Archive for April, 2007

Ludum Dare #9: “Build the Level You Play”

Friday, April 27th, 2007

The compo is going ahead full force, despite our complete lack of publicity and organization.

The theme is “Build the Level You Play“. In other words, design a game leveraging user creation or user created content, or a game of building. Line Rider, PuffBOMB, The Incredible Machine, and much more. We’ve seen some pretty exciting ideas discussed in IRC, so don’t miss out.

Sign up, blog, and upload here:
48hr.thewavelength.net

Join us on IRC:
irc.afternet.org in #ludumdare

Due:
EST: Sunday April 29th, 2007 – 8:00PM (20:00)
PST: Sunday April 29th, 2007 – 5:00PM (17:00)
UTC/GMT: Monday April 30th, 2007 – 12:00AM (0:00)

Good luck.

Stay tuned for Ludum Dare 10. It’s such a grand number, we can’t help but not go all out on it. Revised rules too! After 5 years! zOMG!

Ludumdare #9, April 28th 2007

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Yep. It’s coming. Beyond suggesting the date, I’ve been too busy to get really involved, but it’s coming. This might be one of the most last minute LD’s in a couple years, but it should come together.

After all, it’s an April tradition. ;)

Visit us on irc.afternet.org in #ludumdare, and start some fires, and help us get things moving.

The mailing list is still there, though the website is down. I’m in the middle of splitting my websites between personal and business on to 2 separate hosts, gamecompo.com being a personal one.

Round 2

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

Delay OK. More goods.

And a fish for good measure.

Fish Scan.  Like fish are best.

Simplification

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

I think it’s an important direction and discussion for game design. Sure, as a gamer, I can handle complicated control schemes. I’ve done my time and held my own in hotkey crazy RTS’s, twitch FPS’s, and I can be pretty menacing in Tony Hawk. But most of these games aren’t getting any easier. I don’t even care to finish Tony Hawk’s Project 8, or the Underground games, because the things you need to do at the end are ridiculous.

Some gamers like to mock Diablo because of it’s insanely simple control scheme, even your mom can play it (mine does). I’ve been in awe for a number of years by some of my purist friends and associates who wouldn’t even justify it as an RPG for that very reason (reason 12 why genre’s hurt designers). Then it seemed the world forgot. Some 9 years later, Fate comes out. It plays just as well as it’s inspiration, and it’s more approachable. You can’t say that for any games in between.

It’s almost like the game industry hard on for 3D graphics and difficulty is starting to calm it’s ass down.

Actually, what happened instead was the polar opposite distinctly emerged. Casual games. Short, easy games you can play for hours, if they so compel you. AKA: Match 3’s, stacking games, sorting games, and brick busters. Some of them look really nice.

The Wii happened too. The secret theoretical solution to FPS’s on the console, since we’re apparently too ignorant to support mouse and keyboard. I don’t know about other people, but for me the dust has certainly settled over the Wii. I still care for the platform for it’s ideals of smaller fun games, but the novelty of motion control has worn off on me. Red Steel isn’t an FPS, it’s a free moving Rail Shooter. That’s a heck of a lot more complicated to play than an FPS. Blast Factor for the PS3’s use of motion control is just a stupid gimmick at best. Call of Duty or Far Cry on the Wii I hadn’t had the chance to try yet, but I imagine the pointing box you need to restrict yourself to doesn’t make it any easier than Mouse+Keyboard.

So as I see it, the problem isn’t our joysticks, crappy motion sensors, mouse sensitivity, or lack of buttons. It’s that we’re not using them well enough. Many of the fondest memories of games many of us have are of game experiences full of simplifications. Pacman didn’t have to spin or strafe turning a corner; Megaman didn’t have to reload and find the rocket ammo to recharge his rockets; I didn’t have to hit forward, back rolling down to forward, back again for 2 seconds, then forward and punch while holding the R trigger to throw Ryu’s fireball; Or wait, there’s a parachute button? And Scorpion’s Fatality in MK1 was “block” and up twice. What other fatalities does anyone remember?

My mom, the typical hardcore casual gamer, should be able to pick up and play a perceptively intense action game, and she should be able to do some incredible things in it. There’s a way out there she can play a Gunstar Heroes. And there’s a reason out there why she’d play it too, and it ain’t pretty flowers and butterflies for graphics.

Why not?

Snakey Jake

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

An interesting concept for design people. I’m calling them clicking platformers. Everybody’s played Wik, so I wont talk about Wik. This is a game I came across today called Snakey Jake.

Snakey Jake (YouTube Video)

It’s your usual casual game fare as far as graphics and polish are concerned. What I was expecting was a “click on a spot” sort of game and he’ll move to that spot, but it’s actually click on the platform and he’ll move to the nearest place on the platform. Either by slithering or jumping, where appropriate. It’s a good example of an intelligently simplified control scheme, as I expect several designers will be toying with more in the years to come.

Personally, I don’t like this variation of control. True, it’s harder to make mistakes since you can’t click anywhere, but it annoys me as a player. Mostly because I’m a core gamer, and I’d imagine you could do some really interesting things with this gameplay style without the platform restriction. It also imposes a restriction of “you can only click on platforms that you can safely jump to from this platform”. Good for casual gamers, but not so much for me when I’m in the mood for a suicide jump. I’m also totally missing the opportunity for a conversation with myself about how I could or should have sooooo made that jump. Boo.

If I was still doing the roundup, I’d be bouncing back and forth between 6 and 8. Higher because of design merit, ’cause I think it’s a notable game as far as game design for casual gamers, and the only other game I can think of to compare it to is Wik. Lower because I personally didn’t like the decision to go with platform clicking, as a personal gamer preference. I’d muddle over that for a day if I wasn’t behind schedule, or an hour if I was the one holding us back.

OpenGL+Anisotropic-S3TC=No?

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

Hrmph. Strange.

Anisotropic filtering in OpenGL on NVidia cards finally started to work after switching from uncompressed to DXT3 compressed textures.

Whodathunk.