Friday 27 July 2012

Game Jam Week: Final Day

This week has been really interesting. We have expanded our horizons by adopting a design for a technology we had never been able to work with before. Over the course of the week we have seen our game grow and expand. 

We started with a simple idea and it has grown. We managed to get a base model for what we would like to have developed and playable. We managed to create our own HUD and had some issues with the implementation but on the whole everyone is really happy with the way it turned out.

We all want to work on it in the future if we find the time but as for know we are going to take a bit of a rest and move on to other things and enjoy our summer. Thanks for tuning in daily to see our progress and support our game.

Thursday 26 July 2012

Game Jam Week: Day 4

It's now day 4 and the game is looking amazing. There are some glowing particle effects which follow the hands of the player. The hands are currently represented by white cubes on the screen, but we are going to replace them with some transparent hands (shown below).

It is now possible to move the sun, moon and also swipe meteors and asteroids into planet Earth! I had too much fun with the meteors so they're aren't any in the screenshot... appologies.

The player HUD has also been added to the game and it's looking pretty good, however it might need some tweaks and we are undecided about the function of the red 'population' bar.

Stay tuned and find out how we get on over the rest of today and tomorrow. Crunch time!

Game Jam Week: Day 4 - In-game screenshot

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Game Jam Week: Day 3

Day 3 saw the arrival of some art assets from a friend we worked with during our integrated project in third year. The models look cool and the textures are even better.

As a group we are seeing progress each and every day although we lost a member due to a family emergency. There is not much left in the way of design just now and we are working together to tweak and adjust all the HUD components and tweak the scene to make it look a little more lively.

We do have a screen shot to share with you all but it is not the latest version we have. The programmers are hard at work with finding out the limitations of Kinect and what we could do in the time frame. So far it looks awesome and I have been able to spin the earth as if it were a basketball. With 2 days left to complete it I think we should have a pretty rad game for everyone to play with.

Stay tuned for some more news by the end of the day.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Game Jam Week: Day 2

Our goals for day 2 are to develop the HUD further and start to mess around with Kinect. With Gavin working away on the HUD and the rest of the team clambering over one another to jump about in front the computer screen and throw balls at a tower.

As we draw closer to lunch progress is evident in every area, we may even have some 3D models to implement in to Unity from a friend in the art course in Caledonian University. We hope to have a few images up by midday and have some basic elements of the game up and running.

And if you don't believe us that we are working I have evidence that Fely is slogging away at the Kinect trying to discovers all it's magical powers. 

Monday 23 July 2012

Game Jam Week: Day One

Welcome to the first post in what could be many documenting the game we make over the coming week. The GameJam is running at Glasgow Caledonian University and is organised be our much beloved lecturer Brian McDonald.

The idea of the jam is to pick a input device or platform to develop for that we have never worked with before. The idea will help us expand our thought process and learn to work to certain constrictions that may come with our platform. Our team has chose to use Microsoft's Kinect and implement the gestures that are available through this medium.

The basic idea of the game is to have planet that you can manipulate and influence through various gestures. These gestures would then influence the population and resources in the world with the aim of the game being that you maintain an equilibrium across the earth.

From their we aim to develop and elaborate on our ideas but as it stands we are in the pre-planning stages and are making a basic mock up of the screen. So stay tuned for more news. There is even a little sneak peak at what we have planned down below.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Lego Batman 2: The Blocky Review

Lego is slowly becoming a dynasty with each game greater than the last. Lego Batman 2:DC Super Heroes is the 12th installment in this long line of blocky portraits and just so happens to be the best yet. Lego lovers all around the country gather to play these games with their kids and Travellers Tales know it. Like all of its predecessors Lego Batman boasts the same level of charm and charisma that we have grown to expect from the series.

As with all Lego games the story is merely a small portion of the endless pursuit of gold bricks, mini kits and secret areas but none the less there is still a great story buried under a pile of studs. Lego Batman 2 focuses on not just Batman but includes some awfully familiar faces as the dark knight and boy wonder seek help from the justice league in a bid to stop Lex Luthor and the Joker from taking over the world. With each level comes a cutscene that just oozes charisma, whether it is in the form of a reference to the comics or just the off the cuff remarks Batman makes about Superman, you will feel like you are part of the gang.
In an interesting turn of events this is the first Lego game to have voice actors. It was argued that part of the charm of these games came from the silly expressions and slapstick comedy that riddled the game with laughs but with the introduction of dialogue and acting from some familiar voices the game excels above the rest in terms of quality and hilarity.

Keeping in tune with the rest of the Lego games however is the endless need to pursue the in game collectables. As usual you can expect to find yourself replaying levels as the expansive cast in order to open hidden doors and unlock unfound treasure in a nearby chest.
Although the basic idea of collectables still remains there is now a vast map in which the red bricks, citizens in peril and new characters are scattered across. The map plays out very much like your own Lego sandbox. You can drive, fly or run through the streets of Gotham saving anyone and everyone you come across for those few extra studs you need for the next big purchase.

The gameplay itself is reminiscent of the previous Lego Batman but the suits have been streamlined, there is no longer umpteen suits you have to find in order to open that big door. The new suits for Batman and Robin allow the player to do multiple functions in one suit and cuts out a lot of the back and forth between small sections just to uncover a minikit or some extra currency. That’s not to say there is a lack of interactable objects, with the addition of the justice league there are some really cool areas you can access using their powers. For instance only the Green Lantern can build green lego constructs, Aquaman can swim and Cyborg can melt stuff with his eye laser.

As touched on previously this game is not just about Batman, the majority of the cast is made up from his rogues gallery and comrades but there are some great cameos from the best and brightest DC has to offer. Alongside the Justice League you will find Captain Boomerang, Braniac, Lex Luthor and a whole host of villains to toy with.
Lego Batman 2 is chockablock with replayability and quirky references to the comics that spawned such an awesome game. The amount of time you can invest exploring Gotham, fighting bad guys and saving the day provides you with a feeling of satisfaction you might struggle to find in other games, especially if you have a girlfriend or child to share the experience with as the dynamic duo. Everyone should buy this game just to punch Superman in his smug face a few times and you might even have fun saving the world while you’re at it.

I give it a stellar 9 out of 10.

Saturday 9 June 2012

E3 2012: The Year of Disappointment

Every year E3 kicks off the gaming convention madness with giant announcements, jaw dropping conferences and a plethora of new titles to be released in the coming year. For several years E3 was the benchmark to which many conventions aspired to be, set in sunny LA with hundreds of thousands of guests flooded E3 in anticipation of what was to come but a few years back E3 closed its doors to the public, shattering the dreams of many and alienating those who have supported gaming for years in favour of journalists and other developers.

Since then E3 has been a mixed bag of announcements ranging from the extremely out of date Mr Caffeine, the booing of AT&T and the excitement that followed after the Vita was announced. Much like your taste in games the conference has always been a hit and miss based on your preference although there was always something there that had your blood racing.

Unfortunately I struggled to find anything that left me breathless. Many of the games announced were sequels, prequels or just plain ass. Yes there were the odd one or two diamonds in the rough but it is hard to keep such high spirits after spending hours rolling around in filth.

It seems that even the greatest of franchises did not believe in this year’s E3 to the point that Halo 4, the Gears prequel and many others made announcements in the week or so before the show. If Microsoft cannot be backed by their own poster boy then why bother with such an illustrious event. On the PS3 front it was very disheartening with no news from the team working on The Last Guardian (even though Sony assure the fans that it will appear I find it harder to believe by the day) and what looks like a Super Smash Bros rip off on the horizon for Sony there was very little to look forward to. Hell even Netherrealm’s new fighting game surfaced the week prior to E3.

As for the nintendo conference we were promised 23 games and well we did see these games but they were either already on the market of were passed over so quickly in montages it was very hard to judge if they had actually met this quota. There was of course a new Mario game and the announcement of some cool new online features on the Nintendo side of things but it was largely underwhelming and the big announcements that were made were almost expected with a new consoles.

In a perfect world all these developers, excluding Nintendo are hiding their best for the new consoles they have stashed away in their evil headquarters awaiting to unleash the behemoths of gaming on the unsuspecting public at the next major conference. Although I can’t quite help thinking this is nothing but a pipe dream.

Hopefully there will be an upturn in next year’s conference with the announcements of some new and impressive IPs from both sides, it could be time for Kratos to hang up the gauntlet, Baird to drop the Lancer and the covenant to get a rest.

After all is said and done there are some awesome titles out this year and in spite of the delays of Bioshock Infinite we still have Borderlands 2, Persona 4 Arena, Assassins Creed 3, Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and Halo 4 all to look forward too. And after E3 all the speculation on Watchdogs, The Last of Us and a few others to keep us all going until next year. Failing that we can always hope for more big announcements at Eurogamer, Tokyo Games Show and all the others.