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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Game Development

Blog 809: Raiding the Datavault

I was starting to flesh out the third section of the tutorial when I realised I was missing a screen. (What do you mean, I keep getting distracted from the minimum shippable vertical slice level?) One of the primary ways you’ll be able to get into places you’re not supposed to be is by finding the codes to keypad locks, except… well, then you need somewhere to store those codes, so you don’t forget them. You need a Notepad.

Then I realised that there was another missing piece of the datavault: the area map. How can you find your way around without a map? (Quite easily, my levels are not going to be particularly large, but indulge me, please.)

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Game Development

Blog 808: The Trigger Editor (Part 2)

The saga of me wrangling Unity into my personal level editor continues. A few weeks ago I started using Polymorphic Serialisation for my trigger conditions and actions and — so far — this is actually holding up pretty well. There was one annoyance, however, in that adding an action using the list controls created an unsightly empty/null element that you… couldn’t actually do anything with.

Except now I’ve worked out how to do something with it, and it’s simplified a whole heap of other stuff!

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Gaming

Blog 807: Elex

I enjoyed Risen 3: The Titan Lords. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good, colourful, vibrant fun. So when the same studio made a sci-fi game that was noted for being pretty similar, I thought… Well, who doesn’t want more of a good thing?

It came on sale and I figured it had been out long enough to be stable and final, so like the comet that brought the titular magic crystal (and the apocalypse) to the planet of Magalan, I took the plunge.

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Gaming

Blog 806: The Conquerors

I remember seeing a (p)review for the Age of Empires II expansion pack The Conquerors in an issue of PC Gaming World at the time… In fact, I’ve still got it on my shelf. (It’s the same issue that gave Deus Ex a very lacklustre write-up. Oops.)

I remember misreading the word “allies”, in tiny text next to a tiny screenshot, as “aliens” and getting really excited for all the wrong reasons.

Well, it turned out okay in the end.

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