Gamasutra New Game Online How Thumper made the jump from VR to the Nintendo Switch

When you’re making an indie game, it’s probably reasonable that as a new platform like VR emerges, you might realize there’s an opportunity to port your game on that platform to try out the new technology. 

But then after that, how many developers could turn around and say they could port their game right away to a new platform like the Nintendo Switch? Not many—but today, we got to sit down and talk with Thumper co-creator Marc Flury about the process of bringing his VR hit to Nintendo’s new portable console. 

You can watch the full conversation above (sorry for the frame drops, we’re still working out Switch streaming), but in case you’re short on time, here’s a few quick takeaways from talking with Flury. 

Nintendo’s interest in Thumper was all about the rumble

Thumper launched on PlayStation and PC with support for rumble controls, and apparently while Flury was showing off the game in Japan, Nintendo execs approached him at a games festival to ask if the game would work well on their new prototype controls. If you play the game yourself, you can see how well the flow of the game is captured in the HD Rumble system. 

Rolling your own engine for indies is sometimes the right move—if you rethink your approach to programming

Flury explained to us that working on Thumper for 7 years has left him with some different programming approaches than what he was taught as a computer science major. To take it to another level, he also thinks that his experience has shown him that traditional teaching methods like C++ and object-oriented programming hold some developers back, and it may be time for schools to rethink how they introduce programming to young people. 

Good rumble effects are like sound effects

When asking Flury how to make good experiences for the HD rumble, the developer compared Thumper’s new controls with the idea of using them the way you would sound effects. He also gave some brief examples about what makes Nintendo’s new rumble technology so different than those inside the PlayStation and Xbox controllers. 

If this conversation was enlightening to you, be sure to follow the Gamasutra Twitch channel for more developer interviews, editor roundtables and gameplay commentary.  


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Game Reviews Top 10 E3 2017 Wishlist

Game Reviews Top 10 E3 2017 Wishlist

E3 is almost upon us and Shacknews will be back on the showfloor with a booth this year in West Hall of the LA Convention Center. We reached out to our Chatty community, staff and our social media channels to see what everyone is looking forward to this E3. We have you covered from Xbox Scorpio to F-Zero. Here are the top 10 things we hope to be surprised and delighted by at E3 2017.

For more videos, including gameplay and interviews, visit the Shacknews and GamerHub.tv YouTube channels.

If you have a suggestion for a future episode of Shack's Top 10, please let us know in the comments section or tweet @shacknews & @GregBurke85 with #Top10.


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Game Reviews Friday the 13th: The Game: How to Win Matches as Counselors and as Jason Vorhees

Game Reviews Friday the 13th: The Game: How to Win Matches as Counselors and as Jason Vorhees

Like the movie series from which it was derived, Friday the 13th: The Game sees Jason stalking camp counselors until they're all dead, or he is. You get to play as Jason or a counselor, and your objectives shift depending on your role. Counselors must avoid Jason and escape, while the player controlling Jason wins if he or she kills off the kiddies.

This guide will clarify how to win no matter which identity you assume in a match of Friday the 13th: The Game.

How to Win Matches as a Camp Counselor

Given that each match involves nearly half a dozen counselors, you're likely to spend most of your time in Friday the 13th: The Game playing as Jason's prey. Survival should be your top priority, but there are other ways to claim victory.

Survive Until the Timer Expires. This one is straightforward. Every match has a time limit. The rub is that matches usually last 20 minutes—an eternity when you're a counselor with few weapons at your disposal and your opponent is a zombified killer several times stronger than you and your friends. If running out the clock seems like your best bet, find a place to hide, but make sure to communicate with teammates so that everyone has his or her own hiding space that's relatively nearby so others can help if needed.

Call the Police. Easier said than done. Friday the 13th: The Game wouldn't stay true to its namesake if calling for help were as simple as walking into a house and picking up a receiver. No, you'll need to scavenge for parts and repair each map's phone before it's operable. After that, the police need time to reach your destination. Avoid Jason while you watch for them. As soon as they arrive, get to them to win the match.

Escape Via Car or Boat. Just like calling the phone, you can't just hop behind a wheel and race off to safety. You'll need to coordinate with your teammates to get each map's car or boat—your choice—in working order. The most important thing is to focus on the car or the boat. Dividing your attention between both gives Jason more time to find you and introduce you to the business end of his machete.

Kill Jason. Think you can kill Jason by grabbing a gun and planting a slug between his eyes? Think again. As you might expect, taking down Jason Vorhees is a multi-step process, and every player has a crucial part to play. Read our guide on how to kill Jason to learn how to get the job done.

One final note: Just because Jason kills you doesn't have to mean you're done playing. If certain conditions are met later in the match, the game will randomly select a player who has been killed or already escaped to return in the role of Tommy Jarvis, a character from the Friday the 13th mythos who must make an appearance if you want to kill Jason to win. If you've already quit out, you can't be select to control Tommy.

How to Win Matches as Jason

If you're lucky enough to play as Jason, you'll have plenty of ways to satisfy your bloodlust but only one way to win.

Kill the Counselors. Friday the 13th: The Game doesn't get any more straightforward than this. As Jason, you have several preternatural abilities at your disposal, such as sharpened hearing to help you hone in on counselors making noise, and strength great enough to kill players quickly once you have them in your grasp. Haste and recklessness are your only weaknesses. Notice how Jason cannot run; he walks with a steady, powerful gait. Take a cue from Jason: be patient, listen, watch, and wait. They'll slip up. And when they do, you'll be ready.

Refer to our guides to Friday the 13th: The Game for more tips and strategies, such as how to play as Jason.


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Game Reviews Modojo Rewind: Shadows Of Valentia And The Return Of Magikarp

Game Reviews Modojo Rewind: Shadows Of Valentia And The Return Of Magikarp

As shadow turns to light and dusk turns to dawn, the soft embrace of Friday always finds us, warming our hearts and filling our minds with countless concepts of all the things we'd like to see happen during the coming weekend. Not only does Friday punctuate our labor and alleviate our concerns, it also gives us the chance to look back at all of the latest stories featured over at Modojo. So set down your halberd, unclasp your plate, and sit with us as we recap the latest in the realm of mobile and portable gaming.

The Numerous Shadows of Valentia

Players keen on tactical role-playing action have likely already picked up the latest entry to the Fire Emblem series, the admittedly-excellent title Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. It's a game that manages to become both a new entry to the series as well as serve as a remake to the 1992 NES title Fire Emblem Gaiden, which has lead many to wonder about the differences between Gaiden and Shadows of Valentia. As always, we've got the scoop.

We've been working on other guides for Shadows of Valentia as well, including all the top tips players need to understand and cure fatigue, how to recruit Saber and gain access to a ship, and also thoughts on how to choose the best class for Faye.

The guides don't end there, though: Clash of Clans recently received a new update that opened up, among other things, the new Builder Base, a Gem Mine, and the all-new Versus battle mode. Staying on top of the game, we've got new guides on the best Builder Hall 3 base building tips and layouts as well as how to unlock the Gem Mine and get free gems.

The Hard Clank of the Banhammer and the Rise of Magikarp Jump

We have a slew of new Pokemon-centric news for gamers still getting mileage out of Pokemon Go. Early last week, players noticed a brief increase in spawn rates for Larvitar, leading many to wonder where to find the rare Pokemon; on the other hand, some players have noticed that many other Pokemon have mysteriously vanished. In the case of the latter, those players may be on the receiving end of a Niantic shadowban, a condition that removes all but the most common Pokemon from the game. There are a number of ways of how to figure out if you've been shadowbanned, with the number-one indicator being past use of unlicensed third-party apps.

The banning doesn't end there, either: Nintendo has just formally set into motion a 'ban wave' that has kicked countless 3DS systems offline. The takeaway is obvious, despite being both saddening and maddening: if you want to play your 3DS online, don't violate the 3DS terms of service.

Lastly, some of the most electrifying buzz to drop this week surrounds Pokemon: Magikarp Jump, the newly-released free-to-play title available for iOS and Android. The game is admittedly very strange, largely due to the fact that it places its focus around Magikarp, a Pokemon well-known for being almost utterly useless.

In Magikarp Jump, players assume the role of a trainer who wanders into a town that's plainly obsessed with Magikarp jumping competitions, and from there players are tasked with restoring honor to the town's unusual tradition by training the flappy fishes to flop ever-skyward. The gameplay is quite simple, but players can find all they need to know to get started by checking out our guides on how to train Magikarp and win battles as well as our tips on how to fish for Magikarp.

That's it for us this week, folks. As always, keep your browser dialed in to Modojo for all the latest mobile and portable gaming news, reviews, and guides.


Modojo is your homebase for all the must-have mobile and portable technology and gaming news. Want to read about the 3DS, Vita, or Nintendo Switch? Come on down. How about App Store or Google Play titles? We've got you covered. Interested in mobile VR or phones themselves? We've got that, too. We've also got the ineffable influence of our patron saint Robomo, the wise-cracking robot.


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Game Reviews Nintendo's Stock Soars Following Monster Hunter XX Reveal

Game Reviews Nintendo's Stock Soars Following Monster Hunter XX Reveal

Nintendo's stock jumped more than percent early this morning following Capcom's announcement of Monster Hunter XX, an expanded port of Monster Hunter Generations on 3DS, for the company's Switch console (via CNBC). The increase of 5.48 percent elevated Nintendo to an eight-year high, its greatest value since October 2008.

CNBC credits the price jump to excitement in Japan, where Monster Hunter's popularity dwarfs that of western regions.

Monster Hunter XX is a port of 2016's Monster Hunter Generations on 3DS. The game builds on Generations' foundation by offering more quests, items, weapons, and monsters. In fact, Monster Hunter XX has been available on 3DS since March, but only in Japan.

Capcom hasn't announced plans to publish the 3DS or Switch versions of Monster Hunter XX outside of Japan. Historically, Monster Hunter games make their way to the west; they just trail behind eastern releases. The publisher will reveal more news during this weekend's Monster Hunter Championship.


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Game Reviews This Week @ Shack: 'Auto-Pilot Engaged' Edition

Welcome to This Week @ Shack, our regular roundup of news, commentary, video, and guides.

One of the stranger phenomenons of game development bifurcating into casual mobile games and PC or console "hardcore" games has been the degree of crossover inspiration that regularly happens between the two of them. Those loot boxes you find in every game from Gears of War 4 to Overwatch can be traced directly back to the free-to-play mobile market. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the auto-play element common in many mobile games is starting to migrate as well.

The most notable recent example of this is Injustice 2, which adds AI load-outs for your characters that can be used in battles. It didn't take long for players to realize this was an easy way to grind for experience and loot. An endless playlist keeps your character grinding with only the occasional need to hit a button to continue. (Or, if you get tricksy enough, no button-pushing required at all.)

It's a convenience feature built for those of us without the time or skill to go the more traditional route, and I'm not going to act as if it's some kind of scourge on the gaming landscape. It's a shortcut for progression systems, and doesn't really take away from the pleasure of playing the game itself. It just makes the loot and leveling on a somewhat even playing field. I do think we can all agree that it is slightly weird, though, these games that play themselves so you don't have to. I imagine this would be a hard thing to explain to a non-gamer.

Then again, while writing this my Harley Quinn has gone up three levels, so it can't be all bad.

News of the World:

Featured Features:

Guides to Life:

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Gamasutra New Game Online Video: Owlboy dev shares advice on staying motivated -- and inspired

After nearly 9 years of development, indie dev D-Pad Studio finally released their game Owlboy late last year -- to critical acclaim.

What made them start this journey and stick to it for so long? At GDC 2017, D-Pad's Simon S. Andersen spoke openly about the trials and triumphs the team faced on their nearly decade-long dev cycle, offering fellow game makers advice on how to get inspired for your next project.

He also shared useful tips on how to iterate on those ideas and, most importantly, how to stick to them until you're done. 

It was a great talk, so don't miss your chance to now watch the whole thing for free over on the official GDC YouTube channel!

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Americas


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Gamasutra New Game Online Get a job: Sanzaru Games is hiring an Environment Artist

The Gamasutra Job Board is the most diverse, active and established board of its kind for the video game industry!

Here is just one of the many, many positions being advertised right now.

Location: Foster City, California

Sanzaru Games is looking for a visionary World and Environment Artist to join our cutting edge, experienced development team in crafting visually stunning and immersive worlds. We are interested in all levels of experience, from junior to senior artists.

As a World and Environment Artist, you will work directly with the game directors and discipline leads to help define breathtaking AAA scenery.

Responsibilities:

  • Creates and stages worlds and scenery to set the tone, vision, and storytelling
  • Constructs 3d environments to include modeling, mapping, materials, lighting, effects, atmospherics, collision, and tagging
  • Develops, experiments, and advances the environments by innovating new techniques
  • Manages all the assets and data associated with the environments
  • Thoroughly understands the art pipeline and integrates assets into the game
  • Thoroughly understands the hardware limitations and common techniques
  • Works directly with other artists, designers, and engineers to complete  environments

Experience/Skills:

  • 2+ years of industry experience working on different platforms
  • Working knowledge of Photoshop, Maya, and/or other 3D software
  • Strong sense for architecture and natural scenery including form, color, and composition
  • Ability to manage and maintain entire world assets
  • Architectural background and/or related field a big plus!
  • Working knowledge of Unreal & Unity a big plus!
  • Ability to multi-task and adapt easily to change
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills and ability to interact effectively

Interested? Apply now.

Whether you're just starting out, looking for something new, or just seeing what's out there, the Gamasutra Job Board is the place where game developers move ahead in their careers.

Gamasutra's Job Board is the most diverse, most active, and most established board of its kind in the video game industry, serving companies of all sizes, from indie to triple-A.

Looking for a new job? Get started here. Are you a recruiter looking for talent? Post jobs here.


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Gamasutra New Game Online Nintendo stocks jump to eight-year high following Monster Hunter XX Switch reveal

Nintendo’s share price rose significantly following the announcement that Capcom’s Monster Hunter series would bring its latest entry, Monster Hunter XX, to the Nintendo Switch.

While Nintendo’s stock prices typically see some level of ebb and flow as major products are detailed, the recent announcement of Monster Hunter XX’s impending Switch release helped the company’s stock value hit its highest point since October of 2008.

According to CNBC, Nintendo’s share prices rose over five percent following the announcement, soaring past stock value bumps the company saw following the release of Pokemon Go to reach a new eight-year high at 33,510 yen ($300.72). All in all, the announcement added roughly $2.2 billion to the company’s market value.


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Game Reviews Far Cry 5 is Timely and Political, Whether Ubisoft Wants It to Be or Not

Far Cry 5 appears overtly political–almost too on-the-nose. At a presentation and interview last week, creative director Dan Hay downplayed such comparisons, noting that it centers on a doomsday cult and has been in development for three years, preceding current events that would otherwise appear to have inspired it. While the game may shy away from confronting the modern political landscape, its tone and tensions clearly come from the same place, and interpretation is just as important as intent.

Ubisoft is no stranger to real-world settings that ruffle feathers. Earlier this year the company was embroiled in controversy with the government of Bolivia, which was dismayed by its use of the country for the setting of Ghost Recon: Wildlands. It's easy to understand why, as the premise for Wildlands was a fictionalized Bolivian government cowed by drug kingpins into allowing a de facto narco state. It's a depiction that has an element of truth, skewed just past recognition.

Similarly, Far Cry 5 is a flight of fancy, but only just. Hay's research trips into Montana found residents who, in his words, just wanted to be left alone. This attitude, marked by distrust for government authority, personal autonomy, a spirit of isolationism, and deep ideological divides, is the key element that political pundits missed in their prognostications about the 2016 election. 

Ubisoft Montreal's depiction of the region has been stretched to the point of apolitical. Having gotten a brief description of the key characters in the Eden's Gate cult, I doubt many of them would have voted at all, for any candidate. But we know that the region that inspired those characters actually did vote for President Trump, by a 20-point margin, because it is subject to those factors as tested against the real world. The signs of distrust that Hay and his team saw during their research has been pushed further to make the game marketable as an entertainment product, but it comes from a kernel of truth that's hard to disentangle from the fiction.

Far Cry 5 doesn't appear to be attempting any specific political observation or assertion, but it is using those elements to shade its commentary regardless. The motto of the fictional Hope County is "Freedom Faith Firearms." This proud declaration of fundamental values is virtually a call-and-response to former President Obama's 2008 campaign gaffe, in which he said many people in rural areas grow bitter and "cling to guns or religion." Whatever he may have intended, the statement was widely regarded in red states as a message of liberal condescension. It caused such controversy that nearly a decade later, it's still found on bumper stickers as a rallying cry.

Even now as I write this, I'm watching the returns come in from the Montana special election. It's hard to imagine how Ubisoft could have planned a better media flash-point to precede its announcement of a game set in that very state. A major party candidate allegedly assaulted a reporter on the eve of an election, and yet he won. Pundits will come up with myriad reasons for this over the next few days, not least of which because a significant portion of the votes were already mailed before the assault ever took place. But reporting on the ground found many residents either unfazed or even actively cheering it. These deep divides can make violence seem acceptable or even heroic.

Hay and his team saw this simmering in the heartland before the rest of the country took notice, and built a game world that responds to that spirit. Far Cry 5 is not a direct answer to the era of President Trump, but the tensions that it magnifies and skews are the same ones that led to his surprise victory in November.

Whether or not it intends to make a statement, of course Far Cry 5 is political. In our current social climate, it can't not be.


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