Monday, November 30, 2009

Free Sounds!

For those of you with weird senses of humor or who may be interested in making games like me,  I just found a valuable treasure to share, a repository of free sounds! Check it out!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

To all my readers in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for giving me lots of insightful comments and for all your blogs I've enjoyed reading all year. For those outside the US, thank you too, campaign for thanksgiving to be instantiated in your country too! (Canada has it after all)
Gobble gobble gobble!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lord of the Rings Online gets Chinese Government approval

Lotro just got in where WoW is getting locked out. This means little in terms of revenue but a lot in terms of subscribers. 2.2 million Chinese were playing the open beta, with a high activation rate. But anyways they jsut got approval from the Chinese government to operate in China, or rather CDC games did. From Reuters: "The company's outlook is also being clouded by a regulatory spat over its operation of blockbuster online game World of Warcraft (WoW), which has seen a key Chinese government regulator quash its application to run the game due to "gross violations" of regulations. [ID:nN02450107]" Under gross violations of regulations see "lack of censorship and too much freedom" for details.

I am personally amazed at how long it takes these MMO's to launch in other languages compared to console games but I guess there IS a lot of text in an MMO to translate, and some countries (see China) have huge legal flaming hoops to jump through so I can understand the hold-up there. Still.. why doesn't Russia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, etc.. all get it fairly fast is beyond me.

How to formulate an opinion.

Step 1: Learn about something. Read about it, both from the point of view of the people who love it, and the people who hate it. This applies to video games, critical writing, religion, politics, sports cars, whatever. Or if you are impatient, skip to step 2
Step 2: Interact with said thing. This involves playing the game in our case. It can involve a number of details such as
  1. Use the thing a little bit, and then when you find anything wrong, leave. The thing is obviously worthless and not worth your time.
  2. Use the thing a lot, whether you like it or not. Make mental notes of the things you don't like. If they stack up too high, see step 1. If the positives greatly outweigh the negatives, fall head over heels in love with said thing.
  3. Upon falling in love with said thing, play it for a long long time until you either run out of things to do with it. Then see step 1, and then step 5.
  4. Or upon falling in love with said thing, use it sparingly so that it will not get used up before it can renew itself, vary your efforts on a multitude of things (could be alts or different games in our case). Never fall out of love with it.
  5. After having tossed said thing out the window 6 to 12 months ago, go back, pick up the pieces, tape them together with duct tape, and try to fall in love with said thing again because you miss it so much. (Some succeed, most have a hard time though)
Step 3. Formulate your opinion, you really only have two options here, you can base your opinion on whether you are in love with said thing (subjective) or you can base your opinion on the thing's inherent merits without regard to how much you personally loved it (objective). Most people go with subjective decisions, and since we're often talking about games, who can blame them? Which one has more weight with others though? Its actually hard to say since everyone is different. I personally enjoy hearing everyone's opinions. even ones that go against my own. It keeps things rounded out and gives me a better perspective, even if it doesn't necessarily change my mind all the time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NDA dropped For Mirkwood

The NDA for mirkwood dropped today so we've gotten a flood of screen shots everywhere, a veritable flood of visual "info". I personally like this one which conveys little information but looks cool:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nintendo makes good on one promise- Wiiware demos available

Read there for more but I think the title says it all. Free demos of Wiiware games are now available so that you don't have to gamble for good games with your Wii points any longer.

The games they are demoing right now are Bit.Trip Beat, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord, NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits (I want to see this one), World of Goo and Pokémon Rumble

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Star Trek Online Minimum System Reqs and launch date

All right you trekkies... I know you're out there! This one's for you!

Star Trek Online will launch Feb 2 next year, in only 4 months. (If you believe that it won't be pushed back further I have some Bay Bridge stock to sell you..)

The minimum system reqs are

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit)
  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 Ghz or AMD Athlon X2 3800+
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Video: NVIDIA GeForce 7950 / ATI Radeon X1800 / Intel HD Graphics
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Soundcard
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c or Higher
  • HDD: 8GB Free Disk Space
  • Network: Internet Broadband Connection Required
  • Disc: 6X DVD-ROM

Recommended System Configuration

  • OS: Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit)
  • CPU: Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon X2 5600+
  • Memory: 2GB RAM+
  • Video: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD 3850+
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Soundcard
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c or Higher
  • HDD: 8GB Free Disk Space
  • Network: Internet Broadband Connection Required
  • Disc: 6X DVD-ROM
And just for the record. Never ever aim for the minimum on a graphics intensive game like this. Always aim high but affordable. I'm glad they are planning to support 64 bit since half the new systems coming out ARE 64 bit and 2 out of 3 of our home computers are now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Transparent Pngs!

Here's what I figured out today... transparency in pngs via 2D sprites and Embedded fonts, this one is Garamond. (As well as floating text) Next I'm gonna add a bubble and work on 3D sprites somehow.

What MMO's need more of

Too much time at the office? Yessir, that's right sir!

While I was sitting here pondering the way things have gone I got to thinking that MMO's in general have very little that is... unpredictable or exciting. I think Tabula Rasa tried to dice things up with drop ships and such and Aion with its portals for pvp. But that's not what I was thinking about. I'm talking about unpredictable and exciting events the likes of which are so varied and exciting that your event that happens to you may not ever happen to any of your friends. It'd be ok if say, it happened to one in a hundred people on the server, it'd still be rare enough that it'd be really exciting. Some of these could have special loot drops and some could be just for the excitement or terror of something fresh, new and (Gasp) unique. There is precious little in MMO's I would call "story-worthy". They should make more of it.

Maybe at some random time at night, a thief sneaks into a certain inn in some city and can be caught or might kill you while shopping or sleeping at an inn. Maybe there's a dog you can follow who digs up a rabbit hole if you give him a bone and the hole opens to a wonderland 'pocket' dungeon that few have ever seen? This kind of thing has sort of been done before, but I'd be more interested in an MMO if almost ALL the "agents" who give quests and interract with players moved around and had a daily routine, majora's mask style where not only the time of day dictated their life, but the day of the week too. Maybe so and so's only out shopping on Tuesday, and such and such is only patrolling the west bank Mon-Fri. Maybe the gatekeeper is only gone to get the new one for a half hour late at night and that gives you time to sneak in somewhere? Lots of potential things start to happen as soon as you make this simple design choice to make the world full of "pseudo living" npc's instead of "psuedo statue" ones like we have now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rhuidia update 0.0002

Ok So last night I worked on Rhuidia for about an hour and I got transparent sprites working! But it broke all my blocks into weird 3D geometry too.. so I'm not trying to figure out how to mix a proper sprite (with transparency) with my other 3D block objects. Fun fun fun! :) I'll probably be working on it regularly from now on. My play days have been moved to weekends.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Blabbelon Five

There's a new kid in town on the voice chat front and it's Blabbelon. This may well devastate Ventrilo and TeamSpeak as we know them or it may just force them to copy its free, add funded business model. Or perhaps they will just be forced to offer better service. Anyways It allows you talk with lots of people at a higher quality level than ventrilo and do it for FREE.

Extra! Extra! read all about it! or here at Reuters for a more officialish one. Raiders Rejoice! Running a guild just got a whole lot cheaper.

What to expect in Lotro 2.0 (Links you may have missed)

So basically in my opinion, Riders of Rohan will be lotro 2.0 if they get mounted combat into the game and a new pvp system of some kind (pvmp skirmishes anyone?) (plz?)

But in the mean year that we have to wait, here's what's coming by this Christmas:

Mounts 2.0 Summary: Mounts will get the legwork they need to be more than an item in your inventory. They will be nameable, sometime they might have hitpoints*, but you can now open doors, interract with things and use certain skills and emotes on mounts. Considering how "mount centric" the battles in Lord of the rings were this is expected by the playerbase and future players.

Skirmishes! Summary: I like to call these pve battlegrounds.
If you want to read about skirmishes generally go here.
If you want to read about the story aspect of skirmishes, the the new siege of the prancing pony, go here
If you want to read about their new randomization and scaling aspects, and how they will come in solo, 3 man, 6 man or 12 man flavors, go here
If you want to read about the "soldiers" which is a pet which levels up and has traits but can only be used in skirmishes, go here
Lastly, if you just want the bottom line payout go here to learn about skirmish rewards

Now for my pvmp idea. Skirmishes could easily become excellent places for pvmp. Heck Alterac Valley in World of Warcraft is just a pvp skirmish! So its already been done! You could have both sides trying to accomplish goals and working against each other to succeed. And if they have to guard more than one way in and out, its a lot better. It breaks it up from being the same thing as the Ettenmoors blob versus blob fights. And it start each team with the same number (roughly) of people so that the fight is more fair. (see interesting) I can't see any downside. Monster Players could have their own goblin 'soldiers' too. That could be a lot of fun. And seriously, with Mounts 2.0, the Orc Monster players need warg mounts already. Why not let them ride warg players for a dual bonus? I can't see any reason why not....

*Correction: Mounts will have hitpoints and they will regenerate unless you get totaled and knocked off.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Back to work

Had a fun halloween, tried out Champions... uninstalled it cuz its not as good as City of Heroes, and then ran a dungeon with Anton (Great Barrows) and my little sister. Perfect place to be on Halloween. Here's an update of our game I got a sprite to stand up right and I'm messing with camera control and then I'll do sprite control.

(May as well get to work since it seems Anton is serious about this now, he keeps drawing good art for it anyways and I can't wait to put it to good use)