Deep internal/external searching… for… stuff


Staying still-phobia

So I'm setup to fly various places (including GDC) 4 times in about 2 months.  3 of them will be California, so it won't be too bad on the brain.  One is to France for my Uncle's wedding.  It will certainly be interesting.

Got a Wii the other day.  Played all the way through Zelda in a weekend.  I don't know why, but I think I liked it less overall than Windwaker.  I would have preferred a gamecube controller for it too.  Control latency is too high and not precise enough.  There are a few things you can relatively reliably do, but overall, I felt way way more badass with the tight control at the end of Windwaker.  Though it was decent, it really felt like it didn't have the same depth as the earlier games.  The main new mechanic of the wolf I felt was done better in Okami.  They had some good weapons, but some of the special stuff you get was just half assed.  Oh well, now I have to go pick up Rayman and play that.

On the xbox front, now they're releasing Worms for Live.  It's good that these games aren't out yet, or I'd have to get one now before the "Unlikely" 2007 price drop.

The PS3 has apparently fixed the nasty image quality backward compatibility problem it had.  Hooray!  Now, when they lower the price I can only hope they've fixed the rest of the issues (e.g. background downloading).

Went and saw Pan's Labyrinth, which was awesome if a little gruesome.  The Queen wasn't as interesting as I was hoping, I really just can't identify with royalty.  Decent weekend, good week at work.  I do need to get back into yoga.  Good stuff all around.


Game wackiness

A few things...

I have a pretty high respect for Valve and the general quality of their work.  I know many people that work there.  Thus, I find it very alarming that their CEO is going senile.  Um, wow.  I doubt highly that he's personally done any work on the PS3.  He could be echoing the mentality of his development staff so there's that.  However, I think his comment is crap.  Sony certainly hasn't done everything right in releasing the PS3.  The development process is tough, and there is some hand holding you have to do to get the processor jumping through its hoops.

I would venture to guess that this just does not fit the general Valve MO of coding (which comes heavily from the PC).  In fact I would even posite that this is a symptom of the thing that I hate most about their game, loading screens.  To get the PS3 to work well you have to design your SPU data in a way that can be shipped to and fro.  A similar step is required if you want to cleanly stream your game, which they don't have.  I think they are still stuck the PC mental model of load a bunch of data and it will work.

On another note, Guitar Hero development has moved to Neversoft!!!!!!  Ok, am I the only one seeing doom on the horizon.  They've certainly done a decent job with Tony Hawk.  Spiderman also had it good points, but was buggy as all get out.  I will never forget the image of Blackcat randomly flipping 90 degrees while she jumps of the edge of a building during a CUTSCENE.  They also developed GUN, which I have never played, but I've heard bad things.  I pray for the franchise considering its bright prospective future.

The last bit concerns the PS3.  Apparently it is readily available pretty much anywhere.  This when analysts were expecting shortages until March or even July.  Don't let Gabe Newell beat you down Sony!  I hope that Sony can pull themselves out of this pit.  Maybe even... you know... lower the price! :)


One more reason to get a 360

As found through slashdot:

Psychonauts backwards compatibility!  This is one of the 3 xbox games that I own that I actually really like.

Filed under: Video Games No Comments

Resolution to the madness

So, despite the section pissing me off a ton.  Two Thrones was a pretty decent game.  It has its downsides, but considering the general fluidity of the platforming, it was good.  The two sections I thought sucked lots turned out to be lots lots easier with access to rewind (I just happened to not have it the first time).  Gateway problems plague many games (where you're punished severly for going through somewhere and not being able to get back), and that's certainly a better problem than the ones I had mentioned.

The interesting part is that while the controls suck in some cases and there are other weird issues, being able to immediately reverse problems a finite number of times removes almost all feeling of irritation and disappointment.  Rather than thinking, oh that was retarded and cheap, you think, suck, go back, go back, go back.  They definitely struck gold with their hardcore platforming (you fall you die) and rewind.  One interesting thing to see is how applicable it would be in other environments.  I don't think it would be terribly effective.  There are very few games where you can have tons of very high stakes gameplay with a small enough window to make rewind effective.

In other news, I will start running my first Exalted Game this weekend.  We'll see how it goes, I'm not exactly sure the level of preparedness I'm going to need.  Hopefully I'll be there.  I have tons of plans, I just hope I can trim it effectively and get them all into the game.  Speaking of role playing someone handed me a card for an RPG they were working on.  It sounds maybe interesting, see  In any case, it should be fun, if perhaps a bit painful.  We'll see.


So much crap

Holy god. I haven't realized how stupid some game designers are. Take Prince of Persia 3. You've got good platforming (1+2) and you solidly improve upon the platforming aspect with a few new moves, and then you have super high latency combat. Ooook, that sucks a lot a lot, but I can get used to it. I certainly helps that there are 3 moves that allow you to kill pretty much anything, hurray for bad designs that promoting abuse of the system.

Then you decide, hey, let's copy Jak 2, the crappiest game in the franchise (first game I ever threw my controller, Two Thrones is now the 2nd). Oh and to compensate for the horrible difficulty problems we design port from Jak 2, we're going to add some retardedly cheap levels all in a row! I'm sure that the 2nd ben hur cart race in Two Thrones was inspired by Jak 2's ridiculous race level which took me about 4 hrs to beat (the cart version only took me around 1.5 hrs so cheers). What is it with ubisoft and latency?! I mean the combat has huge latency and they thought it would be a good design for racing too. You're basically accelerating the turns so you have to start turning far beforehand (rrrgh). Oh and did I mention that a single hit creams you. It's hard to get a better recipe for irritation.

They tried really hard with the section right afterward where you have to fight two big guys. They thought, all the combat the player has learned so far is dumb, lets make them do something inane. Fighting these boss dudes has NOTHING in common with any combat strategy previously usable in the game. You can only attack one, then the other gets his weapon stuck, and you have to hurt him some and then use a hard to time quick kill to hurt the first guy. Oh and did I mention you basically can't defend against their attacks. If they're surrounding you, you're basically screwed. Oh AND, let's change the camera during the most important piece of this little combat recipe to make it harder for the player to predict where they're going to roll out of the way. It drives me crazy!

I can deal with high-penalty (e.g. Sly Cooper 1), unresponsive controls (many many games). I can also handle cheap (e.g. Ninja Gaiden), and abnormal fights (many boss battles). However, combining these is an egregious sin and just stupid. It's not fun, why can't people see that. It's crazy. And I was actually starting to enjoy the game up to this point. Oh well, I will beat it, just as I beat Jak 2. Here's to hoping my head doesn't explode before hand.

Filed under: Video Games No Comments