Just some junk

I’ve been stuck on character art for my new game for months, and after finally just doing it myself, I now have some really good game dev momentum going. I really hate to talk about stuff I’m still working on, but since I’ve been so lazy, both in the dev and blogging departments, I’ll post a screenshot from the unfinished game:

It’s an adventure game hybrid, set in the same universe as my previous game. Now that I’ve cleared a major hurdle in development, I’ve been making the few remaining game assets in blender. The shot above is one of a few scenes of debris that will be encountered in the game. You basically collect spare parts from these. (more…)

Posted under Future plans, Games, Pictures, Previews

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Nothing. The iconic opening title and scrawl is conspicuously missing from the start of Rogue One, and this is the first of many reasons why “Star Wars” was not the start of the film’s title, but was tacked on to the end. What’s remarkable about this is how many artefacts and persons from the Star Wars universe can pervade the setting, without it feeling like a Star Wars film. The feeling that I did get from the first two thirds of the film is one of wasted potential.

It would be fine for this film to stand on its own in this way if the screen writing were not a complete mess. It tries to do too much in terms of characters for the time available in a single film, and ends up feeling hollow in this regard, because practically none of them are developed by the end of it. The only character which is really developed in any way is the lead, who starts out with an arc that could have been very well utilised, but then switches suddenly into hero mode.

All that said, this film is far better than The Force Awakens, which in itself does not say much because TFA was ridiculous. Unlike its predecessor, this leverages nostalgia very well, at least in the closing stages. When certain ships jump onto the screen near the end, it abruptly begins to feel like a Star Wars film, but only by association, since it’s a very familiar scene to fans. It maintains this energy all the way to the final scene, which is guaranteed to leave most fans with a high.

The cinematography, again, was spot-on. Like TFA it very much manages to capture the look of Star Wars, this time even going so far as to emulate the look of film stock from the late seventies. It’s just sad that with all the resources and talent available, a writer could not be found to capture the soul of this now-struggling franchise.

Posted under Reviews

I’m Playing: Grand Theft Auto V

I recently started replaying the GTAV story missions from the start, having already finished the campaign twice. Before I did this, I took advantage of another perk that comes with using the pirated version of the game rather than the one you paid for: Practically unlimited modding.

Apart from the story being cut short for the benefit of GTAO, the only criticism I have of the game itself is that the tires are slightly too sticky. The game boasts a fantastic handling physics engine, and to have it nerfed is a shame. The same goes for the game’s analogue of the Veyron being merely a supercar. So I applied a mod to improve that.

This mod is better than the others I’ve tried, almost perfect, but modders seem to share a love of exaggerated deformation. Knowing I’m not going to be causing much mayhem on the streets of Los Santos if my wheel locks up after the second hit, I set about doing a little XML hacking. Soon I had all the benefits of the adjusted handling, while preserving the deformation of the original. And it was good.

(more…)

Posted under Games, Grand Theft Auto, I'm playing, Pictures, Reviews

Still no

I did it. Despite my previous protestations, and saying that I would not. Somehow I got to be in a mood to watch a Star Trek film. One I hadn’t seen a million times already, so it had to be a new one. Yes. I rationalised this by realising that I was in the mood to see any new star trek film, even if it was another terribly bad one, such as “into darkness”.

When I decided to do this, I knew I would like it, and I did. It was fun. Nimoy had a cameo which is sure to make any fan one hundred times as nostalgic than any of his other entries into the reboot, and you know there is another actor you would never see in their role again. At one point it went past fun, and became utterly goofy. You will know which point this is. The film had undeniable strengths. And I don’t feel that it did the series justice.

I had previously been sucked up in the popular belief that the director is the film, when really, it’s the writing on these new sci-fi reboots which is lacking. Obviously this can be influenced by many things, from director input to director execution, not to forget the basic competency of the writer and their suitability to the subject matter. The number of films wrecked by studio interference alone deserves its own sentence.

The new star trek films and the new star wars one are not bad films, but the other thing they all share is a total lack of soul from their subject matter. I wanted to shit on Abrams because he was involved in all of these, but he nailed the star wars look a lot better than Lucas could in the prequels. The fact that Lucas managed to recapture the soul of Star Wars in the prequels however, even expanding on it, is all that kept them afloat over all the heavy-handed CGI. The first film in the Star Trek reboot was fun, a totally acceptable addition to the series, but only because there was just one of them. From here on the writers demonstrated that they had no feel for the series at all. The star wars reboot writers performed similarly, showing all the understanding of the content as someone whose knowledge of the subject ended at having completely read the first wikipedia article on it. Star Trek Beyond gave the distinct impression of flailing in the dark at the core of the series, and many other things. No, Star Trek was not about unity. The Borg were about unity.

If these same films were instead presented as their own thing, not based on other series, they would not be covered in the shame of such wasted potential. If this whacky star trek universe was truly the alternate universe, and we still had premium star trek material available, that would have been great. But what they’re trying to do now is sell two of the most cerebral and spiritual series to people who won’t care tomorrow to recall which film they saw, and that’s never going to work.

Posted under Reviews

I’m playing: No Man’s Sky – quick thoughts and shots

Apparently some people have been having trouble running NMS, but I’m not one of them. It’s very close to what I expected it would be, and for now at least it has me completely riveted. A space exploration game with combat pushes all my buttons but, though I love the idea of it, I’ve never been able to get into something like EVE Online, because of the huge commitment of time that it requires.

I don’t expect to be riveted to NMS for the next two years, although there are changes they could make that would certainly cause that. What I want from it, after the initial shine has worn off, is a game I can pick up and play any time I have a spare half hour for some warping space exploration. So far it seems that it will deliver in this regard.

Right now I still put every spare moment into it, but in the meantime here are some screenshots. (more…)

Posted under Games, I'm playing, No Man's Sky, Pictures, Reviews

That went well

Over the last few months I’ve been putting every spare night I could manage into developing the client for the AGS Awards ceremony 2015. Being that all these chunks of dev time didn’t add up to that many, it took me a fair few missed deadlines to complete the client, but this week I finally went from alpha to RC, and about five minutes after that we held the ceremony. There were quite a few features I had in mind but no time for, and even some that the older client had that I didn’t get around to, but the ceremony itself went very well, especially considering the political strife surrounding the awards this year. There is a recording of the event here, incidentally made by one of the award winners.

So now that I’ve been so diligently working in my spare time, I’m hoping some of that motivational momentum can continue at least until I release my next game. I apologise for being a bad blogger. Truth is that I don’t like to talk about my games very much while I’m making them, but since I brought it up I’ll say one word: Space. I think I might call it ████████ ███, but that might be only a working title.

In terms of blog content, I have also been working on a post about Star Wars (the late Star Wars?), but I don’t want to post it until I have the correct imagery to describe how much of a hack Abrams is. Maybe a black hole that sucks in the best franchises and spews out nothing but half-digested action films? No. Maybe a drunk who is mistaken for an editor because he fell asleep on wet newspaper.

Posted under AGS, Future plans, Games
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