Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Anyways what makes raiding so appealing to us? I enjoyed being a raid leader in my days because I had an awesome guild in Warcraft, and in Lord of the Rings I found a new group of friends who made funny jokes, kicked butt, and showed up generally on time and excited to be there. So social factors are definitely a big part of it. Doing something epic with your friends, on a schedule is awesome. Its like being on a soccer team and winning a championship after lots of hard work, training and strategies. In fact raiding is very much like being on a sports team. For me, raiding is all about strategically tackling something difficult. I've seen bloggers lately go off about how raiding is jsut killing a big boss. This is like saying feasting always involves turkey. Just because you've always done something a particular way doesn't mean its the only way to do it. I remember one of my favorite encounters in World of Warcraft in Zul Furrak where you defend against an army of Troll cultists. But there are so many more possibilities for raiding that haven't been explored. How about a raiding skirmish where you have to stay off forces using several small groups and good communication and teamwork? Or perhaps a puzzle raid or a tricky player versus player one where you can only indirectly influence the other team with funny consequences...?
Lastly my question of what would a raiding only game consist of? A mix of pve, puzzle, pvp, and other raids, or just a pure raiding experience? How could it work. Obviously a quick matching service would be a must, but its not too hard to get ten people online at the same time, as we've seen from most pvp games online. Should everyone start at the level cap? Personally I say NO! People should be able to level up through raiding! Why not? And they should be able to get deeds and other stuff. Soldiers in Lotro are a great step towards requiring less humans for the same level of epicness. What are your thoughts?
Friday, April 23, 2010
But sharing Siphon Spirit's new features was very satisfying, actually. My friend who is programming it has done a lot of work-
(I don't expect you to know what all this means, but it's still an impressive list of new features)
New Cluster Type-Enemy Turret
New Cluster Type-Regenerating Enemy
New Cluster Type-Free Energy
New Cluster Type-Free Energy Emitter
New Cluster Type-Turret
New Cluster Type-Turret
Cluster Proximity Highlight effect
Multiple Language Support framework
In-level art display/text display/sound play
I also showed 17 new pieces of finished art, and I have a lot more in the works.
Very positive feedback from everyone there, and nobody mentioned how many months longer it's taking to develop our game than we'd originally said.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
So I've been attending to the birth of my new son, and in the previous weeks I've been preparing for it so that's why you might have seen less of me lately. I thought, mostly due to Anton's demands but also, just because I'm a proud parent and want you to see, I'd show you some pictures of him, so here you go.
What I've found, is that the best way to get players involved, is to listen to what they want and give it to them.
Is this any surprise? No.
But it does take effort, and consideration. The more the players feel like I am acknowledging their role-play efforts, and doing something specifically for each one of them, the better they seem to respond.
The real trick is doing this in a single player game. How do you cater to a player that you've never met, and give them exactly what they want? My guess would be simply to provide a wide range of options and opportunities. WoW is successful with sooo many players, because it offers sooo many different options, each designed for different types of players.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
2-Player! (VS mode only, unlockable after about 16 hours into single-player mode)
Online Play! (No chat though, so you should probably play single player against the AI for a better balanced game anyways.)
Over 60 Hours of (Very Repetitive) Gameplay!
This came up when a game designer colleague mentioned something about the relationship between game developers and game advertisers. He said that if you let game advertisers get involved too early in a game's development, that they will start asking you to add features so that they can put them on the box.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
An underground watery cavern
the infamous hall of mirrors
A creepy glowing thing that I'm supposed to smash in book 8, but didn't have he quest so I just screenshotted it at this point. And a Caerog who lives right around the corner.
The Beast... nobody knows what he is..
and lastly .. a glimpse of entering Lothlorien
And in other news, my wife is going to have a baby any time now. Its a boy and we're sooo excited. I spent all day today buying baby stuff which hopefully we won't have to do again if we have another one. Anyways. Cheers! -Thallian
Friday, April 9, 2010
As a Neverwinter Nights DM, I sometimes have to do things that the game doesn't support. A common obstacle is allowing player characters to travel to or through locations that I haven't actually built into my module. Also, letting them climb over things, or swim through pools of water.
This was kind of tricky at first, but I solved this issue by making myself into a narrator. I treat it as a tabletop game, and pretend I'm just sitting there with them, telling them what happened.
"You journey through a wind-blasted desert. A sandstorm blinds your group, but in keeping your bearings, you press onward until you take refuge under a cliff face. You shortly discover a cavern entrance, and seek shelter inside." At this point, I teleport the players to any cave in my module I might have available, and then run ahead to set up a few monster encounters.
People fill in a lot of stuff, and it's possible that this description is more memorable than the rest of the game session.
I'd like to point out another example from filmography. Do you remember the original Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back? Not the Special Edition, the ORIGINAL. In the original release, you hardly got a glimpse of the monster. This was probably MOSTLY due to horrible special effects, but maybe not. Tell me which image is scarier.
Watching the original version, you merely get glimpses of the monster. You hear his grunts. The music heightens. Your brain imagines something is coming, and your brain foresees the most horrifying thing possible.
The special edition shows you the monster from the start, eating up Luke's poor Taun Taun. The scene doesn't really make you scared. Instead, it evokes fascination. "Oh, look at that cool-looking monster. I always wondered what he looked like."
Video games can do this too. Think about the earliest games you played as a kid. The graphics were bits and blocks next to the almost-photo-real renders we see now. But how did the developers get around this? They always included box art and a little booklet with fun pictures in it. Suddenly, when you played Zelda, that little green man looked so much cooler in your head than he did on screen. And you believed it. (Incidentally, Nintendo really should put some of that art into its Virtual Console interface somewhere).
But what about now? The best developers should still be aware of this and tell their stories as such. Those that do will make more powerful experiences for the players, and may even save development costs.
I'm sure many games pull this off well, even now. If you know of any other good examples, leave a comment!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Why am I promoting a game on XBox when I don't even have one? Because this is being developed at my workplace! I'm not on the team that's making it, so don't credit me, but I have seen this game played and I am very impressed by the visuals. VERY impressed. This review confirms that it's also a very fun game. They say it's coming out in June for XBox Live. Supports multiplayer DOGfights. And yes, you do get to fly the dog house, but only as a bonus.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
- This is the only Wii game left that I was excited about since launch.I played Monster Hunter 1 on PS2...In fact, I think this screenshot is from Monster Hunter 1, but not sure...The game's premise is simple...our village is hungry...go get us food. Eventually your livestock is threatened by wyverns and it gets a bit more dangerous. If you get to the really tough quests, you're fighting a dragon that's 1/2 a mile long that threatens to destroy your village.
- The Wii version coming out this month seems to be not much different, other than updated graphics, new challenges, new monsters, and the addition of water quests (boating and underwater swimming from what I can tell).
- What I really played for back then was the online feature. You meet in a town setting to form a party on servers that allow 8 players in a town. You form parties of 4 and choose quests, then you go out together and Hunt! I know the Wii version has parties of 4 for hunts, but I don't know how grouping will happen yet.
- Wii's version features 4 player online play, with usb keyboard chat support. Also, Wii Speak functionality (but who wants to buy that :P ).
- MH3 has a Co-op split-screen play for local 2-player games, but I understand that this is only for a specific arena game mode and not the missions. I'm not too sure about that.
- I am hanging on whether or not to spend $50 on this game, I've wanted it for so long now...It's been out in Japan since last summer and I read that it is to this date the top-selling non-first-party Nintendo seller on Wii over there. If there's a game worth getting, this is the one.
- I'll let you know if I spring for the purchase or not.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Is this one of the secrets to the game's success? Let's look at another example...the highly popular LEGO game franchise. If you've played any of these, you'll notice a similar mechanic. In single player mode, an A.I. controls your companion. But at any moment, a friend can join in, or leave the game.
This leads me to a suggestion for MMO's. Suppose you allow players to share a character across accounts. Now, I could have multiple characters, and if my friend wants to raid with me, I can share that character with him.
Suppose I'm in a raid, and I have to go elsewhere for awhile...I could leave and let AI take over my character for awhile, so long as another human player is still around.
Suppose we need to fill more slots in a raid...What if I could bring 2 of my other characters along and allow them to AI battle for me, or swap between the three at any moment?
It's all about more power to the players, and more choices of how to play. I'd like to see someone try this out.
Friday, April 2, 2010
I played Lost Winds awhile back. It was fantastic. For 4 hours. Then it was literally over. I beat the game and got all its extras. With such a gorgeous-looking, well-designed puzzle game, and costing $10, I felt like the experience was cut short.
Adding replayability to a game is so simple, it's amazing to me when developers fail to do so. ICO suffered a similar problem. Although I think it felt more satisfying because it lasted twice as long as Lost Winds. Still, it could have used a reason to try again. Unfortunately, like Lost Winds, ICO is a puzzle game and has a similar lack of interest for a second challenge.
Then, the ICO team brought us Shadow of the Colossus. Not only did it offer twice as much gameplay to begin with, but they unlocked a new difficulty level and a second gameplay mode upon completion. Now if you were left wanting more, there was somewhere to go.
Some simple was to add replay value:
- Play through with weaker monsters replaced by stronger ones (Super Mario Bros)
- Reconfigure/reposition puzzle elements the second go (Zelda)
- Play again with a different look for your character (Metroid 1)
- Offer a time-limited mode ( Shadow of the Colossus)
- Offer an increased difficulty mode (Shadow of the Colossus)
- Put a score on each level, and unlock new hidden areas for achieving higher scores in the primary areas
- Open up an arena mode for battling and throw in tiers and challenges
- Incorporate a quest system that has innumerable little things you can go do in the same world (WoW, right?)
- Incorporate an achievement system that has more innumerable little things you can go do in the same world (WoW again)
Alternate Endings--I think these are poor ways to motivate additional play. An ending is not play. So now you must go online and find out what you did wrong and go do everything over? That really doesn't count, for me. Replay value needs to be incorporated into play.
So what could LostWinds have done? I think it would have been easy enough for them to make the monsters a bit harder, or maybe add a ton more monsters. Slightly altering the puzzles in the game would have been great. As a reward, they might have had an extra character appear that teaches you a little additional background lore about the world that you didn't learn the first time. If they had a little more time, it would have been awesome if the world changed visually from day to night, too.