A little over a year ago I signed up for a course on Udemy called “How to Code by Making Games in Unity”. I got through the first two sections and made a basic in-console number guessing game and then I kind of let the course fall by the wayside. As 2016 began rolling around, I decided to set the goal that I would finish up all these half-completed online courses I had signed up for, so the first one I’ve been working on is this Unity development course.
One of the many great things about New Zealand is that we frequently get to see movies before other countries, since we are the first on the other side of the International Dateline. When it comes to huge releases like a new Star Wars film, this is extra great. I can’t get spoiled if I already know everything, right? Anyway, yes, I did go to the midnight release and I wanted to put some quick, spoiler-free thoughts down for those interested.
In a games industry where most titles get months or even years of screenshots, alphas, betas, teasers, and trailers leading up to their launch, The Beginner’s Guide was announced just one day before it released. Pretty much no info was given other than that it was by one of the co-creators of The Stanley Parable and that it would be a narrative game reflecting on the nature of game design.
Before reading this article, I highly – HIGHLY – recommend that you go and give the game a playthrough yourself. I purposefully avoided any and all inklings of what this game was before I played it myself and I think the experience was much better for it.
Color has always been a big deal for me. I always needed game console colors to be just so, I had a whole rainbow of Converse hightops, and of course I’m famously obsessed with outfitting and customizing my characters in video games. Colors also affect what comics I read. If I don’t gel with the color palette the colorist uses, it makes it a lot less likely that I’ll bother reading it. Some artists and colorists though really make an impression on me.
If you’re an avid reader, you might be familiar with the term “book hangover” when you finish a book you’ve become heavily engrossed in. It can be tough breaking out of the stupor you feel as you try to return to ‘normal life’. Recently, I’ve realized that this same phenomenon can happen with games as well. After finishing The Beginner’s Guide, the new story line in Guild Wars 2’s expansion, and even the Let’s Play of SOMA that I watched, I felt those same distinct symptoms I feel finishing particularly good books. So what are these symptoms and how can you deal with them?
With the release of Heart of Thorns, I’ve been putting in gaming overtime. That’s saying a lot because I know that I spend more time gaming every day than many people as it is. Because of this, I’ve noticed a bit of strain and ache in my left wrist lately, so I decided to start paying better attention to my hand health. I’ve dug up some resources that have really helped my wrists and hands feel better – when I remember to use them!
I go through cycles where I either am really into sci-fi or really into fantasy. The past few years have definitely been dominated by fantasy realms – Middle-earth, Tyria, Westeros, etc. But between reading The Woods comic series, watching SOMA playthroughs, and the impending release of a new Star Wars movie, I think it’s safe to say I’m entering a sci-fi cycle right now. So when I saw the Kickstarter for Red Cloak Games’ new game, Wanderer, my interest was definitely piqued.
Welcome to October, everyone! I’m sure you’ve noticed my activity on this blog has picked up significantly. I took the time to plan out a post writing strategy for myself to motivate me to write about games again… without burning myself out, like I tend to do on this blog. I suppose it also helps that I’m playing games besides Guild Wars 2 lately! I figured I’d talk a bit about some games I’ve been playing lately that haven’t or won’t get their own post here.
Back in August I managed to spill tea all over my Razer Mamba. I thought it would be ruined and immediately began researching a new mouse. I had settled on the Logitech G302 but within a few days the Mamba dried out and I was able to use it again, which was great because the old worn-out Razer Naga I had been using the mean time was terrible. It had lasted me about four years but the right click had gone and left clicks occasionally registered as double clicks. Super frustrating, as you can imagine. The Mamba was fine… but nothing fancy. But as I played more mouse-intensive games like League of Legends and GW2’s PvP, I noticed my mouse hand getting cramps more and more often. Finally I decided to spring for the Logitech in the hopes it would solve my problems.
Today I want to highlight a really fascinating video made by the Extra Credits channel. They put out a lot of amazing videos that highlight and discuss different aspects of the video game industry, but this video is about something very specific: Blue Shells in the Mario Kart series. Many just see these items as an annoying part of the game out to ruin your First Place fun, but in this video Extra Credits details the design decisions behind what the Blue Shell does and doesn’t do. I love videos like this because I feel that we often take game design for granted, even though it requires a lot of very careful consideration.
If you know of any other intriguing bits of game design like this, let me know in the comments!