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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    UNCHARTED 3 HANDS-ON                   26     F.E.A.R. 3                          6
We put the online offerings of Naughty      Can it live up to the reputation of the
Dog's latest effort through its paces.      genre-defining F.E.A.R.?

8    THE BEST OF 2011 SO FAR                28     BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY
Before we get to the upcoming games,        Rocksteady tells us what we can expect
here are ten you ought to have played.      on the streets of Arkham City.

10   PLAYSTATION NATION                     30     MX VS ATV ALIVE
We chat with Atindriya Bose about all       Can THQ turn the franchise around, or
things Playstation.                         does the steady decline continue?

12   THE HOTTEST VITA GAMES                 32     BATTLEFIELD 3                       8
With the Vita just around the corner, we    We talk to DICE about one of the year's
scope out its most promising games.         biggest upcoming releases.

14   COVER STORY: THE BIG 15                36     FIFA 12
The year-end is packed with great game      EA Sports is bringing many changes to
releases. Here are 15 of the very best.     this year's iteration.

22   DUKE NUKEM FOREVER                     38     SAINTS ROW: THE THIRD
Fourteen years in the making, The Duke      We caught up with Volition for the
is finally here.                            latest on their insane open-world title.

24   ALICE: MADNESS RETURNS                 41     GAMING COLLEGES
American McGee returns with another         We've handpicked some of the top game      12
twisted take on Alice in Wonderland.        institutes in India and abroad.




                                                                                       24




14   COVER STORY: THE BIG 15
Assassin's Creed: Revelations is just one of the
many blockbuster games set to release soon.
                                                 28   BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY
                                                We get chatting with Rocksteady to
                                                learn more about the shift from the
                                                asylum to a sprawling open-world city.




42 GAMERS-TURNED-GAME                      33
                                                                                                     MANAGING EDITOR
DEVELOPERS                                                                                          Hatim Kantawalla
Here's how you can get into game                                                                       DEPUTY EDITOR
development without studying it.                                                                       Jamshed Avari
                                                                                                SENIOR FEATURE WRITER
44SHADOWS OF THE                                                                              Kamakshi S, Priyanka Tilve
DAMNED                                                                                                FEATURE WRITER
This is what happens when Suda51 and                                                               Kushal Mamoowala
Shinji Mikami join forces.                                                                             CONTRIBUTORS
                                                                                             Sameer Desai, Avinash Bali
46   KINECT ON THE PS3                     36                                                    PROJECT COORDINATORS
An Indian techie has got the Xbox 360                                                     Rajesh D'Souza, Gautami Chalke
motion tech working on the PS3.                                                                   SENIOR ART DIRECTOR
                                                                                                       Nirmal Biswas
48 BEGINNERS' GUIDE TO                                                                                SENIOR DESIGNER
                                                                                                    Hemali Limbachiya
TEAM FORTRESS 2
                                                                                                        ILLUSTRATORS
Valve recently made the popular online
                                                                                          Sachin Pandit, Chaitanya Surpur
shooter free-to-play. Here are some
                                                                                                    COLOR CORRECTION
helpful tips to get you started.                                                                        Sanjay Shelar
                                                                                                         HEAD OFFICE
                                                                                      Intelligent Computing CHIP, Infomedia 18 Limited,
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                                                                                       Phone: (91 22) 3024 5000, Fax: (91 22) 3003 4499



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The best of 2011 is yet to come
FOREWORD
                            AVINASH BALI


                            T      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 that’s how we roll.

                               In this gaming special of CHIP Insider, we’ve managed to score a ton of exclusive
                            interviews for you so you’ll understand why Rocksteady had to delve into Batman’s psyche
                            to create a successful game, or how Saints Row: The Third is not really afraid of the
                            competition. Besides the interviews, we’ve 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 that’ll start rolling out
                            in September. It won’t be pretty for your wallet, but we’re warning you well in advance so
                            you can start saving up now.




SAMEER DESAI


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

  If you’re looking to build a career in game development, we’ve got you covered. We’ve
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 field. Everyone’s 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 360’s 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 we’ve picked out our most
anticipated games for Sony’s new handheld.

  It’s 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 let’s get to it!
6    PREVIEW




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




                                U
                                         ncharted 3: Drake’s Deception may be a while      play that actually gives the losing team a chance
                                         away, but developer Naughty Dog has been          to catch up. This could result in double damage
                                         kind enough to let us sample a taste of things    being dealt out or the ability to see enemy mark-
                                to come via a multiplayer-only beta. This beta was         ers all over the map. It’s a very helpful mechanic
                                initially available to PlayStation Plus members as         that tends to balance gameplay, giving the losing
                                well people who purchased Infamous 2 (which by the         team a fighting chance.
                                way is totally worth picking up), but was later opened        In the beta, you have a bunch of modes to
                                up to all PSN members. This being a multiplayer-only       choose from, such as Team Deathmatch, Team
                                beta is all about competitive play, and in case you        Objective, Free for All, Hardcore, and Co-op Arena.
                                missed out on the mayhem in 2009 (which is when            Unlike the Hardcore mode found in games like CoD
                                Uncharted 2 was released), here’s the ultra quick ver-     or Battlefield, the one in this game is a bit lenient,
                                sion. Picture a more balanced Call of Duty with all its    so you’ll still see your crosshair, but stuff like boost-
                                perks and killstreak rewards enhanced by gorgeous          ers and kickbacks will be turned off. Boosters are
                                visuals and third-person action and you’ll begin to        the game’s equivalent of perks; small tweaks that
                                understand what multiplayer in an Uncharted game           can improve your game so you can sprint more,
                                is like.                                                   respawn faster,
                                    It’s been a while since I’ve played UC2’s multi-       and so on. I
                                player, so I was extremely rusty at first. I kept melee-   personally wasn’t
                                ing people when I wanted to reload, forgot how to          too impressed with
                                take cover, and died A LOT! Since this was a beta, the     the boosters avail-
                                game didn’t bother with any sort of tutorial, so I had     able in the beta and I
                                to check out the control scheme in the main menu           felt I could get by without
                                itself. But even after a few rounds of being slaugh-       them just fine. Instead, I
                                                          tered mercilessly, I never got   spent my hard earned money
                                                          frustrated as the game has a     on kickbacks, the game’s
                                                          new mechanic called Power-       equivalent of a kill-




                                                                                                               Hemali Limbachiya
    AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                                    PREVIEW    7




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 kill-
ing 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            for Team Deathmatch till date.
activate your kickback, turning the tide in your             Players who’ve spent some time with UC2’s multi-
favor. Think about it; you’re going up against mul-       player will immediately figure out how different UC3
tiple opponents and BAM!, you trigger your rocket         feels. Characters' movements feel a lot more realistic
launcher kickback that bestows upon you – you             as a result of which movement is a tad slower. Weap-
got it – a freaking rocket launcher. Or how about         ons too have received a bit of an overhaul and every-
transforming into a swarm of spiders capable of           one’s favorite weapon - the AK, now features a truck
engulfing your enemies? Gross but incredibly cool.        load of recoil. These gameplay mechanics did feel a
    There are two maps present in the beta; Cha-          bit weird at first, but after a while, you get used to
teau and Airfield. While Chateau is a solid map           the game’s pace. While the second game was content
on its own, Airfield is without a doubt the star of       with letting players just buy new skins, UC3 allows
the show. The map’s divided into two parts, with          players to deck the crap out of their characters.
the first bit taking place on a runway as players         Besides skins, you can swap out clothes, accessories
struggle to either board or defend a cargo plane          and lots more to project your persona on-screen.
depending on which faction they get assigned              New to the game is a loadout system, where players
to. As one the bad guys, you spawn in a bunch of          can choose to upgrade their guns, making not only
speeding trucks and then must slowly make your            cosmetic but functional changes as well, such as add-
way to the plane by leaping from truck to truck to        ing additional scopes to zoom in, or extended mags
plane. As one the heroes, your aim is to make sure        for more ammo. These obviously aren’t revolutionary
this does not happen. After a certain amount of           changes for a multiplayer game, but it’s nice to have
time on the runway, the plane takes off and the           them in UC3.
action shifts to an air field of sorts that offers a         This being an Uncharted game obviously gets top
                     ton of horizontal and vertical       marks in the visual department. And keep in mind;
                           movement. The transition       this is just the beta so I’m sure Naughty Dog will add
                             between these two            in a ton of spit and polish by the time the game hits
                              instances takes place       stores this November. So far, I’m pretty happy with
                               seamlessly through         what I’ve seen in UC3. Sure, the game feels a bit
                                cutscenes that make       slower than before and newcomers will probably take
                                  this game feel a        some time to come to grips with it, but Naughty Dog
                                  lot different than      has taken great pains to ensure this game feels as
                                  your conventional       balanced and enjoyable as humanly possible.
                                 deathmatch. And
                                 yes, this is the cool-   Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is set for release on
                                est freaking premise      November 1, 2011 for PS3.




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


                                                                                 INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
8    FEATURE




                                     CRYSIS 2
                                                                                                              DIRT 3




                                                                              DEAD SPACE 2

                                                               FIGHT NIGHT
                                                                              CHAMPION




       CRYSIS 2
       Crysis 2 may not have                                                                         INFAMOUS 2
       been the game to bring      DEAD SPACE 2
       your uber powerful          Taking a gamble with        DIRT 3                       FIGHT NIGHT                  INFAMOUS 2
       PC to its knees, but it     new IPs in this day         The Dirt series was          CHAMPION                     There aren’t too many
       sure was pretty. Crytek     and age is risky; one       Codemasters’ attempt         Fight Night Champion         sweeping changes this
       made the game highly        that paid off real well     to move from pure rally      gave the struggling          sequel, but it’s the
       scalable so even year-      for developer Visceral      to all-round off-road        boxing franchise a new       little things that Sucker
       old PCs could enjoy         Games. Dead Space was       racing. But the fans still   direction, and it couldn’t   Punch has done that
       Crytek’s version of         a game that combined        wanted rally, so in Dirt     have done a better job       together combine to
       post-apocalyptic New        action and horror           3, it made a return and      of it. The main focus        make Infamous 2 one
       York in all its visual      to near perfection,         comprised 60 percent         of the game was its          of the most fun open-
       glory. The action was       offering players a          of the game, alongside       new cinematic story          world games in a long
       fast and satisfying,        chilling ride, playing as   the other event types        mode that included           time. The new city of
       offering a healthy          an engineer forced to       from previous games.         slick       cutscenes,       New Marais has a ton of
       blend of stealth and        face his fears aboard       The responsive car           great characters, an         character, the missions
       all out action. Sure, the   a derelict ship. With       handling, the well-          engaging story, and          (and side missions)
       painfully dumb AI did       the sequel, Visceral        designed tracks, the         some very intense            are well designed, and
       hamper gameplay a bit,      expanded upon what          slick menus and the          gameplay scenarios           the morality system,
       but at the end of it all,   we loved about the          stunning visuals were        that constantly kept         however superficial,
       lofty production values     first game, introducing     in evidence as well.         you on your toes. Throw      works         brilliantly.
       and solid gameplay          some truly impressive       The game also added          in a bit of brutal bare-     Infamous 2 doesn’t
       across both single and      set pieces along with       several fun online           knuckled      brawling,      break new ground for
       multiplayer prevailed,      a multiplayer mode          modes, making this one       and this game had            the franchise, but when
       making Crysis 2 a           reminiscent to the one      of the best off-road         everything a fighting        it’s this much fun, who
       must-buy this year.         from Left 4 Dead 2.         racing games ever.           game fan could want.         cares!


    AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT                                                                    Hemali Limbachiya
                                                                                                                                FEATURE     9

                                                                                           best
                                                       Here's a brief recap of some of the
                                                       games from the first half of 2011.
                                                                          D SAMEER DESAI
                                                       BY AVINASH BALI AN




                                                                                                                 LITTLEBIGPLANET 2
                                                                                  L .A. NOIRE




                               KILLZONE 3




        PORTAL 2
                                                                        THE WITCHER 2

KILLZONE 3                                                                                                     THE WITCHER 2:
After the success of       L.A. NOIRE                  LITTLEBIG-                  PORTAL 2                    ASSASSINS OF
Killzone 2, expectations   A radical departure for     PLANET 2                    Portal was a tiny little    KINGS
for the next game          Rockstar Games, L.A.        While the first game        game bundled with           You probably wouldn’t
were sky high, and         Noire was a story-          gave players powerful       The Orange Box that         expect a stellar RPG
Guerrilla        Games     driven       whodunit,      tools to create and         garnered cult status        from a small Polish
didn’t      disappoint.    where players spent         share their own levels,     thanks to its sharp         developer, but you’d
The explosive single-      their time solving          this time around,           writing,      sarcastic     be wrong. The Witcher
player campaign was        cases as opposed to         you can create whole        humor and innovative        2 greatly improved
packed with cinematic      embarking upon killing      new games of any            gameplay. For the           upon all aspects of
set pieces, massive        sprees. The star of the     genre within LBP2           sequel, Valve turned        its predecessor. You
bosses, large, varied      show was the game’s         itself, complete with       it up to 11, with a fully   had gorgeous visuals,
environments, and lots     wicked facial animation     cinematics, characters      fleshed out single          improved combat, and
and lots of intense        system that tied into       and narratives. These       player campaign as          a riveting story that
FPS action. Of course,     gameplay,       allowing    creation tools were also    well as a separate          sucked you in till the
multiplayer is a massive   players to catch lying      put to great use by the     co-operative campaign,      very end. Be warned
draw for series fans,      suspects based on           developers themselves       in addition to some of      though; the game is
and the developers         their facial reactions      for Sackboy’s new           the best voice acting       not very noob-friendly
rebuilt the multiplayer    during interrogations.      story mode adventure.       we’ve come across all       and can appear pretty
from      scratch     to   The game is out on          LBP2 is great for all       year. Portal 2 was also     intimidating with its
address the issues         consoles,      but     PC   ages, but don’t let the     used to launch Valve’s      erratic difficulty. But if
from KZ2 and add more      gamers will also be         cute art style fool you;    online service, Steam       you’re patient, there’s a
features, while keeping    able to have a go at it     it'll challenge even        on the PS3, allowing        vibrant, dangerous and
the signature Killzone     when L.A. Noire comes       the most seasoned           cross-play between          exciting world ripe for
experience intact.         to PC later this year.      gamers.                     PS3 and PC.                 exploration.


                                                                              INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
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




                                                             How do you feel the                     Is a cricket game for Move being
                                                          Playstation brand is being               worked on?
                                                          perceived in India?                         Yes, it’s the next instalment of Street Cricket
                                                              People have liked the fact that      designed for Playstation Move. It’s being devel-
                                                          our recent ads showed games being        oped by Trine, and will be in stores by Diwali.
                                                          played together; like father and son
                                                          gaming together. There is a family          So will that just include batting or all
                                                          angle to it, people can play together,   disciplines?
                                                          and it can be fun. This was born out        Bowling as well, with support for two players.
                                                          of an insight we got after launch-
                                                          ing Move. After the Move ad, a lot          Sony has announced the Playstation
                                                          of people came back to us asking,        3D monitor, and it’s supposed to be quite
                                                          ‘how is Playstation talking family?’     affordable. Will that be available here?
                                                          So families are getting involved now        I’ve asked for detailed specs so we can find out
                                                          and they’re finding that there are       exactly what it’s capable of. If it can also function
                                                          games they can play together.            as a TV, then there is tremendous potential and it
                                                                                                   can do very well here. Price will also depend on its
                                                            What do you think of Kinect            specifications; the duties and taxes vary based on
         Atindriya Bose, Country Manager, Sony Computer   on Xbox 360?                             whether it’s a TV or a monitor. But even if it does
         Entertainment India
                                                             I like Kinect. There’s no question    come, there will be a bit of a delay.
                                            that’s a very good competitive product. Looking
                                            at the positives and negatives, Kinect is maybe           But will it be affordable here?
                                            easier to get into, but with Move, once you get in,       Whatever the price is in Euro, you can expect
                                            it’s a much deeper experience and I believe that       an equivalent Rupee value in India after account-
                                            we have better games. We also have a wider range,      ing for the applicable taxes. It’s only a matter of
                                            with games that cater to core gamers as well as the    time before the European price is announced.
                                            family audience, while Kinect seems focussed on
                                            the casual audience. But with more people getting          How has Move been doing after the
                                            into gaming, it’s great that these experiences are     initial launch?
                                            available to them already. So what we have to do          It has managed to sustain its growth quite
                                            is have content that will give us an edge to attract   well. Around 90 percent of our console sales are
                                            this new audience. And we think bringing in a          Move bundles. Previously, when we used to release
                                            cricket game on Move will help us do just that.        GT5 or God of War 3 bundles, we would notice a


     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                              INTERVIEW       11




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
that’s interested in the PS3. In that sense, Move
has served its purpose very well.                           So when can we expect the PS Vita in
                                                         India?
  With the hardware doing well, don’t                        It will be around the same time as European
you think there has been inadequate                      release – end of the year.
support on the software side?
   You can look at it in many ways. There may not           Will we get both the Wi-Fi and Wi-
be a constant flow of Move-specific games; that          Fi/3G versions?
could maybe be a little better, but we have 30-35           We’re evaluating that. For the 3G version, we’ll
games out that are playable with Move, and that          be looking to tie-up with a 3G operator. We have
includes both casual and core games. Maybe we            the example of iPhone 4 to go by, so we’re very
haven’t done a good enough job in conveying that         tempted to bring it in. The only problem is that
we have a substantial range. Of course, the big one      the 3G landscape itself is so patchy that I’m not
we’re waiting for is cricket. We think that will give    sure you can have a deal with just one operator.
Move a real push.                                        We’re quite reserved in our strategy, so we don’t
                                                         want to release the 3G version without an opera-
   Has piracy affected the PS3 signifi-                  tor partnership in place. In a market with full 3G
cantly?                                                  coverage, a one-operator partnership works, but if
    It has to an extent, but it’s not nearly as bad as   we have to go with multiple partners, the volumes
it is on PS2. A lot of people are aware of the abil-     won’t be justified.
ity to pirate, but they’re also aware of what they
would potentially lose by going that route. You             What would be the price for PS Vita
miss out on the online, connected experience,            in India considering its 249 Euros in
as well as the benefits of new firmware. There is        Europe?
a segment of gamers who have gone the piracy                If you look at the corresponding Indian value,
route, and while it hasn’t significantly impacted        you’re looking at Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000.
the sales of PS3 games, it has lowered the rate of
the growth we’ve been seeing.                               Will you start PS3 game manufactur-
                                                         ing in India anytime soon?
   Any chance of a PS3 price drop soon?                    We’re in the final legs of planning to begin PS3
   As of now, no. There is, however, a new PS3           game manufacturing in India.
chassis being discussed. A slightly different
design, but from what I can tell, not much differ-          Does that mean cheaper PS3 games
ence in functionality.                                   for India?
                                                            Prices may not drop drastically for the top end
  Will you continue to push the PSP                      games on an immediate basis, especially for third
now that the PS Vita is coming?                          party games. Many publishers are not keen on
   We will. It’s a bit like what we did with PS2 and     dropping prices for their new releases. I feel that
PS3. You’ll have the Vita at the high end and PSP        with this, we will have a much better catalogue
at the entry level. It’s a strategy that works very      strategy. Games that may not be doing too well at
well for a country like India.                           Rs 1,499 can be made much cheaper.


                                                                                INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
12    PREVIEW




        THE HOTTTEST VITA
        LITTLEBIGPLANET 
        The Vita is tailor-made for Sony’s Play.Create.Share brand of games that
        encourage user-generated content. LittleBigPlanet will make use of the Vita’s
        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 pass’n’play multiplayer mode. Once you’re 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
                                                              it’s 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 cross-
                                                              platform 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 you’ve played it on
                                                                       the PS3, transfer your save file to the Vita, and continue where you
                                                                       left off when you’re on-the-go. Ruin boasts deep social features,
                                                                       allowing you to broadcast your accomplishments and challenge
                                                                       friends online.



                                                                                                                              Hemali Limbachiya
     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                             PREVIEW       13




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 don’t 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 don’t want to ignore.
                        The art style may be minimalist, but it’s 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, touch-
                                                                     based 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 
Little Deviants is a collection of mini games, where each makes use of
one of the Vita’s 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.



                                                                             INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
14    COVER STORY




                 THE BIG
                   15
                                                                   Hemali Limbachiya
     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                              COVER STORY        15




Enjoy this relatively quiet August, because beginning
next month, we’re in for an onslaught of blockbuster
game releases the likes of which we’ve 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, we’ve handpicked 15 games
that we feel deserve your attention above all.
BY SAMEER DESAI AND AVINASH BALI




                   INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
16    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 can’t get
                                                        enough. Developers, however, have been tweaking their appearance in video games, so
                                                        they’ve 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 –
        there’s a very different feel to it this time. You’re no longer a solider fighting in a squad
        and taking on the Chimera. Instead, you’re just a guy minding his own business, trying
        to stay under the radar, who is thrust into this fight. There’s 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 you’re 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.


     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                                COVER STORY   17




                                                                          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 game’s 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 game’s multiplayer to provide a more
                                                                          balanced experience, which hopefully means you won’t 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 didn’t 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, you’ll 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 can’t 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 don’t 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.
18    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 aren’t
                                                                                ideal and the world isn’t particularly safe, you’ll 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
                                                                                don’t 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: DRAKE’S
        DECEPTION                    PS3

        Release date: 1st November, 2011
        Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was almost universally
        recognized as 2009’s 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 single-
        player campaign. It’s hard to say whether it will top Uncharted 2,
        but it’s already looking like one hell of a ride, with Drake’s latest
        treasure hunt taking him to the deserts of Arabia, amongst
        other places. We’ll once again see familiar faces and the game
        will no doubt be a visual spectacle, but we’re 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 game’s
                                                                                stellar production values and rock solid gameplay, but Arkham
                                                                                Asylum’s feather in the cap was the fact that it allowed
                                                                                players to delve into Batman’s 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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                                                                                                                           COVER STORY   19




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, DICE’s 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

                                                                                            Release date: 14th October, 2011
                                                                                            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. We’ve been following the
                                                                                            game closely, and from where we’re
                                                                                            sitting, there’s 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.
20    COVER STORY




                                                                             CALL OF DUTY:
                                                                             MODERN WARFARE 3                                   PC, XBOX 360, PS3

                                                                             Release date: 8th November, 2011
                                                                             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, there’s 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 (what’s 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 game’s
        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 didn’t look half as good as Liberty
                                                                             City and all three versions suffered from shoddy frame rates,
                                                                             but you’d 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-the-
                                                                             top 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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                                                                                                                              COVER STORY   21




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




ASSASSIN’S CREED: REVELATIONS
PC, XBOX 360, PS3

Release date: 15th November, 2011
Assassin’s 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 Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. But if you’ve played
Brotherhood, you know that that’s 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 game’s
biggest hook, however, is that Altair, the protagonist from the first game, will make
an appearance, although we still don’t know in what capacity. Revelations will be the
conclusion of Ezio’s story, and with so many questions still unanswered, it could well
be a pivotal game in the series.



                                                                     NEED FOR SPEED:
                                                                     THE RUN               PC, XBOX 360, PS3, WII, 3DS

                                                                     Release date: 17th November, 2011
                                                                     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 won’t 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 city-
                                                                     based NFS game we’re 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 engine’s signature environmental destruction.

      Get Rs 200 off when you preorder any of these games at Game4u.com. Use gift voucher no. GC9P59PAPE47VT582. Condtions apply.
22    REVIEW




                     Fail to the King, baby!
                     BY AVINASH BALI




                                      L
     RATING 1.5/5                                  et’s get one thing straight; I love cheese.    loading screen waiting for another chapter to
                                                   I’m not talking about the dairy product,       load. For a game that’s trying to embrace its old
                                                   because who doesn’t love that right? I’m       school roots, Duke falters by limiting players to
                                            talking about the “cheese factor” you find in         carrying just two weapons. I mean, really, what
                                            some games or movies that make you cringe in          is that all about? Is that their way of appealing
                                            embarrassment, but deep down give you some            to today’s FPS crowd? Since when is Duke going
                                            sort of a cheap thrill. I also, from time to time,    in for realism? And speaking of realism, it seems
                                            enjoy some stuff that’s so bad it’s good (Son of      Duke has become somewhat of a wuss over the
                                            Dracula, anyone?), but Duke Nukem Forever is so       years. He starts panting after sprinting for five
                                            bad, it’s just plain bad. All the sexual innuendos,   seconds and can withstand hardly any damage.
                                            juvenile humor, self-mockery, and outdated par-       Every few minutes, my life bar would start flash-
                                            odies just fall flat on their faces. Why? Because     ing red because I had been shot by a pig wielding
                                            Duke Nukem Forever is a poorly made game that         a tiny pistol. Did I miss something over here? Was
                                            even after 14 years in the making feels like a        I magically transported to Operation Flashpoint,
                                            rushed product.                                       where one bullet can end my life?
                                                Duke Nukem never claimed to be an intel-               You’ll come across a ton of weapons in the
                                            lectual character and we loved him for it. He         game, but they’re all nothing but shinier variants
                                            was the bubble-gum chewing, beer drinking,            of the ones found in Duke 3D. Fourteen years
                                            chick loving, alien butt kicker, who never really     ago, the Shrink Gun was innovative and hilari-
                                            cared about what anyone thought of his rather         ous to use; today it doesn’t seem that impressive
                                            in-your-face ways. And when Aliens invaded            after players have been spoilt by a plethora of
                                            earth in 1996 (in Duke 3D) and took his “babes”,      innovative weapons over the years.
                                                              that was it. He unleashed hell          Boring arsenal aside, the gameplay in DNF is
                RATINGS                                       upon them because no one, and       painfully predictable as well. The entire game
          FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER                                I mean no one, messes with          oscillates between boring driving segments, tur-
                                                              Duke’s babes. Unfortunately,        ret sections, predictable boss fights, and annoy-
          Duke Nukem Forever
                                                              the aliens he fought back in the    ing platforming sections as tiny Duke. There’s no
          PRICE               Rs 2,499 (PS3, Xbox 360),
                              Rs 499 (PC)                     day have returned more than a       such thing as vehicular combat, so when Duke’s
          PUBLISHER           2K Games                        decade later to take his babes      ride is surrounded by enemies, all you can do is
          DEVELOPER           Gearbox Software                away once again. You did not        drive by them real fast. And just so you know,
          DISTRIBUTOR         E-Xpress Interactive            see that coming, right?             the driving in this game is just terrible; control-
          PHONE               022 29661017                       Like most of you know, DNF       ling your RC car or your monster truck feels like
          E-MAIL              info@expressgames.in            is a shooter at heart and if the    you’re driving a car on ice – with your feet. Things
          FOR                                                 core gameplay was solid, I would    get a lot worse when you have to line up multiple
          Can satisfy that nostalgic itch, shotgun is still   have gladly looked past all the     jumps that are as redundant as they are boring.
          very satisfying to use                              other glaring flaws. Sadly, it      Bosses, while impressive in size, are also noth-
          AGAINST                                             isn’t. DNF seems like a game        ing but an exercise in repetition since they can’t
          Horrible level design, awful visuals, humor falls   stuck in the nineties, be it in     be killed with anything other than rockets or
          flat on its face, Duke can get insanely annoying,   level design or the sheer amount    turrets. So pretty much every boss in this game
          terrible driving mechanics
                                                              of time you’ll be staring at the    boils down to finding a rocket launcher, searching




                                                                                                                                       Hemali Limbachiya
     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                         REVIEW       23




for an ammo crate, camping near it and spam-
ming him/her/it with rockets till it’s over. And
you know what’s worse than repetitive boss
fights? Repetitive boss fights, where the bosses
just magically regain all their health after you’ve
landed the final blow.
   The only emotion I really felt through the
entire campaign – even more than disappoint-
ment – was boredom. Instead of feeling like a kid
on a sugar rush eager to open a 14-year old pres-
ent, 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 DNF’s biggest prob-
lem, besides a lack of polish or a sense of direc-
tion, is the fact that it’s a 14-year old game that’s
trying to appease today’s gamers as well as live
up to the expectations of the guys who enjoyed
Duke 3D, failing miserably at both. It’s 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 you’re the
King, and I get that you’re all about the ass kick-
ing while thoroughly depleted on gum, but do you
seriously have to remind me about it every few
seconds? Fourteen years ago, the Duke’s taunts
were cool, or even funny, but today they just
seem like the ramblings of a deranged, sad old
man who’s living in serious denial.
   Players giddy at Duke’s return may pick up
the game and enjoy it (or claim to enjoy it) sim-
ply from a nostalgic point of view. Everyone else
needs to just stay away from this atrocity. Fail to
the King, indeed.




                                                        INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
24    REVIEW




                                                                                             Visual extravagance
                                                                                                bogged down
                                                                                                by repetition.
                                                                                             BY AVINASH BALI




     RATING 3/5

                                                                   M
                                                                              adness Returns is a twisted take on Lewis Carroll’s
                                                                              Alice in Wonderland. It’s a solid action-adventure, bol-
                                                                              stered by a phenomenal art style that unfortunately
                                                                   misses the must-buy mark due to repetition and frequent
                                                                   bouts of frustration. Madness Returns takes place immedi-
                                                                   ately after the events of the first game - American McGee’s
                                                                   Alice. Even though she’s discharged from the asylum, Alice is
                                                                   still haunted by the visions of her family members, who mys-
                                                                   teriously 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. You’ll have to pull levers, stand on pres-
                                                                   sure 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, you’ll 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 hold-
                                                                   ing down the jump key. Platforming, when used sparingly in
                                                                   games, is somewhat of a respite from the action, but in Mad-
                                                                   ness 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. You’ll 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, you’ll be able to upgrade the blade’s
                                                                   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 game’s equivalent of
                                                                   a giant hammer that’s capable of shaking up even the tough-
                                                                   est enemies. While combat is satisfying in itself, it isn’t 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


     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT                                                          Hemali Limbachiya
                                                                                                                                        REVIEW   25




a pain to use simply because the game’s lock-on
system is a bit broken. It’ll snap to targets you
don’t want it to and it won’t 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     and other such oddities. While 90 percent of the
sizes. You have the ranged enemies that’ll attack    game is broken up into combat and platforming,
from a distance, weak grunts who’ll come at you      a small segment is dedicated to exploration and
in droves, bosses who will only get damaged once     gorgeously designed 2D environments, where the
you penetrate their defenses with a powerful         game plays out like a side-scroller. I wish more of
weapon, and so on. Every enemy is some sort of       these segments were injected into the game.
twisted take on the realm you’re in, so during the      Carrying the game through all of its faults is
underwater levels, you’ll encounter hostile crabs,   the wicked art style that I personally feel is just
sharks and other sea creatures, while in the Ori-    plain awesome. You can tell that the developers
ental themed one, you’ll encounter wasp Samurais     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 mon-
                                                     strous 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 game’s repetitive mission                    RATINGS
                                                                                            ACTION-ADVENTURE
                                                     structure that forces players to
                                                     embark on stupid fetch quests          Alice: Madness Returns
                                                     in nearly every level. In a bid to     PRICE              Rs 2,499 (PS3), Rs 2,249 (Xbox
                                                     make the game more challeng-                              360, Rs 999 (PC)
                                                                                            PUBLISHER          EA
                                                     ing, developer Spicy Horse piles
                                                                                            DEVELOPER          Spicy Horse
                                                     on a bazillion enemies at a time,
                                                                                            DISTRIBUTOR        Milestone Interactive
                                                     and since the combat isn’t all
                                                                                            PHONE              022 42764000
                                                     that fluid, it becomes more of a       E-MAIL             sales@milestoneinteractive.com
                                                     chore than a challenge. Still, if
                                                     you can look past these short-         FOR
                                                                                            Great art style, awesome 2D segments.
                                                     comings, there’s plenty of enter-
                                                     tainment to be found in this           AGAINST
                                                     rather demented but gorgeous           Repetitive missions, clunky combat.
                                                     action game.


                                                                               INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
26    REVIEW




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

     RATING 3.5/5


        N
                  early six years and hundreds of shoot-
                  ers 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 title’s pen-
        chant for stylish destruction. Fusing balls-to-
        the-wall action with some truly creepy moments,
        F.E.A.R. paved the way for a new breed of shoot-
        ers. So it’s a real pity that none of its successors
        have followed that path. The expansion packs
        that followed weren’t a patch on Monolith’s
        beast and neither was the full-fledged sequel.
        It’s because of this that I didn’t 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. It’s not that F.E.A.R. 3 is a bad game;
        it’s 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 haven’t played it or its
        predecessor, you’re kind of screwed. The game              midst of an intense gun fight. In fact you can’t
        tries to fill players in on all the horrific events        even shoot an enemy standing behind a wooden
        of days gone by, but you’ll still be left scratch-         table because your pullets can’t penetrate jack
        ing your head at the end of the day wondering              in this game. Grenades don’t feel like powerful
        how deep the rabbit hole really went. For your             little balls of death, setting off shock waves and
        first playthrough, you’ll step into the genetically        decimating everything in sight. They feel more
        modified boots of Point Man, the nameless pro-             like powerful little firecrackers in both sight and
        tagonist from F.E.A.R., who’s heightened reflexes          sound. F.E.A.R was also well known for its wicked
        allow him to slow time down. Plus, he’s rocking a          AI that made life pretty tough for players. F.E.A.R.
        beard right now and nothing says I’m a badass              3, on the other hand (on Normal), was a cakewalk
        more than a well groomed beard.                            with its brain dead AI that allowed me to waltz all
            As Point Man, gameplay is your standard                over their Neanderthal butts.
        shooter fare, where you move from one level to                 Once you take out the whole chaotic action
        another, slowing time down, shooting enemies               from the equation, F.E.A.R. 3 becomes nothing
        in the face. The reason I sound less than excited          more than a generic modern day shooter with
        about F.E.A.R. 3’s single player is because it             a few scares thrown in. As opposed to the first
        lacked everything that made the first game a               game, which made many seasoned gamers pee in
        blast. For one, destruction is nearly negligible, as       their pants, this one’s content with a few flashes
        opposed to F.E.A.R., where bullets would rip the           of creepy naked girls and a few visual effects
        concrete off walls, shell cases would bounce all           that distort vision. The game does pick up a bit
        over the place and you felt like you were in the           towards the end, but just as you’re getting into it,



                                                                                                                          Hemali Limbachiya
     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                     REVIEW   27




                                                                         RATINGS
                                                                FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER

                                                                F.E.A.R. 3
                                                                PRICE              Rs 2,499 (PS3, Xbox 360),
                                                                                   Rs 999 (PC)
                                                                PUBLISHER          Warner Bros
                                                                DEVELOPER          Timegate Studios
                                                                DISTRIBUTOR        E-Xpress Interactive
                                                                PHONE              022 29661017
                                                                E-MAIL             info@expressgames.in

                                                                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



                                                          well in the game’s favor, converting an otherwise
                                                          boring experience into a moderately enjoyable
                                                          one. If, for some reason, you don’t 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
                                                          haven’t bothered fixing this issue, I’m really not
                                                          going to bother with it.
it ends. The F.E.A.R. experience has always been              Visually, F.E.A.R. 3 is a good four to five years
tailor made for a single player experience, allow-        behind its time. In 2005, F.E.A.R. was a visual
ing the developers to suck you in with all satisfy-       powerhouse that brought many powerful PCs to
ing action as well as all the creepy undead stuff.        their knees. F.E.A.R. 3 is sadly a blurry mess of
With F.E.A.R. 3, developer Timegate Studios took          things. There’s some decent texture work and
a gamble and added in co-operative play, and to           water effects to be found, but other than that, it’s
my surprise, it’s actually quite good.                    an ugly affair, be it with washed out environments
    In co-operative play, the host plays as Point         or drab character models. The frame rates stay
Man, while the other will be Paxton Fettel, his           stable when the action gets a bit frantic, but then
undead brother with all the cool psychic abilities.       again, there’s not a lot of frantic action to begin
As Point Man, the gameplay remains the same as            with. Headshots and gibbage thankfully still
the single player, but it’s when you play as Fet-         remain satisfying and popping a sweet headshot
tel that the fun truly begins. For starters, you can      in slow mo never gets old.
possess any enemy in sight and then proceed to                On its own merit, F.E.A.R. 3 would have been
gun his comrades down with reckless abandon.              an above average, albeit generic, shooter with a
This is obviously the safest route since Fettel can-      few scares thrown in. The addition of co-operative
not wield any weapons. The other way of going             play does help this franchise as Timegate have
about doing things is working in tandem with              done a pretty bang up job of implementing it into
your partner, where you levitate your opponent            gameplay. As a successor to the F.E.A.R. name,
using your telekinetic abilities while your partner       however, it’s a disappointment mother would not
pumps him full of lead. This actually works really        approve of.



                                                       INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
28    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 Rocksteady’s ideology and
                                    dedication to Batman franchise in addition to what players can expect when
                                    the game drops this October.
                                    BY AVINASH BALI


                                      Did you anticipate the phenomenal                     the opportunity to explore the world is mas-
                                    success of Arkham Asylum (AA)? We only                  sive, but this also means that you need to rely
                                    ask since most games based on comic                     on navigation (a lot) to ensure you never get lost.
                                    books tend to suck.                                     Because, you know, getting lost is not a very Bat-
                                        (Laughs) Great question; straight to the point. I   man experience. So when you’re in detective
                                    like that. We knew we had something pretty spe-         mode, it’s a brilliant augmented vision for crime
                                    cial with AA because during development, we were        scene investigation, but in that mode you don’t
                                    taking lots of creative risks by making a game that     have those navigational tools needed to explore
                                    explored Batman’s personality; not just as a hero,      the world. This way players end up using it as a
                                    but as a man. It was about exploring the psychol-       tool for which it is intended.
                                    ogy of Bruce Wayne as an individual, taking into
                                    account the events that shaped his life at an early       How open-ended will AC be? Will there
                                    age, molding him into Batman. Exploring his char-       be a ton of side missions? Will Batman be
                                    acter across the board is something gamers didn’t       able to get into his Batmobile and cruise
                                    really expect, but I think they definitely appreci-      around the city fighting random crimes?
                                    ated it. We saw all these elements coming together         It’s really difficult to compare AC to other open-
                                    in AA and we felt we were making a very different       world games. I think our aim with AC was not to
                                    kind of game as opposed to what we’ve played in the     make the biggest open world game, but the most
                                    past. The real question was whether or not gamers       detailed one. Making a huge game with nothing to
                                    were going to respond positively to that. And it was    do in it is not the kind of game we wanted to make,
                                    a great relief for us when we found they did.           so we really placed our focus on a more detailed
                                                                                            experience. Arkham Asylum had this sort of Bat-
                                      If you had to be critical of Arkham Asy-              man DNA built into every brick, every structure,
                                    lum, what would you say the game could                  which is why gamers never went tearing through
                                    have done without or done better?                       the game at high speeds not paying attention to
                                        I think one element of the game we definitely        intense atmosphere around every corner. So we’ve
                                    put a lot of work into was the detective mode. What     taken that philosophy and expanded that into
                                    we found was that players were using this as an         AC. Having said that, AC is five times the size of
                                    exploitation as opposed to the tool that we initially   Arkham Island, so it’s a significantly larger game.
                                    designed it to be. So if we could wind back time
                                    and rework the implementation of detective mode,           How long would one playthrough of
                                    I think we would do it in the way we’ve done it in      the game take?
                                    Arkham City (AC) because it’s more balanced now.           Just taking down all the villains like Joker, Rid-
                                                                                            dler, Two-Face, Harley Quinn, etc is about 25 hours
         Look for the trailer of      Could you give as an example of how                   of gameplay. If you’re looking at 100% completion,
         Batman: Arkham City        detective mode works in this game?                      we’re talking 40-plus hours. On top of that, you
         on the CHIP DVD               AC is essentially a large open-world game, so        have challenge maps, so it’s a big, big game.


     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                                 INTERVIEW       29




OF ARKHAM CITY
   Are there any changes in the combat?
    We were really happy with the free form combat
                                                             Does Rocksteady plan on aligning itself
                                                          with the Batman franchise for a long time
system implemented in AA, and we really wanted            or can we expect newer IP in the future?
to take it to the next level. We had to really rethink        We’re hardcore Batman fans so we really love
all the challenges Batman would face in AC and so         what we’re doing right now. We’re really happy with
we’ve really ramped up the combat, nearly doubling        the relationship we have with both DC Comics and
the amount of moves Batman has at his disposal.           Warner, so life feels pretty good. As of now, we’re
We’ve also tweaked enemy AI, so enemies will use          just enjoying the ride we’re on, and we’re totally
different tactics to try and take you down.               focused on getting the game out to gamers this
                                                          October. Obviously, we got thousands of different
   The single player experience alone is                  ideas about what the future could hold, but right
great in our books, but did you get flak                  now, we’re just committed to getting this game to
for not including multiplayer or co-op?                   the highest level of quality possible.
   It was quite the opposite. We got a ton of support
and praise for not including co-op or multiplayer         Batman: Arkham City will be in stores on Octo-
and that was a really crazy moment for us because         ber 21, 2011 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
we didn’t know how fans were going to respond to
that announcement. Adding multiplayer or co-op is
a massive overhead for any team, and we’re 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 wouldn’t
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, we’re making a game
Batman fans are going to love.

   What’s the one thing you’re most proud
of in Arkham City?
   Without a doubt, the city itself. We’ve put a lot of
effort into building this huge game world for Bat-
man to explore and filled 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 you’re not solving
crimes or pushing the story forward. I’m so proud
with what everyone at Rocksteady has achieved
and I’m sure gamers will love the game world cre-
ated for them.



                                                                                   INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
30    REVIEW




          Aggressive, no-holds-barred
          racing. Too bad there’s not
          enough of it.
          BY SAMEER DESAI




                                      M
                                                      X vs ATV Alive is a bizarre game. This is   tion. The first of these is the clutch, which helps
 RATING 3/5                                           an era where game developers some-          you accelerate off the starting line, out of corners,
                                                      times tend to make sacrifices on the        and while landing jumps. The other is the seat
                                          single player side of things so they can focus          bounce, which allows you go higher and father off
                                          on the online multiplayer components of their           jumps. The problem, however, is that the game
                                          games. However, none of those games ever                doesn’t explain how either of these features
                                          force you to play multiplayer the way MX vs ATV         are used. Because this is a lower priced game, it
                                          Alive does. Don’t get me wrong; the single player       doesn’t come with a manual, and strangely, nei-
                                          modes aren’t locked away, but the way the game          ther is there a manual in-game. So you’ll have to
                                          levels you up, you will either endlessly grind by       go to the game’s website and download the PDF
                                          replaying the same events over and over, or be          version to figure out the controls.
                                          forced to hop online.                                       Racing in MX vs ATV Alive is extremely aggres-
                                              It’s no secret; MX vs ATV is a franchise in         sive, and there is frequent contact between riders,
                                          decline, thanks largely to the abysmal MX vs            especially on the smaller tracks. You’re encour-
                                          ATV Reflex, the previous game in the series.            aged to use other racers as barriers and speed
                                          So to make this game more attractive, THQ has           breakers, but you’ll find the aggressive AI using
                                          adopted a novel pricing strategy. At Rs 1,499,          you for the same. To ensure that this doesn’t
                                          Alive is cheaper than most new games, but what          result in frequent, annoying crashes, the game
                                          this means is that it comes with no frills. All you     includes the wreck avoidance feature. When
                                          get on the disc is the very core; everything else is    you’re about to lose balance and crash, you’ll
                                          sold separately via DLC. It’s just the sort of strat-   notice a prompt on screen telling you to push
                                          egy that a series such as this demands, because         the analog stick in a specific direction. Doing so
                                          no one in their right minds is going to spend Rs        in time will allow you to stay on course. It works
                                          2,499 for an MX vs ATV game anymore.                    way better than it did in Reflex, and it’s a great
                                              This new strategy almost works too. Alive           way to keep the momentum up in these intense
                                                             succeeds where Reflex failed         races.
                RATINGS                                      – the gameplay. This is an off-
                                                             road racing game, where as the
                                                                                                      There’s no career mode to speak of; just a
                                                                                                  bunch of regular lapped races and smaller races
          RACING
                                                             name suggests, you can choose        on tiny, overlapping circuits, which level you
          MX vs ATV Alive                                    between dirt bikes and quads/        up as you win and earn in-game medals. After
          PRICE              Rs 1,499 (Xbox 360, PS3)        ATVs as your vehicles. As with       around four races, if you’ve performed well, you’ll
          PUBLISHER          THQ                             any good game, controls are          find yourself at around level 4, and that’s where
          DEVELOPER          THQ Digital Phoenix
                                                             easy to pick up, but difficult to    you’ll hit a wall. Every subsequent race is locked
          DISTRIBUTOR        E-xpress Interactive
                                                             master. While simply negotiat-       till you’ve reached at least level 10. Aside from
          PHONE              022 29661017
                                                             ing turns and overtaking oppo-       the races, there’s a free-roam mode that gives
          E-MAIL             info@expressgames.in
                                                             nents is simple enough, keeping      you three open environments to muck around in,
          FOR                                                your speed up as you constantly      perform tricks (which aren’t fun to pull off at all),
          Aggressive racing, good controls, deep             encounter bumps, ditches and         and find hidden secrets. Doing so will also earn
          customization.
                                                             big-air jumps is considerably        you rewards and level you up a little further, but
          AGAINST                                            harder, and there are a couple of    you still won’t reach level 10 from just the single-
          Not enough content, forces you to play             tools that the game grants you       player modes.
          multiplayer to level up.
                                                             to get a leg up on the competi-          So even if you happen to be the kind who


     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT                                                                       Hemali Limbachiya
                                                                                                          REVIEW       31




hates interacting with other human beings, you’ll
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 split-
screen. So you’re encouraged to play everything
the game has to offer. Except that you aren’t 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 won’t mind it that
much once you get into it. Even considering that,
however, there just isn’t enough content here,
and maybe that shouldn’t come as such a sur-
prise 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 expan-
sive customization options, we’d 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 off-
road racing. It’s a shame that there isn’t enough
content to make this a game that we can whole-
heartedly recommend, but at Rs 1,499, it isn’t a
game that will leave you disappointed either, pro-
vided you’re up for both single-player and multi-
player action.




                                                         INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
32    INTERVIEW




                                                                       Battlefield: 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 Battlefield
                                                                   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 it’s something
                                                                   we and EA together are spending a lot of time,
                                                                   energy and money on. We’re running load tests
                                                                   and are scaling up all systems to be able to han-
                                                                   dle a greater number of players. We also have a
                                                                   whole team dedicated to everything happening
                                                                   post launch with Battlefield 3.




     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                        INTERVIEW       33




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




   How big would you say is the jump                   The Battlefield series (Bad Company
from Frostbite to Frostbite 2.0? What               not included) is not one to feature a
kind of destruction are we talking                  single player campaign. What made
about here?                                         you guys add one for this game?
    The jump to Frostbite 2 doesn’t just mean          When we introduced the story-driven cam-
that we can have more destruction; the big dif-     paigns in Battlefield: Bad Company, our idea
ferences affect the whole experience. Lighting is   was simply to widen the offering of our fran-
better, making everything in the world look so      chise so more people could enjoy it. We know
much more real. Streaming works better, mean-       for a fact that many people prefer to start their
ing we can have more things on screen at the        games by playing the offline campaign and then
same time. Simpler and optimized workflows           move onto the more competitive online modes,
mean that our designers can work faster, which      where the heart of Battlefield always has been,
in the end equals to a more polished game. And      and still is.
very importantly, the implementation of the
ANT technology in combination with the award          What’s next for the Bad Company
winning audio will change how people perceive       series?
animations and sound in an FPS.                        Nothing has been decided yet.




                                                                          INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
34    INTERVIEW



           The Frostbite engine has                     What according to you is
        proven itself to be quite flexible,            the most badass weapon in the
        being used in shooters as well as             game, and why?
        racing games (Need for Speed:                    I’m really eager to see what the gam-     Look for the Battlefield
                                                                                                   3 multiplayer trailer
        The Run). What’s next for this                ers will make out of the jets now that
                                                                                                   on the CHIP DVD
        engine? Do you plan on licensing              they’re back in the game. It’s such a sig-
        it out to other developers the                nature vehicle with unique capabilities,
        way Epic did with the Unreal 3                so I’m curious to see how gamers will
        engine?                                       utilize it to be effective on the battle-
           We built it here at DICE in order to be    field.
        able to create the games that we want
        to make. Now, more studios within EA             Are jets in the multiplayer
        are using it, which is great, but it won’t    side of things killstreak
        go any further than that. The upcom-          rewards? Will players be able to
        ing challenges will be to get it to run       pilot them?
        on new platforms, getting ready for the          We don’t have killstreaks in Battle-
        next, upcoming and expected console           field 3 like some other games do, so no,
        transition.                                   the jet works like any other vehicle.
                                                      Run up to the airfield, pick one that is
           What made you include prone                free, and you’re off.
        in this game? Aren’t you afraid
        people will abuse it the way they               What’s your crowning
        have in the Call of Duty games?               achievement in
            The reintroduction of prone into          Battlefield 3?
        Battlefield 3 is solely based upon the            Well, we’re
        feedback from the Battlefield com-             not    done
        munity. They desperately wanted it,           yet. We’ll
        so we’re delivering it. As for avoiding       have to
        exploits, we’re countering this with          wait and
        some other tricks. For example, the           see how it’s
        sniper’s weapon optic will give off a         received first!
        slight glint, which can reveal his/her
        position.




     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT                                                       Hemali Limbachiya
36    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



        A
               side from may be Call of Duty, there isn’t a    send your player into a stumble or to the ground.
               bigger game franchise out there than EA         In the same situation now, however, the outcome
               Sports’ FIFA, with every iteration comfort-     is determined by various on-the-fly physics calcu-
        ably selling over 10 million copies and consistently   lations that take into account parameters such as
        being one of the most played games online. But         the speed and momentum of your player and the
        to keep these millions of people coming back each      severity of the opponent’s tackle. What this even-
        year, EA has to do all it can to keep pushing the      tually means from a gameplay perspective is that
        game towards football simulation perfection. FIFA      being clipped on the heels doesn’t always have to
        11 took some significant strides towards achiev-       impede your progress. If you’re well balanced, you
        ing that, but there were a few gameplay and AI         have speed and momentum, and the challenge
        issues that held it back. With FIFA 12, not only is    isn’t a particularly tough one, you could well shrug
        EA attempting to plug all the holes, but they’ve       it off and continue with your run.
        also claimed that the new game will revolutionize          FIFA games have always had more realis-
        the football games genre.                              tic player animations than other sports games,
           Leading the ‘revolution’ is FIFA 12’s new player    but what this new player impact engine does is
        impact engine, which aims to lend the game a           ensure that each collision now looks different. So
        whole new level of physicality. In most sports         bone crunching tackles will be shown with believ-
        games, including past FIFA games, collisions           ably theatrical animations, while smaller nudges
        played out with the help of situational animations.    will result in players stumbling or shrugging off
        So being clipped on the heels by an opposition         the challenge. There’s a potential downside to
        player would trigger a trip animation that would       this, though. Since all the collisions are based on




         Look for the
         trailer of FIFA 12
         on the CHIP DVD

                                                                                                                      Hemali Limbachiya
     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                               PREVIEW       37




on-the-fly physics calculations, there is a pos-
sibility of these calculations sometimes having
undesirable outcomes. There’s 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 actu-
ally shoulder-charged by a defender. This is, of
course, a very extreme example, the likes of which
you probably won’t 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 it’s 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 mov-
ing at a slow pace. What this essentially means         ever closer to the real thing. But the intent has
is that shielding the ball from a defender or hold-     always been there; the real question is whether
ing up play while your teammates join the attack        this is the year that EA finally delivers.
is now possible. You can now apply deft touches
using the inside or outside of the boot for twisting    FIFA 12 is scheduled for release on 30th
dribbles that allow you to maneuver more freely         September 2011 on PC, consoles and handhelds.
without actually losing control of the ball. While
being caught in tight spaces in earlier games
meant being dispossessed by an opposing player,           PC AND CONSOLE VERSIONS WILL
with precisions dribbling, you now have many              BE IDENTICAL
more tricks up your sleeve to retain possession.
    One of the biggest complaints from FIFA 11            PC versions of past FIFA games have always
players was how overpowered the defenders                 been a year or two behind what we saw on
were, so this time, the developers are introducing        the PS3 and Xbox 360, with the PC version
tactical defending, which relies more on skill and        receiving inferior visuals and fewer features.
judgment. Positioning and timing now play a vital         This time, however, EA has promised that
role in not only making successful tackles but also       PC and console versions will use the same
in intercepting passes. Aiding defense further is         engine and be identical in every way, which
the new pro player intelligence, through which the        means all the new features mentioned in
AI moves more intelligently into open spaces and          this preview should also be available for PC
helps provide cover in vulnerable areas. This also        gamers.
has an impact in offense, with AI teammates mak-
ing 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 game’s realism, the true injuries fea-
ture 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
haven’t covered here, such as the improved career
mode. So this clearly isn’t just FIFA 11 with a new
name, but a serious effort on EA’s part to deliver
an all new game in its quest to take the series


                                                                               INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
38    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


             How was Saints Row born? The first game                         gameplay by including activities like Crowd Control, FUZZ and
           wasn’t as over-the-top as its successors. What                    Septic Avenger. SR2 also pushed the stylistic direction where it
           brought about the sudden change?                                  could. For example, instead of a standard street gang, we had
              The original Saints Row concept came out of Volition (devel-   a gang that had ties to Voodoo. We were actually a bit worried
           oper). For many years, the studio had been looking for an addi-   that perhaps we were taking things too far in some cases. Now,
           tional IP to develop. Small, cross-discipline teams came up       with SRTT, our concern isn’t if we’ve crossed the line… it’s if we
           with a number of potential concepts, and “Saints Row” came        haven’t!
           out on top. It was pitched to THQ and was green-lit shortly          Of course, once SR2 released and we saw that the over-the-
           thereafter. Some of the game mechanics in that original con-      top theme resonated well with players, the sky was the limit
           cept are still present in SRTT - complete various in-game tasks   on SRTT. And because we were creating an original world with
           to gain respect, play as gang member, and take over a city.       all new technology, we have been able to take the over-the-
              We feel SR has undergone a steady evolution as opposed to a    top elements found in SR2 and prescribe them to everything
           sudden change. SR was definitely more serious than either SR2      in SRTT - visual effects, character design, situational dialog,
           and SRTT, and yet it contained gameplay elements that mark        character creation, and of course, gameplay.
           the franchise’s identity today. For example, SR1 contained the
           Insurance Fraud activity, where players throw themselves into       Were you surprised by the way Saints Row 2
           traffic and ping-pong against vehicles for multipliers. SR1 also   was received, with many gamers preferring it to
           had an activity where the studio GMs (at that time, Dan Cermak    GTA IV? What’s the one aspect of SR2 that you
           and Mike Kulas) would come after the player if they failed to     weren’t pleased with?
           pay back loans on time. SR2 pushed this type of over-the-top         I don’t think ‘surprised’ is the right word. We’ve never con-



     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                                  INTERVIEW    39




cerned ourselves with what other open world games are doing.               Yes, we have discussed the idea, and yes, it would take a lot
Our position is that open-world is a game genre, and there are         of work to implement, but it is possible to do. We made the deci-
many types of games within that genre. We’re a very, very dif-         sion to not include destruction at the same level of Red Faction
ferent game from all the other open-world games out there.             because doing so would arguably mean developing a game that
That’s a good thing for us and I think a good thing for players,       is very different from what SR fans know and expect. For exam-
too. I wish we were able to create an original city for SR2. Players   ple, what would do with a city that was completely destroyed?
enjoyed revisiting Stilwater, but I know the art team would have       Steelport is as much a character in SRTT as the player-character,
been keen to create a brand new and original city. Fortunately,        Saints and any of the enemies. Red Faction is great at being Red
we’re getting to create an all new and original city in SRTT.          Faction. Saints Row is great at being Saints Row. It’s really that
                                                                       simple.
   The addition of co-op in SR2 was nothing short
of brilliant. How did that come about? Has anything                       How large is the new city in SRTT? How long do
new been added to SR3’s co-op?                                         you reckon one playthrough would take? And speak-
    SR2’s co-op mode came about late in the pre-production             ing of activities, which one is the most awesome and
phase. We felt we were on the right track by pushing the game-         why?
play, but we also wanted to offer another, stand-out feature that          Our goal from the start was to create a city space that felt
would further separate SR2 from other open-world games. Being          right for the game. We wanted to create a visually dense city
able to play through the game’s critical path via co-op was that       where players had gameplay options or something interesting to
feature. Our philosophy for co-op on SRTT has been “if it ain’t        do around every corner; we wanted to create a city that felt and
broke, don’t fix it”. SRTT co-op players can expect the same            looked right. I think we’ve achieved that. It’s large enough so that
seamless drop-in and drop-out, and ability to play through the         flying in a VTOL never gets old or boring, and small enough that
entire campaign together.                                              players won’t feel like they’re getting lost, just driving around.
                                                                       The average player will take more than 20 hours to complete the
   As much as we loved Saints Row 2, the frame                         critical path, but if you add co-op and account for time spent just
rates were really inconsistent across the board. Has                   playing in the world with the toys we give you, then who knows.
this issue been fixed with SRTT?
   SRTT is built on brand new technology, which in turn is based
on Volition’s eight-plus years experience building open world
games. This new tech has allowed us to push the respective plat-
forms further than we ever have before in regards to visuals,
performance and playability. I think the videos we’ve release are
a testament to this and show the improvements over SR2 across
the board.

   The PC port of SR2 was under par. Now that Voli-
tion is handling the port for SRTT, can we expect a
stellar port? Which platform would you say would
offer the best SRTT experience?
    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-specific features that will get the PC com-
munity very excited. Now that we are developing the PC version
in-house, we’re 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.

   Why not include the destruction (courtesy Geo-
Mod 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?


                                                                                 INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
40    INTERVIEW




                                                                             just a blast to see in action. Otherwise, I’d say Professor Genki’s
                                                                             Super Ballistic Manapult, even though it’s 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 fighting against large groups.

                                                                               What kind of radio stations can we expect in the
                                                                             game? Is it possible to upload your own tunes in
                                                                             the PC version?
                                                                                  As in SR and SR2, we’ve licensed a number of tracks that are
                                                                              spread out across a number of radio stations. We’re going to
        One of the great features of SRTT is we encourage players to         release the final track list later in the campaign. Rest assured,
        muck about in the world just to see what happens. I think many       it’s a robust and varied selection. We’ll talk about specific PC
        players are going to spend a ton of time going back to this game     features later in the campaign.
        for the dynamic, emergent sandbox gameplay long after they’ve
        completed a couple of playthroughs. As for activities, my per-         Releasing your game during the super packed
        sonal favorite is Professor Genki’s Ethical Reality Climax show      month of November is a risky proposition. Aren’t
        because it’s so unique and crazy. To give you an idea of what I’m    you a bit apprehensive about the competition?
        talking about - it’s a cross between the movie ‘Running Man’             There’s no game like SRTT out there, anywhere. We feel SRTT
        and a crazy Japanese game show.                                      is unique and different enough that it will appeal to gamers no
                                                                             matter when it’s released.
          Which is the most badass weapon in SRTT, and
        why?                                                                    So what’s next for the SR series?
           Well, I can only give you my opinion based on the weapons            Fortune and glory (laughs).
        that we have shown so far. We have plenty of surprises to come.
        That said, my favorite weapon is probably the AirStrike. It’s just      Thank you for your time.
        so satisfying to shower death upon a giant swath of enemies in         Thank you. It’s always a pleasure to talk about a game I love
        one fell swoop. It makes you feel incredibly powerful and it’s       and am excited about.




     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                               CAREERS       41




CAREERS



TOP GAME DEVELOPMENT
COLLEGES
If you’re 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. We’ve handpicked some of the best
colleges from India and abroad.
BY PRI YANK A T ILVE

                                                        Asian Institute of Gaming and Animation (AIGA)
                                                       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 pres-
                                                       ence of Joshi Mark Premnath and Erol Shailesh Watsa as its academic direc-
                                                       tors, who are the driving force behind one of India’s top game development
                                                       studios, Dhruva Interactive.
                                                       Website: www.aiga.in
 DSK Supinfocom
Based in Pune, DSK Supinfocom is fast emerging as one of the premier indus-
trial design, gaming and animation institutes in India. It’s 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, Real-
                                                       Time 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 Develop-
ment, while a comprehensive bachelor’s program in Game & Simulation Pro-
gramming is offered by the College of Engineering & Information Sciences.
Website: www.devry.edu


                                                                               INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
42    CAREERS




         CAREERS




        GAMERS-TURNED-G
        We’ve told you about the top institutes around the word, but formal education isn’t always
        mandatory to get into game development. We spoke with some budding game developers to find
        out how they’ve managed to get into this field with no prior training.
        BY SAMEER DESAI



        Amit Goyal and G Arjun                        Amit: It’s an eye-opener of sorts. Each      processes involved in developing a game.
        THIS WAY UP                                   day is a learning process. As gamers,        There were so many times we would
                                                      we are extremely demanding from our          bang our heads against the wall because
           How long have you developing               games. During development, you come          we couldn’t figure out a particular thing.
        games and have you had any                    to learn of all kind of practical problems   In fact, we’re still learning even now.
        formal education in this field?               one faces in implementing even the           Amit: It hasn’t been easy reaching this
        Arjun: It’s been a little more than a         tiniest of things.                           stage where our game is in production,
        year since the idea of game development                                                    but we’ve come through only by sticking
        sprang up. I guess it was a gradual evolu-       Do you feel that not having a             to it. Many books on game design say
        tion from playing games to developing         formal education in game devel-              that the only thing you need to do to be
        games. And no, we have absolutely             opment is a stumbling block for              a game designer is to play lots of video
        zero education in the field apart from        those who want to get into it?               games. I really believe that’s true. It’s not
        the fact that we play games, and more         Arjun: It can be a stumbling block if        rocket science to conceptualize games,
        importantly, appreciate good games on         you don’t want to work hard. It took         as long as you’re clear about what you
        all platforms.                                us almost a year to understand the           want to do. No amount of formal educa-
        Amit: The whole idea actually sprang                                                       tion or the lack of it can teach you things
        out of nowhere while driving back from                                                     like common sense, creativity or logical
        work one night when a friend who works                                                     reasoning, which we believe are the key
        for a prominent social networking site                                                     ingredients in making video games.
        told us that his company is looking for                                                    Some aspects, such as coding and anima-
        fresh ideas. We had been gaming for                                                        tions, require specialization... but the
        a long time, so we decided to give it a                                                    important thing is to figure out where
        shot. Eventually, it didn’t work out, but                                                  you fit in the overall scheme of things.
        conceptualizing a game was great fun,
        and we decided to take it forward as a                                                        What are the biggest chal-
        project.                                                                                   lenges you’ve faced since getting
                                                                                                   into game development?
          How is the process of game                  This Way Up is a start-up game               Arjun: Our biggest challenge in the
        development different from what               development studio by Amit Goyal             beginning was to understand in detail
        you thought it was when you                   and G Arjun from New Delhi. Cur-             the most important question - how
        were just playing games?                      rently working on the iOS platform,          are games developed? It started from
        Arjun: While playing we only think of         they have teamed up with artist and          that basic point. Additionally, finding
        stuff like “wow, nice gameplay” or “stun-     animator Kshiraj Telang, Sandesh             like-minded people who share the same
        ning graphics”, maybe a more seasoned         Jain, who comes armed with years of          passion for gaming and want to develop
        gamer may say “awesome character              experience in game development for           good, entertaining games that need to
        development and story”, but there is so       mobile platforms, and Dev Bhatia,            compete with international products
        much more than just that. Every step in       who is handling marketing and PR             was quite difficult. But eventually, when
        the process needs to be well defined and      for their upcoming game, which will          we found such people, it didn’t seem so
        well designed.                                release later this year.                     tough after all.


     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                                 CAREERS       43




GAME DEVELOPERS
     What advice would you give                Hiccups do happen, and it may take that       done a reasonably good job of promoting
  to someone wanting to get into               one programmer from a day to a week           a career that is often not really pro-
  game development without hav-                until they’ve figured out how to fix that     moted here. Game artists could still look
  ing studied it?                              one particular problem. Understanding         into animation courses.
  Arjun: I suggest that people should          the technical requirements for oth-
  spend a lot of time doing research. So as    ers goes a long way towards bridging             What are the biggest chal-
  it then turns out, research and studying     communication gaps, as not everyone           lenges you’ve faced since getting
  are one and the same thing. Also, play all   will be ready to understand what your         into game development?
  types of games.                              framework of your “game” truly is.            Vijay: Delivering a product that meets
  Amit: Figure out what you’re good at                                                       the expectations of yourself and others.
  first. It’s very important to assess what       Do you feel that not having a              Quality is in the mindset of the people,
  kind of resources you have and choose        formal education in game devel-               so I always end up second-guessing
  your starting point accordingly. We          opment is a stumbling block for               myself on what works for the player
  want to develop a AAA title for consoles,    those who want to get into it?                (regardless of whether they’re new to
  but we know we don’t have those kind         Vijay: Absolutely. On one hand, pro-          games). Another challenge, perhaps
  of resources right now. When we got          grammers may benefit more from join-          more common for smaller studios such
  ourselves an iPod, we saw the potential      ing a typical course, but there’s usually     as ourselves, is that you have to know
  that the platform holds, assessed the        no real “game programming” involved.          how to market your game. Even if it gets
  resources required, and decided to           From what I’ve been told, graphic pro-        positive reviews, if people don’t know
  make it our starting point. iOS is a great   gramming (eg doing in-game cutscenes)         it exists, that’s a problem. It can take
  platform for budding game designers as       is not something that’s covered a lot in      months before your title actually gains
  it requires lesser resources and smaller     India. It’s a very ‘self-learning’ process.   momentum.
  teams.                                       But at least for studying game design,
                                               institutes such DSK Supinfocom have              What advice would you give
  Vijay Sinha                                                                                to someone wanting to get into
  MPOWERED                                                                                   game development without hav-
                                                                                             ing studied it?
     How long have you developing                                                            Vijay: Game testing can be a great
  games and have you had any                                                                 way to break into the profession, as
  formal education in this field?                                                            the barrier of entry is not very high
  Vijay: I’ve worked three years as a                                                        and you have room to experiment.
  game tester, and the past six months         MPowered is the mobile games                  You learn about the tools developers
  as a Project Planner and Designer for        division of Apra Infotech Pvt Ltd, a          use to communicate with one another,
  MPowered India. I have not had any           serious games developer and ser-              and how issues can be approached and
  formal education in any of the fields I      vice provider based in New Delhi.             documented in a team environment.
  have worked in.                              Since 2008, they have been helping            Taking my friend and colleague Ankit
                                               American companies ship cutting-              as an example, being a tester helped
     How is the process of game                edge training simulations built upon          him understand the mistakes a game
  development different from what              Unreal and Unity3D technology, thus           programmer often makes, as certain
  you thought it was when you                  helping people learn while hav-               points have a tendency of being over-
  were just playing games?                     ing fun. MPowered is a full house             looked while coding. Reading up and
  Vijay: For the management portion, you       production studio with art, pro-              watching developer interviews over the
  really have to understand where others       gramming, production and testing              Internet can also be educational, and are
  are coming from in a development cycle.      services.                                     generally very interesting to watch.


                                                                                 INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
44    REVIEW




                                                                                                        A violent and cheesy homage
                                                                                                        to B grade horror movies.

                                                                                                        BY AVINASH BALI




 RATING 4/5

                                    W
                                               ith a name like Garcia Hotspur, you            is the “perfect tool for the job”. Har Har.
                                               either become a male prostitute or a               As juvenile as the pee pee jokes seem, they
                                               badass demon hunter, or in the case of         are actually quite funny and unlike Duke Nukem
                                    eccentric developer Suda 51’s latest game, Shad-          Forever, where I cringed on every pun, I rather
                                    ows of the Damned, a demon hunter who has a               enjoyed the snide, sexual overtones in Shadows
                                    thing for dong jokes. While being a demon hunter          of the Damned. Instead of annoying the player,
                                    has its perks, it does come with a few tiny perils        they really do drive home the cheesy B grade hor-
                                    that include eternal damnation for your girlfriend        ror movie vibe Suda 51 was aiming at. Fusing the
                                    at the hands of a demon overlord. Nothing to              visual style of Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse
                                    sweat about really except for the fact that she’ll        with the over-the-top horror and humor of an
                                    probably get dragged into the underworld only to          Evil Dead, Shadows of the Damned pays homage
                                    die mercilessly over and over and over again in           to the days when horror movies actually amused
                                    horrific ways. But hey, there’s nothing like a free       you instead of just grossing you out.
                                    meal right?                                                   The game takes place in Suda 51’s demented
                                       But being the stud that you are, you obviously         vision of the underworld, a place that you’ll hope-
                                    dive in (quite literally) to rescue her from this ter-    fully never visit. The game’s concept, where the
                                    rible fate, aided in this noble endeavor by your          player is forced to watch his loved one die in hor-
                                    Johnson. And yes, that is a clever play on words          rible ways all the time, is very bleak and I found
                                                           (remember the whole penis          the humor, as juvenile as it was, balancing this
                                                                thing I told you about at     out to a certain extent. Voice acting is intention-
                                                                   the start) because by      ally cheesy, and I really wouldn’t have it any other
                                                                    Johnson, I do mean        way. Unlike Dante (from Dante’s Inferno), who just
                                                                     your floating skull      whined and whined like some emo kid tweaking
                                                                     companion voiced         off caffeine after suffering a similar fate, Garcia is
                                                                     by a British guy who     a total badass, who will make the best of a bad
                                                                     can change into a        situation. And then make a dong joke out of it.
                                                                      plethora of weap-       That’s how he rolls.
                                                                         ons. After all, he       Gameplay in SoTD is more or less your conven-
                                                                                              tional third-person shooter sans the cover system
                                                                                              and regenerating health bar. The controls do feel
                                                                                              clunky at first, but you’ll get used to them eventu-
                                                                                              ally. Shooting the underworld’s minions will grant
                                                                                              you white crystals that can be used to purchase a
                                                                                              bunch of stuff like upgrades for your tool, ammu-
                                                                                              nition, 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
     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                                       REVIEW       45




who no matter how big or ugly, always sport their       fetish I mentioned multiple times also finds a way
Achilles heels in the form of red glowing spots on      into level as well as weapon design, so don’t be
their bodies. Stun them with your light burst and       surprised if you run into a ton of phallic symbols
then go to town on that red spot; it never fails.       in this game. Towards the end of the game, you’ll
Upon being slain, every boss will drop a blue crys-     encounter a few 2D side scrolling levels that are a
tal, which when fed to your Johnson, will allow him     welcome change of pace. While they are enjoyable
(or it) to become a newer weapon like a variant of      in their own way, they do get a bit frustrating at
a machine gun or a shotgun. A few levels in, you’ll     times thanks to clunky controls and the inabil-
encounter a half-demon-half-human trader called         ity to control your character’s movement in that
Christopher (don’t ask), who for a price will sell      plane.
you certain items, be it ammunition, booze or red          Eventually, your love (or hate) for Shadows of
orbs to upgrade weapons, like increasing reload-        the Damned will depend on your tolerance (or
ing speed, capacity, damage and so on.                  love) for all things B grade. I, for one, totally dug
    Besides the conventional mechanics I spoke          the game’s art style, juvenile humor, cheesy voice
about earlier, crucial to this game is the concept      acting and bleak setting. The game can get a bit
of light and dark. Every level in the underworld        tough and repetitive at times, and for some, the
has a certain amount of darkness represented by,        penis jokes may get a bit out of hand, but if you
well, actual darkness. When engulfed in this dark-      leave all logic behind and dive into Suda 51’s
ness, Garcia will slowly start losing health as the     creepy and totally demented world, I guarantee
corruption starts eating away at his health bar.        you’ll have a ball of a time. Yes, I said ball.
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 capa-                        RATINGS
ble of shedding light. I mean how could you not               THIRD-PERSON SHOOTER
know this? A lot of the game’s combat is tied into            Shadows of the Damned
this mechanic as well. When engulfed in the dark-             PRICE              Rs 2,499 (PS3),
ness, most enemies tend to get tougher to kill as                                Rs 2,249 (Xbox 360)
they get a protective cover of sorts that can only            PUBLISHER          EA
be destroyed with your light shot. Only once that             DEVELOPER          Grasshopper Manufacture

protective shield is taken down, will your bullets            DISTRIBUTOR        Milestone Interactive
                                                              PHONE              022 42764000
carve them up.
                                                              E-MAIL             sales@milestoneinteractive.com
    Like I mentioned earlier, SoTD sports a really
cool visual style, combining grungy psychedelic               FOR
visuals with some really depressing, dreary vis-              Great atmosphere, juvenile but thoroughly
                                                              entertaining humor, solid action, groovy visual
tas. The underworld is really not a pleasant place            style.
and that fact is driven home by some of the mor-
bid enemies you’ll encounter. Special mention                 AGAINST
                                                              Predictable boss fights, a bit repetitive, side-
goes out to the rather hideous creature design;               scrolling parts are a bit annoying.
Stan Winston (R.I.P.) would be proud. The penile


                                                                                      INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
46    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                          PS3 Dualshock 3 (DS3) controller on a PC. So I put
                                    Kinect work on the PS3?                                   two and two together and created this mash-up.
                                        Well, I didn’t really have a goal in mind when
                                    I started. I just like dabbling into new things and          What procedure did you use to get
                                    learning about different technologies. I’ve been          Kinect working on the PS3 and what
                                    interested in image manipulation for some time            were the components involved in the
                                    now, but I don’t have a CS background, so learning        process?
                                    all the algorithms to do things from scratch was             The program makes use of several other pro-
                                    way too much for my time-bound condition. Kinect          grams in order to provide this functionality. To
                                    seemed like a nice platform for the same, with            compile/use it, you also need the following:
                                    all the open source libraries around it. I saw that       ff OpenNI Libraries – To get data from Kinect
                                    everyone was doing hacks with it on PC already, so        ff NITE Libraries – Builds on top of OpenNI to
                                    I thought, ‘why not try something that no one has            provide gesture detection, etc
                                    thought about?’ Judging by some comments on my            ff PrimeSense Libraries for kinect – Kinect
                                    Youtube video, it looks like people still don’t believe      drivers to get raw data
                                    that it can be done. I had come across a nice project     ff DIYPS3Controller – The main component
                                    called Sixaxis Emulator or DIYPS3Controller some             for PS3 connection. Also known as Sixaxis
                                    time back, which can be used to emulate a regular            Emulator. This emulates a DS3 on the PC and
                                                                                                 sends the inputs to PS3 through Bluetooth.
                                                                                                 A
                                                                                              ff Bluetooth dongle capable of custom BT MAC
                                                                                                 address. Most dongles from CSR with Bluetooth
                                                                                                 2.1 + EDR marking should work.

                                                                                                 How much technical expertise and
                                                                                              monetary expense would it take to get
                                                                                              Kinect working on PS3?
                                                                                                 If you are looking to do it my way (a PC is used
                                                                                              as man-in-the-middle), monetary expense is lim-
                                                                                              ited 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


     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                             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 isn’t robust yet and a lot
is pending there.

   Are you able to play PS3 games using
Kinect? How did you map motion con-
trols to games that use the traditional
controller? Which PS3 games were you                                ABOUT THE INNOVATOR
able to get working with Kinect?
    I would say that I am able to make a few move-          Shantanu Goel is a B.E in Electronics and
ments in PS3 games with Kinect right now, but it            Electrical Communication from Punjab
still needs a lot of work before I can say it is good       Engineering College, Chandigarh. He
enough for playing. Six-axis Emulator can trans-            began his corporate career with Aricent
late mouse and keyboard movements to DS3 data,              (Hughes Software Systems) working on
so for my initial approach, I create a fake mouse           GSM technology and drivers, and platform
and keyboard and convert Kinect input data to this          development for TI DSPs. He is currently
fake mouse and keyboard, and provide it to the              working at Qualcomm, where he develops
Sixaxis Emulator. This is not optimal though. For           device drivers for a variety of mobile
my next approach, I’m modifying the Sixaxis Emu-            processors across Android, Windows Phone
lator code and trying to directly translate Kinect          7 and various other operating systems.
data to DS3, eliminating few redundant steps in
between to increase performance and accuracy. So           Has the recently released Kinect SDK
far, I have tried Flower and Killzone 3, with Flower    for Windows helped in any way? Do you
giving more suitable results as it is already geared    plan to work with Kinect further outside
towards motion controls and doesn’t require as          its uses on the PS3?
much accuracy and reflex action as Killzone 3              No. I do all my work on Linux, so the Kinect for
does.                                                   Windows SDK hasn’t had any impact on it. As of
                                                        now, I don’t have a plan to work with Kinect out-
   Do you plan to keep working on this                  side PS3 since a lot of other folks are already doing
project? What do you hope to achieve via                that work much better than me.
Kinect functionality on PS3?
   I do plan to keep working on it and I hope to          How about Playstation Move on the
make it a fully usable alternative for at least Play-   Xbox 360? Do you think that would be
station Move-enabled games on PS3. Another wish         possible?
of mine is to eliminate the man-in-the-middle               Of course. With my PC man-in-the-middle
approach (PC usage) and do it natively on the PS3.      approach, it should be possible. We also have open
With custom firmware it might be possible using         source drivers for the Xbox 360 controller avail-
Linux on PS3, but right now, I don’t want to chart      able, so getting that format, creating an Xbox 360
that territory because of this being a legally grey     controller emulator and then using the same pro-
area.                                                   cess with the Xbox 360 should be possible.


                                                                                INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011
48    FEATURE




        Beginners' Guide to
                      Team Fortress 2
        V
                alve stunned the world recently        mode (present in the main menu itself)       it’s time to fully understand its pros and
                by making one of its most popular      through which you can gain a better          cons. Sure, the Heavy may seem like an
                online shooters, Team Fortress 2       understanding of the di erent classes,       invulnerable obvious choice at first, but
        (TF2) free to play. This obviously resulted    diverse game modes as well as the maps.      his slow movement makes him an easy
        in a massive influx of players, who for        And don’t sco at the bots; they will kick    target for spies and snipers. Similarly, the
        the last six-odd years or so, missed out       your butt all over the place.                Scout, while fast and nimble, can easily
        on one of the most awesome online                                                           be decimated by a Heavy’s machine gun
        gaming experiences there is. When you          EXPERIMENT WITH AND                          or a well-timed rocket. Plus, some of the
        pit newcomers against veterans who’ve          UNDERSTAND YOUR CLASS                        larger maps are crawling with spies and
        been eating, breathing and doing all           TF2 has nine distinct classes, each of       snipers so running around all clueless
        sorts of nasty stuff with Team Fortress 2      which has its strengths and weaknesses.      like a Heavy will get you backstabbed or
        since 2007, the results will be a bit disas-   Experiment with each of them to see          shot in the head in no time.
        trous, since Team Fortress 2 has quite a       which one suits your play style the best.
        steep learning curve. And since we were        Newcomers would be better o sticking         THERE’S NO ‘I’ IN TEAM
        all noobs once, here’s a basic guide that      to easier classes like the Heavy, Medic or   TF2 is a team-based shooter and just so
        should help you get by.                        Pyro, after which they can graduate to the   you understand what I’m saying, a TEAM-
                                                       tougher ones like Soldier, Spy, etc. Once    BASED SHOOTER. This isn’t Call of Duty,
        PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT                         you nd your groove with a particular         where you can stroke your e-private part
        TF2 may look all cartoony and funny,           class, you’ll be tempted to stick to that    after racking up a fteen-frag killstreak. It’s
        but it is a brutal game, where the weak        class, but I strongly suggest becoming       all about ful lling objectives and working
        will die, painfully, over and over again.      more of an all-round player as some          as a team to ful ll those objectives,
        To avoid humiliation, Valve have been          classes are useless in certain maps.         without which both you and your team
        considerate enough to add in a Practice           After you’ve zeroed in on your class,     will lose. Investing in a headset would also




     AUGUST 2011  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT
                                                                                                                                 Hemali Limbachiya
                                                                                                                                FEATURE       49




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     Mann Co. store, and voila, you see all that   achievements to earn weapons) and a new
while trying to avoid being burnt by a        cool paraphernalia in front of your eyes.     totally randomized one where random
Pyro’s ame thrower can get a bit tricky.      But be warned; they come at a very high       items are awarded to players for every
                                              price, and I do mean that quite literally.    few minutes of game time. This way, even
DO NOT CRY WOLF                               Instead, take some time to understand         newcomers stand a chance of picking up
I really nd it annoying - especially while    the whole trading and crafting system         that shiny new weapon.
playing as a Medic - when people keep         through which you could craft or even             Over prolonged hours of gameplay,
spamming the Medic key even though            be gifted all the cool stu that’s available   you will obviously get the same weapon
they have full health. Hey kids, that’s the   in the store. As a free-to-play player, you   multiple times. This ties into the game’s
key you press when you’re hurt so the         won’t be able to give stu away, but that      crafting system, where similar weapons
doctor can make the pain go bye-bye. If       doesn’t mean your friends can’t pass over     can be smelted to make scrap metal.
you feel the need to constantly blurt stu     some of their drops to you.                   Combining scrap metal with other
out, learn the in-game voice commands.            That brings me to the game’s              weapons allows you to craft newer items.
That way, you can communicate with your       randomized drop system. Back in the           Of course, this all can be a bit daunting at
team even if you don’t have a headset         day, Valve had tied in certain weapons          rst, so take the time to sit down and read
(although you really should).                 to in-game achievements and only after        through some of the blueprints present
                                              ful lling them could you unlock those         inside the game. Zero in on the weapons
DON’T BE IN A HURRY TO BUY                    weapons. Unfortunately, this didn’t work      that suit your class and then proceed to
STUFF                                         out too well for Valve or the community,      work towards them.
You enter a server and see people             and so in 2010, they devised a new way            There’s a ton of stu to be learnt in
running around with all these cool hats,      to drop items into servers. This new          Team Fortress 2, most of which you’ll
helmets and weapons, and you want one.        approach is a cross between the old           probably have to gure out on your own
Someone tells you to go check out the         one (where you have to ful ll certain         in the battle eld. So get to it!




                                                                                INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP INSIDER SUPPLEMENT  AUGUST 2011

				
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