Defiance Xbox 360 Beta: The Follow-Up

Defiance-Syfy

I recently had the opportunity to Beta Test the brilliant “transmedia” Defiance game on my Xbox 360 console, weeks before its launch, and posted an indepthtual article and review about my experience which has been drawing in a lot of interest.

I received a thank you email (sent out to all participants) from Nathan Richardsson, Executive Producer of the game, with a few words about how the Beta test went, plans for the future of the game, etc, and I have decided to write a follow-up to share this information with you.

According to Nathan, the console version of the Beta test actually included a lot of bugs that had already been dealt with as a result of feedback from the PC release, atop which the feedback for the console Beta has been vast, so they claim that the final release will be much, much less faulty.

“Now we look forward to showing you the real, more polished game while we act on your feedback to deliver continuous updates that improves our obsession. That’s the beauty of a server-side game – constant updates that are fast like whoa.”

Even now, post-Beta, he included a link to continue to send feedback about our experiences. They really do seem to be working hard to make this game work.

“We look forward to living up to expectations and to delivering new missions, weapons, challenges and more. Free. Over and over again.”

Not only that, but the email was surprisingly humorous, personal, and geeky, as you can see from the quotes. He referred to himself as “proud member of the 150-person Defiance team” and spoke of the game-television hybrid as an “obsession”, which tells me that the creators are actually really nice people and fans of the genre, rather than just money-makers, who treat the viewers and gamers with respect.

watch first 14 minutes of defiance

Click to view the first fourteen minutes of the television series Pilot! (Geographical location restrictions may apply)

I am pleasantly surprised, and impressed.

I am really, really looking forward to getting my hands on the full version, which can be Pre-Ordered now for your platform of choice released on April 04th, and of course, to watching every episode of the coinciding television program, due to air on April 15th/16th (depending on location).

Remember, you can watch exclusive Behind-The-Scenes footage, trailers, clips and more from the show and game on the official YouTube Channel and the Videos section of the main website while you wait, and there is an exclusive, world premiere of the first fourteen minutes of the television Pilot available to watch as well.

Event Review: Sci-Fi Weekender 2013

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Sci-Fi Weekender banner

Introduction: Why We Went

I am relatively new to conventions. I dislike crowds and noise, so they aught to be the very embodiment of a place where I would not want to be under any circumstances. However, I actually find them to be quite fun. Once or twice a year, I “let down my hair” and attend gatherings of geeks and Guests, partake in Workshops, listen to Talks, play games, watch films, and generally have a good time.

I had heard a lot of amazing things about The Sci-Fi Weekender, and I decided that, in all my capacities as fan, journalist, and photographer, I absolutely had to attend this year.

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DEFIANCE: Xbox 360 Beta Game Review

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Defiance-logo

Defiance is the future. It is a unique, groundbreaking concept; a television series with a computer game crossover that is a multi-platform Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game that is not “based on” the series, but is directly effected by it, and vice versa.

Yes, you read me right. How you (and your fellow gamers) play the “MMO” effects the television series. This has never, ever been done before.

defiance-the-game-logo

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Mind Controlled Gaming Is Possible: Kickstart It!

Kickstart A Multiplayer Psychic Combat Simulator!

I posted earlier today regarding a really interesting gaming scoop that has come to my attention and, as promised, I am now going to share with you how you can be part of what could potentially be the future of interactive gaming…

The last few years has seen some major developments for console and computer gaming. Microsoft’s Kinect, Playstation’s Move, Nintento’s 3DS and most recently Wii-U, have made the seemingly impossible, possible, as the ability to use physical movement to effect gameplay, or have games become more real, “jumping out at you” and responding directly to voice commands, etc, has become a reality.

Virtual reality is another futuristic technology making the headlines and getting gamers talking, but what you probably did not know about is the obscure technology produced by NeuroSky which utilises neuro science (the science of the mind) and things called bio sensors in their peripheral product, the Mindwave, which allows software developers to create programs – and games – that respond to the way our minds work.

NeuroSky

This might be able to change the face of gaming”
– Lat Ware, Programmer for Throw Trucks With Your Mind

Lat Ware

Lat Ware, “veteran of the games industry, and the programmer-mastermind of this crazy idea”, with his prototype.

One such developer is Lat Ware, a talented gentleman who has worked on some rather prestigious titles including Star Trek Online. Lat has seen the potential of this hardware and created a prototype/Pre-Beta game entitled ‘Throw Trucks With Your Mind’ and tested it on some of his fellow gamers to see how it fared, the feedback for which has been so positive that he decided to quit his job (!), and risk everything to Kickstart it into reaching its true potential. You can watch his “pitch” for funding below, and see footage of the existing product which he is expanding upon.

The basic premise and mechanics of the game are simple. The game is a “Multiplayer Psychic Combat Simulator”, the first of its kind in the world, which pits users against each other, or AI (intelligent computer generated players), by interacting with the world around them. There are no guns, swords, or any weapons whatsoever, except your mind. Your mind picks up objects, and combats or defends with them.

How? Users wear the Mindwave, which actually measures their level of calm and concentration much in the same way that a lie detector senses lies, and how you measure on these scales directly effects your gameplay. Players move around the world and select powers with a standard keyboard and mouse. Actions can – or cannot – then be completed, dependent on your ability to control your mind. For example, you can lift things with your calm and then you throw them with your focus.

It is easy to see how critics and fans have drawn comparison with the Jedi powers of Star Wars.

Character designs

Throw Trucks With Your Mind will be compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, will be a light-hearted, amusing thirty-six person multiplayer experience, and include game modes such as ‘Capture The Fridge’, ‘King Of The Hill’ and ‘Hunt The Hunters’.

The Mindwave headset is a $79.99 (there are Australian and European shops as well, but please be aware of currency conversion, Shipping & Handling costs and possible importation fees) compulsory purchase in order to play the game, but once you own it there are dozens, if not hundreds of games, utilities and Apps available to download – both free or purchased – with it, and if you are a games developer yourself, you have a new piece of hardware to experiment with…

Throw Trucks With Your Mind Limited Edition Kickstarter Poster

$15 minimum donations receive a copy of this Limited Edition poster

Kickstarters get some impressive incentives for contributing funding, from something as simple as Special Thanks ($5 minimum) in the game credits to free Mindwave headsets ($125 minimum) to actually being able to have your own objects ($200 minimum) or character designs ($1,000 minimum) included in the finished product!

The target has already been reached, but beyond the minimum funding are “Stretch Goals”, including extra game modes and online matchmaking, so the more money gained for this software, the better the end product.

Funding for the Kickstarter Campaign ends on March 14th, so if you want to become part of what looks like gaming history in the making, get funding and Share, Share, Share!

Further Reading
The Kickstarter Campaign for the game, with promotional video and lots of information about the game
Throw Trucks With Your Mind Is The Best Star Wars Game Ever, a Venture Beat article about a fan’s experience with the prototype (warning: explicit words contained within)
Mind Games: Using Brain Waves To Play A Video Game, an article from The Los Angeles Times about the game’s prototype, as told from the perspective of a ten year old gamer’s father

Image Credit
NeuroSky’s FaceBook
The Kickstarter Campaign
Venture Beat

How Uninspected!

After posting an article about An Untitled Web Series About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time only days before departing for the event, and scheduling it to be posted whilst I was away, I, rather coincidentally, found promotional postcards at the very event that I had left for, The Sci-Fi Weekender, which were apparently placed there by one of the actors visiting from the US as part of the line-up for the weekend.

My reaction? First and foremost, as Doctor Horrible of Doctor Horrible’s Sing Along Blog so brilliantly put it, “What a crazy, random happenstance!”. Secondly, how utterly fantastic! One of the UK’s largest conventions, and the word about Inspector Spacetime’s very own series is spreading.

What a treat!

nb: Are you a fan of the show? Please remember, there is still time (at the occasion of Blog Post publication) to donate money to help fund a second series. For more information, visit the Kickstarter crowd funding campaign.

‘Untitled Web Series About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time’ aka “Community’s Doctor Who Parody” Seeks Series Two Funding!

The 'Untitled Web Series' logo

Fans of television shows Doctor Who and slightly-more-obscure “geekiest sitcom of all time” (as proclaimed by fans and critics alike) Community may have heard of Inspector Spacetime, a parody character based on The Doctor who has had several appearances in the geek-themed sitcom.

But, for those not “in the know”, here is The Inspector’s first ever appearance…

The fans of Community absolutely adored it. It became an ongoing joke, with several more appearances. Even Karen Gillan, aka Amy Pond, Companion of Matt Smith’s Doctor, heard tell of the parody, and after hunting down the show, became a fully fledged Community fan, even posting Tweets and a YouTube video (seen below) asking that the show creators consider giving her a Special Guest Appearance.


So, Inspector Spacetime himself, Travis Richey, wrote scripts for a full series of six episodes, which he pitched to the people at NBC, but they did not want to make it, so he decided to Kickstart the series himself, essentially funded by the fans, for the fans. I was unfortunately unable to contribute funding because, alas, I only found out about the series a few days after the campaign was completed.

Since then, all six episodes have been created and are available to view online, along with Making Ofs and Behind The Scenes footage. The trailer for series one is below, to wet your appetite.

Fans cosplay with the 'Untitled Web Series' cast.

Fans cosplay with the ‘Untitled Web Series’ cast, found from the official FaceBook Page.

With a current (at time of article publication) view count total of 201,464 for the six episodes, making it an average of 33,577 views per episode, the series has met with very positive reviews from both fans and critics, resulting in convention appearances from the cast, fans cosplaying (left photograph) as The Inspector and his companion Piper, and a second Kickstarter Campaign to produce a further series.

Inspector Spacetime Kickstarter promo

So, watch the series to see what all the fuss is about, and, if you like what you see, put some money into making more!

Backers on the Kickstarter Campaign get some really nice “goodies”, depending on the amount they donate, including downloads of the official soundtrack and episodes, a Special Thank You in the credits, signed portraits from the cast, signed scripts, and even Producer credit if you have $5000 to spare!

I for one will be putting some money aside next pay-day for the cause, because I found the show to be really quite entertaining, and deserving of more internet airtime.

Note: All images were taken from the Untitled Web Series FaceBook Page.

Be part of something big: Kick-start a new gaming convention!

The SyperByte 2013 website banner.

The SyperByte 2013 website banner.

My gamer readers may have heard of, or attended, The Euro Gamer Expo, GEEK (Games Expo East Kent), Rezzed, or any of the other established games conventions held throughout the UK, but I can almost guarantee that you have not heard of this one.

SyperByte is a gaming convention held in Manchester with a twist. Two twists, actually.

The first twist is that it is a retro gaming convention that is not just about the games, but the music. It is more like a music festival than a convention. But with games. There will be DJs and artists coming from all around the country to perform their interpretations of retro gaming soundtracks, and original music made with the classic consoles, etc. This is known as “Micro Music”.

Kickstarter Logo

The second twist is that this convention will be “Crowd Funded”, with the use of Kickstarter. This means that they are looking for money not from sponsors, but from you, the fans.

The convention is not completely “new”, it was actually founded last year, to great success, but they do need funding to make the convention bigger, and better.

Funding this event will mean it can expand to not one, but two days, there will be more games available, more live music to enjoy, film screenings, workshops, and lots more. See the full Press Release here.

I, for one, shall be contributing funding to what I think will be a unique, brilliant, and very fun event for gamers such as myself. Funders get their money’s worth, too, with thanks on the website, free ticket/s for the event, exclusive Limited Edition merchandise only available to backers, and even one lucky £250 contributing fan will get to take home the banner that will be held over the main stage throughout the weekend!

There are four days left in the Campaign, and they have got the money that they requested, but the more that they make, the bigger and better this can be. I see so, so much potential here, so I wanted to share it with my readers and give them an opportunity to be part of this, like I intend to be.

So, what are you waiting for? Visit their website to read more about the event, and if you like what you see, get funding!