MPC and Adam Berg’s Opener for Forza Horizon 2 is Pretty Mind Blowing.

Keeping with the previous post from today, the video below blends CG and live action so well you really can’t tell which is which at times. The live action footage was shot in Italy over a 3 day period by Adam Berg and MPC for the Xbox game Forza Horizon 2. This 90 second spot has a huge crew, and obviously a huge budget and it shows. It’s a really well done action packed spot. The MPC VFX Team of 22 people did an amazing job blending the VFX into the live action footage. All in all they created 3D scenes with the tilt-shift effects, compositing depth passes, crafting over 40 matte paintings and adding CG racetracks, cars, and explosions. Once again technology moves forward and makes film and video work even better.

“Ori and The Blind Forest”.

I’m not much of a computer or console gamer any more. I used to play a few games on the PC but I really haven’t played much of anything beyond my phone or iPad in quite awhile. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the art, craft, and storytelling that go into making a game that really stands out. With that said I might have to pick up “Ori and The Blind Forest” when it comes out this fall, if for nothing else than the beautiful artwork it contains.

Four years in the making, and advances in computer technology have allowed Moon Studios, and Microsoft to create something that really is visually stunning. A platform game that pays homage to 8 and 16 bit games of the past, “Ori and The Blind Forest” truely raises the bar visually to an entirely new level. Below are images, and the official trailer for the game. The look of the video is what the actual game will look like, and frankly I think it is pretty exciting.












Over the past four years, Moon Studios has been feverishly working on Ori and the Blind Forest.

At Moon Studios, we all grew up playing games like Super Metroid, Zelda: A Link to the Past, etc. and with Ori, we wanted to recapture the magic of these games.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a bit of a genremix – It’s a ‘Metroidvania‘, but with a stronger platforming focus and light RPG elements, all set within an atmospheric world.

Naturally we tried to push 2D gaming forward on all fronts: We tried to make every single screen in Ori look like a painting come to life while making sure that the controls are still pixel-perfect.

We’ve been taking lessons from games like Super Metroid and A Link to the Past in order to really bring back this sensation you had when you played the games Nintendo was building in the early 90s. The level of polish and the execution of design in these games – we feel – was extraordinary. We felt strongly that children and adults today should get that same feeling again. Remember the first time you played Zelda or Metroid when you were a child? We hope that years from now people will also remember the first time they got to play Ori and the Blind Forest.

We also push the story angle really hard. We explored some new ways of telling stories within 2D games and we’ve been heavily influenced by Ghibli/Miyazaki as well as by great animated films of the 90s like The Lion King or The Iron Giant.

Ori is a bit of a coming-of-age story. The player is put into the role of a forest spirit, who – over the course of his journey – has to find out more about his role within the world he’s living in. We tried to create memorable characters in an atmospheric world and to craft a story that players will truly care about!

“Monument Valley”

The game Monument Valley from ustwo was officially released today for the iPad and iPhone. It is a surreal exploration through MC Escher like architecture and geometry featuring a beautiful princess that you navigate silently through the space. As you wander through the minimalist 3D world you discover hidden paths, unfolding staircases, optical illusions, and mysterious crow people. The game, has a really nice look to it, with semi flat graphic design applied to an isometric space. Described as “art” Monument Valley is a game of moving experiences that in many ways moves beyond the traditional gaming experiences.  It is immersive in the sense that you can easily get lost in the visual space and experience of playing the game itself.

“Every screen of Monument Valley has been carefully considered as graphic design, so that each one could be printed and framed. Players can enter ‘Camera Mode’ to zoom in and compose their own take on the artwork, which they can then save or share with friends.”



“We’ve focused our attention on the design of game alongside a lot of user testing, and we really hope Monument Valley is what people are looking for right now – a premium game of the highest artistic quality offering players a satisfying journey from start to end.” Neil McFarland, director of games at ustwogames 

Characterisation photo 3 sketchpage

Scrabble Typography Edition, A Designers Dream.

Hasbro has to be feeling some pinch from things like the iPad. No matter how many copies of the iPad Scrabble game they sell, it probably isn’t close to the number of physical copies they sold at Scrabbles peak. So if you are Hasbro, what do you do? Well you could go upscale and apeal to design junkies like myself with the “Scrabble Typography Edition”.

This $199.00 version of the game comes in a wonderful 19.00” x 17.50” x 6.00” solid walnut storage case with drawers that resemble printers drawers. The storage case is housed inside a solid birch cover that slips over the top. The game itself features metal tile racks that echo letterpress mark-up hardware, a six-panel solid walnut magnetized gameboard lined with slip free cork back, and solid walnut tiles featuring a variety of different and exciting fonts.

From a design perspective this looks pretty impressive. Attention to craft, materials, and aesthetics show through. I wish the website told you what fonts were used on the squares, but hopefully Hasbro chose wisely.

The “Scrabble Typography Edition” is a limited edition set will also include a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity. It’s the least Hasbro could do for a $199.00 version of the game.

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i3D Has Tons of Promise.

Yesterday MacRumors posted an article on Jeremie Francone and Laurence Nigay new iOS application i3D. The application essentially creates a 3D experience with out the need for special glasses by using the front facing camera on your iPad or iPhone to track the position and adjusting the application perspective in real time.The free application is available at the app store if you want to try it out yourself.

While the current version of the application needs some work, the potential here is huge. This is the kind of technology that could be a game changer for those of us in the content creation business. When I saw the video demo of the software running on an iPad, I was sold. I look at this and see a whole new world of content for games, books, education, iAds, and beyond.

Imagine doing something as simple as firing up an application like Zappos on your iPad, and being able to see the product in 3D space before you decide to purchase. That concept is so simple yet it takes decision-making to a whole new level. Think about playing a game on your iPad that feels even more immersive by adding that 3D feeling to the experience. A simple game like “Labyrinth 3D” would feel completely different and much more rich overall. I can see this technology being applied to architecture, medical, and engineering fields with stunning results. I can’t wait to see where these guys end up taking this in the future, and how many other developers jump on this to improve the end result.

IBM’s Great Trailer for the CityOne Game.

I’m not a huge gamer on my computer. I don’t own a PS3, or a Wii, or an X-Box. It’s just not my thing, and I always seem to busy to find time to play games. I have Scrabble on my iPad and a couple of time wasters which I play when traveling, or if I am just hanging out, but like I said I am not a huge gamer.

One thing I do appreciate is great design in gaming, and great game visuals, and that is why I love this video teaser for IBM’s CityOne game due out later this year. If the game graphics are anywhere close to this I might be convinced to play it. That said, that isn’t what caught my eye with this video. What I am digging is the overall look.

I love the type treatment through out the video clip, and I really love the fake  tilt shift look that has been added. The whole thing has this great atmosphere that is highlighted by the ominous music that plays through the piece. Towards the end, the video converts to a drawn cartooned look that is every bit as compelling as the 3D rendering at the beginning of the clip. I would play this game if the graphics at the end were the same as the final game graphics. Anyway this video clip demonstrates an excellent use of 3D graphics, and post production techniques that hooked me. Great visuals and audio, nice typography, and stylistically clean. Kudos to IBM on this one.

On another note, this game is a marketing piece for IBM’s innovation series on improving the planet with technology. This is a great way for IBM to advertise, and promote their agenda without being in your face. I’d like to see more companies try this approach, they might have a better success rate than using traditional media channels and mediums.