February 27th, 2010

My words about it are over here.

Does game design work best when it’s analogous to film making, or to music composition? Neither, and I don’t think it’s important to make the distinction. Games shouldn’t imitate a specific art form, they should express the qualities of them all. Because they can. Video games are the culmination of art as technology, and technology as art. They’re amazing. We shouldn’t limit such a medium by trying to make sense of it in the context of less capable mediums.

Games as we know them today owe a lot to Carmack’s work. I can’t think of a person more deserving of this award.

This week also marks the first year anniversary of Quake Live, as well as the 14th year anniversary of QTest. In celebration, Quake Live received an update and event, and id employees past and present have reflected on QTest on the Bethesda blog.

Of course it is.

EA/DICE restricting dedicated server files to certain “partners” is leaving me conflicted about wanting Bad Company 2. They’re keeping dedicated servers on a leash, just out of reach of total freedom. But whether I like it or not, the market is changing, and we players seem incapable of shifting it in our favor. If EA’s restriction really is just to maintain statistic and rank integrity, and to sell maps (which seems benign in comparison to Activision’s or Ubisoft’s), I can be okay with it. Or I could, if it weren’t for EA’s history of shutting down online games.

But I’m probably overreacting. EA appears to deactivate games based on how many people still play. There’d be greater cause for concern if Battlefield 1942, despite its persisting popularity, had its master servers taken offline in light of a sequel being released. Besides, the Bad Company 2 beta was a heck of a lot of fun, and we haven’t had a successful non-Call of Duty, non-Valve shooter on PC in a long time. I’ll probably give in to temptation and buy it.

This is an hour-long “Quick Look” where every cut scene from Amped 3 is shown. I had no idea the game was so surreal.

December 19th, 2009

This could be what saves mods from being marginalized into extinction. Bringing mods to the fore of a digital distribution platform could be what gives mods which don’t get attention from press or developers (which is most of them) a chance at being played.

Never have I wanted to be a Korean citizen so hard.

Considering Carmack’s talk of not wanting to compete against their publisher’s own games — BRINK, in this instance — I’m lead to think we won’t be playing Rage until at least 2011.

Enjoy the first 30 minutes of Indigo Prophecy — with commentary. I’ve played through these opening scenes many times, but I never get over them.


September 12th, 2009

I’ll be glad when the word “save,” as a verb, is no longer used when speaking of PC gaming. While not without its problems, the platform is no longer in danger. Regardless, Brad Wardell is making some valuable observations here.

Speaking of Stardock and digital distribution, Impulse Phase IV has just launched. The new website design is much easier to navigate, and I appreciate being able to filter by price. Ready To Play appears to be Stardock’s answer to Steam Community; I’m interested to see if Impulse will capitalize on what I think is a unique opportunity to one-up Steam on community features.

On a related note, EA has just partnered with, and added several games to, Impulse. Among them is Dragon Age: Origins (pre-order), The Sims 3, and Red Alert 3 along with its expansion, Uprising, which was previously exclusive to EA’s own digital distribution service.

Although Peter Moore’s view is probably limited to consoles, technically, the PC platform should be credited with having “laid the ground” for online multiplayer, communication, and content distribution.

News of this acquisition came as a relief to me because, due to 3D Realms’ tenuous existence, I’ve had concerns about Prey 2′s status. There is no telling if Human Head is still developing it, but the Prey IP should be in good hands now, at any rate.

This is nearly 30 minues of Jeff Gerstmann and Tim Schafer walking around at PAX while talking and letting their humor play off each other. Also, nerds.


August 15th, 2009

If I hadn’t been fortunate enough to snag a code for it from Ben Kuchera’s Twitter feed, I probably wouldn’t be paying attention to Trials HD right now. I had written it off as a port-and-rename of the PC version, Trials 2: Second Edition, but there is actually more to it than that. There are a bunch of mini-games, unlockable bikes (with varying performance), and a level editor. The bike physics also feel markedly different — not necessarily better, but heavier. These heavier physics have made climbing easier, but it’s now harder to pull off flips and wheelies.

Although Trials HD’s features are a strong argument for choosing it over Trials 2, Trials 2 is no less of a good game than it was before, and it’s cheaper. There’s also the possibility that Trials HD will come to PC (where it would be HDer). A thread on the Trials 2 Steam forum has a developer response saying, “At the time is only for Xbox 360.” If I didn’t already win a free code, I would be waiting to hear more about that.

Unless “configure and run their own private servers” means mod support — which would be great news for players if true — I hope they have more than just private servers planned for subscribers. I say this because I want to see Quake Live succeed; it’s unfortunate that selling ads isn’t working out for them.

Don’t let them think crap like this is okay: stop using Digsby. I recommend Pidgin or Miranda IM as alternatives.

I skimmed this. Not because it’s so long, but because I realized that I don’t want to know everything about Rage before I play it. I don’t need to know anything else. No matter what happens, I’m going to buy it, and I’m going to play it. I did watch the trailer, though, and it made me happy.


August 8th, 2009

Beginning next week and continuing on through Christmas, a lot of high-profile games are going to come out. Naturally, this means information about delays (FREAK OUT!!), pre-order bonuses, and special editions is occupying news sites. This is wonderful if you’re a person who buys new games at release, but that’s not me. As such, news this week has been a let-down.

That is, except for this:

Geek-out on some Rage screenshots with me; these aren’t your daddy’s skyboxes. The PDF is worth a look as well, if you can make heads or tails of it.

August 1st, 2009

It’s justice, and it wants to eat your brains.

Ah, so it’s “BRINK.” I’ve been saying it wrong. There’s a lot of technical language in this interview with Splash Damage’s Technical Director Arnout van Meer. In summary: BRINK is building upon the Quake Wars tech; these revisions should, among other things, allow BRINK to take advantage of multi-core processors on PC. Finally, there’s talk about things that Splash Damage isn’t doing, such as moving from OpenGL to DirectX 11.

“… it says on the box: ‘No Hispanics’.”

June 27th, 2009

Paul Wedgwood of Splash Damage brings to our attention what seems to be common sense, but may not be. I’ve never considered, for example (and maybe I’m just out of touch here), that I can’t think of a single developer who has a history of making licensed games and/or ports that eventually went on to make a break-out hit. I’m sure there has to be some exception to the rule, but I can’t think of one.

Maybe I didn’t react as harshly as John Romero did, but I was definitely caught way off guard by the news of ZeniMax buying out id Software. Once my brain caught up with my gut, though, I decided it might not be such a bad thing for id to have some stability in a publisher. Reading this interview earlier today put me further at ease.

The only thing I’m left wondering about now is, how does Splash Damage and their collaboration with Bethesda on Brink fit into all of this? Did SD play matchmaker? Is an acquisition in their future as well? After all, the partnership was announced way back in May of 2008, well before the E3 meeting between id Software and ZeniMax.

Ah! News like this frightens me. Remember Westwood? What’s left of them are called EA LA now. Admittedly, this is a different EA than the one that acquired Westwood, but this development still gives me pause. For purely selfish reasons, I’m glad to see that BioWare seems to be The Top in the relationship.