Presentation: The Language of Game Environments

Back in December, Creative Director Matt Small flew out to Washington DC to talk about "The Language of Game Environments" to a group of government and university researchers.

The Game Changers conference was hosted by the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) and the Foreign Service Institute (FSI).  Attendees were mostly language-learning researchers interested in finding ways to use video games to aid in education and language acquisition.

Matt's presentation is a high-level overview of how game environments have changed during the last 30 years, and explores some of the techniques environment modelers and level designers use to guide players through these increasingly complex 3D spaces and interactions.

The presentation slides and video have now been posted on the CASL website.  The video of the full 45-minute presentation and Q&A is here.  If you're watching the video you may find it helpful to grab the PDF first, since you can't see many of the slides in the video. You can download the presentation PDF file here.

Also, the full roster of presentations are here:  Game Changers Roundtable.  

Particularly good are Brian Upton's presentation on how designers use and manipulate player anticipation, Mark Dank's on the changing game audience and how it's affected the industry, and Sarah Stocker's on the virtuous cycle of addiction in games.   Keep in mind the audience here are all non-gamers, so some of this stuff may be a little "introductory" for the hardest of the hard-core, but it's all interesting stuff.  You may also want to check out David Traum's presentation on the university research going on around natural language simulation.


Interview: Vector Unit on what it takes to run an indie studio

Steve Conger at The Gamesman posted a great interview with Vector Unit's Matt Small and Ralf Knoesel.

Get a behind the scenes look at the development of Riptide GP and Hydro Thunder Hurricane, and learn a little more about the indie game development roller coaster.

It's really a pleasure for us to talk with someone like Steve who's genuinely interested in the process of game development.  Hopefully this discussion can give people thinking of starting their own business a little more insight into what it takes and how to go about it.

Link:  Special Edition Riptide GP/Vector Unit Interview



Riptide GP teaser trailer is out

The first ever HD video of Riptide GP live gameplay is now out and about on YouTube and elsewhere.  

This is the reason we decided to make this game for Tegra 2.  Notice the shiny hydro jets and the realtime reflections on the water.  Marvel at the procedural wave simulations.  Ooh and ahh over the multipass shaders.  

But most of all please enjoy the sweetness.

Not too bad for a phone/tablet game, right?


See anything you like?

If you're like us, you head over to the Nvidia site every now and then to check out the latest and greatest news about Tegra and all the other sweet graphics magic that comes outta that place.  Or maybe you're not like us at all.  

In any case, we were pretty excited when we stopped by Nvidia's home page yesterday and noticed a screenshot for a certain futuristic Supercross-on-water game prominently displayed on their Tegra banner.  

Mm... tasty.  I can't wait for that game to come out.  I wish those guys making it would get a move on and finish the damn thing.



Vector Unit unveils Riptide GP at Mobile World Congress

Game developer bringing console-class water racing to Tegra 2 powered tablets and phones

San Rafael, CA – February 15, 2011.  One of the new Android games optimized for the NVIDIA® Tegra 2 making waves at Mobile World Congress this year is futuristic water-racer Riptide GPTM, the newest title to come out of independent studio Vector UnitTM, developers of Hydro ThunderTM Hurricane for Xbox LIVE® Arcade.

Set against the backdrop of a futuristic Earth, Riptide GP features daredevil watercyclists rocketing through canals and rivers across a dynamic, ever changing surface of glittering water. Riders jump each others wakes and catch huge air off rolling waves as they battle to be first across the finish line. It's Supercross on water, played out on twisting, undulating waterpark racetracks.

The developers at Vector Unit are no strangers to the technical demands and gameplay opportunities of water racing games. Their previous title, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, a sequel to the Midway Games arcade classic, was released last year as part of Microsoft's Xbox LIVE Summer of Arcade and featured gorgeous water visuals and a sophisticated hydrodynamic simulation.

“The thing that's great about racing on water is that the track is always changing,” says Technical Director Ralf Knoesel, the man behind the team's procedural water. “It's not like racing on a static road where every lap is completely predictable. When you're riding over huge swells of ocean waves you have to make decisions about when to carve through a trough or jump a crest – all while battling the other riders for the best line.”

When asked about bringing their next-gen technology to the Tegra 2 platform, Knoesel is enthusiastic. “Until recently it just wasn't possible to create the kind of game we wanted to make on a phone or a tablet. With Tegra 2, we've been able to create a racing experience that combines sophisticated physics simulations with console-class visuals.”

Riptide GP is being developed by Vector Unit in partnership with Flashman Capital LLC.

Prepare to rev up your watercycle and shred the waves Summer 2011.