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Everything posted by I_smell

  1. Netflix Originals

    I haven't seen many Netflix Original movies. All I can say is that I laughed at the trailer for BRIGHT, and then I watched the movie and it was just as dumb, so I enjoyed that dumb, bad movie. Here are some shows I'd recommend: The Get-Down - This is a human story about teenagers and young adults living around the death of Disco and the birth of Hip-Hop in the late 70s. It's colourful, it's got big personality, the characters are passionate and emotional, and there's always some looming danger. It's about real music and battling MCs who were really around at the time, but this isn't a documentary it's a character-driven story from a young person's perspective as the events are happening. Only problem: Each episode is MOVIE-LENGTH! Watch episode 1 if you have time for a film- don't worry, it tells a fully encapsulated story. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - I watched 2 episodes of this, and the whole premise of a woman in a bunker kind of freaked me out and I didn't wanna laugh. Then I came back to it a year later, and once the characters and setting had settled in, I absolutely loved this show. It's so fast-paced, it's jokes back-to-back-to-back, there are jokes packed into the script, the performance, the props, the set, everything. It's very similar to 30 Rock. Dirty Money - Watch this if you like documentaries or podcasts about strange real-life events. Each episode of this series is a different story about some heist, or some con, or some hundred-million dollars being embezzled. There are a lot of interviews, and usually an exciting or scary timeline of events. I'd also agree that American Vandal is a fun, weird show. I've only watched season 1, season 2 seems gross. A bunch of teenagers give some SPOT ON performances in this show, they ride the documentary style, the true crime drama and the underplayed comedy so well. I was actually drawn in to the mystery by the end. Man my girlfriend watches Orange Is The New Black, and I can't stand it. I think a women's prison is a good setting for a show, but every character devolves into this corny, candy-floss youth-club entertainer. They're all talking about Buzzfeed factoids and Twitter trends and American brands I don't know about like one big homogeneous blob all written by the same bored dude. The emotion is so up and down, and the villains so cartoonish, it feels like a Disney Channel show. What a disappointment! Maybe it was good 4 years ago? I also think that Netflix is generally getting worse as other services are fighting for their audience. I used to be excited to check out these quality Netflix Originals, but nowadays there's just as much filler garbage here as there is everywhere else, unfortunately.
  2. Cyberpunk 2077

    I feel like that's the 100th time I've seen a corporation co-opt a protest hashtag to sell cheeseburgers or something. Why do these community managers keep doing it!? Do they not read the news, or meet up and chat to each other, or anything? Does every company just hire some random kid on 4chan to make funny parody posts of trending topics? We should all instinctively know to slide this tweet idea aside by now.
  3. Quitter's Club: Don't be ashamed to quit the game.

    I've recently given up on trying to get to the end of Cultist Simulator. It was a good game, I really liked it, and I even appreciated how there was no tutorial or instructions at all. In the back half of the game though, this drove me crazy. One rougelike run can take a couple hours, which includes installing your cult, managing numbers and waiting. I got very deep into a run, and then realized that I had been pushing step 9 further and further away from myself. ...then I started again, and did the same thing with step 10. ...then I started again, and fumbled the next secret >:[ This is a couple afternoons spent playing a game that's nice, that I do like, but making no progress. It's good and I would recommend it, but if you decide that you want to just see what the back half of the game looks like, looking it up in a guide is the only way. Solving each new puzzle as they come up is doable, but very risky~ and the thing you're risking is your own free time.
  4. Cyberpunk 2077

    Yeah I was talking about Human Revolution before. I didn't know if people actually used that sub-header. Oh phew I'm glad people get where I'm coming from. I had a conversation in the office today where I felt very guilty for dumping on everyone's most anticipated game. These characters are talking about motherfucker this and bitch that, but I just want a history lesson on this "Euro-Dollar" concept!
  5. Recently completed video games

    I've defeated God of War (2018) This game doesn't really do anything new, but everything it does do is accomplished thoroughly, and on a massive budget. It's a decent milestone for triple-A console games, but doesn't leave a blip on the radar for games as a whole. The combat is more layered and beefy than I expected. I expected an off-the-shelf, ticks-all-the-boxes punching bag to grind through, but they really flexed some design muscle here. If you're getting S-ranks in Bayonetta and Devil May Cry on the regular: This isn't quite as replayable as that, but it's a strong showing and you'll be quite satisfied. I think the merging of mid-2000s God of War and current-day over-the-shoulder combat like Bloodborne is an academically interesting mash-up to look at. The storytelling was just compelling enough to pull me deeper into the game. The more time I spend looking back on it though, the more weird, bad choices I see. I guess I can really applaud that their PACING is great. I was on the hook for the whole game, and couldn't put it down. It's really well-made and I enjoyed it at the time, but I won't remember most of it later. Similar to a game like Uncharted or Tomb Raider. Zooming out to a timeline of 15 years; I think the identity and perspective that God of War (2005) gave us will leave a much bigger impact on pop culture, and games, than this new one will. Not just culturally with their quick-time events and brutal, grubby god-strangling, but also the coding techniques developed to allow a player to run up the knuckle of a titan and fight the horde under his fingernails. That's always the case with reboots, I guess. Anyway I also played Bad North. I love Oskar Stalberg's procedural artwork, so I was constantly seeing this game on Twitter. It delivers on the artwork, the game looks very nice. It's a fun time-waster, and commanding 4 squads around a little island is a fresh take, but doesn't stay interesting for very long. I like spending time in this charming game, but it is very slow-paced. There's not much unit variety or many combat options, there's not much enemy variety and there are few surprises. I'm playing on the Switch, and each session lasts a little bit too long to be a great fit for a portable game. This is the developer's debut game, and the portrait it paints of the studio team is still exciting. I really hope the game rakes in some money, because I think these people have the unique perspective and talents to make something very special soon.
  6. Cyberpunk 2077

    I was really interested in this from the E3 trailer, and hearing people just go nuts about it from the secret E3 showing, but wow this footage convinced me outright that CyberPunk 2077 is not my thing. Relevant note here: I don't like Deus Ex either. I think that character's voice, and every square inch of his look, is NEXT-LEVEL try-hard. Someone is DESPERATE for me to think this is sssooooo cccooooool, and that's very off-putting to me. At some time I did think Solid Snake and Wolverine or Devil-May-Cry were cool dudes, but shoving that double-shot of machismo in my face now, especially without any levity, just feels misguided. It felt like the characters in CyberPunk were really trying to jam in as much badass attitude as they could, at the behest of building compelling characters. It really painted the scene with the limp, cold body in a different light after a character said "I've got news as big as MY BALLS!" a couple minutes later. I was ready for the cool car and the cool jacket, but once you introduce the notion that this is all just pandering to my arrested development, it makes the whole thing feel like a pessimistic man-cave wank-fest, like Ready Player One or Duke Nukem. I'm sorry I don't like this big game everyone likes. I did want to! I actually felt myself wondering "Do I just not like the cyberpunk genre?", but I loved watching Blade Runner for the first time recently, and I do like Final Fantasy 7's grubby neon slums. That cyberpunk is mostly about people just feeling abandoned in a very busy world though.
  7. Jurassic Franchise

    I also watched the latest movie, which is Jurassic World 2, and I had to REALLY switch off my brain to enjoy it, because it is a dumb movie. I didn't really have the energy to complain about it, because nobody's that interested. It'd be like giving an in-depth review of why tree-bark makes for a bad lunch: We instinctively already know it's bad, so why bother? The premise of Act 1, though, I just rejected from the word go: They gotta save the dinosaurs from a volcano. Dino Green-Peace (I would say Dino-WWF, but I know what you'd think) really just raised the question for me: What does an animal conservationist charity like this look like in a world where you can clone dinosaurs? In this fiction, we can CLONE more giant pandas. They could spend the dinosaur money on more snow leopards or white rhinos. For the ivory, if nothing else!! Secondly: This year, I found out that California did a smashing job stopping forest-fires for 30 years, and then a massive one roared up out of nowhere because there were 30 years of dead leaves on the ground in one place. It really reminds me of what the good guys were warning about so much in the original Jurassic Park. You couldn't get further away from this theme in Jurassic World 2, where the PROTAGONISTS are circumventing nature to rescue all the dinos, and not one of them stops to think about whether or not they should. It's a volcano, they're on an island, this'll be the first natural thing that happens to these dinosaurs since birth. I found every other major beat in the movie to be a total head-scratcher as well, but hey I'll spare us all the time. This movie is Billy and the Cloneasaurus.
  8. E3 2018

    Yeah I'd love to play Cultist Simulator, but I haven't gotten around to it yet! I had a good time splitting 4 protein bars between 7 people in The Walking Dead. I think that is gameplay, as much as it would be in a board game. Are the decisions you make in 80 Days or Out There any less gameplay than any other games? Maybe they are, now that I write it down... I've never played it, but I imagine that the timeline of how you handle your responsibilities in a systemic game like Prison Architect is a compelling story, and also a compelling game, and I imagine they mesh together fairly well.
  9. E3 2018

    What I really found intere-- DOUBLE THE DEMONS?? Hold up, Doom designer: Double the demons is not something you just say. You all spent years making Doom 4, and then scrapping it to spend years again making a totally new, unique type of shooter. Designing one enemy is hard, and an impactful composition of enemies can take a long time to reign in. You doubled it? I'm really champing, and chomping, at the bit to see what DOOM Eternal is. Could it really be a stripped down fountain of enemies, like Devil Daggers? Could it be a rogue-like? Segueing into my next topic, I've played many hours of Devil May Cry 4's Bloody Palace run-based survival mode. It's my favourite way to play it, and I think it could fit DOOM like a glove. I'd love to see it. Devil May Cry 4 is one of my favourite games, and their DMC reboot was not bad either. The reboot was not as tightly designed and didn't quite stick with me, so I'm really trying to parse out whether this newly announced game is really Devil May Cry 5, or "DmC 2". The old designer is working on it, so... should be a step up, right? I hope so, cos a step up from Devil May Cry 4 would really knock my socks off. (I'd embed the video, but I'm on my phone, I'll edit it in later)
  10. Red Faction: Guerilla

    Wow. I'm just flabbergasted that they used that song. Actually, after a minute I did feel like somebody came in at the very last second and swapped a different song for this one right before they uploaded the video. Really bizarre decision there... Anyway Red Faction Guerrilla is one of my favorite games on the 360. I even just brought it up at work yesterday, saying that the multiplayer was a cool, unique game. I'm doing a lot of console porting and optimization these days, and holy moley; this game running on a 360 is a pure miracle of science to me now. I was impressed then, and in retrospect I'm just blown away. -IGN.com I bet there's more to do with these tools and this design, but I understand that Volition is not the studio it used to be any more. I think?? ...wow this trailer really doesn't show a clean shot of you knocking down a building for like 30 seconds. Who in the world made this?
  11. Id's Rage

    I really liked the trailer as well! I can't 100% tell what kind of game it is, but it seems like a fun place to be. So is it multiplayer??? I dunno! Honestly I like the Tank-Girl, gutter-punk aesthetic, it looks like they're just about pulling it off. I feel like many people are trying it these days and it can easily fall flat. I had a fairly good time with RⒶGE, and I think there was a lot of space to build something better. I think they would have a more potent identity and personality if they funneled all their themes into a character that you could point to, but I guess Bethesda knows that and consistently chooses a different path.
  12. I can't see a number on that page, but the comments do say it's a 7.5/10. It reads like this reviewer is very insulted that the game can soak up so much of your time without doing anything impactful to earn it. This is something I think about with games these days too, so maybe I would agree! It looks like this site gave Persona 5 a negative review with similar thoughts. I definitely agree that Persona 5 dragged it's heels for miles and miles too long, so I'm actually liking this perspective. Wow, their review on Horizon matches closely enough with what I said as well, I'm gonna listen to their podcast.
  13. I only got halfway through that giant post, sorry, but I can empathize with where you're coming from. I'm a big fan of good combat, I love all the Devil May Cry games, I loved that DOOM game in 2016, and I played God of War 3~ It was good, but the combat still had room to grow. I wanted to cut to the facts on this mad, raving stampede of 10/10, 5-star reviews as well. I bought Horizon: Zero Dawn thinking I was in for a 5-star time, but the combat was good-enough compared to what I like and the characters were very wooden and boring compared to what I was watching in TV and films. I was so annoyed I'd spent money and time on this thing waiting for it to open up!! Collecting trinkets and crafting nik-naks again? Using ice attacks when they're weak to ice again? These game reviewers have been playing games for just as long as me, how can they be blown away by this stuff!?? When they announced God of War I laughed and said "The potency of this story will be compromised by the beat-em-up boss fights, and the depth of this combat will be compromised by the need to be more cinematic. Nobody reaches their potential with this concept, except marketing". I checked out the game with a friend for a couple hours, until you reach World 2-1, and I think I was basically right. I'm not annoyed, I think the game's exceedingly well-made. It's good. I could probably play the whole thing and be happily invested, the same way I would watch an Avengers movie for a fun afternoon. I don't feel very compelled to though, cos I like playing interesting combat systems more than I like watching summer-blockbuster custscenes. It bugs me that I don't trust a 10/10 from practically anyone these days. I decided to go on twitter and ask my favourite indie combat designers what they thought of God of War to get a review personally written for me. They were critical of the same stuff I would be, and let me know that the game was nicely put together, but nothing new if you've already played X, Y and Z. So that's how I decided to basically skip it. This comes up commonly for me now. Should I REALLY, ACTUALLY play Nier: Automata, Hitman, Shadow of Mordor? Or are they re-writes of games and mechanics I've already played? Who do I have to ask to get my own personal answer? It was only when I heard about Into The Breach on 3-Moves-Ahead that I decided it must be something really good. I'm not a big strategy or tactics expert, but it really penetrates the noise for me to hear from someone who is.
  14. Super Mario Odyssey (One D, Two Ss)

    I agree that Breath of The Wild (a great name, now that I'm looking at it) is a bit gotier than Mario Odyssey, and I think that's a relevant game to bring up. It felt like Nintendo designed BotW from a new perspective where they crushed the linear path down to dust, and scattered it to hundreds of novel surprises across Hyrule Field. It worked superbly in Zelda and really brought me in as someone who was bored of the old slingshots, boomerangs and boss-keys. Maybe this was influenced by the Switch being a desktop AND a portable device? Maybe??? Mario has hundreds of small puzzles too, but they're not often surprising in this game. I can name plenty of the 1,000 things in Zelda that were mystifying or broke the rules of the game, or re-set my expectations, but not here. Playing as a Cheep-cheep or a Paragoomba isn't uniquely liberating, it just trades in your entire move-set for one ability and much slower movement. A moon is usually exactly the challenge it appears to be, and most of my favourite moments were scripted into the critical path. I still liked them- but I'm not blown away. -IGN.com That's STILL GOOD, but I think the Mario team started the project with new goals and executed on them, while the Zelda team started the project with new goals, recognized a great new potential they opened up, and then executed on them. All of the Far-Cry-2 influence in big open fields, burning grass, enemy camps, sneaking and shield-surfing were a GREAT space to bring all those freaky novelties to life too! Super Mario Odyssey basically doesn't bring out the potential of it's pitch. It could be swimming like Ecco the dolphin, swinging like Spider-Man, gliding like Just Cause, skating like Tony Hawk and looking at the whole level from a new perspective every time you switch- but it ain't. Even a simple mechanic can prove fruitful when you dig into it's potential. Look at Braid, look at SuperHot, Downwell, Portal, Fez, even some of Kirby's abilities are simple tricks that prove to be more exciting in the long-run. In this game the frog jumps high. It doesn't stick to the ceiling or attract enemies or let you reach a more exciting possession hidden high up in the level. It just jumps high. I have nice things to say about the game too, but I think this is more food for thought.
  15. Super Mario Odyssey (One D, Two Ss)

    Even though the broodals aren't my favourite characters, I do love that animation loop when they're standing on the ship. The tall one is a big gross floppy noodle, and the fat one's going ballistic just to trying to breathe in and out.
  16. Super Mario Odyssey (One D, Two Ss)

    I don't wanna be a debbie downer here, but Galaxy and 64 are a couple of my favourite games. I feel a lot of steps back instead of steps forward in this one. I'm up to the volcano-cooking level. Moving from 64 to Galaxy, I think the camera became a reliable friend. They doubled-down on using strictly top-down or side-on views for more levels, but the rest were tightly rigged too. In this game, I need to pull the camera around a lot more, it's not framing the platforming in a comfortable way without me keeping an eye on the right-stick. Jumping on a goomba in 3D is tough aswel, but Mario 64 built in the ability to punch and dive at them. Less mis-judging the arc, direction and acceleration of your 3D boy. Galaxy made the punch even easier by turning it into an omni-directional spin. But I've found the hat-throw often misses my target or returns to me unexpectedly. A lot of the time I don't WANT TO possess a goomba because they're just as vulnerable as Mario but more stiff and slow. JUMPING precisely onto something rarely ever hits the mark, but this is the first game where I'm really noticing it. Why not let Mario's roll knock out enemies and blocks? Rolling leaves me so vulnerable right now I'm hesitant to roll down hills. I could really dig into the enemy-possession, or these freebie moons, or the nostalgia-trip 8-bit Mario sequences, but I think my most straight-forward gripe is that I don't like the art style, like Olly said. I think Galaxy has a phenomenal, whimsical identity; but what is that grass in the Cascade Kingdom? What is that waterfall? What game is that T-rex from?? It looks like it should be in a video named "Unreal Engine 1080 HD Mario (You Won't Believe Your Eyes)". I'm enjoying the game. I like doing somersaults and diving onto the hat. It's a great game by any other standard, but for me it comes with many more caveats than these games usually do, sorry to bum anyone out.
  17. Hello friends! I'm aiming to make a turn-based tactics game a bit like Advance Wars, or X-Com, but maybe easier to get into, and with shorter more fast-paced matches. I enjoyed Hearthstone last year, and right now I'm enjoying Clash Royale. If you can bounce your team-mate into an enemy instead of hitting them directly, they actually do almost double damage- but instead of damaging the other team to death, maybe you should capture the base in the middle like I did in this video! I just this week put in the artwork and some sound effects, so I hope this video is self-explanatory enough. I also have a cool air-strike that hits all units finished and working, and a special ball that freezes the opponent's timer, a ball that converts all opponents around him to the other team, a ball that sits still and electrocutes anyone who comes near, etc etc. Check out my youtube channel if you're really interested. The game is very in-development, and a lot of it can change. I'm only working on it after work, or on weekends.
  18. [DevLog] Battle Snooker (Working Title)

    This is my current mock-up. Is the background too distracting? Hope not. I was really happy to find some reference art of antique maps and old nautical diagrams: The thing that's a shame is; I'm dying to FRAME this globe somehow, like you can see above. I think a spherical globe grinding around in an ornate wooden home is really nice. What's stopping me is this idea of what happens at the end of the game... AGAIN! I just want to slowly build up to a giant ball being built on some continent or another, and you blast it off at a meteor to defend the Earth. So in order to do that, I need the globe to be hanging free, un-tethered, so you can orbit around and SEE that final level coming up. So do I go with one, or the other? The plot events of the single-player campaign aren't really a high priority, so it seems dumb to let that dictate a decision so far-reaching as the Level Select and Lobby interface. On the other hand, it did take me a lot of different sketches to get to a nice, unobtrusive, low-contrast background. So maybe it's actually nice that I'm not adding these stupid opulent decoration pieces. Maybe a few lines and numbers is already plenty and I'm finished. Oh well I'll give up and pick a final design soon. I WISH I had the last couple characters fully designed and some good final art for the whole cast by now; but this is how it is when you're building a game on weekends. I made about 10 mock-ups of an interface and now that's my work done until next week! Very demotivating, but that's how it is.
  19. [DevLog] Battle Snooker (Working Title)

    I took a break from concepting characters to actually draw some final-ass in-game artwork: I HOPE I translated everything perfectly from the concept art to the final render. I really hope nothing got lost there! Very high-res! I've made a computer game before, I know where this is going. This achieves some of the things I wanted for my real, in-game character artwork. It's quite soft, it's nicely lit, it's shaded but still very colourful, it holds up small and large... I'm a bit anxious about how gross it is. I do want these specific characters to be grimey, unfortunate punks, but I do not want to evoke a raw, Ren & Stimpy, overly-textured look. How am I doin'? I should be focusing on what's best for the game, but a big part of me just wants to make my most nicest, high-res, high-detail artwork ever. I wanna stretch those muscles that sit still all day while I'm coding back-end controller support at work-- but maybe that's sabotaging the OUTPUT I want for this game. Maybe? Maybe it's fine. Who knows. Here are some extra sketches where I'm bouncing around ideas for the final-artwork Level Select: Concept 1 is a space theme... That's because I'm just thinking about the end of the single-player campaign a lot. It ends in space, so I want a fun reveal for this one funny moment... but all in all that's a bad choice. The game is not a space game, and in-fact it can feel kind of relaxing to play. A dark colour-scheme is a poor fit, this isn't a hardcore game like DOTA or STARCRAFT. I started with a smooth, sandy-wooden colour scheme and I should stay there. That's the game's identity. Concept 2 is closer to the original. I wanted to evoke an old adventure map. The game's identity lives in a vintage 60s and 70s, so I want to stay there. I want to somehow evoke an old wooden globe, or a liquor cabinet, or a gentleman's bar and a pool table. The atmosphere of the game should codify an earth where grand-scale decisions get made on snooker matches. These level-select concepts were very quick, because I am doing this after a full work day and it's giving me friggin carpal tunnel to still sit at my desk. I'll come back to it later this week, and also I still have a couple characters to finish concepting.
  20. [DevLog] Battle Snooker (Working Title)

    New character! Freezer units: Freezer Unit: Pauses opponent units Slows down the match, makes a match take longer Allows other units to overtake paused opponents Nullifies traps Does very little damage You cannot win a match with this unit alone This one actually boosted straight ahead in the beginning, and then staggered a bit toward the end. I had a strong idea of what I wanted this character to be, and he’s basically a depressant. He’s 25 acting like he’s still 18. He’s slowed down and paused his life. Judges everyone else for settling down, getting a mortgage, having kids- why would you?? Slow down, relax, what’s the rush? What’s the problem? Get off my back, I just do what I wanna do, we wanna get loaded, and we wanna have a good time, and that’s what we’re gonna do. etc. In my first couple concepts it looked a bit too much like I was employing the archetype of a jock or a bro or a frat boy, but that’s not exactly what I’m going for. This character shouldn’t be arrogant as an effect of confidence, he should only ever appear arrogant as a defense. We’ve all procrastinated and it’s not something you’re typically proud of, it’s a weakness. A couple things I liked on this character: Puppy fat, neck-beard, typical of a coddled dropout Low-maintenance haircut, or possibly high-maintenance, bad haircut A heavy, long, Silent-Bob coat; looks defensive, makes a person look sedimentary… I was trying to find things that teenagers would find cool, but then would look bad or dumb on an adult. That’s why he has that facial hair as well. In that vein, I started looking at overgrown teenagers like Liam Gallagher or Kid Rock or Jason Mewes for inspiration. I also looked at some college metalheads. It was good to look at those styles, but I wanted to make a character who was not a cool rockstar himself. Just another delinquent who fancies himself a rebel. It sounds like I dislike this type of person, but of course he has a lot of charm and is probably a nice guy on the inside. Any douchebag vibes he’s putting out are just a misguided defense. Same as with the previous character, I had to rein this guy in and bring him closer to the homogenized atmosphere of the game itself at the end. I still dislike a couple things about the final design. I hate props, and I don’t want characters to be defined by props. It’s cheating and it’s too on-the-nose. I’m dieing to remove them, but I was just struggling to draw another pose I liked. This was pose #18 and I’m making this game for 3 hours at a time on Saturdays. Ya gotta keep it movin’ at some point. Hopefully I’ll get to revise it later.
  21. [DevLog] Battle Snooker (Working Title)

    I'm halfway-done on the next character, so here's some waffle about dialogue in the meantime: Main Campaign Dialogue This is the file that defines level 4: I wrote placeholder dialogue a long time ago, so most of the game is already written. Now that I have the characters designed and drawn up, I thought I would go in and re-write the dialogue. HOWEVER~ I was finding that I couldn't write over the old dialogue without losing something. The placeholder dialogue was so straight-forward that it felt nice to be spoken to directly as a player. When the first mission says "Welcome to Battle Snooker!", it was tough to come up with something in-character that would give me a positive feeling in the same way. I wanted to establish these characters and this world, and set up something interesting, but not lose track of easing people into a nice, relaxed afternoon with a colourful, friendly tactics game. SO~ I decided to completely put all of my badly-written rubbish in the back seat, and the first 4 levels basically stayed as they were; giving out gameplay tips in a friendly, human voice. It might sound a bit drastic to detox the whole script, but getting in the way of a newcomer's ability to understand and enjoy the mechanics is not worth squeezing in any lame sarcastic quips. I decided to pull back and go 50-50 on gameplay-talk and character-talk from level 5 onwards. This is when I stop explaining the major interface of how to use the game, and start introducing the electric stinger unit. The unit is really simple, and should be mostly self-explanatory anyway. I do make sure that whenever you lose a level, the character should say something that gives you a clear hint on how to come back and win: I hope to do this for every level, until the end. Daily Challenge Dialogue The daily challenge will generate a random level every day, including one character shout-out in the level description. These can be purely for character-building, as they appear outside of the teaching and listening arc of the main campaign. It's very cheap and easy to just keep adding character shout-outs, so you really need to be a harsh judge and delete the duds. I could sure delete a few of these duds in the screenshot above! Working on SpeedRunners, we wrote roughly 300 random character shout-outs that would appear on loading screens. That might sound like a massively high number, but it's not. If you see one twice, the magic is immediately gone and it was all for nothing! In Battle Snooker I'd like to not just pick a random dialogue line from a list of 300, but put those 300 lines in a random order, and then go down the list one-by-one. That way, you could play for 300 days without seeing a duplicate. The SpeedRunners loading-screen lines really did establish some fun relationships, like how Unic is everyone's friend, and the cast's animosity towards SR. We had Russian fans de-coding Cosmonaut's Cyrillic lines, a couple mysterious Easter-eggs, and some useful tips for beginner players. Improving on that with Battle Snooker, I want the 2 opponents in the match to recognize each other, and quip on their unique relationship directly. If one character says "I'm your son" or "You're my ex-wife", or "Can't we be friends?" it might catch your interest and make you look at characters or gameplay pieces again with more context. As always, it's not about writing one big story-arc, but establishing a colourful identity and personality for you to read into as much as you'd like to. This is good work to do when you're not at a desktop PC, because you can basically do this part of development on your phone.
  22. [DevLog] Battle Snooker (Working Title)

    Hello!!!!! I spent the weekends in August on holiday, so then that means the game just has to pause for a while. It’s been sadly slow work, but them’s the breaks. New Character: Gray Father You ever spend hours designing a character, and then someone comes over and says “Steve Jobs”, and you just slam your head on the desk in defeat? What was this character for? This is the final boss. He can use all of the other characters’ units in combination, just like you. Combining multiple unit types is an intelligent and creative tactic. I don’t want my final boss to be an all-powerful monster. That’s not a very dense outline. With this character representing “all units”, his identity is very broad. I figured a good villain should be something that really beats the protagonist, something that DISPROVES the strengths of the young, arrogant hooligan type. So if you’re 23 and you’re holding a royal flush, what shuts you down? I wanted the final boss to be old. I’ve used old as a weakness a couple time, but what is old as a STRENGTH? It’s wisdom and maturity. The kind of person who’s traveled the world, has stories, lived as a slob and a snob, done their time, and actually DOES know better than you. When you meet a 21-year-old who’s in good shape, that’s one thing, but when you meet a 60-year-old who looks fitter than you, it’s humbling. This person doesn’t need to be mean or manipulative, they don’t need to be anything, they’ve done enough fighting to already know. I think I am going to have a really weird ending, where my antagonist is nice, and my protagonist grows up, but I’ll probably talk about it again later. So I started looking at old, convinced wise-guys. I like Jeff Bridges, but I love George Carlin. He’s had that smarmy smug mug for 50 years. Pulling up from sarcastic jerks, I wanted a stocky, reliable old janitor or fireman quality. A guy who writes safety instructions. I like tall, brick heads and block noses for this quality, like Wolfgang Petry or Jim Varney (yes, that guy!). Something I was 50-50 on was the eyes. I came up with the idea that the character uses all other characters’ units not by force, but by diplomacy. Small, smiling eyes are nice, but there’s something so inwardly pleased about closed eyes that I hated. Made him look like a conceited reverend. Thinking about trustworthy eyes, I always found it spooky to see young photos of Charles Manson. He’s such a nice pretty-boy, he has kind eyes and it’s jarring to look at, knowing what how things went. I mean… Robin Williams has nice eyes as well, but there’s nothing fascinating about that, he’s just a nice guy. Lastly, I decided his costume should be pretty low-maintenance. Very open, like his diplomatic nature, his color is gray because he is open to all identities (and because he’s the oldest character). I gave him a hanging open vest, he’s a reformed hippie, cleaned up enough to come off as very competent and highly functioning. The only challenge here was dressing him up formal enough to appear on the cast of Battle Snooker (is that really still the name??) but loose enough to make him feel disarming. I’m still not convinced on where I ended up with this character, but I’m sadly gonna move on because I need the satisfaction of finishing something. He’s not as richly interesting as the previous characters, but I think it would take a couple more weekends to really hit a bullseye, and I’m dieing to move on. I have 3 more characters to concept, and then I have to go over them all for the final in-game assets. We’re still in a renaissance for tactics games, right? That’ll still be true in 2018?
  23. [DevLog] Battle Snooker (Working Title)

    Okay so here's my character for the Thief ball:It was a slow climb up to where I am now with this one.What does the Thief ball do?It converts other units to your side.It steals people.It's a puppeteer, a manipulator, a pied piper.It drains health from ITSELF to do this. Suicide tactics are the way to play this unit.Your own team's health is disposable, because you stole them.It doesn't do much direct hit-damage, but actually steals from sitting in close proximity.Because it was a subversion of directly hitting your opponents, I decided much earlier that this team had a built-in identity of manipulation, coercion and intelligent cunning. For some reason, to me, a triangle carries that. Maybe some graphic designer out there can explain why.What kind of character stands for coercion?I brainstormed a lot of big, flashy situations in real life where I felt like people were being stolen and used.Communist dictatorships, pyramid schemes, cults, scientology, corporate take-overs and so on.I felt like these were rich ideas to play around in, but coming up with powerful CEOs and dictators felt like I was throwing a penny on a million other enemies in video games. It just felt like filler.Then at some point I had the idea to not imagine the person at the TOP of a pyramid scheme or a puppet-state, but the person in the MIDDLE of a hierarchy. At the fake-top. It's a fun reflection of how these things really work that you never get to meet the person in-charge, you only ever hear from a megaphone. So when I started to draw more of an attractive relations-manager who could be a puppeteer AND a puppet at once, the character had strengths and vulnerabilities that gave them a lot more to chew on.In my head, the nation that this unit belongs to is running out of food and money, and is hiding the facts behind brainwashing propaganda. Maybe they are completely dependent on resources from one of the other teams. I probably won't get into it in-game, but knowing that now can inform decisions I make for the rest of the game's life.Costume designSo I made the character an attractive lady to display all those things I said above. If you think I should've gone somewhere else, then let me know!I decided if you're recruiting people from other countries, you should appear as a well-off, thriving higher society. That explains the flashes of gold, and I might do more with that.After deciding the character was an attractive woman in a cocktail dress, I started off trying to convey that she was under some greater control. So I tried to design something with a tight collar, or handcuffs:I noticed that a tall, thin neck amplified this worrying undertone.At some point I really wanted to evoke the concept of a puppet-puppeteer aswel. I drew one thin vertical line on her gloves and dress, and thin lines in her hair coming up from her shoulders. In the final design, they lead up to her crossed bun hair ontop, where I was dieing to evoke a marionette handle.I tried to keep that upside-down triangle shape in mind all the time. That would tie it to the ball unit in-game, and piggyback on the sinister feelings I get from that shape. Her head, eyes, cheekbones, the shading on her face, the glint of light in her eyes, her jewelry, her abdomen, and obviously this boob-hole (am I dumb???) are a triangle pointing down. It's kind of obsessive how much exposition I tried to squeeze in to the shape of this person, but that's my whole goal with designing characters on this project.By the way I lit her from below to make her appear more sinister. In an earlier concept, nothing was there to betray the smiling exceptionalism, so she just seemed nice.Right at the end, I made her a foot taller than my scruffneck red commander. She's portraying an affluent facade, so you should be able to feel that this character is wearing heels to tower above people. I'm happy that these two have such contrasting identities, I think they'd have a lot to say to each other.The next character I'll sketch out will be the final-boss character. He has every unit at his disposal, just like you.I'll update when I have some artwork.
  24. [DevLog] Battle Snooker (Working Title)

    Boy, working on a game in your spare time goes pretty slow ): I would post the new character, but I'm not very confident about it today, so here's a different update: First thing you might notice is my new background art. Like a lot of the artwork in this game, these trees are mostly code. They move with the wind, and they're rendered using that effects-shader I was talking about in a previous post.. Their geometry right now is a couple spheres sitting on-top of each other like a snowman, but I think you can tell, so I may have to actually open up some modelling software and make a cone. They're moving on a combination of a couple sine-waves and some noise right now, but actually I think I will re-visit this animation later. Believe it or not, I only figured out how to use the function "Mathf.PerlinNoise()" halfway through making these. The rocks on the side of the table look like junk, they're placeholder. (this gif is a 10-minute edit I made right after recording the video) The other update on display here is the toxic-slime ball. It's basically what I said it was before. Really surprised at the kind of gameplay it opens up, though. I heard a designer on Diablo 3 last week say that everyone would pitch him enemy ideas, and they all got really creative, but dozens of these ideas just boiled down to 'You Have To Hit THIS GUY First! Because if not, blah blah blah'. You really have to pull the player into making NEW DECISIONS and DOING SOMETHING ELSE if you're going to add an enemy or new units. I've definitely fell short on that a couple times without noticing, but I hope it's not too much. I'm happy that the slime-ball does feel like a fresh kind of gameplay. Did you notice the new UI widget that pops up in the top-left? It's a recap of what happened during the turn, in-case you're still foggy on damage numbers.I'm clearly desperate to not pop up damage numbers over the actual match, so I HOPE this is a useful solution for people. I got the idea from playing Hearthstone and notice that they also have a column of little widgets to remind you of what's happening. I'm not sure exactly how to display this. If you leave it running, it stacks down the whole screen. Left for too long, the information blurs together into one big turn, which is not useful, but it's antithetical to the purpose if it refreshes too often. I've decided to wipe the list clean each time you make a turn, and the previous turn was the enemy. Character work is getting done aswel. If I spend one weekend on vacation though, and the next weekend going out, then progress on the game stands still for 3 weeks. Bummer!
  25. While listening to this episode I googled "Cheese wheel on bady" and cracked up at the incriminating phone case.