We have seen more than our fair share of indie sci-fi series and this year at MegaCon we saw yet another. This one is different, however. These guys do a great job and have the talent to keep people interested for more than the opening sequence. Here Captain Richard Sheppard (Ben Boardman) of the web series Star Command talks to me about the series, its origins and where it is going from here (TO SPACE).
Hit the break to see the interview with Ben Boardman as he talks about the series.
Last year Scott and I wandered up to Orlando for a Saturday trip to MegaCon just to see what in the hell was going on there and we essentially did the same thing this year while our friend Cody tagged along. Immediately on arrival we noticed a key difference from the previous year (I'm not talking about Cosplayers seemingly wearing less and less each Con). The line to get in was longer than the time it takes to complete a Gran Turismo game and about as enjoyable as repeating endurance races. Finally, we found our way to a faster and shorter line outside that only took an hour of our day. Later on we found out that the lines were so long because there were 3 other conventions happening at the same time, one of which was a cheerleading convention that was epic because it's always fun to see normal people who don't know what the hell is going on and gage their reactions.
After all the unnecessary line hopping and time wasting we were finally able to go where we boldly went before the previous year. On average MegaCon draws about 30,000 people over it's 3 days of operation. This was evident by the amount of densely packed people and vendors on the floor. There seemed to be more this year than last year but one thing about MegaCon is they always seems to have several exceptional vendors that we end up talking, interviewing and/or befriending. One of which was a group of 10 or so Sci-Fi enthusiasts who have created a series called "Star Command" which consists of full episodes and shorts that puts a comedic and more realistic spin on deep space starship travel. The basic premise is that the USS Lee is falling apart and it's captain is a disgraced loser but they somehow are able to stumble their way into surviving in the end. You can check out their web series at the Star Command website and I suggest that you do. Anyone who appreciates Sci-Fi will appreciate this. At some other point in the day (it all blurs toghether) we also ran into a rather interesting tabletop RPG called Shroud of the Ancients. I say interesting because the game itself is very versatile from the shape of the dice to the rules of the game. For example, there are no classes, no levels and no limits (WOW players QQ) but the game is still D&D compatible as well. Shroud of the Ancients has been recognized at Dragon*Con and is close to debuting as a full versioned game sometime soon. For more on this go check out Shroud of the Ancients website.
Jack Buser, Playstation Home's Director was Sony's first proverbial foot forward for the final day of GDC 2010 panels, stating that the virtual community's worldwide userbase now stands at a cool 12 million. To put how truly pathetic that number is into perspective, Xbox Live had around 10 million users in ... 2008. The population has grown by two million users since December 2009, and is double of what it was in June of last year.
Buser expanded on the stats, pointing out that these numbers aren't based on one-off visits; according to Sony's data, 85 percent of users who create a Home avatar return more than once. The average citizen, he said, spends an hour in Home each visit. So needless to say there are 12 million people bored enough to kill an hour of their time on PS Home.
While Buser's talk was primarily aimed at developers interested in developing in-Home games, he spoke on what to expect in terms of Sony's strategy for the service in 2010:
We may have to wait until March 30 for Modern Warfare 2's first DLC, the "Stimulus Package," but thanks to an Xbox Live Marketplace listing for the map pack, we get to know just how much bang we are getting for our buck. The blurb reveals the pack will contain "5 additional action-packed maps," including three all new ones (Bailout, Storm, and Salvage), as well as two remakes from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Crash and Overgrown).
EA DICE has been a fairly prolific developer during the current console generation, developing both a high-profile title based on original IP (Mirror's Edge), as well as ones based on established franchises like Battlefield. EA was searching for a way to capitalize on the downtime between these blockbuster releases - a game which would be relatively quick and painless to create - while still standing up to the quality standards set by their previous releases. So mommy and daddy loved each other very much and the idea for Battlefield 1943 was born.
Battlefield 1943 producer Patrick Liu explained the studio's unique design philosophy while making the game, which boiled down to "make the game as long as resources last." They maximized the amount of content they produced under this strategy by settling on the somewhat smaller scope of the game early and focusing on recreating the Battlefield experience to adhere to that scope.
Sony's GDC panel "Introducing the PlayStation Motion Controller" (E3, Part 2) was exactly what you would think it is: An introduction to the newly named Move peripheral. David Coombes, Kirk Bender and Anton Mikhailov showcased impressive tech demos, tech demos, and more tech demos - many of which demonstrated the Move's incredible precision along with its low latency. One of the more eye-capturing demos showcased full body tracking using an on-screen body puppet, similar to one of Project Natal's tech demos.
Thanks to the panel we learned that body tracking is made possible by combining the Move and PS3's head tracking capability. According to the presentation, the PS3 can also detect faces, going so far as to identify individuals through face contour and feature recognition. The software will be able to recognize gender, age, smiles and when eyes open and close.