September 2011


Visual effects veteran and innovator John Gaeta says he can’t show you everything he and his team at the recently unveiled Float Hybrid is currently working on.

But the stuff he can show you includes some of the most interesting uses of the Kinect’s motion-sensing technology yet, and represents the tip of what Gaeta says will be possible with the advanced motion-sensing technology of the future.

Gaeta, who is best known for his graphical effects work on movies like The Matrix trilogy, says he’s been interested in branching out into interactive media for quite some time.

Float Hybrid was not established as a game developer — Gaeta says the company “did not begin with a mandate to do anything in particular,” but was created as a place to explore how to “create more depth to an interactive experience overall.”

One of Float Hybrid’s main focuses, as shown in multiple demos on its YouTube channel, is letting players easily navigate and interact freely in 3D worlds using the Kinect.

For example, the Float Hybrid team has developed a system that allows players to guide an avatar freely using just the upper body — lean forward to move forward, back to move backward, or twist at the shoulders to turn. Float’s demos also show players using outstretched arms to aim and fire projectiles, both from first- and third-person perspectives, and even dueling over a network.

“Everything that you’re looking at can be done seated,” Gaeta says of the team’s control scheme. “One of the abilities of our company is we can scale and tune to a very refined amount of space and movement and still have fluid interaction. We can do everything sitting with minimal motion.”

(full article)


It’s almost a cliche at this point for makers of war-based shooting games to tout their titles’ “realism.” In general, this means the military uniforms and jargon will look and sound right, the guns will be rendered correctly down to the last shell casing, the war-torn villages will be based on real satellite maps, and so on.

But when it comes to realistically showing the human side of war, most war games come up short. They won’t bother much with the innocent civilian, caught under rubble from a rocket attack, clutching a photo of her lost child and begging for help.

They won’t focus on the embattled president sending a desperate rallying cry to his overwhelmed troops, or the few loyalist soldiers arguing about whether to flee or wait for reinforcements. They won’t linger on the scared little girl, looking out from a burned out shack to a city square littered with dead soldiers.

These are the kinds of scenes that will take center stage in Warco, an upcoming war game that’s less action movie and more documentary.

(full article)


Over the past two years, the PapayaMobile network has leveraged popular self-published games like PapayaFarm into a user base thatnow comprises over 25 million people.

But Papaya CEO Si Shen told Gamasutra in a recent interview the company “always wanted to be a platform instead of a gaming company.” So the company recently decided to stop publishing its own games, a decision Shen says separates it from competing mobile social networks.

“If you look at [DeNA's Mobage] and especially Gree, most of the revenue they make out of games come from their own games,” Shen pointed out. “That’s something that’s going to be very scary to the developers, because it’s not a fair play. You control all the distribution channels, and at the same time you’re also selling on the distribution channels.”

(full article)


I’m beginning to think Nintendo has swung like a pendulum from extreme over-confidence in the 3DS prior to its launch to extreme under-confidence in the system’s quality now that it’s actually available.

Think back to last summer, when the 3DS was the surprise hit of the 2010 E3 show. Press and analysts couldn’t stop marveling at the quality and simple wow-factor of the glasses-free stereoscopic 3D technology.

The impressive gimmick, combined with Nintendo’s unblemished track record in dominating the portable gaming market for decades, led many inside and outside Nintendo to think the 3DS would be as big or bigger than the insanely successful DS.

Fast forward to March, when initial sales for the 3DS came in much lower than expected worldwide. Nintendo’s first reaction, afteracknowledging the problem, was cutting the price by nearly a third much sooner than anyone expected, and offering a parcel of free, downloadable games by way of apology to early adopters.

The move may have been prudent, but coming from a company that was very recently arguing that consumers should be willing to spend extra money for “high-value” games, it’s a move that didn’t reflect confidence in the hardware.

Then came today’s revelation, via a Famitsu article, that Nintendo is planning to release an optional “expansion slide pad” attachment that adds a second slide pad along the right side of the system. It’s as if Nintendo is telling consumers, “Not only was the hardware we released a few months ago too expensive, but it’s also not well-suited to control today’s games as is. BUY IT TODAY!”

(full article)