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From Soy SauceOklahoma has its first official WiiU developer as of today. In an update posted to Facebook, From Soy Sauce co-founder Kevin Higuchi posted the news that Nintendo called to let them know they were accepted to develop for the WiiU.

Alright guys, believe it or not but our company, FromSoySauce, has officially been given the rights to develop games for Wii U by Nintendo…WHAT!?!? No, Seriously, Nintendo called me 5 minutes before my class to tell me they’d love to have FromSoySauce develop games for the Wii U. Thank you for all your support up to this point guys!!!!! Time to literally step up our games!!!!!

Later, Saijee Higuchi added:

My little dev team, From Soy Sauce has gotten the approval from NINTENDO to make Wii U Games! 15 years ago there was a boy, whom if you’d ask what he wanted to do, he would only give 1 answer: “Make Nintendo Games.”
…. CHILDHOOD ACCOMPLISHED!!! And I don’t even have a degree.

They submitted their request a couple of months ago when Nintendo sent out a request for developer applications. Needless to say, they are excited to learn their application was accepted.

The first game they plan to release on the WiiU is their current project, Touhou Super Smash Battles. It is currently being developed using Unity3D and thanks to a partnership between Nintendo and Unity, FSS will have an easy time porting it to the console.

FSS plans on releasing an official trailer for Touhou Super Smash in January.

Harassment in Games by Extra Credits

The last couple of months have really had me thinking about the harassment that happens around games and the gaming industry. Some of these campaigns get really disgusting and scary. It has gotten so bad, that not speaking out about the harassment can be seen as being complicit in it. I can’t let that happen in my case.

Last year, I wrote a brief editorial condemning such harassment campaigns. I mentioned specifically a few well known ones, such as the harassment of Anita Sarkeesian and Phil Fish. That editorial and the condemning of harassment still applies. But recent controversy over supposed games journalistic ethics brought to public attention by the GamerGate community has led to all new and very public harassment campaigns.

Much of this started with a harassment campaign started by the jilted ex-lover of game developer Zoe Quinn. Her former boyfriend, Eron Gjoni, decided to publicly shame Zoe and in the process posted what led many gamers to believe that she partook in some unethical activities to get positive press for her game, Depression Quest. Many gamers took this as gospel and used it as the catalyst for harassing her and several journalists associated with her. This campaign included doxxing, or publicly disclosing personal information such as address and phone number, as well as death and rape threats. All this because of the word of her a jilted ex-boyfriend. Think about that for a minute while I move on.

There has been a number of similar campaigns with other people in the games industry. The problem is particularly harsh when it comes to women in the industry. Other examples include further harassment of Anita Sarkeesian, which resulted in her canceling a speaking event at Utah State University, game developer Brianna Wu who was so scared of the threats she was forced to leave her home along with her family. Why? Because they spoke out on an issue that some gamers can’t seem to handle, the fact that women play games and would like more game that suit their tastes.

Of course it is not just targets of GamerGate that are harassed. I have seen some harassment targeted at supporters of GamerGate, particularly Milo Yiannopoulos. He was recently sent an unlabled syringe with the likely intention that he should shoot himself up with whatever the contents were.

Setting aside GamerGate related harassment for a moment, another form of harassment that is particularly disgusting and particularly deadly, is the rise of SWATting, or calling police and telling them there is an active shooter at a residence or business. Why is this dangerous and disgusting? Because this action can result in the death of innocent people. This particular action is essentially attempted murder. If you do not believe me, do some Google searching for deadly SWAT raids. The SWAT has been heavily overused in recent years and has resulted in a number of wrong door raids that end with the resident or officers killed in the action. Is that really the kind of result you are willing to accept if you call the SWAT on someone as a “prank”? Do you truly and honestly think that attempted murder is funny?

But what really troubles me, beyond the campaigns themselves, is the apologists who excuse the behavior of those who are doing the harassment. These people play lip service to the idea that harassment is wrong, but then immediately start ranting about how the target somehow deserved it because they hold a different opinion than their own. Or perhaps they dismiss the harassment of someone they don’t like because they heard that someone they like was also harassed. Kind of like an eye for an eye type scenario. Other justifications simply include the idea that these harassing comments and actions are merely empty, there is no intention of following through with them. This attitude is sometimes supported by mentioning the harassment campaigns against video game detractors like Jack Thompson and Leland Yee. The problem with this line of thinking is that no one other than the person doing the harassing knows this for sure if the threats are real or not. Which means the target must assume that the threats are real.

I am lucky that no one in the community of game developers, gamers and other industry folk I associate with have been on either end of such harassment. Unfortunately, others cannot say the same. Perhaps it is because my associations are with people who are relatively low key in the overall scheme of things. Most of the harassment I have seen is against people who are in the public eye, either by choice or the actions of someone else. Which is sad really. Such action against public figures has a chilling effect on others forcing them to avoid anything that would put a public spotlight, or target sight, on them. Is that really what we want, a games industry filled with people who don’t want to make waves and affect the industry?

Which I guess is kind of the point. The ultimate goal of those doing the harassing and those complicit in it, is the silencing of voices they don’t support. They don’t like what someone says, or what they think someone says. Instead of responding to speech they don’t like with more speech, they resort to bullying and threats. In reality, this is the last bastion of those who know they have no valid response. They know that no matter what they say or do, they are wrong. So they lash out and pretend that doing so justifies their position. If they can silence a critic or a voice of reason, they can safely hold firm to their outdated beliefs for just a little longer. They can enjoy their close-mindedness without worry of being exposed for the shallowness of it all. It is all about joy in ignorance. They simply can’t stand for someone trying to take away their bliss. So they lash out.

I am speaking out about harassment and firmly planting my feet on the side of ending it. It is counter productive and ultimately destructive to the gaming community and the industry as a whole. I don’t care who you are, what you believe or what your grievance is with the person you disagree with, harassing and threatening them is not the answer. So to those who are doing the harassing, Stop It. To those who are complicit in it, Stand up against it.

I will have more to say on other aspects of GamerGate and related topics at a later time.

crowdfunding Indiegogo Kickstarter

Every Monday, We link to the crowdfunding pages of games from Oklahoma developers and other interesting crowdfunding projects from Oklahomans. Music, comics, table-top games and more. If it might be of interest to gamers and game developers we will show them off.

Here is the primary list of crowdfunding campaigns:

New Campaigns:

Zombee Ninja by Zombee Games. Zombee Ninja is a mobile game about a bee infected by a zombie ninja virus. Zombee Games is seeking $10,000 to fund development of the game and has 23 days left to go.

Failed Campaigns:

All Hands On Deck by Salamander Games. All Hands On Deck is a pirate themed card game for 2-4 players. Players bid to hire a full ship crew before their opponents do. All Hands On Deck failed to meet its funding goal this week having only raised $7,171 of its $11,000 goal.

Currently Funding:

Illustrated Girl #2 by Jackson Compton and Jerry Bennett. Illustrated Girl #2 is the follow up to Compton/Bennett’s earlier successful crowdfunding of the first issue of Illustrated Girl, a comic following the life of a girl who brings drawings on her skin to life. They are seeking $3,300 to fund the printing of the comic and have raised $1,404 with 20 days left.

Nadir’s Zenith #4 by Jackson Compton and Jerry Bennett. Nadir’s Zenith follows mankind in its journey through space after abandoning earth after economic and ecological disasters. They are seeking $5,000 to fund printing of this issue and have raised $672 with 20 days left.

The Forgetti Yetti by Matt Martin. Forgetti Yetti is a children’s book about a Yetti with a tendency to forget things in his life who goes on a adventure around the world. Matt is seeking $4,500 to fund printing of the book and has raised $400 with 20 days left.

Jonathan Padilla’s Senior Recital. Jonathan is a composer looking to create music for movies, tv and games. As part of this, he is planning his Senior Recital featuring music composed for those mediums. He is currently working on a score for Oklahoma based Cowhouse Games’ Shards of Erem. He is seeking $2,000 and has raised $965 with 31 days left.

That’s it for this week. We hope to see the progress of these and to see more come out.

Retro Gamers Society Presents: Super! BitConAfter the success of the first Super! Bitcon, the creators are looking to expand the event from a single day to two. They have also announced a great deal for game developers and artists looking to display their work at the event. The price of booths have changed from $50 last year has dropped to $35.

In a Facebook announcement, BC Phillips had this to say about the change:

Hey OKGD! Just wanted to let everyone know that game dev booths at SUPER Bitcon have been reduced to just $35 for two days this year (March 28-29, 2015). Last year it was $50 for just one day. We want more game devs to come show off their projects this year — even unfinished ones!

So if you are looking to expand your audience and awareness of your games, this would be a great opportunity to do so. So register today to get your space reserved.

 

So there has been a hullabaloo recently surrounding a movement called GamerGate. This is a loosely (and I mean that in the most literal terms) knit group of gamers and advocates for journalistic integrity and ethics. At least that is the jist of what they want to be known for. I will talk more about it in a later post, but that is sufficient introduction for now.

As a result of some conversations I have had with GamerGate supporters, I decided that I wanted to make a clear statement on what my disclosure policies are in regards to my reporting here and other game sites I own. I am still bound by disclosure policies for sites I write for but do not own and those policies may be different than here. So I wanted to go through each point of my disclosure policy one by one and explain a bit about it. These disclosure policy statements can be found under the About tab in our menu.

Unless otherwise stated, all games reviewed on our site were purchased with our own money or reviewed based on legally and freely available version/demo.

For some reason, a couple of people I talked with are under the belief that reviewing a game that I actually bought is somehow ethically compromised. I have no clue where these people are coming from. It really makes no sense. I would think that people seeking journalistic integrity would much prefer journalists and reviewers to buy the games rather than have them given to them by the developer or publisher.

However, I am more likely to buy a game than have one given to me, so I tend to do the former when I review one. However, I also do a lot of Ouya reviews and games there will often have a free trial or demo version available and those are what I base my reviews on. So most of the time, I have either bought the game myself or played a free demo prior to writing my review.

If on the off chance a developer does give me a free copy of the game I end up reviewing, I will absolutely disclose that fact. I will also disclose any stipulations or provisions the developer/publisher requires me to agree to, if I actually agree and end up reviewing the game. If I am feeling unusually unhappy with the terms, I will simply write about said terms rather than review the game.

We support Kickstarter and other crowdfunding campaigns we are passionate about. We treat this just as we do with games we have purchased.

Just as the above says, I treat crowdfunding the same way I do buying a game. If I see a Kickstarter, Patreon, IndieGogo or other campaign I like, I will most likely back it. If I really like it, I will share it on Facebook and Twitter. If I really really like it, I will write about here or on another blog. I think that is hugely important. Most of the time, I will state whether I backed the project or not, but I never feel compelled to do so.

I was again told that reporting on a crowdfunding campaign that I backed makes me ethically compromised. I don’t see how. If it is fine for me to share that news on Facebook and Twitter, why is it not ok to share that same news on this site?

I was also told that it is not so much that I backed the campaign but that I might have backed it for too much money. Take for instance a campaign that allows a backer to create and item or monster for use in the game if that backer pledges a certain amount. I am told that I could be ethically compromised because I now have a stake in the final outcome of the project. Sure, I guess I do, but I don’t have a financial stake in the outcome. The only stake I actually have is whether I get to make my object or not. I don’t get royalties or payment myself, just a neat feeling for having contributed.

So no, I don’t feel the need to disclose whether I have backed a crowdfunding campaign or not.

The Oklahoma Games Industry is a very small group of people. This means, that the writers have personal connections with many of the people we report on. There is no way to avoid this and thus do not see a need to disclose personal connections unless absolutely necessary.

Once again, some people feel that knowing people in the industry is the same thing as being vested in that person. Meaning, that if I report on someone I know personally at some level, I am ethically compromised. This, again, does not make much sense.

How exactly is one supposed to make it as a journalist without making friends and connections in the games industry? Are we just supposed to work from PR statements and what other people are writing about on the internet? That seems like a crappy way to do business.

As such, I don’t feel the need to disclose every relationship I have with people in the games industry. It should be a given. If, on some occasions, I report on a person who has benefited me in some recognizable way, such as someone donating to my site or flying me to Washinton D.C., then sure, I will disclose that fact.

Which leads me to my next point.

There are times when a game developer or other person in the industry we report on has financially or in some other way materially supported us. We will disclose those instances for a time frame of one (1) year after the last such show of support.

This will always be disclosed. I have no problem with disclosing such. Someone gives me money, I will tell you why and for how much. If someone buys or gives me something, I will tell you why and what it was.

However, I believe that there is a statute of limitations on this and feel that one(1) year following the last such material gift to be more than sufficient. Once that year is up, I do not feel the need to continue to disclose that fact. It should be well known by then.

We use a third party advertising partner. As such, we have limited control over the ads that appear on our site. We do have some control and if we feel a particular ad interferes with our ability to properly report on the industry, we will try to remove those ads.

Advertising is a tricky business. Without it, most sites you read on the internet would not exist. So it becomes a necessary evil. As such I do what I can to mitigate the impact it has on my reporting.

As such, I am currently using a third party advertising partner. However, I have limited control over the ads that show up. If an ad shows up that corresponds to a game or person I am writing about, I don’t have any control as that ad showed up under a deal between the company placing the ad and the third party ad provider I use.

If there is some occasion where that could be seen as a conflict of interest, for example the ad showing up for an extended period of time, thus appearing to be an endorsement, then I would be open to disclosing that, but for a brief time during the time the ad actually shows.

None of this applies to a time in the future when I might be large enough to have direct advertising deals with game developers and publishers. At such a time, I would more than be happy to disclose the nature of the agreement when reporting on said company.

Oklahoma Game Development is a subsidiary of Divine Knight Gaming. Our Chief Editor, E. Zachary Knight, is also the Lead Developer/Co-owner of Divine Knight. Any article about Divine Knight or one of its games or subsidiaries will always include a disclaimer stating that fact.

Yes, I own this site, other sites, and an indie game development studio. As such, anytime I write about my game development work or work on another Divine Knight owned site, I will disclose that fact. I have no problem with it.

Conclusion

Alright. I hope that helps you understand where I am coming from here. I want to be open and honest with my readers, but I also want to make sure I stay sane. Trying to keep up with the journalistic integrity kerfuffle of the week and complying with that will drive me completely insane as I feel many don’t make sense or are contradictory to other supposed requirements.

I will guarantee that I will continue to abide by the above disclosure requirements and any new ones I come up with that I feel need to be followed.

crowdfunding Indiegogo Kickstarter

Every Monday, We link to the crowdfunding pages of games from Oklahoma developers and other interesting crowdfunding projects from Oklahomans. Music, comics, table-top games and more. If it might be of interest to gamers and game developers we will show them off.

Here is the primary list of crowdfunding campaigns:

New Campaigns:

Illustrated Girl #2 by Jackson Compton and Jerry Bennett. Illustrated Girl #2 is the follow up to Compton/Bennett’s earlier successful crowdfunding of the first issue of Illustrated Girl, a comic following the life of a girl who brings drawings on her skin to life. They are seeking $3,300 to fund the printing of the comic and have raised $1,204 with 27 days left.

Nadir’s Zenith #4 by Jackson Compton and Jerry Bennett. Nadir’s Zenith follows mankind in its journey through space after abandoning earth after economic and ecological disasters. They are seeking $5,000 to fund printing of this issue and have raised $522 with 27 days left.

The Forgetti Yetti by Matt Martin. Forgetti Yetti is a children’s book about a Yetti with a tendency to forget things in his life who goes on a adventure around the world. Matt is seeking $4,500 to fund printing of the book and has raised $200 with 27 days left.

Currently Funding:

All Hands On Deck by Salamander Games. All Hands On Deck is a pirate themed card game for 2-4 players. Players bid to hire a full ship crew before their opponents do. Salamander is seeking $11,500 to fund the game and have already raised $5,836 with 5 days left.

Jonathan Padilla’s Senior Recital. Jonathan is a composer looking to create music for movies, tv and games. As part of this, he is planning his Senior Recital featuring music composed for those mediums. He is currently working on a score for Oklahoma based Cowhouse Games’ Shards of Erem. He is seeking $2,000 and has raised $955 with 38 days left.

That’s it for this week. We hope to see the progress of these and to see more come out.

The Hunted by F5 Games

F5 Games has been a very busy studio of late. They recently released the Ouya version of their haunted house game House of the Lost. Now they are putting the finishing touches on their latest game, The Hunted.

The Hunted is a top down dual stick shooter for mobile devices. It is about a groups of nine warriors forced to compete in death matches for all eternity. And these guys are pleased with the results so far.

Work on the Hunted began more than a year ago when we challenged ourselves to make multiplayer a shooter work on a touchscreen device. My goal has been to recapture the awesome deathmatch experiences I had with my friends playing Quake, waaay back in the day, and bring it to a new platform and a whole new generation of players. With The Hunted, I think we’ve done it.

The Hunted GameplayThey also feel that they have solved some of the issues that plague similar games on mobile devices.

The biggest challenge to overcome was obviously the controls. While there are plenty of multiplayer first-person shooters on iOS none of them really control all that well, and it really compromises the experience. A game type that does control really well on touch screens is the top-down ‘dual-stick’ shooter. The only problem with top-down shooters is that you have a perfect view of the battlefield. No one can sneak up behind you and take you out with a melee attack, or duck behind a wall and make you wonder where they are going to pop up next. We knew that if we really wanted to deliver an awesome deathmatch experience we were going to have to find a way to make you feel like you were still a character in that world looking down the barrel of your gun.

Based on the screen shots and the trailer, below, they look like they may have a hit on their hands. I really can’t wait to give it a play. We will certainly keep an eye on development of this game and will review it as soon as it is available.

crowdfunding Indiegogo Kickstarter

Every Monday, We link to the crowdfunding pages of games from Oklahoma developers and other interesting crowdfunding projects from Oklahomans. Music, comics, table-top games and more. If it might be of interest to gamers and game developers we will show them off.

Here is the primary list of crowdfunding campaigns:

All Hands On Deck by Salamander Games. All Hands On Deck is a pirate themed card game for 2-4 players. Players bid to hire a full ship crew before their opponents do. Salamander is seeking $11,500 to fund the game and have already raised $4,709 with 12 days left.

Jonathan Padilla’s Senior Recital. Jonathan is a composer looking to create music for movies, tv and games. As part of this, he is planning his Senior Recital featuring music composed for those mediums. He is currently working on a score for Oklahoma based Cowhouse Games’ Shards of Erem. He is seeking $2,000 and has raised $755 with 45 days left.

That’s it for this week. We hope to see the progress of these and to see more come out.

crowdfunding Indiegogo Kickstarter

Every Monday, We link to the crowdfunding pages of games from Oklahoma developers and other interesting crowdfunding projects from Oklahomans. Music, comics, table-top games and more. If it might be of interest to gamers and game developers we will show them off.

Here is the primary list of crowdfunding campaigns:

All Hands On Deck by Salamander Games. All Hands On Deck is a pirate themed card game for 2-4 players. Players bid to hire a full ship crew before their opponents do. Salamander is seeking $11,500 to fund the game and have already raised $3,673 with 19 days left.

Jonathan Padilla’s Senior Recital. Jonathan is a composer looking to create music for movies, tv and games. As part of this, he is planning his Senior Recital featuring music composed for those mediums. He is currently working on a score for Oklahoma based Cowhouse Games’ Shards of Erem. He is seeking $2,000 and has raised $720 with 52 days left.

That’s it for this week. We hope to see the progress of these and to see more come out.

From Soy Sauce At Touhou ConOver the last month or so, From Soy Sauce has been working on their latest game, and first Unity 3D based game, Touhou Super Smash. We have been watching development of this game closely and so have the hosts of Touhou Con. The work that FSS has put into their game impressed those organizers and FSS was invited as special guests to present TSS and host a mini tournament.

As a special treat for the winner of the tournament, that person gets to pick a character from the Touhou universe to be included as a playable character in Touhou Super Smash.

Based on Favcebook posts, these guys had a blast. Kevin has even posted a collection of photos from their time at the event. There is also a Twitch video of the tournament and a Q&A session with the From Soy Sauce team.

As some of Oklahoma’s most promising developers, it is great to see the positive experiences From Soy Sauce has been having lately. These guys have an incredible knack for creating 3D platformers and TSS shows they are not planning on stopping any time soon.