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Sol Contingency

April 17, 2013 Leave a comment

Golly, it’s been a while hasn’t it.

I posted not too long ago about an ambitious project that brought the classic game Descent to Unreal Engine 3. This teaser trailer just recently hit the internet:

See their site for more info.

Categories: Games, Links Tags: , ,

Yes, Please

November 21, 2012 Leave a comment

That is all.

Categories: Games, Links Tags: , ,

Counterintuitive

October 20, 2012 1 comment

I was talking with a friend a while back, who said that he played a game with updated graphics but was disappointed at other qualities of the game. Specifically, he said that since they put so much effort into making the game look good, he expected that the gameplay aspect would be fun. That got me thinking. Long-time readers of this blog will know that I put creativity and polish in gameplay and design much higher on a list of priorities than graphics in games. But could it be possible that developers are actually shooting themselves in the foot by focusing so intently on making their games look shiny?

Let’s back up a second. Graphics certainly have their role to play, and on its own, enhancing graphics does produce a positive effect. They quickly describe the environment and action of a situation to the player(s), and they contribute (if not in the most important way) to the immersion of the experience. But by making a game that looks fantastic, developers are saying to some extent, whether they mean to or not, “We have this amazing experience that we want to show you in the most detailed way!”, and if that experience doesn’t hold up to the built-in hype, then it’s like a coat of paint on an outdated car, and it can feel more like a letdown than a decent game with the plus of nice graphics.

That explains part of the appeal of independent games (the best ones, at least). By and large, they’re not all that concerned with the greatest graphics (they often don’t have the resources for AAA-level art anyway), and instead focus on delivering a compelling and/or unique gameplay experience that they think will be fun.

I’d love to get some discussion going about this topic. Do you think developers are actually hurting themselves by adding shiny graphics over better gameplay mechanics and design? Do you think better graphics are always a plus? Leave a comment!

Categories: Design, Games Tags: ,

League of Legends Review

September 23, 2012 Leave a comment

League of Legends is a free-to-play MOBA game (in the style of the Warcraft III map, Defense of the Ancients, and its upcoming successor from Valve, Dota2) from Riot Games. Players control a single character and, with the help of their team, attempt to destroy the buildings of the other team. This is facilitated by their own character’s unique abilities, as well as the items they choose to buy with gold they earn over the course of a match, and runes and masteries that the player can acquire and customize in the launcher outside the actual matches. Over the years since its release, Riot Games has been steadily adding content to the game, primarily in the form of new playable characters. These characters, as well as cosmetic-only customization options for them, can be purchased with actual currency, and characters (but not skins) can be purchased through an alternate currency that is earned over time by playing matches. All the “freemium” stuff aside, though, let’s talk about the gameplay:

I’ll start off by saying that this game has a massive learning curve. Even the not-particularly-intelligent bots can be difficult for new players until they learn the ropes. This is because the game is incredibly deep. For example, there are well over a hundred items to choose from, with any combination of which you can equip your character during a given match. Learning what the best combinations are comes with a lot of time, research and/or practice. Until you’ve played as or played against every character (again, 100+) in the game, there’s a good chance that your opponents will be able to surprise you with something you’re just not familiar with yet. If you want to get any sort of decent at this game, plan to invest some time. I recommend you play this game with friends – it’s more fun to play on a team with people you know, and it’s a lot easier to learn with someone to help you along.

More after the break:

Read more…

Mann vs. Machine

August 14, 2012 Leave a comment

It looks like I’m on some kind of Team Fortress 2 kick lately – probably because Valve is on a roll over there. In case you haven’t heard, they’re rolling out a new co-op mode in an event they’re calling “Mann vs. Machine.” Read up on it here. I’ve wanted some kind of campaign or co-op mode in TF2 for a while now, and while this isn’t exactly what I had imagined, I’m still rather excited. Enthused. Fun word, that. Anyway, check out the promo video below:

What are your thoughts on the video and the new game mode? Let us know in the comments!

Engineers solve…

July 28, 2012 Leave a comment

There’s a lot of great work out there since the Source Filmmaker tool has become freely available, after a limited availability beta period. Here’s another one with especially high production value:

Canyon Terrain Editor v1.0

July 8, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s the moment you’ve (possibly) been waiting for! Canyon Terrain Editor has reached full version status, now releasing at version 1.o! But I know what you really want to see is the list of changes in the new version:

  • Real-time shadows
  • Movable light source
  • Heavily reduced memory consumption of undo/redo stack
  • Texture by elevation button
  • Enhanced detail generation on Detail Increase
  • Invert terrain button
  • Texture smoothing tool
  • … and a few other changes here and there

You can download the new editor version from the Canyon Terrain Editor page. As before, I’m really looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with, both directly in the editor and as part of larger projects. If you make something cool, send me an email or drop a comment here!

Categories: Canyon Editor, Games Tags: ,