Category Archives: Games

Extraction: Map generation

Extraction - Map IconThis is the second post in my game design series. Last time I gave an overview of the game and its goals. Making the framework and playing with the AI were the main objectives, but first we’ll take a quick detour into the map generation system.
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Game design: spatially near, but temporally distant

MetroidI’ve been reading a lot recently about game design in the “early days” – the NES era.  In those days games were real games, difficulty curves could be like brick walls and tutorials simply didn’t exist as a game design concept.

This post explores one particular element that comes up – the notion of the “spatially near, but temporally distant” objectives.
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Game music: Shatter

Shatter OST CoverOK, this “regular feature” concept. Ongoing and at a somewhat fixed interval. Right, Wednesdays. Wednesday shall be music day. And this Wednesday I bring to you the music of the greatest incarnation of Breakout ever created: Shatter.
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Making a game for fun and… that’s it

About a year ago I found myself with a couple of weeks worth of evenings free, so I decided to sit down and have a crack at making a game. Not because I had an amazing idea for a story or some mechanics, just to see if I could. A few hours a night for two weeks was enough to make some decent progress on the skeleton of the game, and one day I hope to go back and finish it off, at least to the point where my initial plans are all implemented.

This is the first in a series of posts describing the game (working-and-definitely-not-final title: Extraction), what I’ve done so far, and where I plan to go next, with a focus on the parts I personally found most interesting.

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Game Music: Monaco

Monaco OST CoverAlthough the video game soundtrack series was meant to be a regular feature, roughly once a week, here’s a bonus treat: the music to the delicious “Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine“.
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Game music: Bastion

Bastion OST CoverAfter mentioning the VVVVVV soundtrack in a recent post I thought I might carry on inflicting my musical tastes on an imaginary readership.  So, in the first of a semi-regular feature on my favourite game video game soundtracks and general spamming of Bandcamp links, let’s kick off with… Bastion.
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Sui Generis

Yesterday I mentioned that Sparki was the second Kickstart project I’d backed, and I thought it was worth pointing to the first.  Sui Generis is, to quote the project page”an original open world RPG for the PC featuring dynamic story and physics based gameplay.”  So what made it stand out from the crowd?

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The Letter V, Six Times

VVVVVV thumbnailVVVVVV is at once utterly charming and controller-snappingly difficult.  Retro graphics, exquisitely responsive controls, a single gameplay mechanic and a pitch-perfect chiptune soundtrack come together to form one of my favourite games of all time.  Certainly, my 3DS has been used for little else.  Let’s talk completion and speed.
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From save-scummer to Ironman

Let’s start with a confession, shall we? Ladies and gentlemen, I am a save-scummer. Yes, I will shamelessly abuse save mechanics to achieve goals, to ghost a level, to make the best kill, to keep that health bar full or – depressingly frequently – just to beat the #£%&ing level at all.

Stealth games are my biggest failing here. Love a good stealth-em-up, me. Thief, Commandos, Deus Ex, Hitman, the whole slippery, shadowy lot of them. Even Dishonoured when the voice acting manages to not induce crippling boredom.

The problem is, I’m really just a bit crap at them. Commandos was an exception there, but when you consider that the player had total situational awareness and combine that with the slow, careful pace it was often more a logic puzzle than a combat game.  Other than that, call me Captain Ineptitude. Skulker McDeadthief.  Agent Clompenboots.

Hence save-scumming, the ancient and noble art of mashing the reload button until you make it another five pieces down the corridor and saving again. Save-scummers. You will know us by the trails of faded F5 and F9 keys.

But perhaps there is hope…

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Why I stopped playing BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite coverLet’s start by acknowledging that the latest entry in the series, BioShock Infinite, is a pretty game.  Really pretty.  Staggeringly pretty.  The use of colour and depth, the tiny details and the sweeping vistas, it’s one of the best looking games to come along in a long while.

So why, with such great graphics, and what by all accounts is a story and an ending worthy of discussion and dissection, did I stop playing after only an hour, well before reaching the game’s main hook?  Two reasons.

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