digital media

38 Studios demo garners Geeks’ approval

THERE was a woman running around barefoot with a huge sword killing putrid rats and men in armor at AS220 last night.
Posted 12/15/11

PROVIDENCE – There was a woman running around barefoot with a huge sword killing putrid rats and men in armor at AS220 last night.

When she decimated a particularly challenging creature, she even earned a few whistles and yells of approval from the packed room – filled with attendees of the Providence Geeks technology meetup there to see 38 Studios LLC’s demo of its Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning game.

38 Studios has been demoing its game since July all over the world ahead of its February release date. It’s “not quite” finished yet, said Adam Kahn, public relations director, but it “definitely” will be ready for its due date.

The video game company gave a demo for the whole room and then allowed the crowd to try their hands at the game at four work stations.

Stephen Andrade, associate professor of computer graphics and new media at Johnson & Wales University, didn’t get a chance to play the game, but many of his students did.

“Kingdoms of Amalur clearly conveys superior graphics and motion. The story is right in the sweet spot of fantasy game play and will be very appealing to that fan base. The art work is gorgeous, and the effects - explosions, sounds, interaction etc. - were very, very effective. The younger demographic there, my students in particular, were thrilled with it,” he said in an email.

There was a distinctly younger-than-usual crowd at the gathering last night. Standing from the back of the room, it seemed like everyone was wearing a black backpack. Attendees ranged from avid gamers to a recent law school graduate to a mobile app developer.

“What seemed innovative to me were the options of ‘entry of play.’ It seemed like you had your choice of playing spaces and could take it as a very sophisticated game, or just something to play and have some fun with. The customization was pretty cool too,” Andrade added.

“The original art work and speed of rendering is amazing. Hats off to the art designers and programmers. Also, the story line is very rich … clearly imaginations are on overdrive. It takes an enormous amount of people-hours to produce something like this … it shows in the quality of details. I actually thought their color palette was very attractive. The game uses color as a dynamic dimension, particularly when special effects are exploding and whirling about.”

Andrade noted that 38 Studios, which said it now has 300 employees locally, has taken on his students as interns and even offered one student a part-time job afterward.

“We definitely need to ramp up more students in the talent pipeline. We have students that can contribute to every department,” he said.

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