Newsflash for everyone who’s not on social media! If you thought I was gone, yes I was. Coffee excess, coffee deprivation and all that jazz does that to you. Also, coping with ten things at a time. Keep Reading
There’s a fair amount of sample packs conveying tough-ass industrial pounding or subtle microglitches trickling down your spine, but this one pack definitely stands out from the crowd that has CYBERPUNK written all over it. Lhasa Mencur‘s pack aptly named Cinematic Series Vol 2.:Hacked Society is in the smack middle of a fight between Deus Ex and Mr. Robot – and thankfully, neither of those are winning. (Or both. This is the grim future. I don’t actually know which scenario’s better.)
The pack is under half a gig (available formats are Ableton Live!, Acid Loops, Apple Loops/Aiff, MIDI, WAV), containing digi one-shots (perfect for setting the mood with sweepy bleeps and hi-freq sequences), effects (mostly those that you would hear in a hacker den, without the coffee machine sounds, the pizza cutters and anything porn-related, I love the typing sounds to bits) and vocal phrases – these are the samples that people more often than not mistake for speech samples from the otherwise brilliant cyberpunk series Mr. Robot. (I’m actually using one of these samples on my track ‘The Mark’ on my new EP that’s dropping tomorrow, but what you need to check out is a remix done by Lhasa himself that features more of his brilliant samples – I’ll update this review as the link goes public.)
Another surprising bit is a set of 8 construction kits, all of which scream “I should be on the new Deus Ex soundtrack!” And they should be. The demos made out of all these bits do have one major flaw, though: I want to buy Lhasa‘s album made for an imaginary cyberpunk game and he still hasn’t done it and these demos are the worst best teasers ever. Until he finally comes to his senses and makes an urban cyberpunk glitch-ambient album with an Asian influence, grab this baby and try to make the best of it. Because, even if the sounds do not connect with your project, it will definitely motivate you into making something better.
Overall, both the effects and the vocals reflect just a fair amount of urban grit, just enough dirt to get you knee-deep in Kowloon but all the construction kit elements give you just enough shine through the windowpanes to forget about all that urban decay. In any case, this is a solid library.
RATING: 4,5 out of 5 (LHASA, WHERE IS THE SOUNDTRACK ALBUM. NO 5 STARS UNTIL YOU MAKE ONE.)
Cinematic Series Vol 2.: Hacked Society is AVAILABLE here.
72 hours to go before finally succumbing to a Steam sale as you do, you always do. So do I. Steam now offers 38 cyberpunk…ish games cheaper, some at hilariously great prices and some of them just bring tears of joy to my eyes.
BLOODNET, for example, was and still is, my favourite retro adventure/RPG. It’s basically a vampire story set in a cyberpunk North-Am setting, set against the ticking clock. In 2015 its visuals are definitely nowhere near today’s expectations but what it lacks in looks, it definitely delivers in plot, characters and all the little details that colour the world alive. Varied characters with tons of motivations, attitude, style.. very, very different than today’s adventure games. And of course, back in the 90s players had to figure out stuff for themselves and get used to dying A LOT.. something that today’s players are not good at making friends with. If I had to pick only one, it would be Bloodnet – and now it’s even cheaper than it usually is on GOG. (link)
On the other hand, a lot of my friends (and many reacting to the Steam sales news) were focused on two games: GEMINI RUE and E.Y.E. DIVINE CYBERMANCY: the former being a 2D adventure side-scroller, while the latter’s a first-person shooter. I have to admit I didn’t finish my Gemini Rue playthrough, because I got distracted a few hours into the plot and I definitely didn’t get around to playing E.Y.E. which feels and looks a lot like a WH40K action stomper. Definitely recommending these two, as well! (GR link, E.Y.E. link)
But there’s even more, so you can add games to your library such as MIRROR’S EDGE, the definitive cyberpunk parkour game that’s extremely well-polished, plays well, has an upcoming sequel and I simply loved this version of its theme song; DEUS EX HUMAN REVOLUTION, the one that the whole world seems to like and I’m the only person who didn’t – here’s my longer review about it – but it’s definitely worth a shot, even more so that its soundtrack is clearly on par with Vangelis’ Blade Runner OST; FAR CRY 3: BLOOD DRAGON, a whole-hearted FPS homage to 80’s action movies that doesn’t take itself seriously at all for even one second; SYSTEM SHOCK 2 with the most sinister bitch-ass AI ever put to a computer screen (together with every one of them, because they seem to be bitch-ass-eviling humanity with an off-the-shelf dislike for anything that has endorphins); HACKER EVOLUTION, a hacker simulator that’s clearly based on Introversion’s groundbreaking UPLINK and seems to have its own devoted followers; and a whole lot more!
Go, spend your new yens on mind fodder until March 20th! (Steam cyberpunk sale)
Blog-fast ends now! I’m quite happy to announce that I’m nearing completion of several projects I’ve been working on for the past few months. One of them, one completely finished, is a remix I did for a Hungarian alternative/new wave/dark pop group named CLAYFEET: we met through my long-time partner-in-absurd Dawe_, started talking about DAWs and VSTis and, fast-forwarding the story by a few weeks, this is where we ended up. (Or this is where we actually begin.)
Photo: Zoltán Miklóska
My weapon of choice was Renoise, as always, taking the vocal stems and the chords and ditching everything else, basically turning the original synthpoppy bash into something a lot bouncier. Working on this was a lot of fun, learned a lot about 1) EQing 2) giving pop song ideas a structure 3) layering everything with literally everything and then 4) learning how to delete at least 30% of my original tracks because it’s just way too thick and overstacked.
By the way, you definitely have to check out Clayfeet’s Bandcamp as it has a motherload of great tracks to listen to: and here’s the Severance single my remix is featured on. Play it until you’re sore! (And, oh, here’s a whole gallery on how they’re working on their tracks, hehe.)
More remixes and tracks are on the way: until they see the daylight, show some pimpage and love for these tracks!
The Irish art director used Cinema 4D and Vray to mimic the fighting moves of Street Fighter characters – specifically Ken, Chun Li, Ryu and Blanka – while turning their bodies into abstractions of colour and form. Each character is easily recognizable from these alone, but Dan the Ad Man focuses on the animation of their signature moves to bring the forms to life (check out Chun Li’s Spinning Bird Kick). Each character’s movements are extended and energy released in a fluid manner, accompanied by familiar theme music and colourful explosions of geometric forms. (more at artsandsciencejournal)
That clearly drives us to this video’s inspiration – Forms..
a collaboration between visuals artists Memo Akten and Quayola, a series of studies on human motion, and its reverberations through space and time. It is inspired by the works of Eadweard Muybridge, Harold Edgerton, Étienne-Jules Marey as well as similarly inspired modernist cubist works such as Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase No.2″. Rather than focusing on observable trajectories, it explores techniques of extrapolation to sculpt abstract forms, visualizing unseen relationships – power, balance, grace and conflict – between the body and its surroundings. (more on Forms’ Vimeo page)
Both these videos – especially Dan the Ad Man’s – remind me of the fairly obscure 3D turn-based indie fighting game TORIBASH – definitely not as appealing as these vids but equally abstract. requiring you to find multiple ways to circumvent expectations of your enemies. Here’s a trailer. You’ll be thrilled.
The first E3 trailer that made me laugh real hard. You don’t waste bullets on people you need to die, this ain’t Borderlands extraordinaire. Why isn’t this a Fallout mod? How will the IP be different? Mad Max comes sometime in 2014, being an open world scavenger game where players kill, hunt, scavenge and build better and bigger vehicles with more meat magnet grills on the front.
Remember Person of Interest-like open-world hacker/actioner Watch Dogs? That’s going to be the game I’m buying an Xbox One for. Still not sure whether I would want to be under more constant surveillance than usual, but it’s just oozing of the illusion of false freedom that I need to have. It was Rez HD that made me buy Xbox 360, Watch Dogs is the next game to blame.
DICE finished this year’s Electronic Arts E3 press conference with a trailer to the much-awaited Mirror’s Edge 2. The streamlined, clean and cheerfully flow-inducing parkour game comes with polished visuals, a soundtrack that sounds a lot like Lisa Miskovsky’s `Still Alive` (theme song for the first game) and an already heated debate about the representation of Asian female characters amongst hardcore Japanese gamers.
Hey hey neon walkers and glitch babes – haven’t you seen a summary of all the cyberpunk-related games on Android? Good, because I haven’t, either. Time to change that, then – from virus splicing to implant surgeries, bank hackings to lightcycle grid races, here’s a list of 44 abstract, futuristic & cyberpunk Android games that have the Edge. Mostly casual. Mostly.
“I wrote a story for Hiversaires, but about halfway through development I decided not to show it. In my early testing I realized that people were trying to figure it out and making up their own stories. For me that was much more enticing and interesting than just spelling everything out. When I realized that there would not be an explicit story, that aspect turned out to work really well.” (Aliceffekt about his game Hiversaires on indiegames, photo by Jeriaska)
Max Keiser of Russia Today drops by to explain the genesis and implications of the digital currency Bitcoin, why The Federal Reserve and the banking system should apologise to the people for manipulating interest rates, how Warren Buffett is complicit in the Mexican drug trade by purchasing Wells Fargo, and Max’s crazy times in the 1980s as a New York City stockbroker by day and punk-rock party animal by night. (via londonreal.tv)
That’s just the weirdest and cheesiest Nine Inch Nails mashup I’ve ever heard, Trent basically rickrolled on his 48th birthday?
Bacon udon from Skankynavia via Zeta, the flatmate of ROCK.
Features on these issues provide subjects for discussion and enhance the conversation on Talking Germany. This time we’re looking at how the Pirate Party’s recent ballot box successes have added to the challenges of finding common positions and translating them into a comprehensive political program. We’ll also discuss the Pirates’ opposition to the planned global anti-copyright violation pact, ACTA. And we’ll ask her about the role-playing games she enjoys in her free time. (more info on dw.de, coming via comwedge of machetegirl)
Entry number 666 to the 15th Annual Independent Games Festival is 140, a minimalistic sidescrolling platformer by Playdead‘s Jeppe Carlsen who designed the puzzles for indie noir marvelhouse platformer game Limbo.
The trailer for Independent Games Festival nominee, upcoming rhythm platformer ‘140’ by Jeppe Carlsen has just been released. 140 is a challenging minimalistic platformer with abstract colorful graphics. Rhythmic awareness is required to overcome obstacles controlled by an energetic, yet melancholic electronic soundtrack by Jakob Schmid. The game is nominated for Excellence in Audio in IGF 2013, as well as getting honorable mention in Technical Excellence. (press release from joystiq)
Subtle, captivating, addictive. These three words describe the world of Sparkle – world in which you make a tiny aquatic creature evolve into becoming a grown, magnificent being. We give you control over your Sparkle’s development and wellbeing, and you have one goal – to evolve. Whilst exploring the Sparkle Void, you find various nutritious elements to eat. Sometimes you will even have to fight for food with other species. You become what you eat – you get to choose whether your sparkle becomes a fast and aggressive carnivore, a sluggish but fast-eating herbivore, or an omnivore, whose features lie somewhere in between. Insight to your Sparkle’s DNA strand will give you information about the progress and will help you plan which microelements you want to focus on eating next. You will also get to fight giant bosses from time to time. But there’s no rush to keep the game in full swing at all times. (MORE INFO HERE)
As Wikipedia says about WATCH_DOGS, The storyline of Watch Dogs is built around the concept of information warfare, data being interconnected, and the world’s increasing use of technology—questioning who exactly runs the computers they depend on. The game is set in an alternate reality version of Chicago, Illinois, which is one of many cities to feature a supercomputer known as a “CtOS” (Central Operating System). The system controls almost every piece of technology in the city, and contains information on all of the city’s residents and activities which can be used for various purposes.. It pretty much sounds like the TV show Person of Interest to me. You’ll see why.
The emperor of the South Sea was called Shu [Brief], the emperor of the North Sea was called Hu [Sudden], and the emperor of the central region was called Hun-tun [Chaos]. Shu and Hu from time to time came together for a meeting in the territory of Hun-tun, and Hun-tun treated them very generously. Shu and Hu discussed how they could repay his kindness. “All men,” they said, “have seven openings so they can see, hear, eat, and breathe. But Hun-tun alone doesn’t have any. Let’s trying boring him some!” Every day they bored another hole, and on the seventh day Hun-tun died. – Zhuangzi
Proteus is a meditative experimental game about exploration and musical discovery for PC and Mac, now available on Steam, with a Linux version and soundtrack album to follow.
Video production: Erik Ravaglia (@erikrva)
Music: David Kanaga
Game by Ed Key (@edclef) and David Kanaga (@dkanaga)
I usually find my great music through two or three loops – someone recommends me something or I go fishing for a genre, look at recent sub-subgenres, cross-reference it with the Similar Artists feature of last.fm, look for what else people listen to have in their playlists who listen to that band I just picked and I tend to pick the most obscure ones. This is how I found Claire Boucher, the girl born out of Tumblr, DIY, analog synths, Skinny Puppy, stencils and goth kawaii. Sometimes I’m in love when I’m listening to Grimes, not always and for never too long. But those microseconds are growing longer. And ballistic-electro-ambient-witchpunk-fuck-you has never been this elegant in its statement of Tumblr riot grrls. Start researching Grimes. She has Process.
Cyberpunk 2077, the next game from The Witcher developer CD Projekt RED, slows things down for its first teaser trailer, showing off the public dangers of wrist-scythe implants. The video introduces the Night City police and the elite takedown force known colloquially as the Psycho Squad, whose duty is to exterminate “psychos,” people who take body modification too far and lose their humanity. (more at joystiq and the official cp2077 site)
THANKS TO EVERYONE DURING THE PAST FEW DAYS WHO SENT IT TO ME. You were so enthusiastic I feel I gotta grab a CP2020 rulebook off a shelf!
The player controls Nilin (voiced by Kezia Burrows), an amnesiac ‘memory hunter’, through the streets of Neo-Paris in the year 2084. This dystopian future features a surveillance state. Nilin’s former employer, Memoreyes, erases her memories to neutralize her and she must discover why and how to restore them. The game opens with Nilin in Bastille Prison. Remember Me features exploration, platforming, and melee combat. The game introduces the mechanic of ‘memory remixing’: entering and rearranging a target’s memories to manipulate them. Players accomplish this by replaying a memory and modifying details to change the target’s recollection of the outcome. (more)
Going against the tide with putting great content I see on fastmedia (FB and Twitter) here. Got stuff you want featured, seen or heard of? Post it to info at planetdamage.com.
Ethno Tekh | ethnotekh.com | is a collaboration between Brad Hammond and Chris Vik, in a motion-controlled, A/V act. Our performances are totally live, using the Kinect, Ableton Live and a number of custom tools built in Unity3D and Max/MSP/M4L. (More tech specs on the show on this vimeo page, don’t forget to check ethnotekh.com and their Facebook page.)
Click more for Tyson Wade Johnston’s Seed, Twitter prediction algorithms, the new book of Doug Rushkoff and more unorthodox music making solutions!
In this candid and detailed postmortem, developer Dean Dodrill tells the tale of the challenging and largely solo development of Summer of Arcade hit Dust: An Elysian Tail, a title that took him over three years to create. (via gamasutra)
“A massive, angry robot fires banks of lasers at an orphanage, slicing it apart to the horror of thousands of onlookers. You emerge from the wreckage on your jetpack, and blast at its weak points, breaking it apart like you’re dismembering a boiled lobster.” So goes our press release. ANYTHING that’s called Drunken Robot Pornography can only be disturbingly gorgeous. More at dejobaan.com!)
Distance is a PC/Mac survival racing game that combines the intense action of arcade racing with the exploration of an atmospheric world. You control a unique car that allows you to boost, jump, rotate, and even fly through a chaotic and twisted city. The world has a mysterious history, and as you explore you’ll be able to uncover pieces of its past.
Nitronic Rush was one of the most admirable arcade games in the past months, completely erasing the need for Tron lightcycles, ramping up the neon arcade with French electro and Tony Hawk Pro Skaterish game mechanics – and completely free. And bugfree. And loud. And too damn addictive. And now there’s a sequel? Who are we NOT TO support them?
Our primary focus is on making the solo and multiplayer tracks incredibly fun, which means that there’s much that we’re iterating on in terms of designing a deeper city and atmosphere, as well as experimenting with different game modes, obstacles, and track designs. […] On top of the many features and modes in the original game, such as the parkour-inspired Hardcore mode, nail-biting Challenge mode, and heart-pounding Stunt mode, we’re now including many fan-requested features that weren’t possible before.
Dishonored casts you as a supernatural assassin driven by revenge. You are the once-trusted bodyguard of the beloved Empress. Framed for her murder, you become an infamous assassin, known only by the disturbing mask that has become your calling card. In a time of uncertainty, when the city is being besieged by plague and ruled by an oppressive government armed with strange technologies, dark forces conspire to bestow upon you abilities beyond those of any common man.
In Dishonored, creatively eliminate your targets with the flexible combat system as you combine the numerous supernatural abilities, weapons and unusual gadgets at your disposal. Pursue your enemies under the cover of darkness or ruthlessly attack them head on with weapons drawn. The outcome of each mission plays out based on the choices you make. (more at dishonored.com or on facebook, thx to Ripla for the link)