I want this as a poster
Whether you’re indie or AAA, for consoles or computer, I want to follow you and get to know you !
I think it would be a big stretch to call myself a game developer, but I have put together a few rudimentary games, and I plan to do more.
I used to be, but am currently not. Does that count?
Tomb Raider is on sale on Steam this weekend, and with duchessnukem’s recommendation, I picked it up and am trying it out.
Overall, the game is great. The gameplay is solid, the story is interesting, and the graphics and audio are astounding. I’ve been playing the Tomb Raider series on and off since its inception on the PS1, and of those that I’ve played, this one is by far the best. The psuedo-open-world style works very well and the environments, linear though they are, feel organic and natural. The UI is well-integrated as simple unobtrusive 3D objects in the world. There are tons of collectibles to gather, and the upgrade/level-up system is well-designed, such that I actually care about it without feeling like I’m required to use it. It’s also nice to get this slice of Lara Croft’s back story when dangerous supernatural adventures are still new and frightening, before she becomes an inhumanly fearless archaeologist/killing machine/sex symbol.
The game is not without its flaws, however. Namely, why do they insist on using cinematic instant-death quicktime events? This wasn’t the first game to use it and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but does anyone actually enjoy them? I sure don’t.
Also, the game consistently crashes on me every 20-30 minutes of gameplay. It does let me progress through the game, albeit somewhat slowly, but it is annoying. It appears to be a crash with my AMD drivers, but the internet has not provided much in the way of useful solutions.
Tabletop Deathmatch -
Cards Against Humanity is running a table game design competition, with the winner receiving funding for an initial run of their game to be sold at GenCon 2014. Check out the rules, submit your idea, and give it a shot. I think I might join in as well.
Let me tell you a little story about innovation and creativity. Years ago, I worked on a wiki-based project to find the first instance of ideas/techniques in video games (like the first game to use cameras as weapons, or the first game to have stealth as a play element). It excited me to dig to give credit to those who laid the foundations of ideas that we now take for granted. I couldn’t wait to show the world how creative and innovative these unknown game designers/developers were.
I went into it with much passion and excitement, but unexpectedly, it turned out that there were almost no “firsts”. Every time someone put up a game that was the first to do/contain something, there was another earlier game put up to replace it with a SLIGHTLY less sophisticated, or SLIGHTLY different version of the same thing. The gradient was so smooth and constant that eventually, the element we were focusing on lost meaning. It became an unremarkable point to address at all. We ended up constantly overwriting people’s work with smaller, less passionate articles, containing a bunch of crappy games that only technically were the first to do something in the crudest manner. Sometimes only aesthetically.
After a lot of time sunk into this project, I came to the conclusion that I was mistaken about innovation/creativity. It would have been a better project to track the path of ideas/techniques than to try to find the first instance of an idea/technique. I held innovation so highly for years before that, but after this project, I saw just how small it was. How it was but a tiny extension of the thoughts of millions before it. A tiny mutation of a microscopic speck that laid on top of a mountain. It was a valuable experience that helped me very much creatively. — Dave Freeman, a game designer, friend, and former coworker of mine
One of my coworkers just got his Oculus Rift today, and is letting us all have a go playing TF2. It’s definitely pretty interesting.
The 3D effect is fairly convincing, which is impressive for me since 3D displays rarely work for me. At best, 3D displays usually appear as a set of 2D cells overlayed at different distances, but with the Rift it actually looked like a real volumetric environment.
The controls were a bit unusual, as the mouse doesn’t strictly control the camera. Turning your head moves the camera (as you would expect) and the mouse controls the arms. If you move your arms such that they go outside the range of the current view, then it will rotate your avatar’s body, allowing you to look in all directions without having to rotate your actual body around. It does take some getting used to, but I picked it up with a bit of practice.
The display is unfortunately very low-res, but I’ll let it slide knowing that it was chosen for 1) low cost and 2) low latency. The visuals and update rate ARE fantastically smooth. However, it does mean that text is nearly illegible unless it was already very large to begin with. Additionally, the full screen was not entirely visible, and text or details on the edges, and corners in particular, were unfortunately cut off.
The device itself is fairly comfortable to wear, held in place with elastic bands around your head and an adjustable velcro strap on top. Soft foam cushions the device from pressing into your face, and accommodates glasses pretty well (fortunate for the near-sighted, such as myself). Not something I would want to wear for multiple hours, but better than any other head-mounted display I’ve used. It is decently light, so it’s not much of a strain on your neck.
As one might expect, calibration is VERY important when dealing with a head-mounted display. Unfortunately, I skipped the calibration process so that I could play and pass it off to another coworker quickly, and without it motion sickness settled in fairly quickly. I’m still feeling a little queasy from it, but I won’t hold it against the Rift until I can get a chance to play one fully calibrated for my eyes.
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the Rift, and I’m feeling more confident about the future of 3D displays than I was before. I’m still not convinced that I should pick one up right now, but that could change over the next year or two, depending on how development and support progresses. It’s definitely worth checking out if you ever get the chance.
Game Dev Tycoon forces those who pirate the game to unwittingly fail from piracy -
What happens when pirates play a game development simulator and then go bankrupt because of piracy? That’s the question asked by Greenheart Games, the tw…
I find this funny and sad at the same time. The justice is palpable, but reactions from pirates gets me kind of twisted up inside. From a forum post by one of the people who pirated the game:
“It says blah blah our game got pirated stuff like that. Is there some way to avoid that? I mean can I research a DRM or something?”
Do these people seriously not get it?
Joel Burgess: Skyrim's Modular Level Design - GDC 2013 Transcript -
REALLY interesting talk about how Bethesda Game Studio puts together their dungeons through the use of kits. In short, it’s a set of modular art assets that designers can use to snap pieces together and make a large number of unique areas requiring minimal art support. It also provides opportunities for tight integration between art and design teams, so there’s less conflict between what is aesthetically pleasing versus what’s actually fun to play.
I’m a technical guy, and I love these behind-the-scene peeks at not just the philosophy but actual functionality of creating the games that I love.