Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Style in Games

I recently played a pen-and-paper game (via ventrilo) with a coworker and 3 other friends. It wasn't Dungeons and Dragons. In fact, the game is experimental and yet unpublished (Unsure whether it will be or not).

The intent of the game is to role-play as if your character were one of the stars of an anime series. Before playing, you create a character sheet and write a bunch of skills down that you deem your character has. When you're in any kind of encounter, you pick a skill that seems appropriate and roll the dice. On a pass, you narrate how the encounter plays out. In any character-appropriate way you want.

I noticed that the game's focus is Style. The Game-Master (GM) presented a plot, and essentially, we were guaranteed to succeed in the end. But the important part of the game was that opportunity of succeeding your way.

Players all want something different. I won't take the time to explain how diverse our characters were in the Pen-and-paper game I've been talking about, but they were each completely unique.

Thinking about it, the best video games allow players to do things their way. It's easy to criticize World of Warcraft for forcing players into a tank/dps/healer group structure, but at the same time, each individual player gets to choose from various classes. You also get to choose races, the quests you want to accept, the areas you want to explore--even pvp vs. questing vs. raiding.

Some shooters give you many choices of how to defeat your opponents. Different tools/weapons, and even different results for shooting a monster in the arm versus the leg or torso.

The games that will succeed on a grand scale will cater to each player's style. The current trends point to games doing one thing really well. But fortunately, there are many games to choose from. Find one that suits your style or play one that lets everybody play their way. What really matters is doing things your way.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My thoughts on 3D television and games

And E3 came and went, and... stuff happened. Yeah. that's it! Well, not completely. But there were a lot of sequels announced, plus a couple of innovations, and I'm glad Zelda is finally going to feel more like swinging a sword and all, but honestly, they say they are going to break from the formula but I don't think they can stand to. Now along comes the 3D DS. A first tm (third?) attempt at 3D hand-held gaming with no glasses. And it looks like it'll finally work this time. But am I excited? Not really. I'm sure some kids are though and that's what counts. 3D just makes games harder to code and thus more expensive with lower quality for a while until people really figure things out and then it becomes normal tm.

I'm glad however to be alive and enjoying my time in Lotro and with my family on my old Game Cube that got me through college. I need to steal my Wii back from my little sister one of these days. I have thought about it and I think I want to next blog about my favorite Game Cube era RPG's. That includes form the other systems as well. (PS2, XBox1, PC) Will be blogging about that shortly.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monster Hunter Tri

So, I've seen monster Hunter now and it has a number of appealing features. There are no levels, everything is gear/skill based. You have learn a number of moves if you switch weapons, and a number of dodging and other types of moves. Also, the monsters, well, the big ones anyways, are not constrained by the area they spawn in, they can run all over the world map, and you can even lose track of them from your tracking radar or they can get to some other monster and eat and heal or other things could happen. They also get into fights with other big monsters. And then there's the ridiculously big monsters, which are best tackled with a group of people. But yes, this game IS only about combat. What did you expect, given the name? Monster Crafter? Monster Farmer? Well you do do some ordering of people in the village to do things like craft and gather resources but really its about killin' stuff. REAL big stuff. One thing I didn't appreciate was the annoying dance guy who's always talking, but maybe that's just me, I'd rather have a sidekick you can fight effectively than one who dances, agroes the enemy then gets trampled, poisoned, roasted, etc.. repeatedly then comes back in 5 minutes without a scratch. You honestly don't care about him, he's an annoying sideshow at best IMO. I really like the online component. Every game for the Wii where this makes any sense should have this already. Honestly. its 2010 after all. And I've always loved dinosaurs, ever since I was little. Who doesn't?

Thoughts on Transformers 2

(warning spoilers ahead) I watched Transformers 2 recently and was rather disappointed. It didn't have the spirit and fluidity that the first one had. It felt rushed in many places too. I know I should never expect Hollywood to do a good job on a sequel but, what with a few good ones like Dark Knight coming out, I guess I foolishly let my hopes get up. There was a bit too much mystical voodoo and jumping through plot holes in this one. For example the matrix turning to dust, then reforming. and Optimus suddenly being able to pull huge parts and then not being able to sustain them... that reeked of a Super Mario invincibility star style plot thingy. Plus, you would think the military would expect something like what happened with the shard they were guarding. I mean they know these robots can transform into anything, you why weren't they expecting them to drop nanites in? They should seal it in a box with no opening and lik 20 feet of metal. That'd at least hold the enemy off long enough to respond in kind. As for the pretender thing with Sam, you'd think he would have said more than his girlfriends name like "help its a Decepticon" or something. honestly. A lot of people I talked to really didn't like the jive talking robots, but I personally didn't mind them. Still I think the one who got sucked up shoulda died in there.

GEEX Coming soon in Utah

GEEX (Gaming & Electronics EXpo) is July 16th and 17th in Utah!

This is a huuge convention. I know the guy who's leading the committee, and he is putting me in a position to speak on one of the floors about Indie Game Development.

It's pretty much the only choice for folks in or around Utah for a gamer convention. I believe they told me the first one, held 2 years ago, had 16,000 attendees. Be sure to check it out!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Snoopy Flying Ace: XBLA 9/10 on IGN

I knew this game was great, but 9/10 on IGN is astounding!

I didn't get to work on it personally, but it's from the studio I work in, so if you own an XBox, be sure to check it out!

This Just In, Lotro going Free To Play

 Mordor or Bust called it straight up, props to him:

Warner Bros. is to make its recently acquired flagship MMO free-to-play this fall, beta to start June 16.

Massively multiplayer online role-playing game Lord of the Rings Online is to go free-to-play, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Codemasters announced today. This will make LOTRO Warner Bros' second free-to-play MMO, after the successful switch away from a subscription model for Dungeons and Dragons Online last year.

No word on whether WBIE plans to charge extra for torches.

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar was released to critical acclaim in 2007, with expansions following in 2008 and 2009. Subscriptions to play currently cost up to $15 a month. The game will be free to play, but a new online LOTRO Store will allow players to purchase "expansions, quest packs, items, and account services a la carte," according to Warner Brothers. As with DDO, players will also be able to buy a VIP package, which gives players access to all of the premium features for one price--though the price itself was not revealed.

The project will be among the first overseen by Jeff Junge, WBIE's newly appointed senior vice president of online games and digital games platforms. Junge was given responsibility for the firm's entire digital games business in May. Codemasters will continue to publish the title in Europe alongside DDO, which it also publishes in the region.

LOTRO is developed by Turbine, which WBIE acquired in April to consolidate its control of Lord of The Rings gaming licences. The acquisition followed the Warner's re-acqusition of non-MMO rights to the franchise in March 2009. LOTRO was originally published by the now-defunct Midway Games.

The move will see LOTRO and its expansions disappear from store shelves, as all the distribution will be done through the new LOTRO online store. WBIE has said that the free-to-play version of the MMO will be available to play at the Electronic Entertainment Expo later this month.