Game Development

Blog 871: Kicking Ass(et Bundles)

Yes, I’ve been procrastinating by taking on another large restructuring project instead of working on Ultralight or the Rest of the Prologue. I could ship new content for you to play, or I could… yes… rebuild another system…

To be fair, today’s insanity is something that I shouldn’t really need to do, but because Unity refuse to fix the Resources.Load API, my hand has been forced. Oh yes, it’s time to divvy up all of Exon‘s contents into Asset Bundles and do the exact same thing as before, but in a much less convenient and intuitive way.

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Blog 870: Experiments in Modding UT

Yep, I’m doing it — I’m modding Unreal Tournament. Since the beginning of my festive holiday, I’ve been having a quiet go at implementing that singleplayer roguelikelike monster-hunting adventure I described when lambasting UT2004‘s Invasion game mode.

Yep, Robbie’s idea of “taking a break” from working on his own game is to… mod somebody else’s game. Twenty years too late. Right after it’s been delisted from all online stores and become hard-to-access abandonware.

(Yep, I’m still single.)

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Blog 869: Command & Conquer

I picked up a copy of the Command & Conquer compilation The First Decade mainly because I wanted access to all the good stuff outside of EA’s Origin launcher, where I’d sampled them previously. We only ever had vanilla Tiberian Sun and Red Alert II back in the day, you see, and last time was before I discovered that eBay exists and is actually a fairly reliable place to find games of a… certain age… that are still factory-sealed. The First Decade stops at Generals but, eh, C&C3 and beyond are where things got wobbly anyway.

When I went through the Tiberium franchise last time, I didn’t actually play the original original game, because I figured it would be “too old” even for me! But these days I’m a slightly more adventurous rube, so I decided to go for it.

(Spoiler: it feels very old.)

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Blog 868: Close, But No Biscuit: Terminator Retrospective

The Terminator is the only film that uses time travel as a plot device that I respect. This is because there is no paradox: although Skynet tries to change the past, it inadvertently causes exactly the future it was so desperate to escape. This raises all sorts of horrible questions about free will, so I hope it’s not how the actual universe functions, but as a narrative structure I find it satisfying, even poetic, that all the time travel shenanigans simply create a self-sustaining loop.

All the other films throw that out the window. Chris and I argue they should not.

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Game Development

Blog 867: Fragment v0.05

Sometimes you spend six-ish weeks unwinding a whole universe of poor design decisions, all of which results in a single very subtle visual change for a small number of units. Other times you finally jemmy in a proper Game Over screen which, okay, yes, maybe was a little bit long overdue. Then you’ve got three weeks off over the festive season, and while you were planning to take a break and do some Unreal Tournament modding (or, horror of horrors, actually play it), you end up implementing object pooling and some other bits of random junk.

Finally, you realise that you’ve been working on Exon for so long that even your demo is now a year old. Happy new year! Let’s celebrate with a new version — go and see if you can find your way into the new secret level! (It’s probably not worth it.)

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Blog 866: UT Isn’t Just For Christmas

According to my calculations, Santa brought me a copy of Unreal Tournament (GOTYE) at the end of 2002. It was something of a surprise; up until then, there had been a touch of the “no ultra-violence” about my access to games, and yet there we were, with my parents spontaneously introducing me to one of the most violent games available at the time. (It is a strong possibility that they had no idea what they were actually buying.)

I might play UT2004 every December to mark the festive season, but the big day itself belongs to the original and best.

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Blog 865: The Titans

Okay, so I had a mixed time with Age of Mythology: it was beautiful and full of fun units, but didn’t quite recapture the highs of a good Age of Empires II match. But as is tradition, there was an expansion pack — The Titans. What secrets will leak out of Tartarus this time, and can they transform the game into something truly special?

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Blog 864: Invasion

Every year, when the festive season comes upon us once more, I play UT2004. Every year, it makes me think. This year, I was padding out my campaign playthrough with a bit of Instant Action. I always like to slip in a bit of Onslaught and the bonus Assault missions, but this time I decided to have shot at the Invasion game mode, which I had only played once or twice before.

I quickly remembered why I had only played it once or twice before. However, it set off a train of thought that I want to explore: I think that with a few adjustments, Invasion mode could blossom into something special.

(I should change my middle name from “Danger” to “Distracted”.)

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