Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Money Where My Mouth Is

So, in an effort to sort of put my money where my mouth is, and more importantly to please my godson (who is 9) I made him a little game.  It IS very simple but it works, and that was what I was aiming for. 

I thought I'd post it here mostly to see how to do it!  This probably isn't the best way to upload files that can be downloaded but I am still looking for good ways to do that!

So anyway without further ado, you can download it from here

It's called Zac Wars 2 and when you click the link you click Free Download and then have to wait 60 seconds.  It's worth mentioning too that it will tell you that the publisher can't be verified.  That's because it's me!!

I've since then put it up on a public folder on dropbox which is a much more efficient way of popping it up here of course!

It's worth noting that that will download an .exe file which you can then click to play.  It's not virus infested.  Well not as far as I know!!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Of Whether Pigs Have Wings

So the course is going well, it's deeply enjoyable, although I wish that I had 17 more days in the week to study everything that I'd like to get my head into! Life continues to be a little manic, I'm trying to get to some conferences when I can as well as the lectures, and am constantly on the look out for more games-y things I can do - if you have any suggestions then I would welcome them!

Lectures range from narrative in games to character design, from project management to how to deal with programmers (I am beginning to feel a bit sorry for them as they seem to get a hard time of it!)

I am reading more than I have for some time as I am trying to devour the essential reading and get in some reading of various texts that people describe as being 'really good read' (so far nobody has suggested any Mills and Boon).

There has been essays and presentations and at the moment the daunting task of designing our own essay title.

Everyone on the course is pretty great, there's been a lot of interesting talk about all sorts of games and general geek-ery. Still no karaoke but I haven't given in yet... It's a slight shame we only get to do one real piece of group work but I guess there's always the opportunity to do more during / later.

We have to learn how to use a game-making program called MMF which is absorbing and very user friendly, I am pottering around making little bits and pieces, and I might try and upload something here at some point (if that's even possible, if not then somewhere similar to here (I have no real idea how to upload a downloadable file to a blog so if there's a simple way then I'd welcome the advice!)

We see a lot of all of our lecturers which is great and they are all very approachable and helpful during times of lack of faith or just with generally helpful advice.

We had a visit from some old students which was both inspiring and practical - all of their advice was absorb as much as you can, make the most of everything and other similar sentiments. It was great to hear from people who were in our position a few years ago and are now, in a very real sense, 'doing it'.

As a list of things I am trying to learn a bit about that are not things on the course I'm learning how to use Microsoft Visio & Project, Maya and a bit about UDK, I am practising my photoshop skills (which are measly) and have learnt how to use Keynote and Presi, although Powerpoint remains a staple favourite. I'll probably practise a bit with some sort of art program at some point although it's never going to be my strong point. It's a lot about being a Renaissance Man it seems, and so anything I can pick up I will value. Suggestions welcome!

I've avoided buying Skyrim, because even though I would love to play it I fear it is just too much of a time sink at the moment. RIP Skyrim, see you some time next year...

Monday, 21 November 2011

November come and gone...

Wow, it's already almost the end of November!  Hard to know where it all goes, Well - this month it has gone into a few games specifically:

Dead Island - this has had a really mixed reception, which is in part I am sure due to the incredible trailer it released which had little to do with the game itself:

The reviews of the game have been equally mixed but I have loved playing it.  I am playing with friends and we are taking our time with it, exploring, trying to do all the quests, and just enjoying it.  I like co-operative games, far more than I like shooting my friends in the head (or in my case being shot by my friends in the head).  I think it has some really interesting features too - it's a zombie game where it's bright and sunny.  The island is in part, beautiful and scenic, there are some really different and quite expansive environments, some of which are quite unpleasant.  I think the character choices are interesting (they're all 'tainted' people in different ways, it's also a game that lets you choose from a variety of ethnicities which I think is interesting on a different level as well.  Gameplay wise it's interesting - it isn't as frantic as something like Left 4 Dead, but a bit more relaxed.  All in all I've really enjoyed it.

I've also been investing many hours into Batman Arkham City from Rocksteady which is absolutely fantastic, it's very similar to the first game but more - more gadgets, more space, more moves and more characters.  I'm still not finished with it, because I am playing it in a similar way to Dead Island and really savouring the experience.  The combat structure is one to be envious of - it's very fluid and variable, and the way they ramp up the difficulty is clever.  There are some challenges that are pretty extreme - I'm struggling with the flight ones - and the voice acting is superb taking as it does the talents of the animated series.  This has been the single player game that I have enjoyed the most in a long time.

On the PC I've played a little Dungeon Defenders, which is a co-op tower defence game, which has been quite a giggle although got a bit samey - I liked what they were doing with it though and the plethora of updates might mean that it's something I go back to at some point. 

I tried DC online, which is Free To Play and I wanted to be excellent...  Sadly the lag was just too much for me (and I suspect everyone) - it made it literally impossible to play with all my damage (being dealt) not kicking in until about 30 seconds after I started attacking, in the meantime my enemies were able to beat me up in 'real time'.  Boo.  Chat on forums and things indicated that this was only in the starting areas, but it was enough to kill it for me.  It's a real shame because I like the franchise but I just couldn't deal with the pain of it.

I moved on to Champions Online for a comparison which is also Free to Play - I haven't really delved into the Free to Play market before and it was an interesting venture.  Champions offers a  really good character customisation system in terms of costume and power IF you pay, and that was fun.  I am enjoying the game play and the way it all works, but not sure if it will hold me for a very long time.  It doesn't have that feeling of longevity that it would need for that.  Of course also The Old Republic comes out in about a month!  What's odd about Champions is that it's based on the old 1980s roleplaying game and it has stuck to that quite religiously, but that makes it feel rather dated in an odd way.  There are some interesting mechanics - you have to charge up your energy meter by using a power and then can use a tougher power, which is quite fun for a while, but there's not a plethora of abilities that you can choose from at any one time and so I get a little 'button-sore' after a while.  On the other hand it is free...

Naturally I played some more Sims 3 for a night or two!

I'm still playing Tomb Run on the iPhone, but my addiction to i-store games continues.  I am enjoying playing a bit of Scribblenaughts - it's a bit easy but it's a lot of fun and there's a lot of ingenuity in that game.  I enjoyed making a nuclear bomb the other day and getting an achievement of 'destroyed the world'.

And no, I haven't yet played Skyrim.  I will, and I know I will love it, but there's only so many hours in the month and Skyrim would eat them all, so I sorta plan to buy it when I have a bit more time and perhaps when it is discounted on Steam!!  I still have quite a few things I haven't yet finished so I am in no rush.  Until next time :)