Archive for the ‘tools’ Category

Articy:Draft

Articy:Draft may well be the best interactive authoring tool created so far. We didn’t have time to play with it in closed beta, but the software is now up on Steam Greenlight, and you can vote to make Articy:Draft available on Steam.

The current cost of the software runs close to $500, but if it goes to Steam, the cost should decrease. If you subscribe to Game Developer magazine, you can read a lengthy review of the software written by Tobias Heussner (unfortunately, the article hasn’t been made available online yet). Google Articy:Draft for more information, and follow the developer, Nevigo, on Twitter to stay up to date with the tool.

The next time we’re back on an interactive project (or during a hiatus between academic semesters, if we’re ultra-ambitious), we plan to be taking a long look at Articy:Draft.

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Videogame Dialog Scripts – Formatting and Production

Sometimes it takes awhile to catch up on one’s reading, but Jesse Harlin’s Aural Fixation column in the November 2011 edition of Game Developer succinctly summarizes some of the issues involved with scripting, producing and integrating voice actor content in videogames — a topic rarely discussed, although definitely one covered in End to End Game Development as well as the authors’ earlier book Story and Simulations in Serious Games.

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CryEngine 3 SDK Free For Non-Commercial Games

While we’re on the subject of powerful game engines that are now free for non-commercial games (an umbrella most  serious games and simulations would fall under), Crytek has released a free downloadable SDK (software development kit) for its (previously) proprietary CryEngine 3 game engine.

CryEngine offers about everything you could want in a game engine, and the developer community is robust. We’d love to hear about serious games or simulations being developed using CryEngine.

Unreal Development Kit

In the 2 years since End to End Game Development came out, the availability of low-cost game engines has increased significantly. We knew, of course, that the chapter in our book devoted to game engines would become obsolete almost instantly (we think the remaining chapters are as valid and useful today as they were in 2009).

We should certainly highlight Epic Games’ Unreal Development Kit (UDK), which is available for nearly every platform: PC, console and mobile. This is the nearly free edition of Unreal Engine 3. Price is $99 per studio license, with royalties kicking in only after $50,000 in net earnings. (For serious games and simulations, that’s a high bar.)

UDK requires little to no programming, and its features make for an extremely powerful platform. It’s worth checking out if you’re gearing up to make a serious game or simulation.

MASTERING CELTX Blog and Twitter Feed

End to End Game Development co-author Terry Borst’s new book, Mastering Celtx, now has its own blog and Twitter feed. You can get information on all of Terry Borst’s books at his Amazon author page. The new book is officially scheduled for release on May 25.

MASTERING CELTX Available for Pre-Order

Mastering CeltxCo-author Terry Borst’s new book Mastering Celtx is being published by Cengage Learning, and can now be pre-ordered at any of your favorite booksellers (brick-and-mortar, and online).

Celtx describes itself as an all-in-one media pre-production tool. For years, novice and professional screenwriters have had to spend a good chunk of change for either Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter in order to compose and distribute professional looking screenplays. Celtx is open-source and free.

Celtx’s redefinition of pre-production workflows is something to look at if you’re creating a serious game, independent game or simulation.

Check out the Twitter feed for the book: @masteringceltx.

Learning Languages in Virtual Worlds

If you studied a foreign language in school, you might recall that the textbook would have you simulate real-world experiences:  shopping in a supermarket, schmoozing at a cocktail hour, and so on.  Ideally, your teacher would have the class role-play these situations. (Everybody would be very embarrassed, and you probably hoped you wouldn’t be called.)

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Original iPad Serious Games and Simulations?

We’d love to hear about any ongoing iPad serious game or simulation development from our readers.  We’re aware of repurposing or porting over of iPhone apps to the iPad (an example here), including anecdotal discussions from recent app conferences — but are there new applications being developed that specifically take advantage of the form factor and interface?

Recently, a production company rolled out several interactive short films made specifically for the iPad, and this seems to be a very promising kind of application for soft skills simulations (human resources, customer interactions, etc.).  But leave a comment or get in touch for any bulletins from the front!

Free 3D Engines Cropping Up Everywhere

As this article lays out, free access to 3D game engines is becoming increasingly prevalent.

Crytek is joining the group with its CryEngine 3 platform, joining Unity and Epic (proprietors of Unreal) .  Unity Indie started the ball rolling late last year and the Unreal Development Kit quickly followed.

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Listen to ‘Cinemascope’ book discussion

Even if you missed the live broadcast of the half-hour interview with co-author Terry Borst on KSFR-FM’s ‘Cinemascope‘, you can listen here to the audio recording. Just click on the embedded MP3 link to stream the interview.  Learn more about the book and its co-author.

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