High Voltage Software
||This article needs to be updated. (July 2014)|
|Industry||Video game industry|
|Founder||Kerry J. Ganofsky|
|Headquarters||Hoffman Estates, Illinois, U.S.|
Number of employees
High Voltage Software, Inc. is an American independent game development company located in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Established in 1993, High Voltage Software is known for Hunter: The Reckoning video games and the creation of the major self-funded Wii titles The Conduit, and its sequel. The company most recently released three Virtual Reality titles in partnership with Oculus Studios titled Damaged Core, Dragon Front and They Live to DESTROY.
In 2008 interviews, High Voltage leadership expressed interest in improving the quality of contemporary third-party Wii games. Founder Kerry J. 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." 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."
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."
Le Vamp, the company’s first mobile title, earned an Editor's Choice selection by Apple. The title underwent a full compatibility update in 2016 for iOS and Android devices. The company's second title, Zoombies, was also released for iOS devices. The company's last mobile game, Conduit HD (a mobile port of the original game, The Conduit) was released for Android devices in 2013, to some praise.
Virtual Reality Titles
In 2016 High Voltage Software released Damaged Core and Dragon Front in partnership with Oculus Studios.
Damaged Core is a futuristic first-person-shooter that was first announced at E3 in 2015. The game received a "Comfortable" rating from publisher Oculus for its ability to keep motion sickness at bay without sacrificing the frenetic experience of the classic first-person-shooter. The game accomplishes this by incorporating a teleportation movement mechanic into the story line. The user plays as a line of code that must inhabit enemy robot bodies or tactical cameras to navigate the game world.
Dragon Front is a collectible card game that incorporates classic board game elements in cross-platform, multiplayer gameplay. The game entered open beta when it was announced during the Oculus Connect 3 opening keynote in San Jose, California. Dragon Front was designed as a VR exclusive title that includes four thematically different base armies, each with unique powers, traits, and creative strategies. The game's art style is described as diesel-punk meets high-fantasy, and includes original epic music from award-winning composer Winifred Phillips (Assassin's Creed, God of War).
Since that time, High Voltage Software has been active in Generation 8 software, co-developing Injustice: Gods Among Us, Mortal Kombat X and Saint’s Row: Re-Elected – as well as primary development on Saints Row: Gat out of Hell. Recent titles have been larger in scope than previous titles by the company. This larger size is indicative of the sizable investment to develop on the newer consoles.
High Voltage Software remains focused on emerging technology and new markets. At E3 2015, High Voltage Software and Oculus VR announced the development of Damaged Core. A playable demo was available at the Oculus booth, featuring hands-on gameplay which showcased the first-person shooter genre on the Oculus hardware. The title released as an Oculus Rift exclusive in August 2016 to critical acclaim. The company's second VR title, Dragon Front, released less than three months later as a cross-platform title on Oculus Rift and Samsung GearVR.
The Conduit, in particular, was hailed as a break-out game for the Wii Console, and won numerous awards both prior to, and after, launch. The game eventually spawned a sequel, Conduit 2, which was also released on the Wii. In 2009, High Voltage Software earned a top spot in Into the Pixel’s annual exhibition. The piece selected was titled “Ford Pursued,” by artist, Bob Nelson.
Red Eye Studios
Red Eye Studios, a motion capture facility, is a wholly owned subsidiary of HVS. The 5000-square-foot space is located across the street from the main Hoffman Estates building, and utilizes Vicon T160 cameras. Red Eye Studios has worked on both High Voltage Software products, as well as motion capture for television and movies. Some of its credits include: Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, Spider-Man 3, Call of Duty, BioShock, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Gnomeo & Juliet, Human Weapon and multiple NBA titles.
FLAME-SIM is a training simulation software developed in 2007 which allows fire departments across the US and Canada to create virtual scenarios in which to train their incident commanders and firefighters. The real time, dynamic environment simulates the stress, obstacles and decision points that arise on the fireground in order to better prepare incident commanders. Studies conducted on the effectiveness of the software have shown an improvement of test scores of 20% for incident commanders that trained using FLAME-SIM as opposed to traditional training methods. Additionally, firefighters and officers that trained with FLAME-SIM liked the training and felt more confident when acting as incident command.
In 2014, High Voltage Software announced that a sister studio, HVS NOLA LLC, would open in New Orleans. The company committed to the creation of 80 jobs over the course of three years. The studio opened in January 2015 featuring Altair Lane as the first employee. With the new studio, the company is actively focused on developing new technology and IP’s for the newest console generation.
- IGN: The Conduit Preview
- IGN: The Conduit Preview
- Magrino, Tom (July 7, 2008). "Q&A: Eric Nofsinger channels The Conduit". Gamespot. Retrieved July 7, 2008.
- "High Voltage Software’s Eric Nofsinger Explains How Freedom, Feedback and Fans Channel into The Conduit". GameCyte. October 6, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2008.
- Casamassina, Matt (April 17, 2008). "Exclusive First Look: The Conduit". IGN. Retrieved April 18, 2008.
- "LeVamp is an Editor's Choice Game". Aplle.
- Trevor Sheridan. "The 50 Best iOS Games Of 2013 – Complete List With Our Game Of The Year". Apple N Apps.
- Mike Fahey. "The Conduit Was an Average Wii Game. Now It's an Excellent Mobile FPS.". Kotaku.
- "Dragon Front Open Beta Launches Today | VRFocus". VRFocus. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
- "The Warring Factions". Dragon Front. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
- "Winifred Phillips". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
- Christopher Grant. "Saints Row 4: Re-Elected coming to PS4 and Xbox One, $30 this January". Polygon.
- "'Damaged Core' Review: Meet The New King of VR Shooters". UploadVR. 2016-08-30. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
- Matt Casamassina. "IGN's Best of E3 Awards 2008". IGN.
- "Into the Pixel 2009 Collection". Into the Pixel.
- David Lapekas. "Red Eye Studios is the first North American Company to employ the latest Vicon camera system".
- Damon Brown (April 2003). "Video Games and Animation advance each other". Screen Magazine.
- Doug Seebach. "Canadian Department Thrilled with FLAME-SIM".
- Dr. Kurt Hall. "Effects of Simulation Training in the Fire Service". University of Texas Dallas.[permanent dead link]
- Jennifer Larino. "Illinois video game developer to open New Orleans studio, hailed as economic development win". NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune.