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Tech & Gaming

Edge August 2017

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
Read More
13 Issues

In this issue

2 min.
it’s the end of the world as we know it, and i feel fine

If you’re a bit sick of politics at the moment, we understand. By the time you read this, the UK will have been to the polls for the third time in as many years (is everything OK? We hope it’s OK). Much of the world is still adjusting to life under the most divisive US president of our lifetimes. Politics is simply everywhere, landing on our doomats, blaring from our TV screens, buzzing from our phones as news alerts and Twitter notifications flood in from morning to night, rarely bringing good tidings. It’s in our games, too – if not by design, then certainly by association. This month’s cover game, Far Cry 5, was immediately set upon after its announcement by both sides of the yawning chasm that is the current…

9 min.
machine language

OK, the far end of this is passing the Turing test, right? And no, we’re not there yet” Of their two biggest promises, videogames have pretty much delivered on one. Huge and diverse worlds filled with detail to discover and things to do are now common, even expected. But the other promise, that of getting to interact with characters that respond naturalistically to your every word and action, is still lagging behind. The NPCs you meet in games are the same scripted talking heads that they’ve always been. Some games are written better than others, but in comparison to the visually opulent and systemically deep worlds in which they stand, NPCs are wooden, their various conversational gambits constricted into series of dialogue trees in which you lose all of the freedoms you…

5 min.
wintory’s coming

“Clearly I try to turn myself into a kind of gelatinous blob and let people thrash me around for a bit” Five years later, the emails, Facebook messages and Instagram posts are still arriving on a daily basis; Austin Wintory happily acknowledges that his work on Thatgamecompany’s Journey was a career turning point. “I feel extraordinarily grateful,” he tells us. “I’ve had composer friends and colleagues who’ve had very successful careers but have never had an experience like that, where something became so personal to people that it’s something they’re excited about years later, that they’ve built into the fabric of their lives.” Wintory was 24 when he signed up to score Journey, and 27 when it came out. After the fact, it dawned on him that he’d spent more than ten…

5 min.
spatial awareness

“The physical shape of the Gale Crater and the textures we were using were all sourced from NASA spaceships” Multi-tasking Both Cunningham’s team at Blackbird and Dr Norris’s team at NASA JPL had to work on Project Eagle in between their other responsibilities. Since Blackbird worked on the project entirely for free, it was squeezed into evenings and weekends, around the studio’s more conventional development tasks. NASA, naturally, was similarly embroiled in its core mission throughout the process. “When they’re not talking to us, they’re giving instructions to the Mars Curiosity rover – these were the actual engineers working on stuff, and it was really fun,” Cunningham says. “We’d be bragging about how we just had another Skype call with NASA, while at NASA, they had a machine with a monitor…

5 min.
above the noise

Technology free Despite inventing technologies that are now foundational to computer science and gaming, and all the countless billions of dollars that they must have helped generate, he didn’t patent shaders or Perlin noise. “No, and it’s a good thing I didn’t,” he says. “I totally gave it away. I copyrighted it so people wouldn’t make wrong versions of it, but I didn’t charge for it.” It’s not that he’s against patenting, and part of the reason was the technology’s legal relationship with his then-employer, MAGI. “I don’t think in terms of making money, I think in terms of how my children thrive, and it’s a different rule for each thing.” If it was hardware technology, then patenting would’ve helped to secure the capital needed to realise it, but as…

1 min.
tell tales

The developers of Totem Teller are fascinated by the ideas of degradation and recomposition. These themes run through the entire game, which sees you exploring a broken world as you attempt to excavate and reconstitute the stories that record its journey to this point. Ironically, even the game’s striking visuals were inspired by poor image quality. “The glitching and digital artifacts begun when, very early on, I made some test animations as GIFs,” explains artist and designer Ben Kerslake. “I loved what compression artifacts do to imagery in general, so we pursued that line more broadly. It also overlaps nicely with the concept of information – in our case, a story – being degraded in its telling or transmission.” The game plays a little like a point-and-click adventure, though players have…