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Farhang Namdar

Built to Play 25: Our Time with Friends

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Built to Play 25: Our Time with Friends

In the news this week, turns out anyone can be a spy.

Your mom! A dog! Fictional creatures with no hands but human eyes! A new Edward Snowden report claims that the NSA used Angry Birds to collect personal information from smart devices. Rovio, creator of Angry Birds responded that they do not intentionally share information with the NSA although they do collect information to be shared with third party advertising networks. They will, "have to re-evaluate working with these networks if they are being used for spying purposes," according to Rovio CEO Mikael Hed. 

Nintendo's announced how they're going to respond to their low profit and forecasted loss for the fiscal year. CEO Satoru Iwata is taking a 50 per cent pay cut along with other executives. While they won't be making games for the iOS, they will be making playable ads. Plus, they'll take on licensing opportunities.

Then one of the co-founders of game review site IndieStatik, Josh Mattingly, sexually harassed a developer on Facebook.  He's since apologized, and Kotaku has an interview with the developer.

Meanwhile Microsoft bought Gears of War franchise, as Epic Games moves further away from actual game design. Back on Facebook, King is accused of plagiarism and Zynga goes through another round of layoffs. 

Also, the Global Game Jam ran last weekend.

The Global Game Jam is a 48-hour game design session. Ideally you go in with a set of ideas, not much finished and come out with a basic game. Run internationally, George Brown College held the Toronto chapter this year, and the event was co-organized by Randy Orenstein. He joins us to talk about potential fires, intense sleeping arrangements and a wedding. Starts at 28:50.

Here's the two games Orenstein recommended: Light Bound and Sportball

But on to Board Game Week.

Courtesy Plaid Hat Games

Courtesy Plaid Hat Games

Colby Dauch, president of Plaid Hat Games, joins us to talk about Bioshock Infinite: Siege of Columbia. Dauch helped put together several critically acclaimed board games like Summoner Wars and City of Remnants, and is developing the upcoming Dead of Winter. He also worked for Milton Bradley for Heroscape. Dauch chats about the difference between board game design and video game design, and building emergent narratives. We also get round to talking about stories from his own time playing games, and the importance of social experiments. Polygon has a great article that fills the gaps of the actual game's history. Starts at 36:10.

Note: Arman would like to apologize for mispronouncing everything in this episode. Plaid. Playd. Good grief. 

Farhang Namdar then takes some time away from developing Divinity: Original Sin, to discuss building a Divinity board game. Namdar works for Larian Studios, and his last game was Divinity: Dragon Commander. Dragon Commander has three levels of gameplay, a broad RPG, a tighter turn-based strategy, and a refined real-time strategy. Back when they were designing that Risk-esque middle portion, they decided to test it with a board game. Originally it was just a mishmash of parts from various other games, but it quickly became something unique. They were originally going to release as part of the limited edition, but those plans were shelved due to production costs. Namdar talks about how the board game helped them focus their mechanics and build a more interesting game. Starts at 48:30.


Our music this week came from the Free Music Archive. We used the following tracks: Peter DiPhillips - Hedge Schools, Super Flower - Lonely Summer, Violetta Pivnkakkara - Kukka, Chuzausen - Raro Bueno. Our ending theme was King Sens by Combustion Lente from the Ontario Independent Music Archive. 

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Built to Play 15: The Mighty No. Dragon

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Built to Play 15: The Mighty No. Dragon

nintendo-2ds.jpg

On this weeks show Arman and Daniel discuss new Kickstarter projects based on older games with Mighty No. 9 and Shantae. The Free the Games controversy rears its ugly head as Ouya Kickstarter games are being spammed.  As for the big companies, we talk about the Nintendo 2DS, the Xbox One release date, and the iPhone 5C. Then there's the BONUS ROUND, where we can't help but groan at Metal Gear Solid designer, Hideo Kojima and laugh at the newest Square Enix hit, Bravely Default: Flying Fairy.

Plus we have an interview with the lead designer of Divinity: Dragon Commander, Farhang Namdar. He talks about the challenges of developing a game in Belgium and how they built a game that is simultaneously a role playing game, a turn-based strategy and a real-time strategy game.

Our transition song for this week is Hands of Time by Kirill Pokrovsky from the Dragon Commander soundtrack.

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