Blog 743: Close, But No Biscuit — Universe Building

I think Kong: Skull Island is one of my favourite films of all time. It’s a big, meaty monster movie with plenty of focus on the monster(s); Kong is not the footnote to a human story, but an integral part of a story that occurs in a natural world. It also strikes the perfect balance of fun with the straight faced delivery required to carry off a giant ape bashing giant dinosaurs in the face.

It also has a post-credits sequel hook, but you don’t need to watch that or the lightly-linked precursor Godzilla (2014) to enjoy it. This is the holy grail of shared-universe films: each one standing on its own, but quietly accentuating the others when taken in wider context. This is world-building done right.

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Blog 742: XcellentCOM 2

It saddened me that I had to buy the XCOM2 Collection digitally, as no physical version of the end-of-life complete edition was ever released.

After having completed it, I am doubly sad not to have a proper box, because it was really really good.

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Blog 741: Close, But No Biscuit — Independence Day: Resurgence

Video

Was Independence Day: Resurgence really that bad?

The short answer is: yes.

The longer answer is: yes, but it was flooded with so many fantastic ideas. Alas, fantastic ideas though they may have been, most of their final forms are confused, contradictory, or simply malnourished. Independence Day: Resurgence starts off so well, genuinely extrapolating a possible future from What Happened in the First Film (instead of, ahem, desperately rebooting so they can retread the same stuff but worse) — then it almost immediately trips over its own shoelaces and stumbles off into mediocrity and crass over-spectacle.

Top marks for effort, if nothing else.

Blog 740: What’s In a Name?

What’s in a name? A game as called by any other name would smell as sweet, or so the old Romeo and Juliet quote goes. But I’m not sure that I agree, Shakespeare, because as lots of classical fantasy and folklore will attest, names have power.

For as I’ve been working on this game project of mine, I have been pondering what to call it. This is difficult for me because, as a shallow man in thrall to the shape and the power of words, it’s got to be a good name, and fulfill many criteria that others might consider to be… a bit facetious.

Either way, this is a very important project to me, so it has to be just right — and as I’ve decided that 2018 will be The Year Of a Release, I can wait no longer. It must be named.

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Blog 739: Assassin’s Creed IV: Blog Flag

I had never, until now, played an Assassin’s Creed game. I was vaguely aware of the franchise involving jumping off tall buildings, hoovering up collectibles from all over expansive worlds and a much-maligned modern-day sci-fi meta-plot getting in the way of historical shenanigans.

I was never all that interested, but Ubisoft decided to give the 4th game in the series — frequently hailed even by cynical outlets as “the good one” — away for free, and my curiosity got the better of me. What could possibly go wrong?

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Blog 738: The Final Foundation

It’s the most productive time of the year! That means it’s time to tackle those big problems that put the fear into you at in any other season. But with a couple weeks of holiday? Oh yes.

Over the weeks leading up to crimbo, I was dancing around, adding little new features and refining systems. I put decorations into the bunkers, added vending machines and guard posts, deleted the crap code that was failing to do these things before — the level generator is, dare I say it, looking pretty damn good.

The next step, then, is to take this mishmash of content and make it… into a campaign.

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Blog 737: The Four Year Itch

Yep, that’s four years since I started work on this game — it still has no name (that’s a lie, it almost has a name), but it is still blisteringly consistent with the original vision. So assuming that my constant ramblings haven’t been too coherent over the years, here’s a video so you can acquaint yourself with what it’s actually like. Also includes audio commentary if you just want to hear my dulcet tones for a bit!

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Blog 736: The Crimbo List

Oh yes, it’s the most productive time of the year!

Well, maybe last year I got ahead of myself. The 36-feature plan I gave myself three weeks of holiday to complete in the end took more than six months (bar one remaining feature, the Towers of Hanoi puzzle, for which I have some lovely ideas). Plans, it seems, are not really my strength.

What, then, shall this festive period hold for my still-unnamed magnum opus?

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