Posts tagged ‘Gaming’

January 2, 2011

It’s the Hols! Day 8-12

The Singapore National Library is a pretty amazing place.

It offers free books.
It offers free magazines from lifestyle to scientific online through its eResources service.
It has Bloomberg terminals for those who want to be stockbrokers.
It has movie/animation/drama DVDs for loan. (2 per user for 2 weeks, unless you are a Premium member, than it’s 4 per user)
Most importantly, it also offers PC games.

By PC games I do not mean just casual titles like Diner Dash or edutainment software for kids. I mean the good stuff. Far Cry 2, Universalis Europa III, Worms Domination for the old-school. Disclaimer: the library’s collection of games is pretty random. I see copies of Nancy Drew beside Killing Floor and a Barney adventure game.

I nailed a copy of Settlers VII and Puzzle Quest together with a few novels.

Puzzle Quest is an addictive game that innovates on Bejeweled’s gameplay. Instead of just matching 3 orbs of the same color together in a line for points, these orbs now serve as mana for you to fling spells at your opponent, with the goal being to reduce your opponent’s life bar to 0. There are 2 ways to reduce their life bar: Match 3 or more skull orbs or use your spells, which require a certain number of color orbs of various colors. Spells also do more than just damage your opponent; some spells allow you to change certain orbs to a different color on the game board, some remove certain orbs from the board, some destroys those orbs for a certain effect (with more orbs destroyed granting extended duration or a more powerful effect).

Narrative-wise, the story is pretty bland, with some funny bits to liven up what is essentially a grind (leveling system). Audio is forgettable, but serviceable. What drives the game is the gameplay itself, with me always just wanting to go “one more challenge”.

The only other notable activity I have been engaging is swimming, for about 2-4 hours each session. Work on the GDD is definitely not up to schedule; still editing the Human Race GDD, which is not a good place to be, considering how much more stuff I have to do still. On the flip side, I have done up some of my other stuff, as well as spent a goodly bit of cash for the Xmas period.

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December 25, 2010

It’s the Hols! Day 5 (Xmas Eve Edition)

9am: Woke up. Surprisingly, a good night’s sleep managed to clear up most of the cold.

10am: Went for a short run/walk around the neighborhood and then some bat swinging to round it off.

11am: Youtube surfing (Starcraft II quotes are addictive to listen to) for almost an hour.

7pm: I spent the day clearing my D drive.

8pm: After dinner some last minute xmas shopping at AMK Hub and Serangoon Nex. Expenditure exceeded expectations, but considering my expectations were extremely frugal, it’s still within my limits.

10pm: Still clearing space in my D drive. With luck I should have 50GB of free space by the end of this session. Also started on a bottle of Cienna, a sparkling red desert wine.  I find it a bit too sweet, but it definitely will go well in a cocktail. Ah well…

12am: I have little tolerance for alcohol, or to put it in a positive light, I enjoy the full effects of alcohol at maximum efficiency. I am still sober, but light and heavy headed at the same, which will definitely help in sleeping tonight. Oh yeah, Merry Xmas, here’s a song to commemorate that day.

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December 24, 2010

It’s the Hols! Day 4

This is the day I end up sick-ish. Progress of illness over the day.

Morning 0900hr

Woke late, and lethargic. Minor headache from oversleep. Spent the morning sorting through my music and drafting more changes to the Human Race GDD.

Afternoon 1330hr

Lunch: laksa. Reading my readings and surfed Gamasutra. Headache cleared up but aching back due to cool weather.

Anyway, news from Gamasutra is depressing to read, with lawsuits and haggling hogging the headlines. Class action suit against EA for illegally abusing its Madden/football license, more animosity in the ongoing soap opera that is Activision vs Infinity Ward vs Treyarch with Activision adding EA to its list of legal targets (MOAR DRAMA), Viacom defends itself from shareholders in Harmonix looking to sue the pants off someone for their money back.

On the flipside, the features have churned out more interesting stuff. Art director Brian Thompson talks about how art drove the game direction in Drawn (PC casual adventure game), a fascinating perspective on game design.

Eun-Seok Yi from Nexon (Korean studio specializing in MMOs, famous for Maple Story) talks about the future of MMOs.

Lastly, an analysis of the Left 4 Dead franchise with respect to SRK (Skills, Rules, Knowledge) cognitive framework, i.e. designing based on how players approach/understand new information, then introducing variation in an established knowledge/understanding framework.

Evening 1900hr

Runny and sensitive nose. Finished a few stages in Ace Combat 5 but losing momentum in the 2nd playthrough. Forcing players to play exactly as you design or facing an instant Game Over is extremely demotivating.

Night 2230hr

Frequent sneezing, dry and red eyes. Slight fever as well and my back is aching to the point I have to lie down.

Edit: Added readings to post for those interested.

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December 23, 2010

It’s the Hols! Day 3

Woke late today to an early brunch. At 1.45pm I popped into school to observe a Dungeons & Dragons (DnD) session. For those wondering what a DnD session looks like, here you go:

Yes, a bunch of grown men huddled together staring at pieces of paper (character reference sheets) while moving tokens on pieces of paper and talking in turns. It is pretty amazing how Final Fantasy, Dragon’s Age, World of Warcraft and pretty much most RPGs are evolved from this single idea of roleplaying using dice and a table of values. More photos of the guys, this time with a game board:

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December 22, 2010

It’s the Hols! Day 2

Woke at 7am, had a very hearty breakfast consisting of eggs, ham, mash, mushroom soup, buttered bread and coffee. Gosh I feel fat writing about it.

Started editing the Human Race GDD while munching through the spread. List of amendments (crossed out indicates completed):

  • Be pronoun-neutral where possible.
  • List advantages of target platform (half done).
  • Highlight strengths of Human Race as compared to other existing products in the market analysis section.
  • Combine Sample Playthrough together with Design Setting section. Sample Playthrough should be placed after General Overview.
  • Remove arbitrary constant in the fulfillment equation.
  • Determine the typical number of Myers-Briggs questions as the industrial standard (88) .
  • Create a section within GDD to accomodate sample questions for the Myers-Briggs questions. (Verifying questions for inclusion)
  • Fully describe the Sample Playthrough, particularly actions taken by player Bill within a stage. Playthrough should fully describe at least a single game “turn”, the smallest iteration of a player’s decision-action sequence.
  • Are Xbox or other USB controllers supported out-of-box? If so, list controls and state explicitly if the controls can be modified by user.
  • Rework menu/screen flow chart into a proper decision flow chart. Use Visio if necessary. (In process of acquiring Visio for home com)
  • Describe elements of HUD in text to supplement mock-up picture.
  • Rework Resources section in Excel.

Lunch was light considering how heavy breakfast was, and then I sat down and got in a lot of time with Ace Combat 5.

The “leveling” system to unlock new planes within Ace Combat 5 is fairly interesting, although I definitely prefer the Ace Combat Zero’s method of achievement-related unlocking. Having to buy planes for my wing-mates is annoying because they really do little to support my fights except to pick off tails on my 6. After 1 playthrough of the game over all 27+1 stages, I have 766 kills versus a combined total of 110 kills for my other 3 wing mates. Arcade mode in AC5 is the biggest disappointment; I was expecting something along the lines of a rail shooter a’la Afterburner, not some empty stage with a kill counter and a mission to destroy X number of planes.

Evening, went to the pool for a swim. Very much out of practice, I could only manage 10 laps. Topped up the tank at the gas station, pumped the tyres, home for dinner.

Finished 3 more readings, more AC5 (completed first playthrough of game at about 1am), sleep at 2am. No nice pictures to share this time, but AC5 really is the most innovative of all the AC games. First you sink 1 submarine carrier that does an AOE that hits all targets below 500 feet.

Some stunt flying next, and typical Ace Combat fare (bombing runs, close air support, air superiority battles). Next you have to shoot down a stratospheric flying fortress that fires a freaking laser beam at anyone under it (and all its launchers/engines are on its underbelly).

After this you discover that the enemy wants to drop a colony, I mean an artificial satellite on your capital city a’la Gundam, so you got to pull off a Stars Wars number and perform a Trench run on an underground facility to take out its control facility because the Army just cannot seem to get vehicles there.

If all that was not enough, you have to shoot down a falling artificial satelite that looks suspiciously like an [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_Three]O’Neill cylinder[/url]:

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December 21, 2010

It’s the Hols! Day 1

Starting from 20th Dec 2010, I have a 3 week break (lasting till 10th Jan). Just to keep myself motivated and focused on the stuff I need to do, I decided to maintain an informal log of my activities over this 3 weeks…

(Besides, I really need the practice in writing.)

20th Dec 2010, Monday
Woke at noon, ‘coz I partied too hard at Audrey’s & Leow’s place the night before. Brunch, worked out some tasks to complete during the hols, list as follows:

  • Revise Human Race GDD as discussed in the meeting: schoolwork that has to be done, and the list of changes covers an entire A4 page.
  • Complete the DnD Character sheet for my half orc Warden: better do this by Tue so I can get Leonard to vet for the next chapter in his campaign.
  • Tar, Road & Santa v2 board game: I need to read my observations & analysis to get back up to speed on the changes the me of 2 months ago decided.
  • Start Push/Pull GDD: The germ of that game idea really needs to be put down on “paper”.
  • Finish the present batch of readings: Readings have been piling up on my inbox for the past month, it’s time to make a sizable dent.
  • Finish uncompleted games: Incomplete list of games uncompleted: Persona 3 (Last 2 months of the game-year), Ace Combat 5 (loan from Poon), Ace Combat Zero (3rd Ace path and Bronze Wing achievement), Front Mission 4 (Last simulator mission and last story mission), Fate Unlimited Codes (do 1 playthrough and figure out the mechanics), Shatter (2nd world and counting)
  • End of Year Budget: Time to tally up my expanses and see how much I saved over the year. I can’t make my 20k saving goal (income 1/3 of projection because I quit my teaching job) but I should still be able to make my saving/spending ratio.

So first up: Ace Combat Zero. Finished the Knight Ace playthrough, but Mission 18 ended in a A rank… no Bronze Wing. Unlocked the 2 super planes though (Falken and Morgan) which look really sweet, especially the 360 panorama view screen in cockpit view. I will push the Bronze Wing back together with getting all the Knight path assault records, need to make a list of names and stages.

Ace Combat 5 next. If there is 1 thing that Ace Combat 5 has, it’s cinematics. A lot of it. Finished up till mission 7 with a mixed bag of ranks. Having to repeat an entire mission if you die at any part can get extremely tiresome.

Dinner started late, at about 6.40pm. Had to rush through dinner because I have to attend this concert down at Singapore Conference Hall.

Still ended up late, missing the first piece on the repertoire. El Camino Real was not bad, the enka medley would have been better with a singer, the choice of Japanese anime theme (Galaxy Train 999, Space Battleship Yamato) is unfortunate because it’s not that well-known in Singapore, even with the “revival” Yamato movie out recently. My favourite would be the Riverdance piece, Rwinds should introduce more energetic pieces in future performances.

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July 20, 2010

Weekly Music Pick – Wanderer on the Offensive/The Opened Way

This week’s music pick is not just 1 song, but rather almost 2, namely a remix and its original arrangement. This should cover my earlier absences, due to my overseas trip to the US.

Below is the OC-remixed version, entitled “Wanderer on the Offensive”. The remix re-imagines “The Opened Way” from the Shadow of the Colossus, if the Wanderer was an offspring of Dante the Demon Hunter that is. (Hint:  DMC)

For those unfamiliar with the term “oc-remix,” it stands for OverClocked Remi, which is the term given to remixes produced by what is possibly the largest video-game community

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April 7, 2009

Random Video Game Name Generator

Ever wondered how game designers created those classic names for their games? Ever wondered how the names  Super Mario, Gears of War, Final Fantasy were coined? Now wonder no more, for the top-secret Name Generator has finally been revealed to the unknowing public….. not.

Surfing through the Hongfire forums, I found this little gem. Worth a small chuckle, if nothing else.

Video Game Name Generator Link

Some results from the “clicks”

  • Panzer Rugby Dungeon (Fantasy, sports and WWII – what’s not to like?)
  • Funky Makeout Anthology
  • Indian Typing – 2nd Impact (I have no idea what this is trying to imply)
  • Miniature Metal Mania (actually has a good ring to it, triple alliteration and all)
January 24, 2009

Profound thoughts from an online game

Probably 1 of the best 1-liners I have heard in a long time.

profound-reply1

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