Monday, April 25, 2011

Games: Living with your mistakes - and not wanting to

I got into a tower defence game recently.

In it, you can do really well if the enemy doesn't get to your base even once. However, even if they do, it's not game over. But you do miss out on an extra reward.

And it's interesting, because I realised the inner conflict involved - do you just start over as soon as one has touched your based? Given all the effort you put in AND it doesn't mean you lose outright?

So what drives you to repeat play? Wanting to get through without having to live with having made that choice. To get through absolutely clear of any enemy getting to your base. PLUS, as with alot of games, it just seems possible if you do a few things different.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

'Game' Sycophancy - Absolutely Drab-ulous!

I was looking at shots for silent hill: downpour over here at gamer grills (wait - grrlz!)

After not utterly acknowledging the moniker, I've probably lost half my audience already - but moving on all the same, the pictures just struck me as a prime example of the, from this perspective, rising trend.

I mean look at the oh so dark and terrible backgrounds - what are they there for?

To make the protagonist look good.

And are the protagonists a little grungy and messy? Yeah...and why is that the case? To make them look good in a sort of cutting edge, "I'm a little dirty therefore I must do stuff" way.

Then you just flat out have the neatly composed model shots (which may be more a result of the imaginative rigidities of working with 3D models, granted)

What would be a bit more scary, perhaps? Perhaps someone who looks maybe like they deserve, for some reason or another, to die. And you play as that person. How do you console that in play - you don't have a perfect mary sue looking character - not a prime alpha, so surely by our very inner nature we assign them red shirt status. Yet your playing them, so this assignment doesn't work out? Or does it? Or doesn't it? An inner termoil that isn't in the game, it's inside your heart, inside your head.

Or you can play characters who look simply fabulous, darlink!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Grunt Box

I'm working on a preset shoutbox system for driftwurld, to help give a sense of other players being 'out there' in it. So far you clash your stats against theirs, but don't talk as yet.

But I want it preset shouts and preset replies. For a start it avoids security concerns of clensing incoming data. But more importantly I just am disinterested in yet another gutter talk chat environment! Where the cultural habit of spewing out the most half baked, lowest denominator thoughts is seen as a must. I mean, may as well have a system where you can only communicate in pre set grunts! That's what it comes down to, so why not just be honest about the arrangement instead of trying to dress up the grunts with text that vaguely resembles words?

I'm going to have a chat room latter where you can type what you want. But in the meantime a shoutbox system is what I'm going for.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Skyrim, fear

Another elder scrolls? Start in a prison again, perhaps, much?

The movie actually made me think of a mechanic where you actually benefit from running in fear sometimes. Like for running away and escaping, you get some XP (but can only get X amount this way - once you kill something (or perhaps do something else, like, wow, help people live instead of murdering stuff) then X recharges. So when your running away, the time spent running isn't a long, drawn out act of losing (I mean normally, if you ever run it's because your afraid of losing something, right?). Thus playing out a characters fear in the game becomes part of gameplay - and with fear comes a little story.

Or atleast the guys who made the trailer thought it was trailor worthy stuff.

Will it again be one of those things that's just in the trailer and in game you'll either find yourself just always fighting forward, or doing a death jog from some revival thingie? Prolly.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quick tip: Fast Unity particle explosions

I searched around for this and found some other people not sure what to do if you want to use particles as an explosion, but it takes ages for the particles to fully form.

If you set the max size to 1 and the minimum size to .9, they'll already be pretty much fully formed as soon as you call the particles. Looks really nice too! :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lord of the Rings: Killed by a rune keeper!

There's one now! Run!
Maybe it was just the biggest area of effect I've ever seen. Who knew there was open PVP in lotro?

One of the first times I come across a rune keeper in action - near that quest where you rescue Robb Thornley? He's tied to a post with a bunch of orcs around?

I see a lightening special effect then KA client starts to crash, offering me a big black square. And oh yes, can you log in fast enough...well, for a second you think you can as you see your character standing there...then a second loading screen and you realise it's dumping you at the closest retreat point! DAMMIT!

Luckily the character I was playing was kind of a TP gathering experiment - but still, I was aiming for the satisfaction of a level 20 no defeats.

On the other hand, latter I got defeated again but just by monsters this time, and I found they had added some self revive mechanism?? Wow, that's different? When was that added? When your character uses it, he actually says "Wrong bet!" before getting up again. No, really!

Okay, not really.

But I will say it lends alot more credence to the idea your character isn't getting killed, just getting the stuffing knocked out of him. There's a time limit on how long it is before you can use the revive option again. Nice addition. I wonder if guild wars 2 will keep the death jog while insisting they have no penalty for defeat (jeez, the more they try to avoid a penalty, the lamer the penalty gets - ie, plodding along in a death job), or give one free revive an hour?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lord of the rings lotteries

Just a neat side thing I found, where your lord of the rings characters can win some extra stuff.

How to get the lottery widget to show on the mylotro webpage here.

Lottery schedule here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The spoilt dream

What do the graphics add?
I was reading a profile of someone which listed them as being a gamer for 25 years and also having the dream of making a video game.

Okay, this is just a guess, but I imagine by pure over expectation they will never make that game.

Why? Well, what was out there 25 years ago? Sprites that came in one colour and with pixels the size of your thumb (almost!). Often coded by one dude in his bedroom.

That was the definition of a video game back then.

So what's the definition of a video game today?

Well, it's full 3d, surround sound, massive FMV, physics...damn, I could go on and on.

Really what's happened? Gamers have adopted a medium as being the very definition of game that they are audience to, that they have absolutely no hope of ever becoming an author in.

They can hear, but cannot speak.

By being spoilt by fancy graphics, gamers have, en masse, become mutes.

The adopted towering definition of a game these days means that someone who loves 'games'...can never have their own baby. It could also be described as an infertile relationship.

Just raising it because it's interesting to see how by catering to the flash and glam desires, you can actually silence millions. Clever, aye?

And yeah, I know, indie authors are putting out little games with retro looks. But even retro looks are being fetishised, until 'retro' is not at all 'retro'. See here as an example of faux retro - I mean, I like the game, but again were in the style and looks technology race, which again makes mutes of most people. Even the small developer starts leaning toward the same artificial graphics hurdle.

It's just a guess, but I think, for wanting to make their perception of what a game is, they'll never make one. Even though they've got something to say.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Basic unity tutorial: Pong

Found a great little unity tutorial to make a pong-like. Beginer level (for people like me!)

Couple of tips - in starting a new project you want to include the physic materials. Also where it has javascript listed for the key controls, you want to change the talking marks in it to just the regular one you get (I suspect the blogging platform auto converted them to fancy open and close talking marks, which just causes a bug in unity).

Climate change - you must believe!

Climate change - it turned out to just make an awesome setting with lots of adventure!
Okay, a little bit off the beaten track. But years ago as a young man I found out something pretty amazing about scientific endeavour. The idea behind it was that they could do experiment X a million times and get result Y, BUT on the million and first time, perhaps they would get result X! There's always that next test and maybe it'd get some other result.

And I know what your feeling - is this a ... gasp, climate denier post? Heck, even I get that queasy feeling writing it!

But that's my very point. The real practice of science isn't to tell you what to think. It drops a ton of evidence on your desk, but it leaves you to decide, as an individual. Indeed that's probably the only difference between science and religion - science doesn't tell you it's right, it gives you evidence and leaves you alone to decide. Horribly, horribly alone! But as alone as we all like to tell ourselves were individuals.

So what has the general idea of climate change become? Particularly when you are told to believe it's the case or your a 'denier'! I mean jeez, I can't think of a term more classically connected with religion than 'denier'! Thoust would deny god!!!1!?

Okay, I BET climate change is real. Like a gambler laying a bet on a horse. Here I think, if it's the wrong bet, well it'll mean less pollution at least, even if the effort didn't matter. And if the bet is right, well we don't have a second earth to traipse over to - this is apocalypse time! Or at least for humans living in the numbers they do now and the quality of life (and the level of thinking - oh, that'd slide back down the ladder, I bet). Like roaches, I have a hard time imagining our genetic line ending...but it becomes not a question of survival, but how much like monsters you become in order to survive. How much like roaches?

I live in a land of probabilities, I live in the land of choosing the 95%+ seemingly likely result. But there's always a 5 percent chance or even a fraction of a percent chance of just being wrong in my bet. But I also live with a part of me which gets queasy at the idea of questioning climate change (or to be more accurate, the common depiction of climate change) even a bit.

And I play the odds of whether that part of me is going to lurch forward at any particular moment and dominate my actions with its bloody minded, can't be wrong attitude. Because belief can never be wrong - that's what makes it a belief!

While others, when that part lurches forward, they feel the good feeling of knowing what is right and true!

Because belief always feels that way! But that's no better than someone who just firmly believes climate change isn't real.

I'd love to make you think the same way I do. But much like science, I'll drop this evidence off and ask 'Hmm, what do you think? Not on climate change itself, but in the very way people act out on the matter?'.

Speaking of my own beliefs that lurch up, this video from Penn and Tellers Bullshit series on recycling gave me a kick in the guts...wait no, aren't I supposed to be considering the evidence, rather than just assuming their right...there I go again. I guess it's fairly high odds of that part of me lurching forth!