Interview with id Software’s Stephan Martiniere

Recently I had a chance to catch up with RAGE’s art director, Stephan Martiniere, who created this cover for the first Dark Horse comic. The comic is the latest accomplishment in an impressive career that has spanned cartoons, amusement park rides, video games, and even Star Wars.

You created this cover (above) for issue #1 of the RAGE comic series. How was creating a cover for a comic book different from your work on the game?

When you design for a videogame you have to be aware of different visual, narrative and technical aspects. You have to know the context in which your concepts are being used and the importance your design will have in the story and gameplay. It is also important to know what visual impact your design will have and what that design will communicate to the player in terms of emotion. You have also to take into account the game technology and the limitation it might impose on your design. All these different aspects will dictate how you approach a concept or painting and how you execute it.

Doing a painting for a book or comic book cover has obviously less limitation. Its more about self expression, I can explore style and technique without limitation. There is a lot of freedom in it. I can let the process dictate the outcome. You are still communicating with the viewer and are conveying excitement or a sense of wonder but ultimately it’s a personal as well as a stylistic approach, it’s about who you are and how you express yourself as an artist.

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Happy Social Media Day!

It’s only fitting that I discovered today is Social Media Day while looking at my Facebook newsfeed. To celebrate the affair… we’ll be randomly giving out swag on our Twitter and Facebook pages today.

If you need a roll call of all our pages, visit the “Command Bar” on the top of this blog. That’ll help in your search for our secret giveaways. You’ll need lightning-fast reflexes to win… good luck!

Update on Brink: DLC, title updates, and new screenshots (Updated)

Update 6/24: To be clear, as long as you download Agents of Change during the first two weeks it’s available, you’ll always be able to play for free. It’s only after the first two weeks that folks will have to purchase the content on Xbox LIVE, PSN, or Steam.  Hope that clears up any confusion.

Original Post: We’re back with new details on Brink DLC and the upcoming title updates for the game.

The game’s first DLC, Agents of Change, will be a FREE DOWNLOAD for two weeks on Xbox LIVE, PSN, and Steam! The content is currently in submission at Microsoft and Sony, and we expect it to release in early July. As previously mentioned, the DLC features two all-new environments, five new player abilities, two new outfits, and two new weapon attachments. You can find more details in our previous post, and be sure to check out the screenshots above.

In tandem with the DLC, the teams at Splash Damage and Bethesda have been hard at work on the next major title update for Brink. The update is highlighted by online optimizations, AI enhancements, and weapon balance tweaks based on player feedback. A separate, incremental update is now available on PC, while players of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version of Brink can expect the full title update alongside the release of Agents of Change.

On behalf of everyone at Bethesda and Splash Damage, I want to thank all of you for your continued support of Brink. We’ll be sharing more information as soon as possible.

 

Get a premium Skyrim map with your preorder

Get a premium Skyrim map with your preorder

Making real maps of our fantasy worlds is an Elder Scrolls tradition. As Todd Howard said all the way back in a Morrowind blog post, “There’s something about having a physical object in your hands that feels like it’s part of this other world, that you are that person in the game, finding your way among the hills.”

With that in mind, today we are announcing that anyone who preorders Skyrim will automatically receive a premium quality world map with their copy as a no-extra-cost-to-you bonus.

To guarantee your copy of your premium quality world map, please pre-order today.

Update: We’ve received plenty of questions about the map. So you know, it’s a high-grade material that has a feel similar to burlap, and will be available in North America and European territories. There will be a regular paper map included in all copies of the game, but if you want to get the premium map, we recommend pre-ordering the game.

Quake’s 15th Anniversary

Today marks the 15th birthday of Quake, the game that gave birth to online multiplayer shooters and even won an Emmy. In fact, Quake’s legacy is far too reaching to sum up here, so rather than pontificate ourselves, we got the id guys to say a few words before we blew out the candles.

When asked to recall Quake, id Software president Todd Hollenshead offered this amusing anecdote: “One of my all time best game moments is still grabbing the rune at the end of the first episode and awakening the lava monster! I’m sure that level also inspired the USMC commercial with the Marine fighting the lava demon. Compare the screenie to the video. :)”

Also check out the video above, taken during the QuakeWorld launch event in 1996. The footage illustrates what a monstrous event Quake was in gaming history, and features a short historical Q&A session with John Carmack.

And finally, to cap off our celebration, a note today from the desk of Carmack himself:

“I could write an awful lot about Quake, but since we are in the final crunch for Rage right now, I’ll have to settle for just a few random thoughts.

I have a bit more subdued memory of Quake than many of our other projects, because the development was so tough.  It was the first project where I really had to grapple with my personal limitations;  I had bitten off a little more than I could chew with all the big steps at once – full 3D world, 3D characters, light maps, PVS calculations, game scripting, client / server networking, etc.  No matter how hard I worked, things just weren’t getting done when we wanted them to.

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E3 2011: Game Critics Awards nominations honor RAGE, Prey 2, and Skyrim

The Game Critics Awards has announced this year’s Best of E3 nominees, and we’re excited to share news that Prey 2, RAGE, and Skyrim were all nominated.

Skyrim received three nominations, including Best Role Playing Game, Best Console Game, and the overall Best of Show award! Bethesda Game Studios previously won Best RPG for Oblivion (2005) and Fallout 3 (2008). Fallout 3 also won overall Best of Show in 2008.

RAGE is nominated again this year for Best Action Game. The team captured the award last year, as well as awards for Best Console Game and a Special Commendation for Graphics. Previously, id Software won overall Best of Show, Best PC Game, Best Action Game, and Special Commendations for both Graphics and Sound in 2002 for DOOM 3.

Prey 2 also received a nomination for Best Action Game. This is Human Head’s second Game Critics Award nomination (they were nominated for Best PC Game in 2005).

Congrats to Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, and Human Head on getting nominated. Winners will be announced on June 28th.