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your guide to technology trends

Supplement to CHIP August 2011

The best of 2011 is yet to come

behind the scenes

Batman: Arkham City Battlefield 3 Saints Row: The Third


hottest Previews

FIFA 12 Uncharted 3 PS Vita games

CONTENTS
6

We put the online offerings of Naughty Dog's latest effort through its paces.

UNCHARTED 3 HANDS-ON

26

Can it live up to the reputation of the genre-defining F.E.A.R.?

F.E.A.R. 3

Before we get to the upcoming games, here are ten you ought to have played.

THE BEST OF 2011 SO FAR

28

Rocksteady tells us what we can expect on the streets of Arkham City.

BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY

10

We chat with Atindriya Bose about all things Playstation.

PLAYSTATION NATION

30

Can THQ turn the franchise around, or does the steady decline continue?

MX VS ATV ALIVE

12

With the Vita just around the corner, we scope out its most promising games.

THE HOTTEST VITA GAMES

32

We talk to DICE about one of the year's biggest upcoming releases.

BATTLEFIELD 3

14

The year-end is packed with great game releases. Here are 15 of the very best.

COVER STORY: THE BIG 15

36

EA Sports is bringing many changes to this year's iteration.

FIFA 12

22

Fourteen years in the making, The Duke is finally here.

DUKE NUKEM FOREVER

38

We caught up with Volition for the latest on their insane open-world title.

SAINTS ROW: THE THIRD

24

American McGee returns with another twisted take on Alice in Wonderland.

ALICE: MADNESS RETURNS

41

We've handpicked some of the top game institutes in India and abroad.

GAMING COLLEGES

12

24

14

Assassin's Creed: Revelations is just one of the many blockbuster games set to release soon.

COVER STORY: THE BIG 15

28

We get chatting with Rocksteady to learn more about the shift from the asylum to a sprawling open-world city.

BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY

GAMERS-TURNED-GAME DEVELOPERS
42
Here's how you can get into game development without studying it.

33

Hatim Kantawalla
DEPUTY EDITOR

MANAGING EDITOR

Jamshed Avari

SHADOWS OF THE DAMNED


44

Kamakshi S, Priyanka Tilve Kushal Mamoowala Sameer Desai, Avinash Bali


CONTRIBUTORS FEATURE WRITER

SENIOR FEATURE WRITER

This is what happens when Suda51 and Shinji Mikami join forces.

46

An Indian techie has got the Xbox 360 motion tech working on the PS3.

KINECT ON THE PS3

36

Rajesh D'Souza, Gautami Chalke


SENIOR ART DIRECTOR

PROJECT COORDINATORS

Nirmal Biswas

BEGINNERS' GUIDE TO TEAM FORTRESS 2


48

Hemali Limbachiya Sachin Pandit, Chaitanya Surpur


COLOR CORRECTION ILLUSTRATORS

SENIOR DESIGNER

Valve recently made the popular online shooter free-to-play. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

Sanjay Shelar
HEAD OFFICE

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SMS US
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44

Volition's Greg Donovan tells us what we can expect when we visit Steelport this November.

SAINTS ROW: THE THIRD

The best of 2011 is yet to come

FOREWORD
AVINASH BALI
In this gaming special of CHIP Insider, weve managed to score a ton of exclusive interviews for you so youll understand why Rocksteady had to delve into Batmans psyche to create a successful game, or how Saints Row: The Third is not really afraid of the competition. Besides the interviews, weve also previewed some of the most anticipated games slated to hit stores this year. And yes, we even remind you of the awesomeness that went by over the last six months in our Best of 2011 So Far feature. Our cover story sheds a ton of light on the hottest games of 2011 thatll start rolling out in September. It wont be pretty for your wallet, but were warning you well in advance so you can start saving up now.

he last time we brought you guys a gaming special, it was a sugar coated one, easing you into the world of video games. For this issue, however, the gloves come off and we dive right into the deep end with no paddles, because thats how we roll.

SAMEER DESAI

If youre looking to build a career in game development, weve got you covered. Weve handpicked some of the best game development colleges in India and abroad, and we also spoke with some budding game developers, who got into it without any formal education in the eld. Everyones talking about motion control these days, so for our innovation feature, we came across a unique project from a Hyderabad-based techie that has managed to get the Xbox 360s Kinect to work on the PS3. We also caught up Atindriya Bose, the head of Playstation India, for his views on console gaming in India and to get an idea of what we can expect from Playstation in the near feature. The Playstation Vita is set to release this year, so weve picked out our most anticipated games for Sonys new handheld. Its cover-to-cover of triple-A gaming goodness, and at the end of it all, we're giving you the chance to win a brand new PS3 console with Playstation Move. So lets get to it!

hile the main theme of this issue highlights the biggest upcoming games of 2011, weve also got several other features that go beyond the games themselves.

PREVIEW

We go hands-on with the online multiplayer offerings of Naughty Dog's latest.


BY AVINASH BALI

ncharted 3: Drakes Deception may be a while away, but developer Naughty Dog has been kind enough to let us sample a taste of things to come via a multiplayer-only beta. This beta was initially available to PlayStation Plus members as well people who purchased Infamous 2 (which by the way is totally worth picking up), but was later opened up to all PSN members. This being a multiplayer-only beta is all about competitive play, and in case you missed out on the mayhem in 2009 (which is when Uncharted 2 was released), heres the ultra quick version. Picture a more balanced Call of Duty with all its perks and killstreak rewards enhanced by gorgeous visuals and third-person action and youll begin to understand what multiplayer in an Uncharted game is like. Its been a while since Ive played UC2s multiplayer, so I was extremely rusty at first. I kept meleeing people when I wanted to reload, forgot how to take cover, and died A LOT! Since this was a beta, the game didnt bother with any sort of tutorial, so I had to check out the control scheme in the main menu itself. But even after a few rounds of being slaughtered mercilessly, I never got frustrated as the game has a new mechanic called Power-

play that actually gives the losing team a chance to catch up. This could result in double damage being dealt out or the ability to see enemy markers all over the map. Its a very helpful mechanic that tends to balance gameplay, giving the losing team a fighting chance. In the beta, you have a bunch of modes to choose from, such as Team Deathmatch, Team Objective, Free for All, Hardcore, and Co-op Arena. Unlike the Hardcore mode found in games like CoD or Battlefield, the one in this game is a bit lenient, so youll still see your crosshair, but stuff like boosters and kickbacks will be turned off. Boosters are the games equivalent of perks; small tweaks that can improve your game so you can sprint more, respawn faster, and so on. I personally wasnt too impressed with the boosters available in the beta and I felt I could get by without them just fine. Instead, I spent my hard earned money on kickbacks, the games equivalent of a kill-

AUGUST 2011 INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT

Hemali Limbachiya

PREVIEW

streak reward. But only instead of tracking your kills, kickbacks track the medals you earn. Some of these medals are of the simple shoot three guys in a row variety, while the others require situational kills like killing a guy scaling a wall or extracting revenge on the player that killed you. Once you rack up the required amount of medals, you can immediately activate your kickback, turning the tide in your favor. Think about it; youre going up against multiple opponents and BAM!, you trigger your rocket launcher kickback that bestows upon you you got it a freaking rocket launcher. Or how about transforming into a swarm of spiders capable of engulfing your enemies? Gross but incredibly cool. There are two maps present in the beta; Chateau and Airfield. While Chateau is a solid map on its own, Airfield is without a doubt the star of the show. The maps divided into two parts, with the first bit taking place on a runway as players struggle to either board or defend a cargo plane depending on which faction they get assigned to. As one the bad guys, you spawn in a bunch of speeding trucks and then must slowly make your way to the plane by leaping from truck to truck to plane. As one the heroes, your aim is to make sure this does not happen. After a certain amount of time on the runway, the plane takes off and the action shifts to an air field of sorts that offers a ton of horizontal and vertical movement. The transition between these two instances takes place seamlessly through cutscenes that make this game feel a lot different than your conventional deathmatch. And yes, this is the coolest freaking premise

for Team Deathmatch till date. Players whove spent some time with UC2s multiplayer will immediately figure out how different UC3 feels. Characters' movements feel a lot more realistic as a result of which movement is a tad slower. Weapons too have received a bit of an overhaul and everyones favorite weapon - the AK, now features a truck load of recoil. These gameplay mechanics did feel a bit weird at first, but after a while, you get used to the games pace. While the second game was content with letting players just buy new skins, UC3 allows players to deck the crap out of their characters. Besides skins, you can swap out clothes, accessories and lots more to project your persona on-screen. New to the game is a loadout system, where players can choose to upgrade their guns, making not only cosmetic but functional changes as well, such as adding additional scopes to zoom in, or extended mags for more ammo. These obviously arent revolutionary changes for a multiplayer game, but its nice to have them in UC3. This being an Uncharted game obviously gets top marks in the visual department. And keep in mind; this is just the beta so Im sure Naughty Dog will add in a ton of spit and polish by the time the game hits stores this November. So far, Im pretty happy with what Ive seen in UC3. Sure, the game feels a bit slower than before and newcomers will probably take some time to come to grips with it, but Naughty Dog has taken great pains to ensure this game feels as balanced and enjoyable as humanly possible. Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception is set for release on November 1, 2011 for PS3.

Look for Uncharted 3's campaign trailer on the CHIP DVD

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FEATURE

CRYSIS 2

DIRT 3

DEAD SPACE 2 FIGHT NIGHT CHAMPION

CRYSIS 2

Crysis 2 may not have been the game to bring your uber powerful PC to its knees, but it sure was pretty. Crytek made the game highly scalable so even yearold PCs could enjoy Cryteks version of post-apocalyptic New York in all its visual glory. The action was fast and satisfying, offering a healthy blend of stealth and all out action. Sure, the painfully dumb AI did hamper gameplay a bit, but at the end of it all, lofty production values and solid gameplay across both single and multiplayer prevailed, making Crysis 2 a must-buy this year.

DEAD SPACE 2

INFAMOUS 2

Taking a gamble with new IPs in this day and age is risky; one that paid off real well for developer Visceral Games. Dead Space was a game that combined action and horror to near perfection, offering players a chilling ride, playing as an engineer forced to face his fears aboard a derelict ship. With the sequel, Visceral expanded upon what we loved about the first game, introducing some truly impressive set pieces along with a multiplayer mode reminiscent to the one from Left 4 Dead 2.

DIRT 3

The Dirt series was Codemasters attempt to move from pure rally to all-round off-road racing. But the fans still wanted rally, so in Dirt 3, it made a return and comprised 60 percent of the game, alongside the other event types from previous games. The responsive car handling, the welldesigned tracks, the slick menus and the stunning visuals were in evidence as well. The game also added several fun online modes, making this one of the best off-road racing games ever.

FIGHT NIGHT CHAMPION

INFAMOUS 2

Fight Night Champion gave the struggling boxing franchise a new direction, and it couldnt have done a better job of it. The main focus of the game was its new cinematic story mode that included slick cutscenes, great characters, an engaging story, and some very intense gameplay scenarios that constantly kept you on your toes. Throw in a bit of brutal bareknuckled brawling, and this game had everything a fighting game fan could want.

There arent too many sweeping changes this sequel, but its the little things that Sucker Punch has done that together combine to make Infamous 2 one of the most fun openworld games in a long time. The new city of New Marais has a ton of character, the missions (and side missions) are well designed, and the morality system, however superficial, works brilliantly. Infamous 2 doesnt break new ground for the franchise, but when its this much fun, who cares!
Hemali Limbachiya

AUGUST 2011 INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT

FEATURE

best Here's a brief recap of some of the games from the first half of 2011.

D SAMEER DESAI BY AVINASH BALI AN

L .A. NOIRE

LITTLEBIGPLANET 2

KILLZONE 3

PORTAL 2

THE WITCHER 2

KILLZONE 3

After the success of Killzone 2, expectations for the next game were sky high, and Guerrilla Games didnt disappoint. The explosive singleplayer campaign was packed with cinematic set pieces, massive bosses, large, varied environments, and lots and lots of intense FPS action. Of course, multiplayer is a massive draw for series fans, and the developers rebuilt the multiplayer from scratch to address the issues from KZ2 and add more features, while keeping the signature Killzone experience intact.

L.A. NOIRE

A radical departure for Rockstar Games, L.A. Noire was a storydriven whodunit, where players spent their time solving cases as opposed to embarking upon killing sprees. The star of the show was the games wicked facial animation system that tied into gameplay, allowing players to catch lying suspects based on their facial reactions during interrogations. The game is out on consoles, but PC gamers will also be able to have a go at it when L.A. Noire comes to PC later this year.

LITTLEBIGPLANET 2

PORTAL 2

While the first game gave players powerful tools to create and share their own levels, this time around, you can create whole new games of any genre within LBP2 itself, complete with cinematics, characters and narratives. These creation tools were also put to great use by the developers themselves for Sackboys new story mode adventure. LBP2 is great for all ages, but dont let the cute art style fool you; it'll challenge even the most seasoned gamers.

Portal was a tiny little game bundled with The Orange Box that garnered cult status thanks to its sharp writing, sarcastic humor and innovative gameplay. For the sequel, Valve turned it up to 11, with a fully fleshed out single player campaign as well as a separate co-operative campaign, in addition to some of the best voice acting weve come across all year. Portal 2 was also used to launch Valves online service, Steam on the PS3, allowing cross-play between PS3 and PC.

THE WITCHER 2: ASSASSINS OF KINGS

You probably wouldnt expect a stellar RPG from a small Polish developer, but youd be wrong. The Witcher 2 greatly improved upon all aspects of its predecessor. You had gorgeous visuals, improved combat, and a riveting story that sucked you in till the very end. Be warned though; the game is not very noob-friendly and can appear pretty intimidating with its erratic difficulty. But if youre patient, theres a vibrant, dangerous and exciting world ripe for exploration.

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10

INTERVIEW

INTERVIEW

PLAYSTATION
Playstation is by far the most dominant video game brand in India, with over a million consoles sold in India to date. We spoke with Atindriya Bose, country manager of Sony Computer Entertainment India for the latest on PS3, Playstation Move as well as the upcoming new member of the Playstation family, Playstation Vita.
BY SAMEER DESAI
People have liked the fact that our recent ads showed games being played together; like father and son gaming together. There is a family angle to it, people can play together, and it can be fun. This was born out of an insight we got after launching Move. After the Move ad, a lot of people came back to us asking, how is Playstation talking family? So families are getting involved now and theyre finding that there are games they can play together.
Atindriya Bose, Country Manager, Sony Computer Entertainment India

How do you feel the Playstation brand is being perceived in India?

Is a cricket game for Move being worked on?


Yes, its the next instalment of Street Cricket designed for Playstation Move. Its being developed by Trine, and will be in stores by Diwali.

So will that just include batting or all disciplines?


Bowling as well, with support for two players.

I like Kinect. Theres no question thats a very good competitive product. Looking at the positives and negatives, Kinect is maybe easier to get into, but with Move, once you get in, its a much deeper experience and I believe that we have better games. We also have a wider range, with games that cater to core gamers as well as the family audience, while Kinect seems focussed on the casual audience. But with more people getting into gaming, its great that these experiences are available to them already. So what we have to do is have content that will give us an edge to attract this new audience. And we think bringing in a cricket game on Move will help us do just that.

What do you think of Kinect on Xbox 360?

Ive asked for detailed specs so we can find out exactly what its capable of. If it can also function as a TV, then there is tremendous potential and it can do very well here. Price will also depend on its specifications; the duties and taxes vary based on whether its a TV or a monitor. But even if it does come, there will be a bit of a delay.

Sony has announced the Playstation 3D monitor, and its supposed to be quite affordable. Will that be available here?

Whatever the price is in Euro, you can expect an equivalent Rupee value in India after accounting for the applicable taxes. Its only a matter of time before the European price is announced.

But will it be affordable here?

It has managed to sustain its growth quite well. Around 90 percent of our console sales are Move bundles. Previously, when we used to release GT5 or God of War 3 bundles, we would notice a

How has Move been doing after the initial launch?

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INTERVIEW

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NATION
big spike in sales of those bundles. But now, even when the Killzone 3 bundle came out, people were still preferring the Move bundle. Kinect too seems to have done pretty well of late. So what motion gaming has done is bring in a whole new audience thats interested in the PS3. In that sense, Move has served its purpose very well. You can look at it in many ways. There may not be a constant flow of Move-specific games; that could maybe be a little better, but we have 30-35 games out that are playable with Move, and that includes both casual and core games. Maybe we havent done a good enough job in conveying that we have a substantial range. Of course, the big one were waiting for is cricket. We think that will give Move a real push.

With the hardware doing well, dont you think there has been inadequate support on the software side?

It will be around the same time as European release end of the year.

So when can we expect the PS Vita in India?

It has to an extent, but its not nearly as bad as it is on PS2. A lot of people are aware of the ability to pirate, but theyre also aware of what they would potentially lose by going that route. You miss out on the online, connected experience, as well as the benefits of new firmware. There is a segment of gamers who have gone the piracy route, and while it hasnt significantly impacted the sales of PS3 games, it has lowered the rate of the growth weve been seeing.

Has piracy affected the PS3 significantly?

Were evaluating that. For the 3G version, well be looking to tie-up with a 3G operator. We have the example of iPhone 4 to go by, so were very tempted to bring it in. The only problem is that the 3G landscape itself is so patchy that Im not sure you can have a deal with just one operator. Were quite reserved in our strategy, so we dont want to release the 3G version without an operator partnership in place. In a market with full 3G coverage, a one-operator partnership works, but if we have to go with multiple partners, the volumes wont be justified.

Will we get both the Wi-Fi and WiFi/3G versions?

What would be the price for PS Vita in India considering its 249 Euros in Europe?

If you look at the corresponding Indian value, youre looking at Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000.

As of now, no. There is, however, a new PS3 chassis being discussed. A slightly different design, but from what I can tell, not much difference in functionality.

Any chance of a PS3 price drop soon?

Were in the final legs of planning to begin PS3 game manufacturing in India.

Will you start PS3 game manufacturing in India anytime soon?

We will. Its a bit like what we did with PS2 and PS3. Youll have the Vita at the high end and PSP at the entry level. Its a strategy that works very well for a country like India.

Will you continue to push the PSP now that the PS Vita is coming?

Prices may not drop drastically for the top end games on an immediate basis, especially for third party games. Many publishers are not keen on dropping prices for their new releases. I feel that with this, we will have a much better catalogue strategy. Games that may not be doing too well at Rs 1,499 can be made much cheaper.
INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT AUGUST 2011

Does that mean cheaper PS3 games for India?

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PREVIEW

THE HOTTTEST VITA


LITTLEBIGPLANET
The Vita is tailor-made for Sonys Play.Create.Share brand of games that encourage user-generated content. LittleBigPlanet will make use of the Vitas touch screen, trackpad and cameras for both gameplay and level creation. The Vita version will also feature a completely new single-player adventure, plus a passnplay multiplayer mode. Once youre done with that, there will be millions of user-created levels from the PS3 and PSP versions available online for you to try out for free.

WIPEOUT 2048

Wipeout is the longest-running Playstation franchise, so its only right that there be a new one for the newest member of the Playstation console family. To make the best use of the Vita, the latest in the futuristic combat racing series will include touch inputs, tilt action controls and voice commands. In addition, Wipeout 2048 will support eight-player crossplatform multiplayer with PS3 players.

MODNATION RACERS

Another Play.Create.Share success story, Modnation Racers is a great fit for the Vita. The plucky kart racer has already had successful outings on the PS3 and PSP, and it comes to the PS Vita with an all new career mode, featuring 10 new tracks and cool new weapons, plus the ability to download and play the half a million community tracks that have already been created by PS3 and PSP players.

RUIN

At E3, where the Vita was properly revealed, Sony used Ruin to show how easy PS3-Vita cross compatibility is. This isometric action RPG will be available on PS3 and Vita, with the ability to transfer your saved game from one console to another. So if youve played it on the PS3, transfer your save file to the Vita, and continue where you left off when youre on-the-go. Ruin boasts deep social features, allowing you to broadcast your accomplishments and challenge friends online.

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Hemali Limbachiya

PREVIEW

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GAMES

A game console is nothing without great software, so here are eight of the most promising Playstation Vita games.
BY SAMEER DESAI

STREET FIGHTER X TEKKEN

Two of the greatest fighting game franchises coming together is fantastic news irrespective of platform, but at E3, Capcom showcased the Vita version of their upcoming brawler to rapturous applause. Capcom claims that the Vita version will look almost identical to the PS3 version, which is quite a feat. We dont know yet if the game will include any Vita-specific features or controls, but it has been revealed that Cole McGrath from Infamous would be a playable character in the PS3 and Vita versions.

SOUND SHAPES

Sound Shapes won the Game Critics Awards for best handheld game and best social/casual game at E3 2011, so this is one game you dont want to ignore. The art style may be minimalist, but its the unique gameplay that will draw you into this musical side-scrolling platformer. Simply arrange musical notes to create levels or jump across platforms in existing levels to make music.

UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS

Over the last couple of years, Uncharted has grown to become one of the most popular Sony first-party franchises, so there just had to be one for the Vita. Golden Abyss follows Nathan Drake through Central America in his quest for a 400-year old Spanish treasure. Boasting stunning, cinematic visuals, touchbased gameplay elements, and making the most of the dual analog sticks, this could very well be the must-buy PS Vita game at launch.

Little Deviants is a collection of mini games, where each makes use of one of the Vitas unique features, from an augmented reality shooter that turns what your camera sees into the game world, to using the rear track pad to alter ground elevation and move a ball around the level. Little Deviants is a pick-up-and-play game that can be played solo or with eight players in pass around multiplayer. There are many different control mechanisms built into the Vita, and this could be a great way for new Vita users to learn just what it's capable of.

LITTLE DEVIANTS

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COVER STORY

THE BIG

15
Hemali Limbachiya

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COVER STORY

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Enjoy this relatively quiet August, because beginning next month, were in for an onslaught of blockbuster game releases the likes of which weve never seen before. The three months from September to November are jam-packed with great games spanning across every genre. To help you decide which ones to pick up and which to save for later, weve handpicked 15 games that we feel deserve your attention above all.
BY SAMEER DESAI AND AVINASH BALI

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COVER STORY

DEAD ISLAND
PC, XBOX 360, PS3

Release date: 9th September, 2011

Zombies have been video game cannon fodder for over a decade, and we still cant get enough. Developers, however, have been tweaking their appearance in video games, so theyve definitely evolved since the Resident Evil era, and are no longer stereotyped as slow moving, lumbering corpses. Valve set the benchmark for co-operative shooters with their intense Left 4 Dead series, and now, developer Techland may do the same for the open-world genre with Dead Island. An action game with a few RPG elements thrown in, Dead Island is the classic tale of a holiday on a tropical island gone horribly wrong. As a survivor in this most unfortunate situation, players must use whatever it takes to make it out of there alive. And yes, that does include killing a ton of the undead with or without your friends.

RESISTANCE 3

PS3

Release date: 9th September, 2011

When the PS3 launched in 2006, Resistance: Fall of Man was billed as a system seller, and for many PS3 owners, this was their first PS3 game. While Resistance 3 retains many of the elements that the series is known for gigantic bosses, for example theres a very different feel to it this time. Youre no longer a solider fighting in a squad and taking on the Chimera. Instead, youre just a guy minding his own business, trying to stay under the radar, who is thrust into this fight. Theres a feeling of hopelessness and desolation, and it feels more like a personal journey. Campaign co-op returns in Resistance 3, as do newer weapons, a wider variety of enemies. Plus, the weapon wheel from the first game returns from the first game, so youre no longer just restricted to two weapons. Resistance 3 is shaping up very well, and from the looks of it, it might just be the best game in the series.
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COVER STORY

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GEARS OF WAR 3

XBOX 360

Release date: 20th September, 2011

Marcus Fenix and his hyper violent gang of dudebros are back for the final fight against the blood thirsty Locusts; only this time, they face a new enemy as well in the form of the Lambent. While most of the game will be spent taking cover, shooting Locusts in the face, and chainsawing their friends in half, a significant amount of time will also be spent in the games new revamped Horde co-op mode. This new and improved version will be a tad more tactical than the previous iteration, allowing players to earn and spend money on helpful little tools like turrets, laser fences, and lots more. Developer Epic Games has also reworked the games multiplayer to provide a more balanced experience, which hopefully means you wont see guys running with shotguns all over the battlefield.

F1 2011

PC, XBOX 360, PS3

Release date: 23rd September, 2011

There was a lot of excitement when it was announced that Codemsaters was taking over the reins of the Formula 1 games, because their racing game pedigree is simply undeniable. And they certainly didnt disappoint, as F1 2010 was not only one of the best racing games last year, but was also perhaps the best F1 game ever. This year, the game includes a co-op championship, where you and a friend can play through a full season together as teammates, as well as a more personal career mode that emphasizes on putting you in the shoes of an F1 driver with a more cinematic presentation. Codies have also confirmed that split-screen multiplayer is now included, and the number of online players has been increased to 16, with the ability to fill the rest of the field with AI. F1 2011 will feature all teams, locations and rules from the current season, so while KERS and DRS are included, youll also be able to race around the circuit of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

FIFA 12

PC, XBOX 360, PS3, WII

Release date: 30th September, 2011

While many might feel that annual sports games like FIFA see little-to-no changes from one year to the next, EA Sports certainly cant be accused of that with FIFA 12. Headlining a bevy of changes is the new player impact engine, which uses physics calculations to deliver realistic, bone-crunching player collisions that, besides looking great, also have a significant impact on gameplay. The new precisions dribbling feature now allows better close control in tight situations, while the improved tactical defending means that intercepting passes and dispossessing attackers is more about skill and timing than brute strength. Pro player intelligence aims to make FIFA 12 a more free-flowing game, with players making intelligent runs and playing to their strengths. Die-hard FIFA fans dont need to be sold on each new iteration, but even the most sceptical amongst us should sit up and take notice, FIFA this year is shaping up to be a completely different game.
Get Rs 200 off when you preorder any of these games at Game4u.com. Use gift voucher no. GC9P59PAPE47VT582. Condtions apply.

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COVER STORY

RAGE

PC, XBOX 360, PS3

Release date: 7th October, 2011

A post-apocalyptic shooter with a ton of vehicular action thrown in for good measure, Rage marks the return of developer id Software (Doom, Quake) after a rather long sabbatical. This is the first time id are prepping a game for consoles, but so far, the game looks stellar on every platform. Besides gorgeous visuals, players can expect a dangerous and interesting world to explore as a survivor of a meteorite impact in the not-so-distant future. Since travel conditions arent ideal and the world isnt particularly safe, youll have to rely on your trusty buggy to move around the game, which at regular intervals, can be upgraded by entering and winning races. But dont let the term races scare you off; this is an id title after all, so shooting people in the face will take precedence over all else.

UNCHARTED 3: DRAKES DECEPTION


PS3

Release date: 1st November, 2011

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was almost universally recognized as 2009s game of the year. An action-packed and cinematic single-player campaign with great characters and slick gameplay was complemented by a surprisingly fun and addictive multiplayer component. So naturally, Uncharted 3 has big shoes to fill and fans will be expecting nothing short of perfection. We already know that the multiplayer is shaping up very well, but Uncharted has always been about the epic singleplayer campaign. Its hard to say whether it will top Uncharted 2, but its already looking like one hell of a ride, with Drakes latest treasure hunt taking him to the deserts of Arabia, amongst other places. Well once again see familiar faces and the game will no doubt be a visual spectacle, but were sure Uncharted 3 will hold many surprises.

BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY


PC, XBOX 360, PS3

Release date: 21st October 2011


Games based on comic books more often than not tend to suck, but developer Rocksteady stuck to their guns and invested in a true AAA Batman title. Their gamble paid off and the game was appreciated the world over not just by Batman fans, but gamers who were merely aware of the caped crusader. A huge chunk of their success can be attributed to the games stellar production values and rock solid gameplay, but Arkham Asylums feather in the cap was the fact that it allowed players to delve into Batmans psyche, something no title had successfully done before. With Arkham City, Rocksteady have expanded upon their love for the Batman universe, injecting it into a massive, highly detailed open world game that will offer players a ton of stuff to indulge in, be it crime solving, combat or exploration.
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BATTLEFIELD 3
PC, XBOX 360, PS3

Release date: 25th October, 2011

The Battlefield series has been around forever on PCs, but it was only after the Bad Company games that the world stood up and took notice. While the Call of Duty series has concentrated primarily on infantry combat, DICEs USP (for the Bad Company series) was to mix up large scale urban warfare with vehicular combat as well as some highly satisfying environmental destruction. With the return to the Battlefield moniker (not to be confused with the Bad Company games), DICE have upped the ante by including a fleshed out single-player campaign in addition to a co-operative mode for two players, a first for a game in this series. Besides this, players can also expect a brand new engine as well as a reworked multiplayer component that aims to provide gamers with a more well-balanced online experience.

FORZA MOTORSPORT 4
XBOX 360

The PS3 has Gran Turismo, the Xbox 360 has Forza Motorsport, and owners of both consoles have plenty to be happy about as both franchises are at the cutting edge of driving simulation. While Polyphony takes their time in releasing GT games, Turn 10 has been churning out a new Forza game every two years. We loved Forza 2, and while its successor left us a little underwhelmed, Forza 4 is pulling out all the stops, with a stunning new graphics engine, Kinect functionality that extends from menu navigation and the Autovista mode to head tracking, and an all new career mode that benefits from exclusive Top Gear content. Deep customization options allow you to not only fit your car with performance upgrades, but also to design custom paint jobs. Weve been following the game closely, and from where were sitting, theres no way it can disappoint.
Get Rs 200 off when you preorder any of these games at Game4u.com. Use gift voucher no. GC9P59PAPE47VT582. Condtions apply.

Release date: 14th October, 2011

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COVER STORY

CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 3


Release date: 8th November, 2011

PC, XBOX 360, PS3

Of late, the Call of Duty series has become the scapegoat for franchise milking. People feel the series never bothers with innovation, merely concentrating on raking in the bug bucks. And while that is true to an extent, theres also no doubt that few games can match this Jerry Bruckheimer-esque penchant for balls-to-the-wall gameplay. Modern Warfare 3 is the direct successor to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and will be worked upon by Infinity Ward (whats left of them anyway) along with inputs from Raven (Soldier of Fortune series) and Sledgehammer Games. The singe player campaign will continue the adventures of Soap MacTavish and John Price, who must deal with the looming threat of World War III.

THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM


PC, XBOX 360, PS3

Release date: 11th November, 2011

The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion may have had its share of issues, but there was no doubt that it was one of the most immersive Western RPGs ever made. Upon choosing a character, players could embark upon an epic quest across the fictional world of Tamriel, where they could easily burn over 100 hours. With Skyrim, developer Bethesda is diving right back into that world, albeit 200 years after the events of Oblivion. While the games mechanics largely stay the same, Bethesda are planning on enhancing the game with a bunch of gameplay as well as visual tweaks, the most obvious one being the new in-house engine capable of rendering the game world in stunning detail. And the icing on the cake is, of course, the inclusion of dragons that players will be able to slay. How badass is that!

SAINTS ROW: THE THIRD


PC, XBOX 360, PS3

Release date: 15th November, 2011

Saints Row 2 was the anti-Grand Theft Auto IV of 2008. While GTA IV concentrated on a more sober and authentic recreation of life in Liberty City, Saints Row 2 was content with its juvenile humor and over-the-top gameplay, which gamers lapped up immediately. Sure, the game didnt look half as good as Liberty City and all three versions suffered from shoddy frame rates, but youd forget all about that as you went around spraying poo on pristine white buildings in an up market neighborhood, or beat people to death with giant sex toys. With Saints Row: The Third, developer Volition has expanded on that over-thetop philosophy by leaps and bounds to include even more outrageous gameplay mechanics. How else can you explain a car that sucks people up and shoots them out through a canon mounted on the roof?

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Look for the Assassins Creed: Revelations trailer on the CHIP DVD.

ASSASSINS CREED: REVELATIONS


PC, XBOX 360, PS3

Release date: 15th November, 2011

Assassins Creed 3, the next big jump forward in the blockbuster action-adventure series, remains elusive as Ubisoft is continuing with the story of Ezio Auditore for the third game running in Assassins Creed: Revelations. But if youve played Brotherhood, you know that thats not necessarily a bad thing. The new game has enough new elements to make this a refreshing experience. The game now moves to a completely new city Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), so you have a brand new environment to free run around and assassinate Templars in. The game also adds a few new tools and weapons, such as a grappling hook, which has us very interested due to its possible implementation during platforming. Perhaps the games biggest hook, however, is that Altair, the protagonist from the first game, will make an appearance, although we still dont know in what capacity. Revelations will be the conclusion of Ezios story, and with so many questions still unanswered, it could well be a pivotal game in the series.

NEED FOR SPEED: THE RUN


Release date: 17th November, 2011

PC, XBOX 360, PS3, WII, 3DS

After a break while Criterion (Hot Pursuit) and Slightly Mad (Shift 2) did their thing, Black Box is back at the helm of the Need for Speed series, bringing back the story-driven angle that has been missing since their last release. While past games have had racing events interspersed with movie cutscenes, this time, the cutscenes are interactive. You wont have complete control over on-foot segments, but you will be required to play your part via QTEs. The Run has you literally on the run from the cops across the continental US, so this may not be the open-world citybased NFS game were used, but rather a collection of cinematic linear races that play out across a variety of environments around the country. The game is based on the Frostbite engine, so it looks stunning, but it remains to be seen if it will include any of the engines signature environmental destruction.
Get Rs 200 off when you preorder any of these games at Game4u.com. Use gift voucher no. GC9P59PAPE47VT582. Condtions apply.

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REVIEW

Fail to the King, baby!


BY AVINASH BALI

RATING 1.5/5

ets get one thing straight; I love cheese. Im not talking about the dairy product, because who doesnt love that right? Im talking about the cheese factor you find in some games or movies that make you cringe in embarrassment, but deep down give you some sort of a cheap thrill. I also, from time to time, enjoy some stuff thats so bad its good (Son of Dracula, anyone?), but Duke Nukem Forever is so bad, its just plain bad. All the sexual innuendos, juvenile humor, self-mockery, and outdated parodies just fall flat on their faces. Why? Because Duke Nukem Forever is a poorly made game that even after 14 years in the making feels like a rushed product. Duke Nukem never claimed to be an intellectual character and we loved him for it. He was the bubble-gum chewing, beer drinking, chick loving, alien butt kicker, who never really cared about what anyone thought of his rather in-your-face ways. And when Aliens invaded earth in 1996 (in Duke 3D) and took his babes, that was it. He unleashed hell upon them because no one, and I mean no one, messes with FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER Dukes babes. Unfortunately, Duke Nukem Forever the aliens he fought back in the PRICE Rs 2,499 (PS3, Xbox 360), day have returned more than a Rs 499 (PC) decade later to take his babes PUBLISHER 2K Games away once again. You did not DEVELOPER Gearbox Software see that coming, right? DISTRIBUTOR E-Xpress Interactive PHONE 022 29661017 Like most of you know, DNF E-MAIL info@expressgames.in is a shooter at heart and if the core gameplay was solid, I would FOR have gladly looked past all the Can satisfy that nostalgic itch, shotgun is still very satisfying to use other glaring flaws. Sadly, it isnt. DNF seems like a game AGAINST stuck in the nineties, be it in Horrible level design, awful visuals, humor falls flat on its face, Duke can get insanely annoying, level design or the sheer amount terrible driving mechanics of time youll be staring at the

RATINGS

loading screen waiting for another chapter to load. For a game thats trying to embrace its old school roots, Duke falters by limiting players to carrying just two weapons. I mean, really, what is that all about? Is that their way of appealing to todays FPS crowd? Since when is Duke going in for realism? And speaking of realism, it seems Duke has become somewhat of a wuss over the years. He starts panting after sprinting for five seconds and can withstand hardly any damage. Every few minutes, my life bar would start flashing red because I had been shot by a pig wielding a tiny pistol. Did I miss something over here? Was I magically transported to Operation Flashpoint, where one bullet can end my life? Youll come across a ton of weapons in the game, but theyre all nothing but shinier variants of the ones found in Duke 3D. Fourteen years ago, the Shrink Gun was innovative and hilarious to use; today it doesnt seem that impressive after players have been spoilt by a plethora of innovative weapons over the years. Boring arsenal aside, the gameplay in DNF is painfully predictable as well. The entire game oscillates between boring driving segments, turret sections, predictable boss fights, and annoying platforming sections as tiny Duke. Theres no such thing as vehicular combat, so when Dukes ride is surrounded by enemies, all you can do is drive by them real fast. And just so you know, the driving in this game is just terrible; controlling your RC car or your monster truck feels like youre driving a car on ice with your feet. Things get a lot worse when you have to line up multiple jumps that are as redundant as they are boring. Bosses, while impressive in size, are also nothing but an exercise in repetition since they cant be killed with anything other than rockets or turrets. So pretty much every boss in this game boils down to finding a rocket launcher, searching

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for an ammo crate, camping near it and spamming him/her/it with rockets till its over. And you know whats worse than repetitive boss fights? Repetitive boss fights, where the bosses just magically regain all their health after youve landed the final blow. The only emotion I really felt through the entire campaign even more than disappointment was boredom. Instead of feeling like a kid on a sugar rush eager to open a 14-year old present, I had to force myself to plough through this campaign. Even then, I could do no more than an hour or two at a time. I think DNFs biggest problem, besides a lack of polish or a sense of direction, is the fact that its a 14-year old game thats trying to appease todays gamers as well as live up to the expectations of the guys who enjoyed Duke 3D, failing miserably at both. Its also stuck in a time warp, with archaic level design, terrible visuals, boring gameplay, and outdated jokes. Tonight, you dine in hell? Really? Are we in 2006 all over again? And yeah, I get that youre the King, and I get that youre all about the ass kicking while thoroughly depleted on gum, but do you seriously have to remind me about it every few seconds? Fourteen years ago, the Dukes taunts were cool, or even funny, but today they just seem like the ramblings of a deranged, sad old man whos living in serious denial. Players giddy at Dukes return may pick up the game and enjoy it (or claim to enjoy it) simply from a nostalgic point of view. Everyone else needs to just stay away from this atrocity. Fail to the King, indeed.

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REVIEW

Visual extravagance bogged down by repetition.


BY AVINASH BALI

RATING 3/5

adness Returns is a twisted take on Lewis Carrolls Alice in Wonderland. Its a solid action-adventure, bolstered by a phenomenal art style that unfortunately misses the must-buy mark due to repetition and frequent bouts of frustration. Madness Returns takes place immediately after the events of the first game - American McGees Alice. Even though shes discharged from the asylum, Alice is still haunted by the visions of her family members, who mysteriously burnt to their deaths. This obviously has manifested itself in rather unpleasant ways and so Alice must reach deep down into her troubled mind to unfudge the situation. Gameplay largely consists of platforming, combat and minor puzzle solving. Platforming basically involves jumping from one place to another, occasionally aided by certain air vents that propel her higher. Youll have to pull levers, stand on pressure pads and indulge in a ton of time based jumps, some of which may raise your blood pressure significantly. Unlike her peers (you know, Lara Croft, Prince of Persia, etc), Alice cannot grab onto ledges, so if you misjudge a jump, youll have only a few seconds to reach safety using her double or triple jump ability. For ledges that are too far away to scale with even double jumps, Alice can glide all the way there simply by holding down the jump key. Platforming, when used sparingly in games, is somewhat of a respite from the action, but in Madness Returns, it does feel a tad overused. The other facet of gameplay in Madness Returns is combat, which is as fast as it is brutal. Youll start the game off with the Vorpal Blade, a sharp knife capable of cutting enemies down swiftly and effectively. As you collect teeth (yes, teeth) throughout the game, youll be able to upgrade the blades power and speed, making it a real boon in combat, especially when it comes to fast moving enemies. Besides the blade, you have two ranged weapons; one that fires pepper and the other that unleashes globules of boiling hot tea. Finally, you have a wooden horse, the games equivalent of a giant hammer thats capable of shaking up even the toughest enemies. While combat is satisfying in itself, it isnt as fluid as, say Devil May Cry, where players can seamlessly switch between ranged and melee weapons to pull off some insane combos. If anything, the ranged weapons become somewhat of
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a pain to use simply because the games lock-on system is a bit broken. Itll snap to targets you dont want it to and it wont automatically target the highest priority, making fights that include both ranged and close enemies an utter pain. Unlike most games, where you stay locked on to a target for as long as you hold the Focus button, this one makes you press it once to lock on, after which you have to press it again to unlock. Enemies in Alice come in different shapes and sizes. You have the ranged enemies thatll attack from a distance, weak grunts wholl come at you in droves, bosses who will only get damaged once you penetrate their defenses with a powerful weapon, and so on. Every enemy is some sort of twisted take on the realm youre in, so during the underwater levels, youll encounter hostile crabs, sharks and other sea creatures, while in the Oriental themed one, youll encounter wasp Samurais

and other such oddities. While 90 percent of the game is broken up into combat and platforming, a small segment is dedicated to exploration and gorgeously designed 2D environments, where the game plays out like a side-scroller. I wish more of these segments were injected into the game. Carrying the game through all of its faults is the wicked art style that I personally feel is just plain awesome. You can tell that the developers at Spicy Horse have worked really hard to create one of the most unique gaming worlds ever. Every dimension and every level has been developed with painstaking detail, transforming even the most innocent of objects like teapots into monstrous tools of death and destruction. Whenever I got really bored of all the combat and jumping around, the thing that pushed me forward was the urge to see how the next level would top the one I was currently in. In that respect, the game did not disappoint. Alice: Madness Returns is game with a ton of potential that sadly never really peaks. This is largely due to the games repetitive mission ACTION-ADVENTURE structure that forces players to Alice: Madness Returns embark on stupid fetch quests in nearly every level. In a bid to PRICE Rs 2,499 (PS3), Rs 2,249 (Xbox 360, Rs 999 (PC) make the game more challengPUBLISHER EA ing, developer Spicy Horse piles DEVELOPER Spicy Horse on a bazillion enemies at a time, DISTRIBUTOR Milestone Interactive and since the combat isnt all PHONE 022 42764000 that fluid, it becomes more of a E-MAIL sales@milestoneinteractive.com chore than a challenge. Still, if FOR you can look past these shortGreat art style, awesome 2D segments. comings, theres plenty of entertainment to be found in this AGAINST Repetitive missions, clunky combat. rather demented but gorgeous action game.

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REVIEW

A moderately enjoyable shooter that cannot live up to standards set by the original.
BY AVINASH BALI

RATING 3.5/5

early six years and hundreds of shooters later, F.E.A.R. still remains one of my favorites. Even though technology has evolved since then by leaps and bounds, few games have managed to match this titles penchant for stylish destruction. Fusing balls-tothe-wall action with some truly creepy moments, F.E.A.R. paved the way for a new breed of shooters. So its a real pity that none of its successors have followed that path. The expansion packs that followed werent a patch on Monoliths beast and neither was the full-fledged sequel. Its because of this that I didnt really have high hopes for F.E.A.R. 3, or F.3.A.R. as the cool kids call it. And this cynicism has definitely worked in my favor. Its not that F.E.A.R. 3 is a bad game; its just yet another generic shooter with a few enjoyable moments that cannot live up to the legacy laid down by the original. F.E.A.R. 3 takes place after the events of the second game and if you havent played it or its predecessor, youre kind of screwed. The game tries to fill players in on all the horrific events of days gone by, but youll still be left scratching your head at the end of the day wondering how deep the rabbit hole really went. For your first playthrough, youll step into the genetically modified boots of Point Man, the nameless protagonist from F.E.A.R., whos heightened reflexes allow him to slow time down. Plus, hes rocking a beard right now and nothing says Im a badass more than a well groomed beard. As Point Man, gameplay is your standard shooter fare, where you move from one level to another, slowing time down, shooting enemies in the face. The reason I sound less than excited about F.E.A.R. 3s single player is because it lacked everything that made the first game a blast. For one, destruction is nearly negligible, as opposed to F.E.A.R., where bullets would rip the concrete off walls, shell cases would bounce all over the place and you felt like you were in the

midst of an intense gun fight. In fact you cant even shoot an enemy standing behind a wooden table because your pullets cant penetrate jack in this game. Grenades dont feel like powerful little balls of death, setting off shock waves and decimating everything in sight. They feel more like powerful little firecrackers in both sight and sound. F.E.A.R was also well known for its wicked AI that made life pretty tough for players. F.E.A.R. 3, on the other hand (on Normal), was a cakewalk with its brain dead AI that allowed me to waltz all over their Neanderthal butts. Once you take out the whole chaotic action from the equation, F.E.A.R. 3 becomes nothing more than a generic modern day shooter with a few scares thrown in. As opposed to the first game, which made many seasoned gamers pee in their pants, this ones content with a few flashes of creepy naked girls and a few visual effects that distort vision. The game does pick up a bit towards the end, but just as youre getting into it,

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FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER

RATINGS
Rs 2,499 (PS3, Xbox 360), Rs 999 (PC) Warner Bros Timegate Studios E-Xpress Interactive 022 29661017 info@expressgames.in

F.E.A.R. 3
PRICE PUBLISHER DEVELOPER DISTRIBUTOR PHONE E-MAIL

FOR
Gunplay is solid, co-op is a blast

AGAINST
Isn't as satisfying as the original, single player can get boring, feels pretty generic, horrible visuals

it ends. The F.E.A.R. experience has always been tailor made for a single player experience, allowing the developers to suck you in with all satisfying action as well as all the creepy undead stuff. With F.E.A.R. 3, developer Timegate Studios took a gamble and added in co-operative play, and to my surprise, its actually quite good. In co-operative play, the host plays as Point Man, while the other will be Paxton Fettel, his undead brother with all the cool psychic abilities. As Point Man, the gameplay remains the same as the single player, but its when you play as Fettel that the fun truly begins. For starters, you can possess any enemy in sight and then proceed to gun his comrades down with reckless abandon. This is obviously the safest route since Fettel cannot wield any weapons. The other way of going about doing things is working in tandem with your partner, where you levitate your opponent using your telekinetic abilities while your partner pumps him full of lead. This actually works really

well in the games favor, converting an otherwise boring experience into a moderately enjoyable one. If, for some reason, you dont have anyone to co-op with, you can experience the game as Fettel all over again once you complete the campaign as Point Man. The game packs in a ton of multiplayer game types, but at the time of this review, multiplayer on PC was completely broken. Every time I tried connecting to any sort of game type, I found zero servers. I went online, scanned through various forums and it seems this problem is widespread on the PC platform, and since Timegate Studios havent bothered fixing this issue, Im really not going to bother with it. Visually, F.E.A.R. 3 is a good four to five years behind its time. In 2005, F.E.A.R. was a visual powerhouse that brought many powerful PCs to their knees. F.E.A.R. 3 is sadly a blurry mess of things. Theres some decent texture work and water effects to be found, but other than that, its an ugly affair, be it with washed out environments or drab character models. The frame rates stay stable when the action gets a bit frantic, but then again, theres not a lot of frantic action to begin with. Headshots and gibbage thankfully still remain satisfying and popping a sweet headshot in slow mo never gets old. On its own merit, F.E.A.R. 3 would have been an above average, albeit generic, shooter with a few scares thrown in. The addition of co-operative play does help this franchise as Timegate have done a pretty bang up job of implementing it into gameplay. As a successor to the F.E.A.R. name, however, its a disappointment mother would not approve of.

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INTERVIEW

EXCLUSIVE DEVELOPER INTERVIEW

THE STREETS
On a rainy day in Mumbai, we made our way to the Warner Bros. office to catch up with Dax Ginn, marketing manager and overall spokesperson for Batman: Arkham City. We spoke at length about Rocksteadys ideology and dedication to Batman franchise in addition to what players can expect when the game drops this October.
BY AVINASH BALI
(Laughs) Great question; straight to the point. I like that. We knew we had something pretty special with AA because during development, we were taking lots of creative risks by making a game that explored Batmans personality; not just as a hero, but as a man. It was about exploring the psychology of Bruce Wayne as an individual, taking into account the events that shaped his life at an early age, molding him into Batman. Exploring his character across the board is something gamers didnt really expect, but I think they denitely appreciated it. We saw all these elements coming together in AA and we felt we were making a very different kind of game as opposed to what weve played in the past. The real question was whether or not gamers were going to respond positively to that. And it was a great relief for us when we found they did.

Did you anticipate the phenomenal success of Arkham Asylum (AA)? We only ask since most games based on comic books tend to suck.

the opportunity to explore the world is massive, but this also means that you need to rely on navigation (a lot) to ensure you never get lost. Because, you know, getting lost is not a very Batman experience. So when youre in detective mode, its a brilliant augmented vision for crime scene investigation, but in that mode you dont have those navigational tools needed to explore the world. This way players end up using it as a tool for which it is intended.

If you had to be critical of Arkham Asylum, what would you say the game could have done without or done better?
I think one element of the game we denitely put a lot of work into was the detective mode. What we found was that players were using this as an exploitation as opposed to the tool that we initially designed it to be. So if we could wind back time and rework the implementation of detective mode, I think we would do it in the way weve done it in Arkham City (AC) because its more balanced now.

Its really difcult to compare AC to other openworld games. I think our aim with AC was not to make the biggest open world game, but the most detailed one. Making a huge game with nothing to do in it is not the kind of game we wanted to make, so we really placed our focus on a more detailed experience. Arkham Asylum had this sort of Batman DNA built into every brick, every structure, which is why gamers never went tearing through the game at high speeds not paying attention to intense atmosphere around every corner. So weve taken that philosophy and expanded that into AC. Having said that, AC is ve times the size of Arkham Island, so its a signicantly larger game.

How open-ended will AC be? Will there be a ton of side missions? Will Batman be able to get into his Batmobile and cruise around the city fighting random crimes?

How long would one playthrough of the game take?

Look for the trailer of Batman: Arkham City on the CHIP DVD

Could you give as an example of how detective mode works in this game?
AC is essentially a large open-world game, so

Just taking down all the villains like Joker, Riddler, Two-Face, Harley Quinn, etc is about 25 hours of gameplay. If youre looking at 100% completion, were talking 40-plus hours. On top of that, you have challenge maps, so its a big, big game.

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OF ARKHAM CITY
We were really happy with the free form combat system implemented in AA, and we really wanted to take it to the next level. We had to really rethink all the challenges Batman would face in AC and so weve really ramped up the combat, nearly doubling the amount of moves Batman has at his disposal. Weve also tweaked enemy AI, so enemies will use different tactics to try and take you down.

Are there any changes in the combat?

It was quite the opposite. We got a ton of support and praise for not including co-op or multiplayer and that was a really crazy moment for us because we didnt know how fans were going to respond to that announcement. Adding multiplayer or co-op is a massive overhead for any team, and were quite a small team of around 97 developers here. If we were doing multiplayer, it would mean cutting that team in half, and I think that would have resulted in a less than perfect Batman experience. It wouldnt be as polished and awesome as it is. So looking back, we know we made the right decision because the ultimate Batman experience is a single player game. Sure, multiplayer would have got us an extra tick on the box and some gamers may have thought it was cool, but ultimately, were making a game Batman fans are going to love.

The single player experience alone is great in our books, but did you get flak for not including multiplayer or co-op?

Were hardcore Batman fans so we really love what were doing right now. Were really happy with the relationship we have with both DC Comics and Warner, so life feels pretty good. As of now, were just enjoying the ride were on, and were totally focused on getting the game out to gamers this October. Obviously, we got thousands of different ideas about what the future could hold, but right now, were just committed to getting this game to the highest level of quality possible. Batman: Arkham City will be in stores on October 21, 2011 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

Does Rocksteady plan on aligning itself with the Batman franchise for a long time or can we expect newer IP in the future?

Without a doubt, the city itself. Weve put a lot of effort into building this huge game world for Batman to explore and lled it with all sorts of detail. The city has a personality of its own, dynamically changing as the plot progresses. Just spending some time in the streets of AC will be an amazing, authentic experience even if youre not solving crimes or pushing the story forward. Im so proud with what everyone at Rocksteady has achieved and Im sure gamers will love the game world created for them.

Whats the one thing youre most proud of in Arkham City?

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REVIEW

Aggressive, no-holds-barred racing. Too bad theres not enough of it.


BY SAMEER DESAI
X vs ATV Alive is a bizarre game. This is an era where game developers sometimes tend to make sacrifices on the single player side of things so they can focus on the online multiplayer components of their games. However, none of those games ever force you to play multiplayer the way MX vs ATV Alive does. Dont get me wrong; the single player modes arent locked away, but the way the game levels you up, you will either endlessly grind by replaying the same events over and over, or be forced to hop online. Its no secret; MX vs ATV is a franchise in decline, thanks largely to the abysmal MX vs ATV Reflex, the previous game in the series. So to make this game more attractive, THQ has adopted a novel pricing strategy. At Rs 1,499, Alive is cheaper than most new games, but what this means is that it comes with no frills. All you get on the disc is the very core; everything else is sold separately via DLC. Its just the sort of strategy that a series such as this demands, because no one in their right minds is going to spend Rs 2,499 for an MX vs ATV game anymore. This new strategy almost works too. Alive succeeds where Reflex failed the gameplay. This is an offroad racing game, where as the RACING name suggests, you can choose MX vs ATV Alive between dirt bikes and quads/ PRICE Rs 1,499 (Xbox 360, PS3) ATVs as your vehicles. As with PUBLISHER THQ any good game, controls are DEVELOPER THQ Digital Phoenix easy to pick up, but difficult to DISTRIBUTOR E-xpress Interactive master. While simply negotiatPHONE 022 29661017 ing turns and overtaking oppoE-MAIL info@expressgames.in nents is simple enough, keeping FOR your speed up as you constantly Aggressive racing, good controls, deep encounter bumps, ditches and customization. big-air jumps is considerably AGAINST harder, and there are a couple of Not enough content, forces you to play tools that the game grants you multiplayer to level up. to get a leg up on the competi-

RATING 3/5

RATINGS

tion. The first of these is the clutch, which helps you accelerate off the starting line, out of corners, and while landing jumps. The other is the seat bounce, which allows you go higher and father off jumps. The problem, however, is that the game doesnt explain how either of these features are used. Because this is a lower priced game, it doesnt come with a manual, and strangely, neither is there a manual in-game. So youll have to go to the games website and download the PDF version to figure out the controls. Racing in MX vs ATV Alive is extremely aggressive, and there is frequent contact between riders, especially on the smaller tracks. Youre encouraged to use other racers as barriers and speed breakers, but youll find the aggressive AI using you for the same. To ensure that this doesnt result in frequent, annoying crashes, the game includes the wreck avoidance feature. When youre about to lose balance and crash, youll notice a prompt on screen telling you to push the analog stick in a specific direction. Doing so in time will allow you to stay on course. It works way better than it did in Reflex, and its a great way to keep the momentum up in these intense races. Theres no career mode to speak of; just a bunch of regular lapped races and smaller races on tiny, overlapping circuits, which level you up as you win and earn in-game medals. After around four races, if youve performed well, youll find yourself at around level 4, and thats where youll hit a wall. Every subsequent race is locked till youve reached at least level 10. Aside from the races, theres a free-roam mode that gives you three open environments to muck around in, perform tricks (which arent fun to pull off at all), and find hidden secrets. Doing so will also earn you rewards and level you up a little further, but you still wont reach level 10 from just the singleplayer modes. So even if you happen to be the kind who
Hemali Limbachiya

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hates interacting with other human beings, youll have to either play split-screen multiplayer or head online to level up further and open up the remaining races. Thankfully, your single player level will carry over to the multiplayer, and vice versa, and you also earn XP for playing splitscreen. So youre encouraged to play everything the game has to offer. Except that you arent so much encouraged as you are forced. You either play multiplayer, or just be happy replaying those four single player races and free-roam areas over and over. There is another way out, by the way pay $6 extra and unlock everything. Nice of them to give us that extra option. No one likes being told what to play and when to play it, but thankfully, the multiplayer is just as fun as the single player, so you wont mind it that much once you get into it. Even considering that, however, there just isnt enough content here, and maybe that shouldnt come as such a surprise from a game that costs a good Rs 1,000 less than others. But had the developers chosen to include more race content rather than the expansive customization options, wed be a lot happier. The amount of vehicle and player customization, both visual and performance, is quite impressive, but it just feels weird in a game where the actual gameplay content pales in comparison. MX vs ATV Alive has surely turned the series around, with fun, aggressive and chaotic offroad racing. Its a shame that there isnt enough content to make this a game that we can wholeheartedly recommend, but at Rs 1,499, it isnt a game that will leave you disappointed either, provided youre up for both single-player and multiplayer action.

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INTERVIEW

Battleeld: Bad Company 2 did not have the smoothest of launches on the PC, with many PC gamers unable to play online for a while. What measures are you taking to make sure this does not happen again, and that Battleeld 3 is as smooth an experience on PC as it is on consoles?

Securing a stable launch of our products is one of the most important things for us outside the creation of the core game. So its something we and EA together are spending a lot of time, energy and money on. Were running load tests and are scaling up all systems to be able to handle a greater number of players. We also have a whole team dedicated to everything happening post launch with Battleeld 3.

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Undoubtedly one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year, EA and DICE have been turning the heat up on the competition with tease trailers and gameplay demos of Battlefield 3, which have been nothing short mind-blowing. Employing the all new Frostbite 2 engine, the game looks unlike anything else out there. Karl Magnus Troedsson, vice president and general manager at DICE, tells us what we can expect from Battlefield 3 when it arrives this October.
BY AVINASH BALI

The jump to Frostbite 2 doesnt just mean that we can have more destruction; the big differences affect the whole experience. Lighting is better, making everything in the world look so much more real. Streaming works better, meaning we can have more things on screen at the same time. Simpler and optimized workows mean that our designers can work faster, which in the end equals to a more polished game. And very importantly, the implementation of the ANT technology in combination with the award winning audio will change how people perceive animations and sound in an FPS.

How big would you say is the jump from Frostbite to Frostbite 2.0? What kind of destruction are we talking about here?

The Battleeld series (Bad Company not included) is not one to feature a single player campaign. What made you guys add one for this game?

When we introduced the story-driven campaigns in Battleeld: Bad Company, our idea was simply to widen the offering of our franchise so more people could enjoy it. We know for a fact that many people prefer to start their games by playing the ofine campaign and then move onto the more competitive online modes, where the heart of Battleeld always has been, and still is.

Whats next for the Bad Company series?


Nothing has been decided yet.

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We built it here at DICE in order to be able to create the games that we want to make. Now, more studios within EA are using it, which is great, but it wont go any further than that. The upcoming challenges will be to get it to run on new platforms, getting ready for the next, upcoming and expected console transition.

The Frostbite engine has proven itself to be quite exible, being used in shooters as well as racing games (Need for Speed: The Run). Whats next for this engine? Do you plan on licensing it out to other developers the way Epic did with the Unreal 3 engine?

Im really eager to see what the gamers will make out of the jets now that theyre back in the game. Its such a signature vehicle with unique capabilities, so Im curious to see how gamers will utilize it to be effective on the battleeld.

What according to you is the most badass weapon in the game, and why?

Look for the Battlefield 3 multiplayer trailer on the CHIP DVD

Are jets in the multiplayer side of things killstreak rewards? Will players be able to pilot them?

The reintroduction of prone into Battleeld 3 is solely based upon the feedback from the Battleeld community. They desperately wanted it, so were delivering it. As for avoiding exploits, were countering this with some other tricks. For example, the snipers weapon optic will give off a slight glint, which can reveal his/her position.

What made you include prone in this game? Arent you afraid people will abuse it the way they have in the Call of Duty games?

We dont have killstreaks in Battleeld 3 like some other games do, so no, the jet works like any other vehicle. Run up to the aireld, pick one that is free, and youre off.

Whats your crowning achievement in Battleeld 3?


Well, were not done yet. Well have to wait and see how its received rst!

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PREVIEW

Year after year, the FIFA series keeps growing in popularity, and it is today EA's biggest franchise. But the developers aren't taking things lightly, as is evident from the many bold changes in this year's game.
BY SAMEER DESAI

side from may be Call of Duty, there isnt a bigger game franchise out there than EA Sports FIFA, with every iteration comfortably selling over 10 million copies and consistently being one of the most played games online. But to keep these millions of people coming back each year, EA has to do all it can to keep pushing the game towards football simulation perfection. FIFA 11 took some significant strides towards achieving that, but there were a few gameplay and AI issues that held it back. With FIFA 12, not only is EA attempting to plug all the holes, but theyve also claimed that the new game will revolutionize the football games genre. Leading the revolution is FIFA 12s new player impact engine, which aims to lend the game a whole new level of physicality. In most sports games, including past FIFA games, collisions played out with the help of situational animations. So being clipped on the heels by an opposition player would trigger a trip animation that would

send your player into a stumble or to the ground. In the same situation now, however, the outcome is determined by various on-the-fly physics calculations that take into account parameters such as the speed and momentum of your player and the severity of the opponents tackle. What this eventually means from a gameplay perspective is that being clipped on the heels doesnt always have to impede your progress. If youre well balanced, you have speed and momentum, and the challenge isnt a particularly tough one, you could well shrug it off and continue with your run. FIFA games have always had more realistic player animations than other sports games, but what this new player impact engine does is ensure that each collision now looks different. So bone crunching tackles will be shown with believably theatrical animations, while smaller nudges will result in players stumbling or shrugging off the challenge. Theres a potential downside to this, though. Since all the collisions are based on

Look for the trailer of FIFA 12 on the CHIP DVD


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on-the-fly physics calculations, there is a possibility of these calculations sometimes having undesirable outcomes. Theres no doubt that EA will thoroughly play test the new engine, but this being the first time its actually being used, there is the possibility of the odd awkward-looking animations. For example, a player may fall to the ground like he was tripped when he was actually shoulder-charged by a defender. This is, of course, a very extreme example, the likes of which you probably wont see, but using an open-ended system like this surely opens the game up to such risks, especially because in games like FIFA, there are so many different gameplay scenarios playing out that its impossible to play test for them all. Another new feature in FIFA 12 is the precision dribbling system, whereby players have increased control over the ball when standing still or moving at a slow pace. What this essentially means is that shielding the ball from a defender or holding up play while your teammates join the attack is now possible. You can now apply deft touches using the inside or outside of the boot for twisting dribbles that allow you to maneuver more freely without actually losing control of the ball. While being caught in tight spaces in earlier games meant being dispossessed by an opposing player, with precisions dribbling, you now have many more tricks up your sleeve to retain possession. One of the biggest complaints from FIFA 11 players was how overpowered the defenders were, so this time, the developers are introducing tactical defending, which relies more on skill and judgment. Positioning and timing now play a vital role in not only making successful tackles but also in intercepting passes. Aiding defense further is the new pro player intelligence, through which the AI moves more intelligently into open spaces and helps provide cover in vulnerable areas. This also has an impact in offense, with AI teammates making intelligent runs through the middle and down the flanks. Players will also play to their strengths and utilize the strengths of their teammates. To add to the games realism, the true injuries feature will punish players who rely on and overuse a particular star performer. Players will realistically fatigue over the course of a game, and pushing an already fatigued player further may result in injuries. So the game now encourages teamwork as opposed to just using the star player to do all the work. There are even more changes in FIFA 11 that we havent covered here, such as the improved career mode. So this clearly isnt just FIFA 11 with a new name, but a serious effort on EAs part to deliver an all new game in its quest to take the series

ever closer to the real thing. But the intent has always been there; the real question is whether this is the year that EA finally delivers. FIFA 12 is scheduled for release on 30th September 2011 on PC, consoles and handhelds.

PC AND CONSOLE VERSIONS WILL BE IDENTICAL


PC versions of past FIFA games have always been a year or two behind what we saw on the PS3 and Xbox 360, with the PC version receiving inferior visuals and fewer features. This time, however, EA has promised that PC and console versions will use the same engine and be identical in every way, which means all the new features mentioned in this preview should also be available for PC gamers.

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INTERVIEW

The Saints Row series has set itself apart from other open-world games by taking a hilarious, over-the-top approach, and then multiplying the fun by throwing in campaign co-op. Saints Row: The Third pushes the envelope further with a new city, a new game engine, and a whole new level of craziness. Lead producer Greg Donovan tells us what we can expect come November.
BY AVINASH BALI

The original Saints Row concept came out of Volition (developer). For many years, the studio had been looking for an additional IP to develop. Small, cross-discipline teams came up with a number of potential concepts, and Saints Row came out on top. It was pitched to THQ and was green-lit shortly thereafter. Some of the game mechanics in that original concept are still present in SRTT - complete various in-game tasks to gain respect, play as gang member, and take over a city. We feel SR has undergone a steady evolution as opposed to a sudden change. SR was denitely more serious than either SR2 and SRTT, and yet it contained gameplay elements that mark the franchises identity today. For example, SR1 contained the Insurance Fraud activity, where players throw themselves into trafc and ping-pong against vehicles for multipliers. SR1 also had an activity where the studio GMs (at that time, Dan Cermak and Mike Kulas) would come after the player if they failed to pay back loans on time. SR2 pushed this type of over-the-top

How was Saints Row born? The first game wasnt as over-the-top as its successors. What brought about the sudden change?

gameplay by including activities like Crowd Control, FUZZ and Septic Avenger. SR2 also pushed the stylistic direction where it could. For example, instead of a standard street gang, we had a gang that had ties to Voodoo. We were actually a bit worried that perhaps we were taking things too far in some cases. Now, with SRTT, our concern isnt if weve crossed the line its if we havent! Of course, once SR2 released and we saw that the over-thetop theme resonated well with players, the sky was the limit on SRTT. And because we were creating an original world with all new technology, we have been able to take the over-thetop elements found in SR2 and prescribe them to everything in SRTT - visual effects, character design, situational dialog, character creation, and of course, gameplay.

Were you surprised by the way Saints Row 2 was received, with many gamers preferring it to GTA IV? Whats the one aspect of SR2 that you werent pleased with?

I dont think surprised is the right word. Weve never con-

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cerned ourselves with what other open world games are doing. Our position is that open-world is a game genre, and there are many types of games within that genre. Were a very, very different game from all the other open-world games out there. Thats a good thing for us and I think a good thing for players, too. I wish we were able to create an original city for SR2. Players enjoyed revisiting Stilwater, but I know the art team would have been keen to create a brand new and original city. Fortunately, were getting to create an all new and original city in SRTT.

The addition of co-op in SR2 was nothing short of brilliant. How did that come about? Has anything new been added to SR3s co-op?

Yes, we have discussed the idea, and yes, it would take a lot of work to implement, but it is possible to do. We made the decision to not include destruction at the same level of Red Faction because doing so would arguably mean developing a game that is very different from what SR fans know and expect. For example, what would do with a city that was completely destroyed? Steelport is as much a character in SRTT as the player-character, Saints and any of the enemies. Red Faction is great at being Red Faction. Saints Row is great at being Saints Row. Its really that simple.

SR2s co-op mode came about late in the pre-production phase. We felt we were on the right track by pushing the gameplay, but we also wanted to offer another, stand-out feature that would further separate SR2 from other open-world games. Being able to play through the games critical path via co-op was that feature. Our philosophy for co-op on SRTT has been if it aint broke, dont x it. SRTT co-op players can expect the same seamless drop-in and drop-out, and ability to play through the entire campaign together.

As much as we loved Saints Row 2, the frame rates were really inconsistent across the board. Has this issue been fixed with SRTT?
SRTT is built on brand new technology, which in turn is based on Volitions eight-plus years experience building open world games. This new tech has allowed us to push the respective platforms further than we ever have before in regards to visuals, performance and playability. I think the videos weve release are a testament to this and show the improvements over SR2 across the board.

Our goal from the start was to create a city space that felt right for the game. We wanted to create a visually dense city where players had gameplay options or something interesting to do around every corner; we wanted to create a city that felt and looked right. I think weve achieved that. Its large enough so that ying in a VTOL never gets old or boring, and small enough that players wont feel like theyre getting lost, just driving around. The average player will take more than 20 hours to complete the critical path, but if you add co-op and account for time spent just playing in the world with the toys we give you, then who knows.

How large is the new city in SRTT? How long do you reckon one playthrough would take? And speaking of activities, which one is the most awesome and why?

With the PC version of SRTT, we have a dedicated PC team that is developing in parallel with the console team. I know PC players are going to love the game on the PC platform, and we will soon announce some PC-specic features that will get the PC community very excited. Now that we are developing the PC version in-house, were very excited to introduce new features that can only be explored on PC hardware. As for preferred platform, we think all versions of SRTT will offer a great game.

The PC port of SR2 was under par. Now that Volition is handling the port for SRTT, can we expect a stellar port? Which platform would you say would offer the best SRTT experience?

Why not include the destruction (courtesy GeoMod 2.0) from the Red Faction series into the game? We understand that it would take a lot of time to implement, but did this idea ever come up?

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INTERVIEW

just a blast to see in action. Otherwise, Id say Professor Genkis Super Ballistic Manapult, even though its more a vehicle than a weapon. But shooting pedestrians across the world is also very fun, and you can also shoot yourself or a co-op partner to hard-to-reach places quickly for fun, or to achieve a tactical combat advantage when ghting against large groups.

One of the great features of SRTT is we encourage players to muck about in the world just to see what happens. I think many players are going to spend a ton of time going back to this game for the dynamic, emergent sandbox gameplay long after theyve completed a couple of playthroughs. As for activities, my personal favorite is Professor Genkis Ethical Reality Climax show because its so unique and crazy. To give you an idea of what Im talking about - its a cross between the movie Running Man and a crazy Japanese game show.

As in SR and SR2, weve licensed a number of tracks that are spread out across a number of radio stations. Were going to release the nal track list later in the campaign. Rest assured, its a robust and varied selection. Well talk about specic PC features later in the campaign.

What kind of radio stations can we expect in the game? Is it possible to upload your own tunes in the PC version?

Which is the most badass weapon in SRTT, and why?

Theres no game like SRTT out there, anywhere. We feel SRTT is unique and different enough that it will appeal to gamers no matter when its released.

Releasing your game during the super packed month of November is a risky proposition. Arent you a bit apprehensive about the competition?

Well, I can only give you my opinion based on the weapons that we have shown so far. We have plenty of surprises to come. That said, my favorite weapon is probably the AirStrike. Its just so satisfying to shower death upon a giant swath of enemies in one fell swoop. It makes you feel incredibly powerful and its

Fortune and glory (laughs).

So whats next for the SR series? Thank you for your time.

Thank you. Its always a pleasure to talk about a game I love and am excited about.

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CAREERS

TOP GAME DEVELOPMENT COLLEGES


BY PRI YANK A T ILVE

If youre a student interested in game development as a career, a specialized course from a reputed institution is the best way to get a headstart in the field. Weve handpicked some of the best colleges from India and abroad.
Asian Institute of Gaming and Animation (AIGA)

DSK Supinfocom

Established in 2007, the Asian Institute of Gaming and Animation (AIGA) in Bangalore is the initiative of Edulink India Pvt Ltd in academic partnership with the University of Wolverhampton, UK. AIGA offers courses in Game Art, Game Programming and other specialized courses. AIGA benefits from presence of Joshi Mark Premnath and Erol Shailesh Watsa as its academic directors, who are the driving force behind one of Indias top game development studios, Dhruva Interactive. Website: www.aiga.in

Based in Pune, DSK Supinfocom is fast emerging as one of the premier industrial design, gaming and animation institutes in India. Its a joint venture between the DSK Group and leading French institute, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of North De France (CCINDF). Students can choose from various foundation and advanced level courses offered by the institute. The faculty at the institute is recruited from Europe, and they bring in a wealth of experience and knowledge. The institute also organizes events like Supinfomania 2011 and Game Kshetra, which brings together the brightest minds in the industry. Website: www.dsksic.com

DigiPen Institute of Technology

Established in Canada in 1988, DigiPen is one of the most revered institutes around the world when it comes to gaming development. A few years after collaborating with Nintendo of America to develop a program for video game programming, the campus was relocated to Redmond, Washington, US. The courses offered vary from Digital Art and Animation, Game Design, RealTime Interactive Simulation and Computer Engineering. DigiPen also has sister campuses in Singapore and Bilbao, Spain. Website: www.digipen.edu

DeVry University

Founded in 1931 as the DeForest Training School, it was officially renamed DeVry University in 2002. One of the biggest universities in the world, DeVry boasts of 90 campuses in the US and offers courses in technology, science, business, arts, management, etc. The College of Media Arts and Technology offers course sin Web Graphic Design and Multimedia Design and Development, while a comprehensive bachelors program in Game & Simulation Programming is offered by the College of Engineering & Information Sciences. Website: www.devry.edu
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CAREERS

GAMERS-TURNED-G
Weve told you about the top institutes around the word, but formal education isnt always mandatory to get into game development. We spoke with some budding game developers to find out how theyve managed to get into this field with no prior training.
BY SAMEER DESAI

Amit Goyal and G Arjun


THIS WAY UP

Amit: Its an eye-opener of sorts. Each

year since the idea of game development sprang up. I guess it was a gradual evolution from playing games to developing games. And no, we have absolutely zero education in the field apart from the fact that we play games, and more importantly, appreciate good games on all platforms. Amit: The whole idea actually sprang out of nowhere while driving back from work one night when a friend who works for a prominent social networking site told us that his company is looking for fresh ideas. We had been gaming for a long time, so we decided to give it a shot. Eventually, it didnt work out, but conceptualizing a game was great fun, and we decided to take it forward as a project.

How long have you developing games and have you had any formal education in this field? Arjun: Its been a little more than a

day is a learning process. As gamers, we are extremely demanding from our games. During development, you come to learn of all kind of practical problems one faces in implementing even the tiniest of things.

you dont want to work hard. It took us almost a year to understand the

Do you feel that not having a formal education in game development is a stumbling block for those who want to get into it? Arjun: It can be a stumbling block if

processes involved in developing a game. There were so many times we would bang our heads against the wall because we couldnt figure out a particular thing. In fact, were still learning even now. Amit: It hasnt been easy reaching this stage where our game is in production, but weve come through only by sticking to it. Many books on game design say that the only thing you need to do to be a game designer is to play lots of video games. I really believe thats true. Its not rocket science to conceptualize games, as long as youre clear about what you want to do. No amount of formal education or the lack of it can teach you things like common sense, creativity or logical reasoning, which we believe are the key ingredients in making video games. Some aspects, such as coding and animations, require specialization... but the important thing is to figure out where you fit in the overall scheme of things.

stuff like wow, nice gameplay or stunning graphics, maybe a more seasoned gamer may say awesome character development and story, but there is so much more than just that. Every step in the process needs to be well defined and well designed.

How is the process of game development different from what you thought it was when you were just playing games? Arjun: While playing we only think of

This Way Up is a start-up game development studio by Amit Goyal and G Arjun from New Delhi. Currently working on the iOS platform, they have teamed up with artist and animator Kshiraj Telang, Sandesh Jain, who comes armed with years of experience in game development for mobile platforms, and Dev Bhatia, who is handling marketing and PR for their upcoming game, which will release later this year.

beginning was to understand in detail the most important question - how are games developed? It started from that basic point. Additionally, finding like-minded people who share the same passion for gaming and want to develop good, entertaining games that need to compete with international products was quite difficult. But eventually, when we found such people, it didnt seem so tough after all.

What are the biggest challenges youve faced since getting into game development? Arjun: Our biggest challenge in the

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GAME DEVELOPERS
spend a lot of time doing research. So as it then turns out, research and studying are one and the same thing. Also, play all types of games. Amit: Figure out what youre good at first. Its very important to assess what kind of resources you have and choose your starting point accordingly. We want to develop a AAA title for consoles, but we know we dont have those kind of resources right now. When we got ourselves an iPod, we saw the potential that the platform holds, assessed the resources required, and decided to make it our starting point. iOS is a great platform for budding game designers as it requires lesser resources and smaller teams.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into game development without having studied it? Arjun: I suggest that people should

Hiccups do happen, and it may take that one programmer from a day to a week until theyve figured out how to fix that one particular problem. Understanding the technical requirements for others goes a long way towards bridging communication gaps, as not everyone will be ready to understand what your framework of your game truly is.

done a reasonably good job of promoting a career that is often not really promoted here. Game artists could still look into animation courses.

Vijay Sinha
MPOWERED

grammers may benefit more from joining a typical course, but theres usually no real game programming involved. From what Ive been told, graphic programming (eg doing in-game cutscenes) is not something thats covered a lot in India. Its a very self-learning process. But at least for studying game design, institutes such DSK Supinfocom have

Do you feel that not having a formal education in game development is a stumbling block for those who want to get into it? Vijay: Absolutely. On one hand, pro-

the expectations of yourself and others. Quality is in the mindset of the people, so I always end up second-guessing myself on what works for the player (regardless of whether theyre new to games). Another challenge, perhaps more common for smaller studios such as ourselves, is that you have to know how to market your game. Even if it gets positive reviews, if people dont know it exists, thats a problem. It can take months before your title actually gains momentum.

What are the biggest challenges youve faced since getting into game development? Vijay: Delivering a product that meets

game tester, and the past six months as a Project Planner and Designer for MPowered India. I have not had any formal education in any of the fields I have worked in.

How long have you developing games and have you had any formal education in this field? Vijay: Ive worked three years as a

really have to understand where others are coming from in a development cycle.

How is the process of game development different from what you thought it was when you were just playing games? Vijay: For the management portion, you

MPowered is the mobile games division of Apra Infotech Pvt Ltd, a serious games developer and service provider based in New Delhi. Since 2008, they have been helping American companies ship cuttingedge training simulations built upon Unreal and Unity3D technology, thus helping people learn while having fun. MPowered is a full house production studio with art, programming, production and testing services.

way to break into the profession, as the barrier of entry is not very high and you have room to experiment. You learn about the tools developers use to communicate with one another, and how issues can be approached and documented in a team environment. Taking my friend and colleague Ankit as an example, being a tester helped him understand the mistakes a game programmer often makes, as certain points have a tendency of being overlooked while coding. Reading up and watching developer interviews over the Internet can also be educational, and are generally very interesting to watch.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into game development without having studied it? Vijay: Game testing can be a great

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REVIEW

A violent and cheesy homage to B grade horror movies.


BY AVINASH BALI

RATING 4/5

ith a name like Garcia Hotspur, you either become a male prostitute or a badass demon hunter, or in the case of eccentric developer Suda 51s latest game, Shadows of the Damned, a demon hunter who has a thing for dong jokes. While being a demon hunter has its perks, it does come with a few tiny perils that include eternal damnation for your girlfriend at the hands of a demon overlord. Nothing to sweat about really except for the fact that shell probably get dragged into the underworld only to die mercilessly over and over and over again in horrific ways. But hey, theres nothing like a free meal right? But being the stud that you are, you obviously dive in (quite literally) to rescue her from this terrible fate, aided in this noble endeavor by your Johnson. And yes, that is a clever play on words (remember the whole penis thing I told you about at the start) because by Johnson, I do mean your floating skull companion voiced by a British guy who can change into a plethora of weapons. After all, he

is the perfect tool for the job. Har Har. As juvenile as the pee pee jokes seem, they are actually quite funny and unlike Duke Nukem Forever, where I cringed on every pun, I rather enjoyed the snide, sexual overtones in Shadows of the Damned. Instead of annoying the player, they really do drive home the cheesy B grade horror movie vibe Suda 51 was aiming at. Fusing the visual style of Quentin Tarantinos Grindhouse with the over-the-top horror and humor of an Evil Dead, Shadows of the Damned pays homage to the days when horror movies actually amused you instead of just grossing you out. The game takes place in Suda 51s demented vision of the underworld, a place that youll hopefully never visit. The games concept, where the player is forced to watch his loved one die in horrible ways all the time, is very bleak and I found the humor, as juvenile as it was, balancing this out to a certain extent. Voice acting is intentionally cheesy, and I really wouldnt have it any other way. Unlike Dante (from Dantes Inferno), who just whined and whined like some emo kid tweaking off caffeine after suffering a similar fate, Garcia is a total badass, who will make the best of a bad situation. And then make a dong joke out of it. Thats how he rolls. Gameplay in SoTD is more or less your conventional third-person shooter sans the cover system and regenerating health bar. The controls do feel clunky at first, but youll get used to them eventually. Shooting the underworlds minions will grant you white crystals that can be used to purchase a bunch of stuff like upgrades for your tool, ammunition, as well as some much needed health in the form of alcohol. Since this is the underworld, I guess the rules of the real world do not apply, so drinking is actually good for your health. Fun times! Besides a bunch of grotesque minions, you will often encounter some particularly nasty bosses,
Hemali Limbachiya

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REVIEW

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who no matter how big or ugly, always sport their Achilles heels in the form of red glowing spots on their bodies. Stun them with your light burst and then go to town on that red spot; it never fails. Upon being slain, every boss will drop a blue crystal, which when fed to your Johnson, will allow him (or it) to become a newer weapon like a variant of a machine gun or a shotgun. A few levels in, youll encounter a half-demon-half-human trader called Christopher (dont ask), who for a price will sell you certain items, be it ammunition, booze or red orbs to upgrade weapons, like increasing reloading speed, capacity, damage and so on. Besides the conventional mechanics I spoke about earlier, crucial to this game is the concept of light and dark. Every level in the underworld has a certain amount of darkness represented by, well, actual darkness. When engulfed in this darkness, Garcia will slowly start losing health as the corruption starts eating away at his health bar. When faced with such a predicament, you either run towards the light (literally), or create some for yourself by shooting wall-mounted goat heads, because in the underworld, goat heads are capable of shedding light. I mean how could you not know this? A lot of the games combat is tied into this mechanic as well. When engulfed in the darkness, most enemies tend to get tougher to kill as they get a protective cover of sorts that can only be destroyed with your light shot. Only once that protective shield is taken down, will your bullets carve them up. Like I mentioned earlier, SoTD sports a really cool visual style, combining grungy psychedelic visuals with some really depressing, dreary vistas. The underworld is really not a pleasant place and that fact is driven home by some of the morbid enemies youll encounter. Special mention goes out to the rather hideous creature design; Stan Winston (R.I.P.) would be proud. The penile

fetish I mentioned multiple times also finds a way into level as well as weapon design, so dont be surprised if you run into a ton of phallic symbols in this game. Towards the end of the game, youll encounter a few 2D side scrolling levels that are a welcome change of pace. While they are enjoyable in their own way, they do get a bit frustrating at times thanks to clunky controls and the inability to control your characters movement in that plane. Eventually, your love (or hate) for Shadows of the Damned will depend on your tolerance (or love) for all things B grade. I, for one, totally dug the games art style, juvenile humor, cheesy voice acting and bleak setting. The game can get a bit tough and repetitive at times, and for some, the penis jokes may get a bit out of hand, but if you leave all logic behind and dive into Suda 51s creepy and totally demented world, I guarantee youll have a ball of a time. Yes, I said ball.

THIRD-PERSON SHOOTER

RATINGS
Rs 2,499 (PS3), Rs 2,249 (Xbox 360) EA Grasshopper Manufacture Milestone Interactive 022 42764000 sales@milestoneinteractive.com

Shadows of the Damned


PRICE PUBLISHER DEVELOPER DISTRIBUTOR PHONE E-MAIL

FOR
Great atmosphere, juvenile but thoroughly entertaining humor, solid action, groovy visual style.

AGAINST
Predictable boss fights, a bit repetitive, sidescrolling parts are a bit annoying.

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INNOVATION

INNOVATION

KINECT ON THE PS3


Kinect has taken the gaming world by storm by enabling motion-controlled gaming on the Xbox 360 without the need for a controller; your body is the controller. Now, Hyderabad-based Shantanu Goel has managed to get Kinect working on the PS3. We spoke to him about this unique project.
BY SAMEER DESAI

What made you attempt to make Kinect work on the PS3?

Well, I didnt really have a goal in mind when I started. I just like dabbling into new things and learning about different technologies. Ive been interested in image manipulation for some time now, but I dont have a CS background, so learning all the algorithms to do things from scratch was way too much for my time-bound condition. Kinect seemed like a nice platform for the same, with all the open source libraries around it. I saw that everyone was doing hacks with it on PC already, so I thought, why not try something that no one has thought about? Judging by some comments on my Youtube video, it looks like people still dont believe that it can be done. I had come across a nice project called Sixaxis Emulator or DIYPS3Controller some time back, which can be used to emulate a regular

PS3 Dualshock 3 (DS3) controller on a PC. So I put two and two together and created this mash-up.

The program makes use of several other programs in order to provide this functionality. To compile/use it, you also need the following: ff OpenNI Libraries To get data from Kinect ff NITE Libraries Builds on top of OpenNI to provide gesture detection, etc ff PrimeSense Libraries for kinect Kinect drivers to get raw data ff DIYPS3Controller The main component for PS3 connection. Also known as Sixaxis Emulator. This emulates a DS3 on the PC and sends the inputs to PS3 through Bluetooth. ff Bluetooth dongle capable of custom BT MAC A address. Most dongles from CSR with Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR marking should work.

What procedure did you use to get Kinect working on the PS3 and what were the components involved in the process?

If you are looking to do it my way (a PC is used as man-in-the-middle), monetary expense is limited to a cheap Bluetooth dongle worth a couple of hundred Rupees (assuming you already have a PC, Kinect and PS3). Technically, my code is pretty much pick-up-and-go for basic usage, but you need to be familiar with basic compilation stuff. If you want to extend it, then you need to read and understand the (pretty sparse) OpenNI and NITE
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How much technical expertise and monetary expense would it take to get Kinect working on PS3?

INNOVATION

47

documentation. You should be pretty conversant with writing C code.

How does the system work? What is the extent of Kinect functionality on the PS3?

My code glues all the components listed above together to get gesture data from Kinect, convert it into DS3 format expected by PS3 on my laptop and then send it to PS3 over Bluetooth through the laptop/Bluetooth dongle. My proof-of-concept code allows you to browse the PS3 menus fluidly, but game control mapping isnt robust yet and a lot is pending there.

I would say that I am able to make a few movements in PS3 games with Kinect right now, but it still needs a lot of work before I can say it is good enough for playing. Six-axis Emulator can translate mouse and keyboard movements to DS3 data, so for my initial approach, I create a fake mouse and keyboard and convert Kinect input data to this fake mouse and keyboard, and provide it to the Sixaxis Emulator. This is not optimal though. For my next approach, Im modifying the Sixaxis Emulator code and trying to directly translate Kinect data to DS3, eliminating few redundant steps in between to increase performance and accuracy. So far, I have tried Flower and Killzone 3, with Flower giving more suitable results as it is already geared towards motion controls and doesnt require as much accuracy and reflex action as Killzone 3 does.

Are you able to play PS3 games using Kinect? How did you map motion controls to games that use the traditional controller? Which PS3 games were you able to get working with Kinect?

ABOUT THE INNOVATOR


Shantanu Goel is a B.E in Electronics and Electrical Communication from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. He began his corporate career with Aricent (Hughes Software Systems) working on GSM technology and drivers, and platform development for TI DSPs. He is currently working at Qualcomm, where he develops device drivers for a variety of mobile processors across Android, Windows Phone 7 and various other operating systems.

I do plan to keep working on it and I hope to make it a fully usable alternative for at least Playstation Move-enabled games on PS3. Another wish of mine is to eliminate the man-in-the-middle approach (PC usage) and do it natively on the PS3. With custom firmware it might be possible using Linux on PS3, but right now, I dont want to chart that territory because of this being a legally grey area.

Do you plan to keep working on this project? What do you hope to achieve via Kinect functionality on PS3?

No. I do all my work on Linux, so the Kinect for Windows SDK hasnt had any impact on it. As of now, I dont have a plan to work with Kinect outside PS3 since a lot of other folks are already doing that work much better than me.

Has the recently released Kinect SDK for Windows helped in any way? Do you plan to work with Kinect further outside its uses on the PS3?

Of course. With my PC man-in-the-middle approach, it should be possible. We also have open source drivers for the Xbox 360 controller available, so getting that format, creating an Xbox 360 controller emulator and then using the same process with the Xbox 360 should be possible.
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How about Playstation Move on the Xbox 360? Do you think that would be possible?

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FEATURE

Beginners' Guide to

Team Fortress 2
mode (present in the main menu itself) through which you can gain a better understanding of the di erent classes, diverse game modes as well as the maps. And dont sco at the bots; they will kick your butt all over the place.

alve stunned the world recently by making one of its most popular online shooters, Team Fortress 2 (TF2) free to play. This obviously resulted in a massive influx of players, who for the last six-odd years or so, missed out on one of the most awesome online gaming experiences there is. When you pit newcomers against veterans whove been eating, breathing and doing all sorts of nasty stuff with Team Fortress 2 since 2007, the results will be a bit disastrous, since Team Fortress 2 has quite a steep learning curve. And since we were all noobs once, heres a basic guide that should help you get by.

EXPERIMENT WITH AND UNDERSTAND YOUR CLASS


TF2 has nine distinct classes, each of which has its strengths and weaknesses. Experiment with each of them to see which one suits your play style the best. Newcomers would be better o sticking to easier classes like the Heavy, Medic or Pyro, after which they can graduate to the tougher ones like Soldier, Spy, etc. Once you nd your groove with a particular class, youll be tempted to stick to that class, but I strongly suggest becoming more of an all-round player as some classes are useless in certain maps. After youve zeroed in on your class,

its time to fully understand its pros and cons. Sure, the Heavy may seem like an invulnerable obvious choice at first, but his slow movement makes him an easy target for spies and snipers. Similarly, the Scout, while fast and nimble, can easily be decimated by a Heavys machine gun or a well-timed rocket. Plus, some of the larger maps are crawling with spies and snipers so running around all clueless like a Heavy will get you backstabbed or shot in the head in no time.

THERES NO I IN TEAM
TF2 is a team-based shooter and just so you understand what Im saying, a TEAMBASED SHOOTER. This isnt Call of Duty, where you can stroke your e-private part after racking up a fteen-frag killstreak. Its all about ful lling objectives and working as a team to ful ll those objectives, without which both you and your team will lose. Investing in a headset would also

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT


TF2 may look all cartoony and funny, but it is a brutal game, where the weak will die, painfully, over and over again. To avoid humiliation, Valve have been considerate enough to add in a Practice

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FEATURE

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Valve revolutionized online gaming with Team Fortress 2 in 2007. Now, nearly four years later, they set out to remake history by releasing TF2 as a free-to-play title. And in case you're jumping onto the bandwagon just now, here are a few tips to avoid frequent death.
BY AVINASH BALI

be a very good idea since constant typing while trying to avoid being burnt by a Pyros ame thrower can get a bit tricky.

DO NOT CRY WOLF


I really nd it annoying - especially while playing as a Medic - when people keep spamming the Medic key even though they have full health. Hey kids, thats the key you press when youre hurt so the doctor can make the pain go bye-bye. If you feel the need to constantly blurt stu out, learn the in-game voice commands. That way, you can communicate with your team even if you dont have a headset (although you really should).

DONT BE IN A HURRY TO BUY STUFF


You enter a server and see people running around with all these cool hats, helmets and weapons, and you want one. Someone tells you to go check out the

Mann Co. store, and voila, you see all that cool paraphernalia in front of your eyes. But be warned; they come at a very high price, and I do mean that quite literally. Instead, take some time to understand the whole trading and crafting system through which you could craft or even be gifted all the cool stu thats available in the store. As a free-to-play player, you wont be able to give stu away, but that doesnt mean your friends cant pass over some of their drops to you. That brings me to the games randomized drop system. Back in the day, Valve had tied in certain weapons to in-game achievements and only after ful lling them could you unlock those weapons. Unfortunately, this didnt work out too well for Valve or the community, and so in 2010, they devised a new way to drop items into servers. This new approach is a cross between the old one (where you have to ful ll certain

achievements to earn weapons) and a new totally randomized one where random items are awarded to players for every few minutes of game time. This way, even newcomers stand a chance of picking up that shiny new weapon. Over prolonged hours of gameplay, you will obviously get the same weapon multiple times. This ties into the games crafting system, where similar weapons can be smelted to make scrap metal. Combining scrap metal with other weapons allows you to craft newer items. Of course, this all can be a bit daunting at rst, so take the time to sit down and read through some of the blueprints present inside the game. Zero in on the weapons that suit your class and then proceed to work towards them. Theres a ton of stu to be learnt in Team Fortress 2, most of which youll probably have to gure out on your own in the battle eld. So get to it!

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