The Expectation of Perpetual Updates

Ok gamers, it’s once again time to take out that mirror and take a look at ourselves as a group. A few weeks ago I noticed a tweet by a clearly rattled Jim Rossignol; linchpin of ‘Big Robot’, a tiny development team responsible for that excellent British romp ‘Sir! You are being hunted’ and ‘The Signal From Tölva‘ which won me over earlier this year with it’s sci-fi vistas.

Jim_tweet1
yes… I tend to use night mode on twitter…

The above tweet was the beginning of a mini-rant from Jim about the annoyances of some gamers assuming that the development of a title can go on perpetually; curious to know Jim’s views on the subject I decided to jump in to the conversation:

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Arduboy Update: “Zoo at Midnight” & “Ninja Fuzzgrawth”

A little while back at the beginning of the year I posted about that neat card-sized Arduino based console; The Arduboy…

…and now’s a good time to get involved if you’re interested because that spiffing gentleman, Kevin Bates, is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to support the development of ‘Arduventure’; an ambitious Arduboy based RPG with backer rewards including the hardware itself…

This past week I’ve been putting in quite a bit of time to push forward my current Arduboy project; it’s another epic platformer, “Ninja Fuzzgrawth”, which is loosely inspired by ‘Super House of Dead Ninjas’ but has mostly been an interesting foray further into my own exploration of programming and game making at a level that I can handle. In truth the bare bones of the game mechanics had been in place for some time, but I had been lacking that motivation to actually put the “game” in to the game. Even now, the biggest task I have remaining is designing the level blocks for the player to navigate. In the intervening months I also threw out into the community the top-down sneaky-sneaky “Zoo at Midnight” in which the player takes the reigns of … erm… a creature… sneaking around the zoo to feed the animals and avoiding the flashlights of the zoo wardens. That project began life as an entry into the first Arduboy game Jam, but sadly (although I began work on it at that time) I suddenly became too busy to finish it, so the game dragged on another month or so before I actually set it free on the world. Continue reading “Arduboy Update: “Zoo at Midnight” & “Ninja Fuzzgrawth””

That Was No lizard: Dino Crisis

Spoiler Warning: This article contains plot spoilers for Dino Crisis and strong dinosaur references

Motivated by my recent nostalgic ramblings about games with fixed camera angles and pre-rendered backgrounds, I decided to give something new, but of the same era and style a go, so I leapt on to eBay to pick up a copy of Capcom’s 1999 PS1 release, Dino Crisis … and now owe everyone an apology because Dino Crisis doesn’t have pre-rendered backgrounds, it takes place in 3D environment… so, sorry everyone… I was wrong… It is however a game that follows the Resident Evil style of gameplay remarkably closely which is unsurprising being directed by Shinji Mikami, produced by Capcom at a time that the early Resident Evil games were at their peak, and even mentions Resident Evil on the boxart. At the time I was aware of it mainly through playing a short (and seemingly mis-remembered) demo, although given that there were two sequels, it must had had at least a fair following and reception. From my own point of view it strummed all the right nostalgic chords that I had hoped for when I got the urge to revisit a “Resident Evil” game; so much that I played it through to completion which is more than I can say for some retro games I’ve tried to turn my hand to.   Continue reading “That Was No lizard: Dino Crisis”

I Suck at Expos: EGX Rundown 2017

The title pretty much covers it, I suck at expos. I want to see the hot new games, but I don’t like to queue and don’t really enjoy the sensation of other people watching me play over my shoulder. Add to this that there are also some games that I’m interested in, but kinda feel like I want to settle in to them at my own pace rather than a frantic whistlestop sample that the expo environment provides. Nevertheless, the pull of EGX was too much this year so I picked up a day ticket a few weeks ago and last Friday moseyed on over to the NEC in Birmingham with my wife for a game filled day in the crowds feeling more than once a little self-consciously-over-30, although I’d like to thank the guy who complimented my Owlboy T-shirt for validating my fashion choice for the day. Luckily the Rezzed section (full of the latest indie titles) was near the entrance and we found ourselves 2 hours in without progressing more than two rows of booths from the door. Continue reading “I Suck at Expos: EGX Rundown 2017”

Immovable Viewpoint: Reminiscing About Pre-Rendered Backgrounds

With current generation PC’s and consoles able to render glorious scenes on-the-fly in almost photo-realistic detail… well, at least until the next step forward when we’ll all look back and wonder how we ever coped with the current blocky mess of low-resolution graphics… the idea of pre-rendering backgrounds feels like a quaint footnote in the annals of gaming’s heritage. It occupied the fabled spot of cutting edge practice for a few short years around the mid to late 90’s and is most closely associated with Capcom survival horror games (the early Resident Evil games and Dino Crisis) but was used in a few other notable games including Final Fantasy VII. Of course with my self acknowledged predisposition to Resident Evil 2 I do have a soft spot for this particular visual style and, having been reminded of it following my recent nostslgia trip into Devil May Cry, my brain has been idley mulling over the technique from a practical and stylistic point of view. The ‘What’ & ‘Why’ of pre-rendered backgrounds is worth picking over before getting to how I feel about them, especially as there may be (shockingly) more than a few people reading who’ve never experienced a game with fixed camera angles and pre-rendered backgrounds. Continue reading “Immovable Viewpoint: Reminiscing About Pre-Rendered Backgrounds”

The Many Guises of Open-Worlding

After vowing a few weeks ago that this blog wouldn’t descend into a shrine to Nintendo following my systematic indoctrination that the giant Ninty offer as a complimentary service to all those able to get their mortal paws on a Switch (and presumably either of their ‘mini’ consoles given the pace they race off the shelves/pre-order virtual shelves), it has nonetheless been the focus of my gaming for the past month with at least 85% of that devoted to the open world beast of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I do want to put down my thoughts on that particular title as a whole, but I just don’t feel quite qualified yet, so watch this space for future ramblings on the subject. As my first Zelda outing it has been a great experience, despite being warned on a few occasions that it wasn’t necessarily representative of the traditional Zelda romp and that as an open world title some people didn’t think it was the best example. I would agree that it is a slow starter and does rely on the player giving it the time to absorb them into that world, but once I was enthralled, it really is a well crafted title worthy of the premium price-point (something I’m really not so familiar with coming in from a PC gaming background where every game is generally knocked down within the first few months). Continue reading “The Many Guises of Open-Worlding”

Blogger Blitz Round 2*: Villain Escape

*Blogger Blitz is a community event, wistfully dreamt up by Ian over at Adventure Rules

Thank-you for tuning back in fans of all that is cross-over-filled and surreal; it’s time for my entry into Round 2 of the ‘Blogger Blitz’. For anyone who didn’t tune in for round one then feel free to jump back and read my entry, but more importantly maybe head over to Adventure Rules to see this round’s schedule and what the concept entails, all deftly described by the architect of this madness.

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