Final Fantasy 7: An Oral History

Fascinating in-depth history at polygon:

Today, it sits above a Doutor coffee shop a few doors from a train station in a busy part of Hiyoshi, Yokohama.

Visit the building and you won’t see a plaque commemorating the history or remnants of a company whose characters now model Louis Vuitton clothes and sell millions of games. Yet on that spot in 1983, inside his father’s office space, founder Masafumi Miyamoto began a development studio called Square.

Initially, it wasn’t even a formally-designated company. It was a room where people came and went.

Some describe the company in its early days as a family business. One of Square’s first hires, Shinichiro Kajitani, joined simply because he was friends with Miyamoto and compares the young studio to a college club. Another, Hironobu Sakaguchi, designed games while working part time.

“We treated it like a hobby, not a career,” says longtime Square composer Nobuo Uematsu. “We just wanted to do what we liked. We weren’t worried about our salaries or living situations or thinking, ‘Where is this company going?’”

But people grow up and things change.

There are some good sections on two very important artists that played important roles at Square: Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura.

The Story of Mojang

We’ll be taking a look at Minecraft: The Story of Mojang this week. The film will take up Monday, Tuesday, and probably the sketch journal portion of Wednesday (In other words: be prepared for working on Wednesday).

Two Player Productions, Description of the Film:

In 2009, independent video game designer Markus “Notch” Persson released a work in progress that would go on to break every industry rule for achieving success. Part exploratory adventure, part creative building tool, Minecraft evolved from a cult classic into an unprecedented hit, raking daily sales in by the thousands. By the end of 2010, Notch was able to quit his day job and live the dream of founding his own development studio, Mojang.

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Shigeru Miyamoto on Super Mario Bros. Level 1-1

Legendary developers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka talk about aspects of game design from the iconic level 1-1 from the original Super Mario Bros. game.  Miyamato explains how they designed the level in a way that allows players to better understand how the game elements and mechanics work together.

Extra Reading: Excellent analysis from Anna Anthropy on Super Mario level design here and here.

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Video Games and Animation History Come Together in Cuphead

Updated Again: Added more images released summer 2015 Update: Last year we took a look at a game under development by Studio MDHR called Cuphead. The creators of this game have somehow been able to capture the look, feel and style of 1930s animation with astonishing fidelity. It’s obvious that they draw great inspiration from the work of the Fleischers (Swing, You Sinners) and Disney (Hell’s Bells). Since we last checked in with the development of this game, there has been some updates on their production blog and press kit. I’ve added additional screenshots and images to this post. Last year, I wrote: As we start the Spring semester General Art  6th graders are working on their Video Game Concept Proposal Projects while 7th and 8th graders in Cartooning & Animation  will continue, among other things, learning about the history of animation. All of these subjects come together nicely in a video game under development by Studio MDHR called Cuphead. The independent game studio is made up of two brothers who have apparently found a way to merge their obvious love for old animation with their video game development skill. Continue Reading ›

Tim Schafer on Making Video Games

Great interview with game developer Tim Schafer at Polygon:

“I really tried to capture what I liked about adventure games,” he says. “They engage your brain in a different way. They move at a different pace than most games. You don’t have to worry about being shot. They’re slower. But they’re more thoughtful. You really have to think through what you know about the world in order to solve the puzzles. They should take you to another world that you miss when you’re not playing the game.”

Monument Valley: Behind the Scenes

From Stories.Maker:

Eight team members from ustwo, the digital production studio behind the game, spent about 55 weeks making Monument Valley. Each chapter is unique, with distinct and separate puzzles, mechanics, story beats, and architectural styles. This creates a visually rich and compelling game, but is a quite involved process from early concept sketches to chapter development, testing, and completion. This video goes behind the scenes with ustwo:

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From Paper to Play: How They Made Lumino City

A classic point-and-click style adventure/puzzle game made by London based State of Play Games was created using some rather unique techniques when compared with typical video game development: The environments in the game were physically hand crafted by artists using paper, cardboard, and glue. This approach gives the game the look of a stop-motion animated movie; in fact, many of the production photos (above, and below the fold) could easily be mistaken for a film set.

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Video Game Design & Animation History Come Together in Cuphead

As we start the Spring semester General Art  6th graders are working on their Video Game Concept Proposal Projects while 7th and 8th graders in Cartooning & Animation  will continue, among other things, learning about the history of animation.

All of these subjects come together nicely in a video game under development by Studio MDHR called Cuphead. The independent game studio is made up of two brothers who have apparently found a way to merge their obvious love for old animation with their video game development skill.

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Video Game Design: Hardware Templates & Characters

nintendo 3ds xl screen template

 

We started the Pixel Project back in November and we eventually transitioned to the Video Game Concept Proposal Project shortly before we went off for Winter Break. When we were working on the Pixel Project it involved a great deal of drawing. You all were coming up with some really great stuff.

When we moved on to the Video Game Concept Proposal Project, we shifted gears: we spent a lot of time talking and writing, going over gameplay elements, talking about the great variety of video game types, genre, and theme. However, we spent very little time drawing. That will be changing as we start the Spring semester. We’ll be diving into the design of characters, enemies, objects, and environments very soon; after that, we’ll be creating mock-up screen shots, and we’ll be using the blank Hardware templates from this post to frame our work. These templates can also be found in class- but, for those of you that wish to, you can grab these jpegs and print them from home as well:

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