Archive for October, 2006
Friday, October 27th, 2006
In a film, the thing I care most about is not knowing what’s going to happen. If the ending is predictable, which it is in a huge majority of films, I just don’t care. I’m not interested in how the hero is going to outwit and beat the villain – I know that he’s going to beat him, so I’m bored.
Due to this the genre which I’m most likely to enjoy a random film in is the heist genre – not my favorite genre per se, but the one I’ll enjoy even bad members of. The entire point of heist films is to keep the watcher guessing.
The Prestige – the new Christian Bale film from the crew who did Batman Begins – isn’t a heist film, but there’s no point during the film where you know what’s going to happen. Even if that’s not your tipple of choice, The Prestige is a fantastic film, almost perfect in my opinion. A solid five stars and I’d recommend going to see it absolutely as soon as possible.
Here are my (incredibly minor) complaints. No spoilers:
- Near the beginning of the film Hugh Jackman’s character finds a double, someone who’s meant to by chance look very much like him. If I’m not very much mistaken, his double is also played by Jackman. It’s difficult to explain why, but that’s actually a real dissapointment given the context of the film… I think you’ll understand if you see it.
- The final, final scene (not a particularly important one) was a little bit over-played.
Thursday, October 26th, 2006
I’ve been quiet around here recently mostly because I’ve been preparing for Gamecity. Hopefully, my laptop won’t explode as soon as I load Powerpoint, but frankly anything can happen.
There’s all kinds of stuff going on down there – hoping to catch Introversion’s Defcon presentation (although the “intimate chat” with them at somewhere called the Lizard Lounge which sounds decidedly seedy is now sold out) but unfortunately will be missing the Richard Jacques concert as circumstances dictate my return to the lovely Fords of Ox prior to the commencement of a lovely new week.
If you’re anywhere near Nottingham then, rather unreasonably, I demand you come to my talk. There will be a metaphor involving a banana, and a picture of some cheerleaders – GUARANTEED.
Tuesday, October 24th, 2006
I just read at 1UP that Microsoft asked Epic, among others, to advise it on some 360 hardware specs. Specifically: 256 meg ram with a hard drive as standard, or what actually happened, 512 ram with no standard hard drive. Epic told them that games “really wouldn’t look that HD” with only 256 ram to play with, and the 360′s current form was born.
The 360′s no-standard-hd is still a collosally stupid idea, but considering Determinance has trouble fitting in 256 meg, I can how Gears of War might cause a problem.
The article says that MS asked several developers, but that Epic’s demo really made their minds up. Basing an (apparently) one billion dollar business decision on the views of a company that employs Mark Rein isn’t something I’d do, but I’m fairly sure it would also have been the consensus decision anyway. Console developers are used to having far more difficulty fitting games in ram than they do finding hd space.
Monday, October 23rd, 2006
Lots of stuff going on this week. Right now I’m working on the next beta, which hopefully should be rolled out to current (and a couple of new) testers within the week.
Saturday, October 21st, 2006
Well, we’ve had periods where too many posts have been Determinance development ones, and times with too few. In that spirit:
Right now I’m in a hotel drinking beer while Lizzie sleeps off her jetlag. I decided to look for random internet TV channels to watch. I am right now tuned into The Kansas City commercial building permission advisery board TV channel. I’m not kidding. It is exactly what it sounds like it is.
Friday, October 20th, 2006
Things are progressing well at Mode 7 Towers US: both myself and my esteemed colleague have been busy so apologies for the lack of updates.
However, I’m actually here to weigh in on the issue of Lumines Live. I’m sure everyone reading this already knows the details, so I’ll go straight to my take.
The most offensive thing is that you pay £10 and get a full game mode and four demos. People would be a lot less pissed if all of the demos were free, and £10 just got you that one full game mode. MS obviously think that giving you more for your money makes your more likely to buy it, but in this case it’s just the opposite: buying demos is hideously against most gamers’ are used to. I don’t particularly mind being given the option of paying £10 for Lumines Classic (or whatever), with the understanding that over the next six months there will be five other releases in the Lumines “family”. Paying money for a partially completed shell is something we’re not used to and don’t like. The difference is largely aesthetic, but these people are supposed to be catering to what we want.
The real issue here is one that’s misunderstood everywhere I go. People say that the Lumines Live system gives us choice: that instead of just having to pay £30 for everything you can pay less and get what you want. Here’s why that’s false: there is no world in which Lumines would ever cost £30 on Live. No one would buy it. Microsoft knows that £10 is the absolute maximum they can charge for anything on Live – they have chosen to give us less for it, and nickel-and-dime us later on.
When I buy a game, I want the entire thing implicitly. I want to explore around the thing and find what I like, and what I don’t, and consider it as a whole. MS have complete control over the Live channel, and thus competition won’t stop this kind of thing happening. Luckily the PC space has no such controls, so I believe we’re safe from it in the long run.
Finally, Oblivion mods. Bethesda get a bit of a pass because (a) they’re mainly doing all the litte expansion packs for the 360 audience anyway, and (b) because they actually listened to the majority (not me, but at least the majority) and tried to find a price/content point which worked. I can’t imagine wanting to buy a half hour quest for a game like Oblivion, it seems to break the immersion so massively. I’m all for add-on packs with considerable new content, costing more.
I don’t like these small add-on packs because something we used to get for free has now become commercialised. I wish it would stop. But I will concede that there’s a possibility that this entire farce will result in a world where all new games are £10, and are shells.
Friday, October 13th, 2006
Play Kurt against the Bears. If you had Volek and Lienart, play Volek. Don’t put your QB for the next 10 years against Chicago for his second start.
Thursday, October 12th, 2006
It’s 9.30pm and I’m trying to find a DT crash bug. Not so unusual you might think, but I’m not in my study in my village in England. I’m in the GarageGames offices at night, with only three guys left plus the cleaners, running DT on as many different computers as I can find while Ben Garney gives me Torque debugging help on my laptop. The lights are off and while waiting for stuff to crash I go and play on the Orbz arcade machine in their massive basement out back.
Being at the actual GG offices during a (basically) normal week makes it all seem very much more real. As part of the community GG can often feel a distant entity. But being here, surrounded by the people who make the engine (and everything else) what it is, while preparing a game which takes Torque in quite a few new and exciting directions, is a very different matter.
And the Orbz Arcade Machine may be the most inspiring object I’ve ever seen. An arcade machine is a big, expensive piece of equipment dedicated to playing one game. Every other system has many uses, and one game only makes up a tiny percentage of what that system does. There is no greater respect that you can give to a game than to take a cubic-metre chunk of space and make it that game’s house; it’s land. Only in an arcade machine does a game have a physical existance.
And that’s a big deal.
Thursday, October 12th, 2006
I’ve been pretty absent this last week on the blog front, so apologies all. I’ve been working very hard at GarageGames’ pad in Eugene testing, bug-chasing, and doing some back-end stuff. You guys will be getting some more considerable updates soon.
Monday, October 9th, 2006
We’ve very kindly been offered a slot at Nottingham’s forthcoming GameCity festival to talk about Determinance and various other related matters. I’m going to be working on preparing this soon: currently planning quite a free-range sort of talk with input from other developers as well. Should be interesting! If you’re in the area then come and say hello.