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Archive for the ‘Guest Writer’ Category

no mans sky By Chazz D. Hegna
‘The voyage that stands before you cannot be taken lightly.’ These are the words used by Hello Games that have set the tone for their up and coming game No Man’s Sky.
Hello Games, a tiny indie studio, has set out to prove that captivating stories, unreal escapes from reality, and pushing boundaries as to what games can be are elements of game play not limited to major game companies, but what makes video games unlike any other experience and what should drive us as artists to create them.
For quite some time now, I have followed the No Man’s Sky game and I am extremely excited for and inspired by it. What really lights the fire of inspiration about this game for me is not the concept, but that the concept was pursued, planned, and developed by a small indie studio, Hello Games, and not a large corporation like EA.
No Man’s Sky is a game about exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated universe. What makes the game so interesting is that it sparks the question as to what that all means, being that it’s something never before seen in games.
no mans skyHello Games has sought to capture a universe, one that you’ll be able to see the entirety of, to visit and explore. But that must sound crazy; an entire universe, one that is infinitely procedurally generated, all packed into a game. A video game is commonly comprised of various levels that take the player through a story line, which is exactly why No Man’s Sky is so mind blowing and one of the best games to ever be released.
Hello Games is literally redefining what games can be and what they can do much like famous artists throughout history like Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock, Vincent van Gogh, who redefined what art could be and what it is.
Games have always been an escape for me. They are places to get lost and immersed in, but also a place to dream. These are the elements that make up No Man’s Sky and what promise the game to be a truly enjoyable experience that will continue to evolve, much like the physical universe we live in.
From its inception, in the minds of the developers at Hello Games, this is exactly what the game is supposed to be – a universe like our own that the player can explore, experience, and create their own story. Not everyone has a space ship so exploring. Our own universe would be rather difficult, but mostly everyone has a PC or gaming console. This is the escape that No Man’s Sky provides and is exactly why we love games.
Making games can be fun and games, but more importantly it is hard work, determination, and sleepless nights. If there is one thing to take away from No Man’s Sky, especially as a developer, it is Hello Game’s story of the creation of the game.
Hello Games was a small indie studio when they were founded in 2008 and still is today with three programmers and one artist. However, the work they’ve done in their six short years is staggering and nothing short of impressive.
no mans skyThrough No Man’s Sky’s development, Hello Games was plagued by a tragedy during Christmas of 2013, when the team returned from VGX to a studio completely flooded and destroyed. But Hello Games never gave up or lost hope in the development of No Man’s Sky. The team came together and became stronger in the face of impossible odds. It was because of this hard work that created the company and launched it to success in 2008 and put Hello Games on the stage of Sony’s keynote presentation at E3.
If there’s one thing to take from Hello Games’ and No Man’s Sky story, it is the raw determination and drive it takes to be great, not only in the gaming industry but in life.
Hello Games did not take its voyage lightly; they attacked it with grit and determination. I applaud Hello Games for their work. It will forever be iconic in my mind because they have proved that captivating stories, unreal escapes from reality, and pushing boundaries as to what games can be are elements of game play not limited to major game companies, but are things that can be pushed and re-imagined by anyone with the determination and desire to make games great.



chazz_d_hegnaAbout Chazz Hegna

Ever since Chazz picked up his first copy of Halo: Combat Evolved he knew that making games was all he ever wanted to do. What keeps Chazz motivated to pursue his dream in the gaming industry is a pure passion for games and creating the next ground breaking title. Chazz turns to games like Halo, Forza, Battlefield, Gears of War, and others for inspiration because of their rich art and the innovation they bring to gaming. Chazz has always wanted to start his own company with a team the shares the same passion as he does as well as start programs where people can hang out and learn game development and have the tools to pursue their dreams.




alien isolationBy William De La Torre
Many survival horror games were showcased at E3  this year but few as quietly chilling as Alien: Isolation.
This game, from studio Creative Assembly, takes the franchise back to where it all started with a storyline tied closely to the events in the first movie. In it, Ripley’s daughter is searching for her mother on a decommissioned trading station following her mother’s disappearance at the end of Alien.
It was nice to see the studio taking the Alien franchise back to its roots, back to what really made Alien itself so timeless and compelling.
A: It isn’t about diving in head first and shooting up the big bad monsters. It’s about just one monster and getting away from it as quickly as possible while you frantically yet cautiously move through the massive space station.
The Alien enemy is unique in that it is designed to dynamically search for you and the other humans of the ship instead of tracing pre-defined paths through the station, allowing for randomized encounters. It’s also extremely reactive to its environment. Noise is your enemy, and almost every action you take makes noise. If you bump into an object, open a door, or even walk down a corridor at the wrong time you could attract the Alien’s attention.
A large amount of survival horror games these days are about facing menacing and mysterious creatures to capitalize on the fear of the unknown. Given this trend, it might seem as though facing a monster as familiar as Alien would quench some amount of fear and tension. However, that familiarity of knowing just how deadly, cunning, and ruthless this monster is combined with the knowledge that you are almost always completely defenseless only intensifies the dread as you take each step within in this claustrophobic station. At this point, the fear of the unknown is about when the Alien will find you and what you will do when that happens.
Since 1982, there have been more than thirty video games based on the Alien franchise and almost none of them have been very commercially successful. However, Creative Assembly’s fresh take on the franchise gives me a lot of hope about its future.



William De La TorreAbout the Writer

William De La Torre is a senior at USC studying both Business and Game Design & Management. He has worked on multiple social media campaigns for projects including Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, professional gamer Fatal1ty, College-Social.com, and more. He is also the art producer and game designer for an upcoming commercial game being created at USC. After graduation he will pursue a career in the game industry as a producer and designer.




dragonBy Dominique Paige

There are a lot of similarities between Blender and AutoDesk Maya. They’re both useful for creating models and animation. They might be similar, but there are a lot of differences between the two, especially learning to create certain models and animations. For starters, lets talk about the pros and cons with Blender:

Blender is a very new and upcoming modeling program for gamers.
Pros: It comes with its own screen recorder to record tutorials for users of Blender. You can create you own 2D and 3D games inside Blender.
Blender is its own game engine. For example, from the source of YouTube, a Super Mario Galaxy Fan-Made game was created inside Blender.
Blender is more than model making. It’s for level making and game making. However, the best thing about Blender is that it’s free to use and you don’t need to buy a license to use it. Of course, there are the  cons as well.
Cons: Students at some Colleges use Maya instead of Blender, which doesn’t give Blender an opportunity to show students how easy and super efficient it is to create models in Blender instead of Maya. With Unity mostly used, Blender has less an opportunity to create games inside the engine because users instead export models to Unity.
Maya tends to be the best in creating models and animations.
Pros: Unlike Blender, there are more features in Maya such as creating fur, explosions, and fireworks. Maya has evolved from 3D Max to create animations. Also, you can render with high quality images inside Maya and it’s being used for educational purposes around the world.
Cons: Once the free student license goes away, students must then buy the license. This makes the belief to them that there is modeling software that can match to the powerful Maya.
Unlike Blender, Maya doesn’t come with a recording software inside the program and isn’t a game engine to allow the user to create games. Additionally, Maya takes up more RAM than Blender because of its rendering the model whether it’s a big or small model. Of the modeling software I’d used, I like Maya, but I’m more in tune to  Blender’s features in regards to modeling, animation, and game creating. It’s like, why would you use Unity & Maya, when they take up more space on your computer or when you export you can use Blender. Overall, Blender is the underdog of modeling software, while Maya is it’s own ego.

Dominique PaigeAbout the Author

Dominique Paige Dominique Paige hails from Houston, Texas. He is 22 years old. Paige is an upcoming game designer who specializes in graphic design, level design, and sound editing. Currently, he is studying the world of game design at Houston Community College. Ever since he picked up a controller of a sega genesis game, his dream was to become a game designer and to create innovative and new ideas for the future of gaming.