Master of The Free World Productions | Jumpcut Entertainment Network

Blog: The importance of grassroots marketing as small studio

As a small team making our first console title and with no budget, we had to get creative and realistic with our goals. Here’s how we did it. …


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Developers explain why they love the small details of Final Fantasy XV

All the small things about Final Fantasy XV are important, from the selfies to Florence and the Machine’s cover of Stand By Me. Three developers explain why. …


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Miyamoto remembers how the idea for ‘small Mario’ was born

“Nakago-san said, ‘Wait a minute. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a small Mario, too?’” Miyamoto recalls. “That would be a brand-new game mechanic, and we decided to go with it right away in that meeting.” …


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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. …


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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.” …


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