Bob Mooches Around the Free Fringe

Rao Dao Zao:

I was going to do a fringe write-up but SOMEBODY beat me to it. Ah well.

Originally posted on Bob Writes Stuff:

I love the Edinburgh Fringe. Sometimes.

Last weekend I made the arduous journey northwards through the signal-less wastes of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders to visit one of my favourite cities. I adore Edinburgh; it’s the nearest major city to the town I grew up in, so I have a lot of fond childhood and teenage memories of visiting the place. Oddly though, we never used to go to the Fringe. I really don’t enjoy crowds, the last bus home was too early, and I wasn’t really into stand-up comedy before starting uni. These days though I seem to end up in Edinburgh about once a month visiting one of my best friends (Jono – more on that mess later), and I’ve started a bit of an annual tradition of popping up for a weekend and going to free fringe shows with my good friend Robbie.

This year I decided…

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Aside 49: Feature Creep

Aside

As I progress with No Excuses, I realise that I’m pretty much implementing a top-down singleplayer Unreal Tournament. I’m actually okay with this, but I do wonder how much of a contortionist you’ll have to be to press all these buttons at the same time when I add the four five active abilities on top of these extra movement keys.

I finally added strafing the other week (after fixing the last of the animation bugs). Strafing was never in the original brief — Nox didn’t have strafing and that’s my baseline for combat and navigation. Nox also did not have dodge-jumping, which I intend to add soon enough to round out the strafing ability. I am probably going to throw on backpedalling for good measure too.

Gosh, programming AI behaviour around this is going to be a riot…

Blog 601: Mecanim

Ah, I often moan about things in Unity being too difficult or weird for my brain and then struggle free in barely an evening. I stand by previous comments about how delightfully quick Unity is to get to grips with, even after lengthy off-periods playing through ill-advised prequels.

Today, then, let’s talk about animation systems.

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Blog 599: Lightning Never Talks Twice

I recently did something called a Lightning Talk to my work colleagues about the ultimate basics of procedural level generation. I’m scared of, and terrible at, doing presentations, so I volunteered because I need to learn to face my fears. (Be bold, etc.)

A Lightning Talk is when three or four people do very short, five-minute presentations about Something Cool — so I figured that, since I kind of care about this stuff, at least my enthusiasm would shine through if my tongue refused to cooperate (it did).

This was written as an introduction for absolute beginners, because nobody at work gives two figs about game technology (except me), so it should be interesting enough for mildly technical people with a passing interest in the area.

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Blog 598: Human Devolution

At the time, I didn’t blog about Human Revolution because I knew I could never give it an unbiased review. Why? Because it is, quite simply, not Deus Ex. It is a lot of things — a well-made immersive sim, possibly even a good game — just not Deus Ex.

Plot and lore mean a lot to me, and the incongruities in the first half hour alone make me want to spew. I played through the whole game and the wrongness never dissipated, so I just moaned a bit offline and let it go.

Alas, the fancy recently took me that I should replay the game now… And I can hold it no longer.

This blog is not about the game on its own merits. This blog is about why Human Revolution is not Deus Ex — in the same way that Unreal II is not very Unreal. This blog is about why the game “not being Deus Ex” is important.

I will understand completely if you think less of me by the end of this post, and there are spoilers for “all three games in the franchise” everywhere. Continue reading

Aside 47: There Is No Skill

Aside

Suddenly, I feel like a student again. I don’t know how to parse the world, I don’t know what it wants from me, I don’t know how to react to it. I don’t know how it’s socially acceptable to react to it anymore.

I can learn how to cook, how to clean, I can learn how to iron. I have the mental faculties and physical capabilities to acquire these abilities, and if I can not do them well, then I will one day at least perform them adequately. That should not be beyond me.

But there is no skill that I can learn that will put another human being in this flat with me. That is terrifying.