Blog 722: Close, But No Biscuit — Star Wars — Part 11

Starkiller Base is such a massive, critical failure of writing. Handed the keys to Star Wars, they did not carry the torch forward and instead sat still to make the same thing again but bigger. If you can’t remember, Disney, we already did that in the original trilogy and only barely got away with it. The galaxy’s biggest ever super-weapon, a footnote barely present for half a film and destroyed as perfunctorily — in the first part of a trilogy!

I don’t see a way that they can escalate beyond this, but neither can I see an Empire Strikes Back-stlye de-escalation that wouldn’t render the thing more meaningless than it already is.

First film in the new age, such promise, such hope — and the ball was thoroughly dropped. Dropped so thoroughly that the best we can do in subsequent things is to sweep it under the carpet… But it’s too big for that. Aaargh! Listen as we outline better ideas.

Blog 721: Tiberian Fun

Real-world associate Chris McPhail and I might have been going through Star Wars in our Close, But No Biscuit podcast of late, but there’s another piece of cultural media that deeply affected my robot designs — Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun. The goody-goody Global Defence Initiatve forces had several grungy, industrial, brutalist, utilitarian hulks that evoked power and strength and resilience so much that I took my first faltering steps into 3D modelling trying desperately to ape them. If Star Wars set the robot wheels in motion for me, then Tiberian Sun gave them life.

Look at it this way — if I’d known the Final Sun level editor existed at the time, I’d have cut my modding teeth on Tiberian Sun over Age of Empires II. Oh yes.

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Blog 720: Close, But No Biscuit — Star Wars — Part 10

And so we come to the original trilogy, the sequence that so very much got the biscuit. The truth is that early exposure to Star Wars defined everything I’ve ever wanted from sci-fi and fantasy in the days hence, and that’s why the lacklustre prequel trilogy and the travesty of The Force Awakens both hurt so much — because the things they tried to build on were fucking brilliant.

Yes, the original trilogy got enough biscuits for everyone, even in those brief moments when it really shouldn’t have. Star Wars is awsome, and though you can try to convince me otherwise by appending crud over the top of it, you’ll never take away the parts that are truly beautiful. (And let’s face it, as a Star Wars fan I’ve spent all my life selectively ignoring parts of the Expanded Universe and elevating others — I wonder if any two people alive have a consistent personal Star Wars headcanon?)

Blog 719: Wasted Week

I took a week off work to (surprise!) work on my game. Things did not go entirely to plan, as some time during some “routine” fiddling on Sunday or Monday it started crashing. Not crashing as in throwing exceptions from my own code, I mean crashing as in the entire Unity editor bombing out.

I unwound all the potential causes and dug around the internet for answers but basically came up with nothing. It’s something to do with turning colliders on and off and this getting PhysX into a tizzy underneath it all, but I’ve been turning colliders on and off for years (literally years) without a single complaint, let alone an engine-melting complaint.

I found a bug report to Unity which seems to cover it, but that fix won’t be released until June in the next major version. And what if this doesn’t fix my issue, and only affects one with a similar error message? Erk.

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Blog 718: Fun With Fog o’ War (and More)

So many features, so little time. I said I would build 34 features into my game in three weeks over the festive break; it is now three months later.

But what features! I might have had to unwind a couple of stinkers along the way, but I’m fairly sure the epic combination of fog o’ war and a minimap more than make up for it.

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Blog 717: Urban Chaos

I am a little bit sad that I missed the late 90s computer game era; things seemed to be more aligned to my tastes back then. Oh well, we’ve got ports on gog.com to make up for it — better late than never, right?

Today’s interesting morsel from the dark ages is Urban Chaos, a crime-fighting action adventure. (Well, not that dark, 1999 wasn’t that long ago.)

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Blog 716: Ode To MacArthur Park

It’s hard to pinpoint when I first heard MacArthur Park. I associate Donna Summer’s rendition somehow with being in the car in Dunoon, which means my parents must have taped it off a proper vinyl record onto a cassette as we did back then.

After that initial spark, I lost the song, but deep inside the synth solo that Giorgio Moroder slammed into it stayed with me. Eventually those same parents bought a Donna Summer compilation CD and the connection was re-established: I fell in love with that three-minute slice of pop perfection. Yes, even the line about leaving the cake out in the rain.

Then I heard the original version.

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