Gaming

Blog 847: Neverwinter Nights

As far as I can remember, I played Neverwinter Nights precisely once at the time, and the same again for its first expansion pack Shadows of Undrentide (before missing out on its second expansion Hordes of the Underdark). A while back, gog decided to hand out the complete Diamond Edition for free, so I figured it might be time to give it another shot. I created a Paladin who seemed to be utterly unable to hit anything and gave up on it not far into chapter 2.

But I was haunted by this failure; I had to try again and see it through. This time I made a Fighter — who I knew would be boring to play, but at least should be able to hit things and not die.

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Film

Blog 846: Close, But No Biscuit — Godzilla vs. Kong

When we first recorded this, it was pretty timely. Godzilla vs. Kong was still in the popular discourse. Except then Chris’ mic turned out to have been broken, so there was only my side of the conversation. Then we tried again, but got distracted about 10 minutes in and ranted about how awful Disney and Marvel are for a few hours instead. Then I think the third time, we got super drunk and ended up appreciating Gerry Anderson’s model shot prowess into the small hours of the morning.

Even on the day we finally managed it, there was chaos on the trains and I barely made it to Glasgow for the session. Then it took about six months to edit because the acoustics were a bit off (and/or I started eating Pringles directly into the microphone). But at last, it is here! Godzilla vs. Kong is extremely full of holes, but every time I watch it I get fired right up, so it truly must be Close… But No Biscuit.

Game Development

Blog 845: From a Certain Point of View

So I just finished playing an old game called Gunlok. I thoroughly enjoyed it (give or take a few difficulty spikes), but there was one thing that seemed a little off about it right from the start. Eventually it clicked: Gunlok renders its 3D world using orthographic projection rather than perspective projection! This gives it a completely unique look, somehow managing to come across as a classic isometric RPG no matter how much you rotate the view.

And I started thinking: Exon is top-down. Exon is spiritually isometric even if it’s in full 3D. What if… What if I switched Exon to use an orthographic camera?

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Game Development

Blog 844: Meandering

I’ve probably repeated many times how difficult game development is… or rather, how difficult it is to make the sort of game I’ve set my heart on (alone). I’ve been developing Exon‘s first big mission, a multi-part dungeon which has required all-new artwork: rocks, industrial equipment, even animals. I spent a long time working on the opening Academy level, so the environment — and the requisite decoration art — came together at a leisurely and natural pace. Meanwhile, trying to forcibly flesh out a whole brand new biome has been somewhat painful.

So I’m procrastinating. I’m faffing. I’ve been working on random bits and pieces that do not serve the short-term goal of “finishing the rest of the prologue”, because random bits and pieces is still better progress than just staring at the walls.

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Gaming

Blog 843: Gunlok

A long time ago, so long ago it defies memory (~2000), I played a demo of a game called Gunlok. I didn’t understand how to play videogames so I don’t think I even managed to move my dude(s), let alone complete it, but the blurb made it sound well cool. Fast-forward two decades and here’s me browsing through old games on a popular internet auction site, looking for things to put on my XP machine and, what ho, it’s a factory-sealed copy of this very game!

I barely remember what genre it was, but I’m long past hesitation now.

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Gaming

Blog 842: No One Lives Forever

Sometimes I hate legal battles over who owns the rights to what game. While I’m a big believer in physical copies, I’d still rather oft-lauded classics were available digitally than… not at all.

So here we are at No One Lives Forever, a 60s-spy-thriller-based FPS from the same people that made my beloved Shogo: Mobile Armor Division (and more surprisingly, the studio who would go on to make Lord of the Rings fanfic Shadow of Mordor), and a game that’s consistently revered by critics whenever it’s mentioned. But I missed it at the time, and it has been locked in a legal dungeon for twenty-odd years so I’ve not had the chance, until… Windows XP computer, internet auction site, still-factory-sealed box, you know this story by now.

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Gaming

Blog 841: The Wheel of Time

I didn’t really get on with The Wheel of Time series of books. I enjoyed some of them the first time around, but tried to re-read them more recently and decided by about book 4 that life was too short. While I enjoyed the prose, the overall plot seemed incredibly stodgy, with months of travelling between important locations and nothing much of consequence happening. Also many of the characters are kind of annoying.

But as you all know, I love a late-90s FPS, and yes — there was a Wheel of Time FPS made in Unreal Engine 1 back in the day. I’ve known about this game for years (indeed, the premier UnrealScript IDE, WOTgreal, was built for it) but it has been somewhat inaccessible… Until now. Yep, it’s been re-released on gog and oh, my body is so ready.

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Nondescript

Blog 840: Robbie Enterprises Movie Company

When I was a teenager in secondary school, before I’d been suckered into Warcraft III modding, I dabbled in stop motion animation. I got Lego MindStorms not long after our first family PC, and maybe a year or two later, the Vision Command expansion pack. The LegoCam was just a Logitech QuickCam in sheep’s clothing, but since that clothing had proper, official Lego studs and was perfectly-sized, you could build it securely into a model.

Eventually the world moved on. Driver support for the LegoCam ended and all that obsolete tech was relegated to the cupboard. Until…

My parents recently cleaned out their attic. I once again have a Windows XP computer. Can I make it any more obvious?

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