Category Archives: Observations

Updates from an IrishGameDev in Malta

Hey y’all,

It’s been far too long since I posted anything up in this joint. Since I last spent some time writing on this page I’ve moved to Malta and started working for a financial institution managing insurance claims. Not exactly exciting work, but it puts the food on the table. The move to Malta has been exciting in other ways. For those not in the know Malta is a stunningly beautiful tiny island slap bang in the middle of the Mediterranean – right below Italy and just above Africa.

IM001228

As a lot of my free time has been eaten up by work I have not had much time to work on any of my solo projects. In the last few weeks, that has changed. I’ve actually built a little demo in RPG maker of a short art-game I’m building called “I am You”. The game tells the story of a characters life through non linear events and includes branching paths. There is no combat – it’s really more of a story based, cerebral game. To be honest it’s basically the test bed for the engine I will be building Introvert/Nullify in.

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Why survival horror can’t afford to be scary any more (excerpt)

Growing up I was always fascinated by horror. I read teen fiction horror books like Goosebumps or the god-awful (but always entertaining) Point Horror series. I watched Horror movies which were most certainly not suitable for my age bracket (Not a fault of my parents but the employees of the local video rental shop — who had no moral objection allowing an 8 year old to rent “Nightmare on Elm Street”). I hung out in haunted houses, wrote short stories about all kinds of beasties. Hell, I even messed around with Ouija boards and performed séances, just to see what would happen. Why bother telling you all this?

Context.

I want to convey to you, that I love horror. I always have and always will. In all its mediums, horror plays on my (mostly) unconscious desire to continuously be unnerved. Some people play video-games to relax, soak in a story or maybe to just blissfully slaughter hordes of oncoming mutants/zombies/space-nazi’s or underprivileged Middle Eastern youths. I am happiest playing games when crouching three or four feet from the TV, in the pitch dark… my eyes wide in anticipation and the controller slippery in my hand from sweat. I want to be terrified…  No. It’s more than that.

I crave the feeling of being scared.

So, you would think I’ve been absolutely disgusted by the recent destruction of mainstream Survival Horror. Silent Hill ain’t living up to its legacy and Resident Evil has become the most bombastic, balls to the wall action series this side of Con-Air.

Well, I do find it sad that the franchises listed above have moved substantially away from their roots, but when I recently went back and played Resident Evil 3 and the original Silent Hill on my Vita it all suddenly started to make sense.

Survival Horror wouldn’t work anymore. Well… not in a mainstream sense, anyhow.

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Guest Post: Lisa Gan on Sentiment Analysis

Hey guys,

Sorry it’s been a while since I posted anything. Been very busy building visibility of Mind of Man, the awesome App I’ve been working on at 2Paperdolls.

Here are some articles that were posted recently on Gamasutra and Game Trailers! Also feel free to check out the MOM trailer, If you haven’t seen it yet. It’s lovely!

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for guest features but this one really piqued my interest. Working on Mind of Man has gotten me really interested in the field of Sentiment Analysis and it’s various potential applications. Lisa Gan contacted me with this piece, which I thought was very well written and informative. Enjoy 🙂

Innovative Social Media Technology: Sentiment Analysis by Lisa Gan

“Sentiment analysis represents an innovative way to examine emotional trends across Internet content, and is of particular value to social media networks and affiliate marketers. A sentiment analysis involves looking at the kinds of attitudes implicit in different documents and messages, with the intention of judging overall trends and moods from positive to negative. This kind of analysis works around a scale of emotional responses, and looks for repeated phrases and the structure of messages to try to determine the mood of the writer.

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Personality Analysis in Gaming: An underused effect

Prior to playing 2PaperDolls’ Mind of Man, I didn’t know much about the field of sentiment analysis. Actually, to be completely honest, I understood nothing about the area. After playing around with Mind Of Man for a while, I couldn’t help but wonder about the application of sentiment analysis (or specifically, the MOM API) to other, more traditional gaming experiences.

In Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Dr Kaufman treats the player as if they’re undergoing a psych evaluation

Most of the time, when games use any kind of personality evaluations, it feels as though you’re playing a round of 20 Questions. It’s a mere quiz, and it’s not very subtle. Rarely, if the context is fantastic, it might feel a bit more believable. But most of the time, the data the computer gains from the player is patchy, at best.

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My Relationship with Resident Evil Part 2 – By PJ Quinn

Continued from previous article:

The Break-up

It was over. I knew it and she knew it. She wanted to try and work things out but I just couldn’t get over Code Veronica; I was hurt… and betrayed. I wanted out and finally she let me go. I told her I’d remember the good times, that she’d always be special and we’d stay friends… but we both knew it wouldn’t happen. I moved on and started having new experiences.

A couple of years went by without a word, then one day my cousin came to me all excited and asked if I’d seen her lately. I told him I hadn’t so he showed me some pics. She’d had a complete make-over and she looked real good. I knew I had to see her.

Remake

When we met again i did so with some friends, I didn’t want to be alone incase there were any awkward feelings. She looked amazing… I was hooked again. Later I got her alone and like any man who knows he’s make a mistake, I dropped to my knees tears flowing, tugging at her dress begging her to take me back. She agreed but I’m not sure if it was out of love… or to stop me slobbering on her shoe.

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My relationship with Resident Evil – by P.J Quinn

PJ Quinn is an awesome individual… who just so happens, not by choice on his part, to be my cousin. PJ and I share many similar tastes but none so strong as mutual love and passion for the Resident Evil video game franchise. On Facebook I noticed an amazing little post by PJ which summed up my feelings (more or less) on the first four titles in the series. I asked for permission to repost here and Mr. Quinn was more than kind enough to oblige. The first ever “Dev in the Red Hat” guest post is below:

Resident evil

“My relationship with the Resident Evil games has always been a pretty good one. We first met back in ’98, even though she’d been around a while longer, it was love at first sight. Sure she wasn’t the best looking and our conversations were cheesey, filled with talk of Jill sandwiches, masters of unlocking and all the weak people existing to be eaten, but, we whiled away the days in each others company; loving every moment of it. After some time she decided we needed a bigger place… something new.”

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Rayman Origins PS Vita Review

The Vita had an unusual launch. The actual day of launch lineup was fantastic, containing titles like Uncharted, Wipeout and Fifa. Since the console’s release however, there has been a severe lack of new content. It was in this gap that I found myself picking up Rayman Origins; A game I had already played quite a lot on the PS3. I was skeptical that the Vita would be able to accurately showcase the incredible hand drawn visuals and jaw dropping audio found in the high def console version’s of the game. I was, to put it bluntly, proven wrong…

For the uninitiated, Rayman Origins is a 2D side-scrolling platformer developed by Ubisoft and serves as a sequel of sorts (despite the games title) to the popular Rayman franchise. Rayman Origins uses a new graphics framework called Ubi-Art to provide incredibly beautiful characters and environments; these are animated to perfection and do well to serve as a showcase for the power of Ubi-Art. The gameplay is pretty straight forward and sees the player progressing from right to left (or left to right) through levels, taking on enemies, collecting lums and doing the usual platformer fare. It’s the sheer level of polish and masterful game design that has Rayman Origins stand out from the crowd.

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David and Goliath Story

Hey guys,

Today I’d like to talk a little bit about the Irish “Independent” Game Development scene. So please; while I understand that Bioware, Demonware, Gala, Big Fish Games and more are based here, this specific post is simply related to companies like Open Emotion Studios, bitSmith, Batcat, Pixel Wolf  etc. O.K? If you’re still here then great, let’s begin.

First of all let’s jump back in time to 2009, a time I like to refer to as P.R.B (Pre-Rebecca-Black). In December of that year, Myself and my friends Colm English and Mike Naughton, co-founded Open Emotion Studios.

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