Entries from October 2008 ↓
October 30th, 2008 — Gaming, PC
When I first moved out here to Portland I wasn’t sure if I’d be going back to school.Â After all, school is expensive and coming up with out of state tuition is not my idea of a good time.Â However, as things worked out I was able to get in and take some classes at a “discounted” rate.Â So, I decided to squeeze in a couple of classes this semester.Â What does that have to do with gaming?Â Well, while I was looking through the course catalog and I noticed a class on game development – I like games so, I figured what the heck.Â So far, it’s been an interesting little class – although still very “Game Development 101″.
The course uses two books, Game Development Essentials: An Introduction (which for some reason has Assassin’s Creed on the cover) and The Game Maker’s Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners.Â The Game Development Essentials book is basically book one in a series of “development” textbooks.Â This first book is basically an overview of the game development process.Â The book starts out with a chapter to bring the reader up to speed with the birth and growth of the game industry.Â From there it goes on to cover various player types, game types, story telling, level design, character design, interface design and some other things haven’t reached yet.Â It never goes too deep into the subject matter since it’s an introductory book but, it’s just enough that it’s still an interesting read.
The Game Maker book covers the use of Yoyo Games Game Maker software.Â Game Maker is a package which will allow even a novice to create a working computer game – in fact the majority of simple games can even be accomplished with no programming at all.Â I’ve seen Game Maker used a few times in the past for rapidly prototyping game play ideas.Â Also, there is a great freeware RTS known as Battleships Forever which shows off a well thought out project could be like using the software.
Anyway, we’re just now five weeks into the semester so, it’s time to start thinking about the final project which will be designed and built using Game Maker.Â I’m not sure yet if we have an assigned topic or if we can do what we want but, I should find out soon.Â Once I find out I’ll probably write up some thoughts and ideas and post them up here.
October 22nd, 2008 — Gaming, PC, Xbox 360
The next few weeks are full of what look to be great game releases, unfortunately, I can’t buy them all.Â In fact, there is only one game coming out soon that rates as a “must buy” for me and that’s Left 4 Dead.Â The only problem with this is – which system should I buy it for?Â Right now, I’m leaning toward getting the PC version, after all, I bought The Orange Box for 360 when it came out and then bought it again when I realized I wanted to play Team Fortress 2 on PC (alright, I admit it, I wanted access to all the games on PC).Â Even though Left 4 Dead will probably sell very well and Valve has said they will be using dedicated servers for multiplayer (something TF2 could have used) I don’t want to repeat past mistakes.Â Also, it’s just nicer to play multiplayer games in a PC setting.Â I’ve spent far too much time playing the Halo’s and Call of Duty’s on Xbox Live and sometimes it’s just not very pleasant.Â That and I’ve become a Steam junkie, so, as long as the demo runs OK on my PC (and there is no reason it shouldn’t) – I’ll be buying it on PC.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not turning my back on my 360 – after all, I need some place to play Gears of War 2 and Fable 2.Â Everything else that’s coming out (Dead Space, Call of Duty: World at War,Â Fallout 3, Mirror’s Edge, Saints Row 2) is multi-platform so, I can grab it on either PC or 360.Â I’m not sure which of those I’ll be picking up when (I’ve got some mid-terms coming up – one of which I will probably post about).Â I am seriously thinking about joining GameFly finally, but, that would only work if I can get find a few minutes to play.Â It would at least let me get through the game season flood without spending an arm and a leg.
October 14th, 2008 — Gaming, PC
Well, I downloaded Portal: Prelude and had a some time to get in and start playing it – and I do mean start.Â I’m currently on level 3 out of 18.Â I haven’t played Portal in a while and wasn’t quite ready for the difficultly this mod starts out with.Â Causal play this isn’t.Â The first puzzle puts the player facing a portal with four friendly turrets on the other side.
While this isn’t an impossible situation it’s a bit strange to start the game this way – or it would be if they were not targeting Portal fanatics as the intended audience.Â The whole situation has gotten a bit out of hand, with players and the developers arguing in comments and e-mails.Â This is serious business to be sure.Â Apparently, the site was even on the receiving end of a DDoS attack.Â The developers have responded to all the critics with a video walk through of the mod.Â The videos are even complete with text comments showing that the developers didn’t need to use the crouch buttons to make some jumps (a common complaint seen on the Portal: Prelude website).Â The difficultly is not the only problem with the mod – it’s the dialog.Â The voices are terrible, they were created using voice synthesis and you can tell.Â On top of that the English translation of what is originally a French script is spotty at best.Â I wish they had passed around the script to some actual English speakers for edits.Â Both of those can be easily address in any up coming patches though.
I may give the mod another chance before I uninstall it, maybe, the problem is it just has not been any fun so far…
October 8th, 2008 — Gaming, PC
Looking for a reason to keep Portal installed on your computer a bit longer?Â Let me help you with that – download Portal: Prelude now!Â Oh, and if you already uninstalled – start that Steam download!Â Portal: Prelude is a fan made mod expansion which tells the story of the Aperture Science test complex before the introduction of the GlaDOS AI.Â The pre-release preview over at Mod DB provides a great read while waiting for the awful File Planet servers to do that thing they do.Â My download however, has just finished and is installing so, I’m going to play now.