Cathode Tan - Games, Media and Geek Stuff
logo design by man bytes blog

Friday, October 12, 2007

Yes, Virginia, There Is A UT3 Demo

Feel The Love.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wii To Get Downloadable DS Demos

A while back I pondered on whether Opera DS would ever allow downloadable demos for the platform. Nintendo now meets that ability half way by a demo channel for the Wii, which if the reviews of Opera DS are any indication is probably a better solution anyway.

Hopefully this channel won't take long to get released.

Political Gaming

insertcredit describes a few of the interviews they've had recently on political aspects of game design:

Smith is clearly thinking about how to advance games as an art, actively thinking about how to make an immersive and valuable experience. If you read it, you'll see what I mean, but here's an excerpt: "It's so hard to convince your team about those things. I was recently adding a buzzard to BlackSite, and I wanted buzzards that wheel in the distance in the desert, and when you're driving along, I wanted, 20 yards down the road, buzzards around roadkill. As you get closer, they turn and flap and ascend into the air, and as you get closer, you realize it's a wrecked Humvee, and the roadkill is an American troop. That worked for me on many different levels. Some producer will look at that and be like, "Ambient Animal: Priority Four." And I'm just like, "You don't understand. This is really fucking important. I can't explain to you why." And he's like, "Well, is it more important than fixing this bug in our animation system?" Technically, no! It's a nightmare."
-- News: Political interviews: Smith, Ferriera, Seropian [insertcredit]

Also discussed are Army of Two and Hail to the Chimp.

ActionScript Text Adventure

To think, someone actually googled for that.

Yes, mysterious caller without a valid IP, I'm actually working on it right now over lunch. The concept is similar to Randolph Carter but the end result is a lot different. It will be an AIR app and at this rate it looks plausible that I'll at least have a demo by Halloween.

Note From Management: "In The News" Widget

I've added a new widget (points right) to replace the old "recommended reading" one. This one also points to my starred items in Google Reader, but unlike the old one it is updated in real time and provides a bit of the article text as well (or at least tries to pull it - some feeds like SVGL seem to croak there).

Let me know if it tosses any bugs. I can try and post a howto/code for fellow bloggers if they'd like to add it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Is Deathmatch Getting Old?

On Next Generation:

BLOG - Kane and Lynch lead designer Kim Krogh has been pondering why generic
multiplayer modes still exist after so long and talking about the recently
revealed 'Fragile Alliance' game type Io Interactive's been working on.
Read Full Article, Is Deathmatch Game Type a Tired Concept?

I don't think deathmatch will ever get old. When it comes to the shooter genre, it is still the core of every gametype and always will be.

That said, there's a serious saturation point for deathmatch. It takes more than a solid multiplayer implementation - it takes servers. It takes enough people playing online that you can jump from game to game if you need. Quake had this, Counter-Strike had this, and Halo had this as well.

Well, has, I guess, is a better word there. Still a few people playing those last two, I hear.

However, I think more games could follow the Splinter Cell example and differentiate themselves in the online world by offering more unique multiplayer modes. Evolution for FPS modes is desperately stagnant, so it would be nice to see more people tackle this.

First Falcon, Then Jasper For 360

On Next Generation:

Dean Takahashi of The Mercury News says that Microsoft will launch a
redesigned Xbox 360 in time for next year�s holiday season as part of its
cost-cutting strategy.
Read Full Article, Report: Jasper Xbox 360 to Follow Falcon

At least Microsoft is doing something about their hardware problems, even if it feels like you need to scour white papers to understand what the hell it is.

Hrm, cost savings by reducing manufacturing and not shaving features. Interesting strategy...

Making Of System Shock 2

On Next Generation:

An inexperienced team working on the sequel to one of the most respected
games in PC history. It sounds like a recipe for horror. And it was but in
a good way.
Read Full Article, THE MAKING OF... System Shock 2

I had minor complaints about SS2, but my biggest regret is probably that I didn't finish the game. This is a great insight into how the team brought it to bear.

More On Backwards Compatibility

The debate raged on over at Curmudgeon's place, with the general consensus from that side of the fence being that keeping your PS2 hooked up is a small price to pay.

Well, it would have to be a small price to pay - because Sony is significantly reducing the PlayStation 3's game library while offering little in return. For $250, you could get a Wii and play every Wii game, every GameCube game, and every N64, NES and all the other Virtual Console games you have at your fingertips. Or for still less than the 40GB PS3, you can get a 360 and play the majority of Xbox games out there - and have them upconverted to HD to boot.

Or, you can spend $400 and play flOw. Which you could have downloaded for free on the PC anyway.

I think the main thing people are overlooking is that unlike when the PS2 offered some backwards compatibility (hey, it didn't play X-Com, and I'm still bitter about it, k?) - is that these days there's a larger number of existing games still worthy of playing.

On this point, though, Matt and I agree - we both have a wall of games left to play. So the real question is - why not just keep both around?

Well, because to be honest, I find it pretty silly. The whole notion of being forced to double up on what should be one console simply because Sony is getting the shakes on the pricing scheme is rather annoying. The PlayStation 3 was supposed to clear room from our media cabinet, by replacing both the DVD and PS2 - not just add to the clutter. Without backwards compatibility, the PS3 is little more than a cheap media player - and if see from that point of view, there's a lot more options out on the field. If I can't remove the PS2 from the cabinet, I might as well swap out the DVD player with the Mac Mini and just wait for the format war to be over.

Heck, that way - I could still play flOw.

If Sony wants to make a cheap Blu-Ray player, I say all power to them. I'm just not in the market for one just yet.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Nevermind, Wii For Mii

So I went with the rest of humanity and got a Wii setup on eBay. Slightly used with accessories at about market price - more or less a win in my book. Sadly won't make it in time for this week's Game Night, but I'm hoping it will get around for the Halloween festivities.

No Wii For Mii

Despite numerous people telling me that they had sighted Wii's on shelves, the case doesn't seem to be holding true within city limits. In fact, among 3 Best Buy's and 1 Circuit City - only 1 store even had shelf space allotted for the device.

Also - what's with eBay auctions listing Wii Play and Wii Sports as "14 games". That's like calling Summer Games a six in one bargain. Don't get me wrong, I loved getting my medals, but it was one game.

Most Registered Gift? A Wii.

On Gaming Today:

[image: mariocake1-1.jpg]It looks like Nintendo and weddings are connected
by more than just cake. According to, the item most registered
for weddings isn't a microwave or even a set of bakeware, but a Nintendo
Wii. The site has a list up ...
Read Full Article, Nintendo Wii: The Most Requested Wedding Gift

Hey, I'm using the wedding as a rationale to get mine.

Fable 2 Dev Video

Fable 2 Video Diary Episode 3 (High)

Much more about the developers than the game, but fun nonetheless.

Monday, October 08, 2007

No Backwards Compatibility? No Thanks.

Note to Sony - not being able to access my carefully cultivated PS2 library would is a complete deal breaker. So thanks for the cheaper model and all, but no thanks. Even if the normal PS3 compatibility isn't optimal - I'll take it over nothing.

Update: Curmudgeon responds to this (and I respond back).

More On AIR Game Development

A couple of links:

Insult Dueler
Not just a game but a tutorial on making the game, Insult Dueler, which is based on a Monkey Island mini-game, a sort of rock-paper-scissors meets fencing affair.

FUZE Map Designer Screencast
Showing how to use FUZE in AIR to create 2D tilemaps for Flash games.

Building Games With Adobe AIR
A blogpost from the onAIR blog about game dev with AIR.

Enjoy. I would love to get something working by Halloween - but I think I say that every year.