Brendon Chung

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Posts posted by Brendon Chung

  1. One weird design choice in this game is if you use the portable record player during one of the missions it will keep playing even after the mission is over


    Yup, this a bug. The Vinylman music is supposed to stop playing. I'll be including this fix in the first content update.

  2. I picked up Doom on the good word of mouth it was receiving, and - wow - I was delighted and surprised by what I got.


    In my mind, I was expecting a big fast corridor shooter. Throw in some guns, some monsters, some level design loops, and there ya go -- a fun old-school FPS romp.


    What I ended up getting -- and what I wasn't expecting at all -- was a single-player arena shooter. You're thrown into a combat zone, all the doors shut, and I almost expect to hear an announcer announce "round 1, fight." The one thing it most reminded me most was Quake 1 deathmatch. Wild player speed + a shocking amount of verticality + "gamey" powerups/pickups + always, always, always moving. What I associate with Quake is how its speed was always cranked to 11 -- way too fast for your brain to really parse what's happening, so your hands just go to this instinctual auto-pilot zen zone. I guess "flow state" is what some people call it, and Doom 2016 completely laser-focused on that for me.

  3. I love Q2DM1. I love its verticality. I love its interconnectedness. I personally like how spartan it is - no teleporters, no death pits, no environmental dangers, no traps, and the only moving parts are a couple elevators.

    I dunno, there's something pure? or humble? about stripping the map down to just pure layout work. In a way it reminds me of how they say the best third person cameras are the ones that just kinda disappear and become invisible.

  4. Last Survivor DLC:


    When you're slinking your way to the escape shuttle and Ripley starts singing You Are My Lucky Star: absolutely perfect. What a wonderful touch.


    I'm sure part of it is the nostalgia at work. But what a great way to instantly humanize the character and humanize the situation. I think after X amount of hours avoiding the alien, you do kinda start dismantling the alien into base game mechanics. It loses some mystery. But when Ripley started singing, that earlier sense of terror just snatched me back up. This is the kind of writing I love. Say it without saying it.

  5. Brendon is my favorite gaming auteur. You get all these higher profile dudes, who's made some good games sure, Fez, Braid what have you, but the breadth in such a small window is just outrageous. Also, for my money 30 Flights is the best realization of game as film, by a mile. I wish there was a fuller length version in that style. The idea that he's just TINKERING without any formal training just blows my mind.


    Another great show! 


    Thanks! You're too kind.


    Tinkering is a good word. I think it's sometimes easy for developers to get railroaded into being the best and doing things the right way. Games are playful things, and I think there's room in the development process to reflect that.

  6. That google doc of the Blendo Universe timeline sounds like the most magical document currently on the planet. (I wonder if the old stuff like Bugstompers or Grotto King are part of that canon)


    Yup, everything's rolled in there. I'm usually allergic to game documentation, but reaching for connections between everything was too fun to pass up.

  7. Gone Home

    I always play as a nosy tourist in first-person games but am always getting shot, so Gone Home is basically perfect for me. I'm so excited there's now a Gone Home genre.


    State of Decay

    I think State of Decay is one of the few open-world games that really takes advantage of the fact that it takes place in an open-world.

  8. State of Decay is an open-world game that takes advantage of its open-world structure. It leans toward the Mount & Blade & Elite model of world simulation.


    For example: my buddy Ed became infected. I scavenged some medicine for Ed. It slowed down the illness, but Ed still needed more help.


    I received a mission to fetch the camp's doc, who was currently squirreled away in a barn some miles away. Before I embarked on that, I decided to clean out some of the infested houses near our camp, since our camp barely survived the last zombie horde attack.


    As I'm cracking zombie faces, a couple message boxes appear:

    "Ed is dead."

    "Fetch doc mission: failed."


    And just like that, a playable character was now permanently gone. The on-going nature of things, coupled with perma-death and events that organically sprout out of the systems, makes for a game where decisions feel meaningful.


    The game can be janky. Framerate and performance chug, there's roughness in the camera and animations, and it's a little strange you can't bring an AI buddy with you on your explorations - yet they kinda-sorta let you do so by accepting a mission with an AI buddy, and then just ignore the objectives.


    In short, this is an open-world game that really shows the promise of the genre.

  9. I don't really want to repeatedly shout "LOOK AT MY GAME" into people's internet faces, but maybe that's just what you do? Possibly I've reached the most people I can without actually having the game available to buy yet (here's why I don't)?


    I think it boils down to doing two things:

    1. Repeatedly shout "look at my game" into people's internet faces.

    2. Start doing that as early as you can.


    Your game exists, and it takes a significant amount of time for that fact to seep into people's brains. Start talking about your game early in development and slowly build up an audience. By "early in development," I mean: you have things moving on the monitor. It's a long uphill marathon of weekly/daily updates that, as mentioned above, demands a lot of time.


    For my game Atom Zombie Smasher I made the mistake of following the AAA model of starting publicity some months before release. When the game was released, awareness of the game was pretty awful. It took about one year afterward for the game to get any real traction. Learning from that, I started talking about my current project early in its development, and awareness of it has already overshadowed my previous games.


    It's impossible to reach some sort of audience saturation point. As Chris Hecker says, "You can’t overhype your game, you can only under-deliver." It's a big world out there, and there will always be people who've never heard of you or your work. Keep talking about your game, keep sending out builds, and keep poking the shoulder of every website that exists.

  10. I wonder how much a recorded gameplay stream differs from an unrecorded session. When I see people breezing past rooms in Let's Play TFOL videos, I figure I'd probably do something similar were it me being recorded, and I'm the guy who spent several minutes poring through Gordon Freeman's locker in Half-life 1 (why does he have a baby picture? Whose baby is that???).

    But I also do think part of it is because of game vocabulary and expectations. In my game Quadrilateral Cowboy, there are sticky notes and signs and objects that give hints and tutorials. When I demoed Quadrilateral Cowboy at PAX, a fair amount of these signposts were missed - partly because they need some work, but general feedback I got was that people assumed the signposts were decorations and incidental details.

    TFOL is able to get away with it because recognizing the world details are not required to finish the game.

  11. Jake's point on open-world game structure reminded me of why I like Crackdown so much.

    Crackdown is pretty unique in how much it embraces its open-worldliness - the entire world is open at the start, all the objectives (kill drug Lords) are active at the start, and the game basically just says "hey you, go." And it does this without any turret sequences or scripted chases, because the game is so laser-focused on the freedom of its open world - I love that.

    It does seem open-world games increasingly lean toward the scripted spectacle approach nowadays. I'd love to see more games embrace the open-world structure as much as Crackdown.

  12. When I first saw early footage of Far Cry 3, I was miffed (Mini map? XP points? Cutscenes?). It looked as if the interesting design decisions of FC2 were stripped out and replaced with stock parts from a generic shooter.

    But dang, Far Cry 3 is really well done. It embraces the grenade-rolling-down-hill systems-based gameplay from FC2, and I'd say FC3 pushes that particular aspect further. I played in a Garrett-visits-Hawaii playstyle, and it definitely scratched that Thief itch for me.


    - Basically, animals are the best. Getting help from some wandering komodo dragon. Quietly casing an outpost and then being pulled underwater by an alligator. Watching the predator/prey world ecosystem just do its thing. I love how often these things happen, and I love their unpredictability.

    - By far the most fun I had were the Outpost and Wanted side missions. Loved looking at all the angles, making a plan, and then (attempting to) execute that plan.

    - The enemy tagging is one of those things I think sounds horrible on paper, but once I actually played with it I loved it. It reminded me of Mark of the Ninja's approach of generously handing the player all the information to be Mr. Sneaky Ninja Guy.

    - The voice acting is great. I liked that characters actually had distinct characteristics.

    Not crazy about

    - Many of FC3's campaign missions felt constrained to one path, which sometimes felt counter to having this big beautiful game world and systems-based mechanics. When the campaign missions did take an open approach (i.e. E3 demo mission) it was fantastic, but they felt few and far in between.

    - I spent a lot of time in the pause menu. After FC2's great paper-map approach, crafting a health syringe in the heat of battle feels silly.

    - FC3 made me love Dishonored's meticulous UI customizability all the more. I really wanted to look at the world instead of all the floating UI doodads.

    - The 'sort-of' functionality for dragging bodies is funny, in how once you drop a body you somehow lose the ability to pick it up again (?)

  13. Just finished playing Black Mesa, and loved it. So ambitious, and so impressive.

    It made me think about adaptations and different ways to approach them. I think I belong to the camp that thinks adaptations should be kept pretty loose.

    When the Watchmen movie was announced, I was excited because I quite enjoyed the comic and was looking forward to seeing it on film. I enjoyed watching it, but was somewhat miffed at how vigilantly the film stuck to the source material. I know some fans clamor for this panel-by-panel recreation approach, but it felt awkward to me. When you have two languages (comic & film), I expect not a word-for-word translation, but an interpretation of the source material.

    Black Mesa's goal was to stick to the source material (and I think it completely succeeds there), but I would've loved to have seen it expand or reinvent the environment, mechanics, and story. I know, blasphemous.

    For example, Half-life has always confused me as to why I launch that giant rocket, and why it apparently does nothing. To the best of my knowledge, that entire segment is explained via a single dialogue dump from Barney. I'd loved to have seen a gradual build-up to the rocket event, much like how the HL2 Episode 2 has that slow burn leading up to the final area.

    So, when I saw the Black Mesa changes like experimenting with iron sights, making everything pick-uppable, tweaking the weapon introductions - I loved that these changes were made. There's a ton of little tweaks they made to make the game speak in a more "modern game" language, and it's done very elegantly and invisibly. Re-making something revered like Half-life is pretty damn bold, and the fact they made the changes they did makes me respect them all the more.

  14. Jake - Dang, I thought I had the crash sorted out. I'll keep digging.

    For anyone getting the same crash, here's a temporary workaround:


    miffy495 - The earlier Citizen Abel games were more traditional shooty bang-bang FPS things. They're mods of existing games (Quake 2, Half-life), so making a stand-alone version would require all the assets to be swapped out and replaced, which is a fairly monumental task.

    Though, if you do have Quake2 or Half-life, they shouldn't be too difficult to get up and running:

  15. TychoCelchuuu - I appreciate the support. Either way works fine, so it's up to your personal preference.

    George B - I've always had a soft spot for Quake's movement physics so I included some sweet trick jump spots in the first level of Gravity Bone. Most of them result in you falling to your death.

    I should also note the Idle Thumbs version of TFOL got updated with the release version's goodies (dev commentary, gravity bone), so give that spin sometime.

  16. The most rewarding experience I've had with voice chat was during a company tournament of Battlefield 2.

    One of our teammates had military experience. The first thing he did was have us label every area on the map ("The beach", "The construction yard", etc). During matches, he had us call out every single enemy movement. "Three enemy dismounts in the village, heading toward the beach." "One enemy armor heading north to the construction yard."

    You suddenly had this hive mind, where everyone was able to more or less achieve the equivalent of wallhacking via sharing each other's eyeballs. That's when I realized how voice chat was able to completely change a game.