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Bits - Gwent, Death Stranding and Change at E3 2016

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Bits - Gwent, Death Stranding and Change at E3 2016

We talk about the Electronic Entertainment Expo floor and card games

Preston Dozsa joins us after his week long trip to Los Angeles to play Gwent for 10 hours, and also see the E3 floor.

 For some of our E3 Press Conference jostling, follow us on Twitter. 


THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR "Neon Skies" BY LEE ROSEVERE.

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 for E3 2015

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Built for E3 2015

Our predictions for E3 and we examine whether this whole exercise was a waste of our time. 


THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR  "raro Bueno" By Chuzausen, "Nature Kid" by Podington Bear, "As Colorful as Ever" by Broke for Free, and "Second Challenger" by Ipower.

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 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)
NecropolisPax.jpg

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 55: Interface the Machine

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Built to Play 55: Interface the Machine

We return to the Vector Festival to interface with the machine, dodge some lasers, and transform into our Sailor selves. 

Game controllers are often a player's lifeline. A player's familiarity with a  control scheme or a controller can determine the difference between success and defeat. Over time we've seen controllers become more standardized, from a simple joystick and a button to the four face buttons, four triggers, and two analogue sticks. We've had good controllers (Xbox 360), bad controllers (Nintendo 64), and plain ugly ones (Atari Jaguar), but eventually they all settled on the same thing. The Wii U's gamepad has screen in the middle,  but it's fundamentally the same layout as the PlayStation 2, and its simplified controller makes that clear. These controllers then form a connected language, where a player can move between all modern consoles and not dramatically change the way the games control. 

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Built to Play 53: Jazz

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Built to Play 53: Jazz

In an all-news episode, we discuss the end of the Nintendo Club, Persona 5, and Net Neutrality for all.

We haven't had a chance to discuss the news for a while, so we thought it's time to catch up on everything we've missed since mid-January. Sony Online Entertainment was bought by Columbus Nova, and renamed Daybreak Game Company, alerting our suspicions. The Club Nintendo is becoming more exclusive to the point it no longer exists. Microsoft expects to believe that people will play Minecraft on the Hololens. Square Enix, against the will of God himself, made a profit. Persona 5 may have the coolest menus in video games. Net neutrality may be a real thing in the US and Canada. 


THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR  "Songe D'Autumne" and "Hungaria" BY Latch Swing. and "Baby Sleeping" by Natalia Svortzova.

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 52: Winter Escape

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Built to Play 52: Winter Escape

Built to Play ventures into the harsh outside world to find games that take our mind off the cold.

It's fair to say that most summers end up squandered by the Built to Play crew. We rarely tiptoe onto the beach. We avoid the heat by strategically moving between air conditioned buildings. And our summer clothes match our winter clothes, just without the debonair jackets. Despite our lack of interest while the sun is burning our skin, we still get nostalgic for the time where hanging out with friends didn't require enduring blistering winds and protective balaclavas. Summer, though not our favourite season, has that on Winter. With that on our minds, we're exploring games where you need to get and go. They're games that can't be played in your home or on a console and might bring you closer to the city at large.

The Sheriff's Gauntlet is a really appealing idea that does just that. At its core, the game is simply a personalized scavenger hunt, but its 1000-year-old legacy add a sense of drama to it. Even the name makes you think of the Princess Bride, the Neverending Story or the classic Robin Hood, the last of which it might have influenced. Then there's games like laser tag, the game inevitably played in your thirteenth year. If you don't pick it for your birthday, one of your friends will. Eight years later you might laugh about it, but playing enough shooters has given us the impression that there might be some fun to be had running around with a fake gun. Battlegrounds ably satisfied that itch, devising a unique system that feels adult instead of adolescent. That the crew is local and have a lot of ideas on how to expand makes the game all that sweeter.

But you can hear all about that on this episode:

  • Iain Simons, director of the Game City, on running the Sheriff's Gauntlet and how to make a citywide game that's accessible to everyone. (1:15 - 12:00)
  • Daniel and Arman discuss the new New Nintendo 3DS XL, ongoing problems with a certain Assassin's Creed game, why drugs might show up at your home, and how the PlayStation ended up on Pluto. (12:00 - 35:20)
  • Miles Bossons, CEO of Battlegrounds, talks about building a new version of laser tag, and the moral considerations in making a game with guns, even when they're from space. You can back them so they can make a final version that everyone can play on IndieGoGo. (35:30-48:25)
  • Dave Ireland, Managing Director of Biodiversity at the Royal Ontario Museum, tells us about why Clash of Talons is his favourite video game, and what game developers can learn (and maybe teach) about the outside world. (48:25-57:40)

Oh and about Battlegrounds: Daniel and Arman went to check it out in mid-December, as you'll hear in the episode, and Katie McGuire was kind enough to provide us with some photos.


THANKS TO THE FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE FOR "Run for Canada" BY Min-Y-Llan, "Your Body in the Dark" BY Menion, "Money Talks" BY Luca La Morgia, "Nature Kid" BY Podington Bear, "rest (johnny ripper remix)" BY alphabets, and "Gray Snow Instrumental Version" by Josh Woodward. Our opening theme was "Erotic Robotics" by The Polish Ambassador. 

WE ALSO USED CLIPS FROM the Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and the song "Under the Olives" by Patrick Ellis on Soundcloud.

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 ON Itunes and Stitcher. 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 Besties Radio Contest Award Scholarship 2014 For Eternity

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Built to Play Besties Radio Contest Award Scholarship 2014 For Eternity

Our end of the year celebrations as we talk about games we didn't play at all and ones we played a little too much

It's nearing the end of the year so we thought we'd gather together our favourite games of 2014. Except it seems we didn't play a lot of the big video games this year. So our awards ended up being a little more unconventional than most seem to expect. Bear with us, as we go through the games we highlighted of 2014.

The Broken Ass Piece of Junk Award for Broken Gameplay and Lack of Foresight 

  • Nominees: Assassin's Creed: Unity, DriveClub, the Crew, Halo: The Masterchief Collection, Sonic Boom
  • Winner: 5:55

The Alfred P. Bland Memorial for Game We Didn't Play But is Probably Okay

  • Nominees: Pokemon Alpha Sapphire & Omega Ruby, Geometry Wars 3, World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Winner: 13:20

The Wow, Really? Prize for Game We Didn't Play But Heard is Great

  • Nominees: Dragon Age Inquisition, Hearthstone, Sunset Overdrive,  Bayonetta 2, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  • Winner: 18:10

Please Understand Award for Baffling Decision Made by a Console Manufacturer

  • Nominees: Limited Amiibo Launch, Sony Vita lawsuit, Sony PlayStation 4 Firmware 2.0, Collapse of Xbox TV, Kinect removal from Xbox One

  • Winner: 27:00

The Best Game Most People Didn’t Play

  • Nominees: Threes, Banner Saga, Hitman Go, Bayonetta 2, Picross E 4, Pushmo World
  • Winner: 37:00

Individual Prizes

The Hurts So Good Medal for Cruel and Unusually Brilliant Game DesignNo Man's Wharf in Dark Souls 2 - 37:50

Skinner Box Memoriam Prize For Shut Up I Don’t Have ProblemDestiny's Endgame - 40:30

The Friendship Annihilation Efficiency Memorial AwardJS Joust and the Sportsfriends - 43: 50

Occupied Commuter’s Fund for Game That Nearly Made Arman VomitThrees - 46:00

The Mappy the Mouse Cop Memorial Scholarship for Best Appearance by Mappy in a Video Game: Pacman's Taunt in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U - 49:00

Grimaldi’s Wizard Wardrobe For Fantasy Game That Filled the VoidWitcher 2 - 52:00

The JRPG Dowry Prize for Most Successful Shotgun WeddingPersona Q’s Battle System - 54:00

Our individual prizes will have a full write up on the site, filled with details about why the award exists and why each game won, later in the week.


We used the following Music: From the Free Music Archive, "Watashi" by Johnny_Ripper, "Unanswered Questions" and "Winner Winner" by Kevin MacLeod. "Live to Die" in the Dark Souls II soundtrack, "eXplore 2" from the Destiny Soundtrack,  Sportsfriends' Main theme, Mappy's Main theme, "A Nearly Peaceful Place" from the Witcher 2 Soundtrack and "Maze of Life" from Persona Q's soundtrack.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE SCOPE AT RYERSON RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS 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 40: Why Bother?

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Built to Play 40: Why Bother?

Built to Play is amping up the disappointment, as we take on failure. That's a failure to play and a failure to learn, starting with why play video games in the first place. 

We suck at video games, as a species. Yes, some of us are amazing at Street Fighter, and that Chinese team won five million dollars in Dota 2, but on average most of us lose more than we succeed. In Call of Duty, you likely failed more levels than you won. In Super Meat Boy, people come close to throwing their controllers across the room in frustration. Rage-quitting is a word most players recognize and have experienced. So why do we play?

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Built to Play 39b: USA USA USA

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Built to Play 39b: USA USA USA

Our last episode had no news because this episode has all of the news. Join us as we talk about the fates, fortunes and foibles of the everyone from the province of Quebec to Nintendo's shareholders. 

First up, Majesco did a reverse stock split, raising their stock price back to $2.56 from between 0.50-0.60 during the last few months. Masjeco is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange which requires a minimum of a $1 value per share, and so the company needed a maneuver that would raise the price before they became a penny stock.  

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Built to Play 38: Delayed to 2015

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Built to Play 38: Delayed to 2015

We travelled all the way to our computer screens to watch E3 2014 unfold before our very eyes. For the most part, we were pleasantly surprised.

Last week was E3 with all three major press conferences, plus EA and Ubisoft. Microsoft showed off a shocking number of games. EA demonstrated that they understood what game was conceptually, and played videos about where game designers get drunk. Ubisoft had Aisha Tyler share a stage with a line up of exceptionally short men. Sony gave us a taste of Project Beast, and revealed that they also want to get into the TV business. And Nintendo thought we really liked Robot Chicken in 2009, plus the conference was only mostly cashing in on nostalgia. 

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You can catch our live tweets of those conferences on Twitter, or our storifies for more detailed coverage. However, in lieu of recapping every single press conference in this one page, here's a couple highlights.

Daniel and Arman were both impressed and slightly annoyed with Scalebound, which looks like Monster Hunter but made by Platinium and with a Shinjuku-esque protagonist.

We had very little to say about Call of Duty, but were interested in its attempts to distance itself from its predecessors. Also that new game from Playdead had a great aesthetic, but drew too much on the studio's last game Limbo.

We didn't have much to say about EA aside from the shocking number of games that didn't seem to exist beyond short videos and wireframe models. Their Mass Effect announcement was essentially playing the theme music to build up to excitement, only to drop that excitement off a cliff when they revealed that was all they had. The publisher had shockingly little to say about Dragon Age: Inquisition. Arman enjoyed the first one, while Daniel seems to like neither,

 Ubisoft had a few more games in concrete form, several of which piqued our interest. Neither had much love for Assassin's Creed Unity, especially thanks to the comments on the lack of female protagonists. Arman has some lasting curiosity about the Division, though after Watch Dogs, most of that has cooled. Ubisoft did seem insistent on making their gameplay trailers sound like radio plays, which both of us loved immensely. By the way, Valiant Hearts is probably the best looking game about the First World War we've seen.

As for Sony, both Arman and Daniel were pumped for Bloodborne, and but Sony showed off a couple games that seemed worth the while. No Man's Sky was an easy pick, although they didn't show much new from last year. Also Sony probably shouldn't have spent 20 minutes talking about Powers, before showing off the new crazy looking, but depressing sounding Metal Gear Solid V.

Nintendo had the best show for us, if only because it was the shortest. Take that as a lesson publishers. If you can just show games over and over again for 40 minutes, that will impress people. We enjoyed the new Zelda video, but that is not a game. That is a tech demo with a 10 second trailer. Splatoon and Codename S.T.E.A.M. were more impressive that they existed at all, and weren't another old retread Nintendo property. Daniel still wishes they were Metroid though. Nothing can fill the void.

Game of Show: Bloodborne and Splatoon

Game we will actually play: Valiant Hearts. 


We only used one song this week, from the Free Music Archive. It's called "Dream Land Attack" by Thiaz Itch. If you believe your music was used inappropriately, let send us an email.

This episode was written by Daniel Rosen and edited by Arman Aghbali. Please leave us a review or comment so we know how we're doing and can improve the show. Thanks for listening. 

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