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The Project: Another update!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

So some nice things and some not so nice things. One of our programmers had to drop out, his full-time required too much of him. However, he realized this and dropped off before it got to be too late so it wouldn't cause any problems. Great dude, but unfortunately it just didn't work.

However, I do have good news! I got an update on the overworld map sent to me, and I saw it, and it was good. I also got a huge update from my other artist of creatures and the characters and I am excited beyond excitement. Thrilled? Titillated? Those words don't enough describe my level of fervor as it pertains to this news.

We have our first meeting this Saturday. I cannot wait!

Gaming: Game Design

Saturday, September 10, 2011

One of the things I get a lot of now that people know I am making a game are their suggestions. In many instances, they aren't very good ones. I always feel bad if I tell them no, and working in sales has helped a bit with letting people down easy, but sometimes you just have to say no. For example, some people don't understand video game genre's and ideas and lore. They don't really get that if you've got a specific world created for your game, you can't throw in things that are radically different. I've had to adopt phrases for people like this making suggestions, like "Maybe on my next game." or "Maybe in the sequel." or even, if you don't mind being a little blunt: "It's not that type of game." The first of these three is the one I use the most because it keeps people from asking so many questions about the game this early in the project. Then you get the types who don't care what genre your game is, they want you to change it. They'll say things like "that would be much better if you did it this way." In some cases they're right. We're focusing on those who are wrong today. The easiest response to that is "It doesn't fit my vision of the game."

One of the things I do that I don't know how many other game designers do is that I like to ask you for suggestions. I do want to hear what everyone thinks and see what I can incorporate into my design, so I may get this more than others.

So just a short post today, with an apology for neglected this blog. I've been hella busy at work with us getting a new phone carrier in the store, and some problems with the project. I will have some more tidbits of information for you about the project tomorrow night! Leave questions if you'd like to know anything in particular about the project!

The Project: An Update!

Friday, August 26, 2011

I do apologize for the long delay between my posts, but here we are! The game is officially underway, and this is exciting. I am thinking a name, mascot, and logo is in order, since we are technically a development studio, even if just an indie studio. We also have our first official meeting date/time/place set up, so that's awesome. I get giggly with excitement if I think about it too much. If you want some info about the game itself, I can give you some! It will (likely) support an Xbox 360 controller and standard keyboard/mouse controls. We will also not be going with the standard "point-and-click-to-do-everything" control scheme.

Also, one of the artists are working on the map for the game at the moment.

I need a word that's thrice as strong as "excited," anyone have one?

Nerdery: A Ramble of Phones, Carriers, and Manufacturers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Growing up, I always thought my hardest choices will be whether I got console "A" or "B" but now I've learned that humanity has thrown something new into the mix. Something that works as a gaming console, a handheld gaming device, a sticky-note-pad, an alarm clock, a computer, and a phone, just to name a few. I find myself trying to decide between the Motorola Photon and the HTC Evo 3D. I like HTC Sense. I am interested in the 3D aspect of the Evo 3D. It's the direct upgrade to my phone. However, the Motorola Photon also runs Android, doesn't have that stupid Motoblur interface anymore, has a better battery life, and all in all will feel a bit more new, seeing as how I haven't used a Motorola Android device before. I think I might get one, and swap if I don't like it. That's the great thing about being with Sprint, I think. I don't have to worry about swapping phones within the first thirty days of me having one. I can change my mind without any extra charges (yes, I mean you, Verizon.) or having to worry about a limited number of swaps (should I namedrop AT&T? Yes, I shall.) and I don't have to worry about a lack of coverage, because where I am, and where I go, I am covered. Also, free roaming on Verizon's network if I somehow find a spot where sprint doesn't have coverage. Sprint is about half the cost of Verizon and AT&T without having T-Mobile's horrible coverage. But I veer from my main point.

If you're trying to decide between phones, first thing to check is the carrier. Is the phone available on your carrier? Are you willing to switch? If you are willing to switch, what weighs the most on your decision? New deposit, breaking contract, monthly price are all things to consider.

Once you have the carrier straight, look at the manufacturers of the phones. I personally am not a fan of Samsung by any means, as they've been pretty bad with keeping their phones up-to-date and bug-free. Samsung Moment? Nightmare. Samsung Intercept? Two nightmares. Samsung Transform? Two nightmares and a badger to the face. HTC is good at keeping up with the latest Android OS as well as keeping them mostly bug free. LG is largely a small-time competitor in the phones market, as well as Sanyo/Kyocera. Well, to be fair, Sanyo-Kyocera is the sixth largest cell phone company, however, they don't do so well with Android. The Echo was neat, but a failure. The Zio had a trackball. Why? Trackballs are already out of date, not to mention the phone was slow as anything. Anyhow, lets stop the rant there and continue. Do some research on your phone manufacturer. See what complaints there are.

The third consideration is the phones OS, hardware, and non-OS-related software. Is it Android or iOS? Maybe you're still using Blackberry or Windows Phone 7? Does it have a rear and front facing camera? Kickstand? Dual camera's for 3d? Is this stuff you'll actually use? And does it have access to all the apps that you need?

Getting a new phone has a lot more to consider than what most people think about, and for someone like me who loves to have the latest gadgets, it's something worth taking your time about.

The Project: Is Our Team complete?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

We now have two artists, two programmers, myself, and a musician (waiting for his computer to be back up, if it takes too long I'll have to look for someone else.) so I think we might have everyone we need. This means it will start rolling quite a bit! I have got the skills developed for the players, as well as some of an in-depth progression (right up to the third milestone of the game! Though I have about fifteen more to go, I think). The enemies are named, but not yet fleshed out, both maps I needed are complete, though up for revision.

One of the things I would like to do is have a different aesthetic for the UI for the different characters, and if we have enough time, have the battle music differ for the different characters as well, maybe the whole musical theme could be different.

What are your thoughts on this? Would this provide a nice touch of immersion, or just be something that would largely go unnoticed?

Gaming: Blizzard and D3

Monday, August 8, 2011

Anyone who is interested in Diablo may already know this, but for those who don't, here's a nice tidbit of information: If you don't have an internet connection, much less a reliable internet connection, you can't play D3. Yes, even in single-player mode. You will also not be able to play over LAN. Their response about playing offline? Well, they just want you to play someone else's game.

They are trying to wrap up this DRM reaming as a good thing, so they threw in a real-money auction house. That's right, you can buy stuff for actual cash! They are also giving you a persistent friend's list, server-side character storage, guarantees the disappearance of hacks and dupes, a cross-character item stash, and a few other things.

Let's take a look, shall we? The Auction House, I'm torn on. I was an avid WoW player for some time, and some of the changes to the game just seem all too... similar. I like the idea that my gaming could possibly gain me some real-life revenue that I can use how I need. However, this also means rich kids get the best things, since this will let them just purchase the weapons straight up without doing a lick of work. On top of this, it could open the door to the IRS coming online in full force. This is an excuse for the always-online DRM, and another revenue source for Blizz (as I'm sure there is a nominal fee for this feature).

The persistent friends list isn't so much bad as not needed. With the age of cyber-socializing as it is, we have our friends in a hundred different lists already. We don't need another one. Allow us to link our account of choice and use it when we're online. This is also an excuse for their always-online DRM.

Server side character storage. Why? Because they're afraid you might mess with your character. Well, I paid for this software, I will do as I please, within the letter of the law. This is an excuse, again, for their always-on DRM.

They say it will prevent hacks and dupes and such. This just simply isn't true. There is no possible way to make something completely unhackable. They can try, but as they have said themselves, their development team isn't as big as the cracking/hacking community. Another excuse to push their always-connected leash? Yup.

Cross-character stash for your items. I like this. I love a cross character stash, though I apparently hold the unpopular opinion. However, there's no need for the stash to need to be online. I've played plenty of games where they had a cross-character stash and was never connected to the internet. I'm pretty sure you can guess the next sentence. It's just another excuse for their online DRM.

Also, their persistent friends list requires RealID. This isn't something I'm a fan of. I dropped WoW before it, and so haven't used it personally, but what is this doing besides causing another step of inconvenience? I don't want my name thrown out to everyone so future employers could see I once used a bad word on a forum, or see that I had a level 80 of each class. No employer will see that and think "Oh, he must get his work done quickly, and that's how he has time to do that!" No, they will think "He's a lazy ass who only wants to play video games all day. NEXT!"

Another point I would like to make is that requiring a persistent internet connection punishes people who choose to live in a more rural area or even those who don't, that can't get an unlimited internet connection.

Finally, pirates get a better product that they have less hassles with, and for a 100% reduction in price. Why wouldn't you pirate? Check out, for instance, the whole StarForce problem. Or the previously mentioned problem about internet connections. Or hey, trying to get customer support (especially from blizzard) can be a nightmare, so I think I'll just post on the forum or comment section from where I got the cracked version. Almost always an answer in very little time, and I don't have to have a phone up to my ear the whole time!

Blizzard, we're trying to throw our money at you for this game, what is your problem with that?

Gaming: The Humble Indie Bundle

Friday, August 5, 2011

If you haven't heard about this, then you don't really keep up with gaming news as much as you should. I don't either. I'm pretty terrible about keeping up with any type of news, and bury myself in my projects. What this bundle does is it gives you a bunch of games for whatever price you would like to pay. You can pay anything from one cent to a million dollars if you wanted. I'm pretty sure they'd let you pay more than that, as well. If you pay more than the average, you get the games from last year as well. When I purchased, the average was 5.35 USD.

The money that you pay gets donated in whichever way you want to developers and charities.