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  • Key lessons developers can take away from Breath of the Wild [03.15.17]
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    The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has crashed into the games industry right as many companies are trying to figure out how to make powerful open-world games, and it succeeds in building a compelling world on what is supposedly an underpowered console. 

    Since we can’t stop playing the game, and because were starting to notice some of the magic tricks that were selling the illusion of an open-world Hyrule, we took to the Gamasutra Twitch channel today to highlight some of the key systems and how they succeed, to help developers improve their next open-world games.

    If you’re looking for a few highlights of what we discussed, here’s a short list based on our discussion (seen above).

    Link can climb anything/go anywhere, but there’s a limit on how much he can climb.

    Nintendo discussed some of this in their GDC talk a couple weeks ago, but it’s notable how Breath of the Wild implements few artificial barriers on player locomotion, instead using a stamina system to keep them from just going where they want, when they want.

  • Video: A postmortem look at the making of The Oregon Trail [03.15.17]
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    Few educational games can match the reach and impact of The Oregon Trail, originally released in 1971 and subsequently ported or adapted to run on all sorts of hardware.

    So how did it happen? At GDC 2017, The Oregon Trail co-creator Don Rawitsch set off on a journey to explore the development of the classic educational game that took the world by storm.

    It was an interesting story, too: Rawitsch discussed the serendipitous invention of the game, its simulation model, how it maintained popularity for a period of over 20 years, and its influence on other educational software. 

    If you missed his talk in person you can (and should!) now watch the entire talk for free over on the official GDC YouTube channel!

    About the GDC Vault

    In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

    Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page.

  • Blizzard seeks $8.5M from hack-maker Bossland over DMCA violations [03.15.17]
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    Blizzard is asking a California court to award it $8.5 million in damages in a default judgment against game hack distributor Bossland GMBH, who Blizzard sued for copyright infringement last summer. 

    The earlier lawsuit accused Bossland of “creating, distributing, maintaining, and updating malicious software products” designed to give players an unfair advantage in many of Blizzard’s multiplayer titles, which the company says have ultimately resulted in millions of dollars in lost sales.

    TorrentFreak reports that, after failing to have the case dismissed over a lack of jurisdiction, Bossland has gone radio silent, causing Blizzard to seek a default judgment.

    The developer is asking for only the minimum statutory damages of $200 per infringement, putting the total amount sought at just over $8.5 million dollars given the estimated 42,818 Blizzard-related hacks sold by Bossland in the U.S.

    In the full complaint shared by TorrentFreak, Blizzard alleges that the default action was sought deliberately by Bossland, who hoped such a ruling would both excuse the company from further probing and be difficult to enforce given Bossland’s German origin.

    More and more game developers have been trying to fight game altering hacks by going after the companies that profit from them; notably, League of Legends creator Riot Games was awarded $10 million following a lawsuit against the hacking service LeagueSharp just weeks ago. 

  • Global ambitions: Learn about the challenges facing Pakistan's game devs [03.15.17]
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    It's always interesting to learn about the unique challenges facing game devs around the world, and in a recent feature Polygon has turned the spotlight towards those creators based in Pakistan. 

    Touching on everything from the impact of politics on the country's nascent games industry, to the struggles faced by some of the region's biggest players, the long-form piece highlights just how far the games industry has to go before it can be recognized as a truly global business. 

    That's because for some, even in a country as big as Pakistan -- which boasts a population of over 200 million -- working in games still isn't seen as a viable career path.


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