domingo, janeiro 15, 2012

+ influentes da indústria dos videojogos 2011

É o terceiro ano que a Game Developer realiza o The Game Developer 50,  uma lista das 50 pessoas que mais contribuíram ao longo do ano para o desenvolvimento da arte e ciência dos videojogos. São 10 pessoas por cada uma das áreas: DESIGN, ART, PROGRAMMING, EVANGELISM, e BUSINESS. É importante que se conheçam as pessoas por detrás das obras, sem isso dificilmente poderemos traçar identidades, influências, tendências, no fundo conhecer melhor as obras de que falamos. Mas não é apenas disso que se trata, é preciso também reconhecer o talento das pessoas envolvidas, e incentivá-las a ir ainda mais longe.


Não transcrevo para aqui as 50 pessoas, até porque não seria ético da minha parte, fiz antes uma selecção a partir da lista da Game Developer e que conta com 20 pessoas. Deixo os textos por pessoa, tal como criados por Brandon Sheffield e Frank Cifaldi, acrescentando apenas imagens e vídeos.


[DESIGN]

Michel Ancel
/// UBISOFT
"Michel Ancel is a designer of unique vision, finding new ways to make action games meaningful with every project. Now, with Rayman Origins, he has distilled what makes 2D platformers great, and added four players alongside inspired beautiful level design. Rayman Origins is unfiltered fun, and feels humorous and accessible without sacrificing challenge or lacking precision.
This is the kind of project that rarely gets major financial backing, so one has to praise Ubisoft for indulging in this experiment. Origins is also the proving ground for Ancel’s design-oriented development toolset, which he hopes will be used for many future projects."


Kim Swift
/// AIRTIGHT GAMES
"Portal and Left 4 Dead designer Kim Swift is not afraid of stereotypes. Her new game, Airtight’s upcoming Quantum Conundrum, sees the protagonist manipulating his environment by jumping in and out of different dimensions in a first-person perspective, to try to reach a series of exits and advance to the next room.
If it sounds like Portal, Swift doesn’t disagree with you. As she tells it, first-person puzzle games are simply the kinds of games she wants to play, and so that’s just what she’s going to make. In Quantum Conundrum, Swift blends iterative design and experimental play with cinematic visual design to lead players to a goal, even if they don’t realize it. It turns out that Portal was just the beginning of her evil scheme."


Edmund McMillen & Florian Himsl
/// TEAM MEAT
"The Binding of Isaac is a Zelda-style roguelike shooter based on a biblical story, a curious combination to be sure, but one that has proved quite compelling to players. This sort of game genre mashup has become all the rage lately, and McMillen and Himsl’s latest proves the concept. The key is to keep control tight, no matter what you do, something that the duo excels at remarkably.
Additionally, McMillen may be the most outspoken developer on our list, having gone on public record about his grievances with the traditional publisher model and with distribution contracts. He has become something of a spokesperson for the indie designer."


Katsura Hashino & Shigenori Soejima
/// ATLUS
"The difficult and possibly sexist storyline of love and infidelity told in Catherine might be polarizing, but the effectiveness in which it is told is worthy of praise. Vincent may be cheating on his girlfriend, but this doesn’t happen in a cutscene: It’s you, the player who gets him there. It’s you who experiences
his nightmares, who pushes him toward worse and worse decisions, and who makes the choices that ultimately affect his destiny.
Telling story through gameplay, regardless whether you agree with the story, should always be promoted for advancing our medium in its own way, and that’s why game director Hashino and artist Soejima make our list."


Eric Chahi
/// UBISOFT
"Chahi is not a normal fellow. After designing Another World and Heart of Darkness, he went on a 10-year jaunt away from games, photographing volcanoes and painting, before deciding he had something to say in the digital space again. He wanted something to be proud of, he told us during the game’s creation, and from Dust, which Chahi directed, certainly is something any designer could take pride in.
Its organic systems, self- perpetuating natural evolution, and simple input make emergent gameplay the only gameplay. Chahi proves that when your influences extend beyond games, you can create something significantly different that still appeals to a wide range of people."


Seth Sivak and Jesse Kurlancheek
/// ZYNGA BOSTON
"Adventure World is Zynga’s next step in moving the social game space toward more traditional mechanics. With an Indiana Jones inspired theme and colorful maps, the game appeals more to the core gamer than many past efforts, and the puzzle-based design makes it even more of a “real game” than many other titles on the platform. Adventure World may not be the most core game on social networks, but Zynga is the industry leader. Designers Sivak and Kurlancheek at Zynga Boston’s return to core game design should make the rest of the social space sit up and take notice."


[ART]

Stuart Aitken
/// AXIS ANIMATION
"Prior to February, Dead Island was not really on the radar. Polish developer Techland (Call of Juarez) was not a household name. Publisher Deep Silver had a small cult following with titles like Cursed Mountain and Sacred 2, but never had a real hit. Dead Island was shown at E3 2010, but was only mentioned as a footnote.
All of that changed in 2011 when a gripping three-minute CGI trailer debuted on YouTube, featuring a haunting piano theme and a tragic story of a vacationing family succumbing to a zombie attack. The trailer, directed by Stuart Aitken of Axis Animation, attracted over 7 million views, and the game shipped 1 million units in its debut week. We don’t mean to undermine Techland’s work, but a surprise hit of this magnitude almost certainly wouldn’t have happened without such creative and artistic marketing."


Craig Adams
/// SUPERBROTHERS
"It’s not often that someone tries to create a new style of pixel art, but that’s what Craig Adams has done through his ambiguously pluralized one-man company Superbrothers. He has chosen to call his style “rustic 21st century minimalism,” and if you can get past that mouthful of a description, you’ll find he’s on to something.
In Sword and Sworcery for iOS (co-created by Capy Games), Adams demonstrates a style that is at once efficient in its use of space and incredibly emotionally evocative. His simplified pixel work is more representative than realistic, and so has struck a chord with both the traditional art and game worlds—an unusual feat."


Ren Yamazaki
/// GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE
"Grasshopper has long been known for its unique visual styles, with titles like Killer 7 pushing game visuals into the realm of the experimental. With the upcoming downloadable title Black Knight Sword, game and art directed by Ren Yamazaki, the company has found a curious puppet show and theatrical production hybrid art style, layering 2D images in three dimensions to create a new and instantly engaging visual theme. The game’s characters are also different from the norm, with lumpy not-quite-human forms that lope along with their purposefully halting animations. Here’s hoping for more big things from Yamazaki’s altered brain."


Takeyasu Sawaki
/// IGNITION JAPAN
"El Shaddai is one of those rare commercial games that pushes the concept of what we consider HD visuals. The game constantly shifts its form and challenges the player’s visual perceptions in unexpected ways, but manages to retain a cohesive look, rather than becoming a scattered pastiche.
In one section of the game, you’ll find amorphous shifting colors with a cel-shading technique that brings to mind CG cutscenes of the 56-color era. In another, you’ll find neon-on-black '80s-style futurism. In yet another, a two- dimensional platforming scene will call to mind moving Japanese Ukiyo-e. The game’s art style, directed by game director Sawaki, boldly embraces the unreal, a rare and admirable quality."


[PROGRAMMING]

Markus Persson
/// MOJANG
"Another list, another entry for Minecraft. But what can you do? Persson has done an excellent job scaling his game as more players have gotten involved, while also fixing bugs and responding to feedback. Mojang hasn’t been resting on its laurels, and continues to push forward even with a small team, and it’s Persson’s solid systems that allow this to happen (though they did require a bit of a code rewrite at one point—let’s ignore that). Persson is part of a new breed of “do it all” programmers that calls to mind the bedroom Amiga programmers of the '80s, in all the best ways."


Olga Sorkine
/// ETH ZURICH
"While she doesn’t work in games, Sorkine's research represents the direction that technology is moving, especially in the field of character animation. Sorkine is currently doing research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, and was previously assistant professor at the NYU computer science department. She recently won the Significant New Researcher Award at SIGGRAPH based on her research on geometry processing, specifically differential coordinates and interactive mesh editing.
Most immediately relevant to games is her work on 3D model editing and creation using collections of sketched curves. While a short description doesn’t do her research justice, much of it can be found online, or through past SIGGRAPH talks."


Dimitar Lazarov
/// TREYARCH
"Imposing a mandatory 60 frames-per-second performance out of a game like Treyarch’s Call of Duty: BlacK Ops will of course cause your graphics to take a hit, but thanks to Lazarov’s clever techniques, you probably didn’t notice.
Lazarov’s talk at this year’s SIGGRAPH on physically-based lighting for the game was insightful, open, and inspiring. His use of one primary source of light per object shows that even a triple-A studio like Treyarch can rely on trickery to stay ahead of the curve, and the game looks excellent as a result. After all, everything we do in games is a bit of digital trickery!"


[EVANGELISM]

Antonin Scalia
 / / /U . S . SUPREME COURT
"Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion in Brown versus Entertainment Merchant's Association, which found that games are protected by the First Amendment. The ruling was also significant because it called out that research showing the negative effects of games was comparatively no better or worse than any other media. Scalia has given the game industry valuable ammo against its detractors, and free speech protection is just another important step toward recognizing the art of games, as well as the more obvious entertainment level."


Jesse Schell 
/ / / SCHELL GAMES
"When it comes to advocating the positive powers of games Jesse Schell is a treasure. His closing keynote at the 2011 Games for Change event in New York was a beautiful reminder of what we should all be aiming for. It is through online games, he argues, that we can strip away concepts like race and gender and social status and be free to be our real selves. Schell argues that games—even violent games —can bring about peace and resolve social problems, and he elucidates this in a way that everyone thinks, but can’t quite express."



Mike Acton 
/ / / INSOMNIAC
"Though he is also an advisor to this magazine, we simply must include Mike Acton here, for his site http://altdevblogaday.com. The site covers a wide variety of topics relevant to developers, from design postulates, to industry rants, to hardcore coding articles. Acton is an incredibly wellconnected developer, and the authors of these pieces come from a wide range of companies and backgrounds. This may be the future of connected game development media. "


[BUSINESS]

David Helgason
/// UNITY TECHNOLOGIES
"Unity has been getting bigger and better, now even threatening traditional middleware with its powerful, easy-to-use tools and affordable price. But even as it grows, the company has remained focused on its vision to enable indies and small teams to do big things.
CEO Helgason has kept the company on track, allowing the toolset to run rings around slower competition, and even pressuring giants like Unreal and Crytek to release indie versions of their engines. Unity is setting the standard for cross-platform compatibility and flexible business models, and for this Helgason and co. should be praised."


Tim Sweeney
/// EPIC
"You can’t really imagine the current generation of games without Unreal Engine 3. The toolset has become the new standard, even moreso than Criterion’s RenderWare was back in the PS2 era. But what’s been impressive this year has been on the smaller scale.
Technical director Sweeney and his team at Epic have pushed the engine down to smartphones, and now to browsers as well, in an attempt to truly capture the majority of the market. That’s all well and good for Epic, but it also means that the browser space now has a more robust set of tools to work with, allowing bigger experiences to come to the most accessible game space in existence with even greater ease."
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