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Valve

Orange Sky

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Orange Sky

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We look back at the most influential games anthology -

And how it's affecting everything from loot boxes to voice acting

  • How GLaDOS changed how we see AI and voice acting.

  • Why Team Fortress 2 is making the whole industry buckets of money.

  • Some of the most gorgeous screenshots and impossible images from video games. 

THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR "I've Got Nothing" by RoccoW.

WE USE CLIPS FROM Portal, Portal 2, and Team Fortress 2. We used music from Team Fortress 2, "Seduce Me" by Mike Morasky. We also used "Don't Say Goodbye" by Ellen McClain and John Patrick Lowrie, edited by Harry Callaghan

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF CJRU IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND DANIEL ROSEN. 

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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Built to Play 56: The Procedural

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Built to Play 56: The Procedural

Back from PAX East, we discuss isolation in space, handcrafted design, and how abandoned buildings can set the mood.

On our trip to Boston we discussed both the fruits and failings of procedural generation. You might risk sacrificing distinct worlds for the illusion of replayability.  But, if successful, you end up with a nuanced environment that makes you want to dive deeper into its world and its mechanics. If you want our opinions in depth, we rant for about 40 minutes on two earlier episodes, however, we did end up talking to a few people about having a world procedurally generated versus handcrafted design and wound up the episode you're hopefully about to hear. 

Procedural generation, by the way, is a fancy way of saying that there's a bank of possible design elements that the game places at random. That can be story, levels, enemies, artificial intelligence or animation. The process isn't truly random, otherwise the game would be an incomprehensible mess. Usually there's a sophisticated algorithm behind the scenes that builds the game, providing it with rules for how the game should look. If done well, the randomized element should feel distinct without being too alien.

The most common expression of procedural generation can be seen in the roguelike, which generally randomizes its levels and makes you restart the game each time you play. Though, it's hardly the only kind of game to use that process. In this episode, we'll discuss one or two of those special cases that got the process right, while espousing some of the benefits of handcrafted design.

On episode 56 of Built to Play you'll hear the following segments:

  • Tom Jubert, narrative designer of FTL: Faster than Lighttalks about writing a world that feel infinite, and how not to break that illusion. (0:25 - 11:20)
  • In the news, Game Freak leaves the nest, virtual reality goes wild,  the PlayStation 4 lands in China, and the end is nigh, because there are no games coming out in November. (11:20 - 34:00)
  • Mark Foster explains the inspirations and design of Titan Soulsand how developers have reacted. (34:00 - 41:35)
  • Alex Jansen shows us how to be Loud on Planet X, and why Tegan and Sara want to fight off an alien horde. (41:35 - 47:00)
  • James Primate and Joar Jakobsson of Videocult discuss the importance of mood in game design, and how the beauty of decay led to a world of rain. (47:00 - 56:40)
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THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR "Is That You or Are You You" and "Oxygen Garden" by Chris Zabriskie, "Flying Pea v1" by Daddy Scrabble, "Rest johnny_ripper remix" by Alphabets, and "As Colorful As Ever" by Broke for Free.

We also used "Nightmares" by Patrick Ellis, Guns and Ammunition (Luke Lalonde/Born Ruffians Remix) by July Talk, and "hard-rain" by Barkenov on Free Sound.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE SCOPE AT RYERSON RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND WRITTEN BY DANIEL ROSEN.

IF YOU LIKE THE SHOW PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ONLINE. IT HELPS MORE PEOPLE FIND THE SHOW AND GIVES US AN IDEA HOW WE'RE DOING. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT DOWN BELOW.

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Built to Play 47: Poor Assumptions

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Built to Play 47: Poor Assumptions

IT'S AN EPISODE IN WHICH WE FINALLY STOP TALKING ABOUT VIRTUAL REALITY AND MOVE ON TO WEEKS OF PLAYING WITH PALS. WE START WITH THE END  OF GAMERCAMP.

Movie buffs visit film festivals. Bibliophiles browse books fairs. But game players charge into the convention. It's a practice hailing back from the olden times of the Star Trek conventions, to tech meetups in the early Silicon Valley and the mighty heights of the San Diego Comic Con. For the avid fan, there's multiple Penny Arcade Expos in the United States, Gamescom in Germany, and the Tokyo Game Show in Japan. These days there's so many that if you take a look in your own backyard, you'll probably find one.

Big game conventions can feel exhausting though. You're fighting tens of thousands of people in a hall. Massive companies push their way towards you to showcase their newest games. And what if you're looking for local products, games made in your hometown, maybe an experiment or two? Every hub for game design has at least one little event for enthusiasts, like a party a few friends put together for their community. In Toronto, we had Gamercamp.

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Built to Play 19: Mexican Controllers

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Built to Play 19: Mexican Controllers

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On this Tuesday edition of Built to Play we won't stop Mexican wrestling. We put Valve's final announcement last week, the brand new Steam Controller, under a chokehold of criticism. Then we body slammed our way through the new Nintendo Direct, giving special mention to the open world of Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Meanwhile news of Sega Sammy's recent layoffs come like a knee to the groin. We tore off the mask of some Kickstarter news, with guest Matt Gilgenbach handing us a chair for more details on the end of his campaign for Neverending Nightmares. China then broke into the ring and declared an end to its game console ban, at least within the new Shanghai Free Trade Zone, meant to attract foreigners to one of China's largest cities.

Once again we have more comical news in our bonus round, including the Deus Ex Universe and the new Sonic TV show. 

Plus we have a tag team match with Graham Smith and Chris McQuinn, two of the leaders from Drinkbox Studios in Toronto. They gave us a post-mortem on the Luchalibre-themed game, Guacamelee, making all of these bad puns completely justified.  

Music used in this weeks episode comes from the Free Music Archive, featuring Johnny_Ripper - Carousel, and the Guacamelee soundtrack, which you can check out below. 

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Built to Play 18: Tonight's the Night for Ransom

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Built to Play 18: Tonight's the Night for Ransom

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This week we Valve's online storefront, Steam, rapidly expands. Beginning with the Steam OS, the Steam Box, and the Steam Controller, it looks like Valve will be running into a console crunching future. Then there's the best looking game for the PS4, Deep Down, which is apparently free but filled with microtransactions. This is coming out of a company with only $150 million in the bank. And This Week in Xbox One News (TWIX-ON),  Microsoft continues to have bad PR, as their public relations specialists make sure everyone knew that the Xbox One isn't as capable as the Xbox 30 at launch. Lucasfilm is dreaming up an amazing future where movies will be made in real time with video game rendering technology.

This week marks the return of the bonus round, where we run through Jaffe Ghost Hunting & Co, Clang gets blunted and the Persona Countdown.

Plus an interview with three of the designers behind the River City Ransom Underground Kickstarterand how easy it is to get a 20-year-old game license. Behind the effort is Ottawa, Canada based studio, Conatus Creative. 

This week's episode uses the following songs: Are you Ready? - Patti LaBelle and Boss Theme 2 - River City Ransom OST. 

Unfortunately not featured in this episode, Tonight Tonight Tonight  - Beat Crusaders.

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Built to Play 16: Sharing is Caring

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Built to Play 16: Sharing is Caring

In this Toronto International Film Festival delayed episode, we have more news than you could possibly imagine. Valve announced their new sharing plan for Steam that's eerily similar to the Xbox One. At a pre-TGS press conference, Sony remembered that the Vita exists, announced a new model, the Vita TV and the Japan PS4 release date. Ouya's funding scheme remains terrible. Apple surprised no one one by announcing the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. Plus we have an interview with Matt Gilgenbach on his kickstarter, Neverending Nightmares and how the game reflects his experiences with obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression

Music used in this weeks episode is Money Talks by Luca La Morgia.

For more about Neverending Nightmares, check out the Kickstarter page

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