Skip navigation

I think more than anything, I’ve learned that I really suck at staying open and transparent about my work with games.

Maybe it’s because I know it isn’t that good. It’s true, I’m still just getting started, I’m still learning the ropes, I still have a long way to go. It’s exciting but it’s also frightening, as the more I learn, the more I look back on what I’ve done so far and cringe.

I had no idea how small a “small” game needed to be. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t still think in the back of my head, maybe I STILL don’t have any idea.

I have so many conflicting ideas and goals that it gets very difficult just trying to do this all myself. I find that I jump into a project really enjoying one aspect but then realize that it’s not really going anywhere I care to take the time to take it. What do you DO when you know your results just don’t match up to your hopes and expectations? That the trajectory your project on is going to hit square in the “way too mediocre” bullseye if you keep going forward on it?

I started in Game Maker, and I’m still using it… but now that I’ve gotten to really learn what Unity can do, and experienced plenty of it in another project, I look back at the limitations of GM and wonder how I ever thought it could put out something at the level of quality I wanted. Some people can wrangle that beast, through whatever trickery they use, but I fear it’s beyond me, to make my GM projects into something that I really want to label me.

So, what’s to become of all my work? Trust me, I have plenty up my sleeves. I’ve been neglecting a lot of my own personal art time to really crack down on something new. I’m not going to make promises because I’ve proven thus far that breaking them is something I’m very good at when it comes to these flimsy projects of mine. But this one… it’s solid. It’s well on its way to completion. It’s something I think I very much would like to label myself with. It’s a gem which I think is likely I’ll see to completion and commercial release in moderately short order, but it needs more time in the oven before I can really put it out there for everyone.

I must thank everyone who’s stuck around so long. It really means a lot to me that there’s even one person out there reading my ramblings and excited for what I put out. I think by now you’ve learned not to get too hyped up, though! I’ll have something cool out there eventually, but time isn’t ticking by too fast to let it bake until it’s really ready.

 

For now I have nothing to share, but I do have an imminent, approaching need to gather a small group of testers. I’ll be putting up a message here first, and later in other places, to gather a small group of Android tablet and phone users. I’ll be needing to gather some data on how new players catch on to the mechanics and how capable they are of overcoming certain challenges early on. Progression is going to take a fair bit of fine-tuning and I want to make sure I have it locked down before release. I would be looking for testers right now, but I need to program in a few more menus and a few other bits before it’s ready for play-testing. Preliminary and alpha play-testing went quite well, though, and I’m excited to hear from players once they get to experience it in a closer to complete form.

 

In other news, no more sketches for signing off! I enjoyed using them, but to be totally honest, half the reason I’ve waited so long to make a post on here so often is because I was too lazy to sketch up a new one. :P

I guess that means I owe everyone an update. Here goes nothing!

 

The information blackout this summer has turned out to be a pretty good thing for my work, I think. It’s kept me focused on making rather than presenting, and I haven’t spent more than a few weeks at a time focusing solely on other work. I think it’s safe to say that my current project is not only at the point where Hysteria and The Outer World managed to get to, but it’s already beyond that. I have already programmed and art-ed in every major mechanic for the player character, created a useful tile system that allows me to fairly quickly create and apply a new set of tiled graphics to an area without worrying about setting the right tiles for the right spots (as they automatically set themselves to the right tile graphic based on what’s around them), coded a nice little Baby’s First NPC Dialogue System complete with branching dialogue paths and my own syntax codes to make certain actions happen when the text reaches a specific spot, and even put together a few enemies to fight, all with their own simple AI systems.

Right now, I have the foundation just about completely laid down. It’s quite playable in its current state, and even rather pretty, save for the lack of UI elements and various things I intend to sprinkle around levels. But even so, I feel like it’s too soon to show it off just yet.

This game’s mechanics are simple even for a sidescrolling action game. If you’ve played Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero, you know the kind of movement system I’m putting in place. It’s very much a modern take on an oldschool gameplay style. You have quite a few actions at your disposal, but they are all limited and balanced in their own ways, so you need to think through how you’ll go about each scenario you end up in. It’s like if you took the old NES Castlevania games, how they handled moving around and how each weapon or item you used had its own limitations, and applied that same sort of thinking to 2D Metroid game progression, where you obtain new skills and items as you progress, which open up new possibilities. Dare I say… Metroidvania?

Surely this is nothing new. It probably sounds a lot like things you’ve already played. To be fair, this IS a smaller project than those before it and I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I have ideas that I’m sure will make it a very fun play, but the problem is that they mostly rely on a more finished state to show them off. I still want the ‘full reveal’ to be a surprise for everyone so I’m not really going into detail about the game until I’m really ready to lift the curtains. When that happens, I’d like to have a demo to throw out there to let you experience the first couple levels for yourself and see what I’m really on about here. Or at least have it coming soon.

With school back in session, I have less time to get work done on the game, but this has been a very productive summer and an interesting game project so far. I plan on continuing my work on the game alongside schoolwork and art commissions. I’m hoping that this will be successful and everyone likes what I’ve done!

Just a cheeky little bastard~

Well, I haven’t given up on Hysteria Star but I’m in need of a smaller, quicker project I can devote myself to for the summer.

Yes, I know, I know. This is starting to sound a lot like what happened when I dropped The Outer World to work on Hysteria Star. In that case, I had a game whose engine was starting to look shaky and a project that was simply too big to handle alone in a few years. I scrapped the project, though I hope to come back later with a different direction and a team to back me up. Hysteria Star was to be my smaller-scale project, but it’s ended up being a slow burn over time, not really something I’ve been able to sink my teeth into and get far enough to really see it to the next level. But month after month, I continue to make almost no progress on it at all.

I think with the coming of summer, it’s time that I set aside Hysteria for a while and re-focused my efforts on something decidedly simpler, something I think I can push out faster and end up with a more fun and easily playable game without as much serious effort. I’ve wanted to do something like this game for a while, and I hope I will be able to devote the time to it this summer to make it happen. If nothing else it should be an interesting experiment.

I won’t be updating on game progress again until the end of the summer, and hopefully by then I’ll have something I can reveal. Who knows?

It seems every update takes me longer than the last to get around to… I apologize for the tardiness, I guess it’s a good thing I’m not doing monthly updates still, though. I wouldn’t have much to show this time if that were true.

 

Honestly, there’s not much to say with this one. I haven’t gotten to work on Hysteria since spring semester kicked in, and it’s really in high gear right now so I’m really wishing I had more time lately. But I did make some progress earlier in the year.

Last update, I mentioned points and combos. Well, I’ve added them in and made a few interesting changes to the usual formula.

When you destroy an enemy, the combo counter goes up by 1 and begins to fade out over 3 seconds. Once it fades completely, the combo is reset to 0. Higher combo levels, as you might expect, multiply the points you earn, but getting hit also eliminates your combo.

Now, here’s the fun part: Destroying an enemy gives you no points. The only way to gather points is to snag the little floating whatevers the enemies drop, or the bigger floating whatevers that also give you other cool stuff when you pick them up. When you grab one, you renew your combo, just like when you destroy an enemy. You’re reset back up to 3 seconds before the combo expires, but you don’t gain combo counter levels by picking them up. Just points.

What this mechanic does is adds an extra facet to the gameplay. It’s not just something more to pay attention to, but it makes it possible to design levels without a constant stream of baddies at all times, but still giving the player the chance to keep up their combos during those dry spots. It also makes things a bit more interesting. Do you grab the points now, or wait until they’re just about off the screen and see if you can get a higher multiplier on them?

 

Another few changes I’ve made, I also mentioned in the last update. I’ve simplified player health a lot, to the point where it’s feeling much more oldschool, but in a good way. I’ve also tightened up the movement a lot. Next, I think I’ll be focusing on specials, tuning up the level start and death sequences to actually reflect how the game is supposed to play, and throwing in some graphics on-screen. I need to get some simple interfaces going so it’s not just a really cheap test level.

 

So, who’s to say when I’ll be updating again… I sure hope it’s sooner rather than later, and that I’ll have a lot more to show off. Really, though, the foundation is starting to take shape. Given some better sound design (oops.. my bad) and visual assets I think I could have something I’d actually be willing to throw out there and see what people think about it. I’m still a long way from something I’m really willing to let people play, but I still think there’s a lot of life left in Hysteria Star, and I’m moving ever closer to a Hysteria I think people might really like.

Well, here’s hoping, anyway…

Laziness, thy name is Bit

Another update, another slowness thing. I have gotten some things done but again, the game itself feels nowhere closer to completion than it was before.

 

What I have done, though.. that’s interesting, right?

Well, I’ve done some work with the menus and overall style of the game’s interface, for one. Interface tends to be something I waffle about on so it’s good to have something to play around with long before I need to implement it and realize I hate how it looks.

I kind of hate how it looks already.

 

You’ll notice I’m using two different styles here. The characters are cartoony, rather silly and not very realistic, and contrast a bit with the smooth shaded and un-lined ships. I don’t think this story could possibly be told with any less cute a style. And come on… it’s ME we’re talking about.

 

Last time I updated, the game was actually in an unplayable state, where I was working on optimizing and implementing new systems and various things that will make future work on the game much quicker and easier. Well, that’s finished and now the game is back and better than before! Still very minimal, content-wise, but I haven’t gotten to the point where I can just start churning that out.

 

I still have a lot to work with to get the gameplay tuned up. Points and combos/multipliers are not yet implemented, and I’m thinking of ways that I can simplify things down a bit. I feel player health is a bit high where it is now, and that might cause the game to get more to the hectic side of things rather than the fine-tuned precision play I’m looking for, and the movement system… both button movement and how speed upgrades work, needs heavy tweaking. I could always start throwing ships and movement patterns and craziness at it and seeing what sticks but I find it very important to stick the basic mechanics in place before moving on and focusing on content.

 

And now… for the fun of it, a glitch:

Dude... you should fix that.

I posted my last screenshot what… three updates ago? Sadly I don’t have any actual new  ones but here’s one for fun from early November. (yes, the background a lot better now. See the ship select screen thing!) A little slip-up in the repetitive fire code in the drones caused them to, instead of firing a 3-shot burst over about a third of a second, fire a shot every single step. The effect was really cool, but I think it was also cool to note while this crazy wave of doom swept over the screen, destroying all in its path, Game Maker still withstood that immense blow at 720p, not dropping in framerate.

In-game HUD will be my next priority after code tweaks, getting points/combos in , and more gameplay things that will be a big deal. I really hope I can get off my fuzzy butt and just get to it, now. I’ve been faster than ever at churning out art and it’s all lately been for non-Hysteria stuff.

 

Maybe with the new year will come a new, more productive me.

 

*apocalypse*

And everyone died. The end.

Well, in all honesty I should have expected this. I took on work and school and commissions all at once. There’s no reason I should have been able to do it all AND a game at once. I even have another game project with a different group underway. There’s just no time to do it all.

LOL NO I’M STILL WORKING ON HYSTERIA STAR. DON’T WORRY!

I’ve dropped work (I don’t need you, Walmart!) but I really need to catch up on life a bit before I can really get back into Hysteria. But I am still making progress… however slowly it may be. This weekend marks the first where I’m not working 16 hours, so that’s just 16 more I can spend on the game!

It’s actually rather embarrassing how little progress I’ve made since the last post. Hell, it’s embarrassing what a simple state the game itself is in after all this time. It’s a slow crawl but more and more the game comes to life in my mind and more and more it takes the steps necessary to becoming a reality. The newest additions to the game plan? A complete overhaul of the spawning and level loading system and basically how all the data is setup.

This one really makes me feel smart. Since the beginning, the plan has been to generate levels from .bmp image files, with each pixel marking a square in the invisible grid that makes up the level. Originally, the plan was to have several level types and have a script read each differently, so only certain enemy types would appear in each level. But why make a bunch of different scripts? What if I want one background or another music? What if the music changes? What if I want some of a different enemy type for one level?

That thought led me to something much better. Each pixel holds an R, G, and B value, from 0 to 255. What if most enemies in the game are just instances of the same object, with some thirty values that completely change its appearance, attack, movement, and much more? What if a big array of values holds all this data for every enemy in one central location, and I use one of the color values to determine which set of values in the array is taken when the enemy spawns?

Wait.. why not do the same for the player? And powerups? And scenery?

This simplifies things SO MUCH! Without sacrificing the ability to do a lot of vastly different things with player ships, mechanics, enemy types and everything, I can make it much easier to access and change their data without the possibility that I might break something else, and without having to dig through a million different things to find what I need.

Yes, the last couple months has been a big learning time for me, as I’ve been mostly backtracking on my old code and improving things. I’ve learned the importance of defining constants in a nice list which I can access later. I’ve learned how great object-oriented programming can really make things when you have a lot of similar-yet-different things in your game. Yes, here I am coding my second game and I’m still making newbie mistakes early on. But after tearing through old stuff and improving it a lot, I’m almost back where I left off. Well, that and I have a lot more concepts figured out.

So, the plan at the moment is 12 playable ships, 6 main ones and 6 side stories. That’s two ships per pilot in the main story arc, giving you a little extra choice depending on your preference. As for the game-changers, the six side-stories will be among the most different in terms of how they play… also their storylines will be about 95% more ridiculous.

One thing I’ve been doing lately is looking back at the games I take my inspiration from. I find it really important to look at the different kinds of play styles other shoot-em-ups offer, and look at how that differs from what I’m doing. I like for players to be able to recognize what kind of game this is and know what they’re getting into, but I don’t want my game to fall in the same pitfalls I feel those ones do.  Being original is an important point to me as well, because the last thing Hysteria should feel like is “been there, done that”.

Interestingly, playing these games has mostly had the effect of making me wish they played more like Hysteria. Why aren’t the enemy bullets as bright as my own? Why isn’t there any color coding on enemy shots so I know what to avoid more easily? Why is there never any warning before something fires a bullet at my ship? Why is the movement so twitchy? Why do tiny mistakes like tapping the wall set me back half the level and lose me my hard-earned powerups? Being punished for failure by having to repeat a section can be annoying enough but losing your upgrades often means you’re more likely to fail again. You’re not racking up points or having fun at that point… you’re racking up frustration! This is one of the things I’m going to be hitting hard as Hysteria gets further into development. Remaining a positive and fun experience even in the face of a big challenge should be the focus. And even when it isn’t, there should be ways for players to lessen the strain on themselves when it’s just too much to handle. I know as well as anyone how great it feels to overcome a really tough challenge and come out on top, but there are times I wish I could just say enough is enough and the game would let up a little.

Well, I’m sure Hysteria will be better than that… if I ever get the thing finished. BIT WHY U SO SLOW~

Today is apparently Play Some Really Freaking Furry Games Day because both games I’m talking about are ANIMALERRIFIC. Both for very different reasons.
Let’s start with Dust: An Elysian Tail, an Xbox 360 Arcade game.

More like Dust: My Videogame Fantasy. Seriously, it’s like someone sat down and looked at all my favorite things and stuck them together: furries, cute characters, Metroidvania, beautiful flowing 2D animation, super high difficulty available. Dust had every opportunity to be a mediocre game with amateur art and a cliche storyline about some overpowered dude getting redemption for bad things and just being SUCH A BADASS I MEAN LOOK AT HIM.

But no, crazy as it sounds, this Metroidvania adventure full of fuzzy, cute things, made mostly by ONE GUY (he seriously did all the art, animation, coding (he knew nothing about programming before this. It doesn’t show at all), and putting everything together. He only got outside help for voices, writing and music,) actually has a really good story with well-written characters and it’s fun as heck to boot. Combos are so much fun to pull off, and enemies give just the right amount of warning and dish out serious hurt to make you watch out to not open yourself to attacks.

There’s one issue I have with the game, and that’s a fairly bad design decision involving these bubble things that randomly burst with deadly poison droplets all over. I’m playing on the hardest difficulty (not recommended unless you love pain like me) and made the choice to drop most of my stat points (DID I MENTION THIS ALSO HAS RPG ELEMENTS <3) into attack, purposely ignoring HP and defense, so I die in two hits at most. (seriously not recommended) Well, the problem is there’s such a short amount of warning before those things explode on you, there’s often not enough time to get out of the way, and the randomness of it can cause them to go off after 10 seconds… or 1/5th of a second. And they’re all over, so it’s not uncommon to have them all around you, rapid-firing until you’re screwed into a corner. I died a lot at those parts.
Though, during a miniboss fight I noticed they gave a lot more warning and it was actually possible to not die horribly there. I THINK they do that normally on the lower difficulties, only going bats*** crazy on you on Hardcore. That’s really the only way I can see that sort of thing getting through testing, honestly.

So, as long as you’re not a super-masochist you’ll be fine. If you are a super-masochist, you’ll probably enjoy it in some dark way anyway. (hehe…eh..) Overall, it’s a really great game regardless of the problem I ran into. I can hardly recommend it more if anything I said about it piqued your interest. Go watch some gameplay.. I won’t be going anywhere…

SO, on the subject of dying, let’s talk about an equally fuzzy game about animals!
This one features a lot of dying. Lots of eating things and if you’re like me, lots of being eaten. (I’M A TERRIBLE POMERANIAN)

Yes, it’s Tokyo Jungle, a PS3 downloadable about an animal- and plant-infested Tokyo where every furry’s favorite apocalypse scenario somehow took place. All humans died off 10 years ago but everything else is okay!

It’s an action/stealth game all about surviving in this harsh jungle-ified Tokyo. There’s a story mode which has you playing different animals and slowly telling the story of how the humans all died out as you find clues left over from civilization. Then there’s Survival mode, where you just try to last as long as you can. (and everything wants to kill you) You gain points for completing little mission objectives (usually having to do with stuff to help you survive) and lasting a long time and you find all sorts of collectibles as you explore. It’s really well done but so far I haven’t had the chance to unlock something less… prey-ish. I mean, the deer can kick a cat off a roof, and the pomeranian is the cutest rabbit-mauling machine ever, but both of them are pretty low on the food chain.

Not that I mind being low on the food chain, but it means a lot of running, and a lot of running faster than the other thing running from the thing that wants to eat you.

It’s a great mix of action and fight/flight, and already I’ve run into a LOT of interesting scenarios and one CRAZY near-death experience I’m still shocked didn’t end my poor deer’s life prematurely. There’s a great mix of mechanics at work, and I’ve only had it for a day. So far, it’s been very much worth the $15. And I’ve played two of the like-60-something animals in the game. It’s crazy how many there are, and they’re all playable. I’ve done one survival session that lasted over an hour (I think) and I still don’t have a clue what the stamina bar is for, so there’s a mechanic in play I probably don’t know a thing about yet.

From here, it looks like there’s a LOT of content to spend time on. And I just love the fact that everything is playable. Even the chicks. They’re like the popcorn chicken of the game, almost no defensive abilities, really slow movement, such a small target that they’re in a whole new low tier all their own compared to everything else. You kind of feel bad slaughtering them for food. And I just unlocked them for play!

Speaking of slaughtering for food, while the “gore” in this game is really more arcadey than realistic, it still heavily features visceral throat-biting, face-clawing, chewing on dead things, etc. You will have to abandon your brothers and sisters as a pack of wolves mauls them and you escape alone to live another day. You will be forced to tear apart cute little dogs and cats and rabbits for the sake of survival.
Tokyo Jungle is a very flatly natural sort of game, very much focused on eat-or-be-eaten. It’s almost like an action game adaptation of the nature channel. Things die, mates must be found and babies must carry on the survival of the family. Most won’t make it to see another year, and when you inevitably die you’re just some predator’s lunch. I really like that about it. Not many games really make use of the different skills of animals, and fewer still try to mimic natural selection and survival of the fittest, but it really does make a great game.

If I haven’t scared you off yet, I’d recommend checking it out. If I have, please watch the following “Tokyo Jungle” gameplay footage and tell yourself it’s all going to be okay: http://youtu.be/AD-B2NcxZDs

Almost a month since my last update! With school in session and work being… work, I’m admittedly not getting a lot done. But I did hammer down some pretty important stuff that I probably should have foreseen being a necessity a while ago.

 

Mainly, story. And character designs. You know, those things I started this game thinking I wouldn’t have to do…. well, the idea of Hysteria Star has grown in my head, and while it’s still silly and open to whatever I want to throw at it, I’d really like to have a narrative for players to follow. I don’t think this is going to add a lot more development time to the game, though, since I’ve been re-imagining how that narrative is delivered, and I think the result will be a more appealing way of delivering more story where I need it to be.

 

Before, the idea was to have some simple drawn cutscenes with slight motion play out a story at the beginning and end of each ship’s Story Mode campaign. Nothing super special, but fairly engaging. The problem with that is timing and animating visual elements in those cutscenes could be a bit of a chore seeing how I’ve set up the engine, and two cutscenes is a fairly time-consuming way of delivering almost no story at all.

 

So, the plans have changed! I have been working for a week or so on character designs and the galaxy that Hysteria Star takes place in. What I have nailed down right now is three races, two of which are warring with themselves and each other, and the third of which is almost completely wiped out but they’re all “chill, bro,” ya know. I’m spoofing some elements of various space games, keeping things lighthearted but still telling a pretty intense story about a galaxy on the brink of self-destruction. The story will be told in mostly talking-head-o-rama, (maybe more than heads) but I’m still working out how I want to do that. I’m still planning on having cutscenes where they’re needed, but these simple chats can fill in a lot of the necessary story in between (and within) levels.

 

I’ve also made some changes to how story is delivered based on what ship you use. Now, each ship has a pilot, and some ships may have the same pilot. You will actually play the game starting out as a human space soldier marine badass cooldudelady of space and meet spacepilots of the other two races to play as in the next two sections of the overarching story. The way I’m planning it, each of the three is a part of the main storyline, and each starts where the last one left off. So, starting out you have two ships to choose from and the human pilots both. The story is tied to the pilot, so you get the same story (just different level layouts) with each one, and once you beat the human’s story, you unlock a ship (one for free, and probably more that you can buy with points) piloted by the guy you met in the first part, then after his story, you get the “final” ship and pilot. So it’s a 3-part story at probably an hour per part. That’s on paper, anyway. In theory, playing through a story mode campaign in Hysteria Star should take about as long as playing through the main game of Starfox 64.

 

There is one other thing I should mention, though this isn’t related to the story. I’ve been having some technical problems with Game Maker Studio and changing resolutions. By all means the scripts I was using should have worked but it simply wouldn’t change properly. (or at all. Like, literally mathematically impossible stuff was happening. If I let it detect my monitor’s native 1080p and change the game to that it worked, but if I entered any other number to change to, INCLUDING 1080p, it failed. Despite the fact that after checking a billion times, it was literally the same numbers going through the same way) I hate to let this game be anything but my best quality, but between working with high resolutions on low-tech hardware and the functions for screen resolution zonking out on me, I’ve decided the best bet is to stick to 720p. It eliminates a LOT of headache and having to test everything and create two versions of every asset in the game, and it will also help lessen the footprint of the game on your phone’s memory card (or massive computer hard drive) a lot. It also means it’s running a lot smoother. I have the opportunity to get it running on lower-tech devices and make it flashier overall here, and it still looks great running fullscreen on my monitor.

 

So I guess you could say I’m not just lazy for laziness’ sake, but I was FORCED to be lazy.

In any case, it means a more stable game. Downscaling also helped me realize the game actually plays fairly well with ships being much larger on the screen. I’ll have to play with ship size and a lot of things to get it tuned right, but it’s looking and playing fairly good right now. The addition of story is also helping to inform some of the level designs, too. I had the mechanics figured out before, but I’m really starting to “get” the whole thing now. It’s really too bad things are going so slow lately. Earning a living, learning and making a game is never easy. I hope next time I can have more than just a wall of text to share.

 

 

PS. I mentioned in the last update a little thing called “play points”. I realize that’s complicating things too much. So, here’s how it works: you play through levels, earn your points, etc. You get bonuses for various accomplishments and you can earn achievements which will unlock ships, collectibles, cheats, etc that can be purchased in the shop. But you don’t earn a separate, arbitrary currency to purchase things you’ve unlocked. Nope, when you finish a story mode campaign (or anything that earns you points, really), your point total at the end is added to your overall point total tied to your profile. It’s those points that you can spend to use your unlockables. So, beyond leaderboard trolling, getting high scores is great for unlocking content faster. Not only do you get more achievements, opening up more items to buy, the points you earn also let you buy those faster.

It also seems my Wii broke. :,(

It’s still turning on and making noise like it’s alive, but it doesn’t output anything to the TV and my Wii remotes won’t connect to it or even manually sync. I guess I’m getting a Wii U sooner than I wanted, but it may be a while yet before I can get back to Skyward Sword and Xenoblade. And The Last Story literally just came in the mail today. T_T I really hope I can get my save data and digital purchases back…

It was a good run. I waited in line for 12 hours for that Wii and paid my dues to get it. It’s been a good companion but nothing lives forever. You shall be missed…… Wii…. *taps playing in background*

 

But not all is terrible in the game world. I killed a ton of people and uh…

right. Spec Ops was also pretty disastrous.

 

Not in a bad way, though! It was an amazing game. I’m not much for war shooters because there’s no real meat to their gameplay, no way to be skilled enough to take on a challenge like a no-hit run or something. There’s challenge there, but it seems so arbitrary and out of control. There’s just not a lot to it, really. But Spec Ops: The Line took it all, from the gameplay mechanics to the story, and copy-pasted it and turned it on its head, using the same tropes and mechanics to drive home some really heavy-hitting points. You will feel terrible playing this game. You will likely grow bored of the gameplay. And it will highlight so much of what’s wrong with these modern war games, so much of the terrible things that happen under the banner of war, and so much of what should make these games laughable while showing the horrors of what it’s really like out there for a soldier.

I think for once I can say a video game has positively NAILED the kind of narrative and dialogue that is possible only within the interactive medium. This may be the closest I’ve played to a video game that digs as deep as a really good movie. You can say all you want about how Heavy Rain or Uncharted are like long movies, but this is something else entirely. It’s deep and emotional, it’s conflicted for good reason, and it involves YOU every step of the way. From making major decisions in the moment through gameplay to how the mechanics and context of the game (including you, in your chair, holding your controller, playing the game) give it depth, it’s simply brilliant. I’d hate to spoil a single moment after about an hour in… it’s a short game but one I can hardly recommend enough. If you only ever play one modern military shooter, make it Spec Ops.

Just a short post for anyone who hasn’t seen this one yet and might want to. It’s my first Youtube video, a timelapse showing my process for making a 3D model in 3DS Max:

 

I know this isn’t the kind of 3D model you would use in a game, and I know I did a few things wrong, but hey. How often do you get to see a timelapse of someone’s 3D modeling workflow?

I hope you like ponies. Or baby dragons. (disclaimer: there are no ponies in this video.)

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: