Archive for the 'Living in Australia' Category

01
Jul
13

Patrols – Milestone 1

Time, as always, has been a limiting factor lately. Still I’ve been determined to work on something tangible. As such, the brief has been to create something that is both simple to develop (development time currently sits at around 20 hours) and would offer a decent amount of gameplay (unlike my other recent efforts). I’m attempting to achieve these goal by focusing on simple wave-based gameplay with challenging mechanics, and score based replayability.

And I’m calling it Patrols.

Patrols-gameplay

Doesn’t look confusing at all.

Continue reading ‘Patrols – Milestone 1’

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02
Mar
09

My weekend in Burma

So I collected my copy of Killzone 2 from JB. My attempt at scoring the game early fell through when the Game Traders store manager I’d sweet talked into handing over a copy once stocked arrived took the day off, so I waited until Thursday like the rest of us. Hey, I saved $20 (apparently JB’s retail price is lower than GT’s cost price) and also picked up Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Awesome Collection. That was probably a mistake, as I had planned to use this space to give my impressions of Killzone. What happened next surprised us all.

I more or less shunted both games for a book.

The book in question is Shadow Warrior, the autobiographical tale of Dangerous Dave Everett. His story starts the same as a lot of people’s – leave school and join the Army as a trade, a mechanic in Dave’s case. Dave’s story steps up tempo when he is accepted into the SAS, but the real meat is in how he puts his newly acquired skills to use.

When I applied for SAS selection back in the early 1980s, I was a skinny young apprentice mechanic who nobody thought had a hope of getting through the gruelling course. Not only did I get through, I managed to achieve an above-average score to boot. Life in the Regiment was great for a young digger, but I quickly became frustrated with the lack of action. While on leave investigating an SAS mate’s suspicious death in Burma, I became caught up in the plight of the ethnic Karen of Burma, and joined their fight against a totalitarian military regime. In the unforgiving jungles of eastern Burma, I experienced the harsh realities and horror confronting the Karen people. On my return to Australia, I went outside of the law to raise money to help the Karen cause.

It’s really amazing stuff and I’m surprised how much it’s affected me. The book plays out similar to a gritty, realistic Burn Notice (without the beaches and bikini clad babes), and it’s exciting to have something real-world to contrast Hollywood’s interpretation of special forces and what happens in the shadows.

Shadow Warrior is certainly a compelling read. I’m unsure if I related because I’m aussie, because my dad has a military background, because a lot of places visited in the book are familiar, or because I see authority in the same transparent way, but I highly recommend this book to anyone; especially those not convinced – Dave is likable, funny and very human. He doesn’t break the law, he disregards it; but his motives are so clear and innocent you’ll accept his actions rather than judge them.

For those looking for a taste, a chapter omitted from the book is available to read here.

Continue reading ‘My weekend in Burma’

30
Oct
08

Australian R18+ classification talks canned

In Australia, we have a little problem with video game censorship. Any games that aren’t suitable for people over the age of 18 can’t be released in the country, which is a bit odd considering the average age of the Australian gamer is 30. The good news is that a solution is simple, by introducing an R18+ classification Australian adults will be able to play video games designed for them, a privelage most of the world currently enjoy.

The ball is rolling and it seems work is being done to fill this hole in Australian classification law – but like everything political there is a process that must be followed. I’m sure there is much more to it, but for simplicities sake I’ll condense it to this – the state and territory Attorney Generals must get together, create a pros and cons list (read: discussion paper) and vote unanimously in favour of introducing an R18 classification rating for video games.

Don’t worry that the Attorney Generals are ill-informed and believe the same rubbish that others may spew, before they make such a decision they look deeply into research, statistics and whatever else can assist them in making an accurate and correct decision for all Australians. In addition to this, members of the Australian public will be invited to comment on the issue giving the Attorney Generals some live feedback on what is going on in our hearts and minds, and with the Interactive Australia 2009 report containing survey data showing that a majority of Australian’s (91%, in fact) are in favour of an R18+ classification for games –  it’s beginning to look like this slow, long winded process may soon come to an end.

The bad news is that the process required to correct this problem is itself a little flawed, and can be manipulated in some rather alarming ways. 

Enter Michael Atkinson, Attorney General for South Australia.

Continue reading ‘Australian R18+ classification talks canned’

15
Oct
08

Three men charged, PS2 containing ecstasy seized by police

Three men have been arrested on drug charges after police tracked a Playstation 2 that was mailed to their Surfers Paradise address. The console was, of course, filled with 3400 ecstasy tablets.

For some reason this reminds me of the scene in Scanner Darkly where Arctor, Barris and Luckman toy with the idea of rush selling their house, advertising “high class drugs stashed throughout”.

PS2 fat, as new condition. Filled with 900 grams of ecstasy, included in sale price. 

Continue reading ‘Three men charged, PS2 containing ecstasy seized by police’

15
Sep
08

Colour me fucking happy. Burn Notice is back

Albeit an hour and 10 minutes later than it’s last timeslot. 

To be honest, I expected the airing of two back to back episodes a fortnight ago to be Ten’s attempt to clear out the left over Burn they had stinking up the fridge.

I guess I was wrong, and apart from the frequent start / stop of the series it seems Ten is beginning to treat fan’s a bit better. 

So set your alarms for 9:40 tonight, apparently all of Ten’s programming is pushed back by 10 minutes – blame the usual culprit (no, not Rove!), Australian Idol. 

So there it is. Sit through 90210 and you’ll be rewarded with some of the coolest spy work to go down in Miami in the last couple of decades. 

 

Source – tvtonight.com.au




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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