VALUE Field Reports #25: Here Comes the Sun

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And it is reflecting on my monitor. How am I supposed to play all these games when it’s so bright outside? People walking around, sitting in parks, driving boats. No one got time for that: look at all this amazing gaming news we’ve collected for you! The lead designer behind the greatest educational game of all time tells in detail how The Oregon Trail came to be, an organisation asks developers to help develop critical thinking, a World Record is called into question, and WE HAVE AN OCULUS RIFT!

Join me, won’t you, for the 25th Issue of VALUE Field Reports.


Newsfromthefield

Register For the Interactive Pasts Workshop!

We here at VALUE are delighted and excited to announce the Interactive Pasts Workshop! This workshop, titled “Interactive (Hi)storytelling”, is free (yes, F-R-E-E) to attend, but there’s only 50 spots. So make sure you register as soon as possible! Not only will you be able to meet us lovely people in person, but you’ll also learn how to use Twine to bring archaeology and video games together by creating a narrative. Meet like minded people, cooperate with them, create amazing stories, and listen to presentations by top experts!
What are you waiting for?
Register already!

In Depth Analysis – It’s Even More Real When It’s Virtual


VALUE acquired an Oculus Rift! It’s meant mainly for our upcoming RoMeincraft project, but it can’t hurt to try out a few games while we’re at it, right? The Rift arrived at the house of Jarromir (and Caeda), so he got the opportunity to give it a spin. And spin he did! First he drove around the track in Assetto Corsa, but the motion sickness kicked in during Echo Arena and he had to stop his first session. He sat down, resisting the urge to keep playing, and wrote an In Depth Analysis for you. Meanwhile, I am secretly planning an elaborate plan to sneak into Jarromir’s house and steal the Rift. But don’t tell anyone!
See what Jarromir has to say about Virtual Reality!

Heritales – International Heritage Film Festival

A picture says more than a thousand words, and video consists of 24 pictures each second, so that’s about a library filled with books in one film! The second edition is centered around the theme of sustainable communities. By using film, the film festival aims to preserve heritage and display it to a wider audience.

2nd International Heritage Film Festival | May – October 2017
Main Event  22 – 23 -24 SEP 2017. Évora (Portugal), free entry.

Read more about the film festival on their website.

ICIDS2017 – Interactive Digital Storytelling

ICIDS is THE place to share innovations, insights and techniques for interactive storytelling with like minded scientists, artists, and developers. They explicitly state that their audience is as broad as it can be, from documentary makers to ‘serious’ games to educators. Be you developer or museologist, you might be looking for this conference!

10th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling.
November 14-17 Funchal, Madeira, Portugal.

Read all about the conference on their website.

Videogaming-new

HEY, LISTEN! Classic Video Game Sounds


Something that a lot of gamers have turned a deaf ear to (I WILL NOT APOLOGISE FOR THAT PUN (nor should you – Megalithic)) is the importance of sound in video games. And I’m not just talking about footsteps or gunshots that give away your enemy’s location in a shooter. The overall sound design of games that can make or break an experience: the creaking of a door in Resident Evil, the rewarding jingle that plays when you complete a quest in World of Warcraft, or the snarling of an imp in Doom. Wired made a series about sounds in classic video games, in which experts explain how their craft works with the help of recognisable and iconic sounds.

Louvre Craft – We Don’t Need To Go To Paris

Who needs to go inside the Louvre museum to see art, when this Minecraft project is a piece of art on itself? A team of builders, calling themselves NewHeaven, have painstakingly rebuild the entire external structure of the famous museum, and the pictures are simply stunning.
Just look at what people can do with Minecraft!

Change (Art) History!

You, yes you, are able to change HISTORY ITSELF *lightning, dramatic music*. In ARTé Mecenas, you are at the head of a banking empire and you decide where you sell all your goods and whose requests for loans you accept. Does the world of detailed tapestry start in Normandy, or do you rather sell your wool to the Holy Roman Empire? Do you invest in priceless paintings, or do you sell them for a quick buck to someone else? In this game you’ve got to balance your balance (heh) and your reputation in order to become the leading social and financial power in Renaissance Italy.
Kotaku wrote a review!

We’re Going Straight To the Wild West Online

The Wild West was way more myth than it was actually wild, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that games about the period are really, really cool. Red Dead Redemption and Call of Juarez dominate the genre, but the first title is console only and the latter isn’t as open world as people might want.

*The saloon door is kicked open, light streams into the darkest corners of the establishment, and people shield their eyes as they try to see who just so rudely interrupted their discussion about video games.*
“I heard someone talking about… Cowboy games.” a gruff voice yells, cutting through all the murmuring. “Maybe I have something to say about that…” The crowd falls silent, here and there a few men sit upright and slowly reach for their guns, strapped to their upper legs. “And who might you be?” an older man at the bar asks, defiantly. “Red Dead Redemption 2 might not be coming to the pc anyway!”. The tension is palpable, and some weaker willed men quickly move towards the backdoor.

The stranger glares at the man, and starts to grin. “I, good man, am Wild West Online. A MMO cowboy game with adult themes. Expect me in December 2017.” The man turns around and walks out, while the patrons of the saloon slowly relax.

That was weird, barging into my saloon while I’m trying to write this VALUE Field Reports. Oh well. Worth noting, however, is that the developer’s previous games were both bug-ridden, pretty bland, and quickly abandoned. So caveat emptor!
Polygon wrote a thing about Wild West Online here

Blade Runner – Can’t Run Away From Inspiration

Blade Runner is an excellent Sci Fi film that’s left an important and persisting mark on western culture. Think of a medium, and the film will have inspired it in one way or another. Video games are no exception, with titles such as Snatchers, Syndicate, and Shadowrun borrowing heavily from the dystopian flick. But there’s only two video games that have a direct link to the movie. Both these games are pretty old (1985 and 1997), but they manage to invoke the spirit of the film like no other. And no, that’s not just because they’ve got the license.
Kotaku looked at these two games and their source of inspiration, and wrote an article about it.

What Totems Can Tell

Recipe for an interesting and unique game.
Take 1 broken tv-signal receiver.
Add an undiscovered, strange world.
Throw in Archaeology.
Mix in a spoonful of experimental storytelling.
Drop LSD. A lot.
Let it sit for 2+ years.
And that’s it, you know have an upcoming Chinese indie game about exploration and archaeology! Although not much is known about Totem Teller, it certainly looks amazing.
Read all there’s known about Totem Teller on the developer’s website!

Losing My History – ARK No Longer Wiping Servers

The dino-survival game Ark: Survival Evolved was planning on wiping all progress on servers to give every player a chance at a fresh start. Players, however, revolted. They wanted to keep their fortresses, machinery, and (most important of all) memories and history. When you wipe progress, you don’t just reset the playing field, but you also remove the tangible history players have with your game. That one wall that had to be rebuild over and over again because another tribe kept attacking us, or the tower which Jimmy fell off because he was too busy managing his inventory, and the main hut that burned down three times. They’d all be lost. There’s also the fact that the developer promised not to wipe the servers after launch, so they almost broke that promise.
Luckily for the community, everything will stay as it is. Because history isn’t just a memory, it’s a physical experience.
Read about the debacle here.

A Monument to Dragon Quest

You’ll be hard pressed to find an RPG that’s been running (successfully) as long as Dragon Quest. While it’s main audience is in Japan, people around the world have at least heard of the series, or have seen the artwork (made by the artist that’s behind Dragon Ball). The series turned 30 years old today, and to honor that fact the birthplace of the series’ creator has erected a monument. Only important statesmen, scientists, and musicians had the privilege of monuments, but video games are slowly earning their spot to be immortalized.
What game would you like to see as a statue in your city?
Read more about the monument here!

Creating A Believable City

Cities are generally a very important element of video games. You might manage one in Sim City, seek refuge from the demons down below in Diablo, uncover webs of treason in The Witchere, or just simply beat up dozens of thugs in Batman: Arkham City. But what makes a city feel alive and believable? A veteran of both urban planning and the video games industry offers his skills, but also writes about the important elements.
Read all about creating a digital city here.

Her Story, Telling Lies

Her Story was a surprise hit: a full video motion game (a genre that died out around the turn of the millennium) murder-mystery solving adventure that won countless awards. The developer announced the game’s sequel: Telling Lies. The game will have a bigger budget, meant to fund “Hollywood talent” and a bigger scope for the game. If you’ve played Her Story, you’ll probably just as excited as I am!
Read more about the announcement on Polygon!

Develop Awards – Winning ALL the awards

The Dutch developer, Guerilla Games, was lauded by their peers at the Develop Awards, winning Studio of the Year and Animation Award. Especially the first one is an impressive and important award. But there were a lot more winners that day, among them Brenda and John Romero (Development Legends) and Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (Best Writing).
You can find the entire list of awards here.

Games: Largest Provider of Critical Thinking Education

Players make constant choices when playing video games: do I trust this Patches guy, should I buy this potion of save up for a sword, does Jarromir have my back in Overwatch? Both these kind of choices, and moral questions in games like Bioshock and Modern Warfare 2 shape gamers to be more critical of the information they get.
The Near Future Society is a charitable foundation that wants game developers to start to see games as a tool to develop critical thinking. Fake news can’t stand up against the critical mind of a gamer WHO’S BEEN KICKED DOWN THE PIT FILLED WITH SCARY SKELETONS AND UNDEAD MONSTERS. I HAVEN’T FORGIVEN YOU, “TRUSTY” PATCHES, AND I NEVER WILL!
Read this very intersting article on the role of video games on GamesIndustry.

How To Design the Most Successful Education Game

At first, it sounds like someone’s a little bit too impressed with himself if he writes that he designed the most successful educational game of all time. But then you realise he’s talking about The Oregon Trail, and you slowly nod your head in agreement. R. Philip Bouchard was the lead designer for the Apple II, which is the most famous version and subsequently copied for all future versions. Turns out, Bouchard really likes writing in great detail about the game and its development, and he wrote a lengthy (but captivating!) article. This gets the “Protosmoochy says you should read this”-stamp of this issue.
Dive into the far past in which people died of dysentry, when travel was slow and dangerous: the year 1985!
Read this, you won’t regret it!

The Unbeatable World Record – Dragster

World records are all about going fast, faster than anything or anyone else. So it’s kind of funny that the world record for Dragster a, you guessed it, game about dragracing for the Atari 2600 hasn’t been broken for 35 years. Dragster was Activision’s first game, which should be enough of a reason to recognise the world record as historically significant. But a record that hasn’t been broken in over 35 years?

Technology has advanced at a breakneck speed in those years, and some speedrunners try to create perfect runs of games by using software, so-called Tool Assisted Runs. Using these tools, they can control the game frame by frame. And even they couldn’t get anywhere near the World Record. Who’s right? Who’s wrong?
Kotaku investigated and wrote about it.

Announcements
If you have suggestions/ideas/contributions or just want to say hi, feel free to send us a mail at news@valueproject.nl or contact us via our twitter @value_project

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