Shadowpuma @ Eurogamer Expo 2013

The Eurogamer Expo for 2013 ran over 4 days, Thursday through to Sunday. Out of those days I have been able to attend the Thursday and the Saturday. Both days were exciting but for different reasons.

Thursday 26th September 2013 – Day 1 – I was at Eurogamer Expo as part of the Train2Game exhibit, meeting other Train2Game students and telling them about the team I am in for the Microsoft Venture as GallantCloud Games. After we had done our talking bit and answered questions we mingled for a bit and then off to the show floor.
Walking around we saw lots of new and exciting things coming soon to existing consoles. We even got to see some of the latest consoles and technologies, PlayStation 4, the Oculus Rift a VR headset.
As expected, the queues for the games were long and frequent. Games such as Assassins Creed IV, BattleField 4, Wolfenstein and TitanFall all had queues that twisted and twirled up and down their area section floor. People queued for hours to have around 20 minutes worth of play for these games.
The game stands I wanted to see in action included Batman:Origins, Killer Instinct, Tearaway, Lightning Returns:FFXIII, Super Mario 3D World, Beyond: Two Souls, Destiny, and after seeing all these there were lots more. The Indie section had games that looked both good and average, but all were interesting to see.
There were lots of hardware stands around including Alienware, Razer, Turtle Beach, Intel, showing off and demonstrating their latest technologies.

The visit to Eurogamer Expo wasn’t just about seeing the latest games and enjoying myself, while walking around and looking at the games each one sparked an idea in my head to apply to the future game development. Along with that the GallantCloud team made a few contacts to use in the future.

Saturday 28th September 2013 – Day 2 – I went back into London Earls Court for my second visit. This time I took the family to the event. The main reason was to join in with the app development for Train2Game. We spent some time drawing assets for the various windows 8 app games being created, a rocket and some moons, we even got to meet Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey) who was really nice and got to hear about the Train2Game students of GallentCloud Games and their involvement with the Microsoft Venture. Then we headed to the show floor to walk the stands. Sam loved Lego Marvel Super Heroes (we went to that game twice!) And he also played Tearaway on PSVita and got on with it so well! We also met Sonic, a knight cosplayer, and lots of other friendly people. It got a bit too much for the non-gamers of the family so we left and got to spend some time with family members in London Waterloo before heading home after an exciting day.

Thank you Train2Game for getting the passes to the Expo. We really enjoyed taking part on both days we could attend, learnt a lot, and hope our participation added value.

We got some great pictures during the whole event. Below are some of them.

Castlevania 2 statue at Eurogamer 2013
Castlevania 2 statue at Eurogamer 2013
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
Paul and Maisie enjoying Eurogamer Expo 2013
Paul and Maisie enjoying Eurogamer Expo 2013
Samuel testing out Tearaway on PSVita
Samuel testing out Tearaway on PSVita
Samuel and Tearaway
Samuel and Tearaway
Lego Ironman
Lego Ironman
Samuel and Super Mario 3D World
Samuel and Super Mario 3D World
Samuel and Pokemon
Samuel and Pokemon
Samuel pointing out the Train2Game robot
Samuel pointing out the Train2Game robot
Paul, Samuel and Maisie testing out their rocket asset loaded into the Windows 8 app with the use of Rapid2D at EuroGamer Expo
Paul, Samuel and Maisie testing out their rocket asset loaded into the Windows 8 app with the use of Rapid2D at EuroGamer Expo
Sonic at Eurogamer Expo 2013
Sonic at Eurogamer Expo 2013
Samuel and Maisie showing off their epic loot
Samuel and Maisie showing off their epic loot

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Wayne of GallantCloud showing off his Crysis skills on the 4K monitor
Wayne of GallantCloud showing off his Crysis skills on the 4K monitor
Eurogamer Expo 2013 from above
Eurogamer Expo 2013 from above
Wolfenstein
Wolfenstein

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Zombie Ben from GallantCloud exhausted
Zombie Ben from GallantCloud exhausted

Develop Conference 2013 – It was fantastic!

Develop Conference has been happening for a few years now and this was my first visit to one. I went along to meet people and gain information about what is happening in the games development world at this time. I managed to achieve what I set out to do, and had fun whilst doing it!

I went to the Wednesday and Thursday sessions of Develop. There didn’t seem to be a need for me to attend the Tuesday Develop Evolve sessions this year, maybe once I’m a bit more established!

Upon arrival my printed reservation was scanned and a pass given to me. “Paul Rayment, Shadowpuma Games” it said. I was really happy to have it say that instead of “Student”. Then on a table just over from the registration booths was a goody bag! Full of magazines, leaflets, and other bits of information. The gentleman behind the table said “Would you like a t-shirt?” and of course my response was “Sure” not trying to sound too eager to get free stuff! The t-shirt came across and on it was the Develop conference logo along with PS4 written on it! Awesome!

The conferences
There were numerous conferences happening through out the days. Each one was about an hour in length and tackled their topic very well. There was only one or two out of the ten+ I went to that could have been better, but the information was fed back through the develop app session feedback forms.
Some that stuck and were memorable included:

Opening Keynote: Mark Cerny talked about his history in the PlayStation development over the years and what was next for the PS4 development. I loved this one since it was topical and was a great inspiring opening session for the day.

Forward+ Rendering for Next Gen GPUs: Gareth Thomas gave his presentation on how the rendering techniques of Forward+ and Tiled Forward Rendering impacted the way in which rendering takes place. The presentation was very structured and interesting for coding rendering functions in my own projects.

Indie Keynote: Barry Meade previously from Criterion, now from the studio Fireproof Studios, spoke about how he left a large corporate games development environment where deadlines and figures were more important than allowing for development of the skills of employees, to now working in an environment where the game is complete when it’s ready and the team had fun doing it. Before attending this session I had not heard of The Room, but after I felt it a requirement to play it and find out what the experience was. I’m glad I did because the puzzle game was an eye opener to puzzle games. I finished it quickly, but the path you take through the game is very pretty along with making you think about what it is you are clicking on and opening, turning, pushing, twiddling, and any other descriptive word used to move things around.

Coding Keynote: Tim Sweeney talked about his history and how he made it into the world of Epic Games and the development of the Unreal Engine.

Git Off My Lawn: This talk was all about moving from existing control management systems over to Git. The guys from Sega Europe, creators of Sonic Dash, gave their overview of moving over, the tools used, the good and bad points from the users point of view, and other areas of the team’s work flow changes. Since I use Git on my own, it was good to see how it is used within a corporate environment.

During the whole event there was the Expo taking place up at the top of the venue. A large room with stands for various companies to show off their latest developments and to take any questions that people may have. I found just looking around was a great way to see what was going on with the various organisations. Standing chatting to people was a great way to see where they had come from and to hear their tales of progress.
The Expo was a great place to hang out and meet people. Even if you just wanted a break from it all you could easily find a comfy seat and take in what had been going on.
I did most of my greeting of new people at the Expo between sessions.
The atmosphere was very much a buzz throughout, and you could literally just say ‘Hi’ to anyone and a conversation was started.

Down at the bottom of the venue, The Hilton Hotel Bar was buzzing again with people there to have meetings and drinks and chat. A very friendly but busy atmosphere. Of course, the drinks weren’t free, the free drinks were back up at the Expo!
The hotel bar was to play it’s part though at the end of the days. It seemed to be the meeting place of everyone to show off their bar skills and buy drinks for their friends. The drinks were running out fast so getting in early was a must!

Over the course of the two days, being social and meeting lots of new people and taking in the information that was being given at the conferences was starting to be very draining. The walk back up the hill to the station on the first day was ok. The walk back on the second was near impossible. But a good nights sleep sorted it out.

Shadowpuma Games got treated to a curry at the end of the first day. A nice treat.

What have I taken away with me?
I took away the fact that it was a fantastic time to network and meet new people along with old friends (who then introduced me to more new people). The atmosphere at these events is that everyone is there to talk and have a great time sharing what each other are doing. There may be possibilities out there for change in circumstance

If I ever get the chance to go again then I would love to. It really is an event to network with the people and find out the latest in development.

YouTube, informational and inspirational

Over the past few months I’ve been subscribing to more and more youtube channels. Most of them interesting to watch. A lot keep me up to date with the latest gaming news. A few are technology video blogs or vlogs as they have become known. And then there are the various silly humorous channels which lighten your day.
Overall I’ll have to say I’m happy with my subscriptions and actively seek out to find them in amongst my “What to Watch” feed. These include the videos featuring the likes of Ray William Johnson, Felicia Day, Max Scoville and Tara Long, Cali Lewis, Justine “iJustine” Ezarik, Grace Randolph.

I’ve often thought about starting up my own youtube videos, but like anything I wouldn’t have the available time to put the effort in to get a regular and hopefully popular video out there. So I will just stick with the blogging when I can, the gaming, the websites, the coding, the family life, all still exciting and interesting each and every day.

Develop Conference 2013 – Looking forward to it

So the Develop Conference 2013 is happening this week. I’m not attending the first day for Develop Evolve, but I’m really looking forward to the rest of the two days for Develop. I’m all registered up, got my schedule plan sorted on which sessions I will be attending. And even downloaded the app and found the names of interest.

Leaving my family behind I will be off to stay with family the night before heading into Brighton and sorting out registration and getting a good look around.

The sun has been hot hot hot over the past few days, so hopefully there is air conditioning inside the Hilton building keeping the attendees cool so the information is easier to soak up instead of fidgeting in sweaty seats!

A social evening is planned, whether it be with people I know, or new people I’ve met with similar interests where I can gain information and exchange details.

I would really love for some career changing events to outcome from this time away from home networking with professionals. I know it will require effort, but I intend to put that effort in.

For anyone interested, I have put together my first version of my Games Developer Portfolio. You can find it at http://games.shadowpuma.com

Fathers Day 2013

There are times when being a father has its perks. Fathers Day lets me never forget that what I have is special. Two children that are growing to love the same things as I love. My wife has also played a huge part in making Fathers Day great. Gifts are great, but they are not what it’s all about (but they are great to receive). I got hand made cards, sweets, and a new monitor to replace my broken one.

The day so far has been relaxed. Breakfast in the morning followed by watching Disney Princess Cinderella 3 with the children. I guess if we have time then Batman is next!

Later we are off out to spend the day with family.

Tombs, Crysis and Creed

I’ve played my fair share of games over the past few weeks since all the latest ones have come out recently.

  • Tomb Raider (the new revamped version from Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix)
  • Crysis 3
  • Assassins Creed 3
  • Baldur’s Gate – Enhanced
  • TERA
  • DMC – Devil May Cry

Out of all of them I have completed just one from start to finish (admittedly you can’t finish some of the online games!) :: Tomb Raider!
The new Lara Croft is excellent. I love the contrast and amount of exploring and action. The skill level up’s have been done in a way it’s easy to understand yet complicated enough to make you think about what you level up. Love the bow and arrow feel. It was the first weapon to get and first to be upgraded to maximum.
The overall story is quite short and pretty linier, but I found myself playing just to find out which of my travel companions I would find in trouble next!

I’ve only briefly played the other games, but Crysis 3 and Assassins Creed 3 are both worth a look. Graphically they are amazing. Gameplay seems to follow on from previous versions of the games.
DMC – Devil May Cry I found myself not really wanting to progress much in it, rather just swing my big sword and blast things with the guns. A bit of a mindless game that appears easy. The intro was pretty cool though.
I have played TERA before, and picked it up again since it went Free2Play. Same old stuff. It has a nice anime feel to it, but Guild Wars 2 is still my preferred MMORPG around at the moment.
The Baldur’s Gate revamp is pretty much that. I loved the original and have played it many times. This didn’t seem to offer anything other than improved graphics.

And whilst attempting to play all these I still have my studies to do which is becoming really tricky at the moment. The final Portfolio Project before the final exam! And then there are all the other games I have on PS3 that I’ve yet to complete! I do love games, but it’s just the time to play them that seems to elude me.

PS3 : Batman Arkham Asylum

I wouldn’t say I’ve completed the PlayStation3 game Batman Arkham Asylum, but I have managed to get through the whole story from beginning to end. I have to say that this game is quite impressive. I really felt like I was Batman, beating up the Prisoners and feeling every punch, kick and batarang clink!

With Batman Arkham City coming out in the near future I thought it best to put this game back in the machine and get to the end. And that’s just what I did. The overall story was a believable Batman tale of chemicals, beasts, gadgets, and puzzles to solve. I did like the build up of learning moves and techniques against the bad guys so that the final battles with Joker and his goons was a bit of a challenge and not just a straightforward Batman vs Joker punch em up.

As it stands at the moment my end figures are:
Challenges: 0%
Riddles: 108/240
Upgrades: 16/20
Character Bios: 19/42
Completed: 68%

There is certainly a lot of room for improvement!

Also, while playing, I even changed my SUMO position three times this evening, each one more comfy than the last!

The Guild

The Guild is a web series about gamers enjoying online role playing and how it interacts with their real lives. Of course it’s nothing like a documentory, more of a comical view of what online gaming is about. I can certainly relate and understand the humour since I too have been an online gamer for (way too) many years.

I saw the first season on itunes podcast and loved it. Then season 2 came out and found it enjoyable since I understood the first season. I didn’t get to finish watching season 3 and had forgotten about it for such a long time. I recently checked yesterday to find season 4 was now available! This has rekindled my love for this web series and today I’ve been trying to catch up with Codex, Zaboo, Vork, Clara, Bladezz, Tinkerballa and their adventures in the real world while playing an online game.

Since the work firewall won’t let me connect to a few of the videos I’m going to have to catch up from my home network. It’s a shame my iPhone doesn’t play flash, otherwise I’d be catching up with it from my various locations away from home.

Suppose I should get back to updating these documents! If interested you can watch the guild at watchtheguild.com.
The Guild - Logo

Prince of Persia – The Sands of Time Movie

I get the chance to watch movies every now and again. It was time to watch Prince of Persia. The reviews I had heard on this movie were not so good, but I thought I’d watch it since I loved the original Prince of Persia games on Gameboy and SNES, and the latest ones on PSP, PlayStation looked nice but I’ve yet to play them.
After watching the movie I came away feeling that the reviews hadn’t given it justice. It was a pretty good movie. Not one I’d watch over and over again, but worth a look.
I noticed that there were various scenes that were taken from the video games to give the movie some tie ins. For example, having Dastan standing up on top of a pillar, the camera panning around him showing the city in slow motion, just before he jumps off (rope attached of course!). It reminded me a bit of Assasins Creed rather than Prince of Persia. Another example is when they are running through the streets and their using the building struts to run up and bounce off of, and swinging from the wooden poles that stick out of buildings as a way of progression away from the guards, again making me think more of Assassins Creed instead of Prince of Persia.
The Princess is also worth a mention. Not the typical Princess that gets herself kidnapped and needs saving, Princess Tamina gets stuck in to the action swinging daggers, swords and other items at unsuspecting evils that chase them down in an attempt to obtain the dagger holding the Sands of Time.
I won’t spoil it for those that haven’t seen it, but the scenes towards the end where there are a lot of sand falling, it didn’t really look fantastic, but it did have me on the edge waiting to see what happened next.
The soundtrack wasn’t anything special but certain had the Prince of Persia feel to it. And again, the colours throughout the movie were very yellow and sandy with bright reds jumping out.
And that’s it from my mini review of this movie. I liked PoP:TSoT