I kind of wondered how long it would be before Sam Speaks would catch me totally off guard. It turns out that answer was on January 16th, when I talked to Sean Noonan. Originally I figured I’d be talking to a fun indie dev behind the cute runner game Jack B. Nimble. Then, a few days before we agreed to chat, I figured maybe I should look into this guy just a tad more. It turns out I had accidentally scheduled an interview with the lead level designer of Splash Damage and had no idea. Sean has had a long and varied career in gaming, so much so that we spent over an hour talking about it and I couldn’t reasonably fit it into one article.So welcome to the first two part episode of Sam Speaks. I got to talk with Sean and the many projects he’s worked on. In this part I focus on what got him into professional game creation, his time working at Midway on games like Wheelman and the canceled Necessary Force, and his time working for Ruffian Games where he served as a … [Read more...] about Sam Speaks to Sean Noonan About Getting Into the Games Industry, Wheelman, Crackdown 2, and More
Quake 2 multiplayer
Is this the beginning of the end for humankind? Robots have now surpassed human-level competence in a stripped-down version of Quake 3 Arena's Capture the Flag. Similar to the OpenAI Dota 2 bots that aim to "beat a team of top professionals" at The International, Google's DeepMind has used reinforced learning to teach artificial intelligence the multiplayer mode. The bots are said to have played 450,000 games against themselves, each lasting five minutes within a procedurally generated map. My crude calculations peg this at 37,500 hours. The Verge reports that unlike OpenAI, though, DeepMind's agents did not have access to raw numerical data about Quake 3, but instead absorbed visual on-screen inputs—in the same way human players might. DeepMind's agents were given no instructions, and played against one another until they'd ascertained and could reproduce variable routes to success. Here's a seven minute video that dives deeper into that:Not only did the bots work … [Read more...] about Quake 3 bots play 450,000 games of Capture the Flag, learn to beat human teams
THE PCG Q&AFind all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Check out some highlights:What classic PC game is on your pile of shame?If EA lost the Star Wars license, who should get it next?There's nothing like the feeling of doing something you didn't think was possible, for you or maybe anyone. Launching a Tribes spinfusor disc and watching it connect with someone jetpacking through the air at high speed. Or tossing a grenade three stories up into a building window and moments later seeing a kill notification. Our legendary shots, whether or not we have them on video, are unforgettable and probably unrepeatable. If you've played shooters, you probably have a shot or grenade toss like that, and we love hearing stories of improbable accuracy, so that's our mid-week PCG Q&A: What's your single greatest frag? Let us know your own answers in the comments. (Bonus if you have a video or gif, but it's not necessary!)Evan Lahti: Desperation pistolOver the weekend I managed an … [Read more...] about What’s your single greatest frag in a multiplayer shooter?
Rage 2's announcement was a little unexpected, given that the original open world FPS didn't get near the top of our list of preferred id shooters. The combination of developers here is pretty exciting, though: Avalanche, known for wild open world games like Just Cause and the thematically appropriate Mad Max, is collaborating with id Software, fresh off a Quake game we like and the wonderful Doom 2016. Set in the same post-apocalyptic universe as the first game, where 80% of humanity is gone and all life is threatened, you play as Walker, the wasteland's last remaining ranger. You're here to wipe out all the vicious gangs that roam around the place, and to rid your surroundings of The Authority, the oppressive organisation from the first game. The name is a little on-the-nose, but hey, it seems to work for them. Even though Avalanche is best known for third-person open world games, this one's in first-person, no doubt benefitting from id's expertise. Here's everything we … [Read more...] about Everything we know about Rage 2
There are more multiplayer video games than anyone could ever hope to count, but very few of them have top quality announcers calling the action. A great announcer can be iconic. Just think of the cries of "Headshot!"and "Fatality!" that have accompanied competitive triumphs over the years.Halo, Mortal Kombat, Quake, NBA Jam - they all have fantastic announcers as beloved as the games they passionately narrate. A recent addition to this small group is Destiny 2, but for very different reasons.Lord Shaxx, who makes the calls in Destiny's multiplayer 'Crucible', was never to my taste in the original 2014 game. He was a perfectly okay announcer and served his purpose, but he wasn't a great.Actor Lennie James's delivery was, like the game itself, too dry and too restrained.At times he sounded like he was reading out an electricity bill, but it was a very different story with this year's sequel.Once again James's performance reflects the approach of the game. Now he's enthusiastic, brimming … [Read more...] about Why Destiny 2’s Lord Shaxx is gaming’s greatest multiplayer announcer