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  • How and why game devs manipulate 'luck' in games like Peggle [01.12.17]
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    "As soon as the player becomes aware of any sort of pseudo-randomness, it risks undermining the joy of getting lucky."

    -Riot Games designer Paul Sottosanti explains one of the risks to consider when designing luck-based systems.

    A recent issue of the science magazine Nautilus shared a handful of essays on the idea and concept of luck, one of which dug into how both video game developers and players perceive chance-based rolls within games. 

    By looking at games like Peggle, Civilization, World of Warcraft, Really Bad Chess, and League of Legends, this essay is able to offer game developers a closer look at how luck can be artificially manipulated within game design to ultimately create a more enjoyable experience for players. 

    The story covers a lot about chance in games, from modern releases like Really Bad Chess that sometimes manipulate randomness to create a fair game for players of different skill levels, all the way back to ancient civilizations that counted on dice rolls to dictate the will of the gods.

    “In Peggle, the seemingly random bouncing of the balls off of pegs is sometimes manipulated to give the player better results,” said Jason Kapalka, one of the developers of Peggle.

  • Pokemon Go and Inside among D.I.C.E. Game of the Year nominees [01.12.17]
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    The nominees for the 20th annual D.I.C.E. Awards have been revealed, with Battlefield 1, Inside, Overwatch, Pokemon Go, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End all in competition to be named 2016’s Game of the Year.

    The awards show itself is set to kick off on Thursday, February 23 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, with Greg Miller and Jessica Chobot slated to host the event.

    This year, 56 games have been nominated for awards across 24 total categories.

  • Design oversights and accidental racism in You're in the Movies [01.12.17]
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    Recounting the tale of "the worst moment" in his career in a recent Kotaku guest post, You're in the Movies lead designer Andy Trowers has shed some light on how he accidentally created a racist video game. 

    In case you don't remember it, You're in the Movies was an Xbox 360 exclusive party game that used the console's Xbox Live Vision Camera to transport players, would you believe it, into fictitious movie trailers.

    It was a novel idea, but one that was surprisingly difficult to implement.

  • Sony shutters Guerrilla Games Cambridge [01.12.17]
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    Sony has confirmed it plans to shut down Guerrilla Games Cambridge, the veteran studio behind PlayStation VR launch title RIGS: Mechanized Combat League, and lay off all employees. 

    The studio has existed in various forms for over 25 years, beginning as part of James Pond creator Millennium, and subsequently working on titles such as MediEvil and Primal for Sony as Studio Cambridge, with the shift to the Guerrilla name coming in 2012.

    The console maker confirmed the news to, explaining the decision was made following a review of all current PlayStation resources and projects. 

    Sony described the move a "regrettable," but insists it's one that's "necessary" if it hopes to meet its current strategic objectives. 

    "Whilst we accept that this decision will mean that we risk losing high caliber staff, by focusing on other studios with exciting new projects in development we believe we will be in a stronger position going forward," reads a company statement. 

    "This decision should not take anything away from the incredible games and services that Guerrilla Cambridge has delivered."

    Sony will try to reallocate those affected by the closure onto other projects.


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