I was selected to be one of the first community members to check out the new game by NGMOCO. Based in operations of downtown San Francisco. NGMOCO develops games for the Iphone and Ipod touch. The game they were showing off today was called Eliminate, a FPS and first of the genre for the Iphone and Ipod touch.
I arrived on Tuesday and from the airport went to the W hotel in downtown San Francisco. I checked in and got to relax a little bit before we meet everyone in the lobby. We all introduced ourselves to each other and one of my big concerns about going to this event that I wouldn’t know anyone, I was lucky enough to see my friends Danny and Drea. So after the introductions we walked down the street to go to the restaurant we would be eating at. We all sat down and started to order drinks while we all looked over the menu. The table was hungry and we all were just talking about different hot topics from the industry like the debate about Left for Dead and the content, social media, and how companies need to interact with the consumers more. So after looking over the menu we ordered appetizers for the table and just shared with everyone.
I was being very adventurous and someone ordered tuna tar tar, and I have never had it before so I tried it and I liked it, I will try it at different places if I see it on the menu. Being in San Francisco I wanted to get some fresh seafood so I ordered the swordfish, and it was very good. So after everyone ate we sat and talked a little more before making a decision on dessert, I shared my dessert of rocky road ice cream sandwiches with Jennie. Now that dinner was over, but the night was still young we walked back to the hotel for a few more drinks and just chatted with everyone in the lobby for a few more hours. Drea was kind enough to let me experience the new Zune HD and I got to say it is something I would think about buying to replace my Ipod touch. It was getting late and we all had to wake up early for the big day of checking out the game, so I called it a night.
Everyone at the hotel gathered in the lobby at 9am and waited for people to gather us up and take a cab ride down to the NGMOCO office.
The office is right across the street from AT&T Park so the view was very nice.
We walked in and took the elevator up to the office and were directed to the conference room where we would be having breakfast and spending most of the day. The offices were tight nit and set against a red brick wall with everyone having their own open desk setup with a computer. The setup was built so if one person needed to talk to someone they could just walk over or if they choose to scream across the room to discuss something. We ate breakfast and went over the details of the day with the NGMOCO staff as there was a small snag with the development team to make sure the game was running well enough for us to be playing it.
So we sat in the conference room and chatted amongst ourselves for a little bit and then was introduced to Chris Plummer who is a producer on the game.
He sat down and started telling us about the game and showed us some footage of the intro movie and gave us some information about the fiction behind the game. The game is called Eliminate and it is a 4 person deathmatch FPS game for the Iphone and Ipod touch.
The game has virtual duel analog control sticks and allows you to have free roam of use, so you do not have to touch a very specific area. The game mixes FPS and RPG elements with different armor classes and weapons to mix and match to reflect your play style. As you earn credits you level up and can upgrade your weapons and armor to do different things like have cloaking, damage boosting and have choices for your character. Customization was something that I saw being used a lot like the ability to choose colors for your armor and using different load outs with your character so you can make them your own identity. The game is played over 3G or Wi-Fi, so no matter where you are you have the ability to play. The game will run at 30 frames per second and will be optimized to take full advantage of the Iphone 3GS or Ipod touch. The game features 3D models of weapons and characters with 3D area style maps. You will earn credits for upgrades by killing your opponent and picking them up off of their dead bodies.
The game is graphic with blood and killing opponents with headshots. You have the ability to use power ups that you will find around the five different maps that will be used automatically, but if you find more than one power up and use it they will not stack. The time based rounds are set at about 3 minutes and it is something that you play quickly.
Stephen Petwiler(Engineer), James Marr(Engineer), and Chris Plummer(Producer)
The company is still working on feedback and tweaking options about the game, so these details might be subject to change.
Using the virtual duel analog controls was something that took some time for me to get used to. The movement was fine, but I think it was the fact that I had to aim and shoot with the right stick and touch the screen to shoot will take about twenty minutes for people to grasp onto the concept. You have the option for single burst with one touch of the screen or full auto with a double tap of the screen. I was using the double tap frequently just because it would be easier for me to aim and not worry about shooting. There are some options in the menu for control sensitivity and auto aim to adjust and get it to the way you feel comfortable. For the more advanced players you have options to zoom in by touching the center part of the screen and jumping by touching the bottom of the screen.
After playing for about a half hour I was starting to do very well with getting some double kills and using the power ups to my advantage. I was quickly creating enemies and going around trying to hunt down some of the other players that were kicking my butt. With the second play through we were given lots of credits to use and upgrade our weapons and armors. I choose a rocket launcher and a machine gun as my second weapon and fell back quickly on my machine gun as I was still getting used to the touch shooting.
Pointing out more facts about the game that there will be matchmaking and a ranking system, so when you play the game you will be matched with someone of similar skills. Also with the N+ system they are adding a social aspect to the game with friend’s lists and the ability to invite people to the game that you are playing. There will be leaderboards and the ability to see your stats after the game is over to check out those details. Currently set up for 50 levels of experience so you have a goal to look forward to when earning credits. Credit system is like experience where the more you have the more weapons you can buy and armor upgrades you can purchase. Also you will need to be a certain level of experience to purchase some items. Some of the influences for this game that the development team was looking at were counterstrike with a buying weapons system, and Call of Duty 4 with the perks system.
As a parting gift from the NGMOCO team to ensure we all would have the ability to play Eliminate when the game is released they surprised us with brand new Ipod touches with our names engraved on the back and the words Eliminate Community Day.
So after the play sessions we ate lunch and then headed out to the shooting range to test out our real FPS skills. Will all that Halo, Gears, and Call of Duty pay off in the real world? We said our goodbyes to the office team and headed downstairs to find a stretch Hummer limo to take us to San Rafael where the shooting range was.
The drive was about twenty minutes and we crossed the bay bridge and saw some of the scenery as we drove and took pictures. So we arrived at the gun range and started to pile into the building to sign our release forms and found out that not a single person in the group had ever been shooting before.
We got our safety course run down and safety equipment and entered the range. This was an indoor range, which I have been told are the best for control and safety. So we had about the first hour to test out each of the different weapons, which were a .22 a .45 a 9mm and finally a shotgun.
The second hour was setup for tournament style play where the seven of us would go against each other for the best score. The first round high score was set at 92, I was able to get my first score up to 88 and I was proud of that. The second round consisted of four people and we all agreed to push the target all the way back to the end of the range for greater difficulty. So I waited for my turn for the second round and got up to shoot and I scored an 87, with a direct center bull’s-eye. So the final outcome of the tournament was first place with 88, myself with 87, and the third place with 86.
Me shooting at the range
There were prizes for us, first place got a nice gun range collared shirt and a $15 Itunes gift card, second place got a regular T-shirt, and third place got the same T-shirt. I have got to say this is something I would have normally never done on my own and I am glad that I did it. Shooting the weapons was really fun and I am not sure if years of playing FPS games helped me or not, but I am still proud of what I accomplished. For fun everyone was messing with the shotgun and really destroying the targets, at one point the entire target was cut in half. It is easy to say now that this team alongside NGMOCO is ready for the zombie apocalypse.
Before we went back to the hotel to clean up before dinner we went sightseeing on the bridge. It was just something spectacular to sit on the vista point and look at people cross the bridge and look out into the ocean to see Alcatraz Island and all the oil tankers passing by. I was able to take some really great photos and just enjoy the calming sensation of the cityscape.
We went through the small towns and checked out the marina with the boats. The small town was quiet and reminded me of going up to the mountains with the small shops and people just walking their dogs along the sidewalk and enjoying the nice weather.
We made it back to the hotel and everyone had some time to clean up and get all the lead off of their hands so no one would get sick from going out and eating dinner. We all piled up into some cabs and were off to a restaurant called "Espetus" it was a Brazilian steak house. We were seated and were joined by some of the development team of Eliminate plus the staff of NGMOCO and the rest of the community press. The restaurant was very nice, it was like an endless supply of different meats brought out on giant skewers and presented to you and the table. While everyone ate I was seated next to James Marr and Stephen Petwiler the two engineers for the game. I asked some general questions about the game and what technology they were using to build and distribute the game. I found this dinner more than anything else to be a good learning experience for me as it was in a relaxed atmosphere and I was allowed to be very candid. Also at the end of the dinner I was pulled aside for an interview about my experiences and thoughts of the game.
Being unsure of what people wanted to do we did a vote and most of us ended up at a karaoke bar in a private room. We drank and sang songs well into the night and had a blast doing it. I am sure some of those pictures are already on the internet somewhere. There was a big mixture of songs being played like bohemian rhapsody, In the end by Linkin Park, Hey Jude by the Beatles, and without me by Eminem. It was a great way to close out the trip with all of us being together for the final night in town.
This event was a great experience for the people invited to the event and the developers. I feel that I have actually made some new friends along the way and that was something that concerned me when I initially was invited to this event, that I wouldn’t know anyone. With a small group of people everyone gets to learn about you as an individual and gets to talk to you more, instead of giant press events where you are just another face in the crowd. I hope to see myself at more events in the future and have a great experience like I did with NGMOCO.
Final thoughts of the game
The game Eliminate is something that I will recommend for all Iphone / Ipod touch users for the FPS audience. The graphics are excellent and the sounds are well established for the weapons and the menu music. The special effects of glass shattering while being hit is something different that will help you deepen your experience with the game. Rounds are timed well where you can enjoy the play sessions and the wait times are minimal. Tapping the screen to respawn is a good way to get that feel of control of when you want to jump back into the game. Some of the controls will take some time to get used to but practice makes perfect. The ability to pick up power ups and credits off of dead bodies will help you keep your play sessions longer so you can play. The game overall is something that is fun and very addicting to play with your friends or against the world. There is no current release date or price for the game currently, so keep your eyes out.