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Lookouts Issue #1
Posted by News Fetcher on July 04 '12 at 08:30 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
The first issue of our ongoing Lookouts comic book is available today on Comixology! This book has been a long time in the making and I’m incredibly proud of the result. Cryptozoic has put together and incredible creative team and they really nailed the Lookouts style. Tycho and I worked very closely with everyone involved to make sure this book feels like Lookouts. If you’re a fan of our fantasy boy scouts I think you’re in for a real treat.



I’ve always thought that Lookouts has the potential to be a big deal. I can see YA novels, Saturday morning cartoons, movies and action figures all based on the Lookouts world. This comic book is beautiful and I hope it’s just the tip of the iceberg. So tell your friends and tell your friends to tell their friends. I would love for Lookouts to be huge!

-Gabe out

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Ionosphere
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '12 at 11:15 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Gabriel has been playing the newest Spider-Man, which - to hear him tell it - is actually a new Batman game, or something very much like it. He doesn’t care at all! He doesn’t think they’re engaged in a barrel scraping operation, or that there’s a paucity of inspiration at Beenox, or anything of the kind. He loves Batman: Arkham Whatever, and he simply thinks that all superhero games should be exactly like that. Essentially, he’s arguing for the formulation of Batman a la Rocksteady as a kind of genre.
Spider-Man games have gone back and forth on whether or not you have to actually swing from something while you’re doing those things which are associated with the spider’s domain. It doesn’t actually make the game more fun in any way, in fact, it’s like adding a kind of “hall monitor” expressly to staunch your glee. It’s a bit of realism that probably isn’t required, but it’s still fun to think about.
We have a pre-order thing going for <a href=""http://store.penny-arcade.com/products/paint-the-line-red-tide>Paint The Line: Red Tide</a>, but it comes out in like five days, so it’s not the kind of pre-order that is for something off in some nebulous future. I mean, it’s on the desk in front of me, still in the shrinkwrap. What the Pre-order does give you is a mini-comic by one of the designers, Steve Bowler, which details a fateful match of nations. Kiko was able to take the design and make an immaculate package out of the experience, and his phalanx of freelance artists struck their targets unerringly. I was pleased that he came to me for flavor text, because I’m the sort of person who actually reads that shit in this type of game and I’ve always wanted to try my hand at it.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Melange
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '12 at 10:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Knowing, as we do, that Gabriel plays games in order to be rewarded with “new art,” the fact that Kingdom Hearts 2 ranks high for him - as high as it can, actually - probably isn’t a surprise. I find the story fascinating, the sort of game one drains with a FAQ chaser; there are huge ideas all over the fucking place, when the fact their tangle of warring franchises works at all is surprising out the gate.
Of course, that’s not what he’s after; he finds it superfluous, which is how you know we’re in this universe and not another one.
He was able to grab a demo for it, much the same way you can, from the cramped, authentically terrifying cave that is the eShop on the 3DS. He’d never been in there before; it was the Dream Drop Distance demo that drew him in, and when he found himself ensconced by that haunted thicket he cried aloud.
There are many things one can say about the 3DS, and we routinely do. I have suggested that just as with the DS itself, it can take a while to find that game which makes the system (with all its attendant idiosyncrasies) disappear. After that happened, I found myself hungry for those “snack” threshold games I’ve grown accustomed to on traditional systems and personal computers: not full discs, no carts, just something I can point to on the cart and grab quickly. This was when I was a young man, new to the world; my soul had built no callus.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Melange
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '12 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Innovation
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '12 at 10:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Try to follow the sequence of events:

1. Gabriel Switched To The Mac, But Had A Windows Mobile Phone

2. Then He Had A Mac And An iPhone

3. Then he Had A Mac And A Windows Phone

4. Then He Went Back To The iPhone, But Got A PC.

So now that he’s back in the Mobile portion of the fold he’s having a number of “freemium” experiences that he enjoys to varying degrees, even though he knows that he is only pushing a metaphorical button until a biologically reinforced reward falls out. Games that you can only play for a little while until all of your weebles have been committed, and you must wait for them to return. Kara’s strategy is to play so many of them that she is never without a weeble, or at any rate a weeble equivalent, to invest in her digtal airport/sushi bar/dwarf village/kumite/skeevy rub n’ tug.

In any case, having seen its corrupting power, Gabriel decided that the time had come to
plant a flag</i> in the genre. That is all a joke setup, obviously, but we’re already getting pitches to make the game detailed in the strip, which is sorta like… dudes. I’m not sure you understand this one.

The difference between Gabriel and myself, one of many, is that I actually did make a game, one that you can buy <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/213030/?snr=1_7_suggest__13">on Steam
OR on Xbox where it just came out about ten hours ago. I even (ahem) “binged” it on there, I literally said “Xbox, Bing Precipice,” because I felt confident that no-one had ever said that before or would, ever again, after that moment. I like to put my stamp on that kind of stuff.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Innovation
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '12 at 11:16 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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Absolutely Not
Posted by News Fetcher on June 26 '12 at 11:15 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I keep thinking I’m going to get back into Diablo 3, but it never seems to happen; they inspire new outrage on a weekly basis with everything that surrounds the clicking, but I’m not even running the executable! I’m safe altogether from these fresh horrors. And everyone else beat it and left. If I wanted to get back in, I’d be doing it alone. So that might not happen.

So, as those who have mostly left the bulding already, Diablo 3’s Real Money Auction House is double mysterious and we don’t know what it’s for. Well, okay: we know know. The “moneys.” What I’m saying is that getting new shit actually is the game. For us, anyway. Getting and, crucially, equipping new loot. The whole AH thing short-circuits the entire idea: the game is, functionally speaking, a pinata. Right? Obviously, you could just go buy candy at the store. It’s not about having candy. It’s about getting candy.
If I commit money earned in-game toward an item, be it from a vendor or from the auction house, it’s still a closed loop. We’re talking about a quantum of game time when we talk about gold. Paying money, let alone an exorbitant sum of money, seems like a singularly poor investment</i>. In free to play games, I give myself an “allowance” of actual money to games that have earned it, typically up to a cap that is the equivalent of a retail purchase. But this game is sixty Goddamn dollars. Valve ultimately realized that people would purchase more hats if they gave the heads away for free; ultimately, there may be a parallel there.
Because I did not design <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/213030/">On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness 3
, I can express an appreciation of Zeboyd without it getting too weird, hopefully. Hopefully.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Rain-Slick 3 Is Back In Peer Review On Xbox
Posted by News Fetcher on June 26 '12 at 08:45 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Fingers crossed!

(CW)TB

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Mario Marathon For Child’s Play!
Posted by News Fetcher on June 25 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
They’ve been at it for days already, up past $77,000, and they just keep cranking. Stop by the stream!

(CW)TB

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Good Problems
Posted by News Fetcher on June 25 '12 at 09:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I was an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan, a big one. Perhaps not big enough to refer to it as ATLA or whatever a true enthusiast would call it; I’m also not entirely sure what a true enthusiast might be called. So, now you have the meticulously calibrated threshold. I have been largely unavailable to mass media enterprises of late, but I couldn’t wait for the season to end to catch up with Korra. I’d gorged on the previous series, and had similar plans, but no. Gabe kept coming into the office eyes wide, head shaking, desperate to discuss and embroider.
I’m in now, though. Oh yes. And I recognize that it’s difficult to be young, and shit is confusing on the real, but dude come on.

Brenna exerts the same field that Gabriel does for whatever reason, a field which fries fucking electronics, and after trying to fix her laptop on and off for a few days I finally pulled the hard drive out of it and started poking around via my other computer. The secret I’ve been keeping as I puttered around this fucking platter is that I had no consistent backup regimen; I used to have Hybir going, but that was a laptop ago and gleaming new hardware had lulled me to sleep. We have physical prints of perhaps one out of three hundred or so, but the images that surround those prints chronologically - what we might call metadata, or what any other person would call “context” - contain the memory in aggregate.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Good Problems
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '12 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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A Virus Named TOM
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
We’ve been testing builds of different stuff for PAX10 ahead of the judging, making sure everything will function day of, because early software doesn’t always behave correctly. Dave and Feh were playing a really cool cooperative puzzler when I dropped in, and I couldn’t bring myself to look away. I could have plugged in a controller, it allows for four clever little virii, but I was too mesmerized. I went back into my office and bought it instantly. I don’t know what this subgenre is called, or if it even has a name, but this is one of those games where you are trying to light up a circuit. A Virus Named Tom! I’m only one judge, so I can’t verify it’ll get all the way to the show, but you could (if you were so inclined) buy it for five stupid bucks and grab the very polished beta right now.

(CW)TB

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Lookouts Comic Book
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:
It’s been quite a while since we announced that a Lookouts comic was being made. It honestly took us longer than we thought to nail down the right creative team to make the book. We’ve nailed it now though and the first issue will be available on July 6th.

I’ve created an alternate cover for the very first issue. My cover will be available this year at San Diego Comic Con. Check it out!



(click it for a higher res)

I saved some of my initial sketches for this one in case you’re curious how a piece like this starts out.



This is my very first little thumbnail sketch. One of maybe a dozen or so ideas like it. It’s the one I liked the best though and so I took it a bit further.



This is the next phase. I’m trying to lock down the composition and start thinking about the perspective. You can see that it changed a bit between this and the final image.

I’d like to thank my friend Ben Caldwell who helped me out with some of the perspective stuff in this piece. He’s so good at that sort of thing and it’s something I rarely do. I’d also like to thank Doug Tennapel who did his own alternate Lookouts cover for us. You can check out his new web comic right here and look for more of his work in future Lookouts issues.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Dichotomy
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Quantum Conundrum made me very happy for its duration, and then it was over, and it was just me at the menu screen having considerably less fun than I had been having previously. I’d passed through so many distinct states of being during the trip that I had forgotten how to do normal things.
It may not be possible to talk about Quantum Conundrum without discussing Portal. I’m sure they don’t like that. This is what happens when you succeed, though: it colors expectations, which need to be addressed. Quantum Conundrum is the game equivalent of “the Sophomore Album.”
I still feel like my initial observation was correct; we don’t have a word to describe a designer’s “style” that is distinct from “genre.” Moreover, I think we might have the genre wrong anyhow; I’m fairly certain Portal and Quantum Conundrum are Adventure Games. Adventure Games of the classic form are still with us, and are arguably experiencing a resurgence, but they’re not this. Portal and Quantum Conundrum are what adventure games would look like if the genre had never experienced a Dark Age: you manipulate your environment, and are rewarded with new environments to manipulate.
Quantum Conundrum doesn’t have any intention of being a narrative tour de force, which is too bad, because this is no doubt what everyone expects. Portal was written by the industry’s foremost writer of humor, which helps. There is one other person who could have done it, but he also works at Valve. Quantum Conundrum is purposefully, explicitly not trying to do that. These people are trolls supreme; click Do A Thing, for example. The game is based on a pun. I’ve never played a game that felt so much like it was teasing the player.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Dichotomy
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '12 at 11:15 PM
From Penny Arcade:


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XBLIG Version of Precipice Will Come Out Later
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
You know how when you save your game, and a message comes up that says
“Don’t Remove The Memory Card”? Well, if you are playing Precipice on
an old Xbox with an MU and you decide to pull it out literally as
you are saving the game
, it will apparently crash. We thought we
had accounted for that exact scenario but apparently our
failsafes against timed MU pulls were not as tight as we had thought,
so it failed Community Peer Review. That’s why it’s not coming out on
the same day as the PC version, which manifests in all its glory on
the 25th. We can’t resubmit for another seven days, so we (and you,
if you want to play it on there) are in kind of a holding pattern.
Zeboyd will push another build out on Tuesday; I’ll keep you posted.
(CW)TB

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The PAX Dev Site Is Rad
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '12 at 10:15 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Erika and Kenneth delivered the design and backend equivalent of a savage tag-team maneuver, and now the new PAX Dev page is ready to go. It is full of information, such as the first wave of presentations - and submissions are still open if you’ve got what we’re missing.

(CW)TB

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Anthrophila
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '12 at 11:15 PM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
I was fifteen or so before I’d ever been stung by a bee, so that by the time a bee finally got around to doing it I think I’d sort of forgotten that was something they did. And then you resent it, this fuzzy little flying needle, even though all she’s actually doing is just executing her little subroutine tryna get dat pollen. Gabriel managed to make it all the way to thirty-four without envenomation, something he no doubt considers a kind of “score” to be lorded over me next time we must invent a hierarchy.
He did survive it, though. There was mild swelling.

I have to say that, apropos of Monday’s comic, I thought Microsoft had a very good showing of their retooled Surface concept. I’ve stopped travelling with a laptop at all, getting there with an iPad 3 and a bluetooth keyboard for whatever needs accomplishing, because I don’t require much in the way of specialized tools. But the philosophical aversion of the iPad to external pointing devices makes doing text-heavy work a huge hassle. Kiko did tons of fine visual edits to the card art for Paint The Line on his, but the flitting, screen holistic stuff I need to do ain’t working. This seems like something they’ve thought about with this tablet, and when I say “this” I mean “me.” We all know, by now, what brings boys to the yard; even if a boy should leave the yard, like Gabriel, eventually they will come back because the other yard okay I’m dropping it. But this is neat and decidedly not dumb. There is no auxiliary salad tank.
< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Rain-Slick 3
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Gabe from Penny Arcade:


The trailer for Rain-Slick Episode 3 is live. As you can see it’s a bit of a departure from the previous games. We’ve partnered with Zeboyd games this time and the result is a classic 16-bit styled RPG. On the first two games I took on the role of concept artist but this time I’ve left that up to the professionals. The first two games were massive undertakings for us. They were years in development and really pushed us in directions we’d never gone before. Tycho discovered that he loves writing games and I discovered I hate drawing them.

I produced a ton of artwork for the first two episodes. I filled sketchbooks with designs for everything from the main characters to lamp posts. I storyboarded all the cutscenes and drew every weapon and item. All that stuff was then turned over to some extremely talented artists who turned it all into the 3D models and animated movies in the game. The result was beautiful but very little of my actual art appeared in the game. Jerry’s contribution was much more direct. You read every word he wrote just as he wrote it but my stuff was more inspiration and direction for other artists.

What I like is drawing comics and then showing them to people. If you like it that’s great and if you don’t, well maybe you’ll like the one I draw tomorrow. Working for years on a project and then feeling like I had nothing to show for it was a real downer for me. I respect the hell out of the artists who make games but I just can’t do it. I don’t like doing it and I think because of that I’m not especially good at it. What I’m good at is drawing cartoons and so that’s what I want to focus on.

< article continued at Penny Arcade >

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Vacillatr
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '12 at 10:30 AM
By Tycho from Penny Arcade:
Microsoft has some kind of mysterious something or other today; the rumor is that they’re going to announce a tablet of some kind, and we are all by now aware that Microsoft Rumors are absolutely, one hundred percent always true. But in the event that this is the freaky edge case, we’ve got full coverage on each rhetorical base<a>.

As the <a href="http://penny-arcade.com/archive/results/search&keywords=zune/">only Zune enthusiast
in recorded history, I wouldn’t expect a Microsoft tablet to be bad. In fact, given their excellent phone - a robust proving ground for touch UI concepts - I would expect it to be great. I would also expect that it won’t actually penetrate the skull and enter into the meat of the consumer brain.
It used to be that Microsoft made dumb things, and noone cared. Now, they make great things, and get the same result. This isn’t about sympathy for a literal or putative devil; it just chews on the root of the idea that merit constitutes some kind of magical force.
In another Era, manufacturers would have endeavored to create compatibility of some kind with a competitor; either physically or in software. The wholly digital nature of today’s “app” environment makes that more or less impossible. More recently, Microsoft has realized that other manufacturer’s phones exist and might be a good way to extend an electronic tendril which draws a person back into their circular maw. SmartGlass is the next wing of that, which we theorized as a joke in a previous strip; success is about Ubiquity, even on your competitors’ platform.
(CW)TB out.
<a>are you blind

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