World of Sodacraft

26 06 2009

Say what you will about the marketing behind Halo 3, but I actually liked the Mountain Dew flavor that was put out as a tie-in. So it’s only natural that, despite my aversion to all things World of Warcraft, I was curiously drawn to the fact they made two WoW-themed soda flavors for the summer. Natrually known as “Horde Red” and “Alliance Blue”. So…I figured I’d do a taste test of sorts…
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Bunker Busting: Moai Caldera Dev Blog 5

25 06 2009

As I said I’ve now developed a better entry method into the structure of my level. I also would like to correct myself a bit. See when I said “guardhouse” I guess I really meant “bunker” or “pillbox”. I sloped the exterior walls a bit to give it more of a sturdy, military-grade look, although it’s still only dev-textured right now. I also have to consider I’ve left one section flat, just above the doorway, where I was going to put a symbol or some signage. I’m not sure if that would look good or not though.
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Moai Caldera not on Haitus: Dev Blog Entry #4

23 06 2009

Ok so I solved my problem with the level. Initially I just had ramps leading down into the base, which would have been difficult for someone of my experience to build a landscape around easily. So I’ve changed it up so that now each team’s quickest entry point into the structure is a “guard house” of sorts with a ramp/stariway leading through the floor down into the base itself, as can be seen after the jump
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Moai Caldera on Hiatus

21 06 2009

I think I’ve finally hit a stumbling block on my map development. I just can’t get my head wrapped around displacements. I mean I’ve tried and all but to be honest, my idea was possibly too ambitious for someone so new to hammer. Since I essentially have to wrap the structure in numerous displacements all sewn together, and the documentation on displacements and terrain design is so sparse, I’m unable to acquire the necessary knowledge it takes to do such a thing. So I have to re-think the whole idea. I may have to make it so it’d be easier to make the necessary displacements (which may necessitate a full rebuild) or just instead do away with such a displacement-heavy map and make an all-indoors map as my first true attempt. For now though I’m going back to the drawing board and rethinking things. Hopefully I can come up with a solution soon. This isn’t the end of the world by any means though, because I’ve learned numerous things so far such as lighting, cubemapping, skyboxes, and so forth. So, not a total loss.





Moai Caldera TF2 Map Dev Blog #3

17 06 2009

I’m starting to rethink this whole idea. Right now even though I have all the interior built (sans texturing), I’m starting to wonder about the complexity of my next part of the map, which is all the landscaping. Displacements in the Hammer editor are tricky to get right, and I’ve probably made it more difficult given the fact I plan to have holes in the roof of my level’s central room (and designed them rather unorthodoxly at that). I’m starting to consider one of three options.

1: Make one huge hole in the roof instead of the two smaller ones I have now
2: Remove the roof entirely, making it seem like the whole ceiling collapsed.
3. Don’t make holes in the roof, and instead make a roof-access hatch to the center room or another side entryway.

I know it slightly compromises my artistic vision, but I shouldn’t really be making my first map something really grandiose so that I don’t get frustrated with it.





The Invisible Hand of Adam Smith Extends its Middle Finger

12 06 2009

As I get ready to trade in another 6 games I haven’t played in a while to Gamestop just to get one new game, I am reminded of the problem the game industry has with the cost of games. Ever since this console generation, game prices have shot up to $60, something we hadn’t seen since the N64 days. We were told that the switch to disc media would benefit the consumer because game prices would go down. That hasn’t happened. I doubt it will even with this current economic crisis. Now while some people blame Gamestop for their trade-in policies, I choose not to. After all, used games was how I built up the game collections of my Genesis, my N64, my PS1, my PS2, and my NES. The problem is that Gamestop has to make money off of the secondhand games market, and sadly with game prices the way they are now, they can’t drop prices dramatically on used games for the current generation of consoles.

So we’re back to the big problem, the price of a new game itself. ranging from $40 on handheld systems, to $50 on the Wii, to $60 if you’re buying for the PS3 or 360. These are pretty much the highest prices each company’s current-gen console has had for a game, apart from the aforementioned $60 N64 titles.
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25 Years of Falling Blocks

6 06 2009

On this day 65 years ago, Brave soldiers of the Allied Forces faced the daunting task of storming the beaches of Normandy and succeeded. But since everyone loves talking about that and this is a games blog, I’m going to talk about a different anniversary. Yes, it was on this day in 1984 that Alexey Pajitnov created possibly the most addicting video game of all time, and subsequently got screwed out of his rightful kudos, but i’ll get to that in a bit.

Inspired by the game of Pentominoes, Alexey created the game of Tetris while working at the Computer Centre of the Moscow Academy of Science. Trimming down the size of the pentomino motif down to 4 blocks (Tetrads, later called “Tetrominoes”) instead of 5 and adding a time factor where the object was to not fill up the screen, and thus, Tetris. However since the game was written on the Soviet Government’s dime, they snapped up all rights to it (or at least tried to), forming “Elektronorgtechnica” (or ELORG) in order to deal with the possible profit to be had from such a game. At least, that’s what I’m gathering from the Internet, but we all know how reliable that is.

Spectrum HoloByte attempted to bring the game to the Western World through a convoluted series of deals and rights issues while a British company named Andromeda had tried to get the PC rights direct from Pajitnov himself. Of course, by 1986 a version had already landed stateside and rendered a lot of this moot, though Andromeda did eventually secure home PC rights for a time.

Things just got more and more complicated from there, but most people never even knew about that, instead being easily enraptured by “The Soviet Mind Game” as it were. Now Tetris was not the first game I ever remember playing, though it was the first Game Boy game I ever played, and probably was the same for many other people as well, since arguably the Game Boy version of Tetris is what allowed Nintendo to completely run over any competitors in the fledgling handheld market.

How can something so simple endure after all these years? Is it the easy to understand play mechanic? Is it the versus mode which probably had one of the earliest instances of being able to be a total dick to your opponent? Is it KGB mind control? who can say? All I can say is it’s still a hell of a lot of fun. As for Pajintov, he eventually went on to work at Microsoft, working on a few of their entertainment pack game software suites and also the game Hexic that now comes default with Xbox Live. He’s also one of the major faces behind The Tetris Company, which manages all the rights to the game now. So he’s doing all right for himself I’d say, even though I feel he still hasn’t really gotten all the credit he truly deserves for creating something so masterful. Though I guess the massive attack against all shareware versions of Tetris in the mid-90s probably balances that out. But anyway. Let’s not judge by that one event.

Anyway here’s to 25 years of Tetris, and here’s hoping we get 25 more.