demo-over-the-year

anonymous asked:

So imagine that Hinata is really good at designing game backgrounds and characters and stuff and Kenma knows how to code games. A few months after they meet they find out about each other's skills and decide to make a small demo. Over the years their projects get bigger and eventually they release their first indie game.

Imagine if it’s a visual novel, with elements similar to pokémon, the legend of zelda, and ao oni in places. It’s an adventure story, featuring a protagonist out to prove themself, and has an affinity for certain animals who, in later releases, gain their own playable stories and basically it’s really creative and cool

VR isn't a gimmick anymore.

So last Saturday I made a post with a bunch of [REDACTED]s in them saying that I can’t really talk about what I experienced until Wednesday. Well, it’s Wednesday!

I live about 5 miles away from Valve. Every once in a while they’ll call me up to have me come in and offer feedback on things. They like it because they say I’m honest and give good feedback, I like it because it makes me feel like Charlie walking through Wonka’s chocolate factory. Last Thursday I was called over there and Gabe Newell ran through Valve’s GDC presentation with me. There were other Valve employees in the room, but Gabe was talking directly to me running through the presentation. I felt very special…. Anyways, back to the presentation, everything was amazing. The Steam Link stuff, the Steam Boxes, Source 2, all of it is extremely forward thinking and is stepping towards what I think could be an even larger PC gaming market. After Gabe was done, I got to do the VR demos they are showing at GDC and honestly I changed my life a bit. I’ve seen every VR demo Valve has had since the room with QR codes and while that demo over a year ago made me think “Hmm, I could make a game about my nightmares”, the new demo makes me terrified of that prospect at this time. The newest VR demo is pretty mindblowing.

All the demos are pretty awesome, there’s one about Aperture Science, there’s one about table top games, there’s an amazing 3D painting program, some museum thing from a game I never played and Surgeon Simulator is amazingly fun (it might be the glQuake of VR). While all of those were great, the one that affected me the most was the first very first one they showed me which is intended to give you a sense of scale.

Let me back up a bit, if you have an Oculus you have an idea of where VR is these days. The DK2 allows you to move somewhat around the room, the DK1 requires you to use a controller to walk around. It’s great, but skeptics can easily see it as a gimmick. I see it as a gimmick in it’s current state. The reason for that is because it’s just a headset when you can’t move around, and even with the DK2’s camera tracking thing, you have very limited physical movement. It breaks the immersion factor also because you have no sense of yourself in the headset, you don’t have hands, you don’t have feet, you are a floating eyeball and nothing more. I know Oculus and VR will progress from here, but operating under the assumption that Oculus was the greatest out there didn’t convince me that VR game development was a little more than the first AppStore games like pretending to drink a beer with your iPhone or a fart sound button…basically nothing more than a gimmick that’ll have a few laughs, a few wows, get mentioned on CNN, then turn into something more later down the line.

That was my assumption until I did the VR demo at Valve. In this demo, the display is higher resolution, a higher frame rate, the head tracking is super fast and accurate, you have a sense of hands and a way to interact with the environment via the batons and most importantly, you can move freely around the room. They do this via the laser tracking system and in the VR world, if you get too close to a wall a grid quickly fades in alerting you of the external boundaries you can’t see so you have a very clear idea of where you can and can’t go. The area I was demoed in was probably an 8'x8’ area which is more than sufficient for the demos they were showing. Being able to walk around in an 8'x8’ are in a virtual world is a total game changer.

Back to the demo that affected me. It was the very first demo I experienced and as I mentioned above it was intended to demonstrate scale. The Matrix-esque loading “construct” fades to black and then blackness fades to the bow of an old wooden ship, sunk deep in the ocean. As I look up, I see the sun rippling as it pierces through the surface of the ocean above me as a few Manta Rays swim about 15’ away. I look around and this must be a very busy part of the sea because there is sea life everywhere. Fish react to my hand movements and swim away, some swim in groups, some individually. I’m among these fish, under the sea, on the bow of a broken ship. At least, that’s what my eyes and ears are telling me, my brain is telling me that despite what my eyes and ears say, I’m in a room inside Valve’s offices. I realize that I haven’t walked since the demo started and I decide to walk around the bow. I walk over to the railing carefully dodging virtual fish for some reason to look out over the bow. I approach the railing and see that this ship is sitting on the edge of an abyss. At this point my brain takes a queue from my eyes and ears and starts to let the idea creep in that I am actually under the ocean. I then become a little anxious as I think of the ramifications of being in the deep ocean and the idea of sea predators floods my thoughts. Staring into the abyss I immediately become terrified that a Shark is going to swim up behind me. My brain quickly rationalizes this and grounds me back in reality. To maintain my sanity and my control over the situation, I say to Jeep, the man running the demo, “If a Shark pops out at me, I will take this off and be done with this forever”. Through the headphones he says “No no, we feel that’s low hanging fruit, and honestly we think it might kill someone”. I believe him, there is nothing surrounding me but a kind of boring underwater scene but my emotions are having a real affect on me. My brain knows this is fake, but that rationalization doesn’t comfort the rest of my body that is telling me I could be in danger. I calm down a bit and then out of the corner of my eye I see a large mass moving towards me. I recognize it immediately, it’s a whale. The specific species I couldn’t say and that doesn’t matter, what matters is that I’m enthralled, shocked, and terrified of this whale coming towards me. His mass is evident, he moves the way I’ve seen whales move under water in nature shows my eyes are telling me “This is a whale”. He slowly swims up to the bow of the ship and stares at me with one of his giant eyes. He means me no harm, he’s a whale, but I’ve never been face to face with a creature that could accidentally kill me or swallow me. The anxiety comes back again but I keep it together. As the whale swims off and the demo shortly fades, the grounding in reality takes hold again. I still feel residual anxiety as the next demo loads but stronger than that feeling of anxiety is a feeling of awe. I was just under the sea and a whale looked at me…that just happened!

I’ve thought about that whale demo every day since Thursday. The demo itself was great, but more than that I’m thinking about my reaction. Had I seen that same scene on a TV screen, I would have had absolutely no anxiety whatsoever, in fact I probably would have hoped a shark would have come out of the abyss to make the demo less boring. But because I experienced it in a world where my movements changed what I saw, it felt like something so much more than that. It was an unrealistic experience that felt very very real.

The experience and the emotions I felt took me back to some feelings I had back in 1992. The memory is still strong with me 23 years later. I was at the arcade with my grandmother and Mortal Kombat, a game I had never heard of was the newest addition to my local arcade. I put in a quarter, played for a bit and instantly died. Still curious about the game, I watched the attract screen for a while in a weird trance of awe and disgust. I was 11 years old in 1992 and up until that point, I’d never really been exposed to any real violence. Yes I had played Street Fighter and Final Fight, and I had seen blood in games before, but Mortal Kombat struck harder than that. It was because it looked real, but wasn’t relatable to anything I’d seen in real life. The one scene of the attract mode (or whatever I was watching) that stood out to me the most was a fight between Goro, the huge muscle bound guy with 4 arms and Liu Kang the Kung Fu man. Goro grabs Liu Kang with his bottom arms, lifts him up, and then uses his top two arms to pound violently on Liu Kangs chest. The screen shakes, Liu Kang makes some screams and then Goro throws him to the ground. That image sticks with me to this day because while it looked real it was a total fantasy and up until that point my experience with violence in games had no basis in reality. Mortal Kombat, with it’s scanned in actors took the violence closer to reality. As I grew older I became exposed to more and more realistic violence in video games and it’s no big deal anymore. Some things will still make me cringe (the torture scene in GTAV for instance) but for the most part I’m desensitized to video game violence. 

Looking back at Goro pounding on someone’s chest, it looks so incredibly lame. Take a look for yourself. Years of gradual progression has made it so violence in video games is the norm. Shooting a guy and having his head blow up is now a feature of some games and it’s one that the huge majority of players don’t mind and actually look forward to.

VR will have to follow suit and will do so naturally. As mentioned above, my first reaction to the Valve VR demo I did over a year ago was the desire to make a game about my nightmares. I have some seriously fucked up nightmares…there’s no other way to say it. I’ve always wanted to share these with people in some way. I feel like VR is the best way to do it and will be the most impactful, but if a whale in a peaceful setting can make me nervous, my nightmares will probably kill people. No joke, someone would go into shock or have a heart attack. I certainly don’t want that, so I’ll table my Nightmare Game and more tame VR experience will be the first I create. As developers start developing seriously for VR the public will be introduced to more and more experiences and become more accepting of the line between reality and virtual reality and allow a separation of personal boundaries in the virtual and real world. In time, I should be able to make a nightmare game that is actually good and not a gimmick to scare people.

Oh, and yes, the Valve VR demo convinced me that this VR thing isn’t a gimmick, at least not in the way that Valve presented it. I don’t know how well Project Morpheus is going to do because it seems like it’s an add on to the PS4 and not a new platform. When people start developing for VR, there will be the bolt on “If you have VR, this has a VR mode” games that will be mainly gimmicky, but when people actually design for VR and embrace the limitations and advantages of the platform that’s when it’ll take off, just like the AppStore. Megaman and Sonic don’t work phones and tablets, but Kingdom Rush and Monument Valley sure as hell do. Why? Because they are designed for the platform and aren’t ported to the platform as an afterthought. They aren’t relying on the gimmick of the platform to push the experience, they are a better experience for embracing what the platform is. That’s what I want my VR games to be.

In the future, I think people will have rooms in their homes dedicated to VR. It’s not as far fetched as you think. Houses in the 1910’s had small kitchens with no refrigeration, in the 40’s and 50’s there weren’t TV rooms or home theaters but all of that is common place now. As technology increases and awareness floods the market, the desire to make room for these technologies becomes overpowering and finds a way to make it into peoples lives. VR will get there. If there were a ton of good VR games out now and I could buy the Valve setup, I’d set a room in my house aside for VR in a second. I am however going to try my best to get a Valve setup in my office so I can start designing for VR now because this is a world I want to be a part of.

hollywoodreporter.com
'Grey's Anatomy' Poised to Become ABC's Top-Rated Show in 12th Season | THR

Grey’s Anatomy is experiencing a second life. The Shondaland medical soap is poised to become ABC’s highest-rated drama this season among coveted adults 18-to-49 and also ranks among the top five dramas on all of broadcast.

Now averaging a 3.9 rating in the demo, the Ellen Pompeo starrer ties Thursday time-slot neighbor Scandal — an almost unheard of accomplishment for a show in its 12th season. (Live showings for recent episodes suggest Grey’s will end the season as the top ABC series.)

One benefit for Grey’s: Steady is the new up. The series outpaces the TGIT pack because fellow Shonda Rhimes drama Scandal is down 17 percent this season and How to Get Away With Murder fell 30 percent. New entry The Catch debuted March 24 to a disappointing 1.2 live-plus-same-day rating in the demo.

By contrast, Grey’s barely has budged and ranks as the No. 2 returning broadcast drama in the demo year-over-year (trailing only Fox’s Empire) — a sign fans haven’t quit the series after leading man Patrick Dempsey was killed off last season with a year remaining on his contract.

Rhimes credits the staying power to the show’s honest relationships and a character viewers are invested in. “The audience truly identifies with Ellen Pompeo,” Rhimes tells THR. “We are following this woman’s journey and the journey of all these people with her. It’s not about a lot of tricks; it’s about watching people evolve.”

And it’s not just loyal viewers sticking with the surgeons as they head into season 13. New (and younger) viewers are finding the series on Netflix. Case in point: The Netflix exposure has helped Grey’s become broadcast’s No. 2 series behind Empire among women 18-to-34.

Also helping tie viewers new and old together is the frequency with which the series references its past — a move inspired by Sandra Oh’s exit in season 10 that coincided with the departures of head writers Tony Phelan and Joan Ratner (who left for a CBS deal). “We were starting over again,” Rhimes says. “I felt such an extreme sense of nostalgia. So to get to go back and use it for the purposes we were using it for was really wonderful — and it’s a reminder for people with what they may have missed.”

Adds Shondaland partner Betsy Beers of the drama’s evolving cast (of which only four originals remain): “The show uses its past well — and I’m glad they have so many relatives!”