Gaming

Blog 830: Make Love Not Starcraft

So! Having rebuilt my old XP machine to improve its compatibility, I am now able to play the original Starcraft without fatal Blue Screens every one to five minutes.

Which means I can start writing about the game, which I had previously played through only once, based on its revered status in the WC3 modding community… And which I found sorely disappointing. How does it hold up to these eyes that have seen so much more?

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Gaming

Blog 829: Rolling Back the Years

I recently took a fancy to replay the original Starcraft. I remember the critical glow surrounding it from my Warcraft III days, so I was quite excited to try it… and was sorely disappointed. It just seemed to be WC3 but a bit worse. Even so, I was a teenager then, only ever played it through once hammering the cheats; so I’m curious now to appraise it more… intellectually.

Except it crashed all the time on my Windows XP machine. Not any old crashes, but full on system-reset-required Blue Screens Of Death. I had no such trouble with any other game I’d tried on Monument, and I don’t remember Starcraft doing anything like this back in the day — what could possibly be the issue?

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Game Development

Blog 827: Variables

RPGs need to have memories. Characters need to remember that they’ve been spoken to. Quests need to remember that their objectives have been ticked off. Incidental asides need to remember that they’ve already occurred. Enemies need to remember that they’ve been killed.

A lot of these cases are handled automatically by the appropriate subsystem. For example, Exon has a whole, discrete quest system that handles objectives, their completion states and how they show up in the Datavault.

But sometimes that’s not quite right. Sometimes, you just need a dangling Boolean flag that can be checked now and again.

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Game Development

Blog 826: Fragment v0.03

Look at me, with my monthly update cadence. How long will it last? As long as there are bugs to fix, I imagine, and it looks like there is still no shortage. When will I get to actually shipping some “new content”, that mythical “rest of the prologue”? Well, I’ve started working on the next couple of levels, but it’s still early days so they’re staying behind the Insert Disc 2 message for now (but I’m sure if you’re a l33t h4X0r you can datamine their skeletons from the archives).

Actually “no new content” is a bit of a lie — I’ve finally implemented the inventory weight limit! Read all about how and why I’m going to frustrate you below (or just head over to Itch and take on the burden for yourself).

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Game Development

Blog 825: My Milkshape Brings All the Models to the Unity

I’ve been using Milkshape 3D for all my modelling and animation needs since I first discovered it in my Warcraft III days (though it wasn’t until Guesst finally cracked animation export to MDX that I really got going). To be fair it was the first 3D modelling and animation tool I ever used, but I fell in love nonetheless. It’s very simple; you might say it’s lacking in features, but I say it’s clean and focused, and it’s ideally suited to working on the low-poly creatures, vehicles and decorations that I enjoy/am capable of making.

There is one tiny wrinkle: in order to get that artwork into Unity, I have to export it to an interchange format. That’s a whole extra three or four clicks! What if… what if Unity could understand Milkshape files directly?

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Gaming

Blog 824: Wasteland 2

I read recently that gog.com was having financial troubles, which is a shame because they’re one of about two places that sells properly DRM-free games (oh well, if they do go bankrupt, at least I have offline back-ups of everything I’ve ever bought there). On the other hand, they keep handing out free games, which seems like a poor strategy for making money.

A while back, they gave out Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut, the Kickstarted sequel to the game that was (apparently) Fallout before Fallout; something in which I had a passing interest but wasn’t in the mood for… until now. After all, didn’t I always like to get a big chunky RPG from Santa?

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Game Development

Blog 823: Fragment v0.02

Of course Exon: Fragment is full of bugs; I’m only one man and it’s composed of flexible systems that can interact with each other in ways I could never have anticipated. Also people have deliberately been trying to break it rather than just playing it naturally… But hey, that’s exactly why I’ve released this chunk quietly: so I can get all that stuff sorted before launching into the rest of the game.

But what stuff I’ve got to deal with, ooft.

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