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Etch Play Roundup (28/02/2020)

Ben Joy
Ben Joy
Client Services Lead (Play) 28 Feb 20207 minutes read

The Etch Play team are back - come and join them as they bring you another week of the coolest things they've been enjoying in the world of video games.

We're at the end of February (well technically one more day to go - thanks leap year!), and what a crazy one it has been, with coronavirus and storms a plenty. So why not come join us in our safe haven of video games fun we've been enjoying this week. Apologies, coronavirus will appear again later - gosh darn it Pete! 🙄

Joe

I've posted about game engines in the past, but today I have something a little closer to home. Babylon.js, a web rendering engine, has hit version 4.1!

It comes with a whole suite of changes, including a node based material editor, similar to other engines like Unreal and Unity, new cascading shadow maps, and even a stripped down version of the engine just for 2D use! Their blog post does more justice than I ever could, so check it out here! There is also a mobile native version of it in preview 🕵️‍♂️

Adam

Annapurna Interactive are one of the best publishers around at the minute, and this week they announced they're publishing a new game, Maquette! It looks fantastic.

Lawrence

This week I've been dusting off my grand strategy hat to get stuck into the latest expansion for Paradox Interactive's Hearts of Iron 4. HoI4 (pronounced Hoy Four) as it's affectionately known by it's fans, is a grand strategy game which gives players control of a country's government and military during the period of time surrounding World War 2.

The latest expansion to the game La Resistance focuses on 2 important historical factors for which the game has had only token implementations up to this point, resistance and espionage. Occupying countries now comes with a whole set of factors to consider, mainly related to the fact that the occupants of those countries would really rather you didn't. Preparing and then installing collaborative governments and garrisons is a must now to prevent unrest, and even then you have to contend with your opponents encouraging and supporting their efforts to get rid of you.

There is also now a massive new espionage feature to play with. You are now able to found and specialise an intelligence agency, recruiting agents who will level up and gain new abilities as they successfully complete missions. But you have to be careful or they may end up getting caught and giving away important intel to the enemy. Included within this feature is the ability to perform covert operations within your enemy's borders to help you or hinder them.

France, Portugal and Spain also received brand new 'focus trees' which let you shape the way the country evolves and reacts over the course of the game. Personally I've been enjoying my run as France, standing firm against the Italians and the Germans (whose infamous leader was assassinated 2 weeks into hostilities by someone else...). I was hoping to explore the new resistance features but at this rate I might end up occupying the Germans!

Heart of iron 4

Ben G

An interesting article posted today by The Guardian asks why it is that some players prefer to invert the Y axis when they're playing games. Two billion people regularly play video games but very little is know about the preference to invert.

I guess a large part of it is down to the games you played when you were growing up. I used to love the LucasArts X-Wing and Tie-Fighter games and would always expect inverted controls when flying in a game, but for any other situation I wouldn't invert.

Does that make me weird? Am I in the majority? Or am I both weird and in the majority? Answers on a postcard, please!

Ben J

Earlier this week I came across the concept of Social Gaming Commerce, thanks to one of my favourite brands - KFC*. 

KFC China have opted to roll out "social gaming commerce" to encourage people to order more chicken! Social Gaming Commerce, is essentially exactly what it says on the tin... it is the coming together of social media, gaming, and commerce! Basically, you can set up your own KFC franchise from your phone using the WeChat platform, you build your restaurant, choose your staff avatars and then sell exclusive meals from your social feed that customer can then claim at any KFC - the franchise owner earns cash, KFC gets the sale, and the customers gets delicious KFC. Everybody wins. 

This is a really interesting move, as rather than opting to throw more budget into traditional advertising methods, KFC are seeing the value of gaming angles to create a much more interactive experience. I can't say it is too surprising, we are seeing so many industries starting to bring gaming elements into their customer engagement models. In a time where real engagement is so important, as everyone is battling for attention, what can be more engaging than a game? It's really cool seeing new concepts like this emerge, and I'm excited to see whether Social Gaming Commerce becomes a trend and makes it's way to the western market. 

*Note, I love KFC as a brand because they just seem to get it when it comes to branding, marketing, and trying out new things, such as I love you Colonel Sanders (go check out how we got on playing it here). Okay, I do also love their chicken, and yes I have already destroyed the 80 piece popcorn chicken bucket

KFC Pocket Franchise

Mobin

This week I’ve played some Counter Strike GO, it was fun getting back to it after about 5 years!

CSGO

Dan

I'm about to head off on holiday, my week has been so hectic I've not yet had a chance to pick up any new Switch games for my travel time! This is a first world problem of the highest order, but it still upsets me.

Pete

Coronavirus is dominating the news at the moment and it's starting to disrupt major events amid health concerns. Within the games industry lots of huge companies are dropping out of major events like PAX East and GDC. Luckily this didn't affect our clients Modern Wolf from attending PAX East to show off their 3 amazing games.

And we're out for another week, and another month. Enjoy your additional day of the year tomorrow, and we'll catch you again soon!

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