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OBP@GDC – Game Developers Choice Award Staff Picks

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The 2015 Game Developers Choice Awards are upon us! We hope you’re as excited as we are to see who the industry chose for its top honors this year. Off Base treats game awards like the Oscars, and so we’d love to share some of our staff picks with you. Take a look at our choices and tune in tonight at 6:30pm on Twitch to watch the action unfold live!

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OBP@GDC – We Can’t Wait for These Presentations!

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Aside from having all our game dev friends gathered in our fair city, the best part of GDC has to be the diversity of presentations and panels. The value of gaining insight and knowledge from the best and brightest in the industry can’t be underestimated. No matter your discipline or area of interest, there’s going to be something for you to see at GDC. Today, the Off Base staff would love to share some of our most anticipated presentations with you. Take a look and maybe you’ll find something you didn’t notice your first time through the presentation schedule…

Designing Mobile Games That Actually Get Kids Mobile

Monday, March 2 @ 11:15am

Harvesting Interactive Fiction

Monday, March 2 @ 11:15am

Building a Sport: The Design Philosophy of League of Legends

Tuesday, March 3 @ 10:00am

Jeremy C., Social Media Manager/Editorial – “Having covered competitive Call of Duty for the last two years, I’m really interested in the talks from the eSports Summit. Riot Games and LoL are eSports industry leaders, and it will be interesting to hear how the developers approach tweaking a game that millions play both casually and competitively.”

Animation Style and Process for Broken Age

Wednesday, March 4 @ 3:30pm

Chris O., Designer – “I wish I could hit all the animation talks, but Double Fine’s ‘Animation Style and Process for Broken Age‘ is a must-see for me. Double Fine’s art style has been a huge influence on me and they always manage to develop a unique and super appealing aesthetic for each of their games. Go back and play through Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Costume Quest, The Cave…..any of their games – you’ll find unbelievably charming and solid animation. They bring a cartoonish-ness that’s largely absent in the game animation world. Go see Raymond Crook and learn!”

Awesome Video Game Data (2015)

Wednesday, March 4 @ 3:30pm

Cyris C., Editor – “With a business background, my general mentality focuses on finance, accounting, and statistics. I’ve worked heavily with data analysis, data sets, and data mining for years, and I would love to see the video game side of the spectrum.”

Child’s Play: Making Games for Kids Roundtable: Game Mechanics for Kids

Thursday, March 5 @ 10:00am

Mayene D., Senior Designer – “One of my dreams is to have a hand in educational games or apps for children, whether I’m helping design or develop them. I love a good discussion on the role of games and technology in child development. I’m of the opinion that games can be more helpful than harmful if designed correctly for their intended audience, and these panels focusing on game development and design for kids look like something I’d be interested in attending and learning more about.”

Classic Game Postmortem: Adventure

Thursday, March 5 @ 4:00pm

GDC’s series of classic game postmortems are a favorite of several members of our staff. Learning the specifics of a game’s development cycle is useful not just for the lessons learned, but also for getting an inside look at the development process as a whole and gaining a deeper appreciation for the craft of making games. What better title to showcase these aspects than the mother of the action-adventure genre, Adventure. Listen in as creator Warren Robinett walks us through the creation of this game and details how he fit such a complicated game (by Atari 2600 standards) into a scant 4K-byte ROM chip. It’s sure to be one to remember!

Women in Game Audio

Thursday, March 5 @ 5:30pm

Mayene D., Senior Designer - “As a female designer who also studied violin performance and music theory, I’m always interested in talks/discussions/events that combine any mix of video games, music, and/or design. A lot of my go-tos in my music library are orchestrated versions of game music or amazing game soundtracks. Seeing a highlighted panel at GDC this year on women in music on top of being in the game industry is amazing.”

Cyris C., Editor – “My musical background consists of classical, marching, and symphonic orchestral performances. Additionally, I’ve studied the musical-social-economic history of jazz and its interaction with classical and rock music which focused on both male and female influencers of this genre. I’d like to learn more about women’s compositional influences in the video game industry and would like to hear more in future games.”

Hohokum: Adventures in Music and Sound Design

Friday, March 6 @ 11:30am

Joanie C., Editor – “The sound design in Hohokum really encourages you to play and experiment, so I’d love to hear more about the creative process behind it.”

Guilty Gear Xrd’s Art Style: The X Factor Between 2D and 3D

Friday, March 6 @ 1:30pm

We got our first look at Guilty Gear Xrd at E3 last year, and we just couldn’t take our eyes off of its presentation. Stunning animations combined with a deep and balanced fighting system quickly made this game a favorite among the digital pugilists on our team. Senior Off Base staffers Brady and Josh spent a great deal of time on the show floor trying to discern if the characters were 2D animations or 3D models, as they couldn’t believe how beautifully animated these characters appeared. How could they create 3D models that were almost indistinguishable from high-definition sprites? We’ll finally learn how the Arc System Works’ team pulled it off this year at GDC!

That about wraps it up for OBP@GDC today. Let us know what panels you’re most excited to see, either in-person or through VOD, and tune in tomorrow where we’ll share our picks for the Game Developer Choice Awards!

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OBP@GDC – Our Favorite Spots to Get Geeky

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Happy GDC week, everyone!

Every year, our native home of San Francisco plays host to the largest gathering of video game developers in the world. As our favorite creators get settled into the city for a week of presentations, meetings, and probably a few after-hour libations, we figured we would do our part as gracious hosts and suggest a few of our favorite places in the city.

SHOWDOWN @ Folsom Street Foundry

Every Tuesday and Thursday
1425 Folsom St (Map)

What started as a Tuesday game night has become twice-a-week gatherings for Bay Area gamers. The Foundry’s ample wall space gets covered in live gameplay and VOD projections, and with two bars and dozens of gaming stations, it’s easy to stop by for a drink and a round of Mario Kart (or whatever you’re into). There’s something for everyone here: tabletop games, Rock Band, Smash Bros., competitive tournaments, vintage arcade games, and the latest indie video games you’ve barely heard of. Eat dinner elsewhere, but try to get there early (they open at 6:00pm) if you want to score some table or couch space. It’s a great place to hang with friends or make new ones.

Don’t forget to bring your ID! These game nights are 21+ only (for now).

Brewcade

2200 Markest St #102 (Map)

In the spirit of Portland’s Ground Kontrol or Las Vegas’ Insert Coin(s), San Francisco’s Brewcade opened very recently in the heart of the city’s famous Castro district. Serving up a fine selection of beer and wine, the Brewcade is stacked to the gills with classic arcade machines to play. It’s just a short ride to the Castro from the underground Powell St. MUNI station, making it a great destination for attendees staying near the convention area.

Gamescape

3300 Divisadero St. (Map)

Gamescape on Divisadero is the destination in San Francisco for those who prefer games of the analog variety. Whether you enjoy ameritrash or eurogames, Magic: The Gathering or Warhammer, Gamescape likely has what you’re looking for. Check their website for a scheduled list of events in case you want to challenge some of the locals to your game of choice.

Musée Mécanique

Pier 45 (Map)

For a real blast to the past, stop by this hidden spot to check out an extensive collection of antique coin-operated mechanical machines, as well as a handful of newer arcade machines. Get your fortune told, peek into a penny peep show, try not to be creeped out by Laffing Sal, and maybe roll a few rounds of Skee Ball before you go.

Isotope Comics

326 Fell St. (Map)

For those of you that can’t wait until you get home for your weekly Wednesday fix of new comics, the Isotope is your destination. The Isotope is stuffed to the brim with graphic novels of all types, local mini-comics you won’t find anywhere else in the world, and plenty of comfy couches to sit and read upon. Be sure to check out the Comic Rockstars Toilet Seat Museum; a vast collection of toilet seats defiled with the work of famous creators such as Darwyn Cooke, Jim Lee, Brandon Graham, Amanda Conner, and more!

That’s it for us today, dear readers. Check back tomorrow as OBP@GDC continues with a look at our most anticipated presentations!

Project Spotlight: PS3 Dynamic Themes

Here at Off Base, we work on a lot of fun projects. Our staff’s combined experience in design, editorial, development, and gaming helps bring our projects to life — our passion for what we do shines through.

One of the really cool things that our team has been looking forward to this year is the chance to design fantastic dynamic themes for the PlayStation 4 console. With that in mind, we wanted to show off some of the cool PlayStation 3 dynamic themes that we’ve created in the past! Take a look at the compilation video below to see a handful of the many themes we’ve created for various clients, and continue reading for a closer look at a couple favorites with one of our designers: Chris O.

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Offbasepro Twitch ft. Super Smash Bros.

For Throwback Thursday, we broadcasted a few of our team members smashin’ it up with Super Smash Bros. on N64.

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We welcome you to join our craziness on our new Twitch channel here: http://www.twitch.tv/offbasepro. Be sure to follow us and tell us what games you’d like to see us play next!

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Project Spotlight: Dragon Ball Xenoverse

Here at Off Base, we work on a lot of fun projects. Our staff’s combined experience in design, editorial, development, and gaming helps bring our projects to life — our passion for what we do shines through.

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On Monday, we showcased our hand in Bandai Namco’s Dragonball Z: Battle of Z. Today, we’re shifting our focus to the new Dragonball Xenoverse that came out just yesterday!

Unlike the packaging design for Dragonball Z: Battle of Z which had different art between the boxes and disc labels, the overall look of Dragonball Xenoverse is very unified, with Goku appearing across all elements as seen above.

A couple of us in the office have already played the game a little; here are some of our favorite bits about DBX:

“I really enjoyed the combat mechanics and extensive character customization options.” – Josh

“I liked how my original character was included in the original animation/cinematics.” – Cyris

Did you get a Day 1 Edition of Dragon Ball Xenoverse? Let us know what you like about the game!

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Toys Tuesdays ft. Commander Shepard

Here at Off Base, we are big fans of our industry. Action figures, figurines, and toys are happily displayed upon on our desks and we are featuring stories behind our favorite pieces, so you can learn more about the Off Base staff – we make our work our play.

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Who:  Ashley H.

What: Commander Shepard

Where: Mass Effect

Why: “I bought this Commander Shepard figure because she reminds me so much of my canon Shepard. The first time I played Mass Effect, I created a red-haired female Sentinel, meaning she used technology and biotic powers. The fact that this figure has red hair, rocks an omni-tool, and is using biotics is pretty cool.”

What favorite pieces do you have on your work desk? Leave a comment and share your story with us — we’d love to hear from you!

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Project Spotlight: Dragon Ball Z Battle of Z

Here at Off Base, we work on a lot of fun projects. Our staff’s combined experience in design, editorial, development, and gaming helps bring our projects to life — our passion for what we do shines through.

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Tomorrow, Bandai Namco’s next installment in the Dragon Ball series releases: Dragonball Xenoverse! For today’s spotlight, we want to help build the hype by showcasing our last Dragon Ball project.

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Released at the beginning of 2014, we helped Bandai Namco put together the packaging elements for Dragonball Z: Battle of Z. Our team helped design the box art and the disc labels for this game, which came out on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. From a design perspective, the box art generally stays the same across platforms, but disc label design may vary slightly due to the different template arrangements per platform, as you can see above.

Our hand in the Battle of Z didn’t stop there — we also designed the DLC cards for the game:

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Just like the box art, the DLC cards generally stay the same across platforms, with their main differences being in the template requirements for each console.

The design team also had fun creating the digital manuals for Dragonball Z: Battle of Z, which are available online as PDFs: [PlayStation 3] [Xbox 360]

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Did you play Dragonball Z: Battle of Z? Are you excited for Dragonball Xenoverse?

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How the Shift from Print to Digital Goes Beyond Global Reach

How do you communicate on your favorite devices? Laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, and cellphones have taken our mediums of communication to the furthest lengths with digital design. We can do almost anything from anywhere with the technology and information that is never more than an arm’s length away from us.

At Off Base Productions, we create digital trends, develop interactive design, and build applications that span multiple platforms. We got into the minds of our Product Managers, Team Leaders, and User Interface/Experience Designers to see how our work translates from print to digital, and to take a look at how this shift impacts design today.

⚙ Designing, Planning, and Publishing

We design responsive systems that communicate, prototype, and present ideas optimally across multiple outputs—mobile phones, tablets, browsers, and gaming consoles. Our software is designed to save and share information easily, and making our work digital enables us to reach more of our clients’ consumers. Streamlining production gives us extra time to deliver top quality products, instead of being bogged down with printing and shipping deadlines that eat up valuable time. Digital products are immediately available across multiple platforms, instantly reaching any user with an Internet or mobile data connection. The power of publishing no longer ends when you finish a book; now you can constantly update and optimize it, and continue to make it even better than before.

⚙ Maximizing Cost Efficiency

By reducing the use of external resources for printing, we can better allocate our work to the production cycle. A client’s initial investment may still include localization costs, but digital products eradicate the need for multiple localized print versions, greatly reducing the time and financial costs required to reach a global audience. This not only benefits our clients financially, it also creates a smoother, more accessible experience for consumers.

⚙ Optimizing Accessibility

The shift to digital publishing provides the potential for additional capabilities that improve the way consumers use and consume products. Traditional print publications are just pieces of paper you can read; what happens after that? Your interactions with a piece of paper are limited to flipping pages. With digital publications, you can do so much more! We expand user interactions to include one-click abilities that zoom, reveal, advance, expand, and play media—all in multiple languages! People want their entire living room to be plugged into everything, including the ability to transition their favorite news feed from their mobile device onto their television. Society is more connected than ever before, with real-time news, business, and social networking updates always available at your fingertips.

One of our greatest accomplishments is a product we created in partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment America. We took the opportunity to make something that truly leverages the potential digital media affords, and we are proud to offer something new and dynamic to all of its current and future users. We developed a robust set of publishing tools to create, distribute, and display documentation, including the digital game manuals known as Docs for PlayStation. Check out some of our latest work at: docs.playstation.com.

PSDocs_screenshotHow do you like the shift from print to digital? Are you embracing it as well? It’s a field that contains vast possibilities and undiscovered rewards for those who venture forth. We can define the digital space and become leaders in it, but first we must accept the risks that come with innovation.

LBP3_screenshotAs creative professionals, our team embraces positive changes to the industry, and we are happy to be a pioneer in this digital movement. We will continue to explore and expand upon our ideas, and remain on the lookout for other forward-thinking projects we can collaborate on in the future. We’re definitely not stopping here.

 

Name That Console #3

It’s that time again, dearest Internet visitors!

Our office houses a display of dozens of classic consoles, each serving as a living reminder of video game history. For the occasional Throwback Thursday treat, we like to play a little game. Are you ready for another installment of OBP’s favorite daytime fun show?

That’s right, it’s time to play: NAME THAT CONSOLE!

It was the dawn of the last decade of the millennium when this transformative system debuted on Japanese store shelves. Featuring the best first-party titles with instantly-recognizable characters, this system would go on to become the biggest seller of the 16bit era. It became host to dozens of timeless classics that are played by people of all ages to this very day.

What is this link to the past? The answer will be revealed after the break!

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