Judge Purkeypile awaits your submissions

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Probably a little late in sharing this news with you, but over on the site Notes on Game Dev, they’re currently running their 2008 2D/3D Environment and Character Design Competition that provides a chance to win some cool prizes for aspiring gaming artists — including a selection of instructor-led game art and animation classes.

For the competition, Notes on Game Dev have recruited a few guys from the gaming industry to judge the competition — including our very own World Artist, Nate Purkeypile. So if you want to get nice with one of the judges, you might want to use the comments section of this post to tell Nate what a great Team Fortress 2 player he is.

For more details on the competition, which concludes June 15, head here.

This IS History

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In case you missed it, CVG put up a two-part feature over the weekend titled “The complete history of open-world games.” The staff at PC Zone take a look at the history and appeal of the genre, while talking with folks that make the games — including Todd Howard. Here’s a sample from the section entitled “Grand Theft Scrolls” in part 1:

Beginning with Arena (which you can now download for free at the game’s 10th Anniversary page at elderscrolls.com), which was followed by Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion and many expansion packs, Bethesda’s series takes in the empire of Tamriel and otherworldly realms such as the Shivering Isles, with the player character able to be a number of races (including Orc, Dark Elf, Imperial and Nord) and classes (such as knight, bard and sorcerer).

“I think that perhaps, the Elder Scrolls series has most of all pushed the idea that massive scale can also be manageable,” says Howard. “That all the little details can be done to an extreme, yet the whole world can still fit together and tell its own story as you wander through it.”

To read the rest, check out these links (part 1) (part 2).

What we’re playing: Keepin’ busy edition

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As work on Fallout 3 gets more hectic here, it seems like less folks at the office have time to play games — save for Fallout 3 and required breaks to play GTA IV. Having not had a chance to sit and play games in nearly two weeks (outside of showing folks our E3 demo of Fallout 3), I’m looking forward to vegging out on the couch this weekend and getting to know Liberty City better.

Here’s what other folks are playing this weekend…

Tim “Visor” Lamb, Producer: Fallout 3, GTA IV

Nate Purkeypile, World Artist: Fist fighting bears in the great outdoors. Maybe some GTA IV and TF2 also.

Craig Lafferty, Producer: GTA IV, Fallout 3 (I think this is a record for me, 3 weeks playing the same 2 games).

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What We’re Playing…Soaking Wet

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Given that the rain shows no signs of stopping, looks like we’ll all have plenty of quality “inside time” for gaming. Here’s what we’re playing:

Craig Lafferty, Producer:  GTA IV, Fallout 3

Michael Lattanzia, QA: Age of Conan Beta, Grand Theft Auto 4, The World Ends With You, Hellgate: London

Orin Tresnjak, Graphics Programmer: The World Ends With You, Puzzle Quest.  Maybe some Mario Kart Wii.

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What we’re playing: “Isn’t it obvious?” edition

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As if there was any doubt, GTA IV has taken our office by storm. Many guys here (though not everyone) seem to be loving the new Liberty City. On the night after the game came out, I noticed 29 friends on Xbox Live playing it at one time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen 29 friends online…period! From what I’ve played of the game so far, I’m definitely impressed. Last night when I couldn’t find something to watch on TV, I just started watching some Liberty City channels.

Let us know what you think of the game, or anything else you’re playing. Here’s our rundown of what we’re playing…

Todd Howard: GTA IV.

Ashley Cheng, Producer: GTA IV

Emil Pagliarulo, Lead Designer: Fallout 3, GTA IV, LOTRO

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New Office in Tokyo

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Thought I’d mention that we put out a release today announcing the formation of an office in Tokyo that will oversee our publishing/distribution in Japan and throughout Asia. It’s being headed up by Tetsu Takahashi (on the left in the photo above, along with Kei Iwamoto, one of our producers), who handed all the heavy lifting in publishing Oblivion PS3 and 360 in Japan last year. Really smart guy with a good team around him.

In addition to publishing Bethesda titles in Japan like Star: Trek Conquest (PS2), Star Trek: Legacy (Xbox 360), and Fallout 3 , they’re also handling games for other publishers like Bully (PS2), Bully SE (Xbox 360), and Major League Baseball 2K8 (PS3/PS2/PSP/X360).

You can read the full press release here. If you can read Japanese you’ll find coverage of the announcement on sites like Famitsu and CNet Japan.

What we’re surfing: teh internets!

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Since most everyone at the office is just waiting to play GTA IV next week, I decided to ask folks what websites they check out in their free time. Looking at the submissions, I feel like I visit at least some of everyone’s favorite sites…err, that was the case until I read Fred’s submissions. I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous about clicking on Bootie Blog, but it turns out it’s work safe.

That’s it for this week. Let us know the sites you visit/what games you’re playing/etc. Have a great weekend!

Fred Zeleny, Information Junkie: A few highlights from my Google Reader list – Order of the Stick, The Steampunk Workshop, Ectoplasmosis, WebUrbanist, Avant Game, Sexy Videogame Land, Judge A Book By Its Cover , Culturizer, and Bootie Blog. All guaranteed to twist your brain and prod your oddity.

Gavin Carter, Foreign Language Hater: reader.google.com, marketwatch.com, fool.com, seekingalpha.com, penny-arcade.com, cnn.com, gametab.com, neogaf.com

Chris Esko, Systems Programmer: www.gamerswithjobs.com, www.boardgamegeek.com, Microsoft Developer Network

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What we’re playing: Already relaxing edition

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As many of you can relate, it’s not always easy getting through a Friday. With nice weather and the weekend in sight, it’s easy sometimes to lose focus. This wasn’t the case for me today. In what hopefully will become a new tradition at Bethesda HQ, today marks the second consecutive Friday where we’ve had masseuses visit the office.

Now that we’re all relaxed, it’s time to sit back and play some games. Let us know what you’ll be playing, and have a great weekend!

Fred Zeleny, Writing Fool: Rondo of Swords on DS – far harder and more complicated than it has any need to be, and yet it’s strangely compelling. And since I’ll be at CMU’s Spring Carnival, I’ll also be playing dozens of cheapo booth games, eating far too much funnel cake, and riding the highly suspect whirl-a-puke! Hooray for Spring!

Orin Tresnjak, Graphics Programmer: Warhawk, Fallout 3, Dungeon Maker: Hunting Ground

Aaron Mitschelen, QA: Arcana Heart, LotRO, Lost Odyssey, maybe Army of Two.

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What we’re playing: Springtime edition!

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Technically, it has been spring for a few weeks, but it hasn’t always felt like it. Today, however, it’s been much warmer outside (though maybe too warm inside the office). Here’s hoping the weather continues to cooperate over the weekend so everyone can enjoy it.

Rain or shine, here’s the games we’ll be playing. Let us know what you have planned.

Nate Purkeypile, Whirled Artist: The Club, Army of Two, TF2, Sins of a Solar Empire and Quake Wars.

Pete Hines: CoD 4, Zelda DS, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, CoH, various and sundry other DS and PSP titles.

Orin Tresnjak, LOD Geek: Ikaruga, assuming I find any time to play games!

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