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E3 2012 Predictions

I love, love, love E3 and I can’t help but spout some predictions.

I’m most interested in the three major players and their press conferences.  Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.  Each planning some big announcements and future plans.  Here’s what I think each major player will have to say.

Nintendo

My biggest interest for E3 2012 is Nintendo’s Wii U console?  Wii sales are essentially dead, 3DS not doing so well…  Can Wii U breath life back or will it show us something we didn’t know we wanted?   Can it show something beyond the Nintendo typical cutsie?   I expect that in typical Nintendo fashion, the Wii U will not focus on tech and be underpowered.  Also, the 3DS needs some life but I’m really meh about it so I don’t care much other that to see what they say about hardware.

Sony

I don’t follow Sony very much, but  I think Sony is in a tight spot and needs to react and show what they have to offer.  They have a lot of games to talk about and I expect a lot of Vita Vita Vita talk.   Sony could announce a price drop on the console, in reaction to the $99 Xbox console deal (rip off tactic).  I’ve heard some news about a cloud service, which could be streaming games like OnLive, but I doubt it.

I’m curious what Sony will say about the Move.  Remember the Move?  Will they give it more promotion or is it a dead peripherial?

Although unlikely, its possible Sony might hint at the PS4 in vague ways to let us know they are thinking of the future. I’ve been really adamant that Nintendo’s Wii U would steal the show and the other players would want to evaluate what Nintendo’s up to and how they fair, but Sony could see it as an opportunity.

Microsoft

There will be no new console announcement from Microsoft in my opinion.  They won’t want to take attention from the Kinect, and I suspect they will be very interested in how the Wii U goes.  Expect more dashboard/software announcements, Live crap, Windowz Phone blah, Windows App Store, meh.  I expect Microsoft to suck it this year as they try to further embrace casual.  I think they are going to approach this from a different angle, laying the groundwork for a Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Xbox 720 future.

I am very interested to see if their presentation makes them appear as if they are getting out of the games business.  On the other hand, Microsoft could have some awesome sh!t happening if they can really integrate the next console with Windows 8 and Windows Phone in a non-sucky/typical Microsoft way.  And maybe Zune has a future!

All in all, what they present should be telling for what could be their path for the next console.  Oh, and probably something about Halo.

Summary

I think Nintendo and the Wii U will steal the show and give us lots to talk about.  I think Sony will be on the offensive and will really pump some fun at us, showcasing the fun gaming “experience”, as well as promote the Vita in a way to make us want to get it.  I think Microsoft is going to be a flop, focusing on other casual crap we won’t really care about while missing the gamer audience.

Global Game Jam

I can’t believe I let this go without mention, but man I’ve been busy!  I have so much to say and reflect on it overwhelms me to think about it.

The Global Game Jam 2012 is one such event.  Way back in January I spent 48 hours making a game and it was awesome.  Of that 48 hours, I slept four!   The result was a game we called “Boogie Fling”.  It was developed in Unity, and you can play the web version here: Boogie Fling

Much credit has to go to Ty Burks for most of the art and Tori Kamal for the hilarious sounds and music.

The Game Jam was awesome and the local IGDA group had an outstanding attendance with over 27 participants on 11 teams!  It was awesome fun to jam with so many cool and interesting people.

 

Young Ryan and PCs

I love old photos, especially when they are with me and a computer.  Every picture like this captures me in a trance, locked in on the PC with an unmoving gaze that I see in my own children today.   The difference though, I was using DOS while they are making worlds in Minecraft.

I have no idea what I may have been doing in this picture, but I’m guessing I’m around 9 years old.  I was probably playing a game, but its also likely I was playing around in BASIC.

10 Goto 10

Bleep Menu Prototyping

Interactive Unity Menu System Prototype

This is a quick mockup to demonstrate and test out the level menu system for The Bleeps, a mobile game in development with Battery Powered Games. I added the other menu screens to give a complete experience of the UI flow.  I made it to explore the menu design concepts we’ve been discussing, as well as to communicate some of the ideas better than through explanation.

This level selection concept is different than what I would consider the standard model, where the levels are sequentially earned. The concept for The Bleeps connects levels in a more dynamic and selective way. But, this also comes with a potential problem, since a Next Level button doesn’t really make sense any more. How does it feel for a player to go back to the level select screen?

Hungry Monsters Prototype

While on my recent business trip, I spent my time at the airport and on the plane programming a game concept I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: Hungry Monsters (the first prototype). Fair warning, there is no game play yet, but merely a rapid prototype of the game play elements, specifically the resource management of employees, work stations, ammunition and the actual playing field.

Hungry Monsters is very similar to Plants vs. Zombies, but with my own engineering spin on it. What’s different, at least in my design, is that the player will have to decide how to spend their resources differently by running a bakery to provide the food (the ammunition), as well as place weapons to fend off (feed) the onslaught of hungry monsters. Players will have to decide if they place another muffin shooter, an oven, or another employee for instance.

The prototpye at this stage doesn’t allow the player to do anything yet, but was built to allow me to investigate the idea. Through the Unity Editor I’m able to try different combination of things. Considering this took me about 6 hours (built from scratch in airports and on the flight for a recent business trip) I’m pretty happy with the outcome and excited to move on. Please excuse the Microsoft Paint artwork and simple geometry, it is a first pass prototype!

In the next version I hope to have the basic interactive elements working to allow placement of work stations, workers and weapons. (I need a better word for weapons too!)

Booth Bunny Me

I was out of town this last week, employed as a booth bunny for a simulation demonstration we made to showcase a number of our systems. It’s fun and frustrating and exciting and boring, all in one!

Photograph is Fun!

I’m working on a freelance gig for a mobile app. I won’t go into much detail, but its very entertaining. I’m building some interesting photography setups to take some pictures of things I never thought I’d be taking pictures of.

Minnetron 10,000 Arcade Viewer

I’ve made a Unity Web Player version of my Arcade Viewer for the Minnetron 10,000 Arcade Cabinet I’ve been building.  My intent was that this would both show how the cabinet goes together (since I built it digitally in Blender first, why not use it?) and to allow others to try out paint job concepts.

To see the “game” click on the image.  You may need to install the Unity Web Player, but it will be worth it!  Or just download the Windows executable.

FYI, the name “Minnetron 10,000″ is a play on the Minnesota nickname “Land of 10,000 Lakes”.

Halloween 2011

I went crazy with costumes this year and got the family to do a Plants vs. Zombies theme.

We even made it onto the Plants vs. Zombies Facebook page!

More pictures in my Google+ Plants vs. Zombies Halloween 2011 gallery.

Arcade Wood Construction Almost Done

Construction continues as you can see in the image below.  I’m almost done with all the major cutting and nailing.  Just four more cuts on some plywood and I should be ready to sand and poly.  I was about to finish the control panel but I decided to take a step back and think about how I can build it so I can get at the controls and wires without a lot of trouble.

I learned from my controller experiment is that my wiring connections needed to be checked and rechecked.  Even though I was using the right connectors, I was fighting the contacts.  I think I know what to do right this time, but my test controller was open on the bottom which facilitated working on the button and IPac2 connections.  For this arcade, I want to make sure I can build and get at the buttons without too much trouble.