High Voltage Software
|This article is outdated. (July 2014)|
|Type||Independent video game developer|
|Headquarters||Hoffman Estates, Illinois, United States|
|Owner(s)||Kerry Ganofsky, CEO|
|Subsidiaries||Red Eye Studios|
High Voltage Software (HVS) is an independent game development company located at Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Established in 1993, it now employs approximately 95 staff members. Red Eye Studios, a motion capture facility, is a wholly owned subsidiary of HVS. Typically producing completely new and unrelated products back to back, Inside Drive, Hunter and The Conduit are the only products to have seen sequels, and the company frequently works with a number of different publishers as each project ends. The Conduit for the Wii console was entirely self-funded without the help of a publisher, although Sega signed on to publish and distribute the game.
Between their 1993 inception and the Nintendo Wii era, High Voltage Software let their games' publishers handle publicity efforts like interviews, screenshots, and previews, with High Voltage employees remaining relatively behind the scenes. In-house efforts were made in and around 2008 to generate buzz at media outlets such as IGN and Joystiq, focusing on major Wii titles The Conduit and Animales de la Muerte. In an attempt to build anticipation and discussion within each outlet's community, High Voltage themselves granted interviews, screenshots, and videos directly to outlets willing to cover their self-funded Wii projects.
In 2008 interviews, High Voltage leadership expressed interest in improving the quality of contemporary third-party Wii games. Chief Creative Officer Eric Nofsinger commented on the state of graphics on Wii, "Most of the games on the Wii look like crap. We want to change that, so we've invested heavily in our Wii tech over the past year." Founder Kerry Ganofsky was quoted as stating "We believe that third-party developers need to step up to the plate and deliver. The Wii platform is capable of a lot more than what consumers have seen so far. We're hoping to raise a new bar."
After terminating 36 employees in January 2006, High Voltage Software reported to Gamasutra that the company had "right sized" their staff from 156 employees to 120. Post layoff, Ganofsky stated "High Voltage has long been one of the biggest and most established independent game developers, but we had grown to a size where our focus and quality was suffering. It’s imperative that we have the right people and the right critical awareness to make certain that we make great games."
In August 2010, it was revealed that the company laid off an additional 25 staff members.
Quantum3 is a Wii-specific game engine developed by HVS. The engine itself had been used in several previous titles made by the developer, but was heavily upgraded for higher performance on the Wii. This engine allows for "full 16-TEV stage material pipeline using up to eight texture sources and a host of innovative blend operations," and "allows the developer to create graphic effects normally seen on other consoles with vertex and pixel shaders." These effects include bump-mapping, reflection and refraction, light and shadow maps and projections, specular and Fresnel effects, emissive and iridescent materials, advanced alpha blends, gloss and detail mapping, motion blur, interactive water with complex surface effects, and animated textures, among other things. The Quantum3 engine also includes advanced artificial intelligence, allowing for NPCs and enemies in a game using the engine to possess "human-like behavior." According to Chief Creative Officer Eric Nofsinger, "Our [High Voltage Software's] goal is to be the most technically innovative Wii developer on the planet."
- High Voltage Software: About Us
- "Official: SEGA Publishes The Conduit". IGN. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- Matt Casamassina. "Exclusive First Look: The Conduit". IGN.
- Ross Miller. "The Conduit gameplay trailer released". Joystiq.
- IGN: The Conduit Preview
- "High Voltage Software Lays Off Staff". Gamasutra.
- McElroy, Justin. "High Voltage Software lays off 25 employees (update)". Joystiq.
- Magrino, Tom (2008-07-07). "Q&A: Eric Nofsinger channels The Conduit". Gamespot. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
- "High Voltage Software’s Eric Nofsinger Explains How Freedom, Feedback and Fans Channel into The Conduit". GameCyte. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
- Casamassina, Matt (2008-04-17). "Exclusive First Look: The Conduit". IGN. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
- Matt Casamassina. "Pre-E3 2009: Gladiator A.D. Revealed". IGN.
- Tournament of Legends Reviews
- "High Voltage developing Wii version of Iron Man 2". GoNintendo.com. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
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