Archive for June 4, 2009

My interview with Steve Ranck of Specular Interactive on H2Overdrive and more

June 4, 2009

A few months back Arcade Heroes was privileged to reveal H2Overdrive to the world and now I have done an interview with the man whose company is behind the game’s development, Steve Ranck of Specular Interactive. We go into more, never-before-revealed details on Raw Thrills’/Specular Interactive upcoming boat racer and a few other arcade related things. So without further adieu, let’s get started and remember to click on the link at the bottom to read the full thing.

First, about Steve:

Steve Ranck is the President and founder of Specular Interactive, Inc.  He’s been developing games since age 12, and professionally since 1994.  Prior to Specular, Steve cofounded Swingin’ Ape Studios, Inc. which developed the critically acclaimed Metal Arms: Glitch in the System before the company was purchased by Blizzard Entertainment in 2005.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your company and history in the arcade sector.

Specular Interactive was formed in 2007 to develop great arcade games.  Most of our employees have worked together before at former companies, and a good number of us worked on the original Hydro Thunder arcade game back in 1997-1999.  Collectively, we have a lot of seasoned arcade developers here.  But at the same time, our team members have also worked on a number of console games and so we have a lot of experience with modern engine architecture and graphics hardware.  Our goal is to develop a series of high quality arcade games by combining our arcade design experience with modern graphics technology and hardware, and do it all at a price point that’s affordable for today’s Stingrayoperators.  Our first game which we feel delivers just that is H2Overdrive, a high-action, addictive power boat racing game.

Q: How did the idea for H2Overdrive come about?

In early 2007, Eugene Jarvis, developer of arcade megahits such as Defender, Robotron: 2084, and the Cruis’n series, was receiving feedback from arcade operators that wanted a boat racing game that would succeed Hydro Thunder.  Eugene’s company, Raw Thrills, had already developed a number of very successful arcade games before getting requests for a boat racing game.  Eugene called and proposed the idea of me forming a team to develop the game.  The idea of developing a high-action boat racing game on modern graphics hardware for the arcade sounded like an incredible opportunity.  I formed Specular Interactive shortly after and we began the ground-up development of H2Overdrive.

Q: How long has the game been in development and how large of a team has worked on it?

H2Overdrive’s been in development for 2 years, starting with a team of 3 and growing to 14 developers during the peak of development.

Q: There are several aspects that H2Overdrive shares with Hydro Thunder, what makes H2Overdrive not only different from HT, but better?

(more…)

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Namco's Tank!Tank!Tank! looks like a blast (updated)

June 4, 2009

tank05

A short time ago Namco revealed a new tank combat game that they had developed for arcades called Tank! Tank! Tank! and now we have a look at how it plays. Unfortunately the video Namco has released does not have any sound to it but it looks like an awful lot of fun to play, especially networked. It also looks great to, with a solid frame rate and excellent destructive physics that are absolutely necessary for this kind of game. The game has some elements from some games I enjoy to play, such as Iron Soldier, EDF 2017 and Tokyo Wars so I would line up to play it. If Namco releases this outside of Japan (and with a reasonable price tag for smaller ops, i.e. NOT $9000 per cab) and it plays as well as it appears here, then it very well could be a hit.

[Via AM-Net Blog]

Namco’s Tank!Tank!Tank! looks like a blast (updated)

June 4, 2009

tank05

A short time ago Namco revealed a new tank combat game that they had developed for arcades called Tank! Tank! Tank! and now we have a look at how it plays. Unfortunately the video Namco has released does not have any sound to it but it looks like an awful lot of fun to play, especially networked. It also looks great to, with a solid frame rate and excellent destructive physics that are absolutely necessary for this kind of game. The game has some elements from some games I enjoy to play, such as Iron Soldier, EDF 2017 and Tokyo Wars so I would line up to play it. If Namco releases this outside of Japan (and with a reasonable price tag for smaller ops, i.e. NOT $9000 per cab) and it plays as well as it appears here, then it very well could be a hit.

[Via AM-Net Blog]

Taito reveals Top Speed, racing game with internet play

June 4, 2009

topspeedhead

Taito has revealed a new racing game for arcades and while that news may not cause many heads to turn, certain features that are found in this game may. Taito is claiming that this is the first “real-time network multiplayer [coin-op] racing game”  which means that you can race against other players online. Not to diminish the feature or anything but that has game_image_01been done with SF Rush 2049 Tournament Edition and more recently with Nanotech’s Xtreme Rally Racing.  But there is one feature that is new and quite interesting – a chat feature built into each cabinet where the player pushes a button on the steering wheel and they can chat with anyone else in the network. On top of these networking features, the game looks very good, with sharp graphics and colors that seem to pop out of the screen. Up to 10 people can race, locally and over the network and I imagine that we will find out more soon as Taito will be testing the game in Japan very soon. The game does use the Taito Type X2 hardware – I guess we will have to wait until Cyber Diver comes out to start seeing more on the Genesys.

[Official Top Speed website] [Top Speed Press Release] [Discuss on the Forums]

More details on Metal Gear Arcade (w/screens)

June 4, 2009

mga

I guess arcades can get some love at E3, at least where Konami is concerned. Since Hideo Kojima made the announcement during Konami’s E3 presser and already there is a lot of information on the game available online via various Japanese websites. While at the moment it sounds like a Japan-only release, the fact that they announced it at a US game conference gives me hope that maybe they will actually bring this into non-Japanese markets. According to this article translated from Japanese, it is unclear what they mean by “is expected to launch in the world, only to be released leading Japan” which could mean that it will be released in Japan first and later in other markets like Europe and the US. Beyond shots of the cabinet, we also have screen shots from the game available, a couple of which you can see by clicking on the thumbnails below. One thing that screenshots and videos will not be able to portray however, is a special 3D effect that the game will have thanks to some goggles that the cabinet will use. The game will also be online enabled and will share elements from MG: Tactical Online Action that is on the PS3.  I am quite happy to see something like this come to arcades, it’s a bit different from the normal fare we tend to see.

mgarc1 metalgeararc2 metalgeararc3 mgarc2

More images can be found here.

Also after looking closely at the cabinet image above, there appears to be a mouse sitting on the arm rests for controlling the view. Using a mouse in arcades isn’t new and it seems to be a new trend with Japanese made arcades as Sega recently has shown us with their new Border Break mech game which also uses a mouse controller.

First image of Metal Gear Solid Arcade

June 4, 2009

metal_gear_arcade

After the news broke in April that there maybe a Metal Gear Solid coming to arcades, we have been waiting eagerly for the next bit of news. Next up, for us to drawl over, is the first image of the game’s cabinet. And it does not disappoint. Very Metal Gear to say the least.

The other morsel of information is the games tag line; Tactical Online Action. Which would suggest that the game may follow the route of the PS3 online only game. Come on Konami, stop teasing us and spill the beans!

[Discuss on the Fourm]    [via Kotaku]