The First “Grand Theft Auto V” Trailer

The first trailer for Grand Theft Auto V was released today at noon. You’re not going to find out much about the game from it, other than:

  • It takes place in what seems to be present-day “Los Santos”, the analogue for Los Angeles in the world of Grand Theft Auto. Los Santos is one of the three cities in the sprawling Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
  • The plot seems to involve a guy trying to start a new life in a new city, not unlike Grand Theft Auto IV’s Niko Bellic or Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’s Tommy Vercetti. I think it’s safe to assume that his plans get waylaid and through a series of bizarre circumstances and friends and associates with poor life-planning skills (no shortage of such types in the world of GTA), our hero lands himself in a whole world of trouble. It would also be safe to assume that he gets out of said trouble by causing a lot of mayhem.
  • The voice-over in the trailer sounds a helluva lot like Ray Liotta, who played Tommy in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

As with most of Rockstar’s trailers, this one’s all cinematics and mise en scene. There’s no indication of what the gameplay is like, whether you’re playing the story or in multiplayer mode. There’s also no indication of what platforms it’s coming out for (although it’s safe to assume that Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 will be supported, with a PC version to follow later) nor when the game will be released (I assume sometime in 2012).


Super Mario Bros. Does Portal

Mari0, a creation of, the people behind videogame alterations such as Not Tetris 2, combines Super Mario Bros. with Portal for some weird and wonderful 8-bit gameplay. This is a supposedly real working game, and I can hardly wait to get my paws on it!


Deus Ex: Human Revolution Does the Safety Dance

YouTube user JoshuaMutter, who makes a lot of Minecraft machinima, created this video that mashes up the gameplay from Deus Ex: Human Revolution (which I still have to get) and Men Without Hats’ 1982 dance-synth-pop classic, Safety Dance. All it needs is the little minstrel from the original music video.


“No Escape”: A Portal Movie

No Escape is a short film set in the world of Portal, and it’s seven very well-done minutes.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


A Scene from Today’s Windows Phone 7 Coffee and Code

My LG Windows Phone 7, with "Smiles" displayed on the screen.A test version of Smiles running on my WP7 device.

In between chatting with developers who dropped by today’s Coffee and Code in downtown Toronto and getting some work done, I’ve been playing Smiles (pictured above), an incredibly cute and incredibly addictive puzzle game by London, ON-based development shop Sykhronics.

Here’s a video of Smiles’ gameplay in its “Drop” mode:

Mike Kasprzak of Sykhronics was kind enough to send me an early test version of Smiles to show off the Phone’s game capabilities as well as the level of “polish” that Windows Phone 7 developers should be aiming for in their apps. Mike’s got some pretty high standards and is working to make sure that Smiles for WP7 meets them, and it shows! Even in this test version, Smiles looks and feels like a polished arcade classic, and when it’s done, it’s going to be a must-buy.

Keep writing those apps, and aim high! We’ll do what we can on our end to help out, which includes:

  • Articles on Windows Phone 7 development in Silverlight and XNA
  • Articles on good mobile user interface design and marketing your apps
  • Announcements of upcoming Coffee and Codes and WP7 Deployment Clinics across Canada
  • Coverage of “Phone Heroes”: People building apps for Windows Phone 7 – and hey, you could be one of them!
  • Pointers to useful tools, resources and other things to help you build WP7 apps

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Talking XNA with Shawn Hargreaves and Charles Cox

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XNA is the game development framework that makes it easier to develop games for Windows, Xbox and Windows Phone, and it lets you do it with managed code – that is, using C# instead of C++. In this video, Microsoft’s Shawn Hargreaves and Charles Cox talk about all things XNA, including:

  • XNA Game Studio
  • XNA Creators Club Online
  • Game Development for Windows Phone 7
  • XNA Game Studio and Silverlight – Games and Apps
  • GPU Acceleration
  • The History of XNA Game Studio
  • .NET Garbage Collection Tips for XNA Game Studio
  • Managed Code Performance Tips
  • DirectX 11 or XNA Game Studio – Making the Choice
  • Introducing Reach and HiDef Graphics Profiles
  • Visual Basic in XNA Game Studio
  • XAML and Event-Driven Programming in XNA Game Studio

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Windows Phone 7 App: Rubik’s Cube

Hoem screen for Magmic's "Rubik's Cube" game

I was a teenager in the 1980s, which meant that along with watching Knight Rider, going to Depeche Mode concerts and playing blocky games on an Atari 2600, I had a Rubik’s cube. These puzzle toys were such a big craze at the time that toy and game stores couldn’t keep them on the shelves. I’m told that even decades later, it’s still considered to be the number one-selling toy of all time.

It’s nice to see that Ottawa-based developer Magmic, who specialize in mobile casual gaming, are bringing Rubik’s cube – the real officially-licensed thing – to Windows Phone 7. Naturally, you can try solving the classic 3 * 3 * 3 cube that we all know and love…

Game screen for Magmic's "Rubik's Cube" game

…but the game lets you go beyond the classic with:

  • Four different sizes of cubes
  • “Free play” or the more challenging “Timed mode”
  • A timer to keep track of your best solution times
  • Variations like “CRAZY cube” and “Picture cube”
  • A solution guide to help you learn how to solve the puzzle
  • Anaglyphic 3-D mode (3-D glasses not included)

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.