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

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Zoonami Hiring (Possible WiiWare Game?)

Brian Barry O' Halloran tips us off that Zoonami is (are?) hiring a Senior Artist/Art Director:

Zoonami are looking for a new Senior Artist/Art Director:

"We are working on a 2D game with a novel visual style. We are
searching for a well rounded artist with a strong interest in 2D to
work on this fully funded title from concept to delivery over the next
6 months.

The work involves all aspects of the game including character design
and animation, backgrounds and objects."
-- Zoonami Assignments

His theory being that it is for an upcoming WiiWare game, as hinted in a recent interview where Z's Hollis mentions, "Hollis: I will reveal as much as I can. We are happily dedicated to Wii, which is a very exciting console indeed, and are working on
multiple projects. Incidentally I believe Wii will capture first place
in this generation of the console race within a year, by all important
measures. I also believe that Wii will change the world."

Interesante. I've noted Zoonami in the past, mostly because Hollis himself had a role in GoldenEye and Perfect Dark.

Thanks Brian Barry!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

GarageGames goes for InstantAction

GarageGames sent out a note that has opened its doors. Apparently, they've web enabled some of their engine. Interesting.

Game Play: World Of Warcraft

You might have heard of this one...

So I finally play this game after GameFly sends me a free guest disc. I've refused to go out and spend money on it as I assumed my conclusion would be that I didn't want to spend the monthly fee.

And sure enough ...

Look, I get that if you can make WoW a spoke on your social hub, it is probably quite a lot of fun. As someone who prefers to mostly solo and sometimes multiplay, though, the cost of a monthly upkeep just doesn't make much sense. Nothing in the guest pass convinced me otherwise. Yes, the graphics are fairly good. Yes, it has quite the solid interface.

But just how much can one go into an area, kill X number of Y, return with a pittance of gold, eventually level up and then repeat? Sure - I get that this is the model by which the whole MMO genre has made its fortune, but I had three different characters and I could barely tell the gameplay apart. Sure, that's in part because I got too bored to reach a high enough level to get more distinct skills ... but it's not like I want to pay rent to get that right.

And I'm not sold on some of the mechanics. Can someone explain to my why ghosts in Warcraft are so encumbered by gravity? They're ghosts. So when my druid fell off a cliff and died on a random tree branch ... my ghost waved helplessy as it fell past him, only to get stuck at the bottom. The guest pass didn't seem to have the auto-stuck feature enabled, so I had to ping a GM.

The GM tried to impress me with an temporary ninja costume and brief "flying" (read ... low gravity jumping) abilities. It didn't really work. And I think the ninja costume might have been because my mage was running around in skivvies to see if her defense skill would get raised.

I'm not saying WoW is a bad game - clearly it is a cornerstone of MMO's. It's the genre that annoys me.

As a footnote, I poked back into Dungeon Runners to see how it was faring. Honestly ... not well. They've tacked on a bunch of ads to free accounts and I can't say the gameplay has really gotten any better since the beta.

Guess it's back to poking at roguelikes for me...

DVD Watch: Sunshine

Sunshine is probably one of the best sci fi movies since Aliens, but sadly that's as much a reflection on movies like Mission to Mars and Red Planet than it is a statement that Boyle has repeated his success with 28 Days Later.

First the good - Sunshine is a simply gorgeous movie. I really want to see it again in high def ... and that is the first movie I've really made that statement about. From the set design to the carefully exploited special effects, Sunshine drapes itself in precisely the scenery it needs for the scene it has on hand. Boyle also pulls the strengths from some top notch actors, including one of my all time faves - Michelle Yeoh.

Now I'm not going to call the story bad - it's leagues above most of what washes ashore in the sci fi genre these days and a good lightyear ahead of anything Lucas has put to print in some decades. It takes the science and the fiction quite seriously, builds an interesting set of characters and puts them into some fairly interesting conflict.

The real problem is that Sunshine begins to outpace itself by the third act. The plot begins to skip a few beats and none of this is helped by the addition of more and more artistic edits and cinematography as the movie reaches its conclusion. There aren't necessarily plot gaps, but there are a few moments when you wonder just how the Earth assembled this particular crew to save the planet.

So while Sunshine is a beautiful trip, it lacks a little bit at the destination. Still, it marks a high water point for science fiction in general and certainly worth the rental.