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Articles by James Leach

    Postcards From The Clipping Plane: the cyclical nature of game development

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    at 10:00am June 24 2014

    To a certain extent, developers are people too. This isn’t a popular view, but it’s backed up by growing amounts of evidence. Like humans, they once emerged from their domiciles, went into further education and then got jobs within global game-making corporations. Here they thrived, put to use for up to 18 hours a day…

    Postcards From The Clipping Plane: a modern meritocracy

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    at 11:07am June 4 2014

    One workplace stands alone in a world divided by class, status and chains of command. It proudly shows its flat management structure and disdain for pecking orders. It is the videogame development studio. That paragraph isn’t the trailer voiceover for a gripping summer movie – it’s an observation from inside my head. But why would…

    Postcards From The Clipping Plane: how to make Britain’s games great again

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    at 12:00pm April 29 2014
    James Leach

    The studio is buzzing. For some reason, everyone is crowding around someone’s desk, looking and talking excitedly. Valuable man-hours are being lost because there’s something worth seeing. But what could it be? Surely nothing as simple as a new female French animator? No, the correct company-wide approach is to ignore Claudette pointedly while mentioning to…

    The trouble with writing believable female videogame characters

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    at 03:14pm March 24 2014
    Tomb Raider Definitive Edition

    Female characters in videogames. Can’t think of any? If so, what is wrong with you? There are loads, and there have been for ages. That’s good, of course, and what’s better is that it seems we’ve all grown up and moved on from the arguments about demeaning stereotypes with inflated breasts. Now we all accept that…

    The trouble with hiring celebrity voice talent

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    at 02:00pm February 18 2014
    Liam Neeson

    A few years ago, I was forced to wear a dunce’s hat for being the very last person in the world to realise that the father in Fallout 3 was voiced by none other than Liam Neeson. This was not good because not only did the hat itch, but it spoiled the game a bit for…

    In praise of videogame weirdness, from Myst to Minecraft

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    at 12:00pm January 23 2014

    Remember the weird language used by the D’ni people in the Myst series? It was a thing of beauty, and added an interesting layer to the game. Those are not the main reasons why I liked it, though. What I really liked was knowing that the developers had bothered to create it, and had done…

    The importance of effective audio – and adding diverting nonsense into your games

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    at 04:00pm January 2 2014

    As I drift gently towards middle age, I often look back to a golden time when I was fondly nostalgic about things. And that’s what we’re starting with now. Way back in 2005, I worked on a game called The Movies for Lionhead. During its production, we came up with the idea for having a…

    Exploring player choice and Versu’s realistic, engrossing generated dialogue

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    at 04:28pm November 27 2013

    Life is, in essence, a series of quests. That’s what I’ve decided. There are big, rare ones, such as moving house or getting married. There are also smaller, more common ones, such as renewing your car tax online or going to the pub with Geoff, not because you like him, but because you want to…

    Story-led games should stop aping Hollywood and aim for something different

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    at 10:00am November 5 2013

    By the time you read this, GTAV will be out, and you’ll be raving about it to everyone in earshot. The acting, the realism, the immersive detail and the sheer scale of the thing will be keeping you awake at night, even if you’re not actually on the sofa playing it. The game is expected…

    Far Cry 3 and the never-ending story debate

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    at 04:00pm October 3 2013

    It was a desperate attempt to avoid the latest FPS army games, in which I know I’ll get sniped from 3,000m by an invisible eight-year-old savant with a nifty line in sexual insults. I went to my groaning game shelf (just below my Groening animations shelf) to pick an oldie-but-goodie shooter. Far Cry 3 fell…

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