Game Development

Blog 817: Growing Pains

I noticed recently that Exon now runs like shit on my big game-dev laptop.

This is a problem for two reasons: one, the game looks like it’s from the late 90s so I feel like it should be able to run on at least a 5-year-old laptop; and two, half the reason I even bought the laptop was so that I could use it to demo the game out in the wild. If it can’t demo the game, it’s basically useless. (Okay, that’s a bit harsh; it’s still useful as a dev machine so I can work in Levels for a bit each week. Please come visit me on Friday and Saturday afternoons!)

It is, thus, time to descend into the Profiler to find out what the hell is going on…

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Gaming

Blog 816: RoX

I’ve been meaning to write properly about Safrosoft RoX because I’ve mentioned it obliquely a few times since I built my Windows XP machine — it’s one of the straws that broke the camel’s back, which, along with the inability to play Age of Empires II and Atrox on my real PC, made me take the olde worlde plunge.

I mean, this will be a mostly academic discussion, because you can’t play RoX anymore — it’s a hoary old piece of 32-bit Visual Basic shareware, and while it might be possible to rig it up on a modern OS with some decidedly unseemly DLL registry shenanigans, nobody’s realistically going to take that risk. Which is a shame because RoX is a fantastically compelling little game.

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Game Development

Blog 815: The Next Level

The Exon Academy is complete! The first level of the first campaign of Exon is fully playable, a self-contained lump of quests along with the tentpole minigame of The Arena. Bookended by the “Insert Disc 2” notice that appears if you actually try to leave the area, it could be shipped as a demo — give or take any traditional bugs that still linger.

But I’m not going to do that just yet, because with the first level complete, it’s now time to… make more levels.

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Gaming

Blog 814: Metal Wolf Chaos XD

There are two things I like in a videogame: mechs and explosions. The bigger, the better.

Metal Wolf Chaos XD involves the President of the USA driving a mech around and blowing half the country back to FREEDOM from a villainous coup led by his Vice President.

It’s a questionable mech shooter but it’s hilarious and I spent most of my time with it almost crying with laughter.

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Game Development

Blog 813: Closing the Loop

I am currently finding myself in a weird position with Exon. The first level — the Exon Academy and surrounding environs — is almost done, and so I’m starting to really want to move on to different levels… but I also don’t want to start making more levels until I’ve really, truly finished something. Especially when that something is very conveniently packagable as, oh I don’t know, a first release maybe?

The eternal temptation.

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Gaming

Blog 812: Shadows of… Damn

I replayed Baldur’s Gate earlier this year and foolishly thought I could get away with just that, and not immediately transferring my character to the sequel. Fast-forward a few months and yep, here I am, chugging through Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn. Except I’m realising more and more that…

Despite all the quality-of-life improvements made to the Infinity Engine, despite the more detailed NPCs and the fun extra-planar jaunts, I really do prefer the original game. Even worse, I’m beginning to think that I don’t like Baldur’s Gate II at all.

(There will be spoilers.)

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Gaming

Blog 811: Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project

I didn’t know anything about Duke Nukem before I played the demo of Manhattan Project, but he obviously hit a nerve as I spent the rest of my years at school putting on my deepest voice and delivering all the lines — “makin’ bacon!”, “hail to the king, baby!”, “ooh, that is gonna leave a mark”, “there’s only two ways this can end, and in both of them, you die!” — blissfully unaware that most of them originated elsewhere and the Duke’s appeal was merely in concentrating them into a single pastiche. I’m more widely read nowadays, honest!

Thing is though, it was also a really fun game. Why haven’t I replayed it for years? Good question. Let’s see if we can answer it.

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Gaming

Blog 810: Atrox

I seem to have a thing for games that end in “ox”. We all know Exon is a vast tribute to Nox, and one of the other reasons I built my old XP computer was Safrosoft RoX… and then we have this RTS Atrox. Like Age of Empires II, Atrox suffers from having a 256 colour palette in a 65-million colour world and so needs to be played in the past.

History has likely forgotten it for more reasons than that, though. Atrox is a Korean Starcraft clone that is… Well, just how closely they managed to copy Starcraft with such a small core team is actually quite impressive. Three asymmetric factions. Two resources in convenient little semi-circles. The same cliff/plateau/ramp style of terrain.

Even so, it’s one of those games that’s been lodged in my psyche since the day I first set eyes on it, so let me tell you why it’s deserving of at least a little attention…

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