Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lucidity - Launch Trailer is live

The launch trailer has gone up on Gametrailers. I embedded this version that posted by BeastMode1100 on youtube. Alternatively you can watch it at gametrailers here.

The clip where Sofi pushes her grandmother over is one of my favorite moments.

We wanted to play around with the fact that we had 3D and 2D assets in the game 3D/2D and decided to have Sofi push the static card over to convey the drama of the moment when Sofi realizes all is not well in her fantasy dream.

IndieCade - Indie Games Conference in LA this weekend!

If you are in the LA area this weekend, I recommend you head over to Culver City to check out IndieCade!
This is a newish conference that started out as part of E3 but is stepping out to become its own thing.

Prices are very reasonable (from $20-$290) and there are some excellent speakers including Jenova Chen, Daniel Benmergui and Henry Jenkins, formerly of MIT now at USC. Come participate and support a conference that provides a platform for the awesome growing indie scene!

Get tickets here.

I am planning to head down Friday for the weekend so hope to see you there!

Monday, September 28, 2009


Love the look of and vibe of this puzzle/adventure game coming to PC/Mac on October 16th.

The developer is Amanita Design. I love this photo of the team from their site, they look like a fun group.

Visit the game's site here for more info.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Plant A Seed Watch it Grow - Innovation in a Recession

I listened to this great show on PBS about Innovation and how to succeed in a recession.

Great discussion that includes Robert Sutton, Stanford Professor and author of 'The No Asshole Rule'. I haven't read it but will be adding it to my amazon list.

This discussion reminded me of articles I have read about the importance of preserving innovation cultures in a recession, such as this one from Business Week.

Companies that get conservative, cut back on risk taking, will emerge from a recession in a weakened position. Recessions are the time when old paradigms break down and make way for new business models.

This is what I believe we are seeing in the games industry, where $60 games are starting to visibly lose ground to more affordable digital content.

Shadow Complex is a new IP for XBLA that sold over 200K units in its first week, I have heard talk its tracking to sell around 1M units, which sounds reasonable. Trials HD, another recent XBLA offering, sold 300k in the first month. These are great numbers for games that cost significantly less than boxed product to develop, with much smaller teams.

Then you have all the free to play social games such as Farmville and Pet Society, that are by all accounts raking in a lot of money via micro-transactions.

Contrast with EA's admission recently that they have been disappointed with sales of Madden 10, despite it being critically acclaimed and one of there consistent top sellers.

As well is being linked to the economy driving people to find lower cost outlets for their entertainment, I believe this is also strongly related to the move to 'affordability and convenience' that is offered by digital content (I wrote about this in a previous post).

My favorite quote from the PBS show. On how to protect a creative idea and nourish it so that it can truly flourish.

"You don't plant a seed in the ground and then dig it up every week to see how its doing".

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lucidity - Destructoid coverage

I got asked a few questions about Lucidity over at Destructoid.

FTA: "One of the attractions of working on smaller games, is the level of creative freedom it affords you, to experiment and take risks that you might otherwise not be able to on a big budget game,” Nottingham told Destructoid.

“For Lucidity, we wanted to develop a unique art style that didn’t really feel like anything else and it was developed hand in hand with the story, so that one would complement the other. Jeff Sangalli (the art director) and I are both big believers in visual stylization and he was talking about wanting the game to feel like a pop-up book, using multi-planing and 2D cards to help achieve the affect,”.

Check out the full interview broken up into 3 links.

LucasArts tells us about Lucidity's unique look
Lucidity's art & music inspired each other
LucasArts talks Lucidity controls, concept

Monday, September 21, 2009

Early Braid - Tim Concept Art

Destructoid has posted some early concept art for Braid's protagonist, Tim. You can read their thoughts and view more art here. This art was created by Edmund McMillen (not David Hellman, who created the in-game art). You can see more examples of Ed's work on his blog.

I always geek out seeing the iterative process of developing art from concept to in-game.

If you keep an eye on LucasArts Workshop, we'll be posting our own concept art for Lucidity, including early looks at Sofi.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TED talk on Motivation

Love this TED talk from Dan Pink on motivation.

He talks about how modern knowledge workers are more successful when motivated by things other than financial incentives.
The things that matter, he describes as
  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Purpose
I totally buy this. In fact its a strong part of the DNA of the team I work with at LucasArts. We have a very flat heirarchy that encourages autonomy. Because we are a small team we are constantly pushing people to stretch and be excellent in there craft. And we also all buy into a common purpose that puts the quality of the final product above individual achievements. I think its a strong reason why the team has stayed together for so long and loves working with each other.

To be clear, Dan is not saying financial is unimportant. It's important to get fair compensation for work, but after that threshold has been achieved, the autonomy, mastery and purpose are what is important. It's the age old corollary that money can't buy happiness.

Great read for any aspiring entrepreneurs or indie startups thinking about how to attract and retain talent.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lucidity - hands on previews

Some very kind preview words from IGN and Gamespot.

From the IGN Lucidity preview

"From what we've played so far, this is shaping up to be one of the prettiest and most unique XBLA releases of the year."

From the Gamespot Lucidity preview

"There's something about the 2D puzzle platformer genre that fosters creativity and artistic visuals, and Lucidity has both..."

I should also mention, the date has been confirmed. October 7th coming to XBLA and PC.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lucidity - Opening and gameplay

First gameplay footage revealed.

Sofi and the enemies are 3D objects. Everything else (including the props in the cut scene) is made up of 2D flat cards. All the textures on the models were hand painted so they integrated with the look of the world.

You'll also notice the game transitions seamlessly from the cut scene to gameplay. The cut scenes were all done in engine to pull this off. A lot of work but we loved the result!

We'll be talking more about the development of this game, including behind the scenes stuff, over at LucasArts Workshop.

UPDATE: I've put my first post up on the Workshop which you can read here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Announcing: Lucidity

Today LucasArts announced my latest game. I'm excited to finally be able to peel back the curtain on some of what I have been up to with my awesome team here at Lucas!

Check out the Press Release here

Gameplay footage and interview on gametrailers here

Also if you track LucasArts Workshop this is where we will be updating with more info as we get closer to launch.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

LucasArts Workshop

We launched a blog at LucasArts last week. I'll be posting on there as well as here. Keep watching the space! LucasArts Workshop

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Canabalt - cool Retro

My buddy Dom sent me a link to this cool browser game called Canabalt. Single button twitch gameplay from Adam Saltsman.

From the description on the Experimental Gameplay Project site.

I made Canabalt in 5 very long days (at least 60 hours) – 1 day at the start of the month, two days at PromJam, and then this weekend. Danny B made the music for it tonight. It follows the theme (loosely I am sure!) by using only one button to interact, and by using only 6 colors to display everything. Also, the gameplay and graphics are under 100kb, the other 3MB is all sound files.

I love the little 'storytelling' touches such as the events in the background that give you an epic sense of being part of a bigger narrative. Also cool little touches like breaking glass, birds flocking away that convey dynamic action. All in an 8 bit style package.

My high score so far is a very lame 1410 pts.

Check it out here!