You will have one of two reactions when you watch this video. When you finish it, you will either ask yourself, "Who the hell would make another Snoopy game and why?" Or you will say what I said, "Why do I think this game might actually be fun?" Seriously, I'm not joking. This looks similar to Snoopy vs Red Baron, (PS2 & PC) but could possibly be a big winner in my book if they can create a stellar online multiplayer mode. Right now, it looks like Crimson Skies meets Peanuts but it also looks part platformer. I like how they are trying to mix it up. I hope they pay attention to the controls for flying as that could make or break this game.
The game is being developed by Smart Bomb Interactive, and still has a year left of development. Read an INTERVIEW with the VP of Smart Bomb Interactive if you're interested in learning more.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
I don't know about you but sometimes when I am online and I want to send a friend a message, I just don't feel like sending a voice message. (call me lazy) Especially if the message isn't even that important, then I'll just send a text message. I send text messages on my cell phone all the time anyway so it's kind of natural to do the same online. The problem is, just like on my cell, the process of sending a text message is tedious and time consuming.
So I bought the Xbox 360 Messenger Kit and tried it out. At first I thought it would be a bit obtrusive but it really fits nicely. It adds a bit of weight to it which I'm not sure if I like just yet. It doesn't get in the way of the buttons though so you can keep it on while you play. The functionality of the Messenger itself is spot on. I thought some of the letters and characters would be confusing to figure out but the way this is set up is straight forward and simple. The Messenger includes the QWERTY keyboard layout and is similar to what you would see when typing a message on Xbox Live. For characters (?,!#&), they've included two different colored keys, (green and orange) and each character is associated with either one of those colors, again very simple. Best part is, the keys light up when you press them so it's really nice if you're in a dimly lit room. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the kit also comes with a headset. Unfortunately, it's the headset that has the mute button on the wire so if you're not a fan of that, then you probably don't care. But hey, free headset! I'll take it.
So the question is, is this product worth it? Well, the main reason I bought it was because it was too time consuming to type a long, sometimes irrelevant, question or comment to a friend. The Messenger resolves that issue and makes texting online more convenient. If it's simple convenience you're looking for, then this is something you should invest in. You can send a text message while you're playing your favorite game, you can send one while you're watching a movie or you could send an IM to a friend on a PC using Windows Messenger. It comes in handy. It also takes less time than typing it online so.. this purchase, for me, was warranted. If you don't really send text messages that often, well then don't bother buying this! It would totally be a waste of money for you. You're better off spending your money on Barbie Horse Adventures and don't act like you've never heard of that game.
Xbox 360 Messenger Kit retails for $29.99
Thursday, November 27, 2008
So many games, so little time to play them. One game that has been on my radar for a while to play after I beat all the other games in my arsenal, is Dead Space. I am a fan of the horror genre, maybe not a hardcore fan, but enough to either rent or buy a decent looking horror game. Like Condemned, probably my favorite and of course the best of them all, Resident Evil. That being said, Dead Space has a lot to live up to. So let's get the positive out of the way real quick. Wow is this game gorgeous! Ok, I'm done with the positive comments. This Dead Space demo failed miserably! I can't understand what the hell EA was thinking!? A demo, in my opinion, is supposed to give me enough of a tease that it makes me want to play this game in its entirety. In fact, what happened was after playing this demo, I became even more bitter about EA games and I no longer have the urge to play this game in the near future. First it was Army of 2 and now this. When will EA learn about quality?
First off, if a developer is introducing a downloadable demo for the masses, especially when they are introducing a new IP, first thing you should do is introduce the game, what it's about and do a quick tutorial to show how the weapons and controls work. None of this was done! They basically start you off with no tips, no instruction on how to use your weapons and other features. Which, normally that would be pretty sweet. It's a challenge, so figure it out on your own, right? Drop me off with a gun, some zombie like alien creatures and I am in horror heaven. Well.. for me this was extremely annoying and frustrating as I died for the ninth time not knowing what the hell I was doing. Over and over and over. My mouth dropped as I found myself (a self-proclaimed expert in playing game demos) not enjoying this game at all. Ok, no biggie.. yea it sucks right now but keep playing, once you get the hang of it you'll see how great this game is. Other developers take notes, this is not how a demo should be presented. You do not make up for a crappy 5 minute demo by adding tons of over the top blood and gore. If you think Gears of War is gory, that's a kids game compared to this!
If you want to play a decent demo that actually makes you want to play the full version, look at the Crackdown demo, look at the Tony Hawk demos, look at the Burnout Revenge demo, the Condemned demo and any other demo that gave you just enough of a tease to leave you wanting more. Unfortunately for EA, as soon as I got familiar with the controls.. the demo ended. This was probably the shortest demo I have ever played, but I was glad it was over. If a developer is going to make a short demo like this, they better have me at the edge of my seat.. and I wasn't. I was laying down almost ready to fall asleep. I have many complaints about this demo I can't get into one post without sounding like a whiny little bitch so I am hoping to save my comments until I play the full game. When that will be is anybody's guess. This demo had so many negatives to it that this game has now gone on the back burner on my wanted list. I had planned on at least renting this in the near future, but after this demo.. I really don't care anymore. Maybe sometime in 2009 but there are way too many decent games to be played right now to waste my time with Dead Space. Until then, this is where I stand on this game. I'm disappointed, a little bitter and looking forward to forgetting this horrible introduction to a potentially awesome game. What a fracken' waste of hard drive space.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
THE ORANGE BOX
LEFT 4 DEAD
Oh, did I mention the Versus mode? Very nice addition. Basically, one side plays the human characters and the other side plays a randomly picked zombie. Playing as the zombie and using their unique attacks is a nice change and I have to admit I creepishly enjoyed using the Boomers special attack to vomit all over the opposing team. Yea, I said vomit. Do I really need to say anything more?
GEARS OF WAR 2
CALL OF DUTY 4
Well, there are plenty of other games out there that could be labeled as "must haves." But these are four that I cannot do without right now. What are your must have shooters, and what do you think your future must have shooters might be?
Monday, November 17, 2008
The Unfinished Swan - Tech Demo 9/2008 from Ian Dallas on Vimeo
First glance at this game and I think, what a great idea. A First Person Painter (FPP?) game. Set in an entirely white world, players can paint black onto the environments to find their way. Looks like it could easily find its way to the XNA game line-up on Xbox Live Marketplace. I hope it does. From this tech demo I can see myself paying whatever amount of points it costs to play this game. This kind of creativity is exactly what the industry needs more of. Though I'm a bit upset I didn't think of this idea myself.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
There is an excellent interview up at Gamasutra with Insomniac Games CEO, Ted Price. They caught up with him at a community event at their headquarters in Burbank, Ca. I really enjoy reading these in-depth interviews as it gives me a chance to get into the mind of some of the leaders in the game industry today.
Designing multiplayer has got to be a big challenge; when you're talking about the numbers, eight for co-op is a big number, and 60 for competitive multiplayer is a ridiculous number, so... Has that been a real challenge?
TP: Well, when we began designing for Resistance 2 on the multiplayer side, we experimented with a lot of ideas. And Skirmish evolved from a lot of experiments that didn't quite work. We ended up kind-of having a "eureka!" moment at one point with the Skirmish mode, when we were faced with the unfortunate reality that just putting 60 players in a big arena doesn't work. It's just not fun!
And so, the design and multiplayer programming team got together and just figured out how to make the dynamic objective system and the squads work well. But it was a painful process, for sure, and we went through many iterations to actually get it right.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Spike Tv's Video Game Awards is only about a month away. Watch the video to see what games we're nominated to receive an award. I have a few questions though, how do these games get nominated and why aren't there more nominees in the Game of the Year category? There are so many potential winners!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Valve has done it again. From the creators of the Half-Life and Team Fortress games, Valve seems to have combined these two unique games and formed what is now known as Left 4 Dead. It's not out until November 18, but I was able to get my already nervous and sweaty palms on the demo last night. I was so excited before I even downloaded the demo, (took about 2 hours to download the 1.2GB file) and Valve did not disappoint.
I highly recommend any Xbox Live user to download this demo now and see for yourself how good a game can be. I can't believe I am saying this about a demo as this does not represent the full game. I expect a great overall experience from this game though. It seems Valve has added all the right features I look for in a modern next gen title. What do I mean by that? I mean, I want 4 player co-op so I can play with my buddies online. I want an intense and memorable single player campaign and I want to be able to play it over and over again with different outcomes. Most importantly, which some studios fail to realize how important this feature is, I want split screen so I can let my girlfriend get in on the zombie action too! Valve gives all this and more to their loyal fans and future Left 4 Dead fans. I really can't say enough about this game and I look for this to be in my Top 5 games of 2008. Game of the Year on the way?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Are you a Game Student? Do you want to be a game developer but aren't sure if you should go to school for it? Did you already go to school and are trying to get your foot through the door? Y'know, the one that cracks open a bit but never truly opens up? Pay attention to this man, Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve Software.
Dave Perry, founder of Shiny Entertainment, (now merged with The Collective to form Double Helix Games) wrote up an interview to get into the mind of Gabe Newell to find out what it takes to finally step through that door. But read his words carefully so you don't end up walking through a swinging door. That kind of door sucks.
DP: People that never went to college in the video games business swear blind that colleges aren't needed to get a job. Are they for real? Should I burn my books now?
GN: That is changing very quickly. In the past, colleges didn't really have anything to teach people that directly applied to game development, so people who went to school or didn't go to school were more or less on the same footing. However programs like Digipen are a huge advantage, and are very valuable for the students who make it through.
Read more at Game Career Guide...
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
When I saw the first screen shots of Mirror's Edge, I wondered why DICE didn't bother to put in any work into the obviously plain bright white buildings. It looks like they slapped on some ambient occlusion, increased the specularity, added a unique white washed lighting set up and called it a day. Maybe they were just showing work in progress. There's no way this is the final texture! Or am I just being picky? I am.
When I saw the Mirror's Edge demo on the Xbox Live Marketplace for download, I decided to put my judgments aside and try this game out. Even if my girlfriend and I both agreed that it looks like we would get nauseous every time we moved with this new camera angle DICE decided on.
First impressions of the demo? My first impressions of the screen shots were wrong. The controls took some getting used to, (Who the hell uses LB to jump?) but once you get the hang of it, it's actually a pretty smooth control set up. Now, one of the things I was worried about when I first saw gameplay videos was, yea.. the gameplay video shows this girl going from place to place, leaping from building to building with ease but most likely the person controlling this girl KNOWS where to go. They give you objects that show up bright red in the HUD and this is how they direct you to move throughout each level. So what happens when I don't see anything red and I don't know where to go next? The pace of the game will stall and then it just turns into a game of hide and seek with these red indicators. Where's the red object? Where'd it go?!
Well, that DID happen while I was playing the demo but it wasn't as big a deal as I thought it would be. I looked around when I got lost but soon it became pretty obvious where they wanted me to go next. I didn't have to wander for 5 minutes looking for my next jump like I was afraid of. If there is a game that would be described as linear, this is that game. But are linear games even a bad thing? I'm playing Fallout 3 right now and finding myself getting frustrated because of the lack of linear gameplay. Sometimes I just don't know where to go or what to do. Mirror's Edge seems to make it interesting enough to forget about the petty arguments of whether linear games are fun or not. It is what it is. I'm a skeptic but if the Mirror's Edge demo is what I'm supposed to base my opinion on right now, I'd say DICE impressed the hell out of me. Not many demos do that for me. Everything they put into this demo, from the story intro to the music they used.. it all leads to a very unique experience. I am sure they can turn this new IP into many great successes. DICE, cheers to you and good luck!