Archive for December, 2008

16
Dec
08

My weekend in gaming – LittleBigPlanet impressions

On my girlfriends recommendation, nigh, insistence, I picked up LittleBigPlanet.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hesitate to comply, the game had simply dropped while I was on holiday and at the rate we’re moving forward even the most remarkable titles can get left behind. Shortly after the title’s release I had played a couple of levels at a friends house, and enjoyed my brief exposure. But I still wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, was this game really as good as they’d said it would be?

The answer is yes. And no. Well at least, not yet. I was honestly amazed by what MM where capable of achieving with some of their levels. Prior to purchasing the game I read a comment on Kotaku in reply to a your favourite gaming moment of 2008 type post which read “LBP… Hands down” and I couldn’t comprehend it. I do now. But unfortunately it’s this all encompassing understanding that Media Molecule have over their game and mechanics that threatens to defeat LBP’s other selling point. Simply put, I can’t beat them at their own game. If I try to make something simple or derivatory, I can’t present it as well as MM. If it try to make something outside the box.. well MM have crafted a pretty big fucking box. Alas, my attempts so far have been enlightening learning tools and observing what MM have done in their levels is a great way to expand my own ideas. I will create an awesome level, and you will love it. It may just take a while.

Continue reading ‘My weekend in gaming – LittleBigPlanet impressions’

15
Dec
08

An open letter to EA, Part 2: Please reboot C&C Renegade, and heres how

The goal, to take an existing property and create a well received game, minimising risk while ensuring a profitable outcome.

In part one of this proposal we located Renegade’s target audience and market position. It almost seems counterproductive to discern this information prior to detailing the game; but it’s an important step in making a profitable title, by defining our audience we can determine the goals Renegade must achieve, and understand the qualities it must encompass. 

The goal, to create a popular online console experience enjoyable by traditional multiplayers and first timers alike.

Renegade’s target audience has been determined, and consists of console owners with the ability to purchase and play content online. The audience can be broken further into two groups – multiplayers, and first timers.

When tailoring a game for traditional online participants there is ample direction and a wealth of inspiration, anything from Doom to CoD4 and every title in between can be studied to observe trends and discern the qualities players of these games hold in regard. But for every console sold, potentially, an offline gamer has the ability to enter the realms of online play. To ascertain what qualities a multiplayer virgin looks for in a multiplayer game, we must apply the knowledge we have of the target group; specifically their interactions with games in other genres.

Games that are popular among the casual, offline crowd share the following qualities.

  • Easy learning curve.
  • Segmented gameplay.
  • Low skill requirement.
  • Simple rules and gameplay.

Renegade’s gameplay features and mechanics will not be compromised to suit the casual player, that is not our goal. Our goal is to create mechanics and features from the ground up that lower the requirement for online play, allowing players with less time, skill or motivation to play online.

I’ve briefly outlined some requirements for success, and it’s time to give the game legs and define the gameplay and features that will carry Renegade towards unfathomable popularity. But before we do, there is one matter I would like to discuss.

There is a certain frailty involved when dealing with existing IP, especially when attempting to diverge from the formula; some fans of forerunning titles can be difficult to please. Fortunately, there is an almost universal solution. The most effective strategy for dealing with possible fan backlash, is to ensure the new product is polished; show the fans that the IP means as much to you as it does to them.

Continue reading ‘An open letter to EA, Part 2: Please reboot C&C Renegade, and heres how’

10
Dec
08

 It had to end, and it did. now in the dark world where I dwell, ugly things, and surprising things, and sometimes little wondrous things, spill out in me constantly, and I can count on nothing.

09
Dec
08

My weekend in gaming – cooperative is king

 

Well I didn’t expect Resistance 2 to hook me as deep as it has, and I certainly didn’t expect Cooperative to be the reason why.

I’m (usually) a social being, and quiet often have friends over. Sometimes we play Playstation, which explains my initial infatuation with Warhawk – four players online equals instant awesome. But even that has its limitations. The issue has mostly resolved itself now, but apparently playing competitive online when you don’t own the game, or even the console isn’t real fun; It’s not fun to listen to your friends bitch about being owned either.

Okay, I can see your pessimistic internet mind ticking, I know what your thinking; but my friends aren’t noobs, they’re all skilled enough to enjoy their gametime.

 Well that’s valid; but what usually happens when friends come around? Drinking and other activities that may slow your reaction times, skew your perception and basically fuck up your form. 

It’s not da vinci code shit, but R2 and it’s cooperative mode is an elegant solution to this, I’m sure, widespread problem.

Continue reading ‘My weekend in gaming – cooperative is king’

09
Dec
08

Here’s a quick question.

Why don’t we have tabbed browsing in Windows explorer?

Microsoft?

08
Dec
08

An open letter to EA, Part 1: Please reboot C&C Renegade, i’ll make it worth your while

EA, please reboot Renegade.

Electronic Arts have built up a little reputation as being IP whores, assimilating other developers and milking their properties until only their hollow dry crusts remain. But in recent times, there has been a noticeable push to create new franchises, rather than rely on a back catalogue of games quickly fading into irrelatively. I’ll argue that EA are still creating new franchises rather than new games; but they like money, and I can’t fault them for that. The truth is that EA have changed, and have gained a new dose of respect from the gaming community.

So Electronic Arts, you can see that I do appreciate your new business model – which makes it difficult to ask – can you please reboot Renegade?

Now, this isn’t one of the thousands (millions?) of online petitions or forum threads about how some fanboy wants their favourite game in HD. It’s true that I enjoyed Renegade, but this is not the reason for my humble request; the bottom line is the game is more relevant today than it was in 2002, and in our current gaming climate, could stand out and make a tidy sum.

Command & Conquer: Renegade is the First Person departure of the Command and Conquer series. The C&C series has spanned 13 years, and is an icon of the real time strategy genre. The years of lore and creative narrative have woven a solid universe, with coherent stories that span from the mid 1990’s to a half century in the future.

renegade_screen0002

Renegade’s greatest asset was Command & Conquer mode, a unique multiplayer gametype which introduced RTS elements to create something out of the ordinary. Each team are allocated a base comprising of five buildings; each performing a major function. The goal, to destroy the enemy’s base, can be achieved in two ways – either raze each building, or place a super weapon beacon on the designated beacon pedestal (and protect it until it’s timer runs down). It’s a tactical game – team tactics are required to effectively infiltrate the enemy base and tactical decisions must be made in regard to what buildings to strike, or what character or vehicle the in game currency should be spent purchasing.

renegade_screen044

I mentioned the game is more relevant today than when it was initially released. It’s true, and a remake of the game could be released and would probably sell well on the C&C name alone – but with some legitimate changes and the correct mentality, a Renegade reboot really has the opportunity and take advantage of the current gaming landscape and mesh with proven and emerging gaming trends.


The following is part one of a proposal outlining how Renegade can be adapted to guarantee success.

Continue reading ‘An open letter to EA, Part 1: Please reboot C&C Renegade, i’ll make it worth your while’

08
Dec
08

Trine announced for PSN

What’s Trine? 

Well until minutes ago, I had no idea either. But it looks like the lovechild of LittleBigPlanet and ..well.. a dragon or some other fantasy shit. 

Trine is a 2D platformer with great 3D graphics – it’s good to see a developer put the time in and make it look good; Bionic Commando: Rearmed is one of my favourite games released this year, plenty thanks to the efforts Grin made to ensure the game looked and played as well as it could. 

In a twist on the classic puzzle/platformer, gameplay revolves around the creation and destruction of objects. The player controls a wizard, thief or warrior, and is able to jump between characters at best tackle the obstacle ahead.

Full press release after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Trine announced for PSN’




Playing on Playstation 3

Red Dead Revolver - I paid about $1000 for my launch model PS3, so I guess it's time I get some use out of that emotion chip crammed inside. I remember Red Dead Revolver looking rather good when it was released, and despite the low resolution and odd blurring (that I attribute to playing on a HD set) the game holds up well. It looks good despite these graphical limitations because the art direction is so precise and awesome. And it isn't just the art direction, the music, dialogue and set design (for some reason, set seems a more fitting word than level) all work in tandem to recreate an iconic Wild West atmosphere. Red Dead Revolver doesn’t aim to recreate life in the Wild West, it allows our imagination to take over and populates the locale with legendary men and their legendary stories.

Playing on iPhone

edge - Well I never thought I'd consider playing a game on iPhone as actually gaming, but edge has turned me around. The game is built for the iPhone. Sure, it could be ported, but the elegance of what has been created is astounding, it boggles the mind and makes me wonder what amazing gems we'd receive if current gen consoles weren't clones of eachother.

Playing on PC

Sins of a Solar Empire, Demigod, Generals - Zero Hour - It may be a temporary effect as I slowly reintroduce the PC into my gaming diet, but it seems every title I’m excited to play on the platform is either a strategy game, or a cheap indie game. PC gaming isn’t dead, it’s just restricted to titles that require complex input or a pointing device, and games that couldn't be developed or distributed on other platforms. I guess that’s part of the reason the AppStore is so far a success, there were a lot of indie devs stuck on PC for lack of a better alternative.
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