Behold Double Fine’s ‘first playable’ build of ‘Psychonauts 2’

With the revival of 3D platformers, fans have been clamoring for sequels to their favorite franchises. Banjo-Kazooie returned as Yooka-Laylee, Mario returns to 3D sandboxes later this month in Super Mario Odyssey, and Psychonauts 2 is making headway in development after its successful Fig campaign.

In a newly posted update, Double Fine Productions recently completed a major milestone by creating the game’s “first playable” build. Previously shown gameplay segments were focused on being art tests. Testing areas such as the Whispering Rock remake were designed to look pretty, but they wouldn’t be incorporated into the final game. Instead, they allowed developers to test various lighting and graphical settings as they continued to work on the art style.

As a “first playable” build, this area represents a segment of the full game that showcases the tricky platforming and exploration that is central to Psychonauts 2. In this new area, Double Fine can tests new pipelines and workflows from any department, be it art, animation, tech, design, cinematics, or others. This is the studio’s first attempt to create a chunk of gameplay with all the systems working together. Other developers might refer to this as a “vertical slice,” but Double Fine doesn’t want to imply a level of polish that isn’t required at this stage of production.

Far from being shippable, the first Playable build has everything the final game would have including combat, quests, experience, user interface, and even a cutscene. At this stage, everything is working with scratch dialogue and audio, along with rough visual effects, textures, and lighting.

Another focus in this update includes a look at how all the characters and critters make it from a 2D sketch to a 3D in-game model. Each character starts out as a rough sketch in various poses. After some feedback, the sketch is refined and shows the character from every angle. From there, another artist takes the sketches, builds a 3D model, and goes back and forth with the original artist to refine the model.

Every asset, no matter the size, goes much the same way. A rock or tree might go by more quickly, but something like a main character takes multiple weeks to perfect.

Movies & TV

From ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to ‘Episode IX’: The most anticipated movies of 2019

This year is shaping up to be one of the biggest in a long time for Hollywood fare, with everying from Avengers: Endgame to Star Wars: Episode IX hitting theaters over the next 12 months. To make planning your theater calendar a little…
Gaming

Find all of the secret exits and world skips in 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has two distinct Mario experiences in one package. In this guide, we'll show you how to find all of the secret exits in New Super Mario Bros. U, that lead to hidden levels and let you skip worlds.
Gaming

Get extra life with our tips and tricks for 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a much more difficult game than you'd believe based on its adorable art style and 2D perspective. Here's how you can master the game's toughest challenges.
Home Theater

Banish the bunny ears (and monthly bills) with these excellent HD antennas

When transitioning away from cable and satellite, finding the best HDTV antenna for your area can be touch. To help, we've compiled our picks of the best indoor HDTV antennas you can buy.
Gaming

Sharing your best gameplay moments is quick and easy on the Xbox One

The current generation of consoles make it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.
Gaming

Blizzard’s latest hiring spree is likely for the unannounced ‘Diablo 4’

Activision Blizzard is hiring for more than a dozen positions on unannounced Diablo projects. Some of the roles are likely for the unannounced Diablo 4, the next mainline entry in the series.
Gaming

Fortnite V-Bucks being used by criminals for money laundering on dark web

Criminals are using Fortnite's V-Bucks for money laundering schemes on the dark web. Epic Games, apparently, is not doing enough to prevent the game from being used for the illegal activity.
Gaming

Everything we know about 'Red Dead Online', including the new mode Gun Rush

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.
Gaming

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.
Gaming

Relive the 8-bit gaming era with the best NES emulators for Android and PC

For years prior to the release of the NES Classic, emulators have offered a means to every NES game ever created without needing the console. Here are the best NES emulators for Android and PC.
Gaming

Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector’s Edition comes with a life-size Scorpion mask

The Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector's Edition will come with a human-sized replica of the mask of Scorpion, one of the most iconic fighters of the series. NetherRealm Studios has also announced the game's preorder bonuses.
Gaming

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

These are the best indie games you can get on PC right now

Though many indie games now come to consoles as well, there's still a much larger selection on PC. With that in mind, we've created a list of the best indie games for PC, with an emphasis on games that are only available on PC.