but does not yet appear to be available on Android.

[Source: iTunes]


Our Take
My favorite patch notes are the ones that detail what hasn't been changed or updated.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Facing the challenges of starting a small, sustainable online game studio in 2016

In a new Polygon feature Joe Piepiora and fellow Empyrean Interactive cofounder Geoff Virtue speak about their efforts to build a smaller, more sustainable online game studio in a post-MMORPG world. …


Gamasutra News

The small team behind Dangerous Golf’s huge destructionfests

“We wanted to make a sports game and take the piss out of it,” explains Alex Ward of Three Fields Entertaianment. “It’s fun to see things break.” …


Gamasutra News

Poor Sales Could Have Killed This Small Developer, But Its Publisher Is Breaking The Industry’s Fatal Cycle

The gaming industry has an all too predictable pattern. If a game sells well, it gets a sequel or the developer gets to live for at least one more game. If a title does poorly, it could mean doom, especially for small, newer studios.

Raw Fury, a relatively new boutique publisher, recently released its second game, Kathy Rain. The company’s first game, Kingdom, covered expenses in the first 24 hours. Kathy Rain, a '90s-inspired point-and-click adventure, didn’t fare quite as well.

Instead of parting ways with Joel Staaf Hästö, the one-man development team known as Clifftop Games, Raw Fury is taking the long view. The company is confident that with some time, the revenue will catch up with the critical acclaim Kathy Rain has received.

“It will take a bit of time but that’s A-OK,” the company writes. “We were prepared for that. We can afford to be patient. We have money for a rainy day. We can wait. But do you know who can’t wait? Joel. The developer.”

Because publishers usually hold revenue sharing until their own investment is paid off, developers run the risk of folding when their games have a slow burn. Publishers are often diversified and factor in risk. Developers, especially small studios, are laser focused on their single game.

“Some of us here at Raw Fury have spent many years on the developer’s side, and we are intricately familiar with The Developer’s Valley of Death,” the company says. “As the weeks and months pass by, you start to grow desperate. Maybe you take on a work-for-hire contract that, essentially, takes away some (or all) of your independence. Maybe you get more money from the publisher in exchange for the IP, an additional share of the revenues, your second child ,or some other added constraints. Maybe you just stop independent development altogether and walk away.”

As an alternative, Raw Fury is funding Clifftop Games for the next 12 months or until expenses are recuperated and royalties are shared. They aren’t taking the IP, and only require a mobile version to be finished, which was part of their original deal. Hästö is already working on something new, and Raw Fury isn’t demanding first right of refusal to publish in return for the extended financing.

On the surface, this seems like folly. It certainly flies in the face of what people would consider a sound business decision, but Raw Fury says there’s something more than money at stake.

“Our long term growth is found in our reputation, approach, and behavior,” the company says. “We want our actions to speak loudly. We’ve helped create and publish two amazing games already and here is an opportunity to affect a broader change when it comes to the dynamics of a classic publisher/developer relationship. And we truly want to be a catalyst of change.”

Ultimately, Raw Fury says this is about redefining success to be about more than money. And ultimately, the publisher seeks to rebalance the concept of making games to give the artistic value more weight in the equation.

“In this day where closing studios is the established and accepted norm, we want to do our part to combat the norm, the company writes. “We want to challenge how success is measured and point out that money shouldn’t be the only applied metric. In an industry that is smack full of impostor syndrome, depression, anxiety, and other things that are sometimes associated with the emotional work that goes into creativity, it is also important to think about how we measure success and failure. Of course money is important, as an enabler, but sometimes you need help creating something that doesn’t only serve commercial value, but an artistic need. Not acknowledging that is to miss the point of making games.”

[Source: Raw Fury]

 

Our Take
I’m a pragmatist, and as one, the idea of funding a developer without quid pro quo feels alien. However, Raw Fury does an admirable job of reminding me (and hopefully others) about the importance of games as a medium. This kind of faith in a developer and the resulting artistic product isn’t unique, but it is rare.

This isn’t about Raw Fury putting the developer’s needs in front of its own. That would be a mistake. Instead, this is a publisher redefining how it views success and investing in its future by prioritizing good will. When you look at it through that lens, this might not be the right business decision for every company, but it is the right one for this company.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Survey: eSports fans are a small (but overwhelmingly male) demographic

According to recent Nielsen surveys of over 2,000 men and women, the audience for eSports is a small sliver of the population (less than 10 percent) and overwhelmingly male Millennials. …


Gamasutra News

Ninja Theory’s Hellblade Gets A Small Title Change With The Addition Of A Subtitle

Hellblade, the upcoming game from Ninja Theory, the studio behind the recent Devil May Cry reboot and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, has changed its name.

It's a small change, and it's very likely most will continue to refer to the game simply as Hellblade, but it's new name is Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Senua is the protagonist's name. You can see Senua in the image above.

For more on Hellblade, specifically focusing on Senua's struggle with mental illness, head here. Hellblade is coming to PlayStation 4 and PC this year.

[Source: Ninja Theory, via NeoGAF]

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed