Edge April 2019

The authority on videogame art, design and play, Edge is the must-have companion for game industry professionals, aspiring game-makers and super-committed hobbyists. Its mission is to celebrate the best in interactive entertainment today and identify the most important developments of tomorrow, providing the most trusted, in-depth editorial in the business via unparalleled access to the developers and technologies that make videogames the world’s most dynamic form of entertainment.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
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13 Edities

in deze editie

2 min
they said it couldn’t be done, but you went out and did it

We’re often struck by the contradiction innate to videogames, an endlessly forward-thinking medium that forever has an eye on its past. But this month takes that concept to extremes. That’s not to say there is nothing in this issue that reflects the here and now: indeed, halfway through production of this issue we had to scramble to make room for the surprise arrival of the wonderful Apex Legends. Elsewhere we speak to Google’s DeepMind about how it’s built an AI capable of beating pro StarCraft II players, which has tantalising – and arguably terrifying – implications for the future of interactive entertainment. Yet two of our biggest stories this issue began more than two decades ago. In Grain Of Truth we catch up with Sam Barlow, whose breakout hit, 2015’s Her…

10 min
league of its own

First StarCraft II, then the world. Such is the trajectory of neural network AlphaStar. Trained in 18 months by a team at Google’s artificial intelligence company DeepMind, it’s designed to play Blizzard’s realtime strategy game at a competitive level. In a test match at the tail end of last year, DeepMind pitted AlphaStar against top-ranking professional StarCraft players – and humans – Dario “TLO” Wünsch and Grzegorz “MaNa” Komincz. “I was just hoping to see the agent play like it knows how to play,” lead researcher Oriol Vinyals says. “I didn’t want it to break, of course, and I hoped to see a reasonably long game, hopefully balanced in terms of not being too one-sided – for the human.” AlphaStar trounced both players 5-0. As ever, though, this is not just…

1 min
robo cops

Watching footage of an AI dispatching its enemies with cunning and efficiency is as fascinating as it is uncomfortable: we can’t help but think of the potential military applications, for instance, of a program specifically designed to outwit unpredictable human behaviour. “Each time a tool like this comes along, it provides a lot of potential for how it may be used, and of course we should be very cognisant of the fact that tools can be used for means other than the ones we created them for,” Silver says. “At DeepMind, we’re trying to build these AI tools in a way which can allow for a lot of progress to happen. But we also take very seriously the role that we have in that in making sure that happens in…

4 min
play it forward

Speaking to a rapt audience at The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, Rami Ismail briefly pauses his talk to ask a question: “Who here has shipped a videogame?” Only a few arms are raised. But a sea of hands greets his follow-up, when he asks who is studying or making their first game. Now in its third year, the Yorkshire Games Festival is a young event attracting a young crowd: we’re sitting among a new wave of game developers, all keen to learn from those who’ve already made it. There can be few better people to inform and enlighten about the vagaries of independent game development than Ismail, and his entertaining A-Z is one of the highlights of the festival programme. Among the other speakers, IO Interactive’s Mette Andersen…

1 min

This year’s BAFTA Young Game Designers competition closes on March 13. Those interested in entering can visit ygd.bafta.org for all the resources. Phillips has noticed a trend towards more autobiographical elements among recent submissions, revealing young designers are using games to express themselves. “It’s something we can certainly work with, especially with children in care,” she says. “For a kid, telling an adult about their life can be daunting. But if you say, ‘What if we designed a game about your life? What would be the challenges? What would be the goals?’ I think that’s more interesting.”…

1 min
ph level

Thoman and his colleagues spend a while investigating the source code of a game for a general overview of the work involved – which can vary greatly. “For example, a port to PC from a modern console on an established engine? That’s really one guy working for a month or so – it’s really not expensive,” he says. “But you can have ports that require a whole team working for up to a year, if it’s, say, a custom engine made for a large-scale game with different platform-specific dependencies.” PH3’s job is then to determine a base level of quality for a port and discuss potential additional features that may or may not interest the publisher, before supplying a final quote.…